June 6, 2014
Action Packed Parks Weekend
Happy Friday in Theme World. This is one of the most action-packed weekends for the parks that I can recall in a long time. Let's start with Disney's Hollywood Studios.
For the first time ever, Mark Hamill is appearing at Star Wars Weekends.
Luke Skywalker himself won't be signing autographs, but will appear through Sunday at the Legends of the Force Motorcade at 11:30am and fans can hear an interview with the star at Premier Theater at 3pm. Yes, it will be packed. The interview will also be broadcast on the screen outside American Idol, and on the Streets of America.
Here is a video posted today with Mark Hamill on the Disney Parks Blog.
Over at Universal, Robin Thicke's concert Saturday night will wrap up an extra-long Mardi Gras season.
Thicke was originally one of the first performers scheduled in the party/concert series, but his concert was postponed.
Also at Universal Studios, all eyes are on another big draw.
Sky 6 spotted the dragon atop Gringotts Bank in the new Diagon Alley land of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The dragon now has one of its two wings, but isn't breathing fire yet. Look for it to be finished soon, as Universal Team Members are getting ready for the first tests of the new rides, shops and entertainment.
At the Magic Kingdom, Saturday marks one of the busiest events of the year. Look for a sea of red.
Yes, the Gay Days celebration is back. The festivities are spread out through Sunday at various theme parks (today is Hollywood Studios), but the big day is always Saturday at the Magic Kingdom. Here's a link to the calendar. This is the 16th year for the celebration, which is not sponsored by Disney or the other parks, but over the years the Mouse has become a welcoming host to the privately-organized party.
Speaking of parties.... Saturday night marks the first night-time party at Animal Kingdom.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Lion King, the park is launching Harambe Nights.
It starts with snacks and appetizers, before a special concert in the new Harmabe Theater. It is called "The Lion King - Concert in the Wild" that includes a live orchestra and choir, dancers and these celebrity guest narrators:
June 7 - Viola Davis: "The Help," "Doubt," "How to Get Away with Murder" - SOLD OUT
June 14 - Avery Brooks: "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "American History X"
June 21 - Montego Glover: "The Following," "Memphis"
June 28 - David Alan Grier: "Porgy & Bess," "In Living Color"
July 5 - Michael Beach: "ER," "Third Watch," "Sons of Anarchy"
July 12 - Harry Lennix: "The Blacklist," "The Five Heartbeats"
July 19 - Joe Morton: "Scandal," "American Gangster," "The Good Wife"
July 26 - Alfre Woodard: "Desperate Housewives," "Miss Evers Boys"
August 2 - Brian Stokes Mitchell: "Ragtime," "Trapper John, M.D.," "Glee"
August 9 - Patina Miller: "Pippin," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1"
Here's a behind the scenes look:
After the concert, expect a "Party of the Senses" style celebration of food, but with extra entertainment. Bring your appetite. Many of the dishes served are favorites at the park's Tusker House restaurant, as well as the upscale eateries at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here's a partial list.
Fresh Cooked Breads, Salads and More
Watercress, melon, feta and berry balsamic onion salad
Kachumbari salad with tomato, paneer, carrot and cilantro
Roasted beetroot salad with sunflower seeds
Creamy mac 'n cheese
Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney
Traditional naan, onion kulcha and pappadum breads
Roasted pepper hummus, raita and garlic-ginger pickle
Surf and Turf
Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad
Watermelon, cucumber and fennel salad
Coriander chutney roasted potatoes
Line-caught corvina filet with goan curry sauce
On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce
Slow-cook Action Stations
Fork-tender peri barbecued pork
Vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry served over creamy goat cheese pap
Butter chicken thighs
Vegetarian legume wat served over basmati rice
Golden pineapple with toasted coconut
Apple slices with Amarula caramel sauce
Ripe melon with minted lime yogurt dip
Rice pudding, dried fruit compote and pistachio gremolata
Caramel salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite
Chai cream with zebra stripes
Ice cream bars
Harambe Nights is every Saturday from June 7 - August 9, with the Welcome Reception starting at 7:00 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m., it's show time. Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. There were premium seats for more money, but they have all sold out.
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