Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World to Offer Free Shop Tours to Annual Passholders

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Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World (c) DisneyWalt Disney World has sent an email to Annual Passholders advising them of a new experience being offered at the Resort, the Richard Petty Driving Experience Shop Tour, which is free to annual passholders for a limited time (regularly priced at $15).

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Vinylmation to Release Limited Edition Mouse Ears, March 18

Limited Edition Viking and Gumball Machine Mouse Ears by VinylmationInspired by two of the figures from the upcoming Urban Series 6 Vinylmation, Disney Design Group will be releasing two unique, limited edition mouse ears at D-Street at the Downtown Disney Districts at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts on March 18, 2011.

Based on a figure designed by artist Doug Strayer, the viking mouse ears will be limited to an edition size of 1,000 pieces.

The gumball machine ears are based on a figure designed by Caley Hicks and will be limited to an edition size of 800 pieces.

Both ears were designed by artist Maria Clapsis and will retail for $49.95.

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Is Disneyland Shanghai’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ a Call-to-Action for Giant Pandas in Orlando?

Disney pandaTake a leisurely stroll along the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort and you’ll encounter many of Asia’s exotic animal inhabitants from the Komodo dragon of Indonesia to the Bengal tigers of India. What you won’t find, however, are the coveted giant pandas of China.

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RIDEMAKERZ Walt Disney World Location Awarded ‘Pop-Up Store of the Year’

RIDEMAKERZ at Walt Disney World's Downtown DisneyRIDEMAKERZ announced today its Downtown Disney shop at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida won worldwide “Pop-Up Store of the Year.” This is the second year in a row that RIDEMAKERZ has claimed the award presented by Chain Store Age magazine. The award recognizes RIDEMAKERZ for its creativity in transforming a 16,000 plus square foot retail venue into an auto-garage where kids and kids at heart can customize their own 1:18 scale toy vehicles, or RIDEZ.

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Sanuk, BLINK Coming to Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney Area

Disneyland Resort today announced two new retail stores coming to Downtown Disney this spring – Sanuk, a footwear shop and BLINK, a denim apparel store.

“We look forward to welcoming both Sanuk and BLINK to Downtown Disney,” said Tony Bruno, vice president, Disneyland Resort hotels and Downtown Disney. “Both locations will provide our guests with distinctive product and are a great fit with our unique blend of retail, dining and entertainment offerings.”

Sanuk’s new flagship location will offer the largest selection of product available outside of the company’s online store, including flip flops, surf sandals and other beach footwear, such as their signature yoga mat flip-flops.

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Ridley Pearson to Premiere ‘Kingdom Keepers IV’ Early at Walt Disney World

'Kingdom Keepers 4: Power Play' by Ridley PearsonNoted young adult author Ridley Pearson will be making a signing appearance at the Walt Disney World Resort on April 4 and April 5, 2011 to promote his latest entry into the popular Kingdom Keepers series, Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. Available nationwide on April 5, 2011, Walt Disney World guests will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase it the day before at Once Upon A Toy, located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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Disney Unveils New Celebrity Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges © Annie Leibovitz

Via its official blog, Disney Parks and Resorts today unveiled the first few of a new series of portraits by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz portraying celebrities in iconic classic Disney roles.

The first three images, with more on the way promised, include: Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs along with Alec Baldwin as the magic mirror, titled ‘Where magic speaks, even when you’re not the fairest of them all;’ Penelope Cruz as Belle and Jeff Bridges as the prince from Beauty and the Beast, titled ‘Where a moment of beauty lasts forever;’ and Queen Latifah as Ursla from The Little Mermaid, titled ‘Where memories take hold and never let go.’

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Hewlett-Packard Unveils HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports

HP Field HouseExpanding on its long-standing relationship with Walt Disney World Resort, HP (NYSE:HPQ) today unveiled the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a project designed to deliver an immersive technology experience to the 2 million athletes, coaches and spectators that visit the complex each year.

The 165,000-square-foot complex – now branded the HP Field House – is a multipurpose facility that has been the cornerstone of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex since it opened in 1997. The facility will now deliver an elevated experience for sports enthusiasts through a variety of HP enhancements inside the facility and beyond.

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Jennifer Hanley-Pinto of Jacksonville, FL Takes 2011 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Holding off challengers virtually the entire race Sunday, Jennifer Hanley-Pinto of Jacksonville, Fla. survived long enough to cross the finish line first to win Disney’s 2011 Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort.

Caitlin Latimer of Lexington, Ky. came in second with a time of 1:23:14, which was just 24 seconds behind Hanley-Pinto, whose winning time was 1:22:50. Heather Schulz of Orlando was third (1:25:01) despite running a faster time than last year when she finished second.

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Photo: Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer and Goofy are Rock’n’Rollers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Joey Kramer of Aerosmith with Goofy at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Diana Zalucky/Disney)Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer poses with Disney character Goofy February 25, 2011 at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios in front of the “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith,” the Walt Disney World roller coaster that is named after the band.  The high-speed, indoor roller coaster features Aerosmith music combined with a high-speed launch and multiple inversions.

Photo by Diana Zalucky, courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

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