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Walt Disney World Resort Non-Park Discussion Thread

P. 57 - Disney's Blizzard Beach reopens on March 7th, 2021!

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I also love the idea of an area like this that has scalability based on how busy Downtown Disney is. They can bring in more food trucks or set up other offerings or send them away to other locations if there is a demand there. It's just so smart!

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^ and ^^, not just F&W, but also Flower & Garden (or Food & Garden, your choice). Other trucks for those that haven't seen the post are: Superstar Catering (Themed to Hollywood Studios), Namaste Café (Animal Kingdom, [Naan & Butter Chicken!]), and Fantasy Fare (Magic Kingdoms around the world), so DL Corndogs! I have seen them rotate some menus at times, so it's always a guess at what you're going to get!


I really like that they bring in non Disney food trucks for a little more variety though. The food truck scene here in CFL is alright, but I do enjoy when the Food Truck Bazaar comes to my area.


But back on topic, I'm excited for the much needed refurb to DTD. Sure it's going to be a logistical nightmare (until that garage opens up), but in the end the "new" things that are going in will be worth it.

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It was just announced that The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. will open STK Orlando at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015.


STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge, will open its doors in The Landing area of Disney Springs. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building.


“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”


STK is the latest in a string of restaurants who have announced new locations planned for Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia and THE BOATHOUSE are two other dining options that will open their doors in 2015.


Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information and news on Disney Springs.


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Mmmmm steak in Orlando.....


And we found it interesting that The BOATHOUSE is going to be part of The Landing,

as there are (at least) two franchises of it, here in Vancouver. It's a great restaurant,

with good portions, prices and choices, especially of seafood and steak. And the one

in English Bay has wonderful views of the inlet, etc. We go there often.


Great steaks, great liquor list, great views of English Bay. It's an awesome restaurant!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some Disney corporate news and should be interesting to see how this affects the theme parks and who will step into Tom Stagg's position:




BURBANK, Calif.—Thomas O. Staggs has been named Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.


A 25-year Disney veteran, Mr. Staggs is Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, overseeing the strategy, operations and creative development of the company’s iconic travel and leisure businesses. He will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer immediately, while continuing to lead Parks and Resorts until a successor is named. Disney’s senior management team, including all business segment leaders, will report jointly to Mr. Iger and Mr. Staggs, with the exception of the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Chief Communications Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer, who will continue to report directly to Mr. Iger.


“Tom is an incredibly experienced, talented and versatile executive who has led Parks and Resorts during a time of unprecedented growth and expansion, including the construction of Shanghai Disney Resort. His proven ability to lead a business as well as his successful tenure as Disney’s former CFO make him an ideal Chief Operating Officer, expanding his portfolio into all the company’s businesses,” Mr. Iger said.


“It’s a privilege to step into this role, and I am humbled and honored by the opportunity. I look forward to working more closely with Bob and the talented senior management team across the company to continue to build Disney’s future through unparalleled creativity, innovative technology and global expansion,” Mr. Staggs said.


Since 2010, Mr. Staggs has led Parks and Resorts’ global team of more than 130,000 Cast Members, Crew Members and Imagineers, with the segment delivering record revenue, profit and attendance levels. In addition to overseeing the development of Shanghai Disney Resort, and a new Avatar-themed land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, during Tom’s tenure, Disney has launched two new cruise ships; opened Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Hawai‘i; added three new lands at Hong Kong Disneyland; doubled the size of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom; and completed a multi-year expansion of the Disneyland Resort with the addition of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park.


Prior to that, Mr. Staggs served as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company. He played a critical role in the execution of the acquisitions of Capital Cities/ABC, Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Entertainment. As CFO for twelve years, he spearheaded the realignment of Disney’s performance goals toward the combination of profit growth and strong long-term capital returns and free cash flow. He has been praised by Wall Street for his financial and communications skills, and was consistently voted the entertainment industry’s No. 1 CFO by Institutional Investor magazine.


Mr. Staggs joined Disney in 1990 as Manager of Strategic Planning and quickly advanced through a series of positions of increased responsibility, leading to his appointment as Chief Financial Officer in 1998. Before joining Disney, he worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley & Co.


Mr. Staggs earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World will close in late June to make way for transportation improvements.


"Disney has other uses for the property, and they have the right to do that, and we respect that," said Bill Scott, executive vice president of attractions operator Petty Holdings LLC. "It's not without some sadness that we leave Walt Disney World Speedway. We had a great home here."


Disney would not provide details on what transportation projects would require the speedway's closure. The speedway lies south of the Magic Kingdom parking lot and west of World Drive.


Petty Holdings informed employees Wednesday afternoon about the closure. It has about 70 people working at the speedway, including instructors, photographers and people who check in visitors. About half are permanent employees and 12 are full-time, Scott said. The other half work during special events. Some will have the opportunity to transfer to Daytona International Speedway, which also has the Richard Petty Driving Experience, Scott said. Disney said it will also try to find workers jobs elsewhere in the resort.


The Richard Petty Driving Experience, where fans can drive NASCAR cars or ride shotgun at speeds up to 165 mph, opened in 1997. Four years ago, Petty Holdings introduced the exotic-car experience, where people can drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches. The driving packages start at $99 and go past $2,500 for a 50-lap experience with an in-car video.


Scott said it would be difficult to find a spot for a new traditional speedway, but Petty Holdings wants to open a road course for another exotic-car attraction in Orlando.


"Frankly, that's become much more popular," he said.


The target date for closure is June 28.

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The speedway always seemed out of place, although I have to admit I always wanted to do the Richard Petty Experience there. Would have been fun to have seen the Indy Car race when they had it there too.


But I'm sure the resort needed the parking spaces (garage?) much more!

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How often was it actually used besides this driving experience?


^Almost never.


Well, yeah. They do (well did) run the marathon course on the track for a little bit!


That's really dumb. You don't build a speed way to run a marathon on it. NO DEAL! lol


Is this anywhere near the proposed 5th gate?


The Speed Way is part of the Magic Kingdom "property" area. Not really close to the rumored 5th park.


Right circle is the speedway, the left circle is the rumored 5th gate location.

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That's the location of the rumored 5th gate?


Edit: I found the 2020 master plan and the land out there is mostly "marginally" suitable for development, so I don't really see a 5th gate going all the way out there...especially since they're developing a lot of the land already for 3rd party hotels, etc... If they were to put a theme park, they'd want their own hotels nearby.


My two cents at least.

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BURBANK, Calif.—Bob Chapek has been named Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Thomas O. Staggs, Chief Operating Officer, The Walt Disney Company.


A 22-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, Mr. Chapek has served since 2011 as President of Disney Consumer Products, driving a technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations. He assumes his new role effective immediately.


“Under Bob’s leadership, Consumer Products has seen great success, focusing on brands and a franchise-driven strategy while launching new products and retail experiences that combine technological innovation and creativity,” Mr. Iger said. “He is an experienced and versatile executive well-suited to lead Parks and Resorts into the future.”


As Chairman of Parks and Resorts, Mr. Chapek succeeds Mr. Staggs, who was named Disney’s Chief Operating Officer earlier this month. Mr. Chapek will report to both Mr. Iger and Mr. Staggs.


“Bob is stepping into this role at an incredibly dynamic and exciting time for our Parks and Resorts business,” Mr. Staggs said. “The ongoing construction of Shanghai Disney Resort as well as the new Avatar-themed land at Walt Disney World continues an era of unprecedented growth and historic expansion.”


“I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had during my years at Disney, and am thrilled to join the incredible Disney Parks organization,” Mr. Chapek said. “I look forward to working with the remarkably talented team dedicated to creating magical memories for millions of guests around the world.” A successor to Mr. Chapek at Disney Consumer Products will be named at a later date.


Prior to leading Disney Consumer Products, Mr. Chapek served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios from 2009 to 2011, and was responsible for overseeing the Studios' overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media. He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault strategy” for the company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.


Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.


Mr. Chapek earned a B.S. in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

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Planet Hollywood is transforming its iconic globe at Downtown Disney into what the company is calling a turn-of-the-20th-century observatory.


The Orlando-based company unveiled plans Thursday for a redesigned restaurant at the Disney shopping and entertainment complex. The goal is to bring it in line with the Disney Springs design under construction there.


The Planet Hollywood project should finish sometime in 2016. The globe will become surrounded by a brick exterior and an expanded outdoor terrace and bar.


"Disney is turning it into a turn-of-the-century Central Florida mining town, and the observatory was a feature at the time," said Planet Hollywood International founder and chairman Robert Earl. "We've gone back to that look for Planet Hollywood."


The name will change to Planet Hollywood Observatory as well.


The restaurant chain also is working on a revamped menu, but those changes are still in the works, Earl said.


Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney is now a collection of themes meant to represent a diverse lineup of Hollywood flicks. There is a castle gate on the lower floor, floating cars and airplanes and a futuristic look in areas with television screens.


The restaurant and lounge will continue to feature Hollywood props and costumes, but the interior will be changed to feature a high-tech planetarium with stars and constellations on the ceiling, Earl said.


"It's going to be 'dine amongst the stars,'" Earl said.


The projectors and video screens also will be able to play Hollywood movie features to continue the restaurant's original premise.


Outside, the neon Planet Hollywood sign on a pole will be turned into a water tower.


Disney contractors have already removed the lake that fronted Planet Hollywood. The restaurant will be located at the beginning of a series of springs that winds through the development.


Other new restaurants at the center are taking similar looks. For example, Morimoto Asia is designed to look like an old bottling factory.


Disney officials have said the architecture, costumes and other motifs will fit an early-20th-century look.


Earl said he plans to bring celebrity chefs to work on menu changes, but hopes to keep the prices about the same. The average check there is about $20 a person, he said.


"I'm going to focus heavily on the food," Earl said. "We're going to have some worthy opposition, some that has been announced and some that hasn't."


Edited by robbalvey
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