‘Rivers of Light’ Debuts April 22 at Disney World; ‘Finding Dory,’ ‘Frozen’ and More Updates in 2016

Rivers of Light Concept ArtAn unbeatable lineup of blockbuster attractions will debut at Walt Disney World Resort this year starting with the April 4 launch of a new live stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Earth Day, April 22, a sweeping immersive, animal-themed theatrical production, ‘Rivers of Light,’ will premiere as the first-ever nightly show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Star Wars-Themed Entertainment Expands in Spring, Summer at Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort SW_Spectacular_Artist ConceptFollowing the extraordinary popularity of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Walt Disney World Resort is unveiling even more Star Wars-themed entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting this spring – including one of the most elaborate fireworks and projection shows in the park’s history.

Just in time for spring, that “galaxy far, far away” will be closer than ever with the April 4 arrival of the new Star Wars live entertainment experience Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away and a menacing First Order stormtrooper procession at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And to kick off summer, the park is launching a new nightly fireworks and projection show called Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular that will eclipse anything of its kind in the park’s history.

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PATENT: Disney’s Drones Will Be Self Sustaining

Drone Autonomous Charging StationIt’s become one of the world’s worst kept secrets that Disney Parks has devised of a way to use drones in its nighttime entertainment offerings and is currently lobbying the FAA to allow them to do so. Almost on a weekly basis now, we are learning more and more of just how Disney is attempting to accomplish such a feat, pioneering methods and technology to do so.

Exactly one week ago, we covered a patent application that demonstrates the ‘flixel’ system being composed of a pico-projector and a mesh screen and now Disney has potentially revealed plans on how the system will sustain itself.

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PATENT: Disney’s Drone ‘Flixels’ System to Incorporate Video Projections

Disney Drone Payload Patent ApplicationWe have been following Disney Theme Parks’ plans to incorporate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — or drones — into its nighttime entertainment experiences for years, beginning with the initial patent application through their recent filing to actually seek FAA permission to use drones at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

The filing revealed that Disney plans on using 3DR quadcopters with a ‘flixel’ payload of no more than five pounds in weight, but until now, it was more or less assumed that it would be a simple screen, consisting of simple elements that would combine with other drones’ payloads to develop a larger picture, such as what Intel had recently shown, which was effectively simulating fireworks.

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UPDATE: Disney Seeks Permission to Use Drones for Nighttime Entertainment at Theme Parks

Disney Drone ProposalsBack in summer of 2014, Stitch Kingdom broke news that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts was working on an intricate system using controlled drones to supplement its nighttime entertainment, proposing to: use drones to control massive marionettes (such as an exampled Jack Skellington) and/or use drones to carry screens that could act as what they dubbed ‘flixels,’ or ‘floating pixels.’

In late October of 2015, Disney decided to move ahead with these plans by filing an exemption from the FAA under section 333 which governs the commercial use of drones. The application was published on December 31 and has not yet been answered by the FAA.

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PHOTO: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Star Josh Gad Meets Gaston at Disney World

Josh GadEarlier today, actor Josh Gad met up with Gaston outside Gaston’s Tavern in the New Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Gad, who provides the voice of Olaf for Frozen, also took on the role of Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, in the live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast (March 17, 2017).

Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy Walt Disney World

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Star Wars ‘Season of the Force’ Details for Walt Disney World, Beginning December 1

Walt Disney World has released initial details for its additional Star Wars-themed entertainment slated to begin December 1, 2015 with additional items beginning in January 2016 at its Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

The Star Wars themed entertainment will include new experiences as well as reimagined elements of popular Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, starting December 1, just ahead of the December 18 movie premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These new experiences involve the creation of Star Wars Launch Bay, a central locale for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars; Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, a cinematic overview of the Star Wars saga; and cool, new enhancements for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.

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Disney’s ‘Rivers of Light’ Additional Show Details; Opening Spring 2016 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Light Concept ArtCalling for ‘contemporary and Bollywood’ dancers, Disney Parks and Resorts today unveiled additional details about its upcoming night-time spectacular, ‘Rivers of Light,’ coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort next year.

Choreographed by Ulka Simone Mohanty, these ‘silent narrators orchestrate all the action to convey the spirit of an ancient and timeless celebration.’ The event begins with the arrival of a pair of Shamans, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. Along with their Acolytes, or assistants, the Shamans set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels, engaging in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits.

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‘Frozen’ Themed Plane Unveiled by WestJet and Walt Disney World

'Frozen' Plane from WestJetWestJet and Walt Disney World today announced the addition of a Frozen inspired airplane with decorations taking cue from the animated film, both inside and out.

The tail of the aircraft features Anna and Elsa celebrating sisterhood and the magic of snow. Moving along the aircraft from back to front, the magic travels to warmer climes where Olaf can be found enjoying a summer day on the beach. The theme carries through to the interior of the aircraft with images on the overhead bins, bulkheads, lavatory mirrors and headrests.

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WATCH: Disney Parks Launches ‘Unforgettable Happens Here’ Campaign

Disney Parks today launched a new campaign titled ‘Unforgettable Happens Here,’ using a series of commercials that highlight magical moments that take place during family vacations at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts. The campaign is said to remind Guests that ‘around every corner, at any second or minute of every day, there’s a magical moment waiting to happen. Here, moments both big and little become stories that will be forever told and retold. And never, ever forgotten.’

Two of the 30 second spots that will begin airing shortly have been released and are embedded below.

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