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NEWS: Disney PhotoPass Day returning in August, iCan Showbot, Guest Star Day, and more!
DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:49:20 PM
Hello everyone,

This evening I have a few things to share from the world of characters at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Let's start with Walt Disney World, where the Disney Parks Blog (DPB) yesterday confirmed that the new iCan Showbot will continue to greet guests in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom until at least "late August" (DPB are as vague as ever!). It's a neat idea, and adds a little atmosphere to the area, much like the Citizens of Main Street and the Citizens of Hollywood - one could say a Citizen of Tomorowland! We will be at the Magic Kingdom in a few weeks time, after D23 this coming week, and will be able share photos of him once we see him.

Staying with WDW, and today the DPB announced that Disney PhotoPass Day would return to resort on August 19th, and will be, in their words, "even bigger than last year’s inaugural event. [Y]ou can expect to find numerous event-exclusive Animated Magic Shots, even more one-day-only Character Experiences, and incredible photo locations at all four theme parks!"
Last year's appearances included Pinocchio, Gideon and Foulfellow in Storybook Circus, Mushu and Mulan in China, Snow White and Dopey in Germany and the Queen of Hearts in the United Kingdom.

Over in Disneyland Paris, today the resort hosted the second of its "Guest Star Day Parade" pre-parades, which today starred Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. Last week was the first event, and featured Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia. The event is designed to celebrate Disney characters from the wonderful world of Disney, in order to commemorate the new Mickey Mouse Club series coming to Disney Channel later this year. It is not announced who will be there every Tuesday, and as of yet has no end date - so catch it while you can! Our friends at Characters Photos Blog have photos on their Facebook page from today and last week, if you want to check it out (click here).

Tokyo Disney Resort started its summer event, and while we have known for some time what it would be (they announce things very far in advance in Tokyo), it has been interesting to see the photos on social media. Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa take over the port in Tokyo DisneySea, soaking guests with thousands of gallons of water daily, and in Tokyo Disneyland see Mickey and friends in the more traditional Disney Natsu Matsuri.
The ever-beautiful and ever-changing Dreamlights also just got its most recent upgrades, with the new Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen floats joining the procession. While we don't have photos of our own just yet, you can easily search any social media page for lots of photos of all these events, or visit the most recent DPB post about it all, here.

Finally for today, Hong Kong Disneyland are hosting their second annual 10K marathon weekend, this year themed to Marvel. On September 16 and 17 you have the opportunity to participate in the Marvel 10K Weekend 2017 - Presented by AIA Vitality! There should be character appearances at the event, though it is not yet confirmed as to who. It should be noted that this event is not hosted by runDisney.

That's all for today. Tomorrow we're off to Disneyland Resort in California for resort and d23 fun! Look our for all our live posts from the parks and the expo on our social media pages, such as Facebook and Instagram!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Walt Disney World May 2016 Trip Report, Part Two
DisneyDan  Monday, July 18, 2016 9:28:10 AM
Hello everyone,

In part one of this report I shared with you our adventures at the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, the resort hotels, Disney Springs and the Boardwalk. In this second and final part I am going to tell you about our time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

The week of our trip was also the last week of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which we try to see every year. While we always enjoy Flower and Garden, I do feel that over the years they have cut back more and more, and now there is very little new to see year on year, which is really unfortunate. At any rate, what they do have is pretty, and we like to walk around taking photos of all the topiaries, and occasionally sampling the different foods and drinks (while the number of topiaries has been reduced over the years, the festival seems to have taken on the role of "Food and Wine Festival 2.0", adding more and more food stands in place of the flowers!).   [ Read More... ]
NEWS - Brand new Disney On Ice show to star Inside Out, Moana coming to DLP, and more!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, June 22, 2016 8:56:22 AM
Hello everyone,

Today Disneyland Paris sent out a press release announcing that Moana - or Vaiana as she will be known in France - will feature at the resort during their Enchanted Christmas season, which begins on the 11th November. The press release was actually a little vague, giving no more details other than she will be at the resort during the season, so whether that means she will be greeting, feature in a new Christmas show, or in the parade, is yet to be seen. Disneyland Paris are notoriously bad at providing clear information, and are even worse at holding fast to what they have said - so we shall see what happens. At least, for now, we can say that Moana will feature this Christmas in some capacity at the French resort! The movie is released on 30th November in many places in Europe, including France, and the week before in the US, so it will also be interesting to see whether she debuts at the start of the season (starting 11th November), or if she will only appear once her movie premiers at the end of the month.

Disney On Ice this week announced another brand new show, "Follow Your Heart", and while much of it is once again a rehash of previous shows, there are two really cool new scenes of note. A Finding Dory scene will be added, which, if the image and text on their main website is to be believed, should feature Dory, Hank and Nemo. Of course Dory and Nemo have featured before, but the Finding Dory characters, such as Hank, and story will be new to Disney On Ice. Additionally - and the most exciting part of all - characters from the blockbuster PIXAR movie Inside Out will be added! After waiting for an eternity for them to come to the US parks, we are now also going to see them in this new show. Again, things are a little vague, but from what the images depict, and what the text on the website says, at very least we should expect Joy, Sadness and Anger, and most likely Fear and Disgust, too! The new show starts in the Washington DC/Baltimore region at the end of October. You can buy pre-sale tickets on Ticketmaster now, using the code "BUBBLES".

As always, Character Central has been receiving continual updates. This week I added Constance Purchase (Main Street Citizen), Captain Phasma, the March of the First Order, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, and Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Also, you can find out about our latest trip to Walt Disney World in part one of my most recent trip report, here on the blog. In this part I share with you our adventures at the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, the Boardwalk and the three separate Disney resort hotels that we stayed in during our trip.

This weekend we will be in Disneyland Paris, so be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see our live updates from the resort.

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
News and Updates - Mulan and Mushu to appear at DCA, Mulan and Pocahontas get new outfits, and more!
DisneyDan  Friday, June 10, 2016 12:53:53 PM
Hello everyone,

I know it has been a while since I posted here. Life has a way of getting in the way, and I haven't had time to post as many updates as I would like. Having said that, for the eagle eyed among you, and those who regularly visit this site, you will have noticed that I have been updating many pages throughout the site, including changing character categories, moving things around, adding some brand new characters and locations, and other smaller items. So while the blog hasn't had much recently, I have been here, and Character Central still aims to be as on top of character happenings as possible!

Let's begin with some news that was released by the Disney Parks Blog yesterday. Next week, on Thursday 16th June, Shanghai Disneyland officially opens to the public, following its rather extensive soft opening period. To celebrate, Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort will be featuring Mulan and Mushu from 10am until 5pm. Mushu rarely gets out at any of the Disney Parks these days, and so it will be great to see him visiting California.

Pocahontas and Mulan got new outfits last week, and we were lucky enough to be at Animal Kingdom and Epcot the day they debuted! Take a look at their new looks below!

Mulan

Pocahontas

Mickey and Minnie Mouse finally got a new permanent greeting location at Disney's Hollywood Studios, after several months of them moving from place to place, following the closure of the Animation Building. The new location is much nicer than anything previously, and Minnie even got a new outfit!

Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Along similar lines, after what seemed like an eternity, Olaf finally started greeting his fans at Disney's Hollywood Studios, at the new Celebrity Spotlight location.

Meeting Olaf

Some people have asked us about some of the new characters appearing at the parks, and I can happily confirm that last week I was finally able to add Nick and Judy, Captain Phasma and Joy and Sadness to Character Central (click on the names to go to their pages!).

Before I leave you with some of my photos of those brand new characters (there are many more on their respective pages!), I want to just mention that in the next few days I will be making a blog post/guide to the character experiences at the brand new Shanghai Disneyland. While we are not visiting just yet and therefore Character Central won't feature the park until then (since we need photos - we have our trip booked though!), I wanted to gather together all the information we know about character experiences at the new park, in one handy reference guide, until such a time when I can add the park to the website.

In the next week I also will be writing my latest Walt Disney World trip report here on the blog.

So stay tuned for both of those!

Anyway, that's all for today. Be sure to scroll down for the photos of Joy, Sadness, Nick, Judy and Captain Phasma that I promised!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.

March of the First Order

Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party

Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party

Meeting Joy and Sadness

Meeting Joy and Sadness

Meeting Joy and Sadness
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.
My thoughts on PIXAR's 'Inside Out', and what it can do for Epcot
DisneyDan  Monday, June 15, 2015 10:16:25 PM
Editor's Note: I originally posted this article five days ago, but for matters outside of my control, I had to remove it until today. Below is the original article in its unedited format (I mention we saw the films "last night", when in fact now it was five days ago) - Dan.

Hello everyone,

I don't usually write posts like this, but something struck a chord with me last night that I just have to share. Last night Jon and I were very fortunate to be given the opportunity to watch Disney-PIXAR's latest movie, 'Inside Out'. The movie doesn't come out for general release for another eight days yet, so seeing it nine days early was a real privilege.

The film had its first premiere in Cannes on 18th May this year, and this week had its US debut. Many of you probably saw the photos floating around social media of the characters Sadness and Joy, who appeared at the US premiere.


(C) Disney/PIXAR. Taken from their Facebook page.

Initially character fans were really excited to see Sadness and Joy appear, giving us a glimpse of, hopefully, what to expect at the parks. A short while later, the rumour mill started, and various inside sources on Twitter, including the usually accurate @DCharacternews, implied that this will be pretty much the only time they'll appear. To send characters back to their own worlds before a movie has even had its general release is a real blow to fans who are excited for the movie and for the characters. The characters at the parks are a way of fans connecting with their heroes and step into some of the movie magic with them. How could Disney be considering not having them out?!

So, then we come to last night, when we saw the movie ourselves for the first time. The short story at the start, 'Lava', was cute, and probably one of the better ones I've seen in recent years. It involved a lonely island volcano who pined for a female companion. I won't give it away, but it seemingly has a twist at first.

Now we come to the main feature. 'Inside Out' follows the five core emotions inside Riley Anderson's head. Riley is a twelve year old girl whose family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. There are a variety of hiccups along the way, including a delayed delivery van, that all contribute to Riley feeling rather down. With good intentions, the emotions inside her head plan to keep her happy.

We meet five core emotions; Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. All of these emotions have their own distinct characteristics, but all also contribute to the overall wellbeing of Riley. As we discover, sometimes everyone needs to be sad, or angry, or whatever else, in order to function as a human being - and that really gets you thinking. With that in mind, the movie can be quite deep and emotional, but at the same time, it has a lot of comedy moments, which I must admit are more adult than I was expecting for a Disney-PIXAR film, and it definitely has one of the saddest moments of any PIXAR film I have seen in a long time.

The message of the movie, to me, was that it's ok for you to be sad sometimes, and that is a good thing. Sadness brings out a quality in us that can only simply be described as 'human'. It probably won't connect with young children as well as adults, but you know what? This movie proves to us that PIXAR still have what it takes to be the best at what they do. Please, no more sequels. Let's have this kind of quality again.

So how does this all fit with the title of this article, I hear you ask?

For the longest time now, the Imagination pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot has really lacked something. This is a company that built itself on the ideas and dreams of its founder, with the vision that there is always something else to be done, so long as we have imagination. So why has the Imagination pavilion sat all-but-abandoned for the past fifteen years or more? That only Disney can answer, but what I do know is that with 'Inside Out', they have the perfect opportunity to start over again.

As much as I love Figment as the next person, nobody I think disagrees that the current incarnation is nothing more than an insult to its former self. It would be better for it to disappear with some dignity left, than carry on for another twenty years, floundering along. Cue 'Inside Out'. A movie that has entire scenes set inside a little girl's imagination, abstract thought, and dream studio (you have to see it to understand), not to mention featuring her awesome imaginary friend, Bing Bong, is perfect for an Imagination revamp. Let's take the Train of Thought (again, wait until you see the film), and ride through a real imaginary place (well, isn't that an oxymoron?), filled with imaginary friends like Bing Bong and all the cast of the dream studio. I know it's probably just a pipe dream, but I really hope that this was the kind of movie Disney was waiting for in order to revitalize Imagination. Let's have the characters walking around; let us meet all five of the core emotions. Let's breathe
life back into Imagination once again.

Let me know your thoughts by clicking here and going to our forum to discuss this article.

Dan.

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