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Fourth of July to Rock the Skies above Walt Disney World Resort
with Special Fireworks Shows at Three Parks

Walt Disney World Resort will pixie dust the night skies July 4 with special pyrotechnic shows, including a patriotic display at Magic Kingdom, a rock’n'roll spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and a classic sky show at Epcot infused with an Independence Day finale. Here’s what’s in store:

  • Magic Kingdom will present “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” This patriotic fireworks spectacular, paying homage to the hopes and dreams of America’s forefathers, will light the skies at 9 p.m. July 4 – and for guests who would like to begin the Independence Day celebration early, the show also will be presented July 3 at 9 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, traditional Fourth of July fireworks take on a different spin when Mulch, Sweat, and Shears perform for the all-new “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration“! These resident landscapers – with serious rock and roll ambitions – take Disney guests on a musical road trip across America that will highlight each region’s contribution to rock and roll. Fireworks, lighting and special effects – backed by the driving live rock and roll of Mulch, Sweat, and Shears – combine to bring a new twist to celebrating Independence Day. Showtime July 4 is 9:45 p.m. Before or after the show, Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests can thrill to Disney’s Fantasmic!, performing July 4 at 9 and 10:30 p.m.
  • At Epcot, sky-watchers can check out “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” bursting high above World Showcase Lagoon. IllumiNations is a 14-minute spectacular during which pyrotechnics, lasers, water and music are all used to tell a story about the past, present and future of our planet. On the Fourth of July, the show will be enhanced with “The Heartbeat of Freedom,” an overture of traditional Americana themes displayed in a pyrotechnic and laser light event. The show is at 10 p.m.

In addition, Epcot guests may lend their ears to “Voices of Liberty 4th of July Concert” and participate in meet-and-greets with Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Disney characters adorned in patriotic dress at American Adventure.

Theme park hours on July 4 (subject to change without notice): Magic Kingdom, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Epcot, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Additional information about Walt Disney World Resort is available at

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Royal Guest Rooms Now Can Be Booked for Vacations in 2012

Two new ways for guests of Walt Disney World Resort to live like their favorite Disney characters can now be booked for 2012 vacations. Building on the success of Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, new “Disney Story Rooms” – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside — are under construction.

Opening in early spring 2012, the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside allow princes and princesses of all ages to stay where Disney royalty have stayed. Guests find regal touches left behind by some of their favorite Disney characters – fiber optics special effects above ornately decorated beds, gold and crystal accents, custom linens and drapes, and in-room art and details including Princely banners and Princess friends. The 512 Royal Guest Rooms start at $189 per night.

Walt Disney World guests also can now book rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a brand new Walt Disney World Value resort opening in phases beginning early summer 2012. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will immerse guests in their favorite Disney stories — including Disney• Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Cars as well as Walt Disney Pictures’ The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.

The one-of-a-kind resort will feature more than 800 standard guest rooms and more than 1,100 family suites (which sleep up to six people) at its completion. Standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort start at $94 per night and family suites start at $248 per night. Walt Disney World guests have more than 20 uniquely-themed resort hotels from which to choose – something for just about every taste, family size and budget. Walt Disney World resort hotels offer convenient transportation and access to Walt Disney World theme parks and other entertainment options.

For more information on Walt Disney World Resort hotels or to book a Walt Disney World vacation, guests can check out, or call 407-W-DISNEY (407-934-7639) or their local travel agent.

Familiar Musical Sounds Are in the Air at Epcot in July
During Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Performances

Epcot guests strolling past America Gardens Theatre on July evenings in 2011 might comment, “That sounds like …” and finish the sentence with “Bon Jovi” or “Heart” or “Journey” or “Janet Jackson” or “U2.”

Welcome to the Sounds Like Summer concert series, which fills the air with the music of summers past performed by tribute bands – musical artists who strive to sound like the performers who recorded the songs. “Each band that performs as part of the Sounds Like Summer concert series has received written authorization from the band whose music they play,” said Associate Creative Director Alan Bruun of Walt Disney World entertainment.

July dawns with Slippery When Wet – The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute on July 1-2. Four additional acts will step to the stage through July 30. The schedule (entertainment subject to change without notice):

June 26-July 2: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute

July 3-9: Little Queen ~ The Music of Heart
July 10-16: Frontiers ~ A Tribute to Journey
July 17-23: Karin Lawson ~ A Tribute to Janet Jackson
July 24-30: 2U ~ A Tribute to U2

Show times are 5:45, 7 and 8:15 p.m. – except on July 4 when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m. Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with Epcot admission. Additional information is available at

New United Kingdom Pavilion Music-Makers ‘British Revolution’
Making Epcot Guests ‘Glad All Over’ with Their Tune-Filled Journey

“Glad all over” is a way to describe the general reaction of Epcot guests to the new four-piece, high-energy band British Revolution, which debuted in May at the United Kingdom pavilion. And it is appropriate guests feel that way, considering Dave Clark Five of “Glad All Over” fame is part of the group’s chronological journey through decades of popular British music.

Performances include random fun facts about popular songs and artists such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Dave Clark Five. Shows in July and August are Sunday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday at 3, 4:30, 6, 7 and 8 p.m.

Reservations Open August 16, 2011, for Special Events at 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Dreaming of a festive autumn evening at the grand-scale Party for the Senses food and wine event at Epcot? Or maybe a more intimate artisanal Cheese Seminar with New York City fromager Max McCalman is on your radar.

Foodies who want to lock in their favorite events at the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13 should save the date of Aug. 16, 2011, and set their alarms for 7 a.m. That’s when reservations open for all special culinary and beverage programs offered during this year’s 45-day food, wine, beer and cocktail extravaganza. These special events have proven to be extremely popular and availability is limited.

Guests can book …

  • First Bites Opening Reception (Sept. 29, 6:30-9 p.m.)
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11)
  • Taste, Shake and Indulge Like the French Grand Marnier Tasting and Interactive Experience (Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5)
  • Epcot Wine Schools (Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 5)
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining
    (Oct. 6, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 30, Nov. 1, 2, 3, 7, 10)
  • Kitchen Memories — formerly Celebrating Family & Friends in the Kitchen (Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11)
  • Cheese Seminars (Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5, 12)
  • Party for the Senses (Oct. 8, 15, 22, Nov. 5, 12 at new times: 7:30-10 p.m.)
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Mondays, Tuesdays)
  • Sweet Sundays (Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13)
  • Additional special events slated will include Italian and French pairings and lunches, as well as Mexican tequila events. To make reservations: 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378). Event updates and details will be posted at

    Renovated LEGO Imagination Center at Downtown Disney
    Offers Added Space, Iconic Greeters

    When guests walk into the newly renovated LEGO Imagination Center at Downtown Disney Marketplace, they not only find a store with more space but also more options to build and create. The recently completed extensive renovation at the Walt Disney World Resort location has added nearly 3,500 square feet to the overall space.

    Along with a separate playroom inside the store and new Master Builder Bar, the 3,000-square-foot outside play area is filled with LEGO blocks.

    New iconic LEGO models now surround the exterior of the store, with favorite Disney Pixar characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Disney classics Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs and others near each entrance. Guests also will find the classic LEGO dragon and guest family in the mix. Once inside, there’s a LEGO model of Woody tipping his hat.

    Store hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    High School Athletes “Rise” Above at ESPNWWOS Complex
    During Two-Week Multi-Sport Festival in July

    For two weeks in July, the ESPN RISE Games bring together some of the top names in high school sports to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The July 13-27, 2011, festival showcases the premier high school talent in the country in basketball, football, lacrosse and softball and also includes competitive youth events in seven sports.

    In just its third year, the multi-sport event has grown to nearly 14,000 student athletes and is one of the largest ESPN-themed events at Disney.

    The ESPN RISE Games are anchored by four elite high school sports events: Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse boys and girls event; the AAU 11th Grade Boys Basketball Super Showcase presented by Champion; the Under Armour High School All-America Softball game; and the Champion Gridiron Kings, an elite 7 on 7 high school football event. All four events will be shown on ESPNU and live and as pre-recorded shows.

    One event to circle on the calendar is the AAU Super Showcase presented by Champion, which features marquee 17-under club teams from across the country. It has proven to be a breeding ground for NBA talent such as Amare Stoudemire (NY Knicks), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets) and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat).

    In addition to its elite events, the ESPN RISE Games will include youth events in lacrosse, softball, football, baseball, basketball, field hockey and track & field.

    More information is available at