This week the SATURDAY SIX Proudly Presents: Flights with@bioreconstruct! Buckle up, make sure you have an air-sickness bag in arm’s length, and join us inside the helicopter as we follow the blogger-in-the-sky 3,000 feet up in the air for a bird’s eye view of the theme parks that we love so much. BUT FIRST, a quick health update on Bio. For those who don’t know, this year has been absolutely crazy for Bio starting with a gravely serious trip to the hospital back in January. We have been covering Bio’s recovery progress in our monthly Theme Park Enjoyment Index since that time, and today we are going to start off with an important update from Bio himself…
The good news is that chemo ended back in August. I think often of the breathing problems I had from the sudden onset of Leukemia. For example, the slight hills of the bridges in Universal CityWalk were hard to walk. I would have to stop and catch my breath. My doctor is tweaking my meds, but exercise and activity level practically the same as a year ago and many years prior.” – @bioreconstruct October 14th, 2023
Feel free to check out our previous flights with Bio ( Volume 1,Volume 2, and Volume 3), but after that bit of incredible news we’re ready to hit the air. Tap any image below to expand it as we start our journey circling over…
# 6 – Walt Disney World Resorts
For me personally, there is nothing I love more than Bio’s “Big Picture” photos from the sky, giving us a look at things at Walt Disney World in a completely new perspective. The picture below contains so many different and amazing elements, including The Poly (and its giant new DVC tower), Grand Floridian, Cinderella Castle, TRON Lightcyle / Run, and more!
Here’s another angle showing us the Magic Kingdom along with all three resorts on Seven Seas Lagoon.
Now let’s get focused on the resorts themselves…
At the top left of this photo you see the famous wedding pavilion of Disney’s Grand Floridian. On the bottom right you see the iconic longhouses of Disney’s Polynesian Village resort. In the middle, you have something that looks like it should be part of the Westlake Time Shares off I-4.
Granted, it’s nowhere near finished, but I’m not blown away with what looks like the area that is going to be the added pool area for this DVC project. The refurb they did for the main pool at The Poly years ago ended up being incredible, so I’m willing to hold my breath on this one, but still…
One of the least covered areas in all of Walt Disney World is the Shades of Green resort located directly across the street from The Poly. The golf course on the bottom right-hand side of the photo below is the Magnolia golf course.
How GREAT is this shot of Wilderness Lodge?
Heartbreaking to see this overview of Fort Wilderness below and see that large space at the top right which was cleared for that ridiculous Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge concept which ended up being cancelled. We lost one of my family’s favorite Disney character meal experiences – Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – for literally nothing.
Going in even closer at Fort Wilderness we have a look at Pioneer Hall, home of the great Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue dinner show (a MUST DO in my book.)
Not that far from Pioneer Hall is the newly revamped Tri-Circle-D ranch.
Now let’s head on over to check out one of the greatest resorts ever made, Animal Kingdom Lodge. Things like this make Disney, Disney and no one can touch them. Stuff like the new DVC tower at The Poly makes Disney, disney and it compares poorly to their competition.
We’ll close with a look at one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – pool areas for any theme park resort hotel, Stormalong Bay.
# 5 – Walt Disney World Parks
Let’s check out the WDW Parks including Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
What a fantastic shot below, looking right down Main Street USA and Cinderella Castle. FUN FACT: this photo was taken from over a mile away, above the Magic Kingdom parking lot.
Now let’s head on over to Animal Kingdom.
The majority of this article focuses on Bio’s work in the air, but we can’t dismiss the fact that he is also one of the premier theme park photojournalists on the ground as well, delivering incredible shots like the one below in EPCOT.
In the monthly TPEI series, we often joke about “the Bioreconstruct Maintenance Report.” Bio has a knack for finding things at both Disney and Universal that need to be fixed or updated, such as the Figment posters in the Imagination Pavilion pictures below…
Bio is always Johnny-on-the-spot to point out when Disney and Universal take care of the issues inside the parks.
# 4 – Luminous
Speaking of EPCOT, let’s check out the latest developments on the upcoming Luminous nighttime spectacular.
We’ll start with this aerial photo of the center of Showcase Lagoon. In the bottom center of the photo you can see 6 blue barges that will eventually be used for Luminous. In the dead center of the lagoon, you’ll see a hexagon-like structure that will be used for the barges to dock at for the nighttime spectacular. Rumors and Innuendo suggest that the barges will shuttle back and forth from backstage to the lagoon for their nightly performance, rather than staying in the lagoon 24/7 like the Harmonious barges.
Let’s now focus on the hexagon-like structure in the middle of the lagoon. Home base for the upcoming Luminous show.
After the photo above was taken, Disney brought out several of the Luminous barges into World Showcase lagoon for testing.
Also something we generally don’t see during the day in World Showcase Lagoon? Fireworks staging.
# 3 – Journey of Water: Inspired by Moana
Disney’s latest attraction in EPCOT has its official opening on October 16th, but for the past several weeks Disney has been letting guests check out Journey of Water: Inspired by Moana and it is already a fan favorite. Day or night, Journey of Water is going to provide theme park photographers with plenty of great opportunities as the entire area is gorgeous.
# 2 – Universal Orlando Resort
Okay, let’s head across town and see how things are looking at Universal, starting with this aerial of Volcano Bay.
Love this shot of Universal CityWalk. The bottom center of this photo has the walkway from the parking garages, and on both sides of that is the great Hollywood Drive-In mini golf courses. Top right-hand corner you’ll spot the famous Universal Studios Florida globe.
We’ll be doing an in-depth article on Islands of Adventure’s Port of Entry in the near future. For me, it is pound for pound my favorite “Main Street” of any theme park.
Mark my words, the upcoming DreamWorks land in USF is going to be the surprise hit of 2024. Also, it’s going to turn the former KidZone area – which had very few places for guests to spend money on food or merchandise – into a total cash cow.
A look at the construction of Shrek’s house in DreamWorks land.
This may seem impossible to wrap your head around, but not only is Bio covering the Disney and Universal parks by air and by land pretty much every day of the week, he’s also at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights pretty much every night of the event. If you wonder when he sleeps, wonder no longer: he doesn’t. From 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. his software gets updated but that’s about it.
Bio also covers the construction work going on in the Universal Studios Florida lagoon.
One of our favorite things at Universal this year was the Jurassic Park Tribute Store, which unfortunately closed up shop for good earlier this month.
But this is what makes Bio, Bio… when posting about the Tribute Store closing, he’s sure to throw in a reference photo he took in California that Universal modeled the building’s facade from.
# 1 – Epic Universe
Are you ready for this?
The arrow in the photo below is pointing at a pole that was raised years ago when the site was flat and empty. Pole marked where the entrance would be.
Do YOU remember that pole?
The photo below was taken July 24th, 2021 by Bio. It features two poles. One is located in the direct center of the photo. That pole was removed long ago. There is a second pole on the left/center side of the photo. That is the one located near the park entrance.
Flash forward to 2023. The top arrow is pointing to the pole that still stands, at the entrance to the park. The other arrow is pointing to where the second pole used to stand.
Okay, back to current construction…
Let’s step back for a second and get a look at things in relation to each other…
Alright, let’s check out how Super Nintendo World is shaping up.
Closer look at the building right outside Super Nintendo World in which Rumors and Innuendo is suggesting will contain a Nintendo store and restaurant.
Love this catch by Bio…
The Donkey Kong coaster is going to be next level bonkers in the greatest way possible.
Now let’s turn our attention to the Dark Universe, home of the Universal Classic Monsters.
The Dual-Racing roller coaster (Rumors and Innuendo suggest it will be called Starfall Racers) has added a whole bunch of greenery to the area. This attraction is going to be a show-stopper.
Now let’s fly on over to the How to Train Your Dragon Land, which I personally think will be THE land everyone’s talking about once EPIC opens. Coaster? Check. Boat ride? Check. Stage show? Check. Dining Experience? Check.
Let’s finish up the lands with a look at the upcoming Wizarding World addition…
Right outside EPIC Universe are two more hotels, rumored to be named Stella Nova and Terra Luna.
If I were a betting man – and I am – I would wager a good amount that these hotels are going to look SPECTACULAR when finished.
As always, be sure to check out the Permit Princess Alicia Stella and her AMAZING videos on the construction of EPIC Universe…
Honorable Mention: SeaWorld Orlando
We don’t often cover SeaWorld Orlando in this fine blog series, but since Bio’s circling them in the air, let’s check out what’s going on over there…
SeaWorld has developed a very nice collection of roller coasters, including the most recent – Pipeline – which opened earlier this year. The gimmick to this coaster is that it’s simulating “surfing” and you are actually standing during your coaster experience.
Construction is already underway for SeaWorld’s next coaster, Penguin Trek. This will be a family-friendly coaster located directly next to Antarctica.
We’ll close with this fantastic shot of a dolphin jumping out of the water at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove. If you haven’t been, Discovery Cove is one of THE best experiences in all of Florida. It’s truly fantastic.
So there you have it: SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstruct vol 4!See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, which gives a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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