Plus… Opening Date announced for Lighting McQueen’s Racing Academy, details on Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival, and more!
January is here, and with it comes a new year of fun and excitement at Walt’s Vacation Kingdom of the World! So let’s dive in to the January 2019 Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin this edition of the Newswire at Magic Kingdom Park, as Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration is officially underway. The big event had its official kickoff on Friday, January 18, in honor of the 90th birthdays of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The fun begins on Main Street, U.S.A., where park-goers can stop by Town Square Theater and meet Mickey and Minnie dressed in special celebratory attire (you can also catch Pluto in special attire at Pete’s Silly Sideshow). While your inside Town Square Theater, be sure to stop by Celebration Central to pick up your Party Invitation and stickers. There’s even a Guestbook you can sign for the birthday duo! Additional fun on Main Street, U.S.A. includes musical tributes from the Dapper Dans and the Casey’s Corner Pianist, as well as surprise Character Meet and Greets in Town Square by the Flag Pole. These Meet and Greets will be completely random, but at anytime you could see some sought-after Characters not often found regularly in Magic Kingdom Park, like Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the Seven Dwarfs, Gideon, Fowlfellow, Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear, Remy, Emile, Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, and many more surprises. In addition, a variety of food and beverage options themed to the celebration will be available throughout the parks quick-service locations. You’ll also find exclusive merchandise available for purchase at the Emporium and other MK shops.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the main attraction for Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration is the debut of a brand-new daytime parade. Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party made its debut Friday, January 18. The parade includes several vibrantly decorated floats, and Mickey and Minnie are accompanied by all their best pals, including Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Max, Chip n’ Dale, Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, and more. Also new for the Street Party is the addition of live singers who put a contemporary touch on classic tunes from the Mickey Mouse Club. The Street Party culminates in front of Cinderella Castle, and totals about twelve minutes in length. There are currently three performances daily, with the first performance beginning at 11 AM.
For more news out of MK, let’s venture into Fantasyland. Peter Pan’s Flight is in the midst of a little downtime, as the attraction was grounded on Monday, January 7. Operations are scheduled to resume on Friday, February 1, putting the total refurb time for the attraction at just under four weeks.
For more news on the refurbishment front, let’s follow the hub into Tomorrowland. The Tomorrowland Speedway is now closed, as the track will be reconfigured to allow ample space for the TRON Coaster. The timetable for the track adjustment is set at around 4 1/2 months, as the Tomorrowland Speedway is estimated to be back in action on Friday, May 17.
For more Tomorrowland news, let’s stop into Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. There’s a pair of new secret menu items, and I just happen to know the Astro Organ player at Cosmic Ray’s so I’ve got the inside scoop! The first secret menu item is the Pork Belly Burger. Priced at $17.99 (plus tax) and served with your choice of French fries, mashed potatoes, or green beans, this hearty burger consists of an 8-oz. blend of pork belly and angus beef topped with smoked Gouda cheese, sriracha aïoli, and pork rinds. The second new secret menu item is the Galaxy Loaded Fries. Priced at $6.49 (plus tax), these spuds are equipped with bacon, cheese sauce, garlic ranch sauce, pico relish, and a sprinkle of flaming hot cheese dust. Be sure to stop by and try these great new secret menu items, and if you see Sonny tell him Donnie and Al say hi!
Time to park-hop over to Epcot now, as the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is just on the Horizon. 2019 will be the 26th inception of the Festival, which kick-starts on Wednesday, March 6. Festivities are set to conclude Monday, June 3, spanning a massive period of 90 days! This year there will be over 70 topiaries on display around Future World and World Showcase, including a new Toy Story topiary of Bo Peep and her sheep at the new Family Play Zone. The Outdoor Food Kitchens will be back in the mix once again this year, with new food and drink options and even some new kiosks set to debut this year. Some of the Outdoor Kitchens will also have their own herb and veggie gardens! Speaking of gardens, the Garden Rocks Concert Series has expanded its lineup this year, as there will now be musical performances at the America Gardens Theatre every day thought the duration of the 90-Day Festival. The lineup hasn’t been fully announced yet, but some of the performers scheduled to appear so far include Christopher Cross (April 3-4), The Spinners (April 5-7), Lonestar (April 24-26), The Orchestra starring former members of E.L.O. (April 27-30), former Eagles guitarist Don Felder (May 5-7), Colin Hay of Men at Work (May 20-21), and many more. Be sure to check back in with the Newswire for more news on the 2019 Flower and Garden Festival as the start date draws closer.
Time to hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now, where another big celebration is getting underway. The Studios is set to celebrate its 30th Anniversary this year, and there’s no shortage of big events on tap. Banners honoring the Studios 30th Anniversaryhave already begun to spring up around the park. There’s also a new area to explore, as the Incredibles-themed Municiberg just opened up to Guests in the area formerly known as Pixar Place. In Municiberg, you’ll find lively music, dancing, and fun featuring the lovable superheros Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone. In addition, you’ll also find an indoor Meet and Greet featuring famed supersuit designer Edna Mode. But that’s not all, as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are both scheduled to open up later this year. In addition to all that, the new indoor show Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will be officially making its debut. The action-packed show will put you face-to-face with racing legend Lightning McQueen, as he showcases his talents and lets the audience in on some of the tricks of the trade he’s learned throughout his career. Watch as Lightning reminisces about his past triumphs and tribulations. He’ll even be joined by some of his pals like Tow Mater and Cruz Ramirez. A giant wrap-around screen nearly two stories high and spanning 200 feet end to end will fully immerse you in the high octane thrills, allowing for a truly unique and new experience. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will take up residence in the Sunset Showcase building, which was constructed back in 2015 near Rock N’ Roller Coaster and played host to the Club Disney and Club Villain special events.
Our final bit of news today takes us over to the Backlot Express, where the menu has deviated itself from the Star Wars-themed items it had been featuring the past several years. The Dark Side Chicken and Waffles is gone, and in its place you’ll find Chicken Breast Strips and Biscuit (11.49 plus tax). In addition, the Royal Guard Burger has been replaced with the Backlot Burger ($13.99 plus tax), and the Galactic Salad with Chicken is now simply known as the Southwest Salad with Chicken ($10.99 plus tax). The rest of the menu includes delicious options like the 1/3 Pound Angus Bacon Cheeseburger ($11.99 plus tax), California Club Chicken Sandwich ($11.49 plus tax), Cuban Sandwich ($11.99), and Vegetarian Caprese Sandwich ($9.99 plus tax). The menu also still features a nice variety of beer, wine, specialty cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the January 2019 Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire. But I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
(Lead photo copyright Disney. Other photos from the personal collection of Kendall Foreman.)
To learn more about Don and read his recent editions of the WDW Radio Newswire, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.