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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BooksThe Dish on Disney

Some Disney News Updates

Good evening, everyone! Today I want to talk about some of the news that came up to be very interesting to me! So, let’s get started, shall we?! Starting with some of the details of the Disneyland Forward expansion. The expansion plans reveal 16 new rides, new show could come to Disneyland Resort. New rides and attractions similar to Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Midway Mania and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad could be coming to Disneyland Resort if the company’s DisneylandForward expansion plans get approved by the City of Anaheim. Maps included in the 17,000-page environmental report for the proposed expansion indicate that as many as 16 new rides and a new outdoor show be added, the Orange County Register reported. The plans show a potential new theme park stationed on the Downtown Disney and Lilo and Stitch parking lots, woven amid the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel – which is currently getting reimagined into the Pixar Place Hotel. Maps of the westside site bordered by Katella Avenue, Walnut Street, Magic Way and Disneyland Drive show plans for five thrill rides, nine family rides, two round rides and an outdoor show, the Register reported. The two outdoor rides would be similar to Big Thunder Mountain and Incredicoaster and the three indoor rides would be similar to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Space Mountain. Autopia and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree would be the inspiration behind the five proposed outdoor family rides, while the four indoor family rides would be similar to Soarin’ Around the World and Haunted Mansion. The two round rides would resemble Dumbo the Flying Elephant and King Arthur’s Carrousel. The beloved “World of Color” and “Fantasmic” shows would be the inspiration behind the new proposed outdoor show. Should Disney receive approval for the plans, it would implement temporary sound barriers during construction and permanent 12-foot noise barriers along property lines outlined in expansion plans to combat noise. Fireworks would also be prohibited in proposed expansion areas to mitigate noise levels in the surrounding communities, according to the report. Last month, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro talked about the possibility of bringing Frozen’s Arendelle, Black Panther’s Wakanda and Coco’s Santa Cecilia to life in some capacity at the “Happiest Place on Earth” and potentially its sister park in Orlando. Disney fans have theorized that lands, rides, and attractions based on “Tangled,” “Zootopia” and “Tron,” or expanded areas based on “Peter Pan” and “Toy Story” could also be in the works, should Disney receive approval. I think I would love to see some new rides added such as the Happy Baymax ride at Tokyo Disneyland, Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast like Tokyo Disneyland, Frozen Ever After like at Epcot, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train like at Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. These additions would fit well in Disneyland Park, depending how big the buildings are. In California Adventure, I would like to see some new rides like Slinky Dog Dash like in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure like at Epcot, A Bug’s Life attraction, and maybe Alien Swirling Saucers also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It can have more Pixar rides.

In other news… A new Disneyland Hotel called the Villas has officially opened up on September 28th. On Thursday, Disneyland opened the new tower at the Disneyland Hotel — and debuted a kind of hotel room the resort has never had before. And it has the lowest rate possible at the hotel. While the grandest of the rooms, a three-bedroom villa, can cost almost $6,000 a night in peak times, the new tower also has the Disneyland Hotel’s most affordable room, called a Duo Studio, which sleeps two and costs significantly less than what used to be the least expensive accommodation at the hotel. These Duo Studio rooms are smaller than the standard rooms at the Disneyland Hotel: They sleep only two but still feel spacious because the sitting area converts into the bedroom by lowering the Murphy bed (which has a queen-sized mattress) down from the wall. Some have balconies and views of the Disneyland Hotel monorail pool and the Disneyland Park fireworks. Similar rooms, called Deluxe Studios, debuted at Walt Disney World’s Riviera Resort in 2019 but have never been at Disneyland before. The new tower of the Disneyland Hotel is called the Discovery Tower, also called the Villas at the Disneyland Hotel, which is a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property. Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare vacation program where members purchase points, they then use to book rooms (referred to as “villas” by Disney) at DVC hotels around the world. Buy-in can cost tens of thousands of dollars; for those who can afford it, it’s like prepaying for a decade of Disney vacations. That means when members want to book at the property, priority goes to them; a certain number of rooms are reserved strictly for DVC members. Another perk for DVC members staying at the villas is that they have exclusive access to a private lounge in Disneyland. Called Star View Station Member Lounge, the area is on the second floor of Star Wars: Launch Bay in Tomorrowland and is inspired by Walt Disney’s fascination with space travel. It even has a replica spacecraft he used as a prop in “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” TV show. But the tower is also open to regular guests, as of Sept. 28. These villas can be booked by nonmembers through the Disneyland Hotel website. The Deluxe Studios have kitchenettes, unlike the standard rooms in the other towers, and any larger villa (one to three bedrooms) has a full kitchen and in-unit laundry. The other major perk is that the Discovery Tower has a private pool. It might not have monorail water slides like the main hotel, but it does have a “Steamboat Willie”-inspired splash pad with Mickey Mouse. The rest of the hotel is in blazing color — the splash pad, as an homage to the cartoon, is in black and white. A standard room in the Disneyland Hotel, in one of the original three towers, sleeps four (though some rooms sleep five because of a daybed). On Jan. 9, 2024, for example, a standard-view room in one of the three other towers of the Disneyland Hotel — the Fantasy, Adventure and Frontier towers — costs $466 a night. On the same night in the Discovery Tower, a standard-view Duo Studio “villa” is $394. A standard view Deluxe Studio villa, which sleeps four and has a kitchenette, is $525. A standard room at Pixar Place, Disney’s most affordable (but still expensive) room, costs $356 on that night. On May 14, a standard room is $669. In the villas, a Duo Studio is $566, and a Deluxe Studio is $755. A standard room at Pixar Place costs $503. SFGATE attended a media preview of the villas Thursday, before guests checked in for the night. While the other three towers of the hotel are themed to lands inside the park, the Discovery Tower is more inspired by the company’s history of animation. Rooms are themed to one of four Disney movies: “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Princess and the Frog.” The three-bedroom Grand Villas include all four in the space, plus movies like “Bambi.” “We wanted to have an original story,” principal interior designer Anne Miller told SFGATE, but Disney wanted that story to start from “older stories from the golden era [of Disney animation] because they inspired Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel.” “We wanted to tie into that history of Disneyland,” she added, “but we also wanted to bring in some newer stories too.” The detailing is gorgeous: The carpets have quotations from the movies woven into them, the original wallpaper designs reflect the animation aesthetic, and the bathtubs in the larger villas feature luminous mosaics. Every closet has another interesting detail inside. Even the mirrors and light fixtures are customized to match the theme. But as much as it’s a departure architecturally from the rest of the hotel, it still feels like it’s part of the same environment. The lobby has a huge mural by Disney animation artist Lorelay Bové, which incorporates movies from “Bambi” and “Alice in Wonderland” all the way to “Raya and the Last Dragon” and the forthcoming “Wish.” The inspiration she drew from Disney legend Mary Blair (responsible for the It’s a Small World aesthetic and many other iconic Disneyland moments) is clear in the artwork, which feels modern despite its retro-inspired aesthetic. I am really excited to see this new hotel in person!!

New Genie Plus Additions… Disneyland has announced that the 2 new rides called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland’s Mickey’s Toon Town and the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will be added to Genie Plus starting next month. Don’t know when, but sometime next month. In Disneyland, you can purchase and activate Genie+ once you enter a theme park. Then you can book a Lightning Lane for an attraction! Wow! This is very interesting. They want people to keep using genie plus and it increases the service value.

The last news… Disneyland has announced that families can buy a discount ticket for kids than can now visit for $50 per day. If you haven’t already started planning your family’s 2024 Disneyland trip, now is the time. The new year is quickly approaching, and you need to get a head start if you want to score a hotel room near the parks, get the best dining reservations and have enough time to learn how to navigate Disney Genie+ and all the perks (like free Disney PhotoPass attraction photos) that come along with the skip-the-line service. If you want to save money on your Disneyland vacation, you can take advantage of a limited-time special ticket offer that brings the price of Disneyland kids tickets down to as low as $50 per child per day. Beginning Oct. 24, you can purchase a child’s ticket (valid for kids ages 3-9) for use between Jan. 8, 2024, and March 10, 2024, starting at just $50 per day. This special offer applies to one-, two- or three-day single-park or Park Hopper tickets. Like with all Disneyland tickets, you will have the availability to add Disney Genie+ starting at an additional $25 per day. There are no blackout dates, but you will still need a theme park reservation to get into your chosen park for the day (or your first park of the day if you purchase Park Hopper tickets). The discounted kids’ tickets will expire 13 days after the first use or March 10, 2024, whichever comes first. Regularly priced Disneyland kids’ tickets can run as high as $179 per day for a one-day, one-park ticket or about $113 per day for a three-day, one-park-per-day ticket. How much you can save with this new offer will likely depend on the dates and length of your visit. Disneyland will release more details when the discount becomes available Oct. 24, so stay tuned for further updates or check Disneyland’s “Offers & Discounts” page on that date. For now, you can read these related stories to start planning your next visit to The Happiest Place on Earth.

So, what are your thoughts and comments about these news?! Which part of the news interests you the most? Pick one!!! Stay tuned for Disney updates.

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