Star Wars Weekend 2014

Above, check out one of the news photos Disney created for the 2014 version of Star Wars Weekends, taking place now through June 15 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Then below, you can check out some cool highlights of the event including:

  • Watch the special May the Fourth Be With You fireworks display.
  • See photos of the special merchandise in the Darth Mall…get it?
  • Check out an example of the Augmented Reality app in use at Star Wars Weekends.

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Avatar Land

For years we’ve just referred to it it “Avatar Land” but, at a recent Q&A, James Cameron told audiences what the official name of the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom might be. “It’s going to be called, I believe, Pandora: The Land of Avatar.”

He also discussed some of the technical advances Disney Imagineers are making in the park, particularly with the animatronic Na’vi. Read more about Cameron and Pandora The Land of Avatar below. Read More »

The Hunger Games 5

Katniss Everdeen proved herself in the arena, but could she be getting her own theme park? It’s possible, based on the success of a new traveling Hunger Games exhibit Lionsgate just announced. Read more about that, and the following, in this edition of Theme Park Bits.

  • The Purge: Breakout is touring the country.
  • Watch a new commercial for Harry Potter‘s Diagon Alley.
  • Read about the new food Potter themed food selections.
  • See a ton of new photos of the expansion which is already ready to open
  • Watch a commercial for Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.

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Star Wars Weekends Ads
Star Wars Weekends 2014 kicked off this past weekend and we have a bunch of videos for you Star Wars fans. On Friday we posted a full video of the Star Wars Weekends 2014 Parade and earlier this morning we included JJ Abrams’ surprise video message to Star Wars Weekends in a post about his note to Episode 7 cast and crew.

After the jump we have a bunch of new videos for you including the Star Wars Weekends on stage interviews with Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew and Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best. Mayhew talks about his efforts to walk again, how the first time he read the Star Wars: Episode VII was during that cast script reading and how JJ Abrams wants to make a film closer to the original trilogy, and more. Inside The Magic also caught on video the special Symphony in the Stars fireworks show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, which is a whole firework show set to the music of Star Wars.

Another video captures one of the skits performed before the Stars of the Saga talk show, featuring a troop of Stormtroopers danced to their favorite playlists from Earth including a bunch of popular songs from today like Let It Go from Frozen and Everything is Awesome from the LEGO Movie. Watch all of that and more, after the jump.

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Star Wars Weekends 2014 Parade

Walt Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends 2014 has officially kicked off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios today. Attraction Magazine was on hand to catch the opening day festivities, which includes the Star Wars Weekends 2014 Parade. The parade includes Star Wars special guest celebrities Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla — Star Wars Rebels), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi – Clone Wars) and a ton of Star Wars costumed characters. The parade also features the debut of three new costumed characters from the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series: Chopper the droid, Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger. Members of the 501st Legion of costumed Star Wars fans helped make the parade possible. About 11 minutes into the video is the finale, which is a more theatrical production up on a stage. The full video is online, and you can watch it now after the jump.

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Harry Potter expansion invite

Universal Orlando Resort is gearing up for the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion sometime this Summer, but when could it be? Today select members of the press received a package from the owl delivery service (muggles know nothing of these kind of things)  inviting them to the media and VIP preview of the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion.

You can see more images of the official invite, a piece of art in its own right, after the jump. The invite lists the preview dates as June 17-20. Our friends at InsideTheMagic point out that the remainder of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be opening on June 16, also likely part of the 4-day press event – So its very likely that the expansion will opening to the public on June 20th or around that time, although that is merely speculation.

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Disney Star Wars gift cards

There’s something for everyone in this edition of Theme Park Bits. From Back to the Future, to Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Little Mermaid, read about the following:

  • Is Back to the Future returning to Universal Studios Hollywood?
  • FastPass + is available to meet Mark Hamill and others at Star Wars Weekends.
  • You can own an original car from the Walt Disney World monorail.
  • Check out the new theater inside Animal Kingdom.
  • See original concept art from Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.
  • What’s next for the Frozen franchise in the Disney theme parks?
  • Watch a video combining Darth Vader and cupcakes.
  • The Millennium Falcon takes center stage in a Star Wars Weekend promo.
  • The California Adventure Little Mermaid ride got a quiet upgrade.
  • Steven Spielberg speaks Japanese in new Universal Studios ad.
  • Video and images from the Hogwarts Express ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts video

Tuesday, Universal Studios Orlando opened the vault of secrets on their new ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. We saw concept art, heard about the story, read that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are all reprising their roles and Peter even interviewed the art director.

But all that, kind of, pales in comparison to just watching a video that takes all everything and compresses it into an exciting two minute tease. Check out a behind the scenes Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts video below. Read More »

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