Aug 14

New Baby Arrives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

New Baby Arrives at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

As they follow the path that winds along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may get a glimpse of one of nature’s most endearing sights – a newborn male gorilla cuddling with his mother. Born Aug. 7 to mother Azizi and father Gino, the healthy infant has already become an integral member of his family group, which includes two other adult females, Kashata and Benga and a four-year-old female named Lilly.

The new baby, which is yet to be named, is the fourth gorilla born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. The first gorilla birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom occurred in 1997 before the park opened, the second baby arrived in 1999 and the third was born in 2010.

Aug 14

ESPN and Walt Disney World Resort to Host Inaugural Fantasy Football Convention

ESPN at Walt Disney World Inaugural Fantasy Football Convention

ESPN and Walt Disney World Resort will host a Fantasy Football Convention at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, August 22-23. The weekend will feature a live telecast of ESPN’s Fantasy Football Now (Saturday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2), a question-and-answer session with ESPN commentators sponsored by Champion and a fantasy football draft where fans can interact with and seek advice from the network’s experts.

Other events include ESPN: The Tailgate sponsored by Johnsonville Brats, Disney chefs competing in the ESPN Chili Bowl, and a training table breakfast with Disney characters.

The Fantasy Football Now team of host Robert Flores, senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck, injury expert Stephania Bell and Sara Walsh will participate in the weekend festivities along with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, analyst Mark Schlereth and Insider KC Joyner.

NFL Live host Trey Wingo will also participate in the event. He and Schlereth will judge the Chili Bowl, joined by former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James.

To register for the event and for information on event packages, fans can visit: espn.com/fantasy. Florida-based fans are offered a special $99 registration rate.

Aug 14

Demand for This Limited Engagement Disney Event Was So High That It’s Been Extended Four More Weeks

Earful Tower at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

The “Frozen” fun of Arendelle won’t melt away on Labor Day, as “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been extended through September 28, 2014.

The popularity of the icy special event prompted Anna, Elsa, Olaf and their polar pals to extend their stay at the Walt Disney World Resort theme park beyond September 1, 2014 (the originally announced closing date for the event).

“Frozen,” a comedy-adventure presented by Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the highest grossing animated film of all time.

Fans of “Frozen” have been flocking to the flurry of fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since July 5, enjoying immersive experiences like the “For The First Time in Forever: A ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration” and ice skating (on real ice!) inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland.  Anna, Elsa & Kristoff are also welcomed by guests daily in an 11 a.m. processional down Hollywood Boulevard while ice cutters, skaters and skiers join the cavalcade.

Nearly all of the event’s components will continue daily, with the exception of the “Frozen Fireworks” spectacular.  The fireworks show will be presented each night (except August 23) through September 1, and then on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only from September 5-28.

Most activities in “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” are included in regular park admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Aug 14

Because Nothing Says Coffee and Disney Like a Moss Fireplace in Florida

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

I’d forgotten to post these photos I took a few months ago when Starbucks first opened it’s doors at Downtown Disney West Side. Well, better late than never I always say. This new Starbucks location is right on the water and has a fantastic rear porch. Of course it’s only a few months out of the year here in Central Florida where it’s actually cool enough that you’d want to sit outside let alone sit fireside, but Starbucks has ya covered with it’s moss covered mermaid fireplace.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

OK. I admit it. There was one person outside on this sweaty afternoon.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Grass. It’s not just for grazing animals anymore. Actually, it’s an environmental feature.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

The new site is Starbucks 500th LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) store. The standard, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, is a rating system for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings. LEED certification is just one component of energy and environmental design for the Starbucks.

Among the elements of sustainable design at the new store at Walt Disney World Resort: 100 percent energy-efficient LED lighting; reclaimed oak, maple and other materials used throughout the store; community tables made from salvaged trees; a green roof consisting of hundreds of lemon grass plants. All the grass was grown in a nursery and it was fed with compost from coffee grounds from a nearby Starbucks store.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Love this big long window cause I love me some people watchin’.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Let’s take a look inside shall we?

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

The nearly 4,000 square foot store is a new page in the collaboration between two iconic brands. In March of this year, Starbucks and Disney teamed up to open the first company-operated Starbucks location at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California.

David Daniels, the lead designer of the Orlando store, says both locations are the result of the “magic” that can happen when two storytelling companies work together to design distinctive, memorable experiences for customers.

The Orlando and Anaheim Starbucks locations share another special bond. For the first time, Starbucks is connecting customers through in-store interactive touchscreens. The 70-inch digital display panels – one in each Starbucks store – use built-in cameras to create chalk sketches of guests and their surroundings. Customers in the Disney World Starbucks will be able to interact with those in the Disneyland location.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

The location is also the first Starbucks Reserve Store at the resort, offering rare and exquisite small-batch coffees from around the world. The store is equipped with the Clover Brewing System and four Mistrena espresso machines. Elegant bar seating encourages interaction between Starbucks baristas and customers. The store also has a more expansive food case than most cafes, and 30 Starbucks partners (employees) per shift serving customers.

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks at Walt Disney World

This newest Disney Starbucks is modern and hip just like you’d expect it to be. It really is a beautiful space and will help draw tourists to the West Side area.

Aug 14

20 Things Every Disney Fan Should Know About the Festival of Fantasy Parade in the Magic Kingdom

20 Things Every Disney Fan Should Know About the Festival of Fantasy Parade

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade continues a long tradition of classic parades in the Magic Kingdom dating back to opening day more than 40 years ago. Some fun facts:

  • Parade features a cast of more than 100
  • Disney characters from more than a dozen classic stories are represented among nine parade floats
  • 40 additional characters are presented in animated or sculptural form
  • Performers appear on stilts, swings and pendulums, bringing a kinetic energy to the procession
  • The Princess Garden lead float stretches more than 50 feet long
  • The Jolly Roger atop the Peter Pan float flies 28 feet above the parade route
  • Mickey’s Airship finale float is the tallest float topping out at 32 feet
  • The trio of finale floats span more than 90 feet along the parade route
  • Elaborate costumes were crafted by 10 different costume houses, in eight cities, in two countries — including Creative Costuming facilities in both Florida and California.
  • Some 27 separate custom designed fabrics were designed by costume designer Mirena Rada in collaboration with Creative Costuming Graphic Artist Paul Jordan.
  • Counting interfacings and trims, it takes 28 separate fabrics to make up one Swing Thug #1 Costume (Tangled unit).  His vest requires vinyl to be cut into 75 separate diamond shapes and then stitched onto cool max fabric.
  • Some pieces, including the Seashell Girl (The Little Mermaid unit) headpiece, were digitally sculpted and then grown to size with a 3D printer.
  • It takes 30 yards of fabric to make one Seashell Girl costume which includes 12 different colors of Nitex Mesh.
  • The coral pieces for the Coral Twins (The Little Mermaid unit) were custom designed.  They are being hand poured in three separate colors by the artisans of the Creative Costuming Craft Team and baked and finished for 16 hours each in an oven.
  • The socks worn by the Lost Boys (Peter Pan unit) are custom designs that were knitted to order in Hong Kong.
  • Minnie Mouse’s Dress and Hat (finale unit) uses 95 gold lame dots that are cut out, “blinged out,” and then sewn on.
  • The Bubble Girl (finale unit) headpiece is made from three separate clown wigs that are blended together by the Creative Costuming Millinery Team.
  • Cha Cha Girl (finale unit) – Her wig was designed with 148 yards of horsehair in four colors, that is then rolled, pressed and curled by hand.
  • The Steampunk-inspired Maleficent Dragon stretches 53 feet from snout to tail and reaches 26 feet in the air.
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment team members partnered with Tony Award-winning designer Michael Curry on the development of the Maleficent Dragon.