Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Royal Wedding Merchandise at Epcot

posted on April 29th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Royal Wedding Merchandise at Epcot

I was recently speaking with Sylvie Brumbaugh, product developer for World Showcase, about the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (I’m sure I’m not the only one discussing this topic). Clearly, the wedding has captured the attention of the world. Sylvie told me that the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot has a limited selection of merchandise celebrating the special day. So, I set out with camera and paper in hand to survey various offerings.

First up, I found a very popular replica of the engagement ring that Kate Middleton is wearing. The ring has a retail of $24.95. I spoke with Kaz Stotesbury, an International Program cast member from Petts Wood, England, about her interest in the wedding. She was kind enough to pose for the photo above (and I didn’t have to get down on one knee; sadly I’m not a Prince).

“I met Prince William when I was younger,” explained Kaz. “He visited my school and it was great to meet him. Before working at Disney, I worked in London. I’ve seen the excitement that the Royal Family brings to the city.”

Royal Wedding Merchandise at Epcot

The Royal Family merchandise is located in the Tea Caddy Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion. We are offering a T-shirt, ornament, perfume and a few additional items. Sylvie told me that the response has been overwhelming.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by guests’ response [to the Royal Family merchandise],” said Sylvie. “The response has been so overwhelming that we are planning to carry additional Royal Family merchandise. We are already looking for items to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II next year.”

Royal Wedding Merchandise at Epcot

Sylvie also shared with me a special teddy bear that is being introduced at the United Kingdom Pavilion. The William the Commemorative Royal Wedding teddy bear was designed by The Great British Teddy Bear Company. The bear is dressed in a Royal “Bear Force” uniform and includes a giant replica of the engagement ring. The bear has a retail of $89.95, and the United Kingdom Pavilion will have a limited number of them for sale.

Royal Wedding Merchandise at Epcot

While standing in the location, I spoke with several guests from the United States and Great Britain about the wedding. Many were anxious to tell me their story of how they planned to celebrate the day. Before leaving, I met Ben Pomeroy, another International Program cast member from hails from London. I asked what the Royal Wedding meant to him.

“The Royal Wedding has grown on me,” said Ben. “I believe that Prince William and Kate’s marriage is one of true love. I’ve enjoyed speaking with many guests from all over the world about the wedding, and sharing a part of my culture with them.”

Best wishes to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their special day!

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Advice Fit for a Princess

posted on April 29th, 2011 by Korri McFann, Worldwide Marketing & Business Development Director, Weddings & Honeymoons


Congratulations William & Kate! Now that the pair is officially a Mr. and Mrs., we thought it would be a good idea to get some advice from the experts. Who better to offer Kate tips and guidance on being a princess than the Disney Princesses themselves? Take a look at what some of our most treasured characters had to say.

Stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest wedding news by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter and Ever After.

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Register to Attend a Pixar Speaker Session at Epcot May 14-15

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Just a heads up to all you Pixar fans who plan to attend Pixar’s 25th Anniversary Weekend May 13-15 at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Registration is now open for the “Presenting Pixar” speaker sessions, featuring special guests who will give you an inside look at Pixar Animation Studios.

Register to Attend a Pixar Speaker Session at Epcot May 14-15
Speakers will take the stage May 14-15 at the following times:

  • Noon – Jay Ward: “Cars 101 – Inspiration for all of the CARacters you know and love”
  • 2 p.m. – Jonas Rivera: “Pixar: Celebrating 25 Years of Animation”
  • 4 p.m. – Michael Giacchino: “Behind the Music: A Score is Born”
  • 6 p.m. – Special presentation by Jay Ward, Jonas Rivera and Michael Giacchino

Oscar-winning Composer Michael Giacchino

Oscar-winning Composer Michael Giacchino began studying music composition at Julliard and UCLA, eventually becoming a producer for Disney Interactive Division, writing music for video games. His work grabbed the attention of Television Producer JJ Abrams, who hired him to write the score for ABC’s “Alias,” and “Lost,” the latter of which Michael earned an Emmy.

Michael’s more recent composition credits include Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” as well as “Up,” which earned him an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and two Grammy Awards. He’s currently working on Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2.”

Oscar-nominated Producer Jonas Rivera

Oscar-nominated Producer Jonas Rivera joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1994 as a production office assistant on the studio’s first feature film, “Toy Story.” Working on almost every Pixar feature film to date, Rivera’s ability and expertise has enabled him to advance in his role on each of the studio’s subsequent productions. Some of his film credits include: “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Cars.” He most recently served as producer on the Academy Award-winning feature “Up.”

’Cars’ Franchise Guardian Jay Ward

“Cars” Franchise Guardian Jay Ward came to Pixar Animation Studios in December 1998 to work as an art department production assistant on the 2001 feature film, “Monsters, Inc.” In 2001, he began early development work on the 2006 film, “Cars.” During production, Jay’s knowledge of the automotive world allowed him to perform different roles on the film, including character team manager and consultant to the film’s director and co-director, John Lasseter and Joe Ranft. Ward continues to contribute his enthusiasm for cars and his artistic passions to the creation of any and everything within the “Cars” franchise.

As you can see, preparations are already underway for the celebration, which also will feature themed topiaries, Disney-Pixar character meet-and-greet experiences, kids’ activities and more.

Visit http://www.pixarweekend.com/ to register for the “Presenting Pixar” sessions and to learn more.

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Captain Squawk Recruiting New Crewmates at ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Sneak Peek’

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Avast me hearties! Ye be wanting to join Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew? Pirate parrot Captain Squawk is recruiting new buccaneers now at “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Sneak Peek” at Disneyland park.

As Guests wait to board the Queen Anne’s Revenge, they may get the chance to discuss the finer points of pirating with Captain Squawk. He also teaches some new recruits how to do the pirate’s sign (cross your arms below your head like crossbones, then scowl) and how to properly shout “YO HO!”

But aye, should the Queen Anne’s Revenge start to sink, don’t follow Captain Squawk into his ship. “…It be a wee bit small.” Harrr!

See Captain Squawk and his shipmates at “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Sneak Peek,” Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through May 30 at Disneyland park.

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Surprises Continue as Walt Disney World Gives $1.2 Million Over 40 Days

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Kathleen Prihoda, Manager of Media Relations, Walt Disney World Resort


Walt Disney World is well into week two of a 40-day celebration across Central Florida to recognize and reward organizations that make a positive impact in the lives of children and families.

Today, Mickey Mouse and the “Shine On” prize patrol surprised five charities that develop and strengthen children’s character with special gifts totaling $250,000.

Surprises Continue as Walt Disney World Gives $1.2 Million Over 40 Days

Recipients of Disney funding included A Gift For Music, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida. For more information, read here.

Thus far, Disney has given $660,000 on its journey across Central Florida to lend support to organizations that educate, develop and care for local youth. By May 23, Disney will give more than $1.2 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants throughout the region.

Surprises Continue as Walt Disney World Gives $1.2 Million Over 40 Days

I’ve been honored and humbled to be along for the ride on many of these “Shine On” visits. Here’s a look back at last week’s journey, which was focused on helping several organizations that provide essentials such as food and shelter for local families in need.

Last year, Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants made a difference in the lives of more than 10,000 children. I am eager to see what magic will come from this year’s grants. Plenty more is in store.

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Be a Royal Princess at Walt Disney World and Now At Home

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG


On the eve of the royal wedding, all eyes are on Prince William and Kate. And some of us are living vicariously through them with this happily ever after wedding. If only we can be a Royal Princess (sigh!)…but wait! Disney is the place where dreams come true. We all want to be a Princess. And if I’m a real Dream Maker, how can Disney Floral & Gifts make that happen for us? I’m glad you asked.

If you would enjoy A Princess Dream Come True gifting experience for your engagement, wedding, anniversary, Mothers Day, birthday, or just because, (did I leave out any occasions?) make sure your loved one finds this post. Whether you’re here at the Walt Disney World Resort or at home in the United States, we can now offer a gift to create a fairy tale moment just for you. So move over Kate.

Let’s proclaim YOU a Princess.

The Exclusive Life-Size Cinderella Glass Slipper

For her majesty (that’s you), featured on an exquisite silver tray, we present THE exclusive life-size Cinderella glass slipper. (Later it can be etched with your name and date to be reminded of the royal moment.)

Princess Tiara

Then, resting upon an exclusive Disney fairy tale pillow adorned with pearls ribbon and gems is the coveted Princess tiara complete with twinkling rhinestones.

Tiffany Inspired Wish Bracelet

And since an 18 karat blue sapphire wasn’t available…we present you with your Tiffany inspired wish bracelet with lots of sparkle, featuring a heart and wish charm. The heart charm can be engraved later with your initials and date, and the wish charm is yours to make a request on your special occasion. After, wear the bracelet as a reminder that dreams do come true. Over time, you can add additional charms to commemorate special occasions, experiences and fulfilled wishes.

Personalized Princess Proclamation

Then, finally, the “crowning moment.” On this day, we officially declare you a Princess, as noted on this personalized proclamation, signed by your favorite fairy tale Princess or perhaps the Fairy Godmother. Oh my stars. Today’s my day!

So here’s what to do. Call a Dream Maker to have this gift sent to your Walt Disney World dining location, your WDW resort room or shipped to your home for a special occasion. Once you unwrap the gift, your loved one can read the proclamation then crown you their Princess. It’s certainly a one of a kind gift, just like a one of a kind royal wedding. Only this time, YOU are the Princess. And you lived happily ever after.

Now, how are we going to get the word out to our loved ones.

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Disneyland Resort at Dawn: Mickey’s Toontown

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


The inspiration for this series came from walking through Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland park early one morning. It was fascinating for me to hear all of the sounds and take in the sights. There were so many details I had missed when I was there during the daytime. When I went back with the film crew, I was not disappointed. I had several great visuals to choose from, but my favorite shot happened when the sun was coming up through the fish bowls.

What is your favorite sight or sound in Mickey’s Toontown?

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Ducks in a Row at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Ducks in a Row at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Usually, it’s Jackie sharing great wildlife images here on the Disney Parks Blog but this was too adorable to pass up. We spotted these ducks in a row outside the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and thought it’d be a great chance for you to show off your caption-writing creativity. Here’s one to get things started: “Come on, front row seats for the Indy show.” Any clever captions come to mind? Please submit yours below.

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Discover America with a Special Offer from Adventures by Disney

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney


Summer is a special time for families – no school, warm weather and fun weekends. It’s the perfect time to get out and experience all of the wonders our country has to offer.

Discover America with a Special Offer from Adventures by Disney

With so many historic destinations, landmarks and national treasures, planning that iconic American adventure can be challenging. But Adventures by Disney can help.

Discover America with a Special Offer from Adventures by Disney

On a daily basis, Adventures by Disney Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Jill Cooper provides tips and personal experiences to help families plan one-of-a-kind Adventures by Disney vacations. Not so long ago, she was the one asking alumni Adventures by Disney Specialist and Moms Panelist Kay Belin for tips on how to plan an adventure of her own. Jill was unsure which itinerary would be best for her family. With Kay’s help, Jill selected an Adventures by Disney vacation, filled with memories that her family will treasure for a lifetime.

So aside from her love of Disney, why did Jill decide to take an Adventures by Disney vacation? She’s shared her top reasons for traveling with Adventures by Disney:

Hassle-free travel
Families traveling with Adventures by Disney will find practically all the details are taken care of so they can really enjoy their time together without worrying about where to go next or how to get there.

Educational experiences
As a teacher, Jill has can attest to the benefits of hands-on educational experiences, both in and outside of the classroom. What better way to introduce your children to American history – and keep them motivated this summer – than to engage them with one-of-a-kind immersive in the places where our history was made.

Value
As a parent, an important consideration when choosing a vacation is value. Adventures by Disney carefully selects the many features and special touches for each destination. It’s something you won’t find anywhere else.

And speaking of value, guests who book select departures off select 2011 season North American itineraries now through May 25 receive $300 off per reservation*! Click here for more details and to see the one-of-a-kind itineraries to iconic North American destinations that are included in this limited-time offer.

To take advantage of this offer, call 1-866-470-5138 or contact a local travel agent. Also, check out Jill’s time-tested Disney travel tips on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel here.



Friendly disclaimer: Guests who book select departures of select 2011 season North American Adventures by Disney itineraries between April 19, 2011, and May 25, 2011, for travel between June 14, 2011, and September 24, 2011, will receive $300 off per reservation. Offer applies to the purchase at the non-discounted Regular Rate. Click here for a list of itineraries and departures available under this offer. Regular Rates vary depending on departure date and time of booking and are subject to change. Valid on new bookings only. Bookings must be made through Adventures by Disney Travel Services, Inc. You must advise the Concierge Agent of this offer at time of booking. Land packages are subject to availability. Not transferable or redeemable for cash in whole or in part. Not applicable toward deposit amount. Cannot be sold or transferred for commercial use. Void where prohibited. Subject to conditions, restrictions and change without notice. Cannot be combined with any offers or promotions.

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Terrific Transportation Toys at Disney Parks

posted on April 28th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Terrific Transportation Toys at Disney Parks

While riding the tram from the Daisy section to the Transportation and Ticket Center the other day, I recalled the sheer anticipation I always felt as a guest visiting on vacation. I couldn’t wait to begin a day of fun with my children in Magic Kingdom Park. In many ways, that parking tram is the first “attraction” that guests experience at Disney Parks. Luckily, for those who want to relive that same anticipatory moment in the comfort of their own homes, we recently introduced a die-cast parking tram toy. It follows in the tradition of other toys inspired by Disney modes of transportation. I sat down with Cody Hampton, Associate Product Developer for Toys and Games, to learn more.

“We had discussed introducing a parking tram toy for a few years,” explained Cody. “It was one of the few Disney transportation vehicles which didn’t have a corresponding toy. We have a Monorail, railroad, bus and a few other ride vehicles as toys. So it was the perfect time to introduce [the tram].”

Terrific Transportation Toys at Disney Parks

Disney Design Group Artist Lin Shih created the three-dimensional image of the tram pictured above.

“I drew the artwork directly in the computer using only reference photos,” said Lin. “The computer artwork was then used by the manufacturer to create the physical three-dimensional model.”

Following my trip on the real tram (I’m a bit too big for the toy version), I rode the Monorail from the TTC to Magic Kingdom Park. I love riding the “highway in the sky” (especially the Tron-orail!). As Cody and I chatted about my experience, he shared something with me that took my breath away – the first sample of the new Disneyland Monorail play set.

Terrific Transportation Toys at Disney Parks

For years, we have sold the Walt Disney World Monorail play set both in Florida and California. With the introduction of the newest Monorail in California, the toy team felt it was time to create a Disneyland Resort-only version of the toy.

“We used the exact specifications [of the Monorail] provided by Walt Disney Imagineering to create the toy,” continued Cody. “The toughest part was matching the red color. The paint scheme on the actual Monorail is spectacular. After a few tries, we think it looks great!”

The Disneyland Monorail is being introduced later in 2011. Cody shared that it will have a nice surprise, a first for the Monorail play set (sorry, no spoilers this time). Once introduced, the Monorails will be sold at their respective parks. Of course, both play sets will also be released on the Disney Parks Online Store.

Terrific Transportation Toys at Disney Parks

Before leaving Cody’s office, he shared one last preview of something with a transportation theme. Above are two new concepts for Disney Racers that won’t debut till this coming fall. He thought I would enjoy seeing them (especially since he knows of my love for all things “TRON”).

After seeing all of the transportation toys, I couldn’t help but sing “It’s Fun To Be Free” as I left Cody’s office. What is your favorite mode of transportation at Disney?

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