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May 2014 Archives

May 2, 2014

Disney VISA Cardholders - Free Walt Disney World Resort Dining Offer!

Are you a Disney VISA cardholder? Here's a delicious way to make your vacation dreams come true! Book a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Magic Your Way room and ticket package for Walt Disney World and get a Disney dining plan FREE.

Book a value resort - Get Quick Service Dining Plan Free
Book a moderate, deluxe or villa - Get the Disney Dining Plan Free

This offer is valid for stays most nights:
August 31 - October 3, 2014
October 26 - November 1, 2014
November 9 - 20, 2014
December 12 - 23, 2014

Book by August 8, 2014!

This offer becomes available to the general public on May 7, 2014. Book by August 8, 2014 with your Disney Visa® Card, and mention code V973K for Value Resorts and D365N for Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts when you call. Be sure to ask about packages for other lengths of stay.

Call Disney at 407-939-7795 or call your travel agent. Or check with AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider, Mouse Fan Travel.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Dedication - Officially Opens May 28

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Attraction completes New Fantasyland

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 2, 2014) - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the crowning jewel of New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, will officially open to Walt Disney World guests on May 28, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs announced today at a media preview of the attraction.

Staggs made the announcement during a dedication of the attraction, which completes New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom.

"Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is both literally and figuratively the centerpiece of New Fantasyland, so we knew it had to be something special," Staggs said. "The attraction appeals to everyone in the family and provides just the right blend of heart, humor, and thrill while keeping with the charm of this special land."

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a rocking, rollicking family-style coaster that will immerse Magic Kingdom guests in the lovable world of Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Dopey. Inspired by the Disney animated film classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the attraction will send riders on a playful musical adventure into the mine "where a million diamonds shine."

The attraction features an innovative new ride system that allows cars to pivot back and forth during the twists, turns, hills and drops of the ride. Riders pass through magical mountain scenery studded with red poppies and live oak, cedar and birch trees. At the midpoint of the attraction, guests enter a mine aglow with gems and scenes of the Dwarfs and frolicking forest creatures. Music from the film classic accompanies the journey. At ride's end, the cottage of the Dwarfs, replicated from the film to exacting detail by Walt Disney Imagineers, comes into view with a dancing Snow White visible through a window.

Staggs was joined at Friday's dedication by Snow White and all Seven Dwarfs who proudly brought their freshly mined gems: buckets of glowing diamonds and jewels and wheelbarrows stacked with oversized rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

"It's my honor to dedicate the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which we think will become an instant classic in New Fantasyland," said Staggs.

May 3, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom Launches 'Harambe Nights' June 7

Celebrates Grandest Tales and Tastes of Africa

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 2, 2014) -- " Harambe Nights, a dazzling theatrical production based on the beloved Disney classic film, "The Lion King," and an energetic street party with gourmet dining will debut in June 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Oscar-winning movie, it was announced today.

A 55-minute theatrical extravaganza, "The Lion King Concert in the Wild" comprises celebrity narrators, a live orchestra, choir and special effects to present the story of Simba's coming of age like never before. A lively welcome reception and the post-show street party featuring Afro-pop rhythms, performers and a buffet of culinary creations keep the celebration rocking through the evening.

The theme park's first-ever ticketed special event will welcome guests every Saturday from June 7 through August 9 to this memorable evening of theatrical storytelling, inspired dining, live music and dance amid the non-stop fun of an immersive street party.

It all begins with a welcome reception in the park's Harambe Village where savory appetizers and a selection of refreshing wines and beers are on the menu.

Soon after, guests will find their seats waiting at the brand-new Harambe Theatre, where dramatic lighting, breathtaking scenic pieces and projection exclusive to this production will transport them to the African savanna. "The Lion King Concert in the Wild" show brings the humor and heart of the story to life by blending excerpts from the Disney classic film with stage theatrics. Each week, a celebrity narrator backed by a live orchestra will join a company of singers and dancers to recreate the drama of an African story circle. The lineup of narrators will include Viola Davis, David Alan Grier, Joe Morton and other noteworthy actors.

UPDATE: Narrators for Harambe Nights are:

June 7: Viola Davis

June 14: Avery Brooks

June 21: Montego Glover

June 28: David Alan Grier

July 5: Michael Beach

July 12: Harry Lennix

July 19: Joe Morton

July 26: Alfre Woodard

Aug. 2: Brian Stokes Mitchell

Aug. 9: Patina Miller

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Beginning with the iconic birth-of-Simba scene and continuing through the show's gripping climax, guests will be immersed in Simba's journey to find his place as the Lion King. The guest narrator adds emotional perspective to the original tale inspired, in part, by African folklore and Shakespeare's "Hamlet."

As the show wraps, the celebration continues in Harambe Village to the tune of live Afro-pop rhythms. Dancers, costumed stilt-performers, puppets, popular characters from "The Lion King" and a DJ ratchet up the fun and encourage guests to participate in the street party.

The celebration will feature a culinary nod to Africa with multiple buffet stations of perfectly seasoned dishes for pairing with a selection of beers, wines and specialty beverages all included in the event admission. Soft drinks and water also are offered. Sweet bites of gourmet desserts under the stars and a special farewell experience will deliver a delicious ending to a magical evening.

Exclusive Lion King-themed merchandise and collectibles will be available to Harambe Nights guests. A limited-release case for iPhones 4 and 5 designed by Disney Design Group artist Randy Noble will feature imagery from "The Lion King," and a 20th anniversary "The Lion King" puzzle will be offered. Other exclusive merchandise will include art and apparel.

General admission tickets for Harambe Nights run $119 ages 10 and up; $79 ages 9 and under. Premium floor seating tickets run $134 ages 10 and up; $94 ages 9 and under. The event runs from 7-10:30 p.m., and parking is complimentary.

To reserve tickets for Harambe Nights, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

Polynesian Reverts to Original Name; Gets New Look, Lounge

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An iconic hotel at Walt Disney World Resort is getting a new name, actually its original name. The Polynesian Village Resort Hotel, a perennial guest favorite, continues a multi-year re-imagining with the renovation of its guest rooms, the resort's feature pool and its centerpiece Great Ceremonial House.


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The "Poly" also plans to add Trader Sam's Grog Grotto with a highly themed lounge area featuring tiki cocktails and Polynesia-themed small plates. It will be based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif.


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"Rivers of Light" Nighttime Show Slated for Animal Kingdom

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As announced at a media event on Friday, May 2, all-new entertainment experiences, including a new nighttime spectacular, are among the exciting projects coming in the years ahead as Disney's Animal Kingdom begins the largest expansion in park history.

"Rivers of Light" promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. No estimated date was given for this new evening entertainment.

May 6, 2014

New Shopping, Dining for Summer 2014 at Downtown Disney As Progress Continues on Disney Springs

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As work continues on the re-imagining of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, a multi-year transformation into a high-energy destination that will double the retail and offer innovative new dining options, Walt Disney World guests continue to enjoy more than 70 themed and immersive shopping, dining and entertainment venues day and night.

For summer 2014, immersive outdoor entertainment will bring Downtown Disney to life, with nine different acts scheduled nightly -- more than 30 live performances daily, a free highlight of the Downtown Disney experience.

And special events like Car Masters Weekend (June 14-15) puts the spotlight on classic and exotic cars for Father's Day weekend, and includes character experiences featuring favorite Disney-Pixar "Cars" characters.

New this summer for Downtown Disney:

Two new Starbucks locations -- a storefront at Downtown Disney West Side and a kiosk near World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Look for the familiar green roof at the West Side flagship Starbucks, part of the company's commitment to be environmentally conscious. The design includes a covered patio overlooking the waterfront and a fireplace, as well as the new Clover Bar, featuring special reserve coffees brewed to order. A high-tech screen behind the Clover Bar will show images from coffee regions around the globe, and a new Human Connection Wall will include large touch-screen monitors that allow guests to use their finger to draw images.

Marketplace Co-Op will serve as a testing space for new Disney retail concepts, shops and products with six boutiques under one roof:

Beautifully Disney -- A beauty destination for women featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories;

Cherry Tree Lane -- Accessories for the sophisticated woman with a passion for scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry;

D-Tech on Demand -- A place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories;

The Trophy Room -- Vintage-inspired, lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles;

Disney Centerpiece -- Home products offering a splash of Disney in room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware;

Zoey and Pickles -- A girls' destination with the latest trends.

Just in time for World Cup, United World of Soccer opens in Late May at Downtown Disney West Side. The shop offers favorite team jerseys, sports gear, cleats, World Cup apparel and accessories.

The Happy Hound at Downtown Disney Marketplace offers custom accessories and dog tags, toys and more for four-legged friends.

Food Truck Park, opening later this summer, will serve as a permanent home to the four Disney Food Trucks and will be situated between Bongos Cuban Café and the new Starbucks at Downtown Disney West Side.

Even with expansion work underway, guests still can stroll from Downtown Disney West Side to The Marketplace. While shopping, playing and dining this summer, they will see signs of exciting things to come captured in colorful, mural-sized artistic renderings of the new Disney Springs destination throughout the expansion site.

Disney Springs -- What's Next

The largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, Disney Springs will provide even more opportunities for guests to relax and enjoy themselves.

When completed in 2016, Disney Springs will double the shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, with an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands. From boutique shops to unique flagship anchor stores, guests will be able to explore and discover options unlike any other currently available in Central Florida.

Drawing inspiration from Florida's waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will include four interconnected neighborhoods:

The Landing (opening in early 2015) set along the waterfront and featuring nationally known restaurateurs.

The family-friendly Marketplace will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.

West Side will be enhanced with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.

The Town Center, opening in 2016, with a sophisticated mix of shopping and more dining.

The first phase of roadwork construction has begun, with lane closures scheduled as much as possible for off-peak hours to minimize impacts to the guest experience. Buena Vista Drive will expand from seven to 10 lanes, with a dedicated bus lane. Two parking garages and two pedestrian bridges also will be added, as well as an I-4 Interchange that will offer direct access to and from Downtown Disney/Disney Springs.

Disney Springs is expected to create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational roles, providing new business opportunities and generating significant tax revenue for Central Florida.

May 7, 2014

D23 Fanniversary 2014 Announcements

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D23 HITS THE ROAD, BRINGING BELOVED MEMORIES TO LIFE WITH THE DISNEY FANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Rarely Seen Film Clips, Photos, and Art Highlight the Roadshow Event, Which Will Tour the U.S. this Fall.

BURBANK, Calif. May 7, 2014 -- For the third year in a row, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will hit the road with D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration presented by Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection. The live event will visit 11 cities across the U.S. to commemorate dozens of magical Disney milestones celebrating landmark anniversaries this year.

Hosted by Disney archivists and the D23 Team, Fanniversary 2014 will revisit beloved theme park attractions, animated and live-action films, characters, TV series, and more than 90 years of Disney history including Donald Duck, the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, Sleeping Beauty, Haunted Mansion, Disney's Hollywood Studios, The Little Mermaid, and many more. The event, which runs approximately 105 minutes, will also feature the never-before-heard track "Evil Evil" from Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection Sleeping Beauty and a demo recording from Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid. Fanniversary events will be open to the public, with special admission prices for D23 Members.

In addition, following each show, two rare items from the Walt Disney Archives will be on display for guests to see and photograph: a hat worn by Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins and a "Duckster" award. Created in 1952, this bronze-colored award in the image of Donald Duck honored those who made significant contributions to Disney over the years. Both Walt Disney and Donald Duck himself were among the recipients of this unique prize.

D23 Gold and Silver Members will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets on May 21 for $23 each. Tickets will be available to D23 Free Members on June 11 for $33 each, and remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on July 9 for $40 each. Tickets will be available at D23.com/Events.

The touring schedule is as follows:

• August 9: Burbank, Calif.
• August 10: San Diego
• August 16 & 17: San Francisco
• September 6: Chicago
• September 13: Seattle
• September 20: Atlanta
• September 21: Philadelphia
• September 26: Washington, D.C.
• September 28: New York City
• October 4: Boston
• October 25: Orlando

For times and locations, please visit D23.com.

Fanniversaries that guests can look forward to celebrating at each stop include:
• Donald Duck (80th anniversary)
• Disneyland TV show (60)
• Sleeping Beauty (55)
• Darby O'Gill and the Little People (55)
• Disneyland's Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds and Submarine Voyage (50)
• Disney's contributions to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair (50)
• Mary Poppins (50)
• Haunted Mansion (45)
• The Love Bug (45)
• Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (35)
• Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) (25)
• Splash Mountain (25)
• The Little Mermaid (25)
• Pleasure Island (25)
• The Lion King (20)
• The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ (20)
• and many more!

More details about D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration presented by Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection can be found at D23.com/Events.


About D23

The name "D23" pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney's 90-plus-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold, Silver, and Free Membership levels at D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.


About Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection

Walt Disney Records' newly created line of collectible CDs, Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection, will celebrate 12 anniversaries of Disney's most cherished and classic properties that have been enchanting audiences for generations. To honor these musical landmarks, The Legacy Collection will feature the beloved original soundtracks, plus valuable documentary content that tells the story behind the music. Each album will feature newly created artwork inspired by the original properties from Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. The first release in the series is The Lion King, a two-disc set with previously unreleased score by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, available on June 24. D23 Members will be able to purchase an exclusive set of the discs with commemorative lithographs. Pre-order is available at disneymusicemporium.com.

May 9, 2014

Ihu's Breakaway Falls Now Open

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This morning, Ihu's Breakaway Falls™ - the tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind in Orlando - officially opened at Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark™. Chuck Cureau, the splash ambassador, kicked things off this morning with Bryan Nadeau, Vice President of Aquatica, with a celebration that included dancers and drummers. Once the ride officially opened, guests who climbed the 126 steps to the top received a commemorative 'First to Fall' t-shirt.

From high-speed water slides and exhilarating wave pools, to tranquil beaches and the remarkable animal habitats that are the hallmark of SeaWorld®, Aquatica Orlando delights all ages and interests. This one-of-a-kind waterpark is home to some of the world's most thrilling water rides, featuring 42 slides, rivers and lagoons and 84,000 square feet of sparkling white, sandy beaches.

Be among the first to hear the latest park updates by staying connected on Facebook and joining the conversation using #BREAKAWAYBRAVE.

May 14, 2014

Flower Power Concerts This Week: Alan Parsons Project

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The Alan Parsons Project will close out the "Flower Power" concert series May 16-18 during the final weekend of the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. and are included with Epcot admission.


New Castaway Cay Challenge Added To 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 14, 2014) -- Runners taking part in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend can add the ultimate finish to their experience - the new Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a joint venture by runDisney and Disney Cruise Line.

After competing in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and/or full marathon during the Disney Marathon Weekend (January 7-11), runners can compete Jan. 14 in the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a special 5K race on Disney Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private Bahamas island. Every runner who finishes this new runDisney Challenge event will earn two medals - an inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge medal and a Castaway Cay 5K medallion, plus any medals earned for running any Disney Marathon Weekend events (5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon).

The Castaway Cay Challenge takes place during the 4-night Disney Dream cruise itinerary that sets sail Jan. 12, 2015 from Port Canaveral, Florida and includes a stop in Nassau in addition to Castaway Cay. The cruise will feature exclusive activities designed for Castaway Cay Challenge participants, plus special menu items and merchandise.

To sign up for the Castaway Cay Challenge, runners must book the Jan. 12, 2015 Disney Dream cruise at www.disneycruise.com and then register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at www.runDisney.com. Race registration opens May 23.

May 19, 2014

Disney Cruise Line Returning to Hawaii, West Coast and Galveston in 2015

Popular destinations and home ports return for limited-time engagements

CELEBRATION, Fla. (May 19, 2014) ­ In the fall of 2015, Disney Cruise Line is returning to popular destinations and home ports for limited-time engagements. Two Hawaii cruises, a return to the West Coast with departures from San Diego and a Galveston, Texas homecoming make up a season of special sailings.

Disney Cruise Line will explore the Hawaiian Islands with two special 10-night cruises in September. The Disney Wonder will sail through the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, where guests can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on Hawaii Island -- the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world¹s most active volcano.

Bookings open to the public on May 21, 2014. More details on 2015 itineraries can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2015 section of disneycruise.com.

Hawaii Sailings

Disney Cruise Line will explore the Hawaiian Islands with two special 10-night cruises in September. The Disney Wonder will sail through the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, where guests can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on Hawaii Island - the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world's most active volcano.

10-night Hawaii with two days in Honolulu - Vancouver to Honolulu

Ports: Vancouver; Hilo (Hawaii Island); Nawiliwili (Kauai); Kahului (Maui) and Honolulu (Oahu)

Departure date: Sept. 7

10-night Hawaii with two days in Kahului - Honolulu to Vancouver

Ports: Honolulu (Oahu); Kahului (Maui); Hilo (Hawaii Island); Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Vancouver

Departure date: Sept. 17

Rates start at $1,650 per person for 10-night Hawaii cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Galveston to the Bahamas

Starting in November, Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston for the holiday season, offering a seven-night itinerary aboard the Disney Wonder to Key West; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. These sailings depart Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 and 28 (New Year's cruise).

One seven-night western Caribbean cruise on Nov. 6 will visit Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Two additional cruises are included in the Galveston season: a six-night sailing departing on Dec. 18 that stops at Key West and Castaway Cay and a four-night Christmas sailing that departs on Dec. 24 and stops at Cozumel.

Rates start at $948 per person for four-night cruises, $1,116 per person for six-night cruises and $945 per person for seven-night cruises departing from Galveston for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

San Diego to Baja

Disney Cruise Line will return to the West Coast for a limited time, offering six cruises from San Diego aboard the Disney Wonder. The five-night Baja sailings depart Oct. 4, 11 and 18, stopping at Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. A three-night cruise on Oct. 1 stops at Ensenada. Two-night Weekend Getaway voyages depart Oct. 9 and 16, giving guests the perfect weekend retreat aboard their Disney ship.

Rates start at $404 per person for two-night cruises, $435 per person for three-night cruises and $625 per person for five-night cruises departing from San Diego for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean

In 2015, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

From Port Canaveral, rates start at $480 per person for three-night cruises, $640 per person for four-night cruises, $1,465 per person for five-night cruises and $1,150 per person for seven-night cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

From Miami, rates start at $480 per person for four-night cruises and $600 per person for five-night cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom. Government taxes and fees, gratuities and Port Adventures are not included.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH $30 SAVINGS WITH WEEKDAY TICKET

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CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH $30 SAVINGS WITH WEEKDAY TICKET AT SEAWORLD ORLANDO®
OR BUSCH GARDENS® TAMPA

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 19, 2014) - What's the best thing about kids being out of school for the summer? Celebrating at SeaWorld® Orlando and Busch Gardens® Tampa all week long! Both parks are launching an all-new "select your day, select your savings" ticket offer.

This new pricing lets guests choose between a weekday visit or an "any day" visit, both offering great savings. Guests have the flexibility of being able to use their tickets up to one year from purchase. What they might enjoy the most is the convenience - buy online, print tickets at home and go straight through the turnstiles.

Whether you want to visit the chills of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld or the thrills of Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens, weekdays are the best time to explore the parks.

At SeaWorld Orlando, guests can climb aboard and ride the mighty Manta®, experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu® show One Ocean®, share an epic voyage with sea turtles on the 3D 360 TurtleTrek® and feel what it's like at the bottom of the world and get up close with more than 250 penguins at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™.

Throughout the summer, guests will find themselves surrounded by SeaWorld's 50th Celebration and a Sea of Surprises, including new interactive experiences, even more up-close animal encounters, giant sea life sculptures at the all-new SEA Garden and the SeaWorld "Surprise Squad" roaming the park on a daily basis randomly giving away prizes and special gifts. Oceans of spontaneous entertainment will flow throughout the pathways and an amazing new nighttime show, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night, debuts June 21. This high-energy evening show will include new, original music and production elements, as well as new killer whale behaviors.

Only an hour away at Busch Gardens is the ultimate family adventure, offering 300 acres of fascinating attractions, like Florida's first triple-launch coaster Cheetah Hunt, and the all-new Pantopia. The centerpiece of Pantopia™ is Falcon's Fury™, North America's tallest freestanding drop tower. The one-of-a-kind ride stands at 335 feet and takes riders soaring straight down.

The SeaWorld Orlando Weekday Ticket is a savings of up to $30 and can be purchased online for U.S. residents at SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com or by calling (888) 800-5447. This ticket is valid for one day's admission to either SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa, and must be used within one year of purchase.

Annual passes -- unlimited admission throughout the year, free parking and no blackout dates -- continue to be the best value for Florida residents which start at just $13 per month with EZpay. For those interested in visiting multiple parks, the two-park and three-park combination tickets feature length-of-stay benefits and allow unlimited entry to the parks for up to 14 days during their vacation.

For complete details about ticket offers, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. For more information and continuing news about SeaWorld's 50th Celebration and the Sea of Surprises, visit www.seaworld.com/celebration.

SeaWorld 50th Celebration, Sea of Surprises and more:
SeaWorld® Orlando's 18-month long 50th Celebration features a Sea of Surprises™, including new interactive experiences, even more up-close animal encounters, giant sea life sculptures at the all-new SEA Garden and the SeaWorld "Surprise Squad" roaming the park on a daily basis randomly giving away prizes and special gifts. Oceans of spontaneous entertainment will flow throughout the pathways. "Bubble Blowout" is a fantastical vehicle creating bubbles of all sizes and shapes. Engaging performances with sea-inspired costumes and props will pop up at surprising moments to surprise guests throughout the day, like "Splash Dance."

Marvel's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - Trailer

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From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team, "the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits,"Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand, "with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.

James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige, p.g.a., producing. Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" is written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman and releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.

May 20, 2014

'Rock Your Disney Side' as Disney Parks Kicks Off Summer Vacation Season With 24 Hours of Magic on Both Coasts, May 23-24

Three Disney Parks Celebrate Summer Fun with a Rockin' Bi-Coastal All-Nighter

ANAHEIM, Calif. and LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 15, 2014) - Disney Parks will kick off the summer travel season with a 24-hour, coast-to-coast celebration that invites guests to "Rock Your Disney Side" at three Disney theme parks ­­- Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in California, and Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

From 6 a.m. Friday, May 23, to 6 a.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014*, on each coast, guests will spend 24 hours laughing, screaming, dancing and embracing their own Disney Side - that fun, playful side that emerges as they enter a Disney park. (* Hours of operation: 6 a.m. on 5/23/14 to 6 a.m. on 5/24/14; subject to capacity restrictions. Only select attractions, entertainment and services will be available. Valid theme park admission required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.)

Disney pirates, princesses, villains and a few rarely seen characters will stay in the parks all day and all night, inviting guests to dress up for the occasion, too. Guests may join the party dressed in costume, perhaps as their favorite Disney Hero or Villain. Costumes should be child-friendly and adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney.

The 24-hour celebration of summer also features special entertainment in all three parks.

At Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Florida
In Florida, a cast of Disney Villains will have a special place in the Magic Kingdom 24-hour celebration, including Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and such rarely spotted miscreants as the Big Bad Wolf, Stromboli from "Pinocchio," and Bowler Hat Guy from "Meet the Robinsons." They will appear in locations throughout the park and also join in the "It's Good to Be Bad" cavalcade preceding Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade.

Guests at the Magic Kingdom will enjoy nighttime dancing around Cinderella Castle and in Frontierland. The "#IncrediblesSuperDanceParty," a nightly feature throughout the summer, will be followed during the All-Nighter by special screenings of "The Incredibles" at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland.

At the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
In California, the 24-hour fun begins in the Esplanade outside the entrances to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks, where guests will discover Olaf, the lovable snowman from Disney's blockbuster animated film "Frozen, represented by a larger-than-life sand sculpture. Fireworks and live entertainment will entertain guests as the parks open at 6 a.m. Pacific Time.

At Disneyland, exciting entertainment will include the "Avengers Super Hero Movie Marathon" throughout the day and overnight in the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland. Nighttime highlights will feature an after-midnight performance of "Mickey's Soundsational Parade" and dance-till-dawn parties at the Tomorrowland Terrace Dance Club and the Sleeping Beauty Castle Forecourt Dance Club. In addition to 24 hours of atmosphere entertainment and appearances by Disney characters, the Disney Villains are planning an overnight "takeover" of the Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire.

Disney California Adventure invites guests to kick off summer with an all-night "Mad T Party," dancing in Pacific Wharf and Paradise Garden, and a special 3 a.m. performance of "World of Color," the water spectacular with nearly 1,200 dancing fountains.

Just the Beginning
The All-Nighter is just the beginning of the summer fun at Disney Parks on both coasts.

At Walt Disney World, the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, opening May 28, takes guests on a rollicking musical ride into the mine "where a million diamonds shine" and becomes the crowning jewel of New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Also at Magic Kingdom, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade brings the magical stories of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A., through fantastic and innovative parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack that features beloved songs from favorite Disney films along with a new parade theme song.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the popular and highly interactive musical show "Festival of the Lion King" returns this summer in the new Harambe Theatre. The park will offer Harambe Nights on Saturday evenings, June 7 through August 9, featuring a dazzling theatrical experience and energetic street party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney's acclaimed "The Lion King."

Vacationers can stay in the middle of the magic this summer with special savings at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. For reservations, contact 407-934-7639, or visit Disneyworld.com.

At the Disneyland Resort, guests will enjoy the thrills of the newly reopened and enhanced Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, along with dazzling summer entertainment that, beginning in mid-June, will include "Frozen" characters in a special pre-parade float for "Mickey's Soundsational Parade." The pre-parade unit features Princess Anna and snowman Olaf frolicking in the snow while Queen Elsa is depicted in her icy domain.

Other summer entertainment in Disneyland includes daily performances of the enchanting "Mickey and the Magical Map" stage show, nightly performances of both "Fantasmic!" and "Magical" fireworks, featuring aerial flights by both Tinker Bell and Dumbo, and a variety of new entertainment daily in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. At Disney California Adventure, guests continue to enjoy the thrills and fun of Cars Land and the after-dark excitement of "World of Color" and "Mad T Party."

Vacationing families may take advantage of special Disneyland Resort room and ticket packages at the resort and at nearby Good Neighbor hotels, with a selection to match every budget. For details, call 714-520-5060 or look for vacation packages at Disneyland.

Guests who choose to stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel or Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa - have the added benefits of Extra Magic Hour early admission to the parks (selected locations), easy access to Disney Character Dining in hotel restaurants, an exclusive entrance into Disney California Adventure park through Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and special wake-up calls from Disney characters. Visit the Disneyland Resort Hotels page for details.

Petty Holdings, LLC and Pixar Animation Studios Roll Out Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along Cars

Custom character cars include Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin from the movie "Cars"

CONCORD, NC (May 19, 2014) - Petty Holdings, LLC and Pixar Animation Studios are bringing to life two characters from the Academy Award-nominated 2006 animated feature film "Cars" - Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin at Walt Disney World Resort. Petty Holdings initially began their relationship with Pixar when Richard Petty became the voice of "The King" in the original "Cars" movie.

The two full-size custom character cars, created by "Cars" creative director Jay Ward, will enter the line-up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World® Speedway near Orlando, Fla. beginning Saturday, June 14. The #28 Aiken Axler and #80 Sage VanDerSpin cars will be used in the new Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along program. For just $59, the Junior Ride-Along program gives children ages 6 to 13 (and at least 48 inches tall) the chance to experience real-life racing excitement as they ride shotgun with a professional driving instructor for three thrilling laps in a specially equipped Piston Cup race car.

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"We're thrilled to have Sage and Aiken join the Richard Petty Driving Experience team and know they'll provide a truly magical element to our popular Junior Ride-Along program," said Chris Kirby, Petty Holdings director of marketing. "Jay did an amazing job bringing these two characters to life in the form of two full-sized, high-performance, 600HP race cars."

According to their official biographies, #80 VanDerSpin races for Team "Gask-its" and is the youngest winner of the Junior Piston Cup Pro Series. Axler is the #28 Nitroade racer who captured the Vitoline Rookie of the Year honors in his first full season of Cup competition. Both will be sporting their team colors and sponsors, along with their larger-than-life personalities, thanks to a specialty window wrap.

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"The window wrap makes it possible to see the character eyes from the exterior, which really brings them to life, but doesn't interfere with the view of the track," added Kirby. "Once passengers are inside the car, the track can be clearly seen so they can fully enjoy the experience of racing around the track."

Ward has also been named guardian of the "Cars" franchise due to his in-depth knowledge and love of cars. Ward's position allows him to have a hand in developing consumer products, interactive games, theme parks, marketing and ancillary projects involving "Cars," - which led to his role in developing the VanDerSpin and Axler Piston Cars. Since joining Pixar in 1998, Ward has worked in the art department on a number of other Pixar movies including "Ratatouille," "Monster's Inc." and "Brave."

Both cars feature custom racing seats designed by The Joie of Seating - a premier fabricator of custom-fitted aluminum racing seats, owned and operated by two-time NASCAR Nationwide series champion Randy LaJoie. Specifically designed to ensure the safety and security of smaller bodies, these full containment racing seats feature built-in shoulder and head protection and a five-point safety harness with the same design used by NASCAR drivers.

Junior Ride-Alongs do not require reservations and are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more information about program offerings, dates and times by visiting Drivepetty.com or call 800-237-3889.

May 21, 2014

Adventures by Disney Introduces Amazonian Adventure, Weekend Trips for 2015

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New itineraries for adventurous travelers unfold in the Ecuadorian Amazon and America's most beloved locations

BURBANK, Calif. (May 21, 2014) - Leading travel operator Adventures by Disney continues to bring the world's greatest stories to life with the introduction of three new unparalleled itineraries for 2015. Each itinerary is designed to bring families together in ways they never thought possible. Starting May 21, 2014, adventuresome travelers can book an enhanced Ecuadorian trip that now includes the Amazon, as well as the Galapagos, while families looking for a shorter getaway can opt to visit some of America's beloved cities with new Long Weekends itineraries featuring New York City and San Francisco & Napa.

Starting in 2015, Adventures by Disney will begin running an amazing new 'double-bucket list' itinerary, taking families into the adventurous paths of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This trip not only travels through the Amazon region, but it also explores the Galapagos Islands, proving to be the most adventurous trip announced to date.

To add even more excitement to the magic, Adventures by Disney is also launching all-new Long Weekends trips, initially featuring two itineraries: New York City and San Francisco & Napa. These four-day weekend getaways provide guests with a break from the everyday to explore some of America's favorite locations in a new light. The only planning guests need to worry about is which trip to choose first. These mini-vacations make it easier for friends and families on the go who want to enjoy the most out of their free time

Ecuador: Amazon & Galapagos Islands
The new 12-day, 11-night Ecuadorian adventure, featuring the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, journeys through the most untouched, bio-diverse areas of the world. Guests can immerse themselves in the local culture and discover the incredible wildlife indigenous to these areas with thrilling activities, including:

Four-night river cruise on the Anakonda riverboat to explore the tropical rainforest
Three-night stay at the lovely beachfront Finch Bay Hotel in the Galapagos
Privately guided daytrip to a neighboring island to encounter amazing wildlife
An exploration of the historic colonial city of Quito (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with visits to local markets, artisan studios and one of South America's most beautiful Spanish cathedrals
Hands-on cooking class with a local chef, paired with a special Ecuadorian chocolate tasting
Exclusive, immersive activities with the local community to authentically experience the culture and history of this region firsthand

Long Weekends: New York City
The New York City tour is a dazzling four-day, three-night vacation to one of the most exciting cities in the world. Guests who book this tour will experience some of the best that New York has to offer with VIP access and special activities only Disney can provide. Key highlights of this trip include the following:

Behind-the-scenes visit to Good Morning America
Hands-on Broadway musical dance workshop
Visit to the historic New Amsterdam Theatre and a backstage tour offering a hands-on experience with iconic Broadway props
Enjoy a performance of the Tony Award-nominated hit musical, Aladdin
Privately guided tour through historic Harlem with a true-blue local
Hop aboard a dynamic and interactive motor-coach ride for a unique look at iconic sights, such as: Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and more
Learn the in-depth stories of what life as an American immigrant was like during an exclusive visit to the Tenement Museum

Long Weekends: San Francisco & Napa
The treasures of San Francisco and the Napa Valley in California are waiting to be explored on this four-day, three-night itinerary. From the hustle-and-bustle of the City by the Bay to the lush, relaxing vineyards of Napa Valley, a collection of unforgettable activities have been accumulated into one vibrant trip. Guests can soak in the culture and local flavors with vacation highlights such as:

Privately guided tour of the Walt Disney Family Museum
Guided tour of the Bay, starting in the historic Fisherman's Wharf and cycling through the Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Point and more
Visit the Letterman Digital Arts Center (campus of Lucasfilm) with life-sized replicas of Darth Vader and Boba Fett from Star Wars, among other iconic sights
Excursion to Silverado Vineyards in Napa to indulge in the fine art of wine blending, while Junior Adventurers take part in an olive oil flavoring activity
Ferry ride across the Bay to Angel Island State Park, which earned the nickname of "Ellis Island of the West"
Stroll through Muir Woods National Monument, home to the largest coastal redwoods on Earth
Sample exquisite culinary delights from several of San Francisco's most celebrated dining establishments
Stay at the world-renowned The Fairmont San Francisco hotel, which presents an awe-inspiring vista of historic San Francisco

With more than two dozen itineraries visiting exciting spots around the globe, adventurers can visit the places they have always dreamed of with the people who know and understand families best. From exploring storybook villages in Germany on the Austria, Germany & Czech Republic vacation, to visiting the sites that inspired films such Frozen and Brave on the Norway and Scotland itineraries, there is a trip for everyone.

Keeping families' best interest in mind, Adventures by Disney ensures all itineraries include special programming for Junior Adventurers. With these activities, adults can relax knowing their children are engaged in special experiences designed just for them. As a staple of every vacation, families are accompanied by two Disney-trained Adventure Guides that will lead the way, along with local experts, taking care of every detail so guests can enjoy their vacation to the fullest without any worries or the stress of pre-planning. Adventures by Disney also offers select itineraries that feature adult-only departures.

For more details and to book reservations, guests can call 1-866-543-0865 or contact their travel agent. AllEars recommends MouseFanTravel.com Those interested in more information on the various itineraries offered and activities included can visit AdventuresByDisney.com.

May 27, 2014

May the Course Be With You! New 2015 runDisney Event

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May The Course Be With You!

Star Wars™ Half Marathon Weekend Makes Its Intergalactic Arrival at Disneyland Resort in 2015

Four-day race weekend is first collaboration with Lucasfilm; Aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation to be inaugural event's presenting sponsor; Race registration opens June 10

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 27, 2014) -- Joining forces with one of Hollywood's most iconic brands, runDisney is creating another transportive race weekend -- the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation at Disneyland Resort. The intergalactic journey begins January 15 and runs through January 18, 2015.

The Star Wars event is the fourth runDisney race weekend scheduled for 2015 at Disneyland Resort, doubling the number of races held in 2013. The new race weekend offers runners a variety of race experiences for all levels, from Padawans to Jedi Masters -- kids races, a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. And for those who show an event greater strength for the Force, there will be a two-race challenge involving the 10K and the half marathon with a commemorative medal awaiting every finisher.


In addition, there will be a slew of family-friendly events throughout the weekend, including a Health and Fitness Expo and a Star Wars-themed pre-race party, plus popular Star Wars and Disney characters and other entertainment. Registration opens June 10 at www.runDisney.com.

The Star Wars event at Disneyland Resort joins the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, the recently announced Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.

"This melding of the iconic Star Wars franchise and the runDisney brand creates an ideal race experience that will resonate with core running groups as well as attract new runners to the sport,'' said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "We will continue to identify opportunities to collaborate with other Disney franchises and partners to develop more unique runDisney race weekends that will appeal to an increasingly wider range of runners across the country and beyond.''

"This is an ideal intersection of family, fitness and Star Wars fun for our global, cross-generational audience and runDisney fans'' said Howard Roffman, executive vice president of Franchise Management at Lucasfilm. "Star Wars is all about reaching deep within to realize your true potential and runDisney embodies that message in a very real way."

As presenting sponsor of the race weekend, Sierra Nevada Corporation will have a presence throughout the event. Sierra Nevada Corporation, based in Sparks, Nevada, provides rapid, innovative and agile technology solutions and is best known for its Dream Chaser spacecraft, the company's solution for providing the United States with human spaceflight capability.

"With the passion and creativity of runDisney and Lucasfilm, this race weekend is going to be out of this world, which makes it a natural fit for Sierra Nevada Corporation because we are in a race of our own to take humans into space with our Dream Chaser spacecraft program,'' said Sierra Nevada Corporation president and chairman Eren Ozmen.

As with other new runDisney events, the inaugural Star Wars event sponsored by Sierra Nevada Corporation is expected to be an instant hit. The new Avengers race at Disneyland Resort sold out in less than two hours. In general, runDisney race weekends have regularly sold out in record time, and last year attracted more than 163,900 runners to Walt Disney World and Disneyland -- a 40 percent increase over the previous year, making the runDisney series one of the largest in the nation.

The surging popularity of runDisney events has created significant economic impact on the surrounding communities. For example, in Anaheim it's estimated that the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend drives approximately $20 million to $30million in additional economic activity locally by attracting thousands of runners to Southern California. In suburban Orlando, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which is considered to be the largest race weekend in the country, attracts more than 50,000 runners and 50,000-plus spectators, for a total attendance of more than 100,000 in Central Florida.

Destination D: Attraction Rewind More Legends Announced

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Disney Legends Charlie Ridgway, Ron Logan, Bill Sullivan, and a host of Walt Disney Imagineers join previously announced guest such as Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, and Alice Davis for the salute to beloved Disney attractions and entertainment of yesteryear.

BURBANK, Calif. - May 27, 2014 - The roster of talent continues to grow for D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind presented by H2O Plus. The event will take place November 22 and 23 at Walt Disney World Resort. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will bring Disney archivists, Imagineers, Legends, and luminaries together to celebrate fan favorites such as Adventure Thru Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with rarely seen concept art and images; vintage video clips; and hours of revealing stories. In addition, there will be a full day of presentations dedicated to Disney's contributions to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

Disney Legends Charlie Ridgway,

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Ron Logan,

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and Bill Sullivan

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...have been added to the roster of presenters and panelists.

Plus, current Walt Disney Imagineers will take part in the two-day event sharing their stories and insights on Disney creations of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, including:

Gary Landrum, show awareness producer, who archives and preserves the history and stories of Walt Disney Imagineering

Jason Grandt, art director, whose projects include New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom Storybook

Dave Minichiello, executive director, creative development, whose art direction guided Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Pam Rawlins, show producer, whose projects include Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot's Millennium

They join previously announced guests Disney Legends Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, and Alice Davis; Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline; Disney and World's Fair historians Bill Cotter, Stacia Martin, and Michael Kelley.*

In addition to over a dozen panels and presentations, the weekend will also include:

• A special exhibit designed by Walt Disney Archives in honor of the event.

Pleasure Island: Rewind, an evening celebration themed around the Downtown Disney nightlife district.

• A pop-up shop from Mickey's of Glendale, the famed Walt Disney Imagineering store, featuring a selection of exclusive Imagineering merchandise as well as limited-edition pins, T-shirts, and collectibles themed to the event.

The weekend event will take place in the convention center at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Tickets are currently available to D23 Gold and Silver Members at $190 each. Beginning May 28, tickets will be made available to D23 Free Members for $250 per ticket. All guests will receive a special gift.

More details about the program and tickets for D23 DESTINATION D: ATTRACTION REWIND presented by H2O Plus, as well as a special offer just for members of D23, can be found at D23.com/Events. Additional schedule announcements will be made in the coming months.

Fans can join D23 at Gold, Silver, and Free Membership levels at D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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About May 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in May 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2014 is the previous archive.

June 2014 is the next archive.

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