Disney World adds attractions for new year

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Walt Disney World officials said agents and clients will find the destination resort has added more products in 1999, and some of them are already evident.

"Something New in Every Corner of the World" will be a promotional slogan Disney will be using over the next few months to emphasize the changes.

In fact, 1999 will become the year when the largest property-wide expansion will occur in Walt Disney World's 27-year history, company officials said during a preview staged for the press and other guests.

A few of these new features were launched late this year, or will be. Highlights follow.

  • "Fantasmic!" This 25-minute nighttime spectacular was unveiled in November, representing Mickey's efforts in a dream-world battle to overcome his adversaries. The show, using many special effects, is presented at the new, 6,500-seat Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Disney-MGM Studios.

    The show features a 60-foot tall mountain stage surrounded by a 2-million-gallon moat. Highlights include dancing waters, lasers, shooting comets, animated fountains, swirling stars, balls of fire and a 40-foot tall villain, Maleficient. There also is a 32,000 pound dragon that breathes a mile-long stream of fire onto a moat.

  • Riders of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. This new shoot-em-up that opened at Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland stems from the movie "Toy Story." The riders help Buzz save the universe.
  • Cirque du Soleil. Opening Dec. 23, Cirque du Soleil will be a blend of acrobatics and special effects with wild costumes and original music. The troupe will perform at a 1,671-seat theater at Downtown Disney West Side. Performances are twice daily, Wednesdays through Sundays. Ticket prices are $56.50 for adults and $45.20 for children ages 9 or younger; kids age 2 and younger see the show free if they occupy someone's lap. Cirque de Soleil, Phone: (407) 939-7600.
  • Among attractions opening during 1999 are:

  • The 23-acre Asia section. It will open at Animal Kingdom in March, with attractions ranging from 12-foot-long Komodo dragons to a 12-person white-water rafting expedition. The five-minute-plus raft ride's 25-foot fall will represent a first for this type of feature, according to a spokesman.
  • The Maharajah Jungle Trek at Asia. This will take visitors through temple ruins where they can see gibbons, Asian tigers that weigh up to 400 pounds and giant fruit bats with wing spans of six feet. The animals will be visible from the top of a parapet, through a stand of bamboo and from a bridge. A net-covered bird sanctuary will feature such inhabitants as magpie robins and king parrots. The Asian attraction will be included in the admission price to Animal Kingdom. No rate hike is planned at this time, a spokeswoman said.
  • The original Main Street Electrical Parade. Its more than 70,000 twinkling lights were first seen at Disneyland and then here at the Magic Kingdom. The parade will return, after a hiatus of several years, for its final run next summer. It includes a 26-float procession depicting various Disney themes, including Peter Pan, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Rock 'n' Roll Coaster. It will be coming to the Disney-MGM Studios next summer, offering a high-speed launch with twists and turns amplified by a synchronized rock soundtrack in each vehicle.
  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort. The 1,920-room property will open in phases starting in January. It will feature giant images from movies such as "101 Dalmatians" and "The Love Bug." That project will bring the total number of rooms in the lower priced All-Star complex to 5,760.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The ride will make its debut at the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland area next summer. Special effects and music will highlight the adventure as visitors meet Pooh's many friends. The attraction replaces Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which ceased operation in September.
  • Test Track. The long-delayed project, a partnership of Disney and General Motors, is set to open next year at Epcot. Guests will take the longest and fastest ride in the attraction's history. Riders going up to speeds of 65 mph will get a preview of how GM cars and trucks are tested before they are shipped to the showroom.
  • A 40,000-square-foot Foot Locker Superstore will come on line at Disney's Wide World of Sports, stocked with clothing, accessories and equipment representing the more than 30 sports firms at the complex. In addition, Disney Cruise Line is slated to launch its second ship, Disney Wonder, next spring. Officials said it will be similar to the Disney Magic, which sails from Port Canaveral.
  • Walt Disney World Resort, Phone: (407) W-DISNEY
    Walt Disney Travel Co., Phone: (800) 327-2996

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