By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Never-Built Venezuela Pavilion at Epcot

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

VENEZUELA AT EPCOT’S WORLD SHOWCASE

By Jim Korkis

Imagineer Alan Coats (son of Imagineer Claude Coats) was deeply involved in the creation of attractions for Epcot before it opened in 1982.

He worked on a film for the Universe of Energy pavilion that at one point was being written with Jim Algar and would have had a dialog between a scientist (writer Issac Asimov) and a reporter (actor Walter Pidgeon) with animated scenes of Jiminy Cricket interspersed to help explain things.

“I think the first piece I wrote was a sequence with Asimov, Pidgeon and the Cricket about using turbines for harnessing the wind to generate electricity, something common today but rare back then,” Alan told me at the Disneyana Fan Club Anaheim event in October 2017. “I wrote a scene where Jiminy in a lab coat demonstrates how to make a solar cell and in another, how to heat a house with sun power. When I re-read the script, it seemed he knew more than our expert did.

“When we finally pitched it to Ron Miller, it was called ‘Dialogue on Energy’ and we were now thinking of Arthur C. Clarke as the scientist and Hal Holbrook as the reporter. Ron loved it but when we later showed it to an Exxon executive, he fell asleep in the middle of the presentation. Later, Carl Sagan got involved but wanted to take over the whole thing and wanted it to focus more strongly on other alternatives than Exxon did who was paying for the thing. Sagan did like the use of Jiminy Cricket though.”

Among his other never realized projects for Epcot was a World Showcase pavilion that he told me about in an interview in 2012:

“I jump started development on the Venezuela pavilion with initial research on the country. Negotiation had been on going with several nations and the feeling was that it was a priority to include at least one country from the southern hemisphere. Brazil and Venezuela had shown interest in World Showcase participation.

“Using the WED research library, I assembled a series of storyboards, actually more like ‘subject boards’ on the history, culture, architecture, natural resources, festivals, whatever I could come up with as sort of a snapshot of the country. The overall idea for all the Showcase pavilions was to give the visitor a feeling of having been to the country, if only briefly, to taste the food, listen to the music, purchase the merchandise, and meet some of the young people from the nation who would be working there.

(c) Disney

“These subject boards became the basis for renderings, models, and ride-system layouts that would follow. My dad (Claude Coats) as show designer used every foot available. He laid out a suspended cable-car ride that snaked through the attraction giving visitors a bird’s eye view of activity below in the village sets filled with shops, the open restaurant, the musicians’ stage, and other scenes. The entire area was dominated by a large-screen projection of Angel Falls in the background on a continuous film loop.

“Collin Campbell painted a beautiful rendering of the interior in a nighttime setting. X. Atencio was show writer and also responsible for the theme song: ‘Discover Venezuela!’ The show was really coming together when Gordon Cooper acknowledged in an interview with Orlando-land magazine in October 1976 that among ten or twelve pavilions in the works, full scale sections had been built and ‘We’re very far along on the Venezuela pavilion’. However, as we know, that nation never was represented in Showcase, nor was any other country in South America.”

Of course, with Disney’s continuing popularity in Brazil, the Disney Company has also continued negotiations for a possible Brazil pavilion to be installed in the World Showcase.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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November 10, 2017   1 Comment

Next Week (November 11 through November 19, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: NOVEMBER 11 TO NOVEMBER 19, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on November 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/11-11/19/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a-12MN 11/11, 8a-6p 11/12, 9a-11p 11/13, 8a-6p 11/14, 9a-10p 11/15, 8a-6p 11/16 and 11/17, and 8a-12MN 11/18 and 11/19

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 11/11, and 9a-9p 11/12 through 11/19

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-8p 11/11 through 11/18, and 9a-9p 11/19

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-8p 11/11 through 11/15, 8a-7p 11/16, 9a-8p 11/17 and 11/18, and 8a-10p 11/19

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/11-11/19/17

Saturday 11/11 Morning:  none  Evening: Magic Kingdom

Sunday 11/12  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

Monday 11/13 Morning: Animal Kingdom   Evening: none

Tuesday 11/14 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 11/15 Morning: none  Evening: Magic Kingdom

Thursday 11/16 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 11/17 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 11/18 Morning: Animal Kingdom   Evening: none

Sunday 11/19  Morning: Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/11-11/19/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/11-11/19/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 11/11, 11/13, and 11/15; 10p 11/18 and 11/19

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 11/11, 9p 11/12 through 11/19

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  8.30p every day

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  not scheduled

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8p every day

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 6.30 and 7.45p 11/11 through 11/15; 6.30p 11/16; 6.30 and 7.45p 11/17 and 11/18; 7, 8.45 and 10p 11/19

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/11-11/19/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

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November 9, 2017   No Comments

Thoughts on The Possibility of More Hotels Getting 60 Day Access to FastPass+

“And of course, we’ve got … a number of other plans as it relates to our hotel business.”
–Bob Iger on Disney’s Q2 earnings call

A couple of weeks ago, Tom Corless at WDW News Today reported that he expected the ability to book FastPass+ at 60 days to be extended to “every hotel in the Disney Springs Resort Area on Hotel Plaza Boulevard” and that “there should also be additional Good Neighbor Hotels on the list when announced by Disney.”

I’ve not written much before about this rumor, but if it is true, there’s a chance it will be announced before or as part of tomorrow’s Q4 and FY2017 earnings call, so I thought I’d put in a bit of context and speculation about impact in advance of that.

WHY DOES FASTPASS+ AT 60 DAYS MATTER

Disney’s FastPass+ system, fully implemented in 2014, allows you to avoid waits by pre-booking what are essentially appointments at up to three rides per day. So far, anyone with a ticket could begin booking their FastPass+ 30 days before use, and those staying in a Disney-owned hotel or the Swan or Dolphin could begin booking 60 days ahead.

While there’s actually been pretty good availability for most rides at 30 days ahead, those with 60 day rights have a much better chance of getting a FastPass+ for the hottest rides (currently Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) and generally have more flexibility in booking their FastPass+ on the days and times that best suit their other Disney World plans.

WHO CURRENTLY GETS FASTPASS+ AT 60 DAYS

There are on the order of 25,400 bookable Disney World owned rooms and another ~2,260 rooms at the Swan and Dolphin, so currently around 27,660 rooms are bookable with the opportunity to get FastPass+ at 60 days. (Shameless plug—for my reviews of all of these, see this.)

HOW MUCH MIGHT ACCESS TO 60 DAY FASTPASS+ EXPAND

There’s three groups of potential additional rooms worth noting:

  • Those in the Disney Springs Resort Area, which Tom says should “all” get 60 days FastPass+: seven hotels with around 3,700 rooms.
  • The WDW Good Neighbor hotels, which are scattered all over the place to the south and west of the Convention Center, but are largely concentrated in the Palm Parkway and US 192 areas (although you’ll also find them near the Convention Center, in Flamingo Crossing and on Chelonia Parkway, just to the east of Pop Century): 52 hotels with around 17,000* rooms.
  • Shades of Green and the Four Seasons, both nearer the core of Disney World than any Disney Springs or Good Neighbor hotel (except maybe for those on Chelonia Parkway), but not part of either of the above two groups. Two hotels with about a thousand rooms between them.

WHAT MIGHT THIS MEAN FOR THOSE BOOKING A HOTEL

If this happens, its impact is profoundly shaped by how many Good Neighbor rooms gain access to FastPass+ at 60 days—and where they are located.

If only the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels and one or the other of Shades and Four Seasons gets 60 day access, then I don’t expect much impact, as the number of eligible rooms would go up only 15% and lower occupancy at the Disney Springs hotels (compared to the Disney owned hotels) would reduce the impact even more.

If these hotels plus all the Good Neighbor hotels get access, then a total of around 21,000 rooms would be added to the FastPass+ at 60 days pool. Correcting this for lower occupancy, and also for the fact that many of the guests of these hotels are in them for reasons other than Disney World (conventions, Universal), the effective total increase is likely on the order of 10,000 rooms, or about a 36% increase. This would make the hottest rides even harder to book, even at 60 days, and would pull more capacity out of the FastPass+ system for those who can only book at thirty days.

But, if this happens, I don’t expect all the Good Neighbor hotels to be in it—as I would expect Disney to be charging them for it, and not all of them would find the extra cost to make business sense.

At least until Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens…

WHY ON EARTH MIGHT DISNEY WORLD DO THIS

I can think of two reasons why Disney might do this, and of course some reasons why it might not.

At the basic level, for the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, helping them become more attractive would be good for the dining and shopping venues at Disney Springs, into which a lot of capital has been poured over the past few years

Expanding beyond the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels into some or all of the Good Neighbor Hotels (and/or Shades and Four Seasons), if done for a fee charged them by Disney, is a way for Disney to additionally monetize what Disney is likely to view as extremely high incremental hotel stays related to its 2018 Toy Story, 2019 Star Wars and other later Disney World expansions.

Disney World does not have enough capacity in its own hotels (which average nearly 90% occupancy) to serve these incremental guests, and while a couple of additions/expansions are planned/underway, these will also not be sufficient nor even all that timely.

Even more Disney hotels are possible—likely, even—but not in any reasonable timeframe. Moreover, new hotels absorb capital and impose operating risks, which are avoided by monetizing someone else’s capital and operations (this is essentially the logic of DVC, except that Disney fronts the capital which is then bought down by DVC owners).

So expanding access to FastPass+ at 60 days, but charging hotels offering it for the privilege of doing so, would add essentially costless and riskless revenue, which by my back-of-the envelope calculations could easily drop another $100 million a year to Disney World’s bottom line.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT DO THIS

But of course it would not really be costless or riskless, as it would be removing some of the value of the 60 day window at the hotels that currently offer it, diminishing the reason to stay at one of these hotels instead of one of the (typically much less expensive) other hotels newly added to the 60 day FastPass+ window. The fixed cost economics of hotels are such that Disney would lose much more income from a hotel guest who does not stay in one of its own hotels than it could possibly gain from a fee paid by the off-site hotel that that this guest actually stays in.

But recall that the distinctive 60 day window is a perk that’s less than five years old. There are many other good reasons to pay the premium (which can be very high, especially at the moderates and deluxes) to stay in a Disney World hotel besides the 60 day FastPass+ access—I recommended the Disney hotels to first-timers even in the old days when all guests were treated equally in the parks, except for Extra Magic Hours.

And speaking of Extra Magic Hours… The example of Animal Kingdom this summer, when Pandora was open an extra 14 hours a week to Disney World (and Shades of Green and Swan and Dolphin) hotel guests, can be replicated (and expanded, to e.g. 21 or 28 hours) at Hollywood Studios for Toy Story and Star Wars. Differential perks can be added and expanded, so that the Disney-owned hotels can continue to command their premium pricing, which we all complain about on the way to filling them.

 

*I could not find the size of three of these 52 hotels, so used the average of the other 49 for them; a point of moderate confusion is that these are two different groups—that is, the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels are not WDW Good Neighbor hotels…

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November 8, 2017   No Comments

The Transformation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I thought, as we come up on six months after Pandora: World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, that it would be fun to take a step back and revisit the slew of changes at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom over the past few years.

 

The total transformation at the park has been remarkable. At the cost of the former Pocahontas meet and greet, we got among other things the best theme park fine dining restaurant in Orlando with Tiffins, the most completely-imagined themed area in the world in Pandora, and the best theme park ride in the U.S. in Flight of Passage.

Add to this Sunset Safaris in Africa, Tree of Life Awakenings, the evening show Rivers of Light, the single big miss of Na’vi River Journey, and the fact that broad swathes of the park can now be enjoyed after dark (most notably Expedition Everest, but don’t forget Chester and Hester’s Dinorama, which has always been its best after dark), and it’s hard not to be impressed.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened with a focus on animals. Most major additions after it opened did not—with the signature addition being the roller coaster Expedition Everest about a decade ago. While in its early years the park did have after-dark opportunities, in this decade they were narrowed to just evening Extra Magic Hours and late closes during the holiday season—and in the last few years the evening Extra Magic Hours went away, largely leaving Animal Kingdom at night only to those who visited in the holiday season.

The transformation was meant to broaden the appeal of the park, widen the parts of the day during which it could be enjoyed, anchor it in some well-known intellectual property (the worlds of James Cameron’s Pandora from Avatar, whose sequels are expected well before the Second Coming), and—frankly—to show Universal Orlando that Disney was willing to compete at the high level of theming and ride quality that it showed in its Harry Potter offerings.

The re-imagining began with the closure of the old Camp Minnie Mickey area, and the rebuilding of a new home for Festival of the Lion King in Africa, where it had always belonged anyway.

Next—and as significant to me personally as anything other than Flight of Passage—was the opening of Harambe Market, a new quick service venue in Africa, my go-to place for what I think of as an Indian-inspired corn dog but which Disney insists on calling a “beef and pork sausage” on its menu.

Then April 22, 2016 came and went, noted principally by those who booked vacations on Disney’s promise that this was the date that the new evening show River of Light would open. In the biggest schedule miss in recent memory, it didn’t open then, not debuting until almost a year later, but lovely wife Amy Girl and I still had fun during our visit that month, including walking behind Joe Rhode’s earring down one of the long hallways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

In May 2016 the other parts of Disney’s evening program at Animal Kingdom opened, as did Tiffins—the best theme park fine dining restaurant in Orlando, accompanied by a great bar, and probably the most likely place after Raglan Road (and the drunk tank) to find Disney World bloggers and guidebook writers.

The new evening program included the short-lived and best-forgotten Jungle Book show in the Rivers of Light area, and the still-extant Tree of Life Awakenings—likely the most charming minor entertainment in any Disney Park, which I view as a don’t miss—and the Sunset Safari at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

It’s best to think of Sunset Safari as two additional offerings, on around sunset and one after dark. The one around sunset is a terrific supplement to or replacement of a daylight visit to Kilimanjaro Safaris, is certain animals–especially the cats—are much more active at this time of day. The after-dark version is different, worth doing, but much less compelling than a daytime or sunset visit, and should be viewed as an addition to one of those visits, and not be your sole visit to Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The sunset safaris also expended the vocabulary of most of us, adding “crepuscular,” “civil twilight,” “nautical twilight,” and “astronomical twilight” as we tried to advise people on what to see when, and why, while acting like we knew these words all along.

In February 2017 the evening show Rivers of Light finally opened. While diminished compared to its aspirations (this mismatch, and trying to resolve it, was the main reasons it took so long to go live), and the only evening show at Disney World that is hardly anyone’s favorite, it has great charm, musicality, and visual delight, and I view it as a four-star don’t miss.

Then in May 2017 Pandora: World of Avatar opened in the old Camp Minnie Mickey area, bringing two new rides, Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, dining in Satu’li Canteen and shopping at the Windtraders gift shop.

Pandora is the most completely realized themed area ever built, with remnants of the Resources Development Administration base from the first Avatar movie underpinning a stunning depiction of the shapes, colors and life of the moon Pandora.

The land is set ~20 years after the first movie, which both frees it from that specific movie and any sequels that come out while taking advantage of the astonishing visually lush setting. James Cameron is at his best in visualizing worlds (and worst in creating plots).

You don’t need to have seen the movie to enjoy the land, but it helps—particularly helping with the lesser of the two rides here, Na’vi River Journey, a gentle homage to the animals and plants of Pandora, and the religion of the Na’vi, which frankly needs all the help it can get.

If you do watch Avatar again (or for the first time), be patient. The beginning is dull, the avatar science makes no sense, and the middle, with its long stretches of workout routines and self-regard, is hard to be captivated by. The story (whose borrowings are much debated—I see it as a mix of The Dragonriders of Pern, Pocahontas , Jurassic Park, and a Jane Fonda workout video) really works only from beginning to end (and, far, far better on a 3D big screen than at home), so you need to begin at the beginning on the biggest TV you own, and give it time to unfold. (As an aside, I’ve always thought it too bad that the two movies Cameron is most famous for—Titanic and Avatar—are among his worst. Much better are Terminator 2, Aliens, True Lies, and The Abyss, which is particularly under-appreciated.)

Flight of Passage (full name, that no one uses, is Avatar Flight of Passage) is the headliner, and the best theme park ride to come out in years—and the best at Disney World. You will see folk comparing it to Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot—a comparison that is not false, but adds as much value to understanding Flight of Passage as the claim that hamburger and Kobe beef are based on the same ride system adds to dining.

Flight of Passage simulates riding the back of a flying banshee through sublime, beautiful, gentle, and dramatic scenes from Pandora. It is the culmination of a lengthy queue that begins outdoors among the flying mountains of the Valley of Mo’ara (actually, all too commonly it begins way back on the bridge between Discovery Island and Pandora…) then makes its way inside through scenes from abandoned industrial facilities and an active scientific research lab, culminating in a couple of pre-shows.

You will see some advocate skipping even trying for FastPass+ in order to see all the details of the Flight of Passage queue. For big fans of abandoned industrial buildings and biology labs, good advice. Everyone else should try for a FastPass+, although the mismatch between ride capacity and demand for it means that FastPass+ for Flight of Passage is quite hard to get, even for those booking right at 60 days.

Na’vi River Journey is much the lesser ride and easier to get as a FastPass+. So if you can’t get a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage, get one for Na’vi and show up at Animal Kingdom at least 75 minutes prior to the official opening, and once you are in, heading straight for the Flight of Passage queue. After this morning visit, you should return to Pandora in one of the later sunset periods—perhaps at civil twilight?—to see the delicacy with which the bioluminescent plants in Pandora shift from day to night.

Speaking of queues, Flight of Passage has at least one too many pre-shows. Having gone through them multiple times since its May opening (although not remotely as many as Tom Corless has…) , I kinda miss the days when Disney would build rides like Space Mountain where you went straight form the line to deepest space without any intervening explanation whatsoever.

I’d noted earlier in this post that

The transformation was meant to broaden the appeal of the park, widen the parts of the day during which it could be enjoyed, anchor it in some well-known intellectual property (the worlds of James Cameron’s Pandora from Avatar, whose sequels are expected well before the Second Coming), and—frankly—to show Universal Orlando that Disney was willing to compete at the high level of theming and ride quality that it showed in its Harry Potter offerings.

In my judgement, even though Rivers of Light and Na’vi River Journey each could have been better, overall the transformation has spectacularly succeeded on all these fronts.

Think of what you can now do in an evening at Animal Kingdom

  • Ride late in the afternoon via FastPass+ the best ride at Disney World, Flight of Passage
  • Have dinner at Tiffin’s, the best theme park restaurant in Orlando, towards the end of daylight
  • Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris at the beginning of sunset
  • Return to Pandora to see Pandora shift to its night colors
  • See a scene or two from Tree of Life Awakenings on the way to Rivers of Light
  • See Rivers of Light
  • Ride Expedition Everest after dark
  • See more from Tree of Life Awakenings on your way out of the park

A transformation, indeed.

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November 6, 2017   3 Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Mariachi Cobre in Epcot’s World Showcase

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

MARIACHI COBRE IN MEXICO AT EPCOT’S WORLD SHOWCASE

By Jim Korkis
The television commercial has a family returning to visit Walt Disney World and an excited mariachi band happily declaring “You’re back!” and bursting into song. That band is Mariachi Cobre.

For the October 1, 2017 event marking the 35th anniversary of Epcot, George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, was joined onstage by the patriotic Voices of Liberty ensemble and the Mariachi Cobre from the Mexico pavilion – two acts that debuted when that theme park originally opened in 1982.

(c) Disney

Mariachi Cobre is a band of internationally acclaimed mariachi musicians. The group was formed in 1971 with Randy Carillo on guitar, his brother Stephen on trumpet, Mack Ruiz on violin, and Francisco Grijalva as the arranger who also played in the group.

Over the years the company of players has expanded to include Chris Figueroa (violin), Pablo Hector Gama (violin), Miguel Angel Molina (trumpet), Israel Galvez Molina (violin), Roberto Juan Martinez (vihuela), Antonio Hernandez Ruiz (violin and viola), Javier Trujillo (guitarra de Golpe), Mario Trujillo (violin), and Adolfo Roman Garcia. Many of the members have played together since they were teenagers in Arizona.

Mariachi Cobre was founded in Tucson, Arizona, and evolved out of the mariachi youth group Mariachi Juvenil Los Chanquitos Feos De Tucson, which was formed in 1964. It was the first youth mariachi group to be formed in the United States.

Randy admitted he wasn’t very excited when his parents suggested he try out as a guitarist for the group. At the time, he was more interested in rock ‘n’ roll. But once he was introduced to the mariachi sound, he said he was hooked.

“At fifteen years old, to be playing in Anaheim at Disneyland for Cinco de Mayo, I would have never thought that at 63 I would still be so invested in the Walt Disney Company,” said Randy in October 2017.

Eventually, he and some of the members of the group formed Mariachi Cobre, taking their name from the Spanish word for “copper.” Randy explained that Arizona is known as “the Copper State” and that copper was a semiprecious metal to Mexican Indians.

“When we arrived here before the opening of Epcot, I couldn’t believe it. It was like a fairytale land,” said Randy. “The architecture, the lighting, the detail, it was all incredible.”

Since opening Epcot in 1982, Mariachi Cobre still performs seven shows a day, five days a week.

“It’s not the easiest job, but it’s a lot of fun,” Randy said. “You have to develop a certain discipline to accomplish all of those sets and to keep a good attitude and to keep yourself physically and musically healthy.”

In addition to that schedule, the Disney company allows the group to take breaks that have let it over the years perform with more than 44 orchestras in the United States and Mexico, including the Boston Pops and the orchestras of Minnesota, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Utah, Houston and Guadalajara, as well as record CDs.

Mariachi Cobre’s recordings include Mariachi Cobre, Este es Mi Mariachi, XXV Anniversary and The Latin Album with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. The group has accompanied a wide range of mariachi and non-mariachi artists including Linda Ronstadt, Lucha Villa, Lola Betran, Ana Gabriel, Guadalupe Pineda, Carlos Santana, Julio Iglesias, and Vikki Carr.

Since their founding in 1971, Mariachi Cobre has played a major role in the preservation and appreciation of one of the most respected cultural music folk forms of Mexico and delighted millions of guests, often giving them their first taste of this type of music. The mariachi musicians speak in both English and Spanish and encourage the audience to relax and have fun by clapping and cheering.

“We are all like brothers and we are all a family,” said Stephen in October 2017. “Day in and day out we get to meet people from all over the world and we get to share our culture and our music with them. It’s truly special and I really enjoy that.”

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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November 3, 2017   No Comments

Next Week (November 4 through November 12, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: NOVEMBER 4 TO NOVEMBER 12, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on November 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/4-11/12/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open 9a-11p 11/4 and 11/5, 8a-11p 11/6 through 11/8, 8a-6p 11/9 and 11/10, 8a-12MN 11/11, and 8a-6p 11/12

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 11/4, 9a-9p 11/5 through 11/9. 9a-10p 11/10 and 11/11, and 9a-9p 11/12

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-8p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/4-11/12/17

Saturday 11/4 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 11/5  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

Monday 11/6 Morning: Animal Kingdom   Evening: none

Tuesday 11/7 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 11/8 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Thursday 11/9 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 11/10 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 11/11 Morning: none Evening: Magic Kingdom

Sunday 11/12  Morning: Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/4-11/12/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/4-11/12/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 11/4 through 11/8, 11/11

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 11/4, 9p 11/5 through 11/9, 10p 11/10 and 11/11, and 9p 11/12

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 7.30p 11/4; 8.30p 11/5 through 11/12

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  8p 11/4; 6.45p 11/5 through 11/8

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8p 11/9 through 11/12

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 7.30p 11/4; 6.30 and 7.45p 11/5 through 11/12

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 11/4-11/12/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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November 2, 2017   No Comments