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Disney has confirmed that the Monsters Inc. character meet and greet at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be updated for the summer to incorporate the new Monsters University movie. The location will be re-themed as the Monsters University Student Union, including a view of the campus. Guests will continue to be able to meet both Mike and Sulley. The current location will close for the refurbishment from 5/14/2013 to 5/24/2013.
The Disney Parks blog is giving us a look inside the Princess Fairytale Hall construction site at the Magic Kingdom. As you can tell from the video, the new meet and greet location will be a fully immersive environment. The new Disney Princess meet and greet is expected to open later this year in Fantasyland.
Video from the Disney Parks Blog
The Disney Parks blog it also giving us a behind-the-scenes tour of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction site in the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland. The new coaster is expected to open in early 2014.
Video from the Disney Parks Blog
Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will kick off a Monstrous Summer by keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours nonstop on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season. The three-park all-night party is happening at the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in California. The parks will stay open from 6:00 AM on 5/24/2013 to 6:00 AM on 5/25/2013, local time. In Florida, Magic Kingdom Park will feature a “Monsters University” theme where Mike and Sulley will be the Grand Marshals of the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” day parade and make appearances in Tomorrowland. There will be extra entertainment throughout the day and night, including characters in their pajamas in Town Square during the late night and early morning, and late-night dance parties in and around the courtyard of Cinderella Castle.
|Photo from Disney Parks Blog|
An all new parade is coming to the Magic Kingdom in Spring of 2014. The Festival of Fantasy Parade will bring a celebration of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A., through fantastic and innovative new parade floats, vibrant costumes, and an original soundtrack that will feature beloved songs from favorite Disney films, plus a parade theme song. This parade will specifically highlight the stories of “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,” “Peter Pan,” “Tangled” and the Disney-Pixar film “Brave” among others. The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade is expected to close in late 2013.
Disney Cruise Line is set to bring brand new experiences to the Disney Magic Cruise Ship with a major refurbishment later this year. Read on for the full details of what you can expect.
|Photo from Disney Parks Blog|
CELEBRATION, Fla. (April 26, 2013) — There’s an extra dose of magic coming aboard the Disney Magic, when the Disney Cruise Line vessel relaunches with new spaces, reimagined areas and exciting additions for the whole family. Guests will experience new adventures from stem to stern throughout their journey on the cruise ship that set the standard for oceangoing majesty and family fun.
From a new grand atrium lobby and a children’s area of “super hero” proportions to a three-story water thrill slide and a spa to stimulate the “Senses,” there are plenty of new and magical surprises in store for cruise guests. The ship features fun new experiences with Marvel characters – the first time Super Hero icons from the Marvel Universe have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship.
“We have always been committed to reinvesting in our fleet and continuously making shipboard enhancements that elevate the guest experience,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “What we’re doing with the Disney Magic is yet another step forward in our commitment to delivering the absolute best family vacations at sea.”
“Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do,” says Joe Lanzisero, senior creative vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering. “Walt Disney was a master storyteller and knew how to engage people’s emotions into stories. Our job is to take what we learned from Walt and apply it to the experiences on board our ships.”
Here are some highlights of new “magic” in store for guests aboard the Disney Magic after the “reimagineering” transformation of the ship that takes place during dry dock Sept. 7-Oct. 10, 2013 in Cadiz, Spain:
A Grand First Impression
When guests board the Disney Magic, they enter the grand atrium lobby that is redesigned to be “elegant art deco, inspired by elements of the sea,” according to Lanzisero.
“Filmmaking is the history of our company and in film the ‘establishing shot’ sets the scene,” he says. “This is the same with the atrium, as we begin telling our story.”
The spacious and spectacular three-deck lobby features hand-tufted, custom-made carpet that dazzles in a palette of vibrant coral, blue and aquamarine seashell-inspired designs. The art deco atrium chandelier is inspired by rays of the sun and the glisten of the surface of the ocean. Opulent furnishings, a grand piano and giant portholes recall the days of early 20th century ocean liners.
The lobby’s centerpiece is a cold-cast bronze statue of “Helmsman Mickey,” ever-smiling and keeping watch as guests stroll past. The famed statue, which has stood in the atrium since the ship was launched, will receive a special makeover bringing new luster to its golden hue.
Disney, Disney-Pixar & Marvel Characters Join the Fun
Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to 3- to 12-year-old children, is a completely re-imagined area that transports children to the magical realms of brave super heroes, adventuresome toys, fanciful fairies and Mickey Mouse’s club for creativity and fun.
With Marvel now a part of the Walt Disney Company family, this will mark the first time the Super Hero icons of Marvel have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship. Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineers have created a new space for children to enter into the Marvel Universe.
Marvel’s The Avengers will make their presence known in an epic way aboard the Disney Magic, with Marvel’s Avengers Academy calling Disney’s Oceaneer Club its new seaward home. Young crime-fighters will be transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training.
Throughout the base, displays featuring some of the equipment that helps to make The Avengers the earth’s mightiest heroes – Iron Man’s suit of armor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer — inspire super hero “recruits” through their academy missions. Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience where children interact with Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes.
Adjacent to Marvel’s Avengers Academy is Andy’s Room, where stars of the Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” trilogy come to life in a multi-level space. Stocked with all of Andy’s favorite toys, the room features a larger-than-life Mr. Potato Head, a giant version of the lovable piggy bank, Hamm, and a Slinky Dog slide.
Next door is Pixie Hollow, the enchanted land of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. In this magical forest setting, Tinker Bell’s teapot house serves as a costume closet and children can make crafts while sitting on stools shaped like mushrooms and acorns.
In Disney’s Oceaneer Club guests will find the Mickey Mouse Club, another new children’s area. Inside a room splashed with Mickey’s signature colors of red, yellow and black, kids can create crafts and play games on ear-shaped tables. The club also features Goofy Gears, an oversized activity where kids play with wacky, magnetic spinning gears.
But the kid-sized fun doesn’t stop there!
Disney’s Oceaneer Lab takes 3-to-12-year-old children on a journey of discovery, exploration and adventures. At this new pirate-themed area, children are encouraged to create, play and explore. An animator’s studio, a pirate workshop and lab lets kids get hands-on to create experiments and art projects, and Navigator Simulators let young buccaneers steer a ship through the mysterious waters of The Caribbean.
For the youngest cruisers — ages three months to three years — is the new It’s a Small World Nursery. Inspired by the style of Disney Legend Mary Blair, this whimsical world is a place of age-specific fun and discovery, with trained counselors.
The upper ship decks of the Disney Magic have been redesigned for plenty of splashtacular fun, with waterful adventures that include a three-story water slide for thrill-seekers and a Huey, Dewey and Louie-themed toddler splash zone for smaller ducklings.
“From small children to teens to adults, everyone will have a space to have fun in the sun and water. We added more water play areas, dynamic slides, interactive elements for the kids, and more shade,” says Lanzisero.
Water thrills are found on the AquaDunk, a three-story body slide that begins with a surprise launch. Riders step inside a translucent tube and await the near-vertical launch that takes place when the floor beneath them opens like a trap door. The drop sends guests on an exhilarating, swift and splashy ride in a translucent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship. Guests taller than 48 inches can enjoy the AquaDunk.
Guests can also soak in the sun and the water fun with AquaLab, an interactive water playground open to kids ages 3 and up. In the AquaLab, families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space, while the Twist n’ Spout water slide gets them delightfully drenched with more than 250 feet of sliding fun of loops and turns. Twist n’ Spout is for guests between 38 and 64 inches tall.
Tots up to age 3 can play in the new Nephews’ Splash Zone, a splash-a-second area dedicated to interactive fun and starring Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The area features water play with pop jets, squirting figures of Donald Duck’s nephews and plenty of high seas hijinks.
Disney Dining With an Extra Dash of Pixie Dust
New restaurants and new technology are on the menu for the restaurants aboard Disney Magic.
Animator’s Palate, one of the most popular restaurants on the Disney ships, is updated with all-new, animation-adorned walls and larger high-definition flat-screens to provide the best views of the animation magic that takes place all around.
A heaping helping of entertainment is served up during the brand-new “Drawn to Magic” experience at Animator’s Palate. Throughout this deliciously fresh take on Disney Cruise Line’s much beloved classic dinner celebration, the restaurant’s black and white “blank canvas” explodes into full color as favorite Disney and Disney-Pixar characters, such as Rapunzel from “Tangled” and Remy from “Ratatouille,” come to life right before guests’ eyes.
On every Disney Magic cruise, guests will have an opportunity to experience the tremendously popular “Animation Magic” dinner show that celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in an innovative way. First unveiled on the Disney Fantasy, “Animation Magic” invites guests to create their own characters that magically spring to life, become fully animated and join the show onscreen.
The vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro creates an energetic atmosphere in Carioca’s, a new restaurant named after Donald Duck’s parrot pal in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca. Festooned with lighted lanterns, the restaurant is designed to be “fun by day, elegant by night,” says Lanzisero.
During the day, there’s a festival theme and, when night falls, the atmosphere transforms into an after-hours scene of Rio de Janiero, with city-side windows softly illuminated and lanterns flickering overhead. Carioca’s replaces Parrot Cay restaurant, currently on the Disney Magic.
Another new restaurant to the Disney Magic is Cabanas, a casual dining experience with food and beverage stations during daytime hours and a table-service restaurant during dinner. The Australian setting of the Disney-Pixar animated classic “Finding Nemo” inspires the décor with hints of the film’s fishy and feathered friends throughout the restaurant.
Cabanas, which replaces the current Topsider Buffet, also is expanding. More inside space is being added, increasing the total square-footage of air-conditioned area by nearly 3,400 square feet to more than 9,460 square feet and a total of 455 seats.
Disney Cruise Line’s popular Palo restaurant for adults receives a makeover with stylish fixtures, glass artwork and new stone floors. Red and white striped poles reminiscent of those found throughout the canals in Venice are a design feature.
The Fun’s Just Begun When Nighttime Comes
After a day of frolicking on the decks and out and about the ship, Disney Magic offers big city-style fun in After Hours, the nighttime adult entertainment district. An all-new lineup of clubs includes venues for dancing, comedy, music and variety shows. After Hours replaces Beat Street, currently on the Disney Magic.
“It’s our goal to create a sleek and sophisticated adult experience in After Hours” says Lanzisero. “Each of the three clubs has a different feel that complements the others.”
Fathoms night club is a celebration of the sea that utilizes special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres from early evening to night.
“The ocean can sometimes be very calm and sometimes have some big excitement,” Lanzisero says. “That’s what we wanted to create with Fathoms.”
For guests seeking a more low-key nighttime experience, there is Keys piano bar and lounge. Whether guests want to relax with a cocktail and the soft sounds of a piano or “wind down” after an evening of dancing and revelry, Keys provides a refined retreat.
Pub days of olde are recalled in O’Gills, an Irish pub and sports bar designed with traditional decor. Live televised athletic events are on tap for sports-lovers.
Open Up, and Say “Spa”
For the ultimate in relaxation and pampering, the enhanced Senses Spa & Salon offers many indulgences. Redesigned with a sleek and contemporary style, this haven of personal harmony provides an unmatched ocean-view environment. The size of the spa is being expanded by 725 square feet, to a total size of nearly 11,500 square feet.
A new Smile Spa offers teeth whitening services, a new barbershop offers services for the gentlemen and the new Chill Spa provides treatments especially for teens 13 to 17 years of age.
Family Fun in the D Lounge
Another reimagined area, D Lounge, offers a variety of family-friendly games, shows, dances and activities designed for all ages. Colorful and contemporary, this space encourages creative and kinetic fun. Families can enjoy entertainment, game shows and activities together in D Lounge which replaces Studio Sea, currently on the Disney Magic.
Putting more “room” in staterooms
Disney Cruise Line knows that traveling families always need more space, so features are included in each room to provide more usable space. Bed frames are elevated to provide storage space underneath. The bathrooms include the split-bath feature that Disney introduced to the cruise industry — providing even greater convenience to guests.
Video from the Disney Parks Blog
The BoardWalk Bakery at Disney's BoardWalk Inn has reopened from its refurbishment with a greatly expanded menu and brand new interior which has seen the space double in size. By taking space from the former ESPN gift shop next door, the new bakery has a much larger kitchen, and now offers a comprehensive menu of baked goods and hot and cold dishes. All of the classic bakery favorites are still there, including cupcakes, brownies, muffins, éclairs, muffins and croissants. Joining them for lunch and dinner are items such as Maine lobster sandwiches, oak grilled salmon, herb pork loin and a number of specialty salads.
Brand new for the bakery is the addition of a fountain beverage area, with its own entrance to serve resort guest refillable mugs. There is also a dedicated entrance for guests ordering food and baked goods, complete with interior queuing space. So on most days, there will be no more queuing outside the door.
The new bakery is a vast improvement over the original, offering everything that was there before, with a host of new additions that offer something more interesting than a lot of quick serve locations. If you are looking for something with more interesting ingredients and a change from the normal, be sure to check out the new bakery. It is open daily from 6:30 AM to 11:00 PM and is located on the BoardWalk, near to the ESPN Club.
At the Animal Kingdom, a number of changes are coming to character meet and greets in early May 2013 to accommodate future plans for the Camp Minnie-Mickey area. Eeyore will be leaving the park on 5/10/2013, with his last appearance being on 5/9/2013. Pooh and Tigger will move to Camp Minnie-Mickey on 5/10/2013.
The new indoor meet and greet - 'Adventurers Outpost' opens on 5/12/2013, and will be home to Mickey and Minnie, who will both be leaving Camp Minnie-Mickey.
Donald and Daisy are expected to be moving into the Discovery Island boat dock area following the move of the Pooh characters to Camp Minnie-Mickey.
Disney Springs construction is about to get started with preliminary construction walls set to go up on Pleasure Island later this week. The current schedule calls for Laffer's Cantina to have its final day of operation on 5/5/2013, with construction walls to go up in that area the next day. Laffer's Cantina is the bar located next to the former Comedy Warehouse. As always, dates are subject to change, but as of now the first signs of Disney Springs becoming a reality will start next week. Disney Springs is a massive redevelopment of Downtown Disney which will see it double the number of restaurants and shops, and bring a whole new theme to the area.
Epcot's International Gateway entrance that serves the Epcot resort hotels is now equipped with MyMagic+ RFID turnstiles. Half of the turnstiles have so far been converted to the new 'Touch to Enter' system, leaving the remaining old turnstiles available for non-RFID ticket media.
Disney will offer Electric Standing Vehicles (ESVs) for guests with disabilities at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The ESVs are equipped with four wheels, and are similar in function to the Segway stand-up vehicles which are not permitted inside Disney parks. The rental fee is $50 per day plus deposit, and can be rented at the existing wheelchair locations throughout property. No medical paperwork is required, and reservations can be made at 407-824-5217.