Thursday, April 24, 2008

Miyuiki "The Candy Lady" in EPCOT

Miyuiki is a very unique and fascinating candy artist, who performs just outside the entrance of the Mistikoshi department store in the Japanese pavilion at Epcot. During the show, Miyuki invites guests to choose an animal, which she then produces from candy in around 1 minute. The guest gets to keep the candy creation, free of charge. Each performance lasts around 20 minutes, and there are usually 4 or 5 performances per day. Check the Epcot times guide once inside the park for times.

Miyuki - the Japanese candy artist from Tokyo. Miyuki has been part of Epcot's Japan since 1996. She continues to delight children and adults with her skills.Miyuki is the first and only female trained in Japanese candy making.

About Miyuki

The origin of candy artistry dates back over 250 years, in the Edo Era. Candy artists were originally the stars of citizen entertainers in street corners and local folk festivals. Candy artists create animals and flowers with soft rice dough, very much like taffy. With their skilled hands and small scissors, the artist can make animals such as dragons, horses, rabbits, cats, monkeys, eagles, birds and flowers.

Currently there are 15 candy artists in Japan. Miyuki is the only woman candy artist. Miyuki began her apprenticeship training in 1989 under the artistry of her grandfather. He is one of the best and most renowned candy artists in Japan.

Miyuki is distinguished to be the first and only woman to receive training as a candy artist in Japan. After completing her training and becoming an independent candy artist, she traveled to Italy in 1994. She has also traveled extensively in Japan to demonstrate her artistic creation of the candy arts at conventions, local festivals, and private parties, where people of all ages are entertained by her special talents.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Transportation - Monorail

The Walt Disney World monorail system has been in continuous operation since 1971 with double beam track that circles the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom. Originally, the monorail system connected the Contemporary and Polynesian hotels with the Magic Kingdom and Transportation and Ticket Center. In later years, the Grand Floridian was added to the loop. Disney expanded the monorail system in 1982 by adding a four mile extension that travels from the Magic Kingdom resort area to Epcot's entrance.

The current model of monorail began operation in 1990, with the full fleet of 12 in service by early 1991. The Mark VI has a higher passenger capacity as well as improved air conditioning, door systems and improved safety features. Each Mark VI train consists of six cars. The overall length is 203 feet with a capacity of 365 passengers.

The track consists of 26 inch wide, pre-cast concrete beams supported by concrete columns which are approximately 50 feet apart. Each monorail travels on rubber tires and is powered by a 600 volt DC propulsion system which includes eight DC motors rated at 112 HP each, with the power emanating from each side of the beam.

The 13.6 mile monorail system will carry over 150,000 guests to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks on an average day.

Tip: Before you get on the monorail, ask the cast member if you can ride in the front with the driver.

Additional note:

Ride up front with the driver on the Monorails (4 person max). As long as no one else is waiting, and they aren't too busy, if you ask the Cast Members, they MIGHT let you do it. (You'll stand in a separate queue to ride up front.) It's a great view, especially at sunset. If you decide to do this, it is best to try for an off-peak time. The Cast Members will usually be more accommodating when things are quieter (try to avoid morning and evening rush periods). If you are a WDW resort guest, schedule this for a day when you are not going to the parks. Price: free. Ask for a monorail certificate - sometimes they are available for guests.

A note on the WDW transportation system : if you are registered as a guest at a WDW resort, you are entitled to unlimited free use of the WDW resort transportation system for the duration of your stay. Cast members may or may not check your resort ID.

Ride the Monorail

· Did you know you can ride up front with the monorail driver? Just let the Cast Member at the gate know that you want to do this. Usually the drivers are very friendly and will give the kids a special certificate. The best time to do this is in the middle of the day, when things are quiet because most people are in the parks -- you're less likely to have to wait.

· Take the "inner" monorail that circles the three monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian). This is a great way to orient yourself and get a look at the resorts and an overview of some of the parks. You can get off and explore each one, or just enjoy the ride and the view.

· Cost to ride the monorails: FREE to all Disney resort guests and anyone with a multi-day pass.

Transportation - Water Ferries

Disney water transportation is by it's very nature a bit slower than a bus/car. Still, it is unique and distinctly Disney. Just give yourself a bit of extra time when using it, sit back and enjoy your voyage.

Magic Kingdom:

Ferry Boat - Service from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom.

Boat Launches

The Grand Floridian and Polynesian use water transportation in addition to the Monorail when going to/from the Magic Kingdom. The Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness exclusively use water transportation to/from the Magic Kingdom. Note that service begins 30 minutes prior to the park opening and continue until 45 minutes after the park closes. The boats may cease operation due to inclement weather.

  • Gold Flag Launch picks up at both the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts.
  • Green Flag Launch picks up at the Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds. Prior to 3:00pm, the boat goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Wilderness Lodge and onto the Magic Kingdom. After 3:00pm it goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom and to the Wilderness Lodge.
  • Blue Flag Launch - This boat runs from Ft. Wilderness and the Wilderness Lodge to the Contemporary Resort. TIP: If it looks as if the boat for the Magic Kingdom is going to be late/crowded, take this boat to the Contemporary and use the Monorail or walking path from there.

Epcot - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Friendship Boats

When using the Friendship Boats, plan on a leisurely (s-l-o-w) voyage to your destination. Walking is often faster but after a long day at the parks, a nice, relaxing boat trip can be a welcome change of pace.

The Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Dolphin and Swan Resorts exclusively use water transportation to get to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. TIP: The wait for Disney's Hollywood Studios boat can be daunting, especially when the park has just closed, the line is a mile long, and no boat's in sight. There's a very nice walking path to the resorts that you can use instead.

Within Epcot

Beginning at 11:00am, the Friendship boats begin running. There are two runs, both originating from launches found at World Showcase Plaza. One goes to Morocco, the other to Germany. The last boat from the World Showcase leaves at 7:15pm. The last boat from the countries leaves at 7:30pm.

Downtown Disney

Old Key West and Saratoga Springs have hourly boat service to the Disney Marketplace starting at 11:00am thru 4:00pm. Beginning at 4:00pm, a second boat is added and service runs every 30 minutes. The last boat leaves Old Key West at 11:00pm and from Downtown Disney at 11:30pm. NOTE: Bus service to Downtown Disney is in continuous operation from these resorts.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside use the Sassagoula River Cruise as a means of transportation to the Disney Marketplace.

Shuttle - There's a boat shuttle from the Marketplace marina to the West Side marina.

Transportation - Busses

Disney World Bus Schedules

Disney Buses on average run every 20 minutes from all WDW onsite resorts. Resort guest bus stops feature signs with the destinations that are available and the bus marquees will indicate the buses' main destinations.

Magic Kingdom: Disney Bus service begins approximately 1 hour prior to the park opening time listed for that day. Bus service for Character Breakfasts will begin ½ hour before the earliest seating. The marquee on the bus will read "Character Breakfast." It should be noted that guests should verify with the driver which park the bus is going to for the character breakfast because there are different ones for different parks.

Downtown Disney Pleasure Island/West Side: DTD buses start running at approximately 8:30am. This is a combined bus stop located at Downtown Disney/Pleasure Island. The bus driver will announce the latest bus return time.

Downtown Disney Marketplace: DTD buses start running at 8:30am. The bus driver will announce the latest bus return time.

Please take note that all times are subject to change. If you have questions regarding transportation within WDW you should contact Guest Services for additional information.