Walt Disney World’s Newest Resort Expected to Create 1,550 New Jobs

Disney's Art of Animation Resort Concept ArtPlans for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort mean new construction jobs for Central Floridians now and new permanent resort hotel jobs when the property opens in 2012.

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Walt Disney World VoluntEARS Donate 20,000 Toys to Toys for Tots Program

Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Bear deliver donated toys to 'Toys for Tots'With approximately 20,000 brand new toys in tow, Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS were on a mission this morning to make the holidays brighter for thousands of local children. Joined by Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Disney Bear, Disney VoluntEARS made a special delivery to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Central Florida Toys for Tots headquarters to drop off the sizable donation.

Walt Disney World Resort cast members have spent the past few weeks playing the role of Santa’s helpers by collecting tons of new toys as part of the resort’s annual effort to support the Toys for Tots campaign.

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First Element of Fantasyland Expansion Makes On-Stage Debut

'Beauty and the Beast'-inspired snack cart at Magic KingdomIf you’re wondering why this new snack cart at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World looks more like it was crafted by ‘crazy old Maurice’ rather than Walt Disney Imagineers, it’s because it will eventually find its home just beyond that blue wall, inside Gaston’s Village as part of the park’s Fantasyland Expansion project.

The Walt Disney World Resort recently announced that its Toontown Country Fair will be closed permanently as of February 12, 2011 to continue work on the expansion which involves the relocation and doubling of the Dumbo attraction into that area. The only remaining attractions will be the train station and Goofy’s Barnstormer, re-themed to the area.

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Get Up to Two Nights at a Gaylord Palms Executive Suite in Kissimmee for Just $199/Night (Very Limited Supply)

Act fast and you can spend up to two nights inside an executive suite at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee, Florida, just a mile and a half away from Walt Disney World and home to the annual ICE! exhibition favorite, for just $199 per night (taxes and resort fees included). That represents a savings up to 66%. The catch? You’ll have to stay at the hotel by January 31, 2011 (excluding December 14, December 31 – January 1, January 15-18, January 24, and January 26) and supply is extremely limited. Once this deal is gone, it’s gone.

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WDW Refurb Update: Pool Closure at Port Orleans Riverside, Other Resort Pool Refurb Changes

Quite a few changes have just been introduced to the refurbishment schedule for pools at various Walt Disney World Resorts.

  • At Port Orleans Riverside, the Magnolia Bend leisure pool will close on February 8, 2011 and is expected to re-open on April 2.
  • The Cabanas leisure pool refurb has been rescheduled. The new closing date is January 18, 2011 and the re-opening date is February 12.
  • The Paddock leisure pool at Saratoga Springs has been extended one day with a new re-opening date of July 1.

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Mickey’s Toontown Fair at Magic Kingdom to Close Permanently in February

The Walt Disney World Resort has advised its cast members today that Mickey’s Toontown Fair will see its last date of operation on February 11, 2011. Beginning February 12, 2011, that area of the Magic Kingdom will be unavailable to guests as the park continues its work on the Fantasyland Expansion (FLE) project.

With respect to the attractions in Toontown Fair that will be removed as a result of this change:

  • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney Princess will eventually relocate to a new meet & greet area inside Exposition Hall. Should the meet & greet not be ready in time, the characters will remain available to meet & greet inside the park at locations to be determined later.

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Disney Vinylmation Dreamfinder and Figment Combo to be Released December 17

Disney Design Group has announced that its widely anticipated Dreamfinder 9″ figure with a Figment 3″ accompaniment from Park Series #5 will be released on December 17 at D-Street in the Downtown Disney Districts of both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. The collectible, designed by Vinylmation artist Maria Clapsis, is limited to an edition size of 1500 and will retail for $74.95.

Dreamfinder Vinylmation by Maria Clapsis

Also scheduled to be released on December 17 at both locations is the Park Series #5 limited edition 9″ Retro-Magic Kingdom figure by Rachel Sur which has an edition size of 800 and will retail for $44.95.  The 9″ Attraction Poster figures by Alex Maher will be released at the Disneyland Resort only and will also retail for $44.95.

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Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Play Host to Life-Size Santa Chocolate Sculpture

Life-size Chocolate Santa by Executive Pastry Chef Laurent BranlardThis holiday season there will be no Santa sweeter than the one on display at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, an Epcot Resort Hotel. A life-size chocolate Santa – complete with armchair, fireplace and Christmas tree – sculpted entirely out of chocolate will be exhibited in the lobby of the Swan throughout December. A total of 1,200 lbs. of chocolate was used for the piece, which is colored to accurately portray Santa’s vibrant red suit, flowing white beard and green Christmas tree!

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Photo: Ryan Seacrest with Minnie Mouse at 2010 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade

Ryan Seacrest with Minnie Mouse (Matt Stroshane/Disney)Ryan Seacrest poses with Minnie Mouse Dec. 3, 2010 while taping the “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The annual holiday telecast airs Dec. 25, 2010 on ABC-TV.  Seacrest hosts the special from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Nick Cannon hosts from Disneyland Resort in California.  Performers include Mariah Carey, Amber Riley, Selena Gomez, Lee DeWyze, Debby Ryan, Darius Rucker, Jackie Envancho and Sean Kingston.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort

For more of our coverage regarding the 2010 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, click here.

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Lotso New Topiaries, Attractions to be Featured at Epcot’s 2011 Flower & Garden Festival

The heroes of Toy Story 3 have left the toy box. Woody and Buzz Lightyear meet arch-enemy Lotso the teddy bear on the Future World playground for the 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2 through May 15, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort.

The popular Disney/Pixar characters hit the sandbox as seven- and eight-foot-tall topiaries at the Epcot front entrance flower bed featuring a sand castle, strawberry-scented field and playground toys. Created by Disney gardeners and topiary experts with bold strokes of seasonal color, the topiary display marks the first time that “Toy Story” characters have been featured at the festival. It’s also the first time in seven years that the front-entrance floral spectacle showcases all-new topiary characters, says festival horticulture manager Eric Darden.

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