Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Expansion Announced by Oriental Land Company

Tokyo Disneyland Expansion

Oriental Land announced plans to expand Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Some of the work on the expansion has already begun. In addition to the renovation of the existing Fantasyland, major new attractions, restaurants and shops are being considered for installation in the expansion site.

The redevelopment of Fantasyland will nearly double the size of the themed land.

Under consideration for Tokyo DisneySea is the development of a new themed port in the expansion site located south of Lost River Delta. This eighth themed port will include major new attractions, restaurants, and shops.

Oriental Land announced that it will also further invest in the two parks in multiple ways: renovation or creation of attractions and entertainment programs; development of hardware that will enhance the guest experience in the parks; further improvement of restaurants; easing of congestion; development of measures to protect Guests from hot and cold weather; and other ways of to make a more comfortable environment for all guests.

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Disney Springs Parking Garage Gets Opening Date

Disney Springs Concept Art

If you are planning of visiting Downtown Disney, or soon-to-be-called Disney Springs, it will get a little bit easier after November 20th.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney’s new five-level parking garage near Downtown Disney will partially open November 20th with about 1,700 available parking spaces. For cast members, using the garage will come sooner as a trial run will be open for them on Sunday.

Disney’s Global Technology Group for its Parks Getting Restructured

FastPass+

From the Orlando Sentinel

Disney’s global technology group for its parks-and-resorts division is undergoing a sweeping reorganization that is expected to result in some employees losing their jobs.

Disney said it is eliminating some positions and replacing them with others that will help the company reach more long-term technology goals. The company would not provide specifics but said the net number of workers after the restructuring will be “similar” to its current level.

Disney is also outsourcing additional information technology jobs.

Most of the positions affected are in Orlando. Some are in Anaheim, Calif., where the company has Disneyland.

Spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a prepared statement Disney is “restructuring our global technology organization to support future innovation and new capabilities.”

Less than 30 percent of the technology staff works in roles Disney considers “new capabilities development.” In the new organization, that will become 65 percent.

“That says you’re moving people away from maintenance into development and you want to get into a type of situation where you’re really kind of reinventing the way you’re managing your technology,” said Robert Niles, publisher of ThemeParkInsider.com.

Employees have 90 days to apply for new positions within the company as part of the restructuring, Disney said. Disney will provide severance packages and job assistance for workers who do not qualify for other positions. Employees can also apply for roles with Disney’s vendors, the company said.

Outsourcing work is typical in information technology, said Duncan Dickson, an instructor with the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Last year, Disney laid off two information-technology vice presidents, Laura Hall and Allen Fazio, who had worked more than 20 years for the company. Two other vice presidents with different skill sets were later hired, Disney said.

Disney has been investing heavily in technology. One of its biggest priorities has been MyMagic+, which includes a “FastPass+” reservation system allowing customers to book ride times for attractions up to two months in advance. On Tuesday it announced the latest step in that system. Guests wearing the system’s MagicBands – essentially tickets you wear on your wrist – on certain attractions can automatically view photos on their online accounts.

Marvel Studios Announces Phase Three Slate…Includes Two-Part ‘Avengers’ Threequel

Avengers Infinity War

Marvel Studios spends most of its time clamping down on secrets, so when they open up the vault, it’s usually something big.

Usually that happens at San Diego Comic-Con before an audience of 6,000-plus screaming fans, and everything is planned out months in advance. But on Tuesday morning at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, Marvel put on a relatively impromptu show, gathering press and fans alike to reveal …

Phase 3 has been announced, and it’s everything — everything you could want. Captain Marvel! Black Panther! Inhumans! And most incredibly, a two-part Avengers: Infinity War!!! Keep checking back for updates!

Among those sitting in the very front row of the theater are Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, who are also overseeing the third Cap film. The brothers were also at Comic-Con last July and hoped to make an announcement about their film there, but held back at the last moment because some details weren’t finalized. Robert Downey Jr. has been in talks to co-star in Cap 3, bringing the clash between Iron Man and the do-gooder patriotic hero to the fore in a cinematic version of the Civil War comics storyline.

Avengers writer-director and Marvel brain-trust member Joss Whedon was in the second row behind the Brothers Russo, who are turned around in their seats talking with him and Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito. Whedon wouldn’t be here if the event didn’t involve the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The complete slate is as follows –

Doctor Strange on November 4th, 2016

No casting was confirmed, obviously.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5th, 2017

Thor 3: Ragnarok on July 28th, 2017

Black Panther on November 3rd, 2017

Chadwick Boseman, star of 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, has already been cast as Black Panther!

• Captain Marvel on July 6th, 2018

Kevin Feige confirmed this will star Carol Danvers, not Mar-Vell. YESSSSS.

Inhumans on November 2nd, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Part One in May 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Part Two in May 2019

Walt Disney World Makes Access to Photos & Video with Disney PhotoPass Service

Splash Mtn - PhotoPass

With attraction photos, you can capture some amazing Disney moments. And now, Disney PhotoPass Service is making it even easier for you to collect those memories.

Beginning today, if you’re wearing an active MagicBand on select Walt Disney World Resort attractions, your photos will be automatically associated to your My Disney Experience account.

Just like attraction photos, if you’ve worn your MagicBand on one of the participating attractions in the last 45 days, you should be able to find that attraction video in your account soon. Guests will be able to view these videos in their accounts, but a Memory Maker entitlement is required to download and share them.

Just remember that all Disney PhotoPass photos and videos expire 45 days after they are taken. So be sure to log in to your account to secure your memories before they expire.

You don’t have to do anything. In fact, if you’ve worn your MagicBand on one of the participating attractions in the last 45 days, you should be able to find that photo in your account now.

Don’t have a MagicBand? Don’t worry. We’re making it easier for you, too. Today we turned on new touch points at Magic Kingdom Park (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain). So after you ride, simply find your photo on the preview wall and touch your park ticket or Memory Maker card to the touch point to associate your photo. We expect to have photo touch points installed at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks by mid-November.

Beginning soon, guests wearing active MagicBands will have attraction videos automatically associated to their accounts. Videos are currently available for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Disney Cruise Line Announces Ports & Itineraries for Early 2016

DCL Eastern Caribbean

Disney Cruise Line has announced that their tropical itineraries are getting an extra dose of pixie dust in early 2016! They’ve added the popular Caribbean ports Tortola and Martinique to our already spectacular destination lineup, and we’re returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico for another special season of Southern Caribbean sailings.

You can start booking early 2016 cruises on October 30, 2014, so keep reading for more details about our newest options …

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola

In 2016, Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, is a port of call on select Disney Fantasy and Disney Magicsailings to the Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral, Fla. These seven-night voyages also include stops at St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Tortola is known for tranquil beaches, stunning scenery, authentic Caribbean fare and activities for the whole family, like swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and taking in the views from Sage Mountain National Park.

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique

Disney is returning to the Southern Caribbean with four sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico, calling on the French island of Martinique in addition to Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and St. Kitts. These seven-night voyages on the Disney Wonder depart January 2016.

Known as the “Flower of the Caribbean,” Martinique offers a unique island experience with its natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Families can spend the day here exploring the rainforest, waterfalls and volcanic landmarks or, for a more upscale experience, enjoying delicious French cuisine and fantastic shopping.

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including Castaway Cay

Disney Cruise Line will also continue sailing from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. Options include three, four and seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral and four and five-night cruises from Miami. All of these voyages include a stop at Castaway Cay.

More details on 2016 itineraries can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2016 page of disneycruise.com.

Morimoto Asia & BOATHOUSE Restaurants Announced for Disney Springs

Morimoto Asia

Disney has announced that Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who many of you know from his appearances on Iron Chef America, is opening a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination will include unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum.

“I’m very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Chef Morimoto. “It’s a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent.”

The two-story restaurant is scheduled to open in the Summer 2015 at The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.

Also today, another new concept dining experience, The BOATHOUSE, was announced for The Landing in Disney Springs.

The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience that’ll immerse guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.

“We are very excited that the BOATHOUSE is joining the Walt Disney World family at Disney Springs,” says creator Steven Schussler. “Walt Disney Imagineering has created a wonderful, interactive, culinary and entertainment experience at Disney Springs. We are proud to be part of this magical experience.”

The BOATHOUSE will open in the Spring of 2015 in Disney Springs. The restaurant’s gourmet menu (served daily until 2 a.m.) will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar. The BOATHOUSE is the latest project of Schussler Creative, the creators of Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at the Walt Disney World Resort.

UPDATE: IT’S OFFICIAL!!!! Disney Confirms that Sorcerer Hat is Leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The_Sorcerer's_Hat_at_DHS

Disney Spokesman Bryan Malenius has confirmed that the park plans to reimagine the park’s central plaza by removing the Sorcerer’s Hat in early 2015.

Removing the hat will restore the careful perspective to Hollywood Boulevard. The hat debuted in September 2001 as part of the “100 Years of Magic” celebration that marked Walt Disney’s 100th birthday.

Sorcerer’s Hat Rumored to be Leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The_Sorcerer's_Hat_at_DHS

The story that the Sorcerer’s Hat will be removed by Imagineering at Disney’s Hollywood Studios  has been wished for for a number of years by many Disney fans and it’s been rumored by a number of websites pretty heavily for the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been reluctant to report it because I’ve not trusted the sources and nothing has been announced by Disney…..that was until now.

Disney still has not announced anything, but I have been seeing reports that this is going to happen by people that I do trust who state that they have solid reliable sources, but to be fair…until this is announced my Disney, it still technically is still a rumor and could change.

According to Doctor Disney

After many many years and rumors of the giant Sorcerer’s Hat leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it appears as if they are finally going to come true. While Disney has not yet confirmed it or announced it publicly, I have gotten confirmation from a very reliable source that has never been wrong…and that’s for very good reasons known to me.

Sources are also claiming that the “Legend of Jack Sparrow” show will be leaving November 6th. So, if you are a fan of this show….you better hurry and see it.  There as been nothing mentioned as to what could be replacing Jack Sparrow.

As for the Sorcerer’s Hat, sources seem to think that nothing will be done until sometime in 2015.  Also, there has been no mention as to what if anything will happen to the pin location that has seen it’s home be under the hat for a number of years.

I cannot reiterate enough that until Disney officially announces anything regarding the Sorcerer’s Hat and Legend of Jack Sparrow, things can and have been known to change. There will only be solid confirmation when Disney officially announces something.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Announces 2016 Film: Moana!

Moana

Ron Clements and Jon Musker (the guys responsible for AladdinThe Little MermaidThe Princess and the Frog, and our childhoods), are back with a brand-new film for Walt Disney Animation Studios, MoanaThe film tells the story of Moana, a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. It’s set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. Color us excited. We love incredible journeys, demi-gods, and ancient folklore.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.” Well, Mr. Musker, we cannot wait to see more from the film and meet Moana as well! The film comes to theaters in late 2016.