Archive for the ‘Disney Cruise Line’ Category

Theme Park Headlines – New Frontiers

September 13, 2009

Image © Disney.

Disney Cruise Line is heading to Alaska, Star Tours is getting a sequel, and WDW’s Fantasyland is being majorly expanded.

By Blake

Originally posted September 12, 2009.

I officially and truly appreciate Twitter.

I was skeptical to the idea of it at first, but then as I started to use it to post Disney news and view more Disney information from others, I began to “get it.” However, it wasn’t until this weekend that I absolutely, positively was VERY glad that I was a Twitter user.

If not for Twitter, I would have never experienced the jittery excitement I have felt as I excitedly click “refresh” repeatedly to view the live tweets from Disney fans as they report from the D23 Expo.

There was another significant announcement yesterday (Friday, September 11, 2009) at the Disney Cruise Line presentation. Disney previously posted some online videos of Donald Duck and Goofy trying to find out where the Disney Cruise Line was headed to next. Disney answered this highly-anticipated question yesterday, revealing that in summer 2011, Disney Cruise Line is going to . . . Alaska! The breathtaking scenery of Alaska is sure to be a wonderful pairing with a Disney cruise vacation. You can view details at DisneyCruise.com/2011.

Disney Cruise Line is heading to Alaska in summer 2011. Image © Disney.

In other Disney Cruise Line news, on August 31, Disney announced some changes coming to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island that most Disney cruises make a stop at. Changes include a larger family beach, a new lunch spot, and new water play areas, to be finished in summer 2010. On top of that, two additional Disney cruise ships are currently being built – the Disney Dream (setting sail in 2011) and the Disney Fantasy (coming in 2012).

This morning (Saturday, September 12, 2009) Disney fans (both present at the Expo and those that would read the reports later), were in for some huge surprises from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation.

Many topics were discussed, including an expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland that will include several new lands (including Toy Story Land); some details about World of Color, a nighttime water show debuting at Disney’s California Adventure in spring 2010; and the new Cars Land, opening at Disney’s California Adventure in 2012.

Then, the first major shocker was revealed – Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland is going to get a massive expansion, growing twice as large as it currently is. It’s going to be amazing.

Some of the outstandingly exciting changes to Fantasyland include two identical Dumbo rides to speed up the wait (complete with an interactive queue) and a new area based on Pixie Hollow from the Disney Fairies movies. Additionally, there seems to be a large emphasis on the princesses, especially in new, unique ways that guests are going to be able to meet them. It seems that each princess character greeting specific to each princess’ personality. For instance, guests will be able to dance with Cinderella, celebrate a party with Aurora, and experience storytelling with Belle. (I’m guessing this is the already-open Storytime with Belle, just relocated?) I think it’s a very creative idea to try out different character greeting formats other than traditional meet & greets.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is getting an interactive queue in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Image © Disney.

There are also going to be several expansive new attractions added to Fantasyland. A new ride based on The Little Mermaid is going to be built called Ariel’s Adventure, and will be similar in style to other Fantasyland attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It will take guests into Ariel’s world to tell her story, and is going to be like another Little Mermaid ride coming soon to Disney’s California Adventure.

Ariel’s Adventure will be a new ride based on The Little Mermaid, and will open in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Image © Disney.

Additionally, the Imagineers are building two new restaurants based on Beauty and the Beast – Gaston’s Tavern and Be Our Guest Restaurant. Be Our Guest will be located inside the Beast’s castle, a new area where guests will be able to eat in several themed settings directly from the movie. This place seems like it’s going to be awesome!

However, a down side of the Fantasyland expansion is the unfortunate closure of Mickey’s Toontown Fair. One of my favorite areas in the Magic Kingdom, Toontown opened as a temporary land to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday in 1988, and was later decided to be a more-than-temporary addition to the park. Some of the attractions in Toontown are Mickey’s Country House, Minnie’s Country House, Donald’s Boat, and The Barnstormer. Some good news is that The Barnstormer might be staying despite the Fantasyland changes. It will certainly be sad to see Toontown leave. It’s one of the most cleverly themed and detailed sections of the Magic Kingdom and it will definitely be missed.

The first phase of the Fantasyland expansion (including the princess elements) will open in 2012, while the Pixie Hollow section will open in 2013.

Lastly, there was one more significant announcement at the Parks and Resorts presentation, but it was delivered with the help of Darth Vader and 50 storm troopers. Coming in 2011 to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios (in Walt Disney World) and Disneyland is Star Tours 2, which is sure to delight many Star Wars fans. The attraction will replace the currently-existing Star Tours simulator ride, and will be a new 3-D experience.

I don’t think there have been many events that have been so jam-packed with exciting Disney news like the D23 Expo. I’ve had such joy reading reports that others have posted about the fun happenings that have occurred so far. The Disney Cruise Line Alaskan voyages, Fantasyland’s expansion, and the new Star Tours 2 are all sure to be guest-pleasing experiences. Those Imagineers know how to dream.

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 12, 2009. All images © Disney.

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Disney Talk – The First-Ever D23 Expo Is Here!

September 11, 2009

Image © Disney.

One of the biggest events in Disney history has arrived, and Disney fan sites provide abundant coverage.

By Blake

Originally posted September 10, 2009.

The D23 Expo began this morning (Thursday, September 10, 2009) and is now well underway, featuring a plethora of exciting behind-the-scenes looks and sneak peeks for upcoming Disney projects. The Expo is the first-ever convention for D23, the official fan club for Disney fans that began last March.

The Expo comes off the heels of D23 announcing their fan events for the fall earlier this week. These include a special night for the touring musical of The Lion King in Anchorage, AK and Spokane, WA; a similar event for the Mary Poppins musical tour in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA; an encore of the free tour of the Walt Disney Studios and Archives; a special event during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; an opening-day screening of The Princess and the Frog with special appearances by all nine Disney Princesses; a viewing of Disney’s A Christmas Carol; and a “Magic and Merriment” holiday event in Walt Disney World in December. You can check out more information about these upcoming events at D23’s website.

But before any of those activities take place, the D23 Expo has to run its course! The Expo is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA (the city that Disneyland is located in) from today through Sunday, September 13.

The Expo is already off to a fantastic start. Just today, Bob Iger held a presentation (which included a screening of the first 30 minutes of The Princess and the Frog), the Disney Legends 2009 ceremony took place, several scenes were screened from Beauty and the Beast’s 3-D enhancement (which is coming to select theaters in February, 2010), ABC had a sneak preview of their fall lineup, Imagineering held a panel discussion, and many more exciting happenings took place. There were also special appearances by Lucky the Dinosaur and Wall-E.

The first 30 minutes of the Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog was shown at Bob Iger’s presentation during the D23 Expo. Image © Disney.

Disney has a special area at the Expo so that fan organizations can set up booths and mingle with other fans.

Although BlakeOnline isn’t at the Expo, there are several other Disney fan personalities that are continuously updating their Twitter accounts with reports from the event. These include StitchKingdom.com, Orlando Attractions Magazine, DisneyShawn, Lou Mongello of the WDW Radio Show, and Deb Wills of AllEars.net. AllEars also has special posts on its “Deb’s Digest” blog that recap all of the site’s tweets from each day of the Expo into one convenient journal. Additionally, D23 itself has also been updating fans of the Expo’s activities via its Twitter page and on the official D23 website. One of the fascinating articles posted today over there recaps the Bob Iger presentation very nicely.

And this is just the first day! Still yet to come are exciting presentations from many areas of the Walt Disney Company, including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Channel, VoluntEARS, The Muppets, and more.

As a bonus, those who can’t be in attendance at the Expo have the opportunity to view some of the Disney Cruise Line presentation on Friday, September 11, at 12pm Eastern Time and 9am Pacific Time at DisneyCruiseLine.com/2011. At that time, it will be announced where the Disney Cruise Line is headed in 2011. Disney has already posted two YouTube videos showing Donald Duck and Goofy going “undercover” trying to find out the news.

A special Disney Cruise Line announcement will take place September 11, 2009, at the D23 Expo, and will also be streamed live on DisneyCruiseLine.com/2011. Image © Disney.

The D23 Expo 2009 has gotten off to a very exciting start, and if that much Disney magic has been presented in just one day, I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the weekend has in store! You can read more details about the Expo and purchase tickets here.

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 10, 2009. All images © Disney.