Disney Parks Going Smoke-Free May 1st

In the Disney Parks Blog today Disney made a series of announcements that will affect many guests.  The biggest of which was that beginning May 1st, smoking will no longer be allowed inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California.  In the announcement Disney stated that designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of the areas listed above and at Disney Springs in Florida.  For guests who have room or dining reservations, smoking areas are also available at Disney Resort hotels.

The next announcement was in regard to strollers.  Also beginning May 1st, Disney is requiring that strollers be no larger than 31″ (79cm) wide and 52″ (132cm) long.  According to the announcement many strollers on the market, including many double jogging strollers, fit within these size guidelines.  They also reminded guests that wagons will not be permitted in the parks beginning May 1st.  According to Disney, these updates are designed to help with guest flow and ease congestion.  While Disney is stating that this is an “adjustment” to the stroller guidelines, I’ve been told that this might actually be an “emphasis of enforcement,” but I don’t have definite information on that.

The final announcement affects guest bringing in coolers into the parks.  Beginning today, loose or dry ice are no longer permitted in the parks.  Ice packs will be permitted though.

Disneyland Offering Indiana Jones Adventure Queue Tours During Rehab

The Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland is one of the park’s more popular attractions.  Have you ever wanted to learn about the secrets located in the detailed queue but have never had the time?

While the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction undergoes a short refurbishment at Disneyland, the park is offering guests the chance to explore the ride’s impressive queue.

Announced in a tweet from @DisneylandToday we learned that guests can take a walking tour of the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye queue for a limited time.  These tours will be offered from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and tomorrow (Thursday).  Disney noted that guests do not need reservations for this tour and that Cast Members were waiting at the ride’s entrance.

Disneyland Clarifies Alcohol Rule for Oga’s Cantina

A spokesperson for the Disneyland AP account on Twitter confirmed this week that visitors over 21 years old will only be allowed to drink in the confines of the upcoming Oga’s Cantina at the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction.

 Rachel

Hey. Did we ever get told whether or not when Galaxy’s Edge opens @Disneyland that alcohol is allowed throughout the park? @DisneylandAP

Disneyland AP
Hello, Rachel! At this time, Guests will be required to stay in Oga’s Cantina while enjoying alcoholic beverages.

Disney Reveals Initial Concepts for Epcot Transformation

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced three new concepts along with some concept art that will be included in the multi-year transformation of Epcot.  This transformation was originally announced at the D23 Expo in 2017.

From Disney’s announcement –

The ongoing evolution of Epcot includes plans for a play pavilion that’ll be unlike anything you’ve ever seen at the park. This new space will be devoted to playful fun and feature an innovative city that’ll come to life under the dome of the un-named pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life. The pavilion’s city will be bursting with interactive experiences, your favorite Disney characters, hands-on activities and engaging entertainment when it opens just in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort!

“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation.”

Walt Disney World also announced changes to the entrance of Epcot.  As you can see above the plaza will welcome guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces and a newly reimagined fountain.  From the announcement and the concept art this new design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements.

In case you were wondering, Disney announced that the Leave A Legacy photos will be moving into a beautiful setting just outside the park’s gateway.  Disney also mentioned that significant redevelopment will also begin between Spaceship Earth attraction and the World Showcase Promenade.  Details will be announced at a later date….my guess is that we’ll probably hear something about this at the D23 Expo in August.

Guests will soon be able to look what’s coming at a new Experience Center coming to Epcot later this year. The Experience Center will be located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion and feature interactive exhibits to help visualize park projects throughout this unprecedented period of transformation.

Many of us have been wondering whether the transformation of Epcot was still going to happen since we haven’t seen or heard anything…even concept art since the project was announced in July of 2017 at the D23 Expo.

I for one, and from what I’ve seen and read I’m not the only one, am very excited about this exciting announcement.

Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dead at Age 78

Dave Smith, the founder of Walt Disney Archives, died earlier today at the age of 78.

The Walt Disney Company honored Dave with this –

Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith passed away in Burbank, California, on February 15, 2019. He was 78. Dave dedicated his four-decade career at The Walt Disney Company to preserving Disney’s precious treasures from film, television, theme parks, and beyond. Named a Disney Legend in 2007, Dave was beloved by fans around the world for his wide knowledge of the Company’s rich history, which he shared in books and through his popular magazine column “Ask Dave.”

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of Dave Smith’s passing,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He was the unsung hero of Disney’s history who, as our first archivist, spent 40 years rescuing countless documents and artifacts from obscurity, investing endless hours restoring and preserving these priceless pieces of our legacy, and putting them in context to tell our story. Dave was a true Disney Legend, and we are indebted to him for building such an enduring, tangible connection to our past that continues to inspire our future.”

Dave was hired in 1970 by Walt’s brother—and The Walt Disney Company co-founder—Roy O. Disney, and his first responsibility was cataloguing every item inside Walt’s office suite, which had been left untouched after Walt’s passing four years prior. Thanks to Dave’s meticulously detailed notes and records, the Archives was able to restore the suite in 2015, and today Disney employees are able to visit and draw inspiration from this remarkable space. During his time as Disney’s Chief Archivist, Dave grew the Archives from a simple one-person department to a model among corpo­rate archives. He was regarded by fans and historians as the final authority on matters of Disney history, and was an active member of the Society of California Archivists. He served from 1980 to 2001 as Executive Director of the Manuscript Society, an international association of collectors, dealers, librarians, archivists, and others interested in manuscript material.

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, the child of librarians and educators, Dave earned a B.A. in history and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before coming to Disney, he gained library and archives experience working in the Manuscript Department of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, interning at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and serving on the staff of the Research Library at U.C.L.A. 

Dave wrote extensively about Disney history, with regular columns in Disney fan publications and websites, as well as authoring, co-authoring, and editing numerous articles and books on Disney history, including the official Disney encyclopedia Disney A to Z, Disney: The First 100 Years, The Quotable Walt Disney, Disney Trivia from the Vault, and The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books 1, 2, 3, and 4.

In October 2007, Dave was honored with the prestigious Disney Legend Award. A resident of Burbank, California, Dave retired in 2010 after his 40th anniversary with The Walt Disney Company and continued working for the next nine years as a consultant for the Company, with the title of Chief Archivist Emeritus.

Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.

Dave Smith was a true Disney Legend. I’ve met him once and he was the real deal. I loved his books and his ‘Ask Dave’ contributions in The D23 Magazine twenty-three. Dave will be missed.

Ron Miller, Former Disney President and CEO Dead at Age 85

Ron W. Miller, former President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and producer of many Disney films, has passed away at the age of 85.

Miller came to the company via his wife, Diane Disney, Walt’s daughter. The two met at the University of Southern California.  They were married in 1954.

Miller told entertainment reporter Dale Pollock in 1984, “”My father-in-law saw me play in two football games when I was with the Los Angeles Rams. In one of them, I caught a pass and Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane let me have it from the rear. His forearm came across my nose and knocked me unconscious. I woke up in about the third quarter. At the end of the season, Walt came up to me and said, ‘You know, I don’t want to be the father to your children. You’re going to die out there. How about coming to work with me?’ I did and it was a wise decision on my part.”

Ron Miller, ran Walt Disney Productions in the early to mid 80’s. Among other things, he is the progenitor of the Disney Channel and Touchstone Pictures. He also greenlit and produced films like “Pete’s Dragon”, “Tron”, “The Black Caldron”, “The Great Mouse Detective” and “Never Cry Wolf”; seriously, check the latter out if you haven’t seen it, an excellent Carrol Ballard film. He also supported a young Tim Burton by producing the original live-action “Frankenweenie”.

After being forced out of the company by Roy E Disney and Saul Steinberg, he and Diane moved up to the Bay Area and opened Silverado Vineyards. He helped Diane, along with their children, establish the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. He has overseen the museum and associated foundation since Diane’s passing in 2013.

World of Color Returning to Disney California Adventure

It looks like World of Color, the fan-favorite nighttime water-based show at Disney California Adventure,  is finally making its long awaited return.

Based on the availability of the World of Color Dessert Party reservations for  booking, it appears that the show will be returning at or around Friday, February 22nd. It appears that Friday is completely booked and has no availability, while there are still open reservations for Saturday the 23rd and beyond.

The special ticket event includes reserved seating in Paradise Gardens Park and access to a dessert selection and sparkling beverages and costs $79.

 

She’s Baaaaaaack!

Maleficent will be making her long awaited return to Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade today at the Magic Kingdom today.

The tall steampunk-inspired dragon has been missing from the parade since it caught fire on May 11, 2018.

While she still has her same Steampunk style and signature wicked smile, the Maleficent dragon will be sporting a refreshed look, but includes enhanced safety features for the flame effects. Also returning to the parade are Prince Phillip; the Fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather; and the mischievous “Ravens” who fly around Maleficent.

I don’t know about you but the parade hasn’t been the same since the unfortunate accident that removed her from the parade.  I cannot wait to see her again in all her glory.

Free Dining Plan Now Available for Booking at WDW Resort Hotels

Here Yee!  Here Yee!  Free Dining is here!!!

Walt Disney World  has announced that its Fee Dining Plan offer is available for booking for stays July 5th through September 30th of this year.

The free dining plan is available when guests purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day vacation package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotels and a ticket with a Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option.

Starting today, if you book a non-discounted five-night/six-day Walt Disney Travel Co. package through Feb. 10, 2019, for arrivals most nights from July 5 to Sept. 30, 2019, you’ll receive a dining plan for free!

For guests that use it, the Disney Dining Plan provides flexibility and convenience, offering prepaid meals and snacks when you dine at Walt Disney World resort hotels, theme parks and select locations at Disney Springs.

Guests staying at select Value and Moderate Resorts will get the Disney Quick Service Plan, which includes two quick-service meals and two select snacks per night honored at more than 100 dining locations.

Guests staying at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts will get the Disney Dining Plan, which includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal and two select snacks per night. Meals are available at over 200 select Walt Disney World dining locations.

Walt Disney World has also announce some new Spring discounts.

Guests can save up to 25% for stays most nights from April 28 through May 27, 2019. They can also save up to 30% for stays most nights from May 28 through September 30, 2019

You will need to book your trip by March 24, 2019 to take advantage of the greatest savings.

While I and my family have not used the Free Dining Plan on any of our trips to Walt Disney World, I know plenty of people who have.  Are you a fan of the this?

Walt Disney World Announces Opening Date for “Wonderful World of Animation” Nighttime Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced the opening date for “Wonderful World of Animation.”   As part of the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Wonderful World of Animation will debut on May 1. The show, which was previously announced back in November, will feature state-of-the-art technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for Disney Nighttime Entertainment.  I’ll stay for any of them because I am guaranteed to love them.  I’m really looking forward to seeing this new show.

The nighttime show isn’t the only new thing coming to the park in 2019. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is set to debut in the spring, while Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will arrive later in the year.