Friday, October 25, 2013

Ears the News with Richard


Following Glow with the Show's debut at Fantasmic! Earlier lastweek, the Magic Kingdom tonight let guests become part of the show for the first time with Wishes and Celebrate the Magic.

The Glow with the Show ear hats cost $25, and synchronize with the effects to make you part of the show. The hats interact with Fantasmic!, Celebrate the Magic, Wishes, HalloWishes, Holiday Wishes, and the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
 

Talking Mickey Mouse has moved from the prototype testing phase to daily appearances now at Town Square Theater in the Magic Kingdom. We first saw testing of talking Mickey at Walt Disney World back in October 2011, appearing at the newly refurbished Town Square Theater. Since then he has appeared at various times, meeting and greeting guests during event party nights and in limited tests. The official Disney Parks Blog has today released a video of what you can now expect at your next Mickey Mouse meet and greet.
 
Downtown Disney is making changes to the entrance roads and the internal ring road. Entrance 3, which is located between Planet Hollywood and AMC Dine-In Theaters, is now exit only. You can no longer enter the parking lot from this entrance in a vehicle. The entrance remains open to foot traffic in both directions.
 
 
The internal road which connects entrance 3 to entrance 4 that runs behind AMC, Splitsville and Disney Quest is now closed to all guest traffic, and will remain closed until the West parking garage is completed in late 2014.
 
Disney's Hollywood Studios will be testing the use of MagicBands for Extra Magic Hour park entrance later this week.  On 10/25, 27, and 11/2/2013, guests will be required to touch their MagicBand to a handheld reader carried by cast members outside of the turnstiles. Once validated as resort guests, they will then be able to enter through the turnstiles as normal.
Once inside the park, the MagicBands will again be used to touch to a handheld device before entering every attraction. Resort guests without MagicBands can continue to present their resort ID cards.
 
The next phase of MyMagic+ testing is set to make the MagicBand the only form of resort ID. For some resort guests arriving around 10/27/2013, the standard Key to the World resort ID card will not be issued. This will leave only the MagicBand as the method for entering the resort room park entry, FastPass+ and payments.

In testing so far, both a MagicBand and RFID enabled Key to the World cards have been issued. This has also given testers access to both FastPass+ and regular paper-based FASTPASS. With only the MagicBand, it would seem likely that only FastPass+ will be available to those users.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the newest addition to the Disney Vacation Club portfolio, are now officially open. This morning saw a ribbon cutting ceremony where Ken Potrock (right), senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club and Norm Noble (left), general manager, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa joined Mickey and Minnie Mouse to celebrate the grand opening.
 
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is yet another example of how we are listening and responding to our members,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club. “The resort builds on the continuing momentum to provide our members with ever-greater choices and experiences.”
 
The new resort features a variety of villa accommodations that sleep anywhere from five to nine guests, all designed to bring families closer and create memories that last a lifetime. The resort is the first Disney Vacation Club property to feature deluxe studios that sleep up to five guests. Additionally, expansive grand villas sleep 12 guests and feature multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a media room with a home theater system.
 
The villas evoke a casual elegance, continuing the distinctive design of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa while providing modern luxuries and whimsical Disney touches. A delightful Mary Poppins-themed bronze fountain with playful penguins waits to greet guests as they step into the lobby. Adorning the lobby’s atrium are also two five-tier custom grand chandeliers with a light antiqued-brass finish and decorative green crystals. Nearby at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a children’s water-play area and private, poolside cabanas rest alongside Seven Seas Lagoon, nestled between Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
 
The new resort features a variety of villa accommodations that sleep anywhere from five to twelve guests, providing enhanced flexibility and choice to members. Various types of rooms can be found at the villas with sleeping options for every family (fully accessible villas are available):
Deluxe Studios – Sleeps up to 5 guests
One-Bedroom Villa – Sleeps up to 5 guests
Two-Bedroom Villa- Sleeps up to 9 guests
Grand Villa – Sleeps up to 12 guests

Each villa features crown molding, porcelain tile on the balconies, cove ceilings, ceiling fans, wall coverings and upgraded finishes. The following are some of the many features that can be found in one-bedroom or larger villas:

Artwork – themed “Grand Floridian” plates, classic Victorian-themed silhouettes and portraits with Disney touches, framed Mary Poppins themed cut-out, themed songbook covers and special artwork on the wall of the pull-down beds
Living Rooms – two storage ottomans, pull-out drawers behind banquette tables, broad loom area rugs and pull-down bed with custom artwork
Full Kitchens – upgraded appliances, granite countertops, a farmhouse sink, glass cabinet doors and a banquette table
Master Bedrooms – decorative wainscoting in master bedroom, decorative crown molding on master bedroom ceiling and dimmable lights over bed for comfortable reading; innovative luggage hideaways and pullout drawers make fashionable, functional use of every square inch of space
Master Bathrooms – mirror TV, freestanding Victorian-style tub with air-bubble jets, mosaic marble tile and walk-in master bath shower.

 

Disney has just announced that the Jungle Cruise will be receiving a holiday overlay beginning this November at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Not much information has been given so far, but this is what the official Disney Parks Blog has to say on the changes coming to the Magic Kingdom classic.
 
In this new seasonal storyline of the attraction, the Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if guests listen carefully, they may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.
 
The schedule for the Magic Kingdom's holiday shows and parades during regular park is now available.
 
Following final Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Holiday Wishes, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and Celebrate the Season all play during regular park hours for all guests. They all begin on 12/21/2013, with two parade performances at 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM, with Holiday Wishes at 10:00 PM. Of course, if you want to see these earlier, they are all part of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party which begins on 11/8/2013.

Note: During the party nights, Holiday Wishes features 180 degree perimeter fireworks that are not part of the show once it begins to perform during regular hours.
 
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Disney has agreed contracts for three pedestrian bridges to be built as part of the Downtown Disney redevelopment into Disney Springs.  Spanning the busy Buena Vista Drive which runs alongside Downtown Disney, the bridges would provide an important link between the Disney Springs site and cast car parking on the opposite side of the road. Although three bridges will be designed, it has not yet been determined how many will actually be built.  Disney Quest is now closed to all guest traffic, and will remain closed until the West parking garage is completed in late 2014.
 
 

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