Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

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Staff Sgts. Erick Gallardo and 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.

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MasterCard Becomes Official Card of Disney in Europe and Africa

The Walt Disney Company, Euro Disney Associés S.C.A. and MasterCard announced today a six-year strategic corporate alliance across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia & CIS.

The agreements make MasterCard the official partner in the payment services category of The Walt Disney Company EMEA & Russia and of Euro Disney Associés C.S.A.. As a result, this provides MasterCard with opportunities to create and deliver unique promotional opportunities for its cardholders across the breadth of Disney including motion pictures and the more than 100 Disney Stores across the region and in Disneyland Paris, Europe’s number one tourist destination.

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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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2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Registration Opens March 15, 2011

The Walt Disney World resort has announced that registration for the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon will open on March 15, 2011.

The 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort from January 5, 2012 through January 8.

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Brazil’s Fredison Costa Establishes New Era With Surprising Victory in 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

Fredison Costa crosses the Walt Disney World Marathon finish line (Matt Stroshane/Disney)In perhaps the biggest upset in Walt Disney World Marathon history, Fredison Costa of Brazil upstaged fellow countryman Adriano Bastos to win the Disney Marathon on Sunday and abruptly end Bastos’ six-year dominance at Disney.

After finishing second to Bastos at last year’s Disney Marathon, Costa, 33, crossed the finish line first this time, posting a time of 2:21:15 to lead the field of more than 17,000 runners who ran through all four Disney World theme parks along the 26.2-mile course. Bastos, who had won the past six Disney Marathons and seven of the last eight, finished 15th (2:45:09). Michael Wardian from Arlington, Va., (2:27:37) was second followed by Paul Nielsen from Orlando, Fla. (2:31:45).

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Photo: Fredison Costa of El Paso, TX Wins 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

Fredison Costa crosses the Walt Disney World Marathon finish line (Matt Stroshane/Disney)Fredison Costa, 33, from Brazil and now living in El Paso, Texas, celebrates Jan. 9, 2011 as he crosses the finish line to win the Walt Disney World Marathon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with an unofficial time of 2:21:14. More than 17,500 runners were registered for the annual 26.2-mile run through all four Disney theme parks.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Photo: ‘Today Show’ Hosts Run Walt Disney World Half Marathon

'Today Show' hosts Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales at Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Matt Stroshane/Disney)NBC’s ‘Today Show’ hosts Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales pose Jan. 8, 2011 with Disney characters at the start line for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The trio ran in the annual 13.1-mile race, one of the “runDisney” endurance events. On Jan. 9, 2011, more than 17,000 runners will line up to compete in the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Walt Disney World Introduces 2011 Disney Moms Panel

2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel (Diana Zalucky/Disney)What do you get when you combine a hibachi chef, a pastor, one “mum,” two Canadians, two non-profit workers, four teachers, three stay-at-home moms and one special aunt with a passion for Disney and a touch of pixie dust? The 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel! Announced today, 15 new panelists hailing from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom were named official members of the 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel. As the popularity of the Moms Panel site grows, 30 alumni panelists will continue offering their park-savvy smarts to guests planning Disney vacations.

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Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9″ Figures Available Online; Full 9″ Set Revealed

Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9" FiguresDisney Design Group’s Vinylmation Animation Series 1 went on sale today at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Two of the 9″ figures previously revealed by the official blog also went on sale on DisneyStore.com – the 9″/3″ combo set of Elliott the Dragon and Pete from Pete’s Dragon and Beast from Beauty and the Beast, both designed by by Monty Maldovan. The combo set is a limited edition of 1200 pieces while Beast is limited to 1000 pieces.

Vinylmation Animation Series 1 9" FiguresAlso revealed via the packaging for the figures are the remaining five figures in the 9″ collection for the series. In addition to Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia (LE 1200, also previewed on the blog) are: Genie from Aladdin (LE 1200), Bolt (LE 1000), Merlin from The Sword in the Stone (LE 1000) and Willie the Operatic Whale from Make Mine Music’s ‘The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met’ (LE 1000).

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Walt Disney World Marathon to Host Companion Race for U.S. Military in Iraq

More than 300 U.S. military personnel in Iraq will take part in a Disney half-marathon in Baghdad during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA, which will feature more than 53,000 runners at Walt Disney World in suburban Orlando this weekend. Last year, the WDW Marathon and Half Marathon became the largest M/h combo all-time with 34,055 finishers.

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