Press Release Mania

Walt Disney World has put out a number of press releases today promoting new attractions and seasonal entertainment. The first talks about the great success of Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The points are piling up and the spring-action shooters are getting a workout during the first month of operation at Toy Story Mania! — the new 4-D attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

An arcade-style tally at the ride’s conclusion heralds the high scores of the day as guests try their best to beat the top totals. During the first month of daily operation, daily high scores regularly topped 200,000+ points, while all-time highs have reached the 300,000+ point range.

In Toy Story Mania!, guests don 3-D glasses and enter a wild and wooly 4-D world of Woody, Buzz and other favorite “Toy Story” characters. Inspired by the Disney-Pixar films “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” Toy Story Mania! raises the bar for interactive ride-game attractions.

As vehicles move among midway-style game booths, guests aim for 3-D, animated targets using their own on-board spring-action shooters. Players pair up and sit side-by-side, scoring points in a friendly competition that delivers an ever-changing variety of targets and surprises.

As they play, guests can actually see the “virtual objects” they’ve launched — everything from pies, plastic eggs and pointed darts … to baseballs, rings and suction-cup darts — leave their spring-action shooters and hit (or miss) the targets. And thanks to the 4-D special effects technology, they may sense objects popping out of the 3-D scenes and whirring past them.

Disneyland Resort in California also welcomed Toy Story Mania! when the attraction debuted June 17 at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.

Disney also made it official that Fantasy in the Sky will not be shown at the Magic Kingdom to celebrate the 4th of July holiday this year. Expect a new firework show to debut on New Year’s Eve this year as Fantasy in the Sky is believed to have made its final performance on December 31, 2007. The release also makes mention of the other spectaculars around the World this year:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A popular July 4th tradition at Walt Disney World Resort will continue this year as star-spangled salutes to America’s independence are presented all across the Florida Vacation Kingdom.

Here’s some of the fireworks fun scheduled for July 4 this year:

  • A Fourth of July “Concert in the Sky” will light up the night at Magic Kingdom in honor of Independence Day. Featuring a magnificent display of aerial fireworks, dazzling pyrotechnic effects and dynamic music, the show, entitled “Disney’s Celebrate America!-A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky,” is a grand tribute to the United States, its people and traditions. The special show is scheduled for 9 p.m. Magic Kingdom also will feature two performances of the “SpectroMagic” nighttime parade, first at 10:30 p.m. and then again at 12:30 a.m. that same night.
  • A holiday-inspired finale will be added to Epcot’s nightly fireworks extravaganza, “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.” The park’s American Adventure pavilion also will feature enhanced entertainment throughout the day, with visits from historic characters who will share their stories. American Adventure also will feature additional performances of its signature musical group, Voices of Liberty, performing patriotic classics.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present a special July 4th fireworks show at 9 p.m., with skyrockets and patriotic music filling the air at the showbiz-themed park. The park’s popular “Fantasmic!” show, featuring fireworks, animation, dancing waters and Disney characters, will be presented on July 4 at 10:30 p.m.
  • Downtown Disney will present July 4th fireworks at 10:30 p.m. for the revelers, shoppers and diners enjoying the nighttime entertainment district.

    Meanwhile, more details on The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are emerging:

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A new Disney dining experience, The Wave, has opened at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily in a 220-seat restaurant that takes casual dining into the health-conscious 21st century.

    The classic American breakfast menu includes plenty of egg creations, but guests also can make their own Wave muesli or sip a Beta Berry Smoothie with raspberry puree and non-fat yogurt blended with Odwalla Berries GoMega (a great source of Omega-3). The Pure Sunshine breakfast cocktail features organic vodka and orange juice topped with Vitamin Energy Drink. Coffee is organic Colombian (fair trade and “Smithsonian-certified bird-friendly”) and teas are whole leaf Pyramid bags in flavors from chamomile blossoms to monsoon chai.

    At lunch, light eaters might enjoy lettuce wraps with sautéed lamb and bay scallops, or a lump crab cake with crispy papaya slaw. Entrées range from oversized salads and a vegetarian sandwich with grilled tofu, roasted veggies and herb goat cheese on multi-grain bread to an Angus chuck burger with cheese and Applewood smoked bacon, or a classic grilled Reuben.

    The dinner menu offers a delicious spin on comfort classics such as pan-seared Alaskan black cod with corn and edamame (soybean) stew with cilantro chutney; braised lamb shank with bulgur lentil stew and red wine sauce, and a nouvelle chicken pot pie with thyme pastry. Sides at both lunch and dinner include braised greens and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots.

    The innovative wine list has a quirky claim to fame — all screw caps, no corks. Cutting-edge wines from around the globe are showcased on the list.

    The schedule for the Sounds Like Summer concert series at Epcot is now available:

    Timeless tunes performed by tribute bands have guests groovin’ at Epcot America Gardens Theatre during the return of the Sounds Like Summer concert series.

    The series, which began June 9 and runs through Aug. 10, features a lineup of ‘tribute’ bands covering famous tunes that have been performed by some of the greatest artists from around the globe. Concerts are included in Epcot admission.

    The lineup of acts for July and August (talent subject to change) includes:

  • June 30-July 10: Bjorn Again (A Tribute to ABBA)
  • July 11-20: Slippery When Wet (A Tribute to Bon Jovi)
  • July 21-27: 52nd Street (A Tribute to Billy Joel)
  • July 28-Aug. 3: Captain Fantastic (A Tribute to Elton John)
  • Aug. 4-10: The Sounds of The Supremes (A Tribute to The Supremes)

    Some television star will be making an appearance at the Norway pavilion at Epcot:

    The Norway pavilion at Epcot will host Sig Hansen — one of the featured stars on the popular reality series on The Discovery Channel, “The Deadliest Catch” — for an in-park appearance July 10-13, 2008. Hansen will appear inside The Puffin’s Roost, the pavilion’s merchandise location, each day. He will be joined by his brothers, Edgar and Norman Hansen, who also appear on the show.

    A fourth-generation Norwegian fisherman, Sig Hansen is the captain of the Northwestern, one of the crab-catching vessels on “The Deadliest Catch.” He, Edgar and Norman own and operate the Northwestern. Based in Seattle, Wash., the Hansens have fished together for nearly 20 years.

    The Hansens’ crab-catching skills on the television show also have inspired “Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm,” a video game for the Xbox 360 system.

    In addition to signing autographs and posing for photos, the Hansens will have Northwestern merchandise for sale during their Epcot appearance.

    My favorite resort will be celebrating its landmark 20th anniversary soon, with some changes we have spoken about on the way:

    On July 1, 1988, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa opened its doors and invited Walt Disney World guests to rediscover a bygone era of elegance and luxury among the gabled roofs and Victorian balustrades of a turn-of-the-century seaside resort.

    In the two decades that followed, approximately 15 million guests have enjoyed the splendor of its 867 deluxe accommodations and the gracious hospitality of its cast members. Countless others have been enchanted by the creative cuisine of its incomparable restaurants, including Narcoossee’s, Cítricos and Victoria & Albert’s, a consecutive recipient of the annual AAA Five-Diamond Award since 2000.

    Disney’s flagship resort is celebrating its 20th anniversary with plenty of “grand” new magic for Grand Floridian guests, including extensive renovations completed in late 2007 that upgraded its guest rooms with sophisticated new furnishings, carpet, drapes, bedspreads, flat-screen televisions and more.

    Also new is the latest yacht to bear the Grand 1 name, a 52-foot Sea Ray pleasure craft available for chartered cruises across the tranquil waters of Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, and a floating view of nighttime fireworks spectaculars above Magic Kingdom.

    Coming soon is an opulent marble floor to be showcased throughout the hotel’s main lobby and mezzanine. Designed by the creative minds of Walt Disney Imagineering, the lavish enhancement will add another magical touch to a destination resort created as a fantasy image of Florida’s past.

    The new Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian exhibit will finally debut later this month at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

    Some of the characters from the timeless fantasy “The Chronicles of Narnia” come to life in a new experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

    “Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian,” an all-new soundstage experience (opening in late June), offers an in-depth and unique look into the making of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” the hit motion picture released in May 2008 by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media Films.

    The journey begins at the attraction queue where guests can test their knowledge of the “Narnia” stories. Next, guests will have an option of participating in a meet and greet with Prince Caspian himself. Or, fans have the option to head directly into the new movie attraction “Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

    The soundstage experience features a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with narration from director Andrew Adamson. Guests also can view authentic props from the movie set and costumes worn by the actors and actresses in the film.

    Here are some more details on the mobile service based on Disney’s water parks we first reported here some-time ago:

    Thanks to a new Disney WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) site, adults and their kids this summer can immerse themselves in the magic of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks before, during and after they actually visit — and all it takes is their cell phones.

    Thanks to a new Web site customized for the mobile phone, users can download any of four exclusive wallpapers from Toyko-based, avant-garde artist Jesse LeDoux. Also featured: insider tips, an interactive personality quiz and more. Another highlight stars actor-singer Corbin Bleu, famous for his role in the Disney Channel’s hit “High School Musical” films.

    How to get the fun rolling? Guests have several options:

  • In their Disney Resort hotel room, guests can view a video and text H20 to SPLASH (775274). Then their cell phone rings with a message from Corbin Bleu, plus a link to the WAP.
  • Before arriving, guests can text H2O to SPLASH on their cell and get a call from Corbin.
  • Guests familiar with texting on their cell phones can send a picture of their favorite attraction at the water parks to [email protected] to receive a special mobile wallpaper.
  • Guests can access a number of interactive features including tips to “surf” Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or “ski” at Disney’s Blizzard Beach. Other great tips for park-goers can be downloaded onto guests’ cell phones.

    And finally, a press release on the build your own ear hats, now available at the Magic Kingdom:

    Every Kingdom has its crown jewels, and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort is no different. But don’t expect rubies or spires of gold: The jewels here — those famous Mouse Ear hats — come with a little extra “character.”

    Guests are finding a new, customized way to enjoy the already blossoming array of Ear hats offered at Florida’s Vacation Kingdom. Exclusively at The Chapeau on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, guests can visit the Build Your Own Ears Hat boutique and fashion a set of ears that represents their individual personality.

    “For the first time, guests can take our traditional, iconic Mickey Mouse Ears — made famous in the 1950s with the Mickey Mouse Club — and customize them,” said Dara Trujillo, merchandise manager at Walt Disney World Resort. “Not only is this a unique product offering, but every set will be different, just like our guests.”

    Here’s how it works:

    • Guests start by choosing one of 19 bases in colors and materials such as purple satin, pink fur, blue velvet or green glow-in-the-dark.
    • Next, guests choose two snap-on ears from an assortment such as metallic, rhinestone and holographic — either two ears of the same variety or two different options for a really distinctive look.
    • If they wish, guests can adorn their hat using peel-and-stick patches representing favorite Disney characters, Disney princesses and Disney Channel shows. Custom embroidery and stick-on letters are also available.

    With thousands of combinations possible, it’s easy for guests to create an Ear hat that is uniquely “them.” And once the creation is complete, there’s no fewer than seven mirrors stationed around the shop in which to admire the one-of-a-kind work of art.

    “Guests take pride in showing off their creative talents,” said Trujillo. “It’s their way of saying, ‘These were made just for me.’ ”

    Prices vary based on how elaborate a creation a guest concocts. A basic hat — a base, two ears and a chin strap — starts around $7.50, with patches ($2.95 each), letters ($5.95 for a pack) and embroidery ($3.00) optional. Hats are one-size-fits-all, but can be adjusted to fit smaller guests using the chin strap.

    Certainly a rather large amount of news for what should be a slow summer at Walt Disney World. Hopefully this large amount of news can sustain our appetites until the next new major attraction is announced.