Plus…News on Star Wars Weekends,
New Meet and Greet Coming to Fairytale Garden in May,
by Don Myers
Spring is well underway at the Vacation Kingdom of the World, so let’s dive into the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…..
We start today’s Newswire with some breaking news from the Walt Disney World Monorail System. A little over two weeks ago, (Sat. March 31st) Monorail Red debuted a brand-new Avenger wrap. The wrap is in promotion of the new Marvel film The Avengers which debuts in theaters Friday May 4th. The “Avenge-o-rail” wrap is reminiscent of the “Tron-o-rail” wrap that covered Monorail Peach for sixteen months from March 2010 until July 2011. So if the trend stays the same, Monorail Red should be keeping up its Superhero persona for quite some time, at least throughout the duration of the film’s theatrical and DVD release. Personally, I like the special wraps. They spice things up, and they give us some new Monorails to add to our checklists. And anyone who likes things the traditional way needn’t worry, as the changes are only temporary. Monorail Peach reverted back to its old self eventually, and so will Monorail Red. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the Avenge-o-rail on a monorail beam near you!
Before heading into the Parks, let’s make a quick stop by Downtown Disney. Back at the end of January, the bath and body store Basin closed down for a lengthy refurbishment. Well, last week Basin rejoined the ranks of the Marketplace, putting the total downtime at just under two and a half months.
Now it’s time to head into the Parks, where there’s a pair of tidbits to report out of Magic Kingdom. The latest Disney-Pixar venture Brave will be opening up in theaters on Friday June 22nd. And as a precursor to its release, a brand-new Character meet and greet will be debuting at Fairytale Garden. This meet and greet will include Princess Merida and the three bear cubs, and is scheduled to begin this May. Merida and the cubs will be replacing Rapunzel, who had been the previous occupant of Fairytale Garden since October of 2010. But fans of the long-haired Princess fear not; as Rapunzel will still be available for a meet and greets in Town Square Courtyard. For the second tidbit, we travel into Tomorrowland, where Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is slated for a brief closure this Summer. The refurb will be a minor one though, as the attraction is only supposed to be down for two days: Wednesday June 27th and Thursday June 28th.
Now let’s Park-Hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where some news has been confirmed pertaining to Star Wars Weekends. Let’s first get into the hosting duties, which will once again be done by James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein. Taylor and Eckstein both lend their voice talents to the animated Clone Wars series, voicing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano, respectfully. Each of the four weekends, they will be joined by a slate of Star Wars celebrities.The first weekend is May 18th-20th, and will feature Ray Park who played Darth Maul in Episode I, Jerome Blake who played Mas Amedda and Rune Haako in Episode I, and Dee Bradley Baker, the voice talent behind Clone Commander Cody and Captain Rex in the Clone Wars series. The second weekend is May 25th-27th, and will once again feature Ray Park. The Darth Lord will be joined on this weekend by fellow Episode I alum Andy Secombe, the man who played Watto. Rounding out the trio will be Tom Kane, the voice behind Yoda in the Clone Wars. The third weekend will be June 1st-3rd, and will also feature three celebrities, although there are only two confirmed names at this time. The two individuals who are confirmed are both from Episode I. First up is Jake Lloyd, who played the role of young Anakin Skywalker. He will be joined by Silas Carson, who played two roles in the film: Nute Gunray and Ki-Adi-Mundi. As I said, the third celebrity is unnamed as of yet, although it has been announced that it will be a voice talent from the Clone Wars series. The fourth and final Star Wars Weekend of 2012 will be held June 8th-10th, and this weekend will feature four celebrities. Young and old Boba will both be in the House of Mouse this weekend, as Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan are both slated to be in attendance. Bulloch played the sinister Bounty Hunter in Episodes V and VI, and Logan played the young Fett in Episode II. Joining the Boba duo on this fourth weekend will be Michonne Bourriague, who played Aurra Sing in Episode I, as well as Nika Futterman, the voice talent behind Asajj Ventress in the Clone Wars series. All in all, it sounds like another solid lineup this year. If you plan on making your way down for the festivities…may the Force be with you! (c’mon, could I end it any other way?!!!)
Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update, but I’ll be back again soon with another edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…..
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.