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.
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.
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
Disney Parks has updated its ‘Limited Time Magic’ schedule to include events that begin today, February 1 and run through February 11, 2013.
At the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort is the ‘Countdown to Super Sunday,’ running from February 1 through February 9. There will be a daily pre-parade including an MVP appearance on February 4. Just before the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, Disney football ‘star’ Goofy will hit the streets of the park for a lively pigskin celebration.
Also from February 1 to February 9, 2013, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland will be dishing up Super Sunday menu items, including ‘Soup-er Bowls’ of lobster bisque and tomato basil bisque.
Meanwhile at Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure, it’s all about the Lunar New Year, from February 8 through February 11. Guests are invited to celebrate the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures for the most magical Lunar New Year Party under the moon. Festivities include Mulan’s Chinese New Year Procession, cultural performances and fun-filled activities — as well as Disney Character greetings with Mulan, Mushu, Mickey and Minnie dressed in traditional Chinese outfits. A limited-edition pin will be available while supplies last.
Disney’s ‘Avatarland’ expansion, based on the successful James Cameron film franchise, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may in fact be in trouble as rampant rumors have speculated in recent months. Yet just as recently as December, Disney has remained adamant that everything was just fine, according to this article by the Orlando Sentinel.
But according to paperwork recently filed with the Orange County comptroller’s office, everything may not be hunky-dory in the land of the Na’vi. The document calls for the installation of FASTPASS+ for ‘Festival of the Lion King,’ a show that was expected to close and relocate elsewhere in the park to make way for the ‘Avatarland,’ which is said to replace Camp Minnie-Mickey.
While installing FASTPASS+ capability for the show is not a life-time commitment by any stretch of the imagination, it’s not insignificant either. For beginners, the show has never formally had FASTPASS which means a brand new installation, which involves underground wiring for distribution machines and the like. The Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is also one of the last to receive the FASTPASS+ treatment with the ‘My Disney Experience’ NextGen project focus being placed on Magic Kingdom, followed by Epcot. In other words, it seems like an awful lot of investment in time and resources for a location whose razing was once supposedly imminent (‘Avatarland’ is supposed to break ground in 2013).
This news couldn’t come at a stranger time for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, as in addition to the reports of challenges in working with James Cameron, there is a major reorganization of theme park leadership effective as of today. In addition, Tony Baxer, the senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering, is expected to formally announce his retirement today, shifting into more of a consulting role. Add to that the recent Magic Kingdom expansion of ‘New Fantasyland’ and Disney’s recent addition of proven franchises: Cars Land at Disney California Adventure (rumored to be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and Lucasfilm / Star Wars and suddenly the road to ‘Avatarland’ has sprung up a lot of potential forks along the way.
Deemed one of 2012′s best, Groupon and Orlando Balloon Rides in Kissimmee, Florida are once again offering the opportunity to save up to 55% on a hot air balloon flight plus a champagne toast and breakfast.
One hour before sunrise, voyagers meet at the convention center at the Radisson Resort Orlando Celebration, where the flight team greets them for their balloon ride. Passengers watch as the balloon fills with hot air before it lifts them skyward for a 60-minute tour of the Florida countryside. Once aboard, the ride features views of the region’s nature preserves, Walt Disney World, and the distant urban skyline. Upon touchdown, riders cap their adventure with a buffet breakfast and a commemorative flight certificate, with guests 21 and older toasting one another with a glass of champagne.
Normally priced at $175 per person, the Groupon makes the Orlando Balloon Ride opportunity available for just $79 per child (age 4 – 10) and $105 per adult.
Reservations must be made at least 21 days in advance with the Groupon expiring one year after purchase. Additional limitations apply and are available on the official Groupon page for this offer.
For more information or to purchase this offer, visit the official Groupon offer page.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Celebrates ‘Making Disney Memories Week’ with Characters, Vacation Prizes and More
It’s ‘Disney Time’ at Wheel of Fortune as the fun of America’s Favorite Game Show and the magic of Disney come together in the game show’s 30th season for a fully-integrated multiplatform collaboration including a week of shows and a sweepstakes for at-home viewers.
‘Wheel of Fortune Making Disney Memories Week’ airing January 28-Feb 1, 2013, will feature a custom set including three different scenes depicting Sleeping Beauty Castle, Cinderella Castle and the Disney Dream cruise ship. Additionally, Disney is providing iconic elements from the Disney Parks including a Disney teacup from the ‘Mad Tea Party’ attractions, Lightning McQueen from the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure theme park, a pirate ship from ‘Peter Pan’s Flight’ and a Dumbo car from ‘Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.’ And show hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White will be greeted on set by beloved Disney characters.
During the week of shows, Wheel of Fortune contestants can win ‘Magical Vacations’ to Disney Parks or on Disney Cruise Line. The cars available through the ’1?2 Car Tag’ game element will alternate between Honda and Chevrolet models, sponsors of Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, respectively.
In preparation for the broadcast, Vanna White and the Wheel of Fortune crew went on location to shoot customized segments at Disneyland theme park, Disney California Adventure theme park, Magic Kingdom theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, Epcot and the Disney Dream cruise ship.
The ‘Wheel of Fortune Making Memories Sweepstakes’ encourages viewers to watch ‘Making Disney Memories Week’ on Wheel of Fortune and enter each night’s bonus puzzle solution at www.wheeloffortune.com. Ten winners will each enjoy a vacation for four to the winner’s choice of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California.
The sweepstakes will live on a co-branded mini-site, accessible via www.wheeloffortune.com that will feature links to various Disney websites as well as photo and video galleries from Vanna’s shoots.
Additionally, Wheel of Fortune will be able to offer its nearly 8 million members of their loyalty program, the Wheel Watchers Club, the chance to find their own ‘Happily Ever After’ with Disney vacation offers.
During True Love Week, a tapestry of romance is woven throughout the resorts — from limited- time Valentine’s merchandise and special entertainment, to romantic dinners for two and new themed photo locations offering greetings with beloved Disney sweethearts – all for a limited-time only.
The weeklong event celebrates the love of friends and family, and invites couples to rekindle the flame. Here is the lineup:
WALT DISNEY WORLD
- Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as banners proclaiming True Love, heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn the Magic Kingdom.
- Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of pink, red, lavender and blue bathe Cinderella Castle with themed lighting synced to a musical melodies adding to the ambiance.
- Dinners for Two: Candlelit dinners for two with prix fixe menus at select restaurants during the most romantic week of the year. Specially-created menus at Artist Point (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort); The Wave…of American Flavors (Disney’s Contemporary Resort); Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios); Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort) make an ideal setting for a romantic evening. To book visit Disneyworld.com or call 407/WDW-DINE.
- Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plushes, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations available at select merchandise locations.
- Royal Gathering: The rare opportunity to get a photo with Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses to enchanting character greeting locations.
- In Town Square Theater you may find Mickey and Minnie, Aurora with Phillip or Rapunzel and Flynn. Mary Poppins joins Bert in Fantasyland, while Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana meet guests in the Enchanted Glade in Liberty Square.
- Romantic Photo Locations in Magic Kingdom with your Sweetie:
- Carriage Awaits: New Fantasyland invites lovers to create memories alongside Cinderella’s Glass Coach situated by the new Castle wall for True Love Week.
Wishes Come True: Hearts and flowers enhance Cinderella’s Wishing Well creating the perfect backdrop for a cherished moment.
- Rose Walk: The Rose Garden in Central Plaza is all decked out with enchanting decor.
- Romantic Touches: Long stem roses, chocolate covered strawberries, the finest champagne, or scattered rose petals create a romantic scene for lovebirds, all available through the Disney florist at www.disneyflorist.com.
- Elegant Oasis for Relaxation: An aromatherapy couples’ massage is just the escape after a day with the kids in the theme park. Couples’ massages are available at the newly opened, full-service Senses, A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
- Perfectly Princess: Join your prince for the ultimate fairytale come true with a customized Disney wedding or honeymoon getaway. More than 1,000 couples get married, or renew their wedding vows in romantic settings in various locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort every year. Visit DisneyWeddings.com for more information.
- Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as banners proclaiming True Love Conquers All, heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn Disneyland Park.
- Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of red and pink will bathe Sleeping Beauty Castle, with projections of flowers and hearts.
- Floral Heart: A giant floral heart makes a sweet setting for a Valentine photo, in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland.
- Valentine Wishes: Flowers, garlands and decorative doves will create a second ideal location around Snow White Wishing Well near Sleeping Beauty Castle. At night, magical lighting adds a romantic touch to the wishing well and Snow White Grotto.
- Disneyland Sweethearts: Also near Town Square, guests will find a photo location with resident Disneyland sweethearts – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck.
- Dinners for Two: Romantic dinners for two with prix fixe menus will be offered at select restaurants during the most romantic week of the year. Specially-created menus at Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park, Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel or Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel make ideal choices for a romantic evening. To book call 714-781-DINE (714-781-3463).
- Cupcake Lovers: Chefs have prepared a specially themed Valentine’s dessert: a chocolate cupcake with raspberry mousse filling and dark chocolate mousse frosting. It will be available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café and Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland Hotel Coffee House.
- Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plush, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations will be available at select merchandise locations.
- Ears for your Sweetheart: The classic Disneyland ear hat gets a total glitz makeover just in time for the most romantic time of the year. It will dazzle your Valentine and become the most sophisticated pair of ears in your collection.
- Royal Romance: Guests will enjoy a rare opportunity to get photos of Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses along The Royal Walk in Fantasyland. In New Orleans Square, guests will find another pair of sweethearts, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.
- In Search of True Love: Guests may also encounter the Wandering Wallflowers, in search of “true love.”