Captain EO – more CONFIRMATIONS & Dates

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

As several readers (Thank You!) of the coverage for the return of “Captain EO” to Disneyland Paris on have pointed out the official blog for the Disney Parks, operated by The Walt Disney Company, has just provided the  first official, public(!) confirmation for the return of “Captain EO” to both, EPCOT and Disneyland Paris!

The post event releases what at this point should be the official opening dates. Based on the blog guests of EPCOT will be able to visit Mickey Jackson fighting for peace and love as of July 2, while guests at Disneyland Paris only need to wait till June 12 (so even earlier than the prior rumored June 25 date). For Tokyo the opening according to the post is June 30, however, the official press release of Tokyo Disney Resort listed July 1st as opening date. (more…)

Captain EO approaching

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The musical space adventure starring Michael Jackson in the 3D movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola featuring two original songs by Michael Jackson and a score by James Horner has been attracting guests at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, USA, in droves since it returned as “Captain EO Tribute” earlier this year to replace (temporarily) the aging “Honey, I Shrunkt the Audience” movie (short: HISTA). Also reports on various websites indicate that the merchandise (even so limited in scope) is flying off the shelves.

Therefore, fans who had wondered about a possible return of the movie to the other Disney parks it originally played in were wondering, whether or when the resorts in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris would follow the lead of Anaheim. The answers are now coming in. Disneyland Paris will close its Imagination Institute showing HISTA according to a leaked internal memo on May 3rd to start the transformation and then open “Captain EO” either in mid-June or July (for details check out our coverage on

On Monday, local time, the Oriental Land Company as operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort also confirmed with a press release that it will close HISTA as of May 10th for the return of” Captain EO”. Note that the press release does only speak of “Captain EO” – the “Tribute” tag-on used by Disneyland Anaheim isn’t mentioned here (btw neither is the leaked internal memo from Disneyland Paris). While Disneyland only stated that the run of the movie would be limited, Tokyo Disney Resort announces exact dates. Apparently the show will only be featured from July 1st, 2010 till June 30th 2010. As the resort expects high guest demand and the 17 minute movie is shown in a theater with just 369 seats they will even offer FastPass service for it! For comparison: the Magic Eye Theater at Disneyland Anaheim (in which the movie plays) has seats for 575 guests, the theaters at Disneyland Paris and EPCOT each about 600 seats.

This only leaves Walt Disney World as the final remaining Disney resort in which “Captain EO” was originally featured… (more…)

More offers for those stuck in Orlando

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The flights in Europe are resuming but airlines expect it to take several days till regular operations will be fully established and all guests that were impacted by the air service interruption forced by the volcanic ash will finally be moved to their original destinations. In other words: there are still thousands of toruists worldwide stuck away from home. For those stuck in Orlando respectively the Orlando area the Tourism Bureau has collected a list of special offers as we already reported on Tuesday. In the meantime the list maintained by the bureau has grown substantially with new offers. And certainly there is something new for everyone interested in theme parks …

It all started with SeaWorld giving away free tickets for SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. In the usual game of reactions in the Orlando theme park business Disney matched the offer by SeaWorld and started offering free tickets as well (even so the offer was limited to just two dates). The only one missing in the game was the Universal Resort. But no need to be afraid – just as the three major theme park players react to each other’s price increases, Universal did react to the free theme park ticket offer for stuck international guests as well …


Stuck in Orlando?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

The volcanic ash that has been blown from Iceland across the northern half of Europe since the middle of last week has caused serious interruptions not only to the air traffic in Europe, but also to the holidays of thousands of vacationers across the globe. While many may end up missing their vacations somewhere in Europe due to the cancellation of their outbound flights at the start of the vacation (which most probably will also hurt Disneyland Paris in a year that is shaping up to be far from stellar so far) there are also thousands of Europeans stuck at their vacation destinations long past their original return date.

Being forced to extend their vacation indefinitely (as even once international flights to Europe will resume it will take up to a week according to current estimates till the regular flight schedule can be reestablished and most probably even longer till everyone has been moved back to their original destination) not only brings up the question what to do with the extra time to keep the mind of the problems caused (e.g. missed work etc.) and relieve the stress, but also the question how to finance the extra time away from home. The Orlando Tourism Bureau and its members have reacted to this by offering services and experiences to guests affected by the European air service interruptions for free or at greatly reduced rates. (more…)

Bringing Guests to WDW

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Analyzing the number of guests visiting the Disney theme parks around the globe and comparing it to guest numbers of competitors as well as closely scrutinizing the occupancy rates of the Disney hotels at its various resorts is already standard procedures for those interested in the performance of the Disney theme park business. In the past year Walt Disney World in Orlando has been of special interest considering the international performances of the economies, measures taken by the Americans to curtail their spending and the fact that the resort and its parks are first of all tourist driven and can’t rely on the local market to the extent Disneyland Anaheim can. (more…)

Live from Walt Disney World: Finally

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Magic Kingdom CastleEpcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney and finally we visited the Magic Kingdom. When people ask me about Walt Disney World and what park to visit first, I always say the Magic Kingdom. But when I visit WDW, I always end up in the Magic Kingdom last (for those following my trip reports already know Epcot is always the first park). So now we finally got to play at the Magic Kingdom.

It was busy, the busiest park of the four, but still not to bad. Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain was already valid about 1 hour later as when we got it. Most big shows like Mickey’s Philharmagic and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor where walk on! We even got to do the Haunted Mansion within a 15 minute wait. (I’ve been correcting myself the whole day calling that ride Phantom Manor instead. I guess that shows where my Disney roots are from)… We had lots of fun and time went way to fast.

We ended the day at Epcot for dinner and the always fantastic and my all time favorite Illuminations. I love that show so much, you’ll see me rambling about it more in the future. But for now I’ll call it a day, cause I am beat!

That Disney ‘Magic’

Sunday, July 26th, 2009
Epcot at Night

Epcot at Night

It had been a typical long, hot day in Orlando in July. Not the ideal day to be out at the theme parks, but work dictated we needed to do some last-minute up-dating at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and then Epcot.

It’s always a valuable exercise to do what the majority of the general public do; see it through their eyes, and feel their joys and (more importantly) frustrations. The secret of good guidebook writing (in our minds) is to approach it with the view of the end user in mind or, in this case, the thousands of Joe Tourists we are writing for.



Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

In a surprising move that came over-night for customers as well as the staff members the ESPN Zone Denver was closed effective June 29, 2009. The ESPN Zone is part of Disney Regional Entertainment and combines a sports bar and restaurant with an ESPN merchandise store as well as an arcade style area featuring in particular games that require physical action as well (more on the official website of the chain).

According to reports by the Denver Post and 9NEWS guests and staff of the ESPN Zone that had opened in December 2001 were greated by a darkened place and closed doors on which the following note had been plastered:


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.


Disney’s “Soarin'” to come to Abu Dhabi

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

“Soarin’ over California” in Disney’s California Adventure respectively it’s WDW-incarnation “Soarin'” in EPCOT has been one of the most stunning additions to the line-up of Disney theme park attractions in the last years – from a technical point of view as well as from the point of view of guest experience. The unique ride system allows guests of all ages to experience a flight over California on a huge concave screen with synchronized movements of the suspended seats simulating the experience of a hang glider flight. Even so guests frequently return over and over to re-ride “Soarin'” especially the arrival of the attraction at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, where its title was shortened to “Soarin'” made fans wonder: when will Disney pioneer a new movie for the attraction – and what will it show?

There have been rumors galore on fan-sites from “Soarin’ over the US”, to “Soarin’ over the World” or “Soarin’ over Hollywood” (complete with scenes in which guests would be soarin’ over scenes from various movies). The latter was mentioned in particular in connection with the rumor that “Soarin'” was considered as attraction for the Walt Disney Studios theme park at Disneyland Resort Paris. However, so far Disney has not confirmed any new movie for “Soarin'” – maybe because there is no need, as the current movie still generates long lines in both parks … time for the Ferrari World to step in! Ferrari World? YES – an upcoming theme park in Abu Dhabi!


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.


President Obama, the high speed rail network & Disney

Friday, April 17th, 2009

President Obama yesterday unveiled his administration’s blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines as was widely reported on US as well as international media. However, most of the reports just covered the rough plans and included the offical map as also placed next to President Obama during his presentation. That map – unfortunately, however understandable as it had to show off the lines in all off continental – didn’t allow to identify all off the cities that would be served by the high speed rail network. So the question from the point of view of The Walt Disney Company certainly must have been: what about the high speed rail lines proposed and discussed earlier in the vincinity of the two US-Disney Resorts?

The good news: both resorts would be more or less “served” by the new network!



Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

ak-01It doesn’t always have to be a restaurant or eatery, sometimes its nice just to sit somewhere and enjoy a picnic. At Animal Kingdom such picnics are offered to the guests. A great idea and something I’ll put on my list of things to do during our next family trip.

If you want to enjoy a picnic all you have to do is go to Animal Kingdom’s guest relation to order a picnic basket at least two hours before you plan to eat. Afterwards you can pick up your picnic at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery next to Tusker House, head to one of the 14 picnic spots and enjoy.

Via Orlando Sentinel.

Michael Jackson’s Disneyana Collection – AUCTION STOPPED (update!)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

mj-auction0If the money is gone, you have to start selling some of your things. It can happen to the best of us, even Michael Jackson, the king of pop. After already selling his ranch Michael has no other option to sell some of his private collection so he can pay his bills. In this collection, as was to be expected, are a lot of Disneyana to be found. Browsing the catalog some amazing Disney things popped up. So if you have a couple of left over dollars, maybe something is in the collection for you. Although, I must admit, I don’t think “left over dollars” will be enough as most of the items are big, some of them are very rare and all of them will go for top dollars.


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…