Disney Parks Study Shows Impact of Company on Florida’s Economy

A new study released today shows the magic Disney makes for guests at its parks and resorts and on its cruise ships translates into a strong economic impact not only in Central Florida but across the state.

The $18.2 billion in annual economic activity generated locally by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts accounts for a staggering 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product for the entire state.

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Photo: Dinos Meet Xtina-tion; Christina Aguilera at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Christina Aguilera and son Max at Disney's Animal Kingdom (Matt Stroshane, photographer) Grammy Award-winning singer Christina Aguilera poses with her son Max April 11, 2011 in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In the early 1990s, Aguilera starred on “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” a musical variety series taped at Walt Disney World.

On April 26, 2011, Aguilera will debut as one of four musician coaches on the new NBC vocal competition series “The Voice.”

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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EXCLUSIVE: Disney/Pixar Weekend at Walt Disney World’s Epcot to Offer Extremely Rare Treats (May 13-15)

Lightning McQueen 'Cars 2' topiary © Disney EnterprisesDisney/Pixar has already taken a prominent role in the 2011 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, but despite the debut of the spectacular Toy Story 3 topiaries, featuring the strawberry-scented Lotso, and the Cars 2 topiaries as well as the Cars 2 ‘Race Around the World Showcase’ activity that leads guests through various checkpoints at countries related to the film for a prize, Walt Disney World is cooking up something extra special for the final weekend of the event, dedicated to Pixar Animation Studios, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and you will not want to miss any of it!

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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: ‘Cars 2′ Segment in ‘Moteurs.. Action!’ at Disneyland Paris; Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As part of the new Magical Moments Festival at Disneyland Paris, a new segment featuring Mater, Lightning McQueen and a villain vehicle has been added to the Moteurs… Action! car stunt show at Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Paris Resort. Footage of the new segment has made its way onto YouTube:

In addition, the Cars 2 segment will also be added to the show’s U.S. counterpart, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort, this June (replacing the Herbie segment).

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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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Speculation: Will ‘Star Tours II’ be Disney’s PhotoPass Enabled?

'Star Tours II: The Adventure Continues' Destinations BoardYesterday, Disney Parks announced that new destinations in the newly revamped ‘Star Tours: The Adventure Continues’ attraction include Naboo, Kashyyyk, Hoth and the Death Star, in addition to previously announced Tatooine and Coruscant, but it’s what wasn’t publicly announced that caught our attention.

Recently, Disney Parks and Resorts registered several domain names, all of which variations on STARTOURSPHOTOS.COM (STARTOURSPHOTOS.NET, STARTOURSPHOTOS.ORG, STARTOURPHOTO.COM, STARTOURPHOTOS.COM) and even the Spanish equivalent, STARTOURSFOTOS.COM (FOTOSSTARTOURS.COM, FOTOSTARTOURS.COM, STARTOURSFOTO.COM).

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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)

Town Square Theatre Meet and Greet at Magic Kingdom
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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Walt Disney World Guest Uses Technology to Nab Thief

Above all else, it’s a painful reminder that no place on Earth, be it the happiest or the most magical, is safe from those with ill intentions and David Longstreth of Pennsylvania and his family were among the latest victims to encounter the harshness of the real world infringing itself upon a Walt Disney World Vacation.

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