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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on November 21st, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

This week, we featured several exclusives as well as some behind-the-scenes posts on the Disney Parks Blog. We celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the edible carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World and offered first video of the most sophisticated Audio-Animatronics technology yet. If you didn’t see it, here’s the video:

We also showed how Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park gets a “dipped in sugar” look during the holiday season and offered a look at some of the amazing cakes offered at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. Here’s a list of some of our most popular posts:

200,000 Lights Transform Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World — How 40,000 square feet of fisherman’s net is used to decorate the Castle.

Amazing Cakes Offered at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings Mad Hatter cake is one of several Disney-themed wedding cakes.

Giant Gingerbread House Opens at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort A first look at our Victorian gingerbread house on opening day.

Sleigh Rides Offered for First Time at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground — A new experience is offered at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

Exclusive New Year’s Eve Parties Offered at Magic Kingdom Park — Two new exclusive parties offered at Walt Disney World.

Contemplation — Walt Disney Photographer shared another unique image.

‘Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!’ at Disneyland Resort — New video of the party at Disneyland Resort.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

The Blessing of the Four Directions at Walt Disney World

posted on November 20th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Something unique happens this time of year at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – a ceremony performed in the lobby called the Blessing of the Four Directions.

As you may know, November is Native American Heritage Month and every year visiting interpreters James Hansen (Black Wolf) and Anita Hansen (Quick Silver) perform a short ceremony, symbolically driving out negative energy and purifying the resort for the year ahead.

The Hansens also tell stories and answer questions for guests about Native American culture. If you haven’t seen it, here’s video:

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Filed: Disney Differences, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Meet the Artist: Behind-the-Scenes of D Street

posted on November 20th, 2009 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Noah at D Street

Something new is hitting the streets – the streets of the Downtown Disney District, that is. There’s a new urban-like shopping space opening in December, and I wanted to give you the details here on the Disney Parks Blog.

They call it D Street! It’s a place where urban art product “intersects” (pun intended) with a Disney creative edge. This raw, unfinished industrial-style space will showcase a mix of Disney-inspired art created by local and underground artists. Also up for grabs are cutting edge apparel, pop culture novelties, vinyl figures, collectibles and more.

I was able to catch up with local Southern California artist Noah on one of his recent visits to the Resort. Noah will be one of the featured artists for this new location and whose artwork and art inspired apparel will be on available in D Street at opening.

Michelle: Vinylmation is one of the biggest crazes at Disney Parks, and we hear that D Street will be kind of like a flagship for all the new vinyl products. I know you did a 5 foot-tall Vinylmation Mickey for D23. Any plans to see any cool vinyls from you?
Noah at D Street

Noah: Um….Yes! As a matter of fact there will be a special release on the 19th of December at D Street. It will be one of the most unique applications I’ve ever seen for vinylmation. It is a great thing to see so many artists coming out of the woodwork to express themselves on this platform. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing Disney guests light up when they see their favorite Disney character in a light that fits their personality and lifestyle. It makes the characters and Disney magic that much closer and personal.

Michelle: You’re very well known locally for your cutting edge art approach, what influences or inspirations do you draw on to create these amazing pieces?

Noah: I know it sounds weird but my mind is always turning and moving when I’m meditating and walking in public places. Let’s say I’m at Disneyland and I’m hanging out for the day. I am looking at hairstyles, t-shirt designs, what to wear, what not to wear, peoples expressions and the lighting. I especially love the lighting in the later time of the day. Creativity is a “mood” an “attitude” or “vibe”. If I really want to ramp it up it is being in solitude and cranking music.

I never want my work to “look” like someone else’ or to “follow” a look or feel. To me it has always been about pushing myself with each new work to find something different and greater than before. I love the use of writings in my work to tell the story. People think that it is another language but it is English written in my own font. My Dad was a sign letterer and I was always fascinated by letter characters.


Okay, it’s time to wrap this up, but now you’re in the know. Once I get more details on the opening of the store, I’ll be sure to share them with you. Maybe we can even give you an “insider’s look” at this new local hot spot!

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Filed: Art of Disney, Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort

Life-Sized Edible Carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

posted on November 19th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

The Edible Carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort
Today, we’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of one of my favorite holiday visits — the edible carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World.

The spinning carousel includes ponies made of chocolate and fondant, hand-painted chocolate “Fab Five” Disney characters surrounded by snowflakes on the side of gingerbread and giant candy cane poles. How it’s created is worth mention.

Pastry chefs use 100 pounds of icing, 50 pounds of dark chocolate and 36 pounds of honey. Also, 100 pounds of confectioner sugar and 96 pounds of bread flour go into the structure. Here’s a look at 10 hours of work in 15 seconds:

You may not know this but once a day, a Guest is selected from the lobby to have a photo taken with Chef Stefan Riemer in front of the carousel during the holidays. They also get a special created gingerbread shingle.

Is this one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Amazing Cakes Offered at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings

posted on November 19th, 2009 by Korri McFann, Worldwide Marketing & Business Development Director, Weddings & Honeymoons

We get questions all the time about what sort of wedding cake options we offer at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. Disney-themed wedding cakes can come in a variety of styles, from classic to whimsical. These cakes fit many tastes, but one thing is guaranteed, they taste as good as they look!

The Mad Hatter Cake comes in a variety of color combinations, to add a touch of whimsical to a wedding, or as part of a Mad Hatter Tea Party Brunch! With Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” coming out next March, we can’t wait to see how brides decide to customize this cake!

Mad Hatter Cake

More traditional brides can take their fairy tale to new heights with the Castle Cake, a 6 tier cake complete with an edible replica of Cinderella Castle on top. This is a cake fit for a princess, and large enough to feed her prince and entire royal court!

Castle Cake

What about you, what type of wedding cake did you have at your wedding? Or for brides to be, what sort of cake are you planning on having?

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Filed: Celebrations, Walt Disney World Resort, Weddings & Honeymoons

Celebrities Hit the Links at Walt Disney World

posted on November 19th, 2009 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

In case you missed it, several celebrities recently competed in the pro-am portion of the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic pro golf tournament at Walt Disney World Resort. Johnny Damon, star player for the reigning World Series Champion New York Yankees played along with A.J. Pierzynski (Chicago White Sox), Aaron Rowand (San Francisco Giants), Scott Phillips (drummer for the band Creed) and Anthony Bowie (former Orlando Magic player) on Disney’s famed Magnolia and Palm golf courses.

Unlike most pro-ams, the celebrities competed with the PGA Tour pros during the first two days of the actual PGA Tour tournament, creating a unique opportunity for them to test their golf skills against the best golfers on the planet. For Damon, Phillips and Pierzynski in particular, competing at the Disney tournament was, well, a real home run.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!’ at Disneyland Resort

posted on November 18th, 2009 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations

Check out this video that gives you a front row seat to “Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!” at the Disneyland Resort. The colorful, jazz-filled show gets the party started in New Orleans Square and continues on the Mark Twain Riverboat. This good time runs through January 3.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Disney’s Dreamers Academy Students Selected

posted on November 18th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

We now know the names of the 100 high school students who’ll be participating in this year’s Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey at Walt Disney World.

Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey

As many of you already know, the “Dreamers” program offers amazing experiences for young adults at our parks. They participate in interactive workshops learning Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment and the business of sports. Cast Members, executives and celebrities also share blueprints for success and inspire the group with motivational stories during the four-day event.

But one of the main goals of the upcoming program is to inspire the students to take what they learn back to their communities and help others realize their dreams. Here’s the list of selected students. By the way, the 100 students will attend Disney’s Dreamers Academy in February 2010. You can learn more about the program at

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Filed: Community Outreach, Walt Disney World Resort


posted on November 18th, 2009 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort

Ah, how satisfying it is to be able to be alone with your thoughts, no matter where or when. Consider that within ten yards of Goofy’s nose, dozens- no, hundreds of Park Guests are excitedly photographing family and friends in front of Cinderella Castle. But I just love imagining what Goofy could be contemplating amidst the excitement of it all. A dog bone, perhaps?

This is from a series but without altering the image in any way – that unlikely marriage of high and low technology….

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Moms Panel: Smiling Through the Tears

posted on November 18th, 2009 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Heather Murry
Walt Disney World Moms panelist and mother of five Heather Murry of Georgia knows a lot about life’s challenges. She knows not just how to face those challenges but to conquer them. But raising a large family is just one of things that make Heather a champion.

Walt Disney World has been the Murry family’s “happy place” for years but when Heather was diagnosed with cancer, her family and friends thought that she should put her Walt Disney World vacations on hold. Heather simply said no. “I had five young children, and I needed to be the mom not the patient. Disney was the one place where my illness was not in the forefront of my family.”

According to Heather, visiting Walt Disney World Resort during this stressful time in her life was not frivolous but essential. “I wanted to feel the magic. I needed to feel the kid in me again. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to live and I wanted to escape the needles, the tests, and the doctors. I wanted to be a mom and I wanted to feel life. There were so many reasons not to go but my family and I all needed to find joy again.” she said.

As unbelievable as it may seem, only a few years after Heather received a clean bill of health and was living life as a cancer survivor, one of her children was diagnosed with life-threatening brain cancer. “Life can present challenges that seem insurmountable. Cancer took me down the darkest road of my life but it also opened windows and prepared me for another battle with cancer, only this time it wasn’t me but my child’s. A trip to Walt Disney World may not cure cancer but it allowed us for a short time to believe in make believe. Walt Disney World is much more than a massive theme park but a place where imaginations can flourish, the mind can expand and is inclusive of all.”

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Filed: Walt Disney World Resort