AAA Inspectors Rank Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge as Top Family Hotel

In honor of the summer slowly crawling towards an end, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) is honoring those families looking for one more family vacation fling by posting the results of a survey they put to their lodging and restaurant inspectors in search of the ideal family hotel.

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Photo: George Lucas and Jon Stewart are True ‘Star Tour de Forces’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

George Lucas and friends at Disney Hollywood Studios' 'Last Tour to Endor' (Todd Anderson/Disney) Star Wars creator and filmmaker George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters (left): Princess Leia-Minnie, R2-MK, Darth Goofy,  Jedi Mickey and Stormtrooper Donald on Aug. 14, 2010 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  Lucas is in central Florida for “Star Wars Celebration V,” the official Lucasfilm fan event that is taking place this week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. He visited Walt Disney World Resort to attend Disney’s “Last Tour to Endor” special event.

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Disney’s Tangled Rapunzel and Flynn Rider Meet & Greet at Disneyland Concept Art Revealed

Concept art for Tangled meet & greet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider at Disneyland © DisneyOn its official blog, Disney Parks has shared some concept art for the upcoming meet & greet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider at the Disneyland Resort. The art and blog entry reveal Disney’s plans on how to turn Rapunzel’s ~70 feet of hair into a reality.

Rapunzel and Flynn Rider will begin greeting guests on October 15 at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. At Walt Disney World, the duo can be found at the Magic Kingdom in the Fairytale Garden near Cinderella Castle, where Storytime with Belle currently takes place (that show ends September 12 in preparation of the transition). At Disneyland, Rapunzel and Flynn will be found at what is currently Gepetto’s Sweet Shoppe.

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‘Star Tours II’ Previewed by Disney Parks in Queue Video First Look

On its official blog, Disney Parks and Resorts shared the following video today which was also shared at the Disney Parks panel at the Star Wars Celebration V convention currently taking place in Orlando.

Although Bespin, Endor and Alderaan are mentioned in the promotional film for the Star Tours Travel Company that guests will see while in the queue for the upgraded classic attraction, the official blog makes the disclaimer that the destinations may or may not be featured in Star Tours II. It has long been expected since the initial announcement at the Disney D23 Expo in 2009 that Star Tours II will feature multiple destinations and will be in 3D. Rumors speculate that the destination will be voted on by the attraction’s riders per voyage.

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Disney to Donate $627,050 to Central Florida Community in August in Recognition of Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS Work in 2009

Walt Disney World Cast Member VoluntEARS celebrate the 2010 EARS To You Program. Photo courtesy DisneyThroughout August, The Walt Disney Company is donating $627,050 to the Central Florida community in recognition of the 251,000 hours given by Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS in 2009. From schools to shelters, Cast Members selected approximately 250 local non-profit agencies and community service groups to receive Disney’s EARS to You grants. Top recipients include Orange County Public Schools, A Better Life Pet Rescue and local chapters of the American Cancer Society.

“Disney VoluntEARS enjoy sharing their time and talents and have a vested interest in making Central Florida an even better place for all who live in our community,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations, Walt Disney World Resort. “The collective contributions of these Cast Members are impressive and impactful; they are truly making a difference during a time when it’s needed most.”

The Walt Disney Company, through the Disney VoluntEARS program, provides opportunities for Cast Members to give their time and expertise toward positively impacting their communities. Each year, the Company recognizes VoluntEARS who donate at least 10 hours of service with EARS to You grants, which are financial contributions of up to $1,000 to the non-profit organization of their choice.

This year, Walt Disney World Resort awarded more than 800 EARS to You grants. Disney dollars will go toward a wide array of worthy causes including local youth development groups, health and social services programs, environmental causes, community theatres and pet rescue organizations.

Disney VoluntEAR Maria Kirkland received an EARS to You grant of $500 for her active support of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “I feel very fortunate to be able to provide not only my time but a financial contribution to such a worthy organization,” said Kirkland. “It makes me feel so wonderful to know that I was able to help a family or individual to have one less stress in their life.”

(more…)

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Donald Duck Accused of Goosing a Guest at Walt Disney World, Claims Lawsuit

Donald Duck © Stitch Kingdom. All Rights Reserved.Earlier today, The Smoking Gun published a claim filed by April Magolon of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania which claims that while visiting Donald Duck at Epcot Center [sic] in 2008, Donald had deliberately grabbed her ‘breast and molest[ed] her and then made gestures making a joke he had done something wrong.’ Magolon, who reportedly had her children with her, is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for negligence and seeking in excess of $50,000, claiming to have suffered ‘severe physical injury, emotional anguish and distress including, but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder.’

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cast Members Get Sick from Parking Lot Fumes

WESH Orlando is reporting that 18 cast members at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World have reported feeling ill today with six being transported to the hospital for care. Fumes as a result of repaving the parking lots were determined to be the source of the problem which had only affected the reporting cast members as they had experienced prolonged exposure to the fumes while working at the parking lot.

The report notes that no guests have reported becoming ill as a result nor has park operations been affected at all according to Reedy Creek officials.

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H2Whoa! Walt Disney World by the Numbers: Water

Even its hometown suggests a beautiful place of water. And Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista does not disappoint:

There are more than 850 acres of lakes featuring nearly 130,000 feet of shoreline. And that’s just on “the surface”: Beneath the surface of the seven largest lakes are a combined 3.122 billion gallons of water.

There are 66 miles of canals. Water parks. One of the world’s largest enclosed marine environments. Theme park attractions featuring water. Recreation in, on and above the water.

It’s a waterful world, after all. And here are some of the highlights by the numbers …

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Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom – Now By Appointment Too!

We have learned that the Harmony Barber Shop located on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom has recently begun accepting appointments in advance. This marks the first time that we are aware of in the shop’s history that guests have been able to reserve a time in advance as opposed to simply walking up and waiting until a spot becomes available.

The shop serves guests daily from 9 am – 6 pm with cuts averaging to just below $20 per adult, or $14 for children 12 and under with a special ‘baby’s first haircut’ option available. According to the Disney Parks blog, the shop serves about 400 guests of the Walt Disney World resort each week.

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Photo: Brendan Fraser Rubs Shoulders with Wicked Step-Mummy at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Brendan Fraser poses with Lady Tremaine from Cinderella (Scott Miller/Disney)(AUG. 8, 2010):  Actor Brendan Fraser, star of films “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns,” poses Aug. 8, 2010 with a “step-mummy,” aka Lady Tremaine, The Wicked Stepmother from “Cinderella,” at the Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  (Scott Miller, photographer)

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