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Mark My Words

Media event schedule updated

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In talking about this week's media event in yesterday's Walt Disney World Resort Update, I noted: "It's quite possible that there will be more, but a final schedule is still proving elusive. We've been told that things are still changing but that we'll get a final schedule when we arrive on Wednesday." Well, I got a "Snapshot Itinerary" yesterday afternoon, and there are already adjustments being made to my expectations.

Some things that I didn't expect:
  • While Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow will have its official grand opening on Thursday, it will not be part of the media event
  • The What's New/What's Next presentation for Friday morning has been condensed into a half-hour Around Our World presentation that appears to have no new announcements at this point (though surprises have been known to happen).

So what are the plans? Here's what I've been told (or have heard about through other sources):
  • New Fantasyland will be closed to the public during the day to prepare for the grand opening events.
  • After a 10-minute welcome from Tom Staggs in the PhilharMagic Theater, the media will have a preview of New Fantasyland from 7-10 p.m. (the park closes to the public at 7, with a showing of Wishes at 6). There will be special media showings of Celebrate the Magic and Holiday Wishes starting at 9:30.

  • The media will have early-morning access to New Fantasyland, including the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in Belle's Village at 9:00.
  • The official Grand Opening Celebration will take place on the Cinderella Castle forecourt stage at 10:00, after which the land will be open to all.
  • Media can attend a panel session at 11.
  • Future World East at Epcot will close to the public at 3:00 for the media event.
  • From 7:00-9:30 p.m., Future World East will play host to the Test Track Ac-Celebration Party.

  • At 9:00 a.m., the Around Our World presentation will take place at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • There will be a media preview of Splitsville Luxury Lanes from 9:45 a.m. to noon.

I'm sure that there will be more surprises in store. There's no word on whether the much-discussed "Disney Dragon" will make its appearance at the Wednesday night party, the Thursday morning ribbon-cutting, the Grand Opening Celebration, or some combination thereof.

What do I expect to hear about at the Around Our World presentation?
  • Probably the latest promotions from Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney.
  • The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
  • Pandora: The World of Avatar, rumored to be beginning site preparation in the current Camp Minnie-Mickey in January.
  • The Limited Time Magic promotion.
  • Promotion for (with no new information about) Princess Fairytale Hall and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
  • The new Tangled-themed restrooms being built between "it's a small world" and the Haunted Mansion.
  • Celebrate the Magic.
  • Maybe the new interactive queue coming to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • That's about it.

What do I wish that we would hear about at the presentation?
  • What's happening with the launch of the full Next Generation Initiative next year.
  • New Imagineering technologies coming to the parks.
  • A new attraction/land to be developed with Star Wars theming.
  • A new attraction/land to be developed with Marvel theming.

We won't likely hear a word of that, though.

In either case, follow me this week on Twitter (@MPMark) and Facebook for live updates from the media event. And be sure to watch this space as well for longer-form thoughts from the event.

And finally, if you'll be at Walt Disney World this weekend, be sure to join me and other readers on Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Disney's Hollywood Studios for a MousePlanet Meet-up at the Osborne Lights. We'll meet by the faux subway station on the Streets of America near the central intersection and chat while we wait for the Osborne Lights to turn on. We'll enjoy the snow, the music, and the dancing lights together. Hope to see you there!

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