Monday, December 2, 2013

My Top Tens - water features

Moving on to water features.  Water is a consistent feature throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.  From Bay Lake to the falls at the Norway pavilion, water is an ever present design feature.  Water can be used to enhance the imagination, integrate the design of the landscaping, power an attraction, or mask outside noise.  Imagineers use water as an architectural element to break up the landscape, separate lands, and divide resorts.  The natural beauty of water is evident everywhere.

Some of my favorite water features include:

10 - The Seven Seas Lagoon.  The Seven Seas Lagoon is the man-made lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. The lake reaches a depth of 14 feet.  You can't get to the Magic Kingdom without crossing the Seven Seas Lagoon in some fashion, be it boat, bus, ferry, or monorail.  Technically,  the buses cross under the Lagoon; and you can walk from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom, but I doubt you can ignore the presence of the Lagoon.  The Lagoon provides virtual transition from "real world" to Magic Kingdom.  The Lagoon also acts as a visual stage foreshadowing lands you'll find in the Magic Kingdom:  Polynesian Resort reflects Adventureland, Contemporary resort reflect the futuristic Tomorrowland, The Grand Floridian is reminiscent to the Victorian era you'll find on Main Street USA, and although not on the Seven Seas Lagoon but in the adjacent Bay Lake, you can find Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge which are reflections on Frontierland.
Seven Seas Lagoon as it appeared in concept art prior to 1971
9 - Polynesian Lobby.  In the center of the the Polynesian's Great Ceremonial House is a lovely 2 story garden filled with tropical plants and a waterfall.  The first thing you notice when you walk in to the lobby of the resort is the soothing sound of that running water.   It's relaxing environment and a wonderful place to rest and people watch after a long day in the parks.

8 - Jungle Cruise River/Back-side of water.  The Jungle Cruise river is fed by the same waterway as what's around the moat; however, along the Jungle Cruise line, it's dyed using an organic and biodegradable dye to hide the shallow bottom and boat tracks.  I especially enjoy the "backside of water".   Who knew it looked the same as the front side?!?

7 - The crashing waves outside the Living Seas.  Very cool effect.  Once you've seen it, you'll understand.  

6 - Fire Rock Geyser, Wilderness Lodge.  Fire Rock Geyser, fashioned after Yellowstone National Park's Old Faithful, sits between the Pool and the beach shoreline at the Wilderness Lodge.  Every hour, from 7am to 10pm, the Geyser erupts, shooting plumes of water 120 feet into the air.   The surrounding hot springs even appear steaming.  The effect is created using sprays of mist.  The water is the same temperature as the ambient air.  When ducks decide to swim in the "hot" springs, the illusion is broken. 

5 - Waterfalls of the Canadian pavilion in EPCOT.  Although you can't see it from the front of the Canadian pavilion, walk through the gardens toward the back and you will find a 30 foot rushing waterfall.    The waterfall and associated mountain represent the Rocky Mountains.  It can be viewed from an upper level courtyard beyond the Hotel du Canada, or up close by following the lower path through the Victoria Gardens, and through a narrow canyon.  A true hidden gem of EPCOT. 
Water falls in the Canadian Pavilion
4 - Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Hollywood Studio) under the sea effect.  Using a spray of water from above, coupled with fog effects, and the laser lights give the impression that you're truly below the waves.

3 - Fountain of Nations.  Located on the plaza behind Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, the Fountain of Nations.   Also called Innoventions Fountain, this found is the largest on Disney property.  Set to music, the fountains appear to "dance", shooting water up to 150 feet in the air.  At night the fountains are lit with colored lights given the "dance" a more dramatic effect.  

2 - Fantasmic projection screens.  The night time spectacular, Fantasmic, at Hollywood Studios uses dramatic lighting, pyrotechnics, music, and water to create Mickey's dream.  The giant water-mist screens that are used to project images of Disney characters is dramatic and amazing to behold.  

1 - Upside-down waterfall outside the Imagination pavilion.  Upside down water fall!  What else is there to say?!?  Just outside the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot, you'll find a variety of water features, the most whimsical being the "upside-down waterfall".  Stretching up to an amazing 80 feet, water moves up from the base to the top of the falls.  Only in the world of Imagination does this seem possible.  
Upside Down Water Fall

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