Morimoto Asia to bring Japanese master chef’s pan-Asian flair to Disney Springs

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Back in the day, when the clubs at Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney attracted huge crowds to the dance floor, there was no more exciting place to be than inside Mannequins. A multi-story space that bridged the upper and lower parts of Pleasure Island. It featured a full bar, kitchen, fantastic DJs, and that famous rotating dance floor. Sadly, the club has sat shuttered since September of 2008.

New Morimoto Asia Restaurant to Open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World ResortThe good news is that the re-invention of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs will breath new life into this space. It will be the future home of Morimoto Asia, a new concept from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, the Patina Group, and design studio Studio V Architecture. The restaurant will be the Japanese Master Chef’s first pan-Asian dining experience.

“I’m very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Chef Morimoto. “It’s a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent.”

Set on the ‘Springs’ side of The Landing, Morimoto Asia will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall, and a cocktail lounge.

Morimoto Asia’s culinary elements will provide flavors from across Asia, while exhibition kitchens will showcase the continent’s traditions. Included among them are street-food stalls, Peking duck carving and dim sum. Morimoto’s inspiration and perspective will create an unmatched dining experience in this richly layered setting.

“We are delighted to work with Morimoto to create this one of a kind restaurant, which will be a spectacular dining destination at the new Disney Springs,” said Nick Valenti, restaurateur and CEO of Patina Restaurant Group.

“We’re thrilled to bring Chef Morimoto’s renowned culinary style to Disney Springs as we expand the range of dining experiences for our resort guests as well as local Florida residents,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort.

Approved-Rendering-Morimoto-Asia-Interior

Looking at a few of the other restaurant concepts from Design V, has me pretty excited about what they can do with this space. And, of course, The Patina Group has brought many spectacular restaurants and dishes to Disney fans on both coasts including Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli in EPCOT and Catal and Naples in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney.

Morimoto Asia is scheduled to open in the Summer of 2015 at The Landing.

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The Boathouse, from the creators of T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe, is coming to Disney Springs

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We’ve been chronicling the coming of Disney Springs since before its official announcement in March of 2013. By changing to the Disney Springs concept, Disney is expanding shopping, dining, and entertainment options at the Downtown Disney location with the goal of keeping more guests on property during their entire vacation and not shuttling off to local malls or other theme parks.

The first area of Disney Springs to open will be The Landing, which is a water front area approximately where Pleasure Island was before. The largest building in the area is what will become The Boathouse – a new concept restaurant from the team at Schussler Creative. Previous concepts from them at Walt Disney World include: Rainforest Cafe, T-REX Cafe, and Yak & Yeti. Opening Spring 2015 The Boathouse will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s.

The Boathouse restaurant will immerse guests both on land and on water with live music. Among many special dining opportunities, there will be a romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. There also will be the exhilaration of guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, entering the water with a splash, taking guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.

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To add to the atmosphere, the Harbor Master will orchestrate daily flag ceremonies, accompanied by a lively musical performance of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard a classic 1800’s antique steam boat. Authentic nautical items, custom engraved paddles, distinctive lake-themed merchandise, and other unique items “Made on Earth” will be available at The Ship’s Store, adjacent to The Boathouse restaurant. Continue reading

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A Timeline for the Future (part II)

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In part one of our look at the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios we examined what changes have already been announced by Disney and those that are rumored to be in the offing. In short, depending on how much money Disney is willing to invest and how fast, Central Florida’s original studios park could be in for a massive makeover.

Before we go any further, I want to repeat, that I don’t have any particular insider knowledge of plans or upcoming announcements. What follows is my learned hypothesis based on available evidence and informed guesses (aka rumors) from sources I trust. Some of this is more speculation than solid info and I’ll try and indicate that when and where I can.

Let’s start with one piece of information that would be a natural result of the changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios losing its ‘studios’ theme. The name will have to change. I think there’s one clear favorite for a new name – Disney’s Hollywood Adventure. It captures the shift in theme from making movies, to being a part of them. Instead of learning how the movies are made, we get to celebrate them and all the magic they inspire. This will let the park keep its two main Hollywood themed thoroughfares, expand Pixar Place (which physically is in Emeryville, not Hollywood, but emotionally it’s the same place) and perhaps add on one or two others. You might see some other Hollywood icons come to the park. El Capitan theater, which Disney owns, and the Carthay Theater, which has ties to Disney history and Disney has used as California Adventure’s main icon seem like two likely candidates. But don’t expect them to get too carried away.

Of course, a new name like “Mickey’s Adventure Park” could come out of left field too. That would indicate the park is in for a major re-imagineering. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities, but not the strongest candidate at the moment either.

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When people ask me about what’s going to happen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I have a certain spiel I provide to give some context to the question. This will help set up some of the financial and timeline issues. The budgets that control those are almost always in flux until they’re not, and the attraction opens. Sometimes, Imagineers get creative with budgets and good things can happen too.

This all starts with some things Disney CEO Bob Iger had been saying to The Walt Disney Company’s investors, that after dropping a lot of money on DCA, New Fantasyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland, the capital expenditures (read: theme park expansion) would be vastly reduced for a few years with only Disney’s Animal Kingdom (for both Avatar and the Nighttime show additions) and Shanghai Disneyland getting the funds. If you look at Disney’s stock price right now you’ll see that investors are very happy with the company and expect its value to continue to rise. In their minds, Iger has been a great steward of their money. So they’re probably pretty psyched he’s planning on sticking around for another year or so. Continue reading

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La Jolla Playhouse Production of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame Launches

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The La Jolla Playhouse  production of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame began last night and runs through December 14th. Early reports are that the new songs are tremendous and Patrick Page is great as Frollo.

If you’re planning on attending a future performance, the playhouse has provided a “Know Before You Go” guide for the production. In the guide you will find tips on seeing the show as well as information on the show’s cast and crew. There is also an nice interview with the creative team. You can download the PDF guide here. 

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Posted in Disney Theatrical | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Pixie Hollow saga continues on direct to DVD adventure – Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

TINKERBELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

DisneyToon Studios has just announced “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast” – a new adventure that will bring everyone back to Pixie Hollow for another movie with Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. Additionally, Ginnifer Goodwin (“Once Upon a Time”) has been announced as the of voice the character Fawn.

Neverbeast-Goodwin-Fawn“Fawn is a character who loves all animals unconditionally,” said director Steve Loter. “She will help any animal that needs her, but sometimes Fawn thinks too impulsively, when she should be thinking with her head, as well as her heart.”

Loter says there’s a lot of Goodwin in the character. “Fawn was inspired by my daughter and her unconditional love of animals,” he said. “But Ginnifer had a very strong hand in crafting the character. Her sense of fun and her wondrous view of the world gave Fawn direction. You can hear the smile in Ginnifer’s voice—this is a character that loves life and lives it to its fullest.”

The heartwarming “Neverbeast” story explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out. Continue reading

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Posted in Animation, DVD | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment