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March 2016 Archives

March 1, 2016

Disney Springs Water Tower Raised

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The new water tower at Disney Springs was recently installed.

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The water tower will serve as the new marquee for Disney Springs and welcome guests as part of the property’s entrance gateway.

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Spring Break Blockout Dates Lifted for Florida Resident Disney Select Ticket


Experience the Force, Flowers, and New Food at Walt Disney World Resort

Florida residents can enjoy a Walt Disney World Resort vacation during Spring Break now that blockout dates in March have been lifted for those with Florida Resident Disney Select tickets. While other blockout dates still apply, March 19 - April 1 are now available for those ticketholders.

During Spring Break, guests can savor the tastes of outdoor kitchens during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Or, their dark and light sides with encounters with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And, with the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen now accepting same-day reservations, guests can sample exotic flavors while visiting Magic Kingdom.

The Florida Resident Disney Select ticket pricing is $68 per day for a 3-day ticket (total price: $202), and $56 per day for 4-day ticket (total price: $223). It provides access to one theme park per day, includes FastPass+ and expires six months after first use or by December 17, 2017. Summer blockout dates apply. For terms and conditions, and more information about the Florida Resident Disney Select Ticket, visit Disneyworld.com/resident.

Premium Experiences Coming to Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival

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In just one month, Disney California Adventure park will be transforming for the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, taking place weekends during the month of April.

Here's the chef demonstrations, seminars, celebrity chef appearances information.

Culinary Demonstrations featuring some of the best chefs in the industry, including some of your favorites from the Disneyland Resort, will take place on the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land. Don’t miss your chance to learn a new technique during these 30-minute complimentary presentations. Seating is limited, so be sure to arrive early.

Conducted in the relaxing setting of the Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery, Beverage Seminars are fun and informative; sure to quench your thirst for knowledge about wine, beer and spirits. The 45-minute seminars include up to 3 tastings. Cost is $15 per person plus tax.

Stage 17 in Hollywood Land will be host to the Celebrity Kitchen. See some of the biggest names of the culinary world, including superstar chefs Guy Fieri, Graham Elliot, Claudia Sandoval, Robert Irvine and Disneyland Resort Signature Dining Chef Andrew Sutton, as they share tips, treasured recipes and behind-the-scenes-stories while they show you how to create their personal favorite dishes. An autograph signing will follow each chef appearance. Cost is $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Special Tip: Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders have the opportunity to enjoy a special Celebrity Kitchen VIP Experience, which includes premium seating, priority access for the autograph session, plus a special gift. Cost is $149 plus tax and gratuity.

Beyond the Kitchen: Lifestyle Seminars celebrate springtime in beautiful California. Held in Hollywood Land, these seminars are an opportunity to learn more about exciting topics including gardening, horticulture and health & wellness.

Reservations for Beverage Seminars and Celebrity Kitchen experiences can be made by clicking here.

March 2, 2016

Blockbuster Experiences Will Debut This Summer Across All Four Walt Disney World Theme Parks

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New ‘Star Wars’ Stage Show Premiere April 4; ‘Rivers of Light’ Set for Earth Day Opening and Finding Dory Swims into Epcot this Summer

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 2, 2016)– An unbeatable lineup of blockbuster attractions will debut at Walt Disney World Resort this year starting with the April 4 launch of a new live stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Earth Day, April 22, a sweeping immersive, animal-themed theatrical production, “Rivers of Light,” will premiere as the first-ever nightly show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

An epic array of shows and attractions will continue to open throughout summer, creating exciting new guest experiences across all Disney theme parks and entertainment venues. A new Magic Kingdom castle show will bring favorite characters from “Tangled” and “Princess and the Frog” for the first time to the grandest stage in Walt Disney World. Stars of the runaway Disney hit, “Frozen,” will take a bow in multiple Disney parks, and the first Frozen-themed attraction will sail into guests’ hearts at Epcot. Even more Star Wars-themed original entertainment, nighttime Animal Kingdom experiences and Disney Springs openings will set the stage for endless summertime fun.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The magic of nature after dark takes center stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the all-new Rivers Of Light waterside show premieres April 22, Earth Day — marking the Walt Disney World theme park’s thrilling transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience.

“Rivers of Light,” an immersive nighttime extravaganza blending performers, floating lanterns, special effects and stunning theatrical imagery projected upon giant water screens, will premiere in a new Discovery River waterside theater.

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

Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure. Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the look of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore and enjoy this attraction well into the night.

For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.

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

Across the park, guests can experience long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids with more time to enjoy them into the night.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot and several other Disney parks. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ takes guests to new heights.

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

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

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

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


Magic Kingdom

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

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

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

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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

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

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

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

In the park’s Hyperion Theater, the Royal Historians of Arendelle host a jolly sing-along tale of their “Frozen” kingdom with special appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. And at Celebrity Spotlight, guests can meet Olaf and give him a warm hug.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Disney guests will spend their first summer at Disney Springs as it continues its transformation. The charming waterfront town, comprising The Landing, Marketplace and West Side, expands to debut its fourth neighborhood, Town Center, adding more shops, restaurants and architectural detail than ever.

New high-profile tenants are coming onboard at Disney Springs, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include: Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO, PANDORA, UGG, L’Occitane en Provence and Edward Beiner.

A total of 32 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including 29 retail shops and three new dining venues.

Morimoto Asia recently celebrated its grand opening and more new eateries are firing up the scene in 2016 including the upscale STK steakhouse with the only rooftop dining in Disney Springs; The Edison, a lavish, “industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination; Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, star-themed Planet Hollywood with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.

Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.

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

Meanwhile, Disney water parks will ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

At Blizzard Beach, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach of friendly, fun competitions.

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

Disney guests will have a blockbuster summer wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels.


Disney Announces "Rivers Of Light" to Cap Full Day-Into-Night Experience Beginning April 22

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 2, 2016) – The magic of nature after dark takes center stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the all-new Rivers Of Light waterside show premieres April 22, Earth Day — marking the Walt Disney World theme park’s thrilling transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, “and to now show our guests original stories that reveal the magic of nature and bring this special park to life like never before — makes nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a can’t miss experience for Walt Disney World guests this summer.”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will transition from a day-into-night theme park, aglow with wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature, epic storytelling, innovative effects, and a festive street party. Across the park, guests can experience long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids with more time to enjoy them into the night.

“Rivers of Light”

After the sun sets, guests will gather waterside for the majestic nighttime jewel, “Rivers of Light.” This illuminating musical experience celebrates the magic of animals and humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery.

On the natural stage of Discovery River, guests will marvel as a timeless custom comes to life before their eyes in a stirring performance. The ceremony begins with the arrival of a pair of mystical hosts, two complimentary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels, engaging in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits. With these storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” unfold, building to a magnificent finale with bursts of light as animal images soar to the heavens– signifying the ancient belief that when animals passed from one world to another they danced in the sky and became beautiful rivers of light, according to Michael Jung, Creative Portfolio Director, Walt Disney Imagineering.

To create “Rivers of Light,” Imagineers and Disney Creative Entertainment partnered with experts including award-winning master designer Michael Curry, whose Disney Parks contributions include “Finding Nemo: The Musical” and “Disney Festival of Fantasy parade.” Film composer Don L. Harper created the soaring musical score for the nighttime show which also includes an original song by noted composer Mark Mancina. Disney also collaborated with the award-winning filmmakers at Disneynature to bring never-before-seen footage, telling dramatic and compelling stories from the animal world to the show.

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The Tree of Life Awakens

Nearby on Discovery Island the area will come alive each night with a celebration filled with music and dance. The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo extraordinary “awakenings” throughout the evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that open a window into the body of the tree, revealing colorful stories of wonder and enchantment.

Kilimanjaro Safaris after Dark

Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the look of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore and enjoy this attraction well into the night. During the expedition guests can now enjoy the wildlife at night, and may discover two new species: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Harambe Wildlife Parti/Discovery Island Carnivale

When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, “party animals” can dance alongside local street musicians and entertainers, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants. And the new Discovery Island Carnivale will captivate guests with lively music, spirited dance, vibrant costumes, and tasty culinary creations, spreading from one end of the island to the other.

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Tiffins Signature Restaurant

In addition to the masterful new entertainment offerings beginning this summer, guests will enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s newest eatery, Tiffins. Open for both lunch and dinner, this new signature dining experience will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

March 3, 2016

Disney Cruise Line Announces 2 New Ships

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Disney Cruise Line Announces Two New Ships

The leader in family cruising will grow its award-winning fleet
with imaginative innovations that are uniquely fun and distinctly Disney

CHICAGO (March 3, 2016) – The Walt Disney Company announced plans today to build two additional cruise ships, each of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service that only Disney can deliver.

The company has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023.

“We pride ourselves on the unforgettable vacation experiences we deliver to our guests each and every day, and the expansion of our Disney fleet will allow us to create even more magical memories for families at sea and in incredible cruise destinations around the world,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Each new ship will be approximately 135,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms. While design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development, the Walt Disney Imagineering team is already dreaming up exciting new ways to create the world’s most magical oceangoing adventures.

Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has provided a quintessential family cruise vacation experience that combines the magic of Disney with the thrill of exploring different parts of the world. Guests step aboard majestic and beautiful ocean liners to enjoy legendary Disney entertainment, exquisite dining, spacious and well-appointed staterooms and magnificent public spaces.

The company also has been an industry leader in innovation and game-changing creativity. With the launch of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy in 2011 and 2012, the company introduced several firsts for the industry, including a water coaster at sea (AquaDuck) and virtual portholes in interior staterooms (Magical Portholes) that provide real-time views of the sea as well as sightings of animated Disney characters.

Plans for the expansion of Disney Cruise Line come during a period of momentous growth and innovation for Disney properties around the globe.

“The expansion of Disney Cruise Line only adds to our excitement for the unprecedented growth taking place across our vacation destinations, from new Star Wars experiences coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts to the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris and the grand opening of our newest park, Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

More details about the Disney Cruise Line fleet expansion and onboard offerings will be announced at a later date.

March 4, 2016

STK Names Executive Chef James O'Donnell

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CULINARY VETERAN JAMES O'DONNELL NAMED EXECUTIVE CHEF OF STKORLANDO AT DISNEY SPRINGS

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 4, 2016) -- James O'Donnell, who has led kitchens from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, has been named executive chef of STK Orlando at Disney Springs, The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. announced today. Overseeing day-to-day kitchen operations at the two-level, 15,000-square-foot steakhouse - one of the largest STK restaurants in the world - O'Donnell brings impressive credentials to his new role.

From successfully apprenticing at dining venues in Las Vegas, O'Donnell was courted by the House of Blues restaurant in LA and became executive chef in 1997. Other stops included executive chef of Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, where he managed three eastern U.S. locations; director of culinary operations for Cornerstone Management and Consulting, overseeing eight restaurants in the U.S and Mexico; and partner and executive chef at The Capital Grille in Jacksonville, Fla. In 2011, O'Donnell returned to Cornerstone to direct culinary operations, including developing menus for ENO Wine Bars.

“STK’s entrance into the Orlando market, and specifically into the newly reimagined Disney Springs, affords us a unique opportunity and we are very happy to have brought James onboard to oversee our culinary operations at the property,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group.

O'Donnell brings international culinary experience honed over two decades to his new role at STK, as well as a passion for creating the ultimate dining scene. At STK Orlando, he will oversee two kitchens and approximately 70 employees.

A native of San Diego, California, O'Donnell spends time with his family cooking outdoors over an open fire, enjoying new cuisines in various restaurants and hotels, and his hobbies include both hiking and kayaking.

STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge, is planned to open this spring at Disney Springs, a world-class dining-retail-entertainment experience.

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

About The ONE Group
The ONE Group is a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale, high-energy restaurants and lounges and provides hospitality management services for hotels, casinos and other high-end venues both nationally and internationally. The ONE Group's primary restaurant brand is STK, a modern twist on the American steakhouse concept with locations in major metropolitan cities throughout the U.S. and in London. STK Rebel, a more accessibly priced STK with a broader menu, is an extension of the STK brand. The ONE Group's food and beverage hospitality services business, ONE Hospitality, provides the development, management and operations for premier restaurants and turn-key food and beverage services within high-end hotels and casinos.

Morimoto Asia and La Nouba Offer a Special Promotion!

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Morimoto Asia and Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba are offering guests an evening of spellbinding entertainment and extraordinary food and drink!

• Visit Morimoto Asia’s Forbidden Lounge after the show.

• Present your Cirque du Soleil ticket stub.

• Purchase any beverage on the menu.

• Receive your choice of a complimentary four-piece sushi vegetable roll or California roll.

For more information call 407-939-MOTO

Offer valid only on same day of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba show. Limit one sushi roll per ticket stub.

Purchase of beverage required for each sushi roll order. Offer valid through July 31, 2016.

'Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, a New Stage Musical, Opens May 27, 2016, at Disney California Adventure Park

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Theatrical Surprises, Stunning Special Effects and Outstanding Talent Will Take Audiences on an Emotional Journey with Anna and Elsa

ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 4, 2016) - “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,” a new musical based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, will open at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park on May 27, 2016. Audiences will be immersed in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, in an entertaining musical adaptation that includes elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects, show-stopping production numbers and unique theatrical surprises.

Disney Creative Entertainment, the arm of Walt Disney Imagineering responsible for live theatrical entertainment at Disney Parks, is producing “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” with all of the creativity and resources of its predecessor “Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular” which ran for a remarkable 13 years, with a total of 14,000 performances to 13 million park guests at the Hyperion Theater.

The 1,873-seat Hyperion is equipped with a backstage facility to support a production of the kind that plays in any venue of that size in the world, as well as the full creativity of Walt Disney Imagineering.

“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film “Frozen,” which is the No. 1 animated feature of all time and among the most critically acclaimed animated films. It is the winner of two Academy Awards (2014), for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

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

“We know that for many in the audience -- adults and children alike – this production will be a first or rare theater-going experience. We undertake this responsibility with seriousness as we adapt the film to the stage.”

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

“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is directed by Liesl Tommy, who is currently represented on Broadway with “Eclipsed,” starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. The choreographer is Christopher Windom and this is his seventh collaboration with Tommy. The musical supervisor/arranger/adaptor is Jason Michael Webb, whose Broadway credits include “The Color Purple,” “Motown: The Musical,” “Violet,” and “Memphis."

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

As the audience anticipates the rise of the curtain, guests will find that the interior of the Hyperion Theater is entirely wrapped, immediately immersing the audience in the world of “Frozen." As part of the scenic design, large set elements will move the action in a cinematic way, allowing the production a great forward narrative energy, accompanied by state-of the-art projections that allow the actors to have a greater sense of movement and a sound design that completely envelops the audience in the story. And of course there will be snow throughout the interior of the theater – on stage and over the audience.

And as would be expected from Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks, new technologies – especially with projections, fabrics and special effects - will delight audiences in new and unique ways.

The challenge of bringing Olaf and the Trolls to the stage has been assigned to master puppet designer Michael Curry, who co-designed with director Julie Taymor the puppets of “The Lion King” on Broadway, the magic mirror in “Snow White” at Fantasyland Theatre, and many other Disney parades, shows and projects, as well as projects for the Olympics, Cirque du Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera.

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

March 7, 2016

Disney Dreamers Academy students find ideal educational and inspirational playground at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Each year, 100 teens are selected from among thousands across the country to come together to participate in an once-in-a-lifetime, innovative, educational and mentoring program.

The program is Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. It was inspired by Walt Disney’s passion for motivating those around him to dream big.

The classroom is Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Known as the place where dreams come true, Walt Disney World Resort is the perfect location for this four-day experience, designed to fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future.

Disney Dreamers Academy takes the same assets and resources that make vacation memories of a lifetime for travelers and uses them to inspire, teach and motivate this select group of students.

The teens receive the unique experience of observing a living laboratory and getting behind the scenes to explore firsthand how Disney turns dreams into reality.

The 40-square-mile resort with four theme parks, two water parks, 36 resort hotels, 200 restaurants and much more, offers an abundance of resources for career exploration.

During the program, Disney Dreamers Academy students participate in immersive, hands-on workshops with Disney Cast Members, representing the best in their fields. In virtually any career in which a student might be interested, whether accounting or zoology, the Walt Disney World Resort can pull from among its team of 66,000 to provide mentorship opportunities.

Since the program’s inception, Dreamers have gone into a laboratory with a veterinarian at Animal Kingdom, prepared a meal with hydroponic vegetables grown at Epcot, mixed music in a recording studio at Hollywood Studios and built a model roller coaster with Magic Kingdom engineers.

In addition to these behind-the-scenes moments, students have the chance to hear from some of the resort’s top level executives, celebrity partners, corporate sponsors and other affiliated professionals to learn what they do, how they do it, and how they got there.

The theme parks themselves provide their own inspirational and educational moments. Each park is full of opportunities that do more than just provide entertainment, but bring to life something that otherwise might seem distant or impossible.

At Disney Dreamers Academy, students have had the chance to engage with cultures from around the world at Epcot’s World Showcase, observe animals in their natural habitats on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, hear from the country’s greatest leaders in the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom and learn about how the entire company got started at Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For students, just the experience of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort can end up being the ultimate lesson in the power of dreaming big.

“Walt Disney World exists because of one man’s dream,” said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Vice President of Deluxe Resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion, Tracey D. Powell. “Our goal is to continue the legacy of making dreams come true at Disney Dreamers Academy.”

For more information visit www.disneysdreamersacademy.com, follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/disneysdreamersacademy or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dreamersacademy.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2015/01/04/disney-dreamers-academy-students-find-ideal-educational-and-inspirational-playground-at-walt-disney-world-resort/#sthash.Gz4qzirc.dpuf

March 10, 2016

Inside Out's Joy and Sadness to Appear at Epcot Character Spot

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Starting in April, visitors to the expanded Epcot Character Spot in Epcot's Future World will be able to meet Joy and Sadness, two of the Emotions who help guide Riley through life in the Disney•Pixar film "Inside Out." On the way to their Headquarters, you will journey through Riley’s long-term memory, catching a glimpse of her Islands of Personality before joining Joy and Sadness at the console.

Across the way from Joy and Sadness you'll find Baymax from "Big Hero 6" in his makeshift robotics workshop. Nearby, there are also Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy in their clubhouse.

Minnie's Springtime Dine Blooms at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Reservations are now open for Minnie's Springtime Dine at Hollywood and Vine restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Minnie Mouse and her pals, dressed in their garden party best, will be on hand during the buffet, which will include classic picnic foods with a twist: coconut-lavender lemonade; springtime salads like watercress or basil-lime fruit salad; entrees like barbecue meatballs, buffalo baked chicken, lobster and shrimp mac 'n' cheese, herb-roasted pork; and desserts like passion fruit cheesecake, key lime tarts and banana cream puffs.

Minnie’s Springtime Dine costs $46.99 per adult and $27.99 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Some dining plans accepted.

Make your reservations by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Expanded Menu Planned for 2016 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

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New 10K race, new half marathon course and new Challenge event being served up as part of extended race weekend; Registration opens March 29

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 10, 2016) -- The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is getting some new flavor this year.

The November runDisney race weekend is expanding to a three-day event that includes a new 10K race, a new half marathon course and a new challenge event. The Disney Wine & Dine 10K will debut on Saturday, Nov. 5. The new challenge -- the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge -- will involve runners completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. The new half marathon course will now involve a 13.1-mile route that takes runners through ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot.

And the half marathon will be a morning race instead of a traditional night event, giving runners more free time in the evenings to experience new Walt Disney World Resort nighttime entertainment such as “Rivers of Light’’ coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in April.

The race weekend, set for Nov. 3-6, kicks off with the Health & Fitness Expo on Thursday, Nov. 3 followed by the Mickey’s Holiday 5K on Friday, Nov. 4, the 10K on Saturday, Nov. 5 and the half marathon on Sunday morning, Nov. 6. There will also be runDisney Kids’ Races on Friday and Saturday.

The Finish Line Party (8 pm to 1 am on Sunday, Nov. 6), which is part of the popular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, will once again be the perfect nightcap for runners who will have access to more than 30 festival marketplaces offering fine cuisine and wine, plus Disney characters, musical performances and the opportunity to ride signature Epcot attractions.

Registration opens March 29 at www.rundisney.com. Last year the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon was the fastest-selling race within the runDisney series. More than 20,000 runners participated during the two-day event.

March 11, 2016

Star Wars Ultimate Day at Sea Returns to Disney Cruise Line 2017

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The day-long celebration transports guests to a galaxy far, far away – in the Caribbean

CELEBRATION, Fla. – Returning in early 2017, Disney Cruise Line guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga during Star Wars Day at Sea. New in 2017, the Disney Fantasy special sailings expand to both eastern and western Caribbean itineraries and nearly double in number to 15 cruises — up from eight in 2016. During this day-long celebration, Star Wars Day at Sea combines the power of the Force and the magic of Disney for an out-of-this-galaxy cruise experience unlike any other.

“Our guests keep telling us that Star Wars Day at Sea is an experience they’ll never forget, that it’s a thrill of intergalactic proportions,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “In response to guest demand, we’re pleased to create even more Star Wars memories aboard the Disney Fantasy in 2017 with an expanded schedule of these special sailings. Clearly, the Force is alive and well on the high seas!”

Each sailing features a full day of dark side and light side fun, including official appearances of Star Wars characters, a deck party and fireworks, Star Wars-themed family and youth activities, at-sea screenings of Star Wars films, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise.

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Throughout the day, Star Wars Younglings, Padawans and Jedi Masters alike can enjoy the immersive, intergalactic entertainment, including:

Force-filled Fun for Everyone

Characters from across the Star Wars galaxy are onboard for interactions, photos and also may be seen patrolling the decks.

Kids and families enjoy friendly competition during Star Wars trivia games, putting their knowledge of the film and television sagas to the test.

Guests are encouraged to bring their costumes and participate in the costume celebration held in the ship’s atrium.

Younglings Use Their Power

In “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple,” Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a final face off with Darth Vader.

Star Wars-themed arts and crafts, games and activities are offered throughout the day in Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab youth clubs.

Star Wars Deck Party and Fireworks

An exciting evening blasts off with a deck party filled with music, a galactic dance party and the arrival of Star Wars characters on the deck stage.

The grand finale is a spectacular display of pyrotechnics, lighting and sound effects set to a medley of Star Wars

Merchandise, Food and Beverage

Event merchandise exclusive to Star Wars Day at Sea is available on each sailing, including a range of collectible items, apparel and trading pins.

Specialty Star Wars-themed beverages, including non-alcoholic offerings, as well as snacks, dinner menu items and desserts, please the palates of everyone from Padawans to rebel pilots to Tusken Raiders.

Film Screenings

Guests can watch “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first in a new series of standalone Star Wars films, to be released on Dec. 16, 2016, as well as all seven films in the Star Wars

Star Wars Day at Sea will be on Disney Fantasy seven-night cruises sailing from Port Canaveral on Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1, 8 and 15, 2017.

Departing Jan. 7, 21; Feb. 4, 18; March 4, 18; April 1 and 15, 2017, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Departing Jan. 14, 28; Feb. 11, 25; March 11, 25; and April 8, 2017, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

March 12, 2016

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War - New Trailer and Poster

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Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps -- one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark's surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts when Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2016.

March 13, 2016

Celebrate Mom During "Mahalo Mama Month" at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii

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Special Spa Package and Resort Programs Just for Moms in May

KO OLINA, Hawai‘i – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa celebrates moms for the whole month of May with a blissful spa package at the award-winning Laniwai Spa, a delightful breakfast-in-bed option and more. The offerings are the Hawaiian resort’s way to say “mahalo” – or thank you – to moms staying at Aulani.


Luxuriate in the spa

Aulani’s Laniwai Spa offers a broad selection of rejuvenating treatments any mom would enjoy. The Mahalo Mama Spa Package ($265 + tax and gratuity) includes a Lomilomi Massage, Cinderella Facial and Yummy Mummy Organic Pedicure for the ultimate pampering experience:

-- The Lomilomi Massage, Laniwai’s signature treatment, provides a gentle, rhythmic massage, releasing tension, pain and fatigue—while infusing the mind, body and spirit with positive energy, increased circulation and muscle tone (25 minutes).
-- The Cinderella Facial begins with a skin-refining exfoliation, followed by a vitamin-rich facial mask (25 minutes).
-- The Yummy Mummy Organic Pedicure features a foot soak, deep cleanse, nail grooming, exfoliation, massage and polish (50 minutes).

Laniwai also offers soothing therapies exclusively for expecting mothers. The Hāpai Massage uses safe, prenatal techniques to enhance relaxation, while increasing circulation, alleviating tired muscles and easing water retention. The mineral-rich Lucky Legs treatment combines an Omega-rich exfoliation with massage, intended to relieve lower leg muscle stress and leave legs refreshed and silky smooth.

As with the purchase of any full-service spa treatment, guests can enjoy complimentary access to the Kula Wai, a 5,000-square-foot outdoor garden retreat with pampering amenities, including private vitality pools, mineral baths, a reflexology path, six rain-style showers and whirlpool jet spas.

Indulge with breakfast in bed

Moms can wake up in paradise with a scrumptious breakfast brought right to their bedside. The resort’s chefs have created a special treat just for them: Hawaiian-style French Toast stuffed with chocolate and strawberries, topped with warm strawberry compote and whipped cream.

Create magical memories

As a special offer in May, guests will receive a free 8×10 photo with the purchase of a Disney PhotoPass CD —perfect for moms’ desktop at home or at the office. With Disney PhotoPass opportunities located throughout the resort, families can capture their special memories from Aulani on camera.

There are also many ways to create one-of-a-kind keepsakes for moms. During arts and crafts at the Pau Hana Room, kids can make photo frames and other mementos moms will keep forever.

Participate in ‘ohana activities

Every Sunday in May in the Pau Hana Room, mothers and children can bond over creating a Lei Poʻo (Head lei) and learning the art of Hula.

For moms interested in swimming among the tropical fish in Rainbow Reef, Aulani’s private snorkel lagoon, the resort is offering a 10% discount (one day access or length of stay access) in May.

For more details, visit DisneyAulani.com/MahaloMama, call (866) 443-4763 or visit your travel agent.

March 17, 2016

Grand Floridian Resort's 5th Annual Easter Egg Display

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The 5th Annual Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Easter egg display is currently under way.

Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has been designing and hand-painting Easter eggs for 20 years. Each egg is ornamented with edible products, such as modeling chocolate, fondant, sugar floral royal icing, colored cocoa butter and sculpted sugar art pieces. Herbitschek and his dedicated team spent more than three weeks creating these edible works of art. The hollow chocolate eggs weigh 9-12 pounds and stand 16-20 inches tall.

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Featured this year are eggs representing: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Fox and the Hound, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Tangled's Rapunzel and Flynn, Lady and the Tramp, Robin Hood, Mulan, Stitch, Toy Story, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and, of course, Frozen.

Here's a video overview of these beautiful works of art, on display through April 4, 2016.

March 18, 2016

The Young Irelanders to Perform March 25-28 at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in Disney Springs

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Irish music sensation, "The Young Irelanders," will bring their multi-award-winning brand of traditional Irish music, song and dance to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs March 25-28.

Restaurant guests can enjoy performances on the patio stage from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. March 25 and 26, and on the Grand Room stage March 27 and 28 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. There is no cover charge to see the performers who are on tour in the United States before taking their show to Ireland and China.

The Young Irelanders include eight multi-talented performers who showcase Irish traditional music, song and dance. International award winners with 16 All-Ireland titles and four world titles, The Young Irelanders are:

· Damien Mullane on accordion, melodeon and vocals

· Colin Farrell on fiddle, whistles and vocals

· Kieran Munnelly on flute, whistles, bodhran, snare and vocals

· Lisa Canny on lead vocals

· Stephen Markham on keyboard, piano, percussion and vocals

· Sean O’Meara on guitar and vocals

· Siobhán Manson and Tomás Ó Sé, dancers

The group features the principal stars of Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. They have performed for many heads of state, presidents of Ireland, U.S. presidents and the Queen of England.

March 22, 2016

Summer Savings Await Preschool Families with Walt Disney World Resort Vacation Package

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You’re Never Too Young for Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Summertime fun awaits guests at Walt Disney World Resort with a special package just right for preschool families. Beginning May 30 - Aug. 25, 2016, guests can enjoy a three-night, two-day vacation package with theme park tickets starting at $1,021 for a family of three at one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts.

There’s never been a better time to visit Walt Disney World Resort with something new in every corner of our world. Rekindling childhood memories and creating new family traditions are easy at Walt Disney World’s 40-square-mile playground where some 60 attractions and entertainment options are relevant to preschoolers. Here’s what’s new:

-- In late spring, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park has embarked on a historical expansion offering new nighttime experiences sure to delight little ones. The wondrous new Rivers of Light show will take center stage at the park, along with Kilimanjaro Safaris extending into the evening hours, plus a lively nighttime street party filled with food, song and dance, and lots more.

-- This Summer at Epcot, youngsters can take in an all-new Frozen-inspired attraction called Frozen Ever After boat ride at the Norway pavilion, or meet Anna and Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus.

-- The Force grows even stronger at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the new Symphony in the Stars Spectacular fireworks show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular stage show, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, plus meet and greets with iconic characters like Chewbacca at Star Wars: Launch Bay. And kids can make magical memories at several Disney Junior experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including Disney Junior Live on Stage, Play ‘n’ Dine at Hollywood & Vine, and Character Greetings with Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Captain Jake.

-- Preschoolers can enjoy “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” when it premieres this summer at Magic Kingdom. For the first time, contemporary Disney characters Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of Disney characters take to the grandest stage at Walt Disney World Resort. Plus, there’s don’t miss classics including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Guests can book this offer now through June 10, 2016, for most stays Sunday through Thursday nights. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers.

March 28, 2016

2017 D23 Expo Announcement

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ALL OF DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLDS COME TOGETHER AT D23 EXPO—THE ULTIMATE DISNEY FAN EVENT— JULY 14–16, 2017, IN ANAHEIM, CALIF.

Advance Tickets on Sale July 14, 2016, for the Biggest Disney Fan Event Ever

BURBANK, Calif. – March 28, 2016 – All the magic and excitement of the past, present, and future of Disney entertainment will come together once again when D23: The Official Disney Fan Club presents D23 Expo 2017 at the Anaheim Convention Center the weekend of July 14–16. Each of Disney’s magical worlds will unite under one roof to celebrate what’s new and what’s on the horizon from theme parks, television, music, gaming, and films, including Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel.

Highlights planned for D23 Expo include the Disney Legends Ceremony, which honors the talented men and women who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy; an all-new exhibit curated by the Walt Disney Archives; D23 Expo’s costume contest, Mousequerade, showcasing the most creative designs by fans; the D23 Expo Emporium, where Disney fans can buy, sell, and trade Disney collectibles, memorabilia, merchandise, and more; and the D23 Expo Design Challenge. (Details on the Design Challenge and Mousequerade will be forthcoming.)

The 2017 Expo will feature a massive show floor full of immersive experiences and special opportunities to see what’s next for Disney around the world—and guests may run into their favorite Disney stars, characters, Imagineers, animators, and filmmakers. StagePass, the popular ticket distribution system that allows attendees to obtain guaranteed seats for some of Expo’s most popular presentations, and StorePass, which allows priority entry to select shopping venues at the event, will once again enhance the guest experience. Hall D23, the popular presentation and performance venue featuring more than 7,000 seats, will return, as will Stage 23, Stage 28, and Center Stage.

The fifth event follows the success of D23 Expo 2015, which drew tens of thousands of Disney fans for three star-studded days and nights. Guests were treated to appearances by such celebrities as Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Evans, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Dwayne Johnson and watched performances by Ne-Yo, Sabrina Carpenter, the cast of Teen Beach 2 and stars of Disney’s shows on Broadway. Guests previewed costumes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and were the first to hear about the new Star Wars-themed lands coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. They also enjoyed a look back at Disney’s rich history through extraordinary panels, presentations, and exhibits and discovered the newest entertainment, technology, and products coming from Disney.

Advance tickets for D23 Expo 2017 will go on sale at D23Expo.com beginning July 14, 2016. D23 Members will receive special pricing on both one- and three-day tickets to the event, which is open to the general public. D23 Gold and Charter Members will also be entitled to special benefits at the 2017 Expo. Gold Members will also have an opportunity to purchase the Sorcerer Package, which provides a host of special benefits and amenities. Ticket prices will be announced this summer.

About D23 Expo

D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. Presentations, talent, and schedule are subject to change. For the latest D23 Expo news, visit D23Expo.com. To join the D23 Expo conversation, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 on Twitter and use #D23Expo.

March 29, 2016

New LEGO® Minifigures Series Features First-Ever Disney Character Edition

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LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters

BILLUND, Denmark (March 29, 2016) – The LEGO Group today announced its 18th collection of LEGO® Minifigures starring some of The Walt Disney Company’s most beloved characters inspired by stories from across the entire Disney universe. Eighteen new minifigures bring to life in LEGO form for the first time the playful personalities of some of the most iconic characters from Disney classics such as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland to Disney·Pixar favorites like The Incredibles and Toy Story.

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“For more than 16 years, fans have been recreating their most beloved Disney stories through LEGO play,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president of licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “This year, we’re excited to give them a diverse collection of Disney characters from classic storylines, to never-before-seen LEGO likenesses of Disney icons in order to further the creative play possibilities for Disney and LEGO fans alike.”

This collectible series of LEGO Minifigures will be widely available for purchase in all major toy retailers, as well as at shop.LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores nationwide in May 1st with a suggested retail price of $3.99 (USD) each.

Disney Animated Classics Characters

From Disney’s collection of timeless animated characters, the LEGO Group introduces minifigure versions of the beloved Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse characters, their temperamental friend Donald Duck, and his leading lady, Daisy Duck. Enthusiasts of 1950s Disney stories will appreciate the inclusion of Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Captain Hook from Peter Pan, and the evil witch Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Disney fans will also love minifigure versions of Ariel and Ursula from The Little Mermaid and the beloved Genie and Aladdin from the fictional city of Agrabah featured in Aladdin, plus the ultimate alien friend, Stitch, from Lilo & Stitch.

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Disney·Pixar-Inspired Heroes and Villains

Two Disney·Pixar characters never-before-seen in the LEGO world become minifigures – Mr. Incredible and archenemy Syndrome from Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles.

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Additionally, fans can collect minifigure versions of two icons from the beloved Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story – Buzz Lightyear and the squeak-toy Alien from Pizza Planet.


March 31, 2016

Finding Dory Reveals Character and Voice Talents

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BURBANK, Calif. -- Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reveals its full roster of characters, as well as the voice talent tapped to help bring each character to life. Directed by Andrew Stanton, who helmed the Oscar®-winning films “Finding Nemo” and “WALL•E,” “Finding Dory” revisits everyone’s favorite blue tang Dory as she embarks on a life-changing adventure to find her family.

“It really is a whole new chapter this time,” said Stanton. “We’re introducing new characters—each with his or her own unique voice. Everyone has something special to offer, which makes it fun and elevates the whole story. ‘Finding Nemo’ was a great calling card when it came to casting this movie. I don’t take that for granted.”

“Finding Dory,” which opens in theaters nationwide on June 17, 2016, features the following lineup.

Ellen DeGeneres returns to the sea as Dory, the bright blue tang with a sunny personality. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which normally doesn’t upset her upbeat attitude—until she realizes she’s forgotten something big: her family. Dory’s found a new family in Marlin and Nemo, but she’s haunted by the belief that someone out there is looking for her. She may have trouble recalling exactly what—or who—she’s searching for, but she won’t give up until she uncovers her past and discovers something else along the way: self-acceptance.

Albert Brooks dives in again to help bring Marlin to life. He may have traveled across the ocean once, but that doesn’t mean Marlin wants to do it again. So he doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to accompany Dory on a mission to the California coast to track down her family. Marlin, of course, knows how it feels to lose family, and it was Dory who helped him find Nemo not so long ago. The clownfish may not be funny, but he’s loyal—he realizes he has no choice but to pack up his nervous energy and skepticism and embark on yet another adventure, this time to help his friend.

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Hayden Rolence was called on to voice Nemo. One year after his big overseas adventure, Nemo is back to being a normal kid: going to school and living on the coral reef with his dad and their blue tang neighbor, Dory. His harrowing adventure abroad doesn’t seem to have sapped his spirit. In fact, when Dory remembers pieces of her past and longs to take off on an ambitious ocean trek to find her family, Nemo is the first to offer his help. He may be a young clownfish with a lucky fin, but Nemo wholeheartedly believes in Dory. After all, he understands what it’s like to be different.

Ed O’Neill lends his iconic voice to Hank, who is an octopus. Actually, he’s a “septopus”: he lost a tentacle—along with his sense of humor—somewhere along the way. But Hank is just as competent as his eight-armed peers. An accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities to boot, Hank is the first to greet Dory when she finds herself in the Marine Life Institute. But make no mistake: he’s not looking for a friend. Hank is after one thing—a ticket on a transport truck to a cozy Cleveland facility where he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful life of solitude.

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Kaitlin Olson provides the voice of a whale shark named Destiny, who is a clumsy swimmer with a big heart. Destiny has a big everything, actually—whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. Destiny resides in the Marine Life Institute, where one day an oddly familiar blue tang named Dory falls into her pool. Destiny is admittedly embarrassed by her obvious lack of grace, a product of poor eyesight, but Dory thinks she swims beautifully. And Dory is delighted to learn that her supersized friend speaks whale, too.

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Ty Burrell was tapped to give voice to Bailey, the Marine Life Institute’s resident beluga whale, who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz. The good news—or bad news, depending on who you ask—is that doctors at the MLI can’t seem to find anything wrong with him. Bailey’s flair for the dramatic never ceases to push his neighbor’s buttons: whale shark Destiny can’t seem to get through to him, no matter how hard she tries. Maybe he’ll listen to new friend Dory, who seems to be full of crazy ideas.

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Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy were recruited to voice Dory’s parents. Jenny and Charlie would do anything for their only child. They celebrate and protect Dory, striving to arm her with the skills she’ll need to navigate the world with a faulty memory. Jenny may appear cheerful and a little flighty—but she’s a protective mother and a smart role model. Charlie likes to joke around, but nothing is more important to him than teaching his memory-challenged daughter how to survive.

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Idris Elba and Dominic West team up as the voices of Fluke and Rudder, a pair of lazy sea lions who were rehabilitated at the Marine Life Institute. Marlin and Nemo find them snoozing on a warm—and highly coveted—rock just outside the center. These sea lions really enjoy their down time and would rather not be bothered mid nap—but their bark is far worse than their bite.

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Bob Peterson is back as the memorable voice of Mr. Ray, the tune-loving teacher from the reef, who takes Nemo’s education—and that of his fellow undersea students—very seriously. Nobody enjoys Mr. Ray’s class more than Dory, who serves as his cheerful, albeit unnecessary, teacher’s assistant during their illuminating field trips.

Torbin Bullock voices Becky, an offbeat, kooky loon who takes a liking to Marlin. Although she inspires little confidence—especially from a certain, skeptical clownfish—Becky might be smarter than she looks.

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Andrew Stanton and Bennett Dammann lend their voices to the ocean’s coolest turtles Crush and his son Squirt. They’re always happy to lend a flipper to a fish in need. Cruising the ocean for more than a hundred years definitely has its advantages.

Bill Hader and Kate McKinnon make a cameo appearance as a fish couple that Dory briefly encounters along the way.


ABOUT THE MOVIE:

Disney•Pixar's “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family. Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-directed by Angus MacLane (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”), and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), Disney•Pixar's “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016. For more information, like us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PixarFindingDory, and follow us on Twitter, https://twitter.com/findingdory and Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/pixarfindingdory.

More Details About Tiffins at Animal Kingdom

(from the Disney Parks Blog)

Tiffins, in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Discovery Island area, opens this summer with dishes inspired by the world travels of the park’s creators.

“Tiffin” is the Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers (also a mid-day meal), and the 252-seat restaurant in the park’s Discovery Island area will open daily for lunch and dinner with menus that takes diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

A detailed map within the restaurant’s entryway sets the stage for an immersive dining experience celebrating world travel, with bold artwork derived from sketches, journals and research from those who created the theme park.

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“Tiffins is the signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating the culture of design and research that went into creating this unique park,” said Emily O’Brien, Walt Disney Imagineering executive show producer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

O’Brien describes the interior design as “a gallery you can dine in with artwork that is a direct result of travels to Africa, Asia and South America which influenced the design of the park.” The ideas of the park’s design team, including sketches, photography, architecture and textures, are all presented in a way that is uniquely Disney.

“All the senses are explored and turned into amazing works of art,” said O’Brien. “The galleries, or dining rooms, focus on Asia [Trek Gallery with 74 seats] and Africa [Safari Gallery with 64 seats], and the third [Grand Gallery with 114 seats] pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.”

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The travel-inspired artwork includes a static, three-dimensional piece that features prayer flags blowing in the wind. “As our research team traveled up the high mountains of Nepal, the winds were strong,” explained O’Brien. “The prayer flags are rarely seen hanging, they are always blowing.” This portrayal of the motion is realistically captured in the display which will hang above a corner booth in the Trek Gallery.

“Tiffins is not about a make-believe place, it’s about real people and places,” said O’Brien.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action, and the adjacent Nomad Lounge brings into focus these core values. With beautiful waterfront views, the lounge focuses on storytelling, and also on guests’ travels, with large banners as “artistic representations” of answers to travel questions written on the perimeter wall. For instance, “what do you always do when traveling” or “what was your most adventurous moment?”

“We’re trying to tell the story of how guests can make a change,” said O’Brien. While the answers of Disney experts are displayed, guests also have the opportunity to purchase a tag that supports the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and to write their own answers to the questions to display above the bar– a way to share their own travel stories “so they can be a part of the story,” said O’Brien.

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About March 2016

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in March 2016. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2016 is the previous archive.

April 2016 is the next archive.

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