WE HAVE THE ANNOUNCEMENT. FOR FULL DETAILS ABOUT THE DISNEY TIME SWEEPSTAKES, PLEASE VISIT
(not affiliated with The Walt Disney Company)
It’s time to let the memories end — or at least subside for a while. While Disney Parks has made no secret that 2013 will be the year of ‘Limited Time Magic,’ a series of celebrations throughout the year, such as those announced this morning, they’re mostly being mum about just plain ol’ ‘Disney Time’ — mostly.
As we reported earlier today, Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade co-host Maria Menounous teased that she would be making a bit announcement this New Year’s Eve during ABC’s broadcast of the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve programming, just as she had done for the ‘One More Disney Day’ special event held at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts during Leap Year. We claim that part of the announcement will be a new sweepstakes, due to the registration of websites such as DISNEYTIMESWEEPS.COM and DISNEYTIMESWEEPSTAKES.COM and even DISNEYTIME.CA, but we believe ‘Disney Time’ to be the foundation of a new year-long (or longer) campaign, just as ‘Let the Memories Begin,’ and ‘Year of a Million Dreams’ served.
Below is a video released by Disney Parks earlier today which features Menounos as she talks about what ‘Disney Time’ means to her, recorded at some point during the parade taping at Walt Disney World in early December. ‘Whether it was getting pictures with the characters or getting splashed on Splash Mountain, that’s what “Disney Time’ is all about,’ she says in the video. She adds: ‘It’s when parents push the pause button on day-to-day grown-up stresses and become kids, playing with their kids — it’s like every body’s the same age.’
We will continue to report on the ‘Disney Time’ campaign as information becomes available to us. A formal announcement is expected shortly before midnight on December 31, 2012.
UPDATE #1: 12/28/12 We now have a second video promoting ‘Disney Time’ at Disney Parks, this one featuring a graffiti artist whose seemingly abstract work ends up creating the perfect re-creation of Main Street USA. Featuring the tag line ‘Disney Moments: Everyday Everywhere,’ it also ends with the #DisneyTime Twitter hashtag.
Viewers of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, which recently aired on ABC, may have caught notice that co-host Maria Menounos mentioned she would be making a special Disney Parks announcement during ABC’s broadcast of ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest’ this upcoming Monday evening.
A similar announcement was made last year regarding the ‘One More Disney Day’ campaign in which the Disney Parks on both coasts honored the leap year by remaining open all night long for the parks fans that managed to brave it. That announcement, however, was a poorly guarded secret and the campaign had been known about in some form or another for months prior to the actual announcement (we reported on it as early as August of 2012).
Since then Disney Parks has announced a new campaign for 2013, ‘Limited Time Magic.’ Perhaps taking a cue from its previous self-leaks, the campaign was kept well under wraps. So much so that we admit that while we knew there would be a Times Square event a couple of weeks prior, we didn’t learn about the ice sculpture until the evening before and of the ‘Limited Time Magic’ moniker just a few hours before the event began.
So while the Disney fanbase impatiently awaits the first new details of ‘Limited Time Magic’ (via the Disney Parks blog and LIMITEDTIMEMAGIC.COM) and how Disney Parks plans on celebrating the beginning of the new year, albeit temporarily, we are preparing to tell you about another campaign brewing: ‘Disney Time.’
Curb your excitement however because what we do know of ‘Disney Time’ is fairly limited at this time. We do know that it will consist of some large sweepstakes which will be part of the announcement (if not the announcement itself) and that Disney Parks has already registered and is preparing websites such as DISNEYTIMESWEEPS.COM (which seems to have seen the most work done, but is not currently available for public viewing), DISNEYTIMESWEEPSTAKES.COM and DISNEYTIME.CA.
We hope to have more information shortly and invite anyone who may have additional details they’d be willing to share to use the contact form on the site. Tips can be made anonymously.
UPDATE #1: 12/28/12 – We now have the following teaser video which confirms ‘Disney Time’
We are just under a week from the New Year and — with it — the 124th annual Rose Parade held on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. This year’s theme is taken from the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Disneyland Resort hopes to transport the parade’s millions of viewers to Cars Land, it’s newest addition at the Disney California Adventure theme park.
The Disney float, dubbed ‘Destination: Cars Land,’ showcases the landmarks of Cars Land in a colorful re-creation of the roadside town of Radiator Springs. Shaped like the state of California, the 125-foot long float — the longest in this year’s parade — features flowing water, smoke-puffing baby tractors and 45 animated parts, including replicas of Lightning McQueen and Sally as they relive their fun-spirited road race from the first Cars movie. Mater, the tow truck, follows along behind the float.
Here’s a breakdown of what viewers may spot aboard the 125-foot long, 35-foot tall float:
- At the front of the float, is a postcard-style ‘Welcome to Cars Land’ sign, flanked by a trio of baby tractors emitting puffs of smoke while their eyes move in a playful manner.
- Further ‘up the road’ are likenesses of Lightning McQueen and Sally, moving forward and backward as if jockeying for race position.
- The main buildings of Radiator Springs are marked by spinning signs for the town’s landmarks, including the Cozy Cone Motel and Flo’s V-8 Cafe.
- Guests aboard the float will ride vehicles from two Cars Land attractions: a tractor from Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and a bouncing tire from Luigi’s Flying Tires.
- The iconic Radiator Springs mountain range, a Cars Land landmark, is re-created on the float, with characters Luigi and Guido perched on the rocks.
- The mountain range is home to a miniature version of the popular Radiator Springs Racers attraction, complete with small-scale race cars zooming across the landscape.
- High above everything, Barney Stormin’ the airplane tows a banner that reads: ‘The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier.’
Via Twitter, volunteer @BigD923 recently shared some of the following images of the float as it is being assembled (in two parts) and decorated:
The parade steps off at 8 am PST on Tuesday, January 1, in Pasadena and will be broadcast live on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. The Parade is also seen in more than 220 international territories and countries.
Via its official Facebook page, Disney PhotoPass has announced the debut of Attractions+, a service that complements its recently introduced PhotoPass+ service. With the new Attractions+ card, available at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, guests can receive unlimited downloads of attraction photos for a two week period for just $44.95.
Guests have up to 24 hours after riding a photo-enabled attraction to attach it to their Attractions+ card, at which point it can be used online at the DisneyPhotoPass.com website as if it were any other PhotoPass card.
Participating attractions — where Attractions+ can also be purchased — at this time include:
Walt Disney World: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Test Track
Disneyland Resort: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, California Screamin, Radiator Springs Racers, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Pictured here left-to-right are “Once Upon a Time” star Ginnifer Goodwin, Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, singer Jordin Sparks and Mickey Mouse pose December 6, 2012 at the grand opening of New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
New Fantasyland is a new area in the Magic Kingdom and is the largest expansion in the 41-year history of the theme park.
Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort
We first reported that Walt Disney World was seeking circus acts for its Storybook Circus portion of the New Fantasyland Expansion a few months ago. At the time, it was noted that solo clown acts were not being sought out, which many misconstrued as meaning clowns were not going to be an element in the Magic Kingdom’s expansion, which officially opens this Thursday, December 6.
Yesterday, the official Disney Parks blog shattered those hopes by announcing that the area will feature a clown act, known as the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang. While the Disney community at large reacted poorly to the news, the sentiment was only bolstered by the Disney Parks blog itself. Receiving relatively few comments, initially nearly half of the moderated comments were negative; at press time, the number has dwindled to nearly one-fourth.
Aside from a general distaste for the choice of entertainment, there is the very real and recognized irrational fear of clowns by millions of children and adults, known as coulrophobia. While specific fears are not broken down, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 14% of 18-59 year olds suffer from irrational fears. While spiders, flying and some others tend to top the list, many respected sources within the psychological field cite coulrophobia as being high on the list. This, of course, speaks for adults, but clearly children must be more open and accepting of clowns due to their child-like behavior, right? Not so.
One oft-cited example as to the extreme of how universally despised clowns are by children is a survey conducted by the University of Sheffield in 2007. The survey interviewed more than 250 children regarding proposed changes to a hospital’s decor. While not intending to single out clowns specifically (the survey consisted of all sorts of possibilities), the researchers couldn’t help but notice that every single one of the children, aged 4 – 16, rejected the use of clowns, with many children cited as referring to the clowns as scary.
Few professions can likely stake claim that they terrify their customers by their very nature of being — dentistry perhaps? Yet it is openly acknowledged and discussed by and amongst professional clowns that there is a large number of the population that — for lack of a better word — fears them. In an article from Psychology Today, titled ‘No Laughing Matter,’ one professional clown is quoted as explaining, ‘to a toddler, there’s nothing funny about a clown — he’s a monster.’
The professional discourtesy does not end there. The website of one professional entertainer, MollieTheClown.com, devotes an entire paragraph to understanding the fear of clowns by both adults and children and how she is willing to adapt to the stituation. And when it comes to the grand-daddy of clown infestations, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, clown-fearing is well known by the profession. In an interview titled ‘5 Clown Questions Debunked From a Ringling Bros. Pro,’ professional clown Frances Tiffin is quoted as saying, ‘You know, we’re all quick on our feet, so we tend to get used to it. But it never came up as a serious thing to think about. Not in a class, but definitely at work. I mean we talk about it all the time. Maybe clown schools should think about adding one. After all, so many of us do have some form of coulrophobia.’ After noting that as a female, she seems to be more approachable to children, she added, ‘I’ve heard a number of guys say that it’s frustrating that kids will shy away from them.’
For most people that fear clowns, there is one simple solution: avoiding them. Nobody who doesn’t like the circus makes a big stink out of it (other than PETA, that is), they simply don’t patronize them. Unfortunately when it comes to the most visited theme park in the world, the choice isn’t as clear. Nor is the Magic Kingdom even remotely near synonymous with clowns in general.
Most articles that attempt to explain why the fear of clowns is so prominent (as seen in Psychology Today, Scientific American, Time, et al.) present a sane argument that children don’t react well to something anthropomorphic, or something that seems like it should be part of their norm, but clearly isn’t. After all, haven’t we all been behind that screaming, tantrum-throwing child that refuses to go near Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World, belonging to the screaming, tantrum-throwing parent that insists they will pose for the photo to make for nice memories? So goes with clowns. As for adults, therapists argue that clown makeup acts as a mask and there is an inherent distrust of someone wearing a mask — that and the obligatory reference to horror films.
But perhaps it is time that Walt Disney World embraces clowns, after all, Universal Studios Orlando has had them for years — as part of its Halloween Horror Nights. Perhaps this is just the second half of the Disney Parks 2013 initiative: ‘Limited Time Magic, Unlimited Terror.’
A blooming bounty of festival firsts will welcome Disney guests to the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. First, the news:
- Epcot chefs will cook up first-time festival food and beverage fun, with special cooking stations offering exclusive-to-the-festival bites along the park’s World Showcase promenade.
- A new circus-like “Land of Oz Play Area,” based on the Disney fantastical film adventure Oz: The Great and Powerful to be released in March 2013, will debut a kaleidoscope of interactive fun.
- Disney topiary experts will grow, shape and manicure a Fab Five Disney character topiary with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) featured in a celebratory floral cookout scene in living topiary color at the park’s front entrance.
- New illuminated gardens in the park’s Future World and World Showcase will cast a colorful glow over each festival evening.
Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, colorful garden displays, a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers, interactive gardening seminars and whimsical children’s play areas. On weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and ’70s will perform.
Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars. During opening weekend, March 8-10, Chris Lambton of “Going Yard” will appear; other designers scheduled to take the stage include Brandon Johnson of “My Yard Goes Disney” and Meg Caswell of “Meg’s Great Rooms.”
Now the details:
- Festival-themed flavors: Guests will discover culinary creations and refreshing libations at multiple festival-themed food and beverage locations. Chefs are tweaking the menu to include backyard barbecue and a variety of garden-inspired and global tastes. Around the World Showcase promenade
- Fab Five topiary barbecue: 14-foot-tall topiary Goofy will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. At Epcot Front Entrance
- Land of Oz Play Area: This interactive new children’s play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids’ imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents and the “Oz Movie Garden” of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful. Also on tap: fun games, photo opportunities, the “great and powerful Oz’s” crashed hot-air balloon and lush plants inspired by the movie. On the Imagination Walkway
- Illuminated Gardens: Every night when the sun sets, many of the festival’s world-famous Disney topiaries and gardens will twinkle and shine in a new light. Throughout World Showcase and Future World
- Monsters University topiary: Floral representations of Mike and Sulley from the hit Disney-Pixar film Monsters, Inc. and stars of Disney-Pixar’s June 2013 release, Monsters University, will join the festivities as new topiary family members. On the Future World Walkway
- Phineas and Ferb topiary: The popular Disney Channel animated celebs limit their shenanigans to go green for a family photo-op. Behind Spaceship Earth
- “Radiator Springs” interactive play zone: Race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck “Mater” of the Disney-Pixar film Cars 2 will be the well-maintained topiary stars of this play area. On the Test Track Walkway
- Flower Power Firsts: 1970s top disco band The Village People (April 19-21) and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe (May 3-5) bring on the Flower Power beat when they take the concert stage. At America Gardens Theatre
And a new twist:
- Fawn’s Butterfly House: Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, take over the Butterfly House this year where hundreds of colorful winged beauties flit to life. On the Imagination Walkway
In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape. Daily hands-on gardening seminars, and other Festival Center events will offer innovative ideas, design tips and gardening know-how to park guests.
The Flower Power concert series kicks off March 6-10 with Micky Dolenz (“I’m a Believer”) and continues each weekend with pop favorites including:
- March 15-17: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
- March 22-24: The Guess Who
- March 29-31: Nelson
- April 5-7: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
- April 12-14: Paul Revere & the Raiders
- April 19-21: The Village People (new!)
- April 26-28: The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
- May 3-5: Tommy Roe (new!)
- May 10-12: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- May 17-19: Starship starring Mickey Thomas.
While Disney guests celebrate spring during their festival visit, they also can explore the reimagined, design-centric Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, the hang-gliding sensation of Soarin’ and other high-tech Future World marvels. In World Showcase, where the spotlight will shine on topiaries of Disney princesses, storybook characters and even pandas and trolls, guests will discover the attractions, shops and restaurants that represent cultures and cuisine of 11 countries.
Disney Research Pittsburgh has just released the video below which demonstrates one of its latest projects: an audio animatronic robot that can interact with people by playing catch with them. The system uses an off-the-shelf Microsoft Kinect (according to the video’s narration) along with an external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman ?lter to predict ball destination and timing. So not only is the robot able to track a human’s position and size by the location of their head, but it can attempt to move its hand to catch the ball. If the robot misses the catch, it’s fully aware and even responds with one of several different humorous animations to elicit a response from the person interacting with it.
Disney Research has also been able to use its system to successfully juggle up to three balls at a time when a professional juggler is used as the participant.
According to the video and its description, Disney Research is hopeful that this product leads to a fully interactive experience between guests and audio animatronics in environments such as theme parks, while managing to keep the guest a safe distance from the robots.
The brand-new ‘The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow’ Pirates of the Caribbean experience began operating in soft opening mode this morning, allowing the first guests to visit the high-tech show and enter the world of the popular film franchise. The attraction, which will officially open on December 6, 2012, is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in Soundstage 4 (between Toy Story Mania! and the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit.
Like its predecessor, the Chronicles of Narnia experiences, the show begins in a pre-show area, in which a talking skull a la the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, introduces the show and questions the integrity of those waiting to go inside and join Jack Sparrow’s crew.
For the main show, guests enter a large room which is decorated with various props along the sides and features a large scale model of the Black Pearl which serves as a portion of the show’s projection screen. Using Disney’s high-resolution, projection mapping system such as the one used in ‘The Magic, the Memories and You’ and ‘Celebrate the Magic,’ the now floating skull invites the pirate pledge holding the iron key (chosen prior to the show) to ‘insert it into the treasure chest’ (the child really just holds it up) and the show begins. From here, the audience journeys through each of the films in an immersive show that involves physical and lighting effects in addition to the projections: from a skeleton army to Davy Jones to the Kraken and more, the lifelike projections also appear to literally fly off the screen along the back of the wall to over the Black Pearl and other objects inside the room. Eventually Captain Jack Sparrow himself appears aboard the ship and, after defeating Davy Jones, leads guests through the pirate’s oath in a way that only Jack Sparrow can.
The show is billed as interactive, but it’s really only in the vein of television shows like ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ as guests are encouraged to engage in activities such as yelling out phrases and stomping their feet.
Below is our video of the full experience as well as a brief look at some of the props which include many from the films such as Elizabeth Swann’s corset, the ‘Pirates – Ye be warned’ sign and more, along with many sight gags such as my favorite, the pirate who died by cannonball.
As you can see from the video, the best view may actually be towards the right side of the room as you enter, with the starboard side of the ship still in complete view.
We also have some photos from around and inside the attraction, but bear in mind the show building is very dark and time inside is limited, so the quality isn’t as great as it could be.
A new post on the official Disney Parks blog teases what appears to be the Flying Dragon puppet/vehicle that was spotted during testing earlier this year at Minter Field Airport in Shafter, California. Using blurry video footage, the video appears to spotlight the vehicle and in fact the post does tease that it involves a dragon of some sort, noting some of which even breathe fire, which the Disney flying vehicle reportedly does.
The blog entry also links to a new tumblr account which chronicles these so-called dragon sightings (not really), but perhaps what’s most interesting about the tumblr’s posts is that they are tagged with New Fantasyland, indicating that the flying dragon puppet/vehicle may soon be making its public debut over the skies of the Enchanted Forest in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.