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Ears the News: March 29, 2019 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


During the Orlando Magic – Philadelphia 76ers game, Mickey Mouse made a surprise on-court appearance to announce that The NBA Experience at Disney Springs will open August 12, 2019.

In collaboration with the NBA, Disney is developing NBA Experience as a one-of-a-kind environment packed with 13 interactive elements and hands-on activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors. NBA Experience will give guests the chance to feel like a basketball superstar.

“When we were young, we played basketball in our driveways or in the park, creating those imaginary moments of making the game-winning shot for a championship,” said Stan Dodd, executive producer, Walt Disney Imagineering. “We want to take that energy and help you feel what it’s like to be an actual NBA or WNBA player.”
Concept art courtesy of Disney


Upon entry to NBA Experience, guests will feel as if they’re walking through the players’ tunnel at an NBA or WNBA arena. A ticket to NBA Experience grants access to every activity, in any order guests choose, with the ability to return to stations to improve performances or learn even more about the game, players and teams they love. In addition to the competitions and games, the experience will also include a retail store featuring NBA-themed merchandise.

Additional elements of the destination include:
  • A slam dunk challenge, where guests can change the height of a standard 10-foot hoop to as low as seven feet to perform their own superstar moves – captured by burst photography. 
  • An activity that tests shooting skills with spots on a court that light up as guests move from one location to another attempting to sink as many shots as possible in 15 seconds. 
  • A way for guests to see how they stack up to some of the world’s best basketball players by measuring their vertical leap, wingspan, shooting and dribbling. 
  • Personalization for various activities with guests’ names and associating the activity with their favorite NBA or WNBA teams. 
  • Real-time technology to aggregate statistics of NBA and WNBA games and players for continuous updates, while leaderboards will track top NBA Experience performers throughout each day. 

Video courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog.
Having trouble viewing the video? Click here to watch on YouTube.


Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach is offering a bundle of food and merchandise, providing a 20 percent saving over purchasing the items separately.

The Splash Pack includes select food entrées and dessert options, a refillable Disney Water Park mug and a Disney-themed towel to take home.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Guests will be able to choose from “Lilo and Stitch,” “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and of course, Mickey Mouse-themed towels.

The limited time pilot will be available March 26 to May 4, 2019, and Splash Packs costs $44 per person, plus tax. Splash packs are available at Singapore Sal’s at Typhoon Lagoon or the Beach Haus at Blizzard Beach.

The highly rated Wine Bar George at Disney Springs will be introducing brunch, starting March 30, 2019.

Available Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm, main plates include French Toast, Steak & Eggs Frites, Burrata, Sausage Gravy & Biscuits, Eggs Benedict and a Wine country Omelet.

Disney Vacation Club has announced that sales of the all-new Disney’s Riviera Resort are now open exclusively for Disney Vacation Club Members until April 15, 2019, at which time sales will open to the general public.

Planned to open on December 16, 2019, the 300 unit Disney's Riviera Resort is the 15th Disney Vacation Club property and the first all-new, stand-alone Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World since 2004.

“Not only will Disney’s Riviera Resort delight families with its gorgeous architectural details and wide range of accommodations, but members and guests will simply fall in love with the sights, sounds and flavors of Europe around every corner,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club. “This new resort will pay tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney’s amazing European travels, connecting Disney artistry and storytelling to this region’s renowned art heritage and inspiration. Our team can’t wait to welcome families to this relaxing destination inspired by the world-famous sun drenched Mediterranean Coastline.”

Disney’s Riviera Resort will include deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, grand villas, that sleep up to 12 guests each, and a new, unique accommodation, Tower Studios.

Concept art courtesy of Disney
Located in its own tower of the resort, Tower Studios will provide an upscale studio experience that maximizes efficiency, inclusive of a queen-sized bed housed in a built-in wall unit that is pulled down for sleeping and tucked away to reveal a comfortable lounge-worthy space. This elegant area will include a sofa, quaint writing nook, a beverage center and microwave, plentiful storage and bright and modern bathroom.

Throughout the resort and inside the accommodations, guests will experience a variety of art including Disney concept art with European settings, posters of Disney films as released in Europe, archival photograpy of Walt Disney’s travels thoughout the region and book titles Walt Disney gathered on his journeys. Additionally, there will be more than 40 signature art pieces created for Disney’s Riviera Resort featuring unique Disney character art inspired by the renowned artistic heritage found along the shores of the European Riviera.

This all-new resort designed in early 20th-century elegance reflected throughout Europe and the Mediterranean coastline will boast a palm tree-lined boulevard with a striking façade featuring grand archways, porticos, cascading water features, and towers and terraces. The pools of Disney’s Riviera Resort will continue this theming with a focus on showcasing a Southern European coast inspiration.

The feature pool, Riviera Pool, will offer lounge chairs and colorful sun umbrellas, with a winding stone turret slide, giving the feel of swimming and playing along the Mediteranean coast. For those traveling with young guests, an interactive water play area, S’il Vous Play, is the perfect place to splash and have fun in a whimsical fountain featuring several beloved characters from Disney “Fantasia,” drawing inspiration from the grand public fountains seen throughout Europe with a patina and limestone-inspired design. For guests looking for a more leisurely poolside experience, the Beau Soleil leisure pool will feature a natural, lush-green wall surrounding the tranquil area, creating a semi-private pool experience, perfect for enjoying the sun or resting beneath the shaded seating area in a grove of tropical palm trees.
Concept art courtesy of Disney


Guests at the resort will have a new way to travel to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via Disney Skyliner. Disney Skyliner will not only efficiently move guests to their location, it will also offer a whole new way to experience Walt Disney World Resort with amazing views only available from the sky — with great photo opportunities. Passing through a tunnel archway with sparkling water features, Disney’s Riviera Resort guests will be connected to a dedicated station where they can hop aboard a Disney Skyliner gondola. When operating later this fall, some cabins will feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters. Once aboard, guests can take a European-inspired ride through the sky to Epcot International Gateway or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney’s Riviera Resort will offer restaurants from signature dining experiences to quick service options within the resort and poolside. Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, perched on the rooftop, will feature authentic dishes infused with French and Italian flavors, with an onstage kitchen featuring a wood burning grill showcasing finely prepared meats and seafood. The culinary team will be handcrafting artisanal pastas tossed with fresh pressed olive oil. A gourmet selection of cheeses from France and Italy will also be featured. This restaurant will also have an impressive collection of wines sourced throughout the South of France and Coastal Italy.

Stepping into Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, guests will be surrounded by stunning visual aesthetics of modern interpretations of Italian and French textures, colors, and carvings mingled with stonework that harkens to what can be found in ancient European villages along the coastline. And while dining, guests may then step out onto the terrace for a grand view of the resort’s stunning vistas, and possibly even enjoy the nighttime spectaculars of nearby Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, guests looking to start their morning off with a breakfast experience can visit Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera for special Disney character dining, with exclusive character experiences, inspired by the Riviera. 
Concept art courtesy of Disney


For those wishing to dine closer to the pools, at Bar Riva, an open-air pool bar with a seaside décor, guests will encounter a relaxed European coast vibe with hospitality that will extend poolside. Those looking for that European café touch, Le Petit Café, taking its name from the classic Disney film, “The Arisotcats,” will have the feel of a modern French patisserie that will be a charming coffee bar by day, and transform into a stylish wine bar by night. With its modern design stylized with a traditional feel, and views of the lawns and the Riviera pool through the large windows framed by beautiful arches, for guests looking to share a casual meal or quick snack, Primo Piatto will feel like dining on along a Riviera promenade.

For Disney Vacation Club Members ready to purchase vacation points at Disney’s Riviera Resort, there is a special introductory offer available at DisneyVacationClub.com/RivieraWelcomeOffer, or by calling 855-883-0181. Guests can contact 407-W-Disney (934-7639) to make reservations for the new Disney’s Riviera Resort.

A number of rule changes for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland will go into effect on May 1, 2019.

Smoking areas will no longer be present inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California.

Designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances to the areas listed above, and at Disney Springs in Florida. For guests who have room or dining reservations, smoking areas are also available at Disney Resort hotels.

Beginning May 1, 2019, Walt Disney World will begin enforcing stroller size restrictions to keep them within a reasonable size for navigating through the parks.

New regulations will require them to be no larger than 31" (79cm) wide and 52" (132cm) long.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Popular strollers, such as the Bob Revolution (including the Duallie double wide version) fit within these size guidelines.

Wagons are already banned, but beginning May 1, stroller wagons (such as the Keenz) will also no longer be permitted.

Beginning March 28, 2019, loose or dry ice is no longer permitted in the Walt Disney World theme parks.

As an alternative, Disney suggests using re-useable ice packs. Complimentary cups of ice are also available at Food & Beverage locations inside the parks if needed.

More dates have just been added to the Disney After Hours events at all three participating theme parks, extending the event through to the summer.

All Disney After Hours event tickets cost $125 + tax for advance purchase and $129 + tax for day-of purchases. Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders do receive a discounted price $95 + tax.

The event gives you access to the park for three hours after regular park hours, which means nearly no wait for attractions, and you can enter the park early – at 7pm on your event night – before Disney After Hours begins. Ice cream, popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages are also included in your Disney After Hours admission, which is a separately priced ticket from daytime park admission.

Magic Kingdom Park

10pm to 1am
  • Thursday, March 28, 2019
  • Thursday, April 4, 2019
  • Thursday, April 11, 2019
9pm to midnight
  • Thursday, May 2, 2019
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019
  • Thursday, May 16, 2019
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019
  • Thursday, May 30, 2019
Tickets are currently available for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park at DisneyWorld.com/DisneyAfterHours.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Attractions available include Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror . Select quick-service food & beverage locations will also stay open for purchases throughout the night.

9pm to midnight
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019
  • Saturday, April 6, 2019
  • Saturday, April 13, 2019
  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019
  • Saturday, May 4, 2019
  • Friday, May 10, 2019
  • Friday, May 17, 2019
  • Friday, May 24, 2019
  • Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Friday, June 14, 2019
  • Friday, June 21, 2019
  • Friday, June 28, 2019

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Includes the Tree of Life Awakenings, the adventures within Pandora – The World of Avatar and more. Select quick-service food & beverage locations will remain open throughout the night for purchases.

9pm to midnight
  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019
  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019
  • Tuesday, June 4, 2019
  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019
  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Starting this summer, the ABC Commissary at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be changing its Fast Casual dinner experience to accept reservations.

Each night starting at 4pm, guests with reservations will be able to place an order, take a pager and find a seat. Then, when the order is ready, the food will be brought to your table as before.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Walk-ups will still be available, although wait times may be longer. Mobile Order will no longer be available for dinner, for guests with or without reservations. Lunch service is unaffected and remains walk-up only as a counter-service offering.

Reservations are available now for dinner beginning Sunday June 2, 2019.

The quick service restaurant moved to the fast-casual model with food delivery to the table back in November 2016, but was available as a walk-up option only.

Disney has announced that the all-new cinematic nighttime
experience, “Wonderful World of Animation,” will officially debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1, 2019 as part of the park’s 30th anniversary celebration.


The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey himself.

This new show will replace the existing Disney Movie Magic projection show.

Concept art courtesy of Disney

Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

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