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Archive for the ‘Disney World Resort’ Category

Disney Will Break Ground on Star Wars Land Next Year

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

The 14-acre Star Wars Land will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Star Wars Land will include a Millennium Falcon ride that includes “the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy,” the iconic cantina, and a second E-ticket ride themed to Episode 7.

Star Wars Land at Disney

Disney will create a jaw-dropping new world that represents the largest single themed land expansion ever. The new land at Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The attraction is slated to open by 2020.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay will be a new interactive experience, and will be located in the former Animation pavilion space at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars Launch Bay will include character meet and greets, exhibits themed to the new Star Wars films, and new stores. It will open later this year.

New Seven Dwarf’s Coaster Ride Opens

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Seven dwarfs mine trainTourists crowding onto Walt Disney World’s new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction this week in Florida got a glimpse of a new direction for theme parks looking to upgrade old technology..

Walt Disney Co. has removed classic attractions such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary Adventures — with their creaky electric vehicles, decades-old mechanical figurines and glowing, painted backdrops — from the Fantasyland area in the Magic Kingdom park in Orlando.

In their place it built the mine train, an entirely new ride system that combines elements of a roller coaster and the classic themed dark rides, with audio-animatronic figures considered the most lifelike in the industry. Nearby, similar animatronic technology brings to life Lumiere, the candlestick character from “Beauty and the Beast,” in the new Enchanted Tales With Belle attraction.

New Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Downtown Disney is undergoing a multi-year transformation, representing the largest expansion in its history. The renamed Disney Springs will double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, and feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands.

Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

With a flowing spring as a centerpiece, Disney Springs will feature four outdoor neighborhoods.

The story of Disney Springs begins at our new Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area. From there, the town grew to encompass three additional neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side – each with its own distinct charm and atmosphere.

Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

As part of Disney Springs, the family-friendly Marketplace will continue to delight guests of all ages and include new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway.

 

Once complete, Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and restaurants. Construction is set to begin next month. The expansion will open in phases and we expect to complete our development in 2016.

New attractions coming to Walt Disney World

Monday, April 29th, 2013

There are plenty of projects in the works at Walt Disney World, but here are progress reports on four incoming attractions. Disney gave updates on them last week during a preview for members of the media.

Train schedule

The middle of New Fantasyland remains a construction zone for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. Its indoor-outdoor track and swaying ride vehicles will add buzz to an area surrounded by proper princess-driven attractions.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

“I think it’s definitely going to add a dynamic, a lot of kinetic energy, which will be fun,” says new Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis. The mine train will double as attraction and spectator sport, much like the very visible drop of Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

“I think of it as theater in the round,” says Mark Kohl, director of project management for the Fantasyland expansion. “Our guests will be able to walk 360 degrees around the coaster when it’s complete and experience it from all angles.”

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The new attraction is expected to open next spring.

Or maybe it’s a triple whammy. The attraction slows down indoors, morphing into a dark ride.

“We’re going to take you inside this magical cave where millions of diamonds and gems are going to shine, and seven of our closest friends are all going to be hard at work in there,” Kohl says. It later shifts back to coaster mode.

Mine Train is set to open next spring.

Meeting, greeting

The next element of New Fantasyland to open will be Princess Fairytale Hall, a central gathering place for Disney royalty in the shadow of Cinderella Castle.

“This is where all the royal subjects of Fantasyland, our guests, can go and meet them in sort of a royal receiving room,” says Jason Grandt of Walt Disney Imagineering. Look for Cinderella, Rapunzel and other princesses to rotate through there.

The space, formerly home of Snow White’s Scary Adventures ride, has been overhauled.

“If there’s a clue that Snow White [ride] used to be the building, it will be a well-placed homage by us,” Grandt says.

The attraction will be ready by the end of 2013, “in plenty of time for the holidays,” Kalogridis says.

Go West

California Grill, the restaurant topping Disney’s Contemporary Hotel, is midway through its first refreshening in 19 years. The establishment is a hot spot for anniversaries, birthdays and marriage proposals, says Michael Scheifler, food and beverage manager.

“Seating capacity stayed the same, but we changed quite a few of our tables to many more two-tops to accommodate the demand for those special occasions,” Scheifler says.

The look will be midcentury modern with tones found in a sunset, such as hot pink and amber. New energy-efficient windows are being installed. Guests will be greeted by a “wall of wine,” he says.

California Grill is expected to reopen in late August or early September, he says.

Digging in

Coming soon — within weeks — is Wilderness Explorers, an interactive experience being incorporated into Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

It has 30 “locations where kids and families can pay a little closer attention to the things that they see, dig deeper into the educational side of it, earn badges that sort of elevate their stature as Wilderness Explorers over time,” Imagineer Alex Wright says.

One stop, for example, will be along the park’s Maharajah Tiger Trek.

“There’s going to be a station where you can walk up and, through a little field viewer that we’ve got set up, you can experience how a predator like a tiger sees their prey in the wild,” Wright says.

Walt Disney World – MyMagic+ explained

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

MyMagic+ explained

Making “How” Guests Experience Disney Parks Even Better: MyMagic+ Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is taking another step forward to evolve “how” guests experience Disney Parks and is using technology to make it easier than ever before for guests to make the most of their Walt Disney World visit. Many of these efforts fall under the umbrella of MyMagic+, which has the ability to connect nearly all aspects of the guest experience and make it better for everyone, at no additional charge.

WDW MyMagic+

WDW MyMagic+

My Disney Experience

A new website and mobile app called My Disney Experience provides a one-­-stop shop for all things Walt Disney World throughout every phase of a guest’s vacation. It will enable guests to:

  • Get more information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, from resort hotels and attractions to dining and merchandise.
  • Design the overall experience they want, planning as much or as little as they wish.
  • Make dining and other reservations and FastPass+ selections.
  • Connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.

Disney FastPass+ service

Guests will be able to select FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences through My Disney Experience before they leave home and make changes on the go.

  • For the first time, guests will be able to reserve firework and parade viewing areas, shows, Disney Character Greetings and more, in addition to their favorite attractions.
  • For guests who don’t know where to start, Disney will recommend FastPicks – a set of three FastPass+ selections that serve as a starting point – and give guests the option to customize their selections.
  • Disney FastPass+ service is included with Theme Park admission.

MagicBand

Worn on the wrist, the colorful MagicBand is an all-­-in-­-one device that effortlessly connects all the vacation choices guests make online with My Disney Experience.

  • Guests can use their MagicBand to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, and enter Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected and serves as the connection to Disney’s PhotoPass .
  • The MagicBand is initially available to select Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests and guests who purchase other specific products. Other guests will be able to use their standard ticket to access the benefits of MyMagic+, such as making FastPass+ selections on My Disney Experience.
WDW MyMagic+

WDW MyMagic+

MyMagic+ FAQ

1. What does ‘MyMagic+’ provide?

‘MyMagic+’ comprises of 3 main components: My Disney Experience website and smartphone app, FASTPASS+, and MagicBand RFID bracelet. The MagicBand replaces traditional tickets with a bracelet that is worn on the wrist. MagicBand combines all tickets, allowing room entry, park entry, FASTPASS+ attraction entry, PHOTOPASS, and room charging.

2. When will ‘MyMagic+’ be available?

The system is in limited testing now, and Disney has said that it should be available to all Walt Disney World guests later in 2013.

3. How much does ‘MyMagic+’ cost?

The system will be available at no additional cost. The basic MagicBand RFID bracelet can be upgraded to a customized band, such as a Princess band, for an additional fee. This is only a cosmetic change however, and does not impact the actual experience.

4. Will you have to use ‘MyMagic+’?

No. The system is opt in, and is not required. However, if you do not use ‘MyMagic+’ you will not be able to use FASTPASS+.

5. Will Annual Passholders be able to use ‘MyMagic+’?

Yes, Disney has said that they will be contacting Annual Passholders to provide them with a MagicBand to take part in the program.

6. Will guests have to use a smartphone to use FASTPASS+?

No. Guests will be able to use kiosks inside the parks to choose FASTPASS+ experiences as well as using smartphones or websites.

7. Is the MagicBand bracelet secure?

Yes, just like a normal park ticket, the bracelet just contains a unique ID code. This code identifies guests in the Disney database. No information is stored on the bracelet.

8. Will MyMagic+ be available to non-Walt Disney World Resort guests?

Yes. Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and Annual Passholders will receive a MagicBand, as well as those guests who purchase a photography package. Guests who stay at non-Disney hotels will receive an RFID enabled ticket with features of touch to enter the park, touch to redeem FastPass+ and touch to pay. These guests can participate in My Disney Experience and purchase a MagicBand if they wish.

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs makes the official announcement of the Next Gen ‘MyMagic+’

Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, has made the first official announcement of the NextGen initiative ‘MyMagic+’. ‘MyMagic+’ is the combination of several technologies that we have been following over the past year, including FASTPASS+, the MagicBand RFID wrist strap, and the My Disney Experience website and apps.
Here is the full text from the official Disney Parks Blog as posted on 7 January 2013.

At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney guest experience to the next level.

Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.

Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.

A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.

Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. We’ve began testing certain aspects of MyMagic+ in Florida last month and the early reactions we’ve gotten have been fantastic.

This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our guests’ feedback. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!
Thank you to www.wdwmagic.com for providing this information.

Disney reveals NextGen details with ‘MyMagic+’

Monday, February 11th, 2013

After more than three years in development and $1 billion in spending, the Walt Disney Co. on Monday unveiled the central elements of its “Next Generation Experience,” the sweeping, vacation-planning project aimed at getting travelers to spend more time and money at Walt Disney World.

Packaged under the name “MyMagic+,” the project includes a new website and mobile-phone app, a revamped ride-reservation system, and wristbands equipped with wireless transmitters that will serve as all-in-one theme-park tickets, hotel-room keys and credit cards.

MagicBands

MagicBands

The goal is to make an increasingly congested Disney World, whose four theme parks drew more than 47 million visitors last year, less intimidating and more pleasant to navigate for travelers.

But it is also designed to allow Disney to cull vast amounts of new information from its guests — from individual spending habits to crowd movements in its parks — in hopes of better tailoring everything from sales pitches to operating hours.

“There’s the key. It’s a marketing bonanza,” said Duncan Dickson, a professor in the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. “It opens up so much rich information and gives the marketing groups the ability to target-market specifically to the guest.”

Rumors have been swirling around Disney’s technology project for years. The Orlando Sentinel first reported the existence of “NextGen” — and its billion-dollar price tag — in January 2010, though the project wasn’t formally approved by the Burbank, Calif.-based company’s board of directors until February 2011.

Disney said Monday that the project includes three central elements:

• A new website and mobile app dubbed “My Disney Experience,” which Disney said will be a “one-stop shop” for planning a Disney vacation. In addition to details such as hotel-room availability, travelers will be encouraged to provide personal details ranging from their favorite characters to celebrations such as birthdays.

• A revamped version of its existing FastPass ride-reservation system dubbed “FastPass+,” in which travelers will be permitted to reserve a limited number of attraction times from home. In addition to rides, options will include reserved seating for nightly fireworks displays and other shows — even specific character-greeting times. For travelers uncertain about how to plan, Disney said it will recommended a prepackaged set of three FastPass+ reservations to “serve as a starting point.”

• Radio frequency identification-equipped wrist bands, to be known as “MagicBands,” that will replace paper tickets and can be used to enter parks and hotel rooms and to buy food and souvenirs throughout the resort. The RFI wristbands will also interact with other sensors in Disney’s parks, allowing characters to greet guests by name and verifying guests’ “FastPass+” return times.

Disney said MagicBands will initially be available to certain guests staying in Disney-owned hotels or to those who purchase other, unidentified products — a move Disney hopes will help rebuild hotel-occupancy rates that dipped to 78 percent during Disney’s fiscal fourth quarter last year.

Dickson said he expects the wristbands will help drive bookings particularly for Disney’s mid-tier hotels, which he said have not fared as well in recent years as Disney’s top- and bottom-end hotels.

But Dickson also said Disney will have to articulate a strategy for how the new planning tools help annual pass holders, who are some of the company’s most loyal customers and who may not benefit from advance reservations as much as travelers planning vacations six months or more ahead of time.

Disney now provides free Wi-Fi to Magic Kingdom guests

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Disney has rolled-out free Wi-Fi to The Magic Kingdom. This week for guests looking for an Internet connection near Cinderella Castle, Splash Mountain or elsewhere inside the Orlando park things just got a little more magical.

Disney quietly implemented free Wi-Fi for its guests inside the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday. According to multiple sources familiar with the news, guests now have free access to the Web once they agree to Disney’s terms of service. The move comes as Disney plans to provide free Wi-Fi access at other Orlando theme parks between now and early 2013.

Earlier this year, Disney also began providing free Wi-Fi access for its resort guests here in Orlando.

According to the always-reliable Inside the Magic website, guests were reporting mixed results on the speediness of Web surfing. Some users, according to the site, were getting sub-3G access speeds.

Such slowness might not be unexpected to many regular Magic Kingdom guests, given that cellphone reception inside the park has been notoriously spotty for years.

This week’s Wi-Fi advances in the Magic Kingdom are part of Disney’s ongoing NextGen system, which is designed to use technology to enhance and control theme-park guests’ experiences in the park.

 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The largest of the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is filled with attractions, adventures and entertainment that reflect Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation. The park leads the way in animal care, education and research—for an enchanting experience that blends learning with family fun.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Home to more than 1,700 animals from 250 species and sprawling across 500 acres of lush landscape, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is the biggest animal-themed park in the world!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is divided into 7 unique areas:

  • Oasis
  • Discovery Island area
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch® area
  • Asia
  • Dinoland, U.S.A. area

Encounter rare and majestic animals—and get close enough to pet some of them! Exciting attractions await, along with live and wild entertainment like Broadway-style musical shows and parades that invite you to be part of the excitement.

From the spectacular scenery of the African savanna—where you may spot zebras, elephants and hippos—to the high-altitude, roller coaster thrills of Expedition Everest in Asia, global adventures abound at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

 

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, one of 2 Water Parks in Walt Disney World Resort, features one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides, as well as slides and rides for the whole family—like a kid-sized, snow-castle fountain play area with scaled-down versions of the more thrilling attractions.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

It’s easy to be cool while having fun in the sun at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park! While the park looks like a frosty ski resort—complete with a functioning Chair Lift, it’s actually an action-packed water wonderland with exciting waterslides and attractions for the whole family.

Attractions

Disney’s Blizzard Beach features a diverse flurry of attractions—including thrill rides, chill rides, family-style raft rides, areas for little squirts and plenty of cool lounging for grownups.

Race on Toboggan Racers, float down Cross Country Creek, plunge down raft rides like Runoff Rapids, discover the Tike’s Peak children’s play area, play in a one-acre wave pool and experience the thrill of one of the tallest and fastest waterslides in the country, Summit Plummet!

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a special spring event brimming with colorful flowers, lush gardens and some of your favorite Disney characters brought to life in topiary! Enjoy live music, educational programs, unique shopping and more.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Make a date in your diary to visit during next year’s festival being held between March 6, 2013–May 19, 2013. Contact us for special rates to stay at our villa during this event.