Ever since its establishment in 1987 the Disney Legend Awards honored people whose works have been integral to the success of the House of Mouse. Whether they were animators, theme park designers, musicians, film/TV production personnel, and artists, many have been named Disney Legends. Now, the 2019 awardees are revealed.
Disney announced the ten names that make up this year’s class of Disney Legends on May 16. Two are from the company’s theme park arm, two are from ABC News. The rest made their marks in Disney films and television. Some of them however, are from the MCU film franchise.
It’s perhaps appropriate that following the decade-one culmination of the MCU storyline, some of its stars will be honored. Some of them will continue with the franchise’s future installments and shows. One however, may have taken his final bow for the MCU. Becoming a Disney Legend makes a proper sendoff.
Here’s a list of the honorees for Disney Legends 2019:
Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark/Iron Man, Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-2019)
Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan, MCU; also film director for “Iron Man” 1-2, “Jungle Book” and “Lion King” remakes (2016, 2019)
Ming-Na Wen – voice of “Mulan” (1998); also Melinda May in ABC-MCU series “Agents of SHIELD”
Hans Zimmer – composer for “Lion King” (animation and remake) and the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films
James Earl Jones – voices of Darth Vader (“Star Wars”) and Mufasa (“Lion King”)
Kenny Ortega – film director; currently famous for Disney Channel originals (“High School Musical” and “Descendants”)
Bette Midler – film star for Disney (“Hocus Pocus” and Touchstone label
Robin Roberts – ABC journalist
Diane Sawyer – ABC journalist
Barnette Ricci – Walt Disney Studios President/Show Director
Wing Chao – Disney Parks and Resorts Asia Pacific VP (Development); Disney Imagineering Executive VP
As the month of April rolls along, the season of spring north of the equator is beginning to transition into summer. It’s still a ways off, but it never hurts to start promoting early. Just look at Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. They’ve got some summer events lined up soon.
First up is Donald’s Hot Jungle Summer in Tokyo Disneyland. Its centerpiece will be the “O! Summer Banzai!” spectacle. This marks the first time in six years that Tokyo Disneyland is performing an evening stage show in front of Cinderella Castle. Donald Duck will be joined by Daisy, Mickey and Minnie for a twice-a-night 20-minute bonanza with lots of performers, projection visuals and “fire/water sprays.”
Speaking of sprays, there will be plenty of flying water at Tokyo Disney Sea at the same time. That’s because they’re celebrating Disney Pirates Summer. Their counterpart central event is the “Pirates Summer Battle! Get Wet!” adventure spectacular, with “Pirates of the Caribbean” taking charge.
Captains Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa will lead their pirate crews on a 25-minute presentation with lots of exploding water and similar effects on Disney Sea’s central lagoon, with the Black Pearl on the water shooting its water cannons while Mount Prometheus looms in the background. The show runs three times all day for audiences.
Naturally, these two events aren’t the only things happening on Tokyo Disney Resort. Sharing the spotlight with Donald at Tokyo Disneyland are the main characters of “Zootopia” taking the lead for a four-times-daily daytime stage show, “Judy and Nick’s Jumpin’ Splash,” to the tune of hit theme song “Try Everything.”
Back in Disney Sea, the pirates won’t be content to just dance to their captains’ tunes, and will roam the park for some pirate-y photo ops. Alternatively the guests might prefer to pose on a pirate ship’s wheel set-piece instead. Both events will run July 9 until September 1, and will be commemorated by specialty menu items, merchandise and tickets.
Who can say no to Disney-themed apparel? For fans of the House of Mouse, the Disney logo on clothing can be as valuable as big-name fashion brands. And there’s a new series of apparel that’s now available on the commercial districts of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Their theme: Disney in a vintage look.
Designing brand-new clothes to look like they’ve been around for years or decades isn’t an original concept. But when applied to Disney apparel, it sells the idea that the brand has been a part of many lives and generations not only in America, but worldwide.
Here’s a list of these Vintage Disney clothing line available:
Disney has long held in consideration that there are guests who would like to avoid the usual crowds. For them they developed the “After Hours” program, offering tickets allowing guests into Magic Kingdom in Disney World after 7 PM. Not only does it cut down on waiting lines, Disney After Hours also offers special events on nights when they’re held.
One such special occasion has been announced for Magic Kingdom. It’ll fall on selected After Hours evenings between June 6 and August 8. “Villains Unite the Night” will see several famous antagonists from Disney animated films performing a grand stage show on the chosen nights.
Hades from “Hercules” (with Meg)
Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” (dragon form will also roam the theme park)
Evil Queen from “Snow White”
Jafar from “Aladdin” (celebrating the live-action film premiere no doubt)
Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog”
Aside from the baddie-dominated stage show, which will be held near Cinderella Castle, some attractions will also be “villainized” for the duration of these villain-centered After Hours evenings. Prominent examples are the fabled (for long lines) Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean as well.
Lastly, villain-themed food and beverages, plus merchandising will be brought out at all stalls and shops during these nights. About the only thing Villains Unite the Night won’t certainly have are meet and greet moments with the Disney bad guys.
Here’s a list of dates where the Disney After Hours will be designated Villain Nights:
June – 6, 13, 20, 27
July – 1, 11, 18, 26
August – 1, 8
Magic Kingdom tickets for Disney After Hours Villain Nights will be $139 if booked ahead of the date, $144 when bought on the day itself, and discounted to $109 for AP/DVC members.
For years, the system of having two Disney theme parks on opposite coasts of the country meant that there are certain attractions that one had first, before the other got them. This meant that solid Disney fans with spending money would have to visit both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World to any exclusive attractions both may have to offer.
But eventually, what one had before the other might eventually be featured in both. That’s the rationale behind a WDW Magic Kingdom attraction soon coming west to Disneyland, particularly the Disney California Adventure theme park.
This new addition to DCA will be housed in the Sunset Showcase Theatre. At the same time, the “Toy Story”-themed Pixar Pier area will add a new ride based on the show-within-the-film “Woody’s Roundup” as seen in “Toy Story 2.” Both of these attractions will become officially open before the month of April is out.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic – first featured on the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Disneyland will get its own counterpart over at Disney California Adventure. It’s a 3D audiovisual experience featuring famous Disney Animated Canon songs, as well as Donald Duck taking a prominent role in the presentation.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel – opening soon in DCA’s Pixar Pier, it’s a merry-go-round ride with the ridden animals based on “Woody’s Roundup” from the second “Toy Story” film, with Jessie as the central character. Even before the official launch, DCA is allowing the Critter Carousel to be taken on test rides.
These attractions ought to tide over Disneyland guests and maintain interest before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the long-awaited theme park expansion area, opens at last in Disneyland, then Disney World.
One of Disney’s current theme park-related projects is to increasingly integrate the Marvel brand with all its high-flying superhero flair. We’ve seen these first steps in Disneyland Park (at Disney’s California Adventure) and Hong Kong. The former has “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” while the latter has the “Iron Man Experience,” the first Marvel attraction in a Disney park.
While Iron man Experience has been the lone Marvel attraction in Hong Kong Disneyland since 2017, it changes this Sunday. A new Marvel-themed ride is coming this March 31: “Ant-Man & the Wasp: Nano Battle!”
But before the new indoor interactive dark ride opens to HKD guests, there was a formal launch ceremony held Thursday, March 28. What’s especially awesome about this was, in addition to officials from HKD and Hong Kong SAR welcoming the attraction, “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd himself was as special guest along with director Peyton Reed.
Drawing on his comedy background, Rudd was able to engage the launch event audience with his great wit and appreciation, not just for the ride but for Hong Kong. Following the ceremonial start-button-press, Rudd and select passengers went on the first full ride for “Ant-Man & the Wasp: Nano Battle!”
The attraction has its passengers assisting Scott /Ant-Man and Hope/Wasp in a mission to disable a HYDRA doomsday machine. On the ride-train, guests use blasters to hit hostile targets on the videogame screen surroundings to rack up high scores. “Nano Battle!” was repurposed from HKD’s original Buzz Lightyear ride, but is now an exciting interactive indoor adventure. Hong Kong Disneyland guests can check it out for themselves this March 31.
Pretty soon there will be only two months left before Disneyland Park can take its guests to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. The promise of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is so overwhelming to Disney theme park-goers that they’ll certainly crowd Disneyland on the Opening Day for Galaxy’s Edge, May 31.
That’s probably why, according to CNN, California’s Disneyland as well as Florida’s Walt Disney World will be issuing a ban on smoking and large strollers within theme park premises. This prohibition also extends to WDW’s waterparks or Anaheim’s Downtown Disney.
A Disney spokesperson notes that with the expansion of their resort offerings – Galaxy’s Edge for one – they must take measures to make the guest experience universally enjoyable. Banning smoking will cut down on pollution while keeping strollers under mandated sizes would reduce guest foot traffic.
Of course, smokers will still be given some consideration, as they’re still free to light up in Florida’s Disney Springs. Designated smoking areas within Disney resort hotels will remain, and similar areas will be set up near theme park entryways. And strollers to be allowed in the theme parks must now no longer exceed 39 inches/79 cm in width, and 52 inches/132 cm in length.
These are but the latest new changes that Disney is implementing in both Disneyland and Disney World with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming. Way back in January they have already introduced a wide variation of ticket price hikes for guests.
Sometimes there are ways to gain from a loss. Walt Disney World seems to think so with their plans for the personalized hexagonal decorative bricks at the Disney’s “Walk Around the World” attraction in Magic Kingdom theme park. These bricks were sponsored by guests when they were installed years ago, and while they’e being removed those sponsors will be able to claim commemorative replicas.
Disney World is thus opening Commemorative Brick Kiosks at Magic Kingdom as well as Disney Springs, to both facilitate old sponsors in redeeming commemorative versions of the Walk Around the World bricks, as well as to print blank bricks with customizable text for interested buyers.
Verified sponsors of Disney’s Walk Around the World bricks from years ago will be given a one-time-use voucher (or code if done online at shopDisney.com) with which to purchase a commemorative 6-inch hexagonal brick for $10 plus tax this spring.
Non-sponsors on the other hand can proceed to the Commemorative Brick Kiosks in Magic Kingdom’s Tommorowland Light & Power Co., or Disney Springs’ Marketplace Co-Op. There they’ll find a special digital printing service that’ll print blank commemorative bricks with their choice of logos, personalized names or special occasion and date.
It should be noted that collectors will have limited customization options compared to the Walk Around the World sponsors. Non-sponsor commemorative bricks can range from 6 inches at $29.99, 8 inches at $49.99, and the coming-soon ornament ($24.99), all with tax to be added. This opportunity for keeping a remembrance of “Walk Around the World” lasts only until August 31.
“Mermaiding” in this day and age can mean either portraying artistically as a mermaid with costume tail, or swimming underwater like a mermaid with said tail. The performance aspect started in the early 20th Century, with the hobby and activity aspect starting up in the 1980s, even before Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” arrived in cinemas.
Still, the Disney animated classic was a big contributor to the eventual mermaiding subculture. And Walt Disney World looks to be harnessing some of that “Little Mermaid” magic for their summer 2019 special offer at four of their resort hotels.
“Mermaid School” will soon be available to participate in for Disney World guests who are staying at the Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and Beach Club Resort. Booking for this special swimming activity class starts mid-March, and will accept students four years old and above.
These resort hotels’ Mermaid School classes will be held twice a week on specific days: Art of Animation Resort will have theirs on Sundays and Thursdays; the Caribbean Beach Resort on Wednesdays and Fridays; both Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts will share their Mermaid classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Disney World’s Mermaid school starts at 8 AM and lasts for an hour. Participants will be taught how to swim like Ariel and other mermaids. In addition, all will be fitted with their own swimming-tail suits in their size as part of the package, which is worth $50 per head.
The Mermaid School classes are brought to Disney World in cooperation with the Florida-based Mermaid Academy, which offers mermaiding lessons and also manufactures swimming tails. These tails will also be offered for sale during Mermaid School sessions at Disney World.
For more information on this, should you be staying at the hotels mentioned above during your Disney World trip, you can visit their official blog to enroll, or call 407-WDW-PLAY.
At the start of this month we ran a little feature and list of what sorts of shops to expect when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens this year on two Disney theme parks. We’ve already established that the expansion theme area will be immersive, genuine playing its setting as the smuggling town of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.
But aside from that, and of course the heavily-anticipated rides and attractions (one of which will actually open later than the rest), Galaxy’s Edge will also offer a unique experience for its guests who have come to their corner of the Galaxy far, far away: alien dining and exotic cuisine.
If you could recall the cantina scenes from the original trilogy, or the dining room of Anakin’s house on Tatooine during the prequels, or even Luke milking green muck from an Ahch-to alien in the sequels, then you somewhat know what to expect from the dining facilities of Galaxy’s Edge.
But really, it’s thematic keyfabe. The new area’s going to dazzle diners with artfully-plated extraterrestrial food that (thankfully) should taste approximately to yummy Earth stuff. Here’s a short list of the three primary dining locations for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:
Black Spire Outpost Market – alfresco dining with plenty of “alien patrons” and droids milling about
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo – the outpost’s cargo depot, also the gathering spot for “travelling food shuttles” aka food trucks
Olga’s Cantina – a sendup to similar cantinas in the Outer Rim; features ex-pilot droid DJ R-3X mixing music while the staff mixes galactic drinks (both alcoholic and not, to cater to everyone)
But just what kind of alien food is in store when tourists to Black Spire Outpost decide to chow down. Here’s a sample list of menu items across all the places mentioned above. Let’s see if you enjoy the selection:
Blue and Green Milk – Blue Milk was from the first “Star Wars” film ever, and Green was already mentioned
Braised Shaak Roast – beef pot
Felucian Garden Spread – veggie meatballs
Fried Endorian Tip Yip – fried poultry
Ithorian Garden Loaf – veggie meatloaf
Meiloorun Juice, Turkey Jerky & Ronto Wrap Set – Batuu’s take on a Mexican snack set
Moogan Tea, Blue Bantha, Bloody Rancor, Black Spire Brew, Carbon Freeze, Oga’s Obsession Provision & Cliff Dweller – the non-alcoholic menu for Olga’s Cantina
Outpost Mix – popcorn
Oven-Roasted Burra Fish – obvious from the name
Oven-Roasted Tip Yip – if you want chicken roasted, not fried
Phattro and Moof Juice – neither milk nor alcohol
Raspberry Creme Puff with Passion Fruit Mousse, & Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse and Coffee Custard – self explanatory
Smoked Kaadu Ribs – pork ribs
The Outer Rim, Bespin Fizz, Yub Nub and Fuzzy Tauntaun – Olga’s alcoholic cocktails
Yobshrimp Noodle Salad – finally, here’s their oriental cuisine approximation
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in Disneyland on May 31 and on Disney World’s Hollywood Studios on August 29. A third location has begun work on Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, opening 2021-2025.