Category Archives: Weekly Disney News Roundup

June 19, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Harambe Market at Animal Kingdom opened this week.

*  Starbucks Animal Kingdom mugs are now on sale at the newly opened Starbucks Creature Comforts on Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom.

*  Frozen Summer Fun began this week at Hollywood Studios.

*  Magic Slider time pieces will soon go on sale as accessories for MagicBands at WDW:  a Minnie Mouse analog watch and another with a digital display.  They slide onto your MagicBand and turn it into a watch.

*  Disneyland Paris has now banned selfie sticks, too.

*  ‘Inside Out‘, Pixar‘s new animated movie opens today!  It has received a 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes!  (++editorial below++)

*  Hans Solo had a wife.  Who knew?

*  Season 2 of “Daredevil” on Netflix will feature the popular comic character The Punisher.

*  A new Disney radio station, Radio Disney Country, will start broadcasting this fall.  Woo-Doggies!

*  Dreamfinder and Figment will return in “Figment 2,” an all new comic series coming this Fall.

***We are attempting again to redo our website this weekend.  Our new name will be Family Travel Escapades (familytravelescapades.com).  We will try to switch each of you over with us. *****

++Editorial:  I am really looking forward to seeing Inside Out!  I have heard over and over about how original it is.  I am really not convinced, though.  “Herman’s Head,” a show from the early ’90s that I and about 6 other people watched for 3 years on the fledgeling Fox network had the exact same premise.  I liked the show.  I think that Pixar will do an even better job with the concept, but I would not call talking, anthropomorphized emotions original.++

June 12, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney now states that MagicBand+ will not be coming to Disneyland in Anaheim anytime soon.  They say it doesn’t fit the demographics with most guests being local or staying off property.

*  The new Starbucks in Animal Kingdom will open on June18 in the prior location of Creature Comforts on Discovery Island.

*  Frozen Summer Fun at Hollywood Studios will return on July 17 featuring Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

*  The animated short, ‘Frozen Fever‘ will be shown in the ABC Sound Studio at Hollywood Studios twice every hour from 10 a.m till closing starting on June 17 and running through September 7.

*  Registration for Star Wars Half Marathon will open on June 16, 2015.  The race is held on January 17, 1016 at Disneyland in California.

*  New merchandise is now available in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

*  A world class lounge from Los Angeles will be opening a sister location in 2016 at Disney Springs  in WDW to be called ‘The Edison’ .  It will feature American food, craft cocktails, live cabaret and live music.

*  Tokyo DisneySea‘s 15th anniversary will be celebrated from April 15, 2016 through March 17,2017 with “The Year of Wishes,” and will feature a new harbor show called “Crystal Wishes Journey,” an updated Big Band Beat, and a new projection show in the Hangar Stage in Lost River Delta.

*  Mickey‘s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground at WDW has expanded from 2 to 4 days per week.

*  Walt Disney Animation Studios has released a trailer for the film ‘Zootopia‘ which is be released next.  It looks promising!

*  A preview for ‘Frozen Ever After,” the attraction set to replace Maelstrom in the Epcot Norway pavilion has been released.  I miss Maelstrom.

*  DisneyXD will premiere ‘Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything’ on Wednesday, July 22.  Cameron Boyce of Disney Channel‘s ‘Jessie will star.

June 5, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

***Second Star to the Right Disney Blog will be undergoing fairly major changes this weekend.  We are changing our name  and we are changing our theme to more of a magazine based format.  Our articles, the News Roundup, and Weekly poll will all remain the same, but hopefully in a more attractive, user friendly format.  We hope that you follow us through this transition***

*  Disney and the NBA are developing a new attraction for Disney Springs at WDW to be called the “NBA Experience at Walt Disney World.”  It will offer hands on interactive experiences to help bring the game to life.

*  WDW is testing new pricing on Rapid Refill Mugs at Pop Century, the All Star Resorts, and Port Orleans-Riverside.  There will no longer be 1,2, or 3 day options, only the length of stay option.  The price of the length of stay option has been decreased from $17.99 to 16.49 (plus tax).  It is anticipated that this will be employed at all WDW resorts later this year.

*  The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival  will have a new experience for this fall:  Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt.  Special maps will be given to lead you through the World Showcase in search of hidden Remy statues.

*  Epcot is now showing sneak peaks of Disney/Pixar‘s ‘Inside Out’ at the Imagination pavilion, former home of Captain Eo.

*  New DVC member merchandise can be purchased at DisneyStore.com.

*  The Emotions from the upcoming Disney/Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ will precede the Pixar Play Parade at Disney California Adventure beginning on June 19.

*  Harambe Market in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom is now open.

*  The annual attendance report from the Themed Entertainment Association shows that Disney parks are the 6 busiest parks in the U.S.: 1. Magic Kingdom 2.  Disneyland  3. Epcot  4. Animal Kingdom  5. Hollywood Studios  6. California Adventure.  Attendance rose from 2%(Animal Kingdom) up to 4% (Magic Kingdom).  Universal Studios Orlando followed at #8, but had an attendance increase of 17%.

*  The D23 Expo 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, will feature a new concert, Silly Symphony Celebration, on Sunday August 23 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  It will feature a 32 piece band playing songs from the Silly Symphonies while showing clips from the shorts.

*  Disney Channel has announced that a new series based on “Tangled” and with the voice talents from the movie (including Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) will premiere in 2017.

*  Disney will be making a live-action film based on the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ scene from “Fantasia.”

*  Tron 3 has been canceled.

*  In October, Disney will release a new high-tech toy, Playmation, that is somewhat different in that it hopes to get kids away from the computer and out moving about.

May 29, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Duke Energy is going to build a solar farm in Orlando, Florida, near WDW, in the shape of a Mickey head.

*  Magic Kingdom‘s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will feature a new show in front of Cinderella Castle this fall called the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular,”  hosted by the Sanderson sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”

*  Disneyland has released new Made With Magic merchandise for it’s Diamond Celebration including a new Mickey ears hat with the Diamond Celebration pattern on it and a paintbrush with light up functions.

*  Epcot will soon be offering a new tour called ‘World Showcase Destinations Discovered.”  It will be a 5 hour walking tour through and backstage at the World Showcase pavilions.  It will include a lunch and a cultural demonstration.  The cost will be $109 dollars per person.  (Ouch!!)

*  The Harambe Marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has now opened.

*  Guests to Animal Kingdom can now see several new baby animals including sable antelope and white rhinos.

*  This fall, to help celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, Raglan Road restaurant in Disney Springs at WDW will host a Raglan Road Master Chef Contest.

*  Disney is working on building robots that walk and move like cartoon characters for the parks.

*  The Walt Disney Company announced this week that it will be expanding the use of the MagicBands technology in WDW.  What this means was not announced.

*  DVC resorts will soon be updating their laundry rooms with new “high tech” laundry equipment as well a mobile website to check on washer/dryer availability.

*  The Drew Brees Passing Academy is returning to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at WDW this summer featuring other NFL stars and 20 or more prep football teams from around the country.

*  For a “nominal fee” ($35 per adult to be exact), DVC members can view the Magic Kingdom‘s Independence Day eve fireworks display from the convention center Port Cochere of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The “DVC Independence Day Dessert Party” will include an delectable array of desserts, a cash bar and performances by the Dapper Dans and the Dixieland Band.

*  The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise will sailing to Alaska this year.  Check members services for details.

*  “Teen Beach 2” is to be released on DVD on June 26.

*  “Tomorrowland” brings in a lackluster $40 million on it’s opening weekend.

May 22, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Happy Birthday Disneyland!!  Disneyland’s 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration begins today.

*  Disneyland’s new ‘ Disneyland Forever’ fireworks show begins tonight.

*  The new ‘World of Color – Celebrate!’ premiers today at Disney California Adventure.

*  Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim are open 24 hours today.

*  Disneyland California will begin testing of FastPass+ system this summer.  Hong Kong Disneyland will follow in 2016.

*  Disney has posted “No Selfie Sticks” signs outside Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain at both WDW and Disneyland because people were not obeying the rules.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield opened this week at Disney’s California Adventure.

*  Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland will not re-open until July 1.

*  Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort begins serving brunch May31.  Reservations can begin being made on May 22.

*  The new Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs has joined the Disney Dining Plan.

*  New Restaurants are coming soon to WDW Disney Springs:  The Edison (American food and cocktails), Sprinkles (cupcakes, ice cream, and cookies), Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza (artisanal pizza), Vivoli Gelateria (gelato), Tea Traders Cafe’ by Joffreys (loose leaf teas), STK Orlando (steaks), Morimoto Asia (Pan Asian), and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Indiana Jones inspired lounge).

*  A drunken 27 year Ohio man had to be rescued from the Bay Lake after running a golf cart off the Wilderness Lodge Bay Lake pier and trying to swim away from shore per the Orlando Sentinel.

*  Disney will be adding 26 new DVC lodge cabins at the Wilderness Lodge per a construction work plan released this week.

*  DVC member services will closed all day on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2015.  DVCMember.com can still be used that day.

*  Tokyo DisneySea is building a new Pixar, Nemo themed attraction set to open in the Spring of 2017.

*  Disney Cruise Line will be sailing out of New York City to both Canada and the Bahamas in 2016.

*  The largest Disney Store in the world has opened in Shanghai, China.

*  Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ opens today with a mediocre 53% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

*  Disney/Pixar’s upcoming ‘Inside Out’ is a huge hit at the Cannes Film Festival.

*  ‘Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales”  is already $70 million dollars over budget with 3 months of filming still left to go.

May 15: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios begins this weekend.

*  The Coolest Summer Ever at Walt Disney World kicks off with Magic Kingdom staying open for 24 hours from 6 a.m. Friday May 22, through 6 a.m. Saturday May 23.

*  Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration opens on May 22 by staying open 24 hours  and will debut the “Paint the Night” parade, “World of Color – Celebrate!  The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney’s California Adventure opens today.

*  The Hatbox Ghost has returned to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

*  New oil can themed souvenir cups are coming to Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure for the Diamond Celebration.

*  Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, an ‘Indiana Jones’-themed restaurant is scheduled to open this fall at Disney Springs in Orlando.

*  Online advanced reservations can now be made for “Rebel Hangar – A Star Wars Lounge Experience” at Hollywood Studios.

*  Disneyland Paris Half Marathon, to be ran on September 25, 2016, has released a promotional video for the inaugural event.  Registration dates have not yet been announced.

*  A new DVC Preview Center has opened in Downtown Disney at Disneyland in Anaheim.

*  ABC will air a live Disneyland Diamond Anniversary special.

*  Johnny Depp tried to sneak his Yorkshire terriers into Australia while filming the fifth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie.  He was caught, and now, they must either return to the US or be euthanized.

*  The Muppets are coming to ABC during prime-time this fall!!

May 8, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom malfunctioned on May 7, and 12 guests had to be removed by firefighters.

*  International Migratory Bird Day will be celebrated at Animal Kingdom tomorrow, May 9.

*  Harambe Marketplace will open in Animal Kingdom later this month.

*  The Rebel Hangar:  a Star Wars Lounge Experience, a new dining spot on Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios will open for Star Wars Weekends beginning on May 15.

*  The 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon is this weekend at Disneyland in California.

*  Disneyland will re-open the Main Street animated windows as part of the Diamond Celebration with new technology and effects.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney’s California Adventure opens on May 15.

*  Attendance at Disneyland in California has been lower than normal so far this year.  It is thought that it is due to the many attraction closings in preparation for the Diamond Celebration.

*  A sneak peak of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ will replace ‘Tomorrowland’ in the Imagination Pavilion Theatre (formerly Captain Eo) on May 30.

*  American Music Machine, an a cappella group performing American pop music, can now be heard at the American Garden Theatre in Epcot’s World Showcase Wednesdays through Saturdays.

*  Disney Cruise Line’s entire fleet were named to the “Top 10 Cruise Ships for Families” by USA Today with the Disney Dream taking top honors.

*  The Florida House and Senate are backing a bill which would affect Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members.  The bill would eliminate the current  cap on tax increases on timeshare owners.  Also, developers would be allowed to extend or terminate a timeshare plan at any date.  For full details, check out DVCnews.com.

*  Sounds from Aulani, featuring music from the resort and the resort clubs, is now available on Pandora.

*  Bilbo (a.k.a. Martin Freeman) has been added to the cast of “Captain America:  Civil War.”

*  Phineas & Ferb on Disney XD comes to an end with the airing of its final episode, “The Last Day of Summer,” on Friday, June 12.

*  “Teen Beach 2” premieres on Friday June 26 on Disney Channel.

May 1, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney has purchased the Carousel Inn, located directly across Harbor Blvd. from Disneyland in Anaheim.  At present, Disney is reporting that current management will continue to operate the motel and that they yet have any long-term plans.

*  Disney’s Hollywood Studios is currently running a pre-order test for Backlot Express and concessions for Fantasmic.  Orders can be placed through May 12 by downloading a free app called “Express Order.”

*  WDW Disability Access Service card is now digital and available on the Magicband.  Guest services can sync them up for you.

*  Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom opens in late May.

*  The Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney Speedway will remain closed indefinitely.  It is already scheduled to close for good in August.

*  Tokyo Disney Resort has announced the themes for it’s park expansion.  In Fantasyland, there will be “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” themed areas.  A new DisneySea area will be Scandinavian for a “Frozen” theme.

*  “Free Dining” is being offered to guest arriving at WDW resorts staying for 3-14 days with a minimum 2 day park pass during the following days:  8/28 – 9/2, 9/25 – 9/31, 11/8 – 11/19, and 12/15 – 12/21.  Reservations must be booked by 7/10.  Value resort guests will get the Quick Service Plan.  Moderate and Deluxe resort guests will get the Standard Dining Plan.

*  DVC’s Boardwalk Villas are currently being renovated.  Check out DVCnews.com for photos and full story.

*  Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has officially opened.

*  Disney Cruise Line Chef Patrick Albert, the executive chef of Remy restaurant on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, has been named a Master Chef of France.

*  Disney Visa card holders can save up to 30% on their vacation to Aulani in Ko Olina, Hawaii, by booking with their Disney Visa cards if booked before 10/26/15 for 4 or more nights from 8/16 – 12/21.

*  “Avengers:  Age of Ultron” opens today!!!  It has rated a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

*  Disney Junior has renewed “Miles From Tomorrowland” for a second season.

*  Disney and Hulu have signed a deal to make Disney shows available on Hulu.

April 24, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  The final Exhibition Everest Challenge will be ran at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 2.  I am sad that I never had a chance to do this.

*  Registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 10, 2016 opens on April 28 and will quickly fill.

*  “Live with Kelly & Michael” will host 5 shows at  Main Street, USA and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland from May 18 through May 22 as part of the Diamond Celebration.

*  Disneyland will offer several special dining experiences for Mother’s Day on May 10.  Reservations can be made at either Disneyland.com/dine or 714-781-DINE.

*  The “Tomorrowland” movie preview has replaced Captain Eo at Epcot.

*  Pandora Jewelry is now selling custom Disney themed jewelry at Uptown Jewelry in Magic Kingdom at WDW and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in Disneyland.

*  Disney’s “Tomorrowland” will premiere at the Anaheim Downtown Disney on May 9.  It is an invitation only event.

*  From May 22 through July 5 Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will host “Teen Beach 2” beach parties daily.

*  Dockside Margaritas opened this week in Disney Springs/Downtown Disney at WDW.

*  Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s Kiki Tikis Splash Water Play Area has now opened.

*  The discounts for DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members to “La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil”at Downtown Disney in Florida has been extended through June 27.

*  Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream will offer new experiences this fall.  There will be a new Star Wars themed youth area and another Disney Infinite themed youth area.  There will now also be a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board.

*  Disney Cruise Line now offers a free app, “The Disney Cruise Navigator App,” at the Apple App Store and Google Play that will allow passengers to engage in Onboard chat and have the Personal Navigator at their disposal.  The App is available aboard all of the DCL ships.

*  “Daredevil” has been renewed for a second season on Netflix.

*  Marvel’s “The Avengers:  Age of Ultron” opens next Friday, May 1!

April 17, 2014: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes will give away daily prizes, including a Disney Diamond and a Cinderella glass slipper.  Check out Disneyland.com/DiamondDays on May 22 for full details.

*  Reservations can now be made for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for June 17 through September 7 for a “nominal” fee.

*  Disney will have allergy-friendly menus at around 120 restaurants at WDW and at Disneyland.

*  Epcot Starbucks “You are Here” mugs are on sale again.  The monorail is now gray, not the purple which was associated with prior tragedy.

*  The Walt Disney World Marathon registration opens on 4/28/15.  The race is on 1/10/16.

*  Disney’s Exotic Driving Experience at the WDW Speedway will be closed until May 1 after instructor Gary Terry was tragically killed at the track this past week.

*  The Boathouse at WDW Disney Springs is now open.  It is a (very expensive) restaurant and an actual boathouse where can find the Amphicar launch as well as other vintage watercraft to ride around the lake.

*  Dockside Margaritas will open later this month at the Florida Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) Marketplace.

*  Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members will have new perks when visiting Disneyland:  1) “Fitness in the Park,” an early morning Pilates workout at Paradise Pier at Disney’s California Adventure.  Capacity is 10 persons.  Participants will receive a complimentary towel and jamba juice.  2)  “DVC Neighborhood Power Walk” through Disney California Adventure with complimentary jamba juice and chair massages on Thursdays from 7-8 a.m.  3)  “DVC Member Movies” will be held weekly with free refreshments. Check out member services for registration.

*  Adventures by Disney will now offer a Danube River cruise.

*  Disney XD will begin to air “Doctor Who” episodes from 2006 – 2008 beginning on May 9.

*  “Monkey Kingdom” opens in theaters today.

*  Steven Spielberg will direct his first Disney movie, “The BFG,” based on a book by Roald Dahl, the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

*  Gandalf will play Cogsworth in the upcoming live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”