Anika Noni Rose (Princess Tiana) Takes Her Turn at Narrating Epcot’s Candlelight Processional December 6-8

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Disney has just announced that The Princess and the Frog star Anika Noni Rose will be the narrator for Epcot’s 2009 Candlelight Processional from December 6 – 8. The list previously published here has been updated.

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UPDATE: Epcot’s 2009 Candlelight Processional Features New Narrators and Returning Favorites

Via its twitter, Disney Parks has announced that Isabella Rossellini, Vanessa Williams and Whoopi Goldberg will join returning celebrity narrators Andy Garcia, John O’Hurley, Abigail Breslin, Brian Dennehy, Angela Bassett, Edward James Olmos and  Steven Curtis Chapman.

The schedule is as follows:

November 27 – 29, Isabella Rossellini
November 30 – Dec 2, John O’ Hurley
December 3 – 5,  Steven Curtis Chapman
December 6 – 8, Anika Noni Rose
December 9 – 11, Andy Garcia
December 12 – 13, Chita Rivera
December 14 – 17, Abigail Breslin
December 18 – 20, Whoopi Goldberg
December 21 – 23, Brian Dennehy
December 24 – 26, Edward James Olmos
December 27 – 30, Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance

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Chef Mickey Preps for October 25 Appearance of His Sous Chef, Food Network’s Robert Irvine

Food Network Star Robert Irvine with Mickey Mouse © DisneyChef Robert Irvine from Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible,” gets tips from Chef Mickey for his Oct. 25 appearance at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Epcot kitchens turn up the heat for a global tasting experience worthy of every palate Sept. 25-Nov. 8 at the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. During the six-week, entertainment-packed event, park guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from the top “foodie” cities of the world. Some 250 chefs including Disney chefs and guest chefs from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting elegant dinners and tasting events. Guest chefs who have graced the festival include Irvine, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, Rock Harper of “Hell’s Kitchen,” plus Jeff Henderson, Todd English, Warren Brown, Mary Meyers, Jamie Deen, Iron Chef Cat Cora and many other culinary stars. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

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Disney Cast Members Perform Charity Concerts for United Arts

Photo © DisneyORLANDO, Fla., July 24, 2009 – Hoping to strike solid gold for charity’s sake, the Encore! Cast Choir and Orchestra – a volunteer ensemble of nearly 300 talented Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members – is performing songs by The Beatles, Queen, Elton John and ABBA to support the local arts community.

“Revolution! – A Musical Flashback to the ‘60s and ‘70s,” is a spectacular journey of classic pop and rock songs that is leaving audiences feeling groovy. Tickets for the July 24-25 concerts at Epcot World ShowPlace are still available for sale through www.encorecentral.org and www.UnitedArts.cc. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

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The Secret Life of the Animatronic Dolphin

For five days at Epcot in 1999 and for an equally short time in Castaway Cay, guests from around the world had the chance to meet with one of the largest accomplishments in audio animatronic technology: the DRU-1 (Dolphin Robotics Unit). Created by Edge Innovations in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, DRU-1 wowed the crowds but was ultimately decided to not have the potential of being an every-day attraction in the theme parks.

Here’s a video of DRU-1 in action courtesy of his WDI show producer:

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Meet the Crew of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch at Epcot July 31 – August 2

The crew of The NorthwesternThe Norway pavilion in Epcot® is pleased to host Northwestern Captain Sig Hansen, Edgar Hansen, and Matt Bradley — three of the featured stars on the popular reality series on The Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch – for an in-park appearance July 31 – August 02, 2009. Sig, Edgar and Matt will appear inside The Puffin’s Roost, the Norway Pavilion’s merchandise location, each day. They’ll be appearing from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

Fourth generation fishermen, Sig Hansen is the Captain of the Northwest, Edgar Hansen is the Deck Boss and Matt Bradley is a Deck Hand for the crab-catching vessel. Captain Sig Hansen and Edgar Hansen and Norm own and operate the Seattle, WA based Northwestern.

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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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Christian Dior Brings Escale á Pondichery Exclusively to the World Showcase, July 9 – 12

Escale á Pondichery by Christian Dior

Escale á Pondichery by Christian Dior

Be one of the first to experience Escale á Pondichery fragrance at Le Plume et Palette in Epcot®‘s France Pavilion, special to the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Les Escales de Dior is a fragrance collection that thrillingly transports you to enticing destinations.  A year after Escale á Portofino, Parfums Christian Dior sets sail again for a passage to India. A new destination, a new fragrance: Escale á Pondichery.

In Pondicherry, Dior Perfumer-Creator François Demachy discovered the true treasures of India and hand selected the ingredients for this new Fragrance Escale á Pondichery.

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Innovention’s StormStruck Adds Lightning to Its Repertoire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 25  — The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes–FLASH(R) and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) are joining forces to promote public awareness about lightning safety and lightning protection. In recognition of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, 2009, FLASH and LPI signed a partnership agreement on June 22, 2009 at StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes(R) at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot(R) at the Walt Disney World(R) Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

NOAA launched an annual Lightning Safety Awareness campaign in 2001 to increase awareness of the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect families and their property. Matt Bragaw, forecaster and lightning specialist with NOAA’s National Weather Service joined FLASH and LPI representatives for the partnership signing and tour of the StormStruck exhibit.

(more…)

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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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