Show Hide
Happy Villaintines Day from Disney Parks Blog

Disney Helps Central Florida’s Children ‘Shine On’

posted on May 25th, 2010 by Kathleen Prihoda, Manager of Media Relations, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Helping Kids Shine
Hi, I’m Kathleen, media relations manager at Walt Disney World. During the last week, I’ve been part of a team touring Central Florida to surprise and reward local organizations that share our commitment to building better futures for children. And the team has been busy. We’ve given more than $1.2 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants to support 57 local charities and recognized 15 outstanding students as Disney Dreamers & Doers Shining Stars. Here are a few “Shine On” highlights captured via flip cam:

I’ve felt honored and humbled to witness the “prize patrol” spring into action with spontaneous celebrations that shine a spotlight on deserving organizations and recognize stellar students like Jones High School senior Corinthia Alford. According to Corinthia’s nomination form, she has maintained a 4.4 GPA despite being homeless for two years. She is a true inspiration.

Congratulations to all the 2010 Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants and Disney Dreamers & Doers Shining Stars recipients. “Shine On!”

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Community Outreach, Walt Disney World Resort

Sweet Treats and Sparkling Jewels…

posted on May 25th, 2010 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Jewel of Orleans
Have you heard the news? This week we are opening two new shops at the Disneyland Resort. Whether you’re looking for delectable treats to satisfy your sweet tooth or you have an eye for the perfect wardrobe accessory, one of our new destinations is surely going to appeal to you. Plans for the two new shops are well under way and the talented teams at the Disneyland Resort are fully immersed in the hustle and bustle of last minute touches to these exciting new shops.

On May 26, the place to be is…Geppetto’s Sweet Shoppe in Fantasyland, especially if you’re craving something particularly sweet. Some of the most delectable treats you’ll ever taste, including peanut brittle, toffee and more will be at your fingertips.
Jewel of Orleans
But if it’s jewelry, handbags and trendy ‘must have’s’ that you crave, then the crown jewel in your fashion collection will definitely be found at Jewel of Orleans. Set to open May 28, this new shopping destination will offer stylish accessories from designers like Tarina Tarantino, Classic Hardware as well as handbags by such notable fashion houses such as Steve Madden and Dooney & Bourke, among other designers as well.

It’s hard to believe that the grand openings of Geppetto’s Sweet Shoppe & Jewel of Orleans are happening so soon! And since you, our readers love to be in the know on all things Disney, I couldn’t help but keep you in the loop! Next time you’re at the Disneyland Resort, make sure you pop into our new shops so you can experience them for yourselves!

  • Share: 


Filed: Disneyland Resort

First Meet-Up at Disneyland Resort

posted on May 25th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

UPDATE: We’re thrilled with the great response to the Toy Story Mania! meet-up! We have now reached capacity. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for additional meet-ups in the future.

Toy Story Mania
Calling all Toy Story Mania! and Walt Disney Imagineering fans….Just after Disney’s California Adventure park closes to the public on May 27, parts of the Park will re-open for a meet-up of 150 fans.

Kevin Rafferty, Walt Disney Imagineer, Senior Concept Writer, will meet with the group to give an insider’s look at the new changes in Toy Story Mania! Kevin will even share original concept sketches and sketches of the ideas that didn’t make it into the attraction. Fans will have a chance to ask Kevin questions about the making-of the attraction and what it’s like to work on this project.

There will also be a few surprises you might not want to miss. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, and check-in will close at 5:45 p.m.

To attend, please RSVP to This event is subject to capacity of 150 people, so we recommend that you RSVP quickly.

Here are a few things you should know:

  • Valid RSVPs must include your name and the name of your guest if you are bringing one. RSVPs that include the names of more than two people or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will not be accepted.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • All guests must be 18 years or older.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation.

Are you hoping to attend?

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

Why We Love Kouzzina by Cat Cora

posted on May 25th, 2010 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

We eat just about anything. But when we’re dining with a vegetarian or vegan, we’ve found a perfect Walt Disney World dining spot: Kouzzina by Cat Cora.

Salt-Roasted Beets with Skordalia

Vegans (vegetarians who eat no animal or dairy products at all) find plenty of delicious tastes on the menu, from roast pepper-chickpea soup to smashed garlic friend potatoes, sautéed brussel sprouts with capers and lemon and salt-roasted beets with skordalia (garlicky mashed potatoes served cold). You don’t even have to ask for Chef Dee Foundoukis to make something special, it’s all right on the menu.

Fisherman’s Stew

But let’s back up to what we love at Kouzzina. We daydream about the Fisherman’s Stew with crunchy fennel, shrimp, mussels, clams, firm white fish and a light tomato broth. And when it’s hard to choose from the Mediterranean-inspired menu we go for the new “Kouzzina Trio” with a lamb slider and ample portions of the cinnamon-stewed chicken and pastitsio (a classic Greek creation with pasta, ground beef and béchamel sauce).

Sometimes we just make a meal of the starters, like the grape leaf filled with goat cheese and grilled, crisp calamari and lemon, spanakopita (spinach pie), and a trio of spreads – harissa yogurt, kalamta fig and chickpea hummus – with grilled pita.


Whatever we decide, we always end with the decadent loukoumades, hot Greek donuts drizzled with honey. Chocoaholics will want the chocolate budino cake with a warm chocolate center and sweet whipped cream.

By the way, the restaurant is the only place outside of California where you can sip Coranation wines, celebrity chef Cat Cora’s own label.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney Dining, Walt Disney World Resort

Celebrity Sighting: Monica at Walt Disney World

posted on May 24th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Grammy Award-winning singer Monica visits Magic Kingdom with her sons

Today, Grammy Award-winning singer Monica visited Magic Kingdom Park with her sons Romelo, age 2, and Rocko, age 5. We caught up with them as they tried to pull the sword from the stone in Fantasyland. Monica is vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort this week.

  • Share: 


Filed: Walt Disney World Resort

First Look at the All-New Annual Passholder Commemorative Collection

posted on May 24th, 2010 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Annual Passholders – today we’re giving you a sneak peek at the new logo for the Annual Passholder merchandise that is being created just for you. Look for the logo below on array of products you won’t want to miss. We’re working to create new merchandise that will celebrate the opening of new shows, attractions and events only Disney can dream up. Items may vary, but this is your chance to ‘unlock’ a piece of that magic for yourself as you begin – or add to – your Commemorative Disney Collection.

All-New Annual Passholder Commemorative Collection

For Disneyland park, the first Annual Passholder commemorative merchandise to debut will be in celebration of the opening of Silly Symphony Swings and “World of Color“. This special series of merchandise will include a commemorative collection tee, coin and note card. So spotting that logo will be key to finding new designs. Look for it in mid-June at select merchandise locations throughout Disney’s California Adventure park.

Reminder: Other Annual Passholder offerings will include special early-shopping opportunities, sneak peeks at new merchandise lines, shopping locations and experiences as well special discounts and savings. For a list of Disneyland-related Annual Passholder offerings visit or

For our Walt Disney World Passholders, new Passholder merchandise will also be coming your way.

  • Share: 


Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

‘World of Color’ – Behind the H2O – Making the Fountains Dance

posted on May 24th, 2010 by Steven Davison, Imagineer, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment

I can’t believe how close we are to the opening! It’s been a crazy few months, but I’m having a great time putting together this show.

Today I’m sharing a first look at how we’re getting the fountains to “dance.” Since “World of Color” doesn’t have any live performers, the fountains will become our dancers and actors. To help with staging the fountains, we brought in Joshua Horner. Josh is a fantastic choreographer from Australia. One of his dreams was to work with Walt Disney Imagineering on a show. Well, I am glad we were able to make his dream come true!

We asked Josh to take the musical score for the show and create a style and choreographic point of view for each number. Whether it was the signature look to the show’s theme, or the lush balletic moves in “Part of Your World,” Josh put his heart and soul into the movement of each piece.

The end result of his work was inspiring. We brought the creative team together and had Josh present his ideas. For each of us it became a wonderful fount of inspiration that sparked new ideas and really helped shaped the show.

Today we’ll give you a glimpse into the process.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

The ‘Characters’ of Main Street, U.S.A.

posted on May 24th, 2010 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort

The 'Characters' of Main Street, U.S.A.
Scoop Sanderson’s business card reads Main Street Gazette Reporter, Town Councilman and Pinthusiast. His slogan- “All the news that fits!” Mrs. Sanderson wouldn’t allow dogs in the house, so Scoop managed to find a pair of low maintenance (but frisky) puppies that he walks on a leash, er, string, bobbing along the sidewalk, weaving between scores of smiling faces.
The 'Characters' of Main Street, U.S.A.
According to Scoop, their names are Butterscotch and Licorice, and they are trusty buddies who help him to “sniff out all the news on Main Street, U.S.A.,” in Magic Kingdom Park.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 23rd, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

How do you move a 120-ton “Winnie the Pooh” tree? Florida Imagineers showed us how it’s done this week in an amazing behind-the-scenes video that was shot during three nights of work. If you missed it, our week’s most popular video is certainly worth checking out:

Thank you for the great comments on the Winnie the Pooh tree post. And now, here’s our weekly list of most popular posts:

Making Minnie Mouse Candy Apples at Marceline’s Confectionary — Candy maker Margie Bursiaga at Marceline’s Confectionary in the Downtown Disney District showed us how Minnie Mouse Candy Apples are made.

Park Balloons: There’s a Skill To This Inflated Fun — There was more behind-the-scenes fun when we had a look at the skills it takes to inflate and carry all those Mickey Mouse balloons.

Local Artists Bring Downtown Disney to Life After Dark: Drew Tretick — The second in a series of five posts highlighting some of the performers at the Downtown Disney District featured internationally recognized artist and classical violinist Drew Tretick.

‘I’m Just Making This Up…’ — Disney Theme Park Merchandise product developer Julie Young showed us her process for creating some of the most popular Mickey Mouse pins.

First Look: New ‘World of Color’ Images — It’s almost here! World of Color is gearing up to open next month, and the Disney Parks Blog has the first images of the show’s water screens.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

UPDATED: New Baby Elephant, a Girl, Arrives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 21st, 2010 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

UPDATE – May 24: Disney’s Animal Programs has landed on Luna as the name for the baby elephant born late last Thursday. With Latin roots, Luna means moon in multiple languages. Disney’s animal care team wanted a name that best suited the female calf’s shining personality as the brightest light among the herd.

Weighing 288 pounds at birth, Luna is the fifth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She joins the herd of thirteen, which now includes five males and eight females.

Luna’s mother Donna is reportedly doing well after gaining more than 400 pounds during the 22-month gestation. Animal experts describe her as a model mother, taking excellent care of her newborn calf. Mother and child remain backstage while the calf becomes acclimated to other herd mates.

New Baby Elephant Arrives at Disney's Animal Kingdom
I’m thrilled to share with you the fantastic news that we have a new baby elephant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Our 22-year-old elephant Donna gave birth to a 288-pound female calf late last night after a 22-month gestation. Right now, baby and mom are in their backstage home, but in several weeks we expect them to join the rest of the elephant herd on the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The new baby (no name yet!) is the second calf for Donna, who gave birth to a female calf, Nadirah, in 2005. This birth raises the number of elephants in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom herd to thirteen, including five males and eight females.
New Baby Elephant Arrives at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Elephant births are among the most amazing and complicated processes in the animal kingdom. Our animal care team has worked with Donna attentively throughout the course of her pregnancy. At this point, we’re optimistic for the calf’s likelihood of survival and are thrilled that both Donna and her calf are doing well.

Donna became pregnant through artificial insemination in July 2008 and received extensive pre-natal care throughout her pregnancy. In addition to regular ultrasounds, veterinarians and elephant managers monitored her hormone levels on a daily basis to help them determine when she would give birth. Labor appeared imminent last night and the animal care team stayed with her to provide round-the-clock care until the female calf was born around 11:30 p.m.

This is the fifth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition to Donna’s first female calf, Nadirah, Tufani, a male, was born in 2003; Kianga, a female, was born in 2004; and Tsavo, the youngest male, joined the herd in 2008. All remain on the savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

I am very proud to say that the Disney’s Animal Programs team has been at the forefront of efforts to better understand and care for endangered elephants. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is part of a breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that is focused on sustaining the elephant population in North America. AZA’s Elephant Species Survival Plan has called for a five-fold increase in African elephant reproduction efforts – using both natural and artificial breeding methods – in order to create a self-sustaining elephant population among North American zoos and wildlife centers.

And our team and the Disney company also support elephant conservation in the wild. For example, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have directed over $1 million to projects in 20 countries to help protect and conserve elephants.

Elephant fun fact: An elephant calf learns how and what to eat by watching the older elephants.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort