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Welcome Princess Merida, Disney’s 11th Princess to the Magic Kingdom

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

Presiding over the ceremony was Gymnastics gold medalist Gabby Douglas, and of course, our Disney Princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel, were in attendance.

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

It was a magical entrance as Merida and here trusty stead Angus walk in from Liberty Square and come to the coronation!

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

And after a hug from her mother, Queen Elinor…

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

Merida is a princess!!

Merida, the heroine from the Disney●Pixar film, “Brave,” was officially welcomed into Disney royalty earlier today in a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

You can watch the entire coronation in this video:

Disney Unveils New ‘Festival of Fantasy’ Parade Coming to Magic Kingdom Park in 2014

For many guests, a visit to a Disney theme park wouldn’t be complete without catching a parade. Whether it’s the thrill of seeing which Disney character comes up next, or that moment when your favorite character waves right at you, there’s just something magical about a Disney parade.

new procession, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will march into Magic Kingdom Park in spring 2014.

Disney is happy to share that a new procession, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will march into Magic Kingdom Park in spring 2014.

new procession, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will march into Magic Kingdom Park in spring 2014.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will bring a celebration of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A., through fantastic and innovative new parade floats, vibrant costumes, and an original soundtrack that will feature beloved songs from favorite Disney films, plus a parade theme song.

new procession, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will march into Magic Kingdom Park in spring 2014.

This parade will specifically highlight the stories of “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,”“Peter Pan,” “Tangled” and the Disney●Pixar film “Brave” among others. (Check out a sneak peek of the “Tangled”-themed float above).

What do you think of the new parade coming to Magic Kingdom?

Monstrous Summer at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts Kicks Off With First Ever Three-Park All-Nighter

A 180-foot-tall Mike Wazowski from the upcoming Disney●Pixar film “Monsters University” made the official announcement that Disney is keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season, to kick off a Monstrous Summer on both coasts. Wazowski, the loveable green-bodied, one-eyed monster, joins best pal James P. Sullivan (“Sulley”) in the prequel to “Monsters, Inc.”, this summer as college students with hopes of becoming Scarers.

Disney is keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season, to kick off a Monstrous Summer on both coasts.

Disney’s first-ever, three-park all-night party is happening at the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park in California. The parks will stay open from 6 a.m., May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, local time.

  • In Florida, Magic Kingdom Park will feature a “Monsters University” theme where Mike and Sulley will be the Grand Marshals of the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” day parade and make appearances in Tomorrowland. There will be extra entertainment throughout the day and night, including characters in their pajamas in Town Square during the late night and early morning, and late-night dance parties in and around the courtyard of Cinderella Castle.
  •  In California, you’ll be able to party the night away at both parks with special entertainment including: a “Monsters University” “TLT Monstrous” Dance Club and Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland and late-night Character Pajama Party in Mickey’s ToonTown at Disneyland park. The new Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre at Disneyland park will become a Royal Dance Hall late at night with a live band and dancing; and guests of Disney California Adventure park will find Monstrous photo opportunities with new “Monsters University” “Dorms” in Hollywood Land and a new “Monsters University” float leading the Pixar Play Parade.

The huge sphere of Spaceship Earth was transformed from Epcot icon to Disney●Pixar “Eye-con” for the announcement.

Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis joined Mike to share the news of the Monstrous Summer. “This summer, Disney Parks are bursting with a monstrous lineup of new thrills, shows and happenings,” he said. “Guests can start Memorial Day Weekend with a 24-hour-marathon of memory-making as three parks stay open all day and all night to celebrate the bi-coastal kick-off of our Disney Parks Monstrous Summer.”

All three parks will feature limited-edition specialty merchandise and food and beverage offerings plus other surprises throughout the entire day. Keep an eye on the Kingdom Magic Vacation’s Blog for all the Monstrous Summer details in coming weeks.

Contact us today to make your plans to join Mike, Sully, and all your Monster pals at Disney this summer!

“Ratatouille’ Themed Attraction Set to Open at Disneyland Paris in 2014

When you watch the Disney●Pixar film “Ratatouille,” does it make you want to visit Paris? As early as next year, fans of this film in particular will have a whole new reason to make the trip, as it was just announced that a new attraction based on this film is in the works for Disneyland Paris.

Ratatouille’-Themed Attraction Set to Open at Disneyland Paris in 2014

This new family-focused attraction will open at the resort’s Walt Disney Studios Park in 2014. The film tells the tale of Remy, a cuisine-loving rat, who dreams of becoming a talented French chef. According to Gas, Disneyland Paris is the perfect setting for such an attraction:

“By developing this new ‘Ratatouille’ attraction, we continue to ensure our guests can experience their favorite Disney stories in memorable ways that only Disney can provide,” he said. “The theme, which is very français, is a tribute to the capital and the unforgettable characters that make ‘Ratatouille’ the ideal choice for an attraction that fits perfectly at Disneyland Paris.”

Who’s ready for a visit?

Vintage Epcot: A Return to Seabase Alpha

I’m a huge fan of The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction at Epcot where you can interact with the stars of the hit Disney•Pixar film, but there is one thing I miss about the original The Living Seas Pavilion – the hydrolater.

The Living Seas Pavilion – the hydrolater.

Iconic to The Living Seas Pavilion, this 20 passenger capsule elevator took guests on a 30-second trip to the ocean floor where they experienced water rushing by as electronic indicators measured the progress of their decent while the floor beneath them was shaking.

The Living Seas Pavilion

This 185,000 square-foot pavilion that opened in 1986 is home to a coral reef environment that holds 5.7 million gallons of seawater. When guests disembarked at Seabase Alpha (now known just as Seabase), they explored a model undersea research facility.

Seabase Alpha

The previous queue at The Living Seas had artifacts that had a more nautical feel than the beach queue guests encounter today.

The previous queue at The Living Seas

While saying “dude” as much as possible is today’s norm when leaving The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction, I still like to yell out “the deluge” when it downpours here in Florida. Those two words are still memorable all these years later from the original The Living Seas preshow.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Ready, Set, Go! Sea Turtles Race to the Ocean at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Sea turtle nesting season (May to October) is a hubbub of activity at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and the past couple of weeks have been no exception. In today’s blog post, I’m excited to share news on Cinderella the sea turtle’s nest and this year’s Tour de Turtles, as well as an amazing video of hatchlings emerging from their nest and heading to the sea.

Sea Turtles Race to the Ocean at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

The race is on in Tour de Turtles. Last Saturday morning, more than 500 Disney’s Vero Beach Resort guests cheered as two loggerhead sea turtles, who had laid their eggs on the beach the night before, returned to the sea. The turtles were fitted with satellite transmitters and released on the beach near the resort as part of the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual Tour de Turtles event. The first turtle to swim the farthest will be declared the winner. The turtles are named after characters in the Disney•Pixar film “Finding Nemo.” Peach is sponsored byDisney’s Animal Programs and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and Pearl is sponsored by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Friends for Change.

Researchers from Disney’s Animal Programs and the Sea Turtle Conservancy will track the sea turtles using satellite telemetry as they travel from their nesting beach to various feeding grounds. Using this technology, scientists learn about sea turtles’ habits at sea and the different migratory patterns of each species. This knowledge helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation actions and policies. Guests can find out about this research and follow the tracks of the turtles when they visit the Wildlife Tracking Center in Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. People worldwide can view the sea turtles’ progress online at www.tourdeturtles.org.

Sea Turtles Race to the Ocean at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Readers of the Disney Parks Blog will remember that a June 6 blog post told the story of Cinderella the sea turtle, who came up on the beach very late one night (after midnight, hence the name Cinderella) near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to lay her eggs. I promised to provide an update on the nest to report on how many hatchlings emerged. Cinderella’s nest is one of hundreds that Disney’s Animal Programs cast members monitor during sea turtle nesting season at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Cast members are marking new sea turtle nests daily, as well as monitoring existing nests until they hatch. Well, it was quite a summer for Cinderella’s nest. In late May, Tropical Storm Beryl washed over the nest. In early June, a large ghost crab took up residence a few feet from the nest, but, fortunately, didn’t do any digging at the nest site. In late June, Tropical Storm Debby washed over the nest. Sea turtle nests are quite vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes, as they are likely to be inundated with water, which can harm the eggs. Cast members monitoring Cinderella’s nest in early July found a leatherback sea turtle hatchling that had been caught up in fishing line washed up on the beach. They freed the hatchling from the fishing line and released it at night, when it was cooler and the hatchling would be safer from predators.

Cinderella the sea turtle

Finally, in late July, the eggs in Cinderella’s nest hatched. We inventoried the nest, and she had a total of 121 eggs in the nest — 55 hatched and 66 didn’t. Why the low number of hatchlings? Well, Tropical Storm Debby seemed to have had an effect on her nest; she laid her nest in an area that received a lot of wave action over her nest, but still those 55 hatchlings made it to the ocean. That same day we inventoried another nest that was laid in the sand above Cinderella’s nest, and it had 123 eggs, of which 118 hatched and only 5 didn’t. Here is some video footage taken with special night vision equipment of hatchlings emerging from the nest. As for the hatchlings, you can see that we were very careful not to interfere with their ability to reach the ocean safely. We are excited to share this video of one of nature’s most amazing wonders. Enjoy!

 

Did you know?

  • In “Finding Nemo,” “Peach” is a starfish and “Pearl” is an octopus.
  • In the Tour de Turtles, each turtle acts as an ambassador to raise awareness about a specific threat to sea turtles. Peach is raising awareness about the threat of light pollution on the beach. Since sea turtle hatchlings rely on moonlight to find their way to the ocean, many become disoriented and drawn off-course by artificial light sources. Pearl is raising awareness about the threat of entanglement. Turtles can become tangled in trash and nets, and drown.
  • Each year, approximately 50,000 female sea turtles lay their eggs on Florida beaches, making the state’s beaches one of the most important nesting areas in the world. Sea turtles are among the oldest creatures on earth and have remained essentially unchanged for 110 million years. In the United States, as much as 90 percent of sea turtle nesting occurs in Florida, which serves as a primary nesting site for several species of endangered and threatened sea turtles.
  • Guests visiting Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot can adopt a sea turtle nest. And, of course, people can help turtles year-round by taking action to reduce waste, save water and keep it clean, and reduce emissions.

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