Shanghai Disneyland to Open in 2015

In 2015, a brand new Disneyland will open its gates.  Don’t believe it?  Did you think you would have heard of something so momentous happening sooner?   At the end of 2015, Shanghai Disneyland will be open for business. It was easy to forget about the at-times controversial park, because it’s been years since we’ve heard more than a peep about it.  But now that we’re getting closer to its opening date, more details are beginning to trickle in.  The Disney Parks blog has a snapshot of the Shanghai Disneyland model, or at least a portion of the model, focusing on … Continue reading

Exploring the International Disney Parks

Disney World and Disneyland aren’t exactly the same, so why should the other Disney parks abroad be similar?  If you ever get the chance to travel to an international Disney park, perhaps to Tokyo Disneyland for the new D23 convention this fall, you might notice a few differences from the domestic ones.  BBC Travel did a report on some of the unique things that set the international parks apart. One of the most obvious differences is the food.  While you can get some international food at Disney Parks, especially at Epcot at Disney World, it’s still not standard.  Obviously, that’s … Continue reading

Adventures by Disney: The A’s

I talk so much about the Disney parks around here, especially the domestic ones, that it might appear those are the only Disney vacations available. However, there are many other Disney vacation options out there, and today I’m starting a recurring column on one of the largest: Adventures by Disney. Adventures by Disney consists of a series of guided tours along various locations in the world. You pay a lot more than you probably would just planning a trip on your own, unless you’re going all out, but for your money you receive a one-of-a-kind experience. Adventures by Disney provides … Continue reading

Disney English Learning Centers in China

I know I haven’t been very supportive of Disney’s business deals in China, but recent news from The Washington Post finds me giving at least a partial thumbs up to one of Disney’s latest branding efforts there. In fact, this particular story starts in the city about which I blasted Disney’s efforts to build a new theme park: Shanghai. While there’s not much more news on Disney building its second Chinese theme park there, and whether it’s improved its dealings with the locals it would be displacing, in 2008 Disney did do something good for the city of Shanghai: open … Continue reading

Adventures By Disney: China

Upon exiting customs in Beijing, an Adventures by Disney representative will meet you, escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage prior to escorting you to The Peninsula Beijing Hotel. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax and adjust to the change in date and time. That evening you’ll meet your fellow adventurers at a welcome reception with a traditional tea ceremony, followed by a classical Chinese dinner. After dinner, you can even dress up in Chinese Imperial costumes and have photos taken. On day two, you’ll enjoy a privately guided tour of Tiananmen Square … Continue reading

Adventures By Disney: California

This is a great adventure where you’ll get to explore the best of California. Upon your arrival in San Francisco, you’ll be met by an Adventures by Disney representative who will escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage. Then you’ll proceed to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel where you’ll be checked in and have some time to explore and take lunch before the welcome reception. Your welcome dinner will be at Fior d’Italia where you’ll enjoy dinner and entertainment at America’s oldest Italian restaurant. On day two, you’ll begin your day with a self-guided tour of … Continue reading

Indulge Your Messy Side with Goofy’s Paint ‘n’ Play

Although I desperately want to visit a Disney park, I’m really only interested in attending the domestic ones. I know I’d have a great time at Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, or Tokyo Disneyland, but if I manage to travel in either China, France, or Japan, I’m not going to spend my time at an amusement park. There are far too many other more unique places to visit in each of those countries. Sometimes a story comes along, however, that makes me wish for a second that I could visit an international Disney park. Today I encountered one of those … Continue reading

Villagers Ejected From Future Site of the Most Magical Place on Earth

At the beginning of the month Disney made an announcement I initially decided not to cover on my blog: plans to build a new theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. The announcement basically consisted of just that, with little additional information, and I wasn’t sure how many of our readers would ever have the chance to visit the park. Now I’ve learned something about the Shanghai Theme Park Project that makes me want to bring it to the attention of our readers. The future site of Disney Shanghai is currently occupied by the villages and fields of … Continue reading

Movies Week in Review June 23rd-28th

We have a little bit of everything for you this week in Movie Reviews! We started out the week with “Raising Helen,” a romantic comedy about a career woman (Kate Hudson) who inherits her sister’s children when she is killed. As Helen learns how to be a parent, she’s helped along the way by her other sister (Joan Cusack) and by the surprisingly good-looking pastor of their new church (John Corbett). “Get Smart” is a remake of the old classic television show and manages to update the premise while still staying true to its roots. Starring Anne Hathaway as Agent … Continue reading

Giant Panda Ling Ling Passes Away

The fifth-oldest male panda in the world passed away at the end of April. Ling Ling was Japan’s oldest giant panda. He was born at China’s Beijing Zoo in 1985 and was given to Japan as a symbol of friendship in 1992. Ling Ling was a star attraction at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo for more than fifteen years. This is the first time in a long time that Ueno Zoo has not had a giant panda in residence — Ling Ling’s predecessors arrived from China to commemorate the signing of a peace treaty between China and Japan in 1972. The Ueno … Continue reading