The Kingdom Keepers Return to Guide Guests Through the Disney Parks by Day – and Protect the Parks from Disney Villains at Night

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Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadows by Ridley PearsonFive teenagers – the Kingdom Keepers – have been transformed into Disney Holographic Images (DHIs) that thrill guests as they guide them through each of the Disney parks. In truth, the Disney Imagineers created the DHIs to protect Disney’s theme parks from the Overtakers, classic Disney villains, who are trying to seize the parks and use them for their own evil agendas. Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers book series follows these heroes on behind-the-scenes adventures in the magical world of the Disney parks – and in Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow, the action happens in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. (Disney-Hyperion Books, ages 10 and up, $17.99)

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Disney’s Star Wars Weekends 2010 Update – More Exclusive Merchandise and New Characters

Annual Passholder and DVC Member Exclusive Star Wars Weekends 2010 PinsStar Wars Weekends 2010 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort is slowly creeping upon us and the news is starting to seep in. So far we’ve learned about the extremely limited edition and extremely awesome Stitch as the Emperor’s Hologram action figure (buy us ten!), the celebrity guest list and little more.

Today, the tides have changed a bit (probably due to the Forest Moon of Endor) and we have news from the Disney Parks blog on upcoming SWW exclusive pins, including Annual Passholder and — for the very first time — DVC Member exclusive items as well as special pins and sets commemorating the 30th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back.

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WDW Refurb Update: Star Tours Closure Earlier Than Anticipated, Toy Story Mania

We have received a tip on upcoming closures for Star Tours and Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These are not from official Disney sources but we believe they are credible enough to pass along to you. Should we find out alternate information in the future, we will update and post in the Refurbs category not to mention on ReSearch! Disclaimer aside, on with the mega-news.

Our source informs us that Star Tours will close on September 8. This is earlier than announced by former Disney Parks and Resort Chairman Jay Rasulo at last year’s D23 Expo, but not unexpected. It’s also scheduled to take place after Celebration V, which takes place in Orlando this year, ends in mid-August.

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WDW Refurb Update: Rock’n’Roller Coaster Closure in May

We have been advised that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be closed for refurbishment beginning on May 15 and re-open on May 21.

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!

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Details for 2010 Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon Announced

The Walt Disney World resort has announced the details for the upcoming Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon events taking place October 1 – 3, 2010.

On Friday, October 1, 2010, the Disney’s Kids’ Races will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Track & Field Complex beginning at 4 pm for children ages 8 and under. Registration includes: Commemorative T-shirt; Personalized Bib (Must register by September 3, 2010 for name to appear on bib); Trick-or-Treat bag of refreshments; Commemorative finisher medallion.

Race details and age groups are as follows:

  • 12 months and under – Diaper Dash for crawlers
  • 1 – 3 years old – 100m dash
  • 4 – 6 years old – 200m dash
  • 7 – 8 years old – 400m dash

On Saturday, October 2, at 7:00 am will be the Mickey’s Halloween Family Fun Run 5K. The only 5K run to take place inside the Magic Kingdom, runners are encouraged to dress in costume (with safety in mind) as they travel along the course filled with Halloween-themed entertainment. Registration includes: Admission to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for the night of Sunday, October 3, 2010; Commemorative Champion® T-shirt; * Goody Bag; Personalized Bib (must register by August 2, 2010 for name to appear on bib); Trick-or-Treat bag of race refreshments; Commemorative 5K finisher medallion.

(more…)

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Celebrities Appearances Announced for 2010 Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Artwork for 2010 Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood StudiosBeginning May 21st and running every Friday-Sun through June 13, this year’s annual Star Wars Weekends pays special tribute to The Empire Strikes Back which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

StarWars.com has now released the list of celebrity guests expected to appear each weekend during the popular event, beginning with SWW co-hosts Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tona of The Clone Wars).

The following is the list of celebrities scheduled to appear each weekend:

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Photo: Olympian and DWTS Champ Shawn Johnson Goes Toe-to-toe with Minnie Mouse

Shawn Johnson with Minnie Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Matt Stroshane/Disney)Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson poses Feb. 27, 2010 with Minnie Mouse at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Johnson, a past champion on ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” series, was at Walt Disney World appearing at “ESPN The Weekend,” a sports fan festival held annually at the theme park. She also was a special celebrity guest for the grand “re-launch” of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall to Greet Fans at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Feb 26

To commemorate the opening of the Champion Custom Tee Center at the ESPN Wide World of Sports located at the Walt Disney World resort, Steelers’ running back and Champion brand ambassador Rashard Mendenhall will greet guests on Friday, February 26 at the Champion Sports Zone at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mendenhall will be greeting his fans from 12 – 2 pm. No purchase is required to meet with Mendenhall, however admission to the park is required.

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WDW Refurb Update: Muppet*Vision 3D Closed End of April – Mid May

Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now currently scheduled to be closed from April 24 through May 14.

Without a reason for the closure, one might suspect that this is the upgrade Disney announced during D23 that Muppet fans have been waiting for in which the attraction will receive a new digital print. With rumors swirling around that Star Tours will close for its anticipated upgrade shortly after Star Wars Weekends concludes, it also seems an appropriate time to tend to Muppet*Vision so that the number of unavailable attractions is mitigated.

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Holographic Stitch, Star Tours Cast Member Featured in New Limited Edition Disney-Star Wars Collectibles

Buried under extensive coverage of Star Wars at the International Toy Fair, StarWars.com recently brought us news of a couple of new exclusive limited edition releases coming soon to Disney Parks.

In honor of The Empire Strikes Back which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2010 comes this extremely limited edition action figure of Stitch as the hologram of Emperor Palpatine. Limited to a run of only 1980 (get it?), each piece is accompanied by an individually numbered card and branded as being specific to the 2010 Star Wars Weekends event, thus it will be available exclusively at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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