WDW News & Notes
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Mickey Avenue construction
According to an internal Disney publication, the
construction wall scheduled to close Mickey Avenue to through
traffic during the construction work in that area will remain
in place through April 2008. Additionally, a construction wall
will obstruct Star Tours through September. The construction
wall isn't reported to result in a closing of Star Tours. See
below for earlier construction photos taken in the Mickey
Friday, May 11, 2007
Disney releases new
"Pirates" Disney Dollars series
Three new Disney Dollars themed to Pirates of the Caribbean are arriving at
Walt Disney World Resort this spring to celebrate the third chapter in the "Pirates" film series.
Each bill, available in $1 denominations, features a stylized skull and crossbones on the front.
Distinguishing the three bills is each film's flagship vessel (The Black Pearl, The Flying Dutchman, and a new ship that will be
unveiled in the third film) on the back.
The first two bills (themed to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" and "Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest") are currently available for purchase and use at merchandise locations on
Disney property. The third bill will be released May 15, 2007, just prior to the nationwide release of "Pirates
of the Caribbean: At World's End."
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
WDW resort rooms to go
"Smoke Free" as of June 1
On May 1, Disney announced that as of June 1, all
Disney-owned resort hotel rooms will be non-smoking. According
to an Orlando Sentinel report, Guest demand for smoking
rooms has been steadily declining, such that at present less
than 3.5 percent of Disney's 24,000 rooms are currently
designated smoking allowed.
The restriction is set to include all Guest rooms, indoor
public areas, balconies, and "other locations" at
all Company-owned and operated hotels, and all Disney Vacation
Club resorts at WDW, totaling 20 properties affected by the
rule. Smoking is to be allowed in certain outdoor designated
Last year, the Disney Company placed a ban on smoking at
its three resort hotels at Disneyland.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Day will be celebrated with animals and conservation programs
theme parks this weekend, starting with Disney's Animal
Kingdom on Friday.
As part of a national string of events called "Party for
the Planet" organized by the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums, Animal Kingdom will set up conservation-themed
stations, such as an African market, with activities, costumed
characters and gifts for children and other visitors. At each
location participants will receive a postcard with the
stations identified and several conservation steps they can
take at home.
Animal Kingdom's Party for the Planet will run from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. Friday. Some activities will be repeated Sunday, which
is Earth Day.
SeaWorld Orlando is planning a variety of conservation
education activities and animal encounters, notably around its
Manatee Rescue and alligator areas on Sunday. SeaWorld also is
pledging that proceeds from its popular wildlife encounter
tours on Sunday will be donated to the SeaWorld-Busch Gardens
also is hosting an Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Party
for the Planet on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
, activities will include special animal appearances,
conservation education, craft making and environmentally
All the events will require ticketed admission to the parks.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
On Sunday, March 25, Aronda was informed
(unofficially) of Disney's plans to open a new restaurant in
Adventureland. The new restaurant is to be pirate themed, and
to feature a "Pirates of the Caribbean"/Captain Jack
Sparrow character meal, and is currently being referred to as
"Tortuga," though this name hasn't been finalized
yet. The food is likely to be served "family
The design is still in the planning phase at
this time, though the venue is tentatively scheduled to open
in the fall of 2008. The menu hasn't been finalized, but the
source speculates that it will consist of Caribbean-inspired
offerings, with items such as jerk chicken and the like.
The location in Adventureland is a large area
currently used only for special events. It has a "quick
service" kitchen in place, which would be expanded to
handle the menu items (and business volume) that such an
establishment would require. The area is located behind Aloha
Isle, and was the staging area for the Captain Jack meet
and greets during the recent Pirate and Princess Parties.
The area where the rumored new
restaurant will go.
This is the area to the right of Aloha Isle, currently being
used as special event space.
The tables outside of it are seating for Aloha Isle.
The semi-enclosed area to the left
of Aloha Isle. The curtains allow limited views through
the windows, and the space inside is quite large. This was
recently used as the meet
and greet for Captain Jack Sparrow during the Pirate and
Princess Parties at the Magic Kingdom.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Lewis, Wilbur Robinson and Bowler Hat Guy,
characters from the new Walt Disney Pictures digitally
animated film "Meet the Robinsons," are set to
appear the Animation Courtyard at the Disney-MGM Studios in
Lake Buena Vista, Fla., March 20, 2007. The trio will be
on-hand at the Disney-MGM Studios to meet and greet Walt
Disney World Resort guests starting March 23, 2007, one week
prior to the film's nationwide release. "Meet the
Robinsons" follows the adventures of Lewis, a boy-genius
who is whisked to the future by a mysterious stranger named
Wilbur Robinson after the dastardly villain Bowler Hat Guy
steals Lewis' memory-scanning invention. It's then up to Lewis
and Wilbur to retrieve the invention before Bowler Hat Guy can
alter the course of the future world. "Meet the
Robinsons" opens in select theaters nationwide March 30,
From "Meet The
Robinsons" are (Left to right) Lewis,
Wilbur Robinson and Bowler Hat Guy
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Walt Disney World announced plans on Thursday
for two big new developments on property.
Disney and the Four Seasons will
build a luxury hotel in the northeast corner of the Resort.
The hotel will serve as the anchor for a 900-acre luxury
resort community that will include an 18-hole championship
golf course and, for the first time, vacation homes.
"People like to have second
homes, third homes to escape from their destination where they
live and come to a place such as Walt Disney World that
provides so much entertainment for them. So, that should be
the appeal here in this location," said Walt Disney
World's Matt Kelly. However, Disney hasn't disclosed how much
the homes will cost.
The second development will be
roughly the size of Disney's Animal Kingdom and be located
just outside the western entrance. About 4,500 time shares and
hotel units will surround a pedestrian-friendly retail village
that includes restaurants, shops and small-scale entertainment
venues. Construction is slated for later this year.
"We chose this area because it's
a great opportunity to further enhance the western entrance of
our resort," Crofton said. "We're currently putting
the finishing touches on the design and then we will give this
development a strong brand name."
In 1971, Disney World started with
two hotels -- the Contemporary and the Polynesian. Now, the
Resort has 22 hotels and counting.
Construction on both projects is set
to start some time this year, with the Four Seasons hotel and
vacation homes due to be completed in 2010. The retail village
will be built in phases with completion expected in 10 years.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
BURBANK, Calif., (February 22, 2007) -- The Walt Disney
Company (NYSE: DIS) plans to expand its successful cruise
business by adding two new ocean liners, President and CEO Bob
Iger announced today. Scheduled to launch in 2011 and 2012,
the ships will more than double the passenger capacity for
Disney Cruise Line to meet the sustained demand for Disney's
family cruise vacations.
The company signed a letter of intent with Meyer Werft
shipyard, based in Papenburg, Germany, to negotiate a contract
to build the 122,000-ton new cruise liners, which will be two
decks taller than the existing 83,000-ton ships, the Disney
Magic and the Disney Wonder. Each ship will have
1,250 staterooms. Specific design plans and itineraries for
the yet-unnamed ships are still in development and will be
unveiled at a later date.
"Since our maiden voyage in 1998, Disney Cruise Line
has been a huge success for our guests and for our
shareholders alike," Iger said. "It has brought our
unparalleled family vacation experience to the high seas, and
has also generated high margins and double digit returns on
invested capital. We're excited to announce the expansion of
our fleet, which is a logical next step in what is a real
growth business for us."
Disney Cruise Line established the family market within the
cruise industry when the business launched in 1998. The first
two ships were purpose built for families to reconnect and
recharge while creating vacation memories that will last a
lifetime. From a theater featuring live musical spectaculars
to a luxurious spa for adults and nearly an entire deck
dedicated to children's activities, the ships offer something
for every member of the family. Disney Cruise Line continues
to grow by attracting passengers who say they would not have
cruised if it hadn't been for the Disney brand.
"Focusing on families has been smart business for
us," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts. "More than 95 percent of Disney Cruise Line
guests rate their cruise experience as excellent or very good.
Families know they can trust us to provide a quality,
immersive Disney experience. As a result, Disney Cruise Line
continually sets sail with the highest load factors in the
industry of nearly 150 percent."
Similar to the original Disney Cruise Line ships, the new
ships will be a modern interpretation of classic ocean liners
of the 1930s. Disney Imagineers drew their inspiration from
the original trans-Atlantic ships that featured a dramatic
black hull with two funnels and porthole windows. The profile
of the ships, with its gentle curves at the stern combined
with sleek angles at the bow, are reminiscent of the art deco
designs of the era. To add whimsy to the classic design, the
Disney ships have the same exterior color palette as Mickey
Mouse with black, white, red and yellow. The new ships will
feature elegant, detailed Disney scrollwork at the bow and
will evoke images of the glamour of the golden age of
Tom McAlpin, the President of Disney Cruise Line, said,
"This is an exciting time for Disney Cruise Line, and we
are looking forward to working with Meyer Werft to blend our
innovation and creativity with their fine craftsmanship. Meyer
Werft has a long tradition of building magnificent ships. We
are confident that the result will be ships that take the
immersive Disney family-focused cruise experience to an
entirely new level."
Disney Cruise Line, which traditionally offers 3-, 4- and
7-night Caribbean cruises, has also enjoyed strong demand for
new itineraries. Trips to the Mediterranean and to the West
Coast have recently set booking records within the company and
booked 30-50 percent faster than the existing itineraries at
"With a larger fleet, we'll have greater flexibility
to offer a variety of itineraries," Rasulo said.
"This is a business that our guests love, and we're
pleased to give them more options to explore the world with
Disney with two new ships."
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a
vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit disneycruise.com
or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.
Travel agents can call Disney Cruise Line at (888)
325-2500 or visit disneytravelagents.com.
Certain statements in this press release may constitute
"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These
statements are made on the basis of our views and assumptions
regarding future events and business performance as of the
time the statements are made and we do not undertake any
obligation to update these statements. Actual results may
differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such
differences may result from actions taken by the Company as
well as from developments beyond the Company's control;
including adverse weather conditions or natural disasters;
health concerns; international, political or military
developments; and changes in domestic and global economic
conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences.
Additional factors are set forth in the Company's Annual
Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2006 Item
1A, "Risk Factors."
Walt Disney Company announced plans to expand its successful
cruise business with the
addition of two new ocean liners. Scheduled to launch in 2011
and 2012, the new 122,000-ton ships
will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise
Line to meet the sustained demand
for Disney’s family cruise vacations
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Construction progress on Toy Story Mania
at Disney-MGM Studios:
On Sunday, February 18, 2007, Aronda stopped by the former
location of Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Play It! to check
out the progress on Toy Story Mania. The removal of much of
the facade of the building has begun to be rebuilt with a
larger framework--this looks as though it will be an
impressive addition to D-MGM!
Here are a few photos of the soundstage as seen on the
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Construction progress on Mickey Avenue
in Disney-MGM Studios:
On Sunday, January 14, 2007, Aronda noticed that a section
of wall had been knocked out on an upper level at the large
soundstage along Mickey Avenue in the Disney-MGM Studios,
former home of Who Wants to be a Millionarie: Play It!
For more than a month, construction walls have been in
place in front of this area, which is rumored to be the future
home of the so-called Midway Madness attraction. The
demolition looks to be in the area of the soundstage where the
Guest walkway was located when the Backstage Pass tour used to
operate in this building.
Here are a few photos of the soundstage as seen on the
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Monorail Overlay for Year of a Million
On Thursday, October 26, while Aronda was visiting Epcot,
she noticed that one of two monorails she observed servicing
the parks was decorated for the Year of a Million Dreams
celebration. It was too dark to get a good photo, but on
Friday, October 27, she was able to get a few daylight shots
of a decorated monorail. See the images directly below.
It appears that the right side of each front car is
decorated, such that on the right side, you'll see the front
car decorated, while on the left side, you'll see the rear car
decorated. The design is a colorful spray of streamers. As of
October 27, not all trains were decorated, but it appears that
the overlay is being added to the various trains. It's a nice
look, sure to add a touch of festiveness to this celebration.
Monorail in motion headed
out of the Ticket and Transportation Center.
This view is from the parking lot walkway to the TTC.
The monorail in the station
at the TTC. This photo taken from inside
another monorail--which has not yet been decorated.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Disney Vacation Club Expansion at Animal
Kingdom Lodge Resort: Walt Disney World plans to add
456 new Disney Vacation Club units at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Lodge, to be built in phases through the spring of 2009.
Reports indicate that the units will include 134 remodeled
hotel rooms to be added to the existing hotel property, on the
fifth and sixth floors, and 324 villas in a new building at
the hotel. The remodeled rooms are expected to be completed by
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Food & Wine Festival: The Food & Wine
Festival begins September 29 and runs through November 12. See
Aronda's detailed coverage here.
WDW entrance sign appears to be
being updated as of Sunday evening, Sept. 17. Aronda observed
a truck and workers on the roadside at the entranceway sign as
she was leaving WDW at about 7:30 P.M. The truck had a trailer
attached, which was holding what appeared to be sign segments
which would fit in the over-the-road section of the sign which
will boast the new "Year of a Million Dreams"
slogan. Photos to be posted as soon as they become available.
UPDATE: The sign has been revised with the new slogan and
scheme for the brand new celebration. See photos below, taken
Sept. 30, 2006.
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