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March 8 2013
Changes at Epcot's Test Track & France
As Disney World's 2nd theme park hits its stride with the first weekend of the 20th Annual International Flower & Garden Fest (now with lotsa food!) there are a couple of changes to note for those who haven't visited in a little while.
In Future World -- Test Track reopened late last year after a total gut-job remodel. Many are calling it "Tron Track" because the aesthetics are a lot like the 1982 Disney film.
Like Tron, this one takes place in a simulated world. You are now riding in a Chevrolet "Sim Car"
But even if you've experienced the new Test Track -- you may not know Disney has been tweaking it due to complaints.
Chevy is big on making this interactive - so you get to design your own "Sim Car" -- upload it to the Sim Car you ride in -- and throughout the ride -- your design is tested against your fellow riders.
Even Fast Pass & single riders are supposed to get a quick version of the long design process that takes up most of the wait in the regular line.
That's how it was supposed to work.
But On a recent visit through the single rider's line -- the cast member told me they were out of the white cards you use to store your design - and that lets you test drive it and make commercials for it in the post show. The quick design stations were shut down completely. And I noticed Fast Pass guests were being sent through a hallway that previously was for cast members only.
I did some digging -- and found that many people (myself included) find the ride confusing without the full-length design studio explaining the whole concept of the different areas the car goes through. The old Test Track was easy to understand-- there was a cold room -- a hot room -- and the evil Sherry sent you through acid-spraying robots before making you a crash test dummy. The new one is more abstract.
So -- in response to many complaints that Fast Pass users were getting the short end -- Disney has been testing sending them through the full design studio experience. No word yet on if that change is permanent. I'll be out at Epcot again this weekend -- and I'll let you know.
One other Epcot change -- we've talked about it before -- but now I have pictures.
The old, charming, quaint and PACKED Pastry at the France Pavilion has now closed for conversion into an ice cream place.
The new -- much larger -- pastry place is in the building that used to just be a small gift shop after the 180 degree movie.
Since that building is themed to a terminal in Paris (instead of the quaint village)
the new pastry place has a much different look -- more choices-- including sandwiches -- and a coffee window.
While still obviously popular, to me a lot has been lost. The old shop looked like it could have been the ground floor of the chef's home. The new one -- well -- decide for yourself.
That's it from Epcot.
Here's a link to this week's Theme World Blog entry on what's new at this year's Flower and Garden fest.
Oh! and a quick note from Legoland Florida.
Just in time for spring break, its Water Park is opening up tomorrow for its second season.
Legoland says there are a few new additions including several new models. Now there are 4 million blocks in the water park alone.
In Tampa, Busch Gardens' Adventure Island water park is also reopening.
See you in the parks!
And here's a link to other Theme World Blog entries
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