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Reality TV Stars are ‘Survivors’ of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

posted on February 28th, 2011 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Endurance events at Disney attracts all sorts of people, including celebrities. The Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World this past weekend lured reality TV stars Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn, both former “Survivor” series winners. It was Morasca’s first half marathon and she wanted to run it with Zohn who recently survived a battle with cancer. They finished the race together in just more than two hours, which is pretty darn good when you consider the winner did it in just under an 1 ½ hours.

Check out this video clip that tells their story of the race.

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Fun with Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 28th, 2011 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort

My previous post on “things that spin in the night” was focused mostly on the Golden Zephyr with Mickey’s Fun Wheel in the background. I thought that it was time to put Mickey in the spotlight. This first photo was taken just 15 minutes after sunset, so there’s still some blue and pink in the sky. In addition, the dark clouds help make this photo more dramatic. I used a graded neutral density filter because I wanted to balance the light intensity between the lighter sky and the darker water.

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

This next photo exposure was 10 seconds long, a full 20 seconds shorter than the first. Since the attraction was stopping to load and unload guests, I used this shutter time to see what pattern would be captured with a shorter exposure. I was amazed by how the patterns changed with the different shutter speeds. When I was editing the photos, the patterns reminded me of a kaleidoscope.

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

I picked this next photo because for the composition and the vibrant colors, for these reasons this is my favorite photo of the three. Which one do you like most?

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

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PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park, Then Takes the World Stage

posted on February 28th, 2011 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

The PS22 Chorus from Staten Island, New York, just had quite a weekend. The internet-video sensation, made up of inspiring music-loving fifth-graders, performed Sunday night at the 83rd Academy Awards®, and before millions of people watching the Oscars® telecast around the world.

You might wonder, where else would an enthusiastic group of 10-year old kids be interested in visiting during their first trip to California?

The PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park

This fantastic group of talented young people performed at Disneyland park on Saturday morning. They were all so incredibly excited to be here and perform. It was really fun to watch (and listen) to them make their own Disney memories, as well as a new one for me and all the other guests who got to meet them.

The PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park The PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park

Immediately after their amazing performance, the kids were surprised by a special visit from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The shrieks from PS22 were pure joy. It was such an exciting moment for them.

The PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park

I gave them all “high-fives” as they made their way to lunch, then on to as many park attractions as they could experience before they headed back to Hollywood to rest up for their Oscar® moment.

The PS22 Chorus Performs at Disneyland Park

Did you happen to see them in the park on Saturday? What about on ABC Sunday night at the end of the big show? (If you missed them, I heard a rumor you might be able to catch them on “Oprah” today!)

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Where at Disney Parks Can You Find…

posted on February 28th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Where at Disney Parks Can You Find This Star?

Ever see stars at Disney Parks – yellow ones? If so, you’re in good shape to answer this week’s mystery image puzzler. This star and a few others located nearby are not difficult to spot during a walk but they’re certainly easy to miss, especially if you’re not looking up and around. Have you seen it? Please put your answers in the comments and we’ll update the post with the answer later today.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Sneak Peek of a Stage Spectacular Aboard the Disney Dream – “Disney’s Believe”

posted on February 28th, 2011 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Did you enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of “Disney’s Believe” last week?

Well, it’s your lucky day! I’m such a huge fan of this phenomenal production aboard the Disney Dream that I couldn’t resist sharing another sneak peek with you.

Now, enjoy a few scenes from the actual performance.

Did you know this stage show was created exclusively for the new Disney Dream? Here are a few fun facts:

  • “Disney’s Believe” features magical effects designed by a master illusionist.
  • Six high-definition projectors and more than 200 scenic elements come together to create the imaginative worlds of “Disney’s Believe.”
  • More than 300 costumes and 200 wigs are used in the show.
  • The show features more than 20 Disney characters.
  • Each performance of “Disney’s Believe” includes 28 performers and more than 15 technicians.

Now that you’ve gotten a small sampling of some show highlights, you’ll have to see it in person to get the full effect…I’m certain that you’ll enjoy the story as much as I do!

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Wild Africa Trek: You Can’t Feed the Animals, but You Get to Eat

posted on February 28th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

The new Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom takes you into the deepest, most-remote reaches of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – a three-hour, expert-led adventure in groups of no more than 12. Trekkers enjoy an “up-close-and-personal” experience with African wildlife that make their home in Pangani Forest as well as other areas of the park’s Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

Disney style, attention to detail counts, even with food served in “camp tins” just like a safari in Africa. You start the trek with a sip of “frunch,” a swirl of passion fruit, orange and guava juices, then you’re off on an adventure that includes clipping into a harness to cross the Safi River (watch for hippos and crocs). All that play makes us hungry.

Early-Morning Trek Meal on Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom

You unwind at a private safari camp – keep your camera handy to catch wildebeest, giraffe, elephants and gazelles. If you’re on the early-morning trek, your double-decker, stainless steel “camp tins” have a half-dozen delicious tastes: in one, slices of crunchy fig cake with almonds; savory slices of bresoala (dried beef) and prosciutto; and a buttery smoked salmon roll with jicama slaw and lime vinaigrette. Tin No. 2 has Brie and dried apricots; pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon balls in a mint dressing; and strawberry yogurt with granola and dried cherries. Lots of wonderful flavors in small bites.

Mid-Day Trek Meal on Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The mid-day trek includes a camp tin with bresoala and prosciutto, fruit balls and curried chicken salad in one; the other is the salmon roll paired with sun-dried tomato hummus and tandoori barbecued shrimp.

A team of Disney chefs came up with the ideas, but it’s the job of Chef Joe Karnath and his team at Tusker House to deliver fresh daily, “comfort food that keeps well,” says Chef Joe. And, of course, the chefs will accommodate any dietary restrictions.

Reservations for ages 8 and up can be arranged by calling 407-WDW-TOUR. Pricing varies seasonally.

We especially loved the chicken salad, and Chef Joe agreed to share his recipe:

Curried Chicken Salad

Serves 2

1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 ripe mango, diced
3/4 cup red grapes

Fill a large, shallow pan with water. Bring to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add chicken. Simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Cut into 1/4-inch dice and refrigerate until cold.

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, onion, lime juice, curry powder, honey, ginger, pepper and remaining half-teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add chilled chicken and stir to combine. Fold in grapes and mango and serve immediately.

Note: If making in advance, combine chicken with sauce and refrigerate. Fold in grapes and mango a half-hour before serving.

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

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on February 27th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

We announced an exciting first for us this week: the opportunity to nail down a time to meet Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World Resort using FASTPASS. That’s right, no waiting in the standby queue. Beginning this spring, you’ll get a FASTPASS specifying a one-hour window when you can return to see Mickey for hugs, photos and autographs at his new home, Town Square Theater.

Artist Rendering of Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom

We’ve posted more details in the original post. As Walt Disney Imagineers continue making progress on the new experience, we’ll have more updates.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Topiaries Based on Characters from Disney-Pixar Classics

Oh, and how about this “first” for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? For the first time, we’re debuting several new topiaries based on characters from Disney-Pixar classics, including the “Toy Story” and “Cars” films. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at the work that went into these amazing topiaries.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival starts next Wednesday, March 2, and runs through May 15. Now here’s a look at some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Ear Hats – Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World with these collectible ear hats.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Disney’s Believe’ – the New Musical Aboard the Disney Dream – Take a look at “Disney’s Believe,” the original musical created exclusively for the Disney Dream.

Where at Disney Parks Can You Find… – You may think you know where to find this dinosaur at Disney Parks, but you might want to think again.

More Than Meets the Eye at Magic Kingdom – See the Magic Kingdom in a whole new light.

Tangaroa Terrace, Trader Sam’s to Join Disneyland Hotel This Spring – Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s will become part of the newly renovated Disneyland Hotel.

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Take 5 with Disney’s Horticulture

posted on February 26th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Disney’s Horticulture Logo

With the 2011 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival kicking off this Wednesday, we’re taking a look back at some of our top Disney’s Horticulture posts on the Disney Parks Blog. Do you have a favorite green spot at Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments.

Top 5: Disney’s Horticulture

  1. Fantasyland Forever – Photography at Walt Disney World – Go behind the scenes at the Walt Disney World Horticulture topiary construction area.
  2. Story Behind Disney’s Horticulture Logo – Every picture tells a story, and Disney’s Horticulture logo is a story of history and conservation.
  3. Time-Lapse Video: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – Take a look back at last year’s festival in this time-lapse video featuring the creation of some of the event’s Disney character topiaries.
  4. Behind the Scenes: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – See how Disney character topiaries are made, and learn how to make your own at home.
  5. Valentine’s Day Horticulture – See how Disney’s Horticulture dressed up Disneyland park for Valentine’s Day.
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‘Regis and Kelly’s Run Across America’ Begins at Disneyland Park

posted on February 25th, 2011 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

If you’re going to get up before the sun comes out, there’s no better reason I can think of than to spend some time with our friend Kelly Ripa on live TV. Kelly was joined in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning by a couple hundred lucky participants at the kickoff of “Regis & Kelly’s Run Across America with Dean Karnazes,” a nearly 3,000-mile run across the United States that began at Disneyland park and will end at Regis and Kelly’s New York studio this May.

“Regis and Kelly's Run Across America” Begins at Disneyland Park

“Regis and Kelly's Run Across America” Begins at Disneyland Park

Dean Karnazes is a renowned ultramarathon runner who hopes his cross-country run (40 to 50 miles per day!) will inspire LIVE! viewers to live healthier lives. He literally ran across the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty Castle, down Main Street, USA, and straight out to the city street (heading east), all on live television.

“Regis and Kelly's Run Across America” Begins at Disneyland Park

“Regis and Kelly's Run Across America” Begins at Disneyland Park

For more information about the run, or to track Dean’s progress, check out the LIVE! website. Good luck, Dean!

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

From Under the Sea to Galaxies Far, Far Away…Opening Dates Are Set For A Soundsational Summer at Disneyland Resort

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

As days get longer and the weather gets warmer (well, hopefully!), we are very excited about summer 2011 at the Disneyland Resort. And today I’m thrilled to share the grand opening dates for three new experiences headed your way.

Grand opening June 3: At Disney California Adventure park, get ready for an all-new voyage with one of Disney’s most beloved characters, Ariel. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will invite guests to take a journey under the sea to experience all the fun and adventures in Ariel’s world. From the great songs to state-of-the-art animatronics and special effects, guests will become a part of her world in a way that’s never happened before.

The Little Mermaid attraction is the next big milestone in the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. “World of Color” debuted last year and continues to wow guests every night with magic that combines choreographed fountains, lights, lasers, music, animation and Disney storytelling. And on the horizon, guests can see Cars Land taking shape, which opens in 2012.

Here’s a first look at the vision Walt Disney Imagineers have for Ursula, who will play a big role in The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

Ursula of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Across the esplanade at Disneyland park, guests this summer will be dancing to the beat of a whole new parade and jetting off to new galaxies far, far away.

May 27 Premiere: “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” officially steps off for Memorial Day weekend, with an explosive musical score, thrilling rhythms and bold percussion that will have people dancing to many of their favorite Disney tunes. Look for whimsical float units, live musicians and some of your favorite characters. Mickey Mouse and his pals will be jamming like never before and creating an atmosphere that will be…soundsational!

Here’s a peek at the preparations:

Grand opening June 3: And for those who dare to venture into the deep, dark corners of the universe, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue officially launches in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, taking guests on interstellar adventures to Coruscant, Tatooine, and other destinations in the “Star Wars” galaxy. With the return of favorite Star Wars characters and the addition of more familiar faces and destinations, guests are going to experience Starspeeder travel in an all-new way…in 3D!

You may remember, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue also launches at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on May 20. May the Force be with you!

Star Tours - The Adventure Continues at Disneyland Resort

Summer Fun: Along with these three exciting additions, guests will find even more fun this summer at the Disneyland Resort. So, stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for updates.

What are you most looking forward to this summer at the Disneyland Resort?

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