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Meet-Up with Running Guru Jeff Galloway and Preview of the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

posted on August 26th, 2011 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at

Please note that we will not be responding to questions via this email address. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog, and we will do our best to answer them.

Meet-Up with Running Guru Jeff Galloway at Disneyland Resort

If you’re a runner and you’re interested in getting personal running and training tips from one of the industry’s leading experts, I’ve got a cool meet-up event for you.

Two days before the Disneyland Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort, our runDisney team is offering a select group of 25 applicants the chance to get one-on-one training advice from official runDisney training consultant and former Olympian Jeff Galloway. In addition, selected qualified applicants will be one of the first to have access to the Disneyland Half Marathon Health and Fitness Expo before it opens to the general public that day.

Galloway, who has run all 18 Walt Disney World Marathons as well as several other runDisney events, is well known for his popular Run-Walk-Run training method and the expertise he’ll share with the 25 selected applicants has helped thousands of runners complete their first marathons and improve their race times.

For an opportunity to join Galloway and gain early access to the Expo next Friday, hurry up and RSVP right now to Remember, only 25 qualified applicants will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to apply ASAP!

If you’re not one of the 25 selected this time, post your training questions for Galloway here and I’ll get him to answer a few of them on a future blog post. Also, you can see Galloway at the Disneyland Half Marathon next weekend and at future runDisney events.

For more information on the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend or to register for future runDisney events, visit For coverage throughout this event follow us on Twitter (@disneysports) and Facebook (runDisney).

In the meantime, here are a few things you should know:

  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • A valid ID is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation.
  • Selected applicants attending the meet-up are not required to purchase admission.
  • We will send an email to selected applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Friday. We plan to send this email at approximately 4 p.m. ET today, and we will also post a link on the Disney Parks Blog that will include a list of names of all selected runners. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, your RSVP was not accepted.
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Filed: Disneyland Resort

Buena Vista Street Ready to Take Shape at Disney California Adventure Park

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

We are reaching another major milestone in the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure park. On Monday, August 29, the Sunshine Plaza area will close to allow crews to start the transformation of the current park entry into Buena Vista Street, reminiscent of what Walt Disney encountered when he first arrived in California in the 1920s.

While the shops will close to make way for Buena Vista Street, guests will continue to enter the park through the new Pan-Pacific Auditorium-inspired turnstiles and follow a temporary walkway which will feature renderings of the future Disney California Adventure park and connect the turnstiles with the Condor Flats area. This area will be the temporary entrance and exit for guests during the transformation of the former main entrance stores to Buena Vista Street.

This entry and exit location will remain in place until Buena Vista Street opens in 2012. To see what’s in store when this area opens, take a look at the renderings below, which were shown this past weekend at the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim.

Rendering of the West Side of Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park

The rendering above shows the west side of Buena Vista Street, including the restroom area in the top image.

Rendering of the East Side of Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park

The next rendering shows the east side of the street. In the center image you can see the new merchandise location, Elias & Co., rising above the other buildings.

We’ll have more details on the Disney Parks Blog as Buena Vista Street continues to develop at Disney California Adventure park.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

The Disney Honors Dates Announced for Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 26th, 2011 by Tim Hill, Director of Disney Youth Programs

Every two years, Disney Youth Programs hosts a music festival at the Walt Disney World Resort that challenges performers to reach new musical heights. This festival, known as The Disney Honors, is a non-competitive experience for middle and high school choirs, concert bands and orchestras ensembles that focuses solely on education and artistic growth. I am excited to announce that The Disney Honors will be held on February 28 – March 3, 2013. It will be held again at the Walt Disney World Resort. We had a magical time this year watching the talented ensembles take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and can’t wait to see what kind of excitement the next festival holds. Here is a look at the event:

To stay up-to-date with The Disney Honors and other Disney Youth Programs music festivals, please visit our Facebook page.

If you have ever participated in The Disney Honors, please tell us your story in the comments below.

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Filed: Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Time Lapse: Creating a Disney Wedding Cake

posted on August 26th, 2011 by Korri McFann, Worldwide Marketing & Business Development Director, Weddings & Honeymoons

Have you ever wondered how our Bakery team creates beautiful cake masterpieces for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings? If so, you’re in luck! Today we’re going behind-the-scenes to take a look at how our artists put the finishing touches on a wedding cake.

Can’t get enough cake? Be sure to check out our Facebook page for a new wedding cake feature every week!

See the posts below for more from Disney Weddings:

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Celebrations, Weddings & Honeymoons

Popular Hawaiian Singer/Songwriter Provides Soundtrack for Aulani

posted on August 25th, 2011 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

Next Monday, Aug. 29, when guests enter the Maka‘ala Lobby at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, one of their first impressions will be of the music they hear, specially written and recorded for the resort by one of Hawai‘i’s most popular singers and songwriters, Keali‘i Reichel, and Grammy Award-winning composer Mark Mancina. Keali‘i is an award-winning kumu hula (hula teacher), and his involvement is one of the many ways Aulani strives to recognize and embrace Hawaiian culture, current as well as traditional. Mark is well known for his acclaimed work on “The Lion King,” “Tarzan,” “Brother Bear” and numerous other film scores.

But we’ll let Keali‘i and Mark speak for themselves, along with John Dennis, Director of Music Production at Walt Disney Imagineering. Here they are, in a video shot during the recording sessions.

Were you at the D23 Expo? If so, you may have been among the first to hear a bit of this original music. It played during the Aulani video that was part of Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs’ presentation.

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Filed: Aulani

Baby Elephant Receives Warm Welcome at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on August 25th, 2011 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

Baby Elephant Receives Warm Welcome at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’re proud to report that the elephant herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom got just a little larger with the birth yesterday (August 24) of our newest calf. Weighing 311 pounds, the male African elephant (no name yet!) was welcomed into the group by his mother Vasha, 10 herd members and our animal care professionals assisting with the birth.

This latest addition is the second calf for 25-year-old Vasha, who gave birth to a female calf, Kianga, in 2004. The natural bonding between mother and calf is fascinating to watch (wish I could spend the whole day watching our elephants!). The team is encouraged by the early interaction between mother and calf and will continue to monitor them closely for the next several weeks. These great photos of mom, big sister, and the new calf were taken by Disney photographer Gene Duncan.
Baby Elephant Receives Warm Welcome at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The next critical milestone is for the calf to continue the bonding process with his mother who will teach him important lessons and protect him as he gradually acclimates to the rest of the savannah herd over the next several weeks.

Vasha became pregnant through artificial insemination in October 2009 and received extensive pre-natal care throughout pregnancy. Since early August, our animal care team has provided round-the-clock monitoring, regular ultrasounds and daily hormone monitoring to more accurately predict the beginning of labor. In the past few years, Disney’s animal care teams have been able to narrow the birth window to within four days, which enables them to better prepare for the delivery.

This is the sixth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Others include:

  • Tufani, a male, born in 2003;
  • Kianga, a female, born in 2004;
  • Nadirah a female, born in 2005;
  • Tsavo, a male, born in 2008;
  • Luna, a female born 2010.

All six remain at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Of the many animal care and conservation efforts undertaken by the Animals, Science and Environment team, there’s none that we’re more proud of than the team’s work on behalf of elephants. These efforts not only benefit elephants in the wild and in zoological facilities, they also benefit people in communities in Africa – and connect the millions of Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom with one of the most amazing creatures in the animal world. After all, who wouldn’t be inspired by seeing a herd of elephants (Disney’s Animal Kingdom has one of the largest African elephant herds in North America), including youngsters, in such a beautiful setting.

Disney has been at the forefront of efforts to better understand and care for endangered elephants. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is part of a breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that is focused on sustaining the elephant population in North America. AZA’s Elephant Species Survival Plan has called for a five-fold increase in African elephant reproduction efforts – using both natural and artificial breeding methods – in order to create a self-sustaining elephant population among North American zoos and wildlife centers. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have directed over $1 million to projects in 20 countries to help protect and conserve elephants in the wild.

For more on the elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, see the posts below:

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

Vintage Walt Disney World: Minnie Visits Disney’s Polynesian Resort

posted on August 25th, 2011 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center

Often, I come across a photograph here in the Resource Center which instantly brings a smile to my face. Take a look at this picture of Minnie in a vintage guest room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort from 1985 I recently found while doing some research.

As I look at this photo, I can’t help but wonder who Minnie is talking to and what their discussion is about. Is she ordering room service? Getting directions to a Park? Talking to Mickey? I guess I’ll never know.

But it got me thinking, so I challenged a few Cast Member friends to come up with captions for the photo. Here are some of my favorites they sent. Think you have a better one? Share it with me below.

Minnie Visits Disney’s Polynesian Resort

“Hello, Reservations? I am ready to book my Aulani vacation.” (Juliet, Marketing)

“You say that there’s no listing yet for either Lilo or Stitch? Could you keep trying please?” (Michael, Epcot)

“Thanks, Clara Belle, I love your moo-moo, too!” (Patrick, Merchandise)

“Aloha! What time are hula lessons in the lobby?” (Rose, WDW Library & Research Center)

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Filed: Disney History, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Radiator Springs Racers Begins Ride Testing Today

posted on August 25th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Radiator Springs Ride Vehicle at the 2011 D23 Expo

In the normal development process of any ride-based attraction at Disney Parks, Imagineers spend weeks and even months testing the ride vehicles. Many of you may have seen one of the first ride vehicles, which was on display at the D23 Expo in Anaheim this past weekend in the Parks & Resorts Pavilion. While it might be a while before you see this or any of the other ride vehicles racing around Ornament Valley, keep checking back with the Disney Parks Blog for the latest updates.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

A Secret Just for Disney Vacation Club Members

posted on August 25th, 2011 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

A Secret Just for Disney Vacation Club Members

As your Dream Maker, I’ve been keeping a special secret about a new gifting experience just for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members. And that’s been challenging because this secret is so cool that I can’t wait to share it with you.

DVC members will soon be able to experience an exclusive DVC Welcome Celebration personalized and prepared just for them at their favorite Walt Disney World resort. Take a look at the photo above. When this little one stood in the doorway, he gave us the reaction we live for as parents that tells us we just made a dream come true – his jaw dropped, he gasped and said, “Wow!”

Without giving away too many details, I think you’ll be able to glean a few from the photo above. See the sash on the door? It reads “Welcome Home” on one side and “Member Since” (and the year you became a DVC member) on the other. You can even bring it back to your Disney resort each time you visit to let everyone know you’re a member. And those magical footprints on the floor? They can also serve as computer mouse pads.

Alright, I’m sharing too much. For the full picture, visit at the end of August for more details on this in-room celebration and perhaps a few others … especially with Halloween coming up!

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Filed: Celebrations, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

The Most Talked-About Treat at Disney Parks

posted on August 25th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

The Most Talked-About Treat at Disney Parks

If last week’s D23 crowd and blog posts are any indication, this adorable pretzel has to be one of the most coveted tastes at Walt Disney World Resort. You can only find them one place: in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom at Frontierland Pretzel Wagon between the Diamond Horseshoe and Pecos Bill Cafe (next to the turkey leg cart). Pair the twist with cheese and chocolate dipping sauces. Insiders tell us it’s still in “testing phase” at Walt Disney World Resort, but we bet it’s here to stay.

You also can find it at Disneyland park at Refreshment Corner, Bengal Barbecue, Frontierland Pretzel, Small World Pretzel and Tomorrowland Pretzel. At Disney California Adventure Park, they are sold at Bayside Brews, the Beer Truck and Hollywood Pretzel. Have you joined the Mickey pretzel craze and tried one yet?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort