Friday, February 17, 2017

New Guest Experiences Coming to Disney’s Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resorts


Walt Disney World Resort continues to invest in the guest experience of its resort hotels and will soon be offering enhanced dining options, added event areas and more guest rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Work has begun on a new 15-story tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort that will bring an additional 500 rooms with suites and concierge level services. The new tower, overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort’s centerpiece lake, will offer a rooftop dining experience with panoramic views of popular nighttime fireworks from nearby Disney theme parks.

“For many of our guests, magical memories begin at one of our 27-themed resorts each and every day,” said Josh D’Amaro, senior vice president of Walt Disney World Resort Operations. “At Walt Disney World Resort, we continue to expand our portfolio and invest in new resort developments that allow even more guests to be immersed in all that a Disney resort has to offer.”
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will also reimagine its current resort rooms and transform its landscape with floating gardens and an island oasis connected by a series of bridges to other areas of the resort. The transformation will stay true to the resort theme, reflecting the vibrant spirit of adventure that lived within the Spanish explorers of North America.

The addition of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort tower will bring the number Walt Disney World Resort rooms to nearly 30,000 within its 27 resort hotels.

Coming to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will feature a new waterfront dining area and a retail shopping area, creating a new landscape from the resort’s current marketplace, Centertown. The new centralized location will offer the resort’s Guests more convenient access to services, amenities and dining.

Reservations for Walt Disney World Resort rooms can be made by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-3463), visiting DisneyWorld.com or contacting a travel agent. Rates vary depending on the season and room type.

BB-8 Meet and Greet Coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios this Spring


Great news from the Disney Parks Blog!

Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have more Star Wars fun to look forward to this spring when BB-8, the loyal droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, begins character greetings at the park’s Star Wars Launch Bay.

BB-8 will appear in addition to Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, two characters from the Star Wars galaxy who guests regularly encounter at Star Wars Launch Bay. In addition to character greetings, the location also offers guests the chance to explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including some from the latest film in the franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Star Wars Launch Bay is just one experience that has debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the delight of Star Wars fans over the past two years: “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” daytime show features characters from around the Star Wars galaxy; while the guest-favorite “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” nighttime spectacular lights up the park each night. Guests age 4-12 can also become Jedi recruits and put their skills to the test in an unforgettable battle against villains like Darth Vader or the Seventh Sister Inquisitor. And just a few months ago, the park’s Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction began offering guests randomized destinations, making different planetary destinations possible for every galactic journey.

BB-8 will make his debut during Star Wars Galactic Nights on April 14, 2017. You can learn more about this ONE NIGHT EVENT by heading over to the Disney Parks Blog.

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Attractions, Experiences and Dining Debut This Spring at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s an exciting spring season at Walt Disney World Resort, one filled with new fun that spans all four theme parks, Disney’s Water Parks and Disney Springs.

From the unveiling of a whole new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to an awe-inspiring fireworks show at Magic Kingdom Park to more retail and restaurant openings at Disney Springs, there more to see and do at Walt Disney World Resort than ever before.

Here’s a closer look at what is in store:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Opening May 27, Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will transport guests to a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.

Guests will discover two main adventures in this breathtaking new land. Avatar Flight of Passage, sending guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee. Na’vi River Journey is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.

Also coming soon to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Rivers of Light. Debuting Feb. 17, this new nighttime show will take guests on a magnificent journey with a mix of water, fire, nature and light choreographed to an original musical score. Continuing the park’s transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience, the amazing after-dark experience on the banks of Discovery River celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world.


Magic Kingdom Park

Starting May 12, Magic Kingdom Park guests will be treated to the most spectacular fireworks display in the park’s history with a brand new show called “Happily Ever After.”

Featuring more lasers, lights and projections than any Magic Kingdom Park show before it, “Happily Ever After” will take guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart and humor. Cinderella Castle itself will become part of the story, with dazzling projections bringing more than 25 heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic castle.

The 18-minute spectacle will feature moments from beloved Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” as well as modern blockbusters “Moana” and “Zootopia.”

“Happily Ever After” will be presented nightly. Show times vary based on park hours.


Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Several new Star Wars additions have recently taken center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, starting with new displays inside Star Wars Launch Bay that feature authentic replicas from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The new AWR Troopers from “Rogue One” are also now appearing in the daytime stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

For the ultimate Star Wars fan comes the ultimate experience: the all-new Star Wars Guided Tour. Guests are treated to a seven-hour immersion with character greetings, themed dining, attraction experiences, insider’s tours, a dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular. Offered for an additional fee, the tour is available Mondays and Saturdays and can be booked at DisneyWorld.com.

And coming later this year, Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests will be immersed in new scenes from “Star Wars: Episode VIII” while onboard the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction.


Epcot

Epcot celebrates 24 years of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this spring, kicking off March 1 and running through May 29. Guests can sip and savor their way around Epcot enjoying new Outdoor Kitchens while taking in the sights of phenomenal topiaries designed after Disney characters.

Anna and Elsa topiaries will enchant the landscape at the Norway Pavilion in celebration of the new Frozen Ever After attraction, while colorful gardens will line the path to The Land Pavilion where guests can discover Soarin’ Around the World. The favorite attraction now takes guests to new heights with scenes from Sydney, Australia, the Great Wall of China and other destinations around the globe.


Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Miss Adventure Falls, the newest family attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, splashes onto the scene this spring. Aboard this family-style raft adventure, guests will be immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer. Legend holds that this treasure hunter roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her at Typhoon Lagoon.

Guests gently ascend to the top of the attraction in treasure rafts, only to plunge into a whitewater adventure where they will encounter some of Mary’s deep-sea treasures.

When it opens, Miss Adventure Falls will be one of the longest attractions (2 minutes) at Disney’s Water Parks.

Disney Springs

The culinary scene at Disney Springs continues to evolve with more exciting food and beverage locales, including Paddlefish and Planet Hollywood Observatory, both open now.

Board an iconic paddleboat at Paddlefish, which offers guests a delectable menu of fresh seafood, steaks and chops for lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch. A new rooftop lounge serves up a late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Or, dine amongst the stars at Planet Hollywood Observatory, the newly reimagined restaurant serves up a new menu that includes amazing burgers and sandwiches created by celebrity Chef Guy Fieri, and craft cocktails whose names are inspired by the planets and space travel. Movie memorabilia, video screens, contemporary music and themed merchandise complete the scene.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom All Aglow; February 17 Set for Premiere of Majestic New Nighttime Show – Rivers of Light


Rivers of Light, an all-new nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will begin delighting Walt Disney World Resort guests Feb. 17. Rich in symbolism and storytelling, the elaborate theatrical production takes guests on a breathtaking emotional journey – a visual mix of water, fire, nature and light all choreographed to an original musical score.

The new 15-minute show is the latest addition to the lineup of nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Celebrating the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world, the performance combines live performers, beautiful floating lanterns, glistening fountains, special effects and authentic animal imagery projected on giant water screens.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is built around the lives of animals, built around the rules of nature, and those rules dictate that as you move between day and night everything changes…and you’re going to want to see that,” said Joe Rohde, Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “It all really is summed up by Rivers of Light. In the show, we take this combination of light and water which create life, and out of that comes this fantastically rich explosion of animal life that ultimately rises up and joins the stars.”

As the sun sets, guests gather along the picturesque edge of the Discovery River at the site of a fabled age-old ritual. A new 5,000-seat amphitheater welcomes guests to two distinct “villages” separated by a bridge and the river. Sounds of animals are heard from a nearby forest, and magical fireflies descend from the Tree of Life toward the lagoon, creating a sense of wonder as four beautifully illuminated Lotus flowers float across the water.

The ceremony begins with a stirring musical overture signaling the arrival of a pair of mystical Storytellers, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore aboard elaborate lantern vessels. Adorned in intricately designed costumes, the hosts engage in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits – an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl – and take guests on a wondrous journey across Asian jungles and African savannahs.

Disney challenged renowned Broadway production designer Michael Curry to create vessels that were artistic and stimulating, yet innovative. The commanding lanterns stand 15 feet tall and are 30 feet long, illuminated from within by innovative LED technology.

As the mesmerizing show progresses, Rivers of Light continues to unfold with a powerful musical score created by songwriter and composer Don L. Harper and recorded at the renowned Abbey Road Studio in London. The signature song “We Are One” was written by Mark Mancina, who created the score and was a key collaborator on the music for Disney’s hit animated feature film “Moana.”

A collaboration with Disneynature to incorporate rare nature cinematography showcasing tender animal moments adds rich authenticity to the storyline. Many are never-before-seen moments from Disneynature films.

The crescendo of the evening finale blends triumphant music and a waterfall of colors celebrating the circle of life.

“At the show’s finale, we hope guests will feel like they have been on a tremendous ceremonial and visual journey,” said Michael Jung, Walt Disney Imagineering creative director. “Rivers of Light really provides an affirmation of life and reminds us of the beauty and fragility of the natural world we all share – with animals and one another.”

Technology and attention to detail play starring roles in the new show. The 11 show floats are independent of each other and programmed to follow a choreographed “dance” across the lagoon. More than 50,000 programmable, color-changing LED lights are found in the four Animal Spirit Guide floats alone. Each Lotus float produces its own water screen. Costumes for the storytellers and their acolytes include fabrics using 5,000-year-old dye and weaving techniques.

Following its Feb. 17 premiere, Rivers of Light will be performed on select nights.

Special dining packages are available to park guests that include reserved seating at the new show. Packages are offered at the buffet-style Tusker House or the new signature restaurant Tiffins (lunch and dinner). Reservations can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining or by calling 407 WDW-DINE.

Rivers of Light joins a rich variety of new nighttime experiences and family adventures designed to offer up Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light. These include:
  • Post-sunset adventures on Kilimanjaro Safaris, allowing guests to travel through the African savannah amid the artfully created orange glow of the setting sun during evening hours of operation.
  • After-dark hours allowing guests to experience nighttime on popular park attractions including Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more.
  • Fine dining at Tiffins, newest signature restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort, with innovative dishes that take diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas amid travel-inspired artwork.
  • Exuberant song-and-dance gathering nightly in the center of the park, Discovery Island Carnivale. Includes lively music and dance, vibrant costumes, delectable food and beverage, face painting and more.
  • Tree of Life awakening after dark. Through projections and special effects, the animal spirits of the Tree are brought to life like never before, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.
  • Harambe Wildlife Parti. This safari after-party crisscrosses Harambe, from its theatre district to its bustling marketplace with the sights and sounds of local street musicians and entertainers, inviting guests to join them in dance and song, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants.

All are part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom which will culminate this summer with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

‘Happily Ever After’ Nighttime Spectacular Will Debut at Magic Kingdom Park May 12


It’s no secret that every ‘once upon a time’ story ends with ‘happily ever after.’ Beginning May 12, Walt Disney World Resort guests will discover just how magical and emotional that fairy tale ending can be with the newest, most breathtaking fireworks show in the history of Magic Kingdom Park – “Happily Ever After.”

In addition to fireworks, the stunning new nighttime extravaganza will feature more lasers, lights and projections than any Disney show before it. “Happily Ever After” is also an entirely new kind of Disney storytelling, one that will take guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart, humor and emotion. Guests become part of the journey themselves as they follow favorite Disney characters on an adventure to seek out their destiny, face adversity and ultimately fulfill their dreams on the road to their happily ever after.

The 18-minute spectacle will feature scenes from classic Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” to modern blockbusters “Moana” and “Zootopia.” Cinderella Castle will become part of the story itself, with dazzling projections bringing heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic 18-story-tall castle. Quasimodo from “Hunchback of Notre Dame” swings from the turrets. Woody and his pals from Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” recreate the castle entirely out of toys. And Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” envelops the castle in her signature green flames.

The story begins with scenes of fantastic dreams full of hope, wonder, magic and light. Disney villains soon become part of the story, attempting to quash those beautiful dreams and forcing the heroes to fight for what they believe in. Overcoming their fears, the heroes triumph and are celebrated with spectacular fireworks.

Because no Magic Kingdom Park fireworks display is complete without this little bit of magic, Tinker Bell will fly across the night sky, reminding guests that with a little faith, trust and pixie dust, everyone can find their own happily ever after.

Characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films will be featured through state-of-the-art projections, enhanced by more than 50 choreographed spotlights, brilliant lasers and plenty of awe-inspiring fireworks. Paired with an emotional score, the new spectacular will drive the message home that anyone can grab hold of their dreams and make them come true as long as they are brave enough to listen to what guides them and bold enough to pursue their destiny.

The score for “Happily Ever After” was recorded by a 75-piece orchestra in London and includes tunes from a multitude of Disney movies, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Jungle Book” and many more.

“Happily Ever After” will be presented nightly. Show times vary based on park hours.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Garden Rocks Concert Series Hits High Notes with Band Favorites at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Between March 3 and May 29


Sixteen music acts of multiple genres with hits spanning the past five decades will play the Garden Rocks Concert Series at the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Running 90 days and kicking off March 1, this year’s festival launches the concert series March 3 to showcase performers every Friday through Monday until Memorial Day, May 29. It’s the first year the Garden Rocks acts will appear every festival Monday.

Simple Plan, Exposé and Berlin featuring Terri Nunn will rock Epcot audiences for the first time. Jon Secada, who first played the Garden Rocks stage in 2015, will kick off the concert series March 3.


Guests can dance in their seats each festival weekend to classic tunes at the park’s outdoor America Gardens Theatre overlooking the World Showcase Lagoon. An eclectic mix of Flower & Garden Festival fan favorites includes 1960s icons Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, ’70s-’80s chart-toppers The Pointer Sisters and ’90s hit-makers Gin Blossoms. On Memorial Day, The Spinners will close the 90-day festival with their R&B repertoire of Billboard top hits.

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and are included with Epcot admission. Here is this year’s lineup (subject to change without notice):

March 3-4                   Jon Secada “Just Another Day”

March 5-6                   Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX “Grand Illusion”

March 10-13               The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”

March 17-18               Simple Plan (NEW!) “Welcome to My Life”

March 19-20               Plain White T’s (NEW to Garden Rocks series)“Hey There Delilah”

March 24-27               Night Ranger “Sister Christian”

March 31-April 3       Little River Band “Reminiscing”

April 7-10                   Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”

April 14-17                 Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”

April 21-24                 The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”

April 28-29                 Exposé (NEW!) “Point of No Return”

April 30-May 1          Berlin featuring Terri Nunn (NEW!) “Take My Breath Away”

May 5-8                      STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”

May 12-15                  The Guess Who “American Woman”

May 19-22                  Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry VIII I Am”

Milestone Magic! Super Bowl Hero James White Marks a 30-Year Tradition in Gala “Going to Disney World” Parade


It was 1987 when the winning quarterback in Super Bowl XXI began a tradition of going to Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate. That would carve out a place synonymous with glory and achievement in sports and other human endeavor.

Thirty years later, that same honor fell to running back James White, a hero of Super Bowl LI in Houston. White caught one touchdown pass and rushed for two others – including the game-winner in overtime – to help rally his team to an epic, come-from-behind 34-28 victory over Atlanta to capture the NFL Championship.

For his on-field heroics, White was honored with a celebratory parade this past Monday down Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park. Park guests and NFL fans alike lined the iconic street as White smiled and waved from a float he shared with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters.

Afterwards, White posed for photos with Mickey and Minnie and enjoyed some fun time in the park, experiencing some of its most popular attractions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

That continued a 30-year tradition of the Super Bowl hero celebrating his team’s victory at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.