Recent News

Flamingo Crossings Project Finally Moving Forward?

by on October 3, 2014

t_logo_fbBack in 2007, Disney announced that it would take a 450-acre section in the westernmost part of property (around the intersection of Toll Road 429 and Western Way) and sell it to developers to build it into a master-planned lodging, dining, and retail location. There was a flurry of application for permits, concept art produced, and a lot of media buzz.

After the initial surge of interest, the project seemed to disappear off of the radar. Every few years, there would be a half-hearted attempt at a press release to stir up interest in the project, but little site prep was ever done.

All that may be about to change. In May 2014, a permit was filed for and approved with the South Florida Water Management District that shows a site plan for Flamingo Crossings.

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Disney Rolls Out New Frozen Holiday Premium Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on October 1, 2014

A "Frozen" Summer at Disney's Hollywood Studios

©Disney

Who else is surprised? A brand new premium package is being rolled out at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the Holiday Season called the Frozen Holiday Premium Package. With the overwhelming success of the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package, it was a no-brainer that a similar package would be rolled out for the Holiday Season.

This special package includes reserved seating for a performance of the “For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration,” reserved viewing of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a Frozen-themed dessert party, a holiday-themed lithograph, and a Frozen pin.

The package is available for select dates:

  • November 7 – 19
  • November 21 – December 9
  • December 11 – January 4

The package costs $89 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $59 per child (ages 3-9), plus tax. (Gratuity is also included in the price.) Also Disney’s Hollywood Studios admission is required but is not included in the price of the Premium Package.

To book this package, call (407) 939-1854.

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Walt Disney World Monorail Schedule Changes Again

by on September 29, 2014

The Walt Disney World Resort once again has an updated monorail schedule. All three monorail loops are being impacted. The updated schedule is as follows:

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam – 7:00 a.m. to one hour after the park closes
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam – 8:30 a.m. to 1 hour after the park closes
  • Epcot Beam – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. or 1 hour after Magic Kingdom closes, whichever is earlier

During times when the monorail will not be running, additional watercraft and buses will be available to transport guests.

As a reminder, the Walt Disney World Resort monorails are currently undergoing an update where they are adding an automated operating system. The schedule began changing at the beginning of the summer and was updated again at the beginning of September.

This current schedule is in effect until further notice.

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Video: Saying Farewell to DHS’s Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon

by on September 27, 2014

Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon

DHS’s Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon is now an ex-attraction. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

The operating day has just ended at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and with it the sun has set on the final day for the park’s Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon. The behind-the-scenes tram tour, which saw its closing day of operations today (Saturday, September 27, 2014), ended its career a pale shadow of its former self. But the tour originally served as the thesis attraction of the Disney/MGM Studios park, much as Spaceship Earth is for Epcot and Killimajaro Safaris for Animal Kingdom.

What was once a multi-part, multi-hour tour that delved into nearly every aspect of old-school movie making had long ago been whittled down to a brief special effects water tank demonstration, followed by a tram ride through the park’s mostly dormant backlot. Even so, there were still glimmers of the epic original attraction to be found along the Studio Backlot Tour, especially in its explosive Catastrophe Canyon centerpiece, which continued to wow guests right up until closing day.

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Video: Saying Farewell to Epcot World Showcase Shows

by on September 26, 2014

Extinct Epcot World Showcase shows

The World Showcase Players are just one of the popular shows that closed this week at Epcot (photo & video by Seth Kubersky).

As you’ve probably already heard, Walt Disney World has given the pink slip to several popular Epcot World Showcase shows, which held their final performances this week. I spent a stormy Tuesday afternoon catching up with a few of these old favorites with one final viewing, and wanted to share some video of these now-extinct Epcot World Showcase shows.

Off Kilter, the popular Canadian Celtic rockers, were unfortunately off duty during my visit. But I captured closing-week performances from three of their compatriots: Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, MO’ROCKIN, and World Showcase Players.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 9/25/14

by on September 25, 2014

Who’s ready for more news? I’m back with more for you today! Here we go:

  • There has been a change to the Disney Gift Card Program. New Disney gift cards can now only be activated with a minimum amount of $15. (The previous minimum amount you could load on a new card was $5.) Guests who are re-loading a gift card may still do so with a minimum of $5.
  • The FastPass+ kiosks outside of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom are officially closed. Guests looking to book a FastPass+ reservation will now be directed to the FastPass+ kiosk location near Stitch’s Great Escape.
  • The rules for visiting Walt Disney World have been updated. The biggest change seems to focus on those who are e-cigarette smokers, who are now asked to smoke in designated smoking areas.
  • For those of you who read my previous article about Tower of Terror getting on-ride videos, you’ll have noticed that I mentioned that it was likely just the beginning. It turns out that I was completely right, as it another attraction has already received the on-ride video treatment. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the next attraction that will capture your ride experience while you are on the attraction. Much like the Tower of Terror ride video, when you ride the attraction with a MagicBand and a linked Memory Maker, you will have your photo and video automatically associated to your My Disney Experience account. Here is the sample video giving you a peek at what to expect.

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Studio Backlot Tour To Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on September 20, 2014

Studios Backlot Tour

Yesterday was my last time riding the Backlot Tour

Well, another Walt Disney World attraction will be officially closing at the end of this month. The Studio Backlot Tour will see its last day of operation on Saturday, September 27, marking the end of an era at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This closure is happening to make way for new experiences; a portion will be used to house the Wandering Oaken Trading Post on the Streets of America, moving the shop and play area closer to the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.”

Also, it appears that other developments are being considered for the area, which will be announced at a later date. Lots of rumors are currently swirling about what Disney could be considering.

The Studio Backlot Tour has been around since opening day of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and while it’s been cut down quite a lot over the years and is really a shell of its former self, it is still a little sad to see the tour close. Matter of fact, I actually rode it yesterday…little did I know that this news was brewing and that it would be my last time on it.

This is yet another attraction closure in a line of closures at Walt Disney World that will all be taking place at the end of this month.  Other attractions and shows ending include Mo’Rockin, The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, Off Kilter, The World Showcase Players, and Maelstrom. In addition, The American Idol Experience closed at the end of August.

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Frozen Attraction Announced For Epcot and More Frozen Fun!

by on September 12, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Well, we all knew it was just a matter of time before it would be officially announced, and today on the Disney Parks Blog Tom Staggs confirmed the rumor we’d been hearing for almost a year: Frozen is taking over Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. A brand new Frozen-themed attraction will take guests to Arendelle, where they will be included in their favorite scenes from the movie. Of course, the music from the film will also play a large role in the attraction. Maelstrom’s last day of operation should be Sunday, October 5, 2014, and the new attraction is expected to be complete by early 2016.

In addition, a meet and greet opportunity will be added back to the Norway Pavilion, so – unless things change at Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom – guests will have an additional location to meet both Anna and Elsa.

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Universal Orlando Sapphire Falls Resort Opening in 2016

by on September 10, 2014

Only a few months after opening the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando has announced that its fifth on-site hotel will be called the Sapphire Falls Resort and will open in summer 2016.

Universal’s latest Loews-branded hotel will sport a Caribbean theme and contain 1000 rooms, 77 of which will be suites. Landscaping will feature a tropical lagoon and large waterfall. The new resort is located between the Royal Pacific Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort, on the south side of Hollywood Way just east of Adventure Way.

Sapphire Falls concept are wide shot

Concept art of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando. Cabana Bay Beach Resort can be seen at the top center, with IoA’s Ripsaw Falls ride at the top right. (Images courtesy Universal Orlando/Loews)

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Apple Pay to be Utilized at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

by on September 9, 2014

Did you happen to catch Apple’s announcements today? Whether you caught them live or relived the event through social media like I did, it seems like Apple is introducing a great line of new products. Now I know you’re asking….Rikki…what does this have to do with Disney? Well, I’m getting there.

You see, today Apple released information about a brand new payment system called “Apple Pay.” Apple Pay will allow people to use their phones to pay for things; payments take place with just a single touch, with no need to open an app. You’ll simply swipe your phone (which of course, has been linked with a credit card) and place your finger on the Touch ID sensor. Once you hear the beep, you’re good!

Again…where am I going with this?

Well, Apple let us know that Disney will be one of the companies that will accept this new form of payment. The system will begin its roll out in October, and guests who own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus will be able to utilize this new technology at Walt Disney World, as well as at Disney Stores. This new app will be useful when paying for food and merchandise and should be fully available by Christmas.

For those who missed the announcement made this afternoon, you can find out more about Apple Pay and see what the excitement is all about.

 

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