To no one's surprise, Neil Patrick Harris will be back at Epcot this holiday season to be one of the narrators during the Candlelight Processional.
Here's the partials list of narrators Disney officials released on the Disney Parks Blog this morning:
• Nov. 24- Dec. 3 – To Be Announced
• Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak
• Dec. 6-14 – To Be Announced
• Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
• Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
• Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder
• Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
• Dec. 28-30 – To Be Announced
The Candlelight Processional is one of the many beloved Disney traditions and takes place in the American Pavilion during Holidays Around the World at Epcot, which runs Nov. 24-Dec. 30. A band of choirs, a mix of Disney cast members and visiting choirs, form to create a tree on stage and sing classic holiday songs.
Of the celebrity narrators announced, Country superstar Trace Adkins and Contemporary Christian music artist Jaci Velasquez are the veterans. Daytime TV personality Pat Sajak and TV star CCH Pounder are new to the processional roster.
The event (which, quite honestly, gave me chills the first time I saw it last year) is performed three times per night, at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
Dining packages for the event, which includes a meal and a guaranteed seat for the fan favorite, are also now on sale, according to Disney. Meals can either be breakfast, lunch or dinner with restaurant options like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, The Garden Grill, Captain's Grille at Disney's Yacht Club Resort and Trattoria Al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk.
Check the Disney site to learn more about what restaurants are available for which meal.
ABC's hit show "The Chew" is returning to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this fall.
The cast, which includes chefs Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon and TV personality Clinton Kelly, is set to return for filming Oct. 4-6. The five festival-centric episodes will air between Oct. 9-13. This is the third year the show has taped at the annual Walt Disney World event.
“It’s magical to see our Epcot stage light up as the show’s celebrated hosts cook, dish and entertain each live audience of festival guests,” said Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette on the Disney Parks Blog.
Similar to previous years, the cast will entertain a live audience with on-stage cooking and tape segments around the park.
Three dishes inspired by "The Chew" will be available for purchase at the Earth Eats Marketplace during the duration of the 75-day long festival. Those dishes are Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese; Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce and Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Drizzle, according to Disney.
Epcot Food & Wine kicks off Aug. 31 and runs through Nov. 13. The festival is included with park admission, but, as always, prepare your wallet for the cost of sipping and eating around the World Showcase.
Forthcoming changes to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland Paris will come to the Magic Kingdom version of the ride next year.
The Disneyland Paris version reopens July 24 and guests will see changes made introducing new characters, according to the Disney Parks Blog.
Captain Barbossa, a well-known character from the film series, is set to appear in the attraction for the first time. He'll be joined by a scene unique to Disneyland Paris.
Here's other changes at the Disneyland ride, according to Disney:
"Throughout the attraction, we’ve enhanced the show with new Audio-Animatronics figures, costumes, special effects, lighting and sound, including some of the now-classic musical themes from the films. Of course, the classic “A Pirates Life for Me!” song will continue to underscore the attraction."
Everyone's favorite redhead will join the pirate ranks next year to help "the local townspeople unload their valuable at the Mercado auction." A similar scene will be added to the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland rides next year, said Disney.
Changes will be made during previously schedule refurbishments.
The new scene seems to replace the existing auction scene in which pirates shouts the line "We wants the redhead! We wants the redhead!" That scene and that line specifically is the focal point of several pieces of Disney merchandise available for sale. Disney did not say what is motivating the change.
Gatorland is moving forward with a planned swamp buggy attraction, having filed paperwork with the South Florida Water Management District this week.
Leaders for the Osceola County attraction formally announced the project in April, saying they wanted to open the Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure this fall.
According to paperwork filed, Gatorland needs an "environmental resource" permit, which ensures conformity of approved plans while protecting the public health and safety, and the natural resources of the state.
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in 16 counties from Orlando to the Florida Keys.
"Our new adveture ride is a natural expansion of all of adventure based activities throughout the park, and a continuation of our exciting entertainment experiences," said Gatorland leader Mark McHugh at the April groundbreaking. "The Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure will let guests experience Florida's natural beauty as they venture through several different ecosystems."
The project is part of a $2.5 million park expansion at Gatorland, the largest since it opened in 1949. Paperwork filed Tuesday also includes plans to build a 1,600-square-foot building, which will be the new Gator Joe's Adventure Outpost and located in front of the buggy ride.
After teasing us last year about them, Disney will finally be selling Minnie ears with interchangeable bows sometime this fall.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, the new item will allow shoppers to customize their ears with a variety of looks and styles. The new merch will debut at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. this July.
“Disney ear hats are must have item from Disney Parks, so we’re delighted to offer a specially designed ear hat at D23 Expo 2017,” said Jeanne Lewis, merchandise product developer for headwear, in the blog post. “In addition to the ear hat, we will debut the new Interchangeable Bow Collection that’s coming to Disney Parks this fall. We love being a part of the Disney Dream Store as it’s a wonderful way to introduce new products to our most enthusiastic Disney Parks’ fans.”
No price has been given for the bows, but the starter kit includes the basic Minnie ears headband and a black-and-silver sequin-covered bow. Disney said there will be six character-inspired bows, which will be sold separately. No price for the single bows has been released either.
Disney released a photo of the character bows and they feature Maleficent, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts. (Author's note: They all seem pretty swoon worthy and I'm glad to see Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts getting some Disney love.)
In total, there will be 10 bows available in the collection, according to Disney.
NBCUniversal is looking to hiring an art director for its "Nintendo Project," according to a job posting on LinkedIn.
The position, part of Universal Creative, the planning and development side of Universal Parks and Resort, appears to be based in Orlando.
Here's what an art director does, according to the job posting:
"Art Directors are the Creative Compass in our organization and in that role you allow our guests to experience places they've only seen in the movies. The impossible becomes reality through your imagination, artistic direction and collaborative management style. Every day you have the opportunity to create compelling, ideas that tell our guests one big story."
And here's the job's main responsibilities, again, per the job posting:
- Develop visual design direction and define design elements of the assigned project that affect the guest experience. This may be accomplished with many different methods, including, but not limited to; creating sketches, illustrations, models, composite imagery and image research documentation. Supervise others to develop those design ideas.
- Oversee and direct design, fabrication and installation of all on-stage project elements to ensure the creative intent is achieved as envisioned by the Creative Director. Project elements such as - architecture, scenic art, scenery, props, animation, show action, special fx, and lighting.
- Collaborate with internal talent and external vendors to execute the desired vision. Direct art related vendors and any scenic scope that requires art direction.
- In collaboration with the Creative Director, act as design "vision-keeper" for the project, maintaining a cohesive design in all elements associated with the project through all phases of design and development.
- Create and present project materials to internal and external audiences to communicate project concept, content and status.
- Work with the Show Producer to identify and procure talent and resources necessary complete the project.
- Act as project liaison with internal and external partners, licensors, and intellectual property developers as needed.
This job is clearly not for the entry-level employees. Qualified candidates must have 7-10 years experience "designing experience-based attractions and/or lands for WORLD-CLASS THEME PARKS; must have at least 5 - 7 years production design and field experience based on Universal Creative standards. Experience must include work on one or more "E-Ticket" attractions."
Last year, Universal Parks & Resorts announced they would bring Nintendo-themed lands to parks in Osaka, Orlando and Hollywood. Guests have been promised they would be able to play inside their favorite games and the spaces would be "expansive, immersive and interactive."
Here's the job listing if you want more information: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/355541915
Mickey Mouse and the gang are gearing up for Independence Day.
By the looks of the recently-released listing of events, there's plenty to do around Walt Disney World Resort during the upcoming holiday.
Here's how Disney is celebrating the red, white and blue here in Orlando:
Magic Kingdom: “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” happens both July 3 and 4. The fireworks spectacular rockets off at 9 p.m. over the iconic theme park. Additionally, Disney will let you get down each night as DJ dance parties take place in Tomorrowland and Frontierland.
Epcot: On July 4th, guests can enjoy evening concerts by Disney's very own Voices of Liberty. The group, which will perform American classics, are set to perform at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the American Gardens Theater, in the American pavilion. Make sure to catch a glimpse of Mickey and his friends donning their best patriotic attire at outside The American Adventure, too.
The 9 p.m. showing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will end with an "all-American grand finale," according to the Disney Parks Blog.
Disney's Hollywood Studios: It sounds like DHS has the least amount of holiday events. Disney leaders say the park will celebrate "some of the great icons of American popular culture" with "The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters" at 5 p.m., 6:45 .m. and 8 p.m. Of course, the park will have fireworks with the all-new "Disney Movie Magic" experience at 9 p.m. and "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" at 9:30 p.m.
All events are included with park admission
Your taste buds could get to Pandora before you do. (I think that's how this works)
The mixologists at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, nestled on Disney property near Golden Oaks, have done it again with a fancy new creation. Let's all give a warm welcome to Pandora's Lagoon, the newest drink option at The Lobby Bar.
The drink, smartly created to reflect the opening of Pandora -- The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, looks like a dream. Admittedly, I've yet to taste it, but that doesn't mean it's not on my radar.
Lucky for you (and me!), the Four Seasons team was kind enough to share the recipe. It is as follows:
1.5 oz Blue Raspberry Candy infused St. George Terrior Gin
.5 oz Genepy des Alpes
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Chamomile syrup
Splash of Prosecco
1 rose water spritzed Nasturium leaf
1 whole edible flower (yellow or orange)
1 Orchid petal
The hot take on this recipe is who thinks to infuse gin with candy? This specialty cocktail will run you $13, which, let's be honest, is actually a reasonable price for a good drink in this town.
The Lobby Bar is open for dinner and cocktails from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Prepare to be blinded by the light when you ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom.
Disney leaders have enhanced the Adventureland attraction with a photo capture near the beginning of the boat ride. The photo op was launched Monday.
Here's how Disney describes the photo's location in the Disney Parks Blog:
As you prepare to exit a haunted grotto and dive into the Golden Age of Piracy, a Disney PhotoPass camera will capture the perfect treasure of your swashbuckling voyage. Properly warned ye be, says I!
For those of us who don't exactly know what that means, I'll put it to you this way: the photo is right before the drop. You're also tipped off to it with the return of the large skull and crossbones (ever so grim with glowing eyes), which clearly serves as a way to steer faces toward the camera's location.
Disney hasn't outfitted the attraction enough to let people see the ride photo immediately once they unboard (think photo screens once you get off Space Mountain, Everest, etc.). Instead, photos are automatically uploaded to a rider's My Disney Experience account, presumably with the help of MagicBand technology.
Upon review of my ride photo, taken Wednesday, it's clear all rows are pretty well lit and faces should be clearly visible regardless of seating location inside the boat. It was also clear none of us, with the exception of the friend I went with, was prepared for the photo. (I'm the one with the camera up and she's the photogenic blonde smiling perfectly for the camera).
Disney just announced the bands that will be playing the Eat to the Beat concert series during Epcot's annual Food & Wine Festival.
The schedule is as follows:
Delta Rae -- Aug. 31-Sept. 1
The Hooters -- Sept. 2-3 (new!)
Baha Men -- Sept. 4-5 (new!)
Fuel -- Sept. 6-7
STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas -- Sept. 8-10
Lauren Alaina -- Sept. 11-12 (new!)
Plain White T's -- Sept. 13-15
Sister Hazel -- Sept. 16-17
Air Supply -- Sept. 18-20
David Cook -- Sept. 21-22
Everclear -- Sept. 23-24
Sugar Ray -- Sept. 25-27
38 Special -- Sept. 28-29
Mark Wills -- Sept. 30-Oct. 1 (new!)
American Authors -- Oct. 2-3 (new!)
Christopher Cross -- Oct. 4-5
Devon Allman -- Oct. 6-8 (new!)
Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX -- Oct. 9-11
Taylor Dayne -- Oct. 12-13
Jeffrey Osborne -- Oct. 14-15
Postmodern Jukebox -- Oct. 16-17 (new!)
10,000 Maniacs -- Oct. 18-20 (new!)
Toad the West Sprocket -- Oct. 21-22
Kenny G -- Oct. 23-24 (new!)
Billy Ocean -- Oct. 25-26
Tiffany -- Oct. 27-29
Hanson -- Oct. 30-Nov. 1
Blue October -- Nov. 2-3 (new!)
Living Colour -- Nov. 4-5
Boyz II Men -- Nov. 6-8
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy -- Nov. 9-11
Squeeze -- Nov. 12-13 (new!)
The annual festival, which is included with the price of park admission, runs a record 75 days this year from August 31 - November 13. The concerts take place at the stage at the American Adventure pavilion.
Band performs 3 times a night for a quick 30-minute set. Concerts are held 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
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