Disney Acquires Global Theme-Park Rights to ‘Avatar'; Animal Kingdom Expansion Announced

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Elephant Calf Welcomed into World at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New male elephant African Elephant calf with with mother, VashaThe elephant herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom got just a little larger with the birth of a baby calf. Weighing 311 pounds, the male African elephant was welcomed into the group by his mother Vasha, 10 herd members and a team of animal care professionals assisting with the birth.

The 25-year-old mother delivered the herd’s sixth offspring after gaining more than 800 pounds during a 22-month gestation. This latest addition, which has yet to be named, is the second calf for Vasha, who gave birth to a female calf, Kianga, in 2004.

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Baby Mandrill Welcomed into World at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Baby mandrill and mother

After six and a half months of waiting, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is welcoming a “colorful” addition to its animal family. A male baby mandrill was born May 30 to first-time mother, Kelley, and is the third one born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mom and baby are doing very well.

Native to Africa, mandrills are among the largest species of monkey in the world and are considered endangered. They’re known for their bright coloration, furry head crests, manes and beards. Adults also have thick purple and blue ridges along their noses, big red lips and golden beards. Fans of Disney’s animated movie “The Lion King” might recall Rafiki, who was not only a colorful character, but a mandrill as well.

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WDW Refurb Update: Tough to be a Bug, Shooting Arcade, Mermaid Extension and More

We have a bunch of refurbishment/closure updates at the Walt Disney World Resort to share with you today, starting with the Magic Kingdom, where the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade will be closed beginning today and expected to re-open on October 1, 2011.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the 4D attraction, It’s Tough to be a Bug, is scheduled to close on August 15, 2011 and also expected to re-open on October 1.

We previously announced that Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be going dark beginning August 15, but according to the official Walt Disney World site, that date may have been moved forward to August 13. It’s still expected to re-open on September 4.

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WDW Refurb Update: Primeval Whirl Re-opening Pushed Back for Third Time

Karma is taking its toll on Primeval Whirl in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. The attraction, which has been plagued with problems during its refurbishment, including causing injuries and even death to cast members, closed on January 17, 2011 and was initially scheduled to re-open on April 6 which was later extended to April 17, then to June 2 and now has been pushed back much further with a new scheduled re-opening date of September 15, 2011.

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Photo: Dinos Meet Xtina-tion; Christina Aguilera at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Christina Aguilera and son Max at Disney's Animal Kingdom (Matt Stroshane, photographer) Grammy Award-winning singer Christina Aguilera poses with her son Max April 11, 2011 in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In the early 1990s, Aguilera starred on “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” a musical variety series taped at Walt Disney World.

On April 26, 2011, Aguilera will debut as one of four musician coaches on the new NBC vocal competition series “The Voice.”

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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WDW Refurb Update: ‘Tiki Room’ Granted Re-Opening Date; ‘Liberty Belle,’ ‘Primeval Whirl’ Closure Extended

Zazu Tiki Room Disney Trading PinAugust 16, 2011 is a day that will live in infamy for that is the day the Walt Disney World currently has slated for the re-opening of the ‘Enchanted Tiki Room,’ following a fire that caused some significant damage to some of the animatronics. Closed since January, sources have confirmed to us that the rumored return to the original Tropical Serenade will indeed happen and Iago and Zazu will be forced to find another line of work. Perhaps as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the change, Disney Pin Trading released the retro pin displayed here last month, in honor of Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary.

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Is Disneyland Shanghai’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ a Call-to-Action for Giant Pandas in Orlando?

Disney pandaTake a leisurely stroll along the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort and you’ll encounter many of Asia’s exotic animal inhabitants from the Komodo dragon of Indonesia to the Bengal tigers of India. What you won’t find, however, are the coveted giant pandas of China.

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New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Complete Entertainment and Experience Schedule

Guests spending New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Resort can choose from fireworks extravaganzas, evening dance parties, delicious dining experiences and more as nighttime activities. Here’s a look at what’s in store at the Vacation Kingdom on New Year’s Eve (show times and entertainment are subject to change without notice):

MAGIC KINGDOM (8 AM – 2 AM)

  • “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5:15 p.m.
  • “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” at 12 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.
  • “Main Street Electrical Parade” at 7 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

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WDW Refurb Update: Backlot Tour Postponed, Primeval Whirl Extended

According to cast member Paul Chadkin, the refurbishments scheduled in January for the Backlot Tour and the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been postponed, possibly until September.

In addition, the official Walt Disney World site is now reporting that Primeval Whirl in Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been extended with a new re-opening date of April 17, 2011.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch! The only Disney Parks refurbishment schedule that covers attractions, dining and resorts, lets you drill down to your own specific dates and even emails you when your dates are affected — and it’s completely free!

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