Photo: Jennifer Hudson Christens the Disney Dream

Jennifer Hudson, Robert Iger and Thomas Staggs at Disney Dream christening (Gene Duncan/Disney)Oscar-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson (left) poses Jan. 19, 2011 at Port Canaveral, Fla. with Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert A. Iger (middle), Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Thomas O. Staggs (right) and a ceremonial bottle of Champagne at the christening ceremony for the new “Disney Dream” cruise ship.

Hudson is the godmother for The Dream, the newest Disney Cruise Line ship which will have its maiden voyage on January 26.  Before performing on “American Idol” and winning an Academy Award for “Dreamgirls,” Hudson was a performer for one of the Disney Cruise Line ships.

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Video: ‘Disney Dream’ Christening at Port Canaveral

Disney Dream ChristeningWith a dash of Disney magic and a surprising twist, a helicopter hoisted a 16-foot “champagne bottle” across the bow of the Disney Dream during a christening ceremony yesterday morning officially welcoming the newest ship to the Disney Cruise Line family.

Serving the traditional role of godmother for the Disney Dream christening was Jennifer Hudson, the Academy Award and Grammy Award winner whose own dreams of stardom began when she was a performer on the Disney Wonder ship in 2003. Hudson was joined onstage by Disney CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, as the enormous “champagne bottle” filled with dreams of adventure, romance and fun was lifted into the air and broken across the bow of the 130,000-ton ship.

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The Walt Disney Company to Celebrate 45 Years of “it’s a small world” in 2011

For the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York, Walt Disney was commissioned by the Pepsi-Cola Company to produce an attraction to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With less than a year to create it — and with the vision of former Disney Imagineer Mary Blair and catchy tune by the Sherman Brothers –  Disney introduced “It’s A Small World” to the public. In 1966, the attraction re-opened at Disneyland, albeit in a modified form, and ‘the happiest cruise ever to have sailed’ has been a perennial favorite for millions at Disney Parks around the world since.

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ABC to Air Rascal Flatts Musical Concert Special on March 12

The ABC Television Network presents “Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This Presented by JCPenney.” One of the best touring acts in country music with over 6 million concert tickets sold, Rascal Flatts will film a live music special from the Xcel Energy Center this Friday, January 21st in St. Paul, Minnesota. The show is being filmed during a regularly scheduled date on their “Nothing Like This” tour, which launched this past weekend. “Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This Presented By JCPenney” airs Saturday, March 12 from  8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

George Flanigen will direct the special and Robert Deaton will executive-produce.

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SHAG to Make First Ever Walt Disney World Appearance to Promote Anniversary Art

'Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary' by SHAGOn January 31, 2011, popular artist SHAG will make his first ever appearance at Walt Disney World to preview his upcoming artwork commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Resort.

For two hours only, from 12 pm – 2 pm, guests visiting the Main Street Gallery in the Magic Kingdom will have the opportunity to preview the new collection and purchase a special limited run deluxe print of SHAG’s ‘Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary’ which features the Resort’s icons as they were in 1971 in SHAG’s unique style. The print measures 16×20″, is double-matted and will retail for $35.

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Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

Staff Sgts. Erick Gallardo and Salvatore Giunta

An institution at the Disneyland Resort, the lowering of the U.S. flag takes place each evening in the Town Square of Disneyland. Unlike its sister ceremony at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, however, the ceremony rarely honors individuals who have performed service in the country’s military.

Yesterday evening, that rare and distinct honor went to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest service award possible to a member of the United States military, by President Barack Obama.

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2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Registration Opens March 15, 2011

The Walt Disney World resort has announced that registration for the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon will open on March 15, 2011.

The 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort from January 5, 2012 through January 8.

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Brazil’s Fredison Costa Establishes New Era With Surprising Victory in 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

Fredison Costa crosses the Walt Disney World Marathon finish line (Matt Stroshane/Disney)In perhaps the biggest upset in Walt Disney World Marathon history, Fredison Costa of Brazil upstaged fellow countryman Adriano Bastos to win the Disney Marathon on Sunday and abruptly end Bastos’ six-year dominance at Disney.

After finishing second to Bastos at last year’s Disney Marathon, Costa, 33, crossed the finish line first this time, posting a time of 2:21:15 to lead the field of more than 17,000 runners who ran through all four Disney World theme parks along the 26.2-mile course. Bastos, who had won the past six Disney Marathons and seven of the last eight, finished 15th (2:45:09). Michael Wardian from Arlington, Va., (2:27:37) was second followed by Paul Nielsen from Orlando, Fla. (2:31:45).

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Photo: Fredison Costa of El Paso, TX Wins 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

Fredison Costa crosses the Walt Disney World Marathon finish line (Matt Stroshane/Disney)Fredison Costa, 33, from Brazil and now living in El Paso, Texas, celebrates Jan. 9, 2011 as he crosses the finish line to win the Walt Disney World Marathon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with an unofficial time of 2:21:14. More than 17,500 runners were registered for the annual 26.2-mile run through all four Disney theme parks.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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Photo: ‘Today Show’ Hosts Run Walt Disney World Half Marathon

'Today Show' hosts Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales at Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Matt Stroshane/Disney)NBC’s ‘Today Show’ hosts Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales pose Jan. 8, 2011 with Disney characters at the start line for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The trio ran in the annual 13.1-mile race, one of the “runDisney” endurance events. On Jan. 9, 2011, more than 17,000 runners will line up to compete in the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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