PLUS…. First two celebrities announced Star Wars Weekends, New exhibit now open at Epcot’s American Adventure pavilion, and more!
by Don Myers
There’s some huge news to report on the future of Downtown Disney, so let’s waste no time and dive right in to the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…….
We kickoff this edition of the Newswire with some breaking news on a major transformation coming to Downtown Disney. It was recently announced that “Disney Springs” will be coming to the Downtown Disney area. When completed, this expansion will double the district’s shopping and dining options from 75 to 150! Disney Springs will consist of three main areas: The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side. Preliminary details suggest that the main emphasis of the transformation will be on turning the area of the former Pleasure Island into The Landing. And of course in true Disney fashion, there will even be a clever backstory for Disney Springs, one which explains how the natural springs attracted the first settlers to the region and how the area’s growth has brought about the presence of these three unique locales. There will even be a town center complete with bubbling springs! Construction is set to begin in April, and the project is slated for completion sometime in 2016. But we won’t have to wait quite that long for our first glimpses of Disney Springs, as it was also confirmed that the expansion will be opening in phases. For a full look at the announcement, click here.
Let’s move over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now, as there’s some news to report from a galaxy far, far away. I’m of course referring to Star Wars Weekends, an event which will be returning to the Studios on Friday May 17th. The first two celebrity appearances have recently been announced, and these names should come as no surprise as both men have been a part of the festivities in year’s past. Disney has confirmed that Ray Park (Darth Maul- Episode I) and Warwick Davis (Wicket- Episode VI) with both be on hand for the 2013 edition of the event. Park will appear during Weekends I and II, and Davis will be in attendance for Weekends II and III. Several more celebs are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks, and as they come trickling out I’ll be sure to report it all right here on the Newswire.
For more news out of the Studios, let’s head over to Hollywood Blvd. Disney Channel Rocks! will be wrapping up its run at the Studios on Saturday April 6th, as no performances are currently scheduled beyond that date. Disney Channel Rocks! has been a mainstay at the Studios since October 2010, giving the show a respectable run of nearly two and a half years.
Time to park-hop over to Epcot now, as there’s some news to report at the American Adventure pavilion. The Heritage Gallery re-opened last week, and with it came the debut of a brand new exhibit entitled Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection. Centered around philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, the exhibit features an extensive collection of books, documents, photos, artwork, and other personal belongings. And you’ll even hear a familiar voice or two along the way, as Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer, and several other famous personalities have provided their voice talents for the narration of the exhibit.
For our final newsbits today, let’s board the monorail and venture over to Magic Kingdom, as there’s a pair of upcoming refurbishments to address. Our first refurb is in Tomorrowland, as the Carousel of Progress is scheduled for a lil downtime this May. But fans of the beloved attraction fear not; as this is slated to be a very brief closure. The Carousel will cease operations on Monday May 13th, and will re-open three days later on Thursday May 16th. For news on another carousel, let’s make our way over to Fantasyland. Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel will also be experiencing a minor refurb in May. The attraction is scheduled to close down on Tuesday May 28th, with a re-opening date slated for Tuesday June 11th. This will put the total downtime for the attraction at exactly two weeks.
Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look back at the results of our last Poll. The question was:
What is your favorite in-park Character Meal?
. Cinderella’s Royal Table
. A Buffet with Character at Crystal Palace
. Chip n Dale’s Harvest Feast
. Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
. Play n Dine at Hollywood & Vine
. Donald’s Safari Breakfast/Lunch
And the winner is….
A Buffet with Character at the Crystal Palace with 34% of the votes! Cinderella’s Royal Table finished second with 21%, and third place was a tie between Donald’s Safari Breakfast/Lunch and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, as both finished with 17% of the votes. Once again, a very big thanks is in order, as this was our most successful Newswire poll to date! And now onto this week’s question:
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.