Walt Disney World Announces Magic Kingdom Attractions Getting New Holiday Twists for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

What is better than Christmas in July?  Christmas in July news for Walt Disney World!

For the first time during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, some Magic Kingdom attractions will be receiving special enhancements just for the holidays!

In Tomorrowland, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor will have a new show as the crew is putting some “Ha Ha Ha” in their “Ho Ho Ho” into the show.  

When guests get behind the wheel at the Tomorrowland Speedway, they’ll find that they will be cruising a festive freeway filled with thousands of lights and stylized décor.  Space Mountain launches will be launching guests on a trippy jaunt through the cosmos, filled with dazzling lighting and high-energy holiday tunes.

The Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland becomes a wild and wacky Christmas party, as guests spin their teacups to one of four new holiday combos of lights and music.

Also happening will be the brand new “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” show.  Of course there will be plenty of returning favorites like “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration,” “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas,” Club Tinsel, the Disney Junior Jingle Jam and “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” not to mention the complimentary treats and a magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.

Walt Disney World Announces Date That Skyliner Takes Flight

A new era in Disney transportation is right around the corner!

Today Walt Disney World announced that on September 29th, the Disney Skyliner gondolas will officially begin transporting guests around Walt Disney World Resort.

In the Disney fan community, this date is possibly the most anticipated, just short of when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was opening.  Now that I think about it, since SWGE opening was announced a few weeks ago, this probably was the currently most anticipated.

Disney Skyliner will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four of its resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort which is scheduled to open in December 2019.

The gondolas will feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters. Disney has previously featured a few of the character cabins on the Disney Parks Blog, including those with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Chip & Dale.

Some of the other Disney themes featured will include:

  • “Coco”
  • Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow
  • “Finding Dory”
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “Monsters, Inc.”
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • “Ratatouille”

Walt Disney World Announces a Number of Closures and Relocations in Epcot’s Future World Transformation

Walt Disney World has announced that there will be a number of relocations and closures related the the re-imagineering of Epcot’s Future World.  If you are heading to Walt Disney World this fall or winter be aware of the information listed below.

Disney has confirmed the following….

Closing on September 8th, 2019 –

Art of Disney – eventually moving to Heritage Manor (American Adventure)

Fountain of Nations

Innoventions East – Colortopia and Nanooze Break

Epcot’s Character Spot (Innoventions East) –

  • Mickey and Goofy will be moving to Imageworks
  • Minnie will be moving to the World Showcase Gazebo
  • Daisy Duck will be moving to The American Adventure
  • Joy, Sadness & Baymax will be moving to a location yet to be announced

Closing Late Fall 2019 –

  • Fountain View (Starbucks)
  • Club Cool
  • Pin Central will operate temporarily from a new location while refurbishment is underway
  • Camera Center will close to become a new home for Pin Central.

Closing Winter 2019 –

  • MouseGear to be Re-Imagineered (will be relocated to a temporary location)
  • Electric Umbrella (new dining location coming later)

 

Space-Themed Restaurant to Open in Epcot Later This Year

Some people go to Walt Disney World for the attractions, others go for the food.  Some will say that food at the Disney parks is an attraction.

Well, if you’re a fan of eating at Walt Disney World, Disney has announced that Epcot’s space-themed restaurant will open later this year.

The restaurant was initially announced last summer. Disney has not announced a name for the new restaurant either.  And, so far, few details have been shared about its menu or price point.

The new Epcot establishment is going up in Epcot’s Future World, in a space between Test Track and the Mission: Space attractions.

According to Disney…

“No dining experience on Earth can match what’s in store, because this new restaurant will take you into outer space for incredible dining experiences that are out of this world.”

Patina Restaurant Group will be operating the table-service restaurant.  It has “developed a menu that features internationally inspired cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines and a wide selection of craft beer,” according to Disney. Patina says the executive chef will be Theo Schoenegger who created the cuisine.

Patina also operates the Epcot restaurants Tutto Italia and Via Napoli in the Italy pavilion plus Disney Springs restaurants including Morimoto Asia, Edison, Maria & Enzo’s, Pizza Ponte and Enzo’s Hideaway.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to eat here.  When it does open I expect it to be very popular and it will be a hard reservation to get initially.

We Say….IT’S NOT US!

Earlier today a website that sounds very close to our site reported another in a series unsubstantiated rumors and for the second time in a few weeks got called out by Disney and the Disney Parks Blog that the rumors were false and what was reported isn’t going to happen.  Yes….you read that right…Disney called them out.  Think about that.

What I want to assure you all is….IT’S NOT US!

It’s not what we do here.  We report the news and my take on those stories.  We don’t do rumors.  I don’t report news or even anything that sounds like a rumor unless it comes directly from Disney or is independently reported by at least two sources (and I mean independent sources, not two sources citing the same original source).

I value your time, intelligence and business.  I’m not going to waste my time and yours reporting a rumor that came from some Disney Transportation driver’s third cousin’s hair stylist.  Also….I don’t want to piss off the mouse.

Again, thank you for visiting this site.

Walt Disney World Increases Prices on Annual Passes and Overnight Parking

Ahead of today’s opening of bookings for 2020 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge   opening on August 29th, Walt Disney World significantly increased the prices on their annual passes overnight.

Perhaps hardest hit were out-of-state Annual Passholders. Florida residents’ and DVC members’ prices are still markedly lower but have increased as well.

Here’s the breakdown (you may want to sit down for this) –

Non-Resident Annual Passholder (Pre-Tax) –

Platinum New  – was $894  now $1119 (25.2% increase)

Platinum Renewal – was $759 now $951 (25.3%)

Platinum Plus New – was $994 now $1219 (22.6%)

Platinum Plus Renewal – was $844 now $1036 (22.7%)

Florida Resident and DVC Member Annual Passholder (Pre-Tax) –

Silver (FL Resident) New – was $479 now $519 (8.4%)

Silver (FL Resident) Renewal – was $407 now $441 (8.4%)

Gold New – was $609 now $699 (14.8%)

Gold Renewal – was $517 now $594 (14.9%)

Platinum New – was $749 now $899 (20.0%)

Platinum Renewal – was $636 now $764 (20.1%)

Platinum Plus New – was $849 now $999 (17.7%)

Platinum Plus Renewal – was $721 now $849 (17.8%)

So what do you get with your Walt Disney World Annual Pass?

The passes get you access to the applicable parks for the year, effectively giving you a park hopper. They’ll also get you certain discounts on food and nonalcoholic beverages and merchandise, special event ticket discounts, and AP resort room offers. By having an annual pass you will also get access to exclusive Passholder merchandise, early runDisney registration, certain VIPassholder ticketed events, and giveaways,  such as car magnets and other items given out during Epcot’s festivals.

While not a direct monetary value, but we should also mention that when the parks reach capacity the current process is to restrict entry in four phases, AP holders are not blocked from entering the parks until the fourth and last phase. So AP holders are effectively given preferential treatment on the parks’ most crowded days.

By being a Passholder (or DVC member or Florida resident) you also have access to the Tables In Wonderland card, which currently costs $150. TIW gets you 20% off food and drinks (including alcohol) at most table service restaurants on property and some others. That adds up quickly, especially as a local.

Also announced today was that Walt Disney World is increasing the prices for overnight parking at its resorts.

For reservations made before June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2019 or 2020:

  • Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

For reservations made on or after June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2020:

  • Disney Value Resorts: $15 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night

Guests with cars staying at the Value Resorts seem to be getting hit the hardest with a 15.4% increase.  Guests staying at a Moderate and Deluxe resort will be seeing rates increased by 5.2% and 4.2% respectively.

Disney Announces Limited Time Merchandise for D23 Expo

Yesterday D23 announced the limited time merchandise that will be available at D23 Expo 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center August 23-25, 2019.

ShopDisney.com | Disney store
Home to the widest assortment of Disney merchandise for everyone in the family, D23 Expo 2019 merchandise will give fans a wide variety of specially curated collections and limited-edition (LE) series with a behind-the-scenes twist. Honoring some of Disney’s biggest legacies, here is a snapshot of what fans will see:

  • Disney Designer Collection: Midnight Masquerade Series – The fan-favorite series returns with a new twist and features doll sets of Tiana and Naveen, Giselle and Edward, and Aurora and Phillip. Rapunzel, Belle, Meg, Cinderella, and Esmeralda will also be included. In addition to dolls, fans can pick up pin sets, stationery, mug and plate sets, and more
  • Legacy Collection – This LE collection will celebrate anniversaries and milestones for some of the most beloved Disney characters and films including:
    • Donald Duck 85th – Plush, collectible pins, a retro T-shirt, varsity jacket, hat, and more
    • Silly Symphony 90th – Spirit Jersey shirt, retro T-shirt, pins, and more
    • The Lion King 25th – Celebrate the wonder that is The Lion King with LE collectibles, plush, litho set, and more
  • The Little Mermaid 30th – Celebrate 30 years of The Little Mermaid with journals, ornament sets, pins, apparel, dolls, and more
  • Disney•Pixar
    • Take home a LE “Talking Woody,” “Talking Jessie,” and “Talking Bullseye,” along with a LE plush set of Ellie and Carl in their “Adventure Book” and much more
  • Backstage Collection – Go “Backstage” for a behind-the-scenes look into DisneyPixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Walt Disney Animation Studios to celebrate the artistry, legends, and rich heritage of The Walt Disney Company.
    • Disney Backstage Collection Subscription Box – D23 Expo guests will be among the first to see and order the new Disney Backstage Collection subscription box, which celebrates the artistry of Disney through limited-release T-shirts, pins, and more, delivered to your doorstep—all in a custom-designed package.
    • Walt Disney Animation Studios “Under the Hat” – LE Wreck-It Ralph Shadow Box, mug, and sketchbook
    • Disney•Pixar “Under the Lamp” – Pixar campus hat, fleece, tiki crew mug, and more
    • Lucasfilm “Behind the Force” – All-new crew jacket and hat along with a LE “Java the Hutt” T-shirt, mug, and more
    • Marvel “Behind the Hero” – A LE Black Panther Shadow Box, hat, and more
  • Mickey Mouse Shufflerz – Fans can extend their “Mickey Mouse Memories” collections with the new Mickey Mouse Shufflerz that highlight Mickey through the years—pressing the top of the figures 10 times causes them to “shuffle” along their way! Pick up the LE 13-pack or single figures.

The Dream Store
Jam-packed with D23 Expo 2019-themed official merchandise and other specialty items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise, The Dream Store returns with something magical for Disney fans of all ages. This year, guests will discover whimsical assortments inspired by the Dapper Dan’s, Main Street, U.S.A., and iconic Mickey balloons on a variety of items including apparel, art and collectibles, accessories, pins, and more! The Dream Store is a Disney enthusiast’s dream come true. Highlights include:

  • Dapper Dan’s – This collection features a “Dapper Dress” from Her Universe along with adult T-shirts, a Spirit Jersey shirt, pins, plush, Funko POP figures, and much more
  • Mickey Balloons – Evoking the feeling you get as you stroll down Main Street, U.S.A., the Mickey Balloons lend their iconic look to an assortment that includes adult apparel, a Spirit Jersey shirt, skirt from Her Universe, hats, mugs, accessories, and more
  • Official D23 Expo 2019 Gear – Swing by to grab official 2019 D23 Expo gear and apparel including T-shirts, a Lounge Fly mini-backpack, hat, pins, and more!

Mickey’s of Glendale
Mickey’s of Glendale, the Walt Disney Imagineering store, returns with two stores for three days only for D23 Expo attendees at the Anaheim Convention Center:

  • Mickey’s of Glendale Main Store – Mickey’s of Glendale will feature exclusive merchandise designed by Imagineers, including hats, T-shirts, accessories, and more. Additionally, Guests will have the opportunity to shop limited-edition collectibles celebrating Walt Disney Imagineering’s heritage.
    • Attraction Quote T-Shirt Collection– An assortment of T-shirts that let fans celebrate the most iconic quotes from their favorite attractions through bold graphics.
  • Mickey’s of Glendale Pin Store – Disney pin enthusiasts will want to stop by the Mickey’s of Glendale Pin Store, which will feature a large assortment of limited-edition pins.

The merch that I’m curious about is what will Dream Store.  Why?  Because I like me some “Expo Exclusive” stuff and over the past five Expos it’s the only store I’m sure that I’ll get into.  I usually get an Expo shirt, but I’ll admit I’m not really excited about a black shirt.  I hope they have other colors.

 

While the Disney Store appears to have some nice items, I have yet to make it into that store…ever!  So, I’m not getting too excited about anything there.  If I manage to get into that store finally, I’ll worry about it then.

It’s nice to see that Mickey’s of Glendale is separating the store into a pin store and a store for everything else.  I’ve only gotten into that store once, so maybe this is the year I return.

While a lot of the merch looks nice…nothing right now is jumping out at me as a “must have.”  I’m sure I’ll buy something though.

The stores are very popular, so if you’re going to D23 Expo along with the panels, shopping is something you have to plan for and figure out when to try to get into whichever store you want to try to get into.

Disney Announces ‘Lion King’-Inspired “Protect the Pride” Global Conservation Campaign

If you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom at all you cannot miss the fact that a lot of what Disney does there is related to conservation.  Over the years this has not only been a focus of the park but also the company in general.

Today, the Walt Disney Co. announced a global conservation campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing lions and other wildlife across Africa, which was inspired by the upcoming release of The Lion King.

Named “Protect the Pride,” the campaign focuses on protecting and revitalizing the lion population, according to Disney.

Disney is lending support (and has already donated more than $1.5 million) to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), which aims to double the lion population across Africa by 2050 through efforts that engage communities to ensure a future for African wildlife and their habitats.

Disney plans to double the $1.5 million through additional grants, as well as participation from fans, for a total contribution of up to $3 million, according to the company.

“Disney is committed to supporting lion conservation efforts and we believe The Lion King is the perfect story to remind us of the role each of us has in ensuring a world where these majestic animals are treasured and protected,” Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, enterprise social responsibility for The Walt Disney Company said in a statement. “Conservation has always been a core value of The Walt Disney Company and that commitment is apparent in everything from our films to our theme parks and is why we created the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF).”

Recently, Disney assembled more than 80 of the world’s leading lion conservation experts, from 18 countries and representing more than 50 organizations, to develop strategies to address challenges facing lion populations and to ensure a future for the species during the the first Lion Footprint Forum at Walt Disney World Resort, according to the company.

Additional information about the LRF’s lion conservation efforts may be found at LionRecoveryFund.org.

Brand-New Walt Disney Archives Exhibit Celebrating Disney’s Most Iconic Heroes and Villains to Open at D23 Expo 2019

The Walt Disney Archives returns to D23 Expo with an all-new exhibit, “Walt Disney Archives Presents Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume.” From the classic Mary Poppins to this year’s live-action retelling of Aladdin, more than 70 costumes from 55 years of Disney movies and television shows will be on display from August 23–25 at the Anaheim Convention Center during the biennial event, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.

Guests entering the 12,000-square-foot exhibit will be greeted by “Cinderella’s Workshop,” a gallery featuring the beloved fairy-tale character’s dresses from her numerous Disney incarnations, including 1997’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella; the gown worn by Scarlett Johansson for Annie Leibovitz’s 2007 Disney Dream Portrait series; 2014’s Into the Woods; the 2015 live-action reimagining of the animated masterpiece Cinderella; and the ABC hit series Once Upon a Time.

The main gallery will be broken into three sections: “Disney Heroes,” “Disney Villains,” and “Spaces Between,” reserved for the antiheroes whose fascinating journeys make them among Disney’s most complex characters.

Among the costumes included in the “Disney Heroes” section are Belle’s village dress and ballgown from 2017’s Beauty and the Beast; creations worn by the Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine in this year’s live-action Aladdin; and—for the first time ever displayed together—three iconic Mary Poppins “traveling dresses” worn in three Poppins productions: the 1964 original film, 2019’s Mary Poppins Returns, and the Broadway musical. “Disney Villains” ensembles include the trio of wonderfully wicked witches from 1993’s Hocus Pocus, the duo of dresses worn by the stepsisters in 2015’s Cinderella, and the dress worn by the incomparable Bette Davis in 1978’s Return from Witch Mountain. And “Spaces Between” includes Maleficent’s gown from the 2014 film, as well as the Evil Queen and Hook’s costumes from Once Upon a Time.

The exhibit includes costumes from some of Hollywood’s preeminent designers, past and present, including Academy Award ® -winners Colleen Atwood, Sandy Powell, and Tony Walton, as well as Emmy ® winner Ellen Mirojnick and Emmy nominees Eduardo Castro and Penny Rose.

Many of the costumes on exhibit will be featured in The Art of Disney Costuming: Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between, a dazzling new book out this September from Disney Editions. The book will also be available in advance exclusively at D23 Expo.

The Walt Disney Archives Exhibit at D23 Expo has alway been a favorite of mine.  It is always well done and is very interesting.  The exhibit at D23 Expo 2017 was dedicated to Pirates of the Caribbean and was incredibly detailed.  I cannot wait to see this in August.

Single-day tickets for Friday and Sunday of D23 Expo 2019 are available for $89 for one-day adult admission and $69 for children 3–9. Gold Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $77 for a one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Single-day Saturday tickets and three-day passes are sold out. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2019, visit D23Expo.com.

Disney Retires Shop Parks app, shopDisney to be Sole Online Shop

Earlier today Disney announced on the Disney Parks Blog that shopDisney.com is set to become the one-stop online shop for all things Disney as the Shop Disney Parks app will be retired at the end of the month.

According to Disney, the Shop Disney Parks app will be retired on May 31.  When this happens shopDisney.com and the shopDisney app will become the ultimate online retail location for all things Disney including Parks merchandise.

If guests go to the Shop Disney Parks app they will see a message upon opening which explains the retirement of the shopping application and providing a link to download the shopDisney app.

Disney has stated that shopDisney will offer an even larger selection of favorite items from Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and more.

At Walt Disney World Resort, My Disney Experience will continue to offer popular shopping features for guests including an availability map or the ability to ship select merchandise to home (U.S. addresses only) when guests order through the My Disney Experience

Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Members will also continue to receive their eligible discounts through the My Disney Experience app.

This does not really surprise me.  Disney had to have realized what I have always experienced with the Shop Parks app.  I have rarely had a pleasant experience.  The availability function with the app was essentially useless.  There have been many times when the app said that an item was out of stock at particular locations, yet there were dozens on the shelves. That was on top of the duplication of the shopping experience.  You never knew where to look for things.  Stuff that should have been park exclusive was seldom available on Shop Parks, yet at times could be found on shopDisney.

I admire the intention of developing and implementation of Shop Parks, but it just never met expectations and was a disappointment.  I’m glad Disney realized this and is moving on.