Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue Is More Fun Than the Original

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I’ll start this review with an admission that I wasn’t totally won over by last year’s “Planes,” so I was expecting more of the same. I had the opportunity to see “Planes: Fire & Rescue” last month during a Disney Parks Blog event, and was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed it quite a bit.

In this sequel, Dusty decides to help out Radiator Springs by becoming an aerial firefighter and is sent to Piston Peak National Park to train. There he meets up with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous team, including feisty super scooper Dipper, Native American helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a group of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers.

Fighting forest fires isn’t easy, and when a huge blaze breaks out in the park, threatening a group of vacationers, Dusty learns what it really takes to be a hero. There are also lessons thrown in for the youngsters about loyalty and respect.

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Posted in Animation | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Options for fun expand when the sun goes down at Walt Disney World

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At Walt Disney World one of the best ways to beat the heat is to wait until the sun goes down. There’s a whole new world of fun and entertainment available, and this summer there are new and premium events to enjoy.

Here’s what Walt Disney World fun looks like after dark:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Frozen Summer Fun Live! – Fans of the beloved Disney film “Frozen” can journey to Arendelle all summer long with Frozen Summer Fun Live! activities taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After welcoming Anna and Elsa every morning, then ice skating at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, and dancing with Olaf at the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party all afternoon, guests can end their day with a grand fireworks show that soars above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat on Hollywood Blvd.

Frozen Summer Fun Live! takes place daily now through September 1 beginning at 11 a.m. Frozen-themed fireworks, set to popular tunes from the film, light up the sky at 9:45 p.m. each evening, weather permitting.

“The Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package,” which offers special viewing for three of the new experiences, includes an exclusive dessert party in a reserved area while viewing the Frozen fireworks. Packages cost $59 for adults and $34 for children (including tax and gratuity).

Fantasmic! – Mickey Mouse’s imagination comes to life during this nighttime show featuring favorite Disney heroes and villains at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Fantasmic! immerses spectators in Sorcerer Mickey’s dreams by using stunning pyrotechnics, laser lights and dramatic effects. This show plays nightly, weather permitting.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Harambe Nights – To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Academy Award-winning film, “The Lion King,” the streets of Harambe Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are bursting with excitement and after-hours fun with the all-new summer series, Harambe Nights.

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Posted in Travel Planning, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Muppets to take Broadway?

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Disney has now made two movies with the Muppets since they bought them from the Jim Henson Company. I didn’t feel that either film captured the magic of the Muppets I knew growing up. But I may be in the minority there. Maybe it’s time for Disney to try another angle. No, not a TV show, that would make too much sense, more like a Broadway musical.

But wait, you say, wasn’t that the whole idea behind “The Muppets Take Manhattan”? Yes, yes it was. But that’s why it’s such a brilliant idea. It gives Disney’s creative musical team of Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez a good foundation to build on and a story the public is vaguely familiar with. It also puts puppets back in the hands of performers, something Bobby and Kristen are very familiar with (Avenue Q and Finding Nemo at Disney’s Animal Kingdom). I’ll also take a few of Bret McKensie’s songs from the recent movies, Alex. I still hum or sing “Man or a Muppet” to myself all the time.

If this story has any (Frog) legs, it’s in large part due to the positive reaction Disney Theatrical President Thomas Schmacher had to a 2013 test of the idea with more than 85 muppets (carefully hidden from sight lines), sets, and musical numbers on stage. If this is a thing, it should start workshopping soon, with the goal to take over one of Jujamcyn’s Broadway theaters. It just takes awhile to get funding together for one of these things and to work out the business model.

For proof that the Muppets will work on Broadway, check out this show tunes medley with Ethel Merman

Who doesn’t love Ethel Merman!

Read more about the potential Muppets on Broadway show at the NY Post.

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Posted in Broadway, Disney Theatrical, Muppets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Downtown Disney to Disney Springs July 2014 Construction Update

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Downtown Disney is in the middle of a transformation that will see it change its name to Disney Springs and add additional dining and shopping options. The first major new area to open will be “The Landing” in 2015, but there is construction going on related to Disney Springs all over the district.

Here’s a video look at the progress of all the non-parking garage construction across Downtown Disney as of July 20, 2014;

Although it has been known by those who watch government filings and such, Disney finally made it official that the parking garage will be accessible directly via a freeway off ramp. The first of two multilevel parking garages will hold 4,000 parking spaces and is expected to open late this year. Access to Disney Springs will be aided by two pedestrian bridges direct from the garage to the shopping district.

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The project also calls for Lake Buena Vista Drive to widen from seven to 10 lanes and constructing two multilevel garages (the first of which, pictured above, is set to open by late 2014 to offer 4,000 parking spaces). They’ve really made a lot progress as afar as the first garage goes. You can just see the final floor being worked on behind the AMC Theater entrance.

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Have you visited Downtown Disney during the construction? What did you think about all the walls and the parking situation?

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pirates of the Caribbean V Announced by Disney

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No matter how hard we try to escape, they drag us back in.

Earlier today the Disney Insider blog announced that a new Pirates of the Caribbean film is coming. Of course, we had this news back in June along with the expected title: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” It’s expected to open July 7 in 2017.

No further details were given, but if you read between the lines, it’s clear the Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush will reprise their roles of Captain’s Jack Sparrow and Barbossa respectively. What other characters from the Pirates series would you like to see return?

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Posted in POTC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment