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Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon Weekend Trip Report, February 2017
DisneyDan  Wednesday, March 22, 2017 11:06:45 AM
Hello everyone,

Last month Jon and I, along with a very dear friend, took part in our first ever runDisney race weekend. We participated in all three races (5k, 10k and half marathon) at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Florida.

It's hard to even know where to begin describing this entire journey to you, since it wasn't at all like a normal trip. We didn't just go to the parks and happen to run through them like our lives depended on it - this was an altogether different experience. A journey that involved months of hard training, registrations, and bookings at precise moments to get what we wanted, and planning out strategies and coping mechanisms for running these events as a team, while making individual achievements.

We had known for a few months prior to booking that our goal was to be fit enough to want to complete a runDisney event, and when we booked the races last year, we had reached a point where we felt we could be ready in February to compete. The booking process itself was a challenge - as with everything with Disney these days - and we had to make several calls and enquiries to get what we wanted. They don't really make it very clear with regards to some aspects of it, if you have never done this before. So to that degree it was frustrating.

Months later still, and February finally arrived, and we were as ready as we were ever going to be!   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World December 2016 Trip Report, Part Two - Hollywood Studios and Epcot
DisneyDan  Saturday, March 4, 2017 2:05:47 PM
Hello everyone,

In this second part of my Walt Disney World December trip report I am going to share you with your our adventures at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot. In case you missed it, the first part of my report, which covers Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Disney resort hotels, can be found here.

Let's start with Hollywood Studios.   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World July 2016 Trip Report
DisneyDan  Tuesday, November 29, 2016 10:47:42 AM
Hello everyone,

I realise that this is a little late, but better late than never, right?

Back in July we made one of our several trips for this year to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. As always, we had an agenda for visiting at the time that we did, and filled our short trip with everything that was wondrous and new!

Let's start with our hotel, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House. We have previously stayed at Kidani Village several times, and of course have visited Jambo House (but up until this trip never stayed there), and while we have enjoyed our stays at Kidani Village, Jambo House is clearly the better of the two.   [ Read More... ]
News - PhotoPass character fun coming to WDW, and new floats being added to Dreamlights at TDR
DisneyDan  Tuesday, August 16, 2016 9:19:27 AM
Hello everyone,

Yesterday the Disney Parks Blog announced that this coming Friday, 19th August, Epcot and the Magic Kingdom would be celebrating "PhotoPass Day" with special character appearances throughout the parks. The DPB has so far suggested that Dopey would join Snow White in Germany, Mushu would join Mulan in China, the Queen of Hearts would join Alice in the UK, and Gideon and Foulfellow would meet with Pinocchio at Storybook Circus in the Magic Kingdom. While this is a neat idea, it is a shame that they have given such short notice, since many character fans will find it hard to get there for Friday, and additionally, these are characters that up until a couple of years ago, used to appear daily at the Walt Disney World Resort anyway! Nonetheless, it is nice to see them using some initiative that character fans can benefit from, and we hope they continue to do things like this - hopefully with more notice in the future.

The Tokyo Disney Resort Blog today announced that five new floats would be joining Dreamlights at Tokyo Disneyland from July 2017. There will be one new float featuring Anna and Elsa, two new floats featuring Cinderella and Prince Charming, and two new floats for Belle and Beast. Tokyo Disney Resort for the past couple of years have been going through and renewing and replacing the Dreamlights floats, with some recent ones being Pete's Dragon, the Blue Fairy and Peter Pan. The old floats were always better than the US parks versions, but the new floats are beyond stunning in every possible way. We look forward to seeing these newest floats glowing through the streets of Tokyo Disneyland next summer!

In case you missed it, last week I reported new about Paint the Night and the Electrical Parade in the US, Halloween at Disneyland Paris, and Christmas at Tokyo Disney Resort, so check all that out, here!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
News - Paint the Night and Forever Fireworks to end at DL, Elena and Muppets coming to WDW, and more!
DisneyDan  Friday, August 5, 2016 8:59:50 AM
Hello everyone,

Earlier this week the Disney Parks Blog announced that the entertainment added for the 60th anniversary of Disneyland last year would all end on 5th September. The Disneyland Forever fireworks, the Paint the Night electrical parade, and the current version of World of Color would all have their final performances on that date. In addition, Fantasy in the Sky fireworks will return to Disneyland park Fridays through Sundays only.

With Disneyland Forever leaving, it means that we will no longer see Nemo swimming high above Sleeping Beauty Castle, and potentially Tinker Bell. When we saw Fantasy in the Sky, when they ran it for a while in 2015, there were no flying characters in it at all.

The loss of Paint the Night is the most detrimental to the park. With the scaled back fireworks performances, and Fantasmic! being down because of the Star Wars Land construction, it leaves Disneyland park with very little in the way of nighttime entertainment - especially Monday through Wednesday.

Over at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida the Disney Parks Blog revealed that a brand new show starring the Muppets would be coming to Liberty Square in then Magic Kingdom, in "October" (DPB being as vague as ever). Sam Eagle, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and James Jefferson will all appear in a new show outside the Hall of Presidents. The description makes it sound as though throughout the day there will be numerous different performances, retelling popular stories from American history. It is interesting that WDW have chosen to introduce the Muppets to Liberty Square since they decided to re-theme and rededicate the area around Muppet*Vision 3D (at DHS) as Muppets Courtyard recently. It would seem the Muppets (who were cancelled from ABC recently also) are making a belated comeback to WDW!

The Magic Kingdom is set to welcome Princess Elena of Avalor from 11th August, starting with a special welcome ceremony that will be live streamed on the DPB. Then, from 12th August, multiple times per day, Cinderella and Prince Charming will join Princess Elena at the Castle Stage for a musical performance. The show is a "limited time" happening (again with the DPB being vague), so catch Elena while you can!

From 7th until 31st August, guests who purchase the WDW Memory Maker will be entitled to a special private greeting with a Disney Princess inside Heritage House (Liberty Square), at the Magic Kingdom. Terms and limitations apply. Check the DPB for all the details.

Finally, I have been continuing to add more and more new content to the site, and you will now find brand new pages loaded with photos for the following character-filled experiences at WDW: Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire, Minnie's Summertime Dine, and the Royal Sommerhus.

Ok, that's all for today! Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Walt Disney World May 2016 Trip Report, Part Two
DisneyDan  Monday, July 18, 2016 9:28:10 AM
Hello everyone,

In part one of this report I shared with you our adventures at the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, the resort hotels, Disney Springs and the Boardwalk. In this second and final part I am going to tell you about our time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

The week of our trip was also the last week of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which we try to see every year. While we always enjoy Flower and Garden, I do feel that over the years they have cut back more and more, and now there is very little new to see year on year, which is really unfortunate. At any rate, what they do have is pretty, and we like to walk around taking photos of all the topiaries, and occasionally sampling the different foods and drinks (while the number of topiaries has been reduced over the years, the festival seems to have taken on the role of "Food and Wine Festival 2.0", adding more and more food stands in place of the flowers!).   [ Read More... ]
News and Updates - Mulan and Mushu to appear at DCA, Mulan and Pocahontas get new outfits, and more!
DisneyDan  Friday, June 10, 2016 12:53:53 PM
Hello everyone,

I know it has been a while since I posted here. Life has a way of getting in the way, and I haven't had time to post as many updates as I would like. Having said that, for the eagle eyed among you, and those who regularly visit this site, you will have noticed that I have been updating many pages throughout the site, including changing character categories, moving things around, adding some brand new characters and locations, and other smaller items. So while the blog hasn't had much recently, I have been here, and Character Central still aims to be as on top of character happenings as possible!

Let's begin with some news that was released by the Disney Parks Blog yesterday. Next week, on Thursday 16th June, Shanghai Disneyland officially opens to the public, following its rather extensive soft opening period. To celebrate, Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort will be featuring Mulan and Mushu from 10am until 5pm. Mushu rarely gets out at any of the Disney Parks these days, and so it will be great to see him visiting California.

Pocahontas and Mulan got new outfits last week, and we were lucky enough to be at Animal Kingdom and Epcot the day they debuted! Take a look at their new looks below!

Mulan

Pocahontas

Mickey and Minnie Mouse finally got a new permanent greeting location at Disney's Hollywood Studios, after several months of them moving from place to place, following the closure of the Animation Building. The new location is much nicer than anything previously, and Minnie even got a new outfit!

Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Along similar lines, after what seemed like an eternity, Olaf finally started greeting his fans at Disney's Hollywood Studios, at the new Celebrity Spotlight location.

Meeting Olaf

Some people have asked us about some of the new characters appearing at the parks, and I can happily confirm that last week I was finally able to add Nick and Judy, Captain Phasma and Joy and Sadness to Character Central (click on the names to go to their pages!).

Before I leave you with some of my photos of those brand new characters (there are many more on their respective pages!), I want to just mention that in the next few days I will be making a blog post/guide to the character experiences at the brand new Shanghai Disneyland. While we are not visiting just yet and therefore Character Central won't feature the park until then (since we need photos - we have our trip booked though!), I wanted to gather together all the information we know about character experiences at the new park, in one handy reference guide, until such a time when I can add the park to the website.

In the next week I also will be writing my latest Walt Disney World trip report here on the blog.

So stay tuned for both of those!

Anyway, that's all for today. Be sure to scroll down for the photos of Joy, Sadness, Nick, Judy and Captain Phasma that I promised!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.

March of the First Order

Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party

Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party

Meeting Joy and Sadness

Meeting Joy and Sadness

Meeting Joy and Sadness
Walt Disney World February 2016 Trip Report
DisneyDan  Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:59:50 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month we made a very brief trip down to Walt Disney World to check out some new offerings that were not going to be around for very long. We spent Valentine's weekend there, staying at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, and managed to visit all four theme parks in two days.

Let's jump straight in, starting with Animal Kingdom, where it was Sweetheart Weekend (for Valentine's).   [ Read More... ]
NEWS - VIPs get new look in Shanghai, Inside Out, Zootopia, Spring around the world, and much more!
DisneyDan  Sunday, March 20, 2016 11:09:26 AM
Hello everyone,

The past week or two has seen a surprising amount of character news come out the Disney parks worldwide, so I have my usual round-up of everything, complete with sources!

Let's start at Disney's newest resort, set to open on 16th June this year, Shanghai Disneyland. The Xinhua English News reported online the other day that, I quote,

"Classic Disney characters are getting a Chinese re-styling for Shanghai Disneyland, with Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck set to appear as old Shanghai stereotypes when the park opens in three months.

Of the 7,000 souvenirs ready to debut at Shanghai Disneyland's opening on June 16, at least half were tailored exclusively for the park, said sources there on Saturday.

Minnie will be dressed like a typical Shanghai beauty in the 1920s and 1930s, wearing a pink Chinese jacket and red embroidered silk sandals.

"The dressing style was typical of ladies whose portraits appeared on calendars in every household 80 to 90 years ago," said Gu Zhengwei, director of Shanghai Disney Resort's commodity department.

In Shanghai, Mickey will be a young man wearing a top hat and holding a stick, while Donald will appear as a middle-aged Shanghai man, good-natured but aloof."


Obviously nothing is certain until the park opens, but I think it is interesting that, at least from this article, it sounds as though these costumes will be their "standard" dress in Shanghai, rather than the classic outfits we are used to seeing them in at the other parks. It's always nice to see new costumes for the characters in shows and parades, and we look forward to meeting them there!

Whilst I was on that article I clicked around the site and found something posted a couple of months ago that I don't believe anyone else has picked up on, that I thought was really interesting. Again, I quote,

"Shanghai Disneyland will feature favorite Disney characters from Snow White to Luke Skywalker, under an entertainment program announced for the upcoming park on Wednesday.

The stories of classic Disney princesses will be staged in the site's signature Enchanted Storybook Castle, said Matt Almas, the company's creative executive.

Visitors will learn to draw Marvel characters and interact with the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe in sci-fi zone Tomorrowland.

Chinese elements will also be incorporated, Almas said.

The final carriage of Mickey's Storybook Express, a train running through the park, will be dedicated to Mulan, an animated movie depicting a female war hero of ancient China. Each carriage will be based on a different Disney film.

The Lion King musical will be performed in Chinese at the park's theater. Visitors will also join Donald Duck and Chip'n'Dale to practice traditional Chinese martial art Tai Chi."


We already knew about the castle show, so that doesn't sound too surprising, and the same for the being able to "interact" (think meet) the Star Wars and Marvel characters. What is interesting though is the information about the parade, Mickey's Storybook Express. We have heard so very little about this parade so far, that it is interesting to hear something about it, and that it will include Mulan. The other interesting statement is the one about learning Tai Chi with Donald, Chip and Dale. This is the first time we have given any kind of information about smaller, potential "pop-up" entertainment around the park - everything so far has been very much focussed on the larger stage productions. It's nice to see that this new park will have random park atmosphere entertainment, too. It should be noted that the Lion King show that they mention is actually the broadway style show, and is located outside the park at an additional cost.

Moving across the country to Hong Kong Disneyland, where spring season has started. This year Mickey and friends are appearing in some unique outfits, that while don't scream spring to me, they are really cute and offer something different to guests visiting the park. I don't have any photos of my own to share, but a tag search on Instagram shows up some pretty decent images, as I discovered. Hong Kong Disneyland are also continuing to up their character offerings across the park with the recent addition of Princess Sofia and Baymax. You can learn more about the spring season and the new character greetings, here on the official HKDL page.

Across the East China Sea, in Japan the immensely popular show, Big Band Beat, at Tokyo DisneySea has held its last weekend of performances. The newly reimagined show for the 15th anniversary of the park will open on the 15th April 2016, along with the new Crystal Wishes Journey show at Mediterranean Harbor and The Year of Wishes Greeting Drive at American Waterfront on the same day. Across the resort at Tokyo Disneyland, the new Polynesian Terrace dinner show that replaces Mickey and Minnie's Polynesian Paradise, opens tomorrow. The show will be presented up to four times daily, and is expected to feature Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Clarice.

Heading east to Disneyland in California, and it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that the Super Hero HQ in Tomorrowland would be closing. Saturday 2nd April will be the last day to meet Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America at the building. However, Captain America and Spider-Man will be moving over to Disney California Adventure the very next day, Sunday 3rd April. Along similar superhero lines, the Parks Blog also announced that the former Avengers half marathon weekend at Disneyland will now become the Super Hero half marathon, and will expand its offerings to include for the first time Dr Strange. Though the blog doesn't specifically say who will appear, it does say there will be "surprises" and that Dr Strange would "host", which makes it sound very likely that Dr Strange will make his first ever Disney Parks appearance! The marathon event will be held from 10th through 13th November 2016, with registration opening on 12th April 2016.

Obviously we still have a week until Easter, but it currently looks as though, much to our sadness, that spring will not be retuning to Disneyland Resort this year. We really loved the offerings the past couple of years, with a several month long celebration featuring the VIPs in special outfits and special greetings with the Disney bunnies, including Roger Rabbit. Perhaps they will surprise us next week with something, but at the moment it doesn't look likely, sadly.

I had previously posted here on the blog about the arrival of Nick and Judy from Disney's latest smash hit, Zootopia. It had been announced on the Parks Blog that they would appear for greetings at Disney California Adventure and in Move It! Shake It! at the Magic Kingdom. While that hasn't changed, we now have a clearer idea on timeframe. Shawn Slater later confirmed in the comments that Nick and Judy would be around until at least June at DCA, and while there is no firm date on their start in DCA, they would start appearing in MISICI at the Magic Kingdom from next weekend (Easter). Disney entertainment schedules typically start on a Sunday, which means that Saturday will be the last day for the current format. It is expected, though not officially confirmed, that Stitch and Genie would be the ones replaced by Nick and Judy. Saturday is also expected to be Marie's last day in Town Square, with Stitch replacing her the following day possibly at the front of the park (although Tomorrowland is just a good a location for him, of course).

There are just two weeks left now for Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, with its last day being Saturday 2nd April. There is still no confirmation as to when the new show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, will begin.

It was also finally announced, much to everyone's huge relief, that Joy and Sadness from last year's hit PIXAR movie Inside Out start greeting guests at the Epcot Character Spot from early April. While there is still no firm date yet (Shawn Slater's comment son the Parks Blog even say as much), it is such a welcome addition - if a little late. Shawn also confirmed that there would be no FastPass+ offered for the new experience.

Across the ocean at Disneyland Paris spring season officially started there, with their ever expanding seasonal offerings, including Minnie's Spring Train which for the first time, though rather sporadically, has included the Cheshire Cat! He appeared for the press launch last week, and has made a couple of further appearances since, giving hope to fans that he will become more of a permanent fixture in the park. An Instagram search shows up some good pictures of him, if you're interested.

Finally for today, the Parks Blog confirmed that the popular Star wars Days at Sea will return to select Disney Cruise Line sailings in 2017.

Ok, that's it for today! If you haven't already, be sure to check out my latest trip report, which can be found in the blog list on the side panel.

Have a great week everyone,

Dan.
Walt Disney World Christmas 2015 Trip Report - Part 1
DisneyDan  Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:23:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I realise this report is quite delayed, but we have been very busy for the past two months, and I have just now had time to sit and write this!

Jon and I visited Walt Disney World (WDW) over Christmas itself last year, and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, and Old Key West. In this report I'll be sharing our experiences at both of those hotels, plus our adventures at Epcot.

Let's start with Epcot.

Being the Christmas season, Future World was in the festive spirit.   [ Read More... ]
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