Disney’s Aulani Resort to Open August 29, 2011; Reservations Start August 2

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i, will begin accepting reservations for hotel rooms and vacation packages August 2, 2010, through the Walt Disney Travel Company.

Aulani is scheduled to welcome its first guests on August 29, 2011.

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Details for Walt Disney World’s ‘Last Tour to Endor’ Star Tours Event Revealed

StarWars.com checks in with popular Walt Disney Imagineer and Last Tour to Endor show director Jason Surrell as he talks about the preparation going into some of the exclusive events guests will get to experience first hand as part of the special hard-ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 14 commemorating the transition of Star Tours into Star Tours II.

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2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Guide and Map Now Available

Walt Disney World has just made its festival guide and map available for the 15th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival which takes place October 1 – November 14, 2010. The guide covers returning and new international marketplaces such as Belgium, South Korea and Charcuterie & Cheese plus events unique to the festival including brand new entries such as the Marketplace Discovery Passport sponsored by Disney Vacation Club, ‘First Bites Opening Reception,’ ‘”3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery,’ ‘Taste, Shake and Indulge Like the French’ and more! Newer eateries such as Kouzzina and Paradiso 37 as well as some older favorites such as Bongo’s Cuban Cafe and Fulton’s Crab House are also joining in on the fun this year.

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2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Merchandise Preview

2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival art by Tim RogersonMerchandise featuring the artwork of Disney Fine Artist Tim Rogerson for the 15th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is now available for preview.

Tim will be offering signings at the festival gift shop near the Canada Pavilion on October 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 and November 6, 7,  13, 14 between 11 am and 9 pm.

The event runs from October 1, 2010 through November 14, 2010.

To preview the special festival merchandise available, see the official merchandise page here.

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Photo: NBA Star Dwayne Wade Brings the Heat to Walt Disney World

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade poses with Mickey Mouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (Todd Anderson, photographer)Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade poses July 11, 2010 with a basketball-clad Mickey Mouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  In honor of Wade’s visit to the 220-acre sports facility, Walt Disney World presented him with a custom-made and hand-painted trio of basketballs in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head.  The Disney World visit ended a week which saw Wade re-sign with the Miami Heat, where he will be joined next season by newly signed stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  (Todd Anderson, photographer)

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Endangered Sea Turtles Displaced by Oil Spill Thriving at Walt Disney World Resort

Two Disney animal care experts at Epcot’s The Seas take measurements of a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle as they track its rehabilitation progress. Photo courtesy DisneyTwo ailing Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are on the road to recovery after being brought to Walt Disney World Resort last month from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. to make room for animals directly impacted by the Gulf oil spill.

The sea turtles, suffering from pneumonia, were flown to Orlando June 25 and placed in the care of Disney animal experts. Kemp’s Ridley turtles are among the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world. The two are being monitored in a special backstage area at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and will require several months of rehabilitation before they are released back into the wild. Progress so far is favorable.

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D23 Announces Star Tours and Scavenger Hunt Events at Disneyland, Mixer at Walt Disney World

On Tuesday, July 20, D23 will be hosting a member mixer event at the House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney West Side from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The event is free for members and does not require tickets attend the event. Proof of membership is required and easy D23 member may bring up to three non-members as guests. Each D23 member attending the event will also receive a coupon good for 15% off merchandise at the House of Blues as well as a special gift.

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WDW Refurb Update: Water Parks Seasonal Closures

The Walt Disney World Resort has confirmed the dates of the seasonal closures for the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks for the 2010-2011 season.

Typhoon Lagoon will be closing first on October 31, 2010 and is scheduled to re-open on January 9, 2011. Keep in mind that — especially as temperatures get cooler — the park may close earlier for its refurb depending on weather conditions.

On January 9, 2011, Blizzard Beach will close for its seasonal refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open on March 20, 2011.

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Photo: Comedienne Mo’nique Visits Epcot’s ‘Captain EO’

Comedienne and Academy Award-winning actress Mo'Nique poses July 2, 2010 with a pair of 3-D glasses and one Mickey Mouse glove -- a la Michael Jackson -- as she prepares to visit "Captain EO" on the film's grand re-opening day at Epcot (Gene Duncan, photographer)Comedienne and Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique poses July 2, 2010 with a pair of 3-D glasses and one Mickey Mouse glove — a la Michael Jackson — as she prepares to visit “Captain EO” on the film’s grand re-opening day at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The musical 3-D film, which stars Michael Jackson, was presented at Epcot from 1986-1994. After a long hiatus, the space adventure film re-opened July 2 at the Walt Disney World Resort theme park. Mo’Nique, who received an Academy Award for her role in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” also was among the 135 artists, performers and executives invited on June 25, 2010 to join the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

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Orlando Officer Arrested for Illegally Selling Theme Park Tickets, Used Hotel Keys

According to WOFL, FOX Orlando, Orlando police officer Wendell Robey turned himself in this morning on charges that he illegally sold complimentary theme park passes. Investigators say Robey also sold used hotel key ‘add-ons’ so that guests could take advantage of certain perks limited to on-site guests such as Disney’s free parking and extra magic hour (EMH) access and Universal’s express line service for attractions. Robey was one of four that investigators were seeking out on related charges.

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