Entries in Walt Disney World (5)


New MagicBand Changes Disney Park Entry, More

Kent Phillips(NEW YORK) -- Months of speculation surrounding a wrist band replacing paper tickets at Disney parks is over.  An official announcement confirming the band was made Monday on the Disney Parks blog.

A Disney spokesperson told ABC News the bands would be rolling out this year over the next several months.

Worn on the wrist, the "MagicBand" will serve as a guest's room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one.

"At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests," Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wrote.  "We're always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better.  Over the past few years, we've devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us."

The introduction of the band is part of a larger effort named MyMagic+ and includes a new My Disney Experience website and mobile app.

Guests can plan dining and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more in advance through an enhanced FastPass system called FastPass+.  Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to change their plans.

Of course, the gathering of data on guests makes sense from a business standpoint for Disney, the parent company of ABC News.  The more it knows about guest preferences, the more it can tailor the guest experience.  But some skeptics worry about just how much information might be stored on those MagicBands.

"Ensuring the security of our guest's information is obviously very important to us, and no one is more focused on this than we are," a Disney spokesperson told ABC News.  "Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us.  Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information.  Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Opening Date for Walt Disney World's New Fantasyland Announced

Todd Anderson/Walt Disney World(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Walt Disney World has announced the grand opening date of the much-anticipated New Fantasyland at the Orlando, Fla., theme park.

The new attraction will open at Magic Kingdom on Dec. 6 and marks the largest expansion in the park’s history.  It comes just in time for the holidays -- one of the busiest times of year for the theme park.  

Previews will begin on Nov. 19.  During this time, guests may have a chance to experience some of the new attractions, but operating hours will be limited.

New attractions include Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Gaston’s Tavern.

Reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant will be taken beginning late August, but no exact date has been announced.  The restaurant will feature three dining rooms and will seat over 500 guests.  The food will, of course, be French-inspired with items like Croque Monsieur and pommes frites for lunch, and charcuterie plate or mussels in wine for dinner.  Lunch will be quick service, while dinner will be table service.

Park expansion will continue into 2014 with additional attractions.  Princess Fairytale Hall, a place where the Disney princesses will greet guests, and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a musical rollercoaster, are two highlights.

Last month, the park opened the Storybook Circus portion of New Fantasyland to guests.  The area is inspired by the movie Dumbo and includes a Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride and a roller coaster named the Barnstormer.

Editorial note: Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama at Disney: 'America Is Open for Business'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Standing on Main Street, USA in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, President Obama on Thursday promoted the need for a strategy to encourage international tourism and boost job creation in the battleground state of Florida, and across the country, ahead of the 2012 election.

“The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work.  It's that simple,” the president said. “That's why we're all here today, to tell the world that America is open for business.”

Announcing his goal to make America the, “top tourist destination in the world,” Obama outlined plans to speed up the visa process and make it easier for tourists in fast-growing nations, such as China, India and Brazil, to travel to the U.S. Tourists from these countries currently spend more than $5,000 per trip, according to the White House, and one job is created for every 65 additional people who visit the U.S.

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The Walt Disney Company President and CEO Bob Iger told ABC News that streamlining the visa process has “enormous” potential to create jobs in the U.S.

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“Changing our visa policy and investing more in the process to make it easier for people to get visas and travel to the United States would be a great boon for the American economy because the international tourist comes, stays longer, spends money, and that creates jobs,” Iger said. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Obama’s trip to Florida comes before the January 31 presidential primary, though the White House claims the decision to make the announcement in the contested state was not political.
“We've got the best product to sell.  I mean, look at where we are,” the president said as he stood in front of Cinderella Castle. “We've got the most entertaining destinations in the world.”

Even the president seemed swept up by the, “most magical place on earth.”

“I confess, I am excited to see Mickey,” Obama said. “It's always nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me.” While he was standing at a premier commercial destination, the president also emphasized the nation’s natural wonders and monuments.

Republicans, however, claim Thursday’s event marked yet another stop on the president’s campaign trail.

“We need to call this visit today what it actually is. It’s a campaign trip to a very important battleground state of Florida where the president, quite frankly, is doing very poorly in the polls at best,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich also pounced, apologizing to tourists for Obama's appearance, which, ironically, for security reasons shut down portions of the Magic Kingdom to the very tourists the president spoke of attracting. "I apologize to all those people who for months had planned to take their children and go to the Magic Kingdom," Gingrich reportedly said at a stump event in Beaufort, South Carolina. "But after all -- who are they, compared to Obama?"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Plans Disney World Trip to Promote Travel and Tourism

Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will travel to the battleground state of Florida Thursday to unveil a new “strategy that will significantly help boost tourism and travel” at the place where “dreams come true”: Disney World.

With the iconic Cinderella Castle reportedly as his backdrop, the president will unveil the latest installment in his “We Can’t Wait” (for Congress) campaign. The series of executive actions are intended to show the president is taking charge on the economy while his jobs bill remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

Although the White House has not announced the details of the president’s plan, the tourism industry is eager for the administration to make it easier for visitors from emerging nations, such as Brazil, India and China, to receive tourism visas.

The symbolism of announcing a new tourism initiative at the mega-resort is clear: Disney World welcomes about 45 million visitors a year.

The Florida theme park is part of the Walt Disney Co., as is ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Disney Reveals Details on Fantasyland Expansion at Magic Kingdom

Photo Courtesy - Disney Parks(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Disney revealed Wednesday details of its largest expansion ever at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

The expansion, which will nearly double the size of Fantasyland, will include attractions featuring Disney princesses Ariel and Belle, an additional carousel featuring Dumbo and a new roller coaster called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that will swing passengers back and forth as they go ride through the track.  A royal court, Princess Fairytale Hall, will also be built to house Disney princesses like Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel.

Work on the new Fantasyland will be completed in phases, with most new attractions opening by 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio