WDW Refurbs: Dumbo, Big Thunder Mountain and Liberty Belle Closures (New Fantasyland Opening Date?)

Now appearing on the official Walt Disney World calendar, we have a few key operational updates affecting guests in early 2012.

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Photos/Video: Walt Disney World Celebrates 40th Anniversary at Magic Kingdom

Anchored by the Mouse

With much fanfare, provided onstage by the Main Street Philharmonic, the Walt Disney World Resort celebrated the 40th birthday of the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness and even the Electrical Water Pageant. Following the performance of several Disney classics by the band, Main Street soon became flooded with Mickey, Minnie and dozens of popular Disney characters as they paraded down the street, celebrating celebrations from years past.

Below is a video of the full character cavalcade:

On stage, the characters were united with 40-year cast members and Disney Parks executives, including Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney World and Disney Parks and Resorts.

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Spring 2012 to Feature New Fantasyland Expansion, ‘Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom,’ Disney Fantasy and More

Casey Jr. Roundhouse, Dumbo and Great Goofini in Magic Kingdom's New FantasylandIn spring 2012, Disney guests can fly like no elephant (or Disney guest) has ever flown, subdue villains with magic spells, sail the azure waters of the Caribbean aboard a brand-new luxury ship, and settle down for the night in rooms celebrating Disney royalty.

January-May 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort also is a time when road runners take to the streets and byways of the Vacation Kingdom in marquee runDisney events, Major League Baseball returns to Champion Stadium, Epcot blooms and Disney celebrates the possibilities of youth.

Here’s a look at what’s in store …

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Walt Disney World Anniversary Pin Release Information (and How to Get Into Magic Kingdom Early)

Limited Edition 'I Was There' Dangler Pin (LE 1500, $12.95)While the Magic Kingdom will open at 9 am for most folk on October 1st, 2011, for its 40th Anniversary extravaganza, the fortunate folk who managed to secure a pre-opening breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace will be happy to know that the privilege is also being extended to those who secure the right to purchase some of the many limited edition pins as well as the very limited number of Anniversary custom Vinylmation figures by Noah.

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Video: Imagineering’s Use of Technology for New Fantasyland Development

Disney Parks has released this video from Walt Disney Imagineering which takes a look at how Imagineers are employing current and newly-developed technology to help realize the fruition of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

In essence, it’s a slightly more dumbed down version of what was presented last year at the NASA Summit by WDI Florida Vice-President and General Manager Jack Blitch, giving an overview of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) and pre-visualization (pre-viz) processes and how it even averted a real-world problem at the construction at the attraction for The Little Mermaid which could have cost the company considerably more money had it not been spotted beforehand.

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‘Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room’ at Walt Disney World Gets Official Page

It’s a rite of passage for most attractions: getting your very own page on the official Disney Parks websites. Earlier today, the latest to receive this honor was none other than ‘Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room’ located in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Not too much is revealed on the new page, which you can visit here, but one interesting thing to note is a meld of the old and the new. The show, according to the site, ‘pays tribute to the original Disneyland show, maintaining the original intent created by Walt Disney and his original team of Imagineers. At the same time, it features some modern technology—a state-of-the-art show-control system, remastered audio, and a new versatile and energy-efficient lighting system.’

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‘Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room’ Returns to Magic Kingdom August 15 (Official)

The Sunshine Pavilion, featuring a show variously known as “Tropical Serenade” and “The Enchanted Tiki Birds,” debuted on Oct. 1, 1971, in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. In 1998, following substantial refurbishment, it re-launched as The Enchanted Tiki Room-Under New Management, with two famous Disney birds – Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King – taking control and trying to spruce up the show.

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WDW Refurb Update: Dining Closures, Port Orleans Quiet Pool

In an effort to be the first to bring the news to you, we’ve been clubbing you over the head with refurbishment updates at the Walt Disney World Resort lately and, unfortunately, we’re not quite done. In addition to what we’ve announced recently, we now have the following announced temporary closures for dining experiences:

At the Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland’s The Lunching Pad will be closing on August 29, 2011 with an expected re-opening date of September 17, 2011. Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA is scheduled to close on August 30, 2011 with a re-opening date of September 15, 2011.

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Photo: Super Bowl Champ Kurt Warner Helps Dreams Come True at Walt Disney World

Kurt Warner and family at Walt Disney World (Gene Duncan/Disney)Former NFL and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner (right), his wife, Brenda (left), and Mickey Mouse pose June 13, 2011 with Kenny Bender (center), age 6, and Landon Smith (far right), 4, at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Representing the Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation, the Warners, in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visited Walt Disney World Resort with a group of families from St. Louis, Arizona and Iowa. This marked the 10th annual visit by the First Things First Foundation to Walt Disney World.

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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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