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Disney Shares What's Happening "Around Our World" at Press Event

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The final day of the New Fantasyland press event began over at Downtown Disney's AMC 24 Theatre with Disney's presentation to update everyone on what's happening "Around Our World."

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Before the show there was much speculation as to whether any significant revelations would be made -- many were thinking (wishfully) that speaker Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, would announce that a version of California Adventure's Carsland would be coming to Walt Disney World.

Let me tell you right off, the answer to that is...no. At least, there was no announcement to that effect. Instead the biggest news we heard, at least in my opinion, is that the previously announced Avatar Land, a new area in Animal Kingdom to be themed after the successful James Cameron film and its upcoming sequels, is definitely proceeding. (Rumors have circulated that perhaps the project was dead, since there hasn't been much news about it since it was originally announced.) According to the Vaughn, development of the new fantastical land is "still on track" and something that they're "very excited" about.

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Aside from that tidbit, the rest of the presentation served as a recap of what's been happening at Disney Parks and around the Disney universe most recently.

Meg Crofton, President, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France (to give her full title), introduced the program by sharing a few bits of trivia about the New Fantasyland and Test Track attractions, now that they're officially open to the public.

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She revealed, for example, that there is a Hidden Mickey in the new Little Mermaid attraction that will only be visible once a year, on November 18 -- Mickey Mouse's birthday. She also pointed out this subtle tribute to the original Epcot attraction World of Motion -- it's the logo for the old ride, which originally occupied Test Track's site.

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In addition to his confirmation of the Avatar project, Vaughn also spoke at length about other recent developments around the Disney Parks.

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Vaughn of course highlighted the New Fantasyland and its many features, calling the Audio Animatronic Lumiere, found in the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience, the most advanced that Disney has at the moment. He also talked about the non-queue queue at the revamped Dumbo attraction, hinting that the "queue lounge" is something we might be seeing more of. Vaughn also talked briefly about the Princess Fairy Tale Hall, which will open in New Fantasyland next year, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, not due to be finished until 2014. Vaughn said the train's thrill level will rank somewhere just below Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's, and added that the representations of the dwarfs themselves in the attraction will be "unique."

Vaughn also took the opportunity to announce the addition of a new gallery in Epcot, to be housed in the American Adventure. The Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Collection will be made up of 40 pieces of art, artifacts, books and documents from the Kinseys' personal collection of African-American art and history. The gallery will hold previews during African-American heritage month in February 2013, an will officially open in March.

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After recapping the new attractions at Disneyland Resort -- primarily Cars Land and the new Buena Vista Street -- Vaughn turned the program over to Karl Holz, President, New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line.

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Holz also gave an overview of the latest news relating to his areas of responsibility, the Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney. Future itineraries for both have already been announced -- the one item that was news to me was Holz's mention of a special princess event to be held in the Doges Palace in Venice, as part of the DCL's sailing in the Mediterranean next year.

Crofton concluded the presentation by giving a fuller explanation of Limited Time Magic, a program announced several weeks ago.

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The idea behind Limited Time Magic is to "give guests an extra dash of pixie dust" by providing themed weekly surprises that will create special memories. Crofton offered as examples of upcoming Limited Time Magic themes a week dedicated to pirates and a "love" week around Valentine's Day.

The presentation ended with the audience receiving its very own Limited Time Magic treat -- a selection from the "original boy band," the barbershop quartet known as the Dapper Dans. The foursome departed from their usual standards and delighted us with a medley of hits from recent REAL boy bands like Backstreet Boys, N Sync, and One Direction. If all Limited Time Magic offerings are as whimsical as this was, I'm excited for the program to start.

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DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Walt Disney World at the New Fantasyland Press Event.

The previous post in this blog was New Fantasyland Grand Opening.

The next post in this blog is Oooh La La! An AllEars.Net Meet.

Comments (10)

Jamie:

I'm very disappointed in hearing that there will be some sort of Avatar area. I would much rather hear about Cars coming to Disney World. I think it's something that will forever be a big part of Disney and watched through generations. I don't see Avatar being like that. We have a toddler and another on the way so we could be suckered into more trips with things like Cars and the New Fantasyland!

Robert:

I have to respectfully disagree with those that wish to see a Carsland in Florida. I think that it is much nicer to have each park location have things that are unique and particular to that park; it is part of what makes them special and memorable. I was greatly disappointed to see "Soarin'" shoe-horned into The Land at Epcot; if nothing else, they might have created a new film. Yes, the "Soarin'" attraction is great, but it belongs in Californa Adventure. If we follow the logic that popularity equals property, why not just put a Space Mountain into every park; I'm sure that a flimsy pretext could be used to fit it into Animal Kingdom! This kind of retreading sometimes seems like nothing more than a cost-saver. Disney can do better.

Dani:

I hope they bring Carsland to WDW!!! Not everyone can afford to fly to California. Why not make it available to those of us who are closer to Florida?

Marianela:

Do you know when the Princess Hall will be open, early 2013, spring, summer, late 2013?

I still don't like the idea of Avatar, is not a movie related to Disney so is just a little weird to me...

DebK replies: They wouldn't be more specific as to when in 2013 the Princess Fairytale Hall would be open, but at one point I believe I heard someone say "spring"... but don't quote me. ;) Seriously, they are very careful about giving specific timeframes these days, things are so changeable. Just keep checking back with us -- we'll post on the site as soon as we know something concrete!

Ellie:

I am excited about the avatar land; I know many of the disney fans think the movie is not very disneylike; but that planet in the movie, Pandora, opens a great door for the imagineers to create something truly amazing!

Also, I think it's a good move for Disneyworld; this is a movie that appeals to all ages and it can bump attendance to Animal Kingdom, which will all here agree is not "just a zoo" but not everybody understands that. I'm sure this is also a good way to compete with Universal's Harry Potter area.

Susan:

I also have no desire to see an Avatar-themed land in AK. I don't think the movie was that good, and I don't understand what connection it has to Disney or anything else in the parks. It's a very weird choice to expand AK.

I too am not in favor of Avatar. It just makes the park feel cheap that they are adding Non-Disney themed rides. What's next? Jaw's? Or even a Titanic theme ride? Come On! I didn't think Disney stooped that low just to earn more $$...

When ever this ride does open, count on me to NOT ride this ride even if it does get 5 stars. I'll by pass this ride every trip...

Jim:

Animal Kingdom can definitely use some other ride based areas. Expedition Everest is broken and cannot be fixed because it would require shutting down the ride for an extended period of time and they cannot afford to lose the draw it has on attendance. A new land would maybe give the chance to get the Yeti back in motion. Also it sounds like you didnt pay attention to what the message was in Avatar. Conservation, not detroying the planet for its resources, people being connected to the planet, wierd but I think that fits perfectly into the message all over Animal Kingdom. It is what Animal Kingdom is trying to say. Before you get too upset wait and give it a chance. Cars land certainly does not fit there at all. Besides Avatar gives alot of ability to showcase so really cool technology that is way more advanced than a remote control talking car.

Jeff:

The wife and I recently visited CA and Carsland. It is cute but not that great in my opinion. I'd rather see Disney do something new at WDW than rehash Carsland, even if it is Avatar.

I'm pretty excited to see what New Attraction area WDW will be bringing to us, Avatar sounds a lot more fun, memorable and interesting to be part of, especially for all the avatar fans like myself.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 7, 2012 11:59 AM.

The previous post in this blog was New Fantasyland Grand Opening.

The next post in this blog is Oooh La La! An AllEars.Net Meet.

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