Downtown Disney Hotels to Award Walt Disney Vacations to Teachers Nominated by Students

he Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels has partnered with Walt Disney World® to once again honor outstanding K-12 teachers with its 2012 A+ For Teachers at Downtown Disney essay contest.

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‘Custom Letter Plaques’ by Dave Avanzino to Launch at Disneyland Resort

Custom Letter Plaques by Dave AvanzinoEven if he’s not recognized by name, the most casual of Disney Parks guest is likely to be familiar with the work of ‘multimedia dimensional artist’ Dave Avanzino. Among his prized works include shadowboxed themed signs — such as Disney theme park names or lands — in which the letters are comprised of 3-dimensional paper sculpture ‘objects’ that are related to the theme being spelled out.

Those who attended last year’s Disney D23 Expo may have also met Avanzino himself inside the D23 Dream Store. There, Avanzino was testing out a pilot program in which attendees could commission their own personalized sign and choose from a wide assortment of themed alphabets and mix’n’match for the desired effect.

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Disneyland Resort Commits $5M to Local Area Children’s Hospital

Disneyland Resort Announces $5 Million Donation to CHOC ChildrenWith a pop of confetti and the drop of a banner from atop the CHOC Children’s construction site, Disneyland Resort yesterday announced a $5 million donation to CHOC in support of the “Change CHOC, Change the World” comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

The gift includes sponsorship of the lobby in the seven-story tower, slated to open in spring 2013. The tower will house new pediatric services and will incorporate the most advanced design and safety principles of any children’s hospital in the country. Disney Imagineers are busy helping to create an inviting lobby space sprinkled with special Disney touches to complement the hospital’s serene healing environment for children and their families.

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Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort to Open Summer 2012

Earl of Sandwich at DTD Disneyland Concept ArtDisneyland Resort today announced that Earl of Sandwich will open a new location at Downtown Disney in early summer 2012. The restaurant will offer guests a unique, casual-quick dining option while visiting Downtown Disney.

‘We pride ourselves in giving our guests a unique experience at Downtown Disney through different retail and food offerings,’ said Tony Bruno, vice president of Resort Hotels and Downtown Disney. ‘This will be the only Earl of Sandwich in California and it is sure to be a favorite among our guests as it has been at Walt Disney World for nearly eight years.’

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D23 ‘Disneyland Off the Map’ Event to Tour Walt’s Apartment, Dream Suite and More

Disney D23's 'Disneyland Off the Map' EventDisney D23 has announced it will be offering its members an exclusive experience at the Disneyland Resort on Tuesday, March 6, titled ‘Disneyland Off the Map.’

The event runs all day and includes guided visits to Walt Disney’s private family apartment above the firehouse, a trip around the park aboard the Lilly Belle V.I.P. parlor car on the Disneyland Railroad (weather permitting) and a tour of the Disneyland Dream Suite above Pirates of the Caribbean. Surprises, gifts and ‘very special dinner (and drinks) inside one of the resort’s most unique restaurants’ are also included in the event.

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WDW Refurb Update: Liberty Belle Extended Through May

With what was initially slated to be a week-or-so closure for the Liberty Square riverboat at the Magic Kingdom is now turning into a multi-month closure. The official Walt Disney World website is now reporting that the Liberty Belle attraction will now re-open on May 21, 2012. The announcement comes a day after the attraction had closed for its refurbishment.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch! The only Disney Parks refurbishment schedule that covers attractions, dining and resorts, lets you drill down to your own specific dates and even emails you when your dates are affected — and it’s completely free!

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CONFIRMED: ‘John Carter’ Early Screenings at Walt Disney World (Passholders)

'John Carter' Teaser PosterAs far as we’re concerned, impatience is a virtue. Yesterday we reported that we believed Walt Disney World would be offering free, pre-release screenings of Walt Disney Studios’ John Carter. Thanks to activity on the wdwscreeningtickets.com website, we are now able to confirm that the screenings will in fact be taking place and will be offered exclusively to passholders.

The screenings will take place at the Premier Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (the site notes valid theme park admission is required, but.. uh, it’s a passholder event) on the weekend of March 3 and 4. Showtimes will be at 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm each day. Space is limited and registration for the event will only take place online. The film, which is rated PG-13 by the MPAA, will be shown in 3D.

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Unconfirmed: Early ‘John Carter’ Screenings to be Offered at Walt Disney World

'John Carter' Teaser PosterIt appears to us that several screenings of Disney’s John Carter will be offered at the Walt Disney World Resort prior to its theatrical release on March 9, 2012. The as-of-yet-unconfirmed, unannounced news comes to us by way of a newly established website/domain, wdwscreeningtickets.com. While it’s the wdw prefix that leads us to believe the events will take place at Walt Disney World, the site also actually directs to disneynow.com which is used exclusively by Disney Parks and Resorts to the best of our knowledge.

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Disneyland Hotel Celebrates Renovation Completion

Disneyland Hotel Cast MembersEarlier today, several hundred Disneyland Resort cast members gathered in the courtyard of the reimagined Disneyland Hotel to mark the completion of the historic hotel’s multiyear renovation. Final touches to the porte-cochere and tower lobbies were added this month, following more than two years of work by Disney Imagineers and cast members to reinvigorate the hotel into a family destination that pays tribute to the early days of Disneyland. Disneyland Hotel and PoolGuests are now able to enjoy completely redesigned guest rooms, a new courtyard, restaurant, bar, pool and water play area, as well as themed suites and a dramatic new look to the exterior of the hotel. Changes have restored and highlighted the hotel’s original midcentury style with sleek, modern amenities. For the first time in 25 years, the Disneyland Hotel earned a coveted 2012 AAA Four Diamond award.

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Photo: President Obama Delivers Speech at Walt Disney World

President Barack Obama at Walt Disney WorldSpeaking to a crowd at in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort on January 19, 2012, President Barack Obama unveiled plans to increase international visitation and make the United States the world’s top travel destination.

Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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