Destination D 2018 Ends With Exciting Announcements

Along with all of the celebration of all that is Mickey Mouse and his 90th Birthday, there were a number of exciting announcements about the future of the Disney Parks in the United States

Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek earlier today revealed that the names of the two signature attractions set for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens in Disneyland next summer and at Walt Disney World in fall 2019 will be Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Guests can take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Here is the video that Chapek played at Destination D when he announced this attraction.

And on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, guests will join an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, including a face-off with Kylo Ren.

And this footage of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was shot inside the actual attraction.

Of course when you think about Star Wars, the iconic music of legendary composer John Williams comes to mind. After announcing the new attractions Chapek also announced that Oscar-winning composer John Williams is creating new and original Star Wars themes exclusively for the land! The all-new music is being recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. Here is a preview of the music along with  construction progress at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Chapek also announced that a new Beauty and the Beast sing-along attraction will be coming to Epcot’s France pavilion.

This attraction will be using the existing theater, and playing in addition to Impressions de France.  The brand new attraction is being created by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action Beauty and the Beast films.

Also announced for Epcot was  a new nighttime spectacular that is planned to open at the park in 2020. This new show will celebrate how Disney music inspires people around the world, and will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers.

Before this new show opens, there will be a limited-time experience, called “Epcot Forever,” which will debut in fall 2019 after Illuminations closes and will feature classic Epcot tunes.

“Epcot Forever” will begin with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.

The last announcement for Epcot was the name of the “Ratatouille” experience coming to the France pavilion, which will be called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

This attraction which is based on the popular attraction found at Disneyland Paris is still some way off from its Walt Disney World debut.  Right now Disney is saying that it will have a Spring 2020 opening.

Chapek also announced that an all-new cinematic nighttime experience, “Wonderful World of Animation,”  will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in May 2019, as part of the park’s 30th anniversary celebration.

The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey himself.

Also announced for Disneyland was Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration, which will feature new entertainment, food and merchandise. On January 18, “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will light up the night at Disneyland  with all-new music, projections and lasers that set the scene for an epic dance party that takes over almost the entire park.

Chapek also shared that the beloved Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is set to return to Disneyland park in January 2019, with a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

The party will get even bigger when the fan-favorite Mickey’s Soundsational Parade returns to the resort in January 2019 featuring a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

Also coming to the Magic Kingdom will be Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration.   The celebration will run from January 18 to September 30, 2019.  Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will feature new food, merchandise and entertainment, including a new dance party with Mickey, Minnie and their friends

During his presentation, Chapek unveiled details about Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge.  This will be a deluxe, nature-inspired resort that will feature more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas.

Not to be left out, Celebrate Your Favorite Mouse with Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Party at Sea will be coming to Disney Cruise Line  next summer.

It certainly sounds like a fun day of announcements.  I only wish I could have been there to experience all of the excitement live in person.

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Disney Announces Performer Line Ups for Holiday TV Specials

Halloween is over, November is here and Disney has announced the performer line ups for the upcoming Holiday TV Specials that will be broadcast on ABC and the Disney Channel.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration

“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” premieres Thursday, November 29, from 9–11 PM EST on The ABC Television Network and on the ABC app. Join singer, songwriter and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” host Jordan Fisher and “Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland as they host the magical two-hour event from Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. Joined by Disneyland host Jesse Palmer, Disney Parks and ABC will kick off the holiday season with a star-studded prime-time celebration showcasing incredible musical performances, special appearances and Disney magical moments including an extraordinary castle lighting spectacular from Disney Parks around the world – traveling the globe from Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and Anaheim, California, to Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Musical performances include the following stars:

  • Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning superstar, Gwen Stefani lights up the night with “Feliz Navidad.”
  • GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter Meghan Trainor performs a medley of her hits.
  • CMA Award-winning country artist Brett Eldredge, joined by Meghan Trainor, sing the classic holiday duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from Eldredge’s album “Glow.”
  • Andrea Bocelli shares his unmistakable voice, singing a Christmas classic; then Andrea is joined by his son, Matteo Bocelli, to perform their beautiful new duet, “Fall on Me” from Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
  • Jordan Fisher performs his Christmas hit, “Come December.”
  • GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Aloe Blacc performs his debut single, “I Got Your Christmas Right Here,” from his first-ever holiday album, “Christmas Funk,” out November 9.
  • American Idol winner Maddie Poppe sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
  • Chart-topping, breakout music group Why Don’t We performs a medley of the classic “Silent Night” and their original holiday song “Hey Good Lookin.”

Disney Parks Presents a 25 Days of Christmas Holiday Party

“Disney Parks Presents a 25 Days of Christmas Holiday Party” kicks off Friday, November 23 in the DisneyNOW app and Saturday, December 1, from 8-8:30 PM EST on Disney Channel. Hosted by Jordan Fisher and Disney Channel’s “Coop & Cami Ask the World” stars Ruby Rose Turner and Dakota Lotus, this festive half-hour special will feature star-studded musical performances and special appearances by Disney Channel stars Booboo Stewart (Disney’s “Descendants 3”), Kylee Russell (Disney Channel Original Movie “ZOMBIES”), Sadie Stanley (Disney Channel Original Movie “Kim Possible”) and Sean Giambrone (Disney Channel Original Movie “Kim Possible,” ABC’s “The Goldbergs”). Stanley and Giambrone will take viewers behind the scenes of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, where guests will experience the world of Pixar’s “Cars” films and come face-to-face with Lightning McQueen. The experience rolls into Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in spring 2019.

Musical performances include:

  • Gwen Stefani sings the holiday classic “Let It Snow.”
  • Brett Eldredge performs “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”
  • Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” star Asher Angel rocks out to “Last Christmas.”
  • Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES” star Meg Donnelly brings tropical cheer with her performance of “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade

“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airs on Tuesday, December 25, from 10 AM until 12 PM EST and 9-11 AM CST/MST/PST on ABC and on the ABC app. Airtimes may vary, so be sure to check local listings.

This Christmas, Disney Parks celebrates the joy of the season as hosts Jordan Fisher and Sarah Hyland share this magical holiday tradition with families around the globe. Co-hosted by Jesse Palmer, the Christmas Day celebration will be merrier than ever before, bringing together the adored Christmas Day parade, special musical performances, surprise celebrity guests and heartwarming family stories to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Joining the festivities as parade correspondents are Freeform’s “grown-ish” actor Trevor Jackson and star of Freeform’s upcoming series “Good Trouble,” Cierra Ramirez.

Musical performances include the following:

  • Gwen Stefani performs “Winter Wonderland” from her Christmas album, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”
  • Brett Eldredge sings the holiday classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
  • Andrea Bocelli sings the incredibly moving “Ave Maria”; then Andrea is joined by his son, Matteo Bocelli, to perform “White Christmas.”
  • Host Jordan Fisher performs “This Christmas.”
  • Aloe Blacc performs “Tell Your Mama” from his first holiday album, “Christmas Funk,” out November 9.
  • Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” star and Hollywood Records artist Olivia Holt sings a holiday tune.
  • American Idol winner Maddie Poppe celebrates the season with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
  • Disney’s dynamic a cappella group DCappella performs the popular Christmas hit “Last Christmas.”
  • Why Don’t We performs “Kiss You This Christmas” from their holiday album, “A Why Don’t We Christmas.”

Sneak Peak of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Coming to Disney Parks in November

If you’re excited for ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and going to be in Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort soon, you’re in luck.  Today Disney announced for a limited time you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of the movie beginning in November.

Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get to see this advance look at a portion of the film, starting Friday, November 2, as part of the Walt Disney Presents attraction.

At Disneyland, the preview of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be shown in 3D at the Tomorrowland Theater. This limited sneak peek experience will be presented by Mailchimp at Disneyland Resort, November 9 – December 9.

In the movie Ralph and Vanellope leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade in an attempt to save her game. This quest takes Ralph and Vanellope to the vast world of the inter webs…a world Vanellope seems to wholeheartedly embrace, making Ralph worried that he may lose his best friend.

It doesn’t look like this sneak peak will be around for long, so if this interests you and you’ll be in the parks at the time, I encourage you to give it a visit.

Walt Disney World Announces Plans to Build New Nature-Themed Resort

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced plans to build a nature-inspired resort along the shores of Bay Lake.  The new resort will be located between Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on land that previously was the long time closed River Country water park.

The deluxe resort will be themed to complement its natural surroundings.

Disney said the new resort, which has not yet been named, will open in 2022.  The new resort will include 900 hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas.

“Walt Disney World is in the midst of our most significant expansion in the last two decades and the combined 1,700 new hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas we are building at four different resorts will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs and will drive economic opportunity and incremental revenue for Central Florida,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We continue to add new attractions, new lands — and these beautiful accommodations will be right in the heart of all that magic.”

The resort has not been named as of yet will be Disney’s 16th Disney Vacation Club property.

“This resort experience will be a celebration of Walt Disney’s lifelong love and respect for nature, with some fun and even surprising accommodation types that families will find irresistible,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “It will give our members and guests yet another opportunity to stay in close proximity to all the newest attractions and experiences in our theme parks, and with the flexibility, value and world-class service families expect from Disney.”

 

 

 

Walt Disney World to Introduce New Online Vacation Planning Site and Identical Single Day Ticket Pricing for All Parks

Yesterday Walt Disney World announced that beginning October 16th that they will be launching a new vacation planning site to help guests purchase date-based tickets.

In the announcement Disney stated –

“With all there is to see and do in our parks, we know guests are increasingly looking for easier ways to plan a vacation with personalized options that fit their individual needs. Beginning October 16 on DisneyWorld.com, guests will be able to access our new online vacation-planning destination and purchase tickets priced by the date of visit. These changes are designed to simplify the booking experience, give guests an enhanced way to purchase theme park tickets and help them more easily plan the Disney vacation of their dreams”

While Disney has not stated this, presumably this is being done to make it easier for people trying to book and plan a vacation to Walt Disney World by streamlining the now disjointed process by guiding people through the process on a single website as opposed to navigating through the abundance of dropdown menus on Walt Disney World’s current site.  The fact that there is no mention of the fact that date-based pricing that was announce a while ago and has been the pricing practice for the Disneyland Resort for a while now and that they seem to emphasize the planning process seems to verify this.  Personally I’m skeptical that this process will be as “streamlined” as Disney professes.  Disney has a history of making complicated processes even more complicated.  That’s on top of their history of having technical issues and outages.

Here is the video that Disney is using to explain the new site.

What also was not mentioned in the announcement but has been found out is that as of October 16th Walt Disney World will begin pricing all four of it’s theme parks at the same price for single day tickets.  This will eliminate the Magic Kingdom premium, and raising the price of the other three parks to match the ticket price for the Magic Kingdom.

Beginning in the summer of 2013, the Magic Kingdom carried a premium price, putting it at around $5 more than the other three theme parks. The new pricing will now put all four Walt Disney World theme parks between $109 and $129, depending on the season that they will be used.

Currently one-day tickets for Epcot, Studios and Animal Kingdom are between $102 and $122.

With the impending opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World in late fall 2019, the launch of the new planning site seems to make sense due to the anticipated increased bookings of vacations.

What seems odd about the same price for all parks beginning in October is that much of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still under construction due to the new Star Wars land.  While the price difference between parks doesn’t seem like a lot, the fact that the Studios is barely a full-day park, Disney is expecting guests to pay the same daily ticket price as the other parks.  Maybe Disney is thinking that the Magic Kingdom Premium was too difficult for guests to figure out and this just makes things easier.  If that’s the case, I don’t have as big of an issue with the change and after all we’re only talking about a few dollars a day.  The premium really didn’t seem to change crowd distribution between the parks much anyway.

It will be interesting to see what if any affect this will have on bookings and guest satisfaction.

Disney Cruise Line Plans to Build Miami Terminal for Year-Round Cruises

According to Travel Weekly, Disney Cruise Line has agreed to sail a ship of at least 3,500 passengers out of Miami on a year-round basis starting in 2023.

The agreement which was approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission on September 6, will give Disney the first rights to build a new terminal on the south side of the port to the east of the existing Terminal J, which currently caters to small cruise ships.

Disney Cruise Line is expected to begin year-round four-day and five-day cruises from Miami in 2023.  Disney is expected to followed this with the addition of a second, seasonal ship in January 2024 that would sail three-day and four-day cruises.

As reported earlier Disney is currently building three ships scheduled for delivery in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

With this announcement Disney Cruise Line would join Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International a year-round operator out of Miami.

The agreement will guarantee the PortMiami at least 360,000 Disney passenger movements per year starting in 2023. The agreement would yield the county-run port $7.2 million a year.

Disney has cruised seasonally from Miami in the past and plans to bring the 2,700 passenger Disney Magic to PortMiami starting December 4th.

According to reports the construction of a new terminal on the port’s south side depends on widening the ship channel and turning basin on that side of the port along with the acquisition of cargo land currently under lease to Seaboard Marine.

If construction is deemed non-viable or unsuitable, Disney and the port will reportedly explore options on port’s the north side, where all of the larger cruise ships currently dock.

Many cruise line experts have wondered for a while if Disney Cruise Line was exploring other ports for year-round cruises once the new ships were announced in 2017.  There have also been rumors that Disney is looking for another private island to stop at because Castaway Cay has been talked about as being at or nearing capacity with the current line of ships.

Even though the new ships are a ways off…for fans of the Disney Cruise Line and their cruises, at least for me, this brings the new ships even closer to reality.

Walt Disney World Announces New Dates for ‘Disney After Hours’ for Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World announced earlier today that ‘Disney After Hours’ will continue for the Magic Kingdom into the winter of 2018 and into 2019, with dates available from December 3, 2018 until March 7, 2019.

As before, when attending this event guests can get in as early as 7 PM to experience the fireworks before hitting more than 25 attractions and experiences with little to no wait!  The event also includes complimentary ice cream novelties and beverages.

The new dates and times are:

  • December 3: 10 PM – 1 AM
  • December 10: 10 PM – 1 AM
  • January 7: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 17: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 24: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 28: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • February 7: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • February 14: 9 PM – 12 AM
  • February 28: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • March 7: 9 PM – 12 AM

The cost of the event has risen by $6, and is now $125 plus tax for ages 3+ with advance purchase, or $129 for day of. Passholders and DVC can get a discounted rate of $95 for an advance purchase. Theme park admission is not required.

I have not had to attend a ‘Disney After Hours’ event yet, though it looks like one of the new dates might be during my next trip.  This is definitely something I am considering.  Everyone that I know who has gone has loved the event.

You can purchase tickets by calling 407-827-7185 or by going online.

Disney Announces Oga’s Cantina Coming to Galaxy’s Edge

Disney has given us another glimpse into what Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be like yesterday when it announced that Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Galaxy’s Edge in 2019.

According to Scott Trowbridge of Walt Disney Imaginering, “Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.”

In describing the cantina, Trowbridge added, “Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!”

According to the announcement, the musical entertainment will be provided by an old friend of ours, RX-24, the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid from Star Tours. Captain Rex has re-envisioned himself as the cantina’s quirky and talkative DJ.

Trowbridge encourages guests to be ready to listen to some unique music, taste the best drinks in the galaxy, and be surrounded with a colorful cast of characters.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a totally immersive experience and Oga’s Cantina certainly seems to be following that promise, making it what seems like a must-see experience for guests.

Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Disneyland New Upscale Hotel Indefinitely Put On Hold

According to the Orange County Register the new hotel that was planned to begin construction at Anaheim’s Downtown Disney last month has been indefinitely put on hold after Disney and the City of Anaheim could not agree over the terms of the development.

From previous reports the new upscale hotel had been slated to have 700 rooms spread over the west end of Downtown Disney. This included the site of the former Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone sports bar and restaurant, the AMC Theatres and the popular Earl of Sandwich restaurant, which closed in June to make way for the new construction.

Construction had been expected to start July 1.  The new hotel was scheduled to open in 2021, making it the fourth Disney-owned hotel at the Disneyland Resort.

According to the Orange County Register, Disney pulled the project because  they could not reach an agreement with the City of Anaheim over terms under which the hotel was to be constructed.

Disney’s move was in response to an August 6 letter in which Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabela told Disney that a change in the site plan would make the hotel ineligible for expected tax incentive rebates.

“Given the city’s position that our project does not comply with the requirements of the Agreement, you have given us no other choice other than to put construction of the hotel on indefinite hold,” David Ontko, chief counsel for Disneyland Resort and International Parks & Resorts wrote to the city attorney Wednesday.

It was unclear late Thursday whether the city would revisit the issue, now that the hotel has been removed from the planning agenda.

What is not known is how this development will affect any construction already under way and the what will happen with locations that formerly housed the above restaurants and theater.

 

 

TRON Attraction Update: Walt Disney World Railroad & Tomorrowland Speedway Operations to be Affected

Last summer at the D23 Expo Disney announced plans for a  TRON-style attraction that would be added to Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom and would open sometime in 2021.

The new attraction will be located in an entirely new area next to Space Mountain.

If you weren’t already excited about this new attraction, Disney has updated us with some related adjustments to two nearby attractions,meaning construction is now getting serious.  According to Disney, both the Walt Disney World Railroad and The Tomorrowland Speedway operations will be interrupted during the construction of the new TRON coaster.

The Walt Disney World Railroad will temporarily take up residence at the Main Street Station starting sometime this December, pausing its grand-circle tours of Magic Kingdom. During this time, guests will be able to get an up-close look at the railroad and take advantage of one-of-a-kind photo opportunities.

The Tomorrowland Speedway will also close for a portion of 2019, as the track is adjusted for the new attraction.  The railroad will reopen in the summer of 2019.

The new Tron attraction which will debut in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021, is based on TRON Lightcycle Power Run that is located at Shanghai Disneyland.

The TRON Lightcycle Power Run debuted on Shanghai Disneyland’s opening day and quickly became the highest-rated attraction at the park.

I personally cannot wait for this attraction.  I was excited when the announcement was made at the D23 Expo and now that construction has moved along far enough for them to start moving or adjusting portions of the nearby existing attractions I’m getting even more excited.

If you were planning on being in Walt Disney World while the operations of the Speedway and the Walt Disney World Railroad will be affected please be aware of the adjusted operations.