Change is Coming

Hello, friends, and welcome to another exciting episode of Beyond the Berm! We are all the way up to our 80th episode now, if you are counting.

Change is Coming

This time around, we talk about changes, because change is coming. And in fact, change is already here.

Steve just returned from a visit to the Walt Disney World area, and although he did not visit any of the theme parks this time around, he did spend some time at Disney Springs, which of course has undergone major changes in the last few years from when it used to be Downtown Disney. Have the changes been good ones? And more importantly, what’s for supper? Here the answers to these questions and more.

Also, many theme park changes were recently announced at the D23 Expo. Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille coming to Epcot, the end of the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, a Tron coaster in Magic Kingdom,¬†Paradise Pier becoming Pixar Pier at California Adventure, and more. Are these good? Are we going to miss what they are replacing? Does Epcot even have a theme any more? We don’t know, but we share what we think about all of these changes that are coming.

Listen in to all the fun in the latest episode of Beyond the Berm!

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Episode 69: Let It Go

It’s time once again for another thrilling episode in the Beyond the Berm saga, so here we go!

To start with, Matt brings up several theme park rumors of the very juicy variety that have been popping up in the last week or two. Is Universe of Energy at Epcot going to be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction? Are the Muppets coming to Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom? Is theme park life as we know it about to end? Well, the answer to the last one may be pretty clear, but the answer to the first two questions is a little more murky. But that doesn’t stop us from talking about them. Hear what we have to say!

Beyond the Berm Episode 69 - Let It Go

During the show, we also discuss some upcoming and recent movies, many of which are either sequels or reboots. Finding Dory, the just announced Wreck-It Ralph sequel, the Pete’s Dragon reboot, and some others. And with some of these (looking at you, Pete’s Dragon), are they taking what we have loved and changing it entirely?

And then, with all of the rumors and reboots and such, we start to realize that the things that we have loved are either going away or have already gone. The original EPCOT Center concept, character-free lands in the Magic Kingdom, a non-fuzzy dragon named Elliot. Maybe it is time to just Let It Go, as a certain song says, whether we want to or not.

Agree? Disagree? Not sure? Listen in as we discuss all of this and more in the latest episode from Beyond the Berm!

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Rising Stages at Disney Parks

In Episode 14 of the Beyond the Berm podcast, we discovered that I have an interest in the rising stages used at Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. I’m not sure why those fascinate me, as well as why I haven’t really realized that fascination before. Here is a look at these stages.

Starting out with the original, there is a rising stage in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, at the Tomorrowland Terrace. The stage first appeared with the debut of the new Tomorrowland in 1967. As we mentioned in the podcast, we were on the stage in 1995 for the Disney Store Trivia Showdown. Here is a look:

Tomorrowland Terrace at Disneyland

In this photo, I am at the far left, almost out of the photo. And Matt is just to the right of center. And as you can see behind us, the stage is in the “up” position, although it started out in the “down” position during the show, before we were on the stage. We were out in front of the stage, and the live band for the show used the actual rising stage area. We didn’t get to ride on the stage, but we did get to see the area underneath where they were setting everything up. Not a lot of room down there.

That stage is still there, although as Matt reported in the podcast, it is mainly used for the Star Wars Jedi Academy these days.

Moving east to Walt Disney World, Fantasyland had the Fantasy Faire Theater. The stage had a covered seating area, and it was located next to the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant. I would guess that most of the people there weren’t actually there to watch whatever show as going on, but rather just to have a place to sit and eat. Here is a view of the Fantasy Faire:

Fantasy Faire Stage

The Fantasy Faire Stage was often used for Magic Music Days performances, where different high school groups and such would come in and perform. That band on the Fantasy Faire Stage above was my old high school band, although I had already graduated  from high school by that time and was just in the crowd taking photos. However, my wife and my sister are both on the stage in this photo. And I had been on the same stage with the band two years earlier.

Although you can’t really tell in this photo, the stage here is in the “down” position, meaning the band was sitting on the roof of the rising stage. At least those in the center of the band were. The rising portion of the stage was only in the center where the open area of the ceiling was. Once again, we never did get to actually ride on the stage, although we did get to wait in the lower area before we went on stage.

The other rising stage in the Magic Kingdom is in what used to be known as the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant and is now Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Not to be confused with the current restaurant known as the Tomorrowland Terrace, which used to be known as the Plaza Pavilion. Confusing, huh?

Even though the restaurant has changed, the rising stage is still there, although it has a permanent inhabitant. The intergalactic lounge singer Sonny Eclipse now sits on what is actually the roof of the stage. Here is a look:

Sonny Eclipse

Sonny sits there all day singing and doing his thing, except when another band takes the stage. You can seen the area cut out in the floor around Sonny, and that whole area actually rises up for the other bands. So where does Sonny go during that time? Take a look at this photo:

Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland rooftops

Ah, the good old days when you could ride the Skyway between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and get views like this one of the rooftops of Tomorrowland, and the old Star Jets, and even the top of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Center way off in the distance. But anyway, here you can see a glass dome in the lower right. That dome is actually directly above where Sonny Eclipse sits, and when the stage goes up, he is up in the dome, getting a pretty good view of his own of the rooftops of Tomorrowland.

So there you have it – a look at the rising stages of the Disney parks. Because we like to elevate your knowledge here at Beyond the Berm.

Christmas Photos from Walt Disney World

In Episode 7, we talked about Christmas at the Disney parks. So here are a few photos of Christmas at Walt Disney World that I have taken over the years. Enjoy!

The Christmas Tree in Town Square in the Magic Kingdom.

The Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Nighttime on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom

Poinsettia “trees” and Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Mickey and Minnie in the Christmas Parade at the Magic Kingdom

The Toy Soldier Band in the Christmas Parade at the Magic Kingdom

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A large Christmas tree in the Grand Floridian Resort

Christmas stars decorate Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The “Dream Lights” on Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom

A closer view of some of the Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mickey and Minnie topiaries decked out for the holidays

Christmas decorations at Italy in Epcot’s World Showcase

A large Mickey-shaped wreath at the Contemporary Resort

Holiday Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom