Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) PeopleMover

Ahhhhh….the PeopleMover.  You can’t help but to smile on this attraction.  The leisurely pace, the ride’s characteristic dialog (“Paging Mr. Morrow. Mr. Tom Morrow”), the lack of a long queue line, and the views make this attraction a favorite among repeat visitors.  It’s a great place to take a respite from the Florida heat and relax, if only for 10 minutes.  It goes to show that sometimes special effects and cutting edge technology can’t win out on old-school attractions.  

The TTA has a long history at Walt Disney World.  In 1975 the attraction opened as the WEDWay PeopleMover.  It was based on the first prototype PeopleMover at Disneyland in California.  The difference being that the Disneyland version used rotating tires; while the Disney World version used a linear synchronous motor system comprising of magnets which “push and pull” the ride vehicles along a track.  Another difference between the two parks is that instead of an open track with covered cars as in Disneyland, the WDW version had open-air cars with a ceiling over the track.

Themed as a commuter transit system of the future, passengers are taken on a 1-mile train ride on a raised platform above, around and inside many of the attractions of Tomorrowland.  Passengers depart from a centralized location, Rockettower Plaza, located beneath the Astro-Orbiters.  Guests board the Metro-liners, as the vehicles are called, on the second story of Rockettower Plaza.  The design of the station platform has guests boarding and disembarking the cars onto a moving platform. This allows the vehicles to remain in motion at all times.  The cars then travel a one-way loop, with a brief stretch at the entrance to Space Mountain operating with two-way traffic.   

From 1975 to 1994, the PeopleMover remained largely unchanged.  However, in 1994 Tomorrowland underwent a massive refurbishment that changed the Tomorrowland landscape significantly.  Much of the 70’s-retro, futuristic, white architecture disappeared, replaced by bold, metallic structures.  It was during this refurbishment that the attraction's name changed from the WEDWay PeopleMover to The Tomorrowland Transit Authority.  “PeopleMover” wasn’t added to The Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s name until 2009.  

Over the years the PeopleMover has taken guests on a 10 minute ride showing some of Tomorrowland’s favorite attractions.  Today guests can glimpse a view inside Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, and Mickey's Star Traders.  The TTA swings by the outside of attractions such as the Tomorrowland Speedway, Carousel of Progress, Stitch’s Great Escape and the Laugh Floor.  In the tunnel above Stitch’s Great Escape, the TTA train passes a large diorama containing an original architectural model of EPCOT as envisioned by Walt Disney.

I highly recommend any visitor to Tomorrowland to take a trip on the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority metroliner non-stop, now departing Rockettower Plaza Station for a round-trip super skyway tour”. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Favorite WDW Restaurant

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda’s Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail this month.  Today we are talking about our favorite restaurants.  What a great topic!  Who doesn't love to eat while at Disney?

My favorite restaurant at WDW has to be 'Ohana's at the Polynesian Resort.  'Ohana means family and this restaurant is themed around it.  Food is served family style, your wait staff are "cousins" and the entertainment is geared toward family friendly fun.  

The atmosphere at 'Ohana is decidedly tropical.  From the tiki god statues, to the large wicker chairs, to the umbrella drinks, you are immersed in the tropic paradise of the Polynesian Resort.  

Ohana's dining room wraps around a massive fire pit, where your food for the evening is being cooked.  The room is surrounded with floor to ceiling windows with views of the tropical landscaping of the resort, the Seven Seas Lagoon, and the Magic Kingdom with an amazing view of Cinderella Castle.  If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, the view is breathtaking.  I've never been during the fireworks show, but can only imagine how wonderful that would be.  

Once you're seated, your "cousins" will arrive to start your meal off with drinks.  If you partake of adult libations, this is the place to get your umbrella drink on!  Your meal starts with "Ohana Welcome Bread", a delicious warm Pineapple bread.  Salad shows up shortly after, along with an appetizer course -- lo mein noodles, stir-fry veggies, pork dumplings, and sticky chicken wings.  Don't fill up on this though, the main course is found on the fire pit.  Huge skewers of meats are constantly being cooked on the open pit.  Your "cousin" brings your meat one skewer at a time to your table.  Grilled turkey, pork loin, chicken, and sirloin steak all marinated and cooked to perfection.  The meats are accompanied by a variety of sauces for dipping.  You can ask for as little or as much as you want (or can handle).  You come away hungry here, it is your own fault!

But don't fill up too quick, 'Ohana's saves the best for last:  dessert, 'Ohana bread pudding a la mode with bananas foster sauce.  I have to stay that, in my opinion, this is the best dessert on property.  The pudding is rich and delicious, the ice cream creamy, and the sauce is warm and gooey.  A perfect combination!  

'Ohana's isn't all about eating, though.  There is wonderful entertainment provided by Hawaiian cultural ambassador of sorts.  She passes out leis, teaches hula dances, serenades the dining room throughout the meal, and leads the coconut races for the kids.  It's quite a fun experience for the little ones.  

'Ohana is a widely popular dining option at WDW and Advanced Dining Reservations fill up fast.  I don't find myself going there every time I'm at Walt Disney World, but special occasions do require a trip to 'Ohana.  

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Disney Point.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ The Disney Chick
2nd Stop ~ Manda’s Disney Blog
3rd Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad
4th Stop ~ The Disney Point 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where are the kids?

I'm two weeks back from another fabulous trip to Disney World.  Four magical days....2 gals and no children.  That's children.  I left them at home!  Not really at home by themselves, but with their grandparents at church camp.  But here's the real kicker....I didn't tell them I was going.  I haven't told them I went, either!!!!  Yes, I am a bad mother, but I think their father is equally to blame.  He was golfing in Scotland at the time.  Not only did I go to Disney World without my kids, I went without my husband, too.  It was just me and my sister-in-law....and I'm not going to lie, it was a great trip.  Don't get me wrong, I love going with my kids and husband, but sometimes a girl just needs some girl time.

I've been wanting to blog about all we did and see, but life has been getting in the way lately.  I hope to  do some in-depth postings soon, but until then here were some high points:

  • The updated Alligator Bayou rooms in Port Orleans Riverside are adorable!

  • Wi-fi at the resort and in the parks was significantly better than last year.
  • Paying with your room card is so much easier with the new system.  Hover your card over the device and insert a PIN code. 
  • Weather was surprisingly comfortable for mid-July.  Rained each day but nothing that a poncho couldn't work around. 
  • We managed to get into Epcot before it opened, and were the first group on Soarin'.

  • Ice Cream Martini. There are no words to describe!

  • Ate lunch at Be Our Guest.  The dining rooms are AMAZING!  It really was snowing outside the windows.  

  • I had a Disney-geek freak out moment when I realized that the former Fantasyland Skyway building and stroller parking area has been theme to Tangled, and a new "portal" exists between Fantasyland and Liberty Square.  How did I miss this is the blogs of New Fantasyland?
Maximus has left his mark!
  • Riding Big Thunder Mountain in the rain is a blast and can cause an episode of the giggles.  
  • The Outer Rim Lounge at the Contemporary Resort doesn't open till 4pm.  Too bad if you wanted to take a mid-afternoon break.  
  • Watching the glass blower in the back of the Crystal Arts shop on Main Street was a special treat.  

  • I can't say that standing for almost two hours in order to watch the castle display and fireworks from this view was worth it, but it was nice to see once.  My feet won't be doing it again.  

  • And lastly, we learned there is no dancing outside your ride vehicle.  Good information to know.