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Creativity Never Sleeps at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 28th, 2011 by Kent Phillips, Photographer, Walt Disney World

If you are fortunate enough to work as a photographer at Walt Disney World Resort (totally awesome), but find yourself spending way too much time working at your desk lately (not nearly so awesome), what do you do when you inevitably go stir crazy and need to get out of the office to stretch your legs? Obviously you grab a disco ball, throw the department’s fog machine in the back of a van and head to Magic Kingdom Park at 4 o’clock in the morning. It’s a no-brainer.

Partners Statue at Magic Kingdom Park

Finding myself somewhat desk-bound recently, I took advantage of having the coolest job in the world and made myself at home in the planter around the Partners statue in the middle of the night. After locating the camera position I wanted, I hung the disco ball from a light stand behind Mickey, hid a light right behind Mickey’s head and aimed it at the ball, then wafted some wispy fog through the beams of light bouncing off of it. A tilt-shift lens let me play with the focus so Mickey’s eyes would stay sharp but the rest of him would go soft.

With the amazing access I enjoy at Walt Disney World Resort because of my job, it’s worth losing a few hours of sleep every now and then to indulge a creative whim, make a fun picture and remember just how lucky I am.

Fog. Disco Ball. Mickey Mouse. It’s a no-brainer.

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The Taro Patch – A Hawaiian Tradition Grows at the Entrance to Aulani

posted on July 28th, 2011 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

A vacation in Hawai`i almost always includes the opportunity to sample poi, the delicately flavored staple food of the islands. I suspect many visitors taste poi without ever thinking about where it comes from.

Poi is made from the taro or kalo plant. (There is no “t” or “r” in the Hawaiian alphabet.) And guests at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will be able to have up-close, hands-on experience with the kalo harvesting and poi-creating process.

In this video, Elliot Mills, Managing Director of Aulani, describes the taro/kalo patch just outside the main entrance to the resort. Elliot has special personal knowledge of kalo, which his family grows in Waipio Valley on the big island of Hawai`i, and he’s speaking here not just about the Aulani guest experience but about the significance of kalo to the Hawaiian people, where it is known as Hāloa, part of the Hawaiian family.

Visitors to Hawai`i return home with varied opinions regarding the taste of poi. Have you tried it? What did you think?

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Are You A Disney Genius? Prove It!

posted on July 28th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Senior Manager, Communications

Disney Trivia Tournament at D23 Expo

Can you recall the first three E-Ticket attractions at Disneyland Resort that premiered in 1959? Do you know how many Academy Awards were personally awarded to Walt Disney? Which was the first animated Disney film that Alan Menken composed music for? If you know even some of these answers, you may want to head to the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday, Aug. 18, for the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament presented by Hasbro Trivial Pursuit: Disney for All Edition!

The final rounds will be held as part of the D23 Expo — the ultimate Disney event for fans and families! — on Friday, Aug. 19, and the winner of the Tournament receives a special preview cruise on the Disney Fantasy! Here are five sample Disney Parks-related questions to whet your appetite for the fun (answers at the bottom, so don’t cheat!):

  1. The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland park is based on what Disney live-action film?
  2. What is the name of the attraction that closely resembles The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris?
  3. What Epcot attraction narrator makes a cameo appearance in the 2011 film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?”
  4. What Hong Kong Disneyland attraction features a thrilling finale where fire and water gods battle one another?
  5. Name the pet store once featured at Lake Buena Vista Village (today known as Downtown Disney Marketplace) in which guests could purchase hamsters, parrots, and … albino skunks?!

The first round starts at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, so rise and shine and remember what you learned in your “Disney A to Z!” Because you can’t win if you don’t play!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Giant Disney Sleeping Beauty Sand Castle Created in Paris

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

Giant Sand Sculpture of Sleeping Beauty Castle

For the first time, Disneyland Paris is participating in Paris Plages and we thought you’d enjoy a peek of some of the amazing work now on display, including a 16-foot sand sculpture of Sleeping Beauty Castle. If you’ve not heard, Paris Plages is a yearly summer event held in the heart of Paris where the Seine riverbanks are transformed into a giant beach.

Giant Sand Sculpture of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Seven expert sculptors worked for nearly 300 hours to transform 60 tons of natural sand into our famous castle along the Seine River. Take a look at their finished work.

Giant Sand Sculpture of Sleeping Beauty Castle Giant Sand Sculpture of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Also, for the 10th edition of Paris Plages, Disneyland Paris and the Mairie de Paris social services division are holding a special day for children unable to go on vacation this summer. Paris Plages continues through August 21.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: A ‘Cruise’ Through Disney History

posted on July 28th, 2011 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center

I have a confession to make – I’m on vacation. And not just any vacation, a Disney Cruise Line vacation sailing in the Mediterranean aboard the Disney Magic! In honor of being on the ship, I wanted to post something about Disney Cruise Line and as it just so happens, July 28 is also the day the Disney Magic was christened at the Disney Cruise Line Terminal in Port Canaveral, Fla.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some ads that ran even before the launch of the Disney Magic. We knew how fun our cruise ships would be, but how do we convey that message to consumers? With the help of some famous Disney friends, of course!

Vintage Disney Cruise Line Ad Vintage Disney Cruise Line Ad

The ads informed guests of the world-class entertainment, fine dining and special fun for kids waiting aboard the Disney Magic. They also introduced our new private island, Castaway Cay.

Vintage Disney Cruise Line Ad Vintage Disney Cruise Line Ad

Of course, I’m sure once I disembark from the Disney Magic in a few days, I’ll be figuring out just how quickly I can return for another cruise. As luck would have it, Disney Magic will be sailing on cruises to The Bahamas and Canada/New England Coast from New York, as well as the Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas, in 2012. Bon Voyage!

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Disney Parks Toys and Games to Debut at D23 Expo

posted on July 27th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

'TRON: Legacy' Monorail Die-Cast Vehicle

A few weeks ago my fellow author Michelle Harker gave you a first look at some new items coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store on Aug. 19-21. I begged her to let me write about some of the new toys and games that will make their debut at the Expo. I can summarize my reasons for wanting to write this article in three words – “TRON: Legacy” Monorail.

'TRON: Legacy' Monorail Die-Cast Vehicle

You may recall that I’m a huge fan of anything Tron. I remember the day in March 2011 that Cody Hampton, Associate Product Developer for Toys and Games, shared with me the first sample of this new die-cast vehicle. I was as excited as the first day I saw the actual “TRON: Legacy” monorail at Epcot. The monorail measures approximately 12 inches long and has wheels on the bottom of it. The toy will have an edition size of 3,000 and will be packaged two different ways – Sam Flynn’s blue Lightcycle version and Clu’s yellow Lightcycle version (roughly 1,500 of each packaging version were made). While the toy will debut at the D23 Expo, there will be limited quantities also offered at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disneyland Resort Monorail Toy

Speaking of monorails, this past April I gave you a first look at the new Disneyland Monorail toy that is coming to Disney Parks. One of the coolest new features which Cody didn’t want to spoil is the remote control, a first for the monorail playset! When the sound button is pressed, you will hear the infamous monorail welcome spiel. Similar to the actual Disneyland Resort monorail, the doors only open on one side. The tops on some of the cabins also open so mini-figures can be placed inside.

Disney Parks Trivial Pursuit Game

Do you know what year the monorail was first introduced at Disneyland? The official opening was June 14, 1959, and it was the first daily operating monorail in the United States. If you answered that question correctly, then I challenge you to a game of “Trivial Pursuit: Disney For All” edition (it seems no one else wants to play with me ever since I’ve read “Disney A to Z” twice).

This new version of the classic Trivial Pursuit game will feature three question types (as the official press release describes): “’Take 2 Trivia’ – giving two chances to earn the wedge, ‘My Disney’ – a little personal trivia sparked by favorite Disney moments or characters, and ‘Disney List’ – work together to create lists or choose which don’t belong.”

I hope you are able to attend the Expo this year. I attended the first one in 2009 and was blown away by the awesomeness! For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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What’s My Line? Can You Place These Disneyland Attraction Quotes?

posted on July 27th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland Resort

Last month I challenged you to guess the attractions in which some of my favorite Disneyland Resort quotations are found. For some of you, the challenge turned out to be … not so challenging.

Now it’s your turn! Many of you responded to the previous post with some of your favorite Disneyland Resort quotes – and I’m challenging your fellow Disney Parks Blog readers to place them. No fair going back to look at the answers in the comments!

  1. “Next time you check into an abandoned hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you’re filling.”
  2. “Now blast him with everything you got!”
  3. “It’s called, ‘A Salute to All Nations But Mostly America.’”
  4. “I am not your mother – break those plates!”
  5. “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1!”


The correct answers are:

  1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (from Rebekah from CA)
  2. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (from Brian from CA)
  3. Muppet*Vision 3D (from Melanie from FL)
  4. Toy Story Mania! (from Christian)
  5. California Screamin’ (from David)

“Thank you. That is all!”

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Travelocity’s Top Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 27th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

As my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Tom Smith mentioned earlier this month, the Walt Disney World Resort will be featured in a three-part Disney Parks series hosted by Travelocity travel expert Genevieve Shaw Brown.

The second video in the installment details the “Top 4 Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort,” as voted on by fans of Travelocity’s Facebook Page.

What are your family’s reasons for staying at a Disney resort? Let’s discuss them in the comments section below.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Do the Cotton-Top Tamarin Dance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 27th, 2011 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs

Wildlife Wednesdays: Do the Cotton-Top Tamarin Dance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

August 15 is a national holiday in Colombia, South America–it’s the Day of the Cotton-Top Tamarin. Here at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re celebrating these cute one-pound monkeys on that day and throughout the month of August with a variety of activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Special activities for all ages will highlight cotton-top tamarin biology and behavior, the fascinating tools and methods used by scientists to study the cotton-top in the field, and the incredible conservation efforts of Proyecto Titi, an organization dedicated to saving this critically endangered species that is supported by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Do the Cotton-Top Tamarin Dance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

During the celebration, guests can find out what cotton-top tamarins like to snack on, how scientists locate them in the forest, and even how to do the cotton-top tamarin dance! The celebration will kick into high gear the week of August 7-15 with even more special activities, including creative cotton-top designs by face painters and caricature artists. And scientists, veterinarians, and animal keepers will share their expertise on cotton-top tamarins and their passion for the conservation of this very special species. Watch the video to see cotton-tops in their native Colombia and learn about efforts to protect them.

During August and year-round, guests are getting to know and care about cotton-tops and their habitat at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests can see these endangered monkeys at Habitat Habit! In Rafiki’s Planet Watch and near the Tree of Life.

Watch the Disney Parks Blog for information on other upcoming conservation events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

September 1 – International Vulture Awareness Day
October 26 – Year of the Bat Celebration

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Have a Soundsational Summer with New Disneyland Resort Special Offers

posted on July 26th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Have a Soundsational Summer with New Disneyland Resort Special Offers

With Disney Soundsational Summer underway here at the Disneyland Resort, it’s the perfect time to come check out some of our great new attractions and entertainment. And new special offers are coming that will make your trip planning even easier.

Beginning tomorrow and through September 24, you can enjoy these great offers for Disneyland Resort hotel stays:

  • Save up to 30% for most Sunday – Thursday nights at a Disneyland Resort Hotel (for hotel stays from 8/14 – 10/01)*, or
  • Save up to $450 on a 4-night/3-day Disneyland Resort Vacation Package and receive one free Character Dining meal for each person in your party (for hotel stays from 8/14 – 9/28).*

See all of the details on these offers here.

*Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel. The $450 savings based on a 4-night stay for a family of four (3 adults and 1 child [age 3-9]) at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is restricted. Offers, including Character meals, are subject to restrictions and change without notice.

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