Disneyland Park, Haunted Mansion Stretch Painting

One of the Few Life-Size Sculptures at Walt Disney World Pays Tribute to Famed Marathoner

posted on May 31st, 2011 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Thousands of guests daily pass by a tall statue, cast in bronze, that stands in front of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. The statue depicts a graceful runner in mid-stride. The larger-than-life bronze sculpture is of Grete Waitz, the famed Norwegian marathoner who won the New York City Marathon nine times and set world records along the way.

Last month, the world lost one of its greatest runners of all time when Waitz passed away in Oslo, Norway. A pioneer in women’s distance running, she was revered worldwide for her grace, generosity and humility.

Bronze Sculpture of Grete Waitz in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot

The statue, pictured above, at the Norway Pavilion was sculpted by Norwegian artist Nils Aas. It is the same as the one that also stands outside of Bislett Stadium, Waitz’s hometown stadium in Oslo. The statue was presented to Walt Disney World by The Foundation for the Promotion of Athletics in Norway, to honor Waitz’s lifelong support of women’s distance running, as well as her inspiration for young and physically challenged athletes.

With her lasting contributions to distance running, it’s fitting that runDisney events like the Walt Disney World Marathon chart a course right past Waitz’s statue.

Waitz is one of the very few historical figures to be honored with a life-size statue at Walt Disney World.

In addition to statues honoring Walt and Roy O. Disney (and many sculpted pieces of our famous Disney characters, as well as Audio-Animatronics figures honoring many throughout history) how many other life-size statues can you think of at Walt Disney World that pay homage to someone throughout history? Let us know in the comments.

(Here are a few hints: As mentioned above, there are not many of them. Several can be found in the Epcot World Showcase. Some do not honor a specific person, but instead are representative of a larger group. Finally, you need to look high and low to spot some of them.)

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Disneyland Resort at Dawn: Pirate’s Lair

posted on May 31st, 2011 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Last week, Paul Hiffmeyer shed some light on a possible “duckspiracy” at Disneyland park. I recently experienced some evidence of this phenomenon myself.

I set sail early one morning to see what I could find over at Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyland park. The island was a bit too serene without any buccaneers running about. Then I spotted some irresistible stowaways. Although some of these feathered friends were just getting their sea legs, they seemed quite comfortable in front of the camera.



See the posts below for more unique looks at the Disneyland Resort:

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Copper River King Salmon is Here at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 31st, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Copper River King Salmon at Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

We just had a big day at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – the first taste of this year’s prized Copper River King Salmon. The beautiful fish is on the nightly menu for just the few weeks that it’s available each year.

The powerful fish fights its way 25 miles upriver to spawn in Alaska’s icy, pure Copper River, which makes it especially fatty, full of heart-healthy omega-3s and creates a deep orange color and amazing flavor. Fans of the fish wait for the e-mail from Artist Point to let them know it’s arrived and head to Walt Disney World Resort just for a taste.

“King Salmon has a delicate, buttery texture and rich and nutty flavor…comparing it to farm-raised salmon is like comparing select beef to prime beef,” says Chef Marco Chaves. He roasts the melt-in-your-mouth fish (medium-rare recommended) on a cedar plank then serves it with artichokes, baby zucchini and carrots sautéed in butter and tangy bacon-egg vinaigrette. Artist Point sommelier Michael Scheifler pairs the dish with an Oregon pinot noir – yes, it’s a red but “a match made in heaven,” says Michael.

The perfect starter for your Pacific Northwest culinary journey is a bracing Dungeness crab salad with cucumber mint sorbet, crunchy watermelon radish and yuzu vinaigrette with a flute of crisp Champagne or glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Wrap up the delicious dining experience with a warm, fresh berry cobbler with a scoop of homemade blackberry ice cream. The perfect salmon celebration.

Have you tried the elusive Copper River King Salmon? Hurry, you’ve got just a couple of weeks.

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Where at Disney Parks Can You Find…

posted on May 31st, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Have You Seen This Smile Around Disney Parks?

How about we kick off Tuesday with a smile? It’s this week’s mystery image and to spot it at Disney Parks you need to have your eyes open. Have you seen it before? Remember where? 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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Guests Love New ‘American Idol’ Scotty McCreery ‘This Big’ During Celebratory Parade

posted on May 30th, 2011 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


(MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery takes a celebratory ride May 30, 2011, with Mickey Mouse through Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Scotty was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park and performed his new single 'I Love You This Big.' On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

What a week it’s been for Scotty McCreery. One night he is having his name announced as the newest “American Idol” to an estimated 29.3 million viewers by Ryan Seacrest on the hit television show, and a few days later he is at Walt Disney World riding in a gala parade with Mickey Mouse by his side.

The humble and personable 17-year-old country crooner from Garner, N.C., was the star May 30 in a morning parade through Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Riding next to Mickey (who knows a few things about celebratory parades himself), Scotty waved to the thousands of fans gathered along Hollywood Blvd. In front of “The American Idol Experience” attraction, Scotty thanked the fans for their dedication and support. He then treated the crowd to a live performance of “I Love You This Big,” his new hit single, and later made a surprise, walk-on appearance inside “The American Idol Experience.”

(MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery poses May 30, 2011, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in front of 'The American Idol Experience' attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park and performed his new song, 'I Love You This Big.' On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Gene Duncan, photographer) (MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery performs his new single 'I Love You This Big' May 30, 2011, in front of 'The American Idol Experience' attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park. On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Gene Duncan, photographer) (MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery performs his new single 'I Love You This Big' May 30, 2011, in front of 'The American Idol Experience' attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park. On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
(MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery poses May 30, 2011, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in front of 'The American Idol Experience' attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park and performed his new song, 'I Love You This Big.' On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Matt Stroshane, photographer) (MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery (right) signs an autograph May 30, 2011, for fan Sarah Solley (left), age 15, from Orlando, Fla., at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park and performed his new single 'I Love You This Big.' On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Matt Stroshane, photographer) (MAY 30, 2011): Newly crowned 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery takes a celebratory ride May 30, 2011, with Mickey Mouse through Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. McCreery was honored in a parade at the Disney theme park and performed his new single 'I Love You This Big.' On Wednesday, the 17-year-old singer was crowned the new 'American Idol' on the season finale which was viewed by an estimated 29.3 million people. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Scotty said he’s looking forward to the nationwide “American Idols LIVE! 2011 Tour” and coming back to central Florida when the tour stops in Orlando on July 24.

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Fun Tips for Character Dining at the Disneyland Resort

posted on May 30th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With five different Disney Character dining experiences at the Disneyland Resort, there’s a meal and a character to suit every style.

Vintage Disney fans: Make a reservation for the Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park at the pretty Plaza Inn in Disneyland park. Every day until 11 a.m. you can enjoy a buffet with omelets cooked to order, French toast, “Mickey” waffles, fresh fruit, pastries and more. It’s an easy way to start the day and fuel up for hours of fun. Minnie Mouse and friends make a stop at each table.

Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure Park

If you prefer table service: Head to Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure park for breakfast or lunch with some of your favorite Disney Princesses. Breakfast is family style with generous platters, and lunch includes beef, fish, seafood, salads and pastas. And the friendly princesses are an easy introduction to Disney Characters for little ones.

PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel

Mickey Mouse fans: You’ll find the “Big Cheese” at the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends at Disney’s PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel. Plenty of opportunities for little ones to dance with Mickey and his pals. Buffet favorites include omelets, flatbreads from a wood-burning oven and signature chilaquiles.

Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

A little quieter, please: Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa features a bounteous buffet with Chip, Dale and other forest friends stopping by each table. The ambiance is calmer with lots of time for photos and autographs.

Lots of dancing: Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel buzzes with activity, with Goofy leading the fun, and plenty of trips to the buffet (the peanut-butter-and-jelly pizza is a breakfast favorite, hand-carved meats are tops for dinner). Kids are encouraged to get up and join the fun.

Whichever you choose, take your time. Enjoy the food, the fun – take lots of photos. Make sure the kids get autographs, the characters make a stop at each table. And make reservations – up to 60 days ahead by calling 714-781-DINE (3463).

Do you have a favorite or other tips to share?

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Frontierland – Still the Wild, Wild West

posted on May 30th, 2011 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


Frontierland - Still the Wild, Wild West

I am constantly reminded of just how many species of wildlife live and thrive within the Walt Disney World Resort. Last week, I was on assignment in Magic Kingdom Park, when I spotted a Great Egret calmly perched atop the Frontier Trading Post sign overhead. I snapped a quick shot, as I have always been intrigued with how birds can balance on one leg. I am told that the one-leg perch is a sign of contentment and relaxation, a sort of “comfort zone.”

Frontierland - Still the Wild, Wild West

This beautiful Snowy Egret was photographed a couple of minutes later, stepping a little outside of its comfort zone, perhaps, as it has picked up the aroma of freshly smoked turkey legs just out of view. (And did those turkey legs ever smell good!)

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Disney Cast Members Create Magic Every Day

posted on May 30th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


What magical moment has a Disney cast member created for you?

This question has been on my mind since I took my son to visit Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside over the weekend for a snack and a stroll along the resort’s Sassagoula River. This resort holds a special place in my memory, as this was the first place a Disney cast member went above and beyond to create a magical moment for my family.

This special moment took place in the early 1990s, when I was vacationing at the resort with my mom. Each night, after spending a full day at the parks, we’d walk our sore feet into the resort’s Riverside Food Court to pick up what we decided were the best peanut butter cookies either one of us ever had. Throughout our vacation, we returned night after night to satisfy our sugar fix.

On the last night of our stay, I remember remarking to my mom (in front of the group of cast members who had come to know us and our nightly purchase), how much I’d miss these sweets when we returned home to Pennsylvania.

Twenty minutes after returning to our resort room, we heard a knock on the door and opened it to find a member of the Room Service team, standing there with a complimentary plate of a dozen peanut butter cookies and a pitcher of cold milk. We couldn’t believe our eyes!

The thoughtfulness of this surprise became the highlight of our vacation, and that is exactly the purpose of a “magical moment” – it’s an experience that cast members create for us guests that just blow our minds. They are the unbelievable acts of kindness that surprise us, delight us, and keep us coming back to create new memories.

Disney Cast Members Create Magic Every Day

So now it’s your turn. What are some of the most magical moments a Disney cast member has created for you?

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 29th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


The Seven Dwarfs and Their Diamond Mine at Downtown Disney Marketplace

Impressive, huh? The latest LEGO creations at the Downtown Disney Marketplace at the Walt Disney World Resort are finished and certainly worth checking out. We shared a peek of the new creative sculptures, including my favorite “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” earlier this week. You can see more photos in Jennifer’s original post.

And as our countdown continues to the official kick-off of “Disney Soundsational Summer!” at the Disneyland Resort, we gave a quick look at what’s new this summer. Let us know what you’re looking forward to as we kick off Disney Soundsational Summer.

Now, here’s a look at some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Disney Fantasy Atrium Lobby Will Dazzle Guests with Art Nouveau Style and Sophistication – We give readers a look at the Disney Fantasy’s Art Nouveau-inspired lobby and reveal a passenger you might recognize.

Favorite Disneyland Resort Lunch Spots – What are some of your favorite dining locations around the Disneyland Resort? With so many delicious options, it’s hard to choose just one!

Getting in the Photo at Disneyland Resort – Disneyland Resort photographer Paul Hiffmeyer wants to know: Was this a “duckspiracy?”

‘Eat to the Beat’ 2011 Concert Series Lineup at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – We got our hands on the lineup of performers for the “Eat to the Beat” Concert Series at the 2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Behind the Scenes at Paradise Pier with Walt Disney Imagineering – Walt Disney Imagineer Larry Nikolai takes you “behind the wall” to see the work being done on Goofy’s Sky School and the new Paradise Pier dining locations.

The New ‘Mickey’s Soundsational Parade’ Officially Starts Today at Disneyland Park – What better way to kick off the summer than with a drum line, whimsical floats and an array of musicians and your favorite Disney characters?

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Take 5: Disney Parks Community Outreach

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


President Karl Holz presented Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida with a check for $750,000

Assisting charitable organizations has been an on-going initiative since Walt Disney opened the Disneyland Resort over fifty years ago. Today, Disney Parks continues its dedication to helping others with everything from monetary donations to organizing toy drives during the holidays. Below are just a few of the inspirational stories we’ve shared with readers on the Disney Parks Blog.

Take 5: Disney Parks Community Outreach

Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children Opens With Fanfare – In late March, we celebrated the official opening of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children.

Walt Disney World Grants Powerful Wishes By Sharing Its Magic – According to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a Disney-themed wish is the most popular request they receive. See how we’ve made some dreams come true.

Disney Dream Benefit Cruise Raises $750,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida – During a special sail-away ceremony, Disney Cruise Line leaders led by President Karl Holz presented Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida with a check for $750,000 to kick off a two-night “Benefit Preview Cruise” aboard the newest ship in our fleet, the Disney Dream.

Disney Cast Members Collect 20,000 Toys for Children in Need – This past Christmas, with approximately 20,000 brand new toys in tow, VoluntEARS joined Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Disney Bear in giving a sizable donation to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Central Florida Toys for Tots drive.

Tamalada Event with Disney VoluntEARS – Through Disney’s support of Latino Health Access (LHA) at their annual Tamalada event, Disney VoluntEARS made, sold and served healthy tamales to help raise funds for the organization’s diabetes management program and related life-saving surgeries.

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