Report: Dining with a Disney Imagineer at The Hollywood Brown Derby

After many trips to Walt Disney World contemplating the idea, I finally bit the bullet and invested into the Dining with an Imagineer program which takes place during lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Offered only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the program which costs $60.99 + tax and 18% gratuity per adult (bringing the per adult total to about $75) and $34.99 (or about $45 total) per child, brings the group (maximum of eight guests) face to face with a bonafide Disney Imagineer at Walt Disney World.

Booking proved to be a bit of a challenge as, if I recall correctly, the 90 + 10 didn’t work too well. After a few days of trying, however, I was able to secure my reservation. A credit card is required at time of booking (there is a 48 hour cancellation policy), but you are not charged. Instead, you are presented a bill at the end of the event as with any dining. For booking purposes, it also appears to help if the Cast Member starts looking at The Hollywood Brown Derby moreso than for the experience itself.

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Walt Disney World’s Extreme Makeover: Character Edition

Mr. Smee, we thought we knew you. There was no doubt that once the Pirates League moved into town and started offering pirate makeovers that major changes would be afoot. Consider the following photo that compares Mr. Smee’s old look to his new look. Seams a bit different, don’t it? And who knew Mr. Smee lacked a belly button? He must have lost it in a battle with Peter Pan. He now also sports a more texture/plasticized set of eyebrows, a completely different mouth and all over has a more cartoony look, particularly with his eyes (and I think he might have had a nose job too). I might be going overboard when I suggest I think he even shrank a bit considering the height of his eyes compared with Hook’s nose (even more dramatic when it appears that Hook is even leaning forward in the old look photo while he’s standing upright in the new look photo).

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Fireworks Schedule for Fourth (and Third) of July at Walt Disney World

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Guests celebrating the Fourth of July at Walt Disney World Resort will have a choice of fireworks shows as Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios present special pyrotechnics and Epcot adds a patriotic “tag” to its famous “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” spectacular.  Here’s what’s in store:

Magic Kingdom“Celebrate America Fireworks” will fill the sky at 9 p.m. July 4 (guests who’d like to begin the celebratory weekend a day early can enjoy the special fireworks on July 3 at 9 p.m.).  After the fireworks, guests can enjoy a performance of Disney’s “SpectroMagic” parade of lights, music and magic at 10:30 p.m. on July 3-4.  Park hours are 9 a.m.-11 p.m. July 3-4.

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Star Wars Weekends Map and Schedule for Week #3 (June 5 – 7) Now Available

This weekend’s guests include Jeremy Bulloch, David Prowse and Matt Lanter in addition to hosts Jay Laga’aia and Ashley Eckstein.

Star Wars Weekends Map and Schedule June 5-7

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Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet to Offer Book Signing at Star Wars Weekends June 5-7

The Complete Star Wars EncyclopediaLucasfilm’s Head of Fan Relations and owner of the world’s largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia, Steve Sansweet, will be appearing this weekend at Star Wars Weekends. Steve will be signing copies of his books, The Star Wars Vault and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, both of which will be available for purchase for the signing. He’ll also be bringing along some special give-aways.

He’ll be signing at Wicket’s Warehouse on Friday, June 5 from 12:30 – 2:30 PM, on Saturday from 1:30 – 3:30 PM and on Sunday from 12:30 – 2:30 PM.

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Star Wars Weekends Map and Schedule For May 29-31, Video Blog From Weekend #1

Better late than never, eh? This weekend’s guests include Peter Mayhew and Matthew Wood in addition to hosts Jay Laga’aia and Ashley Eckstein.

Star Wars Weekends Map and Schedule May 29-31

In addition, StarWars.com has prepared a video blog highlighting the events of the first weekend. Good introduction to SWW in general.

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New ‘American Idol’ Kris Allen Celebrates with His Fans at Walt Disney World

American Idol winner Kris Allen is joined on stage by his #1 fan, Minnie Mouse © Mark Ashman/Disney

American Idol winner Kris Allen is joined on stage by his #1 fan, Minnie Mouse © Mark Ashman/Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 29 — Dreams keep coming true for new “American Idol” Kris Allen.

Last week, the 23-year-old singer from Conway, Ark., became the newest “American Idol” by garnering the most fan votes in the television series’ thrilling Season Eight finale. Moments after his victory, Allen did what dozens of sports celebrities and heroes have done for more than two decades: He looked into a television camera and shouted, “I’m going to Disney World!”

This week, America’s newest star lived out his post-finale show pronouncement when he basked in the glow of a victory parade and gala celebration at “The American Idol Experience,” the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park attraction based on the “American Idol” television show.

Celebrating with Allen Friday at Walt Disney World was his new bride, Katy. The longtime sweethearts were married eight months ago.

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Star Wars Weekends Hints and Tips from StarWars.com (Video)

StarWars.com has produced a really great video full of tips for surviving Star Wars Weekends. While the big figs displayed at one point are actually from last year, the video is new and current and includes vital information such as the change this year with celebrity FASTPASSes being distributed outside the park. To some extent, the video also features the Prop Shop which is a backstage venue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Check it out here.

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Star Wars Weekends Event: Book Signing with Illustrator Chris Reiff May 30

Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate CollectionCome meet Chris Reiff as he signs copies of his book, Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate Collection, on Saturday, May 30 at Wicket’s Warehouse (at Soundstage 1 near the Backlot Tour entrance). Reiff is a frequent contributor to Star Wars Insider magazine, co-founder of the Parts of Star Wars and the designer of the Riddell miniature Star Wars helmets and will be signing his book from 11 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm.

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Star Wars Weekends Event: Book Signing with Illustrator Matt Busch May 23

You Can Draw Star WarsCome meet the ‘rock star of illustrators,’ Matt Busch as he signs copies of his book, You Can Draw Star Wars, on Saturday, May 23 at Wicket’s Warehouse (at Soundstage 1 near the Backlot Tour entrance). Busch is a professor of Media and Communication Arts art Macomb College, north of Detroit, Michigan and will be signing his book from 11 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm.

You Can Draw Star Wars teaches you how to draw characters, vehicles, clothing, weapons, equipment and more from the world of Star Wars. You’ll also learn vital comic book skills such as penciling, inking and coloring.

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