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Ears the News with Richard


The Magic Kingdom bus stop expansion is well underway as construction walls and equipment are now moving onto the site. The new bus stop loop will add additional capacity to the Magic Kingdom bus stop, and will support the new double length "bendy buses" that are part of Walt Disney World's transportation plans. 

Car Masters Weekend is returning for its third year at Downtown Disney. From 6/14 – 16/2013, you can celebrate all things 'Cars,' as Downtown Disney brings in over 150 classic cars and gives guests the opportunity to meet Cars 2 characters, along with special appearances by designers and Disney-Pixar filmmakers. The full details and line-up should be released closer to the time.

'L’Artisan des Glaces' is the name of the new artisan ice cream and sorbet shop opening this summer in Epcot's France Pavilion. The new ice cream shop will be opening in the space vacated by the Boulangerie Pâtisserie bakery, which moved into a new larger area earlier this year. Opening in mid-June, 'L'Artisan des Glaces' will offer 16 flavors, all made in-house from fresh ingredients. There will even be versions with a shot of liquor served in a martini glass.

The official Disney Parks Blog has today posted more information about the upcoming 15th anniversary celebration at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Earth Day, 4/22/2013. Here is the full line-up, posted by Jackie Ogden, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks: 

  • Get there by 8:30 a.m.! While the park and its attractions don’t open until 9 a.m., the turnstiles will open at 8:30 a.m., and I am proud to be joining Disney’s Animal Kingdom Vice President Josh D’Amaro who is hosting a special 15th anniversary ceremony that will take place in front of the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m.
  • Commemorative guide map: Be sure to pick one up when you enter the park. And while in the Main Entrance area, also pick up a keepsake postcard that serves as a Party for the Planet guide.
  • Special conservation button: Starting April 22 and for a limited time (until quantities run out), those who give to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will receive a commemorative 15th anniversary DWCF button.
  • Party for the Planet activities: In Africa, children will learn how to identify animals by observing tracks and other clues. In Asia, families will find out how choosing “green” products can make a big difference for wildlife and nature. At Rafiki’s Planet Watch, families will discover fun ways to spend time in nature and participate in activities inspired by the Disney Nature films “African Cats,” “Chimpanzee,” and “Wings of Life.” Guests also can talk with cast members who work on conservation projects around the world.
  • Guest artists and special merchandise: Speak with specialists from Elemental Nursery and Just Plumerias, who will be on hand to feature their beautiful plants and topiaries, along with special guest appearances. There will be face painting with a variety of animal images and the opportunity to pose for a fun portrait, plus special 15th anniversary merchandise (quantities limited).
  • Specialty snacks: A party wouldn’t be a party without snacks–enjoy an Earth Day cupcake.

Sadly there is some bad news regarding Animal Kingdom 15th anniversary. Cast Members at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been advised that Joe Rohde will no longer be attending Disney's Animal Kingdom's 15th anniversary event. Joe was expected to take part in a pre-opening ceremony at the Tree of Life, and to later meet with cast members.

The official Disney Parks Blog has today released a great time-lapse video showing the construction of the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Rising 145ft above the park, the centerpiece of Disney's Animal Kingdom is an engineering marvel. The trunk itself is 50ft wide, expanding to 170ft at the base. Over 300 animals were carved into the roots and branches by Imagineering's Zsolts Hormay and a multi-national team of sculptors. 103,000 leaves are attached to the 8000 branches, which are in-turn connected to a steel sub-structure.'
Disney's Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 15th anniversary on April 22, 2013.

Video from the Disney Parks Blog

Joffrey's Coffee is now appearing at some quick service restaurants as the roll-out of the new coffee begins this week at Walt Disney World. Under the new agreement, Joffrey's will be the official coffee of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and will offer fresh-brewed coffee throughout Disney owned and operated locations.

Epcot's International Gateway is now being equipped with RFID MyMagic+ 'Touch to Enter' turnstiles. The second entrance at Epcot is the only park entry that does not support the new RFID 'Touch to Enter' tickets that are now in wide circulation. Construction walls are up, and it looks as though at least half of the current turnstiles will be converted in this first phase.

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