WDW Refurb Update: Donald’s Boat Pushed Back Until September 8

Minor update: Donald’s Boat in Toontown, which was initially set to be closed for refurbishment between September 7 and 13 is now scheduled to be closed from September 8 – 13.

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The Game of (After) Life: Haunted Mansion Edition Launches at Once Upon a Toy August 21

The Game of Life: Haunted Mansion EditionIt is the classic game of LIFE with a chilling spin. Welcome to the After-LIFE incorporates the stories, mythology, history and the scary fun of the Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris  Haunted Mansion attraction (known as Phantom Manor in Paris) to create an otherworldly game play experience.

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WDW Refurb Update: Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show Closed Sept 11-12

There will be no performances of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 11 and 12

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WDW Refurb Update: Tomorrowland Transit Authority Refurb Extended

We  have just received word that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority in the Magic Kingdom, initially scheduled to re-open on August 25th has now been re-scheduled to open on September 1.

ReSearch! will be updated at my earliest convenience.

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How I Went Backstage at the American Idol Experience (and How You Can Too!)

The American Idol ExperienceSince its debut in February, the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been wowing guests with its faithful re-creation of one of television’s most popular shows. On-stage, audience members get to sit in on several shows a day where other park guests perform live on the set patterned after the American Idol season seven finale stage. The show’s daily finale always fills to capacity as hundreds who couldn’t get in grab a nearby seat outside and watch the performances on the giant Diamond Vision screen.

For guests who opt to perform, the grueling audition process begins ‘backstage,’ in Studio 2B (essentially the on-stage and ‘backstage’ portions are treated as separate attractions, 2A and 2B on the park’s map respectively). At stake is a ‘golden ticket’ which grants the holder the ability to ‘FASTPASS’ their way through real-live auditions for the actual show (for those ineligible to use the ticket, it can be transferred once).

So one way to go ‘backstage’ at the American Idol Experience is to audition — and to make it all the way through. And as you’re about to find out, it’s easier said than done. Fortunately, there’s another way to see everything the performer gets to see and more and it’s called The Ultimate Backstage Experience.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Testing New Centralized FASTPASS Distribution

It’s being reported that from opening until 3 pm for the rest of the week, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is attempting a new FASTPASS distribution system where guests can obtain a FASTPASS for any attraction from one location in particular, the machines at It’s Tough to Be A Bug.

Guests who are unaware of the testing will not be affected as other FASTPASS machines will be operating at this time as normal.

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Inside the New Hall of Presidents (Photo Gallery)

Unfortunately, because the attraction is not yet officially open, I cannot offer any photos inside the actual theater, but I can share images of some of the artifacts you can find inside the pre-show area, including the first ladies’ exhibit featuring dresses and other items from Elizabeth Monroe, Edith Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan.

Please enjoy.

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Hall of Presidents Re-Opens July 4 with New President, New Exhibits, New Movie, New Music, New Storyline, Even a New Name!

Hall of Presidents/ Making of President Obama Audio-AnimatronicsLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A remarkably lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama enters the spotlight in a revised and refreshed Hall of Presidents show that reopens July 4 in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

The recently installed figure of the country’s 44th chief executive – which comes to life with recognizable mannerisms and makes comments that were recorded recently at the White House – is only part of an eight-month makeover so significant that the iconic attraction in the park’s Liberty Square has been retitled Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders.  Other updates to the “re-Imagineered” attraction which has been entertaining Magic Kingdom guests since 1971:

* A re-programmed Abraham Lincoln delivers arguably the greatest speech in the history of the presidency – the Gettysburg Address.
* For the first time in the attraction’s history, George Washington stands and delivers a stirring speech.
* Developed with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the show now tells a moving story of the bond between the presidents and “We, the People,” focusing on the chief executives who have guided America through trying, turbulent times.

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Over 1000 Immigrants to be Sworn In as U.S. Citizens in Magic Kingdom July 3 (Updated)

Update:  The ceremony is titled ‘Celebrating the American Dream’ and will take place at 8:20 AM, prior to park opening. We are told the ceremony is by invitation only and that guests will not able to view the ceremony.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In a stirring celebration of citizenship, more than 1,000 immigrants will gather on Main Street, U.S.A. July 3 to be “sworn in” as American citizens.

And as the country kicks off Independence Day weekend, these brand-new Americans will attend a premiere performance of the newest Walt Disney World attraction, a re-imagined Hall of Presidents, now featuring a lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama.

From more than 100 countries and ranging in age from 18 to 82, the immigrants will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during a Friday morning ceremony jointly hosted by Disney Parks and Resorts and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

USCIS’s highest-ranking official will preside over the ceremony on the forecourt of Cinderella Castle.  The event will feature a welcoming address by Walt Disney World Resort President Meg Crofton, the presentation of the colors, the national anthem, the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Actor Andy Garcia – a naturalized citizen himself – will deliver a keynote address during the ceremony. Garcia, originally from Cuba, is an acclaimed actor known for roles in films as diverse as “The Untouchables,” “The Godfather: Part III” and “Oceans Eleven.”

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What Won’t You Celebrate? Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration to Close June 27

Attractions magazine has recently reported on its blog that the spankin’ brand new and highly ill-received Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration in the Magic Kingdom has posted its closing notice for June 27 with no intention to return as some have previously reported.

The song and dance show which features an interactive portion with Stitch a la Turtle Talk has been inducing groans, drawing few crowds and producing even fewer laughs since it debuted earlier this year. There are plenty of videos of the performances available on youtube for your viewing displeasure. It has also added fuel to those who feel that Stitch has been oversaturated within the parks (we respectfully disagree) and has become a virtual band-aid for Tomorrowland. Quality will always trump quantity.

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