In this edition: Epcot: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival guests groove to the beat with Micky Dolenz and the Flower Power concert series Disney Cruise Line: New ports of call offered for summer sailings Disney Resorts: Dive into ‘suite’ fun at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Star Wars Weekends offer galaxies of fun ESPN Wide World of Sports: ESPNHS Girl hosts international competition Epcot: Let the sleuthing begin with a new adventure Spring Sights and Sounds Rock Park Guests through May 20 During Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival If you’re a believer in Flower Power, make a beeline to the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to catch the final 20 days of brilliant blooms, design secrets and a stellar lineup of pop music legends. “I’m A Believer” lead vocalist Micky Dolenz formerly of The Monkees appears for the first time during the final festival weekend May 18-20. Dolenz will pay tribute to his longtime friend and band mate, the late Davy Jones, who was a fan favorite for many years of the Flower Power concert series. Other not-to-miss concerts: May 4-6 – The Orchestra featuring former members of ELO and ELO Part II (“Don’t Bring Me Down”) appears for the first time on the Flower Power stage; May 11-13 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (“I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”) returns with a nostalgic British invasion. Festival presenter HGTV hits its own high notes each May weekend with a slate of celebrity designers who are followed by millions of Do-It-Yourself fans: Antonio Ballatore, The Antonio Treatment (May 4-6) Design Outside of the Box: How to Personalize, Customize and Inspire Carter Oosterhouse, Million Dollar Rooms (May 11-13) 10 Renovation Tips You Need to Know Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve (May 18-20) Turning your Landscape Inside Out And the final Special Festival Weekend Celebration brings a taste of the garden to Epcot with a “Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market Salute” May 4-6. Park guests can learn more about eating locally grown food from 18 growers and associations exhibiting everything from berries and peanuts to watermelon and honey at the Festival Center. Displays, including a live beehive, are popular with kids. For more information, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit disneyworld.com/flower. Set Sail for New Adventures with Disney Cruise Line’s Summer Itineraries Disney Cruise Line will set sail from new ports in summer 2012 – making the Disney family cruise vacation more accessible to guests around the country. Additionally, the cruise line will offer more choices than ever before with several new itineraries planned. Beginning May 25, the Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York – including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend. The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla. to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. Rates start at $1,480 per person. The nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. Rates start at $715 per person. The three two-night cruises out of New York are perfect for families looking for a quick getaway with a day at sea over a weekend. Rates start at $370 per person. Beginning May 28, 2012, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from the Port of Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. These cruises will combine the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience found on a Disney Cruise Line ship. Disney Cruise Line works closely with Alaskan tour operators to create exclusive-to-Disney family-friendly Port Adventures that allow guests to best experience Alaska’s natural beauty and rich history. Rates for the seven-night Alaska cruise itinerary departing from Seattle start at $917 per person. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent. All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom, Government Taxes and Fees not included. Splash along with Nemo and friends at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort To kick off the summer vacation season, Walt Disney World Resort will open the doors to its newest resort hotel on May 31 with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value property consisting primarily of family suites that immerse guests into the magical worlds of classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films. Opening in phases, each of the four wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by each beloved film depicted. Three family suite wings will showcase Finding Nemo opening May 31, Cars opening June 18 and The Lion King opening Aug. 10, with elaborate storytelling both inside and out. Standard guest rooms make up The Little Mermaid wing, the final phase to open on Sept. 15. The first phase to open, the Finding Nemo wing will focus around the “Big Blue” pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children’s play area. The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, will feature 1,120 family suites boasting two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six and 864 standard rooms sleeping up to four. For reservations, guests can call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or contact their travel agent. Wookiees, Jedi and Droids, Oh My! Star Wars Weekends Returns to the Walt Disney World Galaxy in May-June 2012 Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Resort during May and June 2012, as Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The annual special event, included in regular theme park admission, will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012. The power of the Force and magic of Disney combine as more than 60 Star Wars characters – including Wookiees, droids, Rodians, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Jedi – roam the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greet opportunities with guests. Star Wars celebrities highlight the event, appearing in themed parades, talk shows, star conversations, behind-the-scenes presentations and autograph sessions. Here are the celebrities attending Star Wars Weekends 2012 (*subject to change): Weekend I (May 18 – 20) Ray Park – (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody – Star Wars: The Clone Wars) Weekend II (May 25- 27) Andy Secombe (Watto – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars) Weekend III (June 1 -3) Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) (Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice talent – currently TBD) Weekend IV (June 8- 10) Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace) Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi) Daniel Logan (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones) Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress – Star Wars: The Clone Wars) The centerpiece of the celebration is the spectacular 3-D attraction, “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.” The attraction, which opened last year, uses eye-popping 3-D, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction. Limited-edition and event-exclusive merchandise is offered each year, and the ever-popular “Hyperspace Hoopla” ends each Star Wars Weekends day with a show filled with comedy, dancing and high-energy music. For more information and future updates, guests may go online to disneyparks.com/blog (keyword search: “Star Wars Weekends”) disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends or starwars.com. International High School Girls Compete at ESPN Wide World of Sports The ESPNHS Girls Showcase, a weekend sports festival event formerly known as the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase, runs May 31-June 3. The Showcase at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World features the best female athletic talent in basketball, softball, martial arts, gymnastics and volleyball. Designed to provide the female athlete with training to help improve her game and mentoring that inspires her, this four-day event will feature select high school athletes on the national and international levels. Secret Agents to Foil Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Evil Plans Debuting in June at Epcot, Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is based on the wily secret-agent alter-ego of Perry the Platypus – faithful pet to the title characters from Disney Channel’s animated series “Phineas & Ferb.” Although just a simple pet to Phineas and Ferb, Perry turns into Agent P in each episode to help stop the misguided plans of his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Epcot guests will transform into secret agents to help Agent P thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s most daring plots. Agents will use a “high-tech secret agent device” to receive clues for each case. Solving the clues will take agents to different places throughout seven World Showcase countries at Epcot – Mexico Pavilion, France Pavilion, Germany Pavilion, Norway Pavilion, Japan Pavilion, China Pavilion and the United Kingdom Pavilion. Agents will scour each country for clues, evil “Inators,” and – with a little bit of luck – help Agent P defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz.