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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‘Fantasyland Expansion’ at Magic Kingdom Gets Official Site Page

Although for the most part, there’s nothing new that’s currently mentioned there, the official Walt Disney World site has now added a New Fantasyland Expansion page which details some of the additions being added to the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort.

One element that does appear to be new, however, or at least not easily found with a Google search, is the Casey Jr. Roundhouse which will be located adjacent to the Toontown Fantasyland train station and will feature a ‘circus-themed immersive’ water play area. Little ones will ‘splish and splash as Casey Jr. billows off cool steam and water squirts from playful monkeys, elephants and camels.’

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VIDEO: Behind-the-Scenes with Haunted Mansion’s Hitchhiking Ghosts

Walt Disney Imagineering has released this new video which goes behind the scenes at the most recent additions to Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion attraction: the hitchhiking ghosts.

The video goes into quite a bit of detail and goes behind-the-scenes at the changes which include new audio animatronic figures and the attraction finale which now offers digitally projected animations featuring the beloved Gus, Ezra and Phineas which dynamically detects and interacts with the guest.

Stitch Kingdom first identified and reported on the patent behind this technology over a year ago and on March 12 of this year, nearly one month prior to the unveiling of the new additions, correctly identified that the tech was being applied to the Haunted Mansion.

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PHOTO: Ke$ha Keeps Important Date at Magic Kingdom

Ke$ha with White Rabbit at Magic Kingdom (Gene Duncan/Disney)Pop singer “Ke$ha” poses April 21, 2011 with The White Rabbit from Disney’s animated film “Alice in Wonderland,” at the Magic Kingdom park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Ke$ha’s debut single, entitled “Tik Tok,” was a number one hit around the world. The Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World.

Photo by Gene Duncan, courtesy Walt Disney World

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Photo: Lady Gaga Turns Fairy Tale Monster at Magic Kingdom (Hi-Res)

Lady Gaga (right) poses April 16, 2011 with the Evil Queen (left) (Todd Anderson/Disney)Grammy Award-winning singer Lady Gaga (right) poses April 16, 2011 with the Evil Queen (left) from Disney’s animated film Snow White at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Gaga was in town as part of her ‘Monster Ball Tour,’ a self-described ‘pop-electro opera,’ in support of her sophomore album, The Fame Monster.

Photo by Todd Anderson, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort.

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WDW Refurb Update: ‘Tiki Room’ Granted Re-Opening Date; ‘Liberty Belle,’ ‘Primeval Whirl’ Closure Extended

Zazu Tiki Room Disney Trading PinAugust 16, 2011 is a day that will live in infamy for that is the day the Walt Disney World currently has slated for the re-opening of the ‘Enchanted Tiki Room,’ following a fire that caused some significant damage to some of the animatronics. Closed since January, sources have confirmed to us that the rumored return to the original Tropical Serenade will indeed happen and Iago and Zazu will be forced to find another line of work. Perhaps as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the change, Disney Pin Trading released the retro pin displayed here last month, in honor of Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary.

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Video: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts Interactive Effect is Now Live

InsidetheMagic.net has posted video of the new interactive hitchhiking ghosts at Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion at the Walt Disney World Resort.

As was confirmed earlier this week, Haunted Mansion is now using a technology we first reported more than a year ago in which cameras trained on the guests and recognition software work to dynamically generate images that appear to interact with the guests. From swapping hats (or beards) to experimenting with guests’ heads to just going for a ride, the video provides many of the sample animations which also highlights the virtual limitlessness of the technology in that it’s fully capable of determining how many guests are in the omnimover doom buggy vehicle as well as their physical locations inside the vehicle.

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CONFIRMED: Haunted Mansion Ghosts to Become Interactive at Magic Kingdom

Last night, Walt Disney Imagineering did some preliminary tests with willing victims cast members at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom. The results had the victims cast members losing their heads laughing their heads off as the hitchhiking ghosts interacted with them in ways that have not yet been experienced in a theme park attraction.

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Photos: Inside Town Square Theater Meet & Greet with Mickey Mouse (Minor Spoilers)


Although it’s slated to open officially to the adoring public on Friday, April 1, the new meet and greet location for Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses experienced a soft opening today and a few lucky guests at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom had the opportunity to experience a little one on one time with Mickey, Minnie and the Disney Princesses in their new digs.

Fortunately for us, Josh Siegel (@Crushinat0r) was on hand to capture some of the newly installed magic (literally speaking) and share it with us.

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