WDW Refurb Update: Splash Mountain Closure in 2013

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It should come as no surprise, but now the official Walt Disney World Resort website has been updated to advise that Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland will be closing for its nearly-annual slow season refurbishment beginning on February 3, 2013 January 4, 2013 and re-opening on March 21.

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First Look: ‘Be Our Guest’ Stained Glass Art Featuring Belle and Prince

'Be Our Guest' Restaurant Stained Glass (David Roark/Disney)Walt Disney World has released these images of some of the art featured in the ‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ which will soon open in the Fantasy Forest section of the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant features intricate works of art designed to convey the elegance of the Beast’s Castle in Beauty and the Beast, such as that seen here in close-up as well as an overall view.

'Be Our Guest' stained glass (David Roark/Disney)Located in Magic Kingdom, the stylish restaurant will serve French-inspired cuisine for quick-service lunch and table-service dinner, becoming the first and as of yet only dining location to serve alcohol in the park. Part of New Fantasyland, Be Our Guest Restaurant will grand open Dec. 6, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

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Musicians Wanted by Walt Disney World for Interactive Entertainment Experience

Casting notices have gone up seeking saxophone, clarinet and percussionists with ‘energetic and outgoing personalities’ for a new entertainment experience at the Magic Kingdom. There is no indication where the performances will be held, but the theme park has recently put out casting calls for circus acts and other improv groups believed to be used as part of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom.

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First Look: Be Our Guest Rose Gallery Featuring Belle and Beast Music Box Statue

Be Our Guest Restaurant Rose Gallery (David Roark/Disney)Walt Disney World has just released this image of the Rose Gallery located inside the ‘Be Our Guest’ restaurant located in the Enchanted Forest section of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom.

Featuring a large music box centerpiece nearly 7 feet tall with Belle and the Beast slowly twirling atop, the Rose Gallery is one of three dining rooms at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Adorned with rose accents, paintings and tapestries, the Rose Gallery features French-inspired cuisine for quick-service lunch. Part of New Fantasyland, Be Our Guest Restaurant will  grand open December 6, 2012.

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‘New Fantasyland’ Preview for D23, Annual Passholders Announced; Limited Edition Merchandise Pre-Order

'New Fantasyland Commemorative Collection' Men's Tee ShirtDisney D23, the official club for fans of The Walt Disney Company, has announced it will be offering its members the opportunity to obtain free tickets to be among the first to preview the Fantasy Forest area of the ‘New Fantasyland’ expansion at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on the weekend of November 3-4, 2012.

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Chase Lounge at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Available to All Its Customers

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned via Twitter that as the main sponsor for the 2012 International Food and Wine Festival that kicks off tomorrow at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Chase was offering free access to its festival lounge. At the time, we were aware of Sapphire and Disney Visa customers having access to it, but since many sites have gone on to report the news, primarily only as being available to Disney Visa customers, we would like to seize the opportunity to provide additional information.

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Photo: Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton Becomes One with Goofy Spice Wannabe

Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) at Disney World in Florida (Gene Duncan/Disney)Singer and U.K. radio presenter Emma Bunton, known as “Baby Spice” as a member of the all-girl pop group The Spice Girls, poses September 25, 2012 with Goofy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Spice Girls recently reunited to perform at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in London.

Photo by Gene Duncan, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Epcot 30th Anniversary Art and Vinylmation by Noah

'The 21st Century Begins' by NoahAlong with previewing his newest art and exclusive limited edition Vinylmation figures for the Disney Cruise Line cruise departing this weekend, Disney artist Noah has previewed art created for Epcot’s 30th anniversary which takes place October 1, 2012. Titled ‘The 21st Century Begins,’ the artwork will be available in multiple formats as well as a limited edition Vinylmation (10 each of 9″ and 3″ figures) which will be revealed later this week.

Noah’s art will be available at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at the Festival Center (the former Wonders of Life Pavilion) in Future World. Noah also serves as this year’s festival artist and posters and other materials featuring the artwork he created for the festival will also be available.

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‘Frankenweenie’ Weekend at Disney World Announced for September 28-30

'Frankenweenie' Weekend at Walt Disney WorldIn celebration of Disney’s new stop-motion animated movie Frankenweenie, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton and opening October 5 in 3D, Walt Disney World Resort is hosting a variety of engaging experiences inspired by the new movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland. The fun takes place at Downtown Disney West Side Sept. 28 – 30, 2012.

Here’s a look at what’s in store for guests:

Special 3D screenings of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland, featuring a 3D extended preview of Frankenweenie, which debuts Oct. 5. Tickets may be purchased for $6. The fun takes place at AMC Downtown Disney 24. Show times:

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Speculation: Mermaids to Join ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ at Walt Disney World

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the official Disney Parks blog has announced that Walt Disney Imagineering will soon be taking a cue from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, On Stranger Tides, and adding a new feature to the attraction.

Speculation and rumors have run rampant for months that mermaids were intended to be added to the attraction at the Magic Kingdom and the announcement has now re-fueled it along with an off-again/on-again full day closure for the attraction scheduled for October 9.

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