WDW Refurb Update: Splash Mountain Closure for January 2011 Announced

With what should come as little to no surprise, the official Walt Disney World website has now posted a closure for Splash Mountain in January for the Magic Kingdom’s attraction annual refurbishment. Currently the site has the attraction as closing on January 3 and re-opening on February 1, 2011, but last-day-of-the-month dates are always suspect and suggest that the closure may continue on into the next month, although this is not the publicly available information at this time. Should we learn of the closure extending into February, we will update the article and note the changes via our official Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Disneyland Cast Members Celebrate Disneyland Hotel’s 55th Birthday

The Disneyland Hotel in 1961. Photo courtesy Disneyland Resort.The Disneyland Hotel was built, owned and operated by Walt Disney’s friend Jack Wrather in 1955, opening just about five months after the Disneyland Park. In 1961, the Disneyland Monorail was expanded to allow transportation between the park and the hotel’s guests, making it the first monorail to cross over a public street. It wasn’t until 1988 that the Disneyland Resort acquired the hotel from The Wrather Corporation.

Disneyland Hotel birthday cake. Photo courtesy Disneyland Resort.Earlier today, cast members from the Disneyland Hotel celebrated its 55th birthday in style, by slicing into this cake inspired by the Disneyland Hotel itself and one of its towers, prepared by the Resort’s central bakery.

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New Character Meet & Greet Experience to be Unearthed at Tokyo Disneyland Resort in 2011

'Mickey & Friends' Greeting Trail' at Tokyo DisneySea concept photo OLC, the parent company of the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, has announced that a new meet and greet experience will be coming to Tokyo DisneySea as part of its ‘Be Magical!’ 10th anniversary. Located next to the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull in the Lost River Delta, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will be greeting guests and taking commemorative photos.

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Walt Disney World Announces Homebuilders for ‘Golden Oak’ Properties

'Golden Oak' Entry Sign. Photo courtesy Walt Disney WorldSeven prestigious homebuilders have been selected by Disney to design and construct the luxury homes in the unique resort community of Golden Oak at Walt Disney World® Resort. Each of the builders is purchasing initial individual homesites, allowing construction of the first showcase and spec homes to begin immediately.

Since Disney announced the project in June, the company has seen significant interest from potential buyers. Inquiries have come from as far away as Brazil and England – and domestically from New York to Texas to California. The selected builders are currently designing home plans in preparation for the launch of homesite sales later this year.

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Disneyland Resort Cast Members Contribute Over $385,000 to Southern California Nonprofits

Disneyland Resort cast members made magic for their favorite Southern California nonprofit organizations by donating more than $385,000. This month, cast members selected nearly 80 organizations – from local schools to social services – to receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

The Anaheim Interfaith Shelter was one of the organizations that received a $5,000 grant. The shelter will use the funds to provide healthy food options at its on-site food pantry, helping to counter obesity among underprivileged children. The organization assists families in need of short-term support due to one-time events that cause homelessness.

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Disney D23 Announces 2011 D23 Expo Events and Trivia Contest, Walt Disney World Anniversary Events

This weekend D23: The Official Disney Fan Club announced The Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament as an exciting addition to the already highly anticipated D23 Expo 2011. The tournament will allow Disney enthusiasts to compete for the title of Disney Trivia Champion at “The Ultimate Fan Event” to be held next August 19-21 in Anaheim, California.

In a little more than a year, D23 has grown into a community of tens of thousands of Disney fans from every state in the U.S. and more than 30 different countries.

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Disney Parks Joins the Orlando Magic and Amway Center as ‘Champions of the Community’

Mickey Mouse and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic © Walt Disney WorldWith blue and silver pixie dust in hand, Mickey Mouse today presented the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard with a “mouse warming” gift in celebration of the team’s new home and a multi-year agreement making Disney Parks a “Champions of the Community” sponsor for the franchise and Amway Center.

“We are honored to have the global brand of Disney, which has been such a fixture of this community for nearly 40 years, join us as a ‘Champions of the Community’ sponsor,” said Orlando Magic President Alex Martins. “As a long-standing member of the Central Florida community, Disney has established a great legacy that we hope to build upon at the Amway Center. We look forward to working together to make continued impact on our Central Florida community for one common purpose… becoming champions both on and off the court.”

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Walt Disney World Releases Concept Photos of New ‘Wild Africa Trek’ Experience; Confirms Stitch Kingdom Report

Concept photo of 'Wild Africa Trek' Tour at Disney's Animal KingdomWalt Disney World has shared with us two new concept photos of the upcoming new tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the ‘Wild Africa Trek.’ Initially announced on the official Disney Parks blog as starting later this fall, Walt Disney World now confirms a Stitch Kingdom report that the tour will not start being offered to guests until ‘early 2011.’

Concept Photo of 'Wild Africa Trek' Tour at Disney's Animal KingdomThe tour plans on taking a small group of guests into previously uncharted areas of the Kilimanajaro Safaris’ savanna and bringing them up close and personal with the attraction’s residents.

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Disney Parks Officially Details 2011 ‘Memories’ Campaign; Confirms Stitch Kingdom Reports

In 2011, Disney guests will become the stars of a nightly spectacular when photos taken in the park during the day become larger-than-life projections on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort or “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Resort. This groundbreaking new experience will celebrate the family vacation memories created in Disney theme parks every day.

And this week, Disney guests will begin starring on television, too, as part of the new “Let the Memories Begin” campaign. For the first time, Disney Parks is featuring the home videos and snapshots of real guests in television ads and other marketing that will allow an audience of millions to share in true-life, heartfelt moments.

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Disney Parks ‘Memories’ Campaign Announcement Expected Today; Disney Parks Site Now Live

Disney Parks 'Let the Memories Begin' WebsiteAs we previously mentioned, Disney Parks will be holding a press event in New York City this afternoon to make some upcoming announcements regarding Disney Parks and Resorts. The event, which is scheduled to begin at 12 pm, will be streamed live on the internet beginning at approximately 12:45 pm. Tom Staggs, chair of Disney Parks and Resorts, will lead the presentation which is expected to include — amongst other things — news on the upcoming fiscal year which begins October 1. This will most certainly include mentions of the ‘Fantasy Forest’ expansion in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the CARSLand expansion and overall re-do at Disney California Adventure. 2011 will also see the maiden voyage of the first of two new Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream. Lastly, and certainly not least, October 1, 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, so we can expect some news on that as well.

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