Archive for the ‘Disney Theme Parks’ Category

Finding Dory in Japan

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

NemoRide

Pixar is giving us a new Nemo adventure on the big screen but the Oriental Land Company is giving their guests a new Nemo attraction in the parks. OLC has just announced the new attraction for Tokyo DisneySea. The attraction will be themed to the well beloved Finding Nemo movie and the upcoming Finding Dory movie. The ride will be created with the help of the Finding Nemo movie production staff. They will be helping with the visuals of the new experience.

NemoRide2The ride will be placed in the Port Discovery section of the park. It will replace the existing StormRider simulator. The StormRider attraction is set to close in May 2016 so construction for the new Nemo ride can start with a target opening planned for Spring 2017.

The attraction will take place in a submarine. Guests taking place inside the sub will shrink to the size of the fish around them and will then be taken on an adventure by Nemo and Dory.

Pictures copyright Disney

Hatbox Ghost Behind The Scene

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Disney Imagineers have released a video with a behind the scene look of the Hatbox Ghost they just added in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Food and Fireworks

Monday, May 4th, 2015

foodCGDo you love fireworks? It’s the highlight of many visits. But big crowds might force you to either come early to find that perfect viewing spot, or come late and stand somewhere in the back. If unlucky you’ll be watching the many phone or even tablet screens that go up from all the people around you that are trying the film it.

Want it a little bit more relaxed? How about combining it with a good meal and a viewing spot many visitors don’t think about. Here are 4 personal tips of great meals that can be combined with a firework display afterwards.

Let’s start at the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort Hotel. Right up there on the top floor, this amazing restaurant offers you a fantastic selection on American cuisine, seafood and sushi. Get yourself a nice plate of sushi, share one of the great flatbreads and then how about bison. Of course you can’t enjoy the fireworks without one of their amazing desserts. The chocolate pudding cake, with Nutella filling, or the Plant City Strawberry Cheesecake are only two of the great choices on this menu.

Feeling full? Time to go and see the fireworks. The music is piped into the restaurant so you can see the fireworks from the comfort of your seat. Or you can go to the observation deck outside. Whatever your choice is, it is an amazing and relaxing experience.

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Fun Fact from the Past: Temple of Doom Sound Effects?

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

DoomMine1

Who doesn’t love a good Indiana Jones movie (OK, let’s not talk about the forth one)? We all do. Did you know that many sound effects in the movies are added later. No difference with the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie.

One of the epic scenes in this movie is the mine cart chase. The sounds from the carts you hear there have also been added afterwards. These sound effects have been taped in Disneyland. More specifically, these effects come from the attraction Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster.

How is that for a fun fact from the past?

Relaxing Inside the WDW Parks

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

TTApeoplemover

It can be overwhelming visiting the Walt Disney World parks. Busy crowds, long queues, hot weather (or big wet showers).  You can avoid it by staying at the hotel pools, but if you are at Walt Disney World you just want to hit the parks. Even if they are busy.
So what to do if you really, REALLY want to relax and still be inside the parks. It is possible!

River1How about we start in the Magic Kingdom. What is more relaxing than the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. A nice 10 minute ride around Tomorrowland and it includes some great views of the beautiful Cinderella Castle. You can ride it early in the morning, or try to board it at night during the fireworks. That gives it an extra dimension. Who knows, if you’re lucky, like I was on my last visit, it might break down on the right spot and you can see the whole firework show from the best spot. Another relaxing ride, but a little more crowded, is the Walt Disney World Railroad. Ride around the park and relax. Or if the water is more relaxing your alternative for a relaxing ride will be the Liberty Square Riverboat. (more…)

New Lands for Tokyo Disneyland

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

TokyoAlice280415The Oriental Land Company has released new artwork for Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland project.

On the first piece of artwork an area is showing off an Alice in Wonderland theme, while a second picturesshows the entrance of the Beauty & The Beast “Be Out Guest” area. Looks like Tokyo will be getting their own version of this popular Walt Disney World restaurant.

TokyoBeOurGuestThese new lands are part of a huge redevelopment of Fantasyland and more new or different themes might find their way into the park. There is no fixed information when to expect the new Fantasyland to open, but we can expect it to open in phases as it will be a big undertaking. Opening of the first phase can be expected somewhere in 2017.

A third piece of artwork the Oriental Land Company has released is for DisneySea. A new port will be build inside this beautiful park carrying a Scandinavia theme. Part of the area will be themed after the Disney hit Frozen. The Arendelle castle is clearly recognisable on the artwork. It looks as if there is enough room for a Frozen attraction inside the mountains. Again, no info on opening dates except to expect it somewhere in 2017.

DisneySeaUpdate280415

There you have it, another reason to plan a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. As if one needs another reason!

Pictures courtesy of the Oriental Land Company

Shanghai Disney Resort to get first boost

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The Shanghai Disney Resort is not yet even open but Disney fans have been gushing about early artwork released by Disney through its various channels (lately in particular the official Disney fan club D23) – and it seems not only the fans are gushing about the new venture that is set to offer a whole new concept for a Magic Kingdom style park. No, the business side seems to be more convinced by the project than ever.

Having learned from the complaints that Hong Kong Disneyland drew when it opened for being “too small” the Shanghai Disney Resort and in particular its theme park already were already a significantly larger project in its first phase. And now that project just got bigger – by $800 million.

Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced during the panel “China In Transition: Still A Land Of Opportunity?” of the Milken Institute Global Conference on April 28, 2014 that TWDC (holding 43% of the project) and its local partner Shanghai Shendi Group (holding 57% of the project) will jointly invest a further $800 million into the Shanghai Disney Resort (each one investing an according part of this sum based on their shares in the project).

Robert Iger stated: “We’ve decided that we would accelerate the expansion of the park while we are building it. We’ve always expected that this park would expand and that it had huge potential but we’ve been so impressed with what we have seen […] we are announcing today that we are putting an additional $800 million into the project so we make it a $5.5 billion project on the onset. With that will come more attractions, basically more entertainment and some other services as well, food and dining being another aspect of it, other forms of entertainment. A big step and a huge vote of confidence not just in the market but obviously in this project“. Considering the stated overall planned investment in the project of now $5.5 billion the (included) addition of $800 million equals an impressive increase of 17%!

Robert Iger further detaield that currently about 8,000 construction workers are working and living on the future resort property. The full video of the panel is currently available for online streaming on the website of Milken Institute Global Conference (Robert Iger is addressed starting about 9:01 min. into the panel and then presents the Shanghai Disney Resort project, the additional investment is announced about starting about 11:19 min.).

However, fans should take note that Robert Iger did not state how this additional amount will be devided. While he spoke of an “acceleration of the expansion of the park” and “more attractions” he also carefully worded that the additional investment goes “into the project” and that it would also cover “other services” such as “food and dining“. Whether all of these are to be located inside the Disneyland Park would need to be awaited. Afterall the project is the full resort and that consists of the Disneyland park, a retail, dining and entertainment area, hotels, a lake, recreational facilities, transit hubs and parking.

Also, the statement did not state whether the additional investment will be realized in time for the expected opening of the resort in 2015 – or whether it may be for a brought forward phase 2 resp. a new phase 1.5 allowing for the addition of new offerings within a relative short time span after opening, as was realized with new small scale attractions in Fantasyland (the Old Mill ferris wheel, the Storyland Boats and Casey Jr.) and the Indiana Jones coaster in Adventureland for Disneyland Paris for example. The resort may need these additional attractions as Robert Iger also explained that – due to high speed rail connections – “330 million income qualified people will live within a 3 hour trip to this park. 330 million people that we would consider capable of affording a visit to Shanghai Disneyland. That is obvious valuable for us and is one of the reasons why we accelerate expansion“.

However, the race is now open for Disney fans to find out: which additional attractions and other offerings is Imagineering now preparing to add to the resort???

 

For all Disney historians further remarks by Robert Iger later in the panel discussion (starting at roughly 22:27 min.) should be of interest too. In it he confirmed that – besides weather issues – the air quality / pollution at Bejing was worse than in Shanghai at the time that TWDC decided to build the resort. He states “First of all it led to a decision to put the park in Shanghai certainly rather than in Bejing” – implying that at least Bejing (maybe even more locations) were originally in contention as location for the resort as well. Another interesting details concerns the run-up to the signing of the contracts: “Our negotiations to build this park was a decade long“. Starting 42:55 min. into the panel discussions the audience further learned that the chain of (according to Robert Igner) about 40 Disney English language schools now operated in China grew out of a single training facility which Robert Iger approved for Shanghai – presumably in connection with / preparation for the Shanghai Disney Resort – however, he also admits that he is not sure whether this business will reach the scale they originally expected for it.

We should expect more from TWDC on the Chinese market in the future because, as Robert Iger in his closing remarks (starting about 56:03 min.) states: “We need China to create growth for our company and I think for many other multinational companies […] There aren’t that many markets to turn to that are as obvious or as I think as exciting – as hard as it is – in terms of the potential“.

Disney heading back to the beach

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Do you remember the summer of 2013? Back then The Disney Channel took millions of teens (and one may safely assume adults) on a surf ride into a beach movie by way of the “Disney Teen Beach Movie”. The story evolved around a pair of teenage surfers that magically traveled into an old-school beach movie and featured a number of beach pop songs that delivered a number one billboard soundtrack for Disney.

After the movie’s success fans expected a sequel rather sooner than later. Afterall, the final scene of the movie showed a group of characters from the movie following the pair of lovers back into the real world of today. And now, Deadline Hollywood reports that The Disney Channel has scheduled the sequel (Disney Teen Beach Movie 2) for a 2015 broadcasting premiere.

The stars of part one, Ross Lynch (whose Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” just got renewed), Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton and John DeLuca, will reprise their characters. Jeffrey Hornaday is, according to Deadline Hollywood, ready to get the cameras rolling in July, returning as director.

Considering the infectious beach pop features in the original Disney Teen Beach Movie, which can be expected to return for part 2 (maybe with a more modern twist depending on whether the action will take place more or less only in the real world of today instead of a 50s/60s beach movie setting), and the handling of the High School Musical movies a logic question now is: will the Disney Teen Beach Movie make it to the parks as well in 2015?

The movie with its vacation / beach setting, youthfull cast and upbeat music just lends itself to a summer show that could roll into the streets of Disney Parks such as the Walt Disney Studios Park (at Disneyland Paris), Disney California Adventure (at Disneyland Resort Anaheim), Disney Hollywood Studios (at Walt Disney World) – following the play book established for the High School Musical. For the HSM franchise the Disney parks produced “stage” shows taht were performed on moving stages that rolled along the parade route of the according park and stopped for song & dance performances – with just a bare hint of a story, mostly relying on high energy dance and song performances.

In particular the Walt Disney Studios Park would benefit from a revival of this concept for the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise as the park is lacking live entertainment on the streets to liven up its atmosphere and to add some kinetic energy. The HSM shows performed in the WDS were hugely popular drawing not only large crowds for numerous performances daily during the summer season but even gaining their own dedicated fans. A street song & dance show based on the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise would not only allow the Disney Channel to further advertise the two movies to its core audience but also would help the Walt Disney Studios Park to enhance the experience for guests. But then again, as we are talking about 2015 here and Disneyland Paris lately has announced its entertainment offerings only on very short notice we might have to wait a year (or even longer?) till will learn whether or not the movies will make it to that park (or any Disney park).

Disney Vacation Club Villas at Grand Floridian Sales starting Dates

Monday, May 20th, 2013

DVCFloridian

Disney Vacation Club will start their sales for the new Floridian Villas as from the 23rd of May 2013. This date is only for current members who want to add on some extra points to their portfolio. New buyers will have to wait a little longer (June 19) before they can buy their forst share in the magic.

No news on pricing yet, but this will come out very soon. Add on minimum will be 25 points while new members will have to get the usual 160 points (unless changed again for this resort). More early info can be found via the DVC Facebook page at this time.

Get your points for some more “Welcome Home” magic

Picture copyrights Disney

Amazing Image of the Shanghai Disney Project

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

disneyShanghaiPark

Walt Disney Chairman CEO Robert Igor showed a first piece of artwork from the new Shanghai Disneyland project during today’s Shareholder meeting. The park is planned to open its gates in 2015 to the first visitors. Still a little time to go, but until then Disney fans can already gaze upon what might become an amazing Kingdom.

“We believe this will be one of the most spectacular Disney experiences yet – and an important part of our future. We look forward to opening the gates at the end of 2015 and welcoming the first of the millions of guests who will enjoy Shanghai Disneyland for generations to come.” R. Iger.

The image shows the center of the Disneyland park, including the Enchanted Storybook Castle, a very green central plaza, a carousel and (what looks like) the Walt and Mickey storytellers statue from Disney California Adventure. This will be an amazing project to follow, but will be even more amazing once finished.

Picture copyrights Disney.

Tony Baxter Leaving Imagineering

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

TonyBmaster3It is something that would have to happen at some stage, but I don’t think anybody really was prepared for it to happen at this time or any time. Tony Baxter is leaving his Senior Vice President position within the Imagineers department at Disney. He might not leave completely as he will take a role as a part time advisor.

Tony has been part of the Disney family for more then 30 years. He started in Disneyland as an ice cream vendor when he was 17 years young. Over 30 years later he became a well love Disney Imagineer that brought some incredible magic to Disney. Some of his greatest works include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Re-designing complete lands like Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (in 1998) and Disneyland’s Fantasyland (in 1983). He is also the man that created a big part of our beloved Disneyland  Paris.

I was privileged and lucky enough to have been able to meet this Disney icon in person. Not only was I able to hear his stories about the creation of Disneyland Paris (a full transcript can be found here), but I was able to give him a copy of Brits Guide to Disneyland I was the main researched for, but he also signed a copy, congratulated and thanked me for the work on the book. To me, as a Disney enthusiast, that meant a lot. Thank you Tony for all the things you’ve done.

AN OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW IMAGINEERS (more…)

A Little More MyMagic+

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

A little more information is leaking regarding the MyMagic+ wristbands. Walt Disney World Hotel bookers and Annual passes will get the bands at no extra costs but the future plan is to have all guests wear a wristbands with the RFID integrated.

The wristbands will be available in different colors or themes. Some of these Disney themes can be from a Pirates of the Caribbean, some of the Pixar characters, Disney princesses and many more. It is also rumored that there could be some special wristbands done by other companies like Dooney & Burke and Swarovski and for those that don’t like wearing anything around their wrist there might be alternatives coming in the form of keychains and other jewelry.

MyMagic+

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Disney has made it official, the Next-gen technology will be introduced soon under “MyMagic+” for the Walt Disney World resort. With this new tool Disney guests will be able to create their Disney vacation from the comfort of their own home. Guest will be able to use a new website “My Disney Experience” where they will be able to book dinner reservations and other Disney experiences. There will also be an option to book a selection of FastPass+ to avoid not only the lines at the attractions but also a visit to the FasPass booths.

The FastPass+ option will not only include attractions but will have Character meet and greet, preferred firework and parade viewing place and other options. The firework and Parade option could be your key to make sure to see your favorites from a dedicated space every time you want. (I know I’ll be booking Illuminations on many nights once available).

To be able to take advantage of all the early bookings guest will be provided a special RFID wristband named “MagicBand”. This wristband will serve as your hotel room key, park admission, the FastPass+ pre-booked options, your personal photopass and will even have an integrated payment option. The later one might come with a code once spending will reach a certain amount. This to protect the owners in case they would loose their wristband and to avoid those dishonest guests from plundering your account.

With the personal information saved on your wristband character will now also be able to know your name and use it when you visit them. Imagine the faces of the children when talking Mickey comes up to them and knows their names. This might not be for integrated in the early phase of the project, but one that is sure one of the many future options that will find it’s way into the system.

There is no specific date yet when the MyMagic+ will completely take over, but it is slowly finding it ways into the park as some guests already have been part of the testing phase.

Also read the WDWnewstoday article. They where the first to bring out this exciting news. Also visit the Disneyparks blog for some more pictures.

Picture copyrights Disney

Disneyland… every Day

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Would it not be fun to visit Disneyland on a daily basis? Both Jeff Reitz and Tonya Mickesh where thinking the same thing. The couple had lost their jobs but where given each an annual pass for Disneyland by a friend. While searching for new jobs they decided to also visit the park on a daily basis during 2012. Once they would find jobs to visits would be less. So they said, but once they did get a job both still went every day. Not an easy task as the worked during different times and sometimes had to go alone. One day even almost didn’t make it in time to set their record.

During their time at Disneyland the became know as the Daily couple and befriended with a lot of the Cast Members. After the year they also became honorary citizens of Disneyland. What a great and fun achievement. I wouldn’t mind visiting a Disney park a day. If only I lived a little closer.

Visit the link to see some great pictures from their trips.

Universal vs. Disney: The Tolkien Round!

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Universal did it again! At least if these rumors are indeed correct as no official announcements are made yet. Universal gets the rights to build the Lord of the Ring attractions in their park. This is yet another fantastic move that will bring over even more people to the parks. Harry Potter already proofed success and with Lord of the Rings they will do it again. This franchise is so big, popular and timeless that guest numbers for the park will grow for sure.

Queues for the Harry Potter attractions are stupendously long and will get even bigger once the second phase is in place. Once Lords of the Rings and the Hobbit will make it to the park another big fan followers will find their way to the Universal Studios getting those visitor numbers way up. Orlando visitors will need to find a way to see all the stuff and while their holiday might not get extended, a visit to Universal might. As guest might have to find that extra day for Universal, this could cost Disney some visitors.

OK, Disney just got the big Star Wars deal, the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the rumored Carsland for Hollywood Studios and… Avatar for Animal Kingdom. Fantasyland is already proofing to be a success for Disney and depending on their Star Wars plans will have another crowd pleaser. As long as it will be spectacular and the Imagineers get to do something with it. Avatar is still another story in my honest opinion. Avatar might still see two more movies and although this will keep the franchise alive, it is in no way as timeless as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Never the less, it is exciting to see how the theme parks are creating new wonderful stuff. The Lord of the Rings deal will make Disney work their hardest to bring out their best of the best and the real winners are we, the fans and the guests.

Make sure to visit us regularly as we will report on all the new Orlando area park stuff once we know more.