Plus… Osborne Lights add Jack Skellington to this year’s event,
New restaurants coming to Disney Springs and the BoardWalk,
Another Halloween has come and gone, and we now find the ghosts and goblins of All Hallows’ Eve giving way to the lights and garland of the Holiday Season. November is upon us, and a new month means it’s time to take a look at the latest news and happenings at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It’s a time dominated by Tom Turkey, black Friday, and football. But they’ll all have to slide over and make room for the November edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin this edition of the Newswire with some exciting news out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the park is abuzz over the recent announcement of the upcoming removal of the gigantic Sorcerer Mickey Hat icon! Official confirmation of the hat’s upcoming demise came late last month, with de-construction set to begin early in 2015. This will come as welcome news to many traditionalists, as once again we’ll be afforded a full view of the Chinese Theater! The hat was constructed directly in front of the theater back in 2001 for the 100 Years of Magic Celebration. But unfortunately, the placement and immense size of the giant hat completely shadowed the theater’s view from Guests as they walked up Hollywood Blvd. But shortly after the New Year, the theater will be back in full view for the first time in nearly a decade and a half! I for one am thrilled to hear this news, as I have very fond memories of the “pre-hat” era of the Studios. But I hope they don’t just scrap the hat icon once it’s removed. I’d love to see it re-constructed at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, or even in the Fantasia section of Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. Perhaps it could even find a home somewhere in Disney Springs! What do you think? Will they re-construct the Sorcerer Hat somewhere else, and if so, where would you like to see it take up new residence? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the article!
For more news out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, let’s head over to the Streets of America. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights presented by Siemens made its 2014 debut on Friday, November 7th. This year’s incarnation features all the sequences and songs we’ve grown to love, as well as a brand new edition for 2014! The Pumpkin King himself plays a part in this year’s festivities, as a new Jack Skellington sequence has been added into the mix! The sequence is set to the song “What’s This?” and it can be seen each night throughout the Holiday season at DHS from 6pm until park close.
There’s one more newsbit to report at DHS, and for this one we head to the Magic of Disney Animation building. It’s here where you’ll find the new Big Hero 6 meet and greet! The new meet and greet takes up residence in the area formerly occupied by Wreck-It Ralph and Venelope Von Schweets, and includes both Hiro Hamada and the large but lovable Baymax.
Time to park-hop over to Magic Kingdom now for some news on the refurbishment front. Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid is set to see some downtime in early 2015, as the attraction is slated for a month-long closure beginning on Monday, February 2nd. But Ariel and her aquatic pals will be back in action on Saturday, March 7th, putting the total downtime for the attraction at just under five weeks.
Let’s board the Monorail and venture over to Epcot now, as it’s time for the “Rumor of the Month!” Let’s begin in World Showcase, where the rumor mill has been ablaze in recent weeks with news that investors are interested in bringing a Puerto Rico pavilion to World Showcase by 2017! The Puerto Rico kiosk just debuted at this year’s Food & Wine Festival, and a three-year deal for the booth is inked through 2016. There’s been heavy rumors of possible additions to WS in year’s past, so we’ll have to wait and see if anything transpires with this one. But Puerto Rico’s respected and credible Metro Newspaper did run an article on the subject on September 29th, so this rumor may hold a little more weight than other previously speculated pavilions in years past.
There’s a “bonus” rumor to address before we depart Epcot today, as this one’s so hot I don’t even want to wait til the December’s article to discuss it! I’m talking about a new movie sequence and third show building for Soarin’! For months the rumor mill has been ablaze with rumblings about a new movie being filmed for the attraction. Recent unexplained Epcot flyovers could suggest the new footage may include shots of Spaceship Earth, and there’s also been talk of expanding on or replacing the existing California scenes with new footage from popular spots Worldwide such as the Egyptian Pyramids, Eiffel Tower and Great Wall of China. But let’s shift our focus to the possibility of a third theater for the popular Land attraction. This third show building theory is something I discussed previously with Toy Story Midway Mania, and it now appears Soarin’ will also be undergoing a similar expansion. There are currently two show buildings for the attraction, each one housing 87 Guests at a given time. Despite this, wait times for Soarin’ regularly reach 90 minutes and beyond. A third show building would certainly help to alleviate some of the long lines, as it would bump the Guest capacity from 174 to 261. With three show buildings at there disposal, they could even designate one of the buildings for FASTPASS+ Guests only. As far as space goes, there is ample room in the area around the Land to accommodate a third show building at the pavilion, and word on the street says paperwork for construction of a new building at the Land by 2016 has already been filed. So if you believe the signs and rumblings, this rumor may already be a forgone conclusion. I for one would love both a third show building and an updated film for the attraction. New scenes and less wait time sounds like a winning combo to me, guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this rumor comes to fruition!
Time to make our way out of the parks for some news on a new restaurant coming to Disney’s BoardWalk. Trattoria al Forno is set to open on Thursday, December 18th, and when it does it will feature some of the finest Italian cuisine on property. The restaurant will be open for breakfast from 7:30am-11am, and dinner hours will run from 5pm-10pm. Menu items range from your classic pizza and pasta dishes to slow-cooked lamb shank, chicken parmesan, and eggplant rollatini. The breakfast menu features traditional foods like eggs and waffles, but you’ll also find some unique dishes like caramel apple crumb pancakes!
But the BoardWalk isn’t the only spot outside the parks with restaurant news to report, as announcements were recently made pertaining some new locations coming to Disney Springs! First up is The BOATHOUSE. This restaurant will be a major part of The Landing district of Disney Springs, as Guests will find exquisite waterfront dining amidst live music and entertainment. The BOATHOUSE will feature three main dining rooms, two private dining rooms, and three bars/lounges. The names for each section of the restaurant have already been announced. The trio of bars have been christened The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar, and The Dock Bar. The three main dining rooms will be known as The Runabout, The Lake House, and Twin Transoms. The two private dining rooms, The Regatta and The Trophy Room, will be reserved for private events and conventions. But perhaps the main attraction at the BOATHOUSE will be the water cruises! That’s right, the restaurant will allow Guests the opportunity to board a vessel and take to the waters for a guided tour. There will be multiple experiences to choose from (depending on your budget), from a basic 20-minute guided tour on the Amphicars to an elegant voyage aboard the wooden Italian water taxi The Venezia. The BOATHOUSE is expected to operate daily until 2am, and look for the restaurant to be open for business by Spring 2015.
Our final bit of news today also comes courtesy of Disney Springs, as yet another new restaurant has been confirmed for the area. Celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto will soon be bringing Morimoto Asia to The Landing District! The pan-Asian themed restaurant will feature a grand dining room, as well as a cocktail lounge and long bar. In addition, there will also be waterfront seating and private dining rooms available, and there’s even plans to showcase the region’s cuisines with on-site exhibition kitchens! Morimoto Asia is currently under construction in the space formerly occupied by Mannequins Dance Hall, and it’s expected to be open for business in Summer 2015.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the November edition of the Newswire, but I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine, submitting over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication.
(Photos c/o Disney®)