What's Happening at Walt Disney World September 7th through October 31, 2011
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Many Christian music artists consider they’ve really arrived if they “play the Castle” at Disney’s Night of Joy. That being the case, Jeremy Camp, Newsboys, Skillet, Jars of Clay, TobyMac and MercyMe have “really arrived”: Each will be doing a concert on the Cinderella Castle Stage during the Sept. 9-10, 2011, event in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.
Of course, that’s just one of several stages throughout the park that will be alive with Christian music presented by a total of 16 Christian recording artists over the two nights of the special, after-hours event. And all the performers who have “really arrived” aren’t “playing the Castle”! Here’s what’s in store:
On Friday, Sept. 9, while Jeremy Camp, Newsboys and Skillet each will do an hour-plus show sometime between 7:45 p.m. and 1 a.m. on the Castle Stage, Christian Artist of the Year Francesca Battistelli will be performing elsewhere in Magic Kingdom — as will Group 1 Crew, Sidewalk Prophets, Matthew West and Disciple. Among them, the eight Friday night acts span the musical spectrum from Adult Contemporary and Pop to Praise/Rock, Rock and Hip Hop. Among them, they have amassed 46 Dove Awards and five Grammy Awards.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, Jars of Clay, TobyMac and MercyMe will “play the Castle” while other stages throughout Magic Kingdom will feature New Artist and Male Vocalist of the Year Chris August, Marvin Sapp, Kutless, Sanctus Real and VaShawn Mitchell. It’s a menu filled with musical variety — Gospel to Rock, Hip Hop to Adult Contemporary. As for honors: 24 Dove Awards and three Grammy Awards. (All entertainment is subject to change without notice.)
Night of Joy begins at 7:30 p.m. (following regular park closing) with early entry beginning at 4 p.m. The event runs until 1 a.m.
Both individual and group tickets are available for one night or both nights. Information is available at nightofjoy.com.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Fans of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival “premium events” can get the party started even before the 45-day festival kicks off.
At the First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29, 2011 — the eve of the festival start — Chef Keegan Gerhard of The Food Network will chat with guests during a culinary demonstration that includes a taste of his featured dish. During the 6:30-9 p.m. event, guests can preview epicurean samplings from international marketplaces along with wines and other beverages to be served throughout the Sept. 30-Nov. 13 festival. Entertainment will include pop diva Taylor Dayne.
Once the festival is fully underway, here are some special events guests can enjoy via advance reservation:
- Fridays beginning Sept. 30, 2011, the new Kitchen Memories event features a three-course lunch by a celebrated chef demonstrating preparation of an appetizer, main course and dessert. A winery representative pairs each course with a special wine during the 10 a.m.-noon events.
- Throughout October and into mid-November, guests can travel to Asia Mondays (Tokyo Dining, Japan pavilion) or Africa Tuesdays (Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco pavilion) for the festival’s popular Food & Wine Pairings. From 3:30-5 p.m., event hosts will present three regional wines paired with three tasting-size portions of cuisine.
- Wrapping a day at the festival with a sweet ending is easy to do at “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on designated Fridays at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Participants enjoy a variety of desserts and samplings of cordials certain to please any sweet tooth and top off the experience with VIP viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth evening entertainment extravaganza. “Sweet Seats” is an exclusive upgraded “3D” experience that includes a private reserved table, early entry, a specialty beverage and an exclusive dessert offering.
Special wine and culinary programs, including Party for the Senses grand tasting events, require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs are available at disneyworld.com/foodandwine.
Fantasyland construction continues through 2013 with a lot of construction boards but for the most part rides are still open.
Mickey's Toontown Fair remains closed for this Fantasyland expansion that will almost double the size of Fantasyland.
Mickey and Minnie can be seen on Main Street USA in the Town Square Exposition Hall.
Attractions will be opening in phases with the bulk of them opening in 2013.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Halloween’s happiest haunts will be reappearing for a season of “spook-tacular” fun as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to the Magic Kingdom for 23 select nights between Sept. 13 and Nov. 1, 2011.
The after-hours Magic Kingdom party will once again be immersed in the Halloween spirit, including two entertainment spectaculars created especially for the event:
- Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade proceeds down Main Street, U.S.A., heralded by the Headless Horseman and his trusty steed, and trailed by a cavalcade of holiday-themed characters, from Mickey and the gang to Disney villains and the stars of the Haunted Mansion (but make sure to watch out for Hitchhiking Ghosts!).
- The bewitching “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks spectacular illuminates the sky in bursts of orange and green fireworks, while Cinderella Castle is draped in eerie hues and ghostly apparitions flit along the park’s rooftops.
The Boo-to-you Parade takes place at 8:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. with HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular in between at 9:30 p.m. Special lighting, music and theming effects combine to transform areas of the park into happy haunted hollows.
The night of ever-so-slightly-frightful fun begins at 7 p.m. and runs until midnight, with guests encouraged to don their favorite Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat around the Magic Kingdom theme park.
In addition to Land-to-Land trick-or-treating, meet and greets with characters and entertainment unique to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, many popular Magic Kingdom attractions — including, of course, Haunted Mansion — are available to experience.
Party dates in 2011 are: Sept. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30; Oct. 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30 and 31; and Nov. 1.
To purchase advance tickets, guests can visit disneyworld.com/halloween or call 407/W-DISNEY. Advance purchase (prior to event day) savings of $6 per ticket are available for Sept. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, and 30; Oct. 2, 6, 10, 11, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 27; and Nov. 1.
Newborn Elephant Takes Center Stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Vasha and Baby BoyView & Download
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 25, 2011 – The elephant herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom got just a little larger with the birth of a baby calf. Weighing 311 pounds, the male African elephant was welcomed into the group by his mother Vasha, 10 herd members and a team of animal care professionals assisting with the birth.
The 25-year-old mother delivered the herd’s sixth offspring after gaining more than 800 pounds during a 22-month gestation. This latest addition, which has yet to be named, is the second calf for Vasha, who gave birth to a female calf, Kianga, in 2004.
With support from the animal care team, the newborn, whose first tentative steps are becoming stronger and more confident, is now successfully nursing from his mother. Vasha has been getting to know the calf, gently touching the young animal with her trunk and keeping a watchful eye on him.
“The natural bonding between mother and calf is fascinating,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Disney’s Animal, Science and Environment Programs. “The team is encouraged by the early interaction between mother and calf and will continue to monitor them closely for the next several weeks.”
The next critical milestone is for the calf to continue the bonding process with his mother who will teach him important lessons and protect him as he gradually acclimates to the rest of the savannah herd over the next several weeks. With 12 elephants, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has one of the largest African elephant herds in North America, including four males and eight females.
Vasha became pregnant through artificial insemination in October 2009 and received extensive pre-natal care throughout pregnancy. Since early August, animal care teams have provided round-the-clock monitoring, regular ultrasounds and daily hormone monitoring to more accurately predict the beginning of labor. In the past few years, Disney’s animal care teams have been able to narrow the birth window to within four days, which enables them to better prepare for the delivery. With this birth, the team had been on heightened baby-alert since Monday.
This is the sixth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Others include:
- Tufani, a male, born in 2003;
- Kianga, a female, born in 2004;
- Nadirah a female, born in 2005;
- Tsavo, a male, born in 2008; and
- Luna, a female born 2010.
Disney has been at the forefront of efforts to better understand and care for endangered elephants. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is part of a breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that is focused on sustaining the elephant population in North America. AZA’s Elephant Species Survival Plan has called for a five-fold increase in African elephant reproduction efforts – using both natural and artificial breeding methods – in order to create a self-sustaining elephant population among North American zoos and wildlife centers.
Baby Elephant Facts
- Depending on the calf, it could take several days for the calf to coordinate trunk movements. Initially, it may only be able to wave it in the air, suck on it or trip over it. Typically within a week the calf has gained enough control to begin picking up small objects and food.
- Suckling up to 12 liters a day, baby elephants may depend on mother’s milk for up to three years, although they can be weaned at two years of age.
- Calves learn how and what to eat by watching the older elephants.
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