1) The Magic of Disney Animation– This is an interactive drawing class led by a Disney artist. Guests learn step-by-step instructions on how to draw a Disney character. You never know which character you will draw, so it is fun to do the class each time you visit WDW. The class takes 30 minutes and you get to take home your art. This is located in Hollywood Studios. 2) Living With the Land– A relaxing 13-minute boat ride that takes you on an informative journey through a tropical rain forest, a desert complete with sandstorm, and the plains of a small farm. Guests learn about Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaculture. You see many plants with unusual fruits and veggies, and fish farms are also on display. The educational part of this boat ride is geared towards adults, but younger guests will love it also and enjoy spotting the different fruits and vegetables. This is located in Future World at Epcot. 3) One Man’s Dream– This is a tribute to the “Man behind the Magic”. It is a self-guided walking tour that will take you through a series of exhibits including: scaled replicas, photographs, audio interviews and memorabilia that tell the story of Walt Disney. There are over 400 artifacts on display such as models of Main Street U.S.A. from Disneyland, scaled replicas of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from Disneyland, scaled models of Animal Kingdom and others. There is a re-creation of Walt’s old office, his 2nd grade desk, and even an Academy Award from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on display. This is located in Hollywood Studios. 4)Outdoor entertainment at Epcot- There are a wide variety of performers that are located mostly in World Showcase, with The Jammin’ Jammitors being the exception (they perform a percussion show that is not to be missed in Future World). Each country hosts different acts that perform on a schedule that can be picked up at the park entrance. Just a couple of examples are: Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion, the Canadian Lumberjacks at the Canada Pavilion, andThe British Revolution at the United Kingdom Pavilion which are all three band performances.) There are also many other types of entertainment such as Serveur Amusant at the France Pavilion (a very skilled performer balances on chairs stacked seemingly into the clouds. Just kidding, but he does go pretty high!), Taiko Drummers at the Japan Pavilion, Sergio the juggler at the Italy Pavilion, and many more. 5)Flights of Wonder– Several times a day in the Asian area at Animal Kingdom, the Flights of Wonder are performed. The shows are about 25 minutes long and feature over 20 species of exotic birds, including Harris hawks, Barbary falcons, macaws, ibis and yellow-naped Amazon parrots. The show features free-flying birds performing stunts with the trainers auditory cues to guide them. There is also some comedy thrown in that makes the show even better.
Epcot is divided into two portions: Future World and World Showcase.
At Epcot there are many rides with short wait times. In Future World, Spaceship Earth (the big ball) that greets you when you first walk in is many times quick to get on, even if the line looks long. The line moves very quickly as this ride like many at Disney World is on a continuous loop system. It is a chronicle through time and history with an eye toward the future. This attraction is a must-see.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure has such a large seating capacity that the longest waits are 20 minutes. The good thing about the wait is, it is inside, out of the rain, heat, or cold. This attraction lasts 40 minutes and is well worth your time. It tells about how important energy is in our lives in a fun, interactive way with Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye as the narrators.
Innoventions is a walk through attraction separated into two buildings: East and West. Unfortunately, Innoventions West is closing and one attraction in the East building is closing. I have always enjoyed most of the attractions in the Innoventions buildings, but I know many think they needed updating. The future of the Innoventions West and East is still unknown. In the East building there are still a few attractions operating such as Stormstruck (a great interactive weather-themed attraction), Sum Of All Thrills (design your own coaster, but long wait for short ride), and Habit Heroes (forgettable).
In the Land building at Epcot there are two attractions that almost always have short wait times: Living with the Land, and The Circle of Life film. Living with the Land is a relaxing 13-minute boat ride that is informative. It chronicles the struggles with farming in the past and the future of farming with Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and Aquaculture. You see fruits, vegetables, and fish grown in unique ways. The Circle of Life is an ecological film hosted by the Lion King’s Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba.
In the Seas with Nemo there is one of the largest saltwater aquariums in the world that houses sharks, dolphins, fish and sea turtles (over 200 species of sea life). In another tank there are two manatees. These are walk-through exhibits and well worth your time. The ride in this building takes you through the Finding Nemo movie (or part of it) and the wait for this is almost always 5-10 minutes.
In the Imagination Pavillion the ride with Figment moves quickly and explores your five senses with Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. After the ride there are interactive exhibits that you can walk through and explore at your leisure .
In the World Showcase (the part with the countries), there are films to watch in the France, American, China, and Canada Pavilions. The American, Canadian, and China films are on screens all around you (a full 360 degrees) and feel very much like you are in the locations. The France film is less impressive and the Norway film is temporarily suspended while they are working on the new Frozen ride.
The Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavillion is a fun ride featuring The Three Caballeros with normally a short wait. It is a boat ride that features some scenery from Mexico and The Three Caballeros.
Walt Disney World is continuously making changes. Some are good, like replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures with the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train. Some are open for debate like replacing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. There are some changes we hope for: replacing Stitch’s Great Excape and Captain Eo. And, there are the ones that just stink. Canceling the World Showcase Players at the UK pavilion at Epcot late last year is one of the latter.
The World Showcase Players were improv-comedy, street performers who would perform classic skits such as “Arthur’s Quest for the Holy Grail,” “Romeo and Edna,” and “A Christmas Carol.” Every show was different as audience members were pulled into the show. We are WDW street show connoisseurs. We will spend a full day at Epcot or Hollywood Studios just watching the street performers. The World Showcase Players were reliably funny. It was our favorite street show, not only at Epcot, but in all of WDW.
Since the first time we saw them, we would catch at least one performance every trip to WDW. Roly would always get a “front rope” seat. Perdita and I would sit on the curb. We would groan aloud at bad jokes, yell “Long Live the King,” “Rubbish,” and “Free Beer,” laugh out loud, and be thoroughly entertained.
Five acts were canceled from the Epcot World Showcase: Ziti Sisters (Italy), Mo’ Rockin’ (Morocco), Off Kilter (Canada), Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps (USA), and the World Showcase Players (UK). Four new acts have taken their place: B’net Houwariyate (Berber music and dance in Morocco), Canadian Lumberjack Show, Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro (flag performance in Italy), and the Paul McKenna Band (Celtic music in UK). The acts sound interesting. I hope they are good and will see them at some point. We opted not to catch any of the Epcot shows on our last visit.
In conclusion, how do we feel about Disney’s decision to cancel the World Showcase Players?
Below is a recording of their final show from WDW News Today. Enjoy.