Sunday, March 22, 2009

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora To Open New Walt Disney World Restaurant

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 17, 2009) -- Chef Cat Cora and Disney are joining together to open an exciting new family dining restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. Kouzzina by Cat Cora will feature a menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine that pays tribute to the chef’s Greek roots.

The restaurant, to be owned and operated by Disney, is scheduled to open by fall 2009 in the space currently occupied by Spoodles.

“I am pleased to welcome Cat Cora and her engaging new concept for Kouzzina to the Walt Disney World Resort,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This collaboration between Cat and Disney represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to offer unique culinary experiences and choices for our guests.”

As a Mississippi native born to a family of Greek restaurateurs, Cora grew up immersed in two different and flavorful cultures , and has taken from that unique background the kitchen “know-how” handed down through generations. The cuisine at Kouzzina (Greek for “kitchen” and pronounced “koo-zee-nah”) will showcase Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Cora’s philosophy to create simple yet sensational meals.

Cora said that the new restaurant will feature “time-honored recipes passed down from my ancestors, as well as my favorite Greek and Mediterranean dishes that my family loves.”

She began working with Disney in 2008 by creating a Disney Video on Demand series to showcase ways to help families develop more healthy eating habits. “I’m extremely excited about this latest extension of my relationship with Disney,” she said. “Together, we’re going to develop a truly amazing contemporary Mediterranean restaurant.”

The first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's hit show “Iron Chef America,” Cora is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She also is Executive Chef for Bon App├ętit magazine. In addition to hosting the instructional cooking demonstrations for Disney Video on Demand, Cora has been a featured chef at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and at Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival at Disneyland Resort.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Multi-Platinum Christian Rock Band P.O.D. to Make 2009 Concert Debut in September at Disney’s Night of Joy

isney ‘newbie’ joins MercyMe, newsboys, Flyleaf, Skillet, Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin among 14 acts playing Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sept. 11-12

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2009) – Multi-platinum Christian rock band P.O.D., currently on hiatus following a lengthy world tour, will make its 2009 concert debut as part of a 14-act lineup announced today for Disney’s Night of Joy Sept. 11-12 at Walt Disney World Resort. The musically diverse event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park also will feature MercyMe, newsboys, Skillet, Flyleaf, Chris Tomlin, Kutless, Jars of Clay, Grits, Leeland, NEEDTOBREATHE, Superchick, Mandisa and Family Force 5.

Seven acts will perform each evening between 7 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. at stage locations throughout the park. Night of Joy begins after regular park operating hours, with concerts and select park attractions available exclusively for the enjoyment of event ticket holders.

P.O.D. is among four acts new to Night of Joy (along with Grits, NEEDTOBREATHE and Family Force 5), joining a legacy of 134 Christian music acts that have played Night of Joy since 1983. While a Disney “newbie,” the southern California-based band that fuses hard rock with hip-hop, reggae and Latin music is well known in music circles. They’ve been a hit on MTV, won two GMA Dove Awards, been Grammy-nominated, had two platinum-certified albums – one triple platinum – and in past summers played some of the north’s biggest Christian festivals.

But in spring/summer 2009, P.O.D. is chillin’: Vocalist Sonny Sandoval and the rest of the band are home in SoCal enjoying family life following a seven-month world tour that wound up in South America in December, making their Sept. 11 date at Disney P.O.D.’s first gig of the year.

“In the past year we’ve been blessed to play all around the globe but performing at Disney World excites me most of all,” Sandoval said.

The complete Sept. 11 Night of Joy lineup: P.O.D., newsboys, Kutless, Tomlin, NEEDTOBREATHE, Leeland and Superchick.

On Sept. 12, the Studios’ stages will present: Skillet, MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Flyleaf, Family Force 5, Grits and Mandisa.

Eight of the acts are nominated for Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in 2009, topped by Tomlin with seven nominations including artist of the year. Other nominees are Kutless, Leeland, NEEDTOBREATHE, Skillet, MercyMe, Mandisa and Grits.

For Mandisa, Night of Joy will mark her second “guest appearance” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2009. On Feb. 12, she was among an unprecedented gathering of 27 “American Idol” finalists – including the winners from each of the show’s first seven seasons – who participated in a Hollywood gala-style event to premiere “The American Idol Experience.” The new attraction immerses guests in the excitement of the hit TV show “American Idol,” with some guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios auditioning to take the spotlight onstage, while fellow guests cheer them on from the audience and vote for their favorite singer with instant results.

With an innovative ticket – exclusively for groups of 10 or more – that combines a “day” visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Night of Joy admission that evening, guests will have a chance to participate in “The American Idol Experience.” And by booking on or before Aug. 12, the Studios day/Night of Joy group ticket costs just $44.95 plus tax (beginning Aug. 13, it costs $49.95).

There’s also a two-day ticket exclusively for groups of 10 or more that combines Night of Joy admission on both evenings (Sept. 11 and Sept. 12) with two “day visits” to the guest’s choice of Walt Disney World theme parks (one per day) on Night of Joy weekend (Sept. 11-13). Booked on/before Aug. 12, that ticket costs just $89.95 plus tax (beginning Aug. 13, it costs $99.95).

Night of Joy tickets for individuals also are available. One-night tickets purchased in advance (up to the day prior to the event) are $49.95 plus tax (on event day, if available, tickets are $54.95). Two-night tickets (providing admission to Night of Joy on both Sept. 11 and 12) are $84.95 plus tax.

All the details about tickets for groups and individuals are available online at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fun Facts Flourish across Landscape of 16th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – With new, vibrant gardens, popular Disney character topiaries and colorful celebrations, it’s time to party during the 16th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, presented by Disneynature, March 18-May 31 at Walt Disney World Resort. Among this year’s fun festival facts:

30 million blooms dress the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.
As part of this year’s Celebration theme, guests can enjoy a commemoration of Cinderella’s coronation day as a “Cinderellabration” featuring royal guests including Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty and Belle – all as intricately designed topiaries. Other topiary merriment includes: Simba’s Birthday Celebration in a classic scene based on the Disney animated film “The Lion King” and Be Our Guest featuring the entertaining characters from “Beauty and the Beast.”
More than 50 Disney character topiaries include Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, and Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Classic Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy strike topiary poses doing their favorite outdoor activities in the new, garden-themed playground Let’s Get Moving.
Little princesses can come dressed up and show off their costumes in the all-new daily Fairy & Princess Procession in the new Pixie Hollow-themed play area.
More than 500 native butterflies representing up to 10 species reside in Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden, a gazebo-type enclosure filled with lush plants and measuring more than 40 feet in diameter. Guests can stroll through the screened habitat to view the colorful butterflies. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.
300,000 bedding plants are installed for the festival.
Two butterfly topiaries are on display. Also, Doc, Grumpy and the rest of the seven dwarfs appear at the Epcot entrance with intricate topiary detail that includes beards of palm fiber. Perfume bottle topiaries represent Guerlain perfumes in the Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion.
At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of the festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation.
More than 15 floral, herbal and spice ingredients of 10 popular perfumes are revealed in the Fragrance Garden presented by Guerlain at the France pavilion. Guests can sniff the enduring fragrance Shalimar to discover botanical notes that include lemon, Arabian jasmine and vanilla. Some components of nine other Guerlain fragrances include mimosa, magnolia, rose, nutmeg and vetivergrass.
At the Green Garden exhibit, guests can learn tips on how to create their own environmentally safe garden, including information about low-water-use, native plants and recycling.
Forty-five “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza.
100 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase. There are also 15 large gardens, each eight feet in diameter.
750 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.
300 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.
It takes more than one full year to prepare for the annual festival.
The festival’s Flower Power is bolstered by weekend appearances of musical hit makers of the 1960s and '70s including Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Davy Jones, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, and Jose Feliciano – a total of 11 acts this year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Iger announces new Disney Cruise ship names “Dream” and “Fantasy”

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced the names of Disney Cruise Line’s next two ships during the company’s annual shareholder meeting today in Oakland, Ca. The Disney “Dream” will begin sailing in 2011 and the Disney “Fantasy” will join the fleet in 2012.

The new ships will take over the existing routes that depart from Port Canaveral through at least 2014. Barring something major, like the recent rumor of Disney purchasing another cruise line, the two ships bring Disney’s fleet to four vessels, with the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.

Interestingly, Disney Gossip appears to have gotten one name right back in March of 2008 and one commenter on that post got both right. Lucky guesses?

Welcome to WDWfacts

Welcome to my blog. I will be keeping everyone updated with interesting facts about Walt Disney World. Some facts you might know. Some facts you might not know. But I hope to keep everyone interested in my blog. If you have any facts you want to share with me send them to my email address at . I will also be on twitter so follow me there and get some cool updates on facts, plus I will keep everyone informed on the stuff happening at WDW on a daily basis. Plus we will have some cool photo's to show you along with the facts. So enjoy and Welcome Home.

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