Photo: Paula Abdul at Walt Disney World, Forever Minnie’s Girl

Paula Abdul with Minnie Mouse (Gene Duncan/Disney)Entertainer Paula Abdul poses with Minnie Mouse February 14, 2012 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

For the day, Minnie Mouse wore her special “Valentine’s Day” dress, with white hearts replacing her usual white polka dots.

Photo by Gene Duncan, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort.

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‘Mickey’s Railroad Adventure’ Ink and Paint Cel Release on March 17 at Walt Disney World

'Mickey's Railroad Adventure' Ink & Paint Cel On Saturday, March 17, join Disney Design Group Artist Randy Noble and Disney Ink and Paint Artists: Erin Magill, Theodora M. DeLaney, David Rippberger, Lynn Rippberger and Sharon K. Vincent as they celebrate the premiere of the Mickey’s Railroad Adventure entry into the Ink and Paint Cel series. The cel invites you to take a trip with Mickey, Minnie and Donald aboard the train.

Mickey's Railroad Adventures Limited Edition PinThe cel is hand-painted with an unknown edition size. As an extra bonus, the first 750 framed pieces sold will be accompanied by a matching limited edition pin created for the release.

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CONFIRMED: ‘John Carter’ Early Screenings at Walt Disney World (Passholders)

'John Carter' Teaser PosterAs far as we’re concerned, impatience is a virtue. Yesterday we reported that we believed Walt Disney World would be offering free, pre-release screenings of Walt Disney Studios’ John Carter. Thanks to activity on the wdwscreeningtickets.com website, we are now able to confirm that the screenings will in fact be taking place and will be offered exclusively to passholders.

The screenings will take place at the Premier Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (the site notes valid theme park admission is required, but.. uh, it’s a passholder event) on the weekend of March 3 and 4. Showtimes will be at 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm each day. Space is limited and registration for the event will only take place online. The film, which is rated PG-13 by the MPAA, will be shown in 3D.

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WDW Refurb Update: Magic Carpets Grounded, HISTK Playground Closure

The Walt Disney World official website has recently added a couple of entries to its operation calendar for early 2012.

The first of the new closures announced is that of the ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure’ which is slated to join the previously announced Backlot Studios Tour closure beginning on January 13 and re-opening on March 11.

Also re-opening on March 11, but closing on February 26, 2012 is the ‘Magic Carpets of Aladdin’ attraction in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.

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WDW Refurb Update: House of Innoventions Closed til Mid-2012; Studio Backlot Tour

House of Innoventions at Epcot’s Innoventions East is now closed, presumably due to the recent announcement that Green Builder Media will be transitioning it into what will be known as the ‘VISION House.’ No specific date has been provided for the re-opening other than an expected time frame of May, 2012.

The Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now slated to close on February 13, 2012 and re-open on March 11.

There is also a minor quiet pool refurb scheduled at the Beach Club Villas on December 14 and 15.

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Joe Rohde, Disney Parks Attractions Among TEA Industry Award Recipients

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) today named its recipients of its 18th annual Thea Awards, for which Disney Parks and Resorts received a number of accolades for its contributions ot the industry over the past year. According to TEA president (and former Walt Disney Imagineer) Rick Rothschild, the award sets out to ‘recognize and honor excellence in the creation of extraordinary visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. As this year we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of TEA, we can reflect on how much has changed: the tools and techniques our industry employs, the use of digital media and interactivity, the sophistication of themed environments and the international expansion of the business, especially into Asia. At the same time, storytelling and teamwork remain the bedrock of the Experience Design Industry and its projects.’ He adds, ‘the Thea Awards honor teamwork at its very best — the creative handshake between the visionary project owner and the multidisciplinary collective of designers, artisans and technicians who realize the vision. TEA’s Thea Awards celebrate storytelling across the globe — educational and entertaining stories of heritage, history, fiction, fantasy, magic and even hard science — delivered with artistry and the appropriate use of technology at museums, theme parks, world expos, special events and other settings. TEA looks forward to the next 20 years of leading the visitor attractions industry.’

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Photos: Jake from ‘Neverland Pirates’ to Meet and Greet at Disney Parks

Jake meet & greet character from Disney Junior's 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates'

It’s been a long time coming, but Jake from ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates,’ the top rated animated program in the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel, will finally be landing at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts beginning this month.

We first met Jake back in March during a private event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which is where he will begin meeting guests on Monday, November 13. He will be found at the meet and greet area outside the Disney Junior stage show. While Handy Manny will continue to also meet and greet fans at the location, Annie, June, Leo and and Quincy from ‘Little Einsteins’ will no longer be there.

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‘Star Wars’ Author Timothy Zahn to Offer Signing at Walt Disney World, October 14

'Heir to the Empire' 20th Anniversary Edition by Timothy ZahnOn Friday, October 14, 2011, noted author Timothy Zahn will be on hand to sign his latest Star Wars novel, Choices of One as well as the 20th anniversary edition of the best-seller, Heir to the Empire.

Zahn will be at The Writer’s Stop located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1 – 3 pm. As always, theme park admission is not included and items must be purchased at the event (no personal items).

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Tower of Terror Joins Disney PhotoPass System at Walt Disney World

Tower of Terror, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort,, has become the third attraction to allow guests to place their photos directly on the Disney PhotoPass system, according to cast member @BellHopDave (who provides a photo of the options). Like Space Mountain, the ability to add the Tower of Terror photo to PhotoPass requires a paid purchase and it seems to be fairly identical to the Space Mountain options and prices, save for no mention of the USB drive option.

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Ink & Paint Cel Release for ‘Key to the Kingdom’ Celebrating Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary

'Key to the Kingdom' Ink & Paint CelOn Saturday, September 3, join Disney Design Group Artist Costa Alavezos and Disney Ink and Paint Artists: James Bonserio, Erin Magill, Theodora M. DeLaney, David Rippberger, Lynn Rippberger and Sharon K. Vincent as they celebrate the premiere of the Key to the Kingdom entry into the Ink and Paint Cel series. The celaptures the essence of wonder and excitement that comprised the magical kingdom since it opened its gates on October 1, 1971.

The talented Ink & Paint team hand painted the iconic Mickey Mouse and loveable Pluto onto each Key to the Kingdom cel in this celebratory limited release.

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