Disney Channel Stars Join Inaugural ‘Magic of Healthy Living’ Weekend at Epcot, March 18-20

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Fifty young essay contest winners, their families, Disney Channel Stars and Disney characters celebrate and explore a world of flavor and fun at Disney Magic of Healthy Living – The Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort March 18-20, 2011. The setting for the two-day event is World Showcase at Epcot where the “Healthy Living Champions” will participate in a one-of-a-kind “TRY-athlon,” an imaginative, colorful and inspiring course around the “world” to discover new ways that “healthy” can be fun and easy. The weekend, the first in an annual series of Disney Magic of Healthy Living special events, will also include spectacular opening and closing ceremonies full of magic and surprises.

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Sneak Peek: ‘Toy Story’ Topiaries at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Woody and Buzz Lightyear topiaries (Gene Duncan/Disney)Disney horticulturists do some final snipping to ready Buzz Lightyear and Woody – of Toy Story fame – for their Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival debut on March 2 as topiaries – living, growing plants that guests will see in front of Spaceship Earth at the front entrance garden. The festival, which runs for 75 days through May 15 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, will feature dozens of Disney character topiaries.

For more information on the festival, follow this live bookmark.

Photo by Gene Duncan, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort.

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2011 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Guide Now Available

2011 Epcot International Flower and Garden FestivalWalt Disney World has released the official guide for the 2011 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival taking place between March 2 and May 15. In addition to the park map indicating where all the new florals and topiaries are including those inspired by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 and the new Winnie the Pooh film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the guide also covers guest and celebrity presentation schedules, the Flower Power concert series and previews the new merchandise created for the festival.

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Photo: DWTS’ Tony Dovolani Goes Dancing with the Princesses

Tony Dovolani with Belle (Matt Stroshane/Disney) Tony Dovolani, one of the professional dancers starring on the ABC-TV series “Dancing with the Stars,” joins Belle, the princess from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Feb. 23, 2011 for a dance at the France pavilion in the Epcot theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Albanian-born dancer will be back on the reality show when it makes its season premiere March 21, 2011 on ABC-TV. Epcot is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy of Walt Disney World

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Disney/Pixar to be Honored May 13 – 15 at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

Walt Disney World has confirmed dates for the highly anticipated Disney/Pixar Weekend celebration during the 2011 International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. In honor of Cars 2, Pixar Animation Studios takes center stage during the annual flora-focused festival.

Pixar pals take the stage front and center in the form of much larger-than-life, reaching heights of seven and eight feet tall. At the park’s main entrance, guests will find a sandbox display complete with sandcastle and playground toys featured in Toy Story 3. Also on display will be a brand new topiary of film villain Lotso who will (needless to say) smell like strawberries.

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HGTV Details Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival Presentation Schedule

The Festival Center at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV will be alive with expert-led seminars, demonstrations, discussions and Q&A sessions daily throughout the 75-day event that begins March 2 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Located next to Mission: Space in Future World at Epcot, the Festival Center 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’s what’s happening:

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GM Invites Drivers to Meet Chevy Volt and Test Drive Over 70 Vehicles This Weekend at Epcot

This weekend, Friday through Sunday, General Motors is allowing licensed drivers over the age of 18 to test drive over 70 vehicles from manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Acura, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and preview the anticipated Chevy Volt electric car.

The event, which is dubbed ‘Main Street in Motion,’ will also feature refreshments and family-friendly entertainment and will take place at the Epcot overflow parking area between 8 am and 5 pm each day. Participation is free and walk-ups are welcome, but interested attendees are encouraged to sign up in advance at mainstreetinmotion.com

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HGTV to Sponsor Epcot Flower & Garden Festival; Announces Celebrity Line-up

HGTV kicks up the “curb appeal” of the 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2 through May 15 with a first-time sponsorship featuring weekend appearances by its acclaimed designers and landscaping experts. The star-studded lineup includes Genevieve Gorder, Lisa LaPorta, Kim Myles, Brian Patrick Flynn, Taniya Nayak, Ahmed Hassan, Patti Moreno, Michele Beschen, John Gidding, Frank Fontana, and Vern Yip.

The country’s leading home and lifestyle television brand brings an addictive blend of design, decorating and landscaping inspiration to the enduring, 75-day gardening extravaganza at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Complete Entertainment and Experience Schedule

Guests spending New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Resort can choose from fireworks extravaganzas, evening dance parties, delicious dining experiences and more as nighttime activities. Here’s a look at what’s in store at the Vacation Kingdom on New Year’s Eve (show times and entertainment are subject to change without notice):

MAGIC KINGDOM (8 AM – 2 AM)

  • “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5:15 p.m.
  • “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” at 12 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.
  • “Main Street Electrical Parade” at 7 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

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Lotso New Topiaries, Attractions to be Featured at Epcot’s 2011 Flower & Garden Festival

The heroes of Toy Story 3 have left the toy box. Woody and Buzz Lightyear meet arch-enemy Lotso the teddy bear on the Future World playground for the 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2 through May 15, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort.

The popular Disney/Pixar characters hit the sandbox as seven- and eight-foot-tall topiaries at the Epcot front entrance flower bed featuring a sand castle, strawberry-scented field and playground toys. Created by Disney gardeners and topiary experts with bold strokes of seasonal color, the topiary display marks the first time that “Toy Story” characters have been featured at the festival. It’s also the first time in seven years that the front-entrance floral spectacle showcases all-new topiary characters, says festival horticulture manager Eric Darden.

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