Walt 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.’
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.
As 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.
Walt Disney World Cast Member Paul Chadkin reports that as of October 3, the Future World section at Walt Disney World’s Epcot will remain open until park close at 9 pm as opposed to its regularly scheduled closing time of 7 pm.
Despite the scheduled early closing, many locations in Future World have remained open past the 7 pm mark on a daily basis: attractions which remained open until 9 pm daily include Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Mission:Space, Soarin’ and the entire Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion (minus the manatee rehabilitation area). Sunshine Seasons, Electric Umbrella and Mouse Gear have all traditionally continued to operate until at least 8 pm.
Social gaming developer Playdom, which was recently purchased by The Walt Disney Company, has integrated the Disney theme parks into its ‘Social City’ Facebook app. Game players can participate in an in-game raffle in which the prize is one of the iconic attractions at the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom Parks: Matterhorn Bobsleds, ‘it’s a small world,’ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, Haunted Mansion and the Partners statue.
Players who manage to collect all seven items will unlock Cinderella Castle which comes complete with its own fireworks.
Walt Disney World held a preview of the arrival of Duffy the Disney Bear at Epcot today for annual passholders. Although we couldn’t be there to report on the event first-hand, Kristin Ford of the Orlando Sentinel’s A Mom and the Mouse tweeted some of the news that was announced at the event.
The Anaheim International Film Festival (AIFF) and Disneyland Resort will provide festival goers with an exclusive red carpet experience at the AIFF Black-Tie Awards Night Celebration, taking place October 16 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Hosted by Disneyland Resort, the awards gala is a red carpet affair honoring film industry icons with Lifetime and Career Achievement Awards for outstanding work and contributions to motion pictures. The dinner and awards presentation will be capped off with a VIP showing of “World of Color,” the new nighttime water spectacular at Disney California Adventure Park weaving water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination.
Cast Members at the Disneyland Resort had the opportunity to meet with Duffy the Disney Bear before he assumes his official meet and greet duties later this year. The photo, provided by a cast member, affirms that Duffy will be appearing in full sailor regalia as he often appears at Tokyo DisneySea. According to WDW Character Hunt, Duffy will begin his appearances October 14 in Epcot. Although the date of his debut in the Paradise Pier area at Disney California Adventure is promised to be revealed to Annual Passholders attending Duffy’s preview event this weekend, sources indicate to us that there’s a good chance he may start along with ElecTRONica on October 8.
Walt Disney World has added a page for its Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to the official website. The resort, which replaces the original proposed Pop Century: Legendary Years resort, is slated to open in summer of 2012.
According to the site, it will be a value resort that will consist of mostly family suites, as was rumored for Pop Century: Legendary Years after a pilot program at All Star Music. While The Little Mermaid section will consist of 864 ‘sea-inspired’ rooms, The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo sections will offer a total of 1,120 family suites, each consisting of: 1 master bedroom; 2 bathrooms; and 3 separate sleeping areas which includes a ‘Inovabed,’ a pull-out bed that transforms from a dining or work table as opposed to a sofa. The suites will sleep up to six.
Taking to the stage for charitable good, the Encore! Cast Choir and Orchestra hit an all-time high recently by raising $36,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida. The volunteer ensemble of nearly 500 Disney Cast Members put in more than 47,000 hours to produce Dream Our Dreams, A Musical Tribute to the Legacy of Disney. Proceeds from the August 6-8 shows hosted at Epcot World ShowPlace were given to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida this week.