Over at the WDW News Today Twitter Feed, someone (Tom Corless?) is giving an early look at the updates to Pirates of the Caribbean before it re-opens tomorrow (it’s in soft open now.) I’m sure there will be about 700 “reviews” of the changes in the next few days, but can you really wait that long?
I attended my first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this past Sunday night and I had an amazing time. I saw the Boo to You Parade twice and I was very impressed with all of the performers and I really liked the parade music. My favorites include the grave diggers and ballroom dancers from the Haunted Mansion and the portion that had characters from Splash Mountain and the Country Bears Jamboree. I was also very impressed by Hallowishes. I caught the very last Hocus Pocus Villains stage show at midnight and I was thoroughly entertained. It was funny, creative, and included lots of very talented performers. The villains in the show were a lot more impressive than the standard villains you see in parades and meet and greets. I was thrilled to see Oogie Boogie with an articulated face that included a moving mouth and moving eyes.
I also really liked the overall atmosphere of the party, especially considering that it was only late September. If you plan on going to a Halloween party, I highly recommend you wear a costume! One of the real highlights of the night was seeing all of the different costumes that everyone was wearing. I think the people who were wearing costumes were definitely having more fun than those who were not. One last bit of advice: if you are planning on trick or treating, ask around about which locations are giving out the most candy and the best type of candy. Some of the locations were only giving out 2 or 3 pieces of candy per person, while others were giving out 2 large handfuls of candy per person.
As you might expect, Josh practices what he preaches and put together amazing Hipster Minnie and Mickey costumes with his lovely wife, Carye:
If you want even more information and reviews on this year’s party, this review by Dave at YourFirstVisit.net is probably the best place to start. He provides a nice level of detail about the party, as well as gives some general touring tips and information about some of the schedule changes they made to this year’s show. On the audio side of things, the gang from DIS Unplugged provides a pretty good recap of their experiences at the party in their most recent episode.
Trick or Treating is for Everyone – Adults and children can trick-or-treat! Make sure to pick up a bag when entering the park. (And as Josh said, make sure you ask to see where they are giving out the best candy.)
Meet “Talking Mickey” in his Halloween costume at Town Square Theater
If you’re on non-computer device that has Youtube access (i.e., an Xbox 360 or Roku), you can usually search for the “Disney Parks Live” channel to find the video. It will normally have a “Stream Coming Soon” placeholder about 20 minutes or so before an event is supposed to take place (so, approximately 8:00PM Eastern for this one.)
Mike Ellis has an excellent look back at the Magic Kindom Skyway that brings back memories of riding this attraction with my dad. I remember the first time I went to WDW after the Skyway had stopped operating and I was devastated. I imagine I’ll watch this video recap of the ride more than once:
Tom also breaks down some of the entertainment schedule changes:
Fireworks are now 30 minutes later than in previous years, while the first parade is 20 minutes later and the second a full 45 minutes later than last year. There are 4 castle stage shows compared to the usual 3, likely because it is a new show for this year.
This weekend was Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. There was tons of Disney theme park related news at the event, but here is what has got me the most excited:
Star Wars Land at The Studios
The rumors are now a reality: Star Wars land is coming to The Studios. In what is being described as 14-acre, immersive experience, The Studios is getting a whole section dedicated to one of my favorite film franchises. I expected the land to have great theming, retail, and dining, but I didn’t expect these kinds of attractions:
These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.
I get to fly a Millennium Falcon? Are you kidding me? That sounds amazing. With the level of detail expected in this area, it will come as no surprise that Jim Hill has recently said Joe Parinella, who was one of the keys to bringing Harry Potter to Universal Orlando, is the one leading this effort.
Relatedly, and in order to satisfy Star Wars fans while Star Wars land is being constructed, Disney also announced the Star Wars Launch Bay for later this year. The Launch Bar will feature “special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars character.” It also sounds like Star Wars Weekends will be upgraded to the new Season of the Force promotion in “early 2016”, and will include new fireworks show set to Star Wars music.
If you want to hear more about Star Wars land, here a
Toy Story Land at The Studios
Though I heard rumors that there might be something Pixar-related coming to The Studios, I did not anticipate it would be an area completely focused on Toy Story. That said, I am pretty pleased with what it appears that we are getting. Yes, the green aliens attraction is only a spinner, but the Slinky Dog coaster looks pretty cool. Also, anything that increases capacity at Toy Story Midway Mania is a welcome addition.
Much like Star Wars land, what really impresses me here is how much detail is being paid to the theming. For example, the story being the coaster is that Andy used a roller coaster set in his back yard, but decided to use Slinky Dog instead of a regular coaster car to go around the track. I love it.
Also, Jim Hill has already said that Toy Story land is just the beginning for Pixar at The Studios. He is still hearing rumors about some kind of Cars Land being added, as well as one other Pixar section (which currently hasn’t been decided.)
If you want more details about Toy Story Land check out this
Jungle Cruise Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
The rumors about this were pretty spot on: [Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen] is coming to the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant is described as follows:
At the Jungle Skipper Canteen, guests will be able to experience “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms – including a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The restaurant will also be staffed by Jungle Cruise Skippers.
I would assume that means we get the campy humor that the Jungle Cruise is known for, but the announcement is kind of light on details. For example, will this be a table service only restaurant? Or will it be similar to Be Our Guest, with quick service lunch (and breakfast?) and table service dinner? Personally, I’m kind of hoping they follow the Be Our Guest model.
Pandora – The World of Avatar
Disney announced the official name of Avatarland: Pandora – The World of Avatar. Until I have time to create an auto-replace (and to keep from confusing things with the jewelry brand of the same name), however, I’m going to just stick with Avatarland .
The model of Avatarland was spectacular. The idea of floating mountains, the special animatronic animals and Na’vi, and the change over from day to night make this place seem like it could be really special. Of course, the new land also includes a couple of new attractions: AVATAR: Flight of Passage that will “allow guests to experience what it’s like to fly with a banshee”, and a currently unnamed (??) boat ride.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWivSgWdP0M) if you want to see more of the model and its exhibit.
Night Time Activities at the Animal Kingdom
In addition to Avatarland, Disney also provided more details on two new nighttime editions to Animal Kingdom. Rivers of Light “will combine live performers with floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery”, while Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris will be “a new nighttime adventure that will allow guests to travel through the African savanna amid the orange glow of the setting sun.” As someone who has enjoyed Animal Kingdom the first day I visited it, I cannot wait to have additional nighttime entertainment to keep me in the park longer. I am especially interested in seeing how they extend “the orange glow of the setting sun” into the night.
Soarin’ Around the World Coming to Epcot Next Year
The original rumors were that Disney’s new Soarin’ Around the World film would be exclusive to Shanghai for five years. Thankfully, those rumors turned out to be false and Epcot will see the new Soarin’ film and a digital projection upgrade “beginning next year.” I am, of course, excited to see this upgrade to Soarin’, but I am also excited to see this pattern of Disney updating or enhancing attractions at multiple parks at the same time. I understand the logic behind having certain parks be “the place you go to see Attraction X”, but I feel like this new approach of updating things everywhere is going to cause more overall excitement to Disney fans.