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American Idol…Out!

Over the last week, rumors were rampant of the impending doom of The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS). These rumors have now been confirmed. After our last visit, I will NEVER miss this show (see my take on AIE here). I’d like to think MouseBoss’ complaint caused the demise of this insult to the senses.

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As the television version has waned in popularity, the park attraction has become somewhat long in the tooth. Each day three guests perform per show for the chance to move on to the finale at the end of the day. Contestants were given advice by real American Idol contestants including Fantasia Barino, Adam Lambert, and others. If you’re asking who those people are, that is exactly the reason this show is toast. The winner of the finale would receive a “dream ticket” for front of the line access at a local audition for the television version of American Idol. Three of the 2014 live show finalists were “dream ticket” recipients including my daughter’s favorite, Majesty. American Idol Experience winners will continue to be featured on AI through the 2015 season.

Read this piece from the Sentinel for more details.

The American Idol Experience occupies some prime real estate in the middle of the park just to the left of the Sorcerer’s Hat. The venue could house any marquee attraction.

Right now, the rumor mill is cranking on full that a new Star Wars Land will soon come to DHS – I’m not a major SW fan. In addition to losing AIE, the closure of Indiana Jones would happen well (that actually makes me sad). As the owner of Lucas Films and the upcoming releases of the space saga, Disney could certainly cash in on one of its most popular franchises. It would also be an answer to Universal’s Harry Potter expansion (IMHO – Star Wars has way more staying power than HP). Click here for a history of the Star Wars rumors courtesy of wdwthemeparks.com.

As for now, American Idol Experience…out!

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Festival of The Lion King Reopens at Animal Kingdom

For months, Animal Kingdom guests have bemoaned the absence of Festival of The Lion King (particularly MouseBoss’ boss). Fear not, fellow fanatics. The show has returned in its brand new Harambe Theater located in the Africa section of the park.

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Anna was petrified until the show started. She was expecting Scar!

This show has been a staple of Animal Kingdom for years, and was the biggest draw to the now extinct Camp Minnie Mickey. This area of the park has now closed to make room for the multi year construction project of Avatar Land (check out Disney Parks Blog for an update on the project). The James Cameron inspired area will arrive just as the new films begin to hit the big screen.

Festival of The Lion King is a fantastic show for the whole family. This interactive experience has some of the best vocal talent (and I would argue THE BEST) in all of Walt Disney World…and I do love me some Hoop Dee Doo.

Head on over to InsideTheMagic to check out their full spread on the new theater.

Hakuna Matata!

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And the Walls Came a Tumbling Down…At Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

All the walls are down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The Cast Member out front claim soft openings won’t occur until June. Sure! :/

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Hidden Mickey

It doesn’t look like we will make it on before we leave, but I can tell you MouseBoss.com has uncovered a Hidden Mickey at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Debate always rages about Hidden Mickeys, but I am calling this for sure. Look for it exiting Be Our Guest. We spotted this “gem” watching test runs of the new attraction.

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Like Maddie from Liv and Maddie might say, “BAM, WHAT!!!”

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Frozen Assets

By now, you are fully aware that Frozen is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you didn’t know, you’re probably stuck in the endless winter somewhere outside of Arendelle on the North Mountain. This blog has already dedicated multiple posts on the highest grossing animated film in history. Over $1BILLION and there is plenty more to come.

The box office gravy train is winding down, but every other type of financial opportunity is producing BIG dollars for the House of Mouse…and that brings me to today’s point. Frozen just won’t quit. Madness is still gripping the public. And who can resist cuteness like this:

I bet you’ve probably heard of the lengths parents are willing to go to get their hands on coveted Frozen swag. Crazy people plunking down $1600 on an Elsa dress. Sorry, kids – life is full of disappointments. No chance on God’s green Earth will I pay $1600 on a cheap costume dress assembled in China for pennies. Your mother and I really wanted a bigger house too, but that whole disappointments thing got in the way. Even homemade versions on sites like Etsy are fetching big bucks – $350, uh no!!! There’s a free plug…good luck Etsy!

Perhaps if your kids were better behaved like mine, Santa would have brought the merchandise at Christmas! I jest! I jest! Everyone knows my kids aren’t that well behaved.

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Isn’t she cute!

Everyone is cashing in or going broke. A high school classmate’s R&B group has their own cover available on iTunes of Let it Go. You must purchase it. Go Ahmir!

This week’s article in NY Post might be my favorite. One woman traversed 42 stores in Disney World (YES, 42) to find Frozen product before giving up! Defeated, her husband plunks down $700+ to preorder a dress on Amazon. Yikes! He does something very touching, however. Check it out.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of making it big in the world, start hawking some Frozen assets!

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The Human Element

Our family loves Disney (obviously). Even after the girls are in bed, Disney Channel has been known to linger on the television. We are not ACTUALLY watching it, but the background noise isn’t such a bother.

Check out this sad and compelling Fox report on Disney child stars. It’s easy to forget these kids are not perfect. The marketing machine packages these kids to take on the epitome of wholesomeness. In reality, each and every one of them is human – complete with warts and every other malady.

I will say the recent crop of shows are a little edgier, but completely mild to some other programming geared towards children. Who wouldn’t want Jessie as a nanny or Stan as their pet dog? I know grown women who want to be Amy Duncan!

Anyway, if you’re up for some morbid entertainment, don’t miss it!!!

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Parents of Autistic Children Sue Disney

One of the most talked about stories regarding Walt Disney World is the lawsuit just filed by a group of 16 groups of parents on behalf of their autistic children. Passions run very deep over this issue. Message boards and Disney forums are on fire with wild, and often inappropriate, accusations on both sides.

Click here for story from OC Register.

Click here for story from Deadline Hollywood.

Click here for story from NY Daily News.

In October of 2013, Disney changed its GAC (Guest Access Card) program to the new DAS (Disability Access Service). Under the old program, individuals with GAC were allowed near immediate access to all attractions. The newly implemented DAS system also allows guests access, but with return vouchers to avoid waiting in standby lines. Guests using DAS are provided a photo ID versus GAC which was a card issued by the park.

The lawsuit recently filed seeks unspecified monetary damages and an immediate reversal of policy to have the GAC system reinstated. The plaintiffs claim the new policy violates the ADA by not taking into account the individual needs of these children. Specifically, the suit claims these children are not “neuro-typical” and the DAS program does not provide equal access. One of the attorneys claims these children cannot wait either in the standby line, nor with the new system providing return time vouchers, and therefore the new system denies access. Disney wholeheartedly refutes these charges and maintains the DAS program continues to exceed ADA requirements. “Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests,” a Disney statement said. “We fully comply with all ADA requirements and believe that the legal claims are without merit.”

Disney changed policies for multiple reasons. One such reason was to cut down on scams and abuse by holders of the old GAC cards. In fact, the Today Show ran a blistering expose of GAC holders renting out their services as disabled tour guides for immediate access to the most popular attractions. Take a look at the story here.

Accusations of GAC abuse have persisted for years. Defenders of the new policy charge the suit as frivolous and fear the return of the old system. They dismiss the plaintiffs of demanding immediate access, not equal access as the ADA requires.

As I mentioned earlier, feelings and emotions on this matter are so raw. In fact, the suit even alleges Disney is out to deliberately hurt guests. “Disney’s knowledge is so extensive, and Disney’s new Disability Access Service is so obviously discriminatory and so outrageously contrary to Disney’s own knowledge of such guests’ special needs, that it is inconceivable that the Disability Access Service’s discriminatory impact upon Plaintiffs is an accident.” Ouch!

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Stay tuned.

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Take That Dora! Disney Junior #1

Anyone who knows me can attest for my disdain for Dora the Explorer and Caillou (oh Lord, especially Caillou…help me Jesus from muttering bad words when his whiny voice emits from my television). Well, I’m happy to report that Disney Junior is destroying Nick Jr. and Sprout.

Yes, the Nielsen ratings has Disney Junior blowing away the competition by 41%! I have a little girl who adores Dora, but I just can’t handle her. Something about the delayed pauses waiting for the child’s responses just seems lazy. Ugh! Anyway, Sheriff Callie has taken over as first in her heart anyway. Yes, my prayers have been answered.

Check out the ratings report here from Variety.

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On her Nick Jr. Nabi

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Disney Channel Promposal

Well, if Twitter was a thing when we were in High School, perhaps my college roommate would have got that date with Topanga of Boy Meets World fame.

Looks like senior high school studen Justin Hang in Fenton, MI, got his teen-age dream to come true by getting enough retweets of his PROMPOSAL to Disney Channel actress, Allie DeBerry of A.N.T. Farm. Allie plays the role of the less than bright blonde, Paisley Houndstooth.

Kinda savvy and kinda creepy. Well played, young man, well played.

Check out the full story plus his video Promposal, courtesy of mlive.com, here.

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