WDW Refurb Update: House of Innoventions Closed til Mid-2012; Studio Backlot Tour

House of Innoventions at Epcot’s Innoventions East is now closed, presumably due to the recent announcement that Green Builder Media will be transitioning it into what will be known as the ‘VISION House.’ No specific date has been provided for the re-opening other than an expected time frame of May, 2012.

The Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now slated to close on February 13, 2012 and re-open on March 11.

There is also a minor quiet pool refurb scheduled at the Beach Club Villas on December 14 and 15.

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‘Live with Kelly’ to Broadcast from Disney’s Aulani, February 20 – 24, 2012

This week on “LIVE! with Kelly,” co-host Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Jerry Seinfeld announced that the popular nationally-syndicated show will travel to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii, for five shows airing February 20-24, 2012. The “LIVE” broadcasts will be set against the backdrop of Aulani’s beautiful beachfront cove on the island of O‘ahu.

During the five shows, “LIVE” will showcase the best of O’ahu, and highlight all that Disney’s latest one-of-a-kind vacation destination has to offer. In addition to broadcasting from the stunning new resort, Ripa and Seinfeld also announced an exciting contest in connection with the trip. “LIVE” will fly one lucky couple and 30 of their guests to Aulani for the wedding of a lifetime.

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Photo: Disney’s Aulani Resort Marks Official Opening in Ko Olina, Hawaii

Aulani (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney Destinations)A Disney-inspired Hawaiian celebration launched the grand opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Thursday night with music, sparkling colored lights and the ceremonial mixing of sand with pixie dust. Aulani combines the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service with the beauty and traditions of Hawaii, creating an unforgettable family vacation experience on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu.

Bob Iger, president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, joined Hawaiian officials for the grand opening event at sunset. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse added to the fun at the beachside event.

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WDW Refurb Update: Tough to be a Bug, Shooting Arcade, Mermaid Extension and More

We have a bunch of refurbishment/closure updates at the Walt Disney World Resort to share with you today, starting with the Magic Kingdom, where the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade will be closed beginning today and expected to re-open on October 1, 2011.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the 4D attraction, It’s Tough to be a Bug, is scheduled to close on August 15, 2011 and also expected to re-open on October 1.

We previously announced that Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be going dark beginning August 15, but according to the official Walt Disney World site, that date may have been moved forward to August 13. It’s still expected to re-open on September 4.

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What’s Next: Disneyland Talks Cars Land, Carthay Circle Entrance, Aulani and More

As Disney Soundsational Summer gets underway, even more excitement is coming to Disneyland Resort, where the premiere of the all-new The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is just the latest milestone in the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The distinctive peaks of the Cadillac Range are already visible on the horizon beyond Pacific Wharf, signaling the creation of Cars Land, the all-new 12-acre land set to open in 2012. And work on the newly themed Disney California Adventure entry gate into Buena Vista Street, complete with Red Car Trolleys and the distinctive Carthay Circle Theatre, will continue through 2011 for a 2012 opening.

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DVC Offers Online Preview of Aulani Resort with Samantha Brown; Free Lithograph Incentive for Viewers

Disney Vacation Club will soon be offering an online video-on-demand titled ‘Disney Traveler presents Behind the Magic in Hawaii with Samantha Brown,’ previewing the new Aulani Resort which will first welcome its members this summer.

According to the site, viewers will be invited to ‘join TV travel guru Samantha Brown on location to get a sneak peek of the unexpected wonders Disney is creating for the entire family at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i. Plus, learn about exclusive Disney Vacation Club® offers only available through this webcast.’

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CONFIRMED: Eleventh Hour Name Change for Aulani Spa

Concept art for Ulana (or Laniwai?) © Disney EnterprisesWith just a few months to go before Aulani welcomes guests home to Ko Olina, Hawaii on August 29, 2011, Disney Parks and Resorts has made a surprising move. Despite the official Disney Parks blog reporting that Aulani would be naming its spa Ulana (and there being trademark applications to back that claim up), it may surprise you to notice that Ulana isn’t mentioned on Aulani’s official site, despite the fact that every other amenity is named on it.

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Disney Vacation Club Begins Offering Members Insurance Through Travelex

Travelex Insurance Services, a trusted leader in travel insurance protection, and Disney Vacation Club, a recognized vacation ownership provider, recently joined forces to help the 475,000 individual Disney Vacation Club Members travel with peace of mind from unexpected occurrences.

Travelex provides a valuable service to Disney Vacation Club Members with a tailored travel insurance plan for vacation ownership. The protection plan provides Disney Vacation Club Members with comprehensive coverage for common travel concerns such as medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption and baggage loss or delay. This customized plan also covers accidental damage caused to their resort property, recreational equipment delays and roadside assistance service.

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Aulani Resort Celebrates Construction Milestone

Aulani Resort (David Roark/Disney)Today, in a ceremony on the lagoon fronting the site of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i, local crew members from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., joined with Disney cast members (employees) to celebrate the completion of major structural work on the Disney resort and the beginning of Disney’s “time to add the magic.”

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The Walt Disney Company, Disney Parks Issue 2010 Corporate Citizenship Reports

The Walt Disney Company today released its second Corporate Citizenship report detailing Disney’s progress on environmental and social impacts. The report also includes the Company’s first set of comprehensive citizenship commitments and goals, aligned around three core principles:

  • Act and create in an ethical manner and consider the consequences of our decisions
  • Champion the happiness and well-being of kids, parents and families in our endeavors
  • Inspire kids, parents, employees, and communities to make a lasting, positive change in the world

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