Photo: Let Her Fly — Hootie’s Darius Rucker with Family at Magic Kingdom

Darius Rucker with family at the Magic Kingdom. (Gene Duncan/Disney)Singer/songwriter Darius Rucker (front, left) takes flight April 6, 2010 on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with daughter Dani, 9, (front, center), son Jack, 5, (front, right), daughter Cary, 14, (back, right) and family friend Rachel Herman, 15, (back, left). Rucker, former lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning band Hootie & The Blowfish, won “New Artist of the Year” at the 2009 Country Music Association Awards. Rucker is vacationing with his family at the Walt Disney World Resort. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

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WDW Refurb Update: Stormalong Bay Slide Closure in May

The pool slide at Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club will close on May 2 for refurbishment. At this time we do not have an exact re-opening date other than ‘late May’ so we are assuming May 31 for the time being.

Although the pool and play areas other than the slide will remain open during this time, guests are invited to use the pool and slide at the Boardwalk Inn if desired.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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The Kingdom Keepers Return to Guide Guests Through the Disney Parks by Day – and Protect the Parks from Disney Villains at Night

Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadows by Ridley PearsonFive teenagers – the Kingdom Keepers – have been transformed into Disney Holographic Images (DHIs) that thrill guests as they guide them through each of the Disney parks. In truth, the Disney Imagineers created the DHIs to protect Disney’s theme parks from the Overtakers, classic Disney villains, who are trying to seize the parks and use them for their own evil agendas. Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers book series follows these heroes on behind-the-scenes adventures in the magical world of the Disney parks – and in Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow, the action happens in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. (Disney-Hyperion Books, ages 10 and up, $17.99)

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Disney Pook-A-Looz: Classic Disney Favorites with an Irresistibly Cute Twist (Plus Limited Time Offer!)

825236999_ij8p2-o Now available at Toys ‘R’ Us, the Disney Store, DisneyStore.com and the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, we first came across Disney Pook-A-Looz last year at the Disney D23 Expo and instantly fell in love. Their official tagline is Too cute for their own good and we couldn’t agree more!

The quirky, offbeat take on classic Disney characters was inspired by the urban vinyl toy culture which has progressively been taking the nation by storm and helps to accentuate physical features that the characters are traditionally known for.

‘We focused on capturing one key element, gesture or trait of each character during the design process. We wanted the look to be very unique, quirky and cool,’ said Jose Zamora, lead designer. ‘When you think of the Queen of Hearts, you think of her mouth, so we brought that out in the design. With the Cheshire Cat, you think of the teeth. So we focused on that famous grin.’

The initial collectible set of 20 is available from DisneyStore.com and some individual Pook-A-Looz can be found Disney Store retail locations, the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort and at Toys ‘R’ Us which also sells Pook-A-Looz-inspired accessories such as keychains and clothing with more on the way. Some Pook-A-Looz, such as the Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas can only be found at the Disney theme parks and keep an eye out for seasonal and other Pook-A-Looz in the future such as the Muppets collection which is expected to be released in Fall of 2011 (and consider this our request for Maleficent). Be sure check out the official Disney Pook-A-Looz website for more information and photos (including their really cute backsides).

PLUS: For a limited time only! Purchase the entire 20 piece Disney Pook-a-Looz set and get FREE shipping on your entire shipment at DisneyStore.com! (offer valid only through 4/4 so act fast!)

With special thanks to Disney Consumer Products, we have hi-res images of the initial collection. We do advise that if you own a pair of sunglasses with cuteness protection factor of at least 15, that you wear them before clicking the thumbnails below. We’ve also thrown in a few of our own photos from the Disney D23 Pook-A-Looz exibit including our most prized possession — the D23 exclusive Steamboat Willie keychain.

The Disney Pook-A-Looz plushes retail for $12.99 each while the keychains retail for $7.99 each.

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Disney’s Star Wars Weekends 2010 Update – More Exclusive Merchandise and New Characters

Annual Passholder and DVC Member Exclusive Star Wars Weekends 2010 PinsStar Wars Weekends 2010 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort is slowly creeping upon us and the news is starting to seep in. So far we’ve learned about the extremely limited edition and extremely awesome Stitch as the Emperor’s Hologram action figure (buy us ten!), the celebrity guest list and little more.

Today, the tides have changed a bit (probably due to the Forest Moon of Endor) and we have news from the Disney Parks blog on upcoming SWW exclusive pins, including Annual Passholder and — for the very first time — DVC Member exclusive items as well as special pins and sets commemorating the 30th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back.

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‘Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue’ Filmmakers to Appear at Epcot April 3

Director Brad Raymond and Producer Helen Kalafatic of 'Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue' Brad Raymond and Helen Kalafatic, director and producer of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (available on Disney blu-ray and DVD on September 21) will be at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Saturday, April 3 greeting guests at the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden from 2:30 – 3:30 pm.

For more information on the film and to see stills and a sneak peek, click here.

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Child Hit and Killed by Bus at Walt Disney World Near Fort Wilderness

WESH and Orlando Sentinel are reporting on a 10 year old boy who was tragically struck and killed by a bus earlier today shortly before 2 pm near Fort Wilderness at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Not too many details are currently available but WESH indicates that the accident occurred at Fort Wilderness Trail and Big Pine Trail.

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Vinylmation Announces Showcase Event at Epcot August 29; Tickets Now Available

Disney’s Vinylmation has announced that it will present a Vinylmation Showcase inside the World Showplace at Walt Disney World’s Epcot on Sunday, August 29 from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm as part of the Trade City, USA Disney pin event.

Tickets are $25 per guest and admission to Epcot is required, but participation in the Trade City, USA event is not.

EVENT ADMISSION INCLUDES:

  • First opportunity to purchase new Vinylmation™ Figures created for Trade City, USA and other select one-of-a-kind creations.
  • Silent auction featuring a variety Vinylmation™ items from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Vinylmation™ Trading opportunities.

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Dates for 2010 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Now Available

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. © Stitch KingdomUp until now, we’ve been holding back releasing what we knew regarding the dates for the 2010 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party nights at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom because we were awaiting confirmation on dates beyond October 3.

The wait has ended (almost). The dates we have been given are as follows:

September 3, 8, 14, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 30

October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31

November 1

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D23 Announces 2010 ‘Flowers and Fireworks’ Event at Walt Disney World May 15-16

The weekend blossoms Saturday evening as guests gather at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a delicious beachside cookout. Enjoy a savory salad before diving into a grilled beef burger from the Evo Grill (veggie burgers too!) or chicken breast with Floridian citrus barbeque sauce glaze, served with all the fixings. Make sure to leave room for mouth-watering side dishes like creamy Southern-style cole slaw, slow-cooked vegetarian baked beans and Baked Mac ‘n’ Fine Cheeses. And don’t forget dessert! (We know we won’t!) Choose between Mickey Strawberry Shortcake or Hershey’s Chocolate S’mores Bread Pudding with Vanilla Crème Anglaise Sauce. Or enjoy both! During dinner, some of Disney’s most beloved characters will also hit the sand to visit with you.

Then sit back and watch a private viewing of the delightful Electrical Water Pageant as it sails by on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Pageant — Disney’s longest-running parade, having launched in 1971 — boasts a bevy of colorful characters on barges illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights. Following the show, guests will be treated to an exclusive presentation about the creation of Walt Disney World’s fireworks spectaculars. And the night wouldn’t be complete without a private lakeside viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s beloved fireworks spectacular Wishes.

Sunday morning meet at 9 a.m. in the Grand Harbor Ballroom of Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts for a morning of special presentations, created just for D23 Members and their guests. After enjoying breakfast from the continental buffet including “A Spoonful of Sugar” breakfast scones with clotted cream and fresh jams and warm cinnamon loaf laced with fondant, “Mad Hatter” scrambled eggs (with assorted “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum toppings”!), Snow (Egg) White Vegetable Frittata, Tink’s Yogurt Parfaits and classic Mickey Waffles fresh fruit toppings and pecans and whipped cream, grab a seat as Epcot Vice President Dan Cockrell will kick off the morning, giving insider insight into the new additions currently being built at Epcot — a new authentic Neapolitan pizzeria at Italy’s pavilion and expanded outdoor for Cantina de San Angel at the Mexico pavilion. Michael Jenner, WDW Park Events Content Development Operations Manager, will give an exclusive sneak peek at what’s to come at this fall’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which will be celebrating its 15th year of cooking up delicious dishes for Disney guests! Eric Darden, Horticulture Manager of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, will present “The History and Behind the Scenes Secrets of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.” Then, Daniel Wasilick of Twinings Tea — one of the original partners at Epcot — will serve up something special just for guests, including a look at their refreshing teas that can only be found at Epcot. And of course, there will be some terrific surprises and gifts!

After a morning of enriching panels and presentations inside, it’s time to hit Epcot to see the International Flower & Garden Festival up close and personal. Guests will have several hours during the day to enjoy the park at their own pace.

That evening, get ready for some Flower Power as you head to the American Gardens Theatre to do the twist with Chubby Checker! D23 Members and their guests will enjoy reserved VIP seating for the concert. And after burning off some calories twisting the night away, it’s time for dessert! A selection of savory sweets — including some of Walt’s personal favorites — will be awaiting guests at Italy Isola, where everyone will also be able to enjoy private viewing of the Epcot signature spectacle, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Of course, no D23 event would be complete without some extra magic! We look forward to making once-in-a-lifetime memories over these two days of festivities.

(more…)

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