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Ears the News with Richard

Disney's Hollywood Studios will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on May 1 2014 with a special rededication ceremony, a "Star of the Studios" motorcade, and a firework spectacular finale.

Here is the full line-up:

- At 10 a.m., Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will take the stage with Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vice President Dan Cockerell to start the celebration day, honoring some of the 25-year cast members during a short rededication ceremony. 

 -A special motorcade — “Stars of the Studios” — will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. beginning at 7 p.m. and feature many of the famous characters showcased throughout the park. Mickey and Minnie will be joined by television and film stars including Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Venellope, Sofia the First and more. 

-Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park’s Sorcerer Hat Stage will become a dance party before a fireworks show ends the day in grand fashion at 9:30 p.m. The pyrotechnics show, which will be high in the sky above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, will pay tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.

Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Disney will introduce a new premium package at this year's Star Wars Weekends that includes premium viewing for the Legends of the Force motorcade and a desert party viewing for the Symphony in the Stars fireworks show.

Read on for the full details from Disney.

Rocket your Star Wars experience into hyperspace when you buy tickets for the Feel the Force Premium Package. Enjoy a reserved premium viewing area for 2 popular Star Wars Weekends spectaculars—the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade and the Symphony in the Stars fireworks. During the day, the motorcade viewing area includes beverages and snacks; when the stars come out, the fireworks viewing area features a Star Wars-themed dessert party.

The Feel the Force Premium Package will be with you, always: to remember this very special day in a galaxy far, far away, you’ll receive a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card that can be used to link your photos to your Disney account—and includes a series of complimentary Star Wars photos.
  • The Feel the Force Premium Package occurs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 to June 15, 2014.
  • Price: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included).
  • Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade viewing experience happens from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon with the motorcade starting at 11:30 AM.
  • Symphony in the Stars fireworks dessert party takes place from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM with the firework shows beginning at approximately 9:30 PM.
  • To check in for this event, please visit Min and Bill's Dockside Diner starting at 10:30 AM.
  • Guests will receive a wristband during the motorcade viewing that will allow entry into the evening fireworks dessert party. If you are unable to attend the motorcade viewing, please check in at Min and Bill's Dockside Diner starting at 8:30 PM.
  • Beverages include soda, water, tea and coffee. The fireworks dessert party includes a specialty beverage with an alcoholic option. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.
  • Seating is not available.
  • Discounts do not apply.

Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Disney has revealed the full celebrity line-up for the 2014 Star Wars Weekends. 
James Arnold Taylor is the official celebrity host of this year's event, joined by Ashley Eckstein as the host of  the “Behind The Force” shows each weekend.

Weekend I: May 16-18

  • Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II: May 23-25

  • Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Wald (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Capt. Jeremoch Colton (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)
  • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III: May 30-June 1

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV: June 6-8

  • Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Darth Bane (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V: June 13-15

  • Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Cat Taber: PadmĂ© Amidala and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Image courtesy WDWMagic
The Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom and Fountain View at Epcot will soon be adding 'La Boulange' baked goods to the menu.
·         La Boulange is a San Francisco bakery and cafĂ© serving artisanal pastries, and has partnered with Starbucks to offer them in locations across the country. Many of the items are served warm, and include goodies such as Criossants, Sticky Buns, Brownies, and Cookies.
·         Many guests are a fan of the Starbucks coffees being served in the parks, but the lack of baked goods that used to be served in the Main Street Bakery is viewed as a loss by many. The addition of 'La Boulange' products may go some way to giving those guests better quality baked goods.

     You can read more about the 'La Boulange' offerings on the Starbucks website.

Image courtesy WDWMagic
Disney has released another new piece of Disney Springs concept art giving us a look at one of the new restaurants that will be part of "The Landing."
·         The aviation themed restaurant, 'The Hangar" will be located in the area between Paradiso 37 and 'The Boat House', which is currently under construction on the Lake Village.
·         Disney Springs will be opening in phases through 2016, with "The Landing" being the first to open. This district is being built on the former Pleasure Island area, and should be open to guests by early 2015.
      Disney has also released a new series of concept art giving us a look at the new 'Food Truck Park'.
Image courtesy WDWMagic

      Part of the Disney Springs redevelopment, 'Food Truck Park' will be located on the West Side park between the new Starbucks and Bongos. The park will provide a permanent location for the fleet of four Disney food trucks, and will also provide tables and shade. An elevated "high-line" type structure will also be located in this area.
'     Food Truck Park' is expected to open in the summer of 2014.

     The work on the Magic Kingdom's hub area looks set to move into high gear as two large dams are installed in the waterways. The two dams will effectively stop the waterways at approximately the area by the Tomorrowland Terrace and on the other side of Main Sreet, near to Crystal Palace.
     The rest of the waterways are already full of water, and now pumps are draining the water in the space between the dams. This area will ultimately be filled in and will become additional walkways and viewing areas for Wishes.

This week the  Magic Kingdom will be testing mobile phone charging lockers for guests use.
The secure lockers will be located in Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe and the Tomorrowland Light and Power Company, and will be available for use free of charge.
To use the charger, guests will swipe a credit card, which acts as an ID for the locker. The chamber door opens, and inside are a number of charger cables. The phone gets hooked up, and the door closed. On completed charging, the door glows green. To open the chamber, the same credit is used again.
Charging stations are already available in the Magic Kingdom, but they require the guest to remain in place as there is no method of leaving the phone unattended. The increased use of My Disney Experience and reliance on guests own smartphones as part of the park experience appears to be driving Disney to helping guests remain powered up.

You can see the system in action at the manufacturers website.


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