Plus…News on EPCOT’s Candlelight Dining Packages, Art of Animation’s Lion King Suites, and more!

by Don Myers

The Fourth of July festivities have wrapped up, but there’s still plenty going on at the Vacation Kingdom of the World, so let’s jump right into another edition of the WDW Radio Newswire……

We start this week’s edition of the Newswire with some news on an upcoming refurbishment to one of Walt Disney World Resort’s most popular restaurants: The California Grill. Located on the rooftop of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the California Grill offers up a picturesque view of the Magic Kingdom, and is also a prime viewing location for the Wishes Fireworks display. The closure is scheduled to commence just after New Year’s, on January 6, 2013. There has been no word yet on a solid opening date for the restaurant, as “late Summer” has been the only official word given thus far. So calculating the total refurb time from January to late Summer, we’re looking at approx 7-8 months of downtime for the California Grill.

Now let’s travel from Bay Lake over to the shores of Hourglass Lake, where the Lion King Section of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is just a few weeks away from its grand opening. Slated for a debut date of Friday August 10th, the Lion King’s opening will bring the Resort’s completion level to 75%, leaving the Little Mermaid section as the only one of the four wings still under construction. And for those of you who may be wondering, the Little Mermaid Section is slated to make its “big splash” on Saturday September 15th.

Now it’s time to venture into the Parks. Let’s start things off in the Magic Kingdom, where the last of the remaining tarps have finally been removed from Main Street USA. This marks the end (for now) of the exterior refurbishments on Main Street, which have been ongoing from location to location for about a year now.

Now let’s follow the hub over to Liberty Square, where the Diamond Horseshoe has closed down once again. The dining location (which operates on a “Seasonal” basis) had been open for the busy Forth of July week, offering up both counter service lunch and table service dinner options to choose from.  Adventureland’s Tortuga Tavern and the Tomorrowland Terrace were also briefly open for a few days around the Holiday Weekend, but both locations have since closed down for the time being as well.

Before we Park Hop out of the Magic Kingdom, let’s make a quick stop over in Storybook Circus, where the indoor queue and second spinner for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, as well as the nearby Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station are now open to Guests. These openings round out the last of the Phase I finishing touches, officially bringing Storybook Circus to “Fully Operational” status!

Time to Park Hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now, where there’s a minor closure scheduled for the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. The playground is slated to close for refurb on Monday September 10th, re-opening just six days later on Saturday September 15th.

For our final bit of news today, let’s journey over to EPCOT, where the 2012 Candlelight Dining Packages are now available to the general public for booking. There are several restaurant options for both lunch and dinner, with various price levels available. The lunch packages range from $32.99-$55.99 for Adults (10+), and $12.50-$17.99 for Kids age 3-9. The dinner packages range from $49.99-$66.99 for Adults (10+), and $14.50-$26.99 for Kids age 3-9. If you plan on attending the Candlelight Processional this Holiday Season, the Candlelight Dining Package is the way to go. Booking a Candlelight Dining Package not only guarantees you a seat to the Candlelight Processional itself, but it also affords you with access to a V.I.P. viewing area for IllumiNations! For a complete list of participating EPCOT Restaurants, or to book a package, call: (407) WDW-DINE or visit:

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/candlelight-dinners/

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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