Disney World News Round-Up!




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Apple's iPad being used for Disney World's new Fastpass ride ticketing



In what's being seen as an exciting next step in Disney's NextGen project, Walt Disney World began testing its FastPass system Tuesday, with the help of a RFID-based technology and iPads.

The park has has quietly installed colorful posts in front of many major attractions around the Magic Kingdom, reports the non-official Disney blog InsidetheMagic. The blue posts, featuring a Mickey Mouse icon, are being used as a temporary a scanning area used to read RFID (radio-frequency identification) bands equipped FastPass tickets. The posts are not permanent and will be taken down after the testing period is over.

Along with the bands, Disney World employees are also using iPads to help with the visitor's experience and help if there are any problems with the RFID bands. According to @DisneyProjects, an unofficial Disney Twitter site, when guests arrive at the ride for their reserved time, they scan their RFID band using the a sensor, which will subsequently send their reservation information to a nearby employee’s iPad.

The test is part of Disney’s high-tech NextGen system, which aims to enable guests to use their multi-purpose RFID bands to gain faster access to attractions. It will also serve as their room and interact with sensors deployed throughout Disney’s resorts and trigger interactive features. Disney’s current line-skipping FastPass system allows guests to book a time for an attraction, leave to do other things, and return at an allotted time.

Over the next couple of weeks, guests will be selected —in advance to their trip— and will help Disney test this new process. The test is currently limited to a select group of Magic Kingdom guests and there is no way to sign up.

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'The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow' coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios



Starting this fall, Disney World guests can walk in the footsteps of Captain Jack Sparrow in a new attraction that is scheduled to open at Disney's Hollywood Studios, according to the Disney Parks Blog.

The new attraction will immerse guests in the world of the four Pirates of the Caribbean films, Walt Disney Imagineering show producer Jason Roberts said. "We'll really delve into the story of Captain Jack Sparrow and put our guests in the middle of it all in new and exciting ways," Roberts said.

"Story is always the most important thing for us at Walt Disney Imagineering," Roberts continued, "but we're always looking at new ways to tell the story that our guests have never seen before."

The new attraction will differ from previous behind-the-scenes attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios that allowed guests to tour the set of the Haunted Mansion film or view objects and costumes featured in the Chronicles of Narnia film series.

"In this attraction, we'll let you walk in the footsteps of Jack Sparrow," Roberts explained. "It is really a first-person experience."

In the early planning stages of The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction, Disney Imagineers studied the Pirates of the Caribbean archives and consulted with filmmakers during the production of the last Pirates movie. The new attraction will blend favorite film moments with new technologies that will transport guests directly into the world of Pirates.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction joins several other new and refurbished rides and experiences that will debut this fall, including an updated Test Track ride at Epcot and a renovated Kilimanjaro Safaris ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom. In addition, the Magic Kingdom will continue to open new Fantasyland rides and attractions in phases between 2012 and 2014.

For more information on The Legend of Jack Sparrow attraction, visit the Disney Parks Blog.

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Princess Merida from Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” meets and greets with first guests in Epcot at Walt Disney World



Though the official meet-and-greet spot for Disney’s newest princess Merida, from Pixar’s upcoming film “Brave,” won’t debut at the Magic Kingdom for another couple weeks, Walt Disney World has already brought out the expressive redhead for a few “test” greetings with fans.

Armed with a noticeable, but entirely understandable Scottish accent, Merida began making unscheduled appearances at Epcot to begin getting acquainted with daily guest encounters before making her grand debut later this month. Guests lucky enough to happen across her at a variety of locations throughout the park have learned a bit about her heritage, family, archery skills, and connection to the mystical world around her.

Jeff Lange of JeffLangeDVD.com and Denise Preskitt of MouseSteps.com chatted with Merida this morning and posted a video showing just how animated this real-life character is in the parks:



Merida in-person appears to be just as emotion-rich as she has been seen in the many trailers and clips that have been released for “Brave,” due out in U.S. theaters on June 22, 2012.

Her permanent Magic Kingdom meet-and-greet home in Fairytale Garden is scheduled to open later this month. Until then, she may be seen here and there around Epcot.

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