Disney: What's New for 2010

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The Disney folks have always been a step ahead when it comes to providing attractions for the whole family, and they're outdoing themselves with exciting additions this year. If you're confused by the theme park's many titles, here's a run-down: In 2001 a second theme park, Disney's California Adventure, opened next door to the original Disneyland, then hotels, shops and restaurants created a Disneyland Downtown District, and it all came together under the new umbrella title, Disneyland Resort.2010's innovative new attractions, a vital part of an ambitious $1.1 billion expansion plan for California Adventure, include the welcome return of "Captain Eo" and the debut of the spectacular new "World of Color." If you've been putting off a visit, delay no more-this is definitely the year to go.

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Michael Jackson's much-lauded performance in "Captain Eo" is returning to Tomorrowland in February for a limited engagement. This futuristic musical production filmed in 3-D has sterling credits-it was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, produced by George Lucas, and Angelica Huston plays the Witch Queen. It was one of Disneyland's most popular attractions in its original run from 1986-97, and since Jackson's sad demise, it's become not only a thrilling musical performance but an important piece of entertainment history. It's a great opportunity to see the King of Pop at the height of his fame and talent.

"World of Color" is a knock-out new nighttime water and light show that's joining Disney's California Adventure this spring. Animated figures from Disney and Pixar will come to life in this extravagant show of modern technology. State of the art sound will be accompanied by towering fountains and waterspouts, fire, lasers and magically inventive effects guaranteed to surprise. The animated characters ought to enthrall the younger kids, while the cool new effects will attract the older ones. "World of Color" takes place in Paradise Bay. Also opening this spring in Paradise Bay is "Silly Symphony Swings," an attraction inspired by the tornado in the cartoon "The Band Concert," in which Mickey's band is swept away.

Another exciting and worthwhile returning attraction is "Presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," housed in the Main Street Opera. Originally presented in 1965, this production has been greatly enhanced by technological advances, including Audio-Animatronics which have created a startlingly life-like Abraham Lincoln. Following Walt Disney's wishes, the legendary President's voice is still the late actor Royal Dano's. When people enter the Opera house, the lobby displays vintage models, photographs and artistic representations of Disney's past, present and future in "The Disneyland Story."

During the whole of 2010, Disneyland Resort will be presenting seasonal extravaganzas, starting with the return of "Summer Nightastic," which will feature after-dark fireworks climaxing in Dumbo's flight over Sleeping Beauty's Castle. "Fantasmic" is returning with an even more impressive dragon (the old one was 45 feet!), 50 live performers, and effects, like film projected onto walls of water-mist. The show takes place in the imagination of Mickey Mouse as he does battle with Evil. Summer will also feature "Pixie Hollow Enchantment" set in Tinkerbelle's home, and "TLT Danceland" in Tomorrowland. More shows will be added between Halloween in New Year's Eve, with more fireworks. Halloween will see "Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy," and "It's a Small World" will be presented during the holidays. "Haunted Mansion Holiday" will run from Halloween through December.

From April 16 to May 31, foodies will be able to tuck into Disney's fifth annual California Food & Wine Festival held in Disney's California Adventure. This year's theme is "The Art of Flavor," and it will include everything from cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs to wine seminars and lots of opportunities to sample delicious food and wine. Many of the events are included in the admission to Disney's California Adventure, but wine tastings and special dinners require reservations (which you can start to make mid-February) and an additional ticket. For information, click here.

For somewhat smaller foodies, the PCH Grill in Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is offering a new "Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends" buffet featuring delectable adult attractions like an omelet station, wood-burning oven-baked breads, chilaquiles and grilled breast of chicken, plus the kiddie offerings of Mickey waffles, Minnie pancakes and chocolate-peanut butter-banana French toast. But wait, there are also live Disney characters in attendance. Your kids can have a "surf Lesson" with Mickey, or learn how to hula hoop.

And finally, Disney's offering an innovative new promotion designed to make people feel even better. In "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day," Disney is instituting a program encouraging families to give time to community service. Disney has a list of participating organizations, and anyone who donates their time and effort to one of them will be rewarded with a free ticket to any Disneyland or Walt Disney World theme park. Over 600,000 people have already signed up for the job, and Disney hopes their goal of recruiting one million volunteers will be met by the end of February, according to WalletPop. To learn more visit www.DisneyParks.com.

If by some chance 2010's innovations don't sufficiently thrill you, there's plenty more to come. Be sure to visit the Blue Sky Cellar at the Golden Vine Winery, where an Imagineer's Workshop will provide film and models of coming attractions, including the much-awaited ride into the submarine world of "The Little Mermaid" (coming in 2011) and "Cars Land" set to premiere in 2012 on 12 acres of park. Even the entryway is being redesigned, set to debut in 2012.

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