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.
According to the Orange County Register the new hotel that was planned to begin construction at Anaheim’s Downtown Disney last month has been indefinitely put on hold after Disney and the City of Anaheim could not agree over the terms of the development.
From previous reports the new upscale hotel had been slated to have 700 rooms spread over the west end of Downtown Disney. This included the site of the former Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone sports bar and restaurant, the AMC Theatres and the popular Earl of Sandwich restaurant, which closed in June to make way for the new construction.
Construction had been expected to start July 1. The new hotel was scheduled to open in 2021, making it the fourth Disney-owned hotel at the Disneyland Resort.
According to the Orange County Register, Disney pulled the project because they could not reach an agreement with the City of Anaheim over terms under which the hotel was to be constructed.
Disney’s move was in response to an August 6 letter in which Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabela told Disney that a change in the site plan would make the hotel ineligible for expected tax incentive rebates.
“Given the city’s position that our project does not comply with the requirements of the Agreement, you have given us no other choice other than to put construction of the hotel on indefinite hold,” David Ontko, chief counsel for Disneyland Resort and International Parks & Resorts wrote to the city attorney Wednesday.
It was unclear late Thursday whether the city would revisit the issue, now that the hotel has been removed from the planning agenda.
What is not known is how this development will affect any construction already under way and the what will happen with locations that formerly housed the above restaurants and theater.
Last year the Disneyland Resort announced that it would close several restaurants and the theaters in Downtown Disney because they were building a new luxury hotel that will be located between the existing Disneyland Hotel and the Downtown Disney monorail station. The new hotel is scheduled to open sometime in 2021.
Disney has confirmed that the AMC Theaters, Rainforest Cafe, westside Starbucks, Earl of Sandwich, and the ESPN Zone all will close by June 30. Disney has also stated that this does not mean that all of the locations will remain open through the end of June, some may close before that.
All of the locations must close by the deadline because demolition will begin shortly after June 30.
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
For the first time in almost two decades, we will open a new Four Diamond hotel! Set to open in 2021, this hotel will transform the west end of the Downtown Disney District and anchor a new gateway to the Disneyland Resort.
The stunning 700-room hotel will feature a sophisticated design and be a game-changer for Anaheim, creating a dynamic dining, entertainment and hotel experience for resort visitors and local residents. Extensive landscaping and water elements will create a resort oasis, showcasing nature on every level of the hotel. The hotel’s location embraces the iconic Disneyland Monorail with a dedicated platform inside the hotel for direct transport into Disneyland park.
Guest rooms, public spaces and gardens will provide views of the Downtown Disney District. In addition, an upper-level restaurant and lounge will give guests a view of the popular Disneyland park fireworks.
The ground level of the hotel will include shops and restaurants opening onto an expansive landscaped plaza complete with playful water features, creating a gathering place for guests and visitors. The new hotel also connects all four Hotels of the Disneyland Resort through lush gardens and beautifully landscaped walkways, transforming the gateway on the west side and creating a welcoming entry for our Disneyland Resort guests.
And that’s not all. This new hotel creates great benefits for the community, generating approximately $25 million in new taxes in its first five years of operation that go directly to Anaheim’s general fund. It also will create thousands of additional construction and permanent jobs and attract new hotel guests to the resort area.
Construction is scheduled to start in summer 2018, with a grand opening slated for 2021. Check back here for updates!
The trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi will debut during ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” tomorrow, Oct. 9, during halftime of the National Football League (NFL) game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears in Chicago, which starts at 5:15 p.m. PDT/8:15 p.m. EDT. And today we’re excited to invite you to be among the first to see this new trailer at the place where Star Wars lives – the Disneyland Resort!
Join your fellow Star Wars fans at the Downtown Disney District tomorrow, Oct. 9, to watch the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer on a giant screen outside AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theatres. The fun begins at 5 p.m., with a live DJ, trivia and giveaways – all counting down to the trailer premiere. Following the trailer premiere, Star Wars: The Last Jedi tickets will be on sale online and at the AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theatres box office.
Disneyland Resort is your destination to experience your Star Wars favorites. Board a Starspeeder 1000 and explore the galaxy in the immersive adventure, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue; encounter some of your favorite characters and more at the Star Wars Launch Bay interactive experience; and bring your young Padawans to test their skills at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.
If you can’t make it to this special premiere party, tune in to ESPN to watch the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer during “Monday Night Football,” and be sure to purchase your tickets online in advance for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters December 15.
Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB, and THE VOID today announced a new hyper-reality experience called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which promises to plunge fans into the Star Wars universe. Created by ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, in collaboration with THE VOID, it will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will allow fans to move freely in an untethered, social, and multi-sensory experience, including interaction with friends, fans, and Star Wars characters.
“At THE VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at THE VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of THE VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”
“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB. “Through our collaboration with THE VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”
According to a Disneyland Resort spokesperson Build-A-Bear Workshop, Chapel Hats and Ridemakerz will be closing soon in Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort.
According to Disney the three neighboring shops are closing to make room for more dining facilities in the area.
The shops are popular, and not being closed due to poor performance issues, officials said.
Disney has said there currently is no space to relocate the shops, but if a situation arose showing where they could be put, it would be evaluated.
Springtime is just around the corner, which means the return of the beloved Egg-stravaganza to Disneyland Resort. This fun, egg-themed scavenger hunt will take place from April 1-16, 2017, at Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park, and Downtown Disney District. I recently “hopped” over to special event merchandiser Linda Votaw to discover what makes this activity popular with guests.
“This is the fifth year we’ve offered the Egg-stravaganza at the Disneyland Resort,” explained Linda. “I believe our guests love it as spring is a wonderful season to visit. This activity is easy to do, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy. Even if you have been to Disneyland Resort many times, this scavenger hunt gives guests an opportunity to explore the theme parks and Downtown Disney District in a new way.”
To participate, pick up a map and stickers for $5.99 (plus tax) at select merchandise locations throughout Disneyland Resort. Search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney and Pixar characters. Record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the themed Egg-stravaganza map to represent that location.
Whether you choose to hunt for eggs or not, return your map to a redemption location for a surprise. Redemption locations include the following merchandise shops: Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure park; Disney Showcase in Disneyland park; World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District.
For guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, don’t forget the Egg-stravaganza is currently taking place at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival through May 29, 2017.
Purchasing limits will apply, while supplies last. Please note that no discounts apply and separate admission is required to enter Disney theme parks. The experience is subject to restrictions and may change without notice.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes, which has pioneered a fun and inventive new approach to bowling as a social experience for all ages, will roll into the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in late 2017.
The first Splitsville in California will offer a unique combination of dining, bowling and live entertainment with 600 restaurant seats, a large outdoor patio overlooking the Downtown Disney District, two full-service bars and 20 luxury bowling lanes. You’ll want to visit, even if you don’t plan to bowl!
Set to begin construction soon adjacent to Tortilla Jo’s, Splitsville will have a dramatic, mid-century-inspired design. The menu by James Beard Award-winning chef Tim Cushman will include fresh-rolled sushi, gourmet appetizers, hand-cut steaks, and if you can spare it, alley classics like burgers, crinkle-cut fries and hand-tossed pizzas.
There’s always plenty to do and enjoy at the Downtown Disney District and, with Splitsville on its way, there will be even more to bowl you over!