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NEWS - New Star Wars characters at the parks, characters return to DLP Hotels, changes at DHS, and much more!
DisneyDan  Saturday, January 2, 2016 2:06:01 PM
Hello everyone,

We have been exceptionally busy over the holiday season, so I have been a bit behind on the news front, but I finally have time today to provide a few small updates.

Earlier last month the new Star Wars Launch Bay opened at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. They feature meet 'n' greets with Darth Vader and Chewbacca, as well as random appearances by some roaming characters such as Greedo and the Jawas. With the opening of the Launch Bay and preparations for Star Wars Land, we now know that Star Wars Weekends will not be returning, which is a huge shame.

Captain Phasma made her Disney parks debut at the Christmas parade taping during Christmas season at the Magic Kingdom, and subsequently appeared at a special post-premier event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. She has since appeared on the Star Wars float during the Rose Parade in California, where Kylo Ren also appeared, marking his Disney debut, albeit not in the parks.

Along similar lines, the Seventh Sister now appears during the new version of the Jedi Training Academy in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Finally for Star Wars, the First Order Stormtroopers now appear randomly, not just at Disney's Hollywood Studios outside the Launch Bay, but also in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Baymax made a welcomed return to Epcot last month, at Innoventions, and it is strongly rumoured that Joy and Sadness might be appearing there soon, too - although that is purely rumour and unconfirmed right now.

Tow Mater, Lightning McQueen, Phineas and Ferb are leaving Disney's Hollywood Studios next week, according to various internet reports. This will mark the end of an era for the Disney Channel superstars, and their final appearance at DHS will be the last time they will be seen regularly at any Disney park.

At Disneyland Paris, the sorely missed hotel greetings have returned for a limited time, until the first week of March, 2016. The hotel characters were a staple of on-site stays for twenty years, and there was much uproar when Disney ended them last year. It is unclear as to why there has been a sudden, if only temporary, change of heart, but we can only speculate that the in-park greetings haven't been as well received as they'd anticipated (with many complaints about the long lines, limited numbers of characters out, etc).

Disneyland Paris also recently confirmed that there would be an increased character presence in Disneyland Park until the spring. Of course, what was really confirmed was the characters that already appear "randomly" (not on the schedule), but are actually always there, will now be made more available and easier to find, with (hopefully) longer hours, a queue line and some sort of schedule listing.

Finally, DLP has been working on a new show for the Chaparral Theatre, "The Forest of Enchantment", which is due to start on 10th February. Sadly it looks to only be a temporary show (ending 8th May), which is weird since they appear to be putting a lot of effort into it. We can hope that it'll run past the official end date and will be more permanent, as the park definitely needs some more permanent stage entertainment.

Ok, that's everything for now!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Dan.
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