Disney Destinations hosted several media and meeting planners on Sunday at The Walt Disney Family Museum during MPI’s annual World Education Congress event in San Francisco. Not only did the event showcase the museum’s event spaces, but surprised with a song sang by Chef Masaharu Morimoto and a presentation given by a hilarious emcee named Barbara Jean that highlighted what’s new and next across Disney’s resorts.
Perhaps the biggest news for Disney is the 2016 opening of Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The outdoor shopping and entertainment district will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods and feature more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Several dishes highlighting some of the new restaurants were served at the event, including ones crafted by Chef Morimoto for his menu at the soon-to-debut Morimoto Asia. He chatted up planners as they noshed on sushi and pork belly buns.
Another perk that Walt Disney World implemented for guests is MyMagic+, which comes with a digital MyMagicBand that allows attendees to access the park, specific rides and even their rooms. The band is convenient for large groups who are all using the same master account but want to see different attractions during their stay. Also on the horizon at Walt Disney World is the expansion of Animal Kingdom to include an Avatar-themed attraction that will open in 2017.
At Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., the resort launched the new Paint the Night Parade—a parade of floats and characters decked out in 1 million colorful neon lights—this summer. The parade down Main Street also showcases digital projections. A new Disneyland Forever Fireworks show and new World of Color show with Neil Patrick Harris also debuted this year. The World of Color show highlights the story of Walt Disney and offers more private viewing areas for groups up to 9,000.
In China, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort broke ground on the 750-room Disney’s Explorer Lodge to open in early 2017. The hotel will feature four distinct gardens—the South American Garden, Polynesian Garden, Asian Garden and African Garden—based on cultures from around the globe as well as new themed restaurants, a shop and a large outdoor swimming pool. The Hong Kong resort will also open an Iron Man attraction in 2016. The soon-to-debut Shanghai Disney Resort is also scheduled to open in spring 2016 with a Disneyland-style park, Shanghai Disneyland Park, an entertainment district and two themed hotels. It will feature the largest castle at a Disney resort.