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May 27, 2016

Soarin’ Around the World Takes Flight This Summer at Disney California Adventure Park

Soarin Over the World

New Flight Plan for Popular Attraction: New Soarin’ Takes Passengers on an Aerial Adventure to Scenic Wonders of Our World

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Soarin’ Around the World, a new experience based on the original Soarin’ Over California attraction at Disney California Adventure, begins taking guests on a global journey on June 17 at the Disneyland Resort.

The latest airborne adventure offers breathtaking scenes from locations around the world: over the snowy peak of the Matterhorn, along the Great Wall of China, through the majestic buttes of Monument Valley, hopping over the top of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and across spectacular Sydney Harbour.

The new experience premieres just after the attraction’s world debut at the Shanghai Disney Resort.

As the next generation of Soarin’, Soarin’ Around the World is an exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses guests in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents.

Guests won’t just see these gorgeous landscapes with their eyes. They’ll use all their senses to feel, smell and hear the world through this thrilling experience that could only be created by Disney.

Employing high-definition, laser-projected footage and innovative motion-based ride technology, all developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, Soarin’ Around the World lifts 87 guests at a time 40 feet aloft into an 80-foot projection screen dome. The effect is that guests’ entire field of vision is filled with panoramic beauty, giving them the sensation that they are actually flying over the globe’s grand landmarks, natural and manmade.

Soarin’ Around the World is also enhanced by its majestic musical score, composed by Bruce Broughton, based on the original Soarin’ score by the late film and television composer Jerry Goldsmith, and performed by the London Studio Orchestra.

In Shanghai the attraction goes by a different name, Soaring Over the Horizon, to better fit its location in Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland with its spirit of exploration and discovery. Soarin’ Around the World will also thrill Epcot guests at Walt Disney World Resort beginning June 17.

‘Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,’ a New Stage Musical, Premieres at Disney California Adventure Park

Frozen

Stunning Special Effects and Outstanding Talent Takes Audiences on an Emotional Journey with Anna and Elsa

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 27, 2016) -- “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,” a new theatrical adaptation based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, opens May 27 at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park in Southern California.

This new theatrical interpretation for the stage immerses audiences in the beloved world of Frozen and takes audiences on the heartwarming journey of Anna and Elsa, with all of the excitement of live theater. Under the direction of Tony Award® nominated Director Liesl Tommy, the show features elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects, and show-stopping production numbers. An exceptionally large production, the show features an opening cast and crew of more than 200, six full musical numbers and a 2,200 square foot video wall which combine for an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Disney Creative Entertainment, the arm of Walt Disney Imagineering responsible for live theatrical entertainment at Disney Parks, has produced this new stage interpretation of “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” with all of the creativity and resources of its predecessor “Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular” which ran for a remarkable 13 years at the 2,000 seat Hyperion Theater.

As would be expected from Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks, new technologies – especially with projections, fabrics and special effects -- will delight audiences in new and unexpected ways. Guests are immersed in the world of “Frozen” from the moment they enter the theater and are surrounded by a specially lit “Aurora” curtain. As the musical unfolds, the scenic design and large moving set pieces create a cinema-style energy enhanced by state-of- the-art projections that create dynamic environments for the performers. Custom sound design envelops the audience in music and audio effects. And, of course, there will be snow throughout the interior of the theater – on stage and over the audience.

“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios “Frozen,” which is the number one animated feature of all time. It is the winner of two Academy Awards (2014) for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

“While our production of ‘Frozen’ stays true to the heart and soul of the film, we have adapted it for the stage so it’s truly a musical theater production that befits our beautiful Hyperion Theater,” said Dana Harrel, creative entertainment executive with Walt Disney Imagineering. “The goal of this creative team is to take all audiences – including those who know the film, and those new to these characters – on this exciting and touching adventure with Anna and Elsa.

“We know that for many in the audience -- adults and children alike – this production will be a first or rare theater-going experience, and we want to make it as magical as possible.”

The new adaptation features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Up Here”) and Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Up Here”), and is adapted from the screenplay by four-time Tony Award® nominee Chad Beguelin (“Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” at Hyperion Theater; Broadway: “Gotta Dance,” “Aladdin,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf”).

“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is directed by Tommy, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award® for her Broadway show “Eclipsed.” The choreographer is Christopher Windom and this is his seventh collaboration with Tommy. The musical supervisor/arranger/adaptor is Jason Michael Webb, whose Broadway credits include “The Color Purple,” “Motown: The Musical,” “Violet,” and “Memphis." Clint Ramos, the principal costume designer, was also nominated this year for a Tony Award® for his work on “Eclipsed.”

“I am approaching ‘Frozen’ as I would any new work – to search the story for what resonates most emotionally, which is the story of the relationship between Anna and Elsa, their coming of age and conquering their worst fears,” explains Director Tommy. “It's what made the movie so intensely satisfying and fresh. The theatrical version of ‘Frozen’ that my designers and I are creating for the Hyperion builds on the film’s emotional intensity using beautiful performances, thrilling choreography and the most cutting-edge design elements.”

A great amount of creative energies have been employed to bring “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” to the stage. Harrel and Tommy have assembled a team of creative talent from both Broadway and Disney to create this production. The principal designers are Robert Brill (scenery), Charles Lapointe (wigs), David Weiner (lighting), Aaron Rhyne (projections) and Broken Chord (audio), and Ramos (costumes).

The challenge of bringing the animated non-human characters of Sven and Olaf to the stage was assigned to master puppet designer Michael Curry, who co-designed with director Julie Taymor the animal creations of “The Lion King” on Broadway, the magic mirror in “Snow White: An Enchanted Musical” at Fantasyland Theatre, and many other Disney parades, shows and projects, as well as projects for Cirque du Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera. Curry’s intricate designs created for Olaf and Sven allow the performers to connect with the characters and bring them to life on stage in new ways.

An entirely separate two-act Broadway production of “Frozen” is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical’s New York productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre- Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.

May 26, 2016

Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge

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Member Lounge Opening Punctuates Landmark Start to a Milestone Year!

As Disney Vacation Club nears the midpoint of this 25th anniversary year, Members have discovered a historic array of new offerings, with even more on the horizon.

During the past five months alone, Members have enjoyed complimentary “25 and Beyond Bash” parties at Magic Kingdom Park, a special ticket offer that added a free Theme Park day to multi-day ticket purchases, new Member merchandise items (including limited-edition MagicBands), complimentary anniversary buttons and commemorative photos, and new Membership Cards that unlock an ever-evolving world of Membership Magic…and that’s just scratching the surface.

Up next is the highly anticipated Member Lounge at Epcot, scheduled to open on June 6 and welcome Members and their guests home daily throughout this anniversary year!

Hidden on the second floor of the Imagination pavilion at Epcot (with a Member entrance through the pavilion’s merchandise shop), this centrally located lounge surrounds its casual seating areas with complimentary beverages (including Coca-Cola Freestyle machines), device-charging stations, Wi-Fi, computer stations with printers and mounted tablets pre-set to easily access select Disney websites, including MyDisneyExperience.com.

Member Services Advisors will be available in the lounge daily to assist with dining reservations, future resort stays and more, while an RCI advisor will be available in the lounge on weekdays to help Members navigate exchange options for upcoming vacations. You’ll even find displays of the latest Member merchandise available in stores and online.

It’s the perfect place to spend a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of the Park, and it sets the stage for even more magic to come as 2016 continues to unfold.

Returning to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in June, for example, are complimentary “Neighborhood Beach Bash” parties, while complimentary “Disney Vacation Club Safari Spectacular” parties are set for September at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, followed by this holiday season’s return of Merry Member Mixer events to Epcot (included with Theme Park admission).

Add more prizes awarded through the continuing Silver Anniversary Sweepstakes, the debut of new Member merchandise, the first Member Cruise from New York City and a spectacular celebration in the works for Members at Disneyland Resort (look for more details this summer), and you have a year unlike any in Disney Vacation Club history.

Pixar and Disney Declare June 11 "Speak Like a Whale" Day

PIXAR ANIMATION, THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS AND DISNEY PARKS DECLARE JUNE 11 “SPEAK LIKE A WHALE DAY”
As “Finding Dory” Swims Toward Opening Day on June 17, Fans Nationwide Invited to Speak Whale Like the Famous Forgetful Blue Tang Dory and Her Friends
“The secret to speaking whale is making the words as long and ridiculous as possible.That's how all whales talk, right?”
Kaitlin Olson, voice of Destiny, who speaks whale and offers guidance in this Speak Like a Whale Featurette.

BURBANK, Calif. (Wednesday, May 25, 2016) – Ever since the friendly, but forgetful blue tang Dory insisted she could speak whale, moviegoers have wondered: Can she really speak whale? How did she learn? Can I do it, too? Fans nationwide are invited to celebrate Dory’s unforgettable spirit and her can-do attitude with Speak Like a Whale Day on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

“When ‘Finding Dory’ was just starting to come together, we realized we didn’t know much about this blue tang with the sunny personality,” said director Andrew Stanton. “Dory’s past became the subject of great curiosity—both for us as storytellers and for everyone who’d fallen in love with her.

“We had very few clues to go on,” continued Stanton. “We knew she’d been separated from her family, we knew she suffered from short-term memory loss, we knew she could read, and we knew she could speak whale—or at least she thought she could.”

Opening in theaters nationwide on June 17, “Finding Dory” features a fun and talented voice cast, including Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, Albert Brooks as Marlin, Ed O’Neill as “septopus” Hank, Kaitlin Olson as whale shark Destiny and Ty Burrell as beluga whale Bailey. Olson, who can be heard speaking whale in the movie, teamed up with Burrell to share a few tricks in a Speak Like a Whale Featurette.

Fans are encouraged to take part in Speak Like a Whale Day by speaking whale wherever they go, uploading videos of themselves and tagging #SpeakLikeAWhaleDay.

Guests of the theme parks at Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disney Cruise Line ships will receive a complimentary button to celebrate the day, while supplies last.

At the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, families can dive into undersea themed activities, including a live DJ, games and giveaways. Also throughout the day, young guests can attend "Whale Speak University” and give speaking the language a try.

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, Guests can learn about the real-life counterparts of the characters from the film and see them in the massive 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium home. Experts from Disney's Animals, Science and Environment Team will be on hand throughout the day to help Guests find Dory and her friends and get a closer look at their world.

Dory and some of her new friends from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” have joined Crush at the Turtle Talk with Crush attraction at Epcot and Disney California Adventure park. Guests can now meet Destiny, Bailey and Hank.

Select theater chains will give away buttons during Speak Like a Whale Day, while supplies last. Participating chains include Goodrich Quality Theatres, Marcus Theatres, Megaplex Theatres and National Amusements.

The efforts will be supported across Disney channels, including ABC, which broadcasts “Finding Nemo” tonight at 8 p.m. ET & PT/7 p.m. CT & MT, with a special look at “Finding Dory,” as well as ESPN, Disney Channel, Radio Disney and Freeform. Social media will showcase the event via Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter (#SpeakLikeAWhaleDay, #FindingDory).

ABOUT THE MOVIE:

Disney•Pixar's “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex innerworkings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.

Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-directed by Angus MacLane (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”), and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016. For more information, like us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PixarFindingDory, and follow us on Twitter, https://twitter.com/findingdory and Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/pixarfindingdory/.

May 25, 2016

STK Orlando Opens in Disney Springs

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STK joins the exciting new dining, shopping and entertainment district at Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (May 25, 2016) - The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. ("The ONE Group") is pleased to announce that STK Orlando officially opened its doors today at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World Resort at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The new location is the 11th STK worldwide, and at more than 14,000 square feet, is the largest to date. Featuring rooftop dining with scenic views, the restaurant boasts both indoor and outdoor seating on two levels, a bistro, bar, private dining room and a fire pit. With a sleek and contemporary design, STK is known for its high-energy fine dining experience.

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"We are thrilled to enter the Orlando market, especially at a premier destination like Walt Disney World," said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. "Strategic relationships, as well as great real estate, will remain integral to our growth plans as we expand our company footprint, and with an additional nine STK restaurants currently in development, we are excited to bring the STK experience to new cities across the globe."

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At STK Orlando, menu items with a local focus will join signature dishes that have become STK favorites across the world. STK Orlando Executive Chef, James O'Donnell, says he plans to source ingredients from Florida-based farms whenever possible, especially seasonal fruits, produce and seafood.

"Roughly twenty-percent of STK Orlando's menu will be exclusive to the Disney Springs location, including opening-day items such as Florida grouper, seared tuna and chili rubbed rack of lamb," said O'Donnell.

STK is anticipating a dinner-only service from May 25th through May 30th with lunch beginning on May 31st.

Hours for lunch at STK Orlando will be 11:30 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. daily, dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. For reservations call 407.917.7440.

STK Orlando celebrated its grand opening party in style as more than 500 invited guests and members of the media were welcomed into the area's newest hotspot. Styled with "Vintage Hollywood" in mind, the party-goers were treated to STK's unique blend of energy, excitement and first-in-class cocktails and cuisine.

The party was dialed up to a fever pitch as a surprise flash mob performed a choreographed routine to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling" throughout the entire two-story restaurant. Guests sampled a variety of STK's favorite bites including Lil' BRGs, Crispy Rock Shrimp and Chili-Rubbed Lamb Chops while sipping on STK signature cocktails such as the Cucumber Stiletto, Not Your Daddy's Manhattan and Smokeshow.

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The ONE Group and Disney Executives Celebrate the Grand Opening


About STK

STK is a unique concept that artfully blends the modern steakhouse and chic lounge into one, offering a dynamic, fine dining experience with the superior quality of a traditional steakhouse. STK distinguishes itself by focusing on the social experience with a sleek, contemporary design and an in-house DJ who creates an infectious, high-energy vibe. The menu features reimagined classic American cuisine with signature dishes like bite-sized Lil' BRGs made with Wagyu beef, Lobster Mac & Cheese, and, of course, the highest quality steak. STK defines the modern fine dining experience with incredible food, world-class service and the perfect atmosphere. STK has locations in New York City, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, and Milan with additional locations coming soon to Toronto, Austin, San Diego, Denver, Ibiza and Edinburgh. For more information about STK, please visit www.stkhouse.com.

About The ONE Group

The ONE Group is a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale, high-energy restaurants and lounges and provides hospitality management services for hotels, casinos and other high-end venues both nationally and internationally. The ONE Group's primary restaurant brand is STK, a modern twist on the American steakhouse concept with locations in major metropolitan cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. ONE Hospitality, The ONE Group's food and beverage hospitality services business, provides the development, management and operations for premier restaurants and turn-key food and beverage services within high-end hotels and casinos. Additional information about The ONE Group can be found at www.togrp.com.

May 24, 2016

Name Changes at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Enrich Storytelling

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Disney Vacation Club is pleased to announce an enhanced name for The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge that deepens the Resort’s roots in Disney storytelling.

Since welcoming its first Members home in 2000, this rustically elegant Disney Vacation Club Resort has celebrated the optimistic journey of Americans who rode the rails west to forge a new way of life. The villas draw inspiration from the quaint residential communities established by those pioneers along the tracks that enabled their mass migration.

The Resort’s new name – Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – gives that rustic community a more distinctive identity and allows Walt Disney Imagineers to bring the community’s story to life in new ways, including through the re-imagined (and soon to be renamed) Hidden Springs Pool area.

The new, more richly themed name also distinguishes the Resort’s condominium association from any proposed new Disney Vacation Club developments at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

The naming evolution is not new to Disney Vacation Club. Disney’s Old Key West Resort, which opened in 1991 as Disney Vacation Club Resort, later adopted its more richly themed name as other Disney Vacation Club Resorts joined the neighborhood. Just as the Disney’s Old Key West Resort name distinguished the Resort from its neighbors and allowed Imagineers to more deeply explore the Resort’s thematic connections to the Florida Keys, the transition from The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge allows Imagineers to further explore the Resort’s rugged roots.

Look for updates to signage and other materials at the Resort in the months ahead, and watch future editions of Disney Files Magazine for more details about the enhanced pool area and its connections to the story of Boulder Ridge.

Disney Cruise Line Fall 2017 - Returns to New York, California and Texas

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From New York City: Canada Coast and Bahamas Cruises

Cruises from New York City on the Disney Magic include a variety of Canada coast and Bahamas itineraries. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, is a new port of call on a seven-night Canada sailing – our longest-ever voyage to the Atlantic Canada coast. Bar Harbor, Maine, is another new port of call and part of a five-night sailing that will also stop at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Seven- and eight-night sailings to the Bahamas from New York all include a visit to Castaway Cay and to Port Canaveral, Fla., giving you the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort. Each guest on these sailings will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation for the short drive between the ship and the resort.

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From San Diego, California: Baja and Mexican Riviera Cruises

San Diego voyages on the Disney Wonder visit Baja and the Mexican Riviera. In Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, you’ll enjoy world-famous beaches and snorkeling. Puerto Vallerta and Mazatlan are where cliff diving and ziplining through the jungle canopy take center stage.

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From Galveston, Texas: Caribbean and Bahamas Cruises

Following the season in San Diego, the Disney Wonder will sail from Galveston, Texas on seven-night cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Western Caribbean itineraries visit Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica. All Bahamian itineraries include a stop at Castaway Cay, Key West and Nassau.

Bookings open to the public May 26, 2016. More details on the itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2017 page of disneycruise.com.


May 20, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Launches Summer Vacation Season with Magical Premieres in All Four Parks

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences open to guests starting this Memorial Day Weekend and kick-off summer vacation season with new magic across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Springs and beyond.

The fun heats up starting May 27 when new nighttime experiences awaken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with stunning animation on the Tree of Life, new after dark adventures on favorite attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more, as well as festive new nighttime entertainment across the park.

A day later on May 28, Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book provides inspiration for a new nighttime show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, that comes to life on Discovery River.

And starting June 17, guests can experience the enhanced Soarin’ Around the World attraction at Epcot; the star-studded new stage show “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” at Magic Kingdom Park; and the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Starting June 21, the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction and Royal Sommerhus, where Anna and Elsa will greet guests in authentically Norwegian-inspired settings, opens to guests at Epcot.

More Magic, More Memories, More Fun

Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends at Walt Disney World Resort, making every moment as magical as it can be:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature, starting May 27.

-- The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.

-- Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.

-- Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. Premiering May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (photo above) is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

-- Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island beginning May27. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.

Tiffins

-- Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot beginning June 21. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ Around the World takes guests to new heights starting June 17.

Frozen Ever After

-- Anna, Elsa and their “Frozen” friends will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion starting June 21. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

-- Also at the Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.

Soarin'

-- In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the expanded Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion on June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the enhanced attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.

-- Guests can now find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know better when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.


Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars beginning June 17 in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

-- For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

Elena of Avalor

-- Disney Parks will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.

-- Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

-- The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere June 17 with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.

-- The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.

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-- First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the summer, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests.

-- As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.

-- More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues.

-- Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With its chic style and Pan-Asian flavors, Morimoto Asia offers just a taste of what’s to come as more new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.

-- Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.

-- At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcases a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach

-- At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen Games” of friendly, fun competitions that begin May 27 and run through Aug. 21.

-- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

Disney guests will have a magical summer experience wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels. For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, visit www.disneyworld.com and www.disneyparksblog.com.

Awaken Summer Announcements

Today is a blockbuster day for announcements of attractions and events happening this summer at WDW.

Here is a summary of the dates announced, more details to follow:

May 21 - FP+ Reservations Open for Frozen Ever After

May 21 - Reservations Open for Tiffins

May 21 - Reservations open for Dining Packages at Animal Kingdom that include reserved seating for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

May 27 - The original Epcot Soarin' Over California attraction returns until June 16.

May 27 - Animal Kingdom begins its night openings with the Tree of Life awakenings, Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnival

May 28 - The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic debuts on Discovery River at Animal Kingdom


May 28 - Tiffins and Tusker House begin dining packages that include reserved seating for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

June 17 - New Soarin' Around the World Film Debuts - FP+ now available

June 17 - 'Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire' show debuts at Magic Kingdom

June 17 - Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios

June 21 - Frozen Ever After and Royal Summerhus Open in Epcot

May 18, 2016

Iron Man Experience Ride Tests at Hong Kong Disneyland

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Ride Tests Begin for Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland
Marvel’s Iron Man Experience has officially begun ride tests.

Iron Man Experience is the all-new attraction we’ve been eagerly waiting for since it was first announced in 2013. Hong Kong Disneyland announced today that ride system tests by their expert team of Walt Disney Imagineers are a go as construction nears completion. Once it opens, it will officially be the first Marvel ride-through attraction at a Disney Park. The new ride will be opening in Stark Expo in Tomorrowland.

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The story begins when Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) decides to bring the Stark Expo to the park. Guests can visit the Expo and explore the latest and greatest innovations from Stark Industries. They’ll go aboard an Iron Wing vehicle, the latest flying transport invented by Stark Industries, and journey through Hong Kong streets and the iconic city harbor as they battle against the evil forces of Hydra alongside Iron Man.

The new Marvel-themed area will also include a cool interactive “Become Iron Man” experience, exclusive themed merchandise and an immersive, story-driven character greeting with the man himself…Iron Man.

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