Walt Disney World to Test More Fantasmic! FastPass+ Entry Streamlining

WDW Fantasmic

With Walt Disney World conducting assigned seating test last week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fantasmic! comes another test, this time focusing on guests entering the theater.

The test is expected to take place August 5 – 6th.  The test will allow groups entering the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater to pass through the FastPass+ touchpoint with just one guest in the group touching the MagicBand or Ticket to the FastPass+ reader.

The idea is that much of the entry delay with each guest touching the reader will be greatly reduced by having just one member of each party redeem the FastPass+ reservation.

If the group isn’t all together, the remaining guests will be able to still enter the FastPass+ line through to the end of the FastPass+ window.

Although the tests are begin conducted at Fantasmic!, it is possible that some of the research may be used at other shows and attractions, in particular the upcoming Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom early next year.

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Breakfast and Lunch Returning to Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant

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The Garden Grill Restaurant at The Land pavilion in Epcot’s Future World will begin offering breakfast and lunch later this year.

Since lunch was discontinued a few years back and for breakfast even longer ago, the Garden Grill has only served dinner.  Starting on November 8th, the restaurant will again be offering  breakfast and lunch.

Operating hours will be 8 AM to 10:30 AM for breakfast, 11:30 AM to 3 PM for lunch, and dinner 4 PM to 8 PM. All three dining periods will offer the family-style dining service, and will feature characters appearances by Pluto, Chip and Dale, and Mickey.

Disney has also announced that they will be accepting reservations or ADR’s beginning today for breakfast and lunch.

The Garden Grill will also be offering breakfast, lunch and dinner packages with seating at this year’s Candlelight Processional.

New Program Announced for Walt Disney Family Museum – Behind-the-Scenes of Walt’s Vision for Today

Walt's Vision for Today

In conjunction with the exhibition, Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today, guest curator and film director Brad Bird presents an in-depth presentation of Walt Disney as a technological innovator, futurologist, and thought leader. Hear about Walt’s original concept for the Tomorrowland project, its revolutionary rebuild of 1967, and take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the exhibition. See rare video footage, hear stories, and learn more about Walt’s fascinating passion for the future.

The program will be followed by a signing with Brad Bird at 5pm; the signing is open only to program ticket holders.

Tickets: Tickets on sale Monday, July 27 at 10am.
$18 adult member | $12 student & youth member | $20 non-member | $15 student & youth non-member

– See more at: http://www.waltdisney.org/node/1749/0#sthash.BDfCYVd4.dpuf

Park Vice Presidents Dan Cockerell and Phil Holmes Switch Positions in WDW Organization Restructure

Dan Cockerell

Disney announced to Cast Members that current Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes will be swapping positions with Dan Cockerell, current VP of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The transition will take place over the next month along with personnel changes across the park’s leadership team.

Phil Holmes has served Walt Disney World for over 40 years, joining the Magic Kingdom for its opening. Since then, he has worked in nearly every aspect of the front-line business, including Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and positions overseas at Disneyland Paris. Holmes has been the VP of the Magic Kingdom since the early 2000’s.

Dan Cockerell has worked for the company for nearly 25 years, and has held positions throughout the organization. At the resorts, Cockerell was general manager of Disney’s All Star Resort and Wilderness Lodge Resort. Later he served as Vice President of Epcot before moving to the top position at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July 2011.

Parks Celebrates 60 Years of Innovation at D23 Expo 2015

D23 Expo WDW Parks & Resorts

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts show floor pavilion will give D23 EXPO 2015 guests a look into the much-anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort, as well as a preview of the Avatar project coming to Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Plus, in addition to the previously announced Hall D23 presentation on Saturday, August 15, guests will have the opportunity to hear from executives, Imagineers, designers, Disney Legends and others directly involved with various projects for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in five engaging panels.

On The Show Floor

Located in Hall C, the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion is a 12,500-square-foot exhibit that gives guests a glimpse of the creative process in designing and building Shanghai Disney Resort, along with a preview of the Avatar project coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

In a celebratory exhibit on Shanghai Disney Resort, maquettes, artist illustrations, and media clips capture the designers’ journey as the resort comes to life. Guests can learn about the show design process and discover the tradition and innovation infused into the resort.

Guests will also get an in-depth look at Pandora when they explore what’s to come for the AVATAR project, with models, images, and exhibits on display.

Additionally, Mickey’s of Glendale, the Imagineering-exclusive merchandise store, will open an outpost at the Pavilion where guests will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise specially designed for D23 EXPO 2015.

Presentations and Panels

Friday, August 14
1:30–2:30 p.m.         60 Years of Disney Parks Merchandise (Stage 28)

Join our talented Disney Design Group artists, merchandisers, and special guests as they take you from concept to reality with behind-the-scenes storytelling about classic Disney souvenirs and how they have become tangible lasting memories. Guests will get a first look at some of the exciting new merchandise coming to Disney parks.

3:15–4:15 p.m.         Safari So Good—60 Years of the World Famous Jungle Cruise (Stage 23)

Skippers from throughout the years reflect on their experiences at the Jungle Cruise, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary as one of Disneyland’s opening-day attractions. They will also discuss changes to the attraction over the years including recent holiday overlays and other additions.

5–7 p.m.         Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland (Stage 23)

In a two-part panel discussion about Disneyland with Disney Legends and current Imagineers, panelists will discuss how it all began, what it took to carry on Walt Disney’s legacy, and how Imagineers are continuing to deliver magic well into the future. The panel is moderated by Academy Award®- and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, who will present a new trailer from her forthcoming documentary about Walt Disney Imagineering.

Sunday, August 16
10–11 a.m.         Disney Kingdoms (Stage 28)

Guests will learn about Disney Kingdoms, a joint collaboration between Marvel Comics and Walt Disney Imagineering. Guests will hear how these popular comic book series got started and discover the creators and theme park inspirations behind these popular titles, including Seekers of the WeirdFigment, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

3–4 p.m.         Experience the World with Disney: Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club (Stage 28)

This panel will provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how Disney is creating new vacation experiences for families all around the world. The first 400 guests in attendance will receive a D23 EXPO-exclusive gift.

Walt Disney World Confirms Dates for Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Walt Disney World has confirmed the dates for this year’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The display will begin this year on November 6th and end on January 3rd of 2016.

Disney Store to Unveil All-New Product Collections At D23 Expo 2015

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Disney Store today announced the all-new collections and Limited Editions set to launch at this year’s D23 EXPO 2015, Disney’s ultimate fan event held at the Anaheim Convention Center August 14–16. Located within the Disney Consumer Products Pavilion at D23 EXPO, the Disney Store shop will feature new and exclusive products showcased throughout more than 3,000 sq. ft. of retail space. New items celebrating everyone’s favorite characters will be unveiled each day throughout the weekend.

In addition to offering attendees the chance to shop special products not yet available to the general public, fans will also have the chance to meet the artists and designers who created these exciting new collections and be treated to the official Disney Store opening ceremony on Friday, August 14. During the ceremony, a special attendee will be chosen to “unlock imagination” at 9 a.m. alongside some of Disney’s most famous characters.

D23 EXPO attendees will get a first look at collections making their debut at the event, including the next installment of the popular Disney Fairytale Designer Collection; a Limited Edition Doll Collection from ABC Studios’ television series Once Upon a TimeToy Story20th Anniversary; and Disney Tsum Tsum.

Highlights of the new collections include:

  • Disney Fairytale Designer Collection – Happily ever after meets happily evil in Disney Store’s newest series of the Disney Fairytale Designer Collection being previewed at D23 EXPO. Featuring five sets of Limited Edition pairs, these collector doll sets were designed by Disney Store artists and carefully crafted to capture the beauty and romance of fairytale friends and foes.

    Available for the first time at D23 EXPO, guests can pre-purchase the complete set of five Hero/Villain pairs prior to the general public pre-sale beginning online Monday, September 14.

    Following the preview at D23 EXPO, the doll sets will be released and available for purchase in stores and online starting September 29, with a new pair released each week. Each set is limited to an edition of 6,000 globally and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

    This line expands into a collection of apparel, mugs, journals, home décor and more, available to the general public in stores and online on September 14.

  • Once Upon a Time – Continuing the ‘heroes and villains’ theme, Disney Store will introduce the Once Upon a Time Snow White and Evil Queen Doll Collection, available exclusively at D23 EXPO. Limited to an edition of 300, the doll collection, inspired by ABC Studios’ television series Once Upon a Time, brings to life the beauty, magic and charm of the iconic fairytale characters from the show.

    Exclusively for guests who purchase the doll set at D23 EXPO, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Lana Parrilla (The Evil Queen) will be available for an autograph signing at the ABC booth on the D23 EXPO floor from 4 – 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 15. This special opportunity will be followed by the Once Upon a Time panel taking place in Stage 23 from 6 – 7 p.m.

  • Star Wars – Disney Store will launch an exclusive collection of Star Wars items at the EXPO on Friday, August 14. The collection will feature apparel, collectibles, and toys, including the Star Wars Elite Series, a new line of highly articulated and detailed die cast action figures, representing characters from Star Wars Episodes I-VI. The action figures will be sold individually at Disney Store locations beginning later this year; however, EXPO attendees have the opportunity to purchase the full set of Star Wars Elite Series action figures, which includes D23 EXPO-exclusive versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO.

    Additionally at the D23 EXPO, Disney Store will introduce Star Wars Legion Helmets, a series of eight vinyl collectible helmets inspired by the Star Wars Legion Helmet project launched in early 2014. Celebrating creativity and Star Wars, the project pulled together artists from across The Walt Disney Company, resulting in 300 stormtrooper helmets being transformed into diverse pieces of art, which inspired these collectible recreations – epic additions to every Empire.

  • Toy Story 20th Anniversary – In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Disney∙Pixar’s Toy Story, Disney Store gleaned art from the adored film’s archives to illustrate the evolution of the beloved characters, Buzz and Woody. Featuring toys, collectibles, apparel and more, this collection will be released at the Disney Store shop at D23 EXPO on Friday, August 14.
  • Disney Tsum Tsum – All-new collections of everyone’s favorite stackable plush will be unveiled at D23 EXPO, with one releasing each day in limited quantities in mini, medium and large sizes. In addition, limited-edition mini box series – exclusive to D23 EXPO – will be released along with each collection, and a Mickey Mouse Tsum Tsum mini vinyl figure will be available for $5 with any purchase, while supplies last.

Also launching at D23 EXPO is Disney Store’s “Disney 3D Print Studio,” which offers fans the chance to personalize figures, including Marvel’s Iron Man, with their likeness through the use of facial-scanning kiosks. The figures ordered at the event will feature packaging unique to D23 EXPO.

New this year, in an effort to minimize wait times for guests, D23 is introducing StorePass at select D23 EXPO shopping locations, including the Disney Store shop. A limited quantity of StorePass tickets will be available starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, and while they last, at the StorePass desk located adjacent to the StagePass distribution area in Hall A. Guests can visit D23EXPO.com’s “Things to Know” page for more details.

The Disney Store shop at D23 EXPO can be found in the Disney Consumer Products Pavilion. Additional details and updates about Disney Store D23 EXPO events and activities will continue to be updated on www.D23EXPO.com, on Facebook, and Twitter @DisneyD23.

To find a local Disney Store, guests can visit www.DisneyStore.com/storelocator or call (866) 902-2798. Guests can also sign up for email alerts at www.DisneyStore.com/Updates, become a fan on Facebook www.facebook.com/DisneyStore or follow along on Twitter @DisneyStore.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

D23 Expo 2015—Where the Art Is

Disney fans come to D23 EXPO to see things they simply can’t see anywhere else. And Collectors Editions will be presenting three brand-new works from notable Disney artists at D23 EXPO 2015, where Disney fans will have the opportunity to purchase them for the first time anywhere.

D23 Expo - Colorful Mind

Collectors Editions’ Official D23 Fine Art offering of Tim Rogerson’s “A Colorful Mind” will launch at EXPO and will be available in various editions, including the original.

“Six years ago, I had the honor of painting “In Company of Legends,” the official art for the first-ever D23 EXPO,” Rogerson says. “It was a painting that celebrated The Walt Disney Company and how ‘it was all started by a mouse.’ When it came time to create the next official art for D23 EXPO 2015, I felt compelled to create a piece that celebrated the man behind the mouse. Walt Disney was a master storyteller who created the most beloved and cherished characters the world over. From cheerful Mickey Mouse, to sassy Tinker Bell, to the terrifying Chernabog, Walt Disney created hundreds of unforgettable characters in his career, from early black-and-white cartoons to colorful full-length feature films. My newest work of art, ‘A Colorful Mind,’ celebrates those amazing characters that Walt himself had a hand in bringing to life.”

Disney Fine Art will also be presenting two D23 EXPO 2015-exclusive releases from legendary Disney artist Eric Goldberg to coincide with the launch of his new book, An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters. “Genie’s D23 Vacation” and “The D23 Gang” will also make their debut at D23 EXPO 2015.

Both of these programs will appeal to all levels of art collectors, offering a variety of formats, sizes, and price points.

Look for these exclusive images at D23 EXPO 2015, where Disney Fine Art by Collectors Editions presented by Stage 9 will be located in Hall B.

StorePass at D23 Expo 2015—Spend More Time Shopping and Less Time Waiting

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So many D23 EXPO shopping experiences to choose from, and so little time! Plus there are presentations… Autograph signings… Concerts… What’s a retail-minded Disney fan to do?

The brand-new StorePass will let you spend more of your time shopping—not waiting in line for entry to the most sought-after stores at D23 EXPO. A very limited quantity of D23 EXPO 2015 StorePass tickets will be available and will offer priority entry to Disney Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Starting at 10 a.m., and while D23 EXPO StorePass tickets last, visit the StorePass desk located adjacent to the StagePass distribution area in Hall A.
  1. Choose one of the 30-minute shopping experience timeslots, held from 12–5 p.m.
  1. Present your D23 EXPO 2015 admission ticket to receive a StorePass ticket for the respective shopping experience location.
  1. Each person is limited to one StorePass ticket for each shopping experience location per day.
  1. Please arrive at the shopping experience location at least five minutes prior to the start of your assigned timeslot with your StorePass ticket.
  1. StorePass tickets are valid only for the timeslot printed on the ticket.

Note: There will be standby lines at all locations should a guest not receive a pass for that day.

StorePass makes your D23 EXPO shopping experience so easy that the hardest question becomes, “What are you going to buy?” Have fun answering that—and shopping—at D23 EXPO 2015!

D23 Expo Emporium: A Truly Magical Marketplace

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“Emporium” is an elegant synonym for “store” or “shop.” But the D23 EXPO Emporium is so much more than that. If D23 EXPO 2015 brings all of Disney’s wonderful worlds together under one roof, the Emporium brings collectors, vendors, and fans of each of those worlds together into one magical bazaar for your browsing and shopping pleasure.

Fangirls can check out Star Wars, Marvel, and Doctor Who-themed designs from Her Universe. Disney fans of all ages can take a vicarious trip to Marceline, Missouri, when they visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum’s Emporium location. Whether you’re interested in pins, Vinylmation, Disney-inspired art, or vintage toys and collectibles, you’ll while away the hours strolling through the D23 EXPO Emporium, where there’s a delightful surprise around every corner.

And don’t worry about ending up with more treasures than you can carry—the U.S. Postal Service will be on hand to ship your D23 EXPO purchases for you, leaving your hands free to collect autographs, take pictures, and clap with excitement at the end of another spectacular presentation in Hall D23.

The Emporium is a one-of-a-kind Disney shopping experience that you won’t want to miss!