shoreline99

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About shoreline99

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  1. Thanks for the updates, TCD - looks like you had a great trip and the TCD luck/magic still holds!
  2. Thanks, TCD. I agree with you about Dapper Day, but I do get it. I think the get-together at Disney Springs in the evening was more of a draw than a day in the hot parks, personally. I felt bad for some of those people in the 95 degree heat and humidity in their elaborate outfits and multiple layers, but it can't be much better in Southern California. Most of them were looking for shade and air conditioning - especially the ones that had kids with them that were also dressed up. It seemed that many people were getting their photos taken at certain locations then leaving. I'm sure the parks got more crowded (and Dapper) as the afternoon turned into evening. There were even several groups doing the monorail bar crawl in the early afternoon - one group had camped out in the Grand Flo at the second floor bar and didn't look like they were going anywhere soon. It certainly will be hard to top this trip, I did those great tours and saw a lot, although we did miss the kids while we were there!
  3. Those usually get jacked up pretty quickly. I've always wanted one, though.
  4. I certainly would have complained, because you can't assume that someone else will have called, and the more complaints they get the more management will realize there is an issue. Just because it's Disney doesn't exempt them from common decency. The will more than likely just throw comp nights at you anyway, because that's how they seem to handle things rather than address the issue and risk a confrontation that ends up on youtube, like the guy with the meth lab comments a few years back.
  5. OK, I'm going to try to wrap up this trip report in one long(ish) post. Thanks again for tuning in and following along. Today was Saturday, and the last day of our trip. And a long one. We awoke relatively early, and had to get packed up for check out by 11. Having the club level service was great that day, as we were able to grab breakfast and coffee to eat while we packed. Morning, Magic Kingdom It was already hot, which didn't bode well for our plans, which were to hit the Magic Kingdom that morning to do a little people watching for Dapper Day. Our flight home wasn't until the evening, so we were able to check out and leave our bags with Bell Services until we were ready to head to the airport. Adios, Club Level. We checked out, walked down to the launch dock and were off. A monorail was just pulling out of the Contemporary. The transportation systems at WDW never cease to amaze me. Meanwhile, those poor slobs paying $2500 a night at the bungalows have to listen to the MK Ferry horn all day and night. MK was bustling with activity this morning Lots of people having their photos taken this morning in their Dapper outfits. Lots of elaborate dresses, suspenders and hats! And it was hot. And humid. This couple was dressed as Carl and Ellie from Up. I wasn't clear on the exact rules for Dapper Day, but there was a good mix of sharp outfits, Disneybounding, and costuming. Not a great photo, but these well dressed young ladies were taking in the AC at Pirates to get out of the heat. Jumping over to the Tiki Room, there was an entire row of park guests dressed as interpretations of various attractions. The couple to the right is wearing matching Tiki Room outfits! The Tiki gods were impressed. This woman's dress and hat were quite impressive. This couple was one of my favorites from the day, disneybounding as Ali and Jasmine Another couple that was disneybounding as Jessie and Buzz Nearly everyone was trying to find a shady spot (including us), so we stopped over at the Sleepy Hollow refreshment stand for a quick bite. There were quite a few dapper people there as well. The sweet and spicy chicken waffle, for those of you looking for a little food pron Lots of people in the Hub having their photos taken in front of the castle. There's a Tower of Terror bellhop over there in line. Fittingly, the Dapper Dans were playing to a large crowd. There were a fair number of well-dressed people there that day, and I wish I had more photos, but a lot of people were trying to dodge the heat. I'm quite sure by the afternoon it would fill up. It was still hot, and we decided to head out and ride the Monorail around to hit the resorts and cool off a bit. There were lots of Dapper people with the same idea. The Poly was our first stop. Spicy Watermelon Margarita at the 'Ohana Lounge Then it was off to the Grand Floridian, where we walked around the lobby and did a little browsing in the shops there A beautiful day on the Seven Seas Lagoon We saved the Contemporary for last, so we could take the launch back over to the WL. Bay Lake didn't look too bad that day, either, as long as there was a breeze Another shot of the new villa pool construction We decided to hang out at Geyser Point for a while, in the shade. Our flight had been delayed, so we had some time to kill. Some photos of the creek and falls: Our bands still allowed us back up to the club level, so we stopped back up for a beverage and a snack. One last view of Bay Lake from the top floor: And just like that, we come to the end of our week, and this trip report. We certainly covered a lot of ground this trip, and really managed to pack a lot in. Thanks for reading along!
  6. Bonus update today to finish up our Friday evening at Disney Springs, and our last night at WDW. Our tour wrapped up at the very end of the West Side, and I was meeting my lovely bride at Raglan Road for some pre-dinner drinks and people watching. I hoofed it back over to the Landing, and was able to get some refreshments prior to her arrival. Slainte. We have been to Raglan Road several times, and have already tried the Hangar bar, so we headed up to the Boathouse - I had heard that the dockside bar there has some great views and atmosphere. An Amphi-car was just arriving up the dock when we walked by. According to the Imagineers we toured with, the restaurant owner has the largest collection of these unique vehicles in the world (42 in running condition), and there are 12 of them here at WDW. We think they are really cool, and would love to go for a ride in one, but the cost ($100+) for a half hour is too steep for me. Plus the view is really nothing special, IMHO. There are many historic boats along the docks here, as the name would imply, both pleasure craft and racing boats. Drinks arrived, and we had a lovely time chatting with the couple next to us about the boats. Their bar menu is pretty substantial, and I would highly recommend it - even over a place like Raglan Road - especially on a nice day. It was still hot out but the shade and breeze was beautiful. We didn't want to leave, especially as there was a 'Dapper Day' cocktail event happening there later in the evening that we would have liked to sit back and watch, but we had dinner reservations at Morimoto Asia. We were seated right away, and had a nice view of the restaurant from the balcony Neither of us was starving, so we split some sushi (yum) and a few pieces of Dim Sum. For an entree we split an order of the 'Angry Lobster Chow Fun', which is a whole Maine lobster, split up and wok fried. It's served over some spicy noodles with a coconut curry sauce. Holy cow, was that amazing. We only had room left for some tea - they have quite an extensive menu there, as would be expected. Everything we had there was great. I'd totally go back again, any time. It was dark when we headed out, and you can see how the building changes at night - there are Japanese characters carved into the sides of the building that are illuminated from inside, making the entrance quite striking. The observatory at night, with the Springs in the foreground: I think the MK closed relatively early, and we were both beat after a long day, so we headed back to the Lodge for a drink and some dessert from the club lounge. Good night, Magic Kingdom One thing I neglected to mention was that on a couple of occasions while we were there they were testing the lasers and projections for the new nighttime show (no fireworks though), so we had a good view of that. Tomorrow was checkout, and our last day at WDW. Since it was Dapper Day at the MK, in the next post we will head there and check out some of the sights!
  7. Thanks, I think overall they did a nice job of tying it all together, and over time the new back story gives them some flexibility in developing new areas or adding to the existing ones. As I mentioned before, they do need to address the wayfinding in the Town Center area, particularly where you arrive in from the Lime garage or the bus drop off area. That's one thing that was planned for early in developing Celebration. If I recall correctly, there are seven houses of worship in Celebration, covering most of the major faiths. From what we were told, they are all pretty active parishes.
  8. After drinks and snacks, we strolled down towards Jock Lindsay's and the Landing area. "A few years ago, Disney shut down the Pleasure Island nightclubs and bulldozed them. The re-imagined area is now known as The Landing. Located next to the Town Center, Hoffman says that according to the storyline, it serves as the community's transportation hub and has more of an industrial feel. An old billboard advertises the passenger train that used to stop in the town. There are some stray rails still embedded in the pathways. The former train station now serves as an upscale chophouse, STK (which is so upscale, it has no need for vowels). The elegant paddlewheel riverboat that used to be Fulton's Crab House (and The Empress Lilly before that) will become Paddlefish, while The Boathouse provides upscale meals to compliment the views of the amphi-cars that offer tours of Lake Buena Vista. Opened in 2015, Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar is named for Indiana Jones' pilot. The whimsical lounge is crammed with vintage airplane parts and other artifacts." This is probably my favorite area of Disney Springs. Lots of open space, views to the water and activity everywhere. This building will be the new Edison restaurant, and is supposed to be the old Disney Springs power plant. Adjacent to it will be another establishment, in what is being themed as the old railway terminal for the area. The re-imagined 'observatory' of Planet Hollywood It's definitely easier to navigate around this area, with so many landmarks. We looped back around to the other end of the Springs: Has anyone tried Blaze pizza yet? I haven't, but have heard great things. Even the light fixture in the welcome center (guest services) is meant to evoke the water from the springs: Old equipment and machinery that can be turned to draw up water: From here we walked through the old 'farmer's market', where there are many retail stores in a covered outdoor mall. From this area or from the landing, you can head over towards the old West Side. Themed bathrooms: The new Coca-Cola store The theme here is supposed to be of an old industrial building surrounded by glass, like a museum. I'll have to see if I can find a night-time photo, it's really quite striking when it's lit up. "According to Hoffman's story, the leaders of Disney Springs developed The West Side as a town expo in the 1950s. A pedestrian bridge connects the outlying area to the rest of the town. A circus tent (which serves as the theater for Cirque du Soleil's resident production, La Nouba) and hot air balloon remain. The expo buildings now house Splitsville bowling lanes, an AMC movie theater, and a House of Blues, among other venues." Pedestrian Bridge: This area is a little narrower, and feels more urban. Portions of the old 'Disney Springs elevated railway' were left in place as shady spots, locations for entertainers, and for future vertical growth. Eventually there may be a walking portion on the upper level like the high line in NYC. Themed walkways where portions of the old railway were removed: Disney Quest is still here, for a few more months: From one end to the other: More to come, thanks for reading along. Dinner at Disney Springs, Dapper Day, and a Monorail crawl on our last day.
  9. Bonus post for today, to make up for my slacking. We spent some time walking around the Spring, and checking out some of the restaurants in the area, both old favorites (Raglan Road) and new (Hangar Bar, there in the distance). However, this side of the springs is dominated by the old 'Disney Springs bottling plant', which is now converted into the Morimoto Asia restaurant. It was really hot. And humid. And hot. It was April, not August. Next thing we know, we are brought into the restaurant, which is absolutely stunning. Up the stairs, to the second floor. There, we were introduced to Jay Valgora, principal of the firm that designed the restaurant along with Chef Morimoto. He was on our tour that day, and was kind enough to show us around and discuss his design for the restaurant and bar. There is a small area on the second floor that can be closed off, and we all squeezed in there to hear him speak. And then they brought us drinks. Mo, where the heck were you. Apple Sake-tinis. While Chef Morimoto enjoys spending a lot of time at this location, he was not there today. However, they brought us food as well. Lots of appetizers for all! We strolled around and checked out the place. These light fixtures are custom made curtains of glass beads, surrounding copper mesh Japanese fish traps. The restaurant seats over 500 people, but it feels very intimate. The centerpiece of the bar is a continuous ribbon of white material that forms both the upper and lower bar tops, while swooping around the restaurant to give a sense of motion. Above the bar is a piece of industrial bottling machinery, complete with bottles, that acts as a light fixture. The bottling line extends into the foyer of the restaurant to act as the main chandelier, visible at night from outside. The floors are end grain cuts of wood, and are very cool. Second floor sushi bar. This restaurant is the first fusion restaurant opened by Chef Morimoto, and was originally designed without a sushi bar. It was redesigned about 3/4 of the way through construction to include this feature. Main stair: Doors on the second floor lead to an outdoor dining area. Too hot to be out there now, but lovely at night, with some nice views of the area: The front entry is a custom glass wall, 36' high. So, we got a little Disney magic even on our tour. Well done. My wife and I had dinner reservations at Morimoto Asia that evening, so I'll have a review of the food later as well.
  10. Thanks, I took a lot of photos! You all will pay the price for that. Proper 'placemaking' is a common problem, and not an easy one to solve. Things are relatively easy to read on a plan, or a map, but translate that to three dimensions and it can be difficult to see where you are and how to get somewhere without landmarks. Think large college campuses or even a place like Celebration. In certain areas of DS it's fairly easy to figure out where you are going, but in others it's very confusing. The Imagineers have tried to install low scale visual clues - roadway materials, the lighted spring, walkways along the water and other methods, but to me it's not entirely successful. It's definitely on the radar, so expect some changes as the development in the area continues. I wholeheartedly agree with you, TCD - as I said before, 1.2 miles is a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of area to fill with restaurants and retailers.
  11. Sorry, it's been a busy week! The walking tour of Celebration took up most of the morning, and I was headed back to the OCCC for a class and some lunch, and a walk around the expo floor. If you've never been to the Orange County Convention Center, it is certainly one of the largest I've ever been to! After lunch I was headed back to WDW for a walking tour of Disney Springs with several of the Imagineers that were directly responsible for the redevelopment of Downtown Disney into this new iteration. We started off by the old bus drop off area, and the temperature was already well into the high 90's so the first priority was to find a shady spot. The woman in the middle is the director of operations for Disney Springs, and the gentleman to her left (that you can't see) is taking over as her assistant director after several years developing Shanghai Disneyland. The four men to her right are all Imagineers, so we got a pretty good reception by the mouse on this tour. They spent a while describing the logistics of operating a retail center in the middle of a themed area, which was very interesting. I definitely felt, on all the tours, that Disney was very happy to show off their projects and really were extremely accomodating hosts. I'm sure most of you have heard the 'history' of Disney Springs by now, but for those of you who haven't I'm going to quote here and there from a USA Today newspaper article as I start: "The rebranding is the latest in a series of makeovers for the complex. It began in the mid-1970s as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village and later became known as Disney Village Marketplace. In the late 1980s, Disney added Pleasure Island. At night, visitors initially paid a cover charge to enter the nightclub-filled playground. In the mid-1990s, The Mouse gave the whole shebang the generic-sounding name, Downtown Disney. A couple of years later it expanded with the introduction of Downtown Disney West Side and welcomed flashy new tenants such as House of Blues and Planet Hollywood. Inspired by real Florida coastal towns like Coral Gables and St. Augustine, the new Town Center gives Disney’s fabled Imagineers the opportunity to develop an elaborate backstory and weave together the mishmash of areas at the sprawling complex into a more cohesive whole. Dave Hoffman, a creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, conducted a pre-opening construction tour of the area. The Mouse-made "natural" springs, he explained, are the heart of the town. "Each neighborhood reflects its function and its [fictitious] time period when it was developed," Hoffman noted." Dave Hoffman, who was quoted, was also one of the Imagineers giving the tour. Our tour started off in the Marketplace, but I'm going to jump around a bit as we go to follow the theming and 'backstory' of Disney Springs. "The resort's original shopping area is now known simply as Marketplace. Per the story that the Imagineers have concocted about Disney Springs, it was developed in the 1930s and displays the American Craftsman style of architecture that was in vogue then. It is home to an expanded World of Disney Store (which already was the world's largest shop selling Mickey Mouse and other Disney-themed tchotchkes)." One of the questions that came up right away was how did the Imagineers plan on integrating some of the more uniquely themed restaurants into the overall master plan (T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe). Their answer was interesting, that they are treating them like 'Roadside Attractions' (more on that later) and that they would be updating the facades over time to better reflect the overall themeing of this area. Think Dinoland, I guess. The new bridge was constructed to avoid the giant pinch point for crowds by the Lego store, and also to open up the views of the new areas. From here we split into two groups; Dean and Jeff were the imagineers that stayed with our group. Jeff is the current head of art direction for Disney Springs, and Dean is one of the project leads. Looking back towards the Marketplace The back story for the World of Disney building is that it was originally a hotel that was built for the Marketplace and converted into the store. To the right of the bridge is the new Landing area, including the renovated Paddlefish restaurant. Under the bridge is effectively a dam that keeps the water level in the Marketplace area constant and separate from the open lake and river areas. Lego Store: One of the new food kiosks. Part of the operational logistics is getting food in and trash out to these areas. The other shore of the Marketplace still has the look and feel of the 30's Craftsman style. Signage is carefully controlled and integrated: From here, the architectural style and building massing start to transition into the Town Center area. "The Town Center that grew around the springs features architecture reminiscent of the 1920s. There are stucco facades, terra cotta tile roofs, coral stone, lovely fountains, and other Mediterranean touches typical of the era. Remnants of the old town remain. Ancient machinery sits unused next to a weathered sign, which indicates that the apparatus was used for a spring water ice works operation." They really did a wonderful job with the themeing of these retail areas, but they are still having difficulty with directions and placemaking by landmarks. For example, there are no towers or other visual clues - 'wienies', Walt Disney used to call them, to guide people and to draw them from one area to another. Most of the Springs is fairly level and view corridors are narrow, which disorients some people. Disney Springs is roughly 1.2 miles wide, so directionality is important. This area will continue to evolve. This is the new Polite Pig Restaurant, which had just opened. I wanted to get back there to try it out, but never made it back over there. We will have to save it for the next trip. As you move down this 'street' you head into the 'old town' area, and the architecture reflects the change. Here is an example of what I mentioned earlier - signage and themeing displaying the T-Rex restaurant like a roadside attraction. TCD's favorite cupcake place: The aforementioned springs: The original 'Rancher's Cabin' is located in the center of the photo above. The springs run over towards the Landing And in the opposite direction, towards the Planet Hollywood 'observatory' At night the springs are lit by site lighting and the floating lanterns, and the effect is pretty cool. The buildings directly surrounding the springs all relate to the purported original operations of the area and the architecture of the era: The central spring area is very well tied together stylistically, low buildings in an older style, including several restaurants and the 'welcome center' This area serves as the hub, and from here you can see how the layout runs from there into the different areas of Disney Springs. Much like the Magic Kingdom, areas are differentiated by changes in the architecture, finishes and even music: I will stop here, and my next post will be an unexpected interlude and welcome break from the heat.
  12. Agreed. It's also an industry rule of thumb that most people don't shop where they live, and will actually drive fair distances to purchase items. Plus, you know, the internet. Well, I never argue with a Sicilian when death is on the line either. CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid/etc are the new five and dimes. What I don't understand is the logic of placing them on opposing corners or across the street from one another. I could talk all day about the pros and cons of new urbanism, but I need to get this trip report moving. We can revisit it later as I'm certainly interested to continue the conversation! Next up, Disney Springs. I'll try to get a post up later.
  13. Yeah, this seems to be the current mix in Celebration, and it looks to have leveled off - I didn't see much vacant space.