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DISNEY RESORTS AND THEME PARKS – FLORIDA by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Walt Disney World Delivers Dazzling Awesomeness on Sprawling 25,000 Acre Resort in Florida

 

Featuring Four Unique Theme Parks, Two Water Parks, a Shopping Complex, Sports Center, and 27 Resort Hotels

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In the mid-1960s, Walt Disney’s dream was to build a family resort destination like no other. During that time, The Walt Disney Company acquired more than 25,000 acres in Central Florida and planned a whole new world of Disney entertainment. After more than seven years of preparation, including 52 months of construction, Walt Disney World Resort and Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971.

Since guests first strolled down Main Street, U.S.A., Walt Disney World has played an important role in many childhood and family memories. With a rich heritage of storytelling, Disney Parks combine creativity, innovation and technology to immerse guests in classic Disney tales and new kinds of family entertainment. Today, hundreds of millions of guests from around the globe visit this magical place to enjoy a Disney vacation — where the young at heart of all ages can laugh, play and learn together.

EPCOT, or the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was one of Walt Disney's original ideas for his "Florida Project." Seen here, Walt produced a 1966 film for Florida legislators where he showcased his dream of a unique city.  Celebrating 30 years Oct. 1, 2012 EPCOT Center opened in 1982 with a re-imagined concept built from Walt's original dream.

EPCOT, or the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was one of Walt Disney’s original ideas for his “Florida Project.” Seen here, Walt produced a 1966 film for Florida legislators where he showcased his dream of a unique city. Celebrating 30 years Oct. 1, 2012 EPCOT Center opened in 1982 with a re-imagined concept built from Walt’s original dream.

Located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, just 30 minutes from the Orlando International Airport and 20 miles southwest of Orlando, Walt Disney World has grown since it’s opening in 1971 to include 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 golf courses, a convention center, sports complex, a shopping complex, 27 resort hotels, and it employs more than 74,000 cast members who ensure that every guest has an unforgettable experience during their magical visits.

 

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT PARKS

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MAGIC KINGDOM PARK

Opened: October 1, 1971

Disney’s first theme park in Florida has seven themed lands with dozens of attractions built around wonder, fantasy and fun: Main Street, U.S.A.; Adventureland; Frontierland; Liberty Square; Fantasyland; Tomorrowland; and Mickey’s Toontown Fair.

ATTRACTION HIGHLIGHTS:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Jungle Cruise, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid.

MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

EPCOT

Opened: October 1, 1982

Touch the future and travel the world at Epcot. This park comprises an amazing array of attractions, shows, interactive presentations, live performances and architectural wonders. Guests are immersed in a world of technological accomplishments and international cultural achievements. Includes the World Showcase, with individual pavilions for each of the following countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.

ATTRACTION HIGHLIGHTS:

Innoventions, Mission: SPACE, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Opened: May 1, 1989

A working film, TV and radio studio, as well as a theme park, featuring interactive attractions, Broadway-style shows and world-class entertainment that pay tribute to the world of show business.

ATTRACTION HIGHLIGHTS:

Fantasmic!, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, The Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Disney Junior — Live on Stage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Tours — The Adventures Continue, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania!, Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Night

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM THEME PARK

Opened: April 22, 1998

The fourth Walt Disney World theme park features a world of adventures with exotic animals, prehistoric giants and beloved Disney characters. Jungles, forests and a vast savanna are divided into four themed lands: Africa, DinoLand U.S.A., Discovery Island and Asia.

ATTRACTION HIGHLIGHTS:

DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical, It’s Tough to Be a Bug!, Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Primeval Whirl, The Tree of Life.

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WATER PARKS:

Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

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GOLF COURSES:

Disney’s Magnolia course

Disney’s Palm course

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista course

Disney’s Oak Trail (nine-hole, par 36 walking course)

Disney Springs is an exciting, new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort. Located along the shores of Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs is undergoing its largest expansion in history. Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs has four distinct outdoor neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center, all interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront. Completion of Disney Springs is set for summer 2016. Disney Springs is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Disney Springs is an exciting, new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort. Located along the shores of Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs is undergoing its largest expansion in history. Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs has four distinct outdoor neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center, all interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront. Completion of Disney Springs is set for summer 2016. Disney Springs is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

 DISNEY SPRINGS

The recently renamed 120-acre Disney Springs is currently undergoing the largest expansion in its history and significant work has been underway to double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences available, from 75 to more than 150 venues, amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm. Drawing inspiration from Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will be home to four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods opening in phases: The Landing, Town Center, Marketplace and West Side, which will be interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront.

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WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT HOTELS

HOTELS: Twenty-seven resorts owned and operated by the Walt Disney World Resort (includes eight Disney Vacation Club properties).

TOTAL NUMBER OF HOTEL ROOMS: Nearly 29,000 Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms, including 2,665 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas.

 

MAGIC KINGDOM RESORT AREA

5 HOTELS; 3 Disney Vacation Club Properties; 1 Campground

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort – 656 rooms

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – 294 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – 867 rooms

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – 100 2-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – 484 rooms

Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows – 380 rooms

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – 727 rooms

The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – 116 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – 799 campsites and 408 cabins

 

EPCOT RESORT AREA

4 HOTELS; 2 Disney Vacation Club Properties

Seaside Retreat

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – 2,109 rooms

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – 621 rooms

Disney’s Beach Club Resort – 574 rooms

Disney’s Beach Club Villas – 172 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – 372 rooms

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas – 279 two-bedroom equivalent villas

 

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS RESORT AREA

2 HOTELS; 2 Disney Vacation Club Properties

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort–French Quarter – 1,008 rooms

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort–Riverside – 2,047 rooms

Disney’s Old Key West Resort – 531 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – 724 two-bedroom equivalent villas

 

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM RESORT AREA

5 HOTELS; 1 Disney Vacation Club Property

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – 970 rooms

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas – 449 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – 1,912 rooms

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort – 1,920 rooms

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – 1,704 rooms

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – 1,920 rooms

 

ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS COMPLEX AREA

2 HOTELS

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – 864 rooms, 1,120 suites

Disney’s Pop Century Resort – 2,870 rooms

 

DISNEY SPRINGS RESORT AREA

2 HOTELS; 2 Disney Vacation Club Properties

Stormalong Bay 

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort–French Quarter – 1,008 rooms

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort–Riverside – 2,047 rooms

Disney’s Old Key West Resort – 531 two-bedroom equivalent villas

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – 724 two-bedroom equivalent villas

 

WALT DISNEY WORLD FEATURES

 

CONVENTION FACILITIES

More than 700,000 square feet of ballroom, meeting and function space is available in five convention resorts throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

 

ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS COMPLEX

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the premier site for amateur sports in the nation. The complex hosts more than 100 events a year and has accommodated more than 70 different sports and athletes from around the world. The 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including 16 baseball/softball fields, plus the 10,000 seat Champion Stadium, 18 multi-purpose outdoor fields

for soccer, football and lacrosse, two field houses for basketball, volleyball, and other indoor sports, the New Balance Track & Field facility and cross country course, and a tennis court complex with 10 courts.

 

FUN FACTS

Walt Disney World Resort is approximately the size of San Francisco.

The property features:

  • Four theme parks
  • Two water adventure parks
  • 35 resort hotels (27 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, including seven Disney Vacation Club properties)
  • 63 holes of golf on four courses
  • Two full-service spas
  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney Springs, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex

Nearly one-third of Walt Disney World’s property, has been set aside as a dedicated wildlife conservation area.

On an average day, there are approximately 250,000 people on Walt Disney World Resort property — including Cast Members, other employees and guests.

Walt Disney World Cast Members come from all over the world,  representing more than 80 nationalities and speaking more than 50 different languages.

In 2015, Disney hosted more than 7,500 wish trips for children and donated complimentary tickets valued at more than $14 million to Give Kids the World Village and other wish-granting organizations.

Disney Harvest reduces food waste by gathering excess prepared food from Walt Disney World Resort kitchens, more than 820,000 pounds, and distributing it through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The Disney Harvest Program celebrated its 23rd year in 2015.

Disney’s Animal Programs teams at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends are devoted to the care of more than 7,000 birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects, including 35 endangered and threatened species. Both facilities are accredited under the auspices of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to helping Central Florida become an even better place to live, work and play. The company contributes to the community in many ways, including through

cash and in-kind support for local nonprofit organizations, leadership on important community issues and thousands of volunteer hours by Disney Cast Members. Community programs and partnerships

are focused on building better futures for local children and their families, and ultimately, creating a stronger community for everyone.

Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS logged over 200,000 hours of service in 2015, including spearheading the annual Back-to-School Supply Drive with more than $866,000 worth of supplies distributed to Central Florida students, and collecting more than 37,000 toys in the annual Toys for Tots drive for local children in need.

 

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Walt Disney World Resort is a significant contributor to the economic well-being and vitality of Central Florida. Disney is the largest single-site employer in the United States, employing 74,000 Cast Members in Central Florida, in more than 3,000 different job classifications with total 2015 annual payroll of $2.4 billion. Walt Disney World Resort is the largest single taxpayer in Central Florida, contributing $601 million in total state and local taxes paid and collected for 2015.

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THE ENVIRONMENT

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to minimizing its overall impact on the environment as it encourages environmentally responsible behavior throughout the resort, including participation of its Cast Members, Guests and Operating Participants. To that end, the resort remains focused on reduced energy consumption, increased use of reclaimed water and diversion of waste from landfills.

In 2015, the Walt Disney World bus fleet became one of the first in the United States to run entirely on R50, a cleaner renewable diesel made from used cooking oil, uneaten food waste and diesel. The resort is also conserving water by meeting 30 percent of the overall and 80 percent of irrigation needs with reclaimed water. And, through reuse, reduction and recycling efforts more than 137,000 tons of materials were diverted from landfills in 2014 alone.

Additionally, Walt Disney World Resort preserves and protects wildlife in Florida and around the world. For example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plans — cooperative breeding and management groups for critical species — and has successfully reproduced many endangered animals, including African elephants, black rhinos and rare birds.

 

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

As Walt Disney once said about Disneyland, Walt Disney World “will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

Using Na'vi-inspired shovels and assisted by a Navi, (left to right) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; a NaÕvi; Jon Landau, AVATAR Producer; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rohde, creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, pose Jan. 8, 2014 during the ceremonial groundbreaking of an AVATAR-inspired land at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The multi-year and largest expansion in Disney's Animal Kingdom history, the new land will invite Walt Disney World Resort guests to experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with the banshees, encounter the Na'vi and explore a rich cultural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.

Using Na’vi-inspired shovels and assisted by a Na’vi, (left to right) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; a NaÕvi; Jon Landau, AVATAR Producer; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rohde, creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, pose Jan. 8, 2014 during the ceremonial groundbreaking of an AVATAR-inspired land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The multi-year and largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history, the new land will invite Walt Disney World Resort guests to experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with the banshees, encounter the Na’vi and explore a rich cultural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney is teaming with visionary filmmaker James Cameron to bring the mystical world of AVATAR to life. Guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants as well as an amazing new attraction called AVATAR Flight of Passage. This e-ticket attraction will allow guests to experience what it’s like to fly with banshees. And the new AVATAR-inspired land won’t be the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The largest expansion in the history of the park also includes all-new nighttime experiences, featuring the nighttime show Rivers of Light, combining live performers with floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery, and Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, a new nighttime adventure that will allow guests to travel through the African savanna amid the orange glow of the setting sun.

The recently renamed 120-acre Disney Springs is currently undergoing the largest expansion in its history and significant work has been underway to double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences available, from 75 to more than 150 venues, amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm. Drawing inspiration from Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will be home to four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods opening in phases: The Landing, Town Center, Marketplace and West Side, which will be interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront.

In the next chapter of our long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars, we are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single-themed land expansion ever. From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay, from a new Jedi Training Academy to a firework spectacular, guests are now able to be part of both new and enhanced Star Wars experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. The new Star Wars entertainment allows guests the opportunity to transport themselves every day to a galaxy far, far away.

 

 

Walt Disney World Resort Launches Magical Premieres in All Four Parks

 

An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences kickoff new magic across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Springs and beyond.

Guests are invited to set sail on the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction to celebrate a “Summer Snow Day” with all of the favorite “Frozen” friends aboard a Norwegian vessel travelling through Arendelle. And, guests can meet Anna and Elsa in Royal Sommerhus, with authentically Norwegian-inspired settings all in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

The fun heats up with a brand new nighttime experience that awakens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show that is themed to music from the film saga and incorporates stunning new lasers and other special effects.

Guests also can experience the enhanced Soarin’ Around the World attraction at Epcot and the star-studded new stage show “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” at Magic Kingdom Park.

 

More Magic, More Memories, More Fun

Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends at Walt Disney World Resort, making every moment as magical as it can be:

Frozen Ever After takes guests through the kingdom of Arendelle from the Disney animated hit, "Frozen." Located in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, Frozen Ever After celebrates a "Summer Snow Day" on a journey through a frozen willow forest, past Troll Valley and up to Queen Elsa's palace high up on the north mountain.

Frozen Ever After takes guests through the kingdom of Arendelle from the Disney animated hit, “Frozen.” Located in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, Frozen Ever After celebrates a “Summer Snow Day” on a journey through a frozen willow forest, past Troll Valley and up to Queen Elsa’s palace high up on the north mountain.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give a warm hug at Epcot. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves, and Soarin’ Around the World takes guests to new heights.

  • Anna, Elsa and their “Frozen” friends are welcoming guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion. Passengers glide along and visit Queen Elsa’s ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
  • Also at the Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa now greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, themed as a cozy summer cabin.
  • In Future World, guests can take a glide on the expanded Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the enhanced attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.
  • Guests can now find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’s joined by Dory and some of her new friends.
Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the new show "Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire," presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers - Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy - who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This "timeless fairytale" of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the new show “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire,” presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

 

Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

  • For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.
  • Disney Parks welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series on Disney Channel.
  • Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.
At various times each day, the menacing Captain Phasma leads a squad of First Order stormtroopers as they march in formation from Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center Stage area at Disney's Hollywood Studios in an intimidating demonstration of the First Order's indomitable strength.

At various times each day, the menacing Captain Phasma leads a squad of First Order stormtroopers as they march in formation from Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center Stage area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in an intimidating demonstration of the First Order’s indomitable strength.

 Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

  • The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” dazzles with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.
  • The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” celebrates iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.
  • First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.
Disney's Animal Kingdom's iconic Tree of Life undergoes extraordinary 'awakenings' throughout each evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. Projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s iconic Tree of Life undergoes extraordinary ‘awakenings’ throughout each evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. Projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.

 Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature.

  • The park’s iconic Tree of Life awakens each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.
  • Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle BookThe Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.
  • Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.
  • Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.
The perfect spot for guests to relax and unwind, Dockside Margaritas is a waterfront margarita bar offering live entertainment daily in a laid-back environment amid tropical decor at Downtown Disney Marketplace serving a variety of handcrafted margaritas, specialty cocktails and authentic Florida brews. The extensive, adult-beverage menu includes Sunset Margaritas, Orange Grove Rum Runners and Sugar Cane Mojitos.

The perfect spot for guests to relax and unwind, Dockside Margaritas is a waterfront margarita bar offering live entertainment daily in a laid-back environment amid tropical decor at Downtown Disney Marketplace serving a variety of handcrafted margaritas, specialty cocktails and authentic Florida brews. The extensive, adult-beverage menu includes Sunset Margaritas, Orange Grove Rum Runners and Sugar Cane Mojitos.

 Disney Springs and Disney’s Water Parks Make a Splash

Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the year, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests.

  • As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama and UNIQLO.
  • More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this season, including retail shops and dining venues.
  • Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With many unique flavors, there is something for all different tastes with exquisite selections such as STK, Frontera Cocina and Morimoto Asia.
  • More new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.
  • Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless (Frontera Cocina) and Chef Art Smith (Homecoming) join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.
  • At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcases a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks ramp up with playful spirits and awesome fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

  • At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host the “Frozen Games” of friendly, fun competitions that run through Aug. 21.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

 

Disney guests will have a magical experience wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels. For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, visit www.disneyworld.com and www.disneyparksblog.com.

Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is open daily year round. For more information call 407-939-5277 or visit www.disneyworld.com.

 

 

Last Chance to see Main Street Electrical Parade at Walt Disney World before it ‘Glows Away’ Oct. 9

 

Parade Heads to Disneyland in California For a Limited Engagement Beginning Early 2017

 

An enduring Disney Parks classic, the Main Street Electrical Parade, will take its shimmering farewell trip through Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Florida on Oct. 9, 2016.

Brought to light in the early 1970s, the Main Street Electrical Parade helped establish a Disney Parks reputation for innovative, trend-setting live entertainment. As lights go down along the parade route, the parade brings a variety of beloved Disney animated feature films to life through three-dimensional floats covered with approximately half a million colorful LED twinkling lights. The parade's iconic musical theme, the electrically synthesized "Baroque Hoedown," is interwoven with favorite Disney themes. The parade will end its run at Walt Disney World Resort Oct. 9, 2016 and will have a limited time run at the Disneyland Resort in early 2017.

Brought to light in the early 1970s, the Main Street Electrical Parade helped establish a Disney Parks reputation for innovative, trend-setting live entertainment. As lights go down along the parade route, the parade brings a variety of beloved Disney animated feature films to life through three-dimensional floats covered with approximately half a million colorful LED twinkling lights. The parade’s iconic musical theme, the electrically synthesized “Baroque Hoedown,” is interwoven with favorite Disney themes. The parade will end its run at Walt Disney World Resort Oct. 9, 2016 and will have a limited time run at the Disneyland Resort in early 2017.

Since making its Florida premiere in 1977, the parade has become one of the most beloved entertainment spectacles anywhere. Watching the Main Street Electrical Parade has to become a rite of passage with parents and grandparents eager to share the nostalgic experience with their children. Families will have one more chance to see the parade and share this special memory, on select nights, before it departs.

The vibrant parade, a perennial favorite with Disney guests, will next travel cross-country to Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., for a limited engagement beginning early next year.

Brought to light in the early 1970s, the original Main Street Electrical Parade helped establish a Disney Parks reputation for innovative, trend-setting live entertainment. As lights go down along the parade route, the parade brings a variety of beloved Disney animated feature films to life through three-dimensional floats covered with approximately half a million colorful LED twinkling lights. The parade’s iconic musical theme, the electrically synthesized “Baroque Hoedown,” is interwoven with favorite Disney themes. It all adds to the unique upbeat excitement of the procession.

Main Street Electrical Parade

Some of the parade’s most impressive scenes are the 23-foot-tall Clock Tower over Cinderella’s Ball, complete with elegant ballroom dancers in light-covered costumes; the smoke-breathing, tail-wagging Pete’s Dragon; and the 108-foot-long red, white and blue flag finale. Other characters who make appearances include Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

The Main Street Electrical parade at Walt Disney World Resort will not appear during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights. Walt Disney World guests interested in seeing the parade before it departs on Oct. 9 can check for the latest parade dates and times on www.WaltDisneyWorld.com or in the My Disney Experience app.

 

 

Countdown to 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: New Dining, Tasting and Chef Experiences Add Culinary Cachet

 

62 Delicious Festival Days Run Sept. 14-Nov. 14, 2016

 

Top celebrity chefs, brand new Disney resort cooking and dining experiences and irresistible Eat to the Beat dining packages will add fresh twists to the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase at Walt Disney World Resort.

Guests can sample tapas-sized tastes of inventive cuisine and beverages at the Patagonia Marketplace during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The popular fall festival also features wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, mixology seminars, nightly "Eat to the Beat" concerts and a broad range of premium dining events.

Guests can sample tapas-sized tastes of inventive cuisine and beverages at the Patagonia Marketplace during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The popular fall festival also features wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, mixology seminars, nightly “Eat to the Beat” concerts and a broad range of premium dining events.

The annual Disney celebration of global flavors, running 62 days from Sept. 14-Nov. 14, has become one of America’s top food festivals and features inspired sips and bites at more than 30 marketplaces. And for the second consecutive year, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series, “The Chew,” will produce a full week of programs from the festival. “Chew” hosts Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz will share their Disney culinary adventures and tasty recipes before Epcot audiences Oct. 5-7 in shows scheduled to air Oct. 10-14.

 

More news fresh from festival planners:

  • Iron Chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Masaharu Morimoto, “Chopped” judge Maneet Chauhan and other celebrated chefs including Elliott Farmer and Graham Elliot will fire up the burners to host their very first festival special events. Other chef icons like Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Norman Van Aken, Elizabeth Falkner, Buddy Valastro and Jamie Deen will return to entertain guests and inspire their palates at premium events that include Party for the Senses grand tastings featuring new entertainment.
  • Nearly 50 percent of the global marketplace food items are new or reimagined dishes. Just some of the new flavors include: hard soda floats at Desserts & Champagne, savory vegan “nachos” at the Greece marketplace, sweet quesitos with guava sauce at the new Islands of the Caribbean kiosk and peanut butter and white chocolate mousse at The Chew Collective. Festival guests can pair food with wines, beers, cocktails and ciders as they stroll the promenade guided by a complimentary festival passport.
  • First-time festival resort experiences include Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef for a hands-on chef’s table experience in a professional working kitchen; The Secret of Flavor three-course lunch that gives guests a “sensory-food connection” at Yachtsman Steakhouse; and a tropical “Zombie” encounter during Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
  • For a second year, global marketplaces will extend into Future World to offer a wider range of taste sensations. New this year in Future World are: The Chew Collective, the Wine & Dine Studio, Chocolate Studio and Greenhouse Guru; plus Islands of the Caribbean marketplace debuts in World Showcase.
  • Eat to the Beat Dining Packages give music fans a chance to guarantee seats at an Eat to the Beat concert and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of many popular Epcot restaurants, including Chefs de France, Le Cellier and Spice Road Table.
  • Speaking of Eat to the Beat, multiple new Eat to the Beat concert acts debut; fan favorites return to play 186 festival concerts in all –Wang Chung (Everybody Have Fun Tonight!) will open the Eat to the Beat concert series Sept. 14-15. Eight new acts in the concert series lineup — including Wang Chung, Plain White T’s, Delta Rae and Toad The Wet Sprocket – will rock their chart-topping tunes. Other popular acts, including Wilson Phillips, Boyz II Men and Jeffrey Osbourne, will return to the America Gardens Theatre stage this fall.
  • Celebrity chefs, wine experts and mixologists join the fun – Celebrities ranging from Rock Harper to master sommelier Andrea Robinson will share their food and beverage know-how during culinary demos, beverage seminars and a variety of other events spanning the festival’s 62 days.
  • The popular Festival Private Label California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are back and available by the bottle or by the glass.
  • Ratatouille returns — Chef Remy of “Ratatouille” returns with his fun-for-the-family culinary scavenger hunt that features six brand-new collectible pins this year.
  • Festival Center buzzes with activity–Festival Center highlights will include new festival merchandise, the complimentary Back to Basics weekend series featuring epicurean tips and tricks from the pros, book and bottle signings and The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli and offering guest samples.
  • Premium events like Rockin’ Burger Block Party and Party for the Senses grand tastings will showcase creative bites and palate-pleasing sips from eminent chefs and beverage experts plus new live entertainment.
  • Intimate dining and tasting events to book will include the “Umami” Tokyo Pairing and other Epcot restaurant experiences as well as multi-course lunches and dinners at Disney Springs and resort restaurants.
  • Members can rest and recharge at the Chase Lounge – Chase debit and credit card members –including Disney Visa card members — will find complimentary non-alcoholic refreshments, a charging station and comfortable seating for a relaxing break at the Chase Lounge at The American Adventure pavilion.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Australia Marketplace

Included with Epcot Admission:

Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Festival Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Special Programming by Reservation:

The Party for the Senses and Rockin’ Burger Block Party grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for reservations and get details at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.

 

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