‘Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular’ Premiering April 13 with the Begin of Pixar Fest

With the beginning of Pixar Fest, Disneyland will be getting a new nighttime spectacular that will light up the park during the celebration.  ‘Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular’ will celebrate friendship through dazzling pyrotechnics and memorable music.  The show will premiere on April 13 with the beginning of Pixar Fest.

I’m a sucker for any of the nighttime shows at the Disney Parks.  I love the Magic Kingdom’s ‘Happily Ever After’ show.  I’m also a big fan of Disneyland’s shows and liked ‘Remember…Dreams Come True’ the last time  that I visited the Disneyland Resort.  So, I’m excited to hear about this new nighttime show.

According to Disneyland –

The stories of “Together Forever” will come to life through projections on iconic park locations: Sleeping Beauty Castle, the water screens of the Rivers of America, the façade of “it’s a small world” and the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A. This nighttime spectacular will even feature Buzz Lightyear and the house from “Up” flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle!

There has been no word from Disney whether this show will only run during Pixar Fest or whether it will continue after the celebration ends.  I for one hope it continues after Pixar Fest since it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to experience Pixar Fest.

D23 Announces Dates for D23 Expo 2019

D23 has just announced that the D23 Expo will be returning to the Anaheim Convention Center on August 23-25, 2019, as all of the magic and excitement of the past, present and future of all that is Disney entertainment will come together as all of Disney fans gather to celebrate everything that is new and what’s coming soon from Dusney theme parks, television, music, consumer products and movies.

I’ve attended every D23 Expo since it launched in 2009 and the event which has been held every two years has attracted tens of thousands of Disney fans of all kinds from across the countermand around the world….and every one has been an amazing time and exciting.

According to D23, highlights for D23 Expo 2019 will include more than 50 shows, presentations, and panels, the Disney Legends Ceremony, an all-new exhibit curated by the Walt Disney Archives, a daily parade down the middle of the show floor, Mousequerade (D23 Expo’s costume contest), and the D23 Expo Design Challenge.  Stay tuned for details on the Design Challenge and Mousequerade and what the Walt Disney Archives exhibit will for the next Expo.

As with prior D23 Expos, the 2019 Expo will feature a huge show floor full of many immersive experiences and special opportunities to see what will be next for Disney around the world. If they are lucky, guests may even run into some of their favorite Disney stars, characters, Imagineers, animators, and filmmakers. Of course there will be a lot of shopping opportunities including D23 Expo-exclusive collectibles at a variety of Disney and partner merchants, including the D23 Expo Emporium.  All of the popular presentation venues from the last Expo will return, including Hall D23, the Expo Arena, Stage 28, and Center Stage.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2019 are scheduled to go on sale at D23expo.com beginning August 23, 2018. There will be special  pricing for both one and three-day tickets to the event, including an Early Bird Discount which will be exclusively available to D23 Gold Members. D23 Gold and Charter Members will also be entitled to special benefits at the 2019 Expo. D23 Gold Members will also have an opportunity to purchase the Sorcerer Package.

Ticket prices should be announced later this summer.

Are you planning on attending the D23 Expo in 2019?

 

 

 

Avengers and Other Super Heroes to Assemble in New Themed Area at Disney California Adventure in 2020

Yesterday Disney announced that new Marvel-themed areas will be coming to Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland in the near future.

The new Super Hero-themed land at the Disneyland Resort will begin recruiting guests in 2020.  Spider-Man and the Avengers will be joining Guardians of the Galaxy in a completely immersive Super Hero universe in Disney California Adventure. The new land will be anchored by the immensely popular Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, in the area that is currently occupied by “a bug’s land.”  “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” already closed on March 19 and the rest of the land is scheduled to close later this summer.

Disney also announced that as part of the transformative multi-year expansion announced for Disneyland Paris, the new Marvel-themed area at Walt Disney Studios Park will include a reimagined Rock ‘n Roller Coaster where riders will team up with Iron Man and their favorite Avengers on a hyper-kinetic adventure in 2020.

Also announced were multi-year expansion plans at Hong Kong Disneyland, including a new themed area that will include an exciting attraction where guests team up with Ant-Man and The Wasp.

It was great to finally get some details about the Marvel-themed land at Disney California Adventure.  This area has been hinted at by Disney for a while now, so it was nice to finally get some official “vague details” to hype-up the fanbase.

I for one am very excited about this new area.  While there is a portion of the Disney fan community that are upset that in getting this new land means the extermination of “a bugs land,” I am not one of those.  The movie “A Bug’s Life” that the area was based on has never been one of my favorite Pixar movies and I’ve not been all that fond of the attractions is this land either.  In other words, I’m not all that broken up to see the bugs go away.

If Walt Disney Imagineering can replicate the great work that they were able to do on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! the area could be amazing.  Personally, the year 2020 cannot come soon enough….I am really excited and am already planning on a possible trip for when it opens.

Disney Marvel fans….ASSEMBLE!!!

 

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort Announce Ticket Price Increases….And Guess What…It’s Not the End of the World

This Sunday Disney seemingly “shook” the Disney fan community with it’s annual ticket price increase for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.  The uproar and shock of Disney ticket prices seems to happen every year yet it happens every year and at this time of the year for the last five years or so.

Let’s go over the basics of the ticket price increases…

For Disneyland we have –

Peak one-day tickets increasing from $124 to $135.   8.9% increase

Regular one-day ticket increasing from $110 to $117.  6.4% increase

Value ticket will remain at $97.

At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, a Signature Plus annual pass is now priced at $1,149, a Deluxe is $729 and a SoCal Select costs $369. If you talk to people visiting Disneyland Resort over the last few years a common complaint is the fact the parks are very crowded, especially on weekends.

For locals that don’t have Annual Passes I will acknowledge that the single day ticket increase might be an issue.  For guests coming from out of the local area this isn’t really an issue.   Most of these guests are going to be buying multi-day passes, staying 3-5 days, which even though saw price increases the price per day is still significantly less than the single-day pass.

Disneyland for the most part depends on the Annual Passholder for its ticket revenue, but the problem over the last few years is the number of passholders that are coming during peak times, especially on weekends is causing crowding and parking issues.  While not publicly stated, Disneyland has been using prices and blackouts to lower the number of passholders especially those visiting on weekends.

Now onto Walt Disney World –

Regular tickets increasing from $115 to $119.   4.3% increase

Peak tickets increasing from $124 to $129.   4.0% increase

Value tickets increasing from $107 to $109.   1.9% increase

Walt Disney World also raised the price of its annual passes at the different theme parks. At its Florida parks, a silver pass now costs $439, a gold pass costs $589 and a platinum pass is $849, or $729 for Florida residents. The platinum pass rose by $70, or $50 for Floridians.

According to Forbes, Disney claims the reason behind the rising prices is to help regulate crowd sizes throughout the year in hopes of reducing the wait at the parks.

Frankly, this is really the only way to limit the number of guests in the parks. People have complained that the price increases are pricing out the ‘average family.’  Yet, despite the price increases over the past few years, the parks have gotten more crowded.  There used to be ‘slow times’, especially early December and the early part of the year before Spring Break and Easter.  Those slow times are gone and basically the crowds have gone from “Insanely Crowded”, “Crowded” to “Less Crowded.”  There is no slow time at Walt Disney World anymore.  Despite the price increases people are still coming, even if it means they have to save longer for the trip.

So if you look at the ticket prices to regulate crowds Disney obviously hasn’t hit the ceiling…yet.  Will this be the price increase that does it?  We’ll have wait and see.   Whenever Disney ticket prices increase people come out of the woodwork and complain, some even stating they’ll never go to the parks again…..yet more people are going to the parks than ever.

The one thing that needs to be mentioned.  Very few people and families that visit Walt Disney World purchase the one-day ticket.  Except for locals who don’t have Annual Passes or Florida Resident passes, very few people visit Walt Disney World for only one day.

This point is echoed by Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger –

“Given the small percentage of guests that purchase a one-day ticket at Walt Disney World, extending pre-published, date-specific pricing to multi-day tickets will further advance our efforts to spread attendance throughout the year and ensure all guests have a magical experience no matter when they visit.”

Those of us who need to budget for a trip to Walt Disney World and don’t have Annual Passes, Disney is aware of this.

Finger also stated, “We know how important making memories at Disney theme parks is to families and we will continue to evolve our pricing in a way that gives families a range of options to meet their budget and helps better spread attendance throughout the year so they can make the most of every visit.”

Until these plans are released what can the average guest do now that the prices have increased?  My suggestion is to book your trip as soon as possible and contact third-party sellers of WDW tickets.  Guests need to comparison shop the third parties to see which are cheapest.  Third party that are trusted and recommended by multiple people are ParkSaversGet Away TodayOfficial Ticket Center or Undercover Tourist.

These third party re-sellers still have some tickets at the old pricing, but these tickets won’t last forever, so it is imperative that if you have a trip planned anytime in the near future and haven’t bought tickets and want to save money, that you contact these companies as soon as possible.

No one likes to see price increases….for anything, but this is not the end of the world.

Rey Meet and Greet Experience Begins this May at Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland

Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland is the place for all things from the galaxy far, far away while the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge continues at Disneyland. Beginning this May, Resistance’s newest hero, Rey will join this interactive experience.

According to Disney –

“Joining Chewbacca, Rey will visit with guests at the Light Side character experience throughout the summer, with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren encountering guests at the Dark Side area.”

The character encounter aspect of Star Wars Launch Bay has been a popular activity every since the area opened up in both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Having the ability to encounter Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren for the casual and hardcore Star Wars fans has been special and fun experience.  Now by adding Rey is making this encounter it is getting even more exciting.

Right now this is only happening at Disneyland.  I sure hope that they are expanding this to Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon.

Disney Shows Off Working Model of Pixar Pier Showing Newly Themed Areas Coming Summer 2018 to Disney California Adventure

Coming summer 2018, Pixar Pier will transform the southern shore of Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure with whimsical neighborhoods filled with characters from some of your favorite Pixar stories. Today, we are bringing you a first look at this transformation through photos of a working model now in use at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Featuring newly themed attractions, foods and merchandise, this area will introduce new neighborhoods representing beloved Pixar stories. The neighborhood inspired by “The Incredibles” will be anchored by the Incredicoaster, which will feature a new mid-century-modern-style loading area inspired by the Parr family home as seen in the upcoming “Incredibles 2.”

Another of the neighborhoods will be a celebration of many of your favorite Pixar stories. In this neighborhood, each of the 24 gondolas on what is now Mickey’s Fun Wheel will feature different pairs of Pixar pals, and at the Games of the Boardwalk, all of the midway games will be inspired by characters from films such as “a bug’s life,” “WALL·E” and the Pixar short “La Luna.”

Pixar Pier will open summer 2018, during the first-ever Pixar Fest celebration, which begins April 13. The celebration will include the new “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” fireworks spectacular as well as the return of Pixar Play Parade and “Paint the Night” parade, and much more throughout the entire Disneyland Resort.

From The Disney Parks Blog

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival Expands to Six Weeks in 2018

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will return March 2 through April 12, 2018, bringing delicious cuisine, specialty beverages and exciting entertainment to Disneyland Resort guests for its third season. The culinary festival will expand to six weeks, with more days for guests to enjoy the flavors of the Golden State.

More than a dozen Festival Marketplaces will feature California-inspired tastes and sips. Guests will experience presentations and demonstrations with celebrity chefs such as Robert Irvine and Alex Guarnaschelli; food and beverage tastings; winemaker dinners; beer, wine and spirit seminars – all in addition to live music, entertainment and special activities throughout the festival.

The festival’s signature events will include new experiences such as the Disney Family of Wines Dinner, as well as returning favorites like Sweet Sundays and the Winemaker or Brewmaster Dinners. Another guest-favorite returning to the festival is the Junior Chef experience, with hands-on fun led by Chef Goofy, for children ages 3 to 11.

 

Additional fees required for the signature events and certain seminars. Separate admission to Disney California Adventure Park is required and is not included with the cost of such events. Space is limited for all ticketed events; advance reservations are recommended. Guests must be 21 years of age or over to consume alcohol and to participate in some events; valid photo ID required. Events and demonstrations are subject to restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.

From The Disney Parks Blog

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Unveils Magical, Hotel-Wide Renovation

An exciting, hotel-wide refurbishment brings new magic to the deluxe Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort, with completely redesigned guest rooms plus a refreshed lobby, pool area and concierge-level lounge. The most extensive refurbishment since the hotel’s 2001 opening elevates the premium guest experience and brings a contemporary approach to the Arts & Crafts design style.

Named a AAA Four Diamond hotel by the Automobile Club of Southern California for the sixteenth year in a row, the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the first Disney resort hotel in the world to be located inside a theme park.

“Our renovation brings an even more upscale experience to this iconic Southern California hotel, while staying committed to its signature Arts & Crafts design,” said Dan Coleman, General Manager of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. “We want our guests to enjoy the unique experience of staying in a Disney hotel that’s distinctly situated in beautiful California. The revitalized design helps convey this feeling and allows us to continue exceeding guest expectations.”

Guest Rooms

Every single element in the redesigned guest rooms is new—from flooring and walls, to furnishings and bathrooms. Upon entry, guests will notice beautiful hardwood-inspired flooring transitioning into soft, bright-toned carpeting. Linens and pillows are restyled in a bright, white palette and upgraded bathrooms include new fixtures. The room decor features all-new furniture made of quarter-sawn oak, specially designed for each room, as well as California-inspired artwork.

The headboards are made of quarter-sawn oak, a hallmark of Craftsman design, which frame a blossoming orange tree mural overhead—with mischievous Chip n’ Dale playing in the branches. When guests open the sleeper bed (available in select rooms), artwork of Bambi, along with other woodland creatures, bid them goodnight.

Countertops of the room’s desk, dresser and coffee station incorporate pieces of green glass from wine bottles, creating a beautiful, unique surface. Above the coffee bar, textured copper detailing adds depth to the aesthetic of the room while enforcing the Craftsman story.

Lastly, all rooms are powered with the latest technological features and premium amenities, including 55-inch smart TVs, Keurig coffee makers and built-in USB chargers. In addition, many rooms offer breathtaking views of Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney District, the lively avenue with unique restaurants, interesting shops and dynamic entertainment venues.

 

Great Hall Lobby

The already stunning six-story Great Hall lobby has been upgraded with new, stylish furnishings and design elements. To complement the existing Arts and Crafts motif, new contemporary designs can be found throughout the furniture pieces, upholstery, woodwork and carpeting.

Custom tete-a-tete chairs provide interesting design and function, while boldly upholstered sofa and chair pairings offer a comfortable, welcoming setting. Coffee tables and lamp fixtures nicely complement the space, and leather-topped stools showcase hidden Mickey details. The redesigned space is perfect for lounging with family, relaxing with a glass of wine from the Hearthstone Lounge, or simply admiring the lobby’s focal point—the cavernous fireplace and its roaring fire.

The Veranda

The concierge-level lounge has a new name—The Veranda—and a new design that draws inspiration from the architectural and furniture designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a visionary of the Arts & Crafts movement in Glasgow, United Kingdom. New hardwood flooring, custom-designed rugs, finely-crafted artisanal furniture and specially-commissioned art adds to the sophisticated tone of the lounge. Club-level guests may enjoy complimentary refreshments, as well as views of park fireworks in this exclusive setting.

Pool Deck

Each of the three pools have been redesigned with a variety of natural stones and brick to not only create a warm and welcoming environment, but also define the distinct pool settings. In keeping with the Arts and Crafts style of the hotel, the stone work was hand-laid by master stone masons.

Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa is located inside Disney California Adventure Park, providing guests with a special entrance to the theme park. Food and beverage options at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel include the award-winning Napa Rose, as well as character dining at Storytellers Cafe and the cozy Hearthstone Lounge. Guests staying at Disneyland Resort hotels also enjoy Extra Magic Hour*, which provides early entry to select Disneyland or Disney California Adventure attractions (valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key required).

*Extra Magic Hour valid for registered Disneyland® Resort Hotel Guests for admission to select attractions at either Disneyland® Park or Disney California Adventure® Park before the applicable Park opens to the general public. Check Disneyland.com for schedule of when each Park offers Extra Magic Hour. Applicable Theme Park, days and times of operation and attraction and service availability may vary and are subject to change without notice. Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.

Disney Announces Memorable New Story Elements that Add to the Fun at the Pixar Play Parade During Pixar Fest Celebration

Pixar Play Parade returns April 13 to the Disneyland Resort – this time, at Disneyland! Part of the limited-time Pixar Fest celebration, this delightful parade will bring even more of your favorite Pixar stories to life with the addition of three new story elements.

The parade will begin as all Pixar films have, with an appearance by the iconic and adorable Pixar Lamp. Rolling ahead of the famous lamp will be the familiar yellow Pixar Ball, making a cameo in Pixar Play Parade, as it has in many Pixar films.

Also joining the parade are characters from the beloved film, “Up.” Wilderness Explorer Russell will appear astride the colorful flightless bird, Kevin, with Carl Fredricksen and Dug following behind amid green foliage and snipe chicks, with Carl’s tethered house floating above.

Another popular Pixar story coming to Pixar Play Parade is “Inside Out.” Perched atop colorful memory orbs, Joy and Sadness take flight aboard Bing Bong’s rocket wagon, with Bing Bong himself cheering them on!

Don’t miss these new story elements and the return of Pixar Play Parade, beginning April 13 at Disneyland park.

From the Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District to Get New Dining , Retail and Entertainment in Early 2018

Lots of exciting changes are arriving at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in early 2018! With new dining and entertainment experiences, here’s a peek at what to expect at the beginning of next year.

The new, groundbreaking hyper-reality experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB and The VOID, will transport guests deep into the Star Wars universe, walking freely and untethered throughout the multisensory experience with friends and family. In groups of four, teams will go undercover as stormtroopers to capture Imperial intelligence vital to the budding rebellion’s survival. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will open on January 5, 2018. Tickets available now at TheVOID.com.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a dynamic recreation destination offering a unique combination of dining, drinks, bowling and entertainment. The Downtown Disney District location will feature 20 bowling lanes interspersed throughout the location, four dining areas (indoors and out), more than 25 flat screen TVs, and the ability to host both live performers and DJs. Splitsville will open in early 2018.

Also, D-Street will close on January 2 and reopen in early 2018 as a reimagined retail space that offers Disney fans a variety of Disney-themed home goods. Guests will find a curated assortment of products that will change with each season. Not to worry, most of the unique items found at D-Street are available throughout the resort and shopDisney.com!

From the Disney Parks Blog