CONFIRMED: Eleventh Hour Name Change for Aulani Spa

Concept art for Ulana (or Laniwai?) © Disney EnterprisesWith just a few months to go before Aulani welcomes guests home to Ko Olina, Hawaii on August 29, 2011, Disney Parks and Resorts has made a surprising move. Despite the official Disney Parks blog reporting that Aulani would be naming its spa Ulana (and there being trademark applications to back that claim up), it may surprise you to notice that Ulana isn’t mentioned on Aulani’s official site, despite the fact that every other amenity is named on it.

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Star Wars Weekends 2011 Celebrity Lineup Announced

Star Wars Weekends 2001 at Disney's Hollywood StudiosThe official Disney Parks blog has revealed the full line-up of celebrities attending this year’s Star Wars Weekends event taking place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 20 through June 12, 2011.

Once again, Jedi Mickey and Princess Leia Minnie will be joined by some of the brightest stars from the saga. Celebrity Hosts for the event this year are James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Ashley (seen in the photo above with R2-MK and Jedi Mickey) will host “Clone Wars: Behind the Force,” a closer look inside the popular animated TV series. James will present another event-first: he will star in a one-man show that showcases some of the many voices he has performed throughout his career, including those from The Clone Wars.

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BREAKING: Walt Disney World to Offer Reserved Seating at Disney/Pixar Weekend Talks; Sign-Up Form Linked

Disney/Pixar Weekend at EpcotContinuing our unparalleled coverage of the special Disney/Pixar Weekend taking place at Walt Disney World, May 13-15, we have learned that reserved seating at the special ‘Presenting Pixar’ talks featuring Cars property guardian Jay Ward, Pixar producer Jonas Rivera and composer Michael Giacchino, will be made available as seating is extremely limited at these events (approximately 800 guests per show according to our sources).

The sign-up form, which can be found here, also reveals the titles of each of the sessions that take place on May 14 & 15 only at the World Showplace located in Epcot’s World Showcase between the Canada and UK pavilions.

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New Storybook Rooms and Health and Wellness Suites Continue Growth Strategy at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Resort Royal Room artist rendering © Disney EnterprisesOver the course of the next year, new Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms and suites will open that will allow guests to sleep like visiting Disney royalty or perhaps add a yoga session or two to their Disney vacation. It’s part of an overall lodging strategy at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts that includes the addition of new niche rooms and suites to its guest offerings.

Beginning in fall 2011, guests will be able to experience new health and wellness suites on the 14th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In the spring of 2012, new Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort will take guests on a vacation getaway to Princess Tiana’s guest house where her friends have also come to visit.

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Disney Vacation Club Begins Offering Members Insurance Through Travelex

Travelex Insurance Services, a trusted leader in travel insurance protection, and Disney Vacation Club, a recognized vacation ownership provider, recently joined forces to help the 475,000 individual Disney Vacation Club Members travel with peace of mind from unexpected occurrences.

Travelex provides a valuable service to Disney Vacation Club Members with a tailored travel insurance plan for vacation ownership. The protection plan provides Disney Vacation Club Members with comprehensive coverage for common travel concerns such as medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption and baggage loss or delay. This customized plan also covers accidental damage caused to their resort property, recreational equipment delays and roadside assistance service.

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Create Your Own Disney Parks Memories Mosaic Online Instantly

Disney Parks Memory Mosaic Facebook AppAs we were the first to announce the current ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign at Disney Parks, we felt it only fitting that we bring you news of the latest way you can participate from your very own home — the Disney Parks Memory Mosaic at disneyparksmemorymosaic.com.

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First Look: ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’ Annual Passholder Merchandise

Earlier today, Disney Parks announced just some of the new merchandise coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts this summer in anticipation of the grand opening of ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (May 20) and Disneyland (June 3). Although some Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise was mentioned and hinted at (and shown in one case), here is additional information on the passholder exclusives:

Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Exclusive Star Tours 2.0 PinLimited to an edition size of 2000, this Walt Disney World Annual passholder exclusive Star Tours 2 pin features a hinged door that, when closed, shows the Star Tours logo, and the Starspeeder 1000 when opened. It will retail for 15.95

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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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Aulani Resort Celebrates Construction Milestone

Aulani Resort (David Roark/Disney)Today, in a ceremony on the lagoon fronting the site of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i, local crew members from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., joined with Disney cast members (employees) to celebrate the completion of major structural work on the Disney resort and the beginning of Disney’s “time to add the magic.”

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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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