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WDW Radio Newswire: Star Wars Weekends Adds Fifth Weekend To The Mix This Year And World Showcase POLL

Plus… Extended run scheduled for this year’s Food & Wine Festival, Casey’s Corner re-opens with expanded seating area, and more!

by Don Myers

As the harshness of Old Man Winter begins to subside and give way to Spring we find ourselves on the brink of the busy Spring Break season at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. There’s a ton of news to report so let’s get right to it. Time for the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…..

We begin this edition of the Newswire at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where there’s some major developments to report on this year’s Star Wars SWW2014Weekends. Aspiring Jedi and Sith alike are sure to rejoice in this news, as a FIFTH weekend has been added to this year’s big event! The 2014 edition of Stars Wars Weekends kicks off on Friday May 16th, with a conclusion date scheduled for Sunday June 14th. James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars animated TV series) will be on hand once again to serve as the event’s celebrity host, and a brand-new Star Wars themed Fireworks show will make its debut this year. Entitled “Symphony in the Stars,” the Fireworks display will be featured each weekend night throughout the duration of the event. There’s one more newsworthy note to touch on, as “Hyperspace Hoopla” will NOT be a part of this year’s Star Wars Weekends. The show has been a part of the festivities for several years now and was quite popular, so its removal brings about a bit of disappointment and surprise. Here’s a look at the complete dates:

Weekend I: Fri May 16th-Sun May 18th
Weekend II: Fri May 23rd-Sun May 25th
Weekend III: Fri May 30th-Sun June 1st
Weekend IV: Fri June 6th-Sun June 8th
Weekend V: Fri June 13th-Sun June 15th

The theme for this year’s edition of Star Wars Weekends will be “Join the Rebellion,” and as soon as the celebrity guest names begin to trickle out in the coming weeks I’ll be sure to report it right here in the Newswire!

Time to park-hop over to Magic Kingdom now, as there’s news to report on the Casey’s Corner refurbishment. The popular quick-service spot closed up shop on Monday January 6th for work on both indoor and outdoor seating expansions. The indoor portion of Casey’s re-opened on Thursday February 20th, and as anticipated the seating arrangement has been completely revamped. The bleachers that used to provide minimal seating are now long gone, and the movie screen has been removed from the mix as well. The bleachers have been replaced with table and chair seating, as white table tops and red and white candy-striped chairs now fill the newly expanded dining area. Work is still underway on the outdoor section of seating, with construction set for completion by the start of the bustling Spring season.

Food & Wine 2014Time to board the Monorail and make our way over to Epcot now, as the dates for the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival were recently announced. This year’s edition of Food & Wine will kickoff on Friday September  19th, with a conclusion date set for Monday November 10th. The festival will be getting underway a week earlier than it has in years past, and the announcement of these dates confirms that this year’s event will expand to cover nearly eight weeks.

Time to make our way out of the parks now as there’s a couple newsbits to touch on over at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. It was just confirmed that Capt. Cook’s will be closing down for a extensive refurb beginning Friday March 28th. The 24-hour quick-service spot will be inoperable for at least four months, as the restaurant isn’t slated to re-open until mid-Summer. During the course of the refurb, a temporary spot inside the Great Ceremonial House will serve as a makeshift Capt. Cook’s, featuring a similar quick-service style menu and layout. Resort Guests can also purchase their refillable mugs at this location as well.

Before we leave the Polynesian, let’s take a quick stroll down to the shoreline of Seven Seas Lagoon for an update on the Polynesian Resort Villas. The Villas are really seeing some major progress now, as steel skeletons are beginning to rise up along the shoreline. It’s been about four months since the project’s groundbreaking so it’s pretty exciting to see vertical pieces already visible. A lot of the early work we’ve seen has simply been dirt removal and ground leveling, but it now appears that the construction on the Polynesian Villas is really heating up!

Our final stop today takes us from the South Seas paradise of the Polynesian over to the nearby Transportation and Ticket Center. For years the TTC has provided monorail service to Epcot as well as ferry boat and monorail transportation to Magic Kingdom. At times Guest traffic can get pretty high and the TTC can be a pretty congested place. So to help combat this, Disney has decided to build a second ferry boat dock at the TTC. Once complete, the second dock will allow for a much quicker and efficient simultaneous loading and unloading of the passengers, which should improve the Guest flow at the TTC significantly. There’s no official word as to when this second dock will be completed and operational, but work has been ongoing since late November so it’s estimated the dock will be ready for use within the next month.

Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look at the results of our last poll. The question was:

What is your favorite slow boat ride attraction at WDW?
*Pirates of the Caribbean

*Jungle Cruise

*it’s a small world

*Living with the Land

*Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

And the winner is…..

Pirates of the Caribbean with 56% of the votes! Second place honors went to Jungle Cruise with 15% of the total vote and Living with the Land rounded out the Top 3 with 13% of the votes. Small World and Maelstrom also got some love, earning 10% and 5% respectfully. Okay now on to this week’s poll question! With the Olympics dominating the landscape the past few weeks, I thought it’d be fun to dedicate this poll to some of the Countries that are not currently represented with a pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. So here’s the question:

[poll id=”176″]

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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