||PassPorter's Walt Disney World 2012 Update Description||7||The Walt Disney World Moms Panel will be accepting applications in September. (The official date has not been announced yet.) This year the panel is looking to add a few new specialties, including Sports Moms, International Moms, and Spanish-Speaking Moms. "Moms" by the way, is used as a general term--there are plenty of Dads on the panel as well! For more information, keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog!
| - 2012-08-14 10:08:10 [update] |10||Walt Disney World guests who purchase food in the morning at a Quick Service Dining location should check their receipts. There may be a coupon for 20% off merchandise at select locations. The coupon is only good until 1:00 pm, but can be used any day until January 31, 2013 (not just on the day you receive it). The coupons are only valid at the locations listed, and select merchandise is excluded. (The coupons can be used for Dooney & Bourke if available at the listed locations, as your PassPorter News Editor discovered last week!)
| - 2012-11-27 12:11:52 [update] |11||In addition to the existing Free Dining offer that is available for guests who book a 3-night or longer package that includes admission, Disney has now released a Fall Room-Only discount for stays select nights 9/30 - 12/22/12 and Annual Passholders rates for stays select nights 9/30-12/24/12.| - 2012-08-28 08:08:26 [update] |30||Walt Disney World and Disneyland will begin accepting reservations for 2013 packages on July 11, 2013.| - 2012-07-03 12:07:34 [update] |32||Walt Disney World announced a Free Dining Promotion for select dates from September 30 through December 13, 2012. Guests who book a minimum three-night package that includes at least a two-day base ticket at a Value Resort, receive the Quick Service Dining Plan free. Guests who book the same package at a Moderate, Deluxe, or Villa Resort, get the Disney Dining Plan free. There are a number of blackout dates for this offer.
| - 2012-07-17 12:07:41 [update] |33||Walt Disney World is currently testing free WiFi Internet access at some Deluxe Resorts as well as resorts that have conference centers such as Disney's Coronado Springs. There are also reports of free WiFi in some of the theme parks. Only time will tell if this becomes a permanent amenity!
| - 2011-10-18 14:10:06 [update] |33||Free WiFi access is now available throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including all resorts and theme parks. Guests must accept the Terms and Conditions before connecting.
| - 2012-12-18 10:12:05 [update] |34||Beginning in January 2013, Extra Magic Hours will offer guests at Walt Disney World hotels one extra hour prior to regular park opening and/or two extra hours after regular park closing each day. Each day, the Extra Magic Hours program has one theme park open, either early or late (occassionally both), for Walt Disney World resort guests. Valid theme park admission and resort ID are required.
| - 2012-07-24 07:07:35 [update] |35||Valet Parking at Walt Disney World resorts has increased from $12 per day to $15 per day. Self-parking continues to be free to resort guests.| - 2012-11-12 16:11:30 [update] |35||On select dates now through January 13, 2012, some Walt Disney World Resorts will have parking restrictions in effect - only guests who are staying on site or have recreation or dining reservations will be allowed to park at the resorts.
Contemporary Resort - now through January 13, 2013
Grand Floridian - now through January 1, 2013
Fort Wilderness - now through January 1, 2013
Polynesian Resort - December 30 & 31, 2012
Boardwalk - December 31, 2012
Yacht & Bach Club - December 31, 2012
- 2012-12-26 09:12:02 [update] |36||Walt Disney World's resorts now have a list of five "preferred" vendors for electric scooter (ECV) rentals. The vendors - Apple Mobility, Best Price, Buena Vista, C.A.R.E, and Scooter Bug - will be the only vendors allowed to drop off and pick up scooters from Bell Services without the renter being present. All other vendors will have to schedule a time with the guest for both pick up and drop off.
| - 2012-10-30 19:10:13 [update] |41||A rare baby was born at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge on October 1, 2011. A baby girl Okapi (the relative of the giraffe that more closely resembles a zebra) joins the herd on the Pembe savanna later this month. | - 2011-11-08 19:11:44 [update] |45||Disney's Art of Animation Resort officially opened for business on May 31, 2012. Already one of the most popular features of the resort are the new "keyless" doors. Guests need only to hold their Key to the World card near the door to unlock it (they even work if your key is still in a PassHolder Pouch!). Walt Disney World plans to retrofit all of its resorts with these locks by the end of 2013.
| - 2012-06-05 09:06:02 [update] |46||A Mongolian grill and tandoori ovens are among the novel features of Landscape of Flavors, the food court at Disney's Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World. When the resort and restaurant open in May, diners will be able to order Mongolian-style stir-fry dishes at dinner. For breakfast, the 3-foot diameter steel griddle will do double duty, dishing up Challah-bread French toast. A design-your-own burger station will let you start with a choice of beef, chicken, or veggie burgers, and the sky's the limit from there. The tandoori ovens will be used to quick-cook meat and vegetable specialties, and naan, one of India's famous breads. For dessert, the scene moves to Italy, for fresh-made gelato. Yum!| - 2012-04-12 20:04:05 [update] |53||WDWMagic.com reports that the Health and Wellness Suites at Disney's Contemporary Resort, originally announced in April 2011, have been canceled. Originally scheduled to open in late 2011 in the resort's club level, the suites were to provide a luxury spa-styled experience with special health food menus, a fitness studio, in-room fitness equipment, and fully-refurbished guest rooms and lounges. The club level is now scheduled to be refurbished in 2013.| - 2011-12-01 11:12:19 [update] |58||The Salon at Disney's Contemporary Resort has closed permanently, effective December 25, 2012.| - 2012-12-26 09:12:39 [update] |69||Long rumored, Disney has confirmed plans to add a Disney Vacation Club resort to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. The Villas will be located in a separate building, expected to open in late 2013.| - 2011-12-13 09:12:49 [update] |70||Disney's Grand Floridian Resort will be undergoing extensive renovations in the coming months. The Courtyard Pool will close on August 24, 2012 until late November. Guests staying at the Grand Floridian will be given privileges at the Polynesian Resort's pool. Gasparilla's Grill will also close August 24, 2012 and will re-open in December. The Beach Pool Bar has been closed since April and will re-open August 24. When it re-opens it will have a grill menu and extended hours to assist guests during the closure of Gasparilla's Grill. Pre-packaged sandwiches will also be available at Mizner's Lounge. The Mouseketeer Clubhouse and Sandy Cove will also close beginning August 21 and will both reopen in December.| - 2012-07-10 17:07:15 [update] |77||Walt Disney World's new resort, Disney's Art of Animation, will be opening in stages beginning on May 31, 2012. The Cars-themed suites will open on May 31, 2012, the Lion King-themed suites will open on September 30, 2012, and the Little Mermaid-themed rooms (standard guest rooms, not suites) will open on December 31, 2012.
| - 2011-10-11 11:10:14 [update] |119||The DisneyWorld.com web site has added a new section - My Disney Experience. Guests of Disney-owned resorts can now access their reservations online, make dining reservations, add Fastpass+ reservations, even check-in online up to 60 days in advance! | - 2013-01-01 11:01:56 [update] |120||"My Disney Experience - Walt Disney World" is a new app for iPhone and iPad that features updated wait times for attractions, FASTPASS return times, and dining wait times. Detailed park maps, character locations and more promise to make this app a favorite with visitors. Verizon Wireless customers will have enhanced access, which leads many to speculate that this app will eventually replace the current Mobile Magic app available to Verizon Wireless customers.| - 2012-08-06 14:08:48 [update] |122|| As predicted, Walt Disney World increased the price of admission on June 3, 2012. One interesting note - the cost of adding both the Park Hopper AND the Water Park Option to admission has decreased. Previously, both the Park Hopper and the Water Park Option were about $55 each. So adding both options added over $100 to your ticket price. Now to add both the Park Hopper and the Water Park Option to your ticket is only $79 plus tax, making adding both much more affordable.
| - 2012-06-05 08:06:50 [update] |123||A "Secret of the Wings" skating rink will open in the Downtown Disney district at Disneyland on October 23, 2012. Guests will get to enter the world of the new Tinker Bell film while skating to music and special lighting effects. Skate and helmet rentals will be available.
| - 2012-10-15 18:10:46 [update] |133||New Year's Eve fireworks will be held at three Walt Disney World parks. Magic Kingdom will have Wishes at 8:30 pm and a special New Year's edition of Fantasy in the Sky at 11:50 pm. Epcot will have an early IllumiNations at 7:00 pm and the big finale at 11:40 pm. Disney's Hollywood Studios will perform Fantasmic at 6:30 and 8:00 pm, with the special Lights, Cameras, Happy New Year fireworks at midnight.
| - 2011-11-01 09:11:59 [update] |133||The holiday season has arrived at Walt Disney World. Cinderella Castle lights up every night covered in the Castle Dream Lights until January 7, 2012. The nightly "The Magic, the Memories & You" show has been updated to include a holiday theme. The Osborne Lights twinkle nightly at Disney's Hollywood Studios (no Osborne Lights on December 8). | - 2011-11-08 19:11:30 [update] |133||The photo show projected on to Cinderella Castle nightly before Wishes has gotten a summer makeover. "The Magic, the Memories & You" now has Cinderella Castle turning into a sandcastle, as well as new appearances by Phineas and Ferb, Goofy, and other Disney friends, all enjoying summer activities.
| - 2012-05-29 10:05:18 [update] |133||Beginning in November 2012, Walt Disney World guests will experience a brand new nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. "Celebrate the Magic" will incorporate elements of the outgoing "The Magic, the Memories & You" show (which ends on September 3) but will add new music, a new story line and new special effects.| - 2012-08-28 08:08:44 [update] |134||Cast Members are testing a new interactive game: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. This role-playing, trading-card game will be available to guests in early 2012. Players have a chance to be the hero as they work to defeat the Disney Villains who are trying to take over the Magic Kingdom. | - 2011-11-08 19:11:06 [update] |135||Free WiFi is now available at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Guests can log on to the "Disney-Guest" network and, once they have accepted the terms of service, utilize the WiFi network free of charge. Rumor has it that, much like the free WiFi at the resorts, connectivity and speed leaves much to be desired.
| - 2012-08-06 14:08:54 [update] |137||Walt Disney World has revealed a video of Mickey Mouse speaking to guests visiting Town Square Theater at the Magic Kingdom. This test of Imagineering hocus pocus was revealed to a limited number of guests on Halloween, and there's no word yet on whether Mickey will have more to say in the future. | - 2011-11-03 10:11:06 [update] |138||The Dumbo attraction in the Magic Kingdom is now scheduled to open March 11, 2012.| - 2012-01-24 15:01:59 [update] |138||Shrunken Ned's Junior Jungle Boats have been removed from the area near the Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. No official word on whether this is a permanent removal.| - 2012-10-02 12:10:10 [update] |139||The Mermaids of Whitecap Bay, from the Disney film The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, can now be spotted in multiple locations throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World. Keep an eye out for mermaid skeletons and listen for the siren call of the mermaid prior to the drop into the battle scene.
| - 2012-11-06 11:11:45 [update] |139|| In the upcoming Disney DVD release, "Secret of the Wings," Tinker Bell discovers she has a sister, Periwinkle. Disney theme park visitors can also discover her, as Periwinkle will be joining Tinker Bell for character meets at Tinker Bell's Magical Nook in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom and Pixie Hollow at Disneyland Park beginning in mid-September.| - 2012-08-28 08:08:17 [update] |140||While no official dates have been announced, the new Storybook Circus section of Walt Disney World's Fantasyland is expected to open in early 2012. The area's attractions, such as the new Dumbo the Flying Elephant spinner (the original Dumbo spinner is being moved and reinstalled adjacent to the new spinner), the Great Goofini (known as Goofy's Barnstormer in its previous incarnation) and the new Fantasyland train station are all scheduled for early 2012.| - 2011-10-03 10:10:50 [update] |140||Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will soon debut a new, interactive queue for guest to enjoy while they wait to ride. The new queue is not expected to require any downtime or ride closures during operating hours. No official opening date has been announced.
| - 2012-09-25 11:09:14 [update] |142||The Grand Opening of the next phase of the expanded Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will take place on December 6, 2012. Attractions included in this opening are Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel's Grotto, Gaston's Tavern, and Bonjour! Village Gifts. Previews for the general public will begin on November 19, 2012, with previews for cast members, annual passholders, and DVC members prior to that. There is not yet word when and for what dates Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for Be Our Guest Restaurant will be available.
| - 2012-08-07 18:08:56 [update] |142||Merida, star of the upcoming Disney/Pixar film "Brave" is now greeting guests in the Fairytale Garden at the Magic Kingdom. Guests have a chance to interact with the three bear cubs from the film while in line. Word has it that these audio-animatronic cubs steal the show!
| - 2012-05-22 10:05:01 [update] |142||Guests waiting to ride Dumbo at Walt Disney World are in for a treat this summer once the new queue area for Dumbo opens in July. Guests will arrive at Dumbo's Big Top and be given a pager. Then while they wait, guests can experience a series of circus-themed interactive play areas and enjoy the air conditioning. When their pager goes off, it's time to ride! This area is scheduled to open in mid-July.
| - 2012-06-05 08:06:48 [update] |142||Walt Disney World Resort continues to pump out behind-the-scenes videos that reveal new details about the on-going Fantasyland Expansion project at Magic Kingdom. This time, we're taken for a visit to Enchanted Tales with Belle, slated to open for Preview on November 19. Guests will enter the attraction through Maurice's Cottage, and will be treated to the kind of detail and whimsy found at Mickey's House and Minnie's House, two of the Mickey's Toontown Fair attractions demolished to make way for the Fantasyland project. Then, guests will be invited to pass through a magic portal into Beast's Castle, where they will be greeted by an Animatronic Madame Wardrobe. Young guests will be cast as characters from the story and given props to help them fill their roles. Then, all will be invited into The Library, where Lumiere awaits. Belle soon arrives to lead the kids in acting out part of the Tale As Old As Time, in a style similar to Storytime with Belle, which used to take place at Fairytale Garden near Cinderella Castle.| - 2012-09-06 22:09:55 [update] |145||Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom may discover that the latest stage of the multi-year Fantasyland expansion is open for visitors to experience, including attractions and limited dining options. Listen to this week's PassPorter Moms Podcast for an interview with Deb Wills of AllEars.Net about her experience in Fantasyland!| - 2012-10-15 18:10:30 [update] |145||Reservations for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant, in the expanding Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, are now available both by phone (407-WDW-DINE) and on the Walt Disney World Dining web site for November 19, 2012 and beyond. Dinner is one table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. A credit card guaranty is required for all reservations, and a $10 per person charge is applicable if the reservation is not cancelled at least one full day prior.| - 2012-08-21 11:08:03 [update] |145||On the night of December 5, 2012, guests spotted a "dragon" flying over Walt Disney World's Fantasyland. The dragon roared, moved his head, and seemed to breathe fire. According to Disney officials, the dragon is not expected to return on a regular basis but is considered a sneak peek at some of the magic the Imagineers are working on. For video, check out the Disney Parks Blog.
| - 2012-12-11 10:12:43 [update] |145||For the first time ever, alcohol will be served to the public in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. When Be Our Guest restaurant opens to guests on November 19, 2012 in the expanded Fantasyland, dinner guests will have the option to order select beer and wines with their meals. Wine and beer will not be available at lunch, and guests will not be able to leave the restaurant with their drinks.| - 2012-09-14 13:09:37 [update] |145||Annual Passholders will get the first look at the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom in early November. Previews will be held in blocks of 3.5 hours each (8:00 am - 11:30 am, 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm, and 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm) on November 3, 10, and 17, 2012. These previews are open to active Annual Passholders only. Beginning on October 8, 2012 at Noon eastern, Passholders can log on to the Annual Passholder section of DisneyWorld.com to register for a time slot.
| - 2012-10-02 11:10:35 [update] |145||Storybook Circus in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is near completion and the tents are now open! Big Top Souvenirs and FASTPASS distribution for both Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Goofy's Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini are all open. Pete's Silly Sideshow character meet and greet area is scheduled to open today (Thursday, October 4, 2012).| - 2012-10-02 12:10:33 [update] |154||In anticipation of Disney/Pixar's new release, "Brave," Epcot will host "Brave - The Highland Games" from June 1 - July 8, 2012. Located in the Rose Garden on the right hand side of the walkway as you make your way from Future World to the World Showcase, kids will be able to take part in traditional Scottish Highland competitions such as archery, cake tosses, and other events. Done Disney style, of course!| - 2012-05-29 10:05:49 [update] |158||Test Track, the "reimagined" attraction in Future World in which the ride vehicles go over 60 mph, will re-open on December 6 with all new pre- and post-shows, updated ride vehicles, and more. Guests will even be able to "design" their own SimCar and take it for a test drive!
| - 2012-10-15 18:10:49 [update] |180||Ralph, from Disney's new movie, "Wreck-It Ralph," is now appearing at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. At Disneyland, Ralph and his pal, Vanellope Von Schweetz, will be in the Tomorrowland Starcade. At Walt Disney World, they can be found in The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios.| - 2012-10-25 18:10:13 [update] |180||A new walk-through attraction will officially open on December 6, 2012 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow" will take guests on a journey through the movies to explore Jack Sparrow's adventures. The new attraction is on Mickey Avenue, in the former location of Journey into Narnia.
| - 2012-11-12 16:11:00 [update] |180||A large, 3-D model that previews the completed Fantasyland Expansion has gone on display at Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, at Disney's Hollywood Studios.| - 2012-05-17 09:05:55 [update] |183||On Friday, May 4, 2012, mama rhino Kendi gave birth to her fourth calf. The male calf has not yet been named.| - 2012-05-15 15:05:43 [update] |183||Anne Savage, Ph.D., senior conservation biologist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, has been nominated to receive the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. Dr. Savage has been recognized for creating numerous programs that blend conservation and education to protect the cotton-top tamarin, a critically endangered one-pound monkey found only in Colombia, South America.| - 2011-11-15 13:11:49 [update] |191||The Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Vice-President in charge of the Cars Land project at Disney California Adventure, Kathy Mangum, has accepted the position of Executive Producer for Walt Disney World, in charge of all projects at the resort. This move has increased speculation regarding the planned Avatar-themed land at Animal Kingdom. The current rumor is that "Avatar Land" will be located in the current Camp Minnie Mickey area.| - 2012-08-14 09:08:50 [update] |205|| A new balloon has been installed at Downtown Disney for Characters In Flight, and is now open for business! (Weather permitting.) The new balloon features some of Disney's most famous flying characters - Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, Dumbo, and Jasmine and Aladdin on their Flying Carpet.
| - 2012-10-09 10:10:14 [update] |205||Splitsville, the new luxury bowling alley in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World, will officially open on December 19, 2012. The largest Splitsville to date (there are five) boasts 30 bowling lanes on two stories, multiple dining options including two sushi bars, billiards, and a nightclub. The second story nightclub and bowling lanes are reserved for guests 21 and over on Thursdays through Saturdays after 10:30 pm. For now, Splitsville is not accepting reservations, although there are plans to add advanced reservations in the near future.
| - 2012-12-11 10:12:29 [update] |205||Characters in Flight, the hot air balloon attraction at Orlando's Downtown Disney, has been closed following an incident in Asia with a balloon by the same manufacturer. The balloon has been removed for inspection and the attraction is expected to be down for the rest of the summer, if not until November when the balloon was originally scheduled to be replaced.| - 2012-07-03 12:07:08 [update] |205||The AMC Theatres in Downtown Disney now offers monthly "sensory-friendly" movie showings that feature theaters with the lights turned up, the sound turned down, and that allow guests to talk or move around during the show if needed. These showings were developed in response to the request of a parent with a child on the autism spectrum. All sensory-friendly showings are at 10:00 am. For the calendar, check with the AMC web site.
| - 2012-09-11 12:09:12 [update] |207||Sharky and Bones, also known as the Pirate Band from "Jake & the Never Land Pirates," will perform at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World, August 3-12, 2012. They will perform at the Waterside Stage at 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 5:00 pm.| - 2012-07-31 10:07:57 [update] |207||Disney Channel stars Phineas and Ferb are coming to Downtown Disney! Beginning September 1, 2012, guests will have the chance to interact with the gang in an augmented-reality experience located near Bongos Cuban Cafe at Downtown Disney's West End. Step onto the platform and immerse yourself in one of 20 scenarios from the Disney Channel hit show. The experience will be available daily from 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm until December 1, 2012.| - 2012-08-14 16:08:25 [update] |208||Florida residents can get up to 35% off tickets to La Nouba, Cirque du Soleil's resident show at Downtown Disney's West Side. The discount is off Category 2 seating for performances Tuesday - Saturday, for both adults and children. Proof of Florida residency and advanced purchase are required. Tickets can be purchased by calling 407-WDW-SEAT.| - 2012-07-17 12:07:46 [update] |210||Celebration, a planned community in the Orlando area, originally conceived and built by the Walt Disney Company, has been named one of the nation's "prettiest neighborhoods" by Forbes Magazine which cited Celebration's "small-town America feel."
| - 2011-10-04 09:10:11 [update] |213||Guests visiting Disney Parks in 2013 will have something different to celebrate each week. "Limited Time Magic" will feature new experiences each week at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Each new celebration will appear suddenly and disappear when the next one begins! No dates have beeb announced for specific celebrations but some of the celebrations will center around holidays such as "Love Week" around Valentine's Day, and "Independence Week" around the 4th of July.| - 2012-10-23 10:10:15 [update] |213||Epcot turns 30 on Monday, October 1! To celebrate, guests visiting the parks that day will receive a souvenir park map, limited-edition pin (quantities limited, we're sure), and other surprises. Disney has not announced any events, but other sites are suggesting presentations will be taking place at Epcot's World Showplace stage.
| - 2012-09-18 11:09:58 [update] |213||Epcot will celebrate its 30th birthday on October 1, 2012. Here is the schedule of events:
1:00 pm (World Showplace pavilion) - Designing the Future - Past and Present: A Panel of Disney Imagineers remembers the 30 years of building tomorrow!
3:00 pm (America Gardens Theatre) - Anniversary Celebration with Disney Executives, the Voices of Liberty, and Mariachi Cobre
4:30 and 6:30 (World Showplace pavilion) - Epcot: How it Changed the World, with Marty Sklar
9:00 pm (World Showcase Lagoon) - IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth with special 30th Anniversary Ending
- 2012-09-25 11:09:09 [update] |214||A Walt Disney World-based golf tournament will not be on the PGA Tour schedule in 2013. Walt Disney World has hosted a PGA Tour event every year since Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Most recently known as the Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, the future of the event is uncertain, as it is currently without a corporate sponsor.
| - 2012-12-18 09:12:56 [update] |215||Senses - A Disney Spa, located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, will reopen after a lengthy closure. The spa will now be owned and operated by Disney, and will feature new decor and new treatment options. The Spa at Saratoga Springs will be closing in mid-January 2013 and will reopen in Summer 2013 as a second Senses - A Disney Spa location. Also in January, all the other spa and fitness facilities at Walt Disney World will be directly owned and operated by Disney. If the "Senses" name seems familiar, the spas on the Disney Dream and Disney Fanasy cruise ships debuted Disney's use of the name.
| - 2012-11-16 09:11:48 [update] |215||Ever want to drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Corvette, or Porsche around a race track? You may get your chance as the Richard Petty Experience plans to bring exotic cars to its track in January 2012. Give them your input on the new program at http://www.projectexotic.com.| - 2011-11-01 09:11:59 [update] |215||"A real Ferrari?!" asks Luigi in the Disney Pixar film Cars. Yes Luigi, a real Ferrari! The Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World will be adding Ferraris and other exotic automobiles beginning in January 2012. The Exotic Driving Experience will offer packages ranging from a $99 "Thrill Ride" up to $380 for six-laps behind the wheel. Vehicles include two Ferraris, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche, and an Audi.| - 2011-11-15 12:11:54 [update] |216||The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon is sold out. Over 25,000 runners will participate in the signature runDisney event. As of press time, there are still a few spots available for the Half-Marathon and Goofy Race and a Half, but they are going fast! The 5k Family Fun Run also has spots available.
| - 2012-09-11 12:09:08 [update] |221||Beginning this June, the first of six planned Starbucks locations is scheduled to open at Disney California Adventure park in the re-themed Buena Vista Street area. More locations are planned for Disneyland park and Walt Disney World Resort (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom). The Starbucks will be themed to fit their locations and will serve Starbucks items as well as some Disney favorites.
| - 2012-04-23 12:04:18 [update] |222||Dining reservation no-shows will soon become more expensive at Walt Disney World Signature Dining and character dining experiences. Walt Disney World has announced that it will require a credit card number to hold and guarantee the reservation, and will charge a $10 per-person fee for no-shows and for cancellations on less than 24 hour notice for restaurants in the Signature Dining category, as well as all locations that host character meals. This policy will go into effect for reservations made on or after October 26, 2011 (and has already been in effect for several restaurants on the list). Reservations policy will remain the same for restaurants and dinner shows that require pre-payment in full. Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) policies are unchanged at all other establishments. Restaurants covered by the new policy are:
Artist Point, California Grill, Citricos, Flying Fish Caf�, Jiko, Le Cellier, Narcoosee's, Hollywood Brown Derby, and Yachtsman Steakhouse (Victoria & Albert's charges $25 per person).
Character Dining (includes non-character meals served at these establishments):
1900 Park Fare, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cape May Caf�, Chef Mickey's, The Crystal Palace, The Garden Grill, Hollywood & Vine, 'Ohana, and Tusker House. (Cinderella's Royal Table and the dinner shows require full pre-payment.)
A special dining cancellation phone number has been announced, 407-WDW-CNCL (407-939-2625), and reservations can also be made and canceled by calling 407-WDW-DINE or visiting the podium at any table-service restaurant, resort front desk, concierge, or Guest Relations.| - 2011-10-12 15:10:22 [update] |228||As a continued part of Disney's Magic of Healthy Living initiative, Disney has unveiled a new "Mickey Check" logo that will appear on menus, food items, select websites and even online on recipes on Disney.com and Family.com. The Mickey Check helps identify foods that comply with Disney's new nutrition guidelines. In addition, new options have begun to appear around the Disney theme parks such as flatbreads at Pinocchio Village Haus and broccoli as a side at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, both at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
| - 2012-06-12 10:06:59 [update] |231||Be Our Guest, the new restaurant in Beas's Castle in the newly expanded Fantasyland, will be begin accepting reservations for dinner in late August, with the restaurant slated to open for business, "In time for the [end-of-year] holidays." Lunch will be counter service, with guests placing their orders at interactive kiosks. Once seated, their meals will be delivered by servers on real china plates. Dinner will be a traditional table service meal. Both menus feature a French Bistro flavor.
| - 2012-07-03 12:07:29 [update] |232||Starbucks coffee is coming to Walt Disney World! The Main Street Bakery will close for rehab in January 2013 and will reopen in early summer 2013 with Starbucks coffee drinks added to the menu. The Main Street Bakery will keep it's name and theming and will continue to serve most of its traditional baked goods and breakfast items. During construction the ice cream sandwiches will be available at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, and warm cinnamon rolls can be had at Gaston's Tavern in the new Fantasyland. The Fountain View Bakery at Epcot will close in March 2013 and will reopen featuring Starbucks in mid-summer 2013. Starbucks will be added to locations in Disney Hollywood Studios and Disney' Animal Kingdom at a later date.
| - 2012-11-12 15:11:51 [update] |233||Sunshine Tree Terrace, the refreshment stand next to The Enchanted Tiki Room at Walt Disney World's Adventureland, has re-opened after rehab. In addition to the return of the Citrus Swirl, a long-time favorite icy refreshment, the Orange Bird, Sunshine Tree Terrace's old-time mascot, has also returned. In recent years the Dole Whip, the frosty pineapple-flavored treat served at nearby Aloha Isle, has gotten all the attention, but the Citrus Swirl was the first tart, frozen confection in Adventureland, a celebration of Florida oranges. Disney seems to hope that we'll be excited by Orange Bird's return - they unveiled a full line of Orange Bird-themed merchandise to go along with the re-opening! That's something you can't get at Aloha Isle. Yet. | - 2012-04-20 00:04:38 [update] |234||Beginning in mid-December, Bistro de Paris, the Signature Dining restaurant located on the second floor of the France pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase, is getting a new name, new decor, and new menu. The popular counter service bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie, will move a new location featuring an exhibition bread oven and expanded menu. The old Boulangerie will become an ice cream shop! The new restaurant upstairs will still feature classic French cuisine but in a less formal setting. Downstairs, bustling Les Chefs de France Restaurant is not changing.
| - 2012-08-14 09:08:43 [update] |234||'Monsieur Paul' replaces the former Bistro de Paris in the France Pavilion. The restaurant is named after famed Chef Paul Bocuse. The restaurant serves classic French cuisine in a more relaxed atmosphere that its predecessor. The restaurant is open for dinner daily beginning at 5:30 pm.| - 2012-12-11 10:12:50 [update] |236||Beginning in 2013, Le Cellier Restaurant at Epcot will be considered a Signature Dining Experience at both lunch and dinner, "costing" two table service credits per person on the Disney Dining Plan for both lunch and dinner. (Currently, lunch is one table service credit and dinner is two table service credits.)
| - 2012-07-24 08:07:33 [update] |239||Opening in early May, Tutto Gusto is the new wine bar adjacent to Tutto Italia in the Italy pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. Tutto Gusto is located in what was formerly the lobby of Tutto Italia and will feature a small plates menu with everything from cured meats to sweet treats, in addition to an extensive Italian Wine List with over 200 wines to choose from.| - 2012-04-10 08:04:35 [update] |240||Katsura Grill has replaced Yakitori House in the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. The new menu features many of the same items with a few additions including okonomiyaki, a traditional Japanese pancake sometimes described as a pizza; and a cold ramen noodle dish.
| - 2011-12-06 10:12:37 [update] |241||Frozen Kirin Beer, already a hit in Japan, is now available in the Japan pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. It is actually regular beer topped with frozen beer (it really is beer, though it looks like ice cream) that keeps the beer underneath cold. It sells for $8.
| - 2012-10-23 10:10:40 [update] |243||Holiday crowds make seating, whether in restaurants or at attractions, a precious commodity. Disney's Hollywood Studios is addressing the issue this year with the Taste of Hollywood to Go Fantasmic! Dinner Package. As with the traditional Fantasmic! dinner package, your meal includes seating at that evening's Fantasmic! show (your choice of shows, based on availability). The twist is that your meal is a picnic, so you can eat when and where you wish, such as the seating areas at the park's counter service restaurants. Adults choose from five cold meals: fried chicken, cold cut-style roast beef, Cajun shrimp salad, tuna sushi roll, or a veggie sandwich. All come with two side items, soft drink, and dessert. The kid's meal features a turkey and American cheese wrap. Meals can be picked up at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm. Adult meals are $15.99, kids meals $5.49, and can be purchased with one Disney Dining Plan quick-service credit. The package is available for dates between December 22, 2012 and January 5, 2013, and can be reserved now at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). A credit card hold is required with reservation, the 24-hour cancellation penalty is in effect, and full payment is made at meal pickup.| - 2012-11-21 12:11:07 [update] |255||From the DisneyFoodBlog: California Grill will close January 6, 2013, and re-open in the late summer... While the menu will undergo some tweaking, a fresh, seasonal menu with top-of-the-line sushi will continue to be the main focus of the kitchen... The two private dining rooms will be kept for personalized catering for groups and parties. Enhancements will be made to the interactive kitchen which will allow for a "fresh spin to California Grill classics, and add some cutting-edge new selections to the menu."
| - 2012-07-03 08:07:40 [update] |257||Zagat's restaurant review guide has named Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa as the top dining establishment in Orlando, as well as one of the top restaurants in the country. This is just one of many awards the restaurant has received, including the AAA Five Diamond Award.| - 2011-11-01 09:11:10 [update] |259||Beginning September 30, 2012, the Turf Club, the table service restaurant at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, will only serve dinner. The lunch service is being discontinued.| - 2012-08-29 14:08:25 [update] |260||Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge has done away with the All-You-Care-to-Eat skillet during lunch hours, and a la carte dinner selections. Breakfast will still offer both the skillet option and a la carte choices, lunch will now only offer a la carte items, and the dinner menu will only offer the all-you-can-eat skillet meals.
| - 2012-09-25 11:09:21 [update] |264||The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground has new show times: 4:00, 6:15, and 8:30 pm. The Revue is now available for booking for October - December. The show had been unavailable to book for the end of the year, prompting rumors of a refurbishment, but is now available for booking both online and by phone, up to 180 days in advance.
| - 2012-06-19 12:06:32 [update] |266||Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages can now be booked both online at disneyworld.com/dining and by phone at 407-WDW-DINE. Guests wishing to see the 5:00 pm show will need to book a lunch reservation, guests wishing to see the 6:15 and 8:45 pm shows will book dinner reservations. Participating restaurants are Biergarten, Restaurant Marrakesh, Nine Dragons, Garden Grill, La Hacienda de San Angel, Rose & Crown, Tokyo Dining, Teppan Edo, Tutto Italia, Via Napoli, San Angel Inn, Les Chefs de France, Coral Reef, and Le Cellier.| - 2012-06-26 09:06:36 [update] |267||Full-time Disney-Pixar animation legend and part-time vintner John Lasseter and celebrity chef Cat Cora have joined the lineup of 2012's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, will host a special lunch at 12:30 pm on October 19 at Citrico's Restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort. (OK, it's miles from Epcot, but what the heck!) Lasseter Family Winery vintages will be paired with seasonal cuisine prepared by Chef Phillip Ponticelli. Cat Cora, restauranteur and former Iron Chef, will greet guests at two wine dinners on October 2 and 4, on her own turf. The five-course meals, including wine pairings, will start at 8:00 pm in the CoraNation Room at Kouzzina by Cat Cora, just a short walk from Epcot at Disney's BoardWalk Resort. The Lasseter luncheon is $130, Cat Cora's dinners are $170, and all can be reserved by calling 407-WDW-FEST.
| - 2012-09-06 23:09:28 [update] |267||John Lasseter, Cat Cora, and Andrew Zimmern are just a few of the celebrities who will be hosting meals during the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Reservations can be made by calling 407-939-3378.
October 19: Pixar/Disney Films Chief John Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, will host a luncheon at Citrico's featuring Lasseter Family wines. $130 per person.|
October 19: "Bizarre Foods" Host and Chef Andrew Zimmern and "Top Chef" favorites Michael and Bryan Voltaggio will host a "Magic of Healthy Living" 4-course dinner at the Epcot World Showplace. $110 per person, park admission required.
- 2012-09-18 11:09:22 [update] |272||A new guided tour is coming to Epcot, starting September 17, 2012. "Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Segway Tour" focuses on Walt Disney's vision for The Florida Project, and features a Segway training session, an in-depth tour of World Showcase, breakfast at the Sunshine Seasons food court, and a commemorative pin. The three-hour tour costs $99 plus tax, and is open to guests ages 16 and up. Annual Passholders and DVC members get a 15% discount. Phone 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations.| - 2012-08-23 11:08:58 [update] |273||Orange County Florida health officials have documented dozens of cases of a gastro-intestinal illness among guests who took the Wild Africa Trek in June and July. The Wild Africa Trek is a Backstage Tour offered at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Health officials inspected the food preparation kitchen for this tour but no link to the illness was found. Disney has reinforced hand washing practices for guests, increased the number of hand sanitizers available, and begun "deep cleaning" several surfaces the guests come in contact with.| - 2012-07-31 10:07:53 [update] |273||For a limited time, guests who opt to do the Wild Africa Trek VIP Tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom at 11:45 am or later, will save $50. This offer valid on select Treks until August 25, 2012. Visit DisneyWorld.com/Trek for details or call 407-WDW-TOUR to book.| - 2012-06-12 10:06:12 [update] |279||Guests attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will have access to two exclusive PhotoPass "Magic Shots" during the event. When guests view their photos taken in front of The Haunted Mansion, in Liberty Square, or on the Adventureland Bridge, they may find they have acquired a Hitchhiking Ghost in the shot!
| - 2012-10-09 09:10:59 [update] |279||A new PhotoPass+ is now available at Walt Disney World. Guests can now combine all park, ride, dining, and character PhotoPass pictures on one CD. For $199.95, guests receive a special PhotoPass+ card and lanyard, as well a CD with over 400 stock photos in addition to the photos the guest selects to add to the CD. Visit www.disneyphotopass.com for details.| - 2012-04-03 10:04:40 [update] |283||A special trading pin Release Party is being held on December 6, 2012 (official opening day for the Fantasyland Expansion), in Room J at Disney's Coronado Springs Convention Center, from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Six individual Limited Edition pins, one super-sized Jumbo pin, as well as two boxed sets, will be released. Exclusive Annual Passholder merchandise and pins will also be available. None of these items will be available in Fantasyland on December 6, the only location to get them that day is this event. Pin trading and Vinylmation trading stations will also be available.
| - 2012-11-27 17:11:20 [update] |284||Looking for a fun place to ring in the New Year with your family? DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney may be the perfect place. Beginning at 8:00 pm and going until the wee hours at 1:00 am, entertainment for families includes full access to all DisneyQuest attractions as well as a dance party. At midnight, celebrate with confetti and party favors. Tickets are $45 per person in advance, $55 per person at the door. The price includes a voucher for food. Tickets can be purchased by calling 407-934-7639.| - 2011-11-29 11:11:27 [update] |288||Current Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can begin booking reservations for the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival special events at 8:00 am on August 10, 2012. Bookings can be made by calling 407-WDW-FEST. Bookings open to the general public on August 14, 2012. For a listing of special events at this year's Food & Wine Festival, check out the web site.| - 2012-08-06 15:08:07 [update] |288||Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor – who provide the voices of Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively, for the popular animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – will be the celebrity hosts for Star Wars Weekends 2012. The Weekends will be held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Disney's Hollywood Studios May 18 - June 10, 2012. James is the Official Celebrity Host of Star Wars Weekends 2012, and Ashley is Celebrity Host of “Behind the Force,” a show that gives fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Star Wars: The Clone Wars.| - 2012-04-03 09:04:17 [update] |288||Star Wars Weekends 2012 are being held at Disney's Hollywood Studios, May 18 - June 10, 2012. Special events and celebrity appearances (including autograph opportunities) are among the highlights for guests. The celebrity line-up (subject to change):
Weekend I (May 18 – 20)
•Ray Park – (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Weekend II (May 25- 27)
•Andy Secombe (Watto – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Weekend III (June 1 -3)
•Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•(Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice talent – currently TBD)
Weekend IV (June 8- 10)
•Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
•Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
•Daniel Logan (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
•Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
- 2012-04-10 08:04:29 [update] |288||The Eat to the Beat Concert Series will be held in the America Gardens Theatre during the 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, September 28 - November 11, 2012.|
Sept. 28-30 – Night Ranger
Oct. 1-3 – Sugar Ray
Oct. 4-7 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas
Oct. 8-10 – Boyz II Men
Oct. 11-12 – Smash Mouth
Oct. 13-14 – Javier Colon
Oct. 15-17 – Air Supply
Oct. 18-19 – Gin Blossoms
Oct. 20-21 – Survivor
Oct. 22-23 – Hanson
Oct. 24-25 – The Pointer Sisters
Oct. 26-28 – Sister Hazel
Oct. 29-31 – Billy Ocean
Nov. 1-2 – .38 Special
Nov. 3-4 – Howard Jones
Nov. 5-6 – Blues Traveler
Nov. 7-8 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of the group Styx
Nov. 9-11 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
- 2012-05-08 12:05:45 [update] |288||The 2013 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival will be held March 6 - May 19, 2013 and will feature special food and beverage kiosks for the first time. The kiosks will tie-in to the Backyard Barbecue theme and other garden-inspired menus. The Flower Power Concert Series will be held each Friday - Sunday during the festival, with three shows daily in the America Gardens Theatre.
| - 2012-12-04 11:12:50 [update] |288||Runners who take on the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2013 will notice some significant changes to the course. Runners now arrive at the Magic Kingdom earlier in the race (Mile 5) after completing a loop around the Walt Disney World Speedway. Runners will also spend more time at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, with a full lap around the field at Champion Stadium.
| - 2012-05-22 10:05:18 [update] |288||The 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has been extended by one day. The last day will now be Monday, November 12, 2012.| - 2012-05-29 12:05:50 [update] |288||This year during the 2012 Epcot International Food &; Wine Festival, stars from HGTV will appear each weekend at the Festival Center. The current line-up (subject to change):|
Sept 28-30: Winner of Design Star Season 7 (TBA July 25th on HGTV)
Oct 5-7: Casey Noble (Design on a Dime)
Oct 12-14: Alison Victoria (Kitchen Crashers - DIY Network)
Oct 19-21: Brian Patrick Flynn (Design Happens)
Oct 26-28: Meg Caswell (Meg's Great Rooms)
Nov 2-4: Marianne Canada (Design Happens)
Nov 9-12: Emily Henderson (Secrets From a Stylist)
- 2012-07-10 11:07:37 [update] |288||Guests wishing to attend ticketed events at the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival can begin booking these events at 7:00 am Eastern on August 14, 2012 by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Two new events will be featured this year, a weekly Marketplace VIP Access Chef Tour and a twice-weekly Italian Regional Food & Wine Luncheon.
| - 2012-07-17 11:07:12 [update] |289||Guests spending New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World will have a host of celebrations to choose from. Fireworks will be shown at three out of four theme parks, and all four theme parks will have extended hours. DisneyQuest will host its annual family-friendly celebration. Magic Kingdom: Park Hours - 8:00 am - Midnight. Wishes will be shown at 8:30 pm, Fantasy in the Sky fireworks will begin at 11:50 pm with a special countdown to midnight. Epcot: Park Hours - 9:00 am - 1:00 am. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will be shown at 7:00 pm and again at 11:42 pm. Disney Hollywood Studios: Park Hours - 9:00 am - Midnight. (Extra Magic Hours until 3:00 am) Fireworks accompanied by "Mulch, Sweat &Shears" starting at Midnight. Disney Animal Kingdom: Park Hours - 9:00 am - 8:00 pm. (Morning Extra Magic Hour from 8:00 - 9:00 am)
| - 2012-10-23 10:10:26 [update] |289||The preliminary list of narrators for the 2012 Candlelight Processional at Epcot has been announced. Rumor has it that Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages will be available for booking on June 26, 2012. The current line-up (subject to change):
Nov 23 to Nov 25 - Isabella Rossellini
Nov 26 to Nov 29 - Neil Patrick Harris
Nov 30 to Dec 1 - Whoopi Goldberg
Dec 2 to Dec 4 - TBA
Dec 5 to Dec 7 - TBA
Dec 8 to Dec 10- TBA
Dec 11 to Dec 13 - Jodi Benson
Dec 14 to Dec 16 - Olivia Newton John
Dec 17 to Dec 19 - TBA
Dec 20 to Dec 22 - Trace Adkins
Dec 23 to Dec 25 - Gary Sinise
Dec 26 to Dec 28 - TBA
Dec 29 to Dec 30 - Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason
- 2012-06-19 12:06:44 [update] |289||Walt Disney World Resort has released its 2012 Holiday schedule.|
Magic Kingdom: The Castle Dreamlights will begin on November 2, 2012 and end on January 1, 2013. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will be held select nights November 9 - December 21, 2012. The holiday parties and parades will then be held during regular park hours December 22 - January 1, 2013.
Epcot: Holidays Around the World, which includes the Candlelight Processional, international storytellers, and the holiday version of IllumiNations, will begin November 23, 2012 and run through January 1, 2013.
Disney's Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will be held November 9, 2012 - January 4, 2013.
Disney's Animal Kingdom: Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade will be held November 9, 2012 - January 2, 2013.
- 2012-07-24 08:07:47 [update] |290||LEGOLAND Florida has announced that ti will be adding a "Star Wars"-themed area in November 2012. Star Wars Miniland will include Lego scenes from the movie series as well as scenes from the Clone Wars television series. Some of the scenes will be animated, with guests being able to activate the displays.
| - 2012-09-11 12:09:07 [update] |291||The D23 Expo, Disney's Official Fan Community Expo, will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center August 9-11, 2013. (Yes, Sara is already planning to attend again!) Tickets are sold as either one-day or three-day passes. D23 Membership discounts are available. "Early Bird" tickets go on sale on August 9, 2012. Early Bird pricing is available through December 31, 2012. Advanced ticket pricing begins January 1, 2013 and continues through June 15, 2013. After June 15, pricing is the same as purchasing at the door. For details and pricing, visit the D23 web site.
| - 2012-07-31 10:07:45 [update] |999||From Mouseplanet.com: Disney has filed an application with the FCC for a "Magic Band" wrist band for potential use in their theme parks. The wristbands would contain a small transmitter and RFID tags that would allow them to interact in a variety of ways around the Disney parks. (Think of the 'Glow with the Show Ears' at Disneyland that also use RFID technology.) Potential uses include park admission, room key access, charging to room accounts, and FASTPASS access. All of these functions do or could utilize the RFID function to some degree. No word on when or if these will be approved and implemented.
| - 2012-10-09 10:10:15 [update] |999||D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, announced the D23 Expo will once again take place at the Anaheim Convention Center, August 9-11, 2013. Advanced tickets go on sale August 9, 2012. (And yes, Sara is already planning her trip!).
| - 2012-03-16 12:03:15 [update] |999||The Walt Disney Co. has announced plans to acquire Lucasfilm, the studio behind Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The purchase also includes special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and video game company LucasArts. Disney announced a new Star Wars film to debut in 2015 and expects to produce more feature films in the Star Wars Saga.
| - 2012-10-30 18:10:06 [update] |999||Similar to the “Tron”-themed wrap, one of the Magic Kingdom Park Monorails is currently undergoing a Marvel Comics “The Avengers”-themed changeover to celebrate the May 4 opening of the film, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The made-over monorail will remain through Summer 2012.| - 2012-04-03 09:04:49 [update] |999||Disney has been testing its Next Generation (or NextGen) technology overhaul for some time, but it appears that some pieces have officially been implemented, most making use of guests' Key to the World (KTTW) cards. All resorts now feature RFID door locks, all four theme parks have RFID-enabled turnstiles available for resort guests who have admission on their KTTW cards, and select merchandise locations now offer RFID-enabled sensors that guests can use to charge purchases to their rooms. In all cases, guests simply touch their card to a sensor in order to have it "read" - the magnetic stripe on the back of the card is not scanned. Other known features of NextGen include an expanded FASTPASS system that includes online reservations, but that part of the system is still being tested.
| - 2012-12-18 10:12:23 [update] |999||Disney Imagineers have been honored with four Thea Awards from the Themed Entertainment Association, the industry's major trade organization. Star Tours won for Attraction Refresh; the Magic Kingdom's "The Magic, the Memories, & You!" show took the prize for Show Spectacular, and "Animation Magic," the "show" debuting in Animator's Palate restaurant on the Disney Fantasy when that ship is launched in March 2012 won for Ingenious Use of Technology. (The last award was judged based on a media preview earlier this year.) Finally, legendary Imagineer Joe Rhode, whose accomplishments range from "A to A" (Animal Kingdom to Aulani) received the Buzz Price Award, recognizing a lifetime of achievement.| - 2011-11-17 11:11:00 [update] |999||Disney Junior, the new 24-hour cable channel aimed at 2- to 7-year olds, will debut on March 23, 2012. Disney Junior will feature existing programming such as "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Jake and the Neverland Pirates," as well as new, exclusive programming.| - 2012-01-10 11:01:34 [update] |999||President Barack Obama visited Walt Disney World on January 19, 2012. Standing before Cinderella Castle, President Obama called on America to become the world's top travel destination with a program that could significantly increase tourism to South Florida. He said, "America is open for business! We want to welcome you."| - 2012-01-17 12:01:33 [update] |999||Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has changed their employee dress code for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and will now allow male Cast Members to grow beards. The restriction on facial hair was previously eased to allow moustaches. Facial hair must be no longer than 1/4 inch in length and must be well-groomed and professional in appearance. Also, "Casual Friday" has been introduced for non-costumed Cast Members who do not interact with guests.
| - 2012-01-24 15:01:02 [update]