Part Two of Disney’s Awaken Summer Media Event

New Attractions , Expert View Column
Part Two of Disney’s Awaken Summer Media Event
By Susan & Simon Veness, ATD’s Florida Experts
If Day One was all about setting the scene for all that’s new and forthcoming at Walt Disney World this year, Day Two upped the ante with trips to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios AND the Animal Kingdom, all in one day!
Just to recap, the #AwakenSummer media event is aimed at showcasing a dazzling array of attractions and features that will make their debut in the House of Mouse in 2016, and Disney is doing things in style.
To start the day, we (plus about another 100 international and domestic media members) were taken to the Norway pavilion at Epcot for a buffet breakfast and a first look ‘behind the walls’ at the Frozen Ever After elements that are being incorporated into this World Showcase venue.
A whole new ‘village’ area is being added to the pavilion, with a Summerhus (Summer House) setting to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from the film Frozen, and it was here, behind the massive hoardings, that Disney Imagineer Lauren Niederhiser, an assistant project manager, talked us through the surprisingly extensive development.
“One of the greatest things is that we can extend the architectural style of Norway over to this space, which used to be empty,” she told us. “This is a more rural side of the country, telling a more expanded story. It was inspired by the city of Trondheim, which was used by the creators of the film Frozen.
“You see the architecture that we saw on our trip to Trondheim reflected in the Royal Summerhus, along with the merchandise shop to the right. The real-life Norwegian Royal family has a summer cabin much like this one, so we are able to reflect that aspect of things with our new home for Anna and Elsa.”
Lauren also explained that the area represents artifacts from Anna and Elsa’s childhood but also shows off several runestones from the old Maelstrom ride in the main part of the pavilion, which will shortly re-emerge as the Frozen Ever After ride, a winter-summer celebratory journey with all the characters from the point where the movie ends, including a visit to Elsa’s Ice Palace along with all the well-known songs.
From Epcot, it was off to the Studios park, where we were given the chance to ride Simon’s fave, the Tower of Terror (twice!), while being filmed for the special video presentation that we’ll get at the end of the week.
After lunch we were then able to take in the new 12-minute Star Wars: In A Galaxy Far, Far Away show in the central hub area. This features a wide array of classic characters as well as new ones, including BB-8 and Kylo Ren, in a musical showcase that really belts out that timeless John Williams score.
We had a few hours off in the afternoon and then headed back out again, this time to Animal Kingdom.
Rivers of Light is the highlight event of the park’s new ‘After Dark’ programme that debuts this summer, a first-of-its-kind show on the main lagoon that is designed to make Animal Kingdom an all-day adventure.
We had really been looking forward to this…but, you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about it!
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