Christine Faulkner of ACV, one of several tour operators present
Claire Bilby addresses the rapt audience
There’s one thing you can say for sure about Disney: it never lets the (pixie) dust settle. With an ever-expanding portfolio of product types – now including land tours – and continual refreshing and expanding of existing product, it’s a job for travel agents to just keep up with the changes.
And it certainly was clear that Canadian agents were in full support at the 1MAR Toy Story Land Showcase in Toronto – the only Canadian stop on Disney’s eight-city North American love-in with agents. The 300 agents in attendance, from throughout the GTA and as far west as London, are big supporters of the company and it showed with their enthusiasm and excitement.
The biggest message is that Toy Story Land is opening 30JUN at Walt Disney World. An all-new attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land will span 11 acres and is designed to make guests feel as though they have shrunk to the size of a toy in the setting of Andy’s back yard. Rides include a family friendly roller coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers which will immerse riders in the world of Andy’s toys. And there will be lots to make grown-ups nostalgic, from Rubik’s Cubes to Green Army Men.
“Toy Story is one of our most popular franchises,” Claire Bilby, Senior Vice-President of Sales, Services and Events at Disney Destinations told the crowd. “It’s all about friendship and partnership.”
In other Disney news, the Pixar Pier will open 23JUN at Disneyland, featuring a spectacular ride dubbed the ‘Incredicoaster.’ For Disney Cruise Line, three new ships are on the horizon and many new ports of call are scheduled in Europe and beyond. Clients will be able to explore Japan on a tour operated by Adventures by Disneyland, and European river cruises are on tap for 2019.
“We are writing new chapters of the Disney story every day,” Bilby said. “And we want you to know we are visible, available and accessible to you. You’ve got a friend in us!”
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.