In Case You Missed It…

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Since there have been a few minor news stories in last week that have gone without posting, I figured we should just share all of them in one giant post:

Night of Joy moves back to the Magic Kingdom this year:

Past Christian music “Artists of the Year” Third Day, mercyme and Chris Tomlin and 2010 “Artist of the Year” nominees Casting Crowns and Francesca Battistelli head a star-powered 15-act lineup set for Disney’s Night of Joy 2010 Sept. 10-11 when the long-running Christian music event makes its return to Magic Kingdom.

Also part of the two-night event (when specific acts play one evening each): David Crowder*Band, Family Force 5, Red, BarlowGirl, Group 1 Crew, Day of Fire, Smokie Norful, Lecrae, 10th Avenue North and Sidewalk Prophets.

Tickets for Night of Joy 2010 will go on sale May 1. For more information about the event, visit online at nightofjoy.com.

Wishes! Desert Parties returned after the refurbishment of the Tomorrowland Terrace was completed:

The Wishes Dessert Party has returned to the Tomorrowland Terrace in Magic Kingdom, providing treats and sweets to eat along with a prime viewing location for the popular “Wishes” fireworks spectacular.

For $25.99 ages 10 and older, $13.99 ages 3 to 9, guests can settle in an hour before “Wishes” and enjoy a wide range of sweets with coffee, tea and other beverages. Magic Kingdom admission is required. Advance reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling 407/WDW-DINE.

Star Wars Weekends are almost here:

Once again, the power of the Force and the magic of Disney combine in May and June for Star Wars Weekends, a sci-fi fan-fest inspired by the popular film saga. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 21-June 13, 2010, Disney’s Hollywood Studios becomes the galaxy’s home for out-of-this-world characters including Sith, Bith, droids, bounty hunters, Twi’leks and Rodians.

Dates are May 21-23, May 28-30, June 4-6 and June 11-13. This year’s event will celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back,” which first appeared in theaters May 21, 1980.

More than 50 Star Wars characters will roam the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greets and photo opportunities. Also featured: the chance to purchase special- and limited-edition Star Wars memorabilia, Star Wars trivia contests, Jedi Training Academy, Star Wars parades, rides aboard Star Tours and the popular “Hyperspace Hoopla” dance party.

Celebrities from the Star Wars films and creative geniuses who helped create the saga will be on hand each weekend for star conversations and autograph sessions.
(*Talent subject to change)

The celebrity hosts for each weekend are Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett in “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi”)and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”).

Special guests making weekend appearances include:

· May 21-23: Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett in “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones”), Daniel Logan (Boba Fett in “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones”), and Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Captain Rex in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)
· May 28-30: Matthew Wood (voice of General Grevious in “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”), Lorne Peterson (model-maker who worked on all six Star Wars live-action films) and Tom Kane (voice of Yoda in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)
· June 4-6: Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi”), Ray Park (Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”) and Dave Filoni (director of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)
· June 11-13: Ray Park (Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”), Peter Mayhew (who played everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca, in four of the live-action films) and James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”).

Event activities are included in theme park admission.

Press release featuring the three new restaurants coming to Walt Disney World:

During fall 2010, new culinary adventures coming to the Vacation Kingdom include an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria and a Latin chicken restaurant, while a popular Mexican restaurant reopens with a fresh menu and expanded seating:

In Italy at Epcot World Showcase, Via Napoli, an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, will feature wood-burning ovens – and will import water from a source that most resembles the water in Naples, Italy, home of some of the world’s best pizza dough. This 300-seat pizzeria will feature a menu inspired by the famous pizzerias of southern Italy. The menu also will feature pastas, salads, sandwiches and Italian wines. The Patina Restaurant Group also operates Tutto Italia Ristorante at the pavilion.

At Downtown Disney Marketplace, Pollo Campero, an international Latin chicken quick-service restaurant chain, has partnered with franchisee Levy Campero to deliver a new restaurant concept. The restaurant will showcase Pollo Campero’s signature Latin chicken (which features the taste of lime and orange juices, red bell peppers and a special blend of Latin herbs and spices) as well as a new fresh concept named Fresh A-Peel (featuring fresh salads, sandwiches, fruits and healthy snacks) plus vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-sodium or organic offerings.

In Mexico at Epcot World Showcase, an expanded Cantina de San Angel restaurant will feature 400 combined seats with al fresco seating for quick-service meals plus a new, air-conditioned table-service restaurant featuring authentic specialty dishes from Mexico created by the talented culinary team at San Angel Inn, LLC., which has operated the food service at the Mexico pavilion for more than 25 years.

The luxury “pet resort” is finally opening later this year:

Slated for a late-summer opening, a full-service luxury pet care facility on Bonnet Creek Parkway across from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort will provide a comfortable home-away-from-home for Fido, Frisky and all their pet pals! The one-of-a-kind facility will be able to accommodate up to 270 dogs in a variety of standard and luxury suites, some with private outdoor patios and play yards. The separate “Kitty City” pavilion will be able to house up to 30 cats in two- and four-story cat condos. A special room is also available for the boarding of “pocket pets,” Including pet hamsters and birds.

The facility, to be operated by Best Friends Pet Care, will comprise more than 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space plus 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas. It will replace the five existing pet care facilities throughout Walt Disney World Resort and will be open to both Walt Disney World Resort guests and visitors staying off-property.

It’s never too early to talk about the Food and Wine Festival:

When Walt Disney World Resort turned 25 in 1996, it popped the cork on a concept that has grown to become one of the Vacation Kingdom’s signature events: The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The 2010 festival, presented by Vanity Fair Napkins Oct. 1 through Nov. 14, is celebrating “15 years of delicious discoveries” with a focus on outdoor marketplaces where everyone from neophytes to epicures and aficionados can nibble and sip their way around the Epcot World Showcase promenade and across six continents of food and beverage adventures.

While specific details are still in development for the 15th annual festival, expect talented culinarians from across America and around the world to be involved with the marketplaces as well as with specialty dinners, tequila tastings, seminars featuring cooking demonstrations and wine tastings, and the popular Saturday night grand tastings – Party for the Senses. The festival also will feature the popular Eat to the Beat! concert series each evening.

Details about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be available this summer online at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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