The Walt Disney Company to Celebrate 45 Years of “it’s a small world” in 2011

For the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York, Walt Disney was commissioned by the Pepsi-Cola Company to produce an attraction to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With less than a year to create it — and with the vision of former Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and catchy tune by the Sherman Brothers –  Disney introduced “It’s A Small World” to the public. In 1966, the attraction re-opened at Disneyland, albeit in a modified form, and ‘the happiest cruise ever to have sailed’ has been a perennial favorite for millions at Disney Parks around the world since.

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New Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion Plans Announced; Snow White Closure Confirmed; Hi-Res Concept Art

The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history is underway, a project that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and deliver a new home for Ariel, new ways to interact with favorite Disney princesses, an exciting new family coaster, a double dose of Dumbo and more.

Scheduled to open in phases beginning in late 2012, the new Fantasyland will immerse guests in Disney stories as never before. Among the highlights planned:

Fantasyland Overview

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major, all-new attraction during which guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.

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SHAG to Make First Ever Walt Disney World Appearance to Promote Anniversary Art

'Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary' by SHAGOn January 31, 2011, popular artist SHAG will make his first ever appearance at Walt Disney World to preview his upcoming artwork commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Resort.

For two hours only, from 12 pm – 2 pm, guests visiting the Main Street Gallery in the Magic Kingdom will have the opportunity to preview the new collection and purchase a special limited run deluxe print of SHAG’s ‘Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary’ which features the Resort’s icons as they were in 1971 in SHAG’s unique style. The print measures 16×20″, is double-matted and will retail for $35.

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Photo: Joe Jonas and Ashley Greene Bask in ‘Twilight’ of Space Mountain

Ashley Greene and Joe Jonas by Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom (Kent Phillips/Disney)Jonas Brother Joe Jonas and his girlfriend Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen in the Twilight films) stopped by the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World yesterday where they posed for this photo in front of Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.

Joe’s older brother, Kevin, very recently celebrated his first wedding anniversary with wife Danielle at the Magic Kingdom where the couple was granted the rare opportunity to spend a night at the suite in Cinderella Castle.

Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.

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Photo: Blair Underwood and Family Begin Memories-Filled ‘Event’ at Hall of Presidents

Blair Underwood at Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom (Kent Phillips/Disney)Actor Blair Underwood, who portrays U.S. President Elias Martinez on the NBC series “The Event,” poses Dec. 29, 2010 in front of “The Hall of Presidents” attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as his wife Desiree (foreground) takes a photo of him and their children (L-R): daughter Brielle, son Blake and their oldest son, Paris.

Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

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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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Photo: Nolan Gould from ‘Modern Family’ at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Nolan Gould with Stitch at Magic Kingdom (Preston Mack/Disney)Nolan Gould, 12-year-old actor from the ABC-TV series “Modern Family,” poses Dec. 19, 2010 with Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Photo by Preston Mack, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort.

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So This Is Love: Kevin Jonas and Wife Celebrate First Anniversary in Cinderella Castle Suite

Kevin and Danielle Jonas at Magic Kingdom (Preston Mack/Disney)To celebrate their first wedding anniversary, Kevin Jonas of the pop trio “Jonas Brothers” and his wife Danielle pose Dec. 19, 2010 in front of Cinderella Castle with Cinderella and Prince Charming at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The couple wed Dec. 19, 2009 at Oheka Castle in Long Island, New York, and will celebrate their first anniversary by staying Sunday night in the Cinderella Castle Suite, the only hotel room inside the Walt Disney World theme park castle.

Photo by Preston Mack, courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

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First Element of Fantasyland Expansion Makes On-Stage Debut

'Beauty and the Beast'-inspired snack cart at Magic KingdomIf you’re wondering why this new snack cart at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World looks more like it was crafted by ‘crazy old Maurice’ rather than Walt Disney Imagineers, it’s because it will eventually find its home just beyond that blue wall, inside Gaston’s Village as part of the park’s Fantasyland Expansion project.

The Walt Disney World Resort recently announced that its Toontown Country Fair will be closed permanently as of February 12, 2011 to continue work on the expansion which involves the relocation and doubling of the Dumbo attraction into that area. The only remaining attractions will be the train station and Goofy’s Barnstormer, re-themed to the area.

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Mickey’s Toontown Fair at Magic Kingdom to Close Permanently in February

The Walt Disney World Resort has advised its cast members today that Mickey’s Toontown Fair will see its last date of operation on February 11, 2011. Beginning February 12, 2011, that area of the Magic Kingdom will be unavailable to guests as the park continues its work on the Fantasyland Expansion (FLE) project.

With respect to the attractions in Toontown Fair that will be removed as a result of this change:

  • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney Princess will eventually relocate to a new meet & greet area inside Exposition Hall. Should the meet & greet not be ready in time, the characters will remain available to meet & greet inside the park at locations to be determined later.

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