Photo: NBA Star Dwayne Wade Brings the Heat to Walt Disney World

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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade poses with Mickey Mouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (Todd Anderson, photographer)Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade poses July 11, 2010 with a basketball-clad Mickey Mouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  In honor of Wade’s visit to the 220-acre sports facility, Walt Disney World presented him with a custom-made and hand-painted trio of basketballs in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head.  The Disney World visit ended a week which saw Wade re-sign with the Miami Heat, where he will be joined next season by newly signed stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  (Todd Anderson, photographer)

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Dooney & Bourke to Launch Exclusive Disneyland ’55 Collection at Disneyland Resort July 17

On the 55th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort, Ian Ray of Dooney & Bourke will be on hand to celebrate the release of an exclusive Disneyland-inspired handbag collection.

The bags’ design features iconic Disney and Disneyland elements such as Mickey Mouse through the years, Mickey Mouse Club member IDs, Ears and more. Although the event will take place at Downtown Disney’s Vault 28 from 2 pm – 4 pm PT, the bags will be available for purchase at the store at opening. A special gift with purchases over $150 will be offered and distributed at the time of the event.

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Endangered Sea Turtles Displaced by Oil Spill Thriving at Walt Disney World Resort

Two Disney animal care experts at Epcot’s The Seas take measurements of a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle as they track its rehabilitation progress. Photo courtesy DisneyTwo ailing Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are on the road to recovery after being brought to Walt Disney World Resort last month from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. to make room for animals directly impacted by the Gulf oil spill.

The sea turtles, suffering from pneumonia, were flown to Orlando June 25 and placed in the care of Disney animal experts. Kemp’s Ridley turtles are among the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world. The two are being monitored in a special backstage area at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and will require several months of rehabilitation before they are released back into the wild. Progress so far is favorable.

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D23 Unveils Full Schedule for ‘Destination D: Disneyland ’55’ Event at Disneyland Resort

For those still reeling from the shock of no D23 Expo in 2010, D23 has unveiled its schedule of events and panelists for its Destination D: Disneyland ’55 event that takes place at the Disneyland Resort September 24 and 25, 2010. In addition, D23 has announced that the event will alternate annually with D23 Expo going forward.

Event highlights include the Mickey Mouse Club 55th Anniversary presentation, reuniting original Mouseketeers Sharon Baird, Doreen Tracey, Bobby Burgess, Karen Pendleton, Sherry Van Meter (formerly Alberoni), Tommy Cole, Cubby O’Brien, and Mary Geoff (formerly Espinosa) for a delightful trip back in time to the dawning of the television era with the club that was “made for you and me.”

Destination D will also mark the debut of the Disney Legends Celebration, a heartfelt tribute to those who have made a lasting contribution to the Disney legacy. All Destination D attendees and Disney Legends will be invited to attend E-Ticket: Music from the Disney Parks, a concert of memorable tunes through the years at the Disneyland Resort with some very special guests, including Disney Legend Richard Sherman.

All guests will also receive a limited-edition set of colorful, vintage Disneyland postcards from the Walt Disney Archives Collection. It’s a reproduction of actual postcards sold when Disneyland opened in 1955 — it’s just a coincidence that the complete set features 23 images!

There will also be a selection of limited edition merchandise available for purchase at the event.

Shown below is the current lineup for Destination D: Disneyland ’55 (times to be announced later this summer; panels and talent subject to change):

(more…)

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D23 Announces Star Tours and Scavenger Hunt Events at Disneyland, Mixer at Walt Disney World

On Tuesday, July 20, D23 will be hosting a member mixer event at the House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney West Side from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The event is free for members and does not require tickets attend the event. Proof of membership is required and easy D23 member may bring up to three non-members as guests. Each D23 member attending the event will also receive a coupon good for 15% off merchandise at the House of Blues as well as a special gift.

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WDW Refurb Update: Water Parks Seasonal Closures

The Walt Disney World Resort has confirmed the dates of the seasonal closures for the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks for the 2010-2011 season.

Typhoon Lagoon will be closing first on October 31, 2010 and is scheduled to re-open on January 9, 2011. Keep in mind that — especially as temperatures get cooler — the park may close earlier for its refurb depending on weather conditions.

On January 9, 2011, Blizzard Beach will close for its seasonal refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open on March 20, 2011.

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Photo: Comedienne Mo’nique Visits Epcot’s ‘Captain EO’

Comedienne and Academy Award-winning actress Mo'Nique poses July 2, 2010 with a pair of 3-D glasses and one Mickey Mouse glove -- a la Michael Jackson -- as she prepares to visit "Captain EO" on the film's grand re-opening day at Epcot (Gene Duncan, photographer)Comedienne and Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique poses July 2, 2010 with a pair of 3-D glasses and one Mickey Mouse glove — a la Michael Jackson — as she prepares to visit “Captain EO” on the film’s grand re-opening day at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The musical 3-D film, which stars Michael Jackson, was presented at Epcot from 1986-1994. After a long hiatus, the space adventure film re-opened July 2 at the Walt Disney World Resort theme park. Mo’Nique, who received an Academy Award for her role in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” also was among the 135 artists, performers and executives invited on June 25, 2010 to join the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

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Orlando Officer Arrested for Illegally Selling Theme Park Tickets, Used Hotel Keys

According to WOFL, FOX Orlando, Orlando police officer Wendell Robey turned himself in this morning on charges that he illegally sold complimentary theme park passes. Investigators say Robey also sold used hotel key ‘add-ons’ so that guests could take advantage of certain perks limited to on-site guests such as Disney’s free parking and extra magic hour (EMH) access and Universal’s express line service for attractions. Robey was one of four that investigators were seeking out on related charges.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Expert Finds Species on Border of Extinction

Cotton-top tamarins at Rafiki's Planet Watch in Disney's Animal Kingdom © DisneyA tiny Colombian primate known for its distinctive punk-rock hairstyle is in imminent danger of extinction, according to new research done by an animal expert at Walt Disney World Resort. The findings paint the clearest picture yet of a dwindling population at risk.

The endangered cotton-top tamarin is found in a small area of northwest Colombia. According to the research featured in the journal Nature Communication, there are now just 7,000 of the species left in the wild.

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Disneyland Resort’s ‘World of Color’ Kicks off California Tour July 7 in San Francisco

Viewers around the world will join a one-of-a-kind, online phenomenon in July to experience the extraordinary magic of “World of Color,” the new after-dark spectacular presented nightly in Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim. The interactive tour will feature live shows in four California cities, and the online audience will travel “virtually” to each location to watch the shows and interact with the webcast.

In each city, specially produced animation will be projected onto a familiar city landmark, using a sensational mixture of special effects, high-tech projections and one of the storytelling themes presented in “World of Color.”

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