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Today's show is sponsored by Owner's Locker, a new service that gives you a place to leave your vacation-only stuff until your next trip to visit the Mouse.
This week, we were joined by John Van Meter from Owner's Locker to announce the winner of our contest. Of all of the entries received so far, John chose the entry that we read on the show last week from Sondra, whose "Holiday in a Box" struck a chord with him.
But never fear! We were able to talk John into giving another locker away! All entries already received (with the exception of Sondra's other entry, which we'll read on a future show) will remain eligible, but everyone else has until midnight on Halloween to send in your ideas on what you would do with an Owner's Locker. John will again select his favorite, and he'll join us on the November 5 show to announce our next winner!
In honor of today being Epcot's 25th birthday, all of the featurettes today focus on that park.
This week's tip comes from Mark, because the tip jar was empty. (Send in your tip now! It might make it onto next week's show!).
Mark recommended that instead of rushing to the exit after the end of Illuminations, walk further into the park. Walk the long way around World Showcase Lagoon, and take your time. Soon, the masses will all be past you, rushing to stand in line at the parking lot trams and bus stations. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoying the quiet background music. Don't worry about missing the last bus. As long as there are people to get back to their resorts, they'll even run a dedicated bus if you're the only one there.
Mark also gave a second, related tip: If you delay long enough, you'll be around for the "blow off," when the remaining fuel on the Inferno Barge is ignited in one large fireball. While Mark has only been in the park late enough once, it was during the time when the Barge was out of the show for repairs following an explosion in a launch tube. Mike has seen the blow off, though, and said that it is quite impressive.
This week, we look at Impressions de France at (where else?) Epcot's France pavilion.
All of the music accompanying the film is by French composers (such as Debussy, Saint-Saens, Boieldieu, Ravel, Offenbach, Dukas and Satie), and was arranged by Disney legend Buddy Baker.
It's always one of Mark's favorite tracks on the Walt Disney World CDs. He loves the music, the scenes of France, and the fact that it's a nice quiet place to enjoy the attraction. There's never a wait to get in (other than the wait for the next show to start), and the theater lets out into a little shop adjacent to La Boulangerie Patisserie (home of the beloved Shocolatte Mousssse).
While it's not an every-trip attraction for Mike, he also really enjoys it.
To find the theater, go to the back of the pavilion. Go past the fountain and keep walking back.
This week's spotlight focuses on the Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land pavilion at Epcot. This week, we feature two conflicting reviews. The first is a 2-planet review by annebkpk of California, while the second is a 5-planet review by Imjusta babyduck of Pace, Florida. MousePlanet readers like the Garden Grill, rating it 3.9 out of five planets on the strength of 16 reviews.
annebkpk was not impressed by the restaurant, and was very disappointed in the food. She was also disappointed that she did not get more attention from the characters due to her birthday button. Instead, the characters usually just skipped by her and her husband.
Imjusta babyduck enjoys the restaurant so much that they eat there with their family every time they go to Walt Disney World. Their family loves the food, and they enjoyed some good time with the characters.
It seems that the restaurant may be inconsistent.
The restaurant is actually one of Mike's favorites, for both the food and the characters.
Mark hasn't been there in many years. He ate there shortly after it opened as the Good Turn Restaurant, and then after it became the Land Grille Room. He may have eaten there with the characters as the Garden Grill once. He didnt' feel that it was quite memorable.
Mike noted that it can be "weird" to go there as a solo diner because when one person asks for seconds it's much more noticeable.
You can also find the Garden Grill Restaurant in our Park Guide.
Mark didn't have any Epcot segments recorded with his 9-year-old son, so he asked the next-nearest kid: Mike. (After all, he is old enough to be Mike's father. Scary, isn't it?)
Mark asked Mike: "What do you find is the best young person's date attraction at Epcot?"
Mike has taken many dates to the park, and he used to prefer the Stave Church in Norway because it's quiet, noone ever goes in there, and you can make out. However, since they redid it into the Vikings exhibit, it's hard to do anything because of the security cameras.
Mark asked what his current favorite is, since the Stave Church has been converted.
Mike said that it would either be Mission: Space if the girl gets scared easily (for the comforting hug) or Circle of Life if they're young at heart (because it gets them happy, and if it doesn't work, he gets to see the Lion King scenes).
To avoid more "Ask the Kid" segments like this, send us your question to ask Mark's son.
This week's moment came in a voicemail from listener Dean from NYC.
Dean had Test Track break down on him halfway through the ride. His group got front of the line return passes, and finally went back to the attraction at morning Extra Magic Hours on his last day, and was able to ride the attraction by himself, with the on-ride photo to prove it.
Mike once got to ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster by himself, with the photo to prove it.
There are no on-ride photos (certainly not back in 2002) when Mark rode Big Thunder by himself three of the six consecutive rides that he took one night at an E-Ride night, before they were replaced with Extra Magic Hours.
Please weigh in on the idea of returning to a single feed via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!
Don't forget that you've now got until Halloween to get your entry in for our second Owner's Locker contest!
We also wanted to remind you that we have now scheduled our MouseFest meet for the podcasts. The MouseStation Hustle-tini Meet will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Classic Concoctions in the Everything Pop food court at Disney's Pop Century Resort for Bluetinis to get our nerve up to get up and boogie. We'll make sure that we're in the lobby before 6 p.m. so that we can do The Hustle, then return to Classic Concoctions or elsewhere to record some more for the podcast. For more information on the Hustle-tini or any other MousePlanet-sponsored meet at MouseFest, check out our MouseFest information page. If you've got any ideas on what might make a cool MouseStation T-shirt for MouseFest, let Mark know!
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).