/ Monday, April 30th, 2012

Plus…VISION House Debuts Inside Innoventions, Happy Birthday Animal Kingdom, and more!

by Don Myers

I just got back from a trip to the FuturePort (thanks to youtube), and while there’s no news to report on a Future World return for Brava Centauri, Sea Castle, or Mesa Verde, there is a ton of news to report out of Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot Center. So let’s dive right in to the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…..

There’s some breaking news on the Fantasyland Expansion, as an official announcement has finally been made pertaining to the opening of Phase II. It looks like Christmas Dinner inside the Be Our Guest Restaurant will be a reality for 2012, as Disney has just said that the second phase, which includes the aforementioned Be Our Guest Restaurant, as well as Gaston’s Tavern, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Under the Sea- Journey of The Little Mermaid, will be open for the Holiday Season. This should mean an opening date somewhere between Thanksgiving and the second week of December! In addition, it was also announced that the remainder of Phase I, Storybook Circus, will be up and operational by July. The majority of the land made its debut back in March, and it looks like the Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, as well as Dumbo’s second spinner and interactive queue will be rounding out the first Phase this Summer.

Now it’s time to take the “Avenge-o-rail” over to EPCOT, where a brand-new exhibit was recently unveiled inside Innoventions East. After months of anticipation, the VISION House finally made its debut on Sunday April 22nd. Plans for the new exhibit were detailed back in my December 10th 2011 edition of the Newswire, where I mentioned things you’ll be able to find inside the VISION House. Things like ENERGY STAR certified home appliances by Bosch, as well as the newest water conserving fixtures, faucets, showerheads, and home standby generators by KOHLER. In addition, SYLVANIA showcases LED lighting solutions, and there’s also a Chevy Volt (courtesy of General Motors) at the VISION House, along with an electric charging station for the vehicle (courtesy of SIEMENS). A Cast Member is on hand to guide you through the exhibit, which is sponsored by Green Builder Media.

For more news out of EPCOT, let’s take the breezeway over to Future World East, where a quick-service dining location has been completely erased from the area. Guests visiting the Park on Monday April 16th were treated to quite a surprise, as they soon discovered that Cool Wash Pizza had completely vanished without a trace! Now this removal could very well be temporary, as it did coincide with the first day of construction walls at the neighboring Test Track. So we could be seeing a return of Cool Wash Pizza before all is said and done. Speaking of Test Track, there is a tiny newsbit to report pertaining to the attraction’s re-opening date. Originally scheduled for a September opening, it now looks like the revamped Test Track won’t be welcoming Guests back into the pavilion until December at the earliest.

Time to Park-Hop over to Animal Kingdom now, where last Sunday (April 22nd), WDW’s fourth Park celebrated Earth Day by ringing in their 14th Birthday. Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day back in 1998, and it’s hard to believe that the Park is almost 15 years old already! It will be interesting to see if any events will take place next year to honor Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary. A special ceremony was held in 2008 to commemorate the Park’s 10th anny, so one would hope that something will be on tap for 2013.

For more news out of Animal Kingdom, let’s take the Wildlife Express Train out to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where it was recently announced that the Affection Section will be experiencing some downtime. The closure is scheduled to begin on Tuesday April 30th, with a re-opening date slated for Sunday June 10th. If this timetable stays on course, this will put the total refurb time at just under six weeks.

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.

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