Disney Parks to Host ‘Disney Memories’ Event in Times Square, November 19

We have learned that Walt Disney World will be hosting a ‘Disney Memories’ event this Saturday, November 19, in the New York City Times Square area, as part of its ‘Let the Memories Begin’ / ‘One More Disney Day’ campaign. Details are sketchy, but sources have told us the event will take place at 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm by the Disney Store location and will involve virtual appearances by Mickey Mouse and some of his friends.

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‘Star Tours 2.0′ to Launch at Tokyo Disneyland in 2013

Oriental Land Company, owner and operator of Tokyo Disneyland, has announced that it will be following in the footsteps of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts and will be updating its ‘Star Tours’ attraction in Tomorrowland. With an estimated cost of 7 billion yen (approximately $91 million US), ‘Star Tours: The Adventure Continues’ is expected to open in spring 2013.

From the initial announcement, it does not appear that the attraction will differ from that of the recent makeover at the Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Just yesterday, the attraction redo was recognized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and will receive a Thea Award for its refresh.

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Photos: Marine and Family Honored by Disneyland Resort at “it’s a small world” Lighting

On Monday, the Disneyland Resort invited Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Poteat, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s S-6 communication platoon, and his family to “flip the switch” on more than 300,000 holiday lights blanketing “it’s a small world” Holiday, transforming the popular attraction into a visual wonderland and officially launching the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort. The ceremony, presented by the attraction’s sponsor, Sylvania, honored Poteat and his family for the contributions they have made to our country. Poteat, who U.S. Marines Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Poteat and family at Disneyland "it's a small world" lighting (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996, has completed three tours and recently returned from the latest, a seven-month deployment in the Middle East. He was joined by his three children, nephew, niece and wife, Clarice, an advisor to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s family readiness team, for a day of play at the Disneyland Resort followed by this special honor.

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Joe Rohde, Disney Parks Attractions Among TEA Industry Award Recipients

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) today named its recipients of its 18th annual Thea Awards, for which Disney Parks and Resorts received a number of accolades for its contributions ot the industry over the past year. According to TEA president (and former Walt Disney Imagineer) Rick Rothschild, the award sets out to ‘recognize and honor excellence in the creation of extraordinary visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. As this year we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of TEA, we can reflect on how much has changed: the tools and techniques our industry employs, the use of digital media and interactivity, the sophistication of themed environments and the international expansion of the business, especially into Asia. At the same time, storytelling and teamwork remain the bedrock of the Experience Design Industry and its projects.’ He adds, ‘the Thea Awards honor teamwork at its very best — the creative handshake between the visionary project owner and the multidisciplinary collective of designers, artisans and technicians who realize the vision. TEA’s Thea Awards celebrate storytelling across the globe — educational and entertaining stories of heritage, history, fiction, fantasy, magic and even hard science — delivered with artistry and the appropriate use of technology at museums, theme parks, world expos, special events and other settings. TEA looks forward to the next 20 years of leading the visitor attractions industry.’

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Disney Parks Releases (and Pulls) ‘Disney Memories’ App

'Disney Memories' app for iPhone and iPad 2 by Disney ParksYesterday, Disney Parks released its first official app for Apple iOS devices, titled ‘Disney Memories.’ Inspired by the ‘Let the Memories Begin‘ campaign, the free, well-intended app was practically imperfect in every way and was consequently ill-received by every one we asked in an informal poll. The description for the app was as follows:

Make your pictures come to life with Disney magic.

Plus, with the help of Disney Parks magic, some of your favorite Disney Characters might be even closer than you think. Whether you just met Mickey at a Disney Park, or you are dreaming of meeting Mickey for the very first time, this app will let you transform your pictures into very special Disney Memories you will want to share.

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Photos: Jake from ‘Neverland Pirates’ to Meet and Greet at Disney Parks

Jake meet & greet character from Disney Junior's 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates'

It’s been a long time coming, but Jake from ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates,’ the top rated animated program in the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel, will finally be landing at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts beginning this month.

We first met Jake back in March during a private event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which is where he will begin meeting guests on Monday, November 13. He will be found at the meet and greet area outside the Disney Junior stage show. While Handy Manny will continue to also meet and greet fans at the location, Annie, June, Leo and and Quincy from ‘Little Einsteins’ will no longer be there.

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Epcot’s ‘Sum of All Thrills’ Online Experience Enhanced to Offer Fuller Experience

Students from the Chain of Lakes Middle School in Orlando, Fla., custom-design their own ride on the new Sum of All Thrills at Innoventions at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009 (AP Photo/Raytheon Company, Phelan M. Ebenhack, HO)You’ll have to build/buy/program your own 360 degree simulator, but if you can manage without it, Raytheon has recently expanded the experience available online. Whereas previously you could relive your experience from the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World via a card received from the Innoventions Exhibit, you now have the opportunity to build the experience from scratch, just like at the park.

The new ‘Sum of all Thrills’ online component offers an on-screen design experience similar to the exhibit at Epcot’s Innoventions. Using mathematical and engineering fundamentals, students can construct exciting virtual roller-coasters, pilot jet-fighter planes, or race bobsleds that dip, dive and swerve through loops, turns and rolls.

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Walt Disney World Cast Members Pen Postcards for Troops

Disney VoluntEARS write postcards to the troopsWhile the nation takes time this Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the armed forces, Disney VoluntEARS have been busy sending their regards through Operation Uplift.

Operation Uplift was founded in 1995 by a Disneyland Cast Member after reading a letter from a soldier during Operation Desert Storm explaining that troops didn’t receive much mail.

Since that time, Disney VoluntEARS around the country have sent more than 90,000 postcards of support, encouragement and thanks to servicemen and servicewomen serving domestically and overseas.

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‘Lights…Camera…Magic!’ Disneyland Add-on by Adventures by Disney Announced

Adventures by Disney has announced an exciting add-on package for guests visiting the Disneyland Resort with a package vacation. The experience, titled ‘Lights…Camera…Magic!’ takes guests on a day-long, guided excursion into the world of Hollywood in the way that only Disney can.

The tour includes a guided tour of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, including a trip into the Disney Studio Archives, a shopping trip at the Studio Store and lunch at the famous Walt Disney Studios Commissary. Also included is a behind-the-scenes private visit to either the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater or the Kodak Theater, home to the Academy Awards®. After exploring Hollywood Boulevard, the fun continues to the Sunset Strip and the world famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and finally to beautiful Malibu for a reception — and a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean — at Gladstone’s beachfront restaurant, a celebrity favorite.

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Recipe: ‘Pumpkin Mousse Trifle’ from Epcot’s 2011 Food and Wine Festival

Although I must confess to not having tried it myself this past year at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at the Walt Disney World Resort, it was impossible for me to ignore the constant raves regarding the pumpkin mousse available at the American Adventure pavilion.

Although I didn’t read it before it was apparently deleted, a tweet from @WaltDisneyWorld leads me to believe that the recipe for the pumpkin mousse was published online, if but for a short time. Thus I am pleased to be able to bring you the official recipe from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as relayed via a press release from Ocean Spray, one of the event’s sponsors.

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