D23 Expo 2015 Celebrates Mickey Mouse Club’s 60th Anniversary and More!

mickey-mouse-clubhouse

Come along and sing the song and join the jamboree! What jamboree, you might be asking? Why, the just-announced presentation at D23 EXPO 2015 commemorating Mickey Mouse Club’s 60th anniversary! Celebrating Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club—60 Magical YEARS, hosted by author Lorraine Santoli (The Official Mickey Mouse Club Book), will take place Sunday, August 16, at 5 p.m. in Stage 23. The panel, featuring original Mouseketeers Sherry Alberoni, Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Tommy Cole, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O’Brien, and Doreen Tracey, along with actors Tim Considine (Spin Evans) and David Stollery (Marty Markham), will include a one-of-a-kind performance filled with memories, music, and magic. D23 EXPO 2015 will take place August 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

In addition to the panel, the Disney Dream Store will offer a small collection of 60th anniversary Mickey Mouse Club items to mark the occasion. Also, several of the Mouseketeers will be available for a signing opportunity at D23 EXPO Autograph Central on the show floor on Sunday from 2:30–3:30 p.m. Plus, guests will be able to see Mouseketeer Annette Funicello’s original Disney Legend handprints on display for the first time outside the Walt Disney Studios lot. The handprints, taken on October 21, 1992, when Funicello was inducted as a Disney Legend, will be presented in one of the show floor’s “photo spots.” There will also be a collection of props and costumes from Mickey Mouse Club Circus in “Walt Disney Archives Presents—Disneyland: The Exhibit.”

D23 will also present several other engaging presentations for guests throughout the weekend including:

Charles Phoenix: Big Retro Disneyland Slide Show!
Friday, August 14, 10 a.m., Stage 28

Be prepared for your Disneyland-loving spirit to soar when the Ambassador of Americana takes you to the granddaddy of all theme parks when it opened. With his spectacular collection of “found” mid-century-era Kodachrome images, unbridled enthusiasm, and keen eye for detail, Charles shares the early days of Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland. See long-gone attractions, including the Phantom Boats, Flying Saucers, the Indian Village, PeopleMover, House of the Future, Carousel of Progress, and the original Tomorrowland—promoted as “The World of 1986”—and the all-new Tomorrowland in 1967. Your imagination will be inspired!

Disneyland Home Movies
Friday, August 14, 4:30 p.m., Stage 28

While Disneyland is one of the most photographed places on earth, this collection of one-of-a-kind footage and photography offers a unique viewpoint from another time. From the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Randy Haberkamp, Managing Director of Preservation and Foundation Programs; Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator; and surprise special guests will take guests on a journey from Walt’s inspirations for Disneyland to the park’s opening and evolution, as captured on film. Suzanne Lloyd joins the presentation to showcase her grandfather Harold Lloyd’s stunning photography of Disneyland taken the week before the opening and on opening day.

A Goofy Movie 20th Anniversary Reunion!
Friday, August 14, 6 p.m., Stage 28

Fans of A Goofy Movie won’t want to miss this special commemoration of the beloved Disney animated feature, which turns 20 in 2015. Film producer Don Hahn hosts a panel of A Goofy Movietalent––including Disney Legend Bill Farmer (Goofy), Jason Marsden (Max), Jim Cummings (Pete), Rob Paulsen (P.J.), and writer Jymn Magon––who will share behind-the-scenes stories and surprising anecdotes from the fan-favorite musical.

The Making of American Experience: Walt Disney
Saturday, August 15, 4:30 p.m., Stage 28

This fall, PBS will premiere a new two-part, four-hour film exploring the life and legacy of Walt Disney as part of the American Experience series. Go behind the scenes with the team who brought the project together for a special sneak peek of the film: moderator Don Hahn (film producer, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King), Sarah Colt (director/producer, American Experience: Walt Disney), Neal Gabler (biographer, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination), and Becky Cline, the Director of the Walt Disney Archives.

Best of Destination D
Sunday, August 16, 4:30 p.m., Stage 28

Since 2010, D23 Destination D events have offered D23 Members the chance to celebrate their favorite Disney subjects with unique and in-depth presentations from Disney Legends, Imagineers, animators, and others who have made magic on film, at Disney theme parks, and beyond. At D23 EXPO 2015, D23 is bringing two popular presentations from prior Destination D events together for a celebration of Walt Disney World® Resort—including a look back to its construction, early development, and favorite attractions of the past with Disney Legend and Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith. Then, Imagineer Jason Grandt will provide a modern look at Disney Parks and offer a designer’s point of view of details and “Easter Eggs” found throughout different attractions.

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Disney Merges Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive

It’s not the case anymore that consumers separate technology from toys or even books, so The Walt Disney Co.  is streamlining its consumer products and interactive divisions. The company has combined its two smallest segments into Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI), which will be jointly led by co-chairs Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products, and Jimmy Pitaro, president of Disney Interactive.

DisneyConsumerProducts

“Both Disney Interactive and Disney Consumer Products have a strong track record of connecting people to their favorite stories and characters,” said Disney COO Tom Staggs in a statement. “As technology and digital entertainment continue to evolve, a shared innovation strategy will enable this new segment to create unique and engaging products and experiences that exceed consumers’ expectations.”

The new structure will “share technological expertise and maximize opportunities and efficiencies” as well as leverage Disney’s licensing and retail relationships across both divisions.

disney-interactive-logo

A new team called DCPI Labs will focus on using cutting-edge technologies to create new immersive products and report to both Ferraro and Pitaro. Disney Publishing Worldwide will also report to the new co-chairs, while functional areas such as finance, strategy and business development, technology, HR, and communications will be merged into joint teams.

Disney will begin reporting consumer products and interactive as one combined business as of the beginning of fiscal 2016.

In the most recent quarter, consumer products revenues grew 10 percent to $971 million, while operating income increased 32 percent to $362 million, and interactive revenues slipped 12 percent to $235 million while operating income surged 86 percent to $26 million.

DisneyQuest Closing

Disney Quest

DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney will close next year to make way for the NBA Experience.

The 100,000-square-foot indoor virtual theme park and hands-on entertainment center with video and virtual games first opened in 1998 at the entertainment district’s West Side.

Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council coalition of Disney unions, said new jobs will be available for DisneyQuest workers.

Disney earlier this month announced it was planning a new NBA-themed attraction that will include high-tech experiences, a restaurant and a store. Downtown Disney is currently undergoing an expansion, and it will be renamed Disney Springs.

From the Orlando Sentinel 

Disney Reveals List of Allowable Guest Camera Accessory Items

Photography at WDW

Starting today  “selfie sticks” are banned from Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort theme parks.  Those of us who enjoy taking photographs and video at Disneyland and Walt Disney World have wondered what this means for other tripod or mono-pod type camera items.  Disney will still be allowing many of these items in, but there are some exceptions:

  • Tripods that can be folded and stored in a reasonable size bag are allowed. Large tripods are not.
  • Extendable camera monopods are allowed.
  • GoPro brand name body and head harnesses are allowed.
  • Short, brand name GoPro handles are allowed.
  • Brand name or similar style GRIP & SHOOT handles are also allowed.
  • GoPro 3-way or similar style extending handles are not allowed.
  • Selfie sticks of any kind are not allowed.

Essentially, any extending sticks for phones or GoPro cameras are now banned. The rules on tripods have always been as stated above, so there is no surprise there either.

The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Closing

Magic of Disney Animation

Disney has officially announced that the final day of operation for The Magic of Disney Animation along with the character meet and greets will be  July 11th.

The Animation Gallery will remain open until sometime in late August.

One Man’s Dream is also rumored to be closing around that time.

It is expected that Mickey Mouse will be moving to the area near to Studio Catering, which has previously been used as a meet and greet location for Darth Vader during Star Wars Weekends. This will be a temporary location until a new meet and greet is ready at Disney Junior.

Minnie Mouse will be moving to Center Stage, in front of The Great Movie Ride.

Hiro and Baymax are expected to be saying goodbye to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney Salutes U.S. Military by Extending Special Ticket and Room Rates

Disney Salutes Military

The special pricing that Disney announced last July on theme park tickets and accommodations for active duty and retired U.S. military personnel at Disney’s  domestic parks will be extended now through mid-December.

Click HERE to learn more about our special military pricing to Walt Disney World Resort and HERE to see details to Disneyland Resort.

Now’s the perfect time to start planning your next trip to a Disney park for later this year.

Tickets must be purchased by Dec. 17 for Walt Disney World Resort, Dec. 18 for Disneyland Resort and used by Dec. 20.

Special Military Performances at Disneyland Resort for July 4th Weekend

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team perform for spectators at Disneyland, May 20. The drill team performs to represent the Airmen serving around the world in the Air Force.

 

From July 2-5, guests can enjoy more special performances by military acts than ever before, continuing a tradition of inviting the military to perform at Disneyland, started by Walt Disney on opening day. If you are visiting the Disneyland Resort this Fourth of July weekend, you may want to catch one of these patriotic shows! Below is a schedule of performance times.

United States Air Force Honor Guard from Washington D.C.
July 2-5, 2015

Disneyland Park

  • 3:15 p.m. – Sleeping Beauty Castle Forecourt
  • 4:05 p.m. – Prior to Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Disney California Adventure Park

  • 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. – Paradise Pier, near the “World of Color” viewing area

Fourth of July added performances

  • 5:15 p.m. – Flag Retreat Ceremony (Color Guard only) in Town Square
  • 6:45 p.m. – Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

United States 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band from Mira Mar, CA
July 4, 2015

Disneyland Park

  • 4:10 p.m. – Prior to Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
  • 5:15 p.m. – Flag Retreat Ceremony in Town Square
  • 7 p.m. – Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

Downtown Disney District

  • 11:30 a.m. (breakout rock band) – Main Stage

United States Air Force Band of the Golden West from San Francisco, CA
July 5-6, 2015

Downtown Disney District

  • 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. (breakout rock band) – Main Stage

Captain EO to Return to Epcot in July

Captain EO

According to Disney’s FastPass+, Captain EO will be returning to Epcot on July 19th.

FastPass+ availability for Captain EO is now available on My Disney Experience for dates from July 19 onward. Captain EO has been absent since April, first for an extended movie trailer of “Tomorrowland” and currently for “Inside Out.”

The long term future of Captain EO is in doubt, with a makeover of the entire Imagination Pavilion expected. Some had questioned if Captain EO would return at all once the movie previews were completed, but its inclusion in FastPass+ would suggest otherwise, at least for the short term.

New D-Zone Relaxation Area Coming to Epcot

Epcot-SSE

There will be a new relaxation area in the Innoventions West corridor near to Character Spot.

Known as a D-Zone, expect to see seating, electronic device charging stations, and a couple of food and drink carts starting early next week.

The corridor has always been popular with guests to cool-off, but lack of seating usually forces people to sit on the floor.

The D-Zone relation area concept began at Magic Kingdom with the introduction of the Fantasyland Tangled restroom area, and the big top area in Storybook Circus. The idea is for for people to have a space to cool down, charge the all-important devices, and to take a break from some of the hustle and bustle of the park.

Disney to Invest $1 billion in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Exchange for No New Gate Tax

Mickey:Minnie - Disneyland

The Walt Disney Co. is seriously considering a $1 billion-plus expansion of the Disneyland Resort with new attractions, a new parking structure with at least 5,000 spots and other improvements to the massive theme park complex.

In exchange for the investment, Disney wants the city of Anaheim to forgo a tax on theme park admission tickets for another 30 years, according to a public notice published Thursday by the city.

Two members of the Anaheim City Council said they support Disney’s desire to expand without threat of a ticket tax. Two others said they were undecided, while Mayor Tom Tait said he opposed the plan.

On July 7, the City Council will hold a public hearing to consider extending the current entertainment tax exemption for Disney that started in 1996 and expires June 30, 2016.

“Anaheim has been an economic success story thanks to its policies and initiatives that allow businesses to invest and thrive,” said Michael Colglazier, president of Disneyland Resort.

“We are asking city leaders to continue with a policy set two decades ago that has driven unprecedented job creation, growth and prosperity and enabled the city to invest in vital services that benefit every Anaheim resident.”

Disney officials said Thursday they don’t know whether the expansion would be an addition to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure or, perhaps, both parks. They said there are no plans for a third theme park in Anaheim.

Any park expansion is contingent on approval of the ticket-tax exemption, Disney officials said. Under the proposal, the tentative ticket-tax ban could be extended another 15 years if Disney later embarks on a separate $500 million project.

Tait supported the current gate-tax ban for Disney during a previous stint on the City Council, but said Thursday he is “wiser” now. Unlike in 1996, Tait said, Anaheim currently faces an estimated $500 million unfunded pension obligation.

“As much as I’d like to see Disney expand, there are other ways to help them by streamlining the development process and speeding up approval times,” Tait said. “Chaining the hands of future residents on their ability to impose taxes will jeopardize the city’s financial health.”

Councilwoman Kris Murray offered a different take. “History has shown us that a $1 billion investment by Disney will create thousands of new jobs in Anaheim and millions in new revenue for our neighborhoods and vital city services, all without increasing taxes for our residents or creating costs for the city,” she said.

An expansion would not be outside the theme parks’ current attractions and parking lot areas, except for the new structure located just east of Harbor Boulevard. Disney already owns that property.

Disney officials said they don’t know potential rides, themed lands and other details yet, but said construction would begin by late 2017 and wrap up no later than December 2024. The company now owns the “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar franchises and has other options such as banking off its “Frozen” blockbuster.

Earlier this year, Disney Chairman Bob Iger told shareholders the company plans to expand the Disneyland Resort and that Disney Imagineers are working on “Star Wars” attractions for theme parks.

The expansion of Disney California Adventure, completed in 2012, cost $1 billion-plus and created an average of 1,700 jobs annually over the project’s half-decade. Upon completion, the company hired 5,000 new workers. Disney now has about 28,000 workers in Anaheim, making it the largest employer in Orange County.

The latest $1 billion-plus proposal would create another 1,400 jobs, according to a Disney-commissioned report by KPMG, an auditing firm.

Anaheim Interim Assistant City Manager Kristine Ridge said negotiations on how to frame a proposed theme park expansion began last month.

The city’s first tax pact dates back to when California Adventure was on the drawing board. As a condition of getting that park built, the City Council in 1996 unanimously agreed to pay up to $546 million for a new parking garage on Disney property, repaved streets, redid landscaping and renovated utilities. City officials also agreed not to levy an admission tax on tickets sold at either Disney park for 20 years.

Charging admission taxes to Disneyland has been debated for decades. A proposed 5 percent tax on Anaheim’s entertainment venues gained momentum in 1975, but the City Council changed course after heavy opposition from Disneyland and the Angels.

The idea came up again in 1991, when Anaheim officials suggested revenue generated by an admission tax could help pay for Disney’s second theme park. Disney officials threatened to kill the project if a tax was imposed.

No Disney park in the world currently has an admission tax.

“Disney is a global company and can choose any of their five other locations to make this type of capital enhancement, so we’re feeling lucky,” Ridge said.

Under the proposal, if the city did charge an admission tax, that amount would be refunded to Disney, essentially negating the charge. The Angels have a similar pact as part of their lease for the city-owned stadium, due to expire in 2029.

Disney has elbow room inside the two Anaheim parks. California Adventure has approval for 3 million square feet of theme-park space but has used only 900,000, according to Anaheim’s master-plan agreement with Disney. Disneyland already has used 2.6 million of its 3.5 million square feet available, city records show.

Steve Feicht, a former Disney Imagineer and current designer with Rethink Attractions, predicted Disney would create new lands bases on its new properties. “‘Star Wars’ Land is a slam dunk,” he said.

Jim Hill, a blogger who covers the entertainment industry, said he believes the company’s potential investment is in response to the revamping of Universal Studios Hollywood, which recently added a “Simpsons”-inspired land, Springfield U.S.A. Next year, that park unveils The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

“This is the theme park equivalent of an arms race,” Hill said. “Disney is saying, ‘What’s going to make people come to Disneyland rather than Universal?’

“I think you’ll see an immersive land that will be an ambitious take on ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel, and in addition to refreshing their other retail, entertainment space and parking situation,” Hill said.

Robin Diedrich, a senior consumer analyst at Edward Jones, sees this as a win for the city, Disney and Disney stock shareholders. “With all of the intellectual properties they have, and ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel, it sets up a runway for potential growth.”

From the Orange County Register