Downtown Disney Hotels Announce Third Annual ‘A+ for Teachers’ Contest; Nominations Now Being Accepted

Based on the positive response to their 2009 and 2010 initiatives to recognize and reward deserving teachers, the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels have partnered once again with AirTran Airways and Walt Disney World® to hold the 2011 A+ For Teachers at Downtown Disney contest.

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First Look: ‘Magic, Memories and You’ Guests’ Photo Show at Walt Disney World

'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)At a special ‘what’s next’ presentation held for media earlier this evening, the Walt Disney World detailed the ‘Magic, Memories and You’ show which is a fanciful slideshow of photos of guests who have used the Disney PhotoPass service that day. An intelligent computer software program selects 500 photos taken throughout the day by PhotoPass photographers and fits them into the 10 minute program that’s projected onto the facades of 'Magic, Memories and You' on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. (Todd Anderson/Disney)Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland. At the Magic Kingdom, a combination of sixteen projectors positioned in four different locations help create the show. Although concept photos were shown to the press earlier tonight, here is your first look of real photos from earlier tests.

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The Walt Disney Company to Celebrate 45 Years of “it’s a small world” in 2011

For the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York, Walt Disney was commissioned by the Pepsi-Cola Company to produce an attraction to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With less than a year to create it — and with the vision of former Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and catchy tune by the Sherman Brothers —  Disney introduced “It’s A Small World” to the public. In 1966, the attraction re-opened at Disneyland, albeit in a modified form, and ‘the happiest cruise ever to have sailed’ has been a perennial favorite for millions at Disney Parks around the world since.

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New Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion Plans Announced; Snow White Closure Confirmed; Hi-Res Concept Art

The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history is underway, a project that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and deliver a new home for Ariel, new ways to interact with favorite Disney princesses, an exciting new family coaster, a double dose of Dumbo and more.

Scheduled to open in phases beginning in late 2012, the new Fantasyland will immerse guests in Disney stories as never before. Among the highlights planned:

Fantasyland Overview

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major, all-new attraction during which guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.

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‘Jasmine’s Flying Carpets’ to Open at DisneySea on July 18, 2011

Concept art of Jasmine's Flying Carpets. © DisneyThe Tokyo Disneyland Resort has announced that Jasmine’s Flying Carpets will officially open at Tokyo DisneySea on July 18, 2011. The attraction is fashioned a la Dumbo and has sixteen vehicles in the form of a magic carpet, each capable of holding four guests. Guests are able to control the height and tilt of their carpets. For friends and family not riding the carpet, an elevated viewing platform will be offered.

The attraction is sponsored by NTT Communications Corporation and will be located in the Arabian Coast area of the Tokyo DisneySea park.

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Disney Vinylmation Villains Series #1 to be Released Exclusively at Disney Store January 31

As we announced yesterday via twitter, Disney Design Group today confirmed the release of its Vinylmation Villains Series #1 will be taking place on January 31, 2011. The edition is exclusive to Disney Store, so it will only be available at Disney Store locations that sell Vinylmation as well as likely to become available online. You can view all of the figures from the series as well as the chaser here.

Captain Peg-Leg Pete by Enrique Pita from Disney Vinylmation Villains Series 1In related news, D-Street at the Disneyland Resort will be releasing its 55th anniversary 9″ figure for Fantasyland on January 21, followed by the figure representing Frontierland on January 28.

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SHAG to Make First Ever Walt Disney World Appearance to Promote Anniversary Art

'Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary' by SHAGOn January 31, 2011, popular artist SHAG will make his first ever appearance at Walt Disney World to preview his upcoming artwork commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Resort.

For two hours only, from 12 pm – 2 pm, guests visiting the Main Street Gallery in the Magic Kingdom will have the opportunity to preview the new collection and purchase a special limited run deluxe print of SHAG’s ‘Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary’ which features the Resort’s icons as they were in 1971 in SHAG’s unique style. The print measures 16×20″, is double-matted and will retail for $35.

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Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

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.

Yesterday evening, that rare and distinct honor went to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest service award possible to a member of the United States military, by President Barack Obama.

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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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