Dateline Disney - January 2007
WDW Press Release
In This Edition:
# Magic Kingdom: Suite dreams for lucky guests; Laughter fills the house.
# Disney's Animal Kingdom: Musical stage show premieres; Everest garners prestigious award.
# Disney's Wide World of Sports: On your mark, get set, go with Disney Marathon, Half Marathon; Braves tickets on sale in January.
Elaborate New Castle Suite Immerses Guests in Fantasy of Cinderella Story During Disney's 'Year of a Million Dreams'
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Happily-ever-after evenings are in store for lucky Walt Disney World guests, as Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom has been transformed to include an enchanting royal chamber fit for a princess during "The Year of a Million Dreams."
Beginning Jan. 24, eligible guests will be selected as part of the Disney Dreams Giveaway, which began Oct. 1, 2006. For the castle stay, a Walt Disney World guest at a Disney park or Downtown Disney will be selected randomly by early in the afternoon most days. The guest and up to five members of their party will begin their dream-come-true night that evening at Cinderella's Royal Table, the popular restaurant located in Cinderella Castle. (Because the castle stay requires same-day use, mail-in winners will be awarded a prize of comparable value.)
After the rest of the park guests have departed Magic Kingdom, these special guests can enjoy the amenities of their dream suite -- a salon, bedchamber and bathroom off of a private marble-floored lobby some four stories above the surrounding Magic Kingdom, replete with rich details befitting the 17th century fairytale and the French chateaus that inspired the design of Cinderella Castle.
The wheelchair-accessible suite is decked with 21st century comforts including an elevator to the suite, flat-panel television, fireplace, tub and shower.
Laughter Fills the House at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club, Opening as Part of Disney's 'Year of a Million Dreams'
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There will be belly laughs, clever gags and giggles galore at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club, opening this month at Magic Kingdom. The immersive, interactive attraction invites guests of all ages to joke around and match wits with comedian wannabes recruited by Mike Wazowski, the one-eyed hero from Disney-Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." Guests can even text-message jokes on their cell phones for possible use in the show.
Mike, realizing laughter is many times more powerful than screams as a power source, has opened the comedy club to collect laughs that will generate power for the future. The house of laughter takes place at a 400-seat theater in Tomorrowland.
'Finding Nemo-The Musical' Makes a Splash at Disney's Animal Kingdom With Broadway Flair
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- An all-new Broadway-caliber musical stage show, "Finding Nemo-The Musical," featuring original songs by Tony Award-winning "Avenue Q" co-composer-creator Robert Lopez and a cappella musical "Along the Way" co-creator Kristen Anderson-Lopez, premieres at Walt Disney World Resort Jan. 24.
Guests can dive into the story of Marlin and Nemo, an overprotective clownfish father and his wayward son, through a magical production that combines mesmerizing puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops.
Disney's Animal Kingdom's newly enclosed Theater in the Wild was transformed into a magical undersea environment through innovative lighting, sound, special effects and the theatrical puppetry of Michael Curry, who co-designed the richly detailed character puppets seen in the Broadway version of Disney's "The Lion King." Principal characters such as Marlin, Nemo and Dory will be represented by live performers operating larger-than-life puppets. Crush, the cool-dude sea turtle, is nearly the size of a Volkswagen, and Nigel the pelican stands 22 feet tall.
The director for the new show, Peter Brosius, is artistic director of The Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, winner of the 2003 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The Broadway show "A Year with Frog and Toad," nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award, originated at The Children's Theatre Company.
"Finding Nemo-The Musical" represents the first time Disney has taken a non-musical animated feature and transformed it into an original musical production. Produced by Disney Creative Entertainment, the 30-minute show will be staged several times daily.
14th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon Takes Runners On a Trek Through the Disney Theme Parks
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- More than 30,000 athletes from around the globe will run to -- and through -- Walt Disney World Resort Jan. 4-7 for the 14th annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. One of the largest marathon events in the United States, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend attracts experienced runners trying to best their personal record time and novices striving to complete their first endurance race.
Nearly 100,000 athletes have completed the marathon through the event's history.
The marathon's 26.2 magical miles take runners through all four Walt Disney World theme parks, including a memorable pass through Cinderella Castle. Marathon finishers receive a Mickey Mouse-shaped medal for completing the full marathon within the time limit, while half-marathon finishers receive a Donald Duck-shaped medal.
And, for the second year, 3,000 runners are registered for both the half-marathon and the full marathon in a special event called "Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge." Those who conquer that race receive a special Goofy medal in addition to the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck medallions.
Registration for the races has reached capacity. Athletes wishing to compete in the 2008 events are encouraged to register early at disneyworldmarathon.com . Registration for the 2008 events will be open following completion of the 2007 Disney Marathon.
Two AAA Awards Shine On at Walt Disney World Resort
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the seventh year in a row, Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is winner of the AAA Five Diamond Award. And for the fifth consecutive year, Jiko-The Cooking Place at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge has landed the AAA Four Diamond Award.
The AAA Five Diamond is a coveted symbol of excellence -- just 93 hotels and 58 restaurants are 2007 winners. The AAA Four Diamond Awards goes to 1,102 hotels and 757 restaurants nationwide.
Intimate dining, a gourmet prix fixe menu and world-class wines are the hallmarks of elegant Victoria & Albert's. Jiko-The Cooking Place features African-inspired cuisine and wines of South Africa.
For reservations at the award-winning restaurants, call 407/WDW-DINE.
Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World Resort Honored With International 2006 THEA Award for Outstanding Attraction
GLENDALE, Calif. -- The Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) has named Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain at Disney's Animal Kingdom winner of the 2006 THEA Award for Outstanding Attraction. The prestigious award goes to Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative design organization that created and developed the attraction. THEA is a non-profit, international association representing the world's leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences.
The THEA Awards recognize achievement, talent and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry. Now recognized internationally as a symbol of excellence, the THEAs are awarded in 10 categories and bestowed annually at the THEA Awards Gala, considered the industry's premiere event.
Expedition Everest takes guests on a perilous journey from the remote Himalayan village of Serka Zong into the chilling Himalayas in search of the mysterious creature known as the yeti. The attraction opened in spring 2006 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
New After-Hours Magic Kingdom Event Seeks Pirates and Princesses
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dreams of becoming a swashbuckling pirate or pretty princess can be realized during Disney's Pirate & Princess Party, a new after-hours special event coming to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.
Tickets are now on sale for 13 select nights from Jan. 22 through March 8.
With an adventure map and treasure bag in hand, families can embark on a quest for colorful beads, chocolate doubloons and fun throughout the Magic Kingdom theme park. Adventurers can explore the park on a quest for pirate coves and princess courts brimming with specially themed entertainment, participate in character meet-and-greets and experience some of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions open throughout the evening. Guests are invited to dress up as a wily pirate or favorite Disney princess.
Adding to the magic of the event will be two new nighttime entertainment spectaculars: "Disney's Enchanted Adventures Parade" and "Magic, Music and Mayhem," a fireworks display orchestrated to an original musical score.
Day-of tickets are priced at $42.95 plus tax (ages 10 and over), $35.95 plus tax (ages 3-9). Phone 407/W-DISNEY or visit disneyworld.com/pirateandprincess. Advance tickets for all nights are $36.95 plus tax (ages 10 and over) and $29.95 plus tax (ages 3-9). Party nights: Jan. 22, 26, 29, Feb. 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 23, 26 and March 2, 5, 8. Party hours are 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Atlanta Braves Spring Training Single-Game Tickets on Sale Jan. 6
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Atlanta Braves are returning to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training in February and March 2007. The Braves will conduct two weeks of workouts before playing a 15-game home schedule against 10 major league opponents as the team returns for its 10th year of spring training at the 220-acre sports complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Individual-game tickets for the Braves' home spring training season go on sale Saturday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. at the Disney's Wide World of Sports box office and through Ticketmaster at 407/839-3900. Prices range from $14 (general admission lawn seats) to $22.50 (lower reserved).
The Braves, winningest team in the major leagues over the past 15 years, open their 2007 spring schedule with an exhibition against Georgia Tech on Feb 28. The first home game against a major league opponent is March 1, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League East Division rival New York Mets travel to Disney on March 22, while the defending American League East champion New York Yankees play the Braves on March 8 in one of the most highly anticipated spring games at the Vacation Kingdom. The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals play at Disney on consecutive days (March 16-17), marking the fifth straight year the Braves and Cardinals have played a back-to-back two-game series at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Information on spring training season and group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263). The popular mini-packs will include both three- and five-game options in 2007. The Atlanta Braves' complete 2007 Spring Training schedule is available online at disneyworldsports.com and atlantabraves.com .
Disney Restaurants Gain Accolades in Florida Trend Magazine
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Florida Trend magazine's annual listing of "Florida's 500 Best Places to Dine," published in the December issue, features several Disney restaurants including California Grill (one of 25 restaurants statewide to earn a Golden Spoon), Chefs de France, Ctricos, Flying Fish Caf and Victoria & Albert's. Additionally, Sonya's Restaurant at Disney's Vero Beach Resort was one of only two restaurants mentioned in Vero Beach, and one of only eight listed for the entire Treasure Coast area.