Disney’s Art of Animation Resort ‘Topping Out’ Ceremony at Walt Disney World

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Disney's 'Art of Animation' Resort 'Topping Out' CeremonyThe hundreds of people who are building Disney’s Art of Animation Resort from the ground up gathered to mark the project’s “topping out.”

The “topping out” is a special moment that typically occurs in the construction and engineering industry when the highest piece of structure, either steel or concrete, is placed on the building’s frame. The tradition dates back to the Vikings, who would place an evergreen tree on the top of a building to celebrate and bring good luck.

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Garden Grove Character Meal Half Off via Groupon – Today Only

Enjoy dining with your favorite Disney characters at Garden Grove, located at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort on-site in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Each night, the all-you-can-eat-buffet dinner offers a different theme: Monday – Southern BBQ; Tuesday – Mediterranean Night; Wednesday – Southern BBQ; Thursday – Mediterranean Night; Friday – Seafood Sensation; Saturday – Mediterranean Night; Sunday – Southern BBQ.

Today only, Groupon is offering dining at Garden Grove through November 20, 2011 for just $18 for one adult, representing a 50% savings off the normal price.

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Haunted Mansion ‘Room for 1 More’ Merchandise Event at Disney World Announced

Haunted Mansion 'Room for 1 More' EventOn September 30, 2011, the Walt Disney World Resort will honor the Haunted Mansion with a special merchandise event, titled ‘Room for 1 More,’ at the Contemporary Resort, according to the official Disney Parks blog.

Attendees, who will be chosen via a random selection process after applying for tickets here, will have the first opportunity to pre-purchase limited edition event logo products as well as collectibles for Haunted Mansion and Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary. In addition, there will be a ‘deadly silent’ auction which will include a performance piece by Disney Fine Artist (and Disney D23 official artist) Noah, meet and greet opportunities with popular Disney artists such as Robert Olszewski, Jim Shore and Greg McCullough, Walt Disney Imagineers and a ‘ghostly dinner feast with haunting sounds and full-bodied entertainment.’ Not to mention, a free ‘de-parting’ gift.

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CONFIRMED: Disney World Actively Restricting Use of Refillable Mugs

It literally sent shockwaves across the internet last year when we first reported that it appeared Walt Disney World was looking into closing current loopholes regarding the refillable mug system currently in place in which any cup could be used indefinitely at the soda fountain dispensers located in the food courts of the Walt Disney World resorts.

Most reactions seemed to side with disbelief or flat-out denial. Others were angered by the notion of what effectively amounts to nickel-and-diming guests with beverages Disney Parks gets for free (Coca-Cola does supply free syrup as part of an agreement with Disney, but there are obviously water, CO2 and electricity overheads). Some applauded the news while others argued as to whether using a refillable mug way past its expected end date amounted to theft or was truly unethical.

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‘Downtown Disney Bridal Stroll’ to Take Place November 6 at Walt Disney World Resort

Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels will host the Downtown Disney Bridal Stroll on Sunday, November 6 from 11 am to 3 pm, featuring consultations with wedding specialists, bridal vendors, sample appetizers, and prizes.

Brides-to-be will have an opportunity to consult with experienced wedding specialists at each of the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels as well as sample cuisine and meet the chefs from each hotel. They also can do some one-stop-shopping at wedding vendors who will present distinctive possibilities for wedding cakes, linens, floral arrangements and other bridal-related products and services.

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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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WDW Refurb Update: Studio Backlot Tour, HISTK Playground Closures in September

The official Walt Disney World website has begun listing closures for both the ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure’ and the ‘Studio Backlot Tour’ beginning on September 4, 2011 and re-opening on September 25.

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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Victoria & Albert’s Receives Twelfth Consecutive AAA Five-Diamond Award

Chef Scott Hunnel from Victoria & Albert'sFor the 12th consecutive year, Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’ Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been awarded the coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award. Victoria & Albert’s is the only restaurant in Orlando and one of only three in Florida to be honored with the highest accolade a restaurant can achieve.

Victoria & Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel has drawn national and international applause for his preparation and delivery of American regional cuisine with classical influences at the elegant, 50-seat restaurant.

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Special Events for Epcot’s 2011 Food and Wine Festival Start Booking August 16

Dreaming of a festive autumn evening at the grand-scale Party for the Senses food and wine event at Epcot? Or maybe a more intimate artisanal Cheese Seminar with New York City fromager Max McCalman is on your radar.

Foodies who want to lock in their favorite events at the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13 should save the date of Aug. 16, 2011, and set their alarms for 7 am. That’s when reservations open for all special culinary and beverage programs offered during this year’s 45-day food, wine, beer and cocktail extravaganza. These special events have proven to be extremely popular and availability is limited.

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Baby Mandrill Welcomed into World at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Baby mandrill and mother

After six and a half months of waiting, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is welcoming a “colorful” addition to its animal family. A male baby mandrill was born May 30 to first-time mother, Kelley, and is the third one born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mom and baby are doing very well.

Native to Africa, mandrills are among the largest species of monkey in the world and are considered endangered. They’re known for their bright coloration, furry head crests, manes and beards. Adults also have thick purple and blue ridges along their noses, big red lips and golden beards. Fans of Disney’s animated movie “The Lion King” might recall Rafiki, who was not only a colorful character, but a mandrill as well.

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