Disney to Expand Star Wars Presence

Not to be outdone by Universal, Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced that the company is planning a much larger Star Wars presence among its theme parks.

It’s all coming on the heels of the new Star Wars movies, beginning with Episode VII at the end of next year.

Disney’s themed lands designed around films such as Toy Story (in Hong Kong and Paris) and Cars Land (In California) have become very popular.

Disney, Avatar

Concept art for Avatar from Disney.

An Avatar-inspired land is being built in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Ground was broken in January 2014 with opening planned for 2017. According to Disney officials: 

The area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in partnership with “AVATAR” creator James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney park. Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.

Exactly how Disney expects to amp up the Star Wars presence has not been announced, although Disneyland’s Tomorrowland “features a revamped version of Star Tours, which takes riders on a 3D motion-simulated ride across the Star Was Universe.”

So will we see Mickey and Minnie in space suits?

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Celebrate Halloween, Christmas Aboard Disney Cruise Line

Looking to go beyond the typical trick or treat or ho-hum ho-ho-ho?

Disney Cruise Line has themed offerings aboard its ships that are sure to add a kick to your holidays.

Matt Mauney of the Orlando Sentinel reports on the details.

continue reading »

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Cool Off With Disney’s ‘Frozen Summer Fun’

Update: Disney has announced that it won’t “Let It Go” until Sept. 24.

Here’s the schedule for the extended “Frozen Summer Fun (per Orlando My Way):

Through Sept. 28, the schedule of “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” will remain the same, with the exception of the “Frozen Fireworks” spectacular. The fireworks show will be presented each night (except Aug. 23)  though Sept. 1, and then on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from September 5-28.

Without a doubt, Disney’s Frozen is enchanting just about everyone – from dads accompanying their daughters singing “Let It Go” in viral videos to those looking to “cool down” at Walt Disney World this summer. continue reading »

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New VIP Tours at Walt Disney World Resort

viptou189377-613x473Walt Disney World Resort is upping the ante by offering two new VIP tours.

“The Ultimate Day of Thrills – A VIP Tour Experience” and “The Ultimate Day for Young Families – A VIP Tour Experience,” which is designed for young children, each cost $299 person.

The tours last 6 to 7 hours and encompass about 10 attractions at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Expedition Everest. A meal at a Disney table-service restaurant is also part of the package.

There will be one tour guide for each group of 10 people. The tours can be scheduled for Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. A 15 percent discount is available for Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney VISA Cardholders and Annual Passholders. A Magic Your Way Park Hopper is required for admission

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Aaron Wallace Dishes on Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show

Elisa Goldman interviewing Aaron Wallace.

JeniLynn Knopp interviews Aaron Wallace. Note the copy of Hidden Mickeys in the upper left-hand corner.

Aaron Wallace, author of The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World, shared some insight into the inspiration behind his book in an interview with JeniLynn Knopp for Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show.

In writing the book, Aaron said he wanted to treat the theme park rides the same way as works of art. “We look at film and literature as works of art… why can’t we look at theme park rides the same way?

“You love something more when you know more about it … I believe you learn to love something so much more and appreciate it on a deeper level when you know more about it.” He challenges people who already love the attractions to dig deeper and ask why they love them… what is it that resonates on a deeper level?

Aaron also looks beyond the superficially saccharine nature of “it’s a small world,” which, he said, uses techniques of hypnosis to achieve an altered level of consciousness and to impart this bold racial racial message — it’s an optimistic  look at the the way the world existed at the time – 1964 – and how the world might change, then linking it to today’s sociopolitical climate. “It all comes together,” he says.

The complete interview can be found here.

 

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Ticket Prices Rise at Disneyland

So you’re heading to Disneyland this summer. Along with packing your copies of Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys and Lots To Do In Line Disneyland, pack a few extra dollars.

Prices at Disneyland Resort increased as of May 18, and are now headed toward the $100 mark for a single day admission to Disneyland or California Adventure.

A Day Pass to either park increased to $96 from $92. The One Day Parkhopper, which covers both Disneyland and California Adventure Park has jumped to $150, up from $137. The previous increase took place last June. Parking also increased by $1 to $17.

Walt Disney World raised its prices in February with one-day admission hitting $99.

Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider provides a list of the different admission options with their old and new prices, plus dollar and percentage increases.

Industry insiders are betting on when the $100 threshhold will be reached with expectation that it won’t happen until 2015. That’s not so far away.

 

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Bart Scott on Chicago’s WGN-TV

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.18.10 AMSpreading the word that Walt Disney World is indeed a manly man’s paradise, Bart Scott, author of Ears of Steel, shared his tips for a successful WDW experience on WGN-TV’s Morning News.

The biggest take-home from the interview is that you shouldn’t cut corners — it’s a special experience that the family will remember for a lifetime.

First, he recommends staying on property, for the accessibility and convenience.

Next, with a clip of the Richard Petty Experience in the background, he says to try something new. (This is no time to be a shrinking violet.)

The best time to go to WDW? Bart says to avoid summer and the holidays and go in the fall, September. (“School is for suckers,” he quips.) There are no lines and the weather is great.

Bart also endorses the use of Fast Passes, Magic Bands, and the various smart phone apps as convenient ways to access the parks’ attractions.

Finally he says don’t obsess about money. “You’re getting great value.”

Bart also tipped his hat to the Disney travel agents. “They’re insane Disney nuts! They’re the ones you really want… they can fix anything!”

Check out the full interview here.

 

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Hits 25

25-jpg

Photo from Disney Parks blog.

What started out as Disney-MGM Studios has grown into a fun-filled attraction that celebrates Disney’s influence in movie history.

The name was changed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008. At the time WDW President Meg Crofton said, ”the new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today’s Hollywood has to offer—in music, television, movies and theater.” continue reading »

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Walt Disney World Named Favorite Theme Park

For the 11th year, Walt Disney World has been voted “Favorite Theme Park” in the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s survey. Ongoing for 28 years, the survey is the oldest of its type, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, came in second in that category for the fourth year.

Walt Disney World was also named second in the “Most Beautiful Park” category. It’s held that place since 2005. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, is first.

Heading for Walt Disney World or Disneyland this summer? The Intrepid Traveler’s Disney books are sure to be the best companions for enjoying the parks.

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Meet and Greet at Disneyland

Photo from YouTube.

Photo from YouTube.

It goes without saying that the biggest thrill for kids at the Disney parks is getting up close and personal with the characters. What 4-year-old wouldn’t love to have his photo taken with Captain Hook and what princess wannabe wouldn’t love to share a hug with Snow White?

Rachel Poletick shares some tips at insidethemagic.net. continue reading »

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