Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Bonjour, Monsieur Taittinger!

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


What a treat to meet the man behind the bubbly – Clovis Taittinger was aboard the christening cruise for the Disney Dream, and we had the opportunity to talk with him in Pink, the Champagne lounge in The District. Taittinger, one of the world’s finest French Champagnes, created a special label just for the Disney Dream inaugural year.

Aboard the ship, Taittinger is served in all lounges, and the signature cocktail in upscale Remy is topped with Taittinger. In Pink, the ship’s intimate Champagne lounge in The District, the signature drink is Taittinger Prestige Rose, with a pink elephant from the classic film “Dumbo” gracing the bottle.

We met Monsieur Taittinger at Pink. Take a look.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Candy Makers

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by David Gill, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort.


Hi, I’m David, external communications specialist at the Disneyland Resort. One of my roles is to produce video segments introducing you to the Resort’s talented cast members and the roles they play. In my eight years here, I have met hundreds of people who bring the magic to life and I look forward to highlighting them in the coming months.

I can’t think of a better team to start with than one I have a particular “sweet spot” for – the candy makers. One of my personal Disneyland park memories is standing on Main Street, U.S.A., as a 6-year-old, watching the parade with a handful of candy from Candy Palace and wondering, “Where did all this candy come from?”

Last week, I had the opportunity to learn how the Resort’s candy makers use their craft to create delicious treats – to be consumed in moderation of course – for millions of guests each year. They took me to three candy-making locations: Candy Palace, Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney and the main production kitchen backstage at Disney California Adventure park.

The most interesting part of the candy-making process is the level of detail that goes into each piece, making it a unique work of art. Check out this video to get a glimpse at what it’s like to be a candy maker at the Disneyland Resort.

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

Faces of Germany at Epcot

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


I love strolling through World Showcase at Epcot. There’s just nothing like stepping from country to country…becoming completely immersed in each unique culture through its architecture, entertainment, food, merchandise and the many friendly Cast Members who are happy to tell you about their homelands. This week, I wandered into the charming, old-world country of Germany, and was intrigued with the many whimsical details that help create the “face” of this historic place. And as I share a few of the snapshots I took there, my hope is that you enjoy the journey as much as I did…

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Disney Performing Arts Announces New Ears for the Arts Campaign

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Tim Hill, Director of Disney Youth Programs


Anyone who takes part in a Disney Performing Arts program shares a common bond and rite of passage. It takes confidence, character and camaraderie for an ensemble to be able to come together and perform in front of an international Disney audience. As a former participant with Disney Performing Arts, I know first-hand that performing at the Disneyland Resort in California or the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is something that will surely never be forgotten.

Disney Performing Arts 'Ears for the Arts' Pin

I am proud to announce that Disney Performing Arts will now be celebrating and commemorating this momentous experience and shining achievement with the Ears for the Arts badge of honor. Participants in Disney Performing Arts programs, which include performance opportunities, workshops, festivals and competitions, will receive an exclusive Ears for the Arts pin and become a part of an elite group of students.

The first Ears for the Arts recipients at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort were given their pins on Friday, February 11th in a special once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.

Dance Students from the Academy of Ballet in Orem, Utah

Dance students from the Academy of Ballet in Orem, Utah, were honored by Minnie Mouse herself when they became the first West Coast recipients of Disney’s new Ears for the Arts badge of honor. The Academy of Ballet is led by director Tyne Crockett.

Band and Choir Students from Pittsford Mendon High School in Pittsford, NY

Band and choir students from Pittsford Mendon High School in Pittsford, NY, were honored by Mickey Mouse himself when they became the first East Coast recipients of Disney’s new Ears for the Arts badge of honor. The Pittsford Mendon High School groups are led by choir director Edith Rice and ensemble director Mark Puma.

Emily Lockard and Michael Kist of Pittsford Mendon High School show off their new Ears for the Arts pin.

For the latest updates on Disney Performing Arts please visit our Facebook page!

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Bringing Children and Wildlife Together

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Kathy Lehnhardt, Curator of Education, Disney’s Animal Programs


“Come on over and try out a cool wildlife activity!”

This hook, used by our Education Presenter team, encourages families to stop by the Kids’ Discovery Clubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We have six fun Club sites in each land of the Park for children 5-8 years old, but like most Disney activities, everyone in the family participates.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Brings Children and Wildlife Together

At each Club location, children try out different activities. They match dinosaur jaws to the correct skull, feel and guess items found in a fallen log, see like a bug, find animals in a backyard, look for animal clues, identify animal calls and introduce the important insects and spiders to guests at the Main Entrance.

The ultimate goal of this top Disney guest team is to share actions that guests can take to help wildlife and wild places. What can children do to help animals? Lots! Try creating a backyard habitat for local wildlife by hanging a bird house, filling a birdbath or planting trees as food sources and nesting sites. Some children enjoy doing homework projects on their favorite animal and then sharing what they learned with classmates. Others may like to join a river or beach clean-up to ensure clean and healthy habitats for wildlife or go on a neighborhood hike to observe wildlife in the area.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Brings Children and Wildlife Together

But other Disney’s Animal Programs teams join with the Presenter team to share great conservation messages about wildlife at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and in our local Orlando community. In total, Animal Programs teams combined shared 4,746,271 conservation actions with guests in 2010 which is a 20% increase in interactions from the previous year. This number reflects a commitment to the Animal Programs mission statement of inspiring our guests to conservation action.

In today’s high-technology world, we’re trying to encourage children to go outdoors and explore nature. But the competition is tough…video games, computers and TV all compete for children’s time and attention.

Why is spending time outdoors important? Because we know that only if children spend time in nature can they learn to appreciate it and ultimately care enough to save the environment as adults. An interesting quote from the Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, is from a 4th grader who says: “I like spending time indoors because that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” Although I’m not opposed to electrical outlets, nature and technology should have equal weight.

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If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It!

posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Chef Jeff with Disney’s Dreamers

For the fourth year, Disney Parks and entertainer Steve Harvey will host a program called Disney’s Dreamers Academy – this year with new collaborator Essence Magazine. The lucky few students chosen are called “Disney’s Dreamers.”

The program is open to U.S. high school students in grades 9 through 12. Thousands apply each year and 100 students are picked by a panel of judges made up of community leaders, educators, celebrities and Disney executives.

The program is designed to do one thing: remind students to dream BIG! Some past Dreamers have experienced enormous tragedies and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. After the program, past Dreamers have gone on to win college scholarships; garner national awards; and even own their own businesses.

Walt Disney World Resort plays host to the 100 Dreamers for four days – this year from March 3 to 6. You can follow the adventures of the Dreamers and the celebrities in live updates that weekend on Twitter using the hash tag #DDA. Or follow them on Facebook at Twitter.com/dreamersacademy.

Disney’s Dreamers Academy is designed so that the teens can be inspired, discover possibilities and prepare for their future. They receive mentoring customized to their individual interests, participate in interactive workshops and seminars focusing on careers and life enrichment – all sprinkled with a little bit of Disney fun and magic!

We hope the academy inspires and fuels the students’ dreams and is a launching pad for their unique and varied passions. You can help us do that! Jump in, watch them on Facebook and Twitter and give the students your support!

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‘Family Fun Weekends’ Celebrate Mardi Gras with New Menu Items

posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Jim Ames, Manager, Food and Wine Events, Disneyland Resort


Hopefully you had the opportunity to join Princess Tiana and all of the gang this past weekend as they kicked off the Mardi Gras celebration at “Family Fun Weekends.” If not, you still have two more weekends to “let the good times roll!” In addition to the celebrations, music and dancing, new menu items were rolled out to help add some N’awlins flavor to the festivities.

The Blue Bayou has done the “Crescent City” right with a traditional bouillabaisse. This French seafood delight is filled with lobster, red snapper, little neck clams and mussels all in a savory broth, topped with dipping bread and saffron spread. You can add the perfect finish to your meal by selecting apple fritters a la mode for dessert! Three fresh apple fritters are served with vanilla bean ice cream, dried cherry gastrique and topped with spiced apple glaze. This is a meal fit for a carnival king or queen!

Muffaletta Sandwich From French Market Restaurant at Disneyland Park

Café Orleans is getting into the spirit of Mardi Gras with their own signature dessert, a Bananas Foster crepe – a handmade crepe filled with sautéed bananas, topped with caramel rum sauce and caramelized bananas. Across Orleans St., French Market will be spicing things up with a shrimp Po-Boy and a Muffaletta sandwich. And don’t miss the Mardi Gras corn chowder at Harbour Galley topped with festive “confetti” corn chip strips, or the Cajun Firefly, Blueberry Blast or Mardi Gras Punch, specialty beverages that contain no added sugar.

There are many culinary delights available for a limited time throughout New Orleans Square, but my favorite is the Mardi Gras “Mickey” Brioche – sweet brioche bread, covered in Mardi Gras-inspired green, gold and purple sugar crystals. This treat, served with a familiar “mouse-ear” twist, is available at Harbour Galley, French Market and Royal Street Veranda.

Mardi Gras 'Mickey' Brioche From New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park

Take a peek of some of the fun we had this weekend at the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans Square. Then come be a part of the festivities as “Family Fun Weekends” continue Friday through Sunday, February 25 – 27 and March 4 – 6, in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park. Grab your krewe and come be a part of the fun.

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Mickey FASTPASS: Guests Will Be Able To Determine a Time To Meet Mickey Mouse Beginning This Spring at Magic Kingdom

posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


How about this: For the first time at Disney Parks, you’ll have the opportunity to nail down a time for a face-to-face meeting with Mickey Mouse at the Walt Disney World Resort. Beginning this spring, we’ll be offering FASTPASS for Mickey at his new permanent home, Town Square Theater, located inside the current Exposition Hall area at the entrance of Magic Kingdom park.

Artist Rendering of Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom

Once open, it’ll be more than just a new greeting space for Mickey. Imagineers are creating new elements and surprises for Magic Kingdom park guests, including an interactive queue – with an extra touch of Disney magic. Also, during the New Fantasyland construction, royalty will be visiting as the Disney Princesses will be in Town Square Theater to meet and greet their loyal subjects this spring.

How will it work? Magic Kingdom guests will be able obtain a Disney’s FASTPASS specifying a one-hour window when they can return to see the popular character for hugs, photos and autographs – without waiting in the standby queue. This marks the first time the complimentary, computerized service has been utilized for a character meet-and-greet at any Disney Park.

Walt Disney Imagineers are already working to completely transform the space for the new experience. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on this one-of-a-kind experience.

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Behind the Scenes with SHAG

posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


Back in January, I had the chance to familiarize you with the artwork of SHAG. SHAG’s retro inspired art has been found in Disneyland Resort for quite a few years and was recently introduced to Disney Cruise Line for the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Dream and to Walt Disney World Resort for our 40th anniversary.

SHAG recently set sail with us on the Disney Dream and while onboard, my friend John caught up with him to learn more about his creative method and inspiration. Take a look at this video to get a behind the scenes look at SHAG as he showcases his latest artwork and talks about his artistic style.

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Filed: Art of Disney, Behind the Scenes, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Where at Disney Parks Can You Find…

posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Where at Disney Parks Can You Find This Green Dinosaur?

Wait, wait…before you shout your answer to this week’s mystery image take a closer look; it may not be where you think it is. Have you seen our green dinosaur at Disney Parks? 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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