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The Walt Disney World Resort has lots of hidden nooks & crannies. Places that are damn near impossible for members of the general public to visit. But among the toughest areas to access are WDW's corporate lounges.
Unless you're an employee of one of the corporations that actually sponsors WDW's rides, shows, attractions or pavilions and/or you somehow managed to score a pass to one of the lounges ...
Image courtesy of Jeff Lange
... you've probably never seen the inside of one of these rooms. Which are typically pretty plush in a 1980s sort of way. By that I mean: Check out all of the leather chairs & sofas inside of Kodak's corporate lounge (which is located inside of Epcot's "Imagination" pavilion).
Photo by Jeff Lange
Each corporate lounge has its own individual style and decor. Take -- for example -- the room that MetLife set up for its employees at the now-defunct "Wonders of Life" pavilion. Which featured a Country Fair theme.
The reason that I'm bringing up this topic today is ... Well, members of the public rarely (if ever) have access to these areas. Particularly at pavilions where participants have pulled their sponsorship. Which usually then forces the Mouse to mothball these spaces.
That's why I want to call your attention to what the guys behind WDWCelebrations are to up. As part of their upcoming "World Wide Weekend" event (Which will be held at the WDW Resort September 26th through the 28th), they persuaded Mickey to re-open the corporate lounge at Epcot's "The Seas with Nemo & Friends" pavilion. Which has basically been off-limits ever since United Technologies pulled out of that theme park back in 1998.
The decor of this particular Disney World corporate lounge is a weird mix of the sort of elements that you'd expect to find at Epcot's "Seas" pavilion (i.e. large ornamental sculptures of fish) ...
... as well as items that clearly come out of left field (Check out that clear acrylic piano).
Speaking of acrylics ... This corporate lounge's enormous clear-plastic windows offer a spectacular view of the "Seas with Nemo & Friends" 's 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium.
Mind you, at the World Wide Weekend's "Dive, Dine, Discover" event, there'll be a lot more to see than just the sharks, seat turtles and dolphins that currently swim around in that tank. Though the guys behind WDWCelebrations aren't really at liberty to say just yet who they've lined up, they're working to bring in a guest speaker. Someone that Disneyana fans are sure to know.
And did I mention that this event also features a buffet lunch? Where you can nosh on Three Cheese Lasagna, Penne Pasta with Alfredo Cream and/or Tomato Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Onions as you listen to the guest speaker or ogle the fish. And afterwards ... You and the rest of the registrants will head on downstairs for a group-exclusive private showing of "Turtle Talk with Crush."
Copyright 2006 Disney. All Rights Reserved
"Dive, Dine, Discover" sounds like a pretty spectacular way to spend an afternoon at Epcot. Especially when you take into consideration that the WDWCelebration guys just dropped the price of this World Wide Weekend event from $69.99 per person to $49.99 per person.
So if you've been dreaming of exploring one of WDW's corporate lounges, here finally is your chance. Just keep in mind, though, that space is limited. And given that 500 people have already signed up to take part in WDWCelebrations' World Wide Weekend event, those remaining open spots for "Dive, Dine, Discover" are sure to go fast.
For further information on World Wide Weekend, be sure and check out the WDWCelebrations website.
Special thanks to Jeff Lange of JeffLangeDVD.com for providing most of the photos & images used to illustrate today's article.
That Nemo ride is a snore. Another cheap quickie from people who USED to dazzle, amaze, and amuse us. It saddens me to see Disney invest so little in a new attraction. I hope to GOD Iger and co. will have the insight, foresight and guts to build new rides with real innovation and wonder. Nemo sure ain't it. (And neither is that new Toy Story ride. I'll never ride it again. It's another snore).
I'd love to see more articles about these 'hidden' corporate rooms dotted around property, really interesting. Is there a comprehensive list anywhere?
The only one that I've actually visited in the one in The American Adventure at Epcot, and that was amazing!
For my part, I really enjoyed both 'Nemo' and 'Crush'. The technology in there was really impressive.
Did you even read the article, gigglesock?
"That Nemo ride" is the aquarium exhibit in Epcot. You're right - the ride there is lame. Elevators sure aren't a new ride with real innovation and wonder, eh?
Gigglesock...I couldn't disagree more. I think the Nemo ride is one of the best dark rides Disney has done in ages. And Toy Story...wow, I haven't heard
ANYONE say that before! Even all of the Disney hating Orlando locals I work with are obsessed with that one. I feel sorry for you!
Well, I feel sorry for me too. I spend a lot of money at WDW, and to my mind it's a shame that it seems less and less worth it. The Midway ride is just another version of the Buzz Lightyear ride. Whoop de doo. The Nemo ride is boring. When you hear little kids say "That looks fake", then it does something to your willing suspension of disbelief.
I know that AT&T had a large lounge in located over the post show area of Spaceship Earth; it offered great views of the fountain. I'm sure it's still there but unsure if Seimens is now using it. There is also a little room upstairs in Norway. It's been 12+ years since I've been up there but it was very dated even then. I believe the land pavilion lounge had been used for an annual passholder lounge just a few years ago but quickly closed shortly after closing. The Living Seas lounge is probably the largest of the lot and is located over the Coral Reef restaurant and offers the same views as the restaurant.
If Jeff Lange has a collection of photos for these lounges that would make for an excellent series at JHM. Hint, hint.
Can I ask what WDWCelebrations is? Is their event officially sponsored by Disney, or what?
The one in Mission: Space is one of the easiest to see as it's right over the line queue with the rotating ship. It's kinda small but a pleasant place for HP people to get a drink.
When I was looking into WDW Weddings, I found that many of the old corporate rooms are available to rent for a ceremony or reception, including both the Seas and Wonders of Life lounges.
While the lounges are a nice thing in that they're a spot of quiet and cool in the hustle-bustle-hot-and-noisy world of the parks, even the most "luxurious' of them will remind the new visitor of the kinds of frequent-flyer lounges all of the major airlines had in the 1970's (and still have but which are just as noisy/ugly as the airports are nowadays) what with usually sleek Scandinavian/modern furniture, "corporate" art, and more carpeting than your feet usually feel under them at a WDW experience. Their comfort is limited, and the main attraction is the exclusivity itself rather than any special features or goodies to be found there most of the time. When the top brass of a given corp. were visiting, of course, the catering would improve. And the booze. (Smile)
Man, I miss the Kodak corporate room. We spent many a happy half hour there drinking a coke and waiting to skip the line into EO (and then HISTA, which I still won't wait for). I wish it were still open, the picture made me all nostalgic.
There are some pictures of Epcot corporate lounges here if anyone is interested:
Gigglesock... Exactly what is it that looks "fake" about the Nemo ride at WDW?
"they persuaded Mickey to re-open the corporate lounge at Epcot's "The Seas with Nemo & Friends" pavilion. Which has basically been off-limits ever since United Technologies pulled out of that theme park back in 1998."
Better check your facts, Jim.
This "mothballed" area has been open to just about anyone willing to pay the price - for private events. Steve Seifert, affectionately known to his friends as 'Tikiman', ran a private event called Tikifest last year. The area is just one of many that is available for wedding receptions, corporate events and anyone else who has the money.