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Star Wars Galactic Nights, April 2017 - A Review
DisneyDan  Tuesday, May 9, 2017 3:41:47 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month, on the 14th April, Disney's Hollywood Studios held its first ever Star Wars Galactic Nights; a premium ticketed event held after park closing.

When Disney first announced Galactic Nights, it was kind of bittersweet. 2015 saw the last ever Star Wars Weekends at the park, which at the time we didn't know would be the final event. Star Wars Weekends were held over four or five consecutive weekends in May and June since 1997. The weekends were insanely popular, and involved many fun character greetings, shows, celebrity appearances, special dining options, special merchandise and much, much more. They were quite simply the ultimate Star Wars fan event. Without warning, Disney announced, after the 2015 event, that they had decided to cancel them, and so anyone who missed 2015 - or had already made plans for 2016 - were left very disappointed, and honestly, as diehard fans we were left bitterly let down and a little stunned.

Disney have tried in the past year to increase the Star Wars presence at Hollywood Studios, including the Star Wars Launch Bay, the March of the First Order, the fireworks spectacular and other small offerings. When Galactic Nights was announced, with the celebrity appearances, cavalcade and special character greetings, it felt like they were trying to give the fans a little bit of Star Wars Weekends back, if only for one night, and at a high premium.

With all that in mind, I was a little skeptical, honestly. How could one night live up to the all-day activities that lasted for four weeks per year? And how could we possibly get everything done in one night? I imagined it being a little frustrating, and actually anticipated complaining to guest relations at the end of the night, based on our recent experiences at Disney events. I don't deliberately go into these things wanting or intending to complain, but I think I was so jaded by the loss of Star Wars Weekends, and now having to pay a lot of money to just even get a slither of that back for one night, that I just expected to dislike it.

  [ Read More... ]
Disneyland, February 2017 - A Trip Report
DisneyDan  Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:41:27 AM
Hello everyone,

Last month I shared with you my report on our trip to Disneyland for AP Days and the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade. That report specifically focussed on those two things, can be found by clicking here.

In this second and final part of my trip report for our visit to Disneyland, I am going to share with you everything else that we managed to do in the whirlwind less-than-two-day adventure we had there!

  [ 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... ]
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Four
DisneyDan  Sunday, September 25, 2016 11:48:01 AM
Hello everyone,

In this fourth installment of my Shanghai Disney Resort trip report, we are going to take a look at Tomorrowland. In case you missed any of the previous parts, I have provided the links for you, below:

Shanghai, September 2016 Trip Report on Two Lost Boys
I shared my experience travelling to Shanghai, arriving at the airport, getting to the resort, and then visiting the Disney Store in the city.

Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part One on Character Central
In part one of my main Disney report I shared with you all of our experiences at the two Shanghai Disney Resort hotels, Disneytown, and character dining at Lumiere's Kitchen.

Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Two on Character Central
In this report I took an in-depth look at Mickey Avenue, with over 230 photos of all the details on the little entrance street to the park.

Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Three on Character Central
In this report I took an in-depth look at the Gardens of Imagination, Mickey's Storybook Express parade, the Golden Fairytale Fanfare castle show and the Ignite the Dream nighttime spectacular, with over 210 photos of all the details.

Approaching Tomorrowland you may feel as though you are really leaving behind everything you just experienced in Mickey Avenue and the Gardens of Imagination, and heading out into some uncharted territory! Tomorrowland sits, what feels like, so far back along the walkway, that it actually feels quite disconnected. There is even a vast open green area, which you can look back on towards Disneytown, which is a weird angle. You start to feel the future with some speaker and light posts, and eventually the Tomorrowland entrance sign, but still, you feel a little "out there".   [ Read More... ]
News - Brand new Halloween parade coming to DL, Halloween Dine outfits revealed, and Star Wars event coming to DLP
DisneyDan  Monday, August 29, 2016 12:50:01 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog revealed that a brand new parade (although it's more of a cavalcade) will feature at Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland park in California. The parade, titled the "Frightfully Fun Parade", will feature the Headless Horseman, and characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Haunted Mansion, Princess and the Frog, the Disney Villains and "beyond". Characters specifically mentioned in the article are the Headless Horseman, Jack Skellington, the Hitchhiking Ghosts, Dr Facilier, Hades, the Queen, Jafar and Cruella. It is not yet known how this new parade will affect the character greetings around the park during the event evenings, or whether having the characters in the parade will mean those ones will not be greeting (up until last year nearly all of those, save for the Horseman, met during the parties).

On Friday the DPB also gave us a sneak peek at two of the costumes that the characters will be wearing at the next Minnie's Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine.


Image taken from the Disney Parks Blog. (C) Disney.

It is interesting that they chose to go with a Halloween theme over a fall/harvest theme, given that the Halloween Dine will run from the 12th September until well past Halloween - 6th November in fact. We look forward to seeing what Goofy, Donald and Daisy are wearing, too!

Finally, last week Disneyland Paris announced that they would be filling their early 2017 low season with a brand new star Wars themed event, titled Season of the Force. The event will run from 14th January until 26th March, and will primarily run at the Walt Disney Studios Park. There will be Stormtroopers patrolling the streets, a March of the First Order, featuring Captain Phasma and Stormtroopers, and a brand new light projection show at the Tower of Terror at night, that will also include - as of yet unspecified - characters. The new official landing page for the event also mentions something in Production Courtyard, but it really gives no details at all; "Let the Force guide you to Production Courtyard in Walt Disney Studios Park for an extraordinary example of galactic might." Whatever it means, it'll be yet another cool and welcome addition to the park and this already awesome sounding line-up.

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
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 2
DisneyDan  Monday, March 14, 2016 2:24:29 PM
Hello everyone,

Last week I shared part one of my Walt Disney World Christmas trip report, which covered Epcot and the Disney resort hotels. In this second part we will take a look at our adventures at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

So, let's jump right in and see what we did at Animal Kingdom.   [ Read More... ]
NEWS - Kylo Ren coming to Disney Parks, Tokyo DisneySea 15th anniversary and more closures at DHS
DisneyDan  Friday, January 15, 2016 4:31:51 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that Kylo Ren, the main villain of the new "Star Wars - Force Awakens" movie, will be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park in California. Kylo Ren will feature at the Star Wars Launch Bay at both parks, replacing Darth Vader. It is not currently known if he will also appear at the Disney Visa meet 'n' greet at Disney's Hollywood Studios, replacing Darth Vader when he appears there, too. This is really exciting news for Star Wars fans, and fans of the new movie, as it will, for the first time, bring a   [ Read More... ]
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