#TBT Sorcerer Mickey Hat Deconstruction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A Look Back at Sorcerer Mickey Hat Deconstruction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In early 2015, the Sorcerer Mickey Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was dismantled and taken down. The process took only a few weeks, but progress seemed to move slowly as many watch the deconstruction with great sadness.


On the other hand, many were happy to see the hat taken down and the original view of the Chinese Theater returned. Which side of the hat battle were you on?

Walt Disney World News Update May 27, 2015

Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, May 27, 2015

What’s New This Week?

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park

New!  New Show Coming to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: In “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular,” the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season. With only a few hours to run amuck, the three sisters decide to use their magic to throw the best, evil Halloween party this side of the graveyard! With the help of the Disney villains, Winifred, Mary and Sarah gather together sinister shadows, nefarious nightmares and the power of their frightful friends to conjure the ultimate Hocus Pocus Party Potion and cast a spell on everyone in the Magic Kingdom Park. “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” features appearances by Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent and other great Disney villains, along with dancers, projections and special effects that combine to make this new show a not-to-be-missed Halloween treat.

Reminder! Adjusted Times for Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!: Due to refurbishment work on Main Street, U.S.A., Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! will be presented at 12:30 and 5:40 p.m. on  June 2, June 3, June 8, June 15 and June 29, 2015.

Epcot

New! New Epcot Tour Around World Showcase: A new tour, World Showcase: DestiNations, brings culture, history and Disney magic to life. From the streets of Paris to the Bavarian countryside, see what has inspired the Disney animators for years in the creation of some of our most beloved movie classics. The five-hour World Showcase walking tour discusses highlights from over four thousand years of architecture and world history and ends with a dining experience at Restaurant Marrakesh. Cost is $109+tax per person.

New! Disney-Pixar “Inside Out” Preview Begins at Epcot May 30: Beginning May 30, the Imagination Pavilion theater in Epcot will offer a limited-time special preview inside Disney -Pixar’s original new film “Inside Out.” “Inside Out” ventures inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley and introduces us to the Emotions that guide her. Based in Headquarters, the five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy, whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Guests will experience an advance look at a sequence from the film, complete with special in-theater effects and an exclusive introduction from the filmmakers. The “Inside Out” preview is scheduled through July. Captain EO will remain temporarily closed during the preview and is planned to return in July.

Inside Out movie poster

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Reminder! Star Wars Weekends Schedule: Immerse yourself in another world with the power of the Force during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This event runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15–June 14. While at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll find an entire saga’s worth of characters, specialty shows and celebrities on hand for pictures, autographs, motorcades and more. The 2015 Star Wars Weekends celebrity appearances include:
Weekend III (May 29 – 31)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Daniel Logan: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones)
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV (June 5 – 7)

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Ashley Eckstein: Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V (June 12 – 14)

  • Frank Oz: Yoda (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Star Wars Rebels)
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Update! New Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Now Open: The much-anticipated Harambe Market opened  May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There food plays a starring role with African-inspired street food at four walk-up windows and plenty of shaded seating – 200+ seats. Built around a Colonial-era train depot design complete with a 1960s water tower, the marketplace re-creates a bustling center of commerce where guests are welcomed from around the world who have come to visit the little seaside town and venture out to the reserve to observe Africa’s animals. It’s designed to be the sort of food you’d find in a street market in Africa, and the menus are intended to reflect the unique personalities of the establishments’ owners. “Kitamu Grill” offers skewered chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich. “Famous Sausages” features a corn dog, inspired by a South African sausage called a boerewors, dipped in curry-infused corn batter. “Chef Mwanga’s” serves a spice-rubbed karubi rib with green papaya-carrot slaw. A fourth window, called Wanjohi Refreshments (“wanjohi” means “brewer” in Swahili) offers beverages including six South African wines by the glass; Safari Amber Lager and Orlando Brewing I-4 IPA on draft; red sangria with Van der Hum tangerine liqueur from South Africa and more.

New! Additional Construction Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Construction begins the evening of May 26 on a new “grab and go” food and beverage location in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom where FastPass tickets were once distributed for Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. Details have not yet been released.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Pool Hours Change at Grand Floridian Resort: Beginning Sunday, May 24, the pool hours for the Beach Pool at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

New! Changes to My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party: Beginning Nov. 29, the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party will not be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Reminder! Chef Mickey’s to Offer Brunch: Beginning May 31, 2015, Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will offer brunch. For brunch, the menu of breakfast favorites expands with soup; salads including Caesar; seafood, fresh broccoli, antipasto, chicken and Caprese, and hot dishes such as barbecued ribs, seafood étouffée and baked salmon. (And, yes, the famous Mickey waffles are on the brunch menu.) The ice cream bar and Contemporary bakery sweets also will be part of the expansive buffet. Operating hours in the morning will be changed to 7:00am – 2:30pm, with brunch items being added to the buffet after 11:30am. Hours for brunch are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Breakfast is still 7-11:30 a.m. and dinner 5-9:30 p.m.) Meals are one table-service entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Reservations open May 22 for what promises to be a popular new addition to Walt Disney World Resort dining.

Walt Disney World Resort – General

New! Dining Plan Enhancements Coming Soon: Starting May 31, Guests will have more flexibility and choice in using entitlements in nearly every Disney-operated food & beverage and merchandise venue throughout Walt Disney World Resort. This includes substitutions, expanded snack offerings and more. Details have not yet been released.

New! Hoypoloi Gallery Now Closed at Downtown Disney: After 18 years, Hoypoloi Gallery officially bid Downtown Disney farewell on May 25, 2015. Guests can find some of their favorite art and gift items at Hoypoloi’s sister gallery, Pop Gallery (in Downtown Disney, between Splitsville and AMC Theater). You can also visit their three Chicago locations at O’Hare International Airport (Terminals 1 and 2) and Chinatown. A new location for United World Soccer, a store specializing in authentic soccer gear and merchandise from teams around the globe, will take Hoypoloi’s place in July.

Reminder! “Teen Beach 2:” Beach Party at Typhoon Lagoon May 22-July 5: As part of the Coolest Summer Ever at Walt Disney World Resort, a new summertime dance party is surfing into Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. From May 22 through July 5, Guests can join in the “Teen Beach 2:” Beach Party daily (weather permitting) at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park Surf Pool Beach. Guests can join “bikers” Rev and Kicks and “surfers” Bingo and Sunny as they dance and play beach-themed games while DJ “Amp” spins remixes of retro tunes. “Teen Beach 2:” Beach Party is inspired by the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Teen Beach 2,” set to premiere this summer.

Teen Beach Party 2015 actors

Reminder! Cirque du Soleil Dark May 17-31: From May 17-31, Cirque du Soleil will experience a dark period. There will be no performances at this time.

Merchandise Updates

New! ‘Tomorrowland’ Shirt Available at Disney Parks Online Store: To celebrate the release of this new motion picture, a T-shirt for adults, women and kids is now available on the Disney Parks online store through May 28. Designed by Disney Design Group artist Richard Terpstra, the shirts will contain a glow-in-the-dark “Tomorrowland” logo. The back of the shirts will also have the word “Tomorrowland.” You can find the shirt by visiting this link.  Also, an open edition Tomorrowland pin will be released at Disney Parks. I couldn’t resist recreating a scene from the film using this new pin as a prop. Look for the pin in a variety of merchandise locations at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

tomorrowland movie shirts

Reminder! Star Wars Force for Change: Starting May 15, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will carry T-shirts for adults, women and kids featuring a stormtrooper from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. During the final weekend, June 12-14, they will offer a limited edition stormtrooper pin at Darth’s Mall. Twenty-five percent of the retail sale price of this product will be donated to U.S. Fund for UNICEF in support of UNICEF Kid Power, an innovative new program that uses the world’s first Wearable-For-Good to get youth physically active to provide lifesaving, nutrition-rich food packets to kids in need around the world. These items are the first products for Star Wars: The Force Awakens released by Disney Parks. They are also the first character products released for the upcoming film. To learn more about Star Wars: Force For Change, please visit www.StarWars.com/ForceForChange.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Universal City Walk Mini Golf

Universal Orlando CityWalk Hollywood Drive-in Golf

As Orlando locals, we love playing mini golf with our families! One of our favorite mini golf courses and what we consider the best mini golf in Orlando is Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal Orlando at CityWalk.


More About Hollywood Drive-In Golf: The two all-new, state-of-the-art 18-hole courses are unlike any other miniature golf experience. Inspired by the 1950’s era, guests enter a classic drive-in theater box office area where they select either a “single-feature” (18-holes) or “double-feature” (36-holes) with a choice of two family friendly courses, “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens” and “Invaders From Planet Putt.” Based on vintage horror flicks and “little green men” science fiction films, guests putt through elaborate movie-style scenes, passing through a cemetery, under a giant spider, around an enormous alien robot, through the open mouth of a giant space worm, and into the basement lab of a towering haunted house. Cutting-edge interactive elements and special effects immerse guests further into the “double feature,” and LED neon edge-lighting allows play during the day, night, and late night.

Roa’s Rapids Lazy River at Aquatica Waterpark

Lazy River at Aquatica

Imagine a lazy river, but with rapids!  Roas Rapids at Aquatica WaterPark is the ultimate “lazy river” with quick speeds whirling you through the river.  Float on your back or grab a life jacket and enjoy the ride!

Roa’s Rapids race you along an action river ride through the white waters of Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™.

Get ready for an awesome adventure through a roaring sea of high tides, swirling whirlies, and gushing geysers- all at speeds that leave ordinary river rides eating this one’s wake.

Guests under 51″ are required to wear a life vest.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort Overview

Video Overview of  Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened it’s doors in 1971, but remains one of Walt Disney World’s most popular resorts today. It’s located on the monorail line and is also just a short walk to Magic Kingdom Park. Because of it’s proximity to the park, many rooms offer views of the nightly fireworks! Some of the most popular Walt Disney World restaurants are also located here too — Chef Mickey’s and California Grill. If you are thinking about a stay at one of the Deluxe Disney resort hotels, consider Disney’s Contemporary Resort one of the top choices. Take a look around the resort with the overview video below:


Retreat to this ultra-modern Resort hotel and discover award-winning dining, white-sand beaches, spectacular views and dazzling pools. Walk to Magic Kingdom park, or catch the Resort Monorail as it breezes through the iconic A-frame Contemporary Tower. Inside, a 90-foot-tall mural by Disney Legend Mary Blair—responsible for the distinct look and feel of the “it’s a small world” attraction—celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest.

Cool off at 2 pools located on the shore of Bay Lake. Glide down the 17-foot-high, curving waterslide at the feature pool, and relax in one of 2 whirlpool spas. Children can even make a splash in the water playground designed just for kids.

You can also escape to Bay Pool, the all-ages quiet pool that juts out over Bay Lake. Soak up the sun from a lounge chair on the deck, or rent a private cabana for added luxury.

Key West SeaWorld Orlando

Key West SeaWorld Orlando

Imagine touching Sting Rays and dolphins during your Orlando vacation!  Sea World Orlando features a section called Key West that includes just these experiences, along with dining and shopping.  This section is a true Key West adventure!


Do you love dolphins? Then, this experience is for you! Spend up-close time with bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Cove®, and you’ll quickly understand what makes these clever characters one of the park’s most popular animals. You’ll learn how our animal team takes care of these amazing mammals and have the opportunity to touch the dolphins while our park photographers capture that special moment. Guests can also purchase packages that include touching the dolphins and having their photos taken with them under a trainer’s supervision. Those 10-minute packages start at $15 per person — but they do not include feeding the dolphins.

A Different Dining Experience at Boma-Flavors of Africa

Boma dtpBoma-Flavors of Africa is located in Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. It is a wonderful table service dining experience that is a unique and delicious. There is something to please every taste bud at Boma! The restaurant is themed after an African marketplace with thatched roof carving stations, colorful decor and an open kitchen that features a wood-burning grill and rotisserie.

Lunch and dinner are served at side-by-side buffet stations at Boma. The menu is inspired by dishes from over 50 African countries. In addition to the tastes and textures of exotic African cuisines, traditional American favorites are included to make it very family-friendly. If you have special dietary requirements, let your server know and the chef will personally guide you to the foods that suit your needs.

During breakfast hours you can enjoy African pastries, made-to-order omelets, French toast bread pudding, corned beef hash, pancakes, carved meats including, turkey, ham and corned beef as well as an inviting display of fresh fruit. African dishes like Pap (maize porridge) and Chakalaka (spicy vegetable relish) are offered. Be sure to taste the Bobotie-a type of meatloaf with an egg based topping. It’s really good.  A glass of their specialty blended fruit juice or a press pot of Kenyan coffee will start you off to a great Disney day!

The dinner hours are filled with more culinary delights with offerings that include roasted meats, grilled seafood and vegetarian dishes. The soup selection is amazing. My personal favorite is the Butternut Squash Soup. You will find assorted salads and freshly prepared mouth-watering desserts, including the famous Zebra Domes! There is a separate station with kid-friendly foods like chicken, mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese. Boma-Flavors of Africa features a very large selection of beverages and cocktails. Why not try something a little different to go with your African-inspired meal?

BomaWDWConsider adding a meal at Boma-Flavors of Africa during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  It is an experience that will bring you back again and again!

Written by Sheri Morris, “Main Street Morris”   Sheri is a proud grandmother with a keen eye for detail. She specializes in Disney Travel for adults and RV travel. Book your next vacation with Sheri at 804 405 5005 or at sheri@destinationsinflorida.com.

Star Wars Disney Cruise

New! Star Wars Disney Cruise


In early 2016, Disney Cruise Line guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters of the Star Wars saga during a brand-new event of galactic proportions: Stars Wars Day at Sea. Marking the first official appearance of the heroes and villains of Star Wars aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship, Star Wars Day at Sea combines the power of the Force and the magic of Disney—for a day of fun more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a “galaxy” far, far away—in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including:

*Deck party celebration
*Meet-and-greets with favorite Star Wars Characters
*Star Wars-themed activities for younglings of all ages
*Out-of-this-world food and beverage offerings
*Exclusive merchandise and more

With the only at-sea screenings of Episode VII, this event will thrill Padawans (Jedi in training) and Jedi Masters in every family. It is … your destiny.

Orlando Outlet Shopping

World Class Shopping During Your Orlando Vacation

Premium Outlets

Photo: Simon Premium Outlets

Whether you need to pick up forgotten items during your trip or you just want to get away from the hustle of the Orlando theme parks, the Orlando shopping scene offers something for everyone. Orlando currently has eight major shopping malls, and three of those malls are outlet malls. These outlet malls boast savings of 25-65% off retail prices at many popular major retailers. Domestic and international tourists alike can save a bundle shopping at the outlets. The three outlets malls that are located in Orlando and are close to the tourist area are:

Orlando Premium Outlets International Drive, 4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 (Map)

Shopping:

Orlando Premium Outlets is the closest to Universal Resorts and features the Disney’s Character Warehouse, which is a clearinghouse for the out of season and surplus Disney merchandise. Some of the largest stores there are Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Victoria’s Secret, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Nike and Forever 21.

Getting there: You can take I-4 East to the 75A – Universal exit. Follow to International Drive and turn left. The center is located at the North End of International Drive.  The I-Ride trolley stops there too, every 15 minutes. Trolley stop # 1. (More info about the tolley at www.iridetrolley.com)

Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland Road, 8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 (Map)

Shopping:

This outlet mall is close to Downtown Disney. It also has the Disney Characters Warehouse, but this location has a much larger variety of items than the Premium outlets.  Some of the largest stores there are Banana Republic, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Nike and J. Crew.

Getting there:

You can take I-4 Westbound, exit 68 (Rte. 535). Left at light onto Route 535, left at next light onto Vineland Avenue at Little Lake Bryan; proceed 1 mile.  They also offer a free shuttle service from participating hotels on International Drive, and the I-Ride trolley stops there every 15 minutes. Trolley stop # 42. (More info about the tolley at www.iridetrolley.com)

More Information:

Don’t forget to check out the Orlando Premium Outlets website,  http://www.premiumoutlets.com/  They offer tons of information about their stores and the option to join the VIP Shoppers Program, which features Exclusive Online Coupons, Voucher for a Free VIP Coupon Book, Deals Around Town, Insider Info from Your Favorite Brands, Email Updates: Sales & Special Events, and more.

Premium Outlets also offer discounts for our men and women in the military.  Members of the military, veterans and their families can show their IDs at the on-site Information Center all year long to receive a free VIP Coupon Book. Plus, join the VIP Shopper Club for free access to exclusive online coupons.

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, 15657 S Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, Fl 32821-6316 (Map)

Photo: Lake Buena Vista Factory Store

Photo: Lake Buena Vista Factory Store

Shopping: 

This mall is nearest to Walt Disney World.  It has similar merchandise as the other two malls but is the smallest of the three. Some of the largest stores there Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, Old Navy Outlet and VF Outlet.

Getting there:

From I-4, take  exit 68, 2 miles south on S Apopka Vineland Rd (State Road 535). The Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores provides FREE scheduled shopping shuttle to and from select participating hotels.

More Information:

Lake Buena Vista Factory also has a great website with loads of information for shoppers: http://lbvfs.com.  Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores also has a members club that offers great deals and printable  coupons for shoppers.

Written by Michelle “Princess Traveling Pants” Durdan.  From the budget conscious family with kids to the retirees wanting the vacation of a lifetime, Michelle is your one stop destination for your dream vacation.  Book your next vacation with Michelle at 262-613-1435 or michelle@destinationstoexplore.com.

Walt Disney World News Update May 20, 2015

Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, May 20, 2015

What’s New This Week?

Coolest Summer Cupcake

Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park

New! ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ Kicks Off with 24 Hour Event May 22: Magic Kingdom Park will host a 24-hour extravaganza on Friday, May 22 to kick off the “Coolest Summer Ever” at the Walt Disney World Resort. The park will open at 6:00am and remain open for 24 hours, closing Saturday, May 23 at 6:00am. The celebration will feature character greetings, dance parties and surprises throughout the night. In addition to all the usual favorite characters and shows at the park,  there will also be a full roster of amazing, unique entertainment experiences that will definitely make this day one of the coolest ever!

  • The extravaganza kicks off with some very special appearances in the Welcome Show as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf join the rest of the gang welcoming everyone into the park.
  • A Flag Raising ceremony will be held at dawn in Town Square, featuring the Reedy Creek Honor Guard.
  • Some favorite stars from Disney Channel will be Grand Marshals for the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at 3 p.m.
  • Over in Tomorrowland, Disney Channel Club Chill takes over Rockettower Plaza Stage from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., with DJ Frost leading a dance party with music videos from Disney Channel stars and sneak peeks of upcoming Disney Channel Original Movies Teen Beach 2 and Descendants.
  • Once things cool down in Tomorrowland, Rockettower Plaza switches gears for sing-along screenings of Disney’s “Frozen” from midnight – 4 a.m.
  • There’s even more “Frozen” fun in store, when Olaf, Kristoff, Anna and Elsa put the Magic Kingdom “on ice” with pre-parade appearances just ahead of the 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • Guests looking to dance the night away can join the Disney pals – all dressed in their PJs – at one of two late-night dance parties. They can kick up their heels at the Frontierland Dance Party, near Country Bear Jamboree, from 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. At Cinderella Castle, Disney’s “Up All Night” Dance Party keeps things hopping from 2:00 a.m. – 5:45 a.m. with awesome DJ, stiltwalkers and lots of fun party people!
  • As that 24th hour comes to a close, everyone will make their way to Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A., for a special finale moment with Mickey and the gang.

New! ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ Cupcake: Guests will find a festive cupcake found in the following locations:

  • Main Street Bakery and Main Street Confectionary on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Gaston’s Tavern and Big Top Souvenirs in New Fantasyland

Reminder! Adjusted Times for Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!: Due to refurbishment work on Main Street, U.S.A., Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! will be presented at 12:30 and 5:40 p.m. on  June 2, June 3, June 8, June 15 and June 29, 2015.

Epcot

Update! American Music Machine Set Change: A new musical performance group called American Music Machine is now performing Wednesday through Sunday each week. American Music Machine is a five-member group that features a repertoire of diverse and contemporary American music. Their performances are 12:30, 1:40, 2:20, 3 and 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday at the America Gardens Theatre at the American Adventure.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New! Star Wars Cupcakes Have Returned:  The Force is strong at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with not only two, but three specialty cupcakes this year! Darth Vader cupcake is made out of chocolate cake with a rich chocolate-peanut butter filling, and chocolate frosting. This treat is available at the following locations: Watto’s Grotto, ABC Commissary, FairFax Fare, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls, Rosie’s All American Café, and The Trolley Car Café.

The Yoda cupcake is made of chocolate with chocolate hazelnut buttercream and candy crush. And new this year, Jabba The Hutt cupcake is made of chocolate with salted caramel frosting. Both treats are available at the following locations: Watto’s Grotto, Backlot Express, Starring Rolls, Studio Catering Co.,  and The Trolley Car Café.

Reminder! Star Wars Weekends Schedule: Immerse yourself in another world with the power of the Force during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This event runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15–June 14. While at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll find an entire saga’s worth of characters, specialty shows and celebrities on hand for pictures, autographs, motorcades and more. The 2015 Star Wars Weekends celebrity appearances include:
Weekend I (May 15 – 17)

  • Ian McDiarmid: Senator/Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Amy Allen: Aayla Secura (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II (May 22 – 24)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Silas Carson: Ki-Adi-Mundi, Nute Gunray (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III (May 29 – 31)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Daniel Logan: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones)
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV (June 5 – 7)

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Ashley Eckstein: Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V (June 12 – 14)

  • Frank Oz: Yoda (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Star Wars Rebels)
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New! New Guest Path in Asia Now Open: Work is complete on a pathway in the Asia section of the theme park. A new bypass, which is now open, will connect the area of Asia next to Kali River Rapids and the side of the siamang exhibit by Expedition Everest. This pathway is already depicted on the park guidemap. It is available for Guests to use as a quick way to access the opposite side of the land while still getting a great view of the animals.

New! Character Meet and Greet Changes: Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have the following character changes beginning May 24. Guests will be able to meet Tarzan daily along the Discovery Island Trail. Pocahontas will be greeting Guests intermittently at the Discovery Island Character Landing location.

New! Dining Refurbishments in Progress: Following is a list of the dining location refurbishments currently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: Gardens Kiosk – Closed through June 6. Creature Comforts will reopens as a Starbucks location in June. Flame Tree Barbecue remains closed until late May.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Chef Mickey’s to Offer Brunch: Beginning May 31, 2015, Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will offer brunch. For brunch, the menu of breakfast favorites expands with soup; salads including Caesar; seafood, fresh broccoli, antipasto, chicken and Caprese, and hot dishes such as barbecued ribs, seafood étouffée and baked salmon. (And, yes, the famous Mickey waffles are on the brunch menu.) The ice cream bar and Contemporary bakery sweets also will be part of the expansive buffet. Operating hours in the morning will be changed to 7:00am – 2:30pm, with brunch items being added to the buffet after 11:30am. Hours for brunch are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Breakfast is still 7-11:30 a.m. and dinner 5-9:30 p.m.) Meals are one table-service entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Reservations open May 22 for what promises to be a popular new addition to Walt Disney World Resort dining.

chef mickey's disney contemporary

New! Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian to Serve Coffee During Day: Beginning Thursday, May 14, Mizner’s Lounge will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a coffee bar for Guests. The lounge will operate as normal from 4:30 p.m. to midnight—serving beer, wine and cocktails for Guests.

Reminder! Menu Changes at Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort: While the Gulf Delta Chilled Shellfish has been removed from the lineup, the Ol’ Man Island Oysters have been added, now combined with the new Colonel’s Peace Pieces, featuring a blend of lightly fried oysters, crawfish, shrimp, okra, and drizzled with the house-made remoulade. Joining the appetizer selection will be the Pirogue Platter, including the Chef’s selection of meats and artisanal cheeses. The Ponchartrain Pasta will now include orecchiette pasta, Andouille sausage and fresh shrimp, complimented with fresh corn, and tossed in a light cream sauce. The Voodoo Chicken will now be accompanied by fluffy waffles and garnished with maple bacon gravy. Along with these changes, Guests will now be able to add Shrimp Creole, Crab Imperial or Crawfish Mac n’ Cheese to enhance their entrée experience.

Walt Disney World Resort – General

New! Additional New Retail and Dining Announced for Disney Springs: As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, the area is doubling in size and bringing even more
shopping, dining and entertainment experiences to Guests between now and 2016. We’re excited to announce 13 new high-profile tenants have just signed on to be part of Disney Springs and will join a diverse mix of retailers and restaurants. Coming to Disney Springs:
RETAIL

  • Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.
  • Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.
  • Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there.
  • UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.
  • PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.
  • UGG: The UGG® brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.
  • L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.
  • Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.

DINING

  • Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.
  • Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.
  • Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings – all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.
  • Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.
  • Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.

These tenants will be located throughout Town Center and The Landing. In addition, previously announced Morimoto Asia, STK Orlando and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar are scheduled to open in Fall 2015.

Disney springs Shopping

New! Cirque du Soleil Dark May 17-31: From May 17-31, Cirque du Soleil will experience a dark period. There will be no performances at this time.

Merchandise Events

New! Star Wars Force for Change: Starting May 15, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will carry T-shirts for adults, women and kids featuring a stormtrooper from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. During the final weekend, June 12-14, they will offer a limited edition stormtrooper pin at Darth’s Mall. Twenty-five percent of the retail sale price of this product will be donated to U.S. Fund for UNICEF in support of UNICEF Kid Power, an innovative new program that uses the world’s first Wearable-For-Good to get youth physically active to provide lifesaving, nutrition-rich food packets to kids in need around the world. These items are the first products for Star Wars: The Force Awakens released by Disney Parks. They are also the first character products released for the upcoming film. To learn more about Star Wars: Force For Change, please visit www.StarWars.com/ForceForChange.

New! ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ Merchandise: The “Coolest Summer Ever” in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort! This 24-hour party starts 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, and runs until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23. Guests will be able to purchase a commemorative T-shirt featuring the host of the party, Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen.” This year’s shirt will contain ink that changes color when exposed to sunlight. The shirt will be found in Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom Park. We will also offer it online from May 22-31 at DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

Olaf Coolest Summer Tshirt

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.