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March 13, 2014

A New After-Dark Experience Treats Epcot Guests to One More Bite of Fun

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – The magic doesn't end once the sun sets during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. A new after-dark experience gives guests one more taste of World Showcase excitement like never before.

After a day of blooms and bulbs, the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party bursts with color in the sky, and bubbles in the glass. Guests can sample decadent desserts from around the world, paired with the perfect international sparkling wines in an intimate and exclusive environment – all while watching Epcot's nightly fireworks spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Reservations begin March 12. The first IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party is March 15.

Here are details:

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party

Dates: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Time: 7:45 p.m. to 9:20 p.m.

Location: Showcase Plaza

Prices (including tax and gratuity): Adults $49, Children $29

Menu (subject to change):
• Italy: Tiramisu
• France: Vanilla Pot de Crème
• United Kingdom: Shortbread Cookies
• Morocco: Traditional Baklava
• American Adventure: Sugar Dusted Cronis with Strawberry Sauce and Whipped Cream
• Disney Parks ice cream novelties
• Lemonade, coffee, teas
• Sparkling wine from Washington State and Prosecco from Italy

How to Book: Call 407-WDW-PLAY.

March 5, 2014

The Guess Who Kick Off Flower Power Concert Series March 7-9

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The Guess Who will kick off the “Flower Power” concert series March 7-9 during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. and are included with Epcot admission.

February 21, 2014

Epcot Expands "Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection" Gallery this Spring

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2014) " Walt Disney World Resort guests visiting The American Adventure pavilion at Epcot will see exciting updates as part of an expansion of "Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection" this spring. Additional images, artwork and artifacts related to watershed moments in American history will soon be on display.

Walt Disney Imagineers, along with philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and Khalil Kinsey, have begun to add several new artifacts and display cases to the popular cultural exhibit and will continue to do so in coming months.

“The Kinsey Collection shares the powerful and previously untold stories of those who dared to dream,” said Erin Youngs, vice president of Epcot. “Representing more than 400 years of African-American achievement and history, the Kinsey Collection showcases the best of the American spirit with a nod to ingenuity and innovation. We are delighted to expand the exhibit and bring even more of these treasures to Epcot guests.”

Themed to hope, belief, courage, imagination and heritage, the exhibit provides empowering stories of American history from voices that are not commonly seen or heard. Art and artifacts pay homage to African Americans who helped build and transform a nation. Their stories of determination and courage, from the nation's early days to the present, are at the heart of the exhibit.

New objects joining the exhibit this spring include:

-- Distribution of Population in New York, 1801 " At the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, states with smaller populations voiced their concern about representation at the federal level. This resulted in the Three-Fifths Compromise stating that only three-fifths of the slave population would be counted in the census. The Distribution of Population in New York, 1801 was one of the first few census calculations done by the state of New York following the compromise.
-- Noon Wash by artist Jonathan Green " Passionate about promoting cross-cultural fine art, Green reflects an inherent sense of history and place as he shares the story of the southern experience. His work with acrylic and oil paints reflect the hope of African Americans throughout history. A number of his works are inspired by his upbringing in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina.
-- Slave Songs of the United States " Published in 1867, this original collection of African American music was the first of its kind. Northern abolitionists William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim Garrison collected 136 songs from the slaves of Southern plantations, phonetically recording them as they heard them, in an effort to preserve the unique and powerful art form.
-- Tintype Photographs - Popularized in the mid-1850s, tintypes were easier to produce than previous methods and made photographs accessible to more people. Though their names have been lost to history, the subjects of the tintype portraits included in the exhibit continue to share their stories of courage .
-- Carte de Visite " Following a similar printing process as tintypes, carte de visite photographs were easier and more economical to produce, with the image printed on a high quality paper. The carte de visite photographs being added to the Courage portion of the exhibit feature African American soldiers from both sides of the Civil War

The Kinsey family's private collection features rare art, documents, books and artifacts and has been displayed throughout the U.S., including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Since opening at Epcot on March 8, 2013, approximately 40 pieces have been on display at the interactive exhibit where guests are able to use touch screens to further explore the art, artifacts and history. Guest-activated lanterns also help bring the history to life with narration provided by celebrity narrators including Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg (“The View”) Diane Sawyer (“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer”), actress Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) and more.

Many notable visitors have experienced the exhibit including actor Blair Underwood, NBA Champion John Salley and R&B legends Boyz II Men.

January 18, 2014

2014 Nature Events at Walt Disney World

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Lions, Tigers, Bears and More Celebrated at
2014 Families and Nature Events at the Walt Disney World Resort

Throughout 2014 the Disney Animal Program team has events planned at both Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot.

According to Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks, "The goal of each is to provide kids and families with a special opportunity to connect with nature, talk to our animal experts, and learn more about some of the fantastic creatures with whom we share our planet."


Here is the schedule for 2014.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom:

March 4: Spring Forward for Amphibians Day - Just a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, we're “springing forward” to celebrate frogs, toads and other amphibians.

April 22: Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day - Every day is a Party for the Planet at Disney's Animal Kingdom, as guests and cast members join together to celebrate the wonders of nature, but, on Earth Day, there will be even more natural magic. Included is a celebration of the release of Disneynature's new True Life Adventure “Bears,” in theaters April 18, which showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life's most important lessons.

May 6: International Migratory Bird Day - Time to celebrate of one the wonders of nature " bird migration " and the ways we can help protect birds on their journeys.

May 20: World Turtle Day - Turtles are fascinating creatures, and really cool dudes, too " just ask Crush! Both Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate turtles with special activities.

June 10: Pollinator Day - butterflies, bees and other pollinators are the stars of this celebration.

July 29: Big Cat Day - It's all about the largest cats, like lions and tigers " cats to whom you wouldn't want to say, “here, kitty, kitty.”

August 5: Primate Day - The perfect place to find out what a 400-pound gorilla and a one-pound cotton-top tamarin have in common.

September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day - Learn fun facts and important conservation information about magnificent and endangered elephants and rhinos.

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:

April 22: Earth Day Celebration - It's an ocean of fun at The Seas on Earth Day as this Earth Day celebration focuses on marine animals.

May 20: World Turtle Day - See the magnificent sea turtles swim by in the main aquarium and find out what each of us can do to keep turtles safe in the wild.

June 4: World Oceans Day - Join Nemo, Dory, Crush and the rest of the gang in celebrating the wonders of the oceans.

November 18, 2013

Spice Road Table Coming to Morocco Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " Spice Road Table is coming soon to Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, offering a variety of Moroccan small plates and specialty drinks. Regional flavors from the Mediterranean are highlighted, along with a scenic view of the World Showcase lagoon in front of the Morocco pavilion.

Perfect for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” viewing or relaxing with a selection of Moroccan flavors and cocktails along World Showcase Lagoon, Spice Road Table is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds, say the restaurant's designers. There's an array of small plates: zesty harissa chicken drumettes; a Mediterranean omelet with sausage, potatoes and caramelized onion; mussels with preserved lemons and tomato sauce baked in an earthenware tagine pot; Moroccan merguez sausage with a fresh tomato salad; garlicky jumbo shrimp in a spicy chile pepper sauce.

Inspired by the outdoor cafes along the Mediterranean, the whitewashed façade of Spice Road Table is accented in icy shades of blue from the famous “Blue City” of Chefchaouen in Morocco's Rif Mountains. A collection of shops in the colorful style of a Moroccan “souk,” or marketplace, stretches along the front of the building " a henna tattoo artist will create temporary body art from traditional and modern designs.

With 120 outdoor terrace seats, the inside will seat 60 with cozy booths, Moroccan light fixtures, tilework, tapestries and art representing Morocco's indigenous Berber tribes. Spice Road Table is the third eatery in the Morocco pavilion, joining The Tangierine Café, which features a variety of Moroccan sandwiches and specialty pastries, and Restaurant Marrakesh, where savory dishes, Moroccan music and belly dancers showcase the authentic charm of the North African country.

October 31, 2013

New Soda Flavors at Epcot's Club Cool

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(from the Disney Parks Blog)

As of October 30, 2013, Club Cool, in Epcot's Future World, will offer several new international soda samples.

New flavors added to the sample station are:

-- Fanta Pineapple: Fanta debuted in Europe in the 1940s and was introduced in the U.S.A. in 1960s. It's now available in more than 90 flavors. This pineapple version is popular in Greece.
-- Fanta Melon Frosty: This melon-flavored soda is number one in Thailand.
-- Bibo: This fruit-flavored juice drink originates from South Africa.
-- Sparberry: This raspberry-flavored cream soda has been a favorite in Africa (Zimbabwe) since 1955.
-- Guarana Kuat: This drink, flavored to taste like the guarana berry, is popular in Brazil.
-- Inca Kola: This Peruvian drink favorite offers a sweet, almost bubblegum-like taste.

Other flavors include VegitaBeta, a Japanese beverage that combines apricot and passion fruit flavors, and Beverly, a common aperitif found in Italy.

Flavors of Club Cool at Epcot is only one of three locations in the entire country that serves these sodas. The others are Coca-Cola attractions in Atlanta and Las Vegas.

October 1, 2013

Air Supply to Perform October 2-4 in Epcot's "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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Air Supply ("All Out of Love") will perform October 2-4, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

September 28, 2013

The Go-Gos Perform Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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The Go-Go's ("We Got the Beat") will perform September 30-October 1, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

September 25, 2013

Starship Starring Mickey Thomas Kicks Off 2013 "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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Starship starring Mickey Thomas ("We Built This City") will perform September 27-29, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

July 15, 2013

Sounds Like Summer Final Weeks

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The latest group in Epcot's Sounds Like Summer concert series is The Police Experience - A Tribute to The Police (pictured above).

They will perform at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m., daily through July 20.

The final act in this year's series, 2U ~ A Tribute to U2, will perform in the same spot, at the same times, July 21-27.

All Sounds Like Summer performances are included with Epcot admission.

June 7, 2013

Sounds Like Summer Concerts - Stayin Alive!

Summer sizzles at Epcot as some of the world's greatest tribute bands rock the stage on select summer nights. Classic hits U2, The Bee Gees, The Police, and many more will rock during Sounds Like Summer concert series. The high-energy performances for Walt Disney World Resort guests take place at the open-air America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase.

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The schedule (entertainment subject to change without notice):

June 9 to 15: Stayin' Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees
June 16 to 22: Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles
June 23 to 29: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot ~ The Ultimate Billy Joel Tribute Show
June 30 to July 6: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
July 7 to 13: SouthBound and Company ~ A Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd
July 14 to 20: The Police Experience ~ A Tribute to The Police
July 21 to 27: 2U ~ A Tribute to U2

Show times are 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. " except on July 4 when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.

Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with Epcot admission.

March 1, 2013

Where Art and History Intersect: Epcot Welcomes the Kinsey Collection

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A Celebration of African-American Achievement and Contribution

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " Guests to the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot will journey “between the pages” of history as the American Heritage Gallery opens its doors to an art exhibit representing over 400 years of African-American achievement and contribution.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” which opens March 8, draws from an extensive collection of rare art, documents, books and artifacts amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who share a passion for African-American history.

Their private collection has been displayed throughout the U.S., including in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Approximately 40 pieces will be on display for Epcot guests at any given time on a rotating basis during the exhibit run.

“We always wanted to extend the reach of the Collection to a larger, more international and diverse audience,” explained Bernard Kinsey. “So we are delighted to be collaborating with Disney to share the stories of our remarkable ancestors.”

Overseeing the collection is the Kinseys' son, Khalil, whose school-age curiosity inspired his parents to build their collection.

The exhibit " themed to hope, belief, courage, imagination and heritage " provides optimistic and empowering stories from American history from voices that are not commonly seen or heard. Art and artifacts pay homage to African-Americans who helped build and transform a nation. Their stories of determination and courage, from the nation's early days to the present, are at the heart of the exhibit.

To enrich the immersive storytelling experience of the exhibit, Walt Disney Imagineers added interactive displays in which Epcot guests can deepen their knowledge of the American heritage that the Kinsey holdings represent. Epcot guests will be able to use touch screens placed throughout the exhibit to further explore the art, artifacts and history. Guest-activated lanterns will help bring the history to life, with narration provided by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg (“The View”), Diane Sawyer (“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer”), and actors Chandra Wilson & James Pickens, Jr. (“Grey's Anatomy”), Kerry Washington (“Scandal”), Zendaya Coleman & Roshon Fegan (“Shake It Up”), China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”), Tyrel Jackson Williams (“Lab Rats”).

“We are thrilled to bring the Kinsey Collection to Epcot guests,” said Jim MacPhee, senior vice president, Walt Disney World Parks. “Epcot is such a rich cultural tapestry that it serves as the perfect showcase for this powerful collection, with its celebration of the human spirit.”

Among highlights of each themed gallery:

HOPE

By age 19, Phillis Wheatley became internationally known as the first African-American ever to publish a book of poetry (1773). She wrote poetry about hope and freedom and is now known as The Mother of African American Literature. (Document on display: Phyllis Wheatley's first book).
Other Hope Gallery highlights: Samuel Francis Smith, My Country ‘Tis of Thee lyrics (1895); “Untitled,” Hughie Lee Smith (1951); Almanack, Benjamin Banneker (1796)

COURAGE

Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved young black woman often called an “American Anne Frank” stayed seven years in a tiny attic until she could escape to freedom. She later chronicled her story in an autobiography. (Document on display: Harriet Jacobs' book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1862)
Other Courage Gallery highlights: Sea Island Woman, fiber art, Bisa Butler (2006); Loss, sculpture, Michael Chukes (1998);

BELIEF

In 1870, only seven years after Emancipation, Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first African-American to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate. Josiah Walls became the first African-American to represent Florida in the House of Representatives. (Document on display: “Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels Cabinet Card Photograph”)
Other Belief Gallery highlights: Buffalo Soldiers Parade Flag (1889); What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, Abby Fisher (1881); A Negro Explorer at the North Pole, Matthew Henson book (1912) and article.

IMAGINATION

Alain Locke not only became the first African-American Rhodes scholar in 1907, but his book “The New Negro” helped inspire the Harlem Renaissance, a period in American culture that produced artists, musicians, writers and thinkers that showed the world how American greatness comes from all of its citizens. (Document on display: The Negro in Art, by Alain Locke).
Other Imagination Gallery highlights: Harmon Foundation Catalogs (1931-1935); American Beach Negro Ocean Playground, Florida " Steel plaque (1930); “Untitled” (Kadir Nelson, 1992)

HERITAGE

History can be shared through many types of artifacts. Sometimes it's as simple as a timeworn letter written by Carrie Kinsey (Bernard's cousin) to President Roosevelt. Or an old sewing machine passed down through generations by Shirley's grandmother, Susie Plummer Pooler. (Document on display: “Letter to President Roosevelt,” by Carrie Kinsey)
Other Heritage Gallery highlights: Bill of Sale-William Johnson (1832); Schedule of Over 500 Slaves (1820); Sewing Machine (1900), Susie Plummer Pooler

The American Adventure pavilion is in the heart of the World Showcase area of Epcot. “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more: http://thekinseycollection.com

January 11, 2013

Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles Opens in France Pavilion

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Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles has opened in Epcot's France pavilion, in the space adjacent to the movie theater exit.

The new bakery, which replaces the former Boulangerie Patisserie in the pavilion, is much more spacious and offers a new, expanded menu. Offerings include pastries and other sweets, soups, sandwiches, salads and authentic French dishes such as quiche, Croque Monsieur (grilled ham and cheese) and pissaladiere, a pizza-like dish from the South of France.

The bakery opens at 9 a.m. every morning, before the official 11 a.m. World Showcase opening time.

The Disney Dining Plan is accepted for many items at this location.

The former patisserie is being remodeled and will soon reopen as an ice cream shop called Glacier.

January 1, 2013

Disney’s Animal Programs Works with New England Aquarium to Aid Sea Turtles

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 28, 2012 --The Seas with Nemo & Friends welcomed some new swimmers recently, with the addition of eight Kemp's Ridley sea turtles suffering from hypothermia after a recent cold snap in New England.

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Walt Disney World Resort is one of several organizations working with the New England Aquarium to provide medical care for the weak sea turtles after the New England Aquarium sea turtle hospital reached capacity. Disney's Animal Programs' team members picked up the sea turtles and provided thorough medical assessments including x-rays and blood tests.

Sea turtles are vulnerable to cold weather and frigid waters that lower their body temperatures and slow their metabolism, which could lead to life-threatening comas.

“The team at Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate and conserve turtles and tortoises every day,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president, of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. ”Over the years, our animal care team has nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and released them back to the wild.”

Currently, Disney's animal care experts are focused on increasing the turtles' body weight and strength for open water swimming in the ocean. According to the care team, the sea turtles are eating well and recovering nicely. The ultimate goal is to release them into the wild, under direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In addition to caring for the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, Disney's Animal Programs Cast Members have transported cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtles to other rehabilitation centers in Florida.

Did you know?

-- Disney's Animal Programs often is called upon to help distressed animals. Disney animal care experts help to support the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of injured and orphaned animals every year.

-- Since its inception, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts.

November 27, 2012

Agent P Expands in Epcot's World Showcase

Agent P World Showcase Adventure

New elements are coming soon to the interactive game, Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. The new features will be added to the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan pavilions.

Agent P World Showcase Adventure

The game is based on the wily secret-agent alter-ego of Perry the Platypus, a faithful pet to the title characters from Disney's animated series “Phineas & Ferb.” Although just a simple pet to Phineas and Ferb, Perry turns into Agent P in each episode to help stop the misguided plans of his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

Here at Epcot, guests transform into secret agents to help Agent P thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's most daring plots. Agents use a high tech detection device called a “F.O.N.E.” (Field Operative Notification Equipment) to receive clues for each case.

Disney is just giving clues right now, but here are two areas that will see enhancements:

Agent P World Showcase Adventure


Agent P World Showcase Adventure

For more information on Agent P visit:

Kristin's A Mom and a Magic Blog for a Family Review

November 26, 2012

The Village People and Tommy Roe Among Acts to Rock Flower Power Stage

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " A blooming bounty of festival firsts will welcome Disney guests to the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. First, the news:

-- Epcot chefs will cook up first-time festival food and beverage fun, with special cooking stations offering exclusive-to-the-festival bites along the park's World Showcase promenade.
-- A new circus-like “Land of Oz Play Area,” based on the Disney fantastical film adventure “Oz: The Great and Powerful” to be released in March 2013, will debut a kaleidoscope of interactive fun.
-- Disney topiary experts will grow, shape and manicure a Fab Five Disney character topiary with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) featured in a celebratory floral cookout scene in living topiary color at the park's front entrance.
-- New illuminated gardens in the park's Future World and World Showcase will cast a colorful glow over each festival evening.

Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, colorful garden displays, a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers, interactive gardening seminars and whimsical children's play areas. On weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and '70s will perform.

Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars. During opening weekend, March 8-10, Chris Lambton of “Going Yard” will appear; other designers scheduled to take the stage include Brandon Johnson of “My Yard Goes Disney” and Meg Caswell of “Meg's Great Rooms.”

Now the details:

-- Festival-themed flavors: Guests will discover culinary creations and refreshing libations at multiple festival-themed food and beverage locations. Chefs are tweaking the menu to include backyard barbecue and a variety of garden-inspired and global tastes. Around the World Showcase promenade
-- Fab Five topiary barbecue: 14-foot-tall topiary Goofy will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. At Epcot Front Entrance
-- Land of Oz Play Area: This interactive new children's play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids' imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents and the “Oz Movie Garden” of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” Also on tap: fun games, photo opportunities, the “great and powerful Oz's” crashed hot-air balloon and lush plants inspired by the movie. On the Imagination Walkway
-- Illuminated Gardens: Every night when the sun sets, many of the festival's world-famous Disney topiaries and gardens will twinkle and shine in a new light. Throughout World Showcase and Future World
-- “Monsters University” topiary: Floral representations of Mike and Sully from the hit Disney-Pixar film “Monsters, Inc.” and stars of Disney-Pixar's June 2013 release, “Monsters University,” will join the festivities as new topiary family members. On the Future World Walkway
-- Phineas and Ferb topiary: The popular Disney Channel animated celebs limit their shenanigans to go green for a family photo-op. Behind Spaceship Earth
-- “Radiator Springs” interactive play zone: Race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck “Mater” of the Disney-Pixar film “Cars 2″ will be the well-maintained topiary stars of this play area. On the Test Track Walkway
-- Flower Power Firsts: 1970s top disco band The Village People (April 19-21) and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe (May 3-5) bring on the Flower Power beat when they take the concert stage. At America Gardens Theatre

And a new twist:

-- Fawn's Butterfly House: Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, take over the Butterfly House this year where hundreds of colorful winged beauties flit to life. On the Imagination Walkway

In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape. Daily hands-on gardening seminars, and other Festival Center events will offer innovative ideas, design tips and gardening know-how to park guests.

The Flower Power concert series kicks off March 6-10 with Micky Dolenz (“I'm a Believer”) and continues each weekend with pop favorites including:

March 15-17: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats

March 22-24: The Guess Who

March 29-31: Nelson

April 5-7: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie

April 12-14: Paul Revere & the Raiders

April 19-21: The Village People (new!)

April 26-28: The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II

May 3-5: Tommy Roe (new!)

May 10-12: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

May 17-19: Starship starring Mickey Thomas.

While Disney guests celebrate spring during their festival visit, they also can explore the reimagined, design-centric Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, the hang-gliding sensation of Soarin' and other high-tech Future World marvels. In World Showcase, where the spotlight will shine on topiaries of Disney princesses, storybook characters and even pandas and trolls, guests will discover the attractions, shops and restaurants that represent cultures and cuisine of 11 countries.

For more information about the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

November 10, 2012

Starbucks Locations at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot Set to Open Next Year

According to the Disney Parks Blog, two Starbucks locations will open in Walt Disney World Resort next year, one in the Magic Kingdom and one in Epcot.

The Magic Kingdom's Main Street Bakery will close for refurbishment in January 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks in early summer. The cast members there will wear a costume consistent with the early 20th century look and feel of Main Street, U.S.A.

Over in Epcot, the Fountain View will close in March 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks location in midsummer. The cast member costumes there will be themed to match the park's futuristic theme.

The Starbucks locations at Magic Kingdom and Epcot will both offer the full complement of Starbucks signature beverages, artisan breakfast sandwiches and a wide selection of baked goods, including muffins, scones and specialty treats.

In June, a Starbucks location opened at Disney California Adventure park in the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe. More Starbucks locations are slated for both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland.

November 9, 2012

Buckle up for Fun! Epcot Guests “Drive their Design” at the Re-Imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " Walt Disney World Resort guests will experience the thrill of designing their very own virtual vehicle - then putting their design through its paces - when the re-imagined, multi-sensory Test Track Presented by Chevrolet grand reopens Dec. 6, 2012.

The iconic Epcot attraction, a new collaboration between Chevrolet Design and the creative team of Walt Disney Imagineering, celebrates how meticulous design not only shapes the look of Chevrolet cars and trucks, but drives their performance on the open road.

For inspiration for the project, Walt Disney Imagineers made numerous visits to Detroit, collaborating with Chevrolet designers and touring the inner sanctums of Chevrolet's design studios.

"As storytellers, to be able tell Chevrolet's design story was fun for our Imagineers," said Eric Jacobson, senior vice president of WDI. "Chevrolet designers come from the same creative roots as Imagineers. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will become, for Epcot guests, an exciting part of their visit to Walt Disney World Resort."

Amid upbeat music, eye-popping lighting effects and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers -- and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.

"Through an enduring partnership, Chevrolet and Disney continue to inspire generations to imagine the impossible and innovate," said Chris Perry, vice president, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. "The re-imagined Test Track reflects the personality and values of Chevrolet design and offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at a discipline that drives our business. This first-of-its-kind automotive design attraction represents the best of Chevrolet design and Disney innovation."

Test Track guests enter an all-new, interactive pre-show area -- completely retooled and re-imagined from the garage-like testing area of the former GM Test Track. The sleek new "Chevrolet Design Center" invites guests to create their own virtual custom-concept vehicle. Car design wannabes will get to shape their own virtual car, truck or crossover vehicle and learn how their design choices perform against four important attributes:

Capability
Efficiency
Responsiveness
Power

At design kiosks, rows of touch screens become canvasses for guests to try their hand at design magic. Here, they can virtual-draw -- maneuver their vehicle design by shape, length, width and engine size. Once they create the design of their dreams, guests complete their creation with even more choices. They can make a design statement with an expressive front grill, order up wheels by size and style, add paint and other graphics and trick out their vehicle -- top to sides, front to back -- with the latest accessories. Then comes the crowning touch of their design -- adding Chevrolet's world-famous bowtie logo.

Their virtual Chevrolet vehicle complete, the adventure then shifts into high gear as guests -- armed with a card encoded with their personal design that travels with them -- board their 6-person "SimCar" ride vehicle. Ahead: a thrilling journey into a dazzling multi-sensory digital experience as guests put their personal design through a series of performance tests -- the exhilarating heart of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

Along their route, riders experience changing terrain and extreme conditions as their designs are scored for Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power. How does their design stand up on the challenging hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit? How well does it navigate through bumpy roads, icy conditions, turn-on-a-dime curves and other surprises? Their design skills are put to the test -- at speeds of up to 65 mph.

The fun and excitement continues in the post-show area.

Scoring their design. Guests get to compare their car's results to that of a baseline SimCar -- and also see how they performed against their fellow "designers."
At a digital driving table laying out a road course, guests can race their virtual custom-concept vehicles against other guests' designs, over changing terrain and encountering extreme conditions.
Brand-new car designers can create their own commercial -- starring their virtual car.
In another experience, guests get to pose with actual Chevrolet vehicles. Through green screen technology -- with a few taps on their touch screen -- guests can suddenly find themselves posing with their Chevrolet on the lunar surface, arcing across the galaxies, navigating the bright-white of a polar landscape or other thrilling scenes. The images become easily sharable on social media, sending virtual postcard greetings to family, friends or co-workers back home.
New and concept Chevrolet vehicles are laid out showroom-style. Guests can get behind the wheel of Chevrolet's latest models. Chevrolet product specialists are on hand to answer any questions.

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet is included in Epcot admission. For more: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/test-track/

October 17, 2012

Ring in a Happy New Year at Walt Disney World

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Ring in a Happy New Year with Special Dining, Dance Parties
and Fireworks Galore at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " New Year's Eve is one of the biggest fireworks evenings of the year at Walt Disney World Resort, a place where fireworks are both spectacular and an every-night occurrence. Fireworks and nighttime shows will light up the skies and create a mood of celebration at the parks on Dec. 31, 2012, while revelry of other sorts takes place elsewhere throughout the Vacation Kingdom.

Here's a snapshot of what's in store:

At Epcot, guests can dance away 2012 to the beat of the DJs stationed at select pavilions throughout the evening and watch “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” salute the new year at 7 p.m. and 11:42 p.m. A buffet dining experience inspired by Disney's classic animated films Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 will take place at World ShowPlace facility, with reservations available from 4:30 p.m. " 10:30 p.m. Priced at $68.67 for adults and $44.37 for children. Park admission is required.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios rock in the New Year with resident family of landscapers/rock and roll musicians, Mulch, Sweat, and Shears! “The Mulch, Sweat, and Shears New Years Eve Spectacular” blasts off on a specially built stage in front of Disney's Hollywood Studios signature Sorcerer Hat icon and includes contemporary rock, funk, and classic rock and roll favorites. The four concert sets will feature pyrotechnics and special effects and lead up to ringing in the New Year with Mulch, Sweat, and Shears playing live accompaniment to a full scale fireworks spectacular in order to welcome the start of 2013 properly!

At DisneyQuest, located at Downtown Disney, there is a family-friendly cyber celebration from 8 p.m. -1 a.m. Guests are entertained with a DJ Dance Party, character meet and greets, plus unlimited access to games and DisneyQuest attractions including Pirates of the Caribbean, Virtual Jungle Cruise and CyberSpace Mountain. There's a confetti drop and festive party favors as the clock strikes midnight. Partygoers also get a coupon for a quick service entrée, side and drink. Tickets go on sale soon at 407-934-7639.

At Cirque du Soleil, located at Downtown Disney, all guests attending the Dec. 31 performances will receive a limited-edition Walt Disney World/Cirque trading pin. Shows are at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. For pricing contact 407/WDW/SEAT

Disney Cruise Line offers a New Year's Party complete with music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown to guests sailing on select cruises departing in late December. For booking, call 888-325-2500.

Registered guests at select Disney resort hotels will be treated to music and entertainment. At Narcoosee's restaurant (Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), for instance, there will be a four-course dining experience for $161.85 for adults and $77.19 for children, plus DJ, balloon artist and special fireworks viewing.

Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk Resort offers a special-ticket New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. with a video DJ and limited viewing of Epcot's Fireworks.

October 9, 2012

Test Track to Reopen December 6, 2012

Test Track - Epcot
Test Track will officially reopen on December 6.


When Test Track reopens, this reengineered attraction will allow guests to experience the fun world of automotive design firsthand. Guests will first enter a Design Studio and make a series of selections (as an individual or a group) to create their ideal virtual custom concept vehicle. They then board a six-passenger SimCar for a test drive to see how their own design compares to the attraction's SimCar in Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power.

Test Track - Epcot

And it sounds like the post-show will be just as much fun. Here, guests can see how well their car performed, and race it over changing terrains and extreme conditions on a digital driving table. Guests can also produce and star in a TV commercial for their custom cars, explore a Chevrolet showroom that will feature the latest models, and more.

September 30, 2012

D23 Celebrates Epcot's 30th Anniversary

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More than 1,000 Epcot enthusiasts, members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, gathered at Epcot's World Showcase on Sunday, September 30, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the theme park, which first opened on October 1, 1982. A day of special panels and presentations, all created by D23, marked the anniversary.

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Panelists of the “We Can Do It” presentation (above) included (left to right) Disney Legend, original Tom Sawyer on Tom Sawyer Island, and former manager of distribution services at Walt Disney World Tom Nabbe; Disney Legend and executive vice president of Parks, Walt Disney World Bob Matheison; Disney Legend and former vice president of the Magic Kingdom Bill Sullivan; former Walt Disney World vice president of purchasing and contract services Howard Roland; Disney author and Imagineer Jason Surrell; former president of Disney Participant Relations Jim McCaskill; former director of Walt Disney World Casting Duncan Dickson; and Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway, who helped launch the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 and EPCOT Center in 1982, among other Disney theme parks around the world.

September 26, 2012

Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Bog Exhibit is a Feast for the Eyes

Ocean Spray Cranberry bog at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival
Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit is a Feast for the Eyes at
2012 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival


Cranberry cooperative shares the secrets behind
the taste, health, and heritage of the exceptional cranberry


LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass. (Sept. 26, 2012) " What do you get when you combine the imagination and magic of Walt Disney World with the mystery of fall's favorite fruit? A truly exceptional exhibit" an over 1,300 square-foot free-standing cranberry bog to be exact! From Sept. 28 to Nov. 12, visitors to the 2012 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival will have a chance to feast their eyes on the beauty of the cranberry harvest and discover the cranberry's secrets - from its unique taste to its rich heritage and long history of health benefits.

Ocean Spray Cranberry bog at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival


Multi-generation Ocean Spray® cranberry growers and Disney cast members will be on hand to share the mystery of the cranberry through this awe inspiring display complete with 1,500 pounds of fresh, floating cranberries. Visitors will also have an opportunity to sample Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries, the official fruit snack of the Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, and enjoy them in an assortment of menu items at participating restaurants inside the theme park.

“The cranberry is an exceptional autumn fruit that people know very little about,” said Larry Martin, vice president global marketing, Ocean Spray. “Our collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering on this exhibit gives us an opportunity to showcase the cranberry to thousands of visitors who may never have the opportunity to see how truly stunning a cranberry harvest is, and then show them how to incorporate cranberries into everyday dishes and cuisines around the world.”

In addition to the harvest demonstration, guests visiting the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival are encouraged to explore culinary demonstrations by Disney chefs, who will share their secrets on how to transform ordinary fare into full-flavored dishes using Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries.

For more tasty cranberry secrets and recipes, visit www.oceanspray.com.


Cranberry lovers are also encouraged to share their exceptional secrets with Ocean Spray at Facebook.com/oceanspray or @oceansprayinc on Twitter.

Discover the Secrets of the Exceptional Cranberry

- Cranberries are one of only three native fruits cultivated in North America.

- Inside the cranberry are four secret chambers. These tiny air chambers help the cranberries stay afloat when the bogs are flooded for harvest.

- If you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.

- Over the years, there have been more than 1,000 cranberry recipes added to Ocean Spray's Cranberry Kitchen.

- Cranberry products contribute to whole-body health and are rich in powerful nutrients. Find out more at www.cranberryhealth.com.

September 25, 2012

Test Track Epcot Update

Epcot's New Test Track
Epcot's Test Track is entering final stages of a major rehab.

The revamped attraction will allow you to design your own custom concept vehicle, and then put it through its paces on the hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit. In the post-show, you'll be able to make a TV commercial featuring your concept car or truck. You'll also have the chance to race your car or truck on a virtual track and take a picture with your custom concept vehicle.

New images of the “SimCar” have been released and a model can now be viewed outside the attraction at the nearby Cool Wash Station in Epcot.

Epcot's New Test Track
Epcot's New Test Track

When Test Track reopens later this fall, the attraction will allow guests to experience the fun and fascinating world of automotive design firsthand. Guests will first enter a Design Studio and make a series of selections (as an individual or a group) to create their ideal custom concept vehicle " they can even pick the color. Guests then board a six-passenger SimCar for a test drive, and see how their design compares to the SimCar in Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power.

Epcot's New Test Track

September 19, 2012

Special Events/Merchandise for Epcot's 30th Anniversary


October 1 marks Epcot's 30th anniversary, and Walt Disney World has announced several special events to mark the occasion.

Throughout the day on October 1, you can attend Epcot history presentations in World Showplace courtesy of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. These presentations are included in park admission and are limited in seating.

-- 1-2 p.m.: Designing the Future " Past and Present: A panel of Disney Imagineers remembers 30 years of building tomorrow

-- 4:30"6 p.m.: Epcot: How it Changed the World with Marty Sklar

-- 6:30"8 p.m.: Epcot: How it Changed the World with Marty Sklar

You can also attend an anniversary moment at the America Gardens Theatre at 3 p.m., which will feature appearances by Disney leaders and include performances by Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty. (Seating for this presentation is also limited.)

That evening, the October 1 presentation of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” will feature a special 30th anniversary tag.

Special Epcot 30th anniversary merchandise will also be available.

September 6, 2012

Manatee Day at Epcot Helps Educate Guests

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept. 6, 2012 " In ancient days, sailors may have mistaken manatees for mermaids, but many Epcot guests won't be making that same mistake after visiting The Seas with Nemo and Friends during International Manatee Day on Sept. 7.

The one-day event is designed to help dispel myths about these endangered marine mammals and offer ways to better protect them. Belonging to a group of aquatic, plant-eating mammals called sirenians, manatees can only be found in a few places, including Florida, South America, Africa, and Australia. With only 5,000 manatees located around the state, they are considered an endangered species in Florida.

As a designated rehabilitation site for rescued manatees and sea turtles, the Seas with Nemo and Friends serves as a “halfway house” working with the manatees after they are out of “intensive care” to ensure they resume a normal diet and are ready to return to the wild.

A team of marine mammal experts at The Seas is currently caring for two manatees " Lou and Vail. Both were injured during separate watercraft strikes and will remain in the facility until they are well enough to be returned to their habitats.

Simple actions can help protect them. For example, recycling used fishing line and plastic bottles will help keep waterways where manatees live, clean and healthy.

August 27, 2012

Imagineer Reveals Details about Test Track Redesign

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Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick revealed details about the "re-imagined" Test Track attraction that is currently under development in Walt Disney World's Epcot during an online chat via the Disney Parks Blog on Monday, August 27.

The revamped attraction, due to open in late Fall 2012, will feature a new marquee, pictured above. Some of the other key changes being made to the attraction include the following:

-- The attraction will be sponsored by Chevrolet.

-- The queue has been completely redesigned. According to Jesselnick, the space will be used to introduce guests to Chevrolet's Automotive Design process -- how it starts with a line and ends with the cars you can buy on the showroom floor. There will be actual sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family.

-- There will be four show scenes. Capability is where your car is tested for rough road and weather conditions. Efficiency tests your car design's environmental footprint. The Responsiveness phase tests maneuverability, and finally, Speed is tested.

-- In the attraction's Design Studio, you have a chance to design your own custom concept vehicle. That design follows you into the ride, which is still the same physical ride as before. You'll ride in a sim car, and as you move through the space, your custom design will be scored in the areas of Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Speed.

It's an interactive design kiosk, so in the full experience you can start from a line, then shape your vehicle and add attributes -- the colors, the tires, etc., and make it truly your dream vehicle.

Everybody in the vehicle will have their ride design, whether they designed individually or as a group. As you move through the four scenes, you'll see how the design stacked up against the sim car design.

-- The pre-show is integrated with the experience, and then in the post-show, your ride vehicle travels through the entire experience. You can continue to interact with your ride vehicle afterward.

-- Of the number of different customization combinations available, Jesselnick says, "The possibilities are endless."

-- The post-show will kick off with a scoring opportunity, not just with the guests in your car, but guests throughout the day. From there, there will be other opportunities to play with your design with multiple interactive elements. The show room space will still be there with Chevrolet cars, and there will be photo ops with different concept cars.

-- There will be new, futuristic music for the attraction. Jesselnick says there will be "a whole new soundtrack," along with special sound effects.

-- The experience will be dark, but as it pushes the envelope as far as the use of new technology, it's not a traditional "dark ride."

Other points of interest:

-- The track layout will remain the same as the original Test Track.

-- There will be a single rider line, and the attraction will still use FastPass. The full experience allows you to do a lot of customization with your vehicle; the FastPass and Single Rider lines allow for an expedited queue experience. You can still select a custom vehicle of your choosing to take with you on your ride all the way through the post-show.

-- All of the software is custom for this attraction.

August 22, 2012

"Keep Moving Forward" Epcot Segway Tour and Breakfast Debuts September 17

Beginning September 17, Epcot guests will be able to enjoy a new Segway tour that explores Walt Disney's vision for a better tomorrow, and the results of that vision: The Florida Project and Epcot.

"Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Segway Tour" is a new three-hour experience that includes a Segway training lesson, breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, an in-depth tour of World Showcase, and an exclusive Disney pin.

The tour will cost $99 (plus tax) for ages 16 and older. (A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for participants age 16-17.) Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members will receive a 15 percent discount.

For more information or to book, call (407) WDW-TOUR (939-8687).

July 17, 2012

Epcot's 30th Celebration - Merchandise

Product Developer Mary Myers has been working on merchandise for Epcot's 30th Celebration.

The shirts below are already available in Mouse Gear (Future World)

Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise

Here are examples of the merchandise that will be released this fall including shirts, pins, and "toothpick" holders sporting the original Future World icons!


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise

July 13, 2012

Epcot Sounds Like Summer Concert Series - SouthBound and Company

SLS LOGO


SouthBound and Company A Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd

SouthBound and Company A Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd appearing July 15-21


All performances are scheduled to take place at the open-air American Gardens Theater in World Showcase.

Show times are 5:45, 7 and 8:15 p.m. Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with Epcot admission. For the latest information and updated show times, guests may pick up an Entertainment Guide when entering the park.

July 5, 2012

HGTV Stars Coming to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

HGTV stars are also known for their ideas and helpful hints for kitchen makeovers, party planning, and catering. Several will be appearing as special guests during this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Here's the current schedule:

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September 28-30 " “Design Star” Season 7 Winner (To be announced July 25)



Casey Noble
October 5-7 " Casey Noble " “Design on a Dime”



Alison Victoria
October 12-14 " Alison Victoria " DIY Network's “Kitchen Crashers”

Photo Not Available
October 19-21 " Brian Patrick Flynn " HGTV.com, “Design Happens” contributor



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October 26-28 " Meg Caswell " “Meg's Great Rooms”



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November 2-4 " Marianne Canada " HGTV.com, “Design Happens” contributor

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November 9-12 " Emily Henderson " “Secrets From a Stylist”

May 28, 2012

Brave – The Highland Games Tournament Runs June 1-July 8 at Epcot

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From June 1-July 8, Epcot will serve as the setting for Brave " The Highland Games Tournament, a kid-focused offering that will include games like Mini Caber Toss, Cake Toss, Haggis Flip and archery. There will also be a kids' playground with free enhanced wireless " which is great for us parents who can't share cute photos of their kids on Twitter and Facebook fast enough!

Brave " The Highland Games Tournament will take place on the Rose Walk (right where Future World blends into World Showcase), from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., daily. Park admission is required.

April 30, 2012

New Tutto Italia Wine Cellar Opens May 1 at Italy at Epcot

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NEW YORK, NY April 30, 2012 " Patina Restaurant Group officially opens Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar at the Walt Disney World Resort on May 1. Located in a reproduction of the Medici Palace in the Italy pavilion at Epcot, the new wine cellar is a space that was “discovered” as Tutto Italia was being built. This “unearthed treasure” features 200 Italian wines and a selection of authentic Italian small plates.

“Tutto Gusto offers a refreshing place to relax and sample authentic tastes of Italy during a day at Epcot,” said restaurateur and CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, Nick Valenti. “It is a welcome addition to the popular dining options at the Italy pavilion.”

“We are always looking at ways to keep Epcot fresh and vibrant for our Guests,” said Erin Youngs, vice president of Epcot. “The new Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar and refreshed Tutto Italia are excellent enhancements to World Showcase. Both nicely complement Via Napoli and offer Guests a chance to enjoy the richness of Italian culture as they savor the authentic flavors of Italy.”


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Bruschetta di Capri from Tutto Gusto


Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar offers a variety of delectable small plates, perfect for sharing, to pair with its wines. Menus feature sections devoted to simple, flavorful piccoli piatti such as bruschetta di Capri, pizze fritte, polenta funghi e taleggio. Artisanal Italian cheeses are on offer in the formaggi section, with everything from soft, creamy La Tur to salty-sweet aged Parmigiano Reggiano. Fresh hand-crafted mozzarella will be made in bufala and fior di latte styles. Also featured are cured, sliced meats in the affettati section " including prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, sopressata and more. The corkscrew-shaped cavatappi pasta is highlighted in its own section, with different preparations.

Chef Renzo Barcatta grew up in Cavalese, Italy and honed his skills in restaurants in Venice, Milan and Rome. He will prepare authentic dishes with choices sourced across Italy, offering the best of each region. In addition to pairing well with wine, Chef Baracatta's creations also match nicely with family-friendly agua frescas and other non-alcoholic beverages.


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Caponata from Tutto Gusto


Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar will be unveiled as part of Tutto Italia's grand re-opening. The architecture of both properties reflect classical antiquity and symmetry emblematic of the Italian Renaissance period. Tutto Italia has been completely refurbished along with a new enclosed patio to offer al fresco dining. Both the restaurant and wine cellar are furnished with authentic design elements directly from Italy: chandeliers, marble and limestone floors, wall hangings and more.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar joins Tutto Italia and Via Napoli Pizzeria e Ristorante, also run by Patina Restaurant Group, in the Italy pavilion in Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Tutto Gusto is not on the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations for Tutto Italia or Via Napoli (no reservations accepted for Tutto Gusto), call 407-WDW-DINE.

April 27, 2012

Epcot's Test Track to Get Major Redesign

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The Disney Parks Blog has announced details and concept art relating to the redesign of Epcot's Test Track.

The revamped attraction will allow you to design your own custom concept vehicle, and then put it through its paces on the hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit. In the post-show, you'll be able to make a TV commercial featuring your concept car or truck. You'll also have the chance to race your car or truck on a virtual track and take a picture with your custom concept vehicle.


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The attraction is currently scheduled to reopen late fall.

April 18, 2012

VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot Opens April 22nd, Earth Day

Green Builder® Media Launches Inspirational New Green Home Exhibit: VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot Vanguard Exhibit Proactively Addresses Sustainable Living Solutions. VISION House in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot launches on Earth Day.

Eastsound, WA (PRWEB) April 18, 2012

Green Builder® Media, North America's leading media company focused on sustainable living, has collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to create the VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS, an innovative green home exhibit located in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Opening on Earth Day (April 22), the purpose of the VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS is to present green living ideas in a fun and informative manner that will empower guests with the knowledge that a sustainable future is possible. The exhibit will showcase a wide spectrum of environmentally appropriate products and options and provide homeowners with real solutions for contemporary green living.

“Sustainable living is about taking personal responsibility,” says Green Builder® Media CEO Sara Gutterman. “Through the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS, we will illustrate that we can all provide our families with necessities like sustenance, and shelter, as well as comfort and convenience, while simultaneously preserving and protecting the environment.”

As guests take a guided tour of the VISION House®, they will explore the major themes of green building, such as whole-home automation; energy generation and efficiency; water conservation; indoor environment quality; and high-performance materials and durability. Along the way, they will encounter intelligent products and advanced technologies, such as:

High efficiency heating and cooling systems and controls and innovative whole-home automation system and door hardware by Ingersoll Rand

Electronic vehicle charging station by SIEMENS

Chevy Volt electric vehicle by GM

Photovoltaic solar panels from Hanwha Solar

Durable and environmentally friendly exterior systems, including smog-eating tile roofs, cultured stone, bricks, permeable pavers, and trim by Boral

Ventilation solutions to improve indoor air quality by Panasonic

Energy efficient windows and doors from Pella

High performance glass products by Schott

Fire sprinkler information from the National Fire Protection Association

Sustainable hardwood flooring and cabinets from Armstrong World Industries

Water-conserving fixtures, faucets, showerheads, and home standby generators by KOHLER

ENERGY STAR certified home appliances by Bosch

LED lighting solutions by SYLVANIA

The VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS is a part of Green Builder® Media's VISION House Series. These actual residences around the country are designed to demonstrate that a successful building is more than simple shelter"it is an interactive set of systems that combine to create a truly green living environment for inhabitants.

“Green Builder® Media has long been the leader in helping building professionals and consumers understand that the built environment and the natural environment need not be in conflict, and that green building is quality building,” says Ron Jones, Green Builder® Media President. “Our early mission of defining green has evolved into a robust message that makes it possible for companies, governments, and individuals to make choices without compromise.”

For more information about green products and breaking green news, visit http://www.greenbuildermedia.com.

February 3, 2012

Habit Heroes Exhibit Debuts at Innoventions at Epcot

from the Disney Parks Blog:

A new interactive exhibit, Habit Heroes presented by Florida Blue and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, debuted at Innoventions at Epcot today.

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This new experience encourages children of all ages to learn healthy lifestyle habits and become more active. Guests can join forces with Habit Heroes Will Power and Callie Stenics to fight off villains like Sweet Tooth and The Snacker.

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Two Habit Heroes even made a special in-person appearance today for the kick-off of the exhibit.

Can't make it to Epcot? Kids can visit www.HabitHeroes.com to create their own avatar and learn how to fight bad habits.

January 7, 2012

Disney and General Motors Renew Alliance and Create Magic for Guests at a Re-Imagined Test Track Experience

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Two of the world's most recognized brands extend an alliance that will create a new experience for millions of Guests at Epcot.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 6, 2012 " Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance.

As part of the new alliance, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM's most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,” said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. “This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.” ”

“As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,” said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. “The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.”

Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012.

As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers " and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.

At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.

Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.

December 27, 2011

Marlee Matlin Narrates Epcot's Candlelight Processional December 28-30

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Marlee Matlin, Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress, will be a guest narrator December 28-30 at the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. This beloved holiday tradition, continuing nightly through December 30, features a joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. Marlee Matlin will appear at the America Gardens Theatre stage with show times at 5, 6:45 & 8:15 p.m.


December 9, 2011

Neil Patrick Harris Narrates Epcot's Candlelight Processional December 10-12

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Neil Patrick Harris, the Emmy Award-nominated star of the hit television series "How I Met Your Mother" and former star of the hit series "Doogie Howser, M.D.," will be the guest narrator for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot December 10-12 2011

October 30, 2011

The Pointer Sisters - Eat to the Beat concerts

THE POINTER SISTERS: One of three new Eat to the Beat concert acts appearing at the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, The Pointer Sisters take the stage Nov. 2-3 with crowd-pleasers like “He's So Shy.”

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October 26, 2011

Gin Blossoms - Eat to the Beat Concerts

GIN BLOSSOMS: One of three new Eat to the Beat concert acts appearing at the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Gin Blossoms are set to rock audiences Oct. 27-28 with top hits like “Hey Jealousy.”

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October 24, 2011

Boyz II Men - Eat to the Beat Concerts

Eat to the Beat concert series features Boyz II Men on October 24-26, 2011.

The concerts, which are included with Epcot admission, will be at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.


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October 13, 2011

The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO

THE ORCHESTRA STARRING FORMER MEMBERS OF ELO: One of three new Eat to the Beat concert acts appearing at the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO take the stage Oct. 20-21 with top hits like “Don't Bring Me Down.”

July 29, 2011

Kakigori Cart in Japan Pavilion at Epcot Expands with Savory, Sweet Bites

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from the Disney Parks Blog...

On a hot afternoon, nothing is better than a shaved ice, or kakigori, from the little cart in front of the Japan pavilion at Epcot. A brain freeze is inevitable as we slurp the icy, sweet treat.

Now the cart, just reopened this week, has a new name " Kabuki Cafe " and new tastes, the kind of satisfying nibbles you can eat and still stroll.

The shaved ice still is there, but now the menu includes edamame (steamed soybeans in the pod) and meal-in-a-bowl miso soup, plus sweet plum wine and sake. And smoothies and ice cream cups join the sweet line-up.

Delicious salty-sweet tastes for munching and strolling World Showcase Lagoon.


August 6, 2010

New Pizzeria Via Napoli Unveiled at Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort

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Patina Restaurant Group has opened a new casual pizzeria, called Via Napoli, adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, its restaurant in the Italy pavilion in Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This becomes the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park.

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(L-R) Mickey Mouse; Dan Cockerell, Vice President of Epcot; Clay Shoemaker, Walt Disney World Ambassador; Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group; Joachim Splichal, Founder and Chai


Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of “La Vera Pizza Napoletana.” While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.

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Executive Chef Charlie Restivo poses with Mickey Mouse and a special Mickey-shaped pizza Aug. 5, 2010 during the grand opening

“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti says. “It's a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”

Via Napoli features a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo serves as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he crafts the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.

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“We're excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”

A unique feature at Via Napoli is the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy " Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven is sculpted with the “face of the volcano” -- reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano's history.

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The architecture and design of the new pizzeria is based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it.

July 20, 2010

New Pizzeria "Via Napoli" Set to Open August 5th at Walt Disney World

NEW YORK: July 20, 2010 - Patina Restaurant Group will open a new casual pizzeria August 5th, called Via Napoli, adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, its restaurant in the Italy pavilion in Epcot® World Showcase at Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This will be the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park.

Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of “La Vera Pizza Napoletana.” While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.

“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti says. “It's a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”

Via Napoli will feature a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo will serve as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he will craft the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.

“We're excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”

A unique feature at Via Napoli will be the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy " Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven will be sculpted with the “face of the volcano” -- reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano's history.

The architecture and design of the new pizzeria will be based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it. Renderings are available upon request. Menus are attached.

For reservations at Via Napoli, please call (407) WDW-DINE / (407) 939-3463.
Please note, between August 2 and September 9, 2010, guests will be accommodated on a walk-in basis only. Beginning August 6, 2010, reservations will be accepted for dates September 10th and later.

Full Menu with pricing!!!

May 27, 2010

World Showcase Presents Delicious Discoveries Oct. 1-Nov. 14 at 15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Chefs Whip Up Global Goodies from South Korea, Belgium, and More

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " Like a fine wine that improves with age, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival celebrates 15 years Oct. 1-Nov. 14 with an unrivaled global tasting experience.

Where on the planet can foodies sample the cuisine, culture and entertainment of more than two dozen countries during a 1.3-mile stroll around a picturesque 40-acre lagoon? Only at Walt Disney World Resort, where more than 25 international marketplaces around the World Showcase promenade at Epcot invite guests to taste tapas-sized portions and sip wines, beers and spirits from six continents.

This year, Disney and celebrity chefs are teaming with winemakers and brew masters from around the world to commemorate 15 years of Delicious Discoveries. During the six-week festival, guests will discover:

§ Two new tasting marketplaces " Belgium and South Korea "plus new menu offerings at popular returning marketplaces including Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Poland, South Africa, Australia, U.S.A., Spain and others.

§ Celebrity chef appearances starring top culinarians like Warren Brown, Cat Cora, Todd English, Gale Gand, Robert Irvine, Art Smith, Andrew Zimmern and more.

§ A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.

§ Daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations at the Festival Welcome Center.

§ Eat to the Beat! concerts three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre.

§ Two Epcot restaurants grand opening just in time for the festival: Via Napoli at the Italy pavilion and La Hacienda de San Angel at the Mexico pavilion.

New Sips, Fresh Bites

Whether sampling steamed mussels with roasted garlic cream at the new Belgium marketplace or sipping the trendiest wines from South Africa and Chile, festival guests can make a day of grazing their way around the World Showcase promenade. Tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3-to-$8 each, and recommended wines and beers make perfect pairings at each marketplace. To make grazing simpler and more fun, guests can purchase a festival-themed mini-Disney Gift Card that can be loaded and reloaded at several park locations. The card comes attached to a band that can be worn conveniently on the wrist and used for purchases at park marketplaces, restaurants and shops.

Live regional entertainment includes music, acrobatics and improv performances along the promenade. Evening Eat to the Beat! concerts at America Gardens Theatre feature acts from many musical genres. Appearing for the first time on the Eat to the Beat! stage are: Sugar Ray, Air Supply, Howard Jones, 38 Special, Roger Hodgson (formerly of Supertramp,) Hanson and Rick Springfield. Kicking off the festival Oct. 1-3 is fan-favorite Taylor Dayne, and wrapping the event Nov. 12-14 is crowd-pleaser Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Each fall, the festival attracts a diverse audience of more than 1 million guests ranging from wine connoisseurs and epicures to novices wishing to boost their culinary IQs. Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.

Festival highlights include:

· The Festival Welcome Center, with a Wine Bar, Authentic Taste Seminars, Authors Without Borders weekend conversations and more.

· Some 250 chefs including Disney chefs and guest chefs from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events. Guest chefs on tap include Debbie Gold, Rock Harper, Jeff Henderson, Robin Miller, Jamie Deen and many other culinary stars.

· New events that include 3-D Disney's Dessert Discovery and a festival preview night, First Bites Opening Reception, on Sept. 30.

· Popular returning events that include Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen, Epcot Wine Schools, Mexico Tequila Tastings and Food and Wine Pairings.

· The weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting event with tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.

Festival guests can enjoy fresh Epcot experiences including the latest Future World high-tech fun at Innoventions. They also can go “under the sea” at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, “up in the air” at Soarin' in The Land pavilion or “out of this world” at Mission: SPACE. In World Showcase, new and updated restaurants welcome guests at the Italy, Japan, Mexico and China pavilions.

Included with Epcot Admission

Authentic Taste seminars and Authors Without Borders programs with special book signings at the Festival Center, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Special Programming by Reservation

The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for information and to make reservations for special events and programs. Festival details should be available at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine by mid-July.

April 28, 2010

Captain EO Returning to Walt Disney World

The Captain returns!

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Captain EO is coming back to Walt Disney World July 2, 2010.

The film features Michael Jackson as “Captain EO” and a crew of Disney-created space characters. During their journey, the group uses the power of dance, light and music to turn a colorless planet into a world of color and happiness.

The classic musical spectacular, which thrilled Epcot guests from 1986-1994, is scheduled to return to Epcot on July 2. The film's return to the Imagination pavilion will provide new audiences the opportunity to experience the original 3-D production for the very first time, as well as a nostalgic look back for longtime fans wanting to see Jackson in a rare performance created for the big screen.

The Honey, I Shrunk The Audience attraction will close temporarily for a refurbishment sometime in the next few weeks to make way for the captain's return.

Captain EO also will return to two other Disney parks locations this summer. It is scheduled to open at Tokyo Disneyland on June 30 and Disneyland Paris on June 12.


March 30, 2010

Growth is Underway at Epcot: Two New Restaurants, Two New Stores Set to Open in 2010

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 30, 2010 " Just in time for the 15th Annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Walt Disney World guests will be able to experience the newest enhancements to the World Showcase at Epcot " a new lagoon-side, 12,000 sq. ft. taqueria at the Mexico pavilion, an authentic 14,000 sq. ft. pizzeria at the Italy pavilion, a new merchandise kiosk at the China pavilion, and a new exclusive Givenchy shop at the France pavilion.

Building on its more than 25 years of success in bringing Mexican cuisine to Walt Disney World guests, San Angel Inn, LLC will open a new 400-seat waterside restaurant and quick-service food location specializing in the freshly baked culinary flavors of Mexico. The Cantina de San Angel Restaurant, located directly in front of the Mexico pavilion in the World Showcase, is currently closed until fall 2010 for a significant refurbishment and expansion. The new indoor and outdoor restaurant will be nearly four times larger than the previous 3,500 sq. ft. Cantina.

The Cantina will serve as the first flex- service restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney research has shown that guests prefer a quick lunch while spending a day at the parks and enjoy a nice tableside restaurant experience in the evening hours. As a result, the new restaurant will serve quick service meals during the day where guests can enjoy an indoor, air-conditioned dining, or outdoor dining experience. Then, in the evening hours the restaurant is converted into a tableside restaurant where reservations are recommended.

At the Italy pavilion, the Patina Restaurant Group will expand its Italian culinary options by opening a new 300-seat pizzeria that will feature traditional Italian dishes straight from wood-burning ovens representing Italy's infamous volcanoes. Guests will be immersed in the dining experience as they take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of the Italian delicacies, Florentine architecture, vaulted-ceilings, and indoor and outdoor dining. Based on its success at Naples 45 in New York, the Patina Restaurant Group will import water from a source where the composition most resembles water used in Naples, Italy, to make the authentic Italian dough.

“Together with the addition of the pizzeria and the extensive refurbishment of the Cantina, we're expanding the table service restaurant seats in World Showcase by approximately 20 percent,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “We're excited about this significant expansion, which will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase. The timing couldn't be better since we will be celebrating our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”

This week, a new 20 x14 merchandise kiosk, Good Fortune Gifts, opened in front of the China pavilion. Together with Joy of Tea beverage kiosk, Good Fortune Gifts, provides an atmosphere of a small Chinese market along the World Showcase promenade.

By September, Givenchy will open a 300 sq. ft. shop at the France pavilion that will be the only retail location in the United States to offer the full line of Givenchy make-up and skincare products, as well as, a large selection of Givenchy fragrances. Currently small selections of Givenchy perfumes are available in The Plume Shop.

At Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in the United Kingdom, guests can experience a newly-updated menu. The restaurant features hearty and fresh regional English cooking such as: Cottage Pies, Chicken Pies, Fish and Chips, Corned Beef Sandwich, Yorkshire Puddings, Mushy Peas, and more.

March 17, 2010

David Cassidy -- Epcot's Flower Power Concert Series

March 19-21 " David Cassidy, “I Think I Love You”: Flower Power Concert Series Fills Weekends with Special Music during 2010 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

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March 2, 2010

Take a Nanooze Break

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New Epcot exhibition brings nano to the masses
Photo of the marquee banner for the Take a Nanooze Break exhibition.

February 24, 2010

A new long-term exhibition at the Walt Disney World Resort® in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., will bring visitors face to face with the nanoworld.

Housed at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, the exhibition Take a Nanooze Break features a series of interactive, continually updated displays that allow visitors to manipulate models of molecules, study everyday items at the nanoscale, and interact with scientists and engineers who conduct the latest nano research.

"The experience is immersive and gives guests a number of ways to view a world that is too small to see," says Carl Batt of Cornell University, the lead researcher for the project. "It also gives guests a view of nanotechnology from real scientists."

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Based upon the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported children's magazine and Web site Nanooze (http://www.nanooze.org/), the exhibition was developed with further NSF support by collaborators from Cornell University and Tamarack Design of Ithaca, N.Y.

"Nanotechnology will bring multiple, fundamental changes to the way we work to create goods, develop sustainable approaches, advance medicine and improve quality of life.," says Mike Roco, senior advisor for nanotechnology at NSF. "About $80 billion worth of products incorporated nanoscale components in the United States in 2010, and one can envision mass use of nanotechnology by 2020. The Nanooze exhibition informs and inspires the public about this fast-arriving future society."

The exhibition opened on Feb. 22, 2010. The work was funded by NSF awards 0725230 and 0937179.

October 19, 2009

New Exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot Showcases Math in Action as Students Design and Experience Their Own Ride Using Math Fundamentals

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 14, 2009 " Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) today unveiled the Sum of all Thrills™ at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. This new ride is a unique experience that lets park guests custom-design their own thrill ride using mathematical tools, an innovative touch-screen table and a robotic simulator. As the first ride to be located within INNOVENTIONS at Epcot, Sum of all Thrills™ is the latest example of Raytheon's innovative approach to help educate and inspire young students about the power of math and math-related activities.

“Sum of all Thrills™ is an example of how Raytheon is using innovation to encourage students to develop and sustain an interest in math and science,” said William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company. “By experiencing the “thrill” of math in this environment, students have the opportunity first hand to feel the excitement and possibilities of careers that are possible with math and science. We hope young people and adults alike will enjoy this innovative experience.”

Interactive and customizable, Sum of all Thrills™ lets guests of all ages create their own experience by first choosing a ride theme, including a roller coaster, bobsled or jet plane. Using multi-touch, object recognition tables with instructions available in six languages, guests use math and engineering based tools, such as rulers and speed dials, to design and customize their ride by adding corkscrews, inversions or steep hills. Guests learn and apply mathematical and engineering principles to determine how much energy is needed for a jet to take off or for a roller coaster or bobsled to make it up its first climb.

When the design of the ride is complete, it is saved on a personal card with a unique bar code. The card is then utilized to allow each guest to experience their custom ride from beginning to end on the robotic KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator. Inside the simulator, guests experience their ride on immersive high definition video combined with stereo sound and controlled air motion for a complete sensory experience. The KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator creates a four-dimensional experience through 3-D robotic motion and “wind” that controls air movement to stimulate the senses, providing a more realistic simulation experience.

“Disney parks are well known for their creativity and innovation. Raytheon's Sum of all Thrills™ is a perfect addition to INNOVENTIONS, which was built in part to showcase cutting-edge technology,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “This immersive experience, our first-ever INNOVENTIONS ride, will inspire young guests to embrace math and science and the important role these subjects play in our lives.”

In addition to the experience at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot, today, Raytheon unveiled a virtual Sum of all Thrills™ experience on-line at MathMovesU.com. The Sum of all Thrills™ world, aimed at middle school students, combines the three ride elements of the theme park experience into one multidimensional ride. Students answer math-related questions to unlock elements that enable them build their own ride on-line.

Sum of all Thrills™ is the latest initiative in Raytheon's MathMovesU program which is committed to increasing students' interest in math and engineering by engaging them with activities they enjoy most, such as sports, fashion and music. Sum of all Thrills™ joins Raytheon's other MathMovesU programs including the “In the Numbers” game, partnership with the New England Patriots on display at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, the company's three year sponsorship of the National MATHCOUNTS competition and the MathMovesU scholarship and grant program, which provides over $1 million in funding to students and teachers each year.

Raytheon also announced today the findings from a study of U.S. middle school students revealing their feelings about math and the need for more innovative approaches to help motivate them around the subject. An executive summary of the survey findings is available at www.raytheon.com/responsibility/stem.

More information on Sum of all Thrills™ can be found at www.raytheon.com.

August 28, 2009

New La Cava del Tequila Serves Up Tastes of Mexican Tequila Heritage

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " Tasty tequilas and mouthwatering margaritas are on tap at La Cava del Tequila, a new offering for Epcot guests to explore the heritage and tradition of tequila-making in Mexico.

Tucked away in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, La Cava del Tequila beckons guests with more than 70 types of authentic tequila, ranging from the simplest to the rarest of them all, aged to perfection and made from the finest distilled spirits from the agave plant. Tequilas range in price from $8 to $50 for a specialty tequila.

Amid warm décor, art work and original artifacts all celebrating the Mexican heritage, a “Tequila Ambassador” is on hand to educate Walt Disney World guests on the history of tequila-making.

Also on the drink menu: Exotic and uniquely blended margaritas, introducing a variety of flavored salts, spices and tropical fresh fruits masterfully prepared by experienced mixologists. A variety of quick tastes, tapas style, will be available, including freshly made guacamole and ceviche as well as mahi mahi tostadas with diced mango and avocado and blue crab tostados with chipotle mayo and Valentina sauce.

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The 30-seat La Cava del Tequila is open from noon until Epcot park closing time. It is connected to the famous San Angel Inn as part of the Mexico pavilion, a popular stop for Walt Disney World guests.

June 18, 2009

Musical Tributes Under Way at Epcot

Stayin' Alive"A Tribute to the Bee Gees kicked off a series of music acts slated to entertain Walt Disney World guests now through Aug. 9 at Epcot. “Sounds Like Summer” concert series acts in July and August will celebrate the music of Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the Supremes, U2 and Tom Petty. Concerts at America Gardens Theatre at included with regular Epcot admission.

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June 8, 2009

Pop Icons Rock the Stage for Music Lovers at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

17 ‘Eat to the Beat!' Musical Acts Perform Sept. 25-Nov. 8

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " A platinum lineup of popular music acts, including several Grammy-winning bands, will unleash an eclectic mix of classic and current tunes during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 25-Nov. 8 at Walt Disney World Resort.

The Eat to the Beat! concert series will bring 17 acts " showcasing everything from rock to jazz, funk to pop " to the America Gardens Theatre stage during the 45-day festival. The lineup includes five performers playing the festival for the first time: Richard Marx, Better Than Ezra, Vanessa Carlton, John Waite and Billy Ocean.

Concerts, which are included with Epcot admission, begin at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. daily. The lineup (subject to change) includes:

Sept. 25-27 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”

Sept. 28-29 Richard Marx ("Hold On to the Nights")

Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Starship starring Mickey Thomas (“We Built This City”)

Oct. 4-6 En Vogue (“Free Your Mind”)

Oct. 7-8 Better Than Ezra ("Good")

Oct. 9-11 Sister Hazel (“All for You”)

Oct. 12-13 Kool & The Gang (“Celebration”)

Oct. 14-16 Spyro Gyra (“Morning Dance”)

Oct. 17-18 Jon Secada (“Just Another Day”)

Oct. 19-20 Sister Sledge ("We Are Family")

Oct. 21-22 Vanessa Carlton ("A Thousand Miles")

Oct. 23-25 Taylor Dayne ("Tell It to My Heart")

Oct. 26-28 Boyz II Men (“Motownphilly”)

Oct. 29-31 John Waite ("Missing You")

Nov. 1-2 Night Ranger (“Sister Christian”)

Nov. 3-5 Billy Ocean ("Caribbean Queen")

Nov. 6-8 Los Lobos (“La Bamba”)

Guests nibbling and sipping their way around World Showcase can see performers from many countries weave music, dance, acrobatics, comedy and other acts into the festivities. A sampling of World Showcase entertainment includes:

High-energy Celtic music of Off Kilter (Canada)

The Arabic rhythms of Mo'Rockin (Morocco)

Perfect harmony of Voices of Liberty (American Adventure rotunda)

Infectious beat of internationally acclaimed Mariachi Cobre (Mexico)

Retro British hits by The British Invasion (United Kingdom)

Jaw-dropping stunts by Dragon Legend Acrobats (China)

Hilarious antics of World Showcase Players (Italy and United Kingdom)

“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” lights up World Showcase with lasers, music and fireworks to provide a “wow” ending to each festival evening.

March 30, 2009

The Seas Granted Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

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Silver Spring, Maryland, March 30, 2009 - The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that The Seas was granted accreditation by AZA's independent Accreditation Commission.

“The Seas has been awarded AZA accreditation because of its high standards in every aspect of its operations,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Orlando should be proud to have one of the top facilities in North America as a valuable community asset and economic engine.”

To be accredited, The Seas underwent a thorough investigation to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process in order to be members of the Association, and are required to resubmit to this process every five years.

“Every visit you make to The Seas supports wildlife conservation.” Maddy added. “It's an opportunity for families to get together and connect with conservation.”

The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution's operation in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals, staff, and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services, and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission's decision is made.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit www.aza.org.

March 20, 2009

16th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Celebrates Floral Fun and 'Going Green' March 18-May 31, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " An elaborate “Cinderellabration” topiary and an environmentally friendly Green Garden bring fresh springtime flair to the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, presented by Disneynature, March 18-May 31, 2009. Amid a colorful tableau of more than 30 million blooms, Walt Disney World guests of all ages can explore myriad exhibits and activities geared toward gardening and outdoor fun.

Every spring, Disney gardeners channel their creative energy into presenting an intricate topiary display against the backdrop of Spaceship Earth. This year, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip, and Belle and Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” debut in all their “blooming finery” as the grand front-entrance topiary during the 75-day festival. Seventy other topiaries appear throughout World Showcase and Future World.

Flower Power concerts spread a groovy vibe each weekend (Friday-Sunday) at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. Acts appearing for 2009 include Davy Jones, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Jose Feliciano, Chubby Checker, and for the first time at Epcot, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes.

More information about the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or by visiting disneyworld.com/flower. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

March 16, 2009

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure Exhibit to Open this Spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot

T. Rowe Price to Collaborate with Walt Disney World Co. to Promote Financial Empowerment and Education for Families

BALTIMORE, March 16 -- T. Rowe Price, the global investment management organization, today announced that it has signed a sponsorship agreement to create an innovative financial education and entertainment experience at Epcot. Designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering, The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) is scheduled to open this spring at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This interactive exhibit will bring basic saving and investing concepts to life in a fun and captivating way. The experience will entertain and empower families, while encouraging them to engage in regular dialogue about the importance of saving and how to manage money responsibly.

The first-of-its-kind exhibit, in conjunction with a companion online game and associated web site, broadens T. Rowe Price's longstanding investor education initiatives. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) will offer lessons on four key financial themes: setting goals, saving and spending smartly, staying ahead of inflation, and diversifying your investments. Discussions began over three years ago with Epcot Business Development and Walt Disney Imagineering to bring this experience to guests visiting INNOVENTIONS.

"Empowering parents to initiate discussion of the topics of saving and investing with their children is more important than ever before," said Edward C. Bernard, vice chairman of T. Rowe Price Group. "Financial awareness and decision-making is heavily influenced by one's early experiences, making vibrant family discussion a powerful and lifelong educational influence that can help children develop sound financial values and habits. In watching families during play-testing of the exhibit, it has been rewarding to see how The Great Piggy Bank Adventure(SM) engages families in a unique way and really does get the conversation started.

"T. Rowe Price has a long history of educating investors and helping people reach their financial goals," Mr. Bernard added. "We can't think of a better way to expand those efforts than by collaborating with an organization that is a true innovator in turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and whose name is synonymous with world-class family education, entertainment, and service excellence."

Dan Cockerell, Vice President of Epcot, shared his excitement about working with T. Rowe Price to create this unique experience. "At INNOVENTIONS, our focus is on encouraging guests to imagine, invent, inquire and inspire while exploring amazing innovations that make our lives better. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure will give our visitors a better insight into what it means to save and invest in an innovative and engaging manner."

February 20, 2009

Raytheon to launch “The Sum of All Thrills” at Epcot in 2009

WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 9, 2009 " Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) plans to unveil an interactive, math-based experience called “The Sum of All Thrills” at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The exhibit, set to open fall 2009, will engage children through a fun and educational experience that helps instill a lifelong passion for math, science and technology.


“The Sum of All Thrills” will be a core component of Raytheon's MathMovesU program, an initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science, and help create the next generation of innovators for the U.S. It will be located in the INNOVENTIONS pavilion at Epcot, a unique area of the park that contains 100,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to celebrate the inspiration and innovation that improve their lives and expand their horizons.

“Raytheon is working to foster young students' interest and success in math and science, two of the primary fundamentals on which American competitiveness has been built,” said William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO Raytheon Company and 2009 MATHCOUNTS honorary chairman. “Raytheon shares The Walt Disney Company's commitment to innovation and education through imagination. We're proud to offer INNOVENTIONS visitors a unique experience that combines all of these attributes and that seeks to unlock the math and science potential within every student.”

In addition to the experience at INNOVENTIONS, Raytheon will be supporting another 2009 initiative at the Walt Disney World Resort " the 2009 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition. Taking place May 7-10, 2009, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, the competition is the culmination of an enrichment and coaching program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement in every U.S. state and territory. Raytheon is the title sponsor of the MATHCOUNTS National Competition for the next three years, through 2011.

About MathMovesU

Since its inception in 2005 to help spur interest in math and science, Raytheon's MathMovesU program has touched the lives of more than 700,000 students, teachers and parents. Through interactive learning programs, contests, live events, scholarships, tutoring programs and more, MathMovesU engages and inspires students. Core components of the program include:

· An innovative approach to engaging students in math and science through a partnership with the Kraft family and The New England Patriots at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon

· www.mathmovesu.com, a virtual space to educate and entertain middle school students through games and activities that showcase the math behind students' favorite pastimes

· A scholarship and grants program that awards $1million annually to students, teachers and schools.

More information may be found at www.raytheon.com/stewardship/mmu/

Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

About INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort

INNOVENTIONS is located in the heart of Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Creativity and imagination abound as guests celebrate inspiration and the innovations that improve their lives and expand their horizons. Hands-on, interactive exhibits allow children and adults to be immersed into ideas that inform, entertain and inspire " conquer the most dangerous house in America, find solutions to “sticky” problems, experience the most cutting edge products at the “House of the Future,” protect the environment from the daily waste we create, and push the limits of everyday products as we make the world a safer place. For more information on INNOVENTIONS, please visit www.innoventions.disney.com

December 24, 2008

Candlelight Processional Memories at Epcot

Celebrity narrators of the 2008 Candlelight Procession at Epcot share their favorite holiday memories. The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is a Walt Disney World Resort holiday tradition; a telling of the Christmas story featuring celebrity narrators, a mass choir and a 50-piece orchestra. For more information about how Walt Disney World celebrates the holidays, visit www.disneyworld.com/holidays.

September 27, 2008

CULINARY GREATS -- Bocuse d'Or USA Semifinal Competition at Walt Disney World -- Sept. 26, 2008

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Disney Chefs present an elaborate fish dish, Sept. 26, 2008, created by Chef Richard Rosendale of Rosendales in Columbus, Ohio, during the Bocuse d'Or USA semifinal competition held during the launch of the 13th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The legendary Chef Paul Bocuse (right) and sole female Bocuse d'Or International winner -- Chef Lea Linster (left) of Luxembourg, judge the platter during the competition at Walt Disney World. The rigorous competition was held before a live audience. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

September 17, 2008

Al Roker to Emcee, Charlie Trotter to Whip up Magic at Bocuse d’Or USA ‘Culinary Olympics' at Walt Disney World Resort

Contest to Culminate Sept. 27 in Star-Studded Gala Featuring World's Top Chefs

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. " When the gold-standard Bocuse d'Or USA culinary cook-off unfolds Sept. 26 and 27 at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort, TV personality Al Roker will emcee the excitement. When the contest concludes and spatulas rest, culinary great Charlie Trotter, along with other star chefs from around the world, will host a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony fit for the most discriminating gourmet.

The opening-weekend event of the 13th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, open to park guests, promises to deliver celebrity panache, high kitchen drama and extraordinary culinary moments.

Roker, together with Dana Cowin, editor-in-chef of Food & Wine magazine, will spotlight the action for Epcot guests in the park's World Showplace arena-like setting. There, eight two-person teams of the country's top chefs will turn up the heat in the kitchen with the hope that their culinary creations land them a top spot representing Team USA at the Bocuse d'Or World Cuisine Contest " commonly called the Culinary Olympics " in Lyon, France, Jan. 27-29.

Epcot guests can attend the competition and observe the culinary wizardry. Each of the eight teams will serve up elaborate fish and beef dishes to be judged by a top-chef panel: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Trotter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Georges Perrier, Laurent Tourondel, and former Bocuse d'Or USA competitors. Dishes will be judged on excellence in taste, presentation, technical skill and overall kitchen organization.

The competition culminates Sept. 27 with a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony recognizing the first-, second- and third-place teams. Tickets are still available for the star-studded event featuring gourmet cuisine, live musical entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and a chance to meet and mingle with some the world's top chefs, including the Gala Dinner Chefs, as well as contest founder Paul Bocuse, and the Deans of The French Culinary Institute, Alain Sailhac and Andre Soltner.

The Gala Dinner includes hors d'oeuvres, a four-course tasting menu, and a dessert reception prepared by Chefs Boulud (Daniel, New York City), Trotter (Charlie Trotter's, Chicago), Patrick O'Connell (Inn at Little Washington, Washington, D.C.), Perrier (Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia), Tourondel (BLT, New York City), Soltner (French Culinary Institute), Salihac (French Culinary Institute), David Myers (Sona, Los Angeles) and Traci des Jardins (Jardiniere, San Francisco), and will be paired with Diageo Reserve Signature Cocktails and Moët Hennessy Champagnes. The highlight of the evening will be a Dom Pérignon toast and the announcement of the Bocuse d'Or USA winning team.

The eight finalists competing for a spot on the US Team include:

# Timothy Hollingsworth, Sous Chef, French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.
# Chef Hung Huynh, “Top Chef” Season 3 Winner, Solo, New York City
# Rogers Powell, Instructor, French Culinary Institute, New York City
# Chef John Rellah Jr., Executive Chef, Hamilton Farm, Gladstone, N.J.
# Richard Rosendale, Chef/Owner, Rosendale's, Westerville, Ohio
# Michael Rotondo, Chef de Cuisine, Charlie Trotter's, Chicago
# Kevin Sbraga, Culinary Director, Garces Restaurant Group, Philadelphia
# Percy Whatley, Executive Chef, Delaware North Parks, Yosemite, Calif.

The newly selected Bocuse d'Or USA team will join 24 teams from around the world at the Bocuse d'Or World Competition in Lyon, held every two years.

Reservations for the Gala Dinner and Awards event are $450 per person, plus tax, at 407/WDW-FEST and include 2-day Epcot admission (a $150 value). Proceeds benefit Bocuse d'Or USA (a not-for-profit organization sponsoring the competitors' training, travel and culinary education).

Throughout the six-week-long Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Sept. 26-Nov. 9, guests can sample food and wine from around the world at international marketplaces and specialty dinners, attend seminars and wines schools and meet guest chefs. For more information, call 407/WDW-FEST or visit www.disneyworld.com/food.

August 28, 2008

The Smithereens (NEW) “A Girl Like You”.

Oct. 10-12, 2008

THE BEAT GOES ON AT EPCOT

A lineup of great musicians play rock, jazz, funk and pop when they take their turn in the Eat to the Beat! concert series during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 26 through Nov. 9. Bands play on the America Gardens Theatre stage during concerts at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. each evening.

The Smithereens

August 22, 2008

New Interactive Attraction at Epcot with Disney’s Kim Possible

New Ultra-Interactive Attraction at Epcot Immerses Walt Disney World Guests In the High-Tech World of Disney's Kim Possible

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Epcot guests at Walt Disney World Resort will be treated to a brand new, highly interactive attraction inspired by Disney Channel's Emmy Award-winning animated series, Disney's Kim Possible. The new experience is slated to premiere in late 2008.

Using the latest technology, Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure invites guests of all ages to become secret agents, teaming up with members of Team Possible to save the world from various comical villains and their mad inventions.

As guests embark on this international adventure, they will receive an official “Kimmunicator,” at kiosks throughout Epcot. The interactive, handheld device is designed to help them maneuver through the mission. Using state-of-the-art technology, the interactive device connects guests with a variety of Kim Possible characters who provide clues to stop villains from taking over the world. The highly interactive devices also allow guests to control top-secret equipment hidden inside the World Showcase pavilions, creating an ultra-interactive adventure jam-packed with mystery and excitement.

Guests can play Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure in seven of the World Showcase pavilions: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France and United Kingdom. Each pavilion features a unique mission including distinctive visual events and a different super villain from the animated series.

"Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is an example of a next generation attraction that offers fun and excitement for the entire family," said Jim MacPhee, Epcot vice president. "We are constantly exploring new ways to provide immersive experiences to Epcot guests, and this new offering will add to our dynamic portfolio."

“Today's emerging generation expects more immersive, personal and interactive experiences in every facet of their lives, including their entertainment choices,” added Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering. “As leaders in family entertainment, Disney theme parks push the envelope by combining state-of-the-art technology with creative storytelling to enhance the overall Disney vacation experience.”

Epcot is a place of innovation, imagination, human achievement and endless possibilities. The park encompasses two “lands” of discovery: Future World, a showcase of new ideas and technology, and World Showcase, a kaleidoscope of nations celebrating cultural heritage, arts and entertainment. For more information, guests may call 407/824-4321 or visit disneyworld.com.

Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure will open at Walt Disney World Resort during “The Year of a Million Dreams” celebration.

A worldwide hit for kids and families, Disney's "Kim Possible" is an Emmy Award-winning animated series from creators/executive producers Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle and Walt Disney Television Animation. It tells the story of an average high school cheerleader, Kim Possible, who, in her spare time, happens to save the world from super villains. With the aid of her enthusiastic pals, this contemporary heroine is capable in ways few high school students ever imagine. On the flipside, she realizes that defeating the bad guys comes easier than coping with the typical teen pressures of schooling and socializing. Viewers' connection to "Kim Possible" led to a successful off-TV franchise for The Walt Disney Company including Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable characters at Disney Parks & Resorts, DVDs, books, video games and Disney Consumer Product's line of "Kim Possible" branded products available at mass retailers nationwide.

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