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Update: Aulani! Disney’s New Destination Resort in Hawai`i

posted on April 30th, 2010 by Michelle Baumann, Walt Disney World Public Relations

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i
Hi everyone…I had to share this beautiful image overlooking the crescent-shaped lagoon from the 9th floor of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. I am happy to report that construction for our newest Disney Vacation Club Resort is right on track. We actually reached a construction milestone today, as we ended the vertical construction phase of our 15-story oceanfront resort with a “topping off” ceremony.

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Filed: Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts

The Stage is Set for World of Color

posted on April 30th, 2010 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations

It’s very exciting around Disney’s California Adventure park these days. In this video we take you inside the control booth as Walt Disney Imagineers work overnight testing lights, fire and nearly 1,200 fountains for the new nighttime spectacular “World of Color.” You’ll also see some exclusive footage from our time lapse camera and more glimpses of the show. “World of Color” is set to debut on June 11. Enjoy!

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Getting Muddy at Walt Disney World

posted on April 30th, 2010 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Muddy Buddy at Walt Disney World
What’s the best way to cap off a long run and bike ride? Well, rolling around in the mud, of course!

That’s basically what thousands of people of all ages are gearing up to do May 8 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex during Muddy Buddy, a trendy and unique event that combines endurance and competition with a whole lot of fun.
Muddy Buddy at Walt Disney World
Grab a buddy and a bike and you’re all set! For those unfamiliar with this dirty distance event, the race goes something like this: you and your buddy begin the race together, one on a bike, the other on foot. You both take off and head for a series of five obstacles. After you complete an obstacle you switch skills with your partner and head to the next. The race course spreads a total of six to seven miles with each team member running about three miles and biking about three miles. Once you cross the finish line get ready for the best part of the day…wait for your partner and trek through the infamous mud pit together!

Beginning athletes and experienced racers alike can take on this challenge. Registration spots are still available and you can be as young as 14 to take part in the race. If your family has some muddy buddy fans younger than 14, there is a Mini Muddy Buddy that consists of obstacles and the mud pit. Go to and register to get dirty!

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What’s the Best Disney Tip for a First Time Visitor?

posted on April 30th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

We commonly receive questions looking for tips on how to best enjoy visits to Disney Parks. Recently, one of our Twitter followers asked, “If you had to offer a first time visitor just one tip before they arrived, what would it be?” While we’re happy to offer advice, who better to answer than some of our loyal fans? So, we tossed the question out to you for an answer and were immediately overwhelmed with advice – 3,000 posts/comments in the first hour on Twitter and our Facebook page. Today, we’re sharing some of your favorite tips – in no particular order:

  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Get to the parks early
  • Take advantage of FASTPASS
  • Research and have a plan
  • Stay on Disney property
  • Use the dining plan
  • Take time to enjoy the sights
  • Make early dinner reservations

Thank you to everyone who shared their expertise. Are there any more? Please let us know in the comments.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Make a Splash…

posted on April 30th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

One of my favorite summer activities is entertaining family and friends while we spend time by the pool. A big day of swimming, lounging & relaxing usually leads to a big appetite – which means it times to bring out the dishes and fire up the grill! But ordinary dishes won’t do for a summer pool party; summer pool parties call for something fun, colorful and full of personality.
Poolside Collection
If you’re anything like me, then you know exactly what I mean! While recently walking through one of our merchandise showrooms, I discovered the Poolside Collection and I knew I need to share it with all of you! The stylish Poolside Collection offers tumblers, goblets, drink pitchers, bowls and a serving tray. Perfect for outdoor entertainment, the new dishware collection for your picnic table is made of strong, durable acrylic and melamine and features a vintage Mickey in a playful pose.
Poolside Collection
With the Disney Poolside Collection, available at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, you’re bound to make a splash this summer!

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Special Dining at Disney for Mom’s Special Day

posted on April 29th, 2010 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Walt Disney World Swan

Go “Under the Sea” or have dinner with the Disney characters in two different dining options for Mother’s Day on May 9.

For brunch, Tables in Wonderland is creating a special “Under the Sea Garden” at Epcot in the Living Seas Salon, on the second floor of The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion. With fab views of the saltwater aquarium, this is one of the most unusual “backstage” spots for parties.

There are two seatings, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m. Price is $95 per person, plus tax (gratuity included). For reservations, email with your name, daytime phone number, home address and number in your party. You’ll be notified on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit card information will be taken by phone once a reservation is confirmed. The event is limited to 108 guests per seating, and you must be a Tables in Wonderland member to attend.

Three courses include strawberries with Devonshire cream; traditional Nicoise salad; filet mignon, petite tenderloin of beef on English muffins, poached eggs and Bearnaise, potatoes and asparagus; crepes, chocolate lava cake with vanilla gelato, pastries, fruit and berries. Mimosas, magnolias and sparkling wine included!

Tables in Wonderland is for Florida residents only and is $100 a year ($75 for annual or seasonal passholders).

For evening fun, the casual Garden Grove at the Walt Disney World Swan is trading in its usual barbecue buffet for a Mom’s Day dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. with chef interactive stations and food a mom could love: Florida grouper, pesto-crusted Cornish hens, beef tenderloin, wild mushroom ravioli and more (with plenty of sweets). Kids get mac ‘n cheese, mini-corn dogs and chicken tenders. And the Disney characters make anyone smile for priceless family photos.

Cost is $34.95, $15.95 ages 3 to 9 (not including tax and gratuity).

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A Closer Look at Trade City, USA

posted on April 29th, 2010 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

In a previous Disney Parks Blog article, I introduced you to the town of Trade City, USA. It is this year’s theme for the annual Disney Pin Celebration to be held at Epcot in August 2010. I recently spoke with Disney Design Group Artist Chris Chapman, who along with artist Tyler Dumas, lead the charge for creating the critical component to any event we produce – exciting, unique and fun artwork. Chris shared with me a few stories about this upcoming event.

Trade City, USA

Work on this year’s event actually began months before the last trade was made at Disney Pin Celebration 2009 last June. It takes that long to brainstorm ideas, refine concepts and finalize a storyline. The “city based on trading” theme seemed like a natural fit for this year’s event. We wanted a connection to the 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, so the idea of “Founder’s Day Celebration” for the town gave us a reason to celebrate with our Guests.

Trade City, USA

But the funniest thing is that we had been building Trade City for the past several years and didn’t even realize it! I still recall the meeting when Jon Bishop, Design Manager with Disney Design Group, made the connection that Trade City could contain Pin Trading University (the theme from Disney Pin Celebration 2008 – Go Pinbacks!) and The Museum of Pin-tiquities (the 2009 event theme). For those of you wondering, we already thinking about 2011 (but that is for another time).

Mayor Mickey

There are two items in particular that I really love, and Chris worked on both of them — the Mayor Mickey portrait and the Trade City Road Signs.

“The natural choice for the Mayor of Trade City was Mickey Mouse,” explained Chris. “We featured him in the main logo for the event, but I wanted to create an image like something you would find in City Hall.”

Chris partnered with senior character artist Alex Maher to create the dignified looking Mayor Mickey image pictured above. It took Chris about six hours to paint the portrait. I think he captured the turn-of-the-century, presidential portrait style perfectly! Back in the day, portrait subjects had to hold still for a very long time (and no smiling –- gosh, I love my digital camera even more now!). This image will be used on the completer pin for the Super Framed Set.

Trade City Road Signs

Chris also worked on a mystery boxed set featuring Trade City Road Signs. He used rough concept art created by Daniel Kaplan, one of our Trading Coordinators. Trust me, we had a ball thinking of road signs that one might find in Trade City. We ended up with way more signs than what we needed. The cool part about this set is the trading boards will feature “completer” pins that will compliment the retail set. In other words, if an event Guest wants the complete Trade City Road Sign set, she or he will need to trade for additional pins from the trading boards during the event. All I can say is, “Look out for falling pins!”

For all of the event details, please visit Hope to see you there!

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Summer Nightastic! is Back at the Disneyland Resort

posted on April 29th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Summer Nightastic!

We’ve been sharing a lot of information about “World of Color” in the past couple months, and if you’re planning to come see the new water spectacular when it debuts June 11 you might also like to know about Summer Nightastic! Our summer line-up of popular shows and after dark entertainment runs June 11 through Aug. 29.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Fantasmic!” – The classic show on the Rivers of America was just enhanced last year with a fully animated 40-foot-tall dragon, cutting-edge digital video technology and an appearance by Flotsam and Jetsam, the slithering eels who serve Ursula the Sea Witch in “The Little Mermaid.”
  • “Magical” – The fireworks show over Sleeping Beauty Castle features a host of characters, including Tinker Bell and an airborne Dumbo.
  • Toy Story Mania! – Tom Smith recently gave a sneak peek of the new faces coming to this Paradise Pier attraction and also announced the new Lotso character appearing in the Park.
  • TLT Dance Club – Dance the night away at this dance club in Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland park, where live bands and DJs from the hottest Southern California radio stations will appear on selected nights throughout the summer.
  • Pixie Hollow Enchantment – For a pixie-dusted evening, check out the light show at Pixie Hollow and see Tinker Bell and her friends come to life at night.

If you had a chance to visit the Disneyland Resort for Summer Nightastic! last year, what did you like best?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

Disney Cruise Line’s First Mediterranean Sailing of 2010

posted on April 29th, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line's First Mediterranean Sailing of 2010

What do a camel and a Disney cruise ship have in common? Kind of a strange thought, right? Well, this was the sight this week when the Disney Magic called on the port of Tunis, Tunisia, for the first time as part of the first 11-night Mediterranean cruise of the season. The inaugural festivities included the traditional maritime plaque and key exchange where Captain Thord Haugen and the ship’s officers hosted port officials and communities leaders onboard the ship.

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New Looks “Rock” at Studio Disney 365!

posted on April 28th, 2010 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Studio Disney 365
How many of you loved to play pretend when you were little? How many of you still do?

A few weeks ago we were on location for a photo shoot for Studio Disney 365 and just for a moment, it kind of felt like I was playing pretend. It reminded me of my dreams of one day helping to art direct a photo shoot, being surrounded by racks of clothing, make-up artists, and photographers. I watched as the girls got ready for their big moment, striking poses in the spotlight. Surrounded by the lighting crew, I watched as the photographer attempted to get the perfect shot as the camera clicked away at variable speeds and music blasted in the background. Now, that’s just part of the behind-the-scenes magic that helps us to create the story, but what I didn’t count on was seeing how much fun the girls had, and how their faces lit up with pure joy and excitement at all the possibilities that the day held because they could be anything they wanted to be.
Studio Disney 365
For those of you that have kids, or are just kids at heart and have visited Studio Disney 365, and for those of you who haven’t… it’s just one of the few places where playing pretend can be a dream come true. It’s a place where it’s all about you, from hair and make-up to wardrobe and accessories.

Tip: Studio Star Makeovers start at $19.95, plus tax.

Two of the newest makeovers that have skyrocketed to fan favorites are the “Take a Bow” package as well as our Secret Star. For fans of the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana, this is the way to go. The purple wig is definitely a hot seller, especially for those looking to become more like “Lilly Truscott,” played by Actress Emily Osment.

It’s funny how putting on a punk rock wig and holding a guitar can change your persona from quiet and shy to future rock star and with a whole new level of confidence. Or how adding some color streaks or a very hip bow gives you a different kind of fashion flair. These are a few of the newest rock star looks available at Studio Disney 365. Studio Disney 365 is located in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort. So if you are in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in and take a look around, or call for an appointment, 714-781-STYLE (714-781-7895).

Rock On!

Guests must be at least 3 years of age. Children must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. Reservations are recommended.

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