Disney Makes Series of Announcements for Parks Around the World at D23 Expo Japan 2018

Yesterday at D23 Expo Japan, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, announced a series of exciting  new updates for Disney Parks around the world.

One of the most anticipated items that was announce at D23 Expo last July is the Star Wars-inspired resort planned for the Walt Disney World Resort.  According to Chapek, “It is going to be unlike anything that exists today.”  At the D23 Expo Japan Disney shared a new look of the first-of-its-kind resort that will combine a luxury resort with a complete immersion into an the Star Wars story.

Many of us Star Wars Disney fans were looking forward to the immersion at this resort will that will stand out among all of the Disney resorts around the globe.  The huge announcement was that it will be seamlessly connected to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This will give guests a total Star Wars experience.

I don’t know if I’ll ever stay at this resort, but I am excited about the concept and the possibilites that could be incorporated into it.

Chapek also unveiled a first look at Epcot’s highly-anticipated “Guardians of the Galaxy”attraction. The big takeaway…. it’s a roller coaster!

According to Disney, “With the “Guardians of the Galaxy”-inspired coaster, we’re going big. This one-of-a-kind family attraction will be one of the world’s longest enclosed roller coasters when it’s added to Future World at Epcot.”

If the Imagineers at WDI do anything close to what they came up with for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! this attraction could be truly amazing.  I for one cannot wait until it opens.

Now to the Disneyland Resort.  Chapek announced that Pixar Pier will open June 23 at Disney California Adventure park.  Pixar Pier will be featuring four whimsical neighborhoods representing beloved Pixar stories with newly themed attractions, foods and merchandise.

As announced earlier, Pixar Pier will also include the Incredicoaster.  This coaster will be a super combination of character figures, lighting and special effects that that is being promoted, will bring the Parr family racing alongside you in a high-speed adventure.

I am a huge Incredibles fan.  I think that it’s one of my favorite Pixar movies.  Of all of the things coming to Pixar Pier, this attraction is the one that I am looking forward to the most.

In addition to the Incredicoaster the announcement, Disney also announced that in June a dazzling new float for the popular “Paint the Night” parade featuring Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone from “The Incredibles” will be coming to Disney California Adventure.

I absolutely love the “Paint the Night” parade.  In my opinion it’s the best nighttime parade Disney has ever produced for the domestic parks.  Adding an Incredibles float makes it even better.

Chapek also announced that Disney’s first Mickey-themed ride-through attraction, “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be  opening next year.

According to Chapek, “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will have a new catchy theme song created especially for the attraction as well as a new experience that defies logic that we’re calling 2 ½-D.”

While I will really miss “The Great Movie Ride,” I am really looking forward to this attraction.  I’m hoping that it’s done really well making it a fun attraction for the Studios.  The “2 1/2 – D” sound like it might be a lot of fun.  In Disney’s description it is supposed to be like 3-D except without the glasses.  What can I say….except….sign me up!

As for Disneyland Paris, Disney is re-imagining one of its resort hotels into Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. Chapek shared a sneak peek into one of the rooms that will open the re-imagined hotel in 2020.

Chapek also announced that the Marvel Super Hero universe will be coming to Walt Disney Studios Park.  The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith will be totally reimagined as a high-speed, hyper-kinetic adventure where guests riding the coaster will team up with Iron Man and their favorite Avengers.

I don’t know when I’ll ever get to Disneyland Paris, but if I ever do get there, this attraction will be on the top of my list to see and do there.

I like what Disney announced at D23 Expo Japan 2018.  What do you think?

Advertisements

Disney Parks to Celebrate Mickey’s Birthday

The big cheese is at it again! Mickey Mouse is headed out on another intrepid adventure to celebrate his birthday on November 18 with some of his biggest fans, and you can join in on the #HappyBirthdayMickey fun at all of our Disney Parks around the world. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store.

Walt Disney World

The big day is November 18, and Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate with special “Happy Birthday, Mickey!” buttons, merchandise and Sorcerer Mickey Cake. To commemorate the occasion, guests can sing and dance along with special “Happy Birthday, Mickey!” buttons, merchandise and Sorcerer Mickey Cake. To commemorate the occasion, guests can sing and dance along with “Happy Birthday” during Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!, Cosmic Dance Party in Tomorrowland and performances by the Dapper Dans. Plus, birthday photo props will be available at all four theme parks, and everyone who collects their photos at the parks will receive a folder with a commemorative sticker.

Disneyland

Disneyland Resort will host a celebration cavalcade for Mickey Mouse, featuring some of his special friends and the Disneyland Band, starting at “it’s a small world” and pausing for a special moment at Sleeping Beauty Castle before continuing down Main Street, U.S.A., to Town Square. There will be plenty of chances to sing “Happy Birthday” along the way, and of course, “Happy Birthday, Mickey!” buttons will be distributed to park guests.

Disneyland Paris

Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Paris is also where the party’s at! Be prepared to celebrate Mickey’s birthday just before “Disney Magic on Parade,” as well as during the Lucky Nugget Saloon show at Disneyland park and in “Mickey and the Magician” at Walt Disney Studios park. And what’s a birthday without cake? Guests can find plenty to snack on at locations around the resort.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Guests at Hong Kong Disneyland can pick up a special Mickey Birthday pin and a special edition Times Guide in honor of everyone’s favorite mouse.

Shanghai Disney Resort/Tokyo Disney Resort

At Shanghai Disney Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort, guests will have the chance to sing “Happy Birthday” and join in unique photo opportunities.

Social Media

Leading up to the big day, Mickey Mouse will take off to exciting destinations such as Japan, Chile, Canada, China, England and the United States, sharing magical moments on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Facebook and Instagram pages. He will then bring a few more surprises when he visits the Good Morning America studios in New York City on November 15. Be sure to share your favorite moments using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayMickey and join us in celebrating the one and only Mickey Mouse!

Disney Announces Marvel Super Heroes Come to Disneyland Paris in Summer 2018

At Comic Con in London, Vice President Franchise Creative and Marketing for Marvel Studios, Dave Bushore and Creative Director of Disneyland Paris, Mark Huffman announced that the Marvel Super Heroes are coming to Disneyland Paris in the summer 2018 from June 10 to September 30.

Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Star-Lord and Black Widow will appear for the first time exclusively at Disneyland Paris in summer 2018 in a special Marvel Summer of Super Heroes season. Your favorite heroes will be featured in the Walt Disney Studios Park for exciting meet & greets and breathtaking, epic shows.

But that’s not all for Marvel fans at Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris is also re-imagining from October 2018 one of its Resort Hotels into a universe that would make Tony Stark proud. Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will transport guests to the action-packed, inspiring world of Super Heroes including Iron Man, The Avengers, and Spider Man among others, and will open within 2020.

Don’t miss Marvel Summer of Super Heroes and join some of your favorite characters at Walt Disney Studios Park. It will be THE big event of 2018 and will close out what has already been an unbelievable celebration of Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary.

Disney Making Changes to Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland Paris, Changes to Follow at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom

When Pirates of the Caribbean re-opens at Disneyland Paris on July 24, guests will discover new surprises as well as a band of new buccaneers. The blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” films provided the inspiration for Disney’s Imagineering team to come up with new twists and turns in our story, and a chance to introduce new characters and magic to this classic attraction.

Captain Barbossa, from the blockbuster films, will appear in the attraction for the first time, joining a skeletal crew in a scene unique to Disneyland Paris. Also, ghostly visages of Davy Jones and Blackbeard will warn that “dead men DO tell tales!”

Throughout the attraction, Disney has enhanced the show with new Audio-Animatronics figures, costumes, special effects, lighting and sound, including some of the now-classic musical themes from the films. Of course, the classic “A Pirates Life for Me!” song will continue to underscore the attraction.

Guest will even discover that a familiar character is playing a new role joining the pirates ranks and helping the local townspeople “unload” their valuables at the Mercado auction.

On this side of the pond, at Magic Kingdom park and Disneyland park, it’s a pirate’s life for a favorite redhead—beginning in 2018, after an already-planned refurbishment, the redhead is trading her fashionable bonnet for a pirate’s hat. Guests will now see her joining the pirates’ ranks and helping the locals “unload” their valuables at the Mercado auction.

Here is a view an artist’s rendering of the new Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort scenes:


Kathy Mangum, senior vice president, Atlantic Region Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, said, “Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene. Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate! We think this keeps to the original vision of the attraction as envisioned by Marc Davis, X Atencio, and the other Disney Legends who first brought this classic to life.”

Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar said of this new story twist, “Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it’s a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new ‘performances.’ That’s what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene—it’s like a theatre show with a new act.”

The Disney Legend continued, “To me, the Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened—making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice—they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt’s original team of storytellers and designers—the Disney Legends.”

Disneyland Paris guests will also discover some changes to the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, re-opening as Captain Jack’s. It seems that Captain Jack won the restaurant in a wager and is now welcoming pirates of all ages to relax over a drink and hot meal. The interior of the restaurant has been re-themed and the establishment has been staffed with a fun-loving band of pirates.

The adventures set sail on July 24 in Adventureland at Disneyland Paris.

Exciting New Attractions, Entertainment Sparkle at Disneyland Paris for 25th Anniversary

Bonjour from Disneyland Paris.

If you’ve never been here – this is the year to come. It’s all your favorite things about a Disney theme park – with a definitely French twist. Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy at Walt Disney Studios Park is a MUST DO for any Disney theme park fan!

Disneyland Park is ABUZZZ with excitement where Mickey – along with a cast of nearly 15,000 – are getting the park ready for the big celebration.

Starting Sunday, March 26, the celebration begins with new entertainment, updates to some favorite attractions, special merchandise and food and beverage. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – Launched at the opening of Disneyland Park in 1992, Star Tours soon established itself as a cult ride. 25 years later, it’s back with a new experience, new destinations, a new pilot, new characters and new 3D technology. Introducing Star Tours: The Adventures Continue! Prepare for lift-off on an all-new, action-packed, 3D intergalactic voyage…it’s sure to be epic.
  • Meet the Dark Side of the Force – Disneyland Paris guests will finally get the chance to meet the formidable Darth Vader every day. Head to the new dedicated area near the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride for a private meet and greet.
  • Disney Stars on Parade – Another exciting journey awaits guests in the brand new Disney Parade. With dizzying new floats, new music, a plethora of Disney Stars and new costumes, Disney Stars on Parade will dazzle guests of all ages. Guests follow Mickey and Friends on a real journey of discovery to the land of imagination – with eight “chapters” of fun.
  • Mickey presents “Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris” – A brand new stage show specially-created for the 15th Anniversary. Disney Stars invite guests to gather in front of the stage at Sleeping Beauty Castle for a huge anniversary celebration, every day of the year.
  • The Starlit Princess Waltz – Another brand new show. With a sprinkle of fairy dust, Tinker Bell opens the festivities in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Aurora wants to invite the other Disney Princesses to the ball: Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Jasmine, Rapunzel and Tiana. Each princess makes her entrance in a magnificent ball gown, specially created for the 25th Anniversary. Their message: to remind the audience that every little girl, regardless of her age or background, is a Princess.
  • Disney Illuminations – As night falls, it is time for the final spectacular new experience: Disney Illuminations. This all-new show, featuring state-of-the-art technology, incorporates sound, lights, projections, fountains and breathtaking pyrotechnic effects.

Europe’s number one tourist destination is leaving no corner un-sparkled! Mickey and Minnie even have new, “sparkling blue” 25th Anniversary costumes.

And if that weren’t enough!

  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain – Later in Spring 2017, Star Wars will take over a legendary space-themed ride. Space Mountain will become Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain for a totally unique experience. In a brand new environment inspired by the Star Wars universe, guests can join the famous Rebel Alliance and become pilots on a sensational mission. They will travel through the Star Wars galaxy at intense speed, to the epic soundtrack of the saga.

Disney Increases Stake in Disneyland Paris, Offers to Buy Rest

Walt Disney Co. plans to take full ownership of its ailing theme park in Paris to get the resort under control after 25 years of ups and downs at its first and only outlet in Europe.

Disney is acquiring a 9 percent stake in Euro Disney SCA from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. for 2 euros ($2.13) a share, payable in Disney stock. That will give it an 85.7 percent holding, and it’s offering the same price in cash for the rest, according to a statement Friday. The offer is 67 percent higher than Euro Disney’s closing price Thursday.

Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger is doubling down on the troubled resort, which has already been bailed out by Disney more than once. Hurt by sputtering European economies in recent years, the park’s finances were further hit by the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and challenging business conditions that continued through 2016.

Disney said it will support Euro Disney’s recapitalization of as much as 1.5 billion euros. That follows a 2014 rescue package, when the resort was pledged at least 1 billion euros over 10 years to add attractions and spruce up grounds.

The new plan “affords maximum flexibility to shareholders, addresses the group’s financial needs and reflects its ongoing support for the long-term success of Disneyland Paris,” Disney said.

Shares of Euro Disney jumped 66 percent to 1.99 euros at 3:37 p.m. in Paris, giving the company a market value of 1.56 billion euros. Disney added 0.2 percent to $109.66 in New York Friday for a market value of $173 billion.

The investment marks a deeper commitment by Disney to its global theme-parks business. The entertainment giant opened a $5.5 billion resort in Shanghai last June that drew 4 million guests in its first four months, and is creating new attractions based on hit films. Disney is building “Star Wars”-themed lands at its parks in Orlando and Anaheim, California, and is also on schedule to open an “Avatar” attraction at its Animal Kingdom park in Florida in May.

This week, Disney reported a 13 percent gain in theme-park profit to $1.11 billion, buoyed by higher spending at the domestic and international parks, including a Shanghai resort, which opened in June. Profit at the theme-park division topped earnings from businesses including the cable-TV unit, home to ESPN and the Disney Channel, and its film arm.

The Paris resort’s history includes several financing maneuvers as it has struggled to match the popularity of Disney’s U.S. theme parks. In 2012, Euro Disney consolidated debt from a number of banks into a loan from the Disney company. Prince Alwaleed bought a 10 percent stake in Euro Disney in a refinancing in 1994, two years after its opening.

Euro Disney’s board has expressed its support for Disney’s plan. The board’s audit committee, comprised of independent members, is recommending an expert to deliver a fairness opinion about the offer.

From Bloomberg

Disney’s Tom Wolber to Return to Disney Cruise Line

Tom Wolber is leaving his role as president of Disneyland Paris’ management company to become senior vice president of operations for Disney Cruise Line.

Wolber will join the company’s Celebration-based cruise line division later this year, after he helps with the transition for the new president of Euro Disney S.A.S.

Wolber will oversee the recently announced expansion of the fleet, from four ships to six. Wolber replaces Anthony Connelly, who moved to the Imagineering division in January.

Disney announced in 2014 it had appointed Wolber president of Disneyland Paris’ management company, Euro Disney S.A.S. Wolber had previously been senior vice president of Walt Disney World resort and transportation operations for just a few months, overseeing Disney World’s 18 resort hotels and the property’s transportation network in a newly created position.

From the Orlando Sentinel

Disneyland Paris to Remain Closed Through Tuesday

Disneyland-Paris

Disneyland Paris is closed to the public in a highly unusual move because of a string of attacks targeting a stadium, concert hall and cafes in Paris.

Today Disneyland Paris said that its two theme parks near the French capital will remain closed through and including Tuesday after the  attacks on Friday night that killed 129 people based on latest estimates.

On Saturday, the company had said it wouldn’t open for the day. On Sunday, its web site featured a quote from Euro Disney president Tom Wolber, saying: “We mourn those lost to the horrific attacks in Paris. We pray for the injured and we hold them all in our hearts. As part of France’s three-day national mourning period, Disneyland Paris will remain closed through Tuesday 17 November 2015.”

Some 14 million people visited Disneyland Paris last year.

France has deployed 1,500 extra troops around Paris and is tightening its borders because of Friday’s attacks.

Many of Paris’s top tourist attractions closed Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Disneyland theme park east of the capital. Some 3,000 troops were deployed to help restore order and reassure a frightened populace.

 

Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon To Feature Weekend Full of Family-Friendly Experiences

DLP Castle

The new Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend will be a three-day race weekend that includes a variety of events for runners and fans to experience the theme parks like never before when it debuts in the City of Light on Sept. 23-25, 2016.

The inaugural race weekend in Paris will include fun kids’ races for children of all ages, a 5K course through Disneyland Paris and a scenic half-marathon course through two Disneyland Paris theme parks and the countryside villages that surround the Disney Parks.

In addition to the races, the Paris event, runDisney’s first at a Disney Park outside of the United States, will also offer several family-friendly events, including a pre-race Pasta Party the night before the half marathon where runners can “carb up’’ for the race. There will also be a runDisney Health and Fitness Expo throughout the weekend where runners pick up race packets, shop for the latest running apparel and technology and attend a speaker series involving leading industry experts.

While running through the theme parks and the countryside villages, runners will have the opportunity to meet beloved Disney characters and experience legendary Disney entertainment along the course. And commemorative medals await runners at the finish line.

Race packages go on sale on October 6, 2015.

“We could not be more excited about the upcoming runDisney event,’’ said Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S. “It will make Disneyland Paris the world’s third Disney destination to host this successful sporting series that offers a whole new running experience for the young and young-at-heart.’’

For more information about the race weekend, visit www.run.disneylandparis.com.

Meg Crofton to Retire in June 2015

Meg Crofton

Meg Crofton, who is a 35 year Walt Disney Company veteran,  has announced her intention to retire next ear.

60 year old Crofton said that she will leave her position as President, Operations, US and France to retire on June 1, 2015. There has not been a successor announced as of yet, with the company having nearly 6 months to fill the position that was created for Crofton in July 2011. Meg had previously served for 5 years as President of the Walt Disney World Resort.

In a short interview with an internal Disney publication, Meg shares some thoughts on retirement, and a reflection of her achievements with the company.

Why did you decide to retire?
Well, I never really had a plan for retirement. But I did, over the years, develop a couple of guiding principles. One of the most important was that I wanted to leave while I still had plenty of juice left for the next chapter in my life. I didn’t think about it very much until my 60th birthday, which was last year.

Looking back on it, I realize that it was a decision that I came to very gradually and almost not consciously. I loved what I was doing. I had just made a major move across country and was happily embracing my professional and personal growth opportunities and focusing on our parks and resorts in Florida, California and France. But my husband, Rich, has been retired for some time now, and I became increasingly aware that I really wanted to build our new west coast life with him in San Francisco.

I have so much respect and affection for those I am privileged to work with. As much as I will miss them and the many exciting projects ahead for our Company, the pull to start the next chapter of my life is stronger.

What do you want to do in retirement?
I want to continue my “heart” work of mentoring and helping others, enjoy lots of family time, take advantage of all that my new home city and surrounding countryside offers, do more traveling for pleasure and have a flexible calendar. And I am looking forward to doing all of that!

You have worked closely with your leader, Tom Staggs, for a number of years. Here is what he said:

Anyone who knows Meg knows how much she cares about this company and the dedication she has to anything she does. When she told me a while back about her decision to retire, it was clear that there was conviction in her decision. Her face lit up when she talked about how ready she was to start her next chapter with her husband, Rich. I couldn’t be any happier for her.

There are few people within Parks and Resorts who have inspired as many people and made as significant an impact as Meg has. She has devoted her career to nurturing countless cast members, encouraging them to achieve new heights, coaching them to succeed and helping them down the path, no matter where they wanted it to take them. She has amassed innumerable achievements over the years, literally spanning the globe. And for all that she has accomplished and all of whom she has helped, Meg has done it with an amazing sense of grace and humility, which is what I appreciate and respect the most about her.

Meg is not retiring until June 1, 2015, so we will be naming her successor at a later date. We have many more months to celebrate her and wish her well. I am thrilled that she will be working at Parks and Resorts until then.

Meg, any reaction?
I cannot thank Tom enough for his leadership, friendship, kindness, and unwavering support over the years. I am very excited to be a part of and continue working alongside this tremendous team for the months ahead. I intend to be fully present and enjoy every minute of it!

This is such an amazing company! With the passing of every year, I am more aware and grateful for the blessing of working for an organization whose purpose it is to bring happiness to people and give them cherished memories that last a lifetime. I collect wonderful quotes and found this one years ago…”Memory is a child walking along a sea shore. You can never tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” We are so fortunate that at Disney it is their memories with us that our Guests store among their treasured things.

I am deeply proud of every moment I have spent here and feel richly blessed to have had a ringside seat to watch our Company’s special brand of magic touch hearts. I am so excited and confident about the future of our company and the direction of Parks and Resorts. Candidly, it is that excitement that makes my decision to retire so bittersweet.

%d bloggers like this: