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April 2016 Archives

April 4, 2016

Disney Vacation Club Membership Changes

Ken Potrock, Disney Vacation Club Senior Vice President, has announced:

" Now, effective April 4, 2016, Members who do not purchase their ownership interest directly from Disney Vacation Club will not have access to other Membership Extras, such as exclusive Member experiences and discounts."

"Please that as a current Disney Vacation Club Member (regardless of when you where you bought your membership), your access to Disney Differences and these additional Membership Extras will NOT be affected by this policy change.

As of March 21, 2011, Gateways including within the Disney Collection (Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney) and the Concierge Collection are not available for ownships not directly purchased through Disney Vacation Club.

April 5, 2016

Rivers of Light and Nighttime Disney's Animal Kingdom Experiences Delayed!

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Disney has just announced that Disney's Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light and all other nighttime experiences that were going to debut on April 22, 2016, have been delayed. The new show and other elements may not be ready until mid- or late May.

The Disney Parks Blog also released a sneak peek video of the Nighttime Magic at the Tree of Life.

April 6, 2016

Disney Early Morning Magic Allows Early Entry to Magic Kingdom with Breakfast!

Families who want to get an early start at Magic Kingdom may be interested in a new offering called Disney Early Morning Magic.

Starting April 26, the Disney Early Morning Magic package will allow a very limited number of guests to be the first to enter Magic Kingdom on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. (Disney Early Morning Magic does NOT take the place of morning Extra Magic Hours, which will be offered on different dates.)

The package includes the following:

-- access to the Magic Kingdom from 7:45 to 10 a.m. (Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. near the far left turnstiles of the main entrance.)

-- breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus, with seasonal fruits, fresh-baked pastries, scrambled eggs, veggie frittatas, smoked bacon, pork and turkey sausages, waffles and more. (Breakfast is served starting at 8:30 a.m.until 10 a.m.)

-- the ability to ride three attractions with very short waits: Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Note that around 9 a.m., the theme park will open to all guests and event-only attraction access will end.

Disney Early Morning Magic requires a separate ticket, which costs $69 for adults and $59 for children ages 3-9 (plus tax). Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Disney Reservation Center at (407) 827-7350.

The number of available tickets is very limited. Note that regular theme park admission is required in addition to a ticket for this special event. Guests who have purchased both regular theme park admission and a special event ticket will receive an event sticker for identification upon check-in.

April 7, 2016

Destination D: Amazing Adventures 2016

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DESTINATION D: AMAZING ADVENTURES CELEBRATES THE EXCITEMENT OF DISNEY’S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE, FROM TRUE-LIFE ADVENTURES TO PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR
Disney Legends, Luminaries, and Special Guests Will Take Fans on an Incredible Journey November 19 and 20 at Walt Disney World Resort

BURBANK, Calif. — April 7, 2016 — Since Walt Disney first brought his groundbreaking True-Life Adventures to the big screen, adventure has played a pivotal role in Disney entertainment, from the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean to the new planet of Pandora, which will soon be unveiled at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This year, members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are invited to join the excitement at D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures, a celebration of these landmarks of the past, present, and future. The two-day event will take place November 19 and 20, 2016 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort.

Presenters and panelists include Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter; Walt Disney Imagineers Joe Rohde, Chris Merritt, Jason Grandt, and Wyatt Winter; producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast); and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline—plus more to be announced.*

Mickey’s of Glendale, the famed Walt Disney Imagineering store, returns with a pop-up shop at the event for attendees, featuring a selection of exclusive Walt Disney Imagineering merchandise as well as limited-edition pins, apparel, and collectibles themed to the event.

Highlights of D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures will include*:

New Walt Disney World Adventures: From Soarin’ Around the World to Rivers of Light—Get an insider’s glimpse into the latest experiences across Walt Disney World Resort, as Disney Imagineers provide a behind-the-scenes look at new and upcoming entertainment.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Evolving a New Species of Theme Park—Explore the origins and incredible evolution of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from early concepts to new experiences to be discovered at the park.

Magic Journeys: 45 Years of Walt Disney World Adventures—Celebrate the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort with a nostalgic journey through some of the Vacation Kingdom’s most unique and fondly remembered adventures!

A Look Back at Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures—Join Disney historians on an expedition through the landmark True-Life Adventure series, which earned the Disney Studio eight Academy Awards®!

The Art and Adventures of Marc Davis—Discover the adventurous artwork of artist, animator, and Disney Legend Marc Davis with Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Production Designer Chris Merritt, who is authoring a new book on the Disney Legend.

The weekend event will take place in the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Tickets go on sale April 21, 2016, and are $190 each for D23 Gold and Gold Family Members. Tickets are also available to D23 General Members for $250 per ticket. All guests will receive a special gift created exclusively for the event, and attendees are guaranteed seats at all panels and presentations. A limited number of Wilderness Explorer VIP tickets will be available, which includes early shopping, an exclusive evening experience on November 18, reserved seating for all presentations, a special gift bag, unique collectibles, and more

Further details about the program and tickets for D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures, can be found at D23.com/Events. Additional schedule announcements will be made in the coming months.

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It 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; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($74.99), Gold Family Membership ($99.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com and at DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

April 8, 2016

Ice Cream Will Return to Disney's Boardwalk!

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A re-imagined take on the turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor is set to open this spring at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas. Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based company known for their creative approach to all things ice cream, will open its first location outside of New York City.

The new creamery will be located on Disney’s BoardWalk, overlooking Crescent Lake—a short walk from Epcot and a relaxing boat ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests will be able to peek into the promenade-facing kitchen windows, where ice cream and mix-ins will be handcrafted the old-fashioned way.

Inside, guests can sample as many flavors as they’d like, including signature creations like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Coffee Toffee Coffee, Malty Salty Pretzel Punch, Cotton Candy, and more. They’re even working on a special one-of-a-kind flavor developed exclusively for Walt Disney World Resort.

April 12, 2016

Halloween on the High Seas Returns

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Discover treats, tricks, magical mischief and spooky surroundings as you celebrate Halloween on the High Seas! Thrills and chills await you at every turn with Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate decor-including an evolving Halloween Tree that eerily transforms throughout your cruise.

Halloween on the High Seas will take place in 2016 on the following sail dates:

Disney Magic: October 2 - October 29, 2016
Disney Dream: September 2 - October 31, 2016
Disney Fantasy: September 3 - October 29, 2016

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Other special experiences include:

Mickey's Mouse-querade Party—an atrium party scare-a-bration in addition to Pirate Night—with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating, dancing and some favorite Disney Pals in their Halloween attire

Halloween-themed activities
for all ages, such as mask-making for kids and pumpkin-carving for teens

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where you're part of the action, followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack and Sally

Haunted Stories of the Sea—a campfire-style storytelling experience on the deck

Halloween movie marathon to get you in the spirit, shown on Funnel Vision and on the dedicated in-room television channel

Halloween Isn't Just for Kids—an adults-only party that includes a costume contest

And more spooky surprises await you onboard!

With so much to see and do, you won't want to miss this Halloween celebration at sea. Be sure to pack your favorite costumes and get ready for happy haunts.

Here's the AllEars report on a previous Halloween on the High Seas Cruise!

Disney Cruise Line Unveils New Itineraries for Summer 2017

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Today the Disney Cruise Line announced itineraries for the summer of 2017, including first-time visits to new destinations in Alaska and Europe, in addition to a return to Norway, the British Isles, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Here are the details on new summer fun your family can expect when sailing with us next year.

New Alaska Itinerary: Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier

For the first time, we’ll take guests to Alaska’s Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier. These dramatic locations are part of a new nine-night itinerary on the Disney Wonder. Departing from Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 24, 2017, this itinerary also sails to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord.

Icy Strait Point offers a variety of Alaska nature adventures, including a zip line attraction that is one of the longest and highest zip lines in the world. Nearby, Glacier Bay National Park is a spectacular highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another highlight of this cruise is seeing Hubbard Glacier, the largest and most active tidewater glacier in North America. Displaying extraordinary blue hues and immense beauty, this spectacular glacier is more than six miles wide where it meets the ocean.

A new seven-night Alaska sailing from Vancouver, departing July 17, 2017, includes a call on Icy Strait Point, in addition to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. On Aug. 2, 2017, the Disney Wonder will sail its first five-night Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Tracy Arm and Ketchikan.

New Europe Destinations: Amsterdam and Stonehenge

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Also for the first time, we’ll visit Amsterdam, Netherlands, known for its elaborate canal system, tulip fields, windmills and world-class museums housing works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh.

On May 13, 2017, the Disney Magic embarks on a 15-night transatlantic crossing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Copenhagen, with a stop in Amsterdam along the way. This itinerary also includes a call on Portland, England – another first-time port for Disney Cruise Line. Portland is a short distance from Stonehenge, the prehistoric ring of standing stones monument that is one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.

A visit to Amsterdam also will be part of a 10-night northern Europe itinerary that departs June 18, 2017, from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Dover, England. Other ports on this sailing include Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Tallinn, Estonia.

The grand tour of Europe continues throughout the summer with limited engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, British Isles and the Mediterranean.

New Disney Fantasy Itineraries: Southern Caribbean

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The Disney Fantasy will sail from Port Canaveral on longer itineraries for the first time – new 10- and 11-night cruises to the southern Caribbean.

On June 17, 2017, a new 11-night itinerary will visit Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Tortola and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. On June 28, 2017, a new 10-night itinerary will call on Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts, Tortola and Castaway Cay.

More Castaway Cay

As you probably know, Castaway Cay, our private island in the Bahamas, is consistently rated a top port-of-call by our guests. To give you more time at this island paradise, select Disney Dream sailings from Port Canaveral will include two stops at Castaway Cay.

Special five-night sailings, departing June 2, 11, 16, 25, 30 and July 9, 2017, will call on Castaway Cay twice and include a stop in Nassau, Bahamas. Special four-night sailings, departing June 7, 21 and July 5, 2017, will visit Castaway Cay twice, also with a stop in Nassau.

Bookings open to the public April 14, 2016.

April 16, 2016

Celebrate Mother's Day at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando

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Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8, 2016 and Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort shares its Top Five Ways to Celebrate Mom

1. Reserve the “Queen and Princess” Magical Moment package, which is perfect for a mother and young daughter. The “queen” will enjoy a glamorous blowout and style and a crystal hair accessory. The little “princess” will enjoy a dress, blowout and style, designer crystal tiara and wand, princess makeup artistry, fairy dust, hair tinsel, a bracelet and a commemorative princess certificate. The Queen and Princess package is USD 475, and for moms who reserve over Mother’s Day weekend will also receive a complimentary makeup application.

2. Send Mom to The Spa for an 80 minute treatment, such as a La Floridian body treatment or oxygen facial, and after her pampering she can spend the day enjoying the blissful serenity of the Oasis Pool. Non-Resort guests who take advantage of an 80 minute treatment are extended exclusive access to the Resort’s lakeside infinity-edge adult pool, plus the lazy river and Explorer Pool. For 80-minute spa appointments over Mother’s Day weekend, The Spa will also host Mom’s cocktail of choice to enjoy poolside. The La Floridian treatment is USD 245.

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3. For the mom-to-be who is past the first trimester, The Spa also offers a Maternity Caress Massage. The massage can be enjoyed by the new mom-to-be or in a couples suite as a couples treatment. When enjoying a Maternity Caress Massage over Mother’s Day weekend, The Spa will provide a complimentary scalp treatment enhancement, to ensure profound relaxation. A 50-minute Maternity Caress Massage is USD 170.

4. Celebrate with the family over a delicious meal at Four Seasons. Ravello will offer a decadent buffet menu from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, with many different offerings including pasta stations, a seafood bar and raw bar, a carving station with prime rib and herb-crusted lamb leg, and much more. There will also be a full dessert buffet station and separate children’s buffet. Brunch is USD 110 per adult and USD 45 per child age 5-12.

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For dinner service,Capa will feature its regular menu, but will also have a special supplementary menu with specials including a duck confit appetiser and a petite filet, plus a chocolate lava cake dessert with banana ice cream. Plus, all moms will receive a complimentary glass of cava and a box of macarons for celebrating at Capa. For those seeking a Sunday brunch, Plancha at Tranquilo Golf Clubhouse now offers a three-course Sunday brunch for USD 68 per person, including bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

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5. Let Mom shop ‘til she drops at Wardrobe and Fable, the Resort’s lobby level boutiques. Mom can discover many one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, as well as accessories and clothing from designers such as Tory Burch, Missoni, Lilly Pulitzer, Herve Leger, Joie, Clover Canyon and much more. The talented sales associates are skilled at selecting the perfect gifts, outfitting Mom from head to toe in a stylish ensemble to ensure she looks and feels fabulous.

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Also, for the gift that keeps on giving, Mom will love a Four Seasons Resort Orlando gift card, available for purchase at the Resort. Gift cards can be used toward an overnight stay, shopping, dining, Spa, golf and more. The shops are open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

For Spa reservations, contact 407 313 6160.

April 20, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom Introduces the Magic of Nature After Dark With First-Ever Extended Park Hours Starting Memorial Day Weekend

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Night
New Limited-Engagement Show Celebrates The Jungle Book

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – Nightfall brings more mystery and majesty to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park as guests discover rich new experiences under the stars. Whether riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, rollicking aboard rafts on Kali River Rapids at twilight, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s new hit film The Jungle Book, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can enjoy the park’s captivating new vibe and tone when it expands its offerings with extended hours and enhanced entertainment, scheduled to begin Memorial Day Weekend.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, “With new experiences and new ways to experience favorite attractions, nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be a can’t-miss experience for Walt Disney World guests.”

Like the animal world itself, Disney’s Animal Kingdom continues to evolve since opening on Earth Day in 1998. As the park shifts to nighttime, a magical ambiance emerges, inviting guests to share in its wonder with heightened senses. At nightfall the sounds of rustling foliage, animal calls, and colorful prayer flags flapping in the wind become even more distinct. Softly lit, once-familiar paths now cast in shadows make every twist and turn a new discovery. Most of the park’s popular attractions will remain open for guests to enjoy after dark.

The animal encounters shift at twilight, too, as darkness camouflages the boundaries between wildlife and guests. The kingdom comes alive with intriguing nighttime animal behaviors -- never disappointing humanity’s enduring fascination with creatures of our planet.

Highlights of new experiences:

The Tree of Life Awakens

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 reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. High-tech projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.

Kilimanjaro Safaris after Dark

Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the glow of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore this attraction well into the night. During the expedition, guests can now encounter the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals. Plus, there are two new species to discover: African wild dogs and hyenas.

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

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

Harambe Wildlife Parti

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 a variety of entertainers and local street musicians, and enjoy the lively rhythms of African music. Guests can also partake in exotic foods and libations, and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants in the vibrant marketplace.

Discovery Island Carnivale

The spirited community of Discovery Island has come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale. This nightly experience will captivate guests with lively music, jubilant dance, vibrant costumes, stilt walkers and tasty culinary creations — winding from one end of the island to the other.

Tiffins Signature Restaurant

In addition to the diverse new entertainment offerings, guests will enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s new signature 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.

New Adventures with Favorite Attractions

Most attractions remain open at nightfall, and will shine like never before. At sundown, Kali River Rapids will reveal mysterious twists and turns throughout the rainforest with dramatic and drenching fun. Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. At night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of the Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. Amidst the colorful midway games at Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A., the thrills turn up aboard the zany Triceratop Spin or Primeval Whirl under the lights.

More Magic to Come with “Rivers of Light”

The nighttime will grow even more magical with the premiere of the majestic nighttime jewel, “Rivers of Light.” This illuminating musical experience – currently in development with a premiere date to be announced soon – will celebrate the magic of animals, 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 complementary 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.

To create “Rivers of Light,” Imagineers and Disney Creative Entertainment are collaborating with experts including award-winning master designer Michael Curry. 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.

Princess Elena of Avalor, Inspired by Diverse Latin Cultures, Coming to Disney Parks

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Will First Be Introduced on Disney Channel

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Disney Parks will welcome its first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Princess Elena of Avalor will be appearing at Walt Disney World Resort this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.

Kids and families worldwide will be enchanted by the story of Princess Elena, a bold, caring, funny and clever 16-year-old who is ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor. The series follows the story of Elena, who saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must now learn to rule with the support of her appointed Grand Council and some magical friends by her side. Elena’s adventures will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders, while highlighting the importance of family and family traditions.

The inspiring story of Elena of Avalor will be shared in 33 languages in 163 countries on Disney Channels worldwide. And, Disney Parks, where universally enchanting stories come to life every day, will be the place where families can see Disney’s newest princess in person. At Walt Disney World Resort, Elena will appear in the Magic Kingdom. At Disneyland Resort, she will appear at Disney California Adventure. The Disney Princesses at Walt Disney World Resort will welcome Elena in August. Her Disneyland arrival date will be announced in the near future.

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

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences will debut this summer across all four Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond.

A flurry of fireflies awakens the iconic Tree of Life with colorful animation, and the songs of Disney’s new hit film “The Jungle Book” come to life on Discovery River, just two of the many new experiences as Disney’s Animal Kingdom introduces nighttime hours for the first time in the park’s 18-year history.

“Frozen,” the top animated film of all time, comes to life for the first time in an enchanting, music-filled attraction in the Norway pavilion at Epcot.

Princesses Tiana and Rapunzel join a rousing show on the grandest stage of all in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.
An awe-inspiring new Star Wars fireworks and projection spectacular premieres at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney Springs welcomes more top shopping destinations and celebrity chef restaurants in a glittering new setting.
Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends, making every moment as magical as it can be.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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

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

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

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

Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island Memorial Day Weekend. 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 wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Epcot

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

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

Also at 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 June 17. 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 May with characters from Disney•Pixar film “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.

For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire show. 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.

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

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

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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

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

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

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

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

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

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

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

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

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

At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome 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 Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen” Games of friendly, fun competitions.

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

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

April 21, 2016

Soarin' Around the World Takes Off June 17

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Imagine a wind-through-your-hair flight above The Great Wall of China, a bird’s-eye view of the Sydney Harbor in Australia, gliding around the Matterhorn in Switzerland …

These are among more than a dozen breathtaking ways you’ll be able to experience the wonders of the world when Soarin’ Around the World makes its groundbreaking debut across the globe this summer. The next generation of the popular Soarin’ attraction makes its premiere at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland this summer as Soaring Over the Horizon.

The next day on June 17, guests at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort and Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to board the exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses you in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents. Fastpass+ will be an option for Soarin’ beginning Thursday, April 21.

AllEars interviewed Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Jason Grandt about the new Soarin' film:

April 22, 2016

Adventures by Disney 2017 Itineraries

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New Rhine River Vacation with AmaWaterways Will Double the Number of River Cruise Sailings for 2017. Enhancements Also Coming to China and Australia Vacations.

BURBANK, Calif. (April 20, 2016) – Adventures by Disney, a leader in guided group travel worldwide, recently revealed new itineraries for 2017, including an expansion of popular river cruising vacations with AmaWaterways, as well as enhancements to family journeys to China and Australia.

New European River Cruise Sailings on the Rhine River

Sailing with AmaWaterways, the premier luxury river cruise line, Adventures by Disney river cruises offer a new way for families to experience the heart of Europe in a way that is active, immersive and easy. In addition to offering a second season of Danube River sailings, Adventures by Disney will expand offerings to include sailings along the Rhine River in 2017. The new Rhine River itinerary gives adventurous travelers the opportunity to experience the beauty of four countries – France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Combining the award-winning service and luxury of AmaWaterways with the proven family travel expertise of Adventures by Disney, these river cruise sailings offer a vacation experience that is all-inclusive and hassle-free. Designed with guests of all ages in mind, travelers can customize their trip to fit their family’s needs by choosing from a variety of activity options offered at ports along the Rhine River and onboard each day.

“Last year, river cruising itineraries on the Danube River sold out rapidly, proving that families are eager to enjoy this immersive and luxurious new way to travel through Europe with Adventures by Disney,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Adventures by Disney. “For 2017 we dreamt even bigger, expanding our offerings to include not only the already popular Danube sailings, but also exciting new experiences along the Rhine River. Here we can make unforgettable vacation memories a reality for even more travelers by offering family river cruise sailings that are effortless, personalized and exhilarating.”

Guests will sail on the Rhine River aboard the all-new, 170-passenger AmaKristina, a river cruise ship being custom built by AmaWaterways with families in mind. Family-friendly design elements include sets of connecting staterooms and suites, some of which accommodate three- and four-person families, and other details that lend themselves to luxury family vacations. Adventures by Disney has also worked closely with AmaWaterways to reimagine shipboard spaces and activities, offering unique programming for kids, teens and adults.

Highlights of the eight-day/seven-night adventures include:

Ride a toboggan, hike along a waterfall or zipline through the Black Forest.

Visit the famous storybook Heidelberg Castle.

Enjoy tubing, snow biking, curling and more at Germany’s first indoor ski hall.

Explore the Alsace Region of France by canoe or on horseback.

Get hands-on during clog painting and a cheese making demonstration in Holland.

Bike along the Rhine River, within the German wine countryside, through towns and beyond.

Savor unique local dining, including Swiss fondue, a French macaron cooking class, German chocolate tasting and more.

A post-cruise land package is also available in Amsterdam at the conclusion of the Rhine sailings, offering a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk and a private farewell dinner.

“AmaWaterways is ecstatic to continue working with Adventures by Disney, further expanding the options for family travelers seeking a unique way to explore Europe,” said Kristin Karst, co-owner and executive vice president of AmaWaterways. “A Rhine River cruise with Adventures by Disney, aboard the beautiful AmaKristina, will offer families an immersive, unforgettable experience. They will have the chance to witness firsthand the beauty, history and culture of the region’s most breathtaking destinations, while creating memories that will last a lifetime!”

Enhanced Itineraries to Visit Shanghai Disney Resort in China, Gold Coast in Australia

Also new for 2017 are enhancements to Adventures by Disney vacations to China and Australia. With the June opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, the China itinerary has been reimagined to include a visit to this exciting new destination. Here Adventures by Disney guests will explore the newest Disney theme park with VIP tour guides, offering a truly world-class experience. In Australia, travelers will now enjoy time on the beautiful Gold Coast, including kayaking on Bryon Bay, whale and dolphin spotting, an excursion to Mt. Tamborine and more.

New United States Vacations Allow Travelers to Discover America

The new 2017 itineraries join an existing lineup of more than 35 other guided group vacations to destinations on six continents, including three recently announced vacations to the diverse United States locales of Central Florida, Montana, and Washington, D.C. & Philadelphia. Debuting in summer 2016, each of these weeklong trips is filled with activities unique to the destinations. In Central Florida, families will enjoy unprecedented backstage access and VIP experiences at Walt Disney World Resort, airboat through Florida marshlands and thrill to a visit to the “Space Coast.” Montana offers glamorous camping, or “glamping,” near Yellowstone National Park and a stay at a dude ranch in Big Sky. And American history comes alive during a visit to the nation’s capital, and the United States’ first capital city.

Whether travelers are setting sail in Europe, exploring exotic destinations in far-off lands or savoring the majesty of America’s national parks, Adventures by Disney offers exceptional service and hands-on, active experiences that appeal to travelers of all ages.

April 25, 2016

WDW Announces Free Dining for Late Summer and Fall

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Walt Disney World announced today that a free dining plan MAY BE available when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day package that includes a room at a select Disney resort hotel and a ticket with the Park Hopper Option.

The offer must be booked April 25, 2016-July 8, 2016, for arrival dates between August 23-October 1; November 15-21; November 26-28, or December 10-21, 2016.

AllEars recommends you price this offer out carefully to see if it meets your needs and saves you money!

AllEars recommends MEI and MouseFanTravel for all your Disney (and non-Disney) trips!


MORIMOTO ASIA RECEIVES AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS ORLANDO “DESIGN BUILT AWARD OF MERIT”

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Studio V Architecture and Patina Restaurant Group accept the award for striking new restaurant design

(Orlando, Fla. – April 25, 2016) – Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first pan-Asian restaurant, received the Design Built Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA Awards Gala honored the best of architectural design in Central Florida at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 23. As one of Florida’s most prestigious and inclusive honors in exemplary design, the award celebrates the newly opened restaurant alongside celebrated architects, designers and key industry professionals both theoretical and built projects.

In collaboration with STUDIO V Architecture and Patina Restaurant Group, Morimoto Asia’s complex design pays homage to the industrial history of the pre-existing space, rebuilt with a strong contemporary twist. The delicacy and vibrancy of traditional Asian motifs juxtaposes a theatrical backdrop for a fine-dining experience. The ambiance complements the cuisine aiming to inspire and excite through an innovative experience.

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“We are so proud to accept this prestigious award as Morimoto Asia is a true work of art,” said Robert Consla, Vice President, Project Development at Patina Restaurant Group as he accepted the award. “The restaurant embodies a fantastic mixture of industrial, contemporary and Asian elements making it an experience like no other. We are so honored to be among the best architectural designs in Central Florida within the restaurant’s first year of opening.”

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The dramatic space includes a multi-level bar, upper mezzanine and two levels of outdoor terraces. The industrial “bottling factory” façade is reimagined by a triple-height wall of windows and conveyor belts of illuminated glass bottles, spiraling into a chandelier. The restaurant’s dramatic winding sculptural bar at over 270 feet in length is one of the largest in the world, as it leaps and snakes through the soaring 36-foot tall space to connect the grand dining room on the ground floor with the upper level, wrapping around the grand stairway.

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Morimoto Asia is open Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. The restaurant’s second floor Forbidden Lounge late-night menu is served daily from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information on Morimoto Asia visit www.morimotoasia.com - http://www.morimotoasia.com/ - or call (407) 939-MOTO.


About Patina Restaurant Group
-- Patina Restaurant Group (www.patinagroup.com) is a bicoastal boutique company and leader in the premium segment of the restaurant industry. In New York, its portfolio features the Michelin-starred Lincoln Ristorante, STATE Grill and Bar at the Empire State Building, Stella 34 Trattoria at Macy’s Herald Square, The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center, Brasserie, Brasserie 8 1/2, The Grand Tier Restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera, La Fonda Del Sol at Grand Central, and The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Other East Coast properties include Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli at the Epcot World Showcase in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. On the West Coast its portfolio includes the renowned Los Angeles Times’ four-starred and Michelin-starred Patina Restaurant in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Café Pinot, Ray’s & Stark Bar, Catal and Naples in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District, Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, and catering and food service in museums and cultural centers throughout California.


About STUDIO V Architecture
-- In just nine years, STUDIO V Architecture has grown to one of New York City’s most innovative design firms. The Studio’s designs focus on explorations of contemporary culture in the most urban environment at every level: ground up buildings, radical interiors, innovative public spaces, and massive urban designs. The firm insists that every project is an expression of a unique place and encompass a range of unconventional approaches to structure, form, materials, and lighting. Current projects include the historic Empire Store warehouses next to the Brooklyn Bridge, cut through by a glass courtyard with a rooftop public park; a new center for the arts in the Park Theater, Rockaways; and new waterfront communities and parks that are re-inventing the East River in New York City.
About Masaharu Morimoto

Perhaps most recognizable as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, Chef Masaharu Morimoto has created a bridge between the culinary traditions of his native Japan and the American palate, bringing intense excitement, exquisite technique, and perfectly balanced flavors to thousands of diners throughout the world. He has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients and has effectively created a signature style that positions him as one of today’s foremost chefs. In 2001, Morimoto opened his first eponymous restaurant in Philadelphia, which was followed by Wasabi by Morimoto in Mumbai in 2004 and another in New Delhi in 2008.

Today, Chef Morimoto has expanded his culinary empire across the globe, with restaurants in Boca Raton, Chicago, Maui, Mexico City, Napa, New York City, South Beach, and Waikiki. Morimoto’s restaurants have received numerous accolades throughout the years, including Morimoto Napa which was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best U.S. Restaurant Openings” in 2010, and Morimoto New York which won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant Design” in 2008, as well as a “2006 Hot List Restaurant” by Conde Nast Traveler, one of New York’s “Top 50 Restaurants” by Travel + Leisure, and one of New York Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants.”

April 26, 2016

Disney Conservation Fund Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary by Unveiling New Initiative to Protect the Planet

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(Dr. Jane Goodall visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund and support the launch of its new initiative called “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time,” which aims to reverse the decline of threatened species through scientific research and increasing the time kids spend in nature.)

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 19, 2016) –- The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), in honor of its 20th anniversary, announced a targeted philanthropic strategy to help protect the planet by collaborating with leading nonprofit organizations that will help threatened wildlife and inspire a lifelong love of nature in young people. The new initiative, called Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time, is aimed at reversing the decline of 10 threatened species through scientific research, community engagement, and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire them to care for the planet.

As part of Reverse the Decline, Disney is supporting a network of leading conservation nonprofit organizations to develop strategic plans that aim to reverse the decline of 10 animals: elephants, butterflies, coral reefs, tamarin monkeys, great apes, sea turtles, sharks and rays, cranes, rhinos and tigers. These organizations employ experts who work with each species to address the protection of habitats, collect critical population data, and develop conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems around the world. Additionally, this initiative provides opportunities for Disney to apply the expertise and talents of its employees and cast members to help reverse the decline of these animals. Already, scientists, educators and veterinarians on Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team are collaborating with each organization to help protect threatened species and their habitats.

Increase the Time, the second part of the two-pronged commitment, comes on the heels of a 2012 Disney initiative to connect 35 million kids and families with nature experiences by 2015. Disney reached the target a year early based on its efforts to connect kids with nature through support from the Disney Conservation Fund to nonprofit organizations and nature experiences in Disney Parks and Resorts. The new Increase the Time initiative amplifies the philanthropic component of these efforts to fund projects with leading nonprofit organizations that engage young people in discovering the magic of nature and inspiring them to protect the planet.

Since 1995, DCF has provided $40 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in 115 countries.

What is Reverse the Decline and Increase the Time?

In the next decade, Disney Conservation Fund’s commitment will be focused in two areas:

Increase the Time kids spend in nature.
Reverse the Decline of threatened animals in the wild.
Disney aims to make measurable conservation impacts by inspiring the next generation to care about the planet.

Why Reverse the Decline?

The Disney Conservation Fund’s focus on the future builds on conservation accomplishments of the past. The Reverse the Decline initiative seeks to:

Stabilize and increase dwindling numbers of threatened animals around the world by providing grants and applying the expertise of Disney employees and cast members to address threatened species.

Engage leading conservation organizations to come together to create and implement comprehensive, measurable, strategic plans to reverse the decline of ten threatened animal populations in the wild.

Build upon the significant work Disney’s team of animal experts has been doing for years: working to reduce human-elephant conflict to benefit people in Kenya; involving kids in coral reef protection; providing expertise on the care of orphaned gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; engaging communities in conservation of cotton-top tamarins in Colombia; and raising awareness about the endangered sea turtles that nest on Florida’s beaches. Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment cast members will work with each of the Reverse the Decline organizations to determine where the company can lend support from expert teams to advance efforts to protect threatened species in places where they live.

The 10 threatened species include:

Big Cats: The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered as a result of poaching, both of tigers and their prey species; high rates of habitat loss as a result of human encroachment, deforestation, and forest fires; illegal wildlife trade; and the killing of tigers involved in human-tiger conflict. A consortium of Sumatra-based organizations aims to increase Sumatran tiger population levels by reducing poaching and illegal trade, encouraging community engagement, and improving the management of protected areas.

Butterflies: In many cultures, butterflies are considered beautiful symbolic creatures; but they are also important pollinators and indicators of environmental health and model organisms for studying the impact of habitat loss and climate change. Butterflies are threatened by loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat. Disney is supporting work to identify the numerous at-risk butterfly species in Florida and California and to develop tailored conservation strategies for the most critical groups, including habitat restoration, captive breeding and reintroduction programs.

Coral Reefs: Living coral reefs are diverse ecosystems built by colonies of tiny animals (corals) that support a vast array of marine organisms and help provide natural protective barriers to coastal erosion. Numerous threats to coral reefs include coral bleaching, reduced growth and dying reefs as a result of climate change and changing ocean chemistry caused through acidification; in addition, widespread disease, coastal development, anchor damage, predation, and invasive species contribute to their decline. Disney is collaborating with experts in the Caribbean to protect the shrinking Bahamian reefs through a comprehensive study, training, and actions such as limiting harmful human contact with existing reefs, promoting natural coral reef ecosystem resilience, setting up coral nurseries, and experimenting with reef rehabilitation techniques.

Elephants: The African elephant is currently listed as a vulnerable species, due in large part to poaching driven by the illegal ivory trade. However, human-elephant conflict also contributes to elephant declines as many elephants are killed in retaliation for damaged crops and homes and even loss of human life. Disney is helping to reverse their decline by supporting work that addresses both poaching and human-elephant conflict, protects elephant habitat, promotes conservation legislation and helps train local conservationists.

Great Apes: Gorillas and chimpanzees are among our closest relatives, yet they are threatened as a result of human activities. Grauer’s gorillas and eastern chimpanzees are two endangered great ape species found in the Eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their populations have dwindled due to hunting for bushmeat, capture for the illegal wildlife pet trade, and habitat loss and fragmentation. Disney’s support will help nonprofit organizations work with communities to reduce hunting, explore strategies to reintroduce rehabilitated apes to the wild, increase protection of great apes by local communities, and fund analysis and implementation of additional conservation strategies.

Migratory Birds: Cranes are iconic birds, especially in China, where the Siberian crane overwinters before traveling to its breeding grounds in northern Russia. The Siberian crane is critically endangered due to the loss of wetland habitat along its migratory route. Disney is supporting work to monitor and protect the relevant stopover sites along the birds’ more-than-three-thousand-mile migration path.

Monkeys: Disney is supporting work to protect two kinds of tamarins (tiny forest dwelling monkeys) – golden lion tamarins in Brazil and cotton-top tamarins in Colombia. Golden lion tamarins are threatened by forest habitat fragmentation due to urban development and Disney is supporting efforts in Brazil to restore the connections among enough forest fragments and golden-lion tamarin populations to save the species from extinction. In Colombia, Disney’s support is helping to protect and expand forest habitat, reduce the illegal wildlife trade, recycle more than three million plastic bags, and create alternative income sources for community members.

Rhinos: The critically endangered Sumatran rhino is the smallest member of the rhinoceros family and is known for its distinct hairiness. While the exact number of remaining Sumatran rhinos is difficult to determine, some estimate the population at less than a hundred. Disney’s support will help nonprofit organizations to address the threats of habitat loss and poaching by improving the range and effectiveness of anti-poaching patrols, increasing population numbers through a conservation breeding program, working with local communities to stop forest encroachment, and working with the Indonesian government to implement a national protection strategy.

Sea Turtles: The five species of endangered and threatened sea turtles in Florida face numerous threats including death in fisheries bycatch, loss of nesting and foraging habitats, and climate change. Disney’s support to Reverse the Decline of Florida’s sea turtles helps nonprofit organizations to combat the many threats to sea turtles by increasing public awareness, monitoring populations, and restoring marine habitat and beach nesting areas.

Sharks and Rays: Many species of sharks and rays around the world are considered endangered, impacted by factors such as overfishing, loss of habitat, and pollution. Sharks and rays cannot easily overcome these threats because they are slow to mature and reproduce relative to other fish. Disney is supporting the recovery of sharks and rays by supporting the scientific management of fisheries, reducing the demand for shark and ray products, and advancing research to secure protected status for threatened species.

Why Increase the Time?

The Disney Conservation Fund’s Increase the Time initiative supports the following nonprofit organizations to connect kids and families with nature. Children who are exposed to nature are happier and healthier, and it is widely believed that these outdoor experiences lead to kids caring about the planet over their lifetimes:

4-H: As part of the organization’s commitment to teach young people about science, technology, engineering and math, with Disney grants the National 4-H Council is engaging more than 8,700 youth in 14 urban communities across eight states in hands-on experiences through after school clubs and summer camps to inspire youth to protect and preserve the planet.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums: With support from Disney, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is removing barriers and apprehension for families to engage with nature by providing resources to families, educators and accredited zoological institutions to establish or expand nature play opportunities – providing and encouraging family nature play opportunities at zoos, aquariums and within local communities.

Children & Nature Network: The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect children, families and communities to nature with innovative ideas, evidence-based resources, and broad-based support of grassroots leadership. The members of this coalition work together to curate current research and address the challenges it presents.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW): IFAW is hosting a Youth Forum for People and Wildlife in South Africa – bringing together young conservation leaders (ages 18-25) from across the globe to connect with experts, explore solutions and build skills to help them better understand and address wildlife conservation issues. The Forum is occurring just ahead of the CITES COP in South Africa – a convening of global experts to tackle the world’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities. IFAW is also creating a digital platform to engage thousands of school-aged children worldwide in the Forum.

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots: Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. Disney’s grants to the organization support programs in 13 countries, empowering the next generation of environmental stewards.

National Park Foundation (NPF): Disney is supporting the National Park Foundation’s (NPF) efforts to connect half a million kids with national park experiences by 2017 through NPF’s Find Your Park Campaign and the Open OutDoors for Kids program. The program provides grants to local schools to enable hands-on field trips to nearby parks and historical monuments.

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA): Disney, including Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, are supporting NRPA’s Parks Build Community campaign, providing grants for local park projects in 16 U.S. cities to revitalize parks and improve kids’ access to sports, help families live healthier, and connect kids and families with nature.

National Wildlife Federation (NWF): The National Wildlife Federation encourages kids and families to pledge to be Butterfly Heroes and commit to creating backyard garden habitats for pollinators and other wildlife. Disney also supports the Great American Campout which encourages kids and families to immerse themselves in outdoor experiences together.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC): DCF supports school garden programs with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to provide online resources that integrate gardens into curriculum, while extending mini-grants to schools that build gardens as outdoor classrooms. In the past, Disney has also supported Nature Rocks, a TNC online platform for parents to find ways for their kids to get outside no matter what season, or where they live, as well as TNC’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program which provides summer internships for high school students.

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About April 2016

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

March 2016 is the previous archive.

May 2016 is the next archive.

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