Disneyland Dates Star Tours II, Little Mermaid and Soundsational Openings

As families prepare for their 2011 summer vacations, the Disneyland Resort announces grand opening dates for several, highly-anticipated new attractions and family experiences.

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First Look: ‘Magic, Memories and You’ Guests’ Photo Show at Walt Disney World

'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)At a special ‘what’s next’ presentation held for media earlier this evening, the Walt Disney World detailed the ‘Magic, Memories and You’ show which is a fanciful slideshow of photos of guests who have used the Disney PhotoPass service that day. An intelligent computer software program selects 500 photos taken throughout the day by PhotoPass photographers and fits them into the 10 minute program that’s projected onto the facades of 'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland. At the Magic Kingdom, a combination of sixteen projectors positioned in four different locations help create the show. Although concept photos were shown to the press earlier tonight, here is your first look of real photos from earlier tests.

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The Walt Disney Company to Celebrate 45 Years of “it’s a small world” in 2011

For the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York, Walt Disney was commissioned by the Pepsi-Cola Company to produce an attraction to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With less than a year to create it — and with the vision of former Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and catchy tune by the Sherman Brothers —  Disney introduced “It’s A Small World” to the public. In 1966, the attraction re-opened at Disneyland, albeit in a modified form, and ‘the happiest cruise ever to have sailed’ has been a perennial favorite for millions at Disney Parks around the world since.

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Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

An institution at the Disneyland Resort, the lowering of the U.S. flag takes place each evening in the Town Square of Disneyland. Unlike its sister ceremony at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, however, the ceremony rarely honors individuals who have performed service in the country’s military.

Yesterday evening, that rare and distinct honor went to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest service award possible to a member of the United States military, by President Barack Obama.

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‘The Incredibles: Heroes in Training’ to Begin at DCA Jan. 14, Memories Campaign on Jan. 21

While construction continues at Disney California Adventure, the park will be offering alternative entertainment to the ‘Pixar Play!’ parade which went on hiatus late last year. Using elements from the parade, parkgoers will have the opportunity instead to watch mini-shows. Initially titled ‘Pixar Pop-Ups,’ the Disneyland Resort has announced that the first mini-show will be titled ‘The Incredibles: Heroes in Training’ and will begin performances on January 14.

A week later, on January 21, the Disneyland park will begin its in-park celebration of the 2011 campaign, ‘Let the Memories Begin,’ by projecting Disney PhotoPass photos of the day’s guests on the ‘it’s a small world’ facade on a nightly basis in an entertainment offering titled ‘Magic, Memories and You.’

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‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ Trailer to Debut at Exclusive Disneyland Resort Event

Fans will be the first to get an exclusive look at the brand-new trailer for Walt Disney Pictures’ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 3D on December 13, 2010, at AMC Downtown Disney Theatre 12 in Anaheim, California, as part of an exclusive “Pirates Fans First!” event. “Fans First!” winners will also have the chance on that day to be the first to experience the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that started it all. Fans can enter to win a vacation for four to the event by “Liking” Yahoo! Movies on Facebook or entering the sweepstakes via Disney Movie Rewards. Fans can also gain access to this exclusive event by listening to 102.7 KIIS-FM starting December 6th.

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Photo: Stephen Graham and Paul Bazely of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4’ Research Roles at Disneyland

Stephen Graham and Paul Bazely at Disneyland © DisneyVia the official Disney Parks blog, here’s a photo of Stephen Graham (Scram) and Paul Bazely (Salaman) from Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides as they visit the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in New Orleans Square at Disneyland.

After wrapping their filming in Hawaii, the cast and crew are currently shooting elements of the film at the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA.

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Disneyland Half Marathon Celebrates Fifth Consecutive Sellout; 2011 Registration Opens January 3

A record field of more than 14,000 registered participants will take to the streets of Disneyland Resort and the city of Anaheim for the fifth anniversary of “The Happiest Race on Earth” – the Disneyland Half Marathon.  In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, the weekend features activities for the entire family, including a Health & Fitness Expo, Disneyland Fabulous 5K presented by the Los Angeles Times, and Kids’ Races.

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Disney’s Tangled Rapunzel and Flynn Rider Meet & Greet at Disneyland Concept Art Revealed

Concept art for Tangled meet & greet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider at Disneyland © DisneyOn its official blog, Disney Parks has shared some concept art for the upcoming meet & greet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider at the Disneyland Resort. The art and blog entry reveal Disney’s plans on how to turn Rapunzel’s ~70 feet of hair into a reality.

Rapunzel and Flynn Rider will begin greeting guests on October 15 at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. At Walt Disney World, the duo can be found at the Magic Kingdom in the Fairytale Garden near Cinderella Castle, where Storytime with Belle currently takes place (that show ends September 12 in preparation of the transition). At Disneyland, Rapunzel and Flynn will be found at what is currently Gepetto’s Sweet Shoppe.

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‘Star Tours II’ Previewed by Disney Parks in Queue Video First Look

On its official blog, Disney Parks and Resorts shared the following video today which was also shared at the Disney Parks panel at the Star Wars Celebration V convention currently taking place in Orlando.

Although Bespin, Endor and Alderaan are mentioned in the promotional film for the Star Tours Travel Company that guests will see while in the queue for the upgraded classic attraction, the official blog makes the disclaimer that the destinations may or may not be featured in Star Tours II. It has long been expected since the initial announcement at the Disney D23 Expo in 2009 that Star Tours II will feature multiple destinations and will be in 3D. Rumors speculate that the destination will be voted on by the attraction’s riders per voyage.

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