New Show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Feature Russell, Dug from Disney•Pixar’s ‘UP’

Today Walt Disney World announced an all-new show coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Spring 2018 featuring Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar’s “UP.”

Beginning just in time for the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom next year, this new experience will offer guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur village. There will be “UP” close encounters each day with amazing winged creatures!

As you plan ahead, we also wanted to let you know that in order to begin to prepare for the new show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, December 31, 2017 will be the final showing of Flights of Wonder. Until the end of this month, you can still experience Flights of Wonder at the park.

From The Disney Parks Blog

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‘Coco’ Scores Box-Office Three-Peat as Disney Looks to Dominate December

In 2016, Disney won out the final six weeks of calendar box-office reports with a strategy for domination: End the year with a family-friendly animated film starring a young hero’s journey, followed by a “Star Wars” title.

Disney’s “Moana” topped the box office for three straight domestic weekends starting in November last year, immediately followed by the weekend three-peat of Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in December.

This year, Disney looks to have an identical finishing kick.

Disney/Pixar’s animated “Coco,” which opened during Thanksgiving week, won the North American box office for the third straight weekend, grossing $18.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Final numbers are due Monday afternoon.

“Coco” has now grossed $135.5 million domestically and $389.5 million worldwide, including breakout numbers in China and Mexico. (The film, which centers on the Day of the Dead, has grossed nearly as much in China as in North America.)

Trailing “Coco” over the domestic weekend were “Justice League” ($9.6 million), “Wonder” ($8.5 million), “The Disaster Artist” ($6.4 million) and “Thor: Ragnarok” ($6.3 million).

Disney/Marvel’s “Ragnarok” was a two-time box-office champ in November, so if the forthcoming “Star Wars” film holds to recent franchise form, then Disney will have won eight of the year’s final nine weekends (interrupted only by “Justice League” in mid-November).

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opens on Friday, is expected to gross more than $200 million in its domestic debut. Disney already owns six of the seven biggest North American openings ever when not adjusting for inflation, led by 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($248 million).

And “The Last Jedi” should rapidly put the entire “Star Wars” franchise over the $8 billion mark in worldwide box office.

From The Washington Post

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival Expands to Six Weeks in 2018

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will return March 2 through April 12, 2018, bringing delicious cuisine, specialty beverages and exciting entertainment to Disneyland Resort guests for its third season. The culinary festival will expand to six weeks, with more days for guests to enjoy the flavors of the Golden State.

More than a dozen Festival Marketplaces will feature California-inspired tastes and sips. Guests will experience presentations and demonstrations with celebrity chefs such as Robert Irvine and Alex Guarnaschelli; food and beverage tastings; winemaker dinners; beer, wine and spirit seminars – all in addition to live music, entertainment and special activities throughout the festival.

The festival’s signature events will include new experiences such as the Disney Family of Wines Dinner, as well as returning favorites like Sweet Sundays and the Winemaker or Brewmaster Dinners. Another guest-favorite returning to the festival is the Junior Chef experience, with hands-on fun led by Chef Goofy, for children ages 3 to 11.

 

Additional fees required for the signature events and certain seminars. Separate admission to Disney California Adventure Park is required and is not included with the cost of such events. Space is limited for all ticketed events; advance reservations are recommended. Guests must be 21 years of age or over to consume alcohol and to participate in some events; valid photo ID required. Events and demonstrations are subject to restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.

From The Disney Parks Blog

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Unveils Magical, Hotel-Wide Renovation

An exciting, hotel-wide refurbishment brings new magic to the deluxe Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort, with completely redesigned guest rooms plus a refreshed lobby, pool area and concierge-level lounge. The most extensive refurbishment since the hotel’s 2001 opening elevates the premium guest experience and brings a contemporary approach to the Arts & Crafts design style.

Named a AAA Four Diamond hotel by the Automobile Club of Southern California for the sixteenth year in a row, the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the first Disney resort hotel in the world to be located inside a theme park.

“Our renovation brings an even more upscale experience to this iconic Southern California hotel, while staying committed to its signature Arts & Crafts design,” said Dan Coleman, General Manager of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. “We want our guests to enjoy the unique experience of staying in a Disney hotel that’s distinctly situated in beautiful California. The revitalized design helps convey this feeling and allows us to continue exceeding guest expectations.”

Guest Rooms

Every single element in the redesigned guest rooms is new—from flooring and walls, to furnishings and bathrooms. Upon entry, guests will notice beautiful hardwood-inspired flooring transitioning into soft, bright-toned carpeting. Linens and pillows are restyled in a bright, white palette and upgraded bathrooms include new fixtures. The room decor features all-new furniture made of quarter-sawn oak, specially designed for each room, as well as California-inspired artwork.

The headboards are made of quarter-sawn oak, a hallmark of Craftsman design, which frame a blossoming orange tree mural overhead—with mischievous Chip n’ Dale playing in the branches. When guests open the sleeper bed (available in select rooms), artwork of Bambi, along with other woodland creatures, bid them goodnight.

Countertops of the room’s desk, dresser and coffee station incorporate pieces of green glass from wine bottles, creating a beautiful, unique surface. Above the coffee bar, textured copper detailing adds depth to the aesthetic of the room while enforcing the Craftsman story.

Lastly, all rooms are powered with the latest technological features and premium amenities, including 55-inch smart TVs, Keurig coffee makers and built-in USB chargers. In addition, many rooms offer breathtaking views of Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney District, the lively avenue with unique restaurants, interesting shops and dynamic entertainment venues.

 

Great Hall Lobby

The already stunning six-story Great Hall lobby has been upgraded with new, stylish furnishings and design elements. To complement the existing Arts and Crafts motif, new contemporary designs can be found throughout the furniture pieces, upholstery, woodwork and carpeting.

Custom tete-a-tete chairs provide interesting design and function, while boldly upholstered sofa and chair pairings offer a comfortable, welcoming setting. Coffee tables and lamp fixtures nicely complement the space, and leather-topped stools showcase hidden Mickey details. The redesigned space is perfect for lounging with family, relaxing with a glass of wine from the Hearthstone Lounge, or simply admiring the lobby’s focal point—the cavernous fireplace and its roaring fire.

The Veranda

The concierge-level lounge has a new name—The Veranda—and a new design that draws inspiration from the architectural and furniture designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a visionary of the Arts & Crafts movement in Glasgow, United Kingdom. New hardwood flooring, custom-designed rugs, finely-crafted artisanal furniture and specially-commissioned art adds to the sophisticated tone of the lounge. Club-level guests may enjoy complimentary refreshments, as well as views of park fireworks in this exclusive setting.

Pool Deck

Each of the three pools have been redesigned with a variety of natural stones and brick to not only create a warm and welcoming environment, but also define the distinct pool settings. In keeping with the Arts and Crafts style of the hotel, the stone work was hand-laid by master stone masons.

Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa is located inside Disney California Adventure Park, providing guests with a special entrance to the theme park. Food and beverage options at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel include the award-winning Napa Rose, as well as character dining at Storytellers Cafe and the cozy Hearthstone Lounge. Guests staying at Disneyland Resort hotels also enjoy Extra Magic Hour*, which provides early entry to select Disneyland or Disney California Adventure attractions (valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key required).

*Extra Magic Hour valid for registered Disneyland® Resort Hotel Guests for admission to select attractions at either Disneyland® Park or Disney California Adventure® Park before the applicable Park opens to the general public. Check Disneyland.com for schedule of when each Park offers Extra Magic Hour. Applicable Theme Park, days and times of operation and attraction and service availability may vary and are subject to change without notice. Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.

Bob Iger Could Stay at Disney Beyond 2019 if 21st Century Fox Deal Happens

Walt Disney has already delayed the departure of longtime chairman and CEO Bob Iger a few times. But if a much-hyped (and, currently, only rumored) acquisition of 21st Century Fox actually does happen, then Iger reportedly could extend his tenure beyond his currently planned July 2019 retirement date.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Disney’s board is likely to extend Iger’s contract once more if the company’s reported negotiations to buy a large chunk of Fox’s entertainment assets do, in fact, result in a deal. Rumors that Disney may be talking to Fox about acquiring most of the latter’s movie and cable TV assets, including its valuable regional sports networks, first popped up in early November. Now, reports peg the value of a potential deal at anywhere from $40 billion to $60 billion, based on anonymous sources, with the companies possibly set to reach a final agreement as soon as next week.

In March, Disney’s board officially extended Iger’s contract until July 2019, marking the third (at that time) postponement of his planned retirement from the company. The chief executive, who took the reins at Disney in 2005, had most recently been set to retire in the summer of 2018. The main reason for Iger sticking around has been Disney’s inability to name an heir apparent, though Fox’s James Murdoch is now being floated as a potential successor if the deal is finalized.

Disney is coming off a recent fourth quarter that fell short of Wall Street’s earnings expectations, marked by the continuing struggles of the company’s television unit. Meanwhile, the company is looking to mount a huge challenge on the streaming front, with plans to launch two standalone streaming services—one dedicated to live sports and another for movies and TV—over the next two years. So, it’s possible that Disney would prefer for Iger to stick around a bit longer to oversee the aftermath of a potential megadeal and the packaging of Fox’s vast entertainment assets with Disney’s for the two streaming services.

From Fortune

Disney Reveals Details of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Transformation

In January Disney announced that Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World would undergo some transformations. Today Disney shared new colorful details about those enhancements debuting late this summer!

Old Port Royale at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be reimagined as the port of entry where guests will check in before embarking on their island vacation. This centralized location will offer resort guests more convenient access to services, amenities and dining, including an all-new Centertown Market for casual eats, an all-new Shutters restaurant offering waterfront dining adjacent to the new Banana Cabana outdoor bar and lounge, and Calypso Trading Post for shopping.

Centertown Market will be expanded and enclosed, creating a quick-service restaurant with an indoor street market vibe. Guests will enter the space under a large palapa-like structure, accented with glowing colored light pendants made from glass bottles. The market will feature open shutters, wooden light posts, awnings, ornamentation and unique seating areas. Guests will also have access to the Grab n’ Go market for a specialty coffee and quick bites.

Shutters, a Caribbean-inspired table-service restaurant, will be located on the waterfront of Old Port Royale, transporting guests to a beachfront home in the tropical islands. Large open shutters will allow the sun to cast a warm light into the space adorned with handmade items that appear as they’ve been found on the islands. Leaves and floral design motifs will fill the space, celebrating the natural beauty of the Caribbean.

A festive poolside bar, Banana Cabana will be a great place to gather for food and drinks, immersing guests into the fun and relaxation of island life. Cabana-style drapes will flank seating areas and re-purposed steel drums will illuminate a central communal table made from a wooden boat.

Forget something? No worries! With its history of being the port’s import and export facility, Calypso Trading Post will offer shoppers Disney merchandise and other vacation essentials.

From the Disney Parks Blog

Disney Announces Performer Line-Up for Epcot International Festival of the Arts Broadway Series

Walt Disney World has announced the performer line-up for the 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Disney on Broadway Series.

The Disney on Broadway Series takes place on Fridays through Mondays at the America Gardens Theatre, with showtimes at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 PM, and is included with theme park admission. Dining packages with reserved seating are also available.

The performer line-up is:

  • January 12-15 and 19-22: New this year, Kara Lindsay will join returning performer Kevin Massey, performing songs from Tarzan, Aladdin, Newsies, and Frozen.
  • January 26-29 and February 2-5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White, performing songs from Tarzan, The Lion King, Aida, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid.
  • February 9-12 and 16-19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland, performing songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Newsies, and Frozen.

Disney Announces Memorable New Story Elements that Add to the Fun at the Pixar Play Parade During Pixar Fest Celebration

Pixar Play Parade returns April 13 to the Disneyland Resort – this time, at Disneyland! Part of the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration, this delightful parade will bring even more of your favorite Pixar stories to life with the addition of three new story elements.

The parade will begin as all Pixar films have, with an appearance by the iconic and adorable Pixar Lamp. Rolling ahead of the famous lamp will be the familiar yellow Pixar Ball, making a cameo in Pixar Play Parade, as it has in many Pixar films.

Also joining the parade are characters from the beloved film, “Up.” Wilderness Explorer Russell will appear astride the colorful flightless bird, Kevin, with Carl Fredricksen and Dug following behind amid green foliage and snipe chicks, with Carl’s tethered house floating above.

Another popular Pixar story coming to Pixar Play Parade is “Inside Out.” Perched atop colorful memory orbs, Joy and Sadness take flight aboard Bing Bong’s rocket wagon, with Bing Bong himself cheering them on!

Don’t miss these new story elements and the return of Pixar Play Parade, beginning April 13 at Disneyland park.

From the Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District to Get New Dining , Retail and Entertainment in Early 2018

Lots of exciting changes are arriving at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in early 2018! With new dining and entertainment experiences, here’s a peek at what to expect at the beginning of next year.

The new, groundbreaking hyper-reality experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB and The VOID, will transport guests deep into the Star Wars universe, walking freely and untethered throughout the multisensory experience with friends and family. In groups of four, teams will go undercover as stormtroopers to capture Imperial intelligence vital to the budding rebellion’s survival. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will open on January 5, 2018. Tickets available now at TheVOID.com.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a dynamic recreation destination offering a unique combination of dining, drinks, bowling and entertainment. The Downtown Disney District location will feature 20 bowling lanes interspersed throughout the location, four dining areas (indoors and out), more than 25 flat screen TVs, and the ability to host both live performers and DJs. Splitsville will open in early 2018.

Also, D-Street will close on January 2 and reopen in early 2018 as a reimagined retail space that offers Disney fans a variety of Disney-themed home goods. Guests will find a curated assortment of products that will change with each season. Not to worry, most of the unique items found at D-Street are available throughout the resort and shopDisney.com!

From the Disney Parks Blog

Why Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is Really Being Removed from Coco Screenings

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, one of Disney’s less lauded short films, will soon be leaving theaters after screening in front of Pixar’s Coco, the animated film inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Yet while some have suggested it’s a direct response to poor audience reactions, EW has learned that isn’t the case.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was always promoted and scheduled as a limited run, EW has confirmed, with its theatrical play slated to conclude next week, as has recently been reported.

Mashable was the first to report that Olaf’s Frozen Adventure would end its theatrical run Dec. 8. The outlet reported that Disney had “directed theaters … to remove the deeply unpopular 22-minute Frozen short” from future screenings.

In addition, a user on Reddit, identifying as a movie theater worker, claimed to have received a note from Disney regarding the decision. “Please note that the run of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure playing before Coco will end after 12/7,” the alleged note stated. “Starting on Friday 12/8 no more Olaf shorts should be up on screen. With the extra 22 minutes of running time back, we would appreciate if you could get in an extra show if possible.”

In light of the information provided to EW, the alleged note appears to be more of a reminder and less of a notification of removal. “This was always promoted as a limited run so it’s not really a story — the end of our Olaf theatrical play is coming next week,” a Disneyrepresentative told EW. “All our ads and messaging called it as such.”

Featuring the return of Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), the short — which is the first from Walt Disney Animation to be screened in front of a Pixar film — sees the snowman from Frozenon a search for holiday traditions for Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). While most Pixar shorts run around 10 minutes, this Disney Animation work runs for more than 20 minutes.

Mashable called the pairing of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure with Coco, which received glowing reviews and recently won Best Animated Film from the New York Film Critics Circle, “culturally tone-deaf.” Other critics have echoed the sentiment.

“We are creatures of habit, and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure eventually feels like the grinning house guest who won’t leave, even though the party was supposed to clear out long ago,” reported The Washington Post. “As each successive song in the four-tune reel cues up, moviegoers’ reactions can be heard to switch from laughing irritation to growing mockery to outright anger.”

From MSN/Entertainment Weekly