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News - Christmas around the world, TONS of new Tokyo entertainment announced for next year, and more!
DisneyDan  Friday, September 18, 2015 12:06:13 PM
Hello everyone,

Today I have a round up of the latest character news out of the Disney Parks around the world, including Tokyo Disney Resort where is there is a huge amount of information about the coming 18 months at the resort.

Let's start with Walt Disney World in Florida, where this week saw the first of the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties. This year there is a new stage show, titled "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular", featuring the Sanderson Sisters, and other Disney Villains, including Oogie Boogie, in a spectacular stage show in front of Cinderella Castle. The show replaces the Villains Mix 'n' Mingle. Sadly, you cannot meet Sanderson Sisters, or Oogie Boogie. In fact, there are very few villains meet 'n' greets at the parties at all this year, which is sad. The only ones who have been out so far are the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, Lotso, Jafar and the Witch. I also heard unconfirmed reports of Dr Facilier, too, but I was under the impression was was not meant to be out greeting. There is also a lack of villains in the parade this year, with Big Bad Wolf, Frollo and the Sheriff of Nottingham being absent, sadly.

Over at the Disneyland Resort, Halloween Time kicked off, and despite the Disney Parks Blog claiming previously that there would be no daytime Halloween characters, there have been some slight changes to that. Mickey and friends are on Main Street USA in their Halloween costumes, intermittently throughout the day, and a couple of villains, such as Jafar and Frollo, have been spotted randomly walking around. However, there is still no ranch (which featured extensive greetings), no pumpkin carvers, no entertainment, and no parade during the Halloween parties.

Following on from the disappointing Halloween news, Disneyland continued its trend with disappointing news, this time about Christmas season - or Holiday Time as they like to call it. The Disney Parks Blog this week announced that there would be no holiday fireworks this year, and in the comments Erin Glover (Social Media Director, DLR) said there would be no Castle lights or decorations this year either! She also said in the comments that Santa would be moving to the Pooh meet 'n' greet location, which most likely means that there will be no Pooh friends in Christmas outfits this year, either! I have also heard strong - but as yet unconfirmed rumours - of there being no garlands on Main Street USA, because of and Paint the Night. If that rumour is true, then along with the loss of the ranch (which will not reopen at all, meaning no Mrs Claus mini-show, no gingerbread decorating or Christmas character greetings), the loss of the Castle lights and decorations, and the loss of the Pooh friends Christmas outfits, then this is an incredibly disappointing set back for what used to be the best Christmas season of any Disney Park (in our opinion). The Parks Blog did however confirm the return of all the holiday attractions at Disneyland park ("it's a small world" Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday and the Jingle Cruise) and the holiday offerings at Disney California Adventure, including Olaf's Snow Fest, the Bell Ringers and Viva Navidad.

On a more positive note, away from the continuing cuts at the US parks, Tokyo Disney Resort this week continued their trend of announcing lots of cool new things well in advance, by releasing not one, but two press releases filled with information about the coming 15 months at the resort - yes, 18 months worth of announcements!

Let's start with Tokyo Disneyland, where they revealed that Disney's Easter, which runs from March 25th to June June 15th 2016, will feature the same elements as this year, but the parade characters will get new costumes for 2016.
After Easter has ended, Disney Tanabata Days will return from June 16th until July 7th 2016. Disney Tanabata Days has been extended for 2016 by a whole eight days, and features a special parade through the park with Mickey and friends.
Disney Natsu Matsuri will be the summer event, and will run from July 9th until August 31st 2016. The event sounds much the same as this year, with there being a castle show featuring hundreds of gallons of water.
After summer comes Halloween, and while there wasn't a lot said in their release, they did mention that there would be a new theme. Disney’s Halloween runs from September 9th until October 31st 2016.
Of course, Christmas season follows Halloween, and I had said previously here on the blog that Tokyo Disneyland was going to be getting a new parade this year for Christmas. The press release basically says the same thing for next year, meaning that this year's new parade has already been confirmed as returning for next year, which of course is not a surprise. Christmas Fantasy will run from November 8th until December 25th 2016.
Incredibly, the event details don't stop there, and we also have in the same release information about two events for January 2017, one of which ends in March 2017! That's a year and a half away!
From January 1st until January 5th 5 2017 the New Year’s Programs will feature colourful Japanese-style New Year’s decorations at the entrance, as well as merchandise and menus featuring the 2017 zodiac animal, the rooster. The Disney characters will apparently be dressed up in kimonos, but in what capacity - whether that is a show or parade - is not yet known.
The press release also makes mention of the brand new Westernland meet 'n' greet location, which we already knew about, opening in late 2016.
Finally, after all of that, Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy will run from January 13th until March 17th 2017, and sounds as though it will feature a parade again, like it did for 2015, and will for 2016.

So that is all just Tokyo Disneyland, now we come to Tokyo DisneySea!

For the 15th anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea, there is going to be a brand new harbour show, titled "Crystal Wishes Journey", which is expected to run from April 15th 2016 until March 17th 2017. The press release reveals the following about the show:

"The Disney characters, each with their own wish, will appear in this show that celebrates the start of the Guests’ journeys of adventure, sparkling with hope, this milestone year."

Also from April 15th, a new permanent change will be made to the popular Big Band Beat show. Goofy will join the cast, along with new music, and new costumes for the characters.
From July 9th 2016 a brand new musical show titled "Out of Shadowland" will be performed at the Hangar Stage, replacing the already closed Mystic Rhythms. The press release gives us the following information:

""Out of Shadowland" tells the story of Mei, a timid young girl lost in a world of shadows who finds confidence and strength through her sojourn there. Mei has lost her way and finds herself in Shadowland where the evil Kagetori has taken control. She meets a boy named Yu who leads her to discover within herself a mysterious power that she was unaware of. Mei’s power brings light and life back to Shadowland. Fighting against her own fear and insecurity, Mei is able to bring down Kagetori. At the end she realizes that Yu and Shadowland have helped her gain the confidence she now feels. Through the moving live performances, vivid images and other elements that create colorful, dynamic scenes, Guests will experience a world unlike any seen before."

As with Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea will also feature its own Disney Tanabata Days celebration, from June 16th until July 7th 2016, which again, is extended by eight days next year. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will appear in a show in Mediterranean Harbor dressed as Hikoboshi and Orihime, the festival’s two star-crossed lovers.

Disney Summer Festival will run from July 9th until August 31st 2016 and while it sounds very similar to this year, there will be some 15th anniversary additions/changes, which aren't yet specified.
Disney’s Halloween will feature from September 9th until October 31st 2016, and again, while it sounds as though most of the elements from this year will reappear, there will be a 15th anniversary overtone to the event.
Featuring daytime and nighttime shows, Christmas Wishes will run from November 8th until December 25th 2016, and, you guessed it, will feature slight changes for the 15th anniversary! 
Finally for Tokyo DisneySea, and indeed the resort, the New Year’s Program will run from January 1st until 5th 2017, and like Tokyo Disneyland, will feature the characters un kimonos, most likely in a special show.

The last place we're going to visit on our around the world news tour is Disneyland Paris, where a Dutch press release confirmed many of the previous rumours coming out of the park for Christmas season. Oddly enough, there is yet to be an English, or indeed French release of this information, but I suspect it'll come imminently. Christmas season at Disneyland Paris will run from 7th November 2015 until 7th January 2016. This year, the Princess Promenade from last year gets what sounds like a massive upgrade, and will instead be featured on the Castle Stage. Featuring no less than 16 princesses and princes who have come to celebrate the magic of Christmas, it will run three times per day.
Disney's Christmas Parade will return, and while the Dutch release didn't specify any further than that, it is still strongly rumoured that the parade will run multiple times per day, and will feature a new float for the Pooh characters. It is also expected - but as of yet not confirmed - that Disney Magic on Parade will also run during the season, after its unpopular hiatus last year during the season.
Frozen Fun will return, meaning the return of the sing-along, the marketplace (both in Frontierland) and the Royal Welcome along the parade route. It should be noted that the sing-along will start on the 14th November, a week after the official start of Christmas season.
Although those who are not familiar with how Paris do things will find this odd, Merida will also be returning to Frontierland for Chrotmas, and is expected to have the same set-up as she did this past summer. At the US parks Merida is an everyday character, but in Disneyland Paris, for some reason, they prefer to use her seasonally.
In an odd circumstance, and one that had only been rumoured until now, Santa Claus will this year be meeting inside the Meet Mickey location in Fantasyland. Of course, his former home in Cottonwood Creek Ranch has been taken over by the Arendelle marketplace, but having him inside Meet Mickey is an odd choice. It is not yet known where Mickey will be located during the season, whether he will have a special outfit wherever he ends up, and if the Santa's location will be dressed up or if it'll look the same as it does now for Mickey. Santa will only greet guests until 25th December.
On the subject of character greetings, some French sites are reporting that Marie will be at the Boarding House on Main Street, Thumper and Miss Bunny at Casey's Corner and Mickey in a special outfit at the Front Lot in the Studios, however, these things are unconfirmed at this time.
Disney Dreams! of Christmas will be returning, as will of course all the decorations and the giant Christmas Tree in Town Square. The Christmas Tree will once again be lit in a special ceremony, this year titled "Mickey's Magical Christmas Lights", and will see a return of the Disney characters (including Mickey, Minnie and santa) to the event, after a two year hiatus.

Finally, I wanted to point your attention to some previous news posts that still contain some relevant information, in case you missed them. Follow the links within the text below to go to those posts.

Click here to find out about a new dinner show coming to Tokyo Disney Resort, a Darth Vader meet 'n' greet coming to the US parks, and other news.

Click here to find out about the Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine, coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios this Christmas season.

Click here to read the sad news of the departure of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Last but not least, click here to read my detailed and photo filled trip report from our recent trip to Disneyland Paris.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Dan.
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