Dateline Disney

Walt Disney World's Media Office publishes a bimonthly Press Release called Dateline Disney, which highlights WDW activities for that particular month.


May/June 2011

In this edition:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Star Wars Weekends return May 20-June 12, 2011; New character meet-and-greets coming in May and June

Epcot: 18th Flower & Garden Festival races to checkered-flag finish with "Cars 2" stars as event celebrates Pixar's 25th anniversary; HGTV Design Star judge Vern Yip festival's final celebrity presenter; Davy Jones, Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone bring down curtain on Flower Power Concert Series; Sounds Like Summer concert series returns in June 2011

Magic Kingdom: Tickets for Night of Joy 2011 on sale in May

Disney-Pixar's 'Cars 2' Stars Line up for Checkered-Flag Finish to Epcot Flower Fest, Celebrating 25th Anniversary of Pixar Animation Studios with Special Activities May 13-15

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is revving up for a dash to the finish line with Pixar's 25th Anniversary Weekend celebrating "Cars 2." The May 13-15, 2011 event at Walt Disney World Resort will bring this year's flowerfest to a checkered-flag conclusion with:

* Pixar character meet-and-greets throughout Future World and World Showcase.

* "Race Around World Showcase" kids activity that, when completed, earns a collectible button.

* Informal discussions (May 14 and May 15) featuring Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino, Oscar®-nominated Pixar producer Jonas Rivera, and "Cars" franchise guardian Jay Ward. Ward is currently involved with Disney-Pixar's "Cars 2," scheduled for release on June 24, 2011.

Entertainment is subject to change without notice. The special experiences are included with Epcot admission. More information about the special weekend is available at pixarweekend.com.

Star Wars Weekends Brings Sci-Fi Saga to Life at Disney's Hollywood Studios Beginning May 20, 2011

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jedi, Wookiees and Ewoks, Oh My! 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 20-June 12, 2011, 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 20-22, May 27-29, June 3-5 and June 10-12.

This year, guests blast into the universe of Star Wars like never before in a new attraction -- in 3-D! "Star Tours -- The Adventures Continue" takes Jedi from Tatooine to Coruscant and beyond. With several possible missions, you never know where the Force may take you.

There will be Star Wars characters roaming 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 and the popular "Hyperspace Hoopla" dance party. There'll also be celebrities from the Star Wars films and creative geniuses who helped create the saga on hand each weekend for star conversations and autograph sessions. Already announced:

* Anthony Daniels, known worldwide for his portrayal of everyone's favorite protocol droid, C-3PO, will return this year for Weekend 1 (May 20-22) and Weekend 2 (May 27-29).

* Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," will appear each weekend as Celebrity Host of a behind-the-scenes talk show entitled "Clone Wars: Behind the Force."

Guests can visit StarWars.com and Disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends for information updates. Event activities are included in theme park admission.

Tickets Available May 1 for Disney's Night of Joy 2011 featuring Christian Artist of the Year Francesca Battistelli, Newcomer Chris August,TobyMac, MercyMe, newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Jars of Clay, Skillet

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Christian music Artist of the Year Francesca Battistelli, TobyMac, MercyMe, newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Jars of Clay and Skillet will headline one of the most-decorated lineups in the 29-year history of Disney's Night of Joy Sept. 9 and Sept. 10, 2011.

Filling the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort with the sound of contemporary Christian music will be 16 artists with a 20-year legacy of accolades -- 70 GMA Dove Awards and eight GRAMMY® Awards. Thirteen of the 16 acts were 2011 Dove Award finalists in 19 categories that span the musical spectrum -- from rap and hip hop ... to rock and pop ... to contemporary gospel and praise and worship. They won 11 categories. Nobody was decorated more highly than Battistelli, who also received Dove Awards as Female Vocalist of the Year and for pop/contemporary recorded song (for "Beautiful, Beautiful"). Night of Joy newcomer Chris August earned the nod as New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year plus the Dove for pop-contemporary album (No Far Away).

Here's the night-by-night Night of Joy 2011 lineup:

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011: newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Skillet, Matthew West, Francesca Battistelli, Group 1 Crew, Sidewalk Prophets and Disciple.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011: MercyMe, TobyMac, Jars of Clay, Marvin Sapp, Sanctus Real, Kutless, Chris August and VaShawn Mitchell.

Night of Joy is an after-hours event that requires a special ticket. Event hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. each evening. While artists are performing at several stages, many popular Magic Kingdom attractions also are available for Night of Joy guests. Tickets are available beginning May 1, 2011. One-night tickets are $51.95 plus tax in advance, $59.95 plus tax day of. Two-night tickets are $92.95. Groups of 10 or more can purchase one-night tickets in advance for $46.95 plus tax each and two-night tickets for $87.95. Additional information is available at www.nightofjoy.com.

Monkees' Davy Jones, Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone Featured on Final Weekends of 2011 Flower Power Concert Series

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- They both came to America from Manchester, England, and both landed at the top of the pop music charts in the mid-1960s. "They" are Davy Jones and Peter Noone, who will bring the hit-making sounds of The Monkees and Herman's Hermits, respectively, to Epcot in May as the final two acts of the 2011 Flower Power Concert Series:

* Davy Jones, who'll take the America Gardens Theatre stage May 6-8, traveled from the television screen -- along with other The Monkees cast members -- to the top of the charts in 1966 aboard "Last Train to Clarksville." They scored two more No. 1's over the following 14 months, "I'm a Believer" and "Daydream Believer."

* Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, who'll bring down the curtain on this year's series (May 13-15), scored 11 Top 10 tunes over a 25-month period from early 1965 to early 1967. Included were two No. 1's in 1965, "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am."

May begins with the final day of Paul Revere & The Raiders' weekend at Epcot.

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Here's the May lineup (subject to change without notice):
May 1: Paul Revere & The Raiders
May 6-8: Davy Jones
May 13-15: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

Flower Power performances are included with Epcot admission. For additional information about the festival, visit disneyworld.com/flower.

HGTV Design Star Judge Vern Yip Scheduled as Final Speaker at 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Award-winning architectural and interior designer Vern Yip will be the featured presenter during the final weekend of the 18th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV.

Host of Deserving Design and judge for HGTV Design Star, Yip will take the HGTV Designers Stage May 13-15 to share "Top Design Trends Made Affordable and Accessible." HGTV Designers Stage is in the Festival Center (located next to Mission: Space in Future World at Epcot), which showcases HGTV and HGTV.com celebrities on weekends and other experts -- including "Master Gardeners" from University of Florida, Walt Disney World Horticulturists and a mix of national and regional TV/radio personalities, authors and educators -- seven days a week.

Here are topics and speakers scheduled for HGTV Designers' Stage and Greenhouse Stage in May:

HGTV Designers' Stage Presentations daily at noon and 3 p.m. (HGTV/HGTV.com celebrity distinctions are noted in parentheses)

May 1: "The Design Process: Curb Appeal Projects from Concept to Construction" -- John Gidding (Curb Appeal: The Block)
May 2-5: "The Small-Budget Gardener" -- Maureen Gilmer
May 6-8: "Beautiful on a Budget: High Style, Low Cost Secrets to Bringing Indoor Styling Outside" -- Frank Fontana (Design on a Dime)
May 9-12: "Slow Gardening" -- Felder Rushing
May 13-15: "Top Design Trends Made Affordable and Accessible" -- Vern Yip (HGTV Design Star)

Greenhouse Stage Presentations daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Visit the Festival Center for topics on days not noted)
May 1: "Inspiring Patio Designs" -- Allison Brooks
May 6-8: "Mastery & Mind in Living Flowers" -- Ricardo Bansho Carrasco
May 12-15: "A to Z on Herbs" -- Tracy Fischer

The presentations are included with Epcot admission, but seating is limited and on a first-come basis. Speakers, presentations and guests are subject to change without notice. For more Epcot International Flower & Garden information, visit disneyworld.com/flower.

New Character Fun Coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Winnie the Pooh, Phineas and Ferb and the car stars of the Disney•Pixar motion picture "Cars 2" are joining the ever-changing cavalcade of characters involved in meet-and-greets at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Here's what Walt Disney World guests have to look forward to:

* Winnie the Pooh replaces Lotso in the meet-and-greet location at Feature Animation on May 16. Lotso will continue to be seen in the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade.

* Guests will be able to take part in an energetic and fun-filled meet-and-play experience with Phineas and Ferb beginning May 16 near Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano.

* A "Cars 2" meet-and-greet is scheduled to open June 5 near Muppet*Vision 3-D.

* Lightning McQueen replaces Herbie the Love Bug on stage in Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Spectacular beginning June 5.

The experiences are included with regular admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios. More information about the Studios is available at Disneyworld.com.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Returns to Epcot June 12

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Sounds Like Summer concert series returns to Epcot beginning June 12 featuring tribute bands that will bring back the sounds of decades of summers gone by. Opening with Hotel California -- A Salute to the Eagles, June's lineup of bands will also "play" tribute to the timeless tunes of the Bee Gees and Bon Jovi.

"The key thing about tribute bands is that their intention is to reproduce, as closely as possible, the music of the artist whose work they are celebrating," explains Associate Creative Director Alan Bruun of Walt Disney World Entertainment. "It's not an impersonation, which mimics the personality and visual aspect of a star, or a cover band that puts their own spin on a song. A tribute band goes for authenticity. Each band that performs as part of the Sounds Like Summer concert series has received written authorization from the band whose music they play."

Sounds Like Summer concerts are under the skies of the open-air America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at Epcot. Show times are 5:45, 7 and 8:15 p.m.

Here's the June lineup (subject to change without notice):

June 12-18: Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles

June 19-25: Stayin' Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees

June 26-July 2: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute

Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with Epcot admission. Additional information is available at Disneyworld.com.