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2013 is the Year of the Ear! Every month in 2013, Disney Parks is releasing new ear hats and headwear to add to your collection, from funky couture headbands to fun, limited-release designs that will have you smiling ear to ear. January kicked off with the limited-release Disney Couture Ear Hats! Each month different hats are released for the year of the Ear!!
What's your Disney Side? It's the side you simply can't wait to share. It's the side of you that laughs more, screams more, and just plain lives life to the fullest. It's the side of you that comes out to play the moment you and your family step through the gates of a Disney theme park. More
Online resort check-in is now available 60 days in advance of your stay through your arrival day at disneyworld.com.
RFID wristbands (MAGIC BANDS) Disney has been testing the new "MAGIC BANDS" to transform the visitors experience in Disney World. The RFID ( Radio Frequency ID) Disney is calling the MYMAGIC+ program which is an all purpose wristband that will act as the guests room key, theme-park ticket and payment account all rolled into one. The bracelets, called "MAGIC BANDS" will also track which rides visitors use, which characters they interact with and where they go and what they buy within the park. With this wristband the guests will be able to bypass long lines by signing up for rides before they leave their hotels. At some point characters interacting with children will be able to call them by name just by the wristband and the wireless tracking system that transfers data from tiny tags that are attached to objects. The same holds true for the animatronics characters, they could address children by name. Disney has installed new turnstiles that you wave your wrist past for admittance. The Disney company feels this program will transform Disney World into a more interactive, personalized experience. You are able to select 3 fast-passes each day for one park before leaving home! I had the pleasure of being in on the testing phase of these bands while attending the Disney's Earmarked convention and found that they are a fantastic enhancement to the Magic at Disney. To be able to choose fast passes from home for attractions that I would normally have to dash through the parks to get, made for a more enjoyable trip. It is just amazing how you wave the Magic band on the specially created turnstiles and it recognizes the time that you were to arrive and also the cast member can welcome you by name. One of the other options that you can use your fast pass for is parades, and fireworks viewing areas. I also tested this for the Electrical light parade and instead of having to have someone sit on the curb for an hour we just went to the designated area ( which happened to be right in front of Cinderella's Castle) at the time on our fastpass and had a front row view!
They are still in the testing phase and have some kinks to work out but overall this will be a great enhancement to the Magical Disney Experience.
New Glow with the Show Ear Hats debut around Walt Disney World. The ear hats first were seen on October 15 during the 15th anniversary of the Disney's Hollywood Studios nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! They then showed up in the Magic Kingdom on October 19, during the nighttime Wishes fireworks. Guests can wear these fun, interactive versions of the famous Mickey Ear hats to light the night in a myriad of colors in sync with fireworks, shows and each other. Each set of Glow with the Show Ear hats is available for $25 at select locations throughout the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Video
Princess Fairytale Hall, the new home for Rapunzel, Cinderella and other princesses in the Magic Kingdom, opened on September 18. Featuring walls of stone and stained glass windows and a spacious gallery adorned with portraits of Disney princesses, Princess Fairytale Hall is located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland. I had the pleasure of attending the opening and when you walk through the doorway you truly feel like you are entering a Princesses castle, the corridors are right out of a fairy tale. On my visit Cinderella and Aurora were on one side and on the other was Rapunzel and Snow White. These may change so be sure to see which princesses are holding court while you are visiting. This is a great addition to Fantasyland. This attraction also offers fast pass.
Another interactive game experinece has opened recently in the Magic kingdom, this on is designed to appeal to the “swashbuckler” in all of us. “A Priates adventure: Treasure of the seven Seas”, sends guests seeking treasures in Adventureland. This game is inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies.
Guests sign up for the Pirates Adventure outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Here they are given one of 5 different maps and a magic Talisman ( with and RFID chip) that will help them to discover the treasures of the seven seas. The recruits join Captain Jack Sparrow on his quest for treasure. They come up against some of Captain Jack's Foes: The Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, headhunters, curses and The Sea Godess, Calypso. Guests use the maps and Talisman to unlock clues. If the recruits are successful in finding all the clues and raids they are welcome to Join Captain Jacks crew. The game is relatively short and is fun for all of those pirate lovers.
Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba at Downtown Disney West Side is discounting tickets for a number of special groups in the coming months. Now through December 20, for shows September 24 - December 20 (block-out dates: November 26-30, 2013):
The trek is a three-hour guided tour that offers guests up-close views of some of the park's animals -- including crocodiles, giraffes, hippos and rhinos -- by foot, by safari vehicle, and by rope bridge. The experience also offers African-inspired snacks, and a photographer accompanies you on the trek so you don't even have to take your eyes off the animals. Video
As of October 19, 2013, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, has opened a new expansion of its popular Waikolohe Valley water play area: Ka Maka Landing. The landing features an infinity pool with grotto, a splash zone for smaller kids, and a new location for poolside and beachside dining. To celebrate the opening of the new Ka Maka Landing, the resort launched a special offer: 4 nights for the price of 3, plus free breakfast for two adults per day at the new Ulu Cafe. This special offer is available to book now until January 15, 2014, and is for guests who stay four consecutive nights between January 5, 2014 and April 7, 2014. Learn more at www.DisneyAulani.com.
Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney's BoardWalk has introduced a new, seasonal, five-course prix fixe menu that will be offered every day. A beverage is not included, and no substitutions are allowed. The basic Disney Dining Plan is accepted -- the menu requires one entitlement, plus $19.50 surcharge. The Deluxe Dining Plan is also accepted -- one entitlement, plus $5 surcharge. A wine pairing is available for an additional $35.
ESPN Club at the BoardWalk is now offering VIP seating in the main dining room on a trial basis. A section of the dining room in front of the Club's big screen TV will be roped off as a reserved area. To take advantage of the VIP seating, each person in your party (including children) must spend a minimum of $50, tax and gratuity not included. You can find out which sporting events will be featured on the big screen and then book a table in advance in person or via Disney Dining. No discounts apply, nor is the VIP seating eligible for the Disney Dining Plan. Since this program is in the trial stage, it is subject to change and may not be offered during your visit. Contact the ESPN Club at the BoardWalk for more details.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes, the new bowling and entertainment venue at Downtown Disney West Side, which was christened during a media preview last December 7, officially opened on December 19th. This upscale bowling venue is the largest in the bowling brand's fleet, with a two-level location that boasts 30 lanes and more than 50,000 square feet of entertainment space. In addition to bowling, the venue offers billiards, live entertainment, a balcony bar with views of downtown Disney and upscale dining options that cater to the entire family. Some dining options include sushi, sliders, burgers, salads and of course dessert.
See youtube video courtesy of DisneyParks: Video
Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust,
Donna Dot Disney
Thanks to Deb Wills and Disney parks for some of the information provided.