Disney Hawaii: Resorts and Pirates

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Disney’s love for Hawaii is no big secret. They just announced the name of their latest Disney Resort; Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa. The resort will include hotel rooms, Disney Vacation Club Villas, meeting rooms and wedding facilities. Aulani translates as “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”

Captain Jack Sparrow might not be staying at the resort, but he will be in Hawaii where the fourth movie of the Pirates of the Caribbean will be shot.

“We’ve always sought out the most extraordinary and exotic locations … Hawaii provides an amazing range of both land and seascapes, and we’re delighted to return for ‘On Stranger Tides,'” Bruckheimer said in a statement.  (Seattle Times)

Will the Hawaiian scenery will have something to do with it and will provide beautiful backgrounds there is another reason why to location has been picked.

… what made the difference was the combination of Hawaii’s tax incentive, as well as support from the film and travel industries. (Seattle Times)

Picture Copyrights Disney

Disney is Going to National Harbor

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

disney-nh1The Walt Disney Company has bought a 15 acre plot at Prince George’s County’s National Harbor. Disney plans to build a 500 room hotel resort on their newly acquired land. Although there is no indication in the news item, it could be a new Disney Vacation Club property to add to their list, including the Adventures by Disney offerings of guided tours. What you will not see is a theme park attached to the hotel resort, nor will one even be build.

“The National Harbor resort is a completely different kind of project,” Rasulo said. “It’s specifically zoned for hotel, residential and other commercial development. This project is a hotel resort. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a theme-park project and never will be. We have no intention of building a large-scale theme park in the Washington area.” (Washington Post)

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New Star Tours Movie!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

starspeeder3000Finally, after all the rumors and news about the new Star Tours project, it looks like filming the new movie is on its way.

Yesterday was the third day of a secret LucasFilm film shoot in West Hollywood. If you were allowed to enter the “LODESTAR” production stage, you would’ve seen Boba Fett, Admiral Ackbar, a Tusken Raider, and even some Jawas. C3PO himself Anthony Daniels will be filming later this week. (/film)

The big question is what parks will get the new version? Will all US parks get a new movie or will it be a Disneyland only update (for now). And what about Tokyo or Paris? I can see Tokyo go for a new version too (just my 2 cents), but with the financial status in Paris the chances are very slim a new version would make it out there (for now). To be continued in a Disney galaxy…

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Walt Disney World: Before it Opened

Monday, April 27th, 2009

beforeitopened-picparadeIf you like some Walt Disney World history how about a quick visit over to the PicParade. Here you can see a collection of 1971 pre-opening pictures including one of Frontierland under construction. Other interesting pictures include some of Cinderella’s Castle, Mainstreet U.S.A. and the Haunted Mansion. There are also two pictures of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea construction, a very interesting sight of an attraction that is no more. You can also see a picture of the tipi’s near the Rivers of America.

Before the park opened Disney used two Keelboats as form of transportation on the 7 seas lagoon. There are two pictures of one of the boats that got stuck on a sandbank.

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Attraction Attendance Report

Friday, April 17th, 2009

wdw-nice-castle2008 has not been the best year for the theme park around the world. Parks have seen their attendance and guest spending drop. The 2008 Attraction Attendance Report from TEA ERA shows a clear picture on 2008 and it’s, mainly losses of guests for some of the big names in the business.

In the 2008 top 20 of highest attendance in Theme Parks of North America you have the Magic Kingdom on top again. It closed the year with 17,063,000 visitors. They should be happy about that, even if that number is no improvement from last year, during these dark times of recession that isn’t the worst result. On the second place we find Disneyland with 14,721,000 visitors, a drop of 1% from the previous year. Epcot, just like the Magic Kingdom, also didn’t loose or gained any more visitors then the previous year, with a count of 10,935,000 visitors. Epcot got third place.

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D23 … Step by Step II

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

OK, so before reading this entry make sure to read what Dirk thinks about the D23 club so far in D23 … Step by Step… Done? Good! Now here is what I think about D23…

I became member on day 1, mainly because I am a Disney geek and whatever Disney does I’ll go for it. I love Disney, especially the parks, and when Disney put something on the market they can be sure that my money will leave my pocket and end up in their account. It was no different with D23 and once the site got live (I gazed at the white screen for a couple of times before it did) I got myself the charter membership… Living in Europe it set me back the $120 Dirk already talks about, but I had big hope and wanted to get my hand on some of the exclusive merchandise. Once I got my login information I visited the D23 shop. As a collector of Disney things I wanted to make sure to get the special D23 Tinker Bell Pin. It was the first in a series of ten, a series I was going to collect myself. So I went to the site, clicked on the pin and started to go to the checkout procedure…

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A New Morning Parade with Old Cars (Update: Happy April’s Fool Day)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

carswdwDisneyland Resort Paris new Star’n’Cars will be the new parade for the Walt Disney Studios. The cars from the parade come from Disney Hollywood Studios’ Disney Star and Motor Cars parade. The new Walt Disney Studios Parade however will not last very long as the cars will return back to Walt Disney World next season. They will be used for the new morning parade in Disney’s Hollywood Studios as from next season leaving the Paris Studios without a parade again. There is no information on why this decision has been made. (More on DLP.info)

Mickey’s Magical Party!

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

This time Disneyland Paris really outdid themselves!

Though the rain could have ruined the whole evening show (it was really really REALLY scary when I landed in Paris Saturday at 16 pm), by the time the Press event started the skies where pretty much clear (For Paris standards that is).

The event could be summed as not much more than the shows we will be seeing from April 4 ON STEROIDS!

Yep; Special events took the very same shows which they have been working on for months; Place a la fete avec Mickey, Place a la Dance etc and performed them during an amazing night show!

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Disneyland Resort Paris B’Day trip – Day 2

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

terror-from-toon-sWe didn’t want to rush as we had not only a full day of Disney ahead, but also a 4 hour trip back home in front of us. We had to leave the rooms by 10am, so we turned up at the parks around 10:20 on this Monday morning. I promised my son Tower of Terror would be first on the list. FastPass was closed, and it wasfor all attractions on that day in the Studios, so we went straight into the normal queue and waited for about 30 minutes before we entered the elevator. After that we also enjoyed a ride on Rock’n’Roller coaster and visited Toon Studios for Cars. The queue at Crush was way to long for our liking and I always say if we don’t go on the ride this time we have a reason to come back (as if I need any other reason).

Once we done these rides we went for a drink and cookie in the shareholders club before entering the Disneyland Park.

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No Expansion for Hong Kong Disneyland

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

hongkong1Hong Kong Disneyland has been in trouble since opening day. To small, not enough to do, no repeat visitors and the financial trouble started soon after that as the visitor numbers stayed down. Although some new rides made it into the park since opening a big expansion was also already planned for the future. But now Disney and the Hong Kong government failed to agree on a cash infusion, putting any plans to expand away. With the plans to expand gone, Disney has now planned to cut some jobs related to the expansion.

Disney said it would fire about 30 Hong Kong-based employees dubbed “Imagineers” that had helped conceptualize and plan the expansion. Some jobs might also go at Disney’s home-turf of Burbank, California, as a result of the work stoppage, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Disney had already been funding creative efforts — designing and envisioning the look of rides — but decided to pull financing when it became clear that a deal with the government on expanding Disneyland was not imminent. (Reuters)

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Disneyland Resort Paris B’Day trip – Day 1

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I can’t explain why I feel like it was, but it felt that this trip was the best so far… I just loved every minute of it. Could have been the great weather (finally after this terrible and could winter), could have been the company (well, that’s a given as I was their with my family) or was their another reason. I might not know why I felt like that on this trip, all I now is that it was great.

thecastle-again2-sIt started out fantastic with a super deal we found on Expedia.com (sounds a bit like an advertisement now) for the Marriott. I never expected to ever stay their but the deal was to sweet to let it pass. Now I am happy we did. The accommodations are great, big spacious rooms, 2 bathrooms, big living room and a kitchen with everything you need (if you wanted to cook for yourself). We loved and if another deal like that would pop up we would go again. However, even if we thought it was a great place, it is advised to visit this only when you have your own form of transportation. There is a shuttle bus but on the low season day it was packed to full capacity and I have heard from people staying their you can sometimes wait for 1 hour before you can catch another one. It is said the shuttle only goes out every 40 minutes, but in high season that might just not be enough.

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DLRP: Central Plaza changes coming?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Normally I am trying to avoid spreading any rumors – but sometimes projects are just to intriguing to keep quiet. And Disneyland Paris is currently the staging ground for such a project, to be more specific its Central Plaza. I am not talking about the huge stage which is currently under construction in the center of Central Plaza. That construction project is pretty obvious and is well known and covered all over the web, that the huge structure is designed specifically for the new show that is part of this year’s party celebration theme.

No, what I want to talk about is the construction on the outer realms of Central Plaza. Several weeks ago the walkways between Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland (on the left side of Central Plaza) were closed off with construction walls. Pretty soon nearly everybody on the web agreed that the most likely reason was construction to widen these rather narrow pathways to improve guest flow during the times that the crowds watching the show on the all new stage on Central Plaza. After all guest flow already had convinced management during the past Christmas season not to list all all shows on the (back then smaller) stage in Central Plaza in the entertainment guide – all in a desperate attempt to limit the gridlock that guests caused to the guest flow when they watched the shows on the stage and thus blocked the entrance of guests walking down Main Street, U.S.A. to the remainder of the park.

Widening the potential diversion routes and making the entrance to them more obvious seems a logic choice as the sheer size of the show (40 dancers plus Mickey and his friends) premiering April 4 on the new stage in Central Plaza will attract so huge crowds that total gridlock on Central Plaza is guaranteed on all busy days. However, there might be a different explanation for the construction:

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Character Chaos… or Not

Monday, March 9th, 2009

mickeyplutoYou can’t visit a Disney park with (young) children without visiting the Disney characters at least once one your trip. For some children this is the highlight of their visit, waited months to see Mickey Mouse, to finally arrive at the magic and share some time with him or one of his friends.

In the US parks guests have the opportunity to visit many of the characters. They are everywhere, waiting for the children’s visit. Most of the time they are located on designated spots, but sometimes they take place on one of the streets in the park. Once guests spot the character they get into line, wait patiently till it’s their turn and get a couple of minutes to shake hands, say a couple of things, get their autograph book signed and take a picture before they have to make room for the next group or family.

I remember visiting the Magic kingdom during Halloween, where Winnie the Pooh and his friends appeared in Halloween outfits. They where lined up, (about 5 characters) and guests formed a long line in front of them to get their pictures taken. It was al very organized and very neat, with new guest lining up behind the last one and never did I see anybody try to queue barge.It looks like a good an honest way to make sure every child gets their turn, but their is a down side to it too. There is no room for sporadic interactive fun.

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Coasters in Central Florida

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Disney theme parks are more than just a collection of thrill and family rides – they are a unique fantasy world featuring attractions that present thrills and laughter in highly themes environments telling unique stories. However, Disney certainly is able to provide a good adrenaline rush to those seeking it – and most families traveling to Central Florida for a visit to Walt Disney World will have at least one member that is looking for the perfect rush. So it is only fair to ask, how WDW is fairing in this regard – the major daily of the area, the Orlando Sentinel, asked its “Theme Park Ranger” Dewayne Bevil to compare the various coasters in the area and rate them.

In the category “top-tier rides” for the biggest adrenaline rush SheiKra at Bush Garden’s conquered the top spot, but WDW’s sole looping coaster, Rock’n’Roller Coater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, managed to claim the fifth rank with a ranking of 4 out of 5 in the wild or mild scale and a perfect 5 of 5 in the theming / atmosphere category. Certainly any rating and comparison has a subjective element. However, what I personally think more interesting than the actual place R’n’R conquered is one of the explanations in the article…

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Disney’s Secret “D23” Revealed Early

Friday, March 6th, 2009

d23magD23 was a little secret project of Disney which was going to be revealed on 10 March, a little over 4 days when you check the countdown clock on the official site. Nothing much was know, but speculation took place on many blogs and forums. But the secret is out a little early as some fans where able to find out what D23 stands for. D23 start out as a magazine and will be released on March 10. The magazine will be available in shops, and that’s how people found out about what D23 is. Some shop already got the first issue, together with the issue they probably also got some information on the release date and when they are allowed to sell it. Not everybody reading this information, just putting the magazine on their shelves early, and fans lucky enough to be near one of those shops got an insight on D23 early.

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