Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to open at Disney Springs

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s like Disney have finally turned on the Star Wars tap, following on from all the great information released by Disney at D23 including Star Wars: Galaxy Edge and the proposed hotel experience Disney have today confirmed that they’ll be opening a hyper-reality experience at Disney Springs.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. Visitors will move freely throughout the untethered, social and multi-sensory experience in a way that allows them to interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at a new VOID Experience Centre at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season.

This first-of-its kind Star Wars experience is being produced by the world-class teams at Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB in collaboration with the team at The VOID. Soon you’ll have the opportunity to step beyond reality into a galaxy far, far away!

Here’s what Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID had to say about it;

At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusion, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds. A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.

Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLab, said;

At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories. Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.

And to round it off Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID said;

“Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of The VOID, which also joined the 2017 Disney Accelerator earlier this year. Through the power of The VOID, guests can now experience the magic of Star Wars first-hand.

When we hear more about details and an opening date we’ll let you know.

Smiles included…

Jamie

The Dress Shop Returns to Disney Springs

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The Dress Shop is a well known apparel and accessory collection which is created especially for Disney Parks. On July 27th The Dress Shop is returning to Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney springs. It was first introduced in the spring and is filled with loads of nostalgia that Disney fans love.

 David Soliman, area manager for merchandise presentation at Disney Springs, describes how they created the shop-within-a-shop at the popular accessories boutique.

“Since the collection gives a nod to mid-century style, we wanted to create a space that would feel sophisticated and unique while complementing the overall story of the Marketplace Co-Op,” explained David. “The dresses and accessories are colorful and beautiful, so we found many ways to prominently showcase them throughout the shop. The best example is the hatbox-inspired platform that greets guests at the entrance. It’s a striking visual that pulls people into the location.”

The Dress Shop Returns to Cherry Tree Lane in Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs on July 27

A quote from Disney’s blog explains how Mariana Martinez who is a graphic designer partnered with the team to develop a “Dress Shop” monogram that is incorporated throughout the area.

“The team wanted something subtle and elegant so I started doodling using the letters ‘D’ and ‘S’,” said Mariana. “We ended up with a lovely monogram that guests may find hidden on the product displays. It’s a funny coincidence that ‘DS’ could also represent ‘Disney Springs’.”

The Dress Shop Returns to Cherry Tree Lane in Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs on July 27

Once The Dress Shop returns, guests will be able to see ten original dresses which were inspired by Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Orange Bird and the Haunted Mansion. They are also going to be introducing a Cinderella inspired dress which is going to contain metallic embroidery. – Now that is something I would buy!!

I can’t wait to visit this shop, so many pretty dresses to look at!

What do you think?

Smiles Included,

Jess.

Universal drop parking prices after 6.00pm

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We know as well as you do that parking at the theme parks can be a nightmare sometimes. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment realised that offering free parking with selected tickets would help them out and it seems Universal are doing their best to keep up now.

They have announced that if you arrive after 6.00pm you will no longer need to pay any parking charges. If you arrive before 6.00pm, you will still have to pay for your days parking i’m afraid  🙁

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With Universal CityWalk growing immensely, free parking after 6.00pm will make accessing CityWalk so much easier for guests. Universal CityWalk has a large variety of entertainment and restaurants making it a great place to spend your evening!

Parking at Universal covers access for guests visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk and soon to be Volcano Bay so this is going to make a lot of guests extremely happy!

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One event that won’t be included within this free, evening parking is going to be Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 🙁

Disney Springs has free parking so maybe this is why Universal have made these changes? Disney Springs is one of their largest competitors when it comes to evening entertainment, especially for tourists. Hopefully we will see some further changes across the board when it comes to parking!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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DisneyQuest To Close In July 2017

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its been on the cards for a while now but we’ve finally had confirmation that Disney’s five story  video and virtual games centre will close on July 3rd.

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Home to CyberSpace Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold, design your own roller coaster simulator ride and the Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam (a life-size game in which players stand on a joystick that controls cartoon characters on a screen.) DisneyQuest opened in 1998 and was a much loved feature.

Disney stated;

Until July 3, DisneyQuest will continue to offer a great interactive experience for all guests. Disney fans of classic arcade game favorites and virtual worlds featured at the indoor theme park are invited to come out and enjoy the experiences.

Taking its place will be The NBA Experience, which will include high-tech experiences, a restaurant and a store and will probably prove a great addition due to the popularity of Basketball.

We’ll let you know once we get more details.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Disney Springs Is Getting A Makeover!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney is going to be having a few updates. Some you will notice almost straight away like with The Characters in Flight Balloon. With a complete colour change and character removal, it’s almost unrecognisable. Disney Springs is aiming for a more general look rather than focusing primarily on Disney which will be shown more with some of their new projects.

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D – Living only opened last month but it’s due for a refurb! Not to worry, it’s only going to be closed from January 31st through to February 2nd so hopefully you won’t miss out on too much home shopping.

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Planet Hollywood is rumoured to be opening again next week and we cannot wait! It’s definitely been a long time coming, right?! I’d imagine this will bring a lot more visitors to Disney Springs as I’m pretty sure it’s one of people’s favourite restaurants in Orlando!

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Fulton’s Crab House has been changed into the new Paddlefish which was due to open last year however some rumours have been floating around saying that it looks like the construction is beginning to wrap up. Hopefully it won’t be long now until we get to see the finished project!

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For those of you who have been to Disney Springs before will know they have their own hat shop, Chapel Hats. They are now going to open up their own sock and underwear shop!

Are you a Disney Springs fan? If so, what’s your favourite part?

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Festive Treats

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Hooray for all you sweet addicts like myself. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the sweetest too! This is one of my favourite times to visit the parks just so I can have some of their festive season sweet treats.

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Orlando theme parks have some pretty amazing chefs and bakers who have been working overtime to bring you their best Christmas treats, and the result is mouthwatering!

Here’s just a few mouthwatering treats I know of and where to find them. If you’re lucky enough to be there over the Christmas period make sure you go try them, your taste buds will most certainly be satisfied.

Holiday Cake Pops at Goofy’s Candy Company – Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney is always a great place to grab something sweet. Guests can indulge in one of our favourite treats in Disney: cake pops. These mini bites of cake are decorated with either a Santa Mickey hat or as a bright blue snowflake. You can’t go wrong with a cake pop so whichever you choose your sweet tooth will be impressed.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes at Hollywood Studios – Not every one is a fan of gingerbread but when decorated with traditional red and green sprinkles and a Mickey Mouse hat what is not to like. Trust me, your taste buds will smile as they are taken over by gingerbread and cream cheese icing. Mmm Yummy!

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Candy Cane Fudge at SeaWorld Orlando – This I must say is one of the prettiest desserts I have ever come across, it’s that pretty you almost don’t want to eat it…..BUT do! This treat has a soft gooey centre like fudge with a hard, crunchy peppermint top.

If it’s all too much for your tummy’s you can always try out the only drink on our festive treat list.

Dutch Chocolate Grasshopper at Epcot – The Dutch Chocolate Grasshopper at Epcot is a rich chocolate ice cream drink with a splash of peppermint schnapps and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. It’s both refreshing and mouthwatering.

It is safe to say the parks do not and will not disappoint with their Christmas treats.

Sweet Smiles Included

Kelly

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Starbright Holidays rehearsal begins

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Disney are opening a new show at Disney Springs, Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration. The show is a one-of-a-kind drone-based technology show, never before used in the United States! Although there is no actual ‘story’ behind the show, the fact there is 300 show drones, you will no doubt be left in awe. We’re hoping Disney might eventually bring this technology into their parks and amaze us even more (if that’s even possible).

Featuring the classic holiday songs played and recorded by a full orchestra, you are invited to ‘look up to the sky and wish upon a holiday star.’

Check out a quick snippet of the show here:

The shooting star drone can fly for up to 20 minutes and features built-in LED lights that can create over 4 billion colour combinations in the sky. All 300 drones in the sky throughout the show are controlled by one computer and one pilot drone. It’s amazing what you can do with some technology these days!

Intel and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are collaborating on “

If you’re lucky enough to view Starbright Holidays this festive season, try and watch it from the West Side as this is where you will get the best view!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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My top 5 places to eat at the parks

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Visiting Orlando can be overwhelming at the best of times. How much money you need, where to go, what to see, what to eat..

Here at OAT towers we try to make it as easy as possible to help you prepare for your holiday of a lifetime so here I am putting our experience to good use. I’ve gone round a few of the minions in our offices to find their favourite restaurants around the parks to give you your top 5.

My favourite restaurant has got to be the Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld. It’s not often you get to enjoy your meal while gazing at the sharks swimming past you. Not only that, but you can go downstairs and walk through the aquarium with the sharks swimming above you. It truly is amazing!

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Karl our CTO says his favourite restaurant is The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co at Universal’s CityWalk which I hear nothing but good things about. If you’re a fan of Forrest Gump, you’re a fan of Bubba Shrimp! It’s a family friendly, worldwide restaurant with a great atmosphere, like any restaurant on CityWalk.

Jess can’t get enough of the Rainforest Cafe located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and Disney Springs. If you’re looking for something ‘different’ the Rainforest cafe is definitely a place to try. Enjoy your meal while surrounded by tropical animals and wait for your surprises throughout the evening. I can guarantee you won’t be bored!

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The Leaky Cauldron in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley at Universal Studios is our CEO, Gavin’s favourite restaurant. I think this may be something to do with his beard…he thinks he’s a wizard! I guess there really is no place like home seeing as the Leaky Cauldron serves traditional British meals. Yum!

Kelly is always competing with Lauren about who’s the biggest Disney fan (although I think it’s definitely Lauren) so she has chosen the Be Our Guest restaurant in FantasyLand at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. If you want to feel like royalty, this is where you want to go for your meal. It is absolutely stunning and the attention to detail is unreal.

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So there’s a few ideas of where to go to eat. Don’t forget there are so many restaurants that you will never get to visit all of them in one trip so make sure you pick carefully!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Cirque Du Soleil Adds Two New Acts

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Visitors to Disney Springs can now see two new acts at Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba” show. The popular attraction has added a breakdance crew and an aerial bamboo act adding even more thrills to its already electrifying show.

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Lets take a little look at what we can expect!

Breakdance Crew

The new crew is made up of  Josh Ortiz AKA “Incredible Josh”, Jean Carlos Lloret AKA “Bebo” and Dmytro Li AKA “Flying Buddha”. These guys are the pinnacle of B-Boying with more head spins than Cobra’s Curse they are sure to be a massive hit with audiences.

Check out B-Boy Bebo doing his thing here;

Aerial Bamboo

I’ll hold my hands up, I had no idea what this was… however the act features Russian couple Alexander and Ekaterina Abramov, who perform amazing feats of dexterity on a bamboo like pole hanging from the ceiling. Its one of those acts you watch through your fingers and gasp every 10 seconds when you think they might fall.

Here are the pair from 2010;

The new acts are bound to breath new life into an attraction that for the majority of its time has stuck to its tried and tested method. I can wait to see them both.

You can purchase tickets for Cirque Du Soleil direct from Orlando Attraction Tickets.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Orlando Attraction Tickets

Downtown Disney Officially Becomes Disney Springs Today

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I’m terrible at this, once something is called something I have a real struggle altering my brain to the new name. Today Disney are officially going to test my mental faculties to their limit by changing Downtown Disney to Disney Springs.

The change will be made official today via a naming ceremony and although the project isn’t finished yet Disney have confirmed that they believe the new Disney Springs will be double the size of Downtown Disney.

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Last week we saw Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar open up to the public and tomorrow the new Morimoto Asia restaurant opens and will feature a menu designed by Iron Chef Mashaharu Morimoto!

Disney Springs will include outdoor neighborhoods — the West Side, the Landing and the Marketplace — with everything from “splurge”-type restaurants to new lakefront shopping. Some of the new stores include:

  • APEX by Sunglass Hut
  • Art of Shaving
  • Chapel Hats
  • Erwin Pearl
  • Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC
  • Havaianas
  • Sanuk
  • Sound Lion
  • Vivoli Gelateria

Generating the most buzz right now is the Landing, which takes over the area formerly known as Pleasure Island. It offers dining unlike anywhere else in town. Some of the restaurants are considered gourmet, while others are attraction-like.

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Here are the top 5 most talked about highlights;

  1. STK (Opening later this year) – We found out late last year about STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building.
  2. Morimoto Asia (Opening Wednesday, Sept. 30) – Chef Masaharu Morimoto, perhaps best known from the popular TV program Iron Chef America, unveils his two-story Morimoto Asia this Wednesday. Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. The restaurant will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.
  3. Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar (Now open) – With an aviation theme (Jock was Indy’s frequent pilot in the “Indiana Jones” films) and a primo waterfront location, the restaurant features food and drinks inspired by Jock’s globe-trotting to all continents. The 150-seat lounge is located between Paradiso 37 and The Boathouse. Outdoors, Jock’s old steamboat (now in dry dock) is a fun place for watching the sunset.
  4. The Edison (Opening 2016) – The Edison will be dedicated to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication and romance. Themed to a 1920s-period electric company, the ceilings are 35-feet high. The Edison will feature nightly entertainment like contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more.
  5. The Boathouse (Opened in April) – Amphicars are rad. They’re vintage rides that also float like a boat. Enjoy a 20-minute ride with a captain before or after you nosh on The Boathouse’s menu offering. The space has 3 nautically-themed rooms and 2 private dining rooms. Total seating capacity is 600 people. It has 3 bars — The Captain’s Raw Bar, the Admiral’s Club Bar and the Dock Bar, built overlooking the water and 300-plus feet of boardwalk connecting all areas of the restaurant.

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With the renaming and reshaping of this area it marks the start of some exciting times ahead for Disney who have been accused of concentrating a little too much on My Magic Plus and not their in park experiences.

I can’t wait to hear what people make of the new area when completed.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Orlando Attraction Tickets