Disney introduces Elena, its first Latina Princess

Elena-of-Avalor

Disney announced Thursday that its newest princess will be Elena of Avalor, a 16-year-old character inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore.”

She’ll make her debut on Disney Junior’s animated show “Sofia the First” next year, which is targeted at children ages 2 to 7. Elena’s own eponymous spinoff series is set to premiere in 2016 on Disney Junior, as well as Disney Junior’s programming block on the Disney Channel. Aimee Carrero of ABC Family’s “Young & Hungry” will voice the role.

“What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale,” Nancy Kanter, the executive vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, said in the announcement.

In fall 2012, Disney faced harsh criticism after a producer of the “Sofia the First” series announced that the title character was Latina. Disney Junior executives later clarified that the princess’ ethnicity had been misrepresented, adding that “all our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures.”

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Walt Disney World Resort Offers Romance For Lovebirds On Valentine’s Day and Every Day

Mickey & Minnie

Guests can celebrate their love with their significant other on Valentine’s Dayand every day at the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World Resort. Throughout the 40-square-mile playground there’s simple and luxurious splurges for couples of all ages — from moonlit strolls and stolen kisses aboard attractions to pampering spas and intimate dining for two.

The four Walt Disney World theme parks and 26 resort hotels create a perfect setting for spontaneous romance. Gazing at dazzling fireworks, a surrey bike ride for two at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas Resort, or a leisurely swing beachside at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, couples can embrace a bouquet of romantic experiences.

Here’s a few options for lovebirds:

The Couple that ‘Spas’ Together…  What’s more enjoyable than a luxurious spa treatment? Imagine sharing it with that special someone. The new Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, both feature a “couples room” where guests can enjoy specialized spa treatments – such as massages and facials – with the one they love. For information about spa treatments, call 407/WDW-SPAS.

DowntownDisney for a duo – Treat that special Valentine with tickets to “La Nouba” by Cirque du Soleil, and add a three-course meal at Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, Portobello Country Italian Trattoria, Splitsville Luxury Lanes or Planet Hollywood. For details on the special ‘Dinner & Show’ package, visit DisneyWorld.com/SpecialOffers. Then, take your love to new heights for a 360-degree view of the Vacation Kingdom and beyond on board Characters in Flight, a tethered balloon that rises gently into the Florida sky. Pick up a token of your affection at the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Six innovative specialty boutiques are housed under one roof.

Make like Aladdin and Jasmine – Fly through the sky with that special someone on an adventurous tandem parasail over Bay Lake. Those looking to rise to new heights can spend 10 minutes soaring high above Disney and get a bird’s-eye view of Magic Kingdom and its neighboring resorts. Contact Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or call 407/939-0754 for reservations for a tandem flight.

Magical Resorts – From the tropical splendor of Disney’s Polynesian Resort to the Victorian era of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the mood is set for an enchanting stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Disney’s fantasy hotels transport couples to faraway places with lavish theming, picturesque views and superior service. For reservations, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639).

The Love Boat – The Grand Floridian’s Grand 1 – an elegant 52-foot yacht – can give couples, or parties up to 18, a stunning view of “Wishes” fireworks showering above Magic Kingdom during select evening cruises along Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Private butler service and gourmet meals also are available. Romantic evening cruises include a captain and private deck hand. Reservations may be made up to 90 days in advance by calling 407/WDW-PLAY. Callers to that same number can ask about Magic Kingdom or Epcot fireworks cruises aboard gently floating pontoon boats. To turn up the romance, lovebirds can order up champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for their fireworks viewing.

Disney Dining Serves Romance  Couples find Disney dining infused with romance in settings ranging from subdued to spectacular.

  • Indulge in a romantic dinner for two at the newly reimagined California Grill atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Situated on the 15th floor of the resort, the onstage, market-inspired kitchen boasts breathtaking views of the Magic Kingdom, Seven Seas Lagoon and nightly fireworks. The menu is creative, seasonal, sophisticated and fun.
  • Beneath shimmering chandeliers, lovebirds can dine in fairy tale elegance at Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland. Known as the place where Belle and Beast fell in love, the grand ballroom in Beast’s Castle is the perfect setting for romance as ‘snow’ falls on the French countryside outside the windows and guests dine on French-inspired cuisine and fine wines.
  • One of the most romantic dinner spots at Walt Disney World Resort is a table for two at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The elegant restaurant has been honored with the Five-Diamond Award from AAA for its gourmet cuisine. Combining Royal Doulton china, Cristofle silver and personalized menus, Victoria & Albert’s is the “crown jewel” of the Grand Floridian’s dining destinations. Soft harp music fills the air in the intimate dining room. Ladies also receive a long-stemmed red rose.
  • For the ultimate romantic experience, an evening at the Chef’s Table is unsurpassed. Couples are seated at a cozy table in Victoria & Albert’s kitchen and treated to a culinary feast custom-tailored to their palates by Chef Scott Hunnel.
  • Guests who prefer to dine in an even more intimate setting at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa need only to pick up the closest telephone. The Grand Floridian can arrange a private dinner for two, served against the elegant backdrop of the Grand Floridian beach – or aboard the Grand 1 – on a sunset excursion along Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Certain menu items can be specially prepared for the evening. Seven-day notice is requested.
  • There’s nothing more romantic than a champagne toast with classical French cuisine.  Monsieur Paul restaurant at the Francepavilion at Epcot pays homage to one of France’s most celebrated chefs, Paul Bocuse, with upscale French creations. The second floor vantage point of the newly redesigned restaurant offers stunning views of the nightly IllumiNations fireworks display.

For all Walt Disney World dining information, guests can call 407/WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Nature Lovers  A horseback ride through one of the backwoods trails at Walt Disney World Resort is just the thing for couples who share a love of nature and each other. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground offers wrangler-led tours (45 minutes) through the deep, pine-scented woods that make up part of the Vacation Kingdom’s 40 square miles. Tours leave several times daily from Trail Blaze Corral, and may be reserved by calling 407/WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Romantic Evening  Horse-drawn carriage rides through the wilderness of Walt Disney World Resort are a romantic treat for couples looking for a secluded nighttime outing. The antique carriages depart from Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and traverse throughout the scenic landscape of the 750-acre rustic resort. Or guests can choose a relaxing old-fashioned carriage ride through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside with pickup at Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Each nightly excursion is 25 minutes long. For reservations, guests can call 407/WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Weddings Around the ‘World’  The epitome of Disney romance can be summed up in four words: Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. Since the first wedding at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion in 1995, more than 1,000 couples each year have exchanged vows at Walt Disney World Resort.

For these couples, dreams become reality. Where else but at Disney could the ceremony come complete with Cinderella’s glass coach, a handsome major domo carrying wedding rings to the altar in a glass slipper, or Mickey and Minnie greeting guests at the reception?

Whether it’s an elegant ball at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a traditional ceremony at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion or a beach-themed wedding complete with tiki torches, leis and luau on one of the Walt Disney World white-sand beaches, Disney custom designs each wedding with the famous “Disney Difference” – providing attention to the tiniest detail. For more information on Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, call 321/939-4623 or visit disneyweddings.com.

And honeymooners thrive in the romantic allure of Walt Disney World Resort – a top-rated honeymoon destination, according to industry experts. To book a Disney’s Fairy Tale Honeymoon call 321/939-4623 or visit the website at disneyhoneymoons.com

Renewing Vows  Many couples who’ve been married for years are coming to Walt Disney World Resort, often with their families, to renew their vows five, 10, 25 and 50 years later. A Disney vacation provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate this family milestone. Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings experts can tailor the ceremony and celebration to suit each couple.

Night of Joy 2015 Line-Up Announced

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Disney has announced the performer line-up for the 2015 Night of Joy concerts, taking place this year on September 11th and 12th.

This will be the 33rd year of Night of Joy, and tickets for the Magic Kingdom event will be available later in the Spring.

Listed below is the performer line-up:

Friday, September 11 – ­ TobyMac, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Colton Dixon, Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Battistelli, Rend Collective, and I Am They

Saturday, September 12 -­ Skillet, Lecrae, For King & Country, Mandisa, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Seventh Time Down, and Veridia

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration to Begin May 22 – Details Announced

Disneyland Forever Fireworks

Tonight, during a special after-hours presentation on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park, Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced that the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration marking the resort’s 60th anniversary, will begin Friday, May 22.

As part of the celebration, the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland park and Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney California Adventure park will glisten and gleam, each with its own diamond medallion featuring the letter “D.” The entire resort will sparkle with Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration décor and festive banners in shades of Disneyland blue. Also bearing the diamond anniversary theme, creative merchandise and food items will be designed to complement the celebration. We’ll have more to share on those special items soon.

“As time has shown, Disneyland marked the beginning of something bigger than anyone could have imagined and this Diamond Celebration embraces its rich history while honoring Walt Disney’s commitment to pushing boundaries to create exciting and innovative new experiences for our guests,” said Staggs.

Continuing a tradition of innovative, immersive storytelling begun when Walt Disney opened Disneyland on July 17, 1955, the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration showcases three electrifying new shows that will take you into the worlds of Disney stories like never before.

Tonight, Tom Staggs was joined on stage by Steve Davison, executive for parades and spectaculars with Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, as they shared that during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, Disney California Adventure park will present a special edition of the popular “World of Color” show.

Opening May 22, 2015, “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” illuminates the night in a contemporary and moving celebration of Walt and his dream of Disneyland, showing that anything is possible if we never give up on our dreams.

Mickey Mouse will take guests on a fun-filled and inspirational journey through the unparalleled imagination of Walt Disney, exploring his decades-long legacy of memorable animated moments and the dream of Disneyland park.

Both epic and intimate in scope, “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” brings to life the remarkable story of Walt and the Happiest Place on Earth in a first-of-its-kind spectacular, presented on the magic canvas of “World of Color” with compelling animated imagery, live-action footage, fountains, lasers, special effects and a stirring musical score.

For Disney’s next big entertainment unveiling of the evening, Tom Staggs and Steve Davison shared that they’ll soon be painting the night in fantastic new light with one of the brightest gems of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the “Paint the Night” parade.

The “Paint the Night” parade brings some of the most innovative floats, vibrant costumes, dazzling special effects, unforgettable music and energetic performances ever presented at Disneyland Resort. This new, state-of-the-art nighttime parade floods Main Street, U.S.A., with stunning color, fun surprises and more than 1.5 million brilliant LED lights.

Paint the Night - Tink

Mickey Mouse uses his vivid imagination to harness the power of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust and “Paint the Night” in Disney dreams, bringing to light beloved characters and stories from “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Toy Story,” “Frozen” and more.

Wrapping up tonight’s big entertainment news for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, Tom Staggs and Steve Davison have revealed a completely new kind of fireworks spectacular for Disneyland park, also debuting May 22, 2015.

“Disneyland Forever” shows just how magical the Magic Kingdom can be, in a sky-high celebration featuring sparkling pyrotechnics, immersive projections, and other effects that transform Disneyland park right before your eyes!

“Disneyland Forever” envelops you in an enthralling, breathtaking journey like never before, leveraging the largest installation of projection mapping technology in a Disney park and surprising special effects. Main Street, U.S.A., and several other Disneyland park locations become a magical canvas taking us into a world of dreams, from flying above the London skyline from “Peter Pan” to a dance with King Louie in “The Jungle Book.”

“Disneyland Forever” also features two original songs, the theme “Live the Magic” and the inspiring closing song “Kiss Goodnight,” written by Disney Legend Richard Sherman.

Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.” As “Disneyland Forever” caps off each evening of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, we discover Walt’s inspiring words still hold true today. Disneyland will continue to be home to all our dreams and adventures … forever!

Tonight, we’ve announced the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will include a special edition of the popular “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park, plus an impressive new nighttime parade and a fully-immersive fireworks spectacular at Disneyland park.

Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast to be Temporarily Relocated Next Week

Whispering-Canyon-Cafe

Because of work being done on the Wilderness Lodge lobby, breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe will be relocated to Artist Point next week.

The move will affect breakfast only from February 5-12. Lunch and dinner will continue to be served in Whispering Canyon as usual.

The usual server provided fun and games will be on hand, and the full menu and will be available in Artist Point, with the exception of pancakes, which apparently need kitchen equipment not available at Artist Point.

Walt Disney World Monorail System Operating Revised Resort/Express Beam Routes During February and March

Monorail Gold

The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System will be operating revised routes on both the Resort and Express beams over the next couple of months.

The changes listed below will be in operation February 3 – 5, February 9 – 12, February 23 – 26, March 2 – 5 of this year, between the hours of 11am and 7pm.

  • Monorails on the Resort beam will stop at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort only.
  • Monorails on the Express beam will stop at the Magic Kingdom, Transportation and Ticket Center and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

The above changes mean that resort beam guests who wish to get to Epcot will have to first get to the TTC by using the Express beam, and then change to the Epcot beam. Alternatively, direct buses will serve the resorts for travel to Epcot.  Also….remember that the TTC is a short walk from Disney’s Polynesian Village, so if you can get to the Poly on the resort beam you will be able to get to the TTC fairly easily.

Disneyland Resort Receives California’s Highest Environmental Honor

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The Disneyland Resort was honored last week with a Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for waste reduction efforts. In the last 10 years, the Disneyland Resort has doubled the amount of waste diverted from landfills with the long-term goal of achieving Zero Waste – a designation already awarded to Circle D Corral by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and one of the success stories noted in the GEELA nomination.

From the 4.4 million pounds of food scraps processed into animal feed annually, to the 20,000 pounds of partially used bathroom amenities collected at Disneyland Resort hotels for Clean the World Foundation, to the donation and repurposing of gently used shoes, costumes, furniture and decorations, and much more – the Disneyland Resort is doing its part to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The Disneyland Resort also was a 2009 GEELA recipient for sustainable practices, which included the drought-conscious way water-based attractions are drained and refilled working with the Orange County Water District.

Emma Watson Cast as Belle in Disney’s Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

emma-watson-beauty-and-the-beast

From Variety

Emma Watson will star in Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” as the lead character Belle.

Disney made the announcement Monday, saying that production will begin later this year. No release date has been set.

The film will be directed by Bill Condon (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), who was announced as director in June. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films are producing.

The “Harry Potter” actress also made the announcement on her Facebook page:

“I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Steve Chbosky. Linda Wolverton wrote the script for the animated “Beauty and the Beast,” which has grossed more than $145 million domestically since its release in 1991.

 

Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Rumored to be Increasing Soon

WDW Magic Your Way

Earlier today we reported that there are rumors that ticket prices for the Disneyland Resort were increasing soon.  Now, we’re also hearing rumors swirling around that ticket prices at Walt Disney World are also going to be increasing soon. So, a word of warning to anyone planning a trip to the Walt Disney World theme parks in the near future, you might want to think about buying your tickets soon.

Walt Disney World last increased their ticket prices back in late February 2014, so if I had to guess the Walt Disney World parks will also see their own price increase within the next month.

Disneyland Resort May Be Increasing Ticket Prices Soon

Disneyland Tickets

According to multiple sources prices for tickets to either of the Disneyland Resort parks could be increasing very soon. According to sources the price of a single day ticket will rise from $96 to $99.  It’s also expected that prices for children’s tickets, which is currently $90, will increase about the same $3 bump. The big shocker is going to be to the Passholders. We are hearing that the price of a Premium AP will jump up from the already sky high $699 to $779.

It is rumored that the price increase will probably take place within the next week or two, so if you are planning a trip to Disneyland parks, you might want to buy your tickets or Annual Pass online NOW before the price increase takes effect.