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Whether ‘Playing the Castle’ or Another Stage Sept. 9-10, 2011 Night of Joy Acts Are Among Contemporary Christian’s Most-Talented

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

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 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.

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

Exotic island tastes. Craft beers. Cranberries. Tips for dressing up the home décor for holiday entertaining.

These are just a sampling of what’s new at the 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, opening Sept. 30 and continuing for 45 days, through Nov. 13, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort. The one-of-a-kind festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents, with more than 25 international marketplaces featuring tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive cocktails.

And some of what’s new for 2011 involves the marketplaces:

  • A Hawaii marketplace will cook up Kalua pork sliders and tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips to team with a refreshing Seven Tiki Mai Tai or a Kona Longboard or Pipeline beer.
  • A Caribbean Islands marketplace will serve ropa vieja with rice and jerk-spiced chicken with mango salsa. A beverage menu featuring a frozen Dragon Berry Colada and frozen Rock Coconut Mojito is sure to conjure steel-drum fantasies.
  • A Portugal marketplace will allow guests to pair a red, white or port wine with calamari salad with olives and smoked paprika or Linguica sausage with onions, peppers and olives.
  • A craft beers marketplace will serve up eight select brews for sampling.

Beyond the marketplaces, a couple of the festival’s new features of note are:

  • HGTV Personalities – Guests can learn from HGTV celebrity designers during 30-minute seminars on festival weekends. There will be tips to create the ultimate entertainment room, tips on how to become an excellent host, tips on holiday table setting, herb and vegetable gardening, and kitchen/dining room designs. Sessions are Friday and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
  • Cranberry Bog – Recreating the beauty of the cranberry harvest, the new area will tell the story behind the rich agricultural heritage, the harvesting process and the history of the cranberry, a true native North American fruit.

The festival requires Epcot admission, and some experiences during the festival require advance reservations. More information is available at

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returns Sept. 30 not only with plenty to tempt the palate but also with a heaping side order of music for the ears. Pop songstress Taylor Dayne opens 2011′s 18-act Eat to the Beat concert series with performances on the first three evenings of the 45-day festival.

The musical menu that follows Dayne in October and November has about as much variety as the festival marketplaces, including classic rock, prog rock, soul, R&B, jazz and funk hit-makers. The lineup includes three Eat to the Beat newcomers: Gin Blossoms, The Pointer Sisters and The Orchestra starring former members of ELO.

Here’s the lineup (entertainment is subject to change without written notice):

Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Taylor Dayne
Oct. 3-5: .38 Special
Oct. 6-7: Jon Secada
Oct. 8-9: Roger Hodgson (formerly of Supertramp)
Oct. 10-12: Billy Ocean
Oct. 13-16: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
Oct. 17-19: Sugar Ray
Oct. 20-21: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
Oct. 22-23: Howard Jones
Oct. 24-26: Boyz II Men
Oct. 27-28: Gin Blossoms
Oct. 29-30: Sister Hazel
Oct. 31-Nov. 1: Hanson
Nov. 2-3: The Pointer Sisters
Nov. 4-6: Night Ranger
Nov. 7-8: Air Supply
Nov. 9-10: Richard Marx
Nov. 11-13: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Performances are at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre and are included with Epcot admission.

It’s billed as “The ultimate runner’s night out,” and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is all that … and a couple days of fun at Walt Disney World Resort.

A sellout field of more than 12,500 participants will begin a 13.1-mile course through three theme parks at 10 p.m. Oct. 1, 2011. Along the way, there’ll be Disney entertainment. And after the finish, there’s a special after-hours party inside the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival until 3 a.m. on Oct. 2.

The weekend also features:

  • Disney Halloween 5K – a fun-filled course through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Oct. 1, 2011 (7 a.m.)
  • Disney Kids’ Races – something for “crawlers” (12 months old and younger) to children ages 7-8 at ESPN Wide World of Sports track & field complex Oct. 1, 2011 (10 a.m.)
  • Disney Health & Fitness Expo – There will be seminars on training, racing, and nutrition featuring speakers and panelists from the world of running plus Official Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Merchandise and the latest in apparel and fitness equipment in HP Field House and Jostens Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Sept. 30, 2011 (10 a.m.-8 p.m.) and Oct. 1, 2011 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Registration for events other than the half marathon and additional information about the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is available at

For a limited time, guests can purchase 4-night/5-day Magic Your Way room and ticket packages at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for select dates and enjoy a Dining Plan at no additional charge. The window to book arrangements is now through Oct. 29, 2011.

With non-discounted 4-night/5-day packages, guests get:

  • Free Quick Service Dining Plan at a select Disney Value Resort. (Booking Code P49)
  • Free Disney Dining Plan at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. (Booking Code F4M)

Information about the dining plans is available at

The arrival dates for the offer (based on availability) are: Oct. 1-Oct. 6, 2011; Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2011; Nov. 12-17, 2011; Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2011; Dec. 10-15, 2011; Jan. 8-12, 2012; Jan. 21-Feb. 2, 2012; Feb. 11-16, 2012; March 3-8, 2012; and March 24-29, 2012.

Important Details: No group rates or other discounts apply. Excludes suites and campsites. Advance reservations required. With the Disney Dining Plan, children ages 3-9 must choose from children’s menu if available. Excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Some table service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.

Additional information about the offer is available at

An all-new dining experience hosted by a Disney animal specialist is available at Sanaa at Kidani Village, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort. Over lunch, an animal expert reveals facts and myths about wildlife as guests immerse themselves in the culture and flavors of Africa.

There’s no more perfect setting, as Sanaa’s windows frame grazing zebra and giraffes, Ankole Cattle and White-Bearded Wildebeest. The experience accommodates up to 12 guests, offering an intimate, fun insider’s view, with plenty of time for questions.

Adding flavor to the experience: a four-course, African-inspired lunch made in Sanaa’s tandoor ovens. It boasts many delicacies, such as warm naan bread, savory dips, slow-cooked meats, unusual sweets and more.

After dessert, diners venture to a savanna lookout, to observe and learn more about the exotic animals grazing the landscape.

The Animal Specialist experience takes place every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Cost is $49, $29 ages 3 to 9 (special kid’s menu). The price includes the gratuity plus a $5 contribution to Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund. To make a reservation, call 407-938-6922, option 3 or stop by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge concierge. Reservations also are available online at or by calling 407-WDW-DINE up to 180 days prior to the experience.

There will be celebrities, Disney characters and a musical fanfare when the PGA TOUR “goes to Disney World” for the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic Oct. 20-23, 2011. There’s also likely to be some drama: The $4.7 million tournament Oct. 20-23 on Disney’s Magnolia and Palm courses will determine the final TOUR money rankings and which players have full exemptions in 2012.

Retired Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks is the first celebrity announced as an amateur participating in the Classic during the first and second rounds, played as a pro-am. Nine-time All-Pro Brooks’ National Football League career included 11 Pro Bowl appearances and selection as Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, when the Bucs won the Super Bowl.

A tradition of the Classic during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s is returning in 2011: A cadre of characters and the red-and-white-clad Walt Disney World Band will gather at the 18th green to celebrate the tournament winner.

Tournament Chairman Kevin Weickel said adding classic sounds from the legacy of Disney music “is part of making the moment truly unique and special. For many of our champions over the years, the Classic has been their first entrance to the PGA TOUR’s winner’s circle–and that is a memory you really want to make memorable with some pomp!”

That was the case in 2010 when Robert Garrigus came from behind on Sunday to claim his first PGA TOUR win. He became the 17th player to notch his first TOUR victory on Disney’s historic courses, which have hosted the Classic since 1971.

A field of 128 professionals will tee off in the quest for the $846,000 winner’s check. After two rounds, the field will be trimmed to the low 70 scores for the weekend rounds.

A one-day grounds ticket is $10; the weekly tournament badge providing admission to the grounds Oct. 17-Oct. 23 is $20. Parking is free and youth ages 17 and under are free when accompanying a paying adult. More information:

The Disney “world” of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel is growing in 2012 to include not just panelists who help plan magical vacations for people heading to Walt Disney World Resort but also for folks wanting to take a Disney Cruise Line cruise, an Adventures By Disney excursion, visit Disney beach resorts or Disneyland Resort … and more.

Candidates for the panel — made up of Disney-loving guests who are the “go to” person for anymore seeking information and advice about “all things Disney” — can apply beginning Sept. 12, 2011, at 9 a.m. ET at The application period concludes Sept. 16, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Guests chosen for the panel are off-the-charts fanatics about all things Disney. They love to share what they have learned over their years of “doing Disney.” That’s why the panel was created in 2008 as an online forum of vacation advisors made up of everyday people who answer questions, offer advice and address specific concerns of families in the process of planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort. Five years later, the panel has become a vacation planning phenomenon.

If this application period is anything like every previous one, competition will be fierce, with applications coming from thousands of candidates all over the world. More information is available at

PAPENBURG, Germany — The final building block for the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Fantasy, will be put into place on Sept. 3, 2011, at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg. Signaling completion of a major milestone in the ship’s overall construction, the final block is a 260-ton portion of the ship’s bow, complete with the signature Disney Cruise Line golden filigree.

Once all 80 building blocks of the Disney Fantasy are in place, the focus shifts to outfitting the interior spaces that include the whimsical children’s spaces, dynamic adult venues, spectacular restaurants and elaborate theaters.

Sister ship to the Disney Dream which entered service in January 2011, the Disney Fantasy will feature new design elements and guest experiences that give the ship an identity all its own, including:

  • “Animation Magic” dinner show that celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create characters that “come alive” and interact with classic Disney characters in animated films.
  • Europa — a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for adults with sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by European travel.
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique salon, where aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and pirate makeovers.
  • New main stage entertainment at the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre, including “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular” — a Broadway-style production featuring the cast from the classic animated Disney film “Aladdin.”

The 4,000-passenger Disney Fantasy will sail week-long Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla., with its maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.