Friday, December 7, 2012

Ears the News with Richard


Remember those auditions back in September for variety acts? Well it looks like they have been recruited to join the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang starting this week in the New Fantasyland. Here are the full details from the official Disney Parks Blog.

What would a circus be without clowns? At Storybook Circus in Magic Kingdom Park, our masters of mirth tickle your funny bone with a whirlwind of wackiness. Just wait until you meet boss clown Chuckles Buffoon McMonkeyshine III and his protégés, Whinny Horselaugh and Snort. Together, they engage in circus shenanigans, from classic calamities to clown calisthenics. They’re sure to have you in stitches!

Joining the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang is the Silly Saxtet, parading onto the circus grounds with their own unique twist on circus music standards, and featured clown Wowzer, a specialty performer who takes center ring and keeps his audience enthralled with amazing feats of thrills, chills and hilarity.

Inspired by everything from Walt Disney’s “Dumbo” to the music of Spike Jones, the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang also has its roots in the classic traditions of The Greatest Show on Earth. Several members of the ensemble are graduates of the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

“I feel like I’m going back to my roots,” said Show Director Mark Renfrow, himself a member of the Clown College Class of ’83. “People are going to be really surprised by the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang. They’re just so approachable and fun. They really bring the whole circus area to life.” The Storybook Circus Giggle Gang debuts this week, as part of the grand reveal of New Fantasyland!

Curl by Sammy Duvall is moving to a new space in the retail section of the soon-to-open Splitsville. As part of the Splitsville development, there are some shop spaces on the right-hand side of the building. Curl is currently located in the Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney.

The reopening of the Courtyard Pool at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort has been pushed back to Spring 2013. The pool has been closed since October 2012 to install a new zero entry and reduced depth, and was originally expected to open late 2012.

The details for the 2012 Christmas Day parade have been released. 

Music, magic and merriment come together when Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida present the 29th annual “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” holiday TV special, airing December 25 on the ABC Television Network. Hosts Nick Cannon and Mario Lopez, along with co-host Maria Menounos, lead the two-hour telecast with GRAMMY® Award-winning trio Lady Antebellum headlining the seasonal celebration. Joining the trio during the coast-to-coast party are international superstars Backstreet Boys, soulful pop songstress Colbie Caillat, CMA Award winner Brad Paisley, Christian music chart-topper TobyMac, “American Idol” Season 11 champion Phillip Phillips, Gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Disney Channel star Ross Lynch.

The award-winning television spectacular also features special appearances by Sarah Hyland, Nolan Gould and Aubrey Emmons-Anderson from ABC’s hit comedy “Modern Family,” actor Patrick Warburton, Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, and the popular pint-sized duo from daytime TV, Sophia Grace & Rosie. Travel expert and television personality Samantha Brown checks in throughout the program, filling families in on the fun they can experience at Disney Parks in the upcoming year. Brown also will share other ways to vacation with Disney, including Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line.

Don’t Miss a Moment of the Magic!

Tune-in times are as follows, on the ABC Television Network (check local listings):
• Eastern Standard Time: 10 a.m.-noon
• Central, Mountain, Pacific Standard Time: 9-11 a.m.

The show also will air in Canada on CBC Network, and across the globe on the American Forces Network.

Viewers can visit disney.go.com/christmasparade for updates on the show and join the social media conversation before and during the telecast with the hashtag, #DisneyParade.

Star-Studded Sounds of the Season:
*talent and performances subject to change

From country crooners to princes of pop, some of today’s top musical talents lend their voices to celebrate the holidays in this year’s “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” TV special:

• Country/pop supergroup Lady Antebellum shares a song from their brand-new holiday album, On This Winter’s Night;
• Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Backstreet Boys are back – just in time for the holidays – with a new single “It’s Christmas Time Again”;
• Acoustic queen Colbie Caillat shares a sun-drenched ballad from her newest album, Christmas in the Sand;
• Country superstar Brad Paisley joins his pals Lightning McQueen and Mater for a revved-up performance in the brand-new Cars Land at Disneyland Resort.
• Musician/actor Ross Lynch, from the Disney Channel hit show “Austin and Ally,” keeps the party jumping with his high-energy tune, “Christmas Soul.”
• Christian rock chart-topper TobyMac takes the stage in Disneyland Park to perform his hit tune, “Christmas This Year.”
• “American Idol” Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips performs the Christmas classic, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”
• Gospel legend Yolanda Adams belts out a rendition of the inspirational tune, “Joy To The World.”
• Cast members from Disney’s Newsies: The Musical, “carry the banner” down Main Street, U.S.A., with a performance from the Tony® Award-winning musical;
• Olympian Gabrielle Douglas makes a golden appearance in the procession as the West Carteret High School Marching Patriots from Morehead, N.C., sounds an Olympic fanfare;
• “Pup Stars” from the new Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD holiday film “Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups” will help “deck the paws” with a special appearance along the parade route;
• The telecast will feature a special salute to our Armed Forces and Veterans, including: a star-spangled celebration when the United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band marches down Main Street, U.S.A., led by Drum Major Gunnery Sergeant Jesse Barta.

A Christmas Fantasy Comes to Life
*characters/floats subject to change

From fairy tales to classic Christmas carols, Disney friends and holiday characters spread joy and good tidings through Disneyland Park in California and the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida with fanciful floats and colorful cavalcades. Some of the featured floats and Disney friends in this year’s festivities include:

• Princess Merida, from the Disney/Pixar animated film “Brave,” makes her holiday parade debut. The bow and arrow-wielding heroine celebrates Scottish heritage with a troupe of dancers, bagpipers and drummers;
• Popular gadget-building brothers from the smash-hit Disney XD animated series, Phineas & Ferb, dance down the parade route to greet their fans (sharp-eyed viewers also might spot the mysterious Agent P lurking about);
• Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse show off their holiday best atop an ornate Christmas Tree float, accompanied by one of Mickey’s good pals, Duffy the Disney Bear;
• Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy have a “soundsational” good time, following a drum line of merry musicians;
• May the holidays be with you! Star Wars villain Darth Vader and his legion of loyal Stormtroopers land in the Disney Parks galaxy with a “Force”-ful parade march;
• Disney Princesses Tiana, Rapunzel, Mulan, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Jasmine, along with their charming princes, join the procession in regal fashion. Direct from Disney Junior, Sofia the First makes her “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” debut in a royal, horse-drawn carriage.
• It’s a “pirate-palooza” as Disney Junior stars Jake and the Never Land Pirates commandeer the holiday festivities with some help from the most infamous scallywags to sail the high seas, Capt. Jack Sparrow and Capt. Barbossa from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film saga and theme park attractions;
• How about a little Hunny and Pixie Dust to start your Christmas Day? Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore lead the way on shiny sleds with Tinker Bell, her sister Periwinkle and a fleet of sparking snowflakes skating close behind;
• Viewers get a sneak-peek into Santa’s factory where “Toy Story” saga stars Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, Bullseye and Lotso spring to life in celebration of the season;
• Longtime ‘toon favorites Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow join everyone’s favorite chipmunks, Chip and Dale, and Duckburg’s richest resident, Scrooge McDuck, on a float of Winter Wonderland fun;
• Plenty more DisneyŸPixar pals join the party, including The Incredibles, Sully, Mike & Boo from “Monsters Inc.,” Dug, Russell and Carl from “Up,” and Remy from “Ratatouille.”
• The famous Disney Parks Toy Soldiers and Gingerbread Men join enchanted elves, pretty paper packages and stuffed-to-the-brim Christmas stockings to let everyone know that the holidays are here;
• And what would a Christmas parade be without The North Pole’s most famous red-suited resident? Holiday spirit is felt in every heart when Santa Claus and his reindeer make their holly jolly way down Main Street, U.S.A

Downtown Disney's newest venue, Splitsville is set to open in the near future and a few more details have been released about the experience, including pricing and reservation details.

At 50,000 square feet, the Downtown Disney Splitsville is around twice the size of any other Splitsville. It features 30 lanes, split onto two levels, with 10 lanes on the ground floor, and 20 lanes on the upper floor. A "Lane Concierge" will deliver shoes and bowling balls to your lane before you arrive. Food options will be plentiful, with five bars, two sushi bars, and a more traditional menu including burgers, steaks, mahi mahi and Voodoo shrimp available on two outdoor patios. Rounding out the entertainment will be live music 7 days a week, over 60 TV’s, and billiards tables. As you can tell, this is not your traditional neighborhood bowling alley.

Now onto the big question of how much bowling will cost.  Pricing varies depending on time of day, with pre-5pm bowling costing $15 per person for 1.5 hours, which includes shoe rental. After 5pm, the price moves to $20 per person until 10pm. From 10:30pm to 2am, the price falls back to $15 per person. The cost is based on time, rather than a number of games, which should make reservations much smoother to operate, as there are no variables of game time. Reservations will not be available initially, but will become available in the New Year.

Splitsville will be hosting invited guests over the next few days, but is not yet ready for normal operations. It is however expected to open before Christmas.

A fire breathing dragon flew over the Magic Kingdom on 12/5/2012 celebrating the grand opening of the New Fantasyland. You might remember this was spotted back in the summer making test flights in California. Disney has today indicated that this was a one night only event, so don't expect to see dragons regularly over the skies of the Magic Kingdom. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Video from Disney Parks

Thursday morning, the Magic Kingdom hosted the grand opening dedication ceremony for the new Fantasyland. Jordin Sparks, Tom Staggs, and a whole host of Disney characters were in attendance. If you couldn't make it we have you covered with a video of the full ceremony. 

Video from WDWMagic

Along with the New Fantasyland grand opening dedication at Cinderella Castle, we also saw the ribbon cutting ceremony inside the Enchanted Forest. 

Video from WDWMagic

As most of you know Test Track has been down for the last 6 months receiving a major upgrade. Both cast members and gusts have had limited opportunities over the last week or two to experience the new additions. The ride officially opened on 12/6/2012 and several videos have become available showing the new attraction.

Side by side comparison video from WDWMagic.

Full attraction walkthrough video from WDWMagic.

Re –Imagineering Test Track for GM.

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