Thursday, June 28, 2018

First-Of-Its-Kind ‘Play Disney Parks’ Mobile App Debuts This Week at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort


Guests can explore the Disney theme parks like never before with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, a transformative new digital entertainment offering that will make its official debut on June 30 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

The Play Disney Parks app will bring to life unique interactive experiences that enable guests of all ages to access a wide range of activities including themed games, Disney trivia, digital achievements, music and so much more – whether they are playing on Main Street, U.S.A. or waiting in line at beloved attractions.

Developed in close collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, Play Disney Parks was designed for families and guests to enjoy together, with group play options that enable everyone to join in on the fun while staying fully engaged in the immersive environments of Disney parks. The app will be available for iOS and Android platforms and will be free to download.

“Play Disney Parks represents the next step in how we use innovative digital technology to enhance the guest experience in our parks,” said Vivek Sharma, Senior Vice President of Digital Guest Experience and eCommerce for Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. “The app is designed to help guests immerse themselves in the Disney stories they know and love in a whole new way.”


Turn Wait Time into Play Time

With an imaginative set of in-queue games, wait time will turn into play time at select in-park locations as guests play games that interact with the physical environment around them – from activating special show effects to uncovering magical surprises during their experience.

Joy-filled experiences and quests can be found throughout the four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort and the two theme parks at Disneyland Resort, including discovering happy thoughts with Tinker Bell before setting sail on Peter Pan’s Flight, embarking on galactic training missions prior to boarding Space Mountain and even playing a whimsical series of mini-games with Buzz, Woody and the “Toy Story” gang at new Disney·Pixar areas opening this summer:
  • Walt Disney World Resort: At the soon-to-be-unveiled Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can extend their play time at the new Slinky Dog Dash coaster with “Andy’s Board Game Blast,” a fun game that Andy has crafted in his backyard from some spare toys, cardboard boxes and his own imagination. Guests visiting this new land will also be able to experience “Playset Party,” a game in which they help assemble the Toy Story Mania! playset.
  • Disneyland Resort: At the newly reimagined Pixar Pierin Disney California Adventure, guests can also experience “Playset Party” while progressing through the queue of Toy Story Mania! and preparing to take a spin on this guest-favorite attraction.

Earn Themed Achievements

Guests signed into their Disney account, available to guests 13 and over, can also earn, collect and share uniquely themed achievements, rewarded for experiences both in the app and across the Disney parks. Whether venturing to certain attractions in the parks or accomplishing an impressive feat at an in-queue game, guests are able to use this feature to showcase their in-park experiences and Disney fandom while filling their “Playfile” with these special achievements.

Listen to the Songs and Sounds of Disney

Guests will be able to celebrate their Disney vacation with an enchanting audio experience featuring the music of Disney and the classic sounds of the Disney theme parks. Before, after or during their next visit, guests can listen to Apple Music in the Play Disney Parks app to access curated playlists inspired by beloved lands, attractions and characters – and some favorite memories too.*

Uncover Disney Trivia and Fun Facts

Through the Disney trivia feature, guests can band together before, during or after their visit to see if they have what it takes to become Disney trivia masters as they discover fun facts about their favorite theme parks.

The new Play Disney Parks app is the latest addition to the Disney Parks digital app portfolio. Play Disney Parks complements the popular My Disney Experience app at Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland App at Disneyland Resort, the convenient places for guests to plan their visit, access important information such as attraction wait times and park hours and utilize services like mobile food ordering.

And this is just the beginning. Play Disney Parks is planned to grow and evolve over time with new experiences and offerings at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, including at the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, coming to Disneyland Resort in summer 2019 and Walt Disney World Resort in late fall 2019. For the latest updates, follow the dedicated Play Disney Parks app pages – Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort  – as well as the #PlayDisneyParks hashtag on social media.

Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations, and features may vary by handset, service provider or otherwise. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.

*Some features require Apple Music subscription and are only available on iOS devices. Separate terms and conditions apply.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android is a trademark of Google LLC.

Alien Swirling Saucers Takes Guests for a Spin in New Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo Credit: Steven Diaz

Three-eyed Toy Story Aliens take guests on a whirling flying saucer ride in toy rocket ships as part of Alien Swirling Saucers, one of the new attractions inside Toy Story Land, opening June 30 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

As guests become “honorary toys” in the new land, they encounter Alien Swirling Saucers, a play-set that toy-owner Andy of Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story films won at the Pizza Planet restaurant. The new attraction whirls and blinks with colorful lighting, electronic space music and nonstop fun.

Alien saucer pilots are straight out of the Toy Story movies, with their pointy ears, three eyes, short antennae and facial expressions designed to convey surprise or delight. Each extraterrestrial has hitched its flying saucer to one of 22 rocket ships; together, flying saucers and rockets spin through the Pizza Planet galaxy.

Photo Credit: Matt Stroshane

With “The Claw” dangling overhead, guests climb aboard their rocket ships and hover in Pizza Planet’s version of “deep-dish space” for an out-of-this-world saucer whirl to the beat of new versions of Toy Story songs and musical themes. During the adventure, the Aliens spin guests around toy icons like Planet Pepperonia and a pizza-inspired space station.

Before boarding Alien Swirling Saucers, guests can pose for a photo with a Buzz Lightyear action figure standing more than 14 feet tall on top of toy building blocks near the entrance to his Star Command Space Station Play-set. Toy robot guards flank the Pizza Planet-inspired marquee.

Inside Star Command, there are buttons to push, dials to turn and a switch to toggle for audio and visual effects. His creativity never flagging, Andy built a toy gantry with his Construx toy pieces that guests use to traverse from Buzz’s command center to the Swirling Saucers game.

Photo Credit: Steven Diaz

Guests who are spin-averse can swirl vicariously by watching from the viewing area in between and around the play-set.

“This is a world created by a boy’s imagination,” said Dave Fisher, Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Story Editor. “Andy has brought out all his space toys – it’s a really fun and high-energy attraction.”

Before or after a spin on Alien Swirling Saucers, guests can pose for an out-of-this-world selfie with a stationary, photo-ready green Alien in its colorful saucer just outside the attraction. Toys of all makes and sizes – from a 10-foot-diameter “rubber” ball to colorful Cooties – have been carefully placed by Andy among the landscape of overgrown grasses, toy shrubs and play-set trees throughout Toy Story Land.

Alien Swirling Saucers: At a Glance
  • Type of attraction: Swirl-and-whirl ride
  • A Disney first: Three-eyed green Alien pilots
  • Number of passengers per seat: 2 to 3 honorary toys
  • Number of saucer/rocket ships: 22 (11 in each of two playset areas)
  • Height restriction: 32 inches
  • FastPass+: Yes

Slinky Dog Dash Strrretches the Fun in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo Credit: Matt Stroshane

Jumping on the coolest canine toy ever, guests are in for a rollicking good time as Disney’s Hollywood Studios unleashes Slinky Dog Dash in the new Toy Story Land at the Walt Disney World Resort. This multi-launch, family-friendly roller coaster careens around bends and “catches air” over camelback humps as it runs across the 11-acre land.

As honorary toys, guests have Andy of Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story films to thank for this incredibly fun experience. They get to ride his creation and be inside Slinky Dog’s coils as the lovable pooch twists and turns around the track. It all takes place in Andy’s backyard, where he used the Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Play Kit to assemble this speedy toy.

Photo Credit: David Roark

Andy’s idea for his double-launch coaster – a Disney first – was to pick everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with the stretching coil body – Slinky Dog – to send guests around the track. The attraction’s ride vehicles are spring-tailed spinoffs of Slinky, the iconic American toy from the 1940s. Track and supports for the coaster are done up in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue.

Guests approaching the ride launch see Andy’s plans sketched out in Crayola crayon on notebook paper. Glue bottles, empty toy boxes and stray coaster parts and pieces are strewn about – Andy’s pet project was clearly a work in progress when he was called away. But that’s when the toys will play!

In one hilarious scene, the coaster swoops around blocks Andy stacked around his Jenga game. Rex, the toy dinosaur, is precariously perched atop the unstable Jenga stack trying to decorate the toy block city by stringing up colored Christmas lights – a daunting task when you’re a dinosaur with short front arms! Jessie comes to his rescue, working to untangle Rex’s dino-sized predicament.

Andy also tricked out his coaster creation with a power booster. When Slinky Dog Dash hits its midway point, the coaster stops, reverses a few yards, then shoots through multiple rings pulsing with sounds, spinners and flashing lights to launch riders into the second act of the ride experience.

“The first half of the ride is many swirls, turns and dips, and after the second launch come a drop and camelback humps – as if you were playing with a Slinky Dog toy,” explained Dave Minichiello, Executive Creative Director of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Photo Credit: Steven Diaz

Andy saved one last surprise for his coaster’s finale: Wheezy, the squeaky toy penguin from the Toy Story films, breaks into a rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Created especially for Slinky Dog Dash, the Audio-Animatronics figure of Wheezy is unique among Disney Parks globally. Toys and toy packaging complete the scene, including a Rubik’s Cube, a game canister for Pick-Up Snakes and toy wooden blocks spelling out F-U-N – all against the backdrop of a towering book, Mr. Pricklepants’ “Songs for Singing,” compiled by the huggable hedgehog from “Toy Story 3.”

“As Toy Story Land welcomes our guests – as toys – into Andy’s backyard, Slinky Dog Dash invites them into Andy’s imagination,” said Phil Holmes, Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “What Andy has dreamed up will deliver nonstop coaster fun for all ages.”

Slinky Dog Dash: At a Glance

Type of attraction: Family-friendly roller coaster, first at Disney Parks with a second mid-ride launch
Track type: Steel
Number of passengers per train: 18
Height restrictions: 38 inches
FastPass+: Yes

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Special SOLO Activities at Disney Springs


To help celebrate the opening of "Solo: A Star Wars Story," Disney Springs will be holding several special activities this week.

Guests who visit AMC 24, Star Wars Trading Post or Star Wars Galactic Outpost at Disney Springs will receive a commemorative "Solo: A Star Wars Story" button beginning on May 24 and will continue while supplies last.

You can help build a model of the Millennium Falcon at the Marketplace LEGO Store from May 25-28, 2018.

Exposition Park at Disney's West Side will feature photo opportunities, a Dance Party and from May 24-27, from 2pm until 7pm, there will be Star Wars crafting events.

Oh, and the AMC 24 will be showing a little movie called "Solo: A Star Wars Story" just to stick with the theme!




Monday, May 21, 2018

WDW Passholder News!

The WDW Passholder magnet craze is back, and this time our friend Donald Duck is at the forefront!


You can pick these little beauties up at Disney's Hollywood Studios now thru June 29, 2018, or while supplies last at Mickey’s of Hollywood, Celebrity 5 & 10, Keystone Clothiers, Once Upon a Time or Walt Disney Presents.

Make sure to have your MagicBand or Annual Pass ID Card as they'll need to scan it. And please don't give the CM's grief if you ask for more than you're entitled to and they say no. This is a nice offering from Disney, so please follow the rules (or "guidelines" as Captain Barbosa would say). Do yourselves a favor and don't put it on your car. As nice as it looks, there will be someone who will think that it will look even nicer on their car and it will vanish. I know, it's a sad world that we live in when a car magnet isn't safe. ETSY has many options to by these as stickers. Mine adorn my refrigerator, along with all my runDisney race magnets. 

Passholders can also enjoy the following thru June 29, 2018:
  • Early access to purchase a Toy Story Land MagicBand: Annual Passholders can visit Mickey’s of Hollywood, Celebrity 5 & 10, Keystone Clothiers, Once Upon a Time and Walt Disney Presents to purchase an official Toy Story MagicBand before it becomes available to all Guests on June 30. I picked one up and LOVE it!
  • Double character dining discounts: Annual Passholders can receive a limited-time 20% discount on all meal periods at Hollywood & Vine.
  • Daily viewings of Incredibles 2 sneak peek: From 9-10 a.m., Annual Passholders are invited to attend an Annual Passholder-only viewing of the Incredibles 2 sneak peek at Walt Disney Presents. Otherwise, you can enjoy with all other park guests during regular operating hours. I'm excited for this sequel that picks up literally minutes after the 2004 original.

Wine lovers rejoice! Wine Bar George is NOW OPEN at Disney Springs


Master Sommelier George Miliotes has brought his renowned wine expertise to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort with his new venture, Wine Bar George, that opened on May 19, 2018. Wine Bar George will be the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida.

Miliotes is no stranger to Walt Disney World Resort – he was part of the opening team of the California Grill restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and managed the venue from 1995 to 2002. While there, he created an award-winning wine list and one of the first “100 wines by the glass” lists in the country.

“Disney Springs is the perfect place to open a wine bar and share my passion with the world,” Miliotes said. “Having the opportunity to train and hire my own team while sharing my 40-plus years of knowledge is truly incredible, and I look forward to opening our doors soon.”

As one of only 249 worldwide industry professionals certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Miliotes will feature wines from acclaimed and well-known wineries as well as growing regions and wineries that are up-and-coming. The location will offer an unparalleled wine list including more than 130 selections by the ounce, glass and bottle.

“The wine list will feature more than 130 wines all served by the ounce, glass or bottle,” Miliotes said. “The list will include more than 40 varietals from regions around the world. We will use the Coravin, the Vinfinity system and wine on tap to ensure each wine is enjoyed to its fullest extent. Servers will adeptly pair a range of small plates, cheese and charcuterie, shareable entrees and dessert with each wine. If you are looking for an awesome $9 glass on tap or a few ounces of Château Margaux, we will have wines for you to enjoy.”


Guests will have the opportunity to explore endless food and wine pairings at Wine Bar George. Executive Chef Ron Rupert and Miliotes have worked closely to create a menu that will pair with the extensive wine list.

“Offerings will feature seasonally relevant items, and everything will be made in-house,” Rupert said. “I’ve worked jointly with George to develop a menu that represents both global and local cuisine.

Guests will enjoy food that is familiar, yet new all at once.”


With a team hand-selected by Miliotes, guests can expect their experience to include wine education, which will be served up in an approachable and fun manner. Joining Miliotes as General Manager is George Vavalides who brings more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry including nearly 20 years with P.F. Chang’s. Jamie Irizarry will be part of Miliotes’ team as Restaurant Manager. Irizarry has more than 15 years in the industry working with restaurants such as Seasons 52, Eddie V’s and The Capital Grille. Robyn Cohen will join as Bar Manager with 15 years of bartending experience including, most recently, at Flying Fish on Disney’s BoardWalk. Cohen and Miliotes worked jointly to develop the featured cocktails at Wine Bar George, all of which will include a grape-based spirit. In addition to the extensive wine list, the wine bar will offer a variety of cocktails, a selection of beer and cider and frosé.

The 200-seat wine bar will join a growing and remarkable group of dining, shopping and entertainment offerings at Disney Springs. The design for the 6,000-square-foot space will be similar to a winemaker’s home estate with a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. The space includes seating for groups of all sizes, areas for private events and sweeping views of Disney Springs. Follow George @WineBarGeorge on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and join the #WineBarGeorge conversation. Visit WineBarGeorge.com for more news and updates.

About Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment district located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. With its namesake springs, beautiful open-air promenades and lakefront setting, Disney Springs evokes the charm of Florida waterfront towns at the turn of the 20th century. It’s also home to a collection of more than 150 shops, entertainment venues and restaurants, including top-name retail brands, specialty boutiques and dining experiences created by celebrity and award-winning chefs. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Disney Springs is open daily.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Exciting New Experiences and Entertainment Highlight an Incredible Summer that Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort


From Super Heroes to an intergalactic concert, from eye-popping shows to a nighttime beach party to get your glow on, from new reasons to love Disney Springs to an all-new land where toys reign supreme, there’s only one way to describe summer 2018 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Incredible!

When Disney kicks off its Incredible Summer over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, guests will kick up their sandals to nonstop fun, immersed in favorite Disney films, entering the worlds of beloved characters and experiencing exciting new attractions and entertainment.

And, with the addition of a nighttime party at Typhoon Lagoon, this summer will be even more incredible.

At Magic Kingdom Park from May 25 through Sept. 3, favorite Disney•Pixar Super Heroes will take over Tomorrowland with the premiere of the Incredible Tomorrowland Expo that celebrates all things super. Guests will interact with Mr. Incredible, Frozone and other characters from Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and upcoming “Incredibles 2.” And, for the first time ever, guests will get to see Edna Mode, the world’s greatest costume designer for the Supers. Tomorrowland gets decked out for this Supers celebration with Incredibles décor and the sounds of incredible music. High-energy fun builds to a “SUPER” dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage. “Incredibles 2” opens in theaters nationwide June 15.

There will be more Super Hero action at Epcot where Star-Lord and Gamora, from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, take guests on a musical journey through the cosmos. The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! concert series will feature hits from Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixtapes – fun and favorite tunes from the two movie soundtracks. There will be five show times daily, running June 9 through Aug. 19.

This summer, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two super new experiences:
  • UP! A Great Bird Adventure premieres April 22, Earth Day, coinciding with the start of the park’s 20th anniversary celebration. The show features Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug, from the Disney•Pixar animated film “UP,” as they discover bird species from around the world.
  • Donald’s Dino-Bash!, which opens Memorial Day Weekend, is a “dino-tastic” celebration where Donald Duck takes over Dinoland U.S.A. The world’s most famous duck is celebrating his recent discovery that ducks are descendants of dinosaurs. He’s brought along feathered friends Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack, plus other Disney characters to meet guests. In addition to bringing his own decorating touch to the land, Donald puts on a nightly dance party where everyone can shake their tail feathers. The dance party is the newest addition to the lineup of after-dark entertainment that keeps the fun going past sundown at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

In addition to the fun new entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can still thrill to the park’s newest land, Pandora – The World of Avatar. There they can experience Avatar Flight of Passage, which quickly became the top-rated attraction at Walt Disney World.

New Nighttime Fun at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Just announced, Rex and his “Toy Story” pals will be throwing a glow party bigger and better than ever at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Disney H2O Glow Nights will transform the water park like never before. Rex, a.k.a. Partysaurus Rex, serves as host and promises a sudsy good time. All attractions will be open for guest enjoyment and, as part of the fun, a DJ will host dancing on the beach. This special-ticket event will crank out the fun Thursdays and Saturdays only, June 21 through Aug. 11, from 8 p.m.-11 p.m.  Tickets go on sale March 19 and are $55 per person plus tax for adults and $50 per person plus tax for children ages 3-9.  For more information and to purchase tickets, call (407) 939-1872.

Exciting Adventures and Delicious Delights at Disney Springs

Summer 2018 also marks the first summer for incredible new offerings at Disney Springs, including “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” a hyper-reality experience from Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID; and new restaurants and bars have popped up to tempt any appetite. These include The Edison, a lavish “Industrial Gothic” restaurant and bar; Maria & Enzo’s, an open and airy Italian trattoria featuring family-friendly dishes inspired by Sicily; Terralina Crafted Italian, a new concept from James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano; and Wine Bar George, the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida, brought to Disney Springs by former California Grill manager and Master Sommelier George Miliotes (opening this spring).

Toy Story Land Opens

The capstone of the Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World is the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Part of a multi-year reimagining of the park, this new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard. Guests will experience two new attractions. Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster that will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops that Andy has created to stretch Slinky and his coils to the max. “Toy Story” pals also come to life in another fresh-from-the-box themed attraction – Alien Swirling Saucers. This Pizza Planet toy play set is loaded with aliens circling about in their flying saucers pulling along rocket ships full of guests. The new land will also encompass Toy Story Mania!  Already one of the most popular attractions, it will feature a brand-new entrance designed to look like a play set filled with carnival games.  Woody’s Lunch Box will be a new quick-service kiosk serving tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats inside Toy Story Land.

Immersive New Pixar Character Experience for Children

Disney’s Contemporary Resort will soon be home to an immersive new Pixar character experience that is exclusively for children ages 4-12 and takes place nightly from 5-10:30 p.m. Pixar Play Zone will offer a playful and exciting evening that will transport kids on an adventure with their favorite characters from “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles.”

Kids will learn how to battle the enemies of Star Command in Space Ranger Training, and they’ll learn the ropes of the Wild West with Woody and Jessie during Woody’s Roundup. As part of The Piston Cup Challenge, youngsters will build and race cars on the Radiator Springs Racetrack. Kids will also will learn some sweet dance moves during the Incredible Dance Party with Mr. Incredible and Mrs. Incredible. The evening includes dinner, other activities and arcade games.

The new Pixar experience is $65 per child plus tax.  For more information and to make reservations, call (407) 824-5437.

To learn more about planning a Walt Disney World vacation, see your local travel agent, visit DisneyWorld.com or call (407) 934-7639.