Dateline Disney

Walt Disney World's Media Office publishes a bimonthly Press Release called Dateline Disney, which highlights WDW activities for that particular month.

March/April 2011

In this edition:

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Jake and the Never Land Pirates are landing March 4; 'Mike & Mike' host ESPN The Weekend March 4-6
Epcot: HGTV celebrities, 'Toy Story 3' characters add to the fun of 18th Flower & Garden Festival; Festival Center features daily lineup of experts; Flower Power lineup includes two newcomers
Disney Sports: Atlanta Braves play 18 'Grapefruit League' games at Champion Stadium this spring
Disney's Dreamers Academy: 2011 class size 'snowballs'
Disney Cruise Line: Bookings underway for first-ever Alaskan sailings
Walt Disney World Moms Panel: 15 new vacation-savvy 'moms' offer tips at online forum 

HGTV Design Celebrities and Disney Character Heroes Headline
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2-May 15

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While Woody and Buzz battle the latest toy villain, HGTV's design gurus just might give their toy box a stylish makeover. As the lead toys of the Disney(Pixar film "Toy Story 3" take the art of Disney topiary "to infinity and beyond" for the 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2-May 15, HGTV adds star power to the festival lineup.

Genevieve Gorder, Vern Yip and a constellation of HGTV stars bring their flair for design to the festival with weekend appearances covering a variety of design and landscaping topics. Meanwhile, the floral facsimiles of Buzz Lightyear, Woody and their nemesis Lotso the strawberry-scented teddy bear will welcome guests at the Epcot World Showcase front entrance garden.

As part of the HGTV sponsorship, the Festival Center will open daily with entertaining presentations and Disney gardening workshops. And Bambi's Butterfly Garden expands to accommodate more butterflies, plants and  guests in celebration of the upcoming release of "Bambi" Diamond Edition on Blu-ray Hi-Def.

Also new at the festival:

  • At Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, favorite Disney Fairies will pose for photos and sign autographs throughout the day. Young fans who enter this whimsical garden also discover play structures for children ages 2-5.
  • Sleek floral topiaries of "Cars 2" stars Mater and Lightning McQueen will shine at the World Showcase Plaza in anticipation of the June 24 release of the original film's sequel.
  • A Hundred Acre Wood wildflower display sets the scene for topiaries of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and pals, set to appear in the "Winnie the Pooh Movie" this summer.

More information about the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or by visiting The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Fredi Gonzalez Debuts as Atlanta Braves' Manager during
'Grapefruit League' Schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- They'll probably be making snowballs some places in March, but at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida the only white spheres being thrown will be accompanied by the siren song of spring: "Play Ball!"

Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves launch into an 18-game "Grapefruit League" home schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex that includes a collection of top clubs, with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals visiting Champion Stadium.

Spring training 2011 also marks the debut of Fredi Gonzalez as Braves Manager following the retirement of Bobby Cox. The Florida Marlins, Gonzalez's former team, comes to Disney on March 23. Here's the complete schedule:

Feb. 27 -- New York Mets  (1:05 p.m.)
Feb. 28 -- Houston Astros  (1:05 p.m.)
March 3 -- Detroit Tigers  (1:05 p.m.)
March 4 -- Toronto Blue Jays  (1:05 p.m.)
March 5 -- New York Mets  (1:05 p.m.)
March 8 -- New York Yankees  (1:05 p.m.)
March 9 -- St. Louis Cardinals  (1:05 p.m.)
March 10 -- St. Louis Cardinals  (1:05 p.m.)
March 12 -- New York Mets  (1:05 p.m.)
March 13 -- Houston Astros (1:05 p.m.)
March 16 -- Boston Red Sox  (1:05 p.m.)
March 17 -- Washington Nationals  (6:05 p.m.)
March 19 -- New York Mets  (1:05 p.m.)
March 20 -- Houston Astros  (1:05 p.m.)
March 23 -- Florida Marlins  (1:05 p.m.)
March 25 -- Detroit Tigers  (6:05 p.m.)
March 27 -- Philadelphia Phillies  (1:05 p.m.)
March 28 -- Washington Nationals  (6:05 p.m.)

Individual game tickets for the Braves' home spring training season are available through Ticketmaster (800/745-3000 and and at the sports complex box office. Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at

Mike and Mike Host Roster of Sports Celebrities, ESPN Talent
During Dick's Sporting Goods Presents ESPN The Weekend March 4-6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- World-class athletes and favorite ESPN personalities are in the lineup once again at Dick's Sporting Goods Presents ESPN The Weekend, March 4-6 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Hosted by "Mike & Mike in the Morning" stars Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, the one-of-a-kind fan-fest features motorcades and conversations with ESPN and sports celebrities, behind-the-scenes looks at ESPN shows, an interactive sports area and live on-site telecasts.

The popular ESPN Radio morning show hosts are scheduled to be joined by a cast of ESPN personalities that includes "The Herd" host Colin Cowherd, Monday Night Football's Ron Jaworski, MLB analyst Nomar Garciaparra, and former University of Florida football coach and new college football analyst Urban Meyer along with sports stars such as Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, NBA Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving and MLB Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

The complete list of ESPN personalities and sports celebrities expected to attend is detailed at (Click on Who's Coming).

New for this year's event, a handful of the sports world's most popular mascots will be visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios, including the Phillie Phanatic (Philadelphia Phillies), Albert E. Gator (Univ. of Florida), the Penn State Nittany Lion, the Oregon Duck, Stuff the Magic Dragon (Orlando Magic) and Captain Fear the Buccaneer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Again this year, the event stretches to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, as the 220-acre sports venue hosts ESPN Radio broadcasts of "Mike & Mike in the Morning," "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd, and a trio of Atlanta Braves Spring Training games at Champion Stadium (March 3-5).

Ahoy, Mateys! Jake and the Never Land Pirates Landing
at Disney's Hollywood Studios as Part of Show Debuting March 4

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jake and the Never Land Pirates are landing at Disney's Hollywood Studios March 4, less than a month after they cast off on their first adventure on Disney Channel as part of the launch of Disney Junior programming designed for 2-to-7-year-old children.

At the Walt Disney World theme park, they are playing a role in "Disney Junior--Live on Stage!", a theme park show created for young guests. Co-starring roles in the show are played by the cast of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins -- other shows that are part of the Disney Junior schedule.

"Ever since 'Playhouse Disney--Live on Stage!' premiered in 2001, it has been a chance for our younger guests to experience their Disney Channel friends at Disney's Hollywood Studios," said Dan Fields of Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative director for "Disney Junior--Live on Stage!" "As their circle of TV friends has grown and changed during the years, we've endeavored to make sure those new friends are part of their vacation fun, too."

Like the previous show ("Playhouse Disney--Live on Stage"), "Disney Junior--Live on Stage!" will be presented several times during the theme park day. Guests should check their Times Guide for show times.

Festival Center Abuzz with Garden and Design Discussions, Demos
Daily during 18th Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Presented by HGTV

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Festival Center at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV will be alive with expert-led seminars, demonstrations, discussions and Q&A sessions daily throughout the 75-day event that begins March 2 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Located next to Mission: Space in Future World at Epcot, the Festival Center showcases HGTV and celebrities on weekends and other experts -- including "Master Gardeners" from University of Florida, Walt Disney World Horticulturists and a mix of national and regional TV/radio personalities, authors and educators -- seven days a week. Here's what's happening during March and April:

HGTV Designers' Stage
Presentations daily at noon and 3 p.m.
(HGTV/ celebrity distinctions are noted in parentheses)

March 2-3: "Butterflies & Beyond" -- Jaret C. Daniels
March 4-6: "The Art of Sculpting Space" -- Genevieve Gorder (HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve)
March 7-10: "Passalong Plants" -- Felder Rushing
March 11-13: "Design It Yourself: Easy-to-follow Tips for Designing Your Favorite Rooms" -- Lisa LaPorta (Designed to Sell)
March 14-17: "Grow Great Grub" -- Gayla Trail
March 18-20: "The 5 DIY Secrets That Can Transform Any Space" -- Kim Myles (Myles of Style)
March 21-24: "10 Heirloom Plants You Should Be Growing" / "New & Exciting Plants for Every Garden" -- Danielle Sherry
March 25-27: "Mobile Gardens" -- Brian Patrick Flynn (Design Happens,
March 28-31: "Secrets of the Garden Revealed & More Plants For Free" -- Ken Druse
April 1-3: "Adding Value to Your Home without Breaking the Bank" -- Taniya Nayak (Designed to Sell and Destination Design)
April 4-7: "Four Season Garden & Proven Combinations" -- Erica Glasener
April 8-10: "Life, Love and Landscaping" -- Ahmed Hassan (Yard Crashers)
April 11-14: "Container Gardening: From Dirt to Design & The Secret to Combining Plants" -- Steve Aitken
April 15-17: "Gardening with Kids: Fun Seed Starting Projects" -- Patti Moreno (Garden Girl,
April 18-21: "Year-round Garden-tainment" -- Melinda Myers
April 22-24: "Creative, Back-to-Basics Style for All Things Natural and Decorative" -- Michele Beschen (B. Original)
April 25-28: "Herbal Blends from Around the World" -- Susan Belsinger & Tina Marie Wilcox
April 29-May 1: "The Design Process: Curb Appeal Projects from Concept to Construction" -- John Gidding (Curb Appeal: The Block)

Greenhouse Stage
Presentations daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

March 4-6: "Groceries from the Garden" -- Robert Bowden
March 10-13: "Gardening for all Generations" -- Brenda Sandberg & Scott Hulett
March 17-20: "Gardening in Miniature" -- Joseph Rainey
March 24-27: "Helpful Mower & Small Equipment Tips" -- Scott Franklin
March 31-April 3: "Tropical Edibles" -- Jarrod Stewart
April 7-10: "Fun Holiday Projects" -- Doug Benedict
April 15-17: "Gardening Challenges" -- Tom MacCubbin
April 21-24: "Seed, Sow & Grow" -- Ed Buhler
April 28-May 1: "Inspiring Patio Designs" -- Allison Brooks

The Greenhouse Stage sessions include interactive hands-on activities during which guests make something to take home. Guests can visit the Festival Center to learn about the topics on dates not noted above.

In addition, experts from University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) present Planting Pointers -- gardening ideas for everyone -- daily at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Festival Center. Guests also can Ask an Expert -- a UF/IFAS "Master Gardener" -- their gardening questions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The presentations are included with Epcot admission, but seating is limited and on a first-come basis. Speakers, presentations and guests are subject to change without notice. For more Epcot International Flower & Garden information, visit

Jose Feliciano Raises the Curtain on 'Flower Power' March 4;
Two News Acts Part of 2011 Musical Lineup at Epcot

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Raise the curtain and light the musical fires! Jose Feliciano returns to Walt Disney World Resort March 4-6 to kick off the Flower Power Concert Series, a feature of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival that fills the air with classic pop, rock and R&B music each weekend of the festival.

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

The March-April lineup of nine acts will include two Flower Power newcomers -- Melissa Manchester (March 25-27) and the duo Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. (April 8-10):

  • Singer-pianist-composer Melissa Manchester burst onto the scene in 1975 with the hit "Midnight Blue" and won the Grammy for Pop Female Vocal for 1982's "You Should Hear How She Talks about You." Her fan-favorite hit: "Don't Cry Out Loud."
  • The husband-wife vocal team Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. recorded the smash hit "You Don't Have to be a Star" (To Be in My Show) for which they earned a Grammy as R&B Vocal Duo. They also were founding members of the 60s-70s group The 5th Dimension, which had 20 Top 40 hits.

Here's the complete March-April lineup (subject to change without notice):

March 4-6 -- Jose Feliciano
March 11-13 -- The Guess Who
March 18-20 -- Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
March 25-27 -- Melissa Manchester
April 1-3 -- Starship starring Mickey Thomas
April 8-10 -- Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
April 15-17 -- Juice Newton
April 22-24 -- Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons
April 29-30, May 1 -- Paul Revere & The Raiders

For additional information about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, visit

Bookings Underway for First-Ever Disney Cruise Line Alaskan Sailings

CELEBRATION, Fla. -- Bookings are underway for the first-ever Disney Cruise Line Alaskan cruises during a four-month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder starting this spring.

The first-ever Disney cruise to Alaska will depart on May 3 with the last cruise of the season scheduled for Aug. 30. Rates for the seven-night Alaskan itinerary start at $939 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Combining the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience provided by Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., sailing a total of 18 seven-night cruises to Alaska, calling on Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

To see special offers on 2011 itineraries or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Disney's Dreamers Academy Attendance 'Snowballs' in 2011;
More than 100 Teens Going to Walt Disney World Resort March 3-6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine continues a mission to annually bring together 100 high school students who want to ignite their lives, dreams and passions. However, the March 3-6 event at Walt Disney World Resort also will serve as a "make-up class" for 13 teens selected for the 2010 Academy which, due to winter-weather travel cancellations, they were unable to attend.

Combined with 100 high school students from 22 states and the District of Columbia selected for 2011, the class register this year will have 113 names on it, making it the largest in the four years of the program.

It also will be a watershed year as the students, selected from among thousands of applicants across the country, embark on customized itineraries based on their individual interests and aspirations. During hands-on experiences, they will explore a world of career options -- from animation, through entrepreneurship, to zoology. They'll be engaged with motivational speakers, Disney experts and celebrities -- each with a special talent and an individual life story.

Among the celebrities for the 2011 Dreamers Academy is musical and theatrical talent, including Raven Simone, Ruben Studdard and Cupid.

Disney's Dreamers Academy is designed so that the teens can be inspired, discover possibilities and prepare for their future. For additional information, visit

Disney Parks Welcomes 15 New Park-Savvy Panelists
To Help Families Plan Magical and Memorable Vacations

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Fifteen new panelists hailing from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are members of the 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel, The popularity of the Moms Panel site has grown so much that Disney Parks invited back 30 alumni panelists. These passionate guests will give their unique and personal park-savvy smarts to fellow guests planning Disney vacations.

Also helping to spread the magic, Oscar-winning actress and mom to three, Geena Davis, serves as an honorary "Disney Mom" sharing her own personal tips and treasured Disney memories in an exclusive Moms Panel video, available in the celebrity video library at

The newest members of the Walt Disney World Resort Moms Panel:

Angelo Alomar -- Simpsonville, S.C.
Carrie Burrows -- Georgetown, ON
Ca'Sandra Phillips -- College Park, Ga.
Emma Nicholson -- Morecambe, Lancashire (UK)
Jill Cooper -- Hillsborough, N.J.
Johnetta Scott -- Plainfield, N.J.
Krista Curtis -- Maryville, Tenn.
Marisol Lopez -- Lakeland, Fla.
Monina Wagner -- Avon, Ohio
Ritzy McCarthy -- Barrington, R.I.
Deborah Bowen -- Land O Lakes, Fla.
Leslie Krzan -- Holiday, Fla.
Lynn Lane -- Ottawa, ON
Teronya Holmes -- Kingsport, Tenn.
Wes Holloman -- Pearland, Texas

To learn more about the panelists, visit and click on the "Meet" button.