Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ears the News with Richard

Beginning September 18 2014, the Magic Kingdom's Seven Dwarfs Mine Train now offers both video and photos of riders.

Similar to the recent Tower of Terror onboard video, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train creates a series of video clips, including point-of-view footage, and scenes of the riders on the drops.

MyMagic+ MagicBands are used to automatically associate the photos and videos to the rider's My Disney Experience account, making the whole process a seamless experience.

The service is available now to guests who have purchased the Memory Maker package, and are wearing a MagicBand at the time of riding. The video is available online only at the My Disney Experience website, and cannot be viewed in the park. Photos are available online, and at the camera centers at the front of each park.





Disney has announced to Disney's Hollywood Studios cast members that the Studio Backlot Tour will be permanently closing on September 27 2014.

No information about what will replace the attraction has been announced, although the area has been rumored in the past to become home to a Cars Land and Pixar Land expansion, and more recently part of a possible Star Wars expansion.

Part of the exit to the Backlot Tour will soon be used for the relocated Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post.

Both Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom and Kali River Rapids will be going down for their annual refurbishment in January.

Splash Mountain is scheduled to be down between for January 4 to January 30 and Kali will be down between January 20 through to February 4 2015.

This fall, La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil will be offering a dinner package option with Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Planet Hollywood or Splitsville Luxury Lanes.

     $99 plus tax for a Category 2 ticket ($89 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9)
     $119 plus tax for a Category 1 ticket ($109 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9)
 
The package includes 1 ticket to a 6pm performance Tuesday through Saturday nights on the following dates:

     September 30 through November 1, 2014
     November 6 through November 22, 2014
 
Dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Planet Hollywood or Splitsville Luxury Lanes is available either before or after the show. The offer includes one entrée, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage. The meal coupon includes priority seating at the chose restaurant. Guests should be seated for dinner by 4:30pm to dine before the 6pm show. For dining after the show, priority seatings at the restaurants begin at 8pm. The package can be purchased now online or at (407) 939-7328.

A new revised operating schedule for the Walt Disney World Monorail system will be in operation from September 27 2014.

     Magic Kingdom Resort beam - 7am to 1 hour after park close
     Magic Kingdom Express beam - 8:30am to 1 hour following park close
     Epcot beam - 8am to 11pm or 1 hour after Magic Kingdom closes (whichever is earliest)

Disney has rolled out an update to its park rules which govern the admission policy for all of its domestic parks.

The guidelines are aimed at clarifying some points that may have previously been unclear, with greater clarity now given to e-cigarette usage and the requirement for children under 14 being accompanied by an adult.

The new rules are effective September 24 2014 at both Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort. New pages on both websites now contain the new rules - www.disneyworld.com/parkrules and www.disneyland.com/parkrules.

Along with the new pages on the websites, signage will be installed at the park main entrances with some of the most important rules highlighted.

Photos posted on WDWMagic, provided by Martin Smith
Several key Walt Disney Imagineers and Disney executives were spotted at Disney's Hollywood Studios on September 25th. WDI Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn, Chairman Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs, Disney's Hollywood Studios VP Dan Cockerell, WDI's Kathy Mangum, Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, and perhaps most interestingly, John Lasseter - Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering.



Photos posted on WDWMagic, provided by Martin Smith


This group represents the ultimate power to bring something new to Disney's Hollywood Studios, comprising all the key players of both the finance and creative arms of the Walt Disney Company. Lasseter's presence would seem to indicate that the project is more than likely to be Pixar related.

It is suspected that this appearance might be related to a recent permit filing for work at Soundstage 1 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Simply titled, 'Project 3 - DHS Soundstage 1 Renovation,' the permits do not give away any details, other than the expiration date of 9/30/2016, and Whiting Turner being involved in the project. That particular contractor has been involved with Disney attractions in the past, and a long expiration date for the permit suggests something on a large scale.
Recent speculation has suggested one possible use of Soundstage 1 may be for an expansion of Toy Story Mania to provide additional capacity. Previous rumors for Soundstage 1 have centered around a Monsters Inc themed roller coaster attraction, expanding the Pixar Place mini-land.

The upcoming closure of the Studios Backlot Tour this weekend would appear to also be a significant step in this project, given its close proximity to Soundstage 1.

Disney has not yet commented on any expansion, or given any indication of what will replace the Studios Backlot Tour.

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