Disney FOMO is Real – I’ve Been Stricken

Google FOMO and the simple definition displayed says it all.

“noun: FOMO

  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

Therein lies my problem.  FOMO clearly afflicts people of all ages…including middle-aged Disney fans who have been obsessively watching all things World of Avatar on the internet.  My April Disney vacation is too soon.  My November Disney vacation is sooooo far away!  Pandora is finally opening in May and I want to see it!!!

Disney FOMO is Real – I’ve Been Stricken

It’s not like Animal Kingdom’s newest land is suddenly showing up after a few months of preparation.  The first announcement of Pandora’s imminent arrival was made in early 2011.  That’s SIX years ago.  Six years of speculation, starts, stops, controversy, rumor, and (for some) excitement.  Construction began in 2014 and, by bits and pieces, we’ve learned the details of exactly how Pandora will make its place in Animal Kingdom.  At long last, the time has arrived – May 27, 2017 – and I won’t be there.  New rides, restaurants, shops, exquisitely themed and amazingly detailed, and I’d already booked April and November before the opening date announcement was made.  The internet is full of ride details and food pictures – constant reminders of what I won’t be seeing anytime soon.

What’s a girl to do?

I have a plan, of course, and a willing cohort.  Megan and I have been talking about a mother/daughter getaway forever, so I filled her in during our usual Sunday visit.  In short order we had vacation schedules verified, 42 vacation club points booked (Saratoga Springs), and a route planned.  Since we have always flown to Disney World, this driving thing will add a different aspect to our trip, but Meg and I are pretty stoked.  We have virtually unlimited packing space for the first time ever and can bring important things like breakfast foods and wine.  As many pairs of shoes as we want!  Once we arrive at Disney World, we’ll have three whole days to explore Pandora before heading home.  Our first summer road trip, just the two of us, and we couldn’t be more excited.  See you in June, World of Avatar!

Have you suffered from Disney FOMO?  What new Disney World attractions are you looking forward to most?

 

 

Disney’s Pandora – What I Want to See

Since the recent announcement about Pandora’s opening date in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I can’t stop thinking about this new land.  What will it really be like?  After all the doubt and speculation, will Disney and Avatar fans all be pleased?  Will that amazing Na’vi shaman animatronic figure be as cool in person as she seems on Facebook?  What would I like to see?  That last part, I’ve got figured out!

Disney’s Pandora – What I Want to See

Joseph came home to visit for a couple of nights while Raymond was out of town on business this week.  He knows I hate staying by myself (Junior’s not much of a watch dog).  He gets free food, I avoid loneliness – it’s a win-win for both of us.  For fun, I came up with my best idea for a Pandora attraction and ran it by Joseph to see what he thought.  He not only liked the idea, he immediately started building on it to make it better!  Armchair Imagineering is FUN!!!

I started with this idea:  Think about the experience of Turtle Talk With Crush (in Epcot’s The Seas With Nemo and Friends).  Imagine that same technology used in a classroom made of glass (instead of just one wall).  Guests would enter a special environmentally controlled room (to protect humans), reached via short tunnel extended from the main Pandora research facility.  The tunnel would take “students” partially into the wilderness of Pandora lessons on the planet’s flora, fauna, and culture.  As everyone takes their seats, Na’vi “instructors” would approach the enclosure, introduce themselves,  and talk about what it’s like to live on Pandora.  Visitors in the classroom would be able to see Pandora and the Na’vi people through all four walls and the ceiling.  The experience would be interactive exactly like Turtle Talk, but instead of being geared towards the pre-school set, this attraction would mainly engage tweens, teens, and adults.  Students would have an excellent view of the plants, animals and people of Pandora with the ability to ask (and answer) questions.

Joseph added his thoughts:  The experience would change along with the time of day – just like Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Early mornings would show the Pandora landscape during sunrise (or suns-rise?) and the Na’vi teachers would explain how the planet changes as night turns into day.  Midday would offer completely different “lessons” and then, as the sun(s) set, dusk and nighttime would transform the experience yet again with different animals in the wild among the glow of the bioluminescent plants.

The technology is already available for this attraction!  Think about the possibilities!!!

What would YOU most like to see in Pandora?

 

 

 

About Those $649 Cabanas in Tomorrowland

Right now they’re big, white, and generic-looking.  Disney World’s newest pricey specialty offering has a lot of tongues wagging.RM-Tomorrowland-Walkway

About Those $649 Cabanas in Tomorrowland

If you missed this latest Disney news tidbit, Magic Kingdom guests may now rent a “cabana” for the day near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.  The amenities and details included in the $649 price can be found here.  The cabanas are, for now, actually large, windowed tents like the ones people rent for outdoor events.  Inside, guests will find some tables and seating along with the charging station and lockable storage trunk.  At face value, critics see yet another money grab at an exorbitant price for wealthy vacationers (even if it does include customized Earhats).

I can see a different side to this…

I feel certain this is the first of several tests and, if successful, will result in actual cabana-like structures in keeping with the Tomorrowland (or other) surroundings and they’ll come with air conditioning.  If you’ve listened to the latest episode (#116) of The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill, you’ll find that these test cabanas may be the tip of the iceberg for in-park getaways.  If Jim and Len are right, cabanas will be in several (if not all) parks and may be elevated to allow guests unobstructed, prime viewing for parades and fireworks.RM-Tomorrowland-Skyline

I see a certain appeal for this concept with a particular sub-set of Disney vacationers.  And it may not be such a bad or outrageous idea.  Imagine for a minute that your vacation includes multi-generations.  You may be headed to Magic Kingdom with grandparents or infants or both!  Suppose you’re staying off property and want everyone to get a full day of park touring, plus have a place to rest, nurse a baby, take a nap, or take turns babysitting or simply hanging out.

There would always be a shaded, cool, private spot at your disposal.  No need to pack up and leave for nap time or meltdowns.  You’d have a secluded place, all your own, to regroup, relax, and recharge (literally and figuratively) without having to waste time returning to your resort.  Grandma and Grandpa could comfortably enjoy the Festival of Fantasy parade without sitting on a curb in the burning sun.  Mom and Dad could tend to the needs of little ones away from public view and know that nap time will be in a cool and comfortable place.

While I’m not in a stage of my life where I could justify forking over $649 for the luxury of a Disney park cabana, I’ll never say never.  I can easily imagine a time when having the convenience and amenities that come with booking a little personal space in Walt Disney World could be a worthwhile and time-saving investment.

Your turn!  Are these cabanas an extravagant ripoff or a legitimate in-park convenience?

Thoughts on Epcot’s Future

This morning in my way to work I was listening to Episode 98 of Radio Harambe.  This is an excellent podcast and one of my favorites, especially since it’s mostly focused on Animal Kingdom and you know how I feel about that park.  Anyway, Mike and Dave, the hosts, were discussing the recent Disney announcement about the future of Epcot and what that might mean for Epcot fans.  Mike and Dave and I don’t always agree on stuff and today was no exception…I was interjecting my opposition to their opinions out loud on my commute (as if they could hear me) and the discussion was inspirational for this post.Epcot View

Thoughts on Epcot’s Future

Epcot’s changed a lot since I first visited the park in 1990 and not always in a good way.  Lots of attractions have closed, sponsorships ended, and Future World has been mostly left to stagnate and generally decline.  What was once a thought-provoking center for amusing edu-tainment has become a mere shadow of its former self.  Updates are badly needed and if Disney must incorporate some of its popular entertainment franchises to do it, so be it.RM-Living-With-The-Land-Greenhouse

If visitors to Future World were to once again find themselves inspired by technological innovations, the original purpose of Epcot lives on.  If said inspiration were to be derived from familiar movie characters, what’s the harm?  It’s a fact, Disney sells more merchandise with well-known fan favorites than they would with newly launched concepts and sales are what keeps stockholders happy.  I want to see Epcot revitalized and am willing to be open-minded about it.

A few thoughts on what I would consider moving in the right direction…

Inside Out has been the movie most discussed among Disney fans as a perfect fit for Future World.  A new attraction related to how and why changes occur in our brains as we grow up would be perfect!  Every young person should know that an immature frontal cortex will inhibit sound decision-making long past their 18th birthday and this is why they should listen to their mom!

Perhaps, in the same building, The Incredibles (and my favorite character, Edna Mode) could entertain us while helping us understand the relationship between nutrition and the optimum performance of both brain and brawn?  Personally, I think The Incredibles are woefully underrepresented in Disney parks!  This would be a win-win for me.RM-Universe-of-Energy-Exterior

Guardians of the Galaxy has been rumored to be the theme of a new attraction to replace the outdated Ellen’s Energy Adventure.  What if Rocket, who is an engineering genius, were to host an attraction based on how creativity and technology come together to solve problems with things like clean energy, transportation, space exploration, or waste disposal?

While I’ve heard that Wreck-It Ralph may be slated for Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, I could see wonderful potential with this franchise for an Epcot attraction as well.  How about an interactive attraction that allowed guests to see what goes on during the invention of arcade/video games.  By helping visitors see how imagination becomes virtual reality through technology, young future-programmers might be encouraged while the rest of us just have fun!SSE Lecture Dude

Education combined with entertainment is great, but the final, Epcot-worthy result needs to be inspiration.  When guests leave feeling like they can make a difference in their own lives as well as the world around them, then Epcot’s mission has been accomplished.  If, in the course of visiting Walt Disney World, some small fraction of young guests discover a new interest in science, technology, engineering, or math…just by having fun on vacation, then Epcot’s bigger meaning is realized.  And isn’t that as Walt Disney intended it to be?  Just my two cents.

What are your thoughts on Epcot’s future?