‘Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie’ Premieres August 28; Special Programming Beginning August 24

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Manhattan’s magical wizard siblings Alex, Justin and Max Russo accompany their parents on a Caribbean vacation where Alex’s inadvertent magic spell makes it so her parents have never met. When they learn the only thing that will reverse the spell is the magical Stone of Dreams, they embark on a quest through the jungle to find it, with time running out to save their family, in “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie,” an adventure comedy complete with over 350 special effects, premiering FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) as part of the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise.

Filmed in San Juan Puerto Rico, the movie stars Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals-Barrera and David DeLuise in the roles they made popular in the hit series “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

In anticipation of the movie, www.DisneyChannel.com will present an exciting two-part game, “Journey to the Cave of Darkness” and “Quest for the Stone of Dreams.” Users can also upload their own photo to become part of the Russo family vacation snapshot, as well as explore and collect hidden objects and unlock bonus behind-the-scenes footage from the movie.

In the week leading up to the movie premiere, Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin and Jennifer Stone will introduce their favorite “Wizards of Waverly Place” episodes in a “Wand Picked Wizards” programming event. All 16 episodes will air Friday, August 28. The premiere schedule follows. All times ET/PT: Continue reading…

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Disney Celebrates Rare White Rhino Birth in Uganda; Mom Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Uganda’s first white rhino born in 27 years has a family tree with Disney roots. First-time mother Nande, a 10-year-old female white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, gave birth June 24 to a healthy male calf at the Ziwa Sanctuary in Uganda after a 16-month gestation period. © Disney

Uganda’s first white rhino born in 27 years has a family tree with Disney roots. First-time mother Nande, a 10-year-old female white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, gave birth June 24 to a healthy male calf at the Ziwa Sanctuary in Uganda after a 16-month gestation period. © Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 13, 2009 — Uganda’s first white rhino born in 27 years has a family tree with Disney roots.

First-time mother Nande, a 10-year-old female white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, gave birth June 24 to a healthy male calf at the Ziwa Sanctuary in Uganda after a 16-month gestation period.

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Report: Dining with a Disney Imagineer at The Hollywood Brown Derby

After many trips to Walt Disney World contemplating the idea, I finally bit the bullet and invested into the Dining with an Imagineer program which takes place during lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Offered only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the program which costs $60.99 + tax and 18% gratuity per adult (bringing the per adult total to about $75) and $34.99 (or about $45 total) per child, brings the group (maximum of eight guests) face to face with a bonafide Disney Imagineer at Walt Disney World.

Booking proved to be a bit of a challenge as, if I recall correctly, the 90 + 10 didn’t work too well. After a few days of trying, however, I was able to secure my reservation. A credit card is required at time of booking (there is a 48 hour cancellation policy), but you are not charged. Instead, you are presented a bill at the end of the event as with any dining. For booking purposes, it also appears to help if the Cast Member starts looking at The Hollywood Brown Derby moreso than for the experience itself.

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Spidey Hits the Beach with Sandman on the Next Spectacular Spider-Man

On the next ALL-NEW episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, school’s back in session, and things have changed. PETER PARKER’s actually invited to FLASH THOMPSON’s birthday bash. Meanwhile, SPIDER-MAN has to party with SANDMAN, who’s once again looking to make his Big Score. And is that VENOM disappearing into the night?

Watch FIRST STEPS only on Disney XD, this Monday night at 7:30 PM ET.

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Win the Newest Disney Dreams Painting from Artist Thomas Kinkade

elizabeth-glaser-020 Thomas Kinkade is offering the opportunity to win a 12″x18″ limited edition canvas of his newest entry into the Disney Dreams series, Tinker Bell and Peter Pan Fly to Neverland. To enter for a chance to win the painting valued at $750, complete this entry form on the official website. Entries must be received by August 31.

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Walt Disney World’s Extreme Makeover: Character Edition

Mr. Smee, we thought we knew you. There was no doubt that once the Pirates League moved into town and started offering pirate makeovers that major changes would be afoot. Consider the following photo that compares Mr. Smee’s old look to his new look. Seams a bit different, don’t it? And who knew Mr. Smee lacked a belly button? He must have lost it in a battle with Peter Pan. He now also sports a more texture/plasticized set of eyebrows, a completely different mouth and all over has a more cartoony look, particularly with his eyes (and I think he might have had a nose job too). I might be going overboard when I suggest I think he even shrank a bit considering the height of his eyes compared with Hook’s nose (even more dramatic when it appears that Hook is even leaning forward in the old look photo while he’s standing upright in the new look photo).

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Magic Kingdom’s ‘The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains’ Tour On Hold Until October

A photo taken backstage during the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour. © Brad K. All Rights Reserved.

A photo taken backstage during the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour. © Brad K. All Rights Reserved.

For reasons unspecified, although presumably because of the proximity of the Monorail barn during the tour, ‘The Magic Behind our Steam Trains’ tour has been canceled through at least October 12, after which it will resume a Monday – Saturday schedule.

Guests who have already booked the tour are currently being notified of the change by Disney.

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The Hong Kong SAR Government and The Walt Disney Company Applaud Approval of HKDL Expansion Plan

HONG KONG (July 10, 2009) – The Hong Kong SAR Government and The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) today applaud the Legislative Council’s approval of the financial arrangement relating to the Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) expansion plan. Three new themed areas will be added to HKDL, bringing the total number of attractions, entertainment, and interactive experiences at the resort to over 100 by 2014 and further establishing Hong Kong as one of the world’s premier international family tourist destinations.

Financial Secretary, Mr. John C. Tsang commented that, “HKDL, as an important tourism infrastructure, has brought substantial economic benefits to Hong Kong. With the proposed expansion and realignment of the financial arrangements, we believe that HKDL would rise up to the keen competition in the region on the tourism front, attracting more family visitors from round the world. This will generate streams of benefits to our tourism and related sectors, further reinforcing the tourism industry’s contribution as a major pillar of Hong Kong’s economy.”

“We are pleased that the financial agreement relating to the HKDL expansion has been approved and we are eager to begin work on this exciting new chapter for Hong Kong Disneyland,” said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “This substantial investment represents our continued commitment to and confidence in Hong Kong Disneyland and solidifies our partnership with the Hong Kong government helping assure the resort’s long-term success.”

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Disney Releases Posters Advertising New Lands at Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney has just provided us with the following posters advertising the new Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story lands. Click on each thumbnail to view a larger version.

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