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NEWS - VIPs get new look in Shanghai, Inside Out, Zootopia, Spring around the world, and much more!
DisneyDan  Sunday, March 20, 2016 11:09:26 AM
Hello everyone,

The past week or two has seen a surprising amount of character news come out the Disney parks worldwide, so I have my usual round-up of everything, complete with sources!

Let's start at Disney's newest resort, set to open on 16th June this year, Shanghai Disneyland. The Xinhua English News reported online the other day that, I quote,

"Classic Disney characters are getting a Chinese re-styling for Shanghai Disneyland, with Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck set to appear as old Shanghai stereotypes when the park opens in three months.

Of the 7,000 souvenirs ready to debut at Shanghai Disneyland's opening on June 16, at least half were tailored exclusively for the park, said sources there on Saturday.

Minnie will be dressed like a typical Shanghai beauty in the 1920s and 1930s, wearing a pink Chinese jacket and red embroidered silk sandals.

"The dressing style was typical of ladies whose portraits appeared on calendars in every household 80 to 90 years ago," said Gu Zhengwei, director of Shanghai Disney Resort's commodity department.

In Shanghai, Mickey will be a young man wearing a top hat and holding a stick, while Donald will appear as a middle-aged Shanghai man, good-natured but aloof."


Obviously nothing is certain until the park opens, but I think it is interesting that, at least from this article, it sounds as though these costumes will be their "standard" dress in Shanghai, rather than the classic outfits we are used to seeing them in at the other parks. It's always nice to see new costumes for the characters in shows and parades, and we look forward to meeting them there!

Whilst I was on that article I clicked around the site and found something posted a couple of months ago that I don't believe anyone else has picked up on, that I thought was really interesting. Again, I quote,

"Shanghai Disneyland will feature favorite Disney characters from Snow White to Luke Skywalker, under an entertainment program announced for the upcoming park on Wednesday.

The stories of classic Disney princesses will be staged in the site's signature Enchanted Storybook Castle, said Matt Almas, the company's creative executive.

Visitors will learn to draw Marvel characters and interact with the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe in sci-fi zone Tomorrowland.

Chinese elements will also be incorporated, Almas said.

The final carriage of Mickey's Storybook Express, a train running through the park, will be dedicated to Mulan, an animated movie depicting a female war hero of ancient China. Each carriage will be based on a different Disney film.

The Lion King musical will be performed in Chinese at the park's theater. Visitors will also join Donald Duck and Chip'n'Dale to practice traditional Chinese martial art Tai Chi."


We already knew about the castle show, so that doesn't sound too surprising, and the same for the being able to "interact" (think meet) the Star Wars and Marvel characters. What is interesting though is the information about the parade, Mickey's Storybook Express. We have heard so very little about this parade so far, that it is interesting to hear something about it, and that it will include Mulan. The other interesting statement is the one about learning Tai Chi with Donald, Chip and Dale. This is the first time we have given any kind of information about smaller, potential "pop-up" entertainment around the park - everything so far has been very much focussed on the larger stage productions. It's nice to see that this new park will have random park atmosphere entertainment, too. It should be noted that the Lion King show that they mention is actually the broadway style show, and is located outside the park at an additional cost.

Moving across the country to Hong Kong Disneyland, where spring season has started. This year Mickey and friends are appearing in some unique outfits, that while don't scream spring to me, they are really cute and offer something different to guests visiting the park. I don't have any photos of my own to share, but a tag search on Instagram shows up some pretty decent images, as I discovered. Hong Kong Disneyland are also continuing to up their character offerings across the park with the recent addition of Princess Sofia and Baymax. You can learn more about the spring season and the new character greetings, here on the official HKDL page.

Across the East China Sea, in Japan the immensely popular show, Big Band Beat, at Tokyo DisneySea has held its last weekend of performances. The newly reimagined show for the 15th anniversary of the park will open on the 15th April 2016, along with the new Crystal Wishes Journey show at Mediterranean Harbor and The Year of Wishes Greeting Drive at American Waterfront on the same day. Across the resort at Tokyo Disneyland, the new Polynesian Terrace dinner show that replaces Mickey and Minnie's Polynesian Paradise, opens tomorrow. The show will be presented up to four times daily, and is expected to feature Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Clarice.

Heading east to Disneyland in California, and it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that the Super Hero HQ in Tomorrowland would be closing. Saturday 2nd April will be the last day to meet Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America at the building. However, Captain America and Spider-Man will be moving over to Disney California Adventure the very next day, Sunday 3rd April. Along similar superhero lines, the Parks Blog also announced that the former Avengers half marathon weekend at Disneyland will now become the Super Hero half marathon, and will expand its offerings to include for the first time Dr Strange. Though the blog doesn't specifically say who will appear, it does say there will be "surprises" and that Dr Strange would "host", which makes it sound very likely that Dr Strange will make his first ever Disney Parks appearance! The marathon event will be held from 10th through 13th November 2016, with registration opening on 12th April 2016.

Obviously we still have a week until Easter, but it currently looks as though, much to our sadness, that spring will not be retuning to Disneyland Resort this year. We really loved the offerings the past couple of years, with a several month long celebration featuring the VIPs in special outfits and special greetings with the Disney bunnies, including Roger Rabbit. Perhaps they will surprise us next week with something, but at the moment it doesn't look likely, sadly.

I had previously posted here on the blog about the arrival of Nick and Judy from Disney's latest smash hit, Zootopia. It had been announced on the Parks Blog that they would appear for greetings at Disney California Adventure and in Move It! Shake It! at the Magic Kingdom. While that hasn't changed, we now have a clearer idea on timeframe. Shawn Slater later confirmed in the comments that Nick and Judy would be around until at least June at DCA, and while there is no firm date on their start in DCA, they would start appearing in MISICI at the Magic Kingdom from next weekend (Easter). Disney entertainment schedules typically start on a Sunday, which means that Saturday will be the last day for the current format. It is expected, though not officially confirmed, that Stitch and Genie would be the ones replaced by Nick and Judy. Saturday is also expected to be Marie's last day in Town Square, with Stitch replacing her the following day possibly at the front of the park (although Tomorrowland is just a good a location for him, of course).

There are just two weeks left now for Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, with its last day being Saturday 2nd April. There is still no confirmation as to when the new show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, will begin.

It was also finally announced, much to everyone's huge relief, that Joy and Sadness from last year's hit PIXAR movie Inside Out start greeting guests at the Epcot Character Spot from early April. While there is still no firm date yet (Shawn Slater's comment son the Parks Blog even say as much), it is such a welcome addition - if a little late. Shawn also confirmed that there would be no FastPass+ offered for the new experience.

Across the ocean at Disneyland Paris spring season officially started there, with their ever expanding seasonal offerings, including Minnie's Spring Train which for the first time, though rather sporadically, has included the Cheshire Cat! He appeared for the press launch last week, and has made a couple of further appearances since, giving hope to fans that he will become more of a permanent fixture in the park. An Instagram search shows up some good pictures of him, if you're interested.

Finally for today, the Parks Blog confirmed that the popular Star wars Days at Sea will return to select Disney Cruise Line sailings in 2017.

Ok, that's it for today! If you haven't already, be sure to check out my latest trip report, which can be found in the blog list on the side panel.

Have a great week everyone,

Dan.
NEWS! Star Wars Day at Sea coming to Disney Cruise Line in 2016!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, February 11, 2015 9:27:42 AM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that the Disney Fantasy would be hosting a Star Wars Day during select sailings in the Western Caribbean, in early 2016.

Details, as per the Parks Blog and the DCL website, includes:

Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a "galaxy" far, far away—in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including:

  • Deck party celebration
  • Meet-and-greets with favorite Star Wars Characters
  • Star Wars-themed activities for younglings of all ages
  • Out-of-this-world food and beverage offerings
  • Exclusive merchandise, and more!

The only at-sea screenings of Episode VII, at this event will thrill Padawans (Jedi in training) and Jedi Masters in every family. It is ... your destiny.

Sail Dates:

Star Wars Day at Sea will be available only aboard the Disney Fantasy on select Western Caribbean sailings, January through April in 2016. Star Wars Day at Sea will take place during cruises departing on the following dates:

January 9
January 23
February 6
February 20
March 5
March 19
April 2
April 16

Entertainment and events are subject to change without notice. Merchandise offerings available while supplies last.

That's everything for now!

Dan.

If you want to book your Disney Cruise Line vacation, why not contact Dan at Vacation with the Magic, and get a free, no obligation quote!
NEWS! Olaf and Kristoff to come to Disney Cruise Line this summer!
DisneyDan  Thursday, January 22, 2015 9:23:59 AM
Hello everyone,

Today Disney Parks Blog announced that Kristoff and Olaf would be joining Anna and Elsa aboard the Disney Cruise Line this summer.

The first brand new experience will be the "Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends" deck party, which will feature the sisters and Kristoff in a "wintry spectacle" to "cool things down". This show will feature on select sailings in Europe and Alaska only, so please check at the time of booking.

The spectacular stage show, "Disney Dreams" will receive a brand new segment, featuring Anna, Elsa and Olaf, and musical numbers from the film, including "Let It Go!", "For the First Time in Forever", and "In Summer". At this time it is only confirmed to be aboard the Disney Magic, and I do not know if this will be an additional sequence, or if it will replace another one.

Finally, you will be able to meet Anna, Elsa and Olaf aboard all four ships for warm hugs, pictures and autographs! Due to anticipated popularity, DCL are expecting to implement a ticketed system for these meet 'n' greet experiences.

Additionally, as well as this exciting character news, Disney Cruise Line have said that select sailings will offer Frozen themed activities such as chocolate scavenger hunts, maypole twirling and Frozen dining experiences. Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, is also to get a brand new bar, titled Olaf's Summertime Freeze bar.

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.

Some of the news released in this article came from the Disney Travel Professionals release to travel agencies, and therefore is not on the Parks Blog announcement.
News and Rumours from Around the World: Captain America coming to DCL! And more!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:28:44 AM
Hello everyone,

There is breaking news today from the Disney Parks Blog. They just announced that Marvel's Captain America will appear starting in October aboard the re-imagined Disney Magic cruise ship!
He will feature at Marvel’s Avengers Academy in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, aboard the ship.
The really annoying thing about this is that the Oceaneer Club is just for kids. Regular guests are not normally allowed to go down there unless it's an open house (at which time things like the Marvel Academy would not normally be running).
The biggest thing we can take out of this is that, besides the expected appearances at D23 this week, this is the first official confirmation from Disney that any Marvel character will appear to regular guests on a Disney owned property.
I wonder how long it is now until we can expect them in the parks? Time will tell.

In other news, yesterday the Disney Parks Blog also announced that Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort is returning once again from 12th November through 6th January.
This will be a relief for anyone who has been hearing the strong rumours across the internet that Christmas this year would be very different, and would even perhaps have ticketed events for the bulk of the seasonal offerings, like at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

I was busy last week, and didn't get chance to post about the latest Long Lost Friends Week for Limited Time Magic.
Disneyland had a vote on the Disney Parks Blog (now closed), which featured pretty much the same characters as before, with a few more thrown into the mix.
From what I recall characters included the Robin Hood gang, Hunchback friends (still no Quasimodo though), the Three Good Fairies, Merlin (he was a new one), Flik and Atta (Atta was also a new option), and Chicken Little (Abby wasn't listed, oddly enough, even though she was for WDW).
There is no official date for this event yet, but it is expected by most to be in the next two weeks.

Disneyland Paris fans have been hearing rumours across the internet for a few weeks now that Jack Sparrow would be setting sail from the parks after a long running stint there, in October this year. Pirate fans need not despair though as rumour has it that Jake from the Neverland Pirates will start appearing, as well as Sofia the First, over at Walt Disney Studios around the same time Jack goes away.
It'll be nice to get some new characters at the park. The last new characters from any new movie or TV show that DLP got were Rapunzel and Flynn.

Staying with DLP, and Timon has decided to sport his new look in DLP as of yesterday. This now brings him in line with the other parks.

Finally, although we (sadly) aren't attending, D23 takes place this week and is expected to star some brand new characters. We'll of course keep you all posted.

Ok, I think that's all for now,

Dan.
Christmas in July (and December too!)
DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:45:15 PM
Hello everyone,

Today we have a distinctly Christmas theme for you!

The other day the Disney Parks Blog announced details of some very special Christmas happenings aboard the Disney Cruise Line this year.
Character activities announced include meet 'n' greets with Santa Claus, King Triton’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Deck the Deck Holiday Party!
It all sounds like a ton of fun! Along with the decorations, seasonal food and other entertainment, plus a decked-out Castaway Cay, this Christmas season is set to be truly amazing aboard Disney Cruise Line!
We've only ever done one Disney Cruise in February 2012. We really enjoyed it, and definitely want to return someday to do a Christmas one!

Although none of this is 'new' news as such, I hadn't yet reported on the Christmas offerings that have been announced for the US Parks this year.
We were away for the entirety of May on the big trip, and so I couldn't report on many of the official releases. I am just now finally getting around to catching up!
Anyway, the Walt Disney World Resort website now lists the return of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, which runs on select dates from November to December, Holidays Around the World at EPCOT, the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios and the Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom.
What's interesting is that it was strongly rumoured that Jammin' Jungle would end this Autumn at some point, so the fact that Jingle Jungle is back disproves this. Also, the Osbourne Lights are sadly rumoured to be featuring for their final year, although Disney have
not said this officially.
Although not character based, the Osbourne LIghts are undoubtedly the most spectacular Christmas enchantment you'll ever experience at WDW. They are simply stunning, and I know that everyone would be deeply saddened if they were to go away.

The Disneyland Resort website has its Christmas page up now, too, and like with WDW, there were rumours of some major changes (for the worse) this year, but so far everything appears as normal. Character greetings, the Christmas parade, Christmas fireworks and more are all listed on the dedicated Christmas page. This makes us very happy as Christmas at the Disneyland Resort last year, for us, was one of the best things we've ever done there. It's a beautiful time of year, with so much on offer. We'd have been so sad of they removed everything they were rumoured to!

Finally, this weeks Limited Time Magic at the US Parks is Christmas in July. No character greetings are being offered sadly, but they do have some special sweet treats, and ear hat ornaments.

Anyway, I think that's everything for now.

Dan.
Halloween News for Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland Paris, and more!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, July 17, 2013 2:13:30 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that for Halloween Season this year aboard all ships sailing between late September and the end of October would feature Halloween costume parties with the Disney characters, as well as other small entertainment and food offerings.
On the Disney Dream though, they seem to be going a bit further, and for the first time there will be a special programme of entertainment specifically for that ship, which includes a full deck party/show titled 'Mickey's Calling All the Monsters Mouse-Querade Deck Party', greetings with Jack and Sally, and Halloween storytelling with a "mysterious Sea Captain" (I wonder if Captain Hook will show up?...).
The whole event will be called Halloween on the High Seas.

The Blog promised that an announcement about Christmas on the ships would come tomorrow - we look forward to hearing what new things they'll be offering!

Staying with Halloween, and French forum ameworld posted what appears to be an official statement from Disney regarding Halloween this year, though Disney themselves haven't released anything yet. The news is that the Castle Stage show Mickey's Halloween Treat in the Street will not return for a third year, but instead we will see a brand new Halloween cavalcade that will feature Mickey and friends, including Huey, Dewey, Louie, Scrooge McDuck and for what is believed to be the first time ever at DLP, Clarabelle Cow!
All other regular Halloween elements are expected to return, such as meeting the Disney characters in special costumes including a brand new location for Minnie, and the return of Bon Bon Goofy in Town Square, greetings with the ever popular Disney Villains, Jack and Sally in Frontierland, and all the cool decorations that usually feature throughout the park. Disney's Halloween Party will also feature on 31st October, as it always does.
Jon and I will be at DLP for Halloween Season again this year and cannot wait to see the new cavalcade!

Finally, today is Disneyland in California's 58th Birthday, and so if you're going to be there, or thinking about going, you should know that there will be "something special" happening Town Square at 2.30pm Pacific Standard Time this afternoon! In the past these celebrations have usually involved a rededication of sorts, and a vast number of random Disney characters appearing for a brief time (flashmob style).

Ok, I think that's everything for now. I'll try to make an update tomorrow when we hear from Disney about the winter Cruise offerings.

Dan.
2012 - A Character Filled Year in Review
DisneyDan  Saturday, January 12, 2013 5:25:29 AM
Hello everyone!

This is a little later than I had anticipated, but thought you would all appreciate it nonetheless.

Last year, 2012, was an incredible year for us. We set new records throughout the year for our trips, and we had some of our most magical adventures ever!

Let us start way back at the beginning, with the turn of the New Year, at Disneyland Paris.

Please be warned that this is a very picture heavy post, so before clicking to continue you should ensure you are in a position to load HUNDREDS of photos!   [ Read More... ]
A very PIXAR filled week including Cars, Stamps, Play Parade and much more!
DisneyDan  Sunday, June 3, 2012 11:53:27 AM
Hi all,
We have been busy as always here at Character Central, but here's this weeks roundup of all the latest character news.
There has been lots of PIXAR news this week.
We start with the news that the West Coast Cruises this Fall will feature a lot of favourite PIXAR Pals. There will be special meet and greets and events on board.
The picture posted by the Parks Blog shows fairly standard characters, and I doubt very much any real neat ones will show up.
What do you all think of this? Have you already booked a DCL Cruise for these dates? Would you have liked to have known it was going to be PIXAR centric?
Staying with PIXAR, some new PIXAR stamps were launched in the US this week, and the PIXAR pals were at the brand new Art of Animation Resort in WDW for a special launch event.
That leads me to talk about the new Art of Animation Resort... It opened this week with a character filled ceremony and a speech by the fan love her/hate her head of Parks and Resorts, Meg Crofton. Characters in attendance included Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Timon, Ariel, Eric, and Chip 'n' Dale - and the Fab 5 friends were the talking head versions! Also there were puppeteers commanding Sebastian and Flounder alongside Ariel and Eric.
Continuing the PIXAR theme, and Downtown Disney in WDW has been hosting the Car Masters Weekend, and of course Disney took the opportunity to have some very famous stars there... Mater, McQueen and Finn McMissile! Although Mater and McQueen already meet in the Parks, Finn is a cool addition for those visiting this weekend.
Over in California, the PXAR Play Parade made it's return in "soft opening" mode, and will return officially on June 15th - DCA's official re-launch date.
The only float we can see that is missing currently is the Remy and Emile one, and that's probably due to the rats bouncing wires being too tall for the new overhead lines along Buena Vista Street.
Staying with DCA, and the Disney Parks Blog announced a few new cool things there. I thought I had mentioned these previously, but obviously completely forgot! So these are a bit late, I apologise lol.
When the new Buena Vista Street opens, some of the Fab 5 friends will get some fantastic new outfits to meet fans in the new land. We just LOVE Chip and Dale's outfits!
Also, as expected, but now confirmed, Mater and McQueen will be meeting Guests in Cars Land daily.
On top of all that, and I think maybe inspired by DLP's daily fountain shows that utilise the new Dreams technology, Goofy will be making appearances in his tux throughout the day at Paradise Bay, conducting the World Of Color fountains to music!
Finally for DCA (!), the Parks Blog also said that a character dance party will take place daily though the summer in Hollywood Land, and "you never know who might show up!"... We'll see whether that ends up being regular pals, or some more random ones (we of course hope the latter!).
We look forward to seeing all these new things this year!

Two last things, which aren't PIXAR related!
Rapunzel and Flynn have apparently been added to the day Parade in the Magic Kingdom, on the finale Castle float, which makes for a nice addition. As we all know, they are immensely popular, and so adding them makes sense - especially in the MK's ailing parade.

Finally, it has been announced (and confirmed by various sources) that place-making will begin at the Walt Disney Studios in Paris, alongside the new Ratatouille ride (scheduled to open 2014), and will continue through 2018!
I know this isn't character related, but it is a much welcomed announcement, and we can only hope that it will be along similar lines to the new DCA, and in turn will mean new character shows, greetings and entertainment!

Ok, that's all for now! Let us know your thoughts by hitting the Discuss button below and commenting on the forum!

Dan.
Disney Cruise Line Trip Report Part Four!
DisneyDan  Sunday, April 1, 2012 3:13:37 AM
Hi all,
Welcome to the fourth part of my Disney Cruise Trip Report.
Day 5 was our first port of call, the Dutch owned St Maarten.
The ship docked early in the morning just before breakfast and we were allowed to debark any time after about 8am (if I remember correctly).
So, after breakfast we made our way down to the tender lobby on deck one.

Heading down to debark

To debark the ship you need your Key to the World card, and they also recommend ID, but all 3 days we were in ports we were never asked for additional ID.  [ Read More... ]
Disney Cruise Line Trip Report Part Three!
DisneyDan  Sunday, March 18, 2012 12:20:28 PM
Hi all!

Welcome to the third part of my Disney Cruise Trip Report!

If you missed them, you can find part one here, and part two here.

Ok, so let's go straight into it, with a few negative things to begin with, then of course all the character awesomeness of day 3 (and believe me, it was GREAT!)...  [ Read More... ]
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