CELEBRATION, Fla. (October 18, 2016) – Condé Nast Traveler announced earlier today that Disney Cruise Line has once again claimed the No. 1 spot in the “Large Cruise Line” category in the publication’s latest Readers’ Choice Awards. This is the 14th consecutive year that Disney Cruise Line has been recognized in the annual survey.
“These kinds of awards are among my favorite,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “The input is unfiltered and genuine, and comes directly from readers and our guests. It speaks volumes about our Cast and Crew Members who deliver the most amazing cruise vacations.”
More than 300,000 readers engaged in this year’s survey – the largest number in Condé Nast Traveler history. A full awards list will be featured in the November issue and on www.cntraveler.com.
Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has received more than 250 distinguished awards from the travel industry praising all aspects of the operation from dining to entertainment, to youth activities and spa facilities. For additional information on Disney Cruise Line honors, photos, and videos visit Disney Cruise Line Public Affairs.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, Guests can contact their travel agent, visit disneycruise.com or call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500. Travel agents can call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or visit disneytravelagents.com.
ROCKLEDGE, Fla. (October 22, 2016) – Thousands of kids and families in Brevard County will soon have more ways to discover nature due to the hard work of crew members from the Disney Fantasy and community members who volunteered their time today to help build an outdoor classroom at the Riverwalk – A Family Park.
The all-new Nature Explore Classroom is an outdoor interactive play area designed to inspire kids and families to spend more time outside exploring nature. It includes many of the same principles of a traditional playground, but helps children develop fine motor skills through art, music, gardening, exploration and imagination, all while using natural materials.
This project was partially funded by a $20,000 grant from the Parks Build Community, an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association and The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney | ABC Television Group and ESPN. The Parks Build Community program provides communities with resources to improve local parks through projects that connect kids to nature, help kids and families live healthier lives and increase kids’ access to sports. The Riverwalk – A Family Park is one of 16 grant recipients this year.
While the Disney Fantasy was in port for just the day, Disney Cruise Line crew members spent the morning assembling exhibit pieces, leveling the ground and spreading mulch in preparation for the grand opening of the Nature Explore Classroom later this year. Once complete, the outdoor classroom will be enjoyed by Brevard County families, schools and community groups – building stronger connections to nature and fostering future generations of environmental stewards. Research indicates that time spent in nature creates smarter, happier, healthier kids and instills lifelong conservation values.*
This is one of many events where Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members donate thousands of hours of their personal time to benefit worthwhile causes in Brevard County and port communities around the world.
*According to Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods
CELEBRATION, Fla. (February 15, 2017) – In the recently announced 2017 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards, Disney Cruise Line took home top honors with a total of eight first-place awards, including the Best For Families.
Cruise Critic Members recognized the Disney Magic as the No. 1 cruise ship for families, while also ranking the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder as top cruises ships in the Best for Families category.
In the large-ship category, the Disney Dream took the No. 1 spots for “Best Overall Ship,” “Best Staterooms,” “Best Public Rooms,” “Best Service” and “Best Shore Excursions.” This marks the third consecutive year that the Disney Dream has won the “Best Overall” in its category.
The Disney Fantasy was also honored in the large-ship category as the “Best for Fitness” and the Disney Magic was listed as the “Best Overall Ship” in the mid-size ship category.
Cruise Critic is one of the largest online cruise communities with more than 150,000 cruise reviews. The Cruisers’ Choice Awards are selected based on the thousands of reviews by the Cruise Critic community in 2016. For a full list of Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards winners, visit CruiseCritic.com.
Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has received more than 250 distinguished awards from the travel industry praising all aspects of the operation from dining to entertainment, to youth activities and spa facilities. For additional information on Disney Cruise Line honors, photos, and videos visit Disney Cruise Line Public Affairs
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit disneycruise.com or call Disney Cruise Line at 1-888-DCL-2500. Travel agents can call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or visit disneytravelagents.com.
CELEBRATION, Fla. (May 2017) – This summer, the Disney Magic returns for its grand tour of Europe taking guests to exciting new ports of call and popular destinations throughout the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, British Isles and the Mediterranean.
Disney Cruise Line will celebrate an inaugural visit to Portland, England, on May 23. Located a short distance from Stonehenge, the port allows guests to easily visit the prehistoric ring of standing stones monument – one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World – and the surrounding countryside. Shortly thereafter on May 25, the Disney Magic will call on Amsterdam, another first for Disney Cruise Line. Known for its elaborate canal system, the city offers guests iconic windmills, tulip gardens and world-class museums housing works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh.
In honor of the maiden calls, Captain Marco Nogara and shipboard officials will host local port and community leaders onboard the 2,700 passenger vessel for a traditional maritime plaque exchange ceremony in each port of call. Both stops are part of a 15-night transatlantic crossing, which departed from Port Canaveral on May 13 and will arrive in Copenhagen May 28.
The ship will sail throughout Europe during the summer before returning to New York in September. While in Northern Europe, guests will explore the grandeur of the Baltic region with stops in storied countries like Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Netherlands. In Iceland and Norway, guests will admire the breathtaking natural wonders of volcanoes, magnificent mountain ranges and majestic fjords. When the Disney Magic sails into the British Isles, grand adventures await guests that capture the alluring sights and scenery of Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland and France. In the Mediterranean, guests will travel to cosmopolitan cities in iconic destinations teeming with enticing cuisine throughout Italy, France and Spain.
Onboard the Disney Magic, guests will be treated to world-class Disney experiences offering something for everyone – extraordinary entertainment, imaginative recreation and decadent dining. Families can enjoy Broadway-style shows including “Tangled: The Musical,” which immerses audiences in Rapunzel’s fairytale world through lavish production numbers and spellbinding music. The Oceaneer Club transports children to the magical realms of brave super heroes, adventuresome toys, fanciful fairies and Mickey Mouse’s club for creativity and fun. Elaborately themed dining experiences, such as Animator’s Palate and the adult-exclusive Palo, offer guests an extra course of magic.
Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the cruise industry, providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can experience all Disney has to offer. Today, Disney Cruise Line continues to expand its blueprint for family cruising with a fleet of four ships – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Guests can sail out of ports around the world on exciting itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska and Europe, among others. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.
Most Impressive Fans is a feature highlighting the amazing creativity of Star Wars devotees, from cosplay to props. If there’s a fearless and inventive fan out there, we’ll highlight them here.
Artist Angelica “Moya” Kojima is a cosplayer with a heart of kyber crystal.
During Star Wars Celebration Europe last year, she suited up to pay homage to her favorite Star Wars film with an unforgettable ensemble — a larger than life version of Luke Skywalker’s green-bladed lightsaber. She even snagged a photo-op with Mark Hamill himself, who gamely posed as if he were about to duel Darth Vader.
In honor of the 40th anniversary, during Celebration Orlando she revisited the role with a fresh twist, this time creating a costume version of Anakin’s lightsaber, gifted to Luke in the original film.
This time Moya, 25, had the chance to stand beside Hamill and Hayden Christensen for an epic photo spread that completed her personal trilogy.
After returning to her home in Tokyo, we tracked Moya down to find out what made the costumer buck the usual trend of celebrity portraits with her unique and unwieldy costume choices.
Near and dear
It was Moya’s love for the character of Luke in Return of the Jedi that drew her to the original idea last year as she was preparing to meet-and-greet Hamill at Celebration. The artist and costumer typically opts for dresses with a vintage flair or crafting dioramas, she says.
“I thought, ‘What is the nearest thing to Jedi Luke?’ And my answer was ‘Luke’s lightsaber.’” After all, Luke forged the weapon with care and always kept it by his side, she reasoned. What more perfect ensemble could she wear to pose with the actor who brought Luke to life?
She couldn’t get past TSA with a giant lightsaber suit, so after two days of prep, much of the work completing the first saber costume — a mix of metallic silver fabric, cardboard, styrofoam, “and a lot of glue,” complete with a tiny inflatable blade — was done over three hours in her London hotel room.
Initially, Moya was nervous that her costume would leave fellow fans befuddled.
But she was confident that if anyone was likely to get it, it would be the devotees at Celebration.
Moya could barely see a thing in that saber, she couldn’t talk, and her arms were pinned inside the oversized hilt, so she relied on her boyfriend, Kenichi “Ken” Hamashima, to help her navigate and communicate.
Moya made her way through the queue to meet Mark Hamill. “So my boyfriend said to Mark, ‘Could you please hold this as a lightsaber?’”
Hamill burst into a laugh, then complied and struck a pose.
When Moya decided she was heading to Orlando to celebrate the 40th anniversary, she knew she wanted to recapture the magic with Luke’s original saber.
The fact that Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin in the prequels, was later announced as a celebrity guest was a fortuitous accident. Or as Moya puts it, “It was a miracle.”
With one trial under her…well, lightsabers don’t really have belts, do they? But suffice it to say her experience helped inform a more user-friendly second saber suit.
‘I think he remembered me’
Moya sketched out an easy design, and got to work measuring the individual parts using images of the movie prop for guidance.
She sewed together a cloth tube, using cardboard and styrofoam to give it weight and shape, trying it on over and over as she made fine adjustments. Then she added a row of clear plastic eggs and other details for switches, buttons, and the grip.
This time she included a circular window so she could poke her arms out of the costume without taking it off entirely — an added perk she used wisely for a few meta photo-ops holding other lightsabers she found on the exhibition floor. The costume was also malleable enough that she could sit while wearing it.
Christensen was the first to spot her in full regalia. “He said, ‘It’s my saber!’ and I cried,” Moya says. Once again, her boyfriend Ken was by her side to ask the actor to hold the cosplayer in a pose as if he were being reunited with his trusty weapon. He happily complied. “He was so kind to me,” she says.
Then it was on to the second Hamill photo-op. “I think he remembered me,” she says. “And he made the coolest face. My life is now complete!”
Fun with fans
Walking through the convention center, Moya says visibility was low, so she couldn’t always watch how other fans were reacting to a walking, talking lightsaber in their midst. “But I heard a lot of laughter,” she says, and she received a lot of compliments on the remarkable costume.
She only stayed in character for one hour, because the hilt is rather heavy and hot, but before she returned to her mild-mannered alter ego of regular human Star Wars fan, she and some other convention cosplayers had a little fun.
After spotting cosplayers Kyle Joseph E, known as “Mr. E,” and Marisa Bowers, who were decked out as Kylo Ren and Rey, Moya’s boyfriend asked if they might indulge her in making a short video. Then she took a running start, sailing past Kyle to land safely in Marisa’s arms, in a fan-film remake of the pinnacle moment in The Force Awakens.
“We only did the one take, as it was perfect!” Kyle says. The video was shared so widely it made the front page of Reddit and inspired one fan to edit together a gif where it appears Moya’s lightsaber lights up at the end, “which was great for a laugh,” he adds.
The costume, Moya sadly reports, was in the trash heap before she left Orlando on the 18-hour journey back home to Japan. All but one part, that is.
Feeling sentimental about her star encounters, she cut out of the section where Hamill and Christensen had rested their hands as a keepsake.
The Most Impressive Fans Q&A
Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Jedi Luke Skywalker.
Which Star Wars film ranks highest on your list?
Return of the Jedi.
What’s your first Star Wars memory?
I saw Episode III in a movie theater on opening day. It was fun!
Do you have a favorite scene?
It’s a tie — the speeder bike chase and “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
If you had to choose: join the rebels or live the Imperial life?
Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.
Thank you to all the fans who participated in the Star Wars: Force for Change 40th anniversary fundraising campaign. Over the course of four weeks between April 11 and May 11, 2017, over 66,435 people from over 160 countries entered for their chance to win three once-in-a-lifetime Star Wars experiences. In total, Star Wars: Force for Change was able to raise a gross total of over $3,400,000, with net proceeds benefiting UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Each week Star Wars: Force for Change offered one prize to a randomly selected winner and at the end of the campaign, one lucky fan won the Grand Prize — all three experiences:
Learn more about the winners here.
With the funds raised, UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation are able to provide much-needed support for children around the world.
More than 2.5 million children are affected as famines loom across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Thanks to Star Wars fans, funds raised through this campaign are able to help UNICEF save the lives of over 20,500 children suffering from malnutrition by providing over 3,080,000 Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food Packets (RUTF). Often called “Miracle Food,” this therapeutic Food can mean the difference between life and death, providing quick, lifesaving nourishment to a child suffering from malnutrition. Since April 2017, more than 4 million packets of RUTF have been distributed to over 30,000 children suffering from malnutrition around the world, and the amount raised through this campaign will significantly add to that impact.
Every 30 seconds, a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. These children are often scared, confused, lonely and facing serious medical treatments. Starlight Children’s Foundation improves those experiences by providing joy and comfort to hospitalized children. Through the funds raised in this campaign, Starlight Children’s Foundation is able to provide over 15,000 Star Wars-themed Starlight Brave Gowns that are soft, brightly colored, and meets hospital protocols. They are also able to more broadly launch Starlight VR, of which Star Wars: Force for Change is a Founding Sponsor. Starlight VR will transport children from the hospital to anyplace in the world – or beyond — through the magic of virtual reality by providing over 340 Starlight VR kits hospitalized children around the U.S. Starlight will now be able to provide these Starlight Brave Gowns and Starlight VR kits to partners in its network of more than 700 children’s hospitals and healthcare facilities across the U.S.
Thank you to the over 66,435 Star Wars fans who supported this campaign and made these amazing results possible in just 30 days! Even though the campaign is over, you can still donate to UNCIEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation on behalf of Force for Change and help children around the world.
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
With the release of Rogue One, the Star Wars cinematic universe made its first leap into telling stories that aren’t, at least in part, centered around the Skywalker family saga. In Rogue One, we learned the story of the rebels who stole the Death Star plans and ultimately set the stage for the Empire’s demise. But stories that explore the robust Star Wars universe aren’t new — Star Wars novels have been expanding the galaxy far, far away for decades.
Whether you’re a Padawan reader or a lifelong bookworm, there’s a Star Wars tale out there for you. Here’s a look at some especially terrific examples of books that are sure to satisfy that Star Wars itch no matter what age you are.
1. For readers in training: 5-Minute Star Wars Stories
This delightful collection retells some of the most vital moments in Star Wars history. Starting with The Phantom Menace and running all the way through The Force Awakens, these simple, illustrated stories are fun, engaging, and make for great bedtime stories — and they also succeed by not revealing too much of what happens in the movies, as other books have done in the past. If you’re looking to introduce your little one(s) to Star Wars, this is a great place to start.
Also worth checking out: Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown and the Star Wars Little Golden Book series.
2. For young readers: Adventures in Wild Space
This series of chapter books are excellent for beginning readers, giving them short, easy-to-read adventures that capture the charm and thrills of the Star Wars movies perfectly. When Milo and Lina’s parents are abducted by the Empire, they embark on a dangerous mission to rescue them. The young siblings introduce readers — young and old alike — to new planets, new enemies, and new friends in their quest to fight back against the Empire and free their mother and father. There’s some well-executed surprises in the series so far (only three of the six books have been released), accompanied by genuine heartwarming moments between Milo and Lina, who kids will find as heroic and likable as Ezra Bridger.
Also worth checking out: Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown and Jarret J. Krosoczka.
3. For pre-teens: Join the Resistance
Talk about pure fun. From Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, creators of the mega-hit podcast/stage production Thrilling Adventure Hour, comes a Star Wars tale that’s a pinch of The Goonies, a dash of The Force Awakens, and a whole lot of heart. The book follows a ragtag group of pilots trying to find their footing in General Leia Organa’s Resistance, but can’t seem to help but cause more mischief than they prevent. It’s a classic story of misfits coming together and proving their worth, and it totally works. (You can read StarWars.com’s interview with Ben Blacker for more on the series.)
Also worth checking out: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka.
4. For young adults: Lost Stars
Whoever drafted Claudia Gray into the Star Wars universe deserves an award ceremony that would make the party on Yavin seem like a backyard BBQ. Gray has written two Star Wars novels (with a third, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, on the way), and they are excellent. In Lost Stars, Gray charts a course through the original trilogy’s timeline, taking us from the early days of the Empire all the way to the Battle of Jakku. Seen through the eyes of Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, Lost Stars is a spin on Romeo and Juliet, except in this case the term “star-crossed lovers” is more literal than ever. Friends from a young age, Ciena and Thane’s relationship evolves into a doomed love story when they end up on opposite sides of the galactic civil war. Lost Stars is a thrilling, inventive take on the Star Wars stories we love, experienced through a new set of eyes for a new generation.
Also worth checking out: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis.
5. For adults: Aftermath
With the release of The Force Awakens, many fans were left to ponder what happened between Return of the Jedi and the latest Star Wars installment. A chunk of this gap is filled by Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, which takes place right on the heels of the destruction of the second Death Star. The first novel of the series, Aftermath, follows a ragtag group — a rebel pilot and her son, a bounty hunter, and an Imperial deserter — who are compelled to join forces if they want to escape the clutches of the Empire as it plots its next move in the space above the planet Akiva. Wendig balances a cast of new and old characters to great effect, delivering an action-packed story that fills in part of the post-Return of the Jedi story.
Also worth checking out: Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed.
Want to learn some Star Wars book history? Check out 6 vintage Star Wars picture books!
Michael Moreci is a comics writer and novelist best known for his sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit. His debut novel, Black Star Renegades, is set to be released in January 2018. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelMoreci.
Well, maybe this is one way to get President Donald Trump to stop talking.
Disney World, which traditionally has given speaking roles to presidential robots in its Hall of Presidents, is reportedly considering a non-speaking Trump to avoid offending visitors.
The Florida resort’s Hall of Presidents, currently closed, features robotic versions of all previous American presidents. A robot Trump will join the ranks when the hall reopens later this year.
The animatronic Trump was to have been unveiled June 30, and Disney World hasn’t confirmed a reopening date.
But a theme park with the goal of pleasing everyone hasn’t quite figured out how to portray a president who inspires very extreme reactions, Motherboard reports, citing a source “close to Walt Disney Imagineering.”
Since the mid-1990s, Disney’s Hall of Presidents has featured a recorded statement from the current president, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Trump, however, hasn’t made himself available to record a speech for his robot, Motherboard reports.
Then there’s the matter of Trump’s unpopularity.
“Given how polarizing the president is right now, Disney Parks & Resorts is currently trying to find [a solution] that approaches middle ground,” the source told Motherboard. “They want to include our 45th commander-in-chief in this 45-year-old theme park attraction, while at the same time, not seem to endorse or support some of Trump’s more controversial policies.”
Sources told Walt Disney World Today and Motherboard that Trump will most likely be shown in a non-speaking capacity.
Disney also appears to be in a non-speaking capacity about the attraction, failing to respond to multiple inquiries from HuffPost.
Disney World typically hypes the addition of a new president to the exhibit with photos and press releases. Not so with Trump, according to Tom Corless, who runs Walt Disney World Today.
“Three months into Obama’s administration, they showed photos of him recording lines for the exhibit and photos of his figure,” Corless told HuffPost. “They haven’t even mentioned that this time.”
Disney CEO Robert Iger announced shortly after the November election that Trump would be added to the hall, sparking a backlash.
One petition asks Disney to make sure Trump’s animatronic figure didn’t speak, especially since some of his more famous quotes ― “Grab them by the pussy,” “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” and “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body” ― aren’t nearly as inspiring as, say, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Source: Huffington Post
Hello, my name is Milford Hutsell. I am a Travel Agent with Key to the World Travel®, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and I also host this blog as well as being producer for several Podcasts both Disney related and Technology related.
I took my first trip in November of 1998 after my wife convinced me along with my two daughters that we should take a trip to Walt Disney World. I had no idea what to expect, I knew it was going to be awesome but had no idea how awesome it would be. Our first stop on our first day was to go to the newest park in Walt Disney World ®, Animal Kingdom ®. Walking in for the first time and seeing that giant Tree of Life in the center of the park was amazing. Our trip ended with a day in the Magic Kingdom ®, seeing the Castle for the first time and hearing the music playing and the smell of popcorn and the scents from the Bakery on Main street are all the amazing things I remember from that vacation.
So after that trip I was hooked, we soon purchased an interest in Disney Vacation Club and have been making trips to the world at least annually ever since. I can't get enough of Disney in my life, so in 2008 we started taking cruises on the Disney Cruise Line ®. I thought that Walt Disney World ® was awesome, wait till you can take a cruise upon one of these fantastic ships. I was so relaxed hanging out at the Adult Pool in The Cove. Seeing the amazing shows in the Walt Disney Theatre ®. We were again hooked and we have now been on several Disney Cruises.
A family vacation is all about creating lifelong memories, and I believe every family deserves an amazing vacation experience, created especially for them. As a Disney College of Knowledge graduate, I will help you create the perfect magical experience for you and your family with the same special care and attention I have given my own. There are so many options available – accommodations, dining, tours, activities – and I will work with you to tailor each to fit your family’s needs and desires. I can handle every detail, from dining reservations to day-to-day itineraries, and take the stress out of planning so you can just enjoy your vacation! So whether your idea of a dream Disney vacation is a theme park, cruise, a beach in Hawaii or even an adventure somewhere else in the world, I can help make any of your vacation fantasies come true.
My number one goal is to help you to create a one of a kind trip, full of magical memories and tons of family fun. So, contact me today and let’s start planning your dream vacation. I especially enjoy helping large groups plan things like cruises. I have experience with booking large groups of people. The largest group cruise I have booked was 15 state rooms (50 people).
Travel is my passion. I have traveled extensively in the United States, Bahamas and the Caribbean; I chose to specialize in Disney travel because I believe Disney provides a level of service and entertainment that no other destination can provide. And while Disney is my specialty, Key to the World Travel®, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, is a full-service travel agency, so whether your happy place is a beach in the Caribbean, a city in Europe, a cruise to Hawaii, or a ski-lodge in South America, I can help make any of your vacation fantasies come true. And remember, my planning services are included in the cost of your vacation – no hidden or extra fees!!
My goal is to help you to create a one of a kind trip, full of magical memories and tons of family fun. So, eMail or Call me today and let’s start planning your dream vacation!
If you are looking for information about working with me was a blogger, please follow this link.
If you want to get started in blogging you can visit my Web Development partner MaCH III Companies.
Disney Podcasts: The Dis Explorers