Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Vacation Planner: May-August 2008 Includes Opening of Toy Story Mania!

Guests Who Elect to Visit Disney World This Summer Are in for Fun that'll Make Their Vacation a Landslide Winner

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In an election year, the landslide winner for summer fun is a no-brainer. In the exciting continuation of its "Year of a Million Dreams," Walt Disney World Resort is bursting with magic, no matter what summer guests "elect" to do -- including a new attraction, new dining, fun events and more. Here's a summer sampling of why Florida's Vacation Kingdom gets everyone's vote ...

Toys are back in town as Disney Parks unwraps Toy Story Mania!

Summer 2008 brings the opening of Toy Story Mania! a cutting-edge and interactive ride-through attraction that combines the fun of a video game, whiz-bang 3-D technology and interaction with favorite Disney-Pixar stars. Set to bow at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Toy Story Mania! adds to the fun on both coasts. (Exact opening dates will be announced at a later date.)

Guests board colorful ride vehicles to see who can rack up the most points playing -- actually being in -- midway-style games.

Toy Story Mania! matches the delightful Disney-Pixar characters with games that best suit their very animated personalities -- and Walt Disney World Resort puts Disney's Hollywood Studios guests in the middle of the action. Sporting 3-D glasses, they twist and turn along a colorful midway-themed route.

At each game booth, they aim for animated targets using their own special onboard spring-action shooter. The attraction features games that audiences of all ages and skill levels -- from beginner to serious gamer -- can enjoy. Players pair up and sit side-by-side for a friendly competition that delivers an ever-changing variety of targets and surprises.

Out-of-this-world fun coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekends return to Walt Disney World Resort in June 2008, as Disney's Hollywood Studios becomes Star Wars Central for sci-fi fans of all ages. (Exact event dates will be announced at a later date.)

With the popular Star Wars film saga as the inspiration, Disney's Hollywood Studios becomes the temporary home for a band of out-of-this-world characters, including Wookiees, Sith, droids, Jedi, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Rodians.

A giant, "A to Z" gathering of Star Wars characters -- from Queen Amidala to Zam Wesell -- will roam the streets of the theme park during meet-and-greet sessions. Jedi Training Academy -- one of the interactive entertainment experiences featured during Disney's "Year of a Million Dreams" -- takes place on the main stage and allows young guests to learn from a Jedi Master before testing their newly acquired skills in a battle with Darth Vader.

Also featured: the chance for fans to purchase one-of-a-kind Star Wars memorabilia, Star Wars trivia contests, special Star Wars parades, rides on the famed Star Tours simulator attraction, and autograph sessions and star conversations with famous Star Wars actors.

Star Wars Weekends take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Event activities are included in theme park admission.

Whole new world of Disney World dining greets summer guests

Whether it's a meal or a cooling liquid libation, summertime guests to Walt Disney World Resort will find exciting new choices.

Epcot, with fresh new dining options at Italy (Tutto Italia) and Japan (Tokyo Dining) also welcomes guests to China, where a new Joy of Tea outdoor cart features hot and cold teas, frozen green tea concoctions and alcoholic choices such as plum wine and wine green tea slush.

In Mexico this summer, a 50- to 60-seat tequila bar replaces a retail shop in the pavilion's spacious indoor courtyard. Also in time for summer, the pavilion's waterfront Cantina San Angel is expanding with a new menu and more seating featuring optimal views of World Showcase. At Disney's Contemporary Resort, summer guests will be treated to The Wave, a new eatery serving up American cooking blended with world flavors. A stylish lounge sets the stage with New World wines and trendy cocktails.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival expanded to 75 days

Green thumbs or "all thumbs," there's something for everyone at one of the most popular events at Walt Disney World Resort -- the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Now in its 15th year, the festival bursts into bloom with the theme Fun in the Sun and keeps on flourishing for a record 75 days -- running through June 1 (from its start date of March 19). Whimsical character topiaries, brilliant beds of flowers, rose displays, water gardens and many more verdant exhibits set the scene around Epcot Future World and World Showcase for a garden party like no other. Guests can participate in daily seminars focused on gardening, crafts and other topics and enjoy evening music concerts featuring top acts from the 1960s and '70s.

As guests enter the park near Spaceship Earth, they'll spot a 14-foot Goofy topiary riding a six-foot wave of flowers and plants. Sandcastles, palm trees and starfish will surround Mickey and Minnie topiaries posed on a floral beach towel spread upon a sandy "beach." At World Showcase Plaza, Disney topiary specialists will craft a volleyball beach scene starring Donald Duck and Daisy. Nearby, a topiary Pluto will frolic with topiary sand crabs while colorful Stitch from "Lilo and Stitch" keeps watch from a lifeguard stand.

For youthful "green thumbs," there's plenty of fun, too, including a special children's garden, plus a butterfly garden -- a screened enclosure that will include a live exhibit showing how caterpillars form a chrysalis and emerge as butterflies.

The festival is included in regular Epcot admission.

Summer guests cruise to special offerings aboard Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has announced special offerings for 2008 including a summer season of sailings to the Mexican Riviera, select cruises with multiple stops at Castaway Cay, and an enhanced Land and Sea package. Disney's seven-night Land and Sea Package Plus Dining includes all the perks of the existing seven-night Land and Sea package that combines a Disney cruise with a stay at Walt Disney World Resort along with the added benefits of the Disney Dining Plan, which provides guests one sit-down meal, one counter-service meal and one snack per person for each night of their Walt Disney World stay.

And for planners, beginning in 2009, St. Croix will be a featured stop on one new seven-night itinerary, and Tortola will be featured on another seven-night itinerary. Both islands are new to Disney Cruise Line, increasing the seven-night Caribbean choices on the Disney Magic to four itineraries (Disney's traditional eastern and western Caribbean itineraries will continue).

Tampa Bay Bucs return to Walt Disney World for training camp in July

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to begin preparing for the 2008 NFL season with the start of training camp in late July at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. This will mark the seventh straight year (2002-2008) the Bucs have held training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, the leading venue for amateur and professional sports in the country.

The Bucs are coming off a successful 2007 season in which they went 9-7 during the regular season to win the NFC South division title and advance to the playoffs. They will look to build on that success starting with training camp at Disney where they will once again hold practices twice a day before beginning their preseason schedule of games.

Once again, Bucs training camp practices will be free and open to the public during the team's three-week stay at Disney. There will also be periodic autograph opportunities with Bucs players and coaches each day.

Jostens Center to open at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex

The state-of-the-art Jostens Center opens in summer 2008 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The multi-sports field house is expected to play host to events such as basketball, volleyball, wrestling and martial arts, allowing Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to double the number of indoor events that can potentially be held at the facility.

The venue, which will encompass more than 75,000 square feet, represents the latest expansion of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, which is the leading venue for amateur and professional sports in the country. In all, Jostens Center will be able to accommodate six college regulation-size basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts or two roller hockey rinks, plus locker rooms and meeting space. In addition, Jostens Center will offer personalized memory books and other memorabilia to recognize athletic achievements and preserve memories for the teams and athletes that compete at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Academy Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Specializing in Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney Vacations
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