Aug 12

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Lion King Wing Sneak Peek

disney art of animation lion king wing

Timon, Pumbaa and Simba take a stroll through the courtyard of the new Lion King wing at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. (above) The new wing, opening August 10th, celebrates the journey of Simba, with larger-than-life landscapes and theming that reflect playful and poignant scenes from the Academy Award-winning animated film.

Mufasa, Simba’s father in “The Lion King,” stands majestically over the courtyard of the new Lion King wing. (below) Disney’s Art of Animation Resort featuring family suites is located at Walt Disney World Resort. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

disney art of animation lion king wing pride rock

Jun 12

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Lion King Phase Opening Date Released

Disney Art of Animation Resort Lion King Suite

The Pride Lands of Africa is the scenic setting for the “Lion King,” the third phase of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort set to open August 10th at Walt Disney World Resort.  The new Lion King wing celebrates the journey of Simba, with landscapes and theming that reflect playful and poignant scenes from the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney Pictures animated film “The Lion King.”

In the new Lion King wing, guests embark on a journey through Africa with encounters with characters and scenic moments from the film at every turn. King Mufasa towers atop Pride Rock while his evil brother Scar slinks in the shadows beyond the elephant graveyard. There’s Pumba and Timon with a young Simba dancing across a log bridge in true carefree “hakuna matata” fashion. Scar’s crazed and comical hyenas “guard” the elephant graveyard, a play area sure to delight youngsters.

The storytelling comes to life inside the 320 family suites. Zazu takes center stage on the headboards while Pumba and Timon decorate the shower curtain. Youngsters can rest on a leaf-shaped chair or sleep alongside Simba who slumbers at the head of one of the beds.

Earlier this summer Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opened 320 “Finding Nemo” family suites and 480 “Cars” family suites. Opening in phases, each of four distinctly designed wings of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, offers rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms at the “Little Mermaid” wing, opening in September, sleep up to four, with rates as low as $94.

Oct 11

Disney Universe Game Play and Review



Excited to bring you this guest post by good friend John Saccheri (aka ChefBigFatPanda) @DisneyWorlds

Disney Universe is a solo or co-operative adventure game from Disney Interactive Studios.  You adorn costumes of your favorite Disney characters and enter worlds that are meant to be “danger free” versions of your favorites like “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Monsters Inc.” and “The Lion King”.  You quickly realize that these worlds have been taken over by some computer virus and are no longer “danger free” as they were meant to be. It is up to you to return them to their peaceful uncorrupted states.

Before considering any opinions, I think it is important to know a bit about the person giving said opinions. I have always been a video game fan, but am no longer the youngest little tike at Gamestop!  As a matter of fact, I am turning 40 next month, and I feel like the old man at the video game store.  I am a Disney fanatic, so that may sway my preferences somewhat. I am into fantasy games, love nostalgic games like Super Mario and despise war type combat games. So, take this review from that standpoint please.

Before purchasing Disney Universe, I saw many previews comparing it to the Lego series of video games. A series I find mediocre. I think it’s a fair comparison but I like Disney Universe so much better. Why?  The Disney theming is certainly more up my alley and the graphics are bright and crisp. The game play is varied enough that after an hour, I still wasn’t bored.


TRON Sam Flynn

You begin your adventure in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and the familiar music plays in the background. You collect coins and find many shiny things yelling for your attention. At times it becomes a bit chaotic. You have to collect coins, put out fires, ride cannons, complete challenges and save trapped guests. Sometimes, all at once! There are boss fights and cool movie references along the way. I loved having to shoot cannon balls at a monstrous mermaid, to make her cry, to collect her tears. Funny stuff!

Playing with a friend was awesome! The camera is fixed and unlike the Lego games I didn’t find myself needing to be right next to my partner (on screen) or waiting for him to be closer until I could move again. We were both able to freely move and complete tasks without much bother. Prior to getting this game, I thought I was going to want to fight my partner and destroy him. Yes, you can do that, but the instinct is really to fight the common enemies and progress cooperatively to the next level. Every time I tried to foil my partner, it backfired on me and I lost points.

The characters you play as (little funny humans in Disney costumes) level up and collect coins. Coins are used to buy and unlock new costumes or new Worlds. You get to spend your points as you wish and open up the next world YOU choose. I went to Monsters Inc. after completing Pirates and am still on that now.

Disney Universe Mad Hatter

Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter

All in all, this is a fun casual game. It saves often enough that the commitment is not staggering. You can play for ½ an hour, put it down and come right back to the level you last completed, each world having many levels and environments. It’s fun, fast paced Disney themed gaming that is more fun with 2 players. There is no online play, so your second player needs to be in your household.

The only other game I am looking forward to more than this title is Kinect Disneyland Adventures where you roam the park freely, experiencing rides as never before. Look for a review on that after its release date on November 15th.

Thank you so much!

Disney Universe is now available on store shelves for Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC…

Jul 11

Disney MGM Studios Throwback Photo Sans Sorcerer’s Hat

The Great Movie RidePhoto via Stephen Janko on Flickr

Found this photo on Flickr and just had to share it.  This is The Great Movie Ride in Disney’s MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) circa 1990.  As a former MGM Studios employee (vacation planner from 99-00) it pains me to see the Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Blvd.  This shot of the Chinese Theater in it’s original glory meshes so much better with the theming of this area of the park than the big hat.  I wasn’t a fan of the Spaceship Earth wand either. Despite rumors that “the Hat” will be going anywhere anytime soon, I think it is unfortunately here to stay. Oh well…at least I have my memories….and this photo. *sigh*


Oct 09

Walt Disney World FastPass Machines Have Character – Part Three

This third installment of our four part series on Walt Disney World’s FastPass Machines will cover the Epcot Theme Park. We’ve already taken a look at the cinematic FastPass Machines at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the magical FastPass Machines at the Magic Kingdom. The only attraction we will be skipping over is the Malestrom in Norway. The crowds were so thin on the last day that I toured Epcot that all of the Malestrom Machines had been covered up and were not being used.

FastPass Machines at Disney’s Epcot

Let’s start with the FastPass Machine that probably gets the most use….Soarin’!  Soarin’s FastPass Machines are bright and cheery.  They are numbered on the sides, just like an airport terminal’s sign would be numbered.  You can make out the hang glider icon on the bottom front of the Machine.  They are a fantastic complement to the theming of the attraction. Soarin’ FastPass Machines have Character!


The Soarin’ FastPass machines have a friendly neighbor…The Honey I Shrunk the Audience FastPass Machines!  This attraction is located right next door in the Imagination Pavilion.  The story at this attraction revolves around Professor Szalinski.  Szalinski is about to accept the Inventor of the Year Award and showcase his hoverpod at the Imagination Institute.  You can see the Imagination Institute’s Logo on the front of the FastPass Machine.  Honey I Shrunk the Audience FastPass Machines have Character!


From here…let’s hop on over to Mission Space. Mission Space put a futuristic twist on their FastPass Machines. The design on the side of the machine looks a lot like a planet in orbit and the cool silver housing looks like it might just be part of a spaceship! Mission Space FastPass Machines have Character!


The last stop on our tour of Epcot’s FastPass Machines is Test Track.  This machine is by far, the best themed machine in Epcot.  The Imagineers put a lot of thought into this one!  Road Crews have striped the box with yellow lines and it is topped with a Caution Light hat!  Test Track FastPass Machines definitely have Character!


I hope you enjoyed this peek at Epcot’s FastPass Machines!  Next week I will present the fourth installment of “Walt Disney World FastPass Machines Have Character” with a look at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Until Next Time,

P.S. If you missed Part One of this series and would like to take a look at some of the other FastPass Machines sprinkled about the Walt Disney World Resort, CLICK HERE to read more!

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