/ Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Editor’s Note: In the WDW Radio Newswire, Don Myers examines the latest news and happenings in the World.  This post ran on January 2, 2013…. one year ago today! How much has changed?  What remains the same?  Check out this blast from the past

by Don Myers

As we ring in the New Year and bid 2012 a fond farewell, it’s time to take a look ahead at some exciting events on tap at the Florida Project for 2013. There’s plenty of tidbits to report out of all four parks, so let’s get to it…. It’s time for the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…….

Let’s kickoff 2013 inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the dates for this year’s Star Wars Weekends have just been announced! Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance SW Weekendforces will begin the invasion of the Studios on Friday May 17th, with events scheduled to conclude on Sunday June 9th. As in years past, there will be four weekends of exciting adventures on tap. Here’s a look at the dates:

. Fri May 17th-Sun May 19th

. Fri May 24th-Sun May 26th

. Fri May 31st-Sun June 2nd

. Fri June 7th-Sun June 9th

Over the course of the four weekends, aspiring Jedi and Sith alike can experience Q&A sessions with the actors, actresses, and writers of the movies and cartoon series, and there will also be opportunities to collect limited edition merchandise,  celebrity autographs, and much more. Star Wars Weekends has been quite a successful endeavor in years past, and 2013 will certainly be no exception.

For more news out of Hollywood Studios, let’s make our way down Sunset Blvd and stop by Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage. The show will take a short hiatus later this month, as there will be no performances taking place from Monday January 7th through Saturday January 12th.

Time to park-hop over to Epcot now, where there’s some news to report on another special event later this year. I’m referring to the 2013 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. The dates for this year’s extravaganza were announced a few weeks ago, and it looks like festivities will be getting underway on Wednesday March 6th. The conclusion date is set for Sunday May 19th, which will give this year’s festival a run of just under eleven weeks. 2013 will be a milestone year for Flower and Garden, as this will mark the 20th Anniversary for the popular event.

F and GLet’s board the Monorail and make our way over to Magic Kingdom now, where there’s some news to report on an upcoming attraction closure. There will be no un-birthday’s to celebrate over in Fantasyland for a few weeks this winter, as the Mad Tea Party will be closing for refurbishment on Monday January 7th. The tea cups are expected to be back in commission on Tuesday February 19th, which would put the total estimated downtime at just about six weeks.

There’s one more stop to make on today’s adventure, and for this one we venture over to Animal Kingdom. Asia will be without one of its star attractions later this month, as Kali River Rapids will be shutting down for its annual refurb on Sunday January 6th. Similar to the annual closure that takes place over at Splash Mountain, Kali will have its water chute drained and then refilled with a fresh batch of H2O. Other minor repairs will also be made at this time, and the attraction will be back in action on Friday February 15th, putting the total closure time at just under six weeks.