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11 December 2012

Everything else new at Walt Disney World

Main St. USA at the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Paul Williams.
Although the recent media events focused on New Fantasyland, Test Track, Splittsville and the Art of Animation Resort, there are plenty of other new attractions and experiences coming to Disney World. Here are some of the highlights for the upcoming year.

“Celebrate the Magic”

Walt Disney World Resort guests are being treated to a new nighttime projection spectacular transforming Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park. ”Celebrate the Magic” combines music, spectacular imagery and special effects paying tribute to the artistry and imagination of Disney stories, from beloved classics to contemporary favorites. In one dazzling moment, Tinker Bell appears to fly around Cinderella Castle, weaving among the turrets. “Celebrate the Magic” takes amazed Magic Kingdom guests down the rabbit hole with Alice, soaring above the Big Top with Dumbo and visiting an African savannah with Simba. According to show director Katy Harris, “‘Celebrate the Magic’ draws its inspiration from the love we share for Disney’s memorable characters, their stories and the imagination that brought them to life.” The show is version 2.0 of the popular and groundbreaking Magic, Memories and You! that uses high-powered digital projectors to bathe Cinderella's castle in imagery. The new version of the show eliminates the photos of guests taken throughout the day (thankfully) and redirects attention to classic Disney characters. Least effective is when the castle front is used as a simple screen to show scenes from movies, but the show shines when the castle's architecture is transformed and brought to life.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Adds Plains Zebras

Kilimanjaro Safaris, the popular attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, now boasts an all-new finale: a herd of plains zebras. A reconstructed savannah space featuring a new watering hole is home to the zebras, which are native to eastern and southern Africa. The new zebra space opened to guests in October to be a new final chapter as guests in open-air vehicles crisscross the savannahs and other animal habitat areas of the park.
 

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow immersive experience
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is a new experience on view at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, giving Walt Disney World Resort guests a chance to become immersed in the action and adventure of the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.

Aspiring pirates will journey deep into an eerie lost grotto, where a mysterious pirate skull puts them to the test to see if they have what it takes to set sail with Captain Jack’s crew. Along the way, they must face all the perils of a pirate’s life as their favorite moments from the films come to life. State-of-the-art technology brings the pirate’s life to guests, including an epic ship-to-ship battle. The attraction is included with theme park admission and is located in Soundstage 4 near Pixar Place.

Secret Agents at Epcot Foil Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Evil Plans

Walt Disney World guests get to be secret agents in a new interactive game at Epcot. Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is based on the wily secret-agent alter-ego of Perry the Platypus – faithful pet to the title characters from Disney Channel’s animated series “Phineas & Ferb.” Although just a simple pet to Phineas and Ferb, Perry turns into Agent P in each episode to help stop the misguided plans of his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

Epcot guests who accept the mission get to help Agent P thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s most daring plots. Agents use a “high-tech secret agent device” to receive clues for each case. Solving the clues takes agents to different places throughout seven World Showcase countries at Epcot – Mexico Pavilion, France Pavilion, Germany Pavilion, Norway Pavilion, Japan Pavilion, China Pavilion and the United Kingdom Pavilion. Agents scour each country for clues, evil “Inators,” and – with a little bit of luck – help Agent P defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Agents can arm themselves with a F.O.N.E. (Field Operative Notifications Equipment) at one of four Agent P kiosks around World Showcase. The experience is a redesign of the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure with new storylines and special effects.

Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

A soothing escape to a world of pampering and relaxation is just steps away from Disney theme park fun at the newly re-imagined Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

The newly remodeled spa, now owned and operated by Disney, is set to open Dec. 17. It blends Grand Floridian Victorian elegance with modern touches – plus a dash of Disney whimsy.

All the senses are engaged in an ultimate relaxation experience – flavorful and soothing elixirs, color variations in lighting and Disney orchestral music harmonize with the treatment selected. Spa-goers walk through the new Victorian-style entryway and indulge in the spa’s relax, renew, or imagine themes aimed at creating a custom experience. The centerpiece of the spa’s lobby is an original mural reflecting old Florida landscape and nature. Glass mosaic tiles in the Jacuzzi rooms further enhance the elegance and sophistication of the spa.

All of the spas, salons and fitness centers will be owned and operated by Disney beginning Jan.16, 2013. On that same day the spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort will temporarily close for renovation and reopen in the summer as Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
 

What’s New, What’s Next Dining at Disney
  • Look for the Mickey Check on the kids’ menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant, the first location to offer “Kids’ Complete Meals” featuring the Mickey Check, part of Disney Magic of Healthy Living, and on all quick-service menus at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The Mickey Check will be on all table-service menus by Jan. 5, 2013. The Mickey Check helps identify nutritious food choices.
  • California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort gets a major makeover and will be closed from Jan. 6, 2013 until summer 2013. Chef Brian Piasecki also is tweaking the menu, but the focus remains on fresh, seasonal creations.
  • Upstairs at the France pavilion, Bistro de Paris reopened December 11 with a new name and a completely refurbished dining room and new menu. Still haute French but a bit more casual, with a nod to famed chef Paul Bocuse in the d├ęcor and the name – Monsieur Paul. In the meantime, Boulangerie Patisserie bakery is a brand-new building at the back of the pavilion, opening in January 2013.
  • Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa now offers a private dining experience in The Chef’s Domain for up to 10 guests. Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, cost is $155 per person plus tax (includes gratuity) for six courses. For reservations: 407/WDW-DINE.
  • The next generation of food courts is open at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where Landscape of Flavors features five mini shops serving breakfast, lunch and dinner — and diners can customize choices. Tandoor ovens add an Indian-African flair, and fresh fruit smoothies are a hit. Guests also can find burgers, soups, pizzas and other favorites.