Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Welcomes a New Princess, Elena of Avalor

Walt Disney World Resort will be the place where families can see Disney’s newest princess – the first inspired by diverse Latin cultures – Elena of Avalor. “The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena” is a live performance that will be presented several times daily at Magic Kingdom Park. Its limited-engagement begins August 12.

In the special welcoming ceremony on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, Cinderella and Prince Charming will host their newest royal friend and invite her to share her amazing story with park guests. As part of the show, Elena will recount her magical adventures and triumphant return to Avalor through the song, “My Time.”

While Elena’s music makes the new show shimmer and sparkle, so does the new princess’ vibrant royal gown and glittering crown. Rich in color and detail, the gown reflects Elena’s special qualities and cultural origins. The one-of-a-kind gown is made from 14 yards of crimson Avaloran satin, embroidered with more than 900 flowers that represent her kingdom and family. The beautiful crown she wears holds 222 dazzling jewels.

Elena’s debut at Walt Disney World follows the launch of the new animated series, “Elena of Avalor,” which premiered in a simulcast on Disney Channel and Disney Junior on July 22. It ranks as the #1 series telecast among all kid-targeted TV networks in Total Viewers, Kids 2-11 and Adults 18-49, for 2016 to-date.

A brave and adventurous teenager, Princess Elena embodies all the qualities of a classic Disney princess, displaying thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion. She has the heart and mind of a true leader, making her a princess for everyone.

Fans of Princess Elena can find specialty merchandise like her dress, crown, and scepter throughout stores at Walt Disney World Resort.

Elena will make her debut at Disneyland Resort at Disney California Adventure this fall.

About Elena of Avalor
Set in the enchanted fairytale kingdom of Avalor, the stories of “Elena of Avalor” incorporate influences from diverse Latin and Hispanic cultures through architecture, traditions, food and customs. Magic, mythology, folklore and music also play an important role, with each episode featuring original songs spanning an array of Latin musical styles including Mariachi, Latin Pop, Salsa, Banda and Chilean Hip Hop. The series airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Disney Channel and weekends at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Disney Junior.

Photos courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort

Last Chance to see Main Street Electrical Parade at Walt Disney World before it ‘Glows Away’ Oct. 9

An enduring Disney Parks classic, the Main Street Electrical Parade, will take its shimmering farewell trip through Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Florida on Oct. 9, 2016.

Since making its Florida premiere in 1977, the parade has become one of the most beloved entertainment spectacles anywhere. Watching the Main Street Electrical Parade has to become a rite of passage with parents and grandparents eager to share the nostalgic experience with their children. Families will have one more chance to see the parade and share this special memory, on select nights, before it departs.

The vibrant parade, a perennial favorite with Disney guests, will next travel cross-country to Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., for a limited engagement beginning early next year.

Brought to light in the early 1970s, the original Main Street Electrical Parade helped establish a Disney Parks reputation for innovative, trend-setting live entertainment. As lights go down along the parade route, the parade brings a variety of beloved Disney animated feature films to life through three-dimensional floats covered with approximately half a million colorful LED twinkling lights. The parade’s iconic musical theme, the electrically synthesized “Baroque Hoedown,” is interwoven with favorite Disney themes. It all adds to the unique upbeat excitement of the procession.

Some of the parade’s most impressive scenes are the 23-foot-tall Clock Tower over Cinderella’s Ball, complete with elegant ballroom dancers in light-covered costumes; the smoke-breathing, tail-wagging Pete’s Dragon; and the 108-foot-long red, white and blue flag finale. Other characters who make appearances include Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

The Main Street Electrical parade at Walt Disney World Resort will not appear during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights. Walt Disney World guests interested in seeing the parade before it departs on Oct. 9 can check for the latest parade dates and times on WaltDisneyWorld.com or in the My Disney Experience app.

Monday, August 8, 2016

ABC’s Emmy-Nominated “black-ish” to Film at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

One of my favorite shows, ABC’s critically acclaimed hit series “black-ish” will film on location at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. In the episode, titled “VIP,” Dre decides to take his entire family on the magical, first-class vacation experience he was never able to have as a kid. The episode is set to film this month and will air in the fall.

“I’m excited to return to Walt Disney World, this time to film with my TV family of ‘black-ish’ in hopes of creating some of the same lasting memories I shared with my very own family when we visited the resort,” said two-time Emmy nominee Anthony Anderson, executive producer and star of “black-ish.”

“VIP” will feature the Johnson family visiting all four parks at Walt Disney World Resort: Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Jim Rash guest stars as Cody, the VIP tour guide that Dre hires to ensure his family has the most magical experience possible.

“black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Laurence Fishburne as Pops, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson, Jenifer Lewis as Ruby, Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Stevens.

“black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive produced by Barris, Jonathan Groff, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, E. Brian Dobbins and Corey Nickerson. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New Muppets Live Show Debuts this Fall at Walt Disney World Resort

Beginning in October 2016, the Muppets will star in an all-new live show at Magic Kingdom Park, called “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.”

Sam Eagle, the fiercely patriotic American eagle who is forever trying to set a high moral standard for the Muppets, will join Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and James Jefferson, town crier of Liberty Square, as they gather outside The Hall of Presidents to present historical tales in hysterical Muppets fashion. From the midnight ride of Paul Revere to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Muppets will appear throughout the day to share their own unique take on the founding fathers and the birth of the United States of America.

“The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” will be presented multiple times daily and will feature an original song and wacky Muppets humor.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The New Norway Epcot Attraction Celebrates a Summer Snow Day

No wonder summer is Olaf’s favorite season – it’s the perfect time for guests to explore the kingdom of Arendelle. For the first time in forever, “Frozen Ever After” is now open at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort. The new attraction inspired by the blockbuster hit Frozen celebrates a “Summer Snow Day” in a family-friendly adventure.

A stone archway greets guests to the kingdom of Arendelle. A royal proclamation poster announces the “Summer Snow Day” celebration as guests begin their stroll. On their way to the harbor, guests will get a peek inside Kristoff’s icehouse, as the “Official Ice Master and Deliverer” and walk through “Oaken’s Tokens” at the port of Arendelle. Visitors should watch the sauna door, where Oaken likes doodling in the steam!

Guests board their boats at the harbor, and Sven and Olaf kick off their journey in the Willow Forrest before sailing through Troll Valley, and up the North Mountain. Anna and Kristoff welcome guests to the palace, while Olaf twirls on the ice.

When the glittering doors open leading to the Ice Palace Great Room, guests are encouraged to sing along to Elsa’s familiar anthem, “Let It Go” as the Queen’s ice magic surrounds them.

As the boat glides back down the mountainside, happy Snowgies surround Marshmallow. He roars his mighty greeting with a blast of his cold breath on guests’ return to the Bay of Arendelle.

To meet the regal sisters, guests are invited to visit the cozy Royal Sommerhus. Located just outside of a picturesque Norwegian village, the rural retreat is inspired by a cabin in the countryside of Norway. Anna and Elsa have opened their charming country cottage for visitors.

Decorations and family heirlooms adorning the foyer walls reflect the Royal Family of Arendelle. The sisters’ receiving room includes details reflecting their personalities: snowflakes on the white wooden shutters and rug for Queen Elsa, and a sunflower pattern throughout Anna’s area.

Fun Facts:

  • Frozen Ever After is the first Frozen-themed attraction and Royal Sommerhus is Elsa and Anna’s permanent character greeting at Disney Parks.
  • Guests can witness Elsa’s ice magic on Frozen Ever After.
  • Composers Bobby and Kristen Lopez created new lyrics to the cherished Frozen film songs.
  • All of the original voice talent from the film returned and recorded dialogue and songs for the attraction.
  • Frozen Ever After features the most advanced Audio-Animatronic figures to date and the first to be all-electric, which provides fluid movements and the ability to animate in new ways.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering traveled to Norway to research architecture, d├ęcor and artifacts; guests will find their inspiration at the Royal Sommerhus and throughout the pavilion.
  • The design of Royal Sommerhus and the surrounding area is modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin in Trondhei.

Disney Springs Grand Opening Summer Celebration Offers World Class Dining, Unique Shopping and Nightly Entertainment

This summer Disney Springs is the place to be by day and by night! With a Grand Opening Summer Celebration taking place all season long, Disney Springs features an array of hard-to-pass-up deals and a variety of delectable new dining options at the newest neighborhood–Town Center, plus free nightly entertainment featuring more than 20 different acts performing across all four neighborhoods – The Marketplace, Westside, The Landing, and Town Center.

To kick off the grand opening season, on July 15, the best of summer and Central Florida came together to celebrate Disney Springs-style – in Town Center, with an outdoor party under the stars where guests strolled into all sorts of discoveries designed to delight the senses — renowned chefs serving up scrumptious samples from their restaurants, performances by nationally recognized entertainers, and proprietors showcasing their products and store designs that make shopping at Disney Springs simply special.

Wrapped in Florida-inspired, made-for-strolling promenades, arcing footbridges, flowing streams and waterfront charm, Disney Springs treats Walt Disney World Resort guests to an exciting blend of shopping, dining and entertainment with a Disney touch. By day or night guests can expect a vibrant scene at Disney Springs, whether they are shopping world-class brands, enjoying high-quality entertainment, having that special dining experience, pleasure boating on Village Lake or hopping a balloon skyward for spectacular views of Walt Disney World and beyond.

Now and every day, guests can enjoy the benefits of a dramatically transformed exciting new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment featuring more than 150 establishments across its four neighborhoods.

Discover Disney Springs like never before! Here are just a few of the highlights:

Town Center – Spectacular Shopping and Award-winning chefs
  • Some of the most unique and recognizable names in retail such as UNIQLO, Vince Camuto, Anthropologie, Zara, Lilly Pulitzer, Columbia Sportswear, LACOSTE, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Oakley all call Town Center home.
  • Among new dining choices awaiting Town Center guests are restaurants developed by James Beard award-winning chefs. Frontera Cocina serves up gourmet Mexican cuisine and creative cocktails from the menu envisioned by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation winner. Chef Art Smith, two-time winner of the James Beard Award brings a unique taste of gourmet southern cuisine and Florida agriculture to the heart of Disney Springs with Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine.

The Landing – Inspired dining, breathtaking waterfront views, and unique boutiques
  • High-quality retailers including Erwin Pearl for fashion jewelry and Havaianas for sandals are found along lantern-lined byways.
  • Dine off a shipshape menu at The BOATHOUSE or enjoy, at Morimoto Asia, Pan-Asian cuisine from celebrity chef Matsaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame. STK Orlando offers guests a fine dining experience set in chic, contemporary surroundings. Finish off the evening with a relaxing stroll to grab a signature gelato at Vivoli Gelateria or a crafted cocktail at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar.

The Marketplace — Family-friendly delights for guests of all ages
  • Beautiful waterside shopping that combines new experiences such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded new Bibbity Bobbity Boutique inside the newly re-designed World of Disney store.
  • Nearby, the new Lime garage makes getting to the Marketplace a breeze

The West Side – Exuberant entertainment retail and dining options

From new acts at Cirque du Soleil to iconic restaurants to colorful food trucks to bowling with a stylized twist at Splitsville, West Side offers something for everyone. There is even the opportunity to lift off in a tethered balloon. Characters in Flight rises from the banks of Village Lake for eye-popping, 360-degree views (on a clear day you can see Florida’s east coast).

Two new slot-smart parking decks where green lights indicate available spaces make parking convenient to the entire Disney Springs scene – and it’s free. Valet parking also is available. Disney Springs is easily accessed from I-4, Central Florida’s major interstate, and connected to the rest of Walt Disney World Resort by motor coach and watercraft.

‘Eat to the Beat’ Bands Span Decades and Genres during 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Eight new Eat to the Beat musical acts join 18 fan-favorite bands for a diverse lineup of pop hit makers who will rock America Gardens Theatre during the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 14-Nov. 14 at Walt Disney World Resort.

New-to-the-festival acts in 2016 are Wang Chung, BoDeans, Plain White T’s, Jeffrey Osborne, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Living Colour, Soul Asylum and Delta Rae. Guests can tune into their favorite returning acts that will include Los Lobos, STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas, Wilson Phillips, Tiffany, Hanson and Boyz II Men. Concerts take place at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. daily. The lineup (subject to change and included in Epcot admission) includes:

Sept. 14-15                  Wang Chung NEW! “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”
Sept. 16-18                  STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
Sept. 19-20                  Air Supply “All Out of Love”
Sept. 21-23                  BoDeans NEW! “Closer to Free”
Sept. 24-25                  Fuel “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”
Sept. 26-28                  Sugar Ray “Fly”
Sept. 29-30                  Los Lobos “La Bamba”
Oct. 1-2                       David Cook “Light On”
Oct. 3-4                       Wilson Phillips “Hold On”
Oct. 5-6                       Blues Traveler “Run-Around”
Oct. 7-9                       Plain White T’s NEW! “Hey There Delilah”
Oct. 10-11                   38 Special “Hold On Loosely”
Oct. 12-13                   Jeffrey Osborne NEW! “On the Wings of Love”
Oct. 14-16                   Tiffany “I Think We’re Alone Now”
Oct. 17-19                   Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx “Lady”
Oct. 20-21                   Christopher Cross “Sailing”
Oct. 22-23                   Toad The Wet Sprocket NEW! “Walk on the Ocean”
Oct. 24-25                   Chaka Khan “I Feel for You”
Oct. 26-27                   Billy Ocean “Caribbean Queen”
Oct. 28-29                   Living Colour NEW! “Cult of Personality”
Oct. 30-Nov. 1            Hanson “Get the Girl Back”
Nov. 2-3                      Soul Asylum NEW! “Runaway Train”
Nov. 4-6                      Delta Rae NEW! “Bottom of the River”
Nov. 7-9                      Boyz II Men “Motownphilly”
Nov. 10-11                  Sister Hazel “All For You”
Nov. 12-14                  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Go Daddy-O”

(Songs listed are for artist recognition only and may not be included in the concert play list)

Guests also can sip and nosh their way around the World Showcase and watch talented performers weave music, dance, acrobatics, comedy and other acts into the festivities. A sampling of entertainment includes:
  • Classic American pop hits performed a cappella by American Music Machine (America Gardens Theatre)
  • Perfect harmony of Voices of Liberty (American Adventure rotunda)
  • Infectious beat of internationally acclaimed Mariachi Cobre (Mexico)
  • Retro British hits by British Revolution (United Kingdom)
  • Jaw-dropping stunts by The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats (China)

“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” lights up the World Showcase with lasers, music and fireworks to provide a “wow” ending to each festival evening. Visit EpcotFoodfestival.com and watch for festival updates.