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Spring brings fun & excitement to Walt Disney World

Spring brings fun & excitement to Walt Disney World

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Okay. I know. It’s been a particularly brutal winter for most of the country this year. But if you can hang in there just a few more days, Spring officially arrives this Saturday!

Mind you, Walt Disney World didn’t wait for the vernal equinox (which officially occurs on March 20th at 1:32 p.m. EDT) to swing into Spring. For weeks now, there have been exciting new arrivals as well as some old favorites returning to this Resort.

Let’s start with the newest of the new arrivals. A baby western lowland gorilla named Lilly! She was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom back on February 19th.

Lily the gorilla was born February 19th, 2010 at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom park
Kashata and her new baby, Lilly. Photo by Gene Duncan.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Kashata and Gino are the proud parents of this beautiful baby girl who is only the third gorilla born at this WDW theme park, the first was more than a decade ago!

If you’d like to get a look at this newborn, you should definitely drop by DAK and then head down the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. In the Gorilla Research Camp Kashata has regularly had Lilly out with her, clutched tightly to her body as this first-time mother browses around this lush exhibit area.

As for the old favorites … The Atlanta Braves have returned to Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex last month to begin their 13th year of Spring Training at this WDW venue. Having completed two weeks of intense workouts, the team is now facing off against some of its divisional rivals (like the Philadelphia Phillies on March 24th and the Washington Nationals on March 27th).

Better yet, the Braves will be playing one of MLB’s most popular teams this coming Sunday when the St. Louis Cardinals fly into Champion Stadium for a pre-season game. And did I mention that last year’s World Series winners – the New York Yankees – are coming to Disney World as well? They’ll be playing the Braves at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on March 30th.

If you or someone in your family is a baseball fan, buying a ticket to a pre-season game at this beautiful WDW venue is often a very affordable way to experience major league baseball. And if you’re patient and are then willing to put in some time either before or after the game … Well, you just might be able to get an autograph from your favorite player.

A young baseball fan anxiously waits to get an autograph from his favorite pro player on his baseball.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And speaking of beautiful … Epcot’s 17th annual International Flower & Garden Festival is now in full swing. And while it may be tempting to just hang out in that theme park’s Future World section and then get pictures of the thousands of bedding plants here (not to mention all those Disney character topiaries that you’ll find in Epcot’s front half), if you really want to get the full benefit of this 75-day-long festival, you’re going to have to start walking around World Showcase Lagoon. Where you’ll then find some of the more educational exhibits.

They include:

  • The Art of Green Living Garden – Loaded with Olive and loquat trees, this Tuscan-themed garden is located between the France and Morocco pavilions. And it shows Guests how to create an environmentally-friendly garden at home that features a “green” wall as well as an outdoor patio.
  • France’s Fragrance Garden – Located at Epcot’s France Pavilion, this beautiful outdoor display illustrates the “love story” between plants and perfume.
  • The American Adventure’s Community Garden – In honor of all those community gardens that have begun popping up around the country, topiary version of Disney’s “Fab Five” (i.e. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy) stand watch over a vegetable patch loaded with homegrown beans, peppers and tomatoes.

A little Disney princess stares at EPCOT's topiary princess at WDW's International Flower and Garden Show
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And if you happen to be over by the American Adventure pavilion this coming weekend, you might want to think about getting in line for a seat for the American Gardens Theatre. The Flower Power Concerts being presented there on March 19th – 21st (which feature “Partridge Family” star David Cassidy) are sure to some of the most popular events presented at this year’s International Flower & Garden Festival.

And speaking of stars … If you’re a Star Wars fan, you might want to go ahead and circle May 21st  on your calendar. You see, that’s when Star Wars Weekends kicks off. And then – for four consecutive weeks through June 13th – Disney’s Hollywood Studios becomes the white-hot center of the Star Wars universe.

Over the opening weekend of this year’s SWW event, you have the chance to sit in on star conversations with and/or attend meet-and-greet sessions with Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett as well as all the clone troopers in the live action “Star Wars” movies), Daniel Logan (who played Boba Fett and all the clone cadets in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”) and Dee Bradley Baker (who does the voices for all of the clone troopers in the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series). Better yet, the celebrity hosts for all four weekends will be Jeremy Bulloch (who played Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”) and Ashley Eckstein (who voices Ahsoka in “The Clones Wars” TV series).

Now where this gets interesting is -- if you’re a Florida resident -- you can experience most of the WDW-related fun that I’ve described above just by purchasing Disney’s 4 Day Dream Pass.

Storm Troopers enmass at Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Wars Weekend
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This $99 WDW ticket (which is valid for ages 10 & up) will give Florida residents admission to one of Disney World’s four theme parks for each day of the ticket. Mind you, there are a few restrictions (i.e. Disney’s 4 Day Dream Pass may not be used on the following block-out dates: March 27th through April 9, 2010. Parking at the Parks is not included. More to the point, the 4 Day Dream Pass does expire and may not be used after May 25, 2010). But – beyond that – this Dream Pass should give you plenty of opportunities to experience all of the fun & excitement that Spring can bring to The Walt Disney World Resort.

For further information on admission materials for the WDW theme parks as well as many other attractions in the Central Florida area, be sure and drop by the Orlando Fun Tickets website.

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