How does Disney Decorate for the Holidays?

This is a time lapse video of how Walt Disney World decorates the Magic Kingdom from Halloween to Christmas overnight. It really is amazing! When we were there over Labor Day this past year, we went to Magic Kingdom one evening and nothing was decorated. The next morning at opening, there were Mickey pumpkins and Halloween garlands everywhere. It really threw me off for a while, I felt like I was crazy. I was asking myself, was this here last night?

November a few years ago at Boardwalk, we watched as the team used a giant drill to dig a hole and drop poinsettia all over the property. It took just a few hours to turn the entire resort into Holiday mode. They also were working on the gingerbread carousel as well while we were there. Every time we came into the lobby over 48 hours, there were more and more details to the structure and the smell was to die for!

If you haven’t been to Disney during the Holiday season, you should make a point of going. It is the most magical time at Disney and there are so many things to see and do. Any time in late November through December, the hotels are all decked out and the more expensive the hotel, the more elaborate the decorations. There are so many different things to see and do both inside the parks and out. You can spend an entire evening just riding the monorail to Polynesian, Contemporary, & Grand Floridian and stopping at each to see the decorations and special characters and events they have at each.

More to come on specifics of Christmas at Walt Disney World…

Disney Buys Star Wars Franchise

LOS ANGELES –  A decade since George Lucas  said “Star Wars” was finished on the big screen, a new trilogy under new  ownership is destined for theaters after The Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday  that it was buying Lucasfilm Ltd. from him for $4.05 billion.

The seventh movie, with a working title of “Episode 7,” is set for release in  2015. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow. The trilogy will continue the story of Luke  Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia beyond “Return of the Jedi,” the third  film released and the sixth in the saga. After that, Disney plans a new “Star  Wars” movie every two or three years. Lucas will serve as creative consultant in  the new movies.

“I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life,” Lucas, the  68-year-old creator of the series and sole owner of Lucasfilm, said in an  interview posted on YouTube. “I get to be a fan now … I sort of look forward  to it. It’s a lot more fun actually, than actually having to go out into the mud  and snow.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger said Lucasfilm had already developed an extensive story  line on the next trilogy, and Episode 7 was now in early-stage development. He  said he talked with Lucas about buying the company from him a year and a half  ago, but they didn’t decide on a deal until very recently as Lucas set in motion  his retirement.

“The last `Star Wars’ movie release was 2005’s `Revenge of the Sith’ — and  we believe there’s substantial pent-up demand,” Iger said.

The blockbuster deal announced Tuesday will see Disney pay half the  acquisition price in cash and half in newly issued stock. The company expects it  to add to earnings in 2015. Along with the cash, Lucas will end up owning about  40 million Disney shares, which is about a 2.2 percent stake of the 1.83 billion  shares that will be in circulation when the transaction closes.

The deal includes Lucasfilm’s prized high-tech production companies,  Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as rights to the  “Indiana Jones” franchise.

Lucas was hailed as a cinematic visionary when the original “Star Wars” came  out in 1977. But he had become an object of often-vicious ridicule by the time  he released 3-D versions of all six films in the Star Wars franchise earlier  this year.

Die-hard Star War fans had been vilifying Lucas for years, convinced that he  had become a commercial sell-out and had compounded his sins by desecrating the  heroic tale that he originally sought to tell.

They railed against him for adding grating characters such as Jar Jar Binks  in the second trilogy and attacked him for tinkering with the original trilogy,  too. Any revision in special edition or home video releases — such as making  the Ewoks blink or having a green-skinned alien named Greedo take the first shot  at Han Solo in a famous bar scene — were treated as blasphemy.

The criticism grated on Lucas, who vowed never to make another Star Wars  movie.

“Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says  what a terrible person you are?” Lucas told The New York Times earlier this  year.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” the fourth film in  another lucrative franchise, subjected Lucas to even more barbs when it came to  the big screen in 2008. Fans of those films were especially outraged about an  opening scene that featured Indiana Jones crawling into a lead-lined  refrigerator to survive a nuclear bomb blasting.

Lucas was fed up by the time he released “Red Tails,” a movie depicting the  valor of African-American pilots during World War II, earlier this year. He told  the Times he was ready to retire from the business of making blockbusters and  return to his roots as a student at USC’s film school, where he once made a  movie about clouds moving in a desert.

Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the  division’s president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She  will serve as executive producer for the new movies. Directors for the new  movies have not yet been announced.

In the YouTube video, Lucas said the decision to continue with the saga  wasn’t inconsistent with past statements.

“I always said I wasn’t going to do any more and that’s true, because I’m not  going to do any more, but that doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to turn it over to  Kathy to do more,” Lucas said.

He said he has given Kennedy his story lines and other ideas, “and I have  complete confidence that she’s going to take them and make great movies.”

Kennedy added that she and Lucas had discussed ideas with a couple of writers  about the future movies and said Lucas would continue to have a key advisory  role. “My Yoda has to be there,” she said.

The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including  Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, all companies that Disney has acquired over the  years.

A former weatherman who rose through the ranks of ABC, Iger has orchestrated  some of the company’s biggest acquisitions, including the $7.4 billion purchase  of animated movie studio Pixar in 2006 and the $4.2 billion acquisition of comic  book giant Marvel in 2009.

Coincidentally, Lucas owned the startup that later became Pixar, before he  sold it to Apple’s Steve Jobs in 1986 for about $5 million. When Jobs sold Pixar  to Disney, he became Disney’s largest single shareholder with a 7.7 percent  stake. Those shares are now held in a trust.

Disney shares were not trading with stock markets closed due to the impact of  Superstorm Sandy in New York. They closed on Friday at $50.08.

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Play, Stay, Dine & Save Offer

The newest discount that Walt Disney World is offering is the Play, Stay, Dine and Save. There are actually 2 different offers with this deal. In reality it is a room only discount. If you add the Magic Your Way package with Dining, it is still a room discount with full price on the tickets & dining plan.

The room discount is as follows: Continue reading

Knight Package at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Here is the brochure on the Knight Package for boys at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It is only $15.95 plus tax, but if you son is into knight and princes then it is totally worth it. I don’t think you could find a sword and shield in the parks this cheap and it comes with a cool colored hair style. To learn more on Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, follow this link.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom: Round 2

This August, I was finally able to experience Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and it was awesome! I have written the details in this previous article, but now I will explain from a first hand perspective. It is a great FREE activity in Magic Kingdom. You can start/stop the game throughout your entire trip, so you don’t have to devote a significant amount of time to it if you don’t want to. Also, the cards make a great souvenir to collect and bring home. Continue reading

Look what I got in the mail today!

Today in the mail I get a very large colorful envelope that stands out among all the white bills. What could it be? Mickey’s on the front, but I am not expecting anything from WDW. Inside is a very vivid and fun thank you note. Here is what it says:

From all of your Disney pals, we hope you created magical memories during your visit to Walt Disney World Resort in 2012.

It is also signed by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto & Tinker Bell. My kids both think that these characters sent us a card to say hi. 

This is one of the reasons I think The Walt Disney Company is genius! Exactly a month after we have come home from our trip, I am reminded of the wonderful times we had. They have now put into my head these thoughts: “I wonder when we can go back?” “What time of year will we go next time?” “Will we go with friends or just us again?”. See, geniuses! I wasn’t thinking about a trip at all and now I am starting to plan again. What is wrong with me?!

Updated September 30, 2012 with the current brochure from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!

Mouse Ear Momma

Are you girls obsessed with princesses? Most are…including mine.

A special experience your kids (yes, the boys too) can have while you are visiting Walt Disney World is an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. There are 2 locations, inside Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom & in The World of Disney store at Downtown Disney.

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