Disney Season Spring 2011

Disney's Newest Ship, Pro Baseball, Millions of Blooms, Magical Miles and Dreams of Teens

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Soon after the calendar pages turn to 2011, Disney will celebrate the launch of a new year with the launch of its newest ship, Disney Dream. And that's not all that is happening at Walt Disney World Resort during early 2011. From January through April, the events calendar is highlighted by gardening, health and fitness and youthful dreams, plus a full schedule of Major League Baseball Spring Training. Here's a spring snapshot of special events taking place:

Disney Dream Sets Sail on Maiden Voyage

The newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, Disney Dream, will set sail on her maiden voyage Jan. 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Fla. Taking family cruising to all-new heights, Disney Dream embraces the spirit of innovation, magical family entertainment and immersive experiences that have made Disney Cruise Line the preeminent choice for families since 1998. Two decks taller than the existing Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the new 4,000-passenger liner increases the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line by nearly 75 percent. The Disney Dream also expands the one-of-a-kind family experience guests enjoy while on a Disney Cruise Line vacation.

Here are some of the highlights:
• The ship will feature a first-of-its-kind water coaster – AquaDuck – that will send guests racing above and around the upper decks of the ship.
• Inside staterooms will have a "special" view thanks to Magical Portholes, a cruise industry first.
• Animator's Palate restaurant will magically transform into an undersea wonderland with live, impromptu interactions with Crush, the animated sea turtle from Disney•Pixar's "Finding Nemo."
• Elaborately themed children's spaces will immerse children in their favorite Disney stories and feature some of today's most innovative technology.
• A nighttime entertainment district just for adults will be filled with sophisticated, trendy, fanciful and fun-filled venues. The Disney Dream will sail alternating three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. During summer 2011, the ship will sail four- and five-night itineraries with two stops at Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a cruise vacation onboard the Disney Dream, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Features Magical Miles

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA (Jan. 6-9, 2011), part of Disney's Endurance Series, culminates with a magical 26.2-mile journey through all four Walt Disney World theme parks and several resort hotel areas that is regarded as one of the top marathons for "first-timers" (and veterans alike). The gala, sports-filled weekend features a variety of events for all ages and running abilities – kids races, a Family Fun Run 5K, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, the Disney Half Marathon and the Disney Marathon, plus the Health & Fitness Expo. For the first time in event history, athletes and fans took part in an online poll to choose the design that would grace the coveted medal given to finishers of the full marathon. After receiving more than 50,000 votes, the top vote-getting design – Mickey Mouse, in his running gear, breaking the tape at the Disney Marathon finish line – was chosen. The medal will be awarded to full marathon athletes who finish the race within the time limit. For athletes that desire even more of an endurance test, there's Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. Participants in this event compete in the Half Marathon on Saturday and then the Marathon on Sunday. If athletes finish both races within the time limits, they are awarded a very special "Goofy" medal.

The magical miles in the half marathon and marathon are highlighted by high-energy entertainment – including special appearances by Disney characters – providing a unique form of motivation for athletes. In fact, it's not unusual to see runners actually stop along the course during the race and stand in line to have their photos taken with the Disney characters.

Note: The Disney Marathon Weekend races traditionally have filled to capacity. Guests can check current registration availability at www.disneyworldmarathon.com.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Celebrates 18th Year with Millions of Blooms and Blossoms

More than 30 million blooms in artfully designed floral beds, floral islands, vibrant rose gardens and larger-than-life topiaries will grace the 300 acres of Future World and World Showcase during the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, scheduled to take place at the Walt Disney World theme park March 2 through May 15, 2011. In addition to the brilliant horticulture displays, guests also can hear from celebrity guest speakers, participate in hands-on seminars and experience innovative planting demonstrations and exhibits. A favorite festival tradition is the lineup of concerts in the Flower Power concert series. Artists and groups will take the stage in World Showcase to add some tuneful fun to the floral festivities. Guests can obtain more information about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival by calling 407/W-DISNEY or online at www.disneyworld.com/flower or www.disneyparks.com/blog (online information will be updated as it is received). Most activities at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be included in regular Epcot admission.

Major League Baseball Returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for Atlanta Braves' Spring Training 2011

The National League powerhouse Atlanta Braves will return for their 14th consecutive exhibition season at Walt Disney World Resort in March 2011. Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – where the Atlanta Braves under a new manager will take the field to prepare for the regular season – features more than 9,500 seats, along with luxury skyboxes, suites and patios. The stadium offers many of the amenities of today's major league ballparks in an intimate sports setting like no other. There's even seating on grassy knolls that harkens back to the early days of baseball. For more information, guests can visit www.espnwwos.com, www.disneyparks.com/blog or call 407/939-GAME. Fans also can follow Disney Sports and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Twitter (@DisneySports).

Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine Inspires 100 High School Students from Across the Country

From March 3-6, 2011, 100 high school students from across the nation will travel to Walt Disney World Resort for Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, an inspiring event featuring interactive workshops and seminars, mentoring and inspiration focusing on careers and life enrichment.

The event will be convening its fourth class at Walt Disney World Resort, where participants will learn about careers in everything from culinary arts to animation, from set design and show production to the business of sports and more.

Upon creating Disney's Dreamers Academy in 2007, Disney joined forces with Harvey, a nationally syndicated radio personality, actor and best-selling author, to launch the initial nationwide search for high school students who possess a winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character and an attitude that will enable them to seek and take advantage of opportunities for their future. This year, Essence magazine has joined forces with Harvey to make Disney's Dreamers Academy the biggest and brightest event yet.

Each fall, thousands of teens have been nominated by parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves. A distinguished panel of leaders from communications, education, industry and entertainment reviews the applications and selects a Dreamers Academy class of 100 teens in grades 9 through 12.

While at Walt Disney World in Florida, the 100 students will participate in workshops with Disney cast members and executives, hear inspirational stories from entertainment celebrities and professional athletes, and enjoy the Disney theme parks – where they can see, first-hand, the results of people who turned their dreams into careers as "Disney dreamers." More information can be found online at www.DisneysDreamersAcademy.com.

*Note: Nominations for Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine Class of 2011 are accepted July 2-Oct. 31, 2010, with information about procedures at DisneysDreamersAcademy.com. General vacation planning information about Walt Disney World Resort is available at www.DisneyWorld.com. Guests can initiate reservations and other arrangements at the website or by calling 407/W-DISNEY.