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May 1, 2012

D23 Presents TREASURES OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES

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OPENING JULY 6 AT THE RONALD REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM

The Official Disney Fan Club Showcases the Largest-Ever Exhibition
of Iconic Props, Costumes, Artwork and Artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives

BURBANK, Calif. - D23 PRESENTS TREASURES OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES, which encompasses more than 500 historic artifacts from nearly nine decades of Disney history, opens at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum on July 6, continuing through April 2013.


Presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, D23 PRESENTS TREASURES OF THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES is the largest exhibition ever curated by the Walt Disney Archives, at 12,000 square feet. From Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse to Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain America, the exhibition features more than 500 artifacts, at least half of which have never been seen by the public- including models, props, costumes, set pieces, and artwork from throughout Disney history.

"Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were longtime friends, two optimists who shared an unwavering belief in the essential goodness of the American way of life," said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. "We're proud to partner with the Reagan Library and the National Archives to showcase Disney's rich entertainment legacy. This extraordinary exhibit will offer visitors an unprecedented look into Disney's history and celebrate the connection between these two American originals."

Among the extraordinary items to be featured are:

· The original script, written by Walt Disney, for Mickey Mouse's film debut in 1928's Steamboat Willie;

· A faithful recreation of Walt's formal office from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., including original furnishings and many of his personal items;

· Hand-drawn artwork and hand-sculpted models used in the production of some of the most beloved Disney animated film classics ever created, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty;

· Props from classic Disney live-action productions, including Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and more;

· Breathtaking props, costumes, and set pieces from recent Disney classics, including the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, TRON: Legacy, National Treasure and Captain America;

· Intricately sculptured busts of all 44 U.S. Presidents that were created for Audio-Animatronics® figures seen in the The Hall of Presidents attraction at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort;

· A salute to Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, showcasing theme park artwork, Audio-Animatronics® characters, memorabilia and authentic attraction vehicles

The exhibition also pays tribute to the long personal friendship and professional collaboration between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, which began many years before President Reagan's political career.

On July 17, 1955, Ronald Reagan was one of the co-hosts of ABC Network's live coverage of the opening of Disneyland, and as governor of California, he frequently visited Disney's first theme park. After leaving the Oval Office, one of his first public events was a return to Disneyland, where he officiated at the park's January 1990 35th-anniversary celebration, proclaiming it "one of America's national treasures."

"Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan shared a passion for America, a belief in the human spirit, and an innate optimism that, in both men, galvanized the public," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. "President Reagan was a great admirer of Walt Disney, and we are tremendously proud to host this wonderful exhibition of Disney treasures, and to honor the bond between Walt and President Reagan."

For exhibit hours and additional information, visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum online at www.reaganlibrary.com, or www.Disney.com/D23. Admission to the exhibition is included with the purchase of admission to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Through April 2013, when the exhibition is scheduled to end, members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club also save $2 on every adult admission.

"At 12,000 square feet, this is the largest special exhibit the Reagan Library has ever put on," said Duke Blackwood, director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. "It is a testament to the relationship between Walt Disney and our nation's presidents, as well as the story of Disney, itself. The Reagan Library and National Archives are honored to host this extraordinary exhibit."

The Ronald Reagan Library & Museum is located in Simi Valley, Calif., about 60 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles and approximately two hours north of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant Salutes Belfast-Built Titanic

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100th Anniversary Giftware Collection

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant celebrates the legacy of the R.M.S. Titanic, built in Belfast, Ireland, with its gift-shop introduction of the Titanic Official Merchandise Giftware Collection.

One hundred years after the Olympic-class luxury cruise ship sank on her maiden voyage, Raglan Road presents a selection of gifts and memorabilia as a tribute to the world-class liner and its passengers.

"It was a beautiful ship with such an incredibly poignant story that touched so many hearts," says Lorraine Gorham, Raglan Road marketing director. "As the world pays tribute to the Titanic and its legacy, we are pleased to offer these fine collectibles for Titanic enthusiasts."

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The shop's Titanic Official Merchandise Giftware includes a wide range of items such as key rings, shirts, hip flasks, spoon sets, shot
glasses and other items from $7-$25. There's a spoon rest with a haunting image of the ship that's perfect for the home cook, and a collection of shot glasses with different images of the ship and its White Star Line flag on each. The shop will add additional gifts to the collection through the year.

And on October 4, Raglan Road celebrity chef Kevin Dundon will present a Titanic-themed Signature Dinner as part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival's culinary lineup.

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located on Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Live entertainment nightly includes Irish house band Creel (Monday through Saturday) and Irish band Tuskar Rock (Sundays) plus Irish dance performances. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late.

Contact Raglan Road at 407-938-0300.

May 4, 2012

Splitsville Rolls into Downtown Disney in Fall 2012

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla, April 27, 2012 - Each year, 55 million people try their hand a bowling around the world. Everyone finds a bit of joy in the experience from the avid league bowler to the weekend warrior. But the age-old image of bowling is about to change with the new opening of Splitsville, America's Bowling Alley, at Downtown Disney this Fall.

"We're really excited to be opening our doors in such a special place," said Guy Revelle, co-founder of Splitsville. "Bowling is a perfect experience for groups of all sizes. It's where families come together to create memories, children can teach adults, and friendly rivalries are born. Guests laugh, shout, cheer and bring back the timeless high-five. And that's just in the first frame!"

If you think that this is your father's bowling alley, think again. Splitsville's 50,000-square foot, two-story Downtown Disney location will have 30 lanes, two kitchens, a dramatic balcony, ample outdoor seating, billiard tables and live entertainment.

"In a world of smart phones, tablets, texting and social media, people need an outlet to connect again," said Mark Gibson, co-founder of Splitsville. "We believe that a concept centered around the classic sport of bowling, but with an improved atmosphere, upscale food and pleasant service, results in a surprising destination for people to have fun together."

Located in the heart of Downtown Disney's West Side, Splitsville puts a whole new spin on bowling with its emphasis on unique design. Guests will be greeted with upscale sushi bars, plush booths and dynamic decor overlooking the bowling lanes. The design blends both hip and retro elements, resulting in an energetic yet comfortable atmosphere.

"One of Splitsville's differentiating features is its innovative interior design," said Gibson. "The lanes are separated into several clusters, which create unique lines of sight and allow guests to view bowling from a perspective that you can't find anywhere else. It makes for a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience."

"Splitsville is clearly going to be a great place to bowl," said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. "But I think our guests are going to be surprised that they can also go there for great food and to watch sports. That's what makes Splitsville a perfect fit and such a great addition for Downtown Disney."

Splitsville has taken great care to develop an exceptional menu that combines traditional and upscale offerings. With the help of award-winning chef Tim Cushman, Guests will find surprising elements such as fresh rolled sushi, grilled mahi-mahi with "Voodoo" shrimp and hand-cut steaks alongside alley-classics like cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries and pepperoni pizza.

"We have created a collection of sharable foods combined with unique beverages and signature desserts," said Revelle. "Splitsville truly has something for everyone. We invite you to Roll in and Rock out!"

Imagineers Share More Details - Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland Expansion

Imagineers Chris Kelly and Tim Warzecha discuss the three chandeliers they recently installed. The largest measures more than 12-feet-tall by 11 ½-feet wide, features 84 candles and more than 100 large crystals.

By the way, the ballroom is just one of the wings the Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature. We can't give all the info away yet, but another wing of the restaurant will be themed after the darkened West Wing of Beast's Castle.

Opening in time for the holidays 2012.

May 8, 2012

Carbon-Freeze-Me Experience at Star Wars Weekends

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The new D-Tech Me Carbon Freeze Me experience will debut during 2012 Star Wars Weekends and is now available to book for a limited time only. Using the latest 3D facial scanning technology, you can receive a personalized 8-inch figurine of yourself "frozen" in carbonite like Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. The Carbon Freezing Chamber will be located adjacent to The American Idol Experience.

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Reservations are required for this experience and may be made now through June 16, 2012, by contacting 407-939-8324. NOTE: Same-day reservations cannot be made within two hours of a reservation time. Event Dates: May 18, 2012 through June 16, 2012. Price: $99.95 plus shipping and taxes per person (maximum of two people per reservation). You'll also receive a light-up wristband for participating. You can order additional figurines using the same image scan for $74.95 each. It will take up to four weeks for you to receive your figurine.

No discounts apply unless otherwise noted. You must be at least 3 years old to participate, and children must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. A valid accepted credit card number is required at time of booking. There's a $25 cancellation fee for no-shows or if a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of scheduled experience. Due to its personalized nature, there are no refunds or exchanges.

Disney Wonder Calls on Hawaii for the First Time

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HONOLULU, Hawaii, On May 6, 2012, the Disney Wonder called on Honolulu, Hawaii for the first-time, sailing past iconic Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. The Disney Wonder is in the middle of a special 15-night Hawaiian cruise with stops in Hilo, Hawaii; Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai and Ensenada, Mexico. Disney Cruise Line is offering a second 14-night Hawaiian voyage that will depart from the Port of Los Angeles on October 14, 2012. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland have Fresh Fallen Snow

Since the beginning of this year, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland park have been closed due to an extensive refurbishment - not only of the attraction, but of the entire mountain itself. In this video, go behind the scenes with Walt Disney Imagineering to learn how they created the new "snowfall" that will cover the mountain when it reopens in June.

May 9, 2012

White Rhino Gives Mother’s Day Special Meaning at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 9, 2012 - Mother's Day may be a little more memorable this year for a Disney "mom" that recently gave birth to a white rhino calf at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

After a 16-month gestation period, Kendi delivered her fourth calf Friday, May 4. The healthy male, which has not yet been named, is the ninth white rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom; his mother, 13-year-old, Kendi, was the first.

"The birth of a white rhino calf is certainly something to celebrate since the population of this species is endangered in the wild," said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. "It's encouraging that with protection and careful management, the global population of white rhinos continues to grow."

The calf and mother doing well and are currently off the savannah bonding at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Guests will be able to see them when they return to the herd in the coming weeks.

Disney's Animal Kingdom participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The program focuses on sustaining the white rhino population in North America.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the success of the rhino breeding program has directly contributed to the conservation of other white rhinos in the wild. In 2006 two rhinos born at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Nande and Hasani, joined four others at Ziwa Sanctuary to help reestablish a white rhino population in Uganda. So far, Nande has been responsible for two offspring - a male calf born in 2009 was the first rhino born in Uganda since the 1980s followed by a female white rhino born in 2011.

Disney's commitment to conservation and rhinos goes beyond breeding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have provided more than $1 million in support to programs in Africa and Asia to protect the last five remaining species of rhino. For more information on the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund visit www.waltdisneyworld.com/about.

White rhino fun facts:

-- White rhinos are named not for their color, which is gray, but for the shape of their mouths. The word "weit" in Afrikaans means wide.
-- The white rhino is among the world's largest land mammals, second only to the elephant. A male rhino can grow to more than 5,000 pounds as an adult.
-- A rhino can move its ears independently to pick up sounds but it depends most on smell.
-- The receptors responsible for the rhino's sense of smell are larger than the animal's entire brain.
-- The white rhinoceros has the widest set of nostrils of any land based animal.

May 12, 2012

Cultivating the Magic at Disneyland

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A brand new tour is now available at Disneyland called Cultivating the Magic!

According to Erin Glover, Manager, Social Media and Print, this tour "lets you experience the story of Disneyland park as told through the plants."

Similar to garden tours at Walt Disney World, you will learn all about the gardens and landscapes that tell a story and keep Walt's vision for Disneyland vibrant!

The tour will include select Disneyland attractions as well as lots of little details about trees you have walked past but didn't take notice of.

The tour is approximately approximately two hours long.

Theme park admission for Disneyland park is required to attend the tour.

The tour leaves from Disneyland park Tour Gardens (left of City Hall) on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and Mondays at 10 a.m.

All guests who participate receive a collectable souvenir pin and exclusive seed packet.

Attractions and entertainment are subject to change without notice.

For pricing and booking information (and to find out about a special discount for Disney Rewards Visa and AAA card holders, Disney Vacation Club members and Disneyland Resort Annual Passport holders) call 714-781-TOUR (8687). Also, be sure to check out the other Disneyland Resort Guided Tours at Disneyland.com/Tours.

May 15, 2012

Micky Dolenz to Perform at Flower Power Concerts, May 18-20

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Singer Davy Jones, from the 1960s pop group The Monkees, was scheduled to perform at the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival "Flower Power" concert series. However Jones, who was Festival favorite for at least the last 10 years, suffered a heart attack and passed away on February 29. Based on suggestions from fans of both Jones and The Monkees, Disney has arranged to have another former member of group, Micky Dolenz, take Jones's spot on the series schedule.

Concerts are performed at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. Show Times: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Concerts are included with Epcot admission.

May 17, 2012

Wookiees, Jedi and Droids, Oh My! Star Wars Weekends Returns to the Walt Disney World Galaxy in May/June 2012

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Resort during May and June 2012, as Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The annual special event, included in regular theme park admission, will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.

The power of the Force and magic of Disney combine as more than 60 Star Wars characters - including Wookiees, droids, Rodians, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Jedi - roam the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greet opportunities with guests.

Star Wars celebrities highlight the event, appearing in themed parades, talk shows, star conversations, behind-the-scenes presentations and autograph sessions. Here are the celebrities attending Star Wars Weekends 2012 (*subject to change):

Weekend I (May 18 - 20)

* Ray Park - (Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

* Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend II (May 25- 27)

* Andy Secombe (Watto - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
* Ray Park (Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
* Tom Kane (voice of Yoda - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend III (June 1 -3)

* Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
* Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
* Catherine Taber (voice of Padmé Amidala - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend IV (June 8- 10)

* Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
* Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
* Daniel Logan (Boba Fett - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
* Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

The centerpiece of the celebration is the spectacular 3-D attraction, "Star Tours - The Adventures Continue." The attraction, which opened last year, uses eye-popping 3-D, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction.

Limited-edition and event-exclusive merchandise is offered each year, and the ever-popular "Hyperspace Hoopla" ends each Star Wars Weekends day with a show filled with comedy, dancing and high-energy music.

For more information and future updates, guests may go online to disneyparks.com/blog (keyword search: "Star Wars Weekends") disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends or starwars.com.

May 18, 2012

New Fantasyland Model On Display at One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The model for the New Fantasyland expansion, which was last on display for media during the Summer to Remember press event and for Disney fans at the 2011 D23 Expo, is currently being placed into the One Man's Dream exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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New Twists and Turns Coming to 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Course

The WDW Marathon will be celebrating 20 years with special entertainment along the 20th mile.

The race is also taking some new paths which will include, for the first time, running in the WDW Speedway as well as the EPSN WWOS Stadium!


If you want to get in on the fun, just sign up at runDisney.com for the marathon or any of the other family-oriented races taking place here during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, Jan. 10-13.

Three New Faces Come to the Disneyland Resort: Manny, Mandy and Mona Monorails

Here to welcome their "Cars" friends to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park, Mandy and Mona Monorails began making trips around the resort yesterday - and they will soon be joined by a third friend, Manny Monorail. You can tell each by their colors: Mandy Monorail is blue, Mona Monorail is orange and Manny Monorail will be red.

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Each Monorail has its own personality, which Disneyland Resort guests will certainly hear when riding. Manny, Mandy and Mona Monorails are taking charge of the overhead announcements themselves - providing a new experience along the "Highway in the Sky."

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Her Universe Star Wars Spring/Summer Apparel Line to Debut at Disney's Star Wars Weekends and Online

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15, 2012 - It's a good time to be a fangirl of the Star Wars saga as Her Universe, the female sci-fi genre line of fashionable apparel and accessories, revealed its new Spring/Summer line to debut at Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, running each weekend till June 10, and online at www.heruniverse.com on May 21.

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Created by actress Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the current seasonal offering from Her Universe Includes a racer back tank top and fashion tops featuring such beloved characters as Princess Leia, R2-D2 and Darth Vader as well as a unique Princess Leia zip-hoodie and a fun Ahsoka Tano youth tunic created to help young girls feel just like Anakin's Padawan learner on The Clone Wars.

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To accentuate the new Star Wars apparel, Eckstein and Her Universe are offering two new charms - a Boba Fett design and a Japor Snippet replica, the good luck charm given as a gift to Padme from a young Anakin Skywalker. All of this Star Wars treasure can be carried in the new cotton canvas Star Wars tote bag featuring the Star Wars symbols. Several new apparel pieces are also being introduced for the younger "Jedi-in-training" including several Star Wars youth designs and, for the first time, a Jedi onesie for the tiniest followers of the Force featuring the adorable art of popular Star Wars illustrator Katie Cook.

"I was very excited when Ashley approached me to do kids' designs for Her Universe," said Cook. "She's doing a wonderful thing for the female fan community already... and she's doing those of us with little girls an even bigger favor by giving the littlest fangirls nerdy gear of their own!"

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In addition to the new product line being available at Disney's Star Wars Weekends, Eckstein will also, for the fourth year in a row, be co-hosting the Behind The Force live stage show and signing autographs each weekend of the event.

"Disney's Star Wars Weekends is one of my favorite events of the year," said Ashley Eckstein. "I truly enjoy meeting Star Wars fans of all ages and that's why I am so excited to be offering merchandise for women, girls and now babies! As the voice of Ahsoka Tano, I cannot wait to see baby girls in an Ahsoka "Jedi in Training" onesie or little girls running around in Ahsoka's new costume top!"

Her Universe was launched in 2009 by Eckstein, and her partner, The Araca Group, known as one of the most innovative theatrical production and merchandise companies in the world. Her Universe was created to directly address the expanding market of female fans by entering into its first agreement with Lucas Licensing to develop and produce a line of female-centered Star Wars apparel and accessories. The success of that line was followed up with a collection for the Syfy network including such shows as Battlestar Galactica. Visit www.heruniverse.com to purchase the new Star Wars collection or visit a Hot Topic store near you to find select Her Universe items. You can also learn more about Her Universe by following Eckstein on Twitter and visiting the Her Universe Facebook page.

Running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18th through June 10th, Disney's Star Wars Weekends is an annual event at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park celebrating the Star Wars Saga, as well the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Each weekend offers fans a unique opportunity to join Jedi Masters, Sith Lords and Star Wars celebrities for special shows, presentations and memorabilia. For more information on Star Wars Weekends, visit: disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends or disneyparks.com/blog.

May 21, 2012

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant To Celebrate Solstice June 20 with Midsummer Feast

Midsummer Feast by Irish Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - When the summer solstice arrives June 20, guests at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant can celebrate the season with traditional merrymaking during Chef Kevin Dundon's first signature Midsummer Feast. Dundon's tantalizing menu will incorporate fresh seasonal flavors to highlight the joyous occasion long tied to ancient summer customs and traditions. In Ireland, many towns and cities hold Midsummer carnivals celebrating culture, music and food.

"Our first Midsummer Feast will be a grand celebration of the summer harvest," said Dundon, restaurant partner and owner of a five-star hotel and cookery school in Ireland. "I'm looking forward to sharing the delicious flavors of the season and telling our guests about the traditions tied to this ancient celebration."

The 6 pm. dinner in the restaurant's Raglan Room kicks off with a salute to the season at a cocktail reception featuring the Summer Solstice Cocktail crafted just for the Midsummer dinner. Chef Dundon's festive menu will feature:

-- An elegant Picnic Basket of Assorted Pates and Homemade Jams including smoked salmon mousse and brandied chicken liver pate.

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-- A second-course Champagne Splashed Raspberry Sorbet.

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-- An entree of Roast Stuffed Suckling Pig, Braised Vegetables, Raisin and Cider Glaze and Potato Roasties.

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-- Dessert of Pimms Knickerbocker Glory, a creamy, light treat featuring Pimms liqueur.

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Craft beer pairings will include Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Jai Alai India Pale Ale and Bunratty Mead. Raglan Road's house band, Creel, will perform along with the Raglan Road step dancers.

Midsummer's Day festivals during the summer solstice -- the longest day of the year -- were European traditions that brought families and friends together to celebrate nature's bounty. Midsummer was celebrated in Ireland with the lighting of bonfires and an evening of music, storytelling, feasting and merrymaking. The ashes from the fires would be tossed onto the fields as an offering to protect the crops. The timing of the solstice depends on when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This year, summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere on June 20 at 7:09 p.m., just as Raglan Road's Midsummer Feast is underway.

To book a table at the Midsummer Feast with craft beer pairings ($90 per person, plus tax and gratuity), call 407/938-0300 or 407/WDW-DINE, or visit www.raglanroad.com.

Owned and operated by Irish partners Paul Nolan and John Cooke with celebrity chef Kevin Dundon -- famous for his five-star hotel and cookery school in Ireland -- Raglan Road features traditional Irish dishes and new creations with a Celtic twist. The restaurant's warm interior of aged walnut and mahogany woods from old Irish bars and churches was built in Ireland and shipped to Orlando. Live entertainment nightly includes Irish house band Creel (Monday through Saturday) and Irish band Tuskar Rock (Sundays) plus Irish dance performances. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late. Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located on Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

May 22, 2012

Melissa Joan Hart to Host Live Vacation Planning Web Chat

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Lake Buena Vista, Fla. May, 20, 2012 - Melissa Joan Hart, former star of "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" and current co-star of "Melissa & Joey" on the ABC Family network, will join two Walt Disney World Moms panelists to discuss vacation planning during a live web chat Tuesday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET on disneyparksblog.com.

Melissa, who is no stranger to traveling to Disney Parks with her two little ones, will interview the moms, take questions from participants via Skype and even share travel tips of her own. Those who wish to participate in the live video chat with Melissa, can email Disney@vidicom.com or post questions on the Disney Parks Blog Melissa Joan Hart post.

Adventures by Disney Brings Disney•Pixar’s Epic Action Adventure "Brave" to Life with New Scotland Itinerary

"Scotland: A Brave Adventure" Combines the Stories of Scotland with the Magic of "Brave"� for an Unforgettable Family Adventure

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BURBANK, Calif. (May 22, 2012) "" Step out of the theater and become immersed in the world of "Brave" with Adventures by Disney's first-ever Pixar-inspired itinerary, "Scotland: A Brave Adventure."

Disney-Pixar's "Brave" tells the tale of the courageous Merida, the film's headstrong teenage protagonist, who defies ancient tradition and challenges destiny to change her fate. This 9-day, 8-night quest through Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Lewis and Inverness takes families through the rugged Highlands, allowing them to experience first-hand the history, culture, nature, legends and lore of Scotland that inspired Merida's story of bravery.

Adventures by Disney is a leader in the group guided-tour industry - sharing the stories of the world through 20+ international itineraries. For "Scotland: A Brave Adventure," Adventures by Disney trip-planning specialists worked directly with the expert storytellers on Pixar's "Brave" production team to incorporate the castles, landscapes and legends that inspired the lush settings and memorable characters in the film - creating a Scotland experience that could only come from Disney. Guests will discover locations that inspired Pixar's creative spark during visits to the historic Black House of Arnol and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, both of which served as reference for the Witch's cottage, and Dunnottar Castle, one of the inspirations for the DunBroch family's home.

Beyond the drawing board, the culture of the Scottish Highlands will come to life through authentic, hands-on activities - a hallmark of Adventures by Disney itineraries. On the Isle of Skye, adventurers will partake in traditional highland games, make Scottish pastries - a favorite treat of Merida's triplet brothers - and take lessons in Celtic music and dance. While traveling through Inverness, guests will participate in two of Merida's favorite activities - horseback riding through the Caledonian Forest and archery at Glamis Castle. In Edinburgh, families will learn the art of tapestry-making at Dovecot Studios.

Another signature of an Adventures by Disney vacation, families will visit the country's most treasured historical sites - including Eilean Donan and Edinburgh Castles, the ancient Callanish Standing Stones and Dun Carloway Broch on the Isle of Lewis - but in unique ways that only Disney could dream up. Rather than just walking the shores of Loch Ness, guests will go on a canoe expedition where they will search for "Nessie" and discover the picture-perfect Urquhart Castle. In the capital city, travelers will tour the Royal Mile, including privately-guided visits to the Palace of Holyroodhouse - the Scottish home of the Royal Family - and the National Museum of Scotland, where they will learn fascinating details of the ancient period in which "Brave" is set. Each departure features two knowledgeable Adventure Guides who will serve as leaders, storytellers, companions and personal concierge - taking care of all the details for a truly hassle-free travel experience.

"'Scotland: A Brave Adventure' combines the creative genius of Pixar Animation Studios with Disney's ability to bring iconic stories to life with in a whole new way," said Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures by Disney. "For the first time ever, our guests will be fully immersed in the legends and locations that inspired the film. 'Brave' is the perfect tale for Adventures by Disney to share; Merida's experience speaks to the importance of the family bond - a cornerstone of any Disney vacation."

Also new for 2013, Adventures by Disney has announced a Southeast Asia itinerary. Featuring Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the 12-day, 11-night itinerary will give travelers the opportunity to experience some of Asia's most exotic and culturally rich cities - including Saigon, Hanoi, Hoi An, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

For more information on "Scotland: A Brave Adventure," visit www.AdventuresbyDisney.com or contact the reservations center at 1-877-728-7282.

May 27, 2012

Disney Cruise Line First-Ever Disney Voyages from Manhattan

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NEW YORK, New York (May 25, 2012) This morning, Disney Cruise Line's flagship vessel, the Disney Magic, arrived in New York Harbor donning the world's largest bumper sticker. Usually found on the back of family minivans, the 50-foot-long by 11-foot-wide super-sized sticker is larger than a city bus. The ship will depart this afternoon, marking the beginning of Disney's first-ever consumer sailings out of Manhattan - allowing local residents to experience a Disney vacation in their own backyard.

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The Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York - including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend:

The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. Departure Dates: May 25, June 2, 22, 30, July 20, 28, Aug. 17, 25

The nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, guests can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafes and charming shops, and browse Canada's oldest farmer's market. Departure Dates: June 10, 17, July 8, 15, Aug. 5, 12, Sept. 2, 7, 12

Three two-night cruises out of New York are perfect for families looking for a quick getaway with a day at sea over a weekend. Rates for the two-night cruises start at $996 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Departure Dates: June 15, July 13 and Aug. 10

May 28, 2012

Enchanted Tales with Belle - Fantasyland Magic Kingdom

The Disney parks blog continues to offer sneak peeks into the Fantasyland expansion.

These images are from the Enchanted Tales with Belle area:

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The Library will serve as the setting for a special meet-and-greet with Belle and her candlestick pal, Lumiere.

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Opening for the holidays 2012.

Brave – The Highland Games Tournament Runs June 1-July 8 at Epcot

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From June 1-July 8, Epcot will serve as the setting for Brave - The Highland Games Tournament, a kid-focused offering that will include games like Mini Caber Toss, Cake Toss, Haggis Flip and archery. There will also be a kids' playground with free enhanced wireless - which is great for us parents who can't share cute photos of their kids on Twitter and Facebook fast enough!

Brave - The Highland Games Tournament will take place on the Rose Walk (right where Future World blends into World Showcase), from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., daily. Park admission is required.

May 29, 2012

Savor Global Tastes, First Vegan Marketplace, Florida Flavors at 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 28-Nov. 12

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Festival Planners Add Extra Day of Tasting Fun

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - For a record 46 days beginning Sept. 28, 2012, Disney guests can taste their way around the world during the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. The culinary event, which includes daily Eat to the Beat! pop concerts, will continue through Nov. 12 -- adding one extra day of festival fun.

Festival chefs are firing on all burners with menus designed for every palate and a new Marketplace VIP Access Chef Tour geared toward the foodie who wants the inside culinary scoop.

Fresh from festival planners:

New festival marketplaces debut - TERRA Marketplace will offer all vegan menu items including Trick'n Chick'n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese; FLORIDA Marketplace will introduce fresh twists on regional flavor samplings. More than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces with tantalizing new aromas and flavors will tempt guests in the World Showcase.

Marketplace Chef Tours give VIP access - Each Wednesday, festival chefs will host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. Guests will taste five marketplace dishes and five beverage items to include beer, wine and cocktails while learning chefs' culinary secrets.

Newly crafted beverages are geared toward family dining - Children of all ages can try inventive new sips during the family's marketplace dine-around. Child-friendly bites to pair will include beef empanadas and cheese fondue.

Fan favorites debut at Eat to the Beat! Concerts - Pop acts like Smash Mouth (Oct. 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of "The Voice" (Oct. 13-14) will sizzle during their first Epcot nightly concerts included with other festival activities in admission. Eighteen Eat to the Beat! acts are slated, including other new bands Blues Traveler (Nov. 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (Nov. 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series Sept. 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

HGTV sets the table - Superstar HGTV designers host home entertaining seminars every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Celebrity chefs bring it - Renowned chefs like Robert Irvine and Rock Harper share their talents during culinary demos.

Festival Welcome Center buzzes with extras - Guests can make the most of complimentary Authentic Taste seminars. Culinary demonstrations and wine seminars feature new tastes and sips for a nominal fee.

Reserved culinary events kick tastings up a notch - Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.

Other festival highlights include:

-- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events.
-- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
-- Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
-- "3D" Disney's Dessert Discovery on select Fridays.

What's Included with Epcot admission:

Authentic Taste seminars, HGTV seminars, special book signings, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.
Special Programming by Reservation:

The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs will be updated periodically this summer at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

May 30, 2012

Disney Wonder Offering Special Pixar Cruises This Fall

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CELEBRATION, Fla. (May 30, 2012) - A new cast of characters will stroll the decks and visit with guests aboard the Disney Wonder as Mr. Incredible, Remy, Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and other memorable characters from Pixar Animation Studios' award-winning films make their shipboard debut during four special Pixar-inspired seven-night California Coastal cruises Sept. 16 through Oct. 14, 2012.

During these voyages, Disney Cruise Line guests will be able to interact with and explore the world of Pixar and their beloved films while the Disney Wonder sails to popular port cities along the coast of California. Special entertainment and offerings designed for both children and adults include:

Pixar Presentations and Sneak Peeks: Artists and filmmakers from Pixar Animation Studios will provide guests with an inside look at the creative process used in the development of an animated feature or short. Guests will go behind the scenes and explore the making of Pixar's newest release "Brave"� and get a look at footage of future Pixar films.

The Art of Pixar: Storyboards, character sketches, environment paintings, maquettes and other inspiring concept art used to design Pixar films will be on display in a special art exhibition at sea. This collection of art has only been seen outside of Pixar Animation Studios when it has been displayed at leading art museums around the world. This time the art will truly be a "traveling" exhibition as the Disney Wonder sails up and down the California coast.

Pixar Film Fest: Guests will be able to enjoy the entire Pixar library of films while onboard, including a selection of delightful animated shorts. Viewing opportunities will take place in the Buena Vista Theatre, Walt Disney Theatre, at the jumbo LED screen on deck or on in-stateroom televisions. The voyages coincide with the theatrical premiere of "Finding Nemo 3D," which guests can enjoy at either of the two theatres equipped with state-of-the-art Dolby 3D projection systems.

Pixar Character Encounters: More than a dozen Pixar characters will meet with and greet guests throughout the cruise. There will be a special Pixar-themed dance parties in the Atrium Lobby and a host of other opportunities for guests to reconnect with their favorite Pixar pals.

Guests sailing on the Pixar-themed voyages will also receive a commemorative lithograph created by Pixar artist and "Brave" co-director/screenwriter, Steve Purcell.

The Disney Wonder will sail out of Los Angeles and visit San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico during the four Pixar-themed voyages. Rates for the seven-night voyages start at $799 per person for a deluxe inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

May 31, 2012

Disneyland Resort Donates 'CALIFORNIA' Letters to Friends of the California State Fair

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Letters will welcome guests to home of California State Fair

Anaheim, Calif., May 30, 2012 - The Disneyland Resort donated the iconic "CALIFORNIA" letters previously located in the esplanade at the Disney California Adventure park entrance to the Friends of the California State Fair, a nonprofit organization that benefits California Exposition & State Fair (Cal Expo) in Sacramento, Calif. Cal Expo is the site of the California State Fair and hundreds of other events annually.

"As we near the completion of the Disney California Adventure expansion, it was important to us to find an appropriate home for the 'CALIFORNIA' letters," said Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis. "The letters were very popular with millions of Guests over the past decade, and Cal Expo is a fitting destination to continue their legacy."

Plans are underway to make the letters an integral part of a new Cal Expo entrance. The "CALIFORNIA" letters will make their way to their new home sometime in late September and will be placed high enough at the entrance to be seen from Exposition Boulevard.

"The Friends of the California State Fair serving Cal Expo is honored to have been selected the recipient of this gift from Disney Resorts. We see this donation, and the relocation of these letters, a continued and fitting tribute to the celebration of this magnificent state," said Norb J. Bartosik, Cal Expo CEO/General Manager.

The letters were part of the original California postcard entrance to Disney California Adventure park when it opened in 2001. Over the years, they became a favorite photo destination and meeting spot for Disneyland Resort guests because of their statuesque presence. The letters were removed to complete the new main entrance to Disney California Adventure park, built to evoke the feeling of California in the 1920s, when Walt Disney first arrived in Los Angeles.

The donation of the letters is the latest among several other iconic Disney California Adventure park artifacts over the last five years.

· The cab of the California Zephyr train that was formerly the home of Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream and Bakers Field Bakery was donated to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, Calif.

· The sun icon that welcomed visitors to Sunshine Plaza was donated to the City of Anaheim for future use.

· The giant toy train from EnginEARS Toys will be donated to Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) for future use.

· Postcards and displays from the Greetings From California store at the main entrance of Disney California Adventure park were donated to many Southern California nonprofit organizations and educational facilities including the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin, the Anaheim Family YMCA, the Child Abuse Services Team office in Orange, the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, and Betsy Ross and Orange Grove elementary schools in Anaheim.

· Signs and character displays from Greetings From California were donated to Pretend City in Irvine.

· The Reboundo Beach surfboard basketball game was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove.

· Benches from throughout Disney California Adventure were donated to the City of Anaheim for use in public spaces.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens, Immerses Guests in the Middle of the Story With Enchanting Tales

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. May 31, 2012 - The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life just in time for the summer vacation season as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens its doors today with "Finding Nemo," the first phase of the new resort offering at Walt Disney World Resort.

Opening in phases, each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney-Pixar films.

Family suite wings will showcase "Finding Nemo" opening today with 320 suites, "Cars" opening June 18 with 480 suites, and "The Lion King" opening Aug. 10 with 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each beloved film depicted. Standard guest rooms will make up "The Little Mermaid" wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It will immediately transport guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in as pixilated patterns and wavy ribbons of bold colors decorate the resort's exterior. Pencil drawings of Ariel, Lightning McQueen, Nemo and Simba adorn the entryway, and a whimsical chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

"Our goal was to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney-Pixar animated classics," said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters seem to come to life as they pave the way to each storyline revealed. Scenic settings, icons-including a brightly-colored coral landscape, a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, a towering Mufasa and more-immerse guests into the playful world of animation. At the "Cars" wing, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It's a journey through an African landscape in "The Lion King" complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel's grotto in an under- the-sea kingdom in Little Mermaid courtyard.

From linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all details of the guestrooms tie to the storyline. In "Finding Nemo," there's coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine. Zazu takes center stage on the headboards in "The Lion King," while Pumbaa and Timon decorate the shower curtain.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the "Big Blue" pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children's play area. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort's exterior and interior.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar, and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the "Finding Nemo" lobby, and nighttime movies poolside. There are two additional pools under way in the "Cars" and "The Lion King" wings as well.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar, pizza delivery and Landscape of Flavors food court. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food court features items such as fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue. Original backgrounds from featured films decorate the walls in the dining area, adding to the attention to detail and sense of immersion.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, will open in phases with rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as $94.

"Disney's Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world's premiere family vacation destination," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. "As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites."

Those staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

For reservations, guests can call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or contact their travel agent.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens, Putting Hundreds More Cast Members to Work in Central Florida

AoA grand opening

Central Florida Leaders Gather for Historic Moment at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. May 31, 2012 - Disney's Art of Animation Resort opened its doors for the first time today as hundreds of Cast Members welcomed guests and community leaders from across Central Florida who shared in the historic moment.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort supported 800 jobs during construction and once completely open later this year, will employ 750 Cast Members.

"Disney's Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world's premiere family vacation destination," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. "As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites."

The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens its first phase today with 320 Finding Nemo family suites, which sleep up to six guests. Cars will open June 18 with 480 suites, and The Lion King opens Aug. 10 with another 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each of the classic films. Standard-sized guest rooms will make up The Little Mermaid wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort hotel tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It immediately transports guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in. Pencil drawings of Nemo, Ariel, Lightning McQueen and Simba adorn the entryway, and a chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

At each wing of the resort, giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters pave the way to each storyline revealed. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort's exterior and interior.

"Our goal is to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney-Pixar animated classics," said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Inside the guestrooms, everything from linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all tie to the storyline. In Finding Nemo, there's coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the "Big Blue" pool, the largest resort hotel swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children's play area.

The food and beverage offerings at Disney's Art of Animation are drawn from guest feedback received at restaurants across Walt Disney World Resort. As a result, the Landscape of Flavors food court will feature new offerings that include fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and a Mongolian grill.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the main lobby and nighttime movies poolside.

Disney Imagineers continue to put finishing touches on the three wings of the resort opening throughout the summer and into September. At Cars, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It's a journey through an African landscape in The Lion King complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel's grotto in an under-the-sea kingdom in The Little Mermaid courtyard.

Situated adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort will open in phases with family suite rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as $95.

Those staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

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About May 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in May 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2012 is the previous archive.

June 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.