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October 2008 Archives

October 3, 2008

Abundance of Fall Fun at Disneyland Resort as New Shows and Attractions Enhance Traditional Halloween and Holiday Seasons

jack_sally.jpg

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The giant Mickey Mouse Jack-o'-Lantern and the Town Square Christmas Tree will be the symbols of celebration for their respective holidays at Disneyland this fall. But the traditional fan favorites are only the beginning as Disneyland Resort welcomes new shows and immersive experiences, along with an exciting preview of things to come at Disney's California Adventure park.

It's all part of the fun as Disney Parks poses the question to guests: "What Will You Celebrate?" Whether it's the holidays, an anniversary, a family reunion or another special occasion, there's something for everyone at Disneyland Resort.

The fall season kicks off with a very special event: a once-in-a-lifetime private party in Disneyland for teen sensation Miley Cyrus. "Miley's Sweet 16 - Share The Celebration" will take place Sunday evening, Oct. 5, inside Disneyland. (The ticketed event is sold out). Miley will celebrate with family, friends and fans, perform a couple of songs, and recognize the outstanding contributions of Youth Service America, an organization that seeks to improve communities by increasing the number and diversity of young people serving as volunteers.

Beginning later in October, guests can enjoy an array of new attractions at Disneyland Resort, adding to the fun of the Halloween and Holiday seasons.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: On Friday, Oct. 24, "High School Musical 3: Right Here! Right Now!" premieres at Disney's California Adventure. The new street show celebrates the infectious energy of the upcoming theatrical motion picture "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." Featuring a cast of 14 dynamic singers and dancers, the show takes place on a traveling "rock concert" stage with stacks of speakers and rows of lights. Interactive sequences featuring hot new songs from the movie will draw guests into the streets of Disney's California Adventure for an exciting live concert experience.

PIXIE HOLLOW: The magical realm of Pixie Hollow appears in Disneyland on Tuesday, October 28. Entering along a pathway with an enchanted pool, between the entrances of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, guests are gradually immersed into the community of fairies. Guests will get the strange feeling that they are shrinking to fairy size as they encounter statues of Tinker Bell and her friends, and spot other evidence of the pixies' presence. When guests arrive at Tinker Bell's home, they will meet some of the pixies in person.

BLUE SKY CELLAR: For those who want to stay in-the-know about the expansion of Disney's California Adventure park, a preview center opens Monday, Oct. 20 at the Golden Vine Winery in Disney's California Adventure. The Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar - named for the Imagineers' 'blue sky' creative process - displays never-before-seen models and art outlining the concepts and design for the park's coming attractions, along with a video presentation. The showcase will be updated regularly so that fans can stay abreast of developments.

SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE WALKTHROUGH: Sleeping Beauty Castle, a beloved Disneyland landmark since the park's debut in 1955, will open a "reawakened" version of its classic Castle walkthrough in time for the December holiday season. The new scenes inside the corridors tell the Sleeping Beauty story with modern special effects technology that recreates the look of the original Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough of the 1950s through the 1970s.

The new attractions and shows offer added value for Disney fans this fall as they enjoy all the traditional holiday attractions at Disneyland Resort.

Halloween highlights at Disneyland include the 16-foot-tall Mickey Mouse Jack-o'-Lantern on Main Street, U.S.A.; Woody's Halloween Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch; and Haunted Mansion Holiday, inspired by Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas," which continues into the Christmas season.

At Disney's California Adventure, Halloween is celebrated at Candy Corn Acres, featuring Goofy's whimsical candy corn "crops." Families also will enjoy a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience at the separate-admission nighttime Mickey's Trick-or-Treat party, with treat locations throughout the park.

The Christmas holiday season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 21, when the traditional "A Christmas Fantasy" daily parade and "Believe in Holiday Magic" fireworks make their seasonal debuts. The towering Christmas tree appears on Main Street, U.S.A., and the décor and nighttime show surrounding Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle will be will be more spectacular than ever. The lights and effects that appear after dark extend into Disneyland Central Plaza, down Main Street, U.S.A., and to the Christmas tree at Town Square for a sparkling transformation that sets the scene for "Believe In Holiday Magic" fireworks with their magical snowfall finale.

Additional holiday highlights include the return, Nov. 21, of the "it's a small world" holiday attraction, celebrating holiday traditions around the world. Guests will visit Santa Claus throughout the season at Santa's Reindeer Round-up in Big Thunder Ranch, and those looking for a unique experience may book time with a guide for Disney's Holiday tours.

October 6, 2008

Disney Cruise Line Sets Sail For Russia, Northern Europe and Mediterranean in 2010

NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2008) - In response to guest demand, Disney Cruise Line will reposition one of its ships, Disney Magic, to Europe for an unprecedented five-month season of Northern European and Mediterranean cruises in 2010.

Mickey in Russia

With a wide variety of European itineraries in 2010, families have the ability to explore exotic and unexpected destinations with the safety and comfort of traveling with Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising.

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will offer a 12-night Northern European Capitals cruise, where guests can experience breathtaking fjords, historic city centers and Viking lore at enchanting Scandinavian ports such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The ship will also sail to Warnemunde, Germany, gateway to Berlin, and to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Disney Magic will overnight in St. Petersburg, allowing Disney Cruise Line guests time to experience the city known as the "Cultural Capital of Russia" or use the second day to book a shore excursion to Moscow.

"The Northern European Capitals itinerary provides our guests with an amazing collection of destinations to explore," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin. "We're excited to bring the rich history, culture and folklore these ports offer to life for our guests in a family-friendly way only Disney Cruise Line can deliver."

Departing out of Dover, England, the Disney Magic will sail a total of four 12-night cruises to the Northern European capitals in June and July 2010. Rates for the 12-night Northern European Capitals itinerary start at $3,649 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

Book-ending the summer season in Northern Europe, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean with 10- and 11-night cruises, but with three new ports of call not offered when Disney Cruise Line last sailed the Mediterranean. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis, in Northern Africa, the island nation of Malta, and Corsica, an island oasis off the southern coast of France known as the birthplace of Napoleon.

"The response from guests who sailed on our Mediterranean voyages in 2007 was overwhelmingly positive," said McAlpin. "We're thrilled to bring the ship back and look to make the 2010 season in the Mediterranean even better, with new destinations and more one-of-a-kind Disney experiences for our guests."

Departing out of Barcelona, Spain, the Disney Magic will sail four 10-night and four 11-night cruises in the Mediterranean in April, May, August and September. Rates for the 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises start at $2,529 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line will also offer four repositioning cruises including two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Dover, England, and an eight-night cruise from Dover back to Barcelona.

Disney Wonder 2010 Schedule

The Disney Magic isn't the only Disney ship embarking on new itineraries in 2010. For the summer of 2010, the Disney Wonder will shift to four- and five-night cruises sailing to Nassau, Key West and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The shift is designed to accommodate guests looking for slightly longer cruises with Disney Cruise Line while children are enjoying their summer break. Rates for the special five-night voyages to Key West or two stops at Castaway Cay start at $899 per person, while the four-night voyage begins at $849 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

October 7, 2008

Disney Outlines Growth Strategy for Sports Business

Changes to benefit guests, the community and business

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - With the sports tourism industry expanding by $200 million last year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex outlined plans to further grow its business and bring new visitors to Central Florida.

The strategy includes plans to expand facilities, enhance existing events, diversify the Complex's events portfolio and create more one-of-a-kind, immersive sports experiences that only Disney can provide.

Expansion plans for the complex reflect a nationwide trend in which more youth are participating in sports and are willing to travel longer distances for competition. Last year in the United States, the sports tourism industry grew from $700 million to $900 million, with an overall economic impact of $6.1 billion.

"Our goal is to be recognized as the pre-eminent multi-sports venue for amateur and professional sports and create events that benefit guests, the community and business," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "Each year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex draws more than a million spectators who might not otherwise visit Central Florida, resulting in a significant economic benefit to our region."

At the center of the complex's growth strategy are plans announced earlier this year to re-brand Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex as ESPN Wide World of Sports, aligning the world's No. 1 family vacation destination with the worldwide leader in sports.

"Through the collaboration of two powerful brands we will be able to help make the ultimate sports dreams come true for young athletes and further establish the Wide World of Sports Complex as the place to compete and watch sports," said Potrock. "Athletes will be able to compete and train on world-class fields and courts and be immersed in an experience that only Disney and ESPN can provide.'

Creative teams are still in the early stages of working together to bring this experience to life. Initial concepts involve incorporating many signature elements of ESPN, such as sports programming, sports events, breaking news, on-air talent and sports celebrities to complement the event management and renowned hospitality already evident at the Sports Complex.

As part of this commitment to growth, Potrock announced that Disney Sports and ESPNare creating a week-long, multi-sport event planned for July 2009 that will feature some of the top high school athletes in the country. The ESPN RISE Sports Festival, scheduled for July 18 to 25, will involve more than 2,000 young athletes, many of whom are among the most heavily recruited in the nation, competing in six sports - softball, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and track & field - at the Wide World of Sports Complex. The competition will be televised live on ESPNU and other ESPN Web outlets.

This growing demand in sports tourism has prompted expansion plans throughout the Sports Complex, including several announcements this year.

-- Earlier this summer, the sports complex opened Jostens Center, a new state-of-the-art field house that will enable Disney to accommodate twice as many indoor sports events each year such as basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading as well as other competitions.

-- In June, the complex announced plans to partner with Osceola County and the Central Florida Sports Commission to bring 13 United States Bowling Congress tournaments to Osceola County - each of which could bring 70,000 to 85,000 athletes and spectators to Central Florida. As part of this agreement, Disney will make land available for a new 100-lane bowling center that is large enough to accommodate the tournaments.

-- In December 2007, the sports complex debuted additional outdoor playing fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey competitions.

Each year, the Disney sports complex stages more than 180 events. Since its inception, the complex has hosted athletes from more than 70 countries involved in more than 50 different sports. "A majority of the athletes and spectators who compete in a Disney sports event are first-time visitors to Disney," said Potrock. "In fact, roughly 85 percent of these guests would not have come to Disney if it weren't for an event at our sports complex, and many of them, particularly coaches, are repeat visitors."

For example, one of the largest events is the Walt Disney World Marathon, which draws nearly 80,000 runners and spectators to Central Florida annually, making the event the largest sports event in Central Florida and on-par with some of the area's largest conventions. In addition, an overwhelming majority - nearly 90 percent of Marathon and Half-Marathon participants - travel from outside of CentralFlorida, which has an economic ripple on area hotels, restaurants, retailers and more.

Since Disney opened the sports complex in 1997, nearly 2 million athletes and enthusiasts have competed at the venue including many of the biggest names in amateur and professional sports, such as Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Mia Hamm, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Serena Williams, Shaquille O'Neal and Pete Sampras, among others. In one year alone, Disney's competition schedule includes more than:

-- 3,000 basketball games
-- 2,400 softball games
-- 1,800 baseball games
-- 3,900 soccer matches

The Wide World of Sports also hosts the Atlanta Braves spring training season, a Tampa Bay Rays regular-season series, the Major League Baseball Draft, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, Chelsea Football Club-sponsored events, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, Amateur Athletic Union National Championships, Varsity All-Star Cheerleading competitions and USSSA events. ESPN televised 20 sporting events from the complex in the last year. Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN also annually work together to host the popular ESPN The Weekend event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Expanded Fireworks Illuminate Walt Disney World Resort During New Year’s Celebration

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A kaleidoscope of colors and elaborate light displays will decorate the skies on the final night of 2008 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Dazzling fireworks showers, live entertainment and extended park hours throughout the Vacation Kingdom on Dec. 31 make it a popular spot to ring in the new year.

-- At Epcot, a special version of "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth," the laser-light spectacular featuring dancing flames and cascading fountains orchestrated to an original musical score, will be presented at 7:40 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. The park's Dec. 31 operating hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.

-- Disney's Hollywood Studios will host "Fantasmic!," the lavish spectacular of water animation, lasers and fireworks, at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Revelers can "rock on" with live performances by in-park band "Mulch, Sweat and Shears," plus a DJ spinning tunes at Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat. A special "Lights, Camera, Happy New Year" fireworks show brings in the new year at 11:50 p.m. The park is open from 9 a.m. until midnight on Dec. 31.

-- Late-nighters can party at Magic Kingdom until the wee hours with parades and fireworks galore. The park is aglow with "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade" at 12 noon and 3 p.m., followed by the wondrous "SpectroMagic" parade at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. "Holiday Wishes" fireworks, the boldest and brightest pyrotechnics show at Disney, takes place at 8:30 p.m. capped with the grand finale "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks at 11:50 p.m. On Dec. 31, the park is open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.

-- Disney's Animal Kingdom is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 31. Guests can enjoy one of the final presentations of the romping character cavalcade "Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade" at 3:45 p.m.

For more information, visit Disneyworld.com or contact 407/824-4321.

October 8, 2008

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Contest Announcement

WALT DISNEY WORLD SWAN AND DOLPHIN RESORT TO "ELECT" A CANDIDATE FOR A "PRESIDENTIAL" VACATION
History will be made on Nov. 5 when for the first time, a contest winner will be awarded a stay in the resort's luxurious presidential suite.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As the nation prepares for this historic election, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is making its own presidential history by giving one lucky guest and their family the opportunity to be treated like a president with their very own presidential vacation.

In honor of the eventful 2008 presidential election, the resort will be electing a candidate to stay in one of their eight spacious and luxuriously appointed presidential suites on a vacation fit for a leader of the free world. This is the first time the resort has offered a presidential suite prize, as the suites range in prices up to $3,100 a night. Coincidentally, the hotel's presidential suites have hosted the likes of Presidents H.W. Bush and Clinton, presidential hopefuls like Senator John Kerry and other prominent world leaders.

As the presidential guest, the winning candidate will be invited to bring up to five "cabinet members" on a 3-day/2-night term. They will arrive via limousine transport from the airport (sorry, no motorcade!), be treated to a red carpet welcome at the resort and can celebrate their victory with a "state" dinner using a $250 dining certificate at any of the resort's 17 restaurants and lounges, which include Shula's Steak House, Todd English's bluezoo and Il Mulino New York Trattoria.

The "elected" (chosen by random drawing) candidate along with their guests will receive complimentary Walt Disney World theme park three-day Park Hopper passes as well as all the other amenities offered by the resort including complimentary transportation to all Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Attractions, the opportunity to dine with loveable Disney characters at Garden Grove restaurant, Disney's Extra Magic Hours benefit, offering early park entrance or an extended hour after park closing and advance tee times on four championship Walt Disney World golf courses. The total prize package is valued at $4900.

No caucuses, campaigning or primaries are needed for this vote - guests simply nominate themselves by visiting www.swandolphin.com/election and signing up anytime before the polls close on Nov. 4.

And just like the current race, only time will tell who will be the winning ticket. The winner will be announced Nov. 5 at www.swandolphin.com/election and has a year to "take office".

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers eight presidential suites featuring elegant bathroom and bedroom appointments richly designed in residential-style décor. Presidential suites feature amenities including: multiple 42" flat-screen TVs, deluxe private bathrooms, Westin Heavenly Beds®, a full kitchen with a private bar and dining room for eight and extraordinary views of Walt Disney World Resort .

In the heart of the Walt Disney World® Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is your gateway to Central Florida's greatest theme parks and attractions. The resort is located in between Epcot® and Disney's Hollywood StudiosTM, and nearby Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and Magic Kingdom® Park. Come discover our 17 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds® and the luxurious Mandara Spa. Enjoy five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, and many special Disney benefits, including complimentary transportation to Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Attractions, and the Extra Magic Hours benefit.

Two-Time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen and Comeback Player Scott McCarron to Compete in 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and PGA TOUR Comeback Player of the Year award contender Scott McCarron have accepted sponsor's exemptions to play in the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart Nov. 6-9 at Walt Disney World Resort.
"We are pleased to have Lee and Scott join what we feel will be a talented Children's Miracle Network Classic field this year," said tournament chairman Kevin Weickel. "Lee is one of the marquee names in the sport and Scott's resurgence is one of the most inspiring stories of the year. Both players add excitement and tradition to this year's tournament, which we expect will be one of the best ever."

Janzen, an Orlando resident, won the U.S. Open in 1993 and 1998, and eight total PGA TOUR titles. He also is a two-time Ryder Cup participant.

This year he is currently 147th on the TOUR money list and will be part of the frenzied scramble at Disney to be among the final top 125 money winners who earn full exemptions for the 2009 PGA TOUR season.

He has played at Disney 16 times since 1990, with his best finishes a sixth in 1992 and a seventh in 1997.

A three-time PGA TOUR winner, McCarron is enjoying a resurgent 2008 after missing the majority of 2006 and the entire 2007 season while recovering from a shoulder injury. This season, he has posted a pair of top five finishes -- second at the Wyndham Championship and tied for fifth at the RBC Canadian Open -- along with a 93rd ranking on the TOUR money list.

This will be McCarron's ninth tournament at Disney since 1995, with his best finish a sixth (tied) in 2001.

The Children's Miracle Network Classic has four sponsor's exemptions to extend to players who otherwise wouldn't qualify for the field of 132 players that will tee off in the PGA TOUR Fall Series finale on Disney's Palm and Magnolia courses.

The defending champion is TOUR veteran Stephen Ames, who joined the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart and Raymond Floyd as winners of the prestigious Disney tournament.

Tickets for individual rounds ($20) and badges for Classic week ($30) are available at www.ChildrensMiracleNetworkClassic.com. Net proceeds go to Children's Miracle Network hospitals, including the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, and Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville.

October 9, 2008

En Vogue Performs at Epcot's Eat to the Beat Concert Series

EN VOGUE ROCKS THE HOUSE -- En Vogue sings "Hold On" and other pop hits during Eat to the Beat! concerts at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

En Vogue

A Frightfully Good Time Awaits Disney Cruise Line Guests this Halloween

Mickey and Mickey on Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, Fla. - Disney Cruise Line will treat guests sailing over the Halloween holiday to a spook-tacular good time as the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder transform into a ghoulish wonderland filled with hair-rising events and activities.

Guests of all ages will delight with special decorations, unique menu items in the restaurants and themed dance parties on deck The Halloween happenings take place on the Disney Magic cruise departing Oct. 25 and on the Disney Wonder cruise departing Oct. 30.

Halloween on the Disney Cruise Line

Here is a glimpse at the treats awaiting guests this Halloween:

Trick-or-Treat Trail: Young guests will be invited to participate in a trick-or-treat hunt exploring multiple decks of the ship and collecting candy from various stations.

Haunted Parties: Following the trick-or-treat hunt, families will gather at the Goofy Pool for a fun-filled Halloween costume party - Disney Cruise Line style. The world-famous Disney Characters will join in the fun, wearing special Halloween costumes just for the occasion. For adults, the nighttime entertainment district on the Disney ships becomes the ghoulish setting for a costume contest and party sure to bring chills to everyone.

Spooky Movies: To get guests into the spirit of the season, the Buena Vista Theatre will host special showings of Walt Disney Pictures' The Haunted Mansion and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Ghoulish Delights: Disney Cruise Line chefs have conjured some very special treats for Halloween, including: Pumpkin Cheesecake, spider cupcakes and "Witch's Brew."

October 13, 2008

Fall Fun at Disneyland Resort

Abundance of Fall Fun at Disneyland Resort as New Shows and Attractions Enhance Traditional Halloween and Holiday Seasons

ANAHEIM, Calif. (October 2008) - The giant Mickey Mouse Jack-o'-Lantern and the Town Square Christmas Tree will be the symbols of celebration for their respective holidays at Disneyland this fall. But the traditional fan favorites are only the beginning as Disneyland Resort welcomes new shows and immersive experiences, along with an exciting preview of things to come at Disney's California Adventure park.

It's all part of the fun as Disney Parks poses the question to guests: "What Will You Celebrate?" Whether it's the holidays, an anniversary, a family reunion or another special occasion, there's something for everyone at Disneyland Resort.

Beginning later in October, guests can enjoy an array of new attractions at Disneyland Resort, adding to the fun of the Halloween and Holiday seasons.


HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: On Friday, Oct. 24, "High School Musical 3: Right Here! Right Now!" premieres at Disney's California Adventure. The new street show celebrates the infectious energy of the upcoming theatrical motion picture "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." Featuring a cast of 14 dynamic singers and dancers, the show takes place on a traveling "rock concert" stage with stacks of speakers and rows of lights. Interactive sequences featuring hot new songs from the movie will draw guests into the streets of Disney's California Adventure for an exciting live concert experience.


PIXIE HOLLOW: The magical realm of Pixie Hollow appears in Disneyland on Tuesday, October 28. Entering along a pathway with an enchanted pool, between the entrances of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, guests are gradually immersed into the community of fairies. Guests will get the strange feeling that they are shrinking to fairy size as they encounter statues of Tinker Bell and her friends, and spot other evidence of the pixies' presence. When guests arrive at Tinker Bell's home, they will meet some of the pixies in person.


BLUE SKY CELLAR: For those who want to stay in-the-know about the expansion of Disney's California Adventure park, a preview center opens Monday, Oct. 20 at the Golden Vine Winery in Disney's California Adventure. The Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar - named for the Imagineers' 'blue sky' creative process - displays never-before-seen models and art outlining the concepts and design for the park's coming attractions, along with a video presentation. The showcase will be updated regularly so that fans can stay abreast of developments.


SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE WALKTHROUGH: Sleeping Beauty Castle, a beloved Disneyland landmark since the park's debut in 1955, will open a "reawakened" version of its classic Castle walkthrough in time for the December holiday season. The new scenes inside the corridors tell the Sleeping Beauty story with modern special effects technology that recreates the look of the original Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough of the 1950s through the 1970s.


The new attractions and shows offer added value for Disney fans this fall as they enjoy all the traditional holiday attractions at Disneyland Resort.

Halloween highlights at Disneyland include the 16-foot-tall Mickey Mouse Jack-o'-Lantern on Main Street, U.S.A.; Woody's Halloween Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch; and Haunted Mansion Holiday, inspired by Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas," which continues into the Christmas season.

At Disney's California Adventure, Halloween is celebrated at Candy Corn Acres, featuring Goofy's whimsical candy corn "crops." Families also will enjoy a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience at the separate-admission nighttime Mickey's Trick-or-Treat party, with treat locations throughout the park.

The Christmas holiday season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 21, when the traditional "A Christmas Fantasy" daily parade and "Believe " in Holiday Magic" fireworks make their seasonal debuts. The towering Christmas tree appears on Main Street, U.S.A., and the décor and nighttime show surrounding Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle will be will be more spectacular than ever. The lights and effects that appear after dark extend into Disneyland Central Plaza, down Main Street, U.S.A., and to the Christmas tree at Town Square for a sparkling transformation that sets the scene for "Believe " In Holiday Magic" fireworks with their magical snowfall finale.

Additional holiday highlights include the return, Nov. 21, of the "it's a small world" holiday attraction, celebrating holiday traditions around the world. Guests will visit Santa Claus throughout the season at Santa's Reindeer Round-up in Big Thunder Ranch, and those looking for a unique experience may book time with a guide for Disney's Holiday tours.

October 15, 2008

Grand Opening of State-of-the-Art, On-Site Health and Wellness Center

Grand Opening of State-of-the-Art, On-Site Health and Wellness Center Provides Additional Resources to Help Walt Disney World Cast Members Lead Healthier Lives

Center for Living Well is "one-stop shop" for primary medical care for as many as 40,000 benefits-eligible Cast Members and their families

livingwell.jpg

Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Oct. 15, 2008 - Hundreds of Walt Disney World Cast Members completed a wellness walk around Epcot just in time to help officially open the Center for Living Well, a state-of-the-art, on-site health and wellness center that will provide eligible Cast Members and their families with a "one-stop shop" for primary medical care and related services, including a pharmacy, lab, basic radiology, and wellness and behavioral health resources.

"The opening of the Center for Living Well is a significant milestone in our journey to help Cast Members and their families lead healthier lives," said Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton. "This special place will inspire Cast Members to take a proactive approach to their health and provide resources that will make it easier than ever before for them to take advantage of the many health and wellness resources Disney offers."

Walt Disney World Resort selected Take Care Health Systems (formerly CHD Meridian Healthcare) to operate and provide medical and pharmacy services at the $6 million, 15,000-square-foot facility. As the operator of the Center for Living Well, Take Care Health has committed to providing Cast Members and their dependents who participate in the company's health plans with:

* high-quality, personalized care facilitated by a multi-lingual staff of credentialed medical professionals;

* enhanced access to services through extended hours, weekend availability, proximity to work and same-day care for more immediate needs;

* coordinated treatment made possible by relationships with specialists and other facilities throughout the region, referral scheduling support and the latest in medical technology, including electronic medical records and prescriptions and digital radiology; and

* privacy and confidentiality, through strict adherence to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and special facility design features, such as a sophisticated white noise system that enables private conversations, the use of pagers to facilitate efficient and discreet communication between patients and staff, and a unique exam room design that prevents others from seeing who is inside the room when the door is open.

"The Center for Living Well represents the best thinking in putting Cast Members first and we're thrilled to be a part of it," said Peter M. Hotz, president, Employer Solutions, Take Care Health Systems. "Forward-thinking companies like Walt Disney World are demonstrating that the strongest investment they can make is in the health and well-being of their people. This facility combines the best in medical care, pharmacy services and technology to create a healthcare experience unlike any other."

Walt Disney World Resort continues to offer a variety of other programs and services designed to promote healthy living among Cast Members including:

o a choice of health care plans that enable eligible Cast and their dependents to select the plan that best meets their needs;

o preventive care benefits that are generally available at no additional cost to plan participants and their covered dependents;

o on-site health and wellness offerings, such as educational and screening opportunities, health fairs and discounts on weight loss programs and gym memberships;

o access to online tools and resources, such as a personal health assessment and a prescription drug price comparison tool; and

o programs to support health plan members with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

"Across our organization, Cast Members at all levels have been taking 'one simple step' toward a healthier lifestyle using the resources provided by our company," said Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "There is a lot of momentum around our wellness journey, and we will continue to engage our Cast Members in new and innovative health and wellness opportunities."

Cast Members will continue to be able to access other Central Florida health care providers as defined by the health plan they select. Currently, more than 40,000 Walt Disney World Cast Members, plus their dependents, are eligible for health benefits.

October 16, 2008

Disney shares plans for Hawaii resort with Honolulu Mayor

Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo (right) shared plans for its future resort in Hawaii with Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann today. Scheduled to open in 2011, the expansive family resort will be located in the picturesque Ko Olina area on the western side of Oahu and will include 350 hotel rooms and 480 villas for Disney Vacation Club, Disney's growing timeshare business.

Jay Rasulo and Honolulu Mayor Hannemann


Also pictured (from left) is Djuan Rivers, Vice President, Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawaii and Councilman Todd Apo.

Jay Rasulo Unviels DVC Hawaiian Resort Model

October 18, 2008

Blue Sky Cellar Unveils Exciting New Magic Coming to Disney’s California Adventure Park

cellar1.jpg

ANAHEIM, Calif., October 15, 2008 - Nestled in the Golden Vine Winery at the base of Grizzly Peak in Disney's California Adventure Park, the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar is a place where Guests will get an exclusive sneak preview of what is new and what is in store for the expansion of the Disneyland Resort. Beginning October 20, Guests will view working models as well as dozens of concepts and sketches from Disney Imagineers, the creative minds behind the design and construction of Disney theme parks and attractions.

With Blue Sky Cellar, Guests will be invited for the first time to preview works in progress at Disneyland Resort by immersing themselves in a facsimile of an Imagineering workspace. Based on the belief that idea gathering is best when "the sky's the limit," the Blue Sky Cellar is designed to resemble an Imagineering "charette," an extended creative idea development meeting. Guests receive an inside-look at how Imagineers take "blue sky" ideas and refine them into the classic storytelling that characterizes Disney Theme Park attractions and adventures.

In this whimsical immersive setting, Imagineers have taken over a former wine cellar and set up shop. Wine barrels have turned into work stations and the former wine tasting room has become a screening room where videos showcase the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into the creation of new and upcoming attractions for Disney's California Adventure.

Guests will view several new attraction models, including the newly envisioned Paradise Pier area with its turn-of-the-20th-Century look, ride vehicle maquettes from Toy Story Mania!; and the new character overlays to the Games of the Boardwalk. Special features include updates and character additions to attractions such as Mickey's Fun Wheel (an enhancement of the current Sun Wheel) and Silly Symphony Swings (a refreshed and rethemed Orange Stinger).

Brand new sketches and artwork line the walls including images of the new entrance area, soon to be known as Buena Vista Street, which will bring to life a nostalgic look at Los Angeles from the 1920s and 30s when Walt Disney first arrived in California; a Red Car trolley, reminiscent of the Pacific Electric Railway; and a new central plaza area including a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where Walt premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The "coming soon" area features images of Disney's World of Color and The Little Mermaid attraction, and looks even further ahead to Cars Land, a 12-acre expansion of the Park which will bring to life the town of Radiator Springs from the Disney-Pixar animated film Cars, complete with three new attractions for the whole family. Additionally, Guests in Blue Sky Cellar will have fun testing their knowledge of Disney trivia at one of the interactive workstations.

The screening room features Imagineers describing the approach and vision of the Disney California Adventure expansion. Guests will see footage of model-making, sculpting, blue sky meetings and all the aspects of bringing a Disney concept to life.

Included in the original announcement of the multi-year expansion of the Disneyland Resort in Fall 2007, the Blue Sky Cellar is part of the overall commitment to keep the community and Disneyland Resort Guests informed of the exciting new and upcoming plans for the Resort. Future updates will focus on other new areas and attractions, and Guests are invited to return periodically for additional exciting information.

cellar2.jpg

October 20, 2008

Two Cast Members Honored as 2009 Disneyland Resort Ambassadors

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 17, 2008 -- Before an audience of more than 1,000 Cast Members, media and former Ambassadors, Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier announced the 2009 Disneyland Resort Ambassador Team at Disneyland today. Cast Members Danielle DuBois and Quinn Shurian will serve as the 44th team to represent the resort and its Cast as the 2009 Disneyland Resort Ambassadors.

Danielle DuBois and Quinn Shurian 
Disneyland Ambassadors

"Being chosen to represent 20,000 Disneyland Resort Cast Members is an incredible honor and one of the highest achievements of a Disney Cast Member. This program is a unique and important part of our company's heritage," said Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier. "These two Cast Members will take the magic and good will of Disneyland throughout our community and beyond in the coming year."

The prestigious honor of being selected as a Disney Ambassador began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland, when Walt Disney realized the need for an additional representative to help fulfill the many media, public appearance and VIP hosting requests he received. He selected the very first Ambassador in 1965 and the tradition has continued ever since.

Today, the Ambassador selection process involves months of preparation and interviews with fellow Cast Members and executives where candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their Disney knowledge and their passion about being a Disney Cast Member.

The new Ambassador team will represent the company during the recently announced "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign. The celebration runs through 2009 and invites all guests to mark their special occasions at a Disney park in a way only Disney can provide. Their full-time duties include participating in more than 200 events from - Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2009 - including Cast Member recognition ceremonies, grand openings, marketing events, special promotions and media interviews. They will also host dignitaries and other VIPs at Disneyland Resort.

In 2006, DuBois began her career at the Disneyland Resort as a lead and trainer in the imaging department. Prior to that, DuBois lived in Yokohama, Japan and served as an English teacher to students that ranged in age from 3 to 80 years old. After attending California State University, Chico, where she received a degree in communication design, DuBois participated in the Up With People Worldsmart program - an international community service youth group. For one year, DuBois dedicated her time to giving back through performances and activities in 18 countries. DuBois attended College Park High School in Pleasant Hill and currently resides in Irvine, Calif.

Shurian began his career at Disneyland in attractions in 1994 and had roles in Guest Relations and Guest Communications before reaching his current position as a communications specialist in Cast Communications. He also is an Adventure Guide for Adventures by Disney - traveling around the world sharing his passion for Disney with families on vacation. Shurian has been a Disney VoluntEAR for nearly 10 years - dedicating time to various projects around the community. Two of those years he has held spots on the Disney VountEARS Leadership Council. Shurian attended Newbury Park High School and currently resides in Orange, Calif.

October 21, 2008

Dreams Come True for Two Walt Disney World Cast Members

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 17, 2008 - Much like Cinderella's Prince Charming searching for the perfect fit for the glass slipper, leaders from Walt Disney World Resort have found two outstanding Cast Members to step into the time-honored, unique role of Walt Disney World Ambassador. During a ceremony today at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Vanessa Rosas and Clay Shoemaker were named as the 38th Walt Disney World Ambassador Team and will serve from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2009.

Ambassadors 2009 WDW

"Being an Ambassador is one of the greatest achievements a Cast Member can attain," said Meg Crofton president of Walt Disney World Resort. "During the last thirty-seven years, these men and women have represented Disney Cast Members with purpose and grace, and have brought the magic of Walt Disney World to the world at large."

The 44-year tradition offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who demonstrate passion and knowledge of Disney heritage along with poise and skill. Each year, thousands of Cast Members are invited to participate in this process which starts with informational sessions and ends with a ceremony announcing the new Ambassador team. Individuals named as Ambassadors accept a year-long assignment representing Walt Disney World Resort's 62,000 Cast Members. Once their term is completed, each Ambassador has the option to return to their prior job or apply for another available position within Walt Disney World Resort.

Serving as a representative of the company and goodwill ambassador to the world brings a tremendous amount of responsibility. Following a two-month training process, the 2009 Ambassador team will start their year with a full schedule and will participate in more than 1,000 local, national and international events. Typical responsibilities include hospital visits and appearances with Disney characters and participating in community outreach events and academic incentive programs. They'll log tens of thousands of miles traveling to Disney destinations around the globe, host VIPs and dignitaries at Walt Disney World Resort, cut dozens of grand-opening ribbons, share third-shift breakfasts at 1 a.m. and read story books to Central Florida children. For them, these unforgettable experiences will make this year one of the most memorable ones of their lives.

Rosas is an industrial engineer who began her Disney career at Walt Disney World Resort in 2000. Since then she has supported many areas, including the Disney College Program, Disney's child care centers, Project Tomorrowland, Merchandise, Photo Imaging, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, and most recently, Theme Park Operations. Throughout her career, she has also enjoyed interacting with her fellow Cast Members in activities and organizations such as the Candlelight Cast Choir, Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA) as well as the Industrial Engineering community service team.

Shoemaker began his Disney career in 1994 while working as a sales host at the local The Disney Store. In 1996, Shoemaker became a Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member and has served on Operations, Sales, Marketing and Merchandise teams over the past 12 years. Some of Shoemaker's career highlights include roles managing guided tour operations at Magic Kingdom, introducing the Disney heritage to new Cast Members and assisting with the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland.

The great honor of being selected as a Disney Ambassador began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland when Walt was overwhelmed with requests for appearances and needed a few good surrogates. He selected the first Ambassador in 1964, and the tradition has continued ever since.

October 23, 2008

Best of Florida Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Best of Florida Christmas at Gaylord Palms Featuring ICE!, our frozen family attraction made from 2 million pounds of ice November 17, 2008 - January 4, 2009
ICE! Logo

As the Orlando host to the Christmas holiday season, Gaylord Palms Resort offers a slate of activities sure to make you "merry and bright" as part of our Best of Florida Christmas celebration!

Our 4.5-acre atrium is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland, filled with elegant and sometimes whimsical décor, a majestic 54-foot Christmas tree, and a variety of fun-filled activities and entertainment for the entire family.


Gaylord Palms' ICE!


This year's program features 49 days of holiday revelry, including:

ICE!

Who says the holidays in Florida are all about sunshine and palm trees? Prepare for the coolest winter on record as Gaylord Palms presents ICE!, a walk-through attraction hand-carved from nearly TWO MILLION pounds of ice.

Explore a whimsical winter wonderland of larger-than-life, three-dimensional hand-carved ice monuments and sculptures, including fantastic frozen creations, slippery ice slides, and memorable holiday scenes. As for the chill, visitors are given oversized parkas to stay comfortable inside the attraction, which is kept at a blustery 9 degrees. In its sixth season, ICE! will reflect the theme "Santa's Arctic Blast," featuring several scenes that star "Jolly Cold Saint Nicholas" himself. One such scene is an oversized "Santa's knee" photo opportunity that's likely to be the most photographed element inside the attraction. Another guest favorite, the ICE! slides, have been re-designed to celebrate Santa's Christmas Eve flight... reindeer and all.

ICE! Slide

The attraction's signature scene, a life-size Nativity carved completely of crystal-clear ice, has been described as one of the most breathtaking depictions of the birth of Christ. Dramatic lighting and a stirring narrative track give guests an opportunity to pause and reflect on the story behind the season.


Gaylord Palms' ICE!


The attraction is carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. The talented artisans spend more than a month in Kissimmee creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. Harbin is best known for its annual International Ice and Snow Festival, where more than 2,000 sculptors annually carve a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park from ice taken from the Songhua River.

NOTE: ICE! is kept at a frigid 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to dress appropriately: closed-toe shoes and long pants are required.

The Majestic Christmas Tree, perched atop the Castillo de San Marcos Fort, towering more than 70 feet above Emerald Plaza.

Hidden Holiday Gnome Hunt, a festive family hunt throughout the atriums of Gaylord Palms to spot cleverly hidden gnomes.

Christmas in Florida: The County Wreath Collection, an exhibition of wreaths decorated to celebrate Florida's diverse destinations, from coast to coast.

Live stage entertainment, on select dates.

Santa visits, where you can see Jolly Old St. Nick himself. Or, if you're shy, you can send him your wish list by email!

Holiday brunch with Mrs. Claus on select weekends at Villa de Flora. (Reservations recommended)

Lights, Lights, Lights, enjoy elegant, and sometimes whimsical décor and holiday lights throughout each of the resort's three atriums.

Gaylord Palms' ICE!


Fun Facts About ICE!

2,000,000 pounds of ice will be used to create ICE!

5,000 blocks of ice will be hand carved and transformed into a winter wonderland.

9 degrees Fahrenheit is the average temperature inside "The Florida Fridge," the home of the ICE! attraction.

1500+ fluorescent and fiber optic lights will be frozen within the ice, creating a magical holiday experience.

More than 18,000 total square feet of space is covered by the ICE! attraction. Kept at a brisk 9 degrees, the unique structure housing ICE! is also known as the "Florida Fridge." It is believed to be the first of its kind in North America.

October 25, 2008

Disney Chef Wins Culinary Professional of the Year in National Competition

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 2, 2008 - Several Walt Disney World Cast Members were among the top hospitality-industry professionals to receive honors for outstanding culinary achievements in the annual Santé Restaurant Awards presented by Santé, a magazine for restaurant professionals. As the only peer-judged restaurant and hospitality competition in North America, the awards program recognizes excellence in restaurant food, wine, spirits and service hospitality. Disney's Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel received the Culinary Professional of the Year award for his outstanding achievement in culinary service and hospitality at Victoria and Albert's restaurant at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

"It was like winning an Oscar," Hunnel said of his award. "Working for Disney has been very gratifying because they support my continuous growth, along with the other Cast Members who work in the restaurants," he said.

As a Disney chef for nearly 20 years, Hunnel said a true leader realizes that it takes more than cooking a good meal to be successful-it's a team effort. "It's really taken years of building the foundation of this restaurant and building the team," he said of his fellow chefs at Victoria & Albert's. "We had to really instill the philosophy of continuous evolution."

Understanding that evolution helped Hunnel capture the attention and taste buds of his peers. The fundamentals of cooking don't change, he said, rather it's the extra love that goes into the dish that makes his cooking and the restaurant menu different from others. This culinary expertise is tastefully demonstrated in one of his signature dishes -- the applewood smoked buffalo tenderloin with melted fennel, leeks and salad greens with blood orange vinaigrette.

Other Disney professionals setting themselves apart from competitors include Gary Kaikaka from California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort, who received the Service Professional Award for outstanding achievement in food, wine and spirits service. The restaurant managers and servers at Jiko-The Cooking Place at Disney's Animal Kingdom also received the Wine Hospitality Award for outstanding achievement in wine service and hospitality.

The Santé Restaurant Awards are based on a variety of criteria, and winners represent a broad spectrum of restaurant- and hospitality-industry professionals with a common passion for their work and a commitment to excellence. Award recipients will be honored for their achievements at this year's festivities, to be held at Silverado Resort in Napa, Cal., Nov. 4.

October 27, 2008

Jonny Lang performs during the Eat to the Beat! Concert Series

Jonny Lang performs during the Eat to the Beat! Concert Series at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Jonny Lang

Dancing with the Stars" celebrities Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer

CAN I HAVE THIS DANCE?: "Dancing with the Stars" celebrities Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer kick up their heels in the Magic Kingdom -- Oct. 23, 2008


Singer and actor Lance Bass (right) and his "Dancing with the Stars" professional dance partner Lacey Schwimmer (left) get into the Halloween spirit and kick up their heels Oct. 23, 2008 in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. As of Oct. 23, 2008, the pair was one of seven couples remaining on the current season of the popular ABC-TV dance competition show.


Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer

Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer

Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer


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About October 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in October 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2008 is the previous archive.

November 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.