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Disney Friends for Change

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line

This past weekend, Disney Friends for Change took over private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas for a special PaintFest project with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The event included children from the organization who sailed aboard the special Benefit Preview Cruise, bringing together community leaders and invited guests to help raise $750,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

Disney Friends for Change

Disney Channel stars Brandon Mychal Smith, Doug Brochu and Allisyn Ashley Arm were on hand representing Disney Friends for Change, a multiplatform initiative that empowers kids and encourages them to help the planet. Together Friends for Change stars, children from Boys & Girls Clubs, Disney Cruise Line VoluntEARS and Mickey Mouse himself took part in painting the giant mural.

Disney Friends for Change

Composed of 24 individual hand-painted panels that fit together to form an eight foot by nine foot mural, the paints and supplies used were in keeping with the environmental initiatives of the program. For example, all the paint was water-based, non-toxic and actually recycled from previous painting projects, while the paint brushes were also washed afterwards to be reused on future projects. In line with the Friends for Change initiative, the focus of the mural states, “Real Friends + Real Action = Real Change.” The mural will be donated to a Boys & Girls Club location in Central Florida to inspire children to continue to make a difference for our planet.

Disney Friends for Change

Check out this video of the Friends for Change project and hear from the Disney Channel stars and Boys & Girls Clubs children first hand on their involvement.

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New Attraction Posters Paint a Fresh Vision of Paradise Pier

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

When the Blue Sky Cellar reopens on Jan. 28, don’t miss the walls.

Yes, I said the walls of Blue Sky Cellar.

This building in Disney California Adventure park previews the “blue sky” ideas of Imagineers, with models and sketches that reflect the evolving landscape of the theme park. But before you peek at all the Imagineers’ handiwork, take a moment to enjoy the new artwork on the walls of the entryway. (And find out how you can purchase your own copy very soon.)

California Screamin’ Attraction Poster

Nestled among the expansion updates, you will find new attraction posters from the boardwalk of Paradise Pier, including California Screamin’, Silly Symphony Swings and Mickey’s Fun Wheel. These posters will also be available for purchase. Watch for release dates and retail locations at

Mickey’s Fun Wheel Attraction Poster

The posters are part of a rich tradition within Disney Parks worldwide – a tradition that dates back to 1956 and the original park, Disneyland.

Silly Symphony Swings Attraction Poster

In the summer of 1956, Disneyland was about to enter its second summer. Most people had little knowledge of what Disneyland really was, and they knew even less about the attractions inside the park. According to an upcoming book, “The Poster Art of Disney Parks” by Walt Disney Imagineering’s Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt, the posters were a fast, clear and visually attractive way to convey an image of each attraction.

Over the years, the style of the various attraction posters has come to reflect the time period in which they were created, as well as the tone and visual palette of the attractions and themed land where they were located.

This tonal tradition is carried on in the latest series of posters featuring the Paradise Pier attractions. With a nod to the classic travel poster aesthetic, the new attraction sequence graphically conveys the excitement and character of each Paradise Pier attraction.

This newly released artwork is the first of several scheduled attraction art releases. Additional series releases are scheduled within months of the initial Paradise Pier series. The first California Adventure attraction posters will be available at retail locations throughout the park on Jan. 28.

Are you familiar with the Disney Parks attraction posters? Let us know if you have a favorite among the hundreds that have been created over the years.

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Resort

‘World of Color’ Celebrates 500 Performances

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

It’s time for “World of Color” to take a bow.

The hit show celebrates a big milestone tonight – its 500th performance at Disney California Adventure park. Thank you to the more than two million guests who have seen this spectacular display of water and special effects since it opened on June 11, 2010.

In thanks to all the “World of Color” fans, we have a fun trivia quiz today about the show, plus a look back at some of the great video highlights from Paradise Bay. This video is one that has been a favorite on the Disney Parks Blog:

Here’s our quiz. The answers are at the end of this post.

  1. The fountains are the stars of the show, with multiple moving heads that create color and light. How many fountains create the magic of “World of Color”?
  2. From initial planning concept to the debut, how long did it take to create “World of Color”?
  3. The show creators from Walt Disney Imagineering knew that “World of Color” would stretch the capabilities of existing water shows. What Walt Disney quote did they rely on in the process?
  4. Submerged beneath Paradise Bay is the superstructure that generates the show’s giant water screen. This “stage” is longer than a football field, and the width of the water screen ranges from 100 feet to how many feet: 175, 250 or 380?
  5. Since the show opened, a new piece has been added as an encore. It pays tribute to which Disney film?

'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

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Cheers, Santé, Prost, Kampai Aboard the Disney Dream

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Rest and relaxation is reason enough for a grown-up cruise getaway, and whether sipping a cocktail or enjoying a glass of Champagne or wine, there’s a buzz about the Disney Dream’s innovative spirits and knockout wine lists.

Taittinger Champagne label for the Disney Dream’s inaugural year

Taittinger has created a Champagne label just for the inaugural year of the newest Disney Cruise Line vessel. Aboard the ship, it’s served in all the lounges, but the most fun place to sip is Pink, an intimate cocktail bar in The District (the nighttime entertainment area with five adults-only venues), where a special Taittinger Prestige Rose is the signature sparkling “pink.” Guests also may purchase bottles of the special Taittinger Champagne to take home with them, exclusively on the Disney Dream.

Clovis Taittinger in Pink, the intimate cocktail bar on the Disney Dream

Our favorite spot for handcrafted cocktails is upscale Skyline, also in The District, where the bar backdrop is a virtual skyline that changes from Paris to Rio, New York, Chicago and Hong Kong on seven 65-inch LCD screens. As the view changes, the ambient music also stays in sync with each city.

Skyline on the Disney Dream

Drinks, too, are themed to each of the cities, such as the Paris 75, the Eco-Tini for Rio, Zen-Chanted for Hong Kong, Metropolitan for New York, and the Blues for Chicago.

Paris 75 (Paris) Eco-Tini (Rio) Zen-Chanted (Hong Kong)  Metropolitan (New York) Blues (Chicago)

Also within The District, 687 is more of a pub than a lounge (“687” refers to the vessel number assigned by the shipyard to the Disney Dream). The boisterous pub features an exclusive “687” red lager, malty and slightly sweet, made with Noble hops grown in central Europe.

Special attention was given to the wine lists at Remy – there are two, one with nearly 200 wines from around the globe (mostly French), and a second, Remy’s Vault, with just 22 exclusive wines presented tableside in an elegant velvet box by a white-gloved sommelier. The list includes a 1947 Château Cheval Blanc in a nod to the Disney∙Pixar film “Ratatouille” (it’s the wine requested by the movie’s prickly food critic). Considered one of the best vintages in the world, a single bottle retails for $25,000! The list also includes a most notable 1961 Château Latour (in the film, Skinner offers Linguini a bottle of this exceptional vintage in hopes of learning his cooking secrets).

The Wine Room within Remy on the Disne

After-dinner libations include Rémy Martin Louis XIII Rare Cask, one of the most sought-after cognacs for connoisseurs, aged in centuries-old casks and served from an elegant Baccarat crystal decanter.

Across from Remy is Palo, where a sparkling prosecco and a lush red Barolo were both exclusively bottled for the upscale, Italian-inspired restaurant. Palo’s signature “Balsamic Grande” cocktail features vodka, a splash of five-year-old balsamic vinegar and fresh muddled strawberries. For a special after-dinner wow, grappa is served from a jeroboam bottle.

For guests who prefer no alcohol (and younger guests), mixologists have created new non-alcoholic cocktails. Many are made with “better for you” ingredients such as organic spirits, fresh fruits and herbs, and lower calorie no-sugar-added fruit purees. For instance, the purple basil lemonade mixes cranberry juice, sparkling water, lime and fresh basil; the mint tea punch is English breakfast tea, cranberry and pineapple juices, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and a splash of sparkling water.


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Magical PhotoPass Memories at Disney Parks

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Kelly Glassburn, Manager of Marketing & Communications, Disney’s PhotoPass Service

Do you remember your first Disney Parks memory? I do! I was 6 years old and it was our first family vacation to Magic Kingdom Park, a welcome escape from the winter wonderland of my hometown in Annapolis, Maryland. I remember how huge Cinderella Castle appeared as I stood on Main Street, U.S.A., and had my photo taken. I remember my sides hurting from laughing too hard on the Mad Tea Party as my two brothers spun us around, and around again. And I still have my first Mickey Mouse plush from that vacation – the one I’m so proudly holding up in the photo below.

Kelly Glassburn Proudly Holding Up Her First Mickey Mouse Plush

Now, almost 40 years later, I’m still making Disney memories, only this time, I’m on the other side helping to create the magic! As Manager of Marketing & Communications for Disney’s PhotoPass Service, I have the privilege of working with a team that does nothing but capture memories, all day and every day. And this year, our Cast of Photographers is making your Disney Parks memories even more special during the “Let the Memories Begin” campaign. Every day in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland park, PhotoPass Photographers will be looking to capture some of your most special Disney Parks memories to be featured in our newest show, “The Magic, the Memories and You.”

Guest Photos Projected on Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom as Part of Disney Parks' 'Let The Memories Begin' Campaign

That’s right – more than 500 daily PhotoPass photos will be featured in this larger-than-life experience on Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park. It’s a celebration of your moments – heroic and happy, adventurous and romantic, captured by our squad of memory makers.

So the next time you visit, be sure to find a PhotoPass Photographer and capture your special Disney memory. And then one day, it will be you digging through that musty old box of photos, remembering an enchanted castle, a side-splitting adventure, and a magical mouse called Mickey.

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Varietals, Viticulture, Vineyards…Oh My! The Extensive Education of a Disneyland Resort Sommelier

posted on January 24th, 2011 by Jim Ames, Manager, Food and Wine Events, Disneyland Resort

Last time I introduced you to what it means to be a sommelier at the Disneyland Resort. Each of us has made the commitment to provide outstanding guest service. But how does one become a sommelier? It’s takes a great deal of education, rigorous testing and a lifetime quest to always keep learning.

Selected cast members are given the opportunity to participate in a sommelier education program that is unique to the Disneyland Resort. The seven-month program was developed as a way to help prepare for the exams given by the Court of Master Sommeliers. The class is conducted weekly, but that is just the start; groups meet often to study and quiz each other on the countless wine varietals, styles, laws and regions. There is a great camaraderie amongst the students as they encourage and support each other, and delve into this difficult and vast study material. Since its inception, more than 500 cast members have been a part of the program.

Varietals, Viticulture, Vineyards…Oh My! The extensive education of a Disneyland Resort Sommelier

Although anyone can refer to themselves as a sommelier, at the Disneyland Resort only those who have passed an exam given by the Court of Master Sommeliers may do so. The Court of Master Sommeliers is an international organization that was established in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. There are four levels of sommeliers: Introductory, Certified, Advanced and Master. Each level requires far more knowledge and is far more difficult than the last requiring great dedication and study to pass the next level of exams. Currently there are only 174 Master Sommeliers IN THE WORLD and 106 here in the United States. The Disneyland Resort currently has five Advanced Sommeliers preparing to take their Master level exams. Once they receive an invitation from the Court, they will participate in a rigorous three-day testing process that includes wine service, verbal exams covering virtually any village or vineyard throughout the world, every wine varietal, international wine laws, service standards, and – ultimately – the ability to blind taste and correctly identify six wines in 24 minutes!

As a Certified Sommelier I have only begun my quest to become an Advanced Sommelier. As I continue to study and learn, I hope you’ll come along for the journey. Join me in my next posts as I introduce a few of my fellow Sommeliers here at the Disneyland Resort.


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How Do We Give Every Disney Dream Guest an Ocean View? It’s Magic!

posted on January 24th, 2011 by Jason Lasecki, Public Relations Director, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Vacation Club

Starting today, we’re counting down to Wednesday’s maiden voyage of our newest ship, the Disney Dream, with daily previews of some of the great amenities and dazzling innovations that await Disney Cruise Line guests.

First up is a great example of what Walt Disney called “plussing” – taking a great idea and making it better.

When designing the 1,250 staterooms aboard the ship, the creative minds of Walt Disney Imagineering decided early on that every guest should have an ocean view. The challenge was how to do that within the 150 inside staterooms at the center of passenger decks.

The answer was the Magical Porthole, a real-time view outside the ship from four high-definition video cameras that correspond to each stateroom’s location – forward, aft, port or starboard.

The Magical Porthole

As they say on late-night television… But wait, there’s more!

Here’s Imagineer Bob Zalk with the story of how an already terrific idea was plussed into something uniquely Disney by adding an extra dash of pixie dust.

Approximately three dozen animated characters and objects will pass by the Magical Porthole throughout the day. Familiar faces include Peach the starfish from “Finding Nemo,” Dumbo the flying elephant, the floating house from “Up” and even Mickey Mouse.

Come back to the Disney Parks Blog tomorrow for a preview of the unique cocktails and extensive wine lists guests will enjoy in several Disney Dream venues exclusively for adults.

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Next Family Fun Weekend: Character Fan Days, Jan. 28-30

posted on January 24th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Like so many of us, I grew up with the lore of Disney characters. Their stories are magic in our memories. The very sight of them can make us grin or giggle or hum a happy tune (think “Heigh-ho” and marching dwarfs).


We’re so excited to present some rarely seen Disney characters at Disneyland park this weekend! The lineup – selected by our fans – includes the Seven Dwarfs.

For the first time ever, we asked our fans which rarely seen Disney characters they would most like to see at Disneyland park. We received more than 49,000 votes in a poll on the Disneyland Facebook page, and those votes inspired our entertainment team to create a wonderful, family event called Character Fan Days.

You can join in the fun this weekend. Character Fan Days will run this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Festival Arena, near Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue restaurant.

Think of it like a Disney character reunion, with Disney characters making splashy arrivals on stage at half-hour intervals throughout the day. You will enjoy music, dancing, and a chance to meet and pose with the characters at five photo locations. All of the characters who were selected will appear each day, rotating in and out. Along with the Seven Dwarfs, here are the characters scheduled to appear:

  • Captain Hook, Wendy and Mr. Smee from “Peter Pan”
  • Donald Duck and Daisy Duck
  • Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar
  • Esmeralda and Clopin from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
  • King Louie and Baloo from “Jungle Book”


Other activities will include character coloring sheets and sketch artists. Food and beverages will also be available at Festival Arena.

Family Fun Weekends at the Disneyland Resort

Character Fan Days is one of the Resort’s new, Family Fun Weekends – a variety of events held each weekend through March 6. Family Fun Weekends are packed with music, dancing, colorful decor and family activities, as well a chance to meet characters.

Which Disney character are you eager to see at Character Fan Days?

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Where at Disney Parks Can You Find…

posted on January 24th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Where at Disney Parks Can You Find This?

Look at that…it appears the weight of the world is on this guy’s back, huh? Our Monday mystery image is easy to walk by and miss in the parks – unless you’re observant. Do you know where to find him? Please put your answers in the comments and we’ll update the post with the answer later today.
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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Making Valentine’s Day Special at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 24th, 2011 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

'Beauty and the Beast' Etched-Glass Vase From Disney Floral & Gifts

Is your loved one sentimental and a romantic at heart? Would you like to sweep them off their feet for Valentine’s Day? Of course you would – and we can help with today’s unique “Dream Maker” idea and a tip.

'Beauty and the Beast' Etched-Glass Vase From Disney Floral & Gifts

First, the gift. Our new charming rose bouquet sits in an exclusive “Beauty and the Beast” etched-glass vase that includes something very special. Take a close look at the bottom of the vase; do you see the gold flecks? It’s pixie dust. Yes, the roses are sitting in pixie dust. How enchanting is that? And that twinkling fabric and the silk rosettes around the vase reminds me of Belle’s dress. The bouquet was designed with unique greens to accent 12 deep-red colored roses for a presentation to remember.

Disney Floral & Gifts Helps Make Your Valentine's Day Special at Walt Disney World Resort

Now, here’s your tip: If you’re coming to the Walt Disney World Resort, get this gift delivered to your room on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Then, have your card message say: “I didn’t want to wait till the last petal fell to let you know how much I love you. So I had this bouquet sent to you on the eve of Valentine’s Day. You’re the ‘Belle’ of my heart” (insert dreamy sigh here).

And if you want to add more “enchantment” to your evening, ask a Dream Maker to add on our “Romance with Rose Petals” package. This gift includes an abundant supply of rose petals which can be sprinkled in your resort room just for you. If this sounds intriguing call a Dream Maker to learn more (407-WDW-GIFT) or visit our website at

So, I have a question for our romantics at heart. What are some of your best Valentine’s Day memories? Any at the parks?

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Filed: Celebrations, Walt Disney World Resort