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April 11, 2017

35th Night of Joy Entertainment Announcement

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Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe, Kirk Franklin to Play 35th Disney Night of Joy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Sept. 8, 9

The hits just keep on coming – as they say – with this year’s Disney Night of Joy event featuring 15 of the greatest performers in Contemporary Christian music – Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9.

With Country Christian Music legends like MercyMe, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman and Kirk Franklin joining a new generation of Christian hit makers like Danny Gokey, Jordan Feliz and Rend Collective, the complex will be filled with two nights of awe-inspiring music.

Word has it that Amy and Steven might sing a couple of songs together!

We are also thrilled to welcome Night of Joy favorite, Matthew West as our host for the two-night event this year. Matthew will be running around the complex, introducing artists and just generally keeping things hopping.

This year’s event – our 35th actually – will feature one of the greatest concert lineups in Contemporary Christian music history. (Entertainment subject to change.)

Friday, Sept. 8 – MercyMe, TobyMac, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Matt Maher, Colton Dixon, Rend Collective, Zach Williams.

Saturday, Sept. 9 – Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Jordan Feliz, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Tye Tribbett.

Tickets will go on sale in early June.

April 7, 2017

FREE Disney Cruise Line Planning Video!

If you've been thinking about a vacation on the Disney Cruise Line, this FREE Cruise Planning Video can help!

Your FREE planning video showcases:

* What's included on a Disney cruise
* An overview of Disney Cruise Line destinations
* An inside look at our ships and ports
* Information on dining, activities, staterooms and much more

Find out how to get your FREE VIDEO and an e-brochure by clicking on the graphic below:


April 6, 2017

Disney Legends Announced for 2017 Honored During Upcoming D23 Expo

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NINE NEW DISNEY LEGENDS TO BE HONORED DURING
D23 EXPO 2017 IN ANAHEIM ON JULY 14
Oprah Winfrey, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Julie Taymor, and Other Incredible Talents to be Honored at a Special 30th Anniversary Awards Ceremony Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger

BURBANK, Calif. (April 6, 2017) – Oprah Winfrey, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Julie Taymor, and other remarkable contributors to the Disney legacy will be honored as official Disney Legends during D23 Expo 2017. Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the Disney Legends Award ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 14, in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Disney Legends Awards. The first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987.

“The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor our company can bestow on an individual, reserved for those few who have truly made an indelible mark on the history of The Walt Disney Company,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger. “It’s a celebration of talent, a recognition of achievement, and an expression of gratitude to the men and women whose work has significantly contributed to Disney’s enduring reputation for creative excellence.”

The awards ceremony is just one of the dozens of spectacular events that Disney fans can enjoy during the three-day D23 Expo.

The 2017 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

CARRIE FISHER became an overnight sensation in 1977 with her iconic performance as Princess Leia in Star Wars. But throughout her career, Carrie took on many roles—as an actress, author, playwright, screenwriter, and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. For Disney, Carrie appeared in Scream 3 (2000) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) for Dimension Films, and, in 2015, she returned to the role that made her famous, starring as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She reprised the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be released in December.

CLYDE “GERRY” GERONIMI joined the Disney Studio in 1931. His first assignments as an animator were for several memorable Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphony, and Pluto cartoons, and he eventually contributed to more than 50 of the Studio’s shorts. Gerry made the leap to sequence director with 1943’s Victory Through Air Power, and he subsequently contributed to The Three Caballeros, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He also directed segments for television’s Mickey Mouse Club and contributed to episodes of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. The apex of his Disney career came when he served as supervising director for the 1959 masterpiece Sleeping Beauty.

MANUEL GONZALES
was one of 33 artists selected from thousands of applicants to join Disney in 1936. In 1938, he took over penciling duties on the Sunday Mickey Mouse comic strip from Disney Legend Floyd Gottfredson. He brought Mickey Mouse to newspapers nationwide for nearly 40 years. At its peak, his Mickey-starring comic strip appeared in 120 newspapers around the world with a collective circulation of more than 20 million readers each week. Manuel was presented a “Mousecar” award by Walt Disney in 1966.

MARK HAMILL began his career in 1970, appearing in numerous television series guest-roles and several TV movies, including a recurring role on ABC’s General Hospital and starring in MTM's acclaimed The Texas Wheelers. He achieved worldwide attention as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, which included The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He returned as Luke in The Force Awakens and will appear in the upcoming The Last Jedi. His stage career includes Broadway shows and the first national tour of Amadeus directed by Sir Peter Hall. A prolific voice-over actor, he has performed in countless animated television shows, feature films, documentaries, and video games. He appears on Disney’s Miles from Tomorrowland and Milo Murphy’s Law, and has also provided the voice of The Joker in the Batman animated series, a role that recently earned him a BAFTA Award.

WAYNE JACKSON
began his career as a Walt Disney Imagineer in October 1965, and in the decades that followed he would put his technical skills and know-how to great use in the development and installation of Disney attractions around the world. Originally trained in aircraft tooling, he began as a technician and machinist assigned to rebuild the shows from the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair that were slated for installation at Disneyland. Instrumental in the early development of Audio-Animatronics® technology, Wayne would go on to help bring Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion to Disneyland. He went on to work on the construction and installation of attractions and show systems at Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Paris.

STAN LEE got a job as an office assistant at a comic publisher in 1939 called Timely Comics—forerunner of the powerhouse we all know as Marvel. Stan made his debut with a Captain America story in 1941, and by the next year, at the age of just 18, he was promoted to editor. In 1961, Stan teamed up with Jack “King” Kirby to create the Fantastic Four and ushered in a spectacular new age of comics. Stan co-created an enormous roster of Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, Daredevil, and Falcon. He became Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972, and eventually was named chairman emeritus. His well-known cameos in Marvel films began with 1989’s telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and since the release of X-Men in 2000 he has appeared in nearly every Marvel film project. Outside the super-hero realm, he has even popped up as a wedding guest in Disney’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

GARRY MARSHALL began his career in Los Angeles writing for a number of hit shows, including The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show. But his big break came in 1970, when he produced The Odd Couple for ABC, the first of many big hits he created for the network. Beginning with Happy Days in 1974, he developed a shared universe of spinoffs including Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi. His other ABC sitcoms during these years included Angie, The New Odd Couple, and Blansky’s Beauties. Garry was also a successful movie director, with 18 films to his credit. At Disney, he made stars of two young actresses: Julia Roberts, in Pretty Woman, and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. He directed Bette Midler in Beaches, as well as in The Lottery, a short film that for years was a fixture of the Backstage Tour at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. Garry was known for his acting, as well, and he appeared in Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain, Chicken Little, and as the Devil in Hocus Pocus.

JULIE TAYMOR is a Tony®-, Emmy®-, and Grammy®-winning and Oscar®-nominated filmmaker who has changed the face of Broadway with her innovative direction. Her adaptation of The Lion King debuted in 1997, becoming the most successful stage musical of all time; 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people. The show has played in more than 100 cities in 19 countries. It received 11 Tony Award nominations, earning Julie Best Director, Costume Designer, and Best Musical for the show. Her production of The Magic Flute is currently in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Her films include A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Titus, The Tempest, the Golden Globe-nominated Across the Universe, and the Oscar-winning Frida. Taymor is a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and an inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement. She is currently directing M. Butterfly on Broadway, opening Fall 2017.

OPRAH WINFREY is a renowned award-winning producer, actress, talk show host, and philanthropist. For 25 years she was the host of the award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran for 25 seasons on hundreds of stations domestically and in more than 100 countries around the world. Oprah is also an Academy Award®-nominated actress for her role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 hit The Color Purple. In 1998, she starred in Beloved for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, a film that she also produced. Oprah also produced and starred in ABC’s 1989 limited series The Women of Brewster Place, and would go on to produce many films for ABC, including Tuesdays with Morrie, Before Women Had Wings, and Their Eyes Were Watching God under the “Oprah Winfrey Presents” banner. She performed as Eudora in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in 2009 and will co-star as Mrs. Which in Disney’s 2018 film A Wrinkle in Time.

Honorees receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a handprint ceremony at the end of the event, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.

Admission to the ceremony will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is included in the price of a ticket to D23 Expo 2017.

Including this year’s honorees, a total of 276 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Julie Andrews, Beatrice Arthur, Howard Ashman, Regis Philbin, Annette Funicello, Peter Jennings, Johnny Depp, Estelle Getty, George Lucas, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Rue McClanahan, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Sir Tim Rice, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Betty White, and Robin Williams. Beginning with the inaugural D23 Expo in 2009, thousands of Disney fans have been able to enjoy the Legends Awards ceremony live.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Membersof D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.

The Polite Pig to Open April 10 at Disney Springs Town Center

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On April 10, 2017, The Polite Pig in Town Center at Disney Springs™ at Walt Disney World® Resort will open, the newest concept for award-winning Orlando Chefs James and Julie Petrakis.The husband-wife team, also owners of The Ravenous Pig and Swine & Sons in Winter Park and Cask & Larder at Orlando International Airport, are opening this newest concept with James Petrakis’ brother Brian.

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The Polite Pig will feature “modern barbecue” in an open kitchen, with Southern sides like a tomato and watermelon salad, mac and cheese and smoked corn with lime butter. There will also be a solid selection of craft beers and cocktails, and a bourbon bar with more than 50 selections, from small batch bourbons to a Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year Family Reserve.

Most of the menu will be exclusive to The Polite Pig: modern barbecue with The Ravenous Pig twist, like the Southern Pig Sandwich with pulled pork off the smoker, apple slaw, mustard sauce and Duke’s mayo; peel-and-eat shrimp with bourbon-cocktail sauce, and crispy Brussels sprouts with whiskey caramel. A featured appetizer is the Hop Salt Pretzel with beer cheese fondue and IPA mustard. One of the highlighted sandwiches is the Salmon BLT with bacon jam, marinated tomato, romaine and aioli.

In addition to Cask & Larder Brewery brews on tap, there will be other Florida/domestic craft beers and five house cocktails on tap.

Ravenous Pig/Cask & Larder veterans Jared Thate and Allie Weldon will be at helm of the new restaurant, under Chef James Petrakis’ guidance and inspiration.

The location will have 190 seats, and the decor features whimsical pigs on various adventures. Rustic touches are used for custom featured art pieces. Large faded graphics also adorn the main wall of the space adding to the feel of the long-time family run business.

The restaurant will operate under the "fast-casual" concept, which means that you will place your order at the main counter, then servers will bring it to your table when it's ready. The Polite Pig will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

March 31, 2017

NEW My Disney Experience App Upgrades

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My Disney Experience Launches Major App Upgrade

Today Walt Disney World launches a newly redesigned My Disney Experience app for all mobile users! The enhanced My Disney Experience app features a look and feel to make planning and enjoying your Walt Disney World Resort vacation easier than ever.

The new My Disney Experience mobile app opens right to the park maps to help you find attractions, restaurants, restrooms and more. It makes it easier for you to navigate through our parks so you can spend more time enjoying the magic of Walt Disney World Resort. A new section called “Spotlight” highlights new park experiences and entertainment offerings to help you find out the latest and greatest happenings at the parks.

And when you stay at one of our Disney resorts, you will be able to use the new feature called “My Resort Dashboard,” which gives you access to your resort reservation details all in one place, including the ability to see room number, theme, building and floor once you have your room assignment. “My Resort Dashboard” even gives you directions to your resort using Disney transportation options, a map showing you the location of your room and a link to directly call the Resort Front Desk if you need further assistance during your stay.

For guests who enjoy visiting our other Disney Parks around the world, the new My Disney Experience app now features the same look and feel as our other park apps, making the mobile experience seamless across the globe.

To check out all of these exciting new app features, take a look at this short video!

The My Disney Experience app and MagicBand still work together seamlessly, allowing you to effortlessly connect all your vacation choices from the My Disney Experience app to your MagicBand.

My Disney Experience was designed to always evolve, and we have more exciting innovations to share so check back often for more details on future updates and enhancements.

Source: Disney Parks Blog

March 28, 2017

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic Announces 2017 Dates and Menu

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photo by: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Mar. 28, 2017 – The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will return for its eighth year Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, with exciting new dishes debuting alongside returning festival favorites. Fans can now visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com to view the 2017 food menu as well as book overnight packages and purchase tickets.

Highlights of the 2017 menu include featured items from the hotel’s signature restaurants: Kobe beef mini burgers with truffle aioli, Applewood smoked bacon and roma tomato chutney from The Fountain; seared Yellowfin Tuna salad from Todd English’s bluezoo; ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms, baby spinach and fennel sausage from Il Mulino Trattoria and oven-roasted beef ribeye with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steakhouse. Returning dishes include the popular dragon sushi roll from Kimonos and fish ‘n’ chips with sea salt and vinegar potato chips from Garden Grove.

Also returning this year will be Carnival Corner and Chinatown, offering specialty cuisine in immersive themed areas, as well as the Sunday Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 29. Original dessert offerings will once again be served by World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard. For a full list of current menu offerings, visit www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/eat/menu/all.html.

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 50 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The event also includes hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts.

Overnight and multiple-night package options are available for the eighth-annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850:

· One-night packages start at $424, and include room accommodations and two tickets to the outdoor festival (seminar tickets and beer garden tickets may be added for an additional fee)

· Two-night packages start at $824, and include room accommodations and two tickets to the outdoor festival for both nights (seminar tickets and beer garden tickets may be added for an additional fee)

Individual ticket options are also available for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be purchased at www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com (pricing is inclusive of tax and service fees):

· Advance-purchase, event-only tickets to enjoy unlimited tastings on the causeway are $115 per person

· Upgraded tickets, including unlimited tastings on the causeway and access to the beer garden, are $140 per person

With 17 restaurants and lounges, and a distinguished culinary and beverage team, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel continually earns national recognition for its food and beverage program. The hotel features more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections.

For the latest information about the event, guests can visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com, like www.facebook.com/swananddolphin or call 1-800-227-1500.

March 26, 2017

The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors Extends Robert A. Iger’s Contract as Chairman and CEO to July 2, 2019

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BURBANK, Calif.-- (BUSINESS WIRE) --The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) Board of Directors announced today that it has extended Robert A. Iger’s contract as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to July 2, 2019.

“Given Bob Iger’s outstanding leadership, his record of success in a changing media landscape, and his clear strategic vision for Disney’s future, it is obvious that the Company and its shareholders will be best served by his continued leadership as the Board conducts the robust process of identifying a successor and ensuring a smooth transition,” said Orin C. Smith, Independent Lead Director of the Disney Board.

Mr. Smith continued: “Mr. Iger has led The Walt Disney Company to unprecedented success during his 11 years as CEO, driving Disney to new creative heights, expanding the Company’s global reach, fostering technological innovation, and delivering year-after-year of record financial results. During his tenure, Mr. Iger has created enormous value for shareholders, with total shareholder return of 448%, compared to 144% for the S&P 500, and a dramatic increase in the Company’s market capitalization to $177 billion from $46 billion.”

“Leading this great company is a tremendous privilege, and I am honored to have been asked to continue serving as CEO through July 2, 2019,” Mr. Iger said. “Even with the incredible success the Company has achieved, I am confident that Disney’s best days are still ahead, and I look forward to continuing to build on our proven strategy for growth while working with the Board to identify a successor as CEO and ensure a successful transition.”

Details of the agreement will be included in a Form 8-K filed today.

Since Mr. Iger, 66, became CEO, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of the “Most Reputable Companies” in both America and the world by Forbes magazine (2006-2017); one of “America's Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine (2009-2017); one of the “World's Most Respected Companies" by Barron’s (2009-2016); one of the “Best Places to Launch a Career” by BusinessWeek magazine (2006-2010); and as “Company of the Year” by Yahoo Finance (2013).

March 24, 2017

Fast Pass+ Reservations for Pandora Now Online

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IMPORTANT: You will not be able to book a FastPass+ for both Pandora attractions on the same day.

Great news for those of you anxiously counting the days until the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27 – FastPass+ reservations are now open to experience the land’s never-before-seen attractions for guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

As you may know, Pandora – The World of Avatar will transport guests to a visually stunning world with floating mountains, bioluminescent plants and more. It’ll also feature two one-of-a-kind attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage, which will allow guests to fly on a banshee over the world of Pandora and the family friendly Na’vi River Journey, which will send guests down a mystical river hidden within a bioluminescent rainforest.

Guests at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can reserve FastPass+ selections for the two attractions up to 60 days prior to check in, beginning today. For all other guests who have pre-purchased valid park admission, reservations will be available starting 30 days prior to their visit, beginning May 27, 2017. You may select one of these two attractions in your first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, depending on availability.

And beginning May 27 (through July 4), guests staying in select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have the opportunity to experience Pandora — The World of Avatar with special nighttime Extra Magic Hours. Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with a valid theme park admission can fly on the back of a banshee, navigate a mystical river and walk under floating mountains beyond regular park hours – from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. This benefit is in addition to the Extra Magic Hours already available to you at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

DIsney Parks Blog

Pandora --Early Previews for AP and DVC

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Today, March 24th, Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members are receiving email invites to previews for Pandora beginning on May 13th.

Two hour windows are available for booking. Since this is an early access event, not all areas of Pandora may be open at the time of your visit.

Disney Vacation Club Members must be staying on points at a Walt Disney World resort to qualify and may only reserve slots for the number of guests in the reservation.

Music of Pixar Live Debuts May 26th

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The Music of Pixar Live! Will Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios This Summer

This summer, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters.” This limited-time concert event will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, complete with a live orchestra and appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters.

Starting May 26, “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (following the regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”). The show will also feature highlights from some of Pixar’s greatest scores, from films like “Toy Story” to “Cars 3.” Guests can also expect appearances by Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley, the Incredibles and more.

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