Friday, March 14, 2014

Ears the News with Richard



For the first time, Disney will be introducing 'Rebel Rendezvous,' a ticketed merchandise event at this year's Star Wars Weekends.

Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog
On 5/15/2014, a day before the first day of the 2014 Star Wars Weekends, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase limited edition merchandise. Attending the 'Rebel Rendezvous' will be expensive - Disney is asking $250 per attendee. This does however include a Limited edition recruitment pack (includes a custom messenger bag, cadet hat, tumbler, lanyard, pin & medal set).
Registration is now open at the official Disney Merchandise site, where you can find more details and sign up.

From the Disney press release:
The Alliance leaders are summoning the most loyal Rebels in the galaxy to gather at the Rebel Rendezvous on Thursday, May 15, 2014 between 10AM and 5PM at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.
Join the Rebel Alliance at this covert meeting place to gather supplies and other limited edition acquisitions in preparation for the upcoming Star Wars™ Weekends engagement. Look alert! The Rendezvous Point is located on the Outer Rim near the known whereabouts of Bounty Hunters and an Imperial presence!

Packages for the Rebel Rendezvous are $250 per person and include the following:

Exclusive access to Darth’s Mall one day before it opens to the public.
Limited edition recruitment pack (includes a custom messenger bag, cadet hat, tumbler, lanyard, pin & medal set). Items are only available to Rebel Rendezvous attendees on May 15, 2014.
Preferential opportunity to purchase select 2014 Star Wars™ Weekends merchandise, including, but not limited to:
Customized Rebel Rendezvous merchandise, including D-Tech on Demand cell phone cases and Aurebesh nametags*
Special bundle pack that includes a unique Disney Gift Card design with Rebel carrying case*
Limited edition merchandise created for Star Wars™ Weekends 2014
Star Wars™ Weekends 2014 event logo apparel and souvenir items
New Vinylmation™ releases, including opportunities to acquire full sets
Ashley Eckstein meet & greet and product signing, featuring the new collection of Her Universe apparel
Rebel activities, including special meet & greet and signing opportunities with characters and Disney artists

The Magic Kingdom's daytime parade is back with the brand new 'Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.'

The completely new parade features many of your favorite Disney characters on nine new floats:

The Princess Garden – This pageantry of princesses celebrates Disney royalty. Cinderella, Tiana and Belle accompanied by their respective princes, ride in a garden of topiaries with woodland creatures, birds and more. Cinderella’s dress playfully twirls like a turntable, while Swan Court couples lead the 50-foot-long majestic float, capped off with a special appearance by Anna and Elsa from Disney’s hit animated feature, “Frozen.”

Tangled – A massive long ship on the high seas showcases Flynn Rider and Rapunzel in search of adventure and another Best. Day. Ever! Rapunzel’s iconic tresses weave throughout this 36-foot-long float decked out with swaying pendulums carrying dastardly thugs.

Little Mermaid – Ariel and her friends sit atop a colorfully kinetic seashell music box that boasts an enchanting musical jubilee. There’s no shortage of whimsy on this Under the Sea float with conga dancing fish kicking up their fins and bubbles galore. Shimmering fabrics and intricately designed costumes for the Lion Fish, Coral Fish, Seashell and Sea Horse performers are runway-inspired.

Peter Pan – Straight from Never Land come Peter Pan and Wendy soaring high aboard the famous Jolly Roger pirate ship complete with smoke effects and special surprises. A rainbow arch shines over Skull Rock and Tinker Bell nestled among giant flowers, while Captain Hook takes center stage on a swinging anchor. “Newsies-inspired” Lost Boys kick up their heels to high-energy choreography.

Brave – Celtic couples and a vessel shaped like an enormous bagpipe announce the arrival of Merida perched high on her majestic crown. Scottish dancers step to melodies of the Great Highlands in celebration of the popular Disney*Pixar film, “Brave.”

Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Sleeping Beauty – The heroic Prince Phillip battles a Steampunk-inspired Dragon as the wicked Maleficent. This float stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall with a prickly spinning wheel dead center of the float. With fiery eyes and glowing effects the spectacular dragon was built on an articulating chassis allowing the float to bend and flex as it moves along the parade route – a first for Disney parades. This float was designed in a partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry. There’s Prince Phillip, thorn-inspired stilt performers, dramatic raven dancers, plus the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather glide along the parade route.

Finale and Mickey’s Airship – The parade culminates with a 90-foot-long magical caravan of characters featuring Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Mad Hatter, Pluto and more in a splashy carnival of color. There’s Pegasus horses, dancing hippos and sassy Bubble Girls with cotton-candy-like hair celebrating Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland. Sporting zany new costumes Mickey and Minnie Mouse sit sky high in Mickey’s Airship — a giant hot air balloon that rounds out Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.

“The parade celebrates and pays homage to what the Magic Kingdom is all about,” said Randy Wojcik, senior show director Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment. “It has the most beautiful floats, enchanting characters, vibrant costumes that come to life; and the choreography is just glorious. Yet, it is also very kinetic, relevant and powerful on a scale never seen before at Walt Disney World.”

The parade has an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films, composed by Mark Hammond, known for his work on World of Color at Disney California Adventure and the Flights of Fantasy parade at Hong Kong Disneyland. The parade has its own voice with a theme song customized for each float followed by a medley of songs woven throughout the cavalcade.

The 15 minute parade performs daily at the Magic Kingdom at 3:00 PM.


The winter side course of Winter Summerland Mini Golf is back open after refurbishment. The winter course closed in January 2014 without a reopening date, but work is now complete and the course is back open daily along with the summer course.

Hot on the heals of the newly expanded indoor seating area at Casey's Corner comes a new expanded outdoor seating area. The seating area is approximately double in size, greatly expanding the capacity of the Magic Kingdom quick service restaurant.


The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic returns for its 5th year.
Culinary artistry, fine wine and celebrity chef meet-and-greets will once again highlight the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. The event, back for its fifth year, will be held on Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1 2014, at the Epcot Resort Area hotel.

The outdoor festival will include food and beverage seminars, food and wine tastings and live music. Seminars will be led by the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts, while the hotel’s award-winning restaurants will showcase signature culinary selections to pair with tastings from more than 30 wineries.
Celebrity Chef Todd English will be in attendance to meet and greet with guests. English is a renowned restaurateur who has gained national acclaim through his line of restaurants and cookbooks, and other food-related enterprises. Todd English’s bluezoo is located in the hotel and features fresh seafood in a vibrant atmosphere.

With 17 restaurants and lounges, and a distinguished culinary and beverage team, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel continually earns national recognition for its food and beverage program. The hotel features more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections.

Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Epcot is introducing a new dessert party offering during the nighttime firework spectacular IllumiNations Reflections of Earth. For $49 per adult and $29 per child, the 'Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party' gives guests a special viewing area in World Showcase Plaza, complete with a selection of desserts and sparkling wines.
The 'Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party begins on 3/12/2014, and is available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:45 PM to 9:20 PM. Reservations can be made on 407 WDW-DINE.

Disney has now made MagicBands available to all Annual Passholders, giving them the ability to take part in advance reservation FastPass+ with a MagicBand or RFID pass.
To get your MagicBand, link your pass in 'My Disney Experience' and you will see an option to customize MagicBands. Choose a color and name to be printed on the band, and it will be shipped in late March, arriving in 7 to 10 days.
The MagicBand package will include the MagicBand, a discount card, and an Annual Passholder exclusive MagicSlider to customize the band. The discount card is either gold or black, with only gold indicating that parking is included. To validate parking, guests can either present a MagicBand, RFID pass, or the gold discount card. To obtain discounts on merchandise or dining, passholders will need to present either the discount card with photo ID, or the actual Annual Pass and photo ID. Ultimately, the MagicBands or RFID media will allow access to discounts and the discount card will not be required.
MagicBands are only being shipped to within the USA at this time, and no local pickup of MagicBands is available at Walt Disney World for passholders. For international guests with no USA delivery address, the only option is to continue to use the RFID ticket.
The FastPass+ reservation window has been reduced to 30 days for Annual Passholders not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Passholders can now make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance, and can hold up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations across a 30 day rolling window. For a Passholder staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, the window remains at 60 days in advance of check-in, where FastPass+ reservations can be held for 7 days or the length of the hotel stay.
If you have already made FastPass+ reservations under the 60 day policy, those selections will still be honored unless you choose to cancel them.
Passholders not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel will not be able to add charging privileges on their MagicBands.

More will be closing next week to allow construction work for Disney Springs. Beginning 3/18/2014, parts of lots E, F and G, which are all in the area outside of T-REX and Pollo Campero in the Marketplace, will be closed. The affected areas are the top side of the lots, closest to T-REX and the other buildings.


parking lots at Dowtown Disney
The overflow parking options at Team Disney and the Casting Center remain in use as required, so if parking at Downtown Disney, be sure to follow signs to these overflow areas

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