WDW Refurb Update: Country Bear Jamboree in Hibernation for Fall

The official Walt Disney World Resort website has been updated to advise that Country Bear Jamboree located at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for refurbishment beginning September 1, 2012 and lasting through October 17. It should be noted that when the notice was first posted, it began on October 1, so there is a small chance that the start date may actually precede September.

Additionally, a brief closure for American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was recently announced for June 14 and 15.

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Disney World to Test FASTPASS+ NextGen Technology at Magic Kingdom in May

RFID-based FASTPASS+ reader at Peter Pan's FlightThe Magic Kingdom theme park will begin testing FASTPASS+, part of it’s NextGen technology, during the first half of May, according to reports.

In its final incarnation, FASTPASS+ –  a subset of the MAGIC+ framework and sometimes referred to as XPASS — will allow eligible guests to reserve ride times in advance, using their MAGIC BAND to access the attraction’s queue. The customizable MAGIC BAND wristband will double as what’s currently known as the Key to the World, allowing guests to use the same magnetic stip card for their resort room key as well as park tickets and more.

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First Look: Merida Meet and Greet Character at Disney Parks (Photos)

Princess Merida Disney Parks Meet and Greet Character

Several photos have begun to surface on the interwebs within the past few hours featuring what appears to be the official meet & greet character for Princess Merida from Disney/Pixar’s Brave. While we have found multiple sources of photos for Merida, none of them explain where the photos originated, but it’s likely they came out of the CinemaCon tradeshow currently taking place in Las Vegas, where movie theater exhibitors were treated to the first 30 minutes of Brave last night in addition to a teaser for the Monsters Inc. prequel, Monsters University, and the other news regarding The Good Dinosaur and Lee Unkrich’s project set around the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.

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WDW Refurb Update: Monorail Service to be Disrupted Daily in March

Walt Disney World Cast Member Dave provided confirmation via Twitter this evening that beginning March 2, 2012 and through March 17, 2012, all Magic Kingdom monorail service will be suspended daily from 11:30 am through 6 pm. This is being done primarily so that construction work related to the Grand Floridian DVC expansion can be completed, although ‘planned maintenance’ is also mentioned in the notice.

In response to the reduction of service, more buses and water transportation will be put on line to accommodate guests traveling between the Magic Kingdom and the TTC and area resorts. Monorail service between the TTC and Epcot will not be affected by this change.

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Photo: Kelly Clarkson, Juanes at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Kelly Clarkson with Belle and Beast (Todd Anderson/Disney)Singer and former ‘American Idol’ champion Kelly Clarkson poses with Princess Belle and Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast yesterday in the Rose Garden area of the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Photo by Todd Anderson, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

Juanes with Minnie Mouse (Preston Mack/Disney)Also visiting the Magic Kingdom was Grammy Award- and seventeen-time Latin Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Juanes who received a special welcome to the theme park from Minnie Mouse on Feb. 18, 2012.  Juanes is expected to release a new album in May 2012, and he will be featured on MTV’s Tr3s network on March 6, 2012.  During his career, the Colombian-born performer has sold more than 12 million albums. He was named Latin music’s “Artist of the Decade” by Billboard and one of TIME Magazine’s ’100 Most Influential People in the World.’

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LEAKED: “it’s a small world” NextGen Interactive Experience Concept Art

We have obtained what is essentially concept art for the next generation (NextGen) interactive queue for “it’s a small world” at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. Taking advantage of the NextGen infrastructure in which guests will be able to personalize their experiences at Walt Disney World, the “it’s a small world” interactivity begins at home. Using their computer or smart phone, guests will design their own “it’s a small world doll.” When they visit the attraction at the Magic Kingdom, monitors placed throughout the attraction will virtually ride along with the guest (or the monitors may be installed in the vehicles, this is an unknown at this time). Guests will also be able to send e-cards spotlighting their virtual trip aboard the happiest cruise to have ever sailed the seven seas.

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WDW Refurb Update: Liberty Belle Extended Through May

With what was initially slated to be a week-or-so closure for the Liberty Square riverboat at the Magic Kingdom is now turning into a multi-month closure. The official Walt Disney World website is now reporting that the Liberty Belle attraction will now re-open on May 21, 2012. The announcement comes a day after the attraction had closed for its refurbishment.

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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Photo: President Obama Delivers Speech at Walt Disney World

President Barack Obama at Walt Disney WorldSpeaking to a crowd at in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort on January 19, 2012, President Barack Obama unveiled plans to increase international visitation and make the United States the world’s top travel destination.

Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Photo: Uma Thurman at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Uma Thurman, Donald Duck (Preston Mack/Disney)Donald, Uma. Uma, Donald.

Actress/model Uma Thurman poses here with Donald Duck this past weekend in a 1900s-inspired fire engine while visiting the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Thurman, star of films including Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, will be seen in the upcoming film Bel Ami, which also stars Twilight actor Robert Pattinson.

Photo by Preston Mack, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Report: Obama to Visit Walt Disney World Thursday (Updated)

Recently the White House confirmed that President Barack Obama would be visiting Orlando this upcoming Thursday, January 19, 2012, to speak on the economy. All was quiet on the rumor fronts until today when a flurry of entertainment and operational changes found their way to the internet this evening, leading many to assume it meant the President would be visiting Mickey Mouse when in town.

Among the changes are evening extra magic hours being offered at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but not at the Magic Kingdom. In addition, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature a special fireworks display at 7 pm titled ‘Rock the Night!’ All of this, it is suggested, is to drive guest traffic away from ‘the event.’

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