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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.
Three New Year's Eve Celebrations Announced for Walt Disney World
DisneyDan  Saturday, July 8, 2017 9:53:26 AM
Hello everyone,

Yesterday the Disney Parks Blog announced three premium dining options for New Year's Eve at the Contemporary Resort (WDW), two of which involve character appearances.

Disney Countdown to Midnight

Disney Countdown to Midnight is described on the Disney Parks Blog as follows:

For an evening of dining and dancing, “Disney Countdown to Midnight” includes delightful dining, live music, libations and more. An interactive band and DJ will fill the dance floor (and we hear that Mickey and Minnie may make a special appearance). Then welcome in 2018 with a flute of bubbly and a viewing of those legendary New Year’s Eve fireworks in the Magic Kingdom.

Hours are 8pm to 1am in the Fantasia Ballroom. This party is designed for guests 18 and older.

This one sounds very much like a dance party for over 18s, and while they mention Mickey and Minnie, it is very vague and I suspect that they'll be there either dancing or on a stage; not greeting.

Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration

Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration is described on the Disney Parks Blog as follows:

“Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration” is for children of all ages, a family-friendly way to ring in the New Year with a Disney•Pixar-inspired dinner.

Sarge welcomes you to the Ballroom of the Americas that features vignettes of beloved Pixar movies. From Andy’s Room in “Toy Story” to and Metro City with The Incredibles, the immersive celebration will include theatrical backdrops, dramatic set pieces and fun props that re-create the fantastic worlds of the Pixar films. And, of course, favorite characters will be on hand from “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars” and “Up.”

Kids can have fun at Pixar face painting, a balloon artist and a boot camp with Sarge, while an interactive DJ will spin hits from Radio Disney (he’s going to be in a “Cars”-inspired DJ rig from Radiator Springs). Dinner is buffet style.

At midnight, head outdoors to ring in the New Year with a viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Hours are 8pm - 12.15am.

This one sounds like it could be a lot of fun, though I suspect the characters may be of the simpler variety rather than any rare ones from any of those movies listed. It would be amazing to see the likes of Bo-Peep show up, but I wouldn't expect it, sadly.

Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Dining Experience

Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Dining Experience is described on the Disney Parks Blog as follows:

Fine dining is the theme of the third party, “Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Dining Experience” in the Grand Republic Ballroom. Inspired by the Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog,” the room is beautifully decorated French Quarter style to transport you to the Big Easy.

Actions stations will feature flavors such as oyster beignets, smoked salmon mousse cones with caviar, Kobe beef tartare and sheep’s milk ricotta gnocchi. Signature dishes will include herb-crusted Louisiana redfish, crayfish étouffée, Black Angus beef cooked two ways, braised short ribs and filet of beef with truffled celery root silk.

A N’awlins jazz band will entertain during dinner, joined later in the evening by a vocalist who will bring to life the Academy-Award-winning classics from the film. Then slip outside with a glass of bubbly just before midnight to ring in 2018 with a private viewing area for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Hours are 7pm -12.15am.

This last one sounds pretty neat, but unfortunately does not detail any character appearances. The meal is "inspired by" the movie, and the main draw seems to be the musicians. It would be awesome to see all four characters appear there, but like with the other meals above, I wouldn't expect anything beyond what the post specifically states.

The Disney Parks Blog did not release any pricing information, and recommend that you find out more details, and book, via the Walt Disney World Dining line, at (407) WDW-DINE.

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2017 Dates and Prices
DisneyDan  Friday, July 7, 2017 10:21:59 AM
Hello everyone,

If you're considering attending the Halloween and Christmas parties at the Magic Kingdom this year, you can find the dates below.

While it is still early in the year, the Halloween parties actually start next month, and we haven't heard about any new offerings, changes of any kind at this point. With just over a month to go, I suspect that the parties will be almost identical to last year. You can check out our dedicated Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party page, here, on Character Central.

Prices for this year's Halloween parties range from $74 plus tax up to $115 plus tax, for adults (anyone over 9 years old), and from $69 plus tax up to $110 plus tax for children aged 3-9.

2017 Halloween Party Dates:

August: 25, 29
September: 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
October: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
November: 1

The Christmas parties start in November, shortly after the Halloween parties end, and run through December, ending just before Christmas itself. As with the Halloween parties, we haven't yet heard about any changes, but for Christmas it's a little early right now. You can check out our dedicated Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party page, here, on Character Central.

Prices for this year's Christmas parties range from $89 plus tax up to $109 plus tax, for adults (anyone over 9 years old), and from $84 plus tax up to $104 plus tax for children aged 3-9.

2017 Christmas Party Dates:

November: 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
December: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22

All event tickets can - and should - be purchased on the official Walt Disney World ticketing page, here.

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend, April 2017 - A Report
DisneyDan  Friday, May 19, 2017 2:31:39 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month (April 2017), Jon and I took part in our second runDisney weekend, the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World. Followers of my blog will know that in February we participated in our very first ever runDisney event at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Well, here we were, two months later, ready to do it all over again for the Empire!

I won't repeat everything I said in my first Princess blog about our impressions of runDisney, training, organisation of the event, impressions, etc, as many of those aspects were very similar this time, but needless to say, we were exceptionally proud of ourselves for being able to achieve not just one half marathon weekend, but now two in the space of two months!

As per the usual setup with the runDisney events, we went along on the Thursday before the race weekend to collect our bibs and merchandise at the health expo, at ESPN. The setup was virtually identical to the Princess Half expo, down to the bib collection areas, the vendor booths and show area, and the official race store.

  [ Read More... ]
Star Wars Galactic Nights, April 2017 - A Review
DisneyDan  Tuesday, May 9, 2017 3:41:47 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month, on the 14th April, Disney's Hollywood Studios held its first ever Star Wars Galactic Nights; a premium ticketed event held after park closing.

When Disney first announced Galactic Nights, it was kind of bittersweet. 2015 saw the last ever Star Wars Weekends at the park, which at the time we didn't know would be the final event. Star Wars Weekends were held over four or five consecutive weekends in May and June since 1997. The weekends were insanely popular, and involved many fun character greetings, shows, celebrity appearances, special dining options, special merchandise and much, much more. They were quite simply the ultimate Star Wars fan event. Without warning, Disney announced, after the 2015 event, that they had decided to cancel them, and so anyone who missed 2015 - or had already made plans for 2016 - were left very disappointed, and honestly, as diehard fans we were left bitterly let down and a little stunned.

Disney have tried in the past year to increase the Star Wars presence at Hollywood Studios, including the Star Wars Launch Bay, the March of the First Order, the fireworks spectacular and other small offerings. When Galactic Nights was announced, with the celebrity appearances, cavalcade and special character greetings, it felt like they were trying to give the fans a little bit of Star Wars Weekends back, if only for one night, and at a high premium.

With all that in mind, I was a little skeptical, honestly. How could one night live up to the all-day activities that lasted for four weeks per year? And how could we possibly get everything done in one night? I imagined it being a little frustrating, and actually anticipated complaining to guest relations at the end of the night, based on our recent experiences at Disney events. I don't deliberately go into these things wanting or intending to complain, but I think I was so jaded by the loss of Star Wars Weekends, and now having to pay a lot of money to just even get a slither of that back for one night, that I just expected to dislike it.

  [ Read More... ]
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast Dining Review, April 2017
DisneyDan  Tuesday, May 2, 2017 2:07:48 PM
Hello everyone,

A couple of weeks ago we dined at Trattoria al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk (Walt Disney World) to try the new Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast character dining experience. You do not need to enter the Boardwalk resort hotel in order to access the restaurant; it is located along the Boardwalk area itself, and not within the hotel.



For those who like to know these things, for planning purposes or whatever, we had a 7.45am reservation. Our reservation was on a Saturday, and it seemed to be fairly quiet at that time.

  [ Read More... ]
A Walk Through the Parks, February and March 2017
DisneyDan  Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:55:03 PM
Hello everyone,

As Jon and I spend an increasing amount of time at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, I find it correspondingly redundant to post "trip reports", in the more traditional sense. You may have noticed that, for example, recently I posted a stand alone review of the Garden Grill, a report on meeting the stars of Cars 3, and my report on the DVC Moonlight Magic event here on Character Central, and over on Two Lost Boys, my review of Flower and Garden 2017 at Epcot. I thought that it would be nice to share the more "generic" things we saw, too, over the past two months, and so decided to make this report more of a round-up of multiple visits, rather than breaking it down into separate trip reports. We will actually be back at the parks again this week and next, and so you should expect to see a similar round-up and more specialised individual reports once I get around to doing them, too.

Let's start our February-March walk though the park with the Magic Kingdom.   [ Read More... ]
Chip 'n' Dale's Harvest Feast, A Review - March 2017
DisneyDan  Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:33:59 AM
Hello everyone,

A couple of weeks ago we had lunch at The Garden Grill, inside The Land pavilion at Epcot. We had eaten there several times in the past, but it had been several years, so we thought it was time that we went back to get an updated view.

The Garden Grill is a character dining experience, which has its own title of Chip 'n' Dale's Harvest Feast. Throughout your dining experience, Chip and Dale, as well as Mickey Mouse and Pluto, make their way around the restaurant for hugs, photos and autographs. Prices can be up to $60 per adult, depending on the time of day, plus tax and tip. You should plan to be in the restaurant for at least an hour. Reservations are accepted, and can be made on the My Disney Experience app.

  [ Read More... ]
Magic Kingdom Moonlight Magic, A Report - February 2017
DisneyDan  Tuesday, April 4, 2017 8:30:17 AM
Hello everyone,

At the end of February we were fortunate enough to attend a special event at the Magic Kingdom held for DVC Members. Moonlight Magic was held on two separate nights from 10pm until 1am. Tickets were free for DVC members and up to five of their guests, however, you needed to book it in advance, and spaces were limited.   [ Read More... ]
Meeting the Stars of Cars 3 at Disney Springs - A Report, March 2017
DisneyDan  Friday, March 31, 2017 9:09:44 AM
Hello everyone,

Last weekend, the Lightning McQueen was joined by Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm at Disney Springs, at Walt Disney World, for a special three-day appearance to kick off their nationwide tour to promote the new movie (June 16th).

We were there on Sunday to meet them, and so I have some photos to share with you all.   [ Read More... ]
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