Men’s College Basketball Tournaments Coming To Walt Disney World Resort

If you’re a college hoops fan and are planning a trip to Walt Disney World in November you’re in luck! This fall, you can add a basketball game or two to your vacation, because the Tire Pros Invitational and AdvoCare Invitational will be underway at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

New to Disney, the Tire Pros Invitational will tip off November 17-20 and features Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Tulane, Xavier and Oklahoma, which made it to the Final Four of the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball championship.

Past winners include Miami (2015 & 2007), West Virginia (2014), Charlotte (2013), Oklahoma State (2012), Alabama (2011), Minnesota (2010), Villanova (2009) and Xavier (2007).

And just a few days later, the AdvoCare Invitational returns, November 24-27. This tournament features three Sweet 16 teams – Gonzaga, Iowa State and Miami, as well as Big East Conference Champion Seton Hall. Other participants include Florida, Indiana State, Quinnipiac and Stanford.

For each tournament, the bracket consists of 12 games over three days with each team competing in one game per day, advancing through the bracket. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship game on the final day of competition.

In between exploring the fall festivities across the Disney Parks, why not visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to catch some of the top college basketball teams face off?

If you love sports or even if you’re a casual fan, you won’t want to miss these tournaments! Visit ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets for the AdvoCare Invitational and to get more information about ticket sales for the Tire Pros Invitational.

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Yacht and Beach Club Plans Convention Space Expansion

Walt Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort plans to expand its convention space with an additional 25,000 square feet.

That will bring total convention space at the resort to 100,000 square feet.

Reedy Creek, the Disney-controlled taxing district, filed a permit application with the South Florida Water Management District this week for the work. Construction will also include additional parking space across Epcot Resorts Boulevard. Plans show the convention space being expanded to the north, where there is now a parking area.

The work will start next month and be finished in spring of 2018.

Rooms at the resort will also be refurbished, a Disney spokeswoman said. That will start in January and take about a year.

There has been speculation that expanding the Yacht and Beach Club’s convention center could lead the way to demolition of meeting space at the Contemporary hotel to make way for more timeshare units there, said Tim Krasniewski, editor of DVCNews.com, in an email.

The Yacht and Beach Club, one of Disney World’s deluxe resorts, opened 25 years ago. Events held there include last year’s Economic Growth Summit that featured speeches by Republican presidential candidates.

From the Orlando Sentinel

Disney Springs to Get Third Parking Structure in 2019

Reedy Creek Improvement District has confirmed that they plan to build a third parking structure at Disney Springs.

The  new structure will be the smallest of the three garages at Disney Springs.  The plans call for a 2000 parking space garage which will be located across Buena Vista Drive behind the Speedway and Casting Center alongside I-4. Access to Disney Springs will be via the recently opened pedestrian bridges.

The garage will be used by guests and cast members, adding more capacity to the current parking at Disney Springs. Like the Orange and Lime garages, the new structure will feature the smart parking system, which indicates empty spaces and capacity on each level and row.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017, with an opening expected sometime in 2019.

Walt Disney World Offers Ticket Discounts to U.S Military Through 2017

Walt Disney World is saluting U.S. military personnel with a special ticket discount through 2017.

Active and retired U.S. military and their spouses can purchase discounted  park-hopper passes starting Wednesday.

Four-day park-hopper passes start at $209; five-day park-hopper passes start at $224. A typical four-day park-hopper pass starts at $394.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase the promotional tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends.

The tickets may be used from Jan. 1 – Dec. 19, 2017, except between April 9 – 23. All tickets are nontransferable and must be used by Dec. 19, 2017.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can also purchase specially priced rooms at select Walt Disney World hotels. This offer is valid for stays most nights from Jan. 1 – Dec. 19, 2017, except for April 9 –23, 2017.

For information on Disney military promotional tickets for admission to Walt Disney World Resort, or to make room reservations at Walt Disney World Resort, military personnel may call 407-939-5684 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.

Eligible service members include members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reservists, the National Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use of the tickets.

Each military promotional ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.

Magic Kingdom to Mark 45th Anniversary with Castle Presentation and Merchandise

The Magic Kingdom will be 45 years old on Saturday October 1st. Disney will be marking the occasion with limited edition merchandise and a special presentation on the castle stage.

The special castle presentation will begin at 9:30 AM on October 1st with guest speakers, characters, and musical performances.  Disney has not disclosed who will speak nor which characters will appear.

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As for merchandise, there will be a limited edition T-Shirt and Pin, available at the Emporium. Specially themed treats will be available at the Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern.

Disney and Jon Favreau Joining Forces on “The Lion King”

We can officially confirm that The Walt Disney Studios and director Jon Favreau are putting a new reimagining of The Lion King on the fast track to production. The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit The Jungle Book, directed by Favreau, which debuted in April and has earned $965.8 million worldwide. 

The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like MaleficentCinderella, and The Jungle Book. The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to The Jungle Book. No release date has been announced for either film. 

The Lion King (1994) is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. It won Academy Awards for the original song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), plus two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling over 14 million copies. In 1997, the stage production The Lion King made its Broadway debut, winning six Tony Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway’s biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America. Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica. The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.  

On This Day in Disney: Fun and Fancy Free Premieres

In the early ’40s, Disney was working on two full-length animated feature films, Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk. When war broke out at the height of their development, it was decided to create a “package feature,” combining the two stories in a single film, Fun and Fancy Free, which was released on this day in 1947.

The package feature format helped Disney to provide entertaining films throughout the war, allowing audiences an escape from the realities of the world’s problems if only for a short while. Jiminy Cricket returned to the screen, with Cliff Edwards reprising his role as the cricket’s voice, and served as the guide between segments of the lighthearted film. His opening number, “I’m a Happy Go Lucky Fellow” was actually written for him to sing in Pinocchio.

The story of Bongo was told through song by Dinah Shore, a very popular singer at the time. At one time during the early stages of Bongo, thought was given to developing the film into a follow up to Dumbo using some of the same settings and supporting cast. The animation segments were tied together with live-actions ones, featuring popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his puppet characters Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. The trio was joined by Disney starlet, young Luana Patten, all of whom are worked into the story of Mickey and the Beanstalk. At one point, Foulfellow and Gideon were considered for the villains who swindle Mickey out of his cow, but the animated due did not make it to the final film. Billy Gilbert was an actor and comedian known for his comedic sneezes, but his voice work for Disney spanned epic proportions. Not only was he the voice of the Willie the Giant in Mickey and the Beanstalk, but he also was Sneezy the Dwarf in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Coming to Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort

The queen of cupcakes is headed to the Disneyland Resort.

Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and a Food Network celebrity, is bringing her bakery to Downtown Disney. The cupcake shop is replacing the Something Silver retail shop in November.

This is the second Sprinkles Cupcakes on Disney property. In May, a Sprinkles opened at Disney World’s downtown equivalent, Disney Springs, in Orlando.

“We are thrilled to partner with Disney on both coasts. Launching Sprinkles in Downtown Disney was a natural fit for us when deciding where to expand our California presence,” Nelson said in a statement released Monday morning. “With its widespread appeal to vacationers and locals, Downtown Disney is an ideal spot for everyone with a sweet tooth to converge.”

The shop will serve the same menu of scratch-made gourmet cupcakes and cookies found in the chain’s Corona del Mar store, which opened in 2006. Though its ice cream will not be sold at Downtown Disney, a Sprinkles representative said the brand hopes to take advantage of its location by serving some Disneyland-inspired treats.

“At the time of opening, we will not have Disney-themed cupcakes, but we hope to bring this option to our customers in the future,” a Sprinkles representative told the Register in an email.

Sprinkles Cupcakes is considered a pioneer in specialty desserts – responsible for an explosion of haute cupcake shops that opened across Southern California before the Great Recession hit.

Nelson, an investment banker turned baker, opened the first Sprinkles in 2005 in Beverly Hills. She sold 200 cupcakes in two hours on opening day. That number eventually jumped to 1,000 a day once word spread that celebrities such as Tyra Banks and Barbra Streisand were devotees.

Sprinkles has 20 locations nationwide and a mobile cupcake truck. It sells its cupcake mixes at more than 250 Williams-Sonoma stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2012, it made more headlines when it debuted a string of “ATM” cupcake dispensers and premium ice cream shops. One of its ATMs recently opened on the USC campus.

Sprinkles’ second shop at Corona del Mar Plaza offers ice cream and is slated to get an ATM dispenser, a company representative said.

The Anaheim store hours will be Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

In recent years, the mix of stores and dining options have changed at Downtown Disney. In 2014, Starbucks opened a cafe. Earlier this month, Disney announced plans to raze the 17,000-square-foot-plus House of Blues building. The concert venue, which closed earlier this year, is reopening at the nearby GardenWalk mall.

From Mark Eades and the Orange County Register

Disney Is Working With an Adviser on Potential Twitter Bid

The Walt Disney Co. is working with a financial adviser to evaluate a possible bid for Twitter Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

After receiving some inbound interest, Twitter started a process to evaluate a potential sale. Salesforce.com Inc. is also considering a bid, working with Bank of America on the process, according to other people, who declined to be named because the matter is private.

Representatives for Twitter and Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Speculation that Twitter will be sold has been gathering steam in recent months, including last week’s news about Salesforce’s interest. Twitter’s share price soared 21 percent Friday following reports of the talks. Disney, if it decides to make a bid, would be able to help the company further its video-streaming media strategy. Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter, is also on the board of Disney.

From Bloomberg

runDisney Gives a Sneak A Peek at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Medals

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy and Dopey – oh my! All of your favorite characters are gearing up to host the most magical race weekend on Earth! The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna celebrates the Fab 5 and Dopey with entertainment, character meet & greets and, of course, medals! There’s still a chance to earn the whole collection! As part of The Dopey Challenge, participants run the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon in four days for a total of 48.6 magical miles. Runners who complete all of the races within pacing requirements will earn the Goofy Race and Half Challenge medal plus the Dopey Challenge finisher medal (in addition to the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon medal) for a total of six pieces of “bling.”

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There’s no race quite like the Walt Disney World Marathon. It’s our only runDisney race that takes you through all four Walt Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Check out our website to see how you can earn the Walt Disney World Marathon or Castaway Challenge (combining one 5K event or longer during the 2017 Marathon Weekend with a Castaway Cay 5K on Disney Cruise Line’s private tropical island in the Bahamas the following week) medal as well!