Walt Disney World will make it easier for visitors to forget their troubles and cares and head Downtown Disney, where things will be even greater as the resort revamps the 120-acre entertainment-shopping-dining complex this fall. Plans include refurbishments, additions, a re-imagined Pleasure Island, and new theming and storytelling brought to life by Walt Disney Imagineers.
New additions to Downtown Disney will include a giant, tethered balloon takes guests 300 feet up in the air, plus T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure restaurant fit with life-size, animated dinosaurs, a design-your-own t-shirt store from Hanes, and more. Meanwhile, the Portobello Yacht Club will be transformed into a Tuscan Country Trattoria, and Goofy’s Candy Company will add a new room to host unique birthday parties.
During the complex upgrade, Pleasure Island clubs will close on September 27, but Raglan Road, Fuego by Sosa Cigars, Curl by Sammy Duval, Orlando Harley-Davidson and outdoor food and beverage locations will remain open.
The announcement of the district's renovations comes along side the released details of the 13th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, taking place September 26-November 9. Fine wining and dining from some of the best "foodie" cities in the world will showcase their cuisine, from Cork, Ireland to Cape Town, South Africa. New festival flavors this year will include the culinary wonders of Lyon, France; Marrakesh, Morocco; Shanghai, China; Bologna, Italy; Tokyo and Mexico City.
Top features of the festival include daily complimentary wine and beer tastings, culinary demonstrations, and the nightly Eat to the Beat! concert series featuring concerts at America Gardens Theatre along the World Showcase lagoon by Kool & The Gang, Spyro Gyra, En Vogue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, David Sanborn, Jon Secada and Otis Day and the Knights.
Festival guests will also enjoy new Epcot experiences, including the re-launched Spaceship Earth attraction in Future World, a new restaurant at the Italy pavilion, Tutto Italia, the new Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo restaurants, and Mexico's new tequila bar.
Clients can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for information and to make reservations for special events and programs. Festival details are available at www.disneyworld.com/food. Travel agents can visit www.disneytravelagents.com for more information.