Recent News

Kylo Ren to Meet Guests at the Star Wars Launch Bay

by on January 15, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Ever since the Star Wars Launch Bay was introduced at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it has become the place to go to experience the Star Wars universe. The props, costumes, film, and meet and greets have all be extremely popular, especially since The Force Awakens debuted in theaters. However, there has been a disturbance in the force, causing a bit of a shakeup, because a brand new character will soon be greeting guests in the Launch Bay.

Kylo Ren, the newest Star Wars villain will soon be taking up residence here. Guests will be able to meet him on the bridge of his First Order Star Destroyer.

The Star Wars Launch Bay has always been designed to showcase a variety of characters. So, with the addition of Kylo Ren into the Dark Side Galleru, we must say good bye to the opportunity to meet Darth Vader. Guests looking to encounter Darth Vader will still be able to see him in the Jedi Training: Trips of the Temple experience.

Guests will be able to meet Kylo Ren beginning in February.

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Additional Closings Occuring at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on January 15, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

So, in my earlier article today, I mentioned how Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show was closing, as well as a few other things on the Streets of America. At the time, I was unaware of what would be removed, but according to the Orlando Sentinel, it’s actually quite a list of attractions that will no longer be available for Guests to experience beginning April 2.

In addition to the stunt show, the Earful Tower, a staple and icon for the park, will be removed. (Though no official dates has been announced for the removal of the park’s landmark.)

Other attractions that are closing on April 2 will be the Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure (which needed to go, a minimum of 10 years ago) and the Monsters Inc. meet and greet. Also slated to close will be the Studios Catering Co., a counter service restaurant found in the back of the park.

Again, as I mentioned before, I am sure that more news will be coming out here soon about other closures and removals as we move toward expansion of the park, so I’ll make sure to keep you posted!

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Disneyland’s Rivers of America Closing Day Videos

by on January 15, 2016

Rivers of America closing

Take your last cruise around Disneyland’s Rivers of America until 2017 with closing day 4K videos. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

January 10, 2016 will be remembered as a momentous day in Disneyland history, not only because it saw the permanent closure of Big Thunder Ranch, but because it marked the end of Frontierland’s Rivers of America in its current form. This scenic area of the original Magic Kingdom all all its attractions, whose designs date back to Walt’s day, will be out of service until April 2, 2017, at the earliest. When the Rivers of America reopen, it will have been downsized to accommodate the arrival of Star Wars Land, with the water rerouted along a shorter circuit. The next few years will be an exciting time of expansion at the Disneyland Resort, but before we blast into the future it’s appropriate to pay tribute to the past. If you you couldn’t make it out in person before the long reconstruction begins, relieve the Rivers of America closing day with these exclusive videos.

 

S.S. Columbia and Mark Twain Riverboat Closing Sailings

On the final day before the Rivers of America closing and lengthy refurbishment, I tried three times to board one of the big boats that ply the waters, and was turned away each time because of capacity crowds. That should give you an idea how popular these normally sleepy attractions were with fans saying farewell. I never did get aboard the Columbia that day, though I did capture photos of its final crew coming into port.

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Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show to Close in April

by on January 15, 2016

Copyright Rikki Niblett

Copyright Rikki Niblett

More changes are occurring as the expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios continues forward. Now there is another attraction slated for the chopping block. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and other nearby locations around the Streets of America will be closing on April 2.

As you all know, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be gaining two large lands with Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, so the closure of this attraction comes as no real surprise to many.

Keep posted to the blog here, as I’m sure that more updates about Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get announced as we move forward this year and construction for the park ramps up.

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Disney Vacation Club Members Can Celebrate 25 Years of DVC With 25 and Beyond Bash

by on January 14, 2016

DVC 25 Bash

©Disney

Disney Vacation Club is celebrating 25 years and DVC members will get to enjoy quite a few exciting events to commemorate the occasion. The fun will kick off with the Disney Vacation Club 25 and Beyond Bash at the Magic Kingdom on two nights – February 25 and March 3. The party will kick off at 9:30 p.m. and last until midnight.

Event highlights will include access to select attractions in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, as well as The Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square. There will also be a DJ dance party for Guests to groove to in Tomorrowland and complimentary refreshments available. Other items will be available for purchase.

Members and their Guests will be able to enter the park as early as 7:00 p.m., however to enter the park at 7:00 p.m., Guests must have valid theme park admission. Guests will be able to check in for the event at either the Magic Kingdom or at the lobbies of the Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Membership Card and a photo ID will be required at check-in. Attendees will be given a wristband to wear during the event.

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Goodbye Goats: Video of Big Thunder Ranch’s Closing Day at Disneyland

by on January 14, 2016

In my professional opinion, one of Disneyland’s greatest assets is its deep bench of minor attractions that can be enjoyed by all ages, to balance out the heavy-hitting E-Ticket rides. Accordingly, ever since I began working on the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, I’ve been advocating for Big Thunder Ranch‘s goats as the park’s greatest under-the-radar treasure. This year, I’ll have the sad duty of deleting all references to the Ranch from the next edition of the Unofficial Guide, as the petting zoo (along with the adjacent barbecue restaurant) ended operations for good at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Of course, I had to be there for Big Thunder Ranch’s closing day — along with every annual passholder in California, apparently — to witness the end of an era.

I was wise enough to get my final scritchings in with Big Thunder Ranch’s whiskered stars on Saturday, since I knew the competition to get “last petting” bragging rights would be intense among goat groupies. Even on Saturday, the Ranch was busier than I’d ever seen before that weekend.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever January 14, 2016: 48 Hours at Disneyland Resort

by on January 14, 2016

I’ve just had a bittersweet Best Week Ever, because I took a weekend away from my usual Orlando assignments to say adieu to some old friends in Anaheim. January 10th marked the last day for a number of Disneyland attractions before Star Wars Land construction commences. Some, like the Railroad and Rivers of America will return next year in an altered form; others, like the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, are gone for good. I’ll be covering the closing of these attraction in detail over the coming days, but for this Best Week Ever I want to stash the sayonaras; instead, lets focus on some other experiences I was able to enjoy around the rest of the resort during my 24 hours in Disneyland.

My trip was largely made possible by a ludicrously low airfare ($159 round trip!) I found on Frontier. While I was delighted to get such a cheap seat between MCO and LAX, the airline makes their money back through sky-high baggage fees and some of the least comfortable seating in the sky.


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Video: Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue Closing Day

by on January 8, 2016

Beetlejuice graveyard revue closing day

Say bye bye to BJ with our Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue closing day video. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights may have been the most beloved attraction to close so far in 2016, but it wan’t the only Orlando fan favorite to fold this week. Over at Universal Studios Florida, audiences applauded the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue closing day cast as the boorish bio-exorcist and his monstrous bandmates went back into their tombs for the last time.

 

The closing day for Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue — also known in its latest incarnation as Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Mash-Up — came on January 5, 2016, which was extended several weeks from the orginally announced ending date by “popular demand.”

 

For the final day, a special evening performance was added exclusively for annual passholders. Some super-fans lined up before dawn to secure wristbands for the final show, but there were still hundreds available from USF’s Studio Audience Center in mid-afternoon.

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RunDisney Makes Changes to Costume Rules

by on January 6, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

In a move that will surely leave a quite a few people scrambling, runDisney has announced their updated rules for costumes that participants can wear on the course. These changes come on the heels of the recent security changes that recently were announced for the parks.

Guests who participate in the race weekends can still dress in costumes as their favorite characters, however, there are a few modifications that you should know. Here is a look at the enhanced guidelines:

  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  • Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.

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Celebrate 25 Years of DVC with a New Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge and More

by on January 4, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

This year is the 25th anniversary of Disney Vacation Club and to celebrate Disney is introducing many new perks for its members.

First, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, Disney Vacation Club is creating a brand new, exclusive Member Lounge at Epcot, which is slated to open on the second floor of the Imagination Pavilion in late spring of 2016. This new lounge will be included with admission to Epcot and will give members and their guests a place to relax, access device charging stations, enjoy complimentary refreshments and other offerings, WiFi, Member Service Advisors, and mingle with other members.

Other anniversary perks will allow members to be offered additional complimentary theme park and water park events throughout the year such as the 25 and Beyond Bash and the Disney Vacation Club Safari Spectacular; discounts on multi-day theme park tickets at Walt Disney World Resort; a silver anniversary sweepstakes; fun surprises throughout the year and new memorable experiences at not only Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, but also at Aulani and onboard Disney Cruise Line.

DVC members will also receive a new personalized Disney Vacation Club Membership Card that will make it possible for members to enjoy all these new benefits, and other recognition programs, such as special anniversary buttons, photos opportunities, unique merchandise and more.

For more information about the 25th‘s festivities, check out the DVC website.

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