Destination D 2018 Ends With Exciting Announcements

Along with all of the celebration of all that is Mickey Mouse and his 90th Birthday, there were a number of exciting announcements about the future of the Disney Parks in the United States

Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek earlier today revealed that the names of the two signature attractions set for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens in Disneyland next summer and at Walt Disney World in fall 2019 will be Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Guests can take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Here is the video that Chapek played at Destination D when he announced this attraction.

And on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, guests will join an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, including a face-off with Kylo Ren.

And this footage of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was shot inside the actual attraction.

Of course when you think about Star Wars, the iconic music of legendary composer John Williams comes to mind. After announcing the new attractions Chapek also announced that Oscar-winning composer John Williams is creating new and original Star Wars themes exclusively for the land! The all-new music is being recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. Here is a preview of the music along with  construction progress at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Chapek also announced that a new Beauty and the Beast sing-along attraction will be coming to Epcot’s France pavilion.

This attraction will be using the existing theater, and playing in addition to Impressions de France.  The brand new attraction is being created by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action Beauty and the Beast films.

Also announced for Epcot was  a new nighttime spectacular that is planned to open at the park in 2020. This new show will celebrate how Disney music inspires people around the world, and will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers.

Before this new show opens, there will be a limited-time experience, called “Epcot Forever,” which will debut in fall 2019 after Illuminations closes and will feature classic Epcot tunes.

“Epcot Forever” will begin with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.

The last announcement for Epcot was the name of the “Ratatouille” experience coming to the France pavilion, which will be called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

This attraction which is based on the popular attraction found at Disneyland Paris is still some way off from its Walt Disney World debut.  Right now Disney is saying that it will have a Spring 2020 opening.

Chapek also announced that an all-new cinematic nighttime experience, “Wonderful World of Animation,”  will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in May 2019, as part of the park’s 30th anniversary celebration.

The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey himself.

Also announced for Disneyland was Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration, which will feature new entertainment, food and merchandise. On January 18, “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will light up the night at Disneyland  with all-new music, projections and lasers that set the scene for an epic dance party that takes over almost the entire park.

Chapek also shared that the beloved Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is set to return to Disneyland park in January 2019, with a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

The party will get even bigger when the fan-favorite Mickey’s Soundsational Parade returns to the resort in January 2019 featuring a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

Also coming to the Magic Kingdom will be Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration.   The celebration will run from January 18 to September 30, 2019.  Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will feature new food, merchandise and entertainment, including a new dance party with Mickey, Minnie and their friends

During his presentation, Chapek unveiled details about Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge.  This will be a deluxe, nature-inspired resort that will feature more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas.

Not to be left out, Celebrate Your Favorite Mouse with Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Party at Sea will be coming to Disney Cruise Line  next summer.

It certainly sounds like a fun day of announcements.  I only wish I could have been there to experience all of the excitement live in person.

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Sneak Peak of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Coming to Disney Parks in November

If you’re excited for ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and going to be in Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort soon, you’re in luck.  Today Disney announced for a limited time you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of the movie beginning in November.

Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get to see this advance look at a portion of the film, starting Friday, November 2, as part of the Walt Disney Presents attraction.

At Disneyland, the preview of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be shown in 3D at the Tomorrowland Theater. This limited sneak peek experience will be presented by Mailchimp at Disneyland Resort, November 9 – December 9.

In the movie Ralph and Vanellope leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade in an attempt to save her game. This quest takes Ralph and Vanellope to the vast world of the inter webs…a world Vanellope seems to wholeheartedly embrace, making Ralph worried that he may lose his best friend.

It doesn’t look like this sneak peak will be around for long, so if this interests you and you’ll be in the parks at the time, I encourage you to give it a visit.

Disney Announces Oga’s Cantina Coming to Galaxy’s Edge

Disney has given us another glimpse into what Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be like yesterday when it announced that Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Galaxy’s Edge in 2019.

According to Scott Trowbridge of Walt Disney Imaginering, “Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.”

In describing the cantina, Trowbridge added, “Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!”

According to the announcement, the musical entertainment will be provided by an old friend of ours, RX-24, the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid from Star Tours. Captain Rex has re-envisioned himself as the cantina’s quirky and talkative DJ.

Trowbridge encourages guests to be ready to listen to some unique music, taste the best drinks in the galaxy, and be surrounded with a colorful cast of characters.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a totally immersive experience and Oga’s Cantina certainly seems to be following that promise, making it what seems like a must-see experience for guests.

Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney Company Plans to Eliminate Plastic Straws by Mid-2019

The Walt Disney Company announced today that they are planning on eliminating single-use straws in all of its owned and operated locations by mid-2019.  This will include all of Disney’s theme parks with the exception of Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea.

Disney claims that this elimination amounts to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.

Disney appears to be joining the trend that was recently spearheaded by the announcement from Starbucks earlier this month that they would phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

In addition to the Walt Disney Company and Starbucks, McDonald’s announced in June that it would scrap plastic straws from restaurant locations in the U.K. and Ireland and replace them with paper straws, starting in September. Vail Resorts, owner of Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe and sister resorts in Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Vermont and the Midwest, has also banned plastic straws.

“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”

For guests staying at Disney hotels or traveling on Disney cruise ships, there are additional changes coming.

Over the next several years there will be a transition to refillable in-room amenities, a move that is expected to reduce plastic by 80 percent, the company estimates.  This has been rumored to be going property-wide for a while now after Walt Disney World had previously begun implementing this at some of its resorts earlier.

Disney also said they plan on reducing the number of single-use plastic shopping bags in owned and operated parks and on cruise ships, offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags.

It will be interesting how guests respond to the new straw policy.  I personally don’t care whether I have a straw with my drinks.  I only use the plastic ones Disney provides at sit-down restaurants because they toss it at my glass.  I refuse to use the paper ones because I find that they don’t last a meal and that they disintegrate in my beverage.  While I do use the plastic straws at quick-service restaurants, I’ll adapt and just not use anything.  There are people that I know that cannot drink anything with ice in it without a straw or use a straw with any drink either out of preference or necessity.  How these guests respond is anyone’s guess.  Many people have already mentioned that they’ll bring their own straws, some reusable, some not.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if at some time in the near future Disney starts selling Disney themed/branded re-usable straws in its parks.

Equally interesting will be the implementation of the “decreased number of single-use plastic shopping bags” in the parks.  I suspect that what’s probably going to happen is purchased items won’t automatically be placed in a bag and that guests will be asked if they want a bag.  At that point they will be offered the “opportunity” to purchase a re-usable bag.  I imagine Disney will still have to use bags for guests that want purchased items transported to the front of the parks to be picked up later or if guests want their items sent back to their resort.

Okay….now it is time for my cynical take on this.

I’m sure some part of the Disney Company is doing this for the sole concern of the environment.  I have no doubt that this is contributing to the decision.  I suspect that the biggest reason for this decision is financial and if there is a PR win that comes with it…so be it.

Look at it this way…

Disney spends a lot of money having someone make straws for all of their restaurants and beverage carts.  They know that with this change people will use fewer straws provided by Disney, even the paper straws.  People will just use less of them.  This means Disney spends less money.

The same in regards to the bags.  Some guests will decide not to use bags or will purchase the re-usable bags.  Again, less money spent on plastic bags.

If in fact Disney decides to offer Disney-themed or branded re-usable straws this is a new found revenue stream.  Also, Disney mentioned that instead of plastic bags they will “offer” re-usable bags.  We all know that this means “sell” don’t we?  Again…a new revenue stream.

So, Disney spends less money, finds new revenue streams and they come off as environmentally friendly.  It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

Disneyland Putting Limits on Annual Passholders for 2019…May Be Hinting at Possible Opening of Galaxy’s Edge

Today Disneyland announced what may be the first of sweeping changes coming to its annual passport program.  For the first time, Disney may limit which parks some passholders can visit on specific days.

These changes come at a time when officials for Disneyland Resort are debating what is the best way to manage enormous crowds that are expected when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens next summer in Disneyland.

It’s being reported that Disneyland will be sending out, possibly as early as today, an email to passholders explaining the new program.  Sources say that they will be creating two new admission calendars.  This means that some passes will be good at certain parks on certain days, but not necessarily both parks on the same day.

According to Disneyland spokesperson Liz Jaeger, “As our business evolves, this is the first step in reshaping our Annual Pass program, which will better manage the guest experience and allow all Disneyland Resort visitors to have a great visit, particularly as we look forward to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in summer 2019.”

Reportedly, starting next June, passholders will see two calendars,  one for each park. Passholder will then need to check both calendars to see which park they can visit on which day. It’s being reported that the biggest changes will be coming to holders of the Deluxe passport, while higher levels experiencing no change at all.

As what happens currently, annual passholders will go online and use drop-down menus to see which park or both they can visit on a chosen date. A green date means yes. Gray means no.

With this announcement, Disneyland is extending its planning calendar to 13 months to allow passholders to look now and see which days they can visit in June 2019. Normally the calendar would only have been visible through May.

According to Disneyland the current two-park-per-day system on a single calendar will continue intact for the coming year and then through the end of May 2019.

The SoCal Annual Passport, which is geared to Southern California locals, admits these passholders only on weekdays and during the off-season. The highest level, which allows visits every day of the year, even the most crowded ones, which are typically around Christmas.

Ticket type June 2018 admission days (both parks) June 2019 admission days (both parks)
So Cal Annual Passport (on hiatus – only renewals) 19 0 (20 for DCA only)
Select Annual Passport 4 0 (3 for DCA only)
Deluxe Annual Passport 25 13 (Plus 17 for DCA only)
Signature Annual Passport 30 30
Signature Plus Annual Passport 30 30

Currently, if they are not blocked out, passholders can visit either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure or both. It’s common for people to hop between the parks in one day.

With the change announced this today, Disneyland is hoping to reduce crowding in Disneyland during the summer of 2019, by sending many visiting passholders to Disney California Adventure instead.

According to the new calendar for June 2019 Deluxe passholders (currently priced at $729/year) will be able to visit both parks on 13 days, while on 17 days they can visit only California Adventure, for a total 30 days of admission.

This compares to this June, when Deluxe passholders could visit either park on 25 of the month’s 30 days.

This is where speculation for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comes in.  Some astute Disney observers are speculating that the highly anticipated land will open on or shortly after June 21st.

With the announced changes, Disney experts are saying that the changes were much less draconian than was speculated, and that they expect to see another big price increase as well to control passholder levels.

Disney Announces “Opening Seasons” for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The galaxy that was far, far away and a long time ago just got a little closer.

On Tuesday, Disney announced that the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in summer of 2019 at Disneyland and in late fall 2019 at Walt Disney World.

Up until this point, all Disney has said about possible opening dates for either location was they would open in 2019.

While the announcement does not indicate a month or a date for the openings, it does indicate a couple of things.  First of all, it somewhat coincides with a lot of the rumors that the Disneyland version would open sometime during the summer next year.  With the statement of “Late Fall 2019” for the Florida version, this seems to confirm that construction there is behind Disneyland’s, which is in line with what many of us thought.  There had been rumors that construction at Walt Disney World had been closing the gap.  Either that speculation was wrong or if they have closed the gap that construction was even further behind than we had thought.

No specific date summer date was announced for the Disneyland opening.  There have been rumors that the actual date may be as early as late June or early July.  There also has been speculation, especially with how the return of Fantasmic in 2017 was handled, that Galaxy’s Edge may not open until sometime around the D23 Expo which returns to Anaheim August 23-25, 2019.

At this point, it’s all speculation and no one really knows.  Hopefully we’ll get more detailed information soon, but I personally would expect anything substantial until early spring 2019.

Disneyland Resort Announces Locations for New Mobile Ordering Service

About 6-7 weeks ago I reported that some of the Quick Service and Fast Casual restaurants at the Disneyland Resort were going to be getting the Mobile Ordering Service, which has been very popular at Walt Disney World.

Today Disneyland has announced the initial locations that will be getting the new service.

The Mobile Ordering Service will be available at six Disneyland locations.  The six locations that will be getting the service are Bengal Barbecue, Galactic Grill, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and Red Rose Taverne.

Nine Disney California Adventure locations will be getting Mobile Ordering and they are – Award Wieners, Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Corn Dog Castle, Flo’s V8 Café, Lucky Fortune Cookery, Pacific Wharf Café, Paradise Garden Grill and Smokejumpers Grill.

Guests can customize their orders directly on the app, including allergy-friendly offerings.

According to Disneyland, “This new service is just one more way we’re enhancing the guest experience. Mobile ordering and the recent launch of Disney MaxPass provide convenient options that maximize each visit to the Disneyland Resort with family and friends.”

This service has been Immensely popular at Walt Disney World and I’m sure it will be a big hit at the Disneyland Resort once guests start using it.

At this time Disneyland has not indicated an implementation date for the new Mobile Ordering System.

Disneyland Resort Quick-Service and Fast Casual Restaurants to be Getting Mobile Ordering

According The Disney Parks Blog guests eating at fast casual and quick-service restaurants at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will soon be getting the ability to order their meals ahead of time on their phones.

The mobile ordering service, which has been very popular since its inception at Walt Disney World last year, allows guests to easily search for a participating location, select an arrival time window for pickup, choose items from the menu and place their order. Guests that use the service will notify the restaurant of their arrival on the app. When their meal is ready the app will let guests know with a notification along with letting them know which pick up area they can go to pick up their meal without ever waiting in line to order and pay.

According to Disney Annual Passholder will also be able to to apply their discount to meal purchases using the app.

Disney has not yet said when the service will be implemented or which dining locations will see it first, but assured everyone that more information will be announced soon.

While I have not had the chance to use the service at Walt Disney World yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things about its convenience and how well it is working out.

‘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.

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.