D23 Expo


I’m now booked to go to the D23 Expo at Disneyland in September. I’m counting down the days — it’s going to be a very fun experience.

There’s a lot of cool stuff to expect at the Expo, and many of the details are still being worked out. For example, they recently added to the Expo schedule, including a “Special Disney Channel Presentation” and a keynote from Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores worldwide.

And – as an added perk – the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau has put together a list of discounts that D23 Expo guests are able to receive from Anaheim-area merchants just by showing their wristbands. None of the discounts are super huge, but some of them (SuperShuttle, for one) could be helpful to Expo guests.

According to the Disney Auditions website, there will be a new show coming in October to the Disney Magic! Based on the characters included, it will be a Disney Villains-based show. This appears to be taking the place of the Golden Mickeys show on Disney Cruise Line – making that show only able to be seen at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Disney Creative Entertainment is joining up with the Broadway writing team of Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen (Title of Show) as well as Seattle based director Allison Narver, choreographer Karma Camp and musical director Ben Cohn, for the original company (Title, TBD) of our newest high-seas spectacular onboard the luxurious Disney Magic®. Sailing the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas, including the exciting ports of Barcelona, Naples, Cannes, Oslo, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen; one-year contracts begin October 2009.

The roles included in the new show are as follows.

Seeking the following roles:
HADES – Smart, funny, quick, imposing, must be able to command audience and morph from talk show host, to lounge-y telethon host, to bad Lord of the Underworld with ease, wit, humor and style. Must be a natural at improve. Bari-tenor to a ‘G’. Should have a solid mid- to low- sound to his voice and be comfortable singing down to a low ‘G’.

PAIN/PANIC –Played by 2 actors. Great comic character actors with incredible timing. Goofy and sweet. Plays well with others. Tenors to a ‘G#/A

DR. FACILIER/JAFAR – African-American, bass/baritone. Dr. Facilier is the new villain in the upcoming “The Princess and the Frog.” 1920s New Orleans conjuror; both charming and sinister; a real showman. Jafar is pompous but dangerous and powerful. But in this show he reveals his softer side and sings “Wind Beneath My Wings” Tall and skinny. Smooth.. High range- ‘E’. Boom-y, powerful sound – ideally with both legit and pop capabilities.

YZMA/ EVIL QUEEN – Angular smart funny surprising character woman. (Originally voiced by Eartha Kitt) Rubber faced and great physical comedienne who can sell a huge number. Strong pop sound- riffing a plus. Belt (or pop mix) to ‘E’.

CAPTAIN HOOK/KRONK – Hook is a forced to be reckoned with and will have order on his ship. Kronk: Big, muscled, sweet, not the sharpest tool in the shed but you gotta love him. Yzma’s loyal and confused sidekick. Tenor or bari-tenor to ‘A’. Clean sound- good control over vibrato. Good pop sound, but also with legit ability. Low range- ‘A’.

CRUELLA DE VIL/ MALEFICENT – Long thin gorgeous diva with a great bellowing laugh. Must be able to command the space with her body, long cigarette, and feel at home yelling “DARLING!” Good all-around singer, strong pop mix/belt to ‘F’. Soprano to ‘A’ or ‘B’. Clear low range to ‘F

QUEEN OF HEARTS/ URSULA – Round, imposing, great physical comedienne. Flips from sweet to insane in an instant. Actress must not be afraid to be larger than life and take big physical and vocal risks. At total ease working the crowd. Fearless yet flirty. Strong belter to ‘D’.

Anybody have any more scoop as to what this will involve?

“Skipper Dan” by Weird Al Yankovic

No, not to Pleasure Island… but to Hong Kong Disneyland as a part of it’s newly-announced expansion project. Look at the description of the “Mystic Point” land described in the press release below!

With the addition of more than 30 new attractions, play and entertainment experiences, Hong Kong Disneyland’s total number of rides and attractions will increase by almost 50 percent and top one hundred. When completed, the expansion will increase HKDL’s physical footprint by approximately 23 percent; broaden the park’s appeal by adding more experiences for young adults; and place increased focus on universally-understood stories. Using Guest feedback as a guide, these three new themed areas will create memorable guest experiences, drive strong word of mouth and repeat visitation, and offer many unique only-available-in-Hong-Kong attractions that feature Disney’s immersive storytelling and innovative technology.

Grizzly Trail
Grizzly Gulch, Frontier Gold-Mining Town

The path along Grizzly Trail offers high-spirited frontier fun in an abandoned mining town called Grizzly Gulch, set amidst mountains and woods. The town was founded August 8, 1888 – the luckiest day of the luckiest month of the luckiest year – by prospectors looking to discover gold. Bears have now started causing havoc at the Big Grizzly Mountain Mining Company.

Key Technology and Creative Elements
• Guests visiting Grizzly Gulch are part of the action, experiencing hands-on water features, massive geysers and various leaking structures in the abandoned town.
• Life-size Audio-Animatronic® bears set the story in motion on Big Grizzly Mountain Coaster, an adventure aboard a runaway mine train through town. Guests careen backward down an incline that propels them through twists and turns, before a launch sequence “blasts” the mine train out of the mountain.
• A Wild West stagecoach, an old time Jail House, and the world’s largest nugget of gold provide fun photo opportunities.
• Guests can relax with a Wild West refreshment at the old Saloon or shop for mining supplies and souvenirs at the Bear Necessities merchandise stand.

Mystic Point

Mystic Point is the site of mysterious forces and supernatural events in the heart of a dense, uncharted rain forest.

In Mystic Manor, home to an eccentric world traveler and adventurer and his collection of exotic international artifacts, strange things are afoot as an enchanted music box releases its magical powers, thanks to a mischievous monkey.

Key Technology and Creative Elements
• Inside Mystic Manor, a trackless ride system enables vehicles to move “freely” about the attraction as the story unfolds. Audio-Animatronic® figures and special visual and audio effects help tell the story of mystical phenomena.
• Within Mystic Point lies a beautiful garden full of relics and mythological figures, where guests discover a hidden world of illusions and mysteries that trick the eye.
• Guests can dine at the Adventurer’s Club amid a vast collection of unusual artifacts from around the world or purchase exclusive curiosities and collectibles at the Archive Shop.

Toy Story Land
Disney·Pixar-themed Play Area for Kids of All Ages

Andy, the young boy from the Disney·Pixar Toy Story films, has left his toys unattended in this immersive and highly themed environment, based on one of Disney·Pixar’s most popular film series. While Andy is away, the toys come to life and play…and Guests are invited to join!

Key Technology and Creative Elements
• Oversized outdoor rides and photo opportunities allow Guests to experience the different perceptions of scale, and shrink to the size of a toy.
• One attraction includes a shuttle coaster which propels Guests along a U-shaped style track.
• A drop-style parachute attraction lets Guests join a “training mission,” plunging from a 25m tall tower.
• Guests will enjoy fun, immersive and interactive environments with life-size toys.
• A themed food kiosk provides a barrel of fun snacks and refreshments and Guests can shop for Toy Story inspired collectibles at the merchandise location.

– Disney press release courtesy of disneyandmore.blogspot.com. Check there for concept art and more information about what’s coming to Hong Kong Disneyland!

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is the Value resort on Walt Disney World property which was built first. (A little bit of interesting trivia for you: it wasn’t the first Value resort. The current Moderate level was called Value before the building of the All-Stars.)

All-Star Sports, as you can probably tell, has a sports theme. The buildings are all decorated to reflect this theme, with several sports present throughout the hotel. The larger-than-life icons turn what would otherwise be a typical motel into a hotel worthy of a Disney vacation.

Although All-Star Sports was the first All-Star resort to be built, it’s in great shape – the rooms were recently remodeled. The amenities are pretty similar to the other All-Star Resorts (All-Star Music and All-Star Movies), with a conveniently-located food court and complimentary transportation to Disney theme parks. Keep a careful eye on the schedule of events for Walt Disney World, since cheerleading and sports groups tend to stay at the All-Stars due to their lower rates.

If you’ve stayed at All-Star Sports, what’s your opinion?

Compare to other Walt Disney World hotels.

Photo by coconut wireless

Keep checking back here as I post about each of the hotels at Walt Disney World. Once I have posted about each hotel, I will have a vote about which one you, the readers, think is best – just like I did for nighttime entertainment such as fireworks and parades.

All-Star Sports (6/29/09)

According to the readers of this blog, the best Disney nighttime entertainment is Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot!

Where would you recommend as the best viewing location for Illuminations?

Check back more this week as I highlight some of the great places to stay at Walt Disney World!

As baggage fees have skyrocketed, it is becoming more and more desirable to pack your vacation supplies into suitcases which are as light as possible. There are several options available to conserve on space. For example, many people rent a car when on vacation and stop at a local store for items like shampoo, soap, and other toiletries.

Here are a few other options that don’t involve renting a car (mainly for U.S. destinations):

  • If your vacations are mainly in Orlando, Owner’s Locker will store items for you and keep them in a climate-controlled storage facility. Whenever you visit, the purple van will drop off the storage container at your resort or hotel.
  • Ship items from home. You can easily look up the address for your hotel, and shipping items through the postal service or UPS can be cheaper than the additional-bag fees. Be sure to plan enough time so that the shipment will arrive before you get there.
  • Order items online to be sent to your hotel. Alice.com has good prices and free shipping (UPS 3 day shipping) on grocery-type items.

What other money-saving ideas do you have?

I apologize for not posting more within the last couple weeks. I was on my first trip to Disneyland and then had family circumstances to deal with. I’m back, though, and I’ll be posting quite a bit throughout the summer.

Most large media outlets are currently reporting that Michael Jackson, the king of pop, has passed away. In his memory, I would like to talk about one of MIchael Jackson’s biggest contributions to Disney theme parks around the world, Captain EO.

Watch Part 1 | Part 2 on YouTube.

Captain EO was a “space opera” presented at four Disney theme parks as a 3D film, starring Michael Jackson and featuring two new songs. This show could be found at Epcot at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Park in California, Disneyland Park in Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.

I have heard several fans suggest that D23, the official Disney fan club, should sponsor a showing of Captain EO at one of the Disney theme parks. This would likely be very possible, since the technical equipment for showing the 3D films is still present in each park (albeit with a new film currently being shown). Perhaps if we all ask nicely, they will show it.

Now it’s time to vote on your favorite nighttime entertainment – night parades, fireworks shows, things like that.

Voting will be open for two weeks from today, so June 27, 2009 at midnight is the deadline. The show with the highest number of votes will receive the first Mouseathon Choice award.

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