Year in review - A look back at Walt Disney World's biggest news from 2011

Jan 03, 2012 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday January 3, 2012 10:45am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff
Now the holiday and New Year celebrations are over for another year, here at WDWMAGIC HQ we've scanned through all our news reports from 2011 and pulled out some of the most significant.  Headlined perhaps by the new Star Tours opening, along with the huge announcement of the new AVATAR land coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom, 2011 saw a lot of news and changes to Walt Disney World.  Here is our run-down.

January 16 - Wild Africa Trek opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom

January 16 - Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios

January 18 - Magic Kingdom opens “The Magic, The Memories and You!” show on Cinderella Castle

March 2 - Opening day of the 2011 International Flower and Garden Festival

March 4 - Disney Junior-Live on Stage! opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios 

March 30 - Mickey Mouse moves to his new home on Main Street at the Town Square Theater 

March and April - A new interactive queue and Hitchhiking Ghost scene is unveiled at The Haunted Mansion

April 19 - An expanded LEGO Imagination Center reopens at Downtown Disney Marketplace

May 3 - The replacement band to the British Invasion, British Revolution, opens at the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot

May 13 - PIXAR Weekend at Epcot

May 16 - AMC Downtown Disney 24 opens 6 Dine-In theaters

May 20 - Star Tours-The Adventures Continue reopens at Disney's Hollywood Studios

May 29 - Phineas and Ferb meet-and-play area opens on the Streets of America at Disney's Hollywood Studios

June 27 - The China Pavilion merchandise store, House of Good Fortune, reopens after complete remodel

July 1 - The ORLANDO HARLEY-DAVIDSON store opens in its new location on the West Side after moving from Pleasure Island

July 10 - Dan Cockerell becomes vice president of Disney's Hollywood Studios, replacing Rilous Carter

July 19 - Lightning McQueen joins Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

July 22 - Rilous Carter is named vice president of Park Events Operations

August 12 - Apricot Lane opens at Pleasure Island in the former Harley Davidson store location

August 15 - The Enchanted Tiki Room reopens after being restored to a near-original show

September 4 - Erin Youngs is named vice president of Epcot, replacing Dan Cockrell

September 20 - AVATARland for Disney's Animal Kingdom is announced

September 30 - Opening day of the 2011 International Food and Wine Festival

October 1 - Magic Kingdom Celebrates 40th Anniversary with a gala procession and castle stage ceremony

October 2 - Jeweled Dragon Acrobats debut at the China Pavilion at Epcot

November 1 - Something Silver opens at Downtown Disney West Side

November 9 - Sunglass Icon by Sunglass Hut reopens after a complete interior and exterior refurbishment

November 10 - BLINK by Wet Seal opens at Downtown Disney West Side

November 13 - Jake of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” joins Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine and Meet-and-greet location in the Animation Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios

December 8 - Katsura Grill opens at Epcot's Japan Pavilion

December 31 - Disney announce the 24 hour continuous opening of the Magic Kingdom in 2012 to mark the leap year

January to December - And of course, last but not least, the new Fantasyland expansion progressed very rapidly