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June 2, 2016

New Enchancements and Experiences Coming to the Disney Wonder

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Here’s a look at what’s to come after the Disney Wonder undergoes dry dock September 9 to October 23, 2016, in Cadiz, Spain.


CELEBRATION, Fla. (June 2, 2016) – Exciting new entertainment and experiences are in store for Disney Wonder guests after the Disney Cruise Line vessel is transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are imaginative spaces for children, a jazzy restaurant and an English pub.

Following are highlights of the fun for guests of all ages, debuting on the Disney Wonder this fall.

Marvel Super Hero Academy

The Marvel universe comes to life in Marvel Super Hero Academy. Here, young guests can train to develop the brave and adventurous heroes inside themselves. It’s an exciting addition to Disney’s Oceaneer Club, the engaging and interactive space just for children.

Exclusively on the Disney Wonder, Marvel Super Hero Academy will offer extraordinary adventures in which each young guest plays an integral role. With the mentorship of some of Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes, young trainees will learn the value of teamwork, bravery and problem solving through hands-on play and programs.

In one mission, Spider-Man will appear in person to help children hone their spider senses by perfecting their skills of reflex, speed and sharp minds. Children will work on their web-slinging and then get to see themselves in the headlines of the Daily Bugle.

The high-tech command post is also where other Marvel Super Heroes will interact with children via a large digital display, helping them unleash their inner heroes. In one program, kids can control the movement of a character on screen to practice super skills like repulsor blasting.

Throughout the academy, displays will feature equipment that helps make Marvel Super Heroes the mightiest in the universe. Captain America’s World War II shield, Iron Man’s helmet, Spider-Man’s web shooters and Black Widow’s gauntlets will inspire young Super Hero recruits.

More Fun for Young Guests

Elsewhere in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to children ages three to 12 years old, kid-sized fun continues with new play spaces and more character interactions than ever before.

Frozen Adventures is where fun takes the form of imaginative play and hands-on activities. On the digital screen, Olaf leads summery games with a wintery twist and a sing-a-long of “In Summer.” In another festive activity, young guests prepare for a coronation and receive a truly royal and in-person visit by Anna and Elsa.

Club Disney Junior features favorite Disney Junior characters, storytelling and games. During one activity, Doc McStuffins pays a visit to the club to help children diagnose and treat the stuffed animals.

Andy’s Room is where kids feel toy-sized in the multi-level play space themed to the Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” trilogy. As a special treat, Woody appears in person to join youngsters in a hoedown and Jessie stops by to join in a scavenger hunt.

These and other spaces provide the perfect settings for children to meet their favorite characters, dance, play and just have fun with them.

A new It’s a Small World Nursery will delight the youngest cruisers with a whimsical world inspired by the style of the legendary theme park attraction.

Tiana’s Place Restaurant
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Exclusive to the Disney Wonder, Tiana’s Place restaurant will transport guests to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations. With a menu influenced by southern-style cuisine, Tiana’s Place will provide food for the body and soul, showing that dreams and dishes come true.

Guests of Tiana’s Place, the restaurant inspired by Princess Tiana in the Disney animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog,” will be treated to a celebration of New Orleans dining and entertainment. Live music will be performed on the main stage, with rhythmic, toe-tapping notes of jazz, swing and blues setting the tone for the French Quarter supper club atmosphere.

Chefs will cook up Tiana’s recipes, drawing inspiration from the flavors and ingredients of the Louisiana bayou. Tiana’s personal touch will be evident in the menu, the entertainment and throughout every detail in the restaurant. From Tiana’s family photos to water lily-shaped candleholders to her framed culinary awards – all will help tell the timeless tale of Tiana’s journey from waitress to frog to princess to proud restaurant owner.

Cheers, to an English Pub
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The adult district includes a brand-new pub that invites guests to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavern. Dark woods, plush leather furniture and brass accents are reminiscent of a friendly neighborhood pub. Of course, a selection of British and specialty beers create the perfect pub atmosphere, where adult guests can sip a pint or cocktail, or sample a brew made especially for the pub.

Observant guests may discover this is no ordinary pub. Subtle nods to classic Disney films set in London can be found in artwork, props and other bits ‘n bobs throughout the space. Brilliant stories of all sorts will be celebrated at the pub, whether those tales be true, tall or flat-out mad.

Enhancements from Stem to Stern

Throughout the Disney Wonder, other new and enhanced areas include:

After Hours – a new adult district featuring an English pub, an all-new night club and a shiny new model of the popular Cadillac Lounge

A reimagined and relaxing Senses Spa & Salon and a new Chill Teen Spa

Animator’s Palate main dining restaurant updated to introduce the popular “Drawn to Magic” and “Animation Magic” dinner shows

D Lounge for family games and entertainment

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique providing magical makeovers for children

Edge club for tweens

Cabanas casual dining location

Palo specialty restaurant makeover with Venetian-inspired décor

The ship’s upper decks also will be redesigned for waterful enjoyment:

Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide provides splashtacular fun

Dory’s Reef is a splash zone that offers fanciful water play for toddlers

AquaLab is a pool and interactive water play area for kids and families

After the Disney Wonder undergoes dry dock Sept. 9 to Oct. 23, 2016, in Cadiz, Spain, the wave of new enhancements debut on sailings starting Nov. 10, from Galveston, Texas.

The Disney Wonder will continue to sail from Galveston to the Bahamas and Caribbean, until the ship sails to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Jan. 20, 2017. On Jan. 26, 2017, a three-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Fla., where the ship will homeport for the spring.

June 5, 2016

Savor the Savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Experience Animal Kingdom's savanna in a whole new way!

The Savor the Savanna Evening Safari Experience offers you the opportunity to hop aboard a private safari vehicle and enjoy an expedition through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. The highlight? A stop at an exclusive viewing area where you get to sample a selection of regional beers and wines (well, for those 21 and over, anyway) and savor African-inspired tapas while taking in the impressive savanna. It’s a bounty of flavors bursting with delectable textures!

As you roll through the reserve on this incredible outing, you can watch it come alive with magic as a spectacular world of creatures roam about and grip your imagination. A guide paints a picture of the wildlife, pointing out fascinating facts along the way. A special keepsake commemorating your unforgettable evening trek is yours to take home as well.

Book your delicious, unique Africa escape (no passport needed) today. Your palate will thank you. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687). The cost is $169 per guest. Valid Theme Park admission is required, and each participant must be at least 8 years old. Each experience is limited to a maximum of 12 Guests. Inclement weather conditions and other factors may affect schedules, and offerings are subject to change without notice.

June 6, 2016

Summer Excitement at Disneyland's Downtown Disney District

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The summer celebration gets underway this month with nightly music performances featuring a different theme practically every night. The Downtown Disney Live! Stage will feature popular favorites from some past years, as well as new groups.

-- On Saturdays and Sundays, we fire things up with Dance Party nights featuring a varying lineup of big band, swing and rockabilly bands, including Phat Cat Swinger and Crown City Bombers, plus Top 40 and ‘80s groups.

-- Island Reggae Band turns Mondays into Reggae nights, while Adelaide takes the stage for Latin nights on Tuesdays.

-- Country and Cajun sounds take over Wednesday nights, and Thursday nights feature oldies and classic rock.

-- Fridays mark the return of Polynesian nights, sponsored by Dole, featuring Tupua on the Downtown Disney stage.

And the musical fun isn’t all after dark! On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. throughout the summer, Vocal Trip offers a cappella renditions of Disney favorites and popular songs throughout the Downtown Disney District.

Reservations Now Open for New Magic Kingdom Dining Package

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Tony's Town Square Restaurant Offers New Dining Package

There’s a new way to enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom Park! You can now make reservations to take a mid-day break and enjoy a three-course lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Indulge in a delicious Italian meal, knowing you’ll also receive reserved viewing for the Main Street Electrical Parade, right in front of the flagpole on Main Street U.S.A.

The dining package includes your choice of appetizer, entrée, dessert and a beverage. Start your meal with delicious soup, salad or the addictive Zucchini Fries. Choose from favorites like Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti with meatballs or Margherita Pizza. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with classic Tiramisú or decadent chocolate cake layered with a chocolate-hazelnut filling.

Cost is $45 for adults, $17 for children plus tax and gratuity, or is one table-service entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Reservations open June 7, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or calling 407-WDW-Dine.

SOURCE: Disney Parks Blog

June 7, 2016

Very Merrytime Cruises Return to Disney Cruise Line

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Very Merrytime Cruises Return for 2016
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The Disney Cruise Line will once again offer special magical Very Merrytime Cruises in 2016. On the ship, discover a festive fusion of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and décor—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more!

** Disney Magic - November 5 - December 23
** Disney Wonder - November 10 - December 23
** Disney Dream - November 7 - December 22
** Disney Fantasy - November 19 - December 24

Enhancements include:

** Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night, with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games

** Tree Lighting Ceremony, where kids can help light the tree and kick off the holiday festivities

** Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa

** Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday attire

** Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties—private celebrations where teens and tweens can hang out with new friends

** Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea and around the world

** Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, go on a holiday scavenger hunt and more

** A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house*

** Holiday merchandise available for this event

Holiday Cheer awaits you at Castaway Cay too! Disney's private island paradise is transformed with "snow" flurries, a Christmas tree and more. Be on the lookout for Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, dressed in their island attire. Plus, the island's tram is decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and a tail.

Plus, on December 24 and 25, enjoy additional holiday experiences:

** Cookies on Christmas Eve

** Special holiday towel animals

** Special holiday surprise

** Holiday caroling with the kids and crew

** Religious Services

Holiday activities and offerings are subject to change and may vary by ship and itinerary.

June 9, 2016

Awaken Summer and Relax with Special Offer at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – June 9, 2016 –This summer, guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel can visit the Walt Disney World Resort and Awaken Summer with all new experiences across all four Disney Theme Parks and still relax with the hotel’s Awaken and Relax offer.

Through August 25, guests who book with rate code AWAKEN can receive room rates starting as low as $165 per night as well as 20 percent off services at the luxurious Mandara Spa, offering vacationers a getaway with both convenient access to visit all four of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks and the ultimate way to rejuvenate.

During Awaken Summer, guests can be among the first to experience brand new attractions at all four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, including: Epcot’s Soarin’ Around the World (opening June 17) and Frozen Ever After the new attraction based off of the Disney animated film FROZEN (June 21); Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks (June 17); Magic Kingdom’s new castle stage show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire (June 17), and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s a new nighttime show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (May 28).

Located within walking distance from both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot and offering complimentary transportation to all four theme parks, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel allows guests to maximize their time in the theme parks. In addition, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel guests receive the extended hours benefit, where each day, one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks is open extra time for guests to enjoy select attractions.

After traveling around the Walt Disney World Resort, guests can recover at the recently renovated Mandara Spa, which recently underwent a $1 million dollar renovation. The spa offers a selection of relaxation journeys featuring spa treatments inspired by different regions of the world. Guests can select from one of four signature journeys: Asia, India, Mediterranean and New World. These experiences complement other spa services offered by Mandara including massage, facials and salon services.

To book or for more details, visit www.swandolphin.com/offers or call 1-800-227-1500 and use the offer code AWAKEN. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups; offer is based on availability.

June 14, 2016

Kid's Sushi Class at Wolfgang Puck's June 25th

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Mark your calendars for a Kids Sushi Making Class! Have your little ones join us for an interactive and engaging cooking class on Saturday, June 25 from 12 PM - 2 PM at Wolfgang Puck Cafe.

This interactive and engaging cooking class offers a crash course into exploring the exciting and intricate world of sushi with hands on experience. Kids will partake in various class projects learning how to make an array of sushi including hand rolls, nigari and maki rolls. Throughout the class, guests will learn how to properly prepare and season sushi rice, healthy eating habits, and basic cleanliness and food safety skills.

As an added activity, the culinary kiddos will also create refreshing and flavorful summertime drinks including Old Fashioned Chocolate Soda and a Grapey-Orange Cooler.

The class is $35.00 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Call 407-828-8996 to reserve your spot!

Disney's Moana! New Trailer

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Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.

Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”) and produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. For more information, visit http://disney.com/moana, like us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana; follow us on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/DisneyAnimation; follow us on Instagram, https://instagram.com/DisneyAnimation.

Shanghai Disney: Grand Opening with World Premiere of Disney’s THE LION KING in Mandarin

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Shanghai Disney Resort Launches Historic Three-Day Grand Opening with World Premiere of Disney’s THE LION KING in Mandarin


Celebrities Among the First to Enjoy Highly Acclaimed Broadway Musical at Walt Disney Grand Theatre


Guests Explore Disneytown and Wishing Star Park as Resort Approaches Official Grand Opening on June 16

SHANGHAI, June 14, 2016 – Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated the global premiere of the first Mandarin production of Disney’s THE LION KING Tuesday night in a gala affair at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre. The premiere launched the Grand Opening festivities for the new resort, which officially opens on June 16. A red carpet entry to the new theatre welcomed celebrities, luminaries and Julie Taymor, the Tony-award winning director of the original Broadway production of THE LION KING.

One of the most popular and acclaimed musicals of all time, the Broadway hit THE LION KING is presented at the beautiful Walt Disney Grand Theatre, with all the memorable music, drama and grandeur that has entertained more than 85 million people around the world. This is the first time the full Broadway production will be presented at any Disney resort, and it opens to the public on June 16, 2016.

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“We are very proud to present the world premiere of the first-ever Mandarin production of Disney’s beloved classic, THE LION KING,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This historic performance brings the story to life for our guests in a way that is authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese and completely unique.”

Disneytown Guests Experience Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

The red-carpet occasion also saluted Disneytown—the resort’s international retail, dining and entertainment area—as well as two imaginatively designed hotels and Wishing Star Park. Following the grand opening of those areas, Shanghai Disneyland will open on Thursday, June 16.

Disneytown is home to the first Walt Disney Grand Theatre, the first World of Disney Store in Asia and approximately 50 dining and shopping locations. The 1,200-seat Walt Disney Grand Theatre, with its separately ticketed shows, brings an authentic Broadway theatre experience to China.

The World of Disney Store is one of the most technologically advanced Disney retail experiences in the world, offering an extensive array of Disney merchandise and many items found exclusively at Shanghai Disney Resort.

Disneytown comprises five distinctive areas: Marketplace, Lakeshore, Spice Alley, Broadway Boulevard and Broadway Plaza. Also open is Spoonful of Sugar, a confectionery boutique and show kitchen; LEGO, a hands-on retail experience and world’s largest LEGO store; Wolfgang Puck Kitchen & Bar, the celebrity chef’s latest contemporary restaurant; and Shanghai Min, the popular restaurant chain serving authentic Shanghainese cuisine.

Hotels of Shanghai Disney Resort and Wishing Star Park Welcome Guests

The hotels of Shanghai Disney Resort are now welcoming guests to the elegant Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the imaginative Toy Story Hotel. With more than 1,200 guest rooms, the hotels extend the Disney experience for guests from day until night, with unique dining experiences, character encounters and magical amenities. Wishing Star Park is also open to the public with a serene walking path around the glittering lake, stunning landscape and recreational activities.

Shanghai Disney Resort is Vacation Destination for Everyone


As the first Disney resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort is a magical family vacation destination filled with Disney storytelling and experiences designed especially for Chinese guests of all ages. The resort’s theme park, Shanghai Disneyland, features world-class attractions and live entertainment spectaculars across six themed lands: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland, with the Enchanted Storybook Castle. For a complete vacation experience, theme park guests may also stay at the resort hotels, and visit Disneytown and Wishing Star Park.

Incorporating unique characteristics that Chinese guests will recognize and appreciate, Shanghai Disney Resort offers a distinctive Disney experience that reflects the beauty and unique identity of today’s China—from entertainment with Chinese acrobats and traditional regional dining options, to the Shikumen architecture at Disneytown and Chinese Zodiac designs in Garden of the Twelve Friends.

Throughout the resort, visitors will encounter another distinguishing Disney difference: warm hospitality and renowned guest service delivered by Disney cast members

THE LION KING admission is separate from entrance to Shanghai Disneyland. Guests may purchase tickets for THE LION KING at Walt Disney Grand Theatre at:

The official website of Shanghai Disney Resort, www.shanghaidisneyresort.com

THE LION KING Reservation Center at 400-108-8888 or 86-21-31768888

Shanghai Disney Resort is a world-class family entertainment destination, imagined and created especially for the people of China. Ideal for multiple-day visits, the resort consists of Shanghai Disneyland, a theme park with magical experiences for guests of all ages; two richly themed hotels; Disneytown, an international shopping, dining and entertainment district; and Wishing Star Park, a recreational area with peaceful gardens and a glittering lake. The resort’s hotels are the elegant, 420- room Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the playful, 800-room Toy Story Hotel.

Shanghai Disney Resort is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group comprised of two owner companies (Shanghai International Theme Park Company Limited and Shanghai International Theme Park Associated Facilities Company Limited) and a management company (Shanghai International Theme Park and Resort Management Company Limited). Shanghai Shendi Group holds 57% of the shares and Disney holds the remaining 43% of shares of the owner companies. Disney has a 70% stake and Shanghai Shendi Group has a 30% stake in the joint venture management company. The management company is responsible for creating, developing and operating the resort on behalf of the owner companies.

Walt Disney Company Donates $1 Million to OneOrlando Fund

Today, the Walt Disney Company is announcing a $1 million cash commitment to the OneOrlando Fund, established by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to assist those affected by the tragic events in Orlando. Also, eligible donations from Disney employees will be matched dollar for dollar by Disney Employee Matching Gifts: A Program of The Walt Disney Company Foundation.

“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and hope our commitment will help those in the community affected by this senseless act,” said Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With 74,000 Cast Members who call Orlando home, we mourn the loss of the victims and offer our condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.”

OneOrlando Fund will provide funds and other services to individuals affected by the tragedy. The website for the new fund is www.oneorlando.org.

Walt Disney World Resort has also been working in coordination with other Central Florida agencies and leaders to provide support to those in need. In coordination with OneBlood, cast members and other employees working at Walt Disney World Resort wishing to donate blood to help victims may donate at five designated locations across the resort property.

Through an effort led by the City of Orlando and the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, Walt Disney World Resort is also providing complimentary accommodations for the families and friends of the victims.

Our hearts are with everyone impacted by this horrific event.

June 16, 2016

Statement from The President of Walt Disney World

George A. Kalogridis offered the below statement regarding the tragic accident that occurred yesterday at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

“There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss. We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help them during this difficult time.

On behalf of everyone at Disney, we offer them our deepest sympathy.”

George A. Kalogridis,
President, Walt Disney World Resort

June 17, 2016

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Donates $25,000 to OneOrlando Fund


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – June 17, 2016 –The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and its ownership Tishman Hotel Corporation and MetLife is announcing a $25,000 donation to the OneOrlando Fund to support the Orlando community in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub tragedy.

“We would like to express our sincere condolences to those affected by the tragedy of this past weekend's events” said Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort General Manager Fred Sawyers. “As a proud member of the Orlando community for more than 25 years, we stand in solidarity and offer our support to the victims with this donation.”

June 18, 2016

AMAWATERWAYS CHRISTENS TWO NEW SHIPS, AMAVIOLA AND AMASTELLA

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Sister Ships Welcomed to Company’s Fleet During Ceremonies in Vilshofen, Germany


Important Note:
The AmaViola will be carrying Adventures by Disney passengers on Danube river cruises in 2016 and 2017.

Calabasas, CA - (Jun. 17, 2016) - AmaWaterways this week christened its two newest ships, AmaViola and AmaStella. The line’s co-founders, Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst, were joined by the ships’ godmothers and local dignitaries, for ceremonies in Vilshofen, Germany.

On June 15, AmaWaterways marked the official arrival of AmaViola, with a day of specially planned festivities in Vilshofen. The morning began with the decorating of the dock and continued with comments by AmaWaterways’ Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner and Vilshofen Mayor Florian Gams. The events included a signing of the ship’s guestbook, prayer by the abbot, live music and Bavarian cuisine. A special song was also written in honor of AmaViola by a local Vilshofen musician, and performed during the ceremony.

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During the festivities, AmaWaterways welcomed Nexion President Jackie Friedman as the ship’s godmother. Friedman – who joined the Nexion leadership team in 2004 and currently supports more than 3,300 independent leisure and corporate travel professionals – took part in a traditional champagne christening and blessing. The christening was enjoyed by travelers from around the world, as well as representatives from a Nexion agency, who were onboard with their clients.

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The day prior, AmaWaterways christened AmaViola’s sister ship, AmaStella, and held a similar ceremony marking the vessel’s arrival with Godmother Carole Smethurst, who owns a top Virtuoso agency in Perth, Australia. Both christenings were enjoyed by guests onboard and local dignitaries, culminating with unforgettable evening fireworks.

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“This is an exciting time for AmaWaterways and we are so thrilled to welcome the beautiful new AmaViola and AmaStella to our expanding worldwide fleet,” said Karst. “AmaWaterways takes great joy in preparing for our christening ceremonies and this year, we are honored to have Nexion’s Jackie Friedman and Virtuoso’s Carole Smethurst join an esteemed list of AmaWaterways godmothers.”

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AmaViola and AmaStella join the AmaWaterways fleet alongside sister ships AmaSerena, AmaReina, AmaPrima, AmaCerto, AmaVenita and AmaSonata. Both ships carry 158 passengers and feature AmaWaterways’ innovative new connecting staterooms and triple accommodations, which were designed to specifically target the multi-generational group and family travel markets. Guests sailing aboard AmaViola and AmaStella will enjoy the comfort of AmaWaterways’ signature twin balconies, which feature breathtaking panoramic river views, salon and spa services, multiple dining venues, including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant, intimate wine rooms, fitness rooms and heated sun deck swimming pools with swim-up bars.

AmaViola began sailing in April and will also be offering 7-night Danube cruises in 2016 and 2017. Selected departures – in partnership with Adventures by Disney – will feature a family theme, including memorable experiences in eight destinations across four countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Pre- and post-cruise land extensions are also available. Onboard activities include family karaoke, movie nights for Junior Adventurers, a magic show, cooking classes, games, piano music and other exciting entertainment geared towards guests of all ages.

AmaStella – chartered in March to Australian Pacific Touring (APT) – begins sailing with AmaWaterways in late September, with 7-night Melodies of the Danube cruises. Romantic Danube, Melodies of the Danube (wine-themed) and Christmas Markets itineraries are also available in 2016, as well as in 2017. A ship’s christening is a long-standing tradition within the cruise industry originating more than 4,000 years ago. The memorable ceremony features the blessing of the ship by an appointed godmother and concludes with the breaking of a champagne bottle against the ship’s hull.

June 21, 2016

Shanghai Disney Resort Celebrates Historic Grand Opening as the First Disney Resort in Mainland China

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SHANGHAI, June 16, 2016 -- Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney resort in Mainland China and the sixth worldwide, celebrated its historic Grand Opening today, culminating one of Disney's most ambitious projects ever. The wonder and imagination of Disney greeted the people of China in magical new ways as the gates opened to Shanghai Disneyland, a theme park like no other with the biggest, tallest castle in any Disney park, the first pirate-themed land and Disney's most technologically advanced park to date.

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, celebrated the opening of the one-of-a-kind vacation destination with thousands of distinguished guests, celebrities and Chinese officials. Shanghai Disney Resort reflects Disney's 60-year history of innovation, creativity and storytelling, in a way that is authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.

"The grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort is a celebration of creativity and collaboration, a triumph of imagination and innovation, and a testament to the strong partnership between Disney and China," Iger said. "Together we have created an extraordinary destination, a magical place unique in all the world, where East meets West, the past meets the future, and anything is possible for those who believe. It is our sincere hope that this spectacular place will inspire wonder and create joy for the people of China for generations to come."

Honoring the Disney-Chinese partnership that created this resort, Iger and Chinese officials cut a red-and-gold ribbon to dedicate Shanghai Disneyland, the resort's magnificent theme park. Joining Iger were Wang Yang, CPC Politburo Member and State Council Vice Premier, and Han Zheng, CPC Politburo Member and Party Secretary of Shanghai. Iger also shared a greeting similar to the one Walt Disney said on opening day for the original Disneyland, in 1955: "To all who come to this happy place, welcome."

Disney developed the Resort in a joint venture with Shendi Group. Fan Xiping, m Shendi Group chairman, said in a statement: "After five years of joint efforts, partners from both China and the United States have created magic together. In the process of combining global standards and local best practices, we integrated with each other and established mutual trust and effective communication. The young team has learned and grown in the process, bringing into full play its role as the local guide. The team worked closely with Disney in the development and construction of Shanghai Disneyland and the resort, jointly building the tallest and largest Disney castle in the world, and providing quality services to our guests. The team members' dedication and commitment make it an unforgettable chapter in their lives."

The Grand Opening ceremony marked the moment with music, pageantry and a stream of Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse and Snow White to Baymax and Jack Sparrow, in front of the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle. A multi-generational choir performed a unique version of the Disney song, "When You Wish Upon a Star," arranged in a Chinese style to reflect the balance of Disney magic and China's cultural spirit at Shanghai Disney Resort. The ceremony also featured six performers holding enormous, brightly colored fans to represent the six lands of Shanghai Disneyland.

Shanghai Disney Resort is filled with immersive Disney storytelling, thrilling attractions, spectacular live entertainment and memory-making experiences designed to inspire and delight Chinese guests. The world-class vacation destination includes a magical theme park with six themed lands, two imaginatively designed hotels, a Disneytown shopping and dining district, and Wishing Star Park recreational area.

First Official Guests Discover Thrills of Shanghai Disneyland

Tens of thousands of guests entered Shanghai Disneyland on its Grand Opening day to explore world-class attractions and live entertainment spectaculars­—many being offered for the first time in a Disney theme park. Thousands more guests visited the resort's Wishing Star Park recreational area and Disneytown, a vibrant retail, dining and shopping district that is home to the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, where guests may experience the first Mandarin production of Disney's musical hit THE LION KING. Those areas, along with two imaginatively themed Disney hotels, offer guests a complete vacation destination with something for everyone—young and old, girls and boys, families and multi-generational guests.

The three-day Grand Opening event also included two red-carpet occasions: Tuesday's premiere of the first Mandarin production of THE LION KING, now showing at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, and Wednesday's gala concert with celebrity performers at Evergreen Playhouse in Shanghai Disneyland.

Shanghai Disney Resort Offers Something for Everyone

Shanghai Disney Resort offers a range of magical experiences, from thrilling adventures and original entertainment to themed food and beverages, beautifully landscaped gardens and novel places for guests to play, relax and dream.

The six themed lands of Shanghai Disneyland invite guests to step into new worlds of imagination and fantasy. Adventure Isle immerses guests in a newly discovered lost world. The Gardens of Imagination celebrates the wonders of nature and joy of imagination with whimsical décor and interactive spaces. Mickey Avenue is the first main entry at a Disney theme park that's inspired by the colorful personalities of Mickey Mouse and his pals. Tomorrowland is a place of limitless possibilities, where the promise of tomorrow looks brighter than ever. Treasure Cove is the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park, a place to join the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. The largest of all the lands, Fantasyland, is inspired by Disney's animated films and home to the majestic Enchanted Storybook Castle—the tallest, largest and most interactive Disney castle in the world.

Adjacent to the theme park is Disneytown, which features approximately 50 international shopping and dining locations in five unique areas. The World of Disney Store, the first in Asia, offers a comprehensive collection of Disney merchandise, with products designed especially for Shanghai Disney Resort and the Grand Opening. The lavish Walt Disney Grand Theatre, also in Disneytown, is now playing the Mandarin premiere of Disney's hit musical, THE LION KING, a separately ticketed event.

Guests may continue their Disney experience at the resort's two hotels, the elegant Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the whimsical Toy Story Hotel. The themed hotels are conveniently located near Shanghai Disneyland and promise a fun, relaxing stay.

Near the hotels and Disneytown is Wishing Star Park, which offers guests the opportunity to enjoy peaceful greenery, a 2.5 kilometer walking path and a glittering lake, with approximately 500,000 square meters open to the public.

Incorporating unique characteristics that Chinese guests will recognize and appreciate, Shanghai Disney Resort offers a distinctive Disney experience that reflects the beauty and unique identity of today's China—from traditional regional dining cuisine and Chinese acrobatic performances, to the Shikumen architecture at Disneytown and Chinese Zodiac designs in Garden of the Twelve Friends.

Throughout the resort, guests will encounter another distinguishing Disney difference: warm hospitality and renowned guest service delivered by Disney cast members.

June 29, 2016

Portobello Cooking Class for Kids August 6th

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Join us on Saturday, August 6th from 11:00am-1:00pm for a children's cooking class! Have your little ones take part in a fun and interactive class specifically designed for younger students.

This class offers a crash course for Italian cooking teaching kids to create the classic Cheese Raviolo with tomato sauce. As an added activity, the culinary kiddos will also create a refreshing Mint Cooler made with muddled mint, simple syrup, and ginger ale. Ending the afternoon on a sweet note, kids will indulge with a build-your-own ice cream sundae bar.

The class is 30.00 per person.

Call 407-828-8996 to reserve your spot!

Sand Sculpting Festival Coming to Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

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Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – June 29, 2016 – For the first time, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will host Sandtastic Weekends on August 26-28 and September 2-4. Open to both resort guests and the public, the event will feature activities for all ages, with the highlight being 100 tons of intricately sculpted sand art designed by award-winning world-class sculptors from Team Sandtastic and constructed right on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort’s private beach.

The event will offer guests a variety of different ways to take part in the action, from watching the masterpieces being created up close to learning the tips and techniques of sand sculpting during a sand sculpting clinic. Those with a competitive side can take part in amateur sculpting contests or try to stump the professionals by giving suggestions for speed sculpting demonstrations, where a piece is created in just 10 minutes.

The fun will extend beyond the sand sculpting, with plenty of indoor and outdoor food selections featuring creations from the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team, including the resort’s own Phins and Feathers craft beer; games on the beach like corn hole and table tennis; a DJ; and to close the day, a campfire and s’mores.

The fun continues to Labor Day Monday, September 5, with special tributes to celebrate the Kickoff Classic college football game between Florida State and Ole Miss taking place in Orlando. Fans of each team will find a giant sand sculpture in honor of the game incorporating a tribute to both teams and the lights on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort causeway will feature team colors. Coverage of the Kickoff Classic between the Florida State Seminoles and Ole Miss Rebels will be shown on an outdoor oversized projection screen.

Overnight accommodations during Sandtastic Weekends start at just $168 per night. To reserve a room or for more information, including a full schedule of events, please visit www.sandtasticweekends.com.

Parking at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is $18 for self-parking and $26 for valet.

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About June 2016

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

May 2016 is the previous archive.

July 2016 is the next archive.

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