OIA Extends Disney’s Magical Express Beyond 2016 Under Sweetheart Deal for Disney

The Orlando Sentinel reports all the nitty gritty in this article that covers a re-negotiated deal that heavily favors Disney who once had to prove to OIA that its free transportation program had merit.

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Life on Mars / Sopranos Star Michael Imperioli Celebrates at WDW

Michael Imperioli Dines at Tony's Town Square (c) Kent Phillips/Disney

Michael Imperioli Dines at Tony's Town Square (c) Kent Phillips/Disney

Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Imperioli enjoys an early birthday meal of spaghetti and meatballs March 17, 2009 at “Tony’s Town Square” restaurant at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Imperioli, who starred on the acclaimed HBO series “The Sopranos,” can be seen on the ABC series “Life on Mars.” The actor/writer/producer, who was born March 26, is celebrating his birthday with his family at Walt Disney World Resort. On “The Sopranos,” Imperioli won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Tony Soprano’s nephew, Christopher Moltisanti.

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Richard Petty Driving Experience Introduces Membership Program

Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World (c) Disney

Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World (c) Disney

CONCORD, N.C. — Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) announced, today, the launch of its new membership program, entitled “Experience Rewards”, designed to incent past customers to a return visit to the track for more laps and added excitement.

Membership in the program is available, free of charge, for customers who have driven with RPDE in the last 5 years and to all new customers who participate in a driving experience. Benefits include the opportunity for 12 months to participate in an unlimited number of Rookie Experience programs for just $199 – a savings of more than 50% – or to receive a discount of $199 on the Kings and Experience of a Lifetime programs. Members are also invited to bring along 3 friends who will each get a $50 discount off their driving program and, in turn, become members themselves.

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Food Network’s Iron Chef Plays Cat and Mouse at Disney’s Boardwalk

Iron Chef Cat Cora with Mickey Mouse (c) Disney

Iron Chef Cat Cora with Mickey Mouse (c) Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 17, 2009) — Chef Cat Cora and Disney are joining together to open an exciting new family dining restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. Kouzzina by Cat Cora will feature a menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine that pays tribute to the chef’s Greek roots.

The restaurant, to be owned and operated by Disney, is scheduled to open by fall 2009 in the space currently occupied by Spoodles.

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Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion Frozen, Dozens Laid Off

Bloomberg is reporting that against the hopes of the Hong Kong government, Disney has halted all creative and development work in terms of expanding its Hong Kong Disneyland, resulting in a layoff of about 30 employees.

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Nostalgia at the End of a Straw: Peanut Butter & Jelly Shakes a Tasty Treat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

[Editor’s note: Finally! Looks like things are turning around for this country afterall. I can never visit MK without getting a dole whip float and never go to DHS without stopping by the Tune In Lounge for a PB&J shake – recipe after the jump]

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In a Disney park about Aerosmith-inspired coaster thrills, elevators freefalling through a haunted hotel and careening stunt cars flying through infernos, sometimes it’s the old-fashioned pleasures that bring smiles to faces.

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Swolphin Offers Free Night Stay (and Cake) on Birthdays

Through December 24, guests who book a minimum three night stay at either the Swan or Dolphin will receive an extra night free if it falls on their birthday (proof required). In addition, birthday celebrants who dine at one of the in-hotel restaurants will receive a complimentary cake prepared by two-time world champion pastry chef, Laurent Branlard.

To book, call 1-888-828-8850 and ask for rate code BDAY. More details here.

via the Orlando Sentinel

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New Innoventions Exhibit a Real Oinker

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) Exhibit to Open this Spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot

Concept Art of T. Rowe Price's Great Piggybank Adventure Exhibit Opening Soon at Epcot's Innoventions (c) Disney

Concept Art of T. Rowe Price's Great Piggybank Adventure Exhibit Opening Soon at Epcot's Innoventions (c) Disney

BALTIMORE, March 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — T. Rowe Price, the global investment management organization, today announced that it has signed a sponsorship agreement to create an innovative financial education and entertainment experience at Epcot(R). Designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) is scheduled to open this spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot(R) at the Walt Disney World(R) Resort in Florida. This interactive exhibit will bring basic saving and investing concepts to life in a fun and captivating way. The experience will entertain and empower families, while encouraging them to engage in regular dialogue about the importance of saving and how to manage money responsibly.

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‘Re-Imagineering’ Disney’s California Adventure

Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure (c) Disney

Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure (c) Disney

The latest sign of expansion and “re-Imagineering” in Disney’s California Adventure park is the new illuminated “Paradise Pier” sign on the “California Screamin'” roller coaster. Installed overnight between Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, the sign reflects the “vintage Disney” themeing that is part of the Disney’s California Adventure expansion. It was designed in the style of beachfront amusement park signs from the 1920s and ’30s, the era when Walt Disney first arrived in Hollywood and begin producing animated cartoons. As the “re-Imagineering” continues at Disney’s California Adventure this spring, the ferris wheel attraction will reopen as “Mickey’s Fun Wheel” and the Games of the Boardwalk will reopen in completely new versions featuring Disney characters.

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