WDW Refurb Update: Studio Backlot Tour, HISTK Playground Extension

The official Walt Disney World Resort website has been updated to advise that the existing ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set’ play area refurbishment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been extended through November 16, 2012. It is also listing the Studio Backlot Tour (and subsequently the AFI Showcase exhibit) as being closed from November 1, 2012 through November 16, however it is being reported elsewhere that the closure will actually begin in October, likely on the 8th.

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Walt Disney Imagineering Suggests ‘Country Bear Jamboree’ Show Changes A Comin’

Ever since its refurbishment was announced back in May, speculations have run rampant about changes being made to ‘Country Bear Jamboree,’ located in Frontierland of the Magic Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. Initial rumors had the show being cut in length and have since grown to include cutting out peripheral characters out completely to the return of the holiday overlay and more. The only certain element regarding the rumors was that for every rumor proposed, there was at least another that contradicted it and proposed something else.

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‘Frankenweenie’ Exhibition Passholder Preview Experiences Available at Disneyland Resort

Art of 'Frankenweenie' Exhibit - Atticus Shaffer

The Disneyland Resort has announced that it will be offering a special preview opportunity for Annual Passholders to view the ‘Art of Frankenweenie‘ traveling exhibit on the evening of September 13, before it becomes accessible to regular park guests.

Passholders have the choice of packages, either a simple viewing experience or a complete dining package with both experiences taking place after park closing.

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Recap: Test Track 2.0 Talk with Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick

Test Track 2.0 MarqueeEarlier today, the official Disney Parks blog held a webchat with Walt Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick, who is one of the lead Imagineers in transitioning Epcot’s Test Track to the Test Track 2.0 phase.

Essentially, the story of the attraction is switching from testing to design, according to Jeselnick. The interior queue is being completely changed to align itself with the new focus. ‘We’ll have actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family,’ she added.

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Disneyland’s PCH Grill Announces Menu Preview Event for Passholders

The Disneyland Resort has announced that it will be offering a special preview of the fall 2012 menu at PCH Grill, located at the Paradise Pier Hotel, for annual passholders throughout September. The prix fixe cost for the meal is $34.99 per person prior to any eligible passholder discounts and includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, soft drink and FASTPASS tickets to World of Color for the same evening as dining.

The menu is as follows:

Sunday, September 2 through Thursday, September 6:

Choice of Appetizer

  • Beer Battered Onion Rings
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Choice of Entrée

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First Look: Tinker Bell and Periwinkle Characters from Disney Parks; New ‘Secret of the Wings’ Clips

Tinker Bell and Periwinkle at Disney ParksThe official Disney Parks blog today shared this first image of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle /aka/ Peri /aka/ Tink’s sister as they will appear at both Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland in mid-September (September 17 in Orlando according to this site, to be precise).

Peri will be joining Tink in Pixie Hollow in honor of their upcoming 3D Blu-ray release, Secret of the Wings, available to own on October 23, 2012. For Tinker Bell and the other warm season fairies, the Winter Woods remains a mysterious and forbidden place. Secret of the Wings takes audiences on an amazing journey of discovery with Tink, into this forbidden world where she discovers a magical secret that changes her life forever.

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New Fantasyland Concept Art Vividly Features Princesses in Enchanted Forest

New Fantasyland Concept ArtVia an email to Disney Travel Agents regarding the newly made announcements regarding the Enchanted Forest portion of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Walt Disney World Resort on December 6, 2012 (soft opening November 19), a few pieces of concept art were released. They appear to be new, but it is quite possible they’ve been released previously and we just missed them, but even if they are old news they are beautiful enough to warrant sharing again.

New Fantasyland Concept Art - BelleThe first image features Belle as she reads one of her favorite books outside the cottage belonging to her father Maurice while the Beast’s castle looms in the far off distance, ‘miles’ away.

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WDW Candlelight Processional Update: Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Amy Grant, James Denton

Walt Disney World has announced some changes to its lineup of narrators for its annual holiday event, the Candlelight Processional, held at the America Gardens Theatre, beginng November 23 of this year.

As we previously noted on Twitter, Isabella Rossellini will no longer be performing from November 23 – 25. We know her spot to be filled by actress Geena Davis. In addition, Andy Garcia has signed on for December 2 – 4, James Denton for December 8 & 9, Jodi Benson extended to December 10 – 13 and music singer Amy Grant from December 26 – 28. The full narration schedule as it currently stands is as follows:

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‘Phineas and Feb & You’ Virtual Experience to Debut at Walt Disney World for Limited Time

Phineas and Ferb and You Virtual ExperienceStarting this fall, Walt Disney World Resort guests will become the stars of ‘Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality.’ The virtual experience will allow guests to play with animated characters from Disney’s Emmy Award-winning animated series ‘Phineas and Ferb.’ The fun happens at Downtown Disney West Side, next to Bongos Cuban Café from September 1 through December 1, 2012 from 2 pm – 9:30 pm daily.

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Speculation: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Prepping for FASTPASS+ NextGen Technology

After starting the roll out of FASTPASS+ technology at the Magic Kingdom, which not only included the installation of temporary (and subsequent permanent) RFID readers at return lines at select attractions, along with limited tests, as well as pilot programs to enter the theme parks via RFID and — most recently — pay for purchases and unlock hotel rooms using embedded RFID chips in the Key to the World (KTTW) cards at the Contemporary Resort, it appears Walt Disney World (NYSE:DIS) is steadily pushing on to establish its NextGen technology at the Resort, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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