2017 Candlelight Processional narrator line-up now complete

Completing the line-up from the first update, Ana Gasteyer and Jodi Benson both return, along with a first appearance from Disney Legend Kurt Russell.

Here is the full list of narrators:

  • Nov. 24 – 26 – Laurie Hernandez – NEW!
  • Nov. 27 – 28 – Matt Bomer – NEW!
  • Nov. 29 – 30 – Ana Gasteyer
  • Dec. 1-3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak – NEW!
  • Dec. 6-8 – Jodi Benson
  • Dec. 9-11 – Kurt Russell – NEW!
  • Dec. 12-14 – Warwick Davis – NEW!
  • Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
  • Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder – NEW!
  • Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
  • Dec. 28-30 – Chandra Wilson

The Candlelight Processional is performed three times per night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15pm) during the holiday season at the America Gardens Theatre. These packages, available on select nights, include meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances.

In addition to lunch and dinner packages, breakfast options are available at some restaurants in and near Epcot again this year like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and The Garden Grill. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are also available this year at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, with breakfast and dinner options being offered at Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk.

Candlelight Dining Packages for breakfast start at $35 plus tax per person for adults and $21 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9. Candlelight Dining Packages for lunch and dinner start at $44 plus tax per person for adults and $15.50 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, including the Candlelight Processional, takes place in 2017 from November 24 – December 30 at Epcot.

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Disney to allow dogs to stay at Walt Disney World Resort hotels

The new service permits up to two dogs per guest room with no weight or breed restrictions. Each resort also offers easy access to outdoor pet exercise areas and green spaces with pet relief areas.

Disney will not be designating specific rooms for dogs, but they will be staying in specific areas of each resort.

Dog lovers will find plenty of Disney amenities and special touches for their four-legged friends.

  • At check-in, Pluto’s Welcome Kit includes a mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, courtesy plastic disposable bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps. Also included: a Pluto “Do Not Disturb” door hanger indicating to hotel staff that a pet is in the room.
  • Day care and other pet services are offered nearby at Best Friends, an on-property full-service pet care facility. Fees apply.
  • Coming soon – select pet merchandise at the four resort properties.

The resorts’ per night/per room pet-cleaning rates are:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort $75/night
  • Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort $50/night

Dogs staying in a Disney resort Guest rooms must be well behaved, leashed in resort public areas and properly vaccinated.

Guest with dogs will be able to use Magical Express, Minnie Vans and internal buses at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans, but dogs must travel in a pet carrier. Dogs will not be allowed on monorails or watercraft.

For more information about the new dog-friendly trial program, including other restrictions and policies, guests may contact 407 W-DISNEY. DVC Members should contact Member Services at 800-800-9800.

More Details on Grand Avenue, Coming Soon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As many Disney parks fans are aware, two new lands – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land – are currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But today we’re sharing a look at another area of the park that’s undergoing its own transformation. Muppets Courtyard, along with a portion of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by Walt Disney Imagineering to become a new area called Grand Avenue. Inspired by the revitalization and the vibrant culture of present-day downtown Los Angeles, Grand Avenue is where vintage office buildings and warehouses are being converted to exciting new uses. Guests will soon see facades for “merchants” appearing in this area for a music shop, loft apartments, a tailor and more, with each window on the street featuring charming displays.A highlight of Grand Avenue is sure to be BaseLine Tap House, which takes over a former F&B location. This new corner pub will feature California beers and wines along with a selection of small bites. (Read more on BaseLine Tap House in this post by Pam Brandon). The current Muppets Courtyard will become Grand Park, an urban square off Grand Avenue surrounded by shops and restaurants like PizzeRizzo and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Guests can already see changes in the area, with the Muppets theater being renamed “Grand Arts Theatre” and boasting a brand-new marquee. But, not to worry – Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang continue to star in their hilarious and irreverent “Muppet*Vision 3D” show. Grand Avenue will be opening to guests this fall.

LEGENDARY DISNEY IMAGINEER MARTY SKLAR DIES AT 83

Legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. “Marty” Sklar passed away in his Hollywood Hills home on Thursday. He was 83. During an illustrious career spanning 54 years, Marty worked closely with Walt Disney and was instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Disney’s creative vision. Named a Disney Legend in 2001, he is best remembered and revered by fans around the world for his work bringing Disney’s theme parks to life. “Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.” Born in New Brunswick, N.J., on February 6, 1934, Marty was a student at UCLA and editor of its Daily Bruin newspaper when he was recruited to create The Disneyland News for Walt’s new theme park in 1955. After graduating in 1956, he joined Disney full-time, and would go on to serve as Walt’s right-hand man—scripting speeches, marketing materials, and a film showcasing Walt’s vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. During this period, he also joined WED Enterprises, the forerunner of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he would later become the creative leader of Imagineering, leading the development of Disney theme parks and attractions for the next three decades. He retired as Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador on July 17, 2009, Disneyland’s 54th birthday. Disney marked the occasion by paying tribute to Marty with the highest Parks and Resorts recognition, dedicating a window in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall. “Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe and on all of the guests who make memories every day with us,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “He was one of the few people that was fortunate to attend the opening of every single Disney park in the world, from Anaheim in 1955 to Shanghai just last year. We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.” Bob Weis was one of those Imagineers. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering,” said Weis, President, Walt Disney Imagineering. “His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.” Marty’s impact and achievements were recognized with a number of prestigious awards and accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award from TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), induction into the Hall of Fame of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and the prestigious Professional Achievement Award from UCLA. He also authored several books about his experiences and adventures at Disney: Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (2013), and One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering (2015). Marty is survived by his wife of 60 years, Leah; son Howard and his wife, Katriina Koski-Sklar; grandchildren Gabriel and Hannah; daughter Leslie; and grandchildren Rachel and Jacob. Marty and Leah were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor “traditional” drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at http://www.rymanarts.org.