WDW Refurb Update: Splash Mountain Closure in 2013

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.

In other news, while the official site still shows a tentative re-opening date for Test Track at Epcot, the Disney Parks blog has reported that it will re-open on December 6, 2012, the same day that New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom will have its grand opening.

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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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‘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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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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New Fantasyland ‘Princess Fairytale Hall’ Interior Concept Art

Princess Fairytale Hall Concept ArtAlthough it had previously been shared with media at a prior event, Walt Disney World has just officially released this concept art of the interior of the Princess Fairytale Hall which will be in the space once consumed by Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

The new home for visiting royalty in the Magic Kingdom, Princess Fairytale Hall will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows, a spacious gallery adorned with portraits of Disney princesses and elegantly finished rooms where guests can meet Aurora, Cinderella and other princesses. Set to open in 2013, as part of the next phase of the New Fantasyland expansion after the opening on December 6, 2012, Princess Fairytale Hall will be located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland.

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‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ at Disney’s New Fantasyland Details Unveiled

Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World Resort © Disney‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ in Walt Disney World’s New Fantasyland magically drops Magic Kingdom diners into the splendor, elegance and fairytale charm of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with a setting right out of the hit animated feature film: the magnificent castle of The Beast, where guests dine in three richly appointed rooms that bring to the story to life.

“This is a whole new level of theming for a Disney restaurant,” said Maribeth Bisienere, vice president of Food & Beverage and Merchandise for The Walt Disney Company. “More than ever, we’re using storytelling and creativity as we develop our menus.”

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Walt Disney Imagineering Suggests ‘Country Bear Jamboree’ Show Changes A Comin’

Ever since its refurbishment was announced back in May, speculations have run rampant about changes being made to ‘Country Bear Jamboree,’ located in Frontierland of the Magic Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. Initial rumors had the show being cut in length and have since grown to include cutting out peripheral characters out completely to the return of the holiday overlay and more. The only certain element regarding the rumors was that for every rumor proposed, there was at least another that contradicted it and proposed something else.

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New Fantasyland Concept Art Vividly Features Princesses in Enchanted Forest

New Fantasyland Concept ArtVia an email to Disney Travel Agents regarding the newly made announcements regarding the Enchanted Forest portion of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Walt Disney World Resort on December 6, 2012 (soft opening November 19), a few pieces of concept art were released. They appear to be new, but it is quite possible they’ve been released previously and we just missed them, but even if they are old news they are beautiful enough to warrant sharing again.

New Fantasyland Concept Art - BelleThe first image features Belle as she reads one of her favorite books outside the cottage belonging to her father Maurice while the Beast’s castle looms in the far off distance, ‘miles’ away.

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Speculation: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Prepping for FASTPASS+ NextGen Technology

After starting the roll out of FASTPASS+ technology at the Magic Kingdom, which not only included the installation of temporary (and subsequent permanent) RFID readers at return lines at select attractions, along with limited tests, as well as pilot programs to enter the theme parks via RFID and — most recently — pay for purchases and unlock hotel rooms using embedded RFID chips in the Key to the World (KTTW) cards at the Contemporary Resort, it appears Walt Disney World (NYSE:DIS) is steadily pushing on to establish its NextGen technology at the Resort, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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