New Dining and Shopping Experiences Arriving at Epcot’s World Showcase

Just in time for the 15th Annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Walt Disney World guests will be able to experience the newest enhancements to the World Showcase at Epcot – a new lagoon-side, 12,000 sq. ft. taqueria at the Mexico pavilion, an authentic 14,000 sq. ft. pizzeria at the Italy pavilion, a new merchandise kiosk at the China pavilion, and a new exclusive Givenchy shop at the France pavilion.

Building on its more than 25 years of success in bringing Mexican cuisine to Walt Disney World guests, San Angel Inn, LLC will open a new 400-seat waterside restaurant and quick-service food location specializing in the freshly baked culinary flavors of Mexico. The Cantina de San Angel Restaurant, located directly in front of the Mexico pavilion in the World Showcase, is currently closed until fall 2010 for a significant refurbishment and expansion.

The new indoor and outdoor restaurant will be nearly four times larger than the previous 3,500 sq. ft. Cantina. The Cantina will serve as the first flex- service restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney research has shown that guests prefer a quick lunch while spending a day at the parks and enjoy a nice tableside restaurant experience in the evening hours. As a result, the new restaurant will serve quick service meals during the day where guests can enjoy an indoor, air-conditioned dining, or outdoor dining experience. Then, in the evening hours the restaurant is converted into a tableside restaurant where reservations are recommended.

Concept art for new pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilionAt the Italy pavilion, the Patina Restaurant Group will expand its Italian culinary options by opening a new 300-seat pizzeria that will feature traditional Italian dishes straight from wood-burning ovens representing Italy’s infamous volcanoes. Guests will be immersed in the dining experience as they take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of the Italian delicacies, Florentine architecture, vaulted-ceilings, and indoor and outdoor dining.

Based on its success at Naples 45 in New York, the Patina Restaurant Group will import water from a source where the composition most resembles water used in Naples, Italy, to make the authentic Italian dough.

“Together with the addition of the pizzeria and the extensive refurbishment of the Cantina, we’re expanding the table service restaurant seats in World Showcase by approximately 20 percent,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “We’re excited about this significant expansion, which will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase. The timing couldn’t be better since we will be celebrating our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”

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Disney Star Wars Action Figures and Racers Series 4 Announced

Sold for $8.95 each, the series 4 of the popular Disney Star Wars action figures includes: Pete as Boba Fett (with accessory helmet, jetpack and blaster); Donald Duck as a Han Solo in Carbonite (with accessory staff and carbonite block); Mickey Mouse as Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (with accessory green lightsaber); Goofy as C-3PO; and Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia in Boushh disguise (with accessory helmet, staff and thermal detonator). The figures will be available at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts beginning in May.

Disney Star Wars Figures Series 4

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Annual Passholders’ Sneak Peek at Walt Disney World’s ‘D Street’ on April 3

D Street at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney West SideOn Saturday, April 3, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Passholders will have an opportunity to be among the first guests to experience the opening of D Street, the newest merchandise location where urban inspired product “intersects” with a Disney creative edge. Passholders will also be among the first to catch a glimpse of the new Create Your Own Vinylmation table, have the opportunity to participate in Vinylmation trading activities (trade your own Vinylmation or ones you purchase) and see the Disney Channel Star Celebrity Signed Vinylmation on display at D Street!

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Environmentally-Friendly Paints Add Color to Blizzard Beach’s Reopening

Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach. Photo © DisneyDisney’s Blizzard Beach water park reopened for the spring and many of the bright colors – from the showcase “snow” on Summit Plummet to the smallest details at Lottawatta Lodge – are thanks to new environmentally-friendly paints.

In Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is a leader in the use of environmentally-friendly, low VOC paint.  Some of the chemicals found in paint are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.  Previously, VOCs were considered essential to the durability and performance of paint, both in how well the paint withstood outdoor weather conditions and how quickly it dried.

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Photo: Pittsburgh’s Taylor and Holmes ‘Steel’ Some PS3 Time at ESPN Wide World of Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers stars Ike Taylor (left) and Santonio Holmes (right) play a game of “Madden NFL ’10″ March 23, 2010 at the PlayStation Pavilion at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The new PlayStation Pavilion features PlayStation 3 systems, including a SingStar stage and a collection of the latest video game releases. (Photo by Todd Anderson/Disney)

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‘Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow’ Author Ridley Pearson to Make Appearances April 6-7 at Walt Disney World

Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadows by Ridley PearsonJoin author Ridley Pearson as he visits Walt Disney World on April 6 & 7 to sign his latest book, Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow as well as many of his other best sellers.

On Tuesday, April 6, Ridley will be signing at Once Upon a Toy in the Downtown Disney Marketplace from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

On Wednesday, April 7, Ridley will be appearing at MouseGear in Epcot (theme park admission required) from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

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WDW Refurb Update: Star Tours Closure Earlier Than Anticipated, Toy Story Mania

We have received a tip on upcoming closures for Star Tours and Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These are not from official Disney sources but we believe they are credible enough to pass along to you. Should we find out alternate information in the future, we will update and post in the Refurbs category not to mention on ReSearch! Disclaimer aside, on with the mega-news.

Our source informs us that Star Tours will close on September 8. This is earlier than announced by former Disney Parks and Resort Chairman Jay Rasulo at last year’s D23 Expo, but not unexpected. It’s also scheduled to take place after Celebration V, which takes place in Orlando this year, ends in mid-August.

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WDW Refurb Update: Rock’n’Roller Coaster Closure in May

We have been advised that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be closed for refurbishment beginning on May 15 and re-open on May 21.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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Report: Disney Bus Collision at Epcot Injures Eight; One Seriously Hurt

WESH and the Orlando Sentinel are reporting that a Disney Bus rear-ended a Mears Transportation near the Epcot Toll Plaza earlier today at approximately 2:30 pm ET, injuring eight with the driver of the Disney Bus having been airlifted to the hospital in a ‘very  serious condition.’  There were 20 guests in all aboard the Disney Bus with only the driver aboard the Mears bus.

UPDATED at 3:35 pm

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Star Wars Theme Park Exclusive R2-MK Droid Figure Available April 1

R2-MK Astromech Droid Figure visits the Magic KingdomThe theme park exclusive 2-figure pack featuring the R2-MK Droid action figure will become available at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts beginning April 1.

As previously reported, the 2 pack, which also includes a Jedi Mickey action figure, will retail for $18.95.

[source]

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