Yesterday, the official Disney Parks blog offered some new details on the Disneyland location of Starbucks, as the Market House is slated to close next month to begin the conversion for the parks’ Starbucks location, opening this fall — an exact closure date has not yet been announced. This will finalize plans for the Disneyland Resort where the first location has already been thriving at Disney California Adventure at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café.
On the east coast, we’ve been keeping tabs on the development as plans for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot have already been announced and — in the case of the former — are well underway.
The most recent date we have for a scheduled opening for Starbucks at the Magic Kingdom is June 19, 2013.
Today we also received additional information for the Epcot location which will be at the current Fountainview Ice Cream Shop. While preliminary reports had the location closing this month for the conversion with a re-opening for summer, we have learned that the current plans have the location closing on April 8, 2013 with a re-opening slated for fall. A new ice cream shop in France, where the bakery previously was, will open in June.
Locations for Disney’s Hollywood studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have yet to be confirmed.
The Disneyland Resort has announced that Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Emeritus, Walt Disney Archives, Dave Smith will offer two special sessions for annual passholders at the the Disneyland theme park on March 22, 2013, titled ‘Disneyland: The Way We Were.”
The event promises to take guests on a ‘photographic journey through the attractions, shops, restaurants and other pieces of Disneyland history.’
The events will take place at 5 and 7 pm at the Main Street USA Opera House. Wristband distribution will begin at 11:30 am on March 22 at the Opera House.
For more information, visit the official event page.
With a patent application titled simply ‘Role-Play Simulation Engine,’ Disney Parks may be looking to use its NextGen technology base and cash in on the CosPlay/LARPing — that’s Live Action Role Play — crazes and bring a brand new experience to its theme parks.
The patent allows for guests to participant in ‘long-form role play’ events in which they interact with performers that are employed by the park to engage the guest in the role-playing activities. The performers don’t even need to be humans either. They can be audio animatronics, for example, or something as simple as a video screen that triggers in response to the guest’s arrival.
All of this information — prompts to performers and responses by guests — are fed into an electronic device/system known as the planner, or game master. The planner then makes decisions on how the rest of the role playing session should play out based on how the guest responds to the game thus far.
The idea is to take what already exists, such as the World Showcase Players, to a much larger extreme, allowing the guest to freely roam the park(s) while the session continues and the guest continues to encounter multiple performers, all of whom are kept apprised of the session via the planner device. In addition to session-specific information, the planner will also make available additional information about the guest to the performer to help carry out the performance.
The guest can even make use of special props in their role-play activities which of course can employ RFID or GPS enabled devices that will allow the planner/game master/performers to track a guest’s location throughout the park and respond accordingly.
Role Play Simulation Engine is US patent application #20130066608 and was developed by Asa Kalama, Cory Rouse, Michael Ilardi and Reid Swanson.
Walt Disney World Resort today announced the multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a unique destination that will treat guests to significantly more shopping, dining and entertainment amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm.
Disney Springs will feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands. From boutique shops to unique flagship anchor stores, guests will be able to explore a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences and discover options unlike any other currently available in Central Florida.
“Disney Springs will be a timeless, vibrant place where Walt Disney World guests and local residents can relax, shop, dine and be entertained in an imaginative setting where they’ll instantly feel at home,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Featuring distinctive brands, world-class restaurants and unforgettable entertainment, Disney Springs will be brought to life with the same focus on storytelling and attention to detail that goes into our theme parks, resorts and cruise ships, resulting in a welcoming space that only Disney could create.”
Disney Springs will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments. In addition, Staggs noted, Central Florida stands to benefit from the expansion with more jobs, tax revenues and business opportunities.
Drawing inspiration from Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will include four outdoor neighborhoods interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront. In addition to a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry, the destination will feature:
The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.
A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.
The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.
A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.
Collectively, these efforts will not only have an impact within Walt Disney World, but will also have an economic ripple effect on Central Florida. The project will create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational roles.
Disney will share more details on specific experiences coming to Disney Springs in the future. Construction is slated to begin next month with new areas opening in phases. Disney Springs is expected to be complete in 2016.
Walt Disney World’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group has created a brand new viral website at FreeTheDisneyGoat.com which is designed to make Florida residents aware of new attractions and changes at the Walt Disney World Resort along with the special 3-Day Discover Disney ticket offer.
The site uses Billy the goat from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction as its
spokesman spokesgoat. Billy is aware of all the new and exciting things going on around the resort as well as some favorite classics, but he’s stuck atop Big Thunder and he’s counting the seconds he can break free and explore what the rest of Magic Kingdom and the Resort have to offer — he’s even taking suggestions.
In order to set Billy free, however, he needs not just the suggestions but word of mouth. Every tweet, Facebook mention or Pinterest post brings him one step closer to checking out the new Rapunzel restrooms in Fantasyland. He’s even joined Twitter under the @DisneyGoat account and has shown a preference for the hashtag #FreeTheGoat
Other website domains registered (but all go to the same place) include UnboltTheGoat.com, UnboltDisneyGoat.com, DisneyGoat.com, FreeTheGoat.com and FreeDisneyGoat.com.
The Disneyland Resort has announced it will be offering its annual passholders the opportunity to attend a free behind-the-scenes look at the creation of its newest attraction, the Fantasy Faire. The event will include a presentation and Q&A session with Show Director Christopher Utley and Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Director Michel den Dulk.
The event will take place on Thursday, March 14 at 6:00 pm in the Main Street USA Opera House. Required wristbands will be distributed at the Opera House beginning at 11:30 am that day. All attendees must be a current passholder at the time of the event.
For the event itself, the Opera House will open 15 minutes prior to the start time (5:45 pm). Seating is not guaranteed. The theater will remain open until the event time or until the theater has reached capacity, whichever occurs first. Late arrivals will not be accommodated.
For more information, visit the official event page.
Earlier today at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, chairman and chief executive officer Robert A. Iger unveiled the first image of a model of Shanghai Disney Resort, featuring the resort’s theme park, Shanghai Disneyland.
“With Shanghai Disneyland, we’re creating a one-of-a-kind destination that is authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” said Iger. “We believe this will be one of the most spectacular Disney experiences yet – and an important part of our future. We look forward to opening the gates at the end of 2015 and welcoming the first of the millions of guests who will enjoy Shanghai Disneyland for generations to come.”
The image illustrates a portion of the model of Shanghai Disneyland, and provides a first look at a beautiful, 11-acre green space at the center of the park, and a closer look at the unique design and scale of Enchanted Storybook Castle, the iconic central attraction of the theme park. On opening day Shanghai Disney Resort will include Shanghai Disneyland, two themed hotels, a 46,000-square-meter (495,000 square feet) gross floor area retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake and associated parking and transportation hubs.
“We are incredibly excited about the developments and progress of the Disney resort in Shanghai, one of the world’s most vibrant cities,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Shanghai Disney Resort will bring a classic Disney Parks experience to mainland China and will immerse Chinese guests in a whole new world of creativity, imagination and adventure that only Disney can deliver.”
Targeted to open at the end of 2015, Shanghai Disney Resort will be a world-class family vacation destination that combines classic Disney characters and storytelling with the uniqueness and beauty of China.
We received a few new updates from Walt Disney World over the past week or so regarding upcoming refurbishments and have new additions as well as several date revisions. While we recommend verifying all of the changes by visiting our ReSearch page, here are some of the highlights:
- Main Street Bakery — which is being converted over to the Magic Kingdom’s Starbucks location — is now slated to open on June 19, 2013. This is actually the second delay we have seen before (it was initially slated to open on May 18, then was pushed back to May 28).
- Mad Tea Party is currently expected to close on April 10 and is expected to re-open on May 22, 2013.
- Carousel of Progress is currently expected to close on May 13 and is expected to re-open on May 16, 2013.
- Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel is currently expected to close on May 28 and is expected to re-open on June 11, 2013.
Guests to the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot will journey “between the pages” of history as the American Heritage Gallery opens its doors to an art exhibit representing over 400 years of African-American achievement and contribution.
“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” which opens March 8, draws from an extensive collection of rare art, documents, books and artifacts amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who share a passion for African-American history.
Their private collection has been displayed throughout the U.S., including in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Approximately 40 pieces will be on display for Epcot guests at any given time on a rotating basis during the exhibit run.
“We always wanted to extend the reach of the Collection to a larger, more international and diverse audience,” explained Bernard Kinsey. “So we are delighted to be collaborating with Disney to share the stories of our remarkable ancestors.”
Overseeing the collection is the Kinseys’ son, Khalil, whose school-age curiosity inspired his parents to build their collection.
The exhibit – themed to hope, belief, courage, imagination and heritage – provides optimistic and empowering stories from American history from voices that are not commonly seen or heard. Art and artifacts pay homage to African-Americans who helped build and transform a nation. Their stories of determination and courage, from the nation’s early days to the present, are at the heart of the exhibit.
To enrich the immersive storytelling experience of the exhibit, Walt Disney Imagineers added interactive displays in which Epcot guests can deepen their knowledge of the American heritage that the Kinsey holdings represent. Epcot guests will be able to use touch screens placed throughout the exhibit to further explore the art, artifacts and history. Guest-activated lanterns will help bring the history to life, with narration provided by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg (“The View”), Diane Sawyer (“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer”), and actors Chandra Wilson & James Pickens, Jr. (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Kerry Washington (“Scandal”), Zendaya Coleman & Roshon Fegan (“Shake It Up”), China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”), Tyrel Jackson Williams (“Lab Rats”).
“We are thrilled to bring the Kinsey Collection to Epcot guests,” said Jim MacPhee, senior vice president, Walt Disney World Parks. “Epcot is such a rich cultural tapestry that it serves as the perfect showcase for this powerful collection, with its celebration of the human spirit.”
Among highlights of each themed gallery:
By age 19, Phillis Wheatley became internationally known as the first African-American ever to publish a book of poetry (1773). She wrote poetry about hope and freedom and is now known as The Mother of African American Literature. (Document on display: Phyllis Wheatley’s first book).
Other Hope Gallery highlights: Samuel Francis Smith, My Country ‘Tis of Thee lyrics (1895); “Untitled,” Hughie Lee Smith (1951); Almanack, Benjamin Banneker (1796)
Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved young black woman often called an “American Anne Frank” stayed seven years in a tiny attic until she could escape to freedom. She later chronicled her story in an autobiography. (Document on display: Harriet Jacobs’ book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1862)
Other Courage Gallery highlights: Sea Island Woman, fiber art, Bisa Butler (2006); Loss, sculpture, Michael Chukes (1998);
In 1870, only seven years after Emancipation, Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first African-American to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate. Josiah Walls became the first African-American to represent Florida in the House of Representatives. (Document on display: “Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels Cabinet Card Photograph”)
Other Belief Gallery highlights: Buffalo Soldiers Parade Flag (1889); What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, Abby Fisher (1881); A Negro Explorer at the North Pole, Matthew Henson book (1912) and article.
Alain Locke not only became the first African-American Rhodes scholar in 1907, but his book “The New Negro” helped inspire the Harlem Renaissance, a period in American culture that produced artists, musicians, writers and thinkers that showed the world how American greatness comes from all of its citizens. (Document on display: The Negro in Art, by Alain Locke).
Other Imagination Gallery highlights: Harmon Foundation Catalogs (1931-1935); American Beach Negro Ocean Playground, Florida – Steel plaque (1930); “Untitled” (Kadir Nelson, 1992)
History can be shared through many types of artifacts. Sometimes it’s as simple as a timeworn letter written by Carrie Kinsey (Bernard’s cousin) to President Roosevelt. Or an old sewing machine passed down through generations by Shirley’s grandmother, Susie Plummer Pooler. (Document on display: “Letter to President Roosevelt,” by Carrie Kinsey)
Other Heritage Gallery highlights: Bill of Sale-William Johnson (1832); Schedule of Over 500 Slaves (1820); Sewing Machine (1900), Susie Plummer Pooler
The American Adventure pavilion is in the heart of the World Showcase area of Epcot. “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more information, visit http://thekinseycollection.com