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Queen of Hearts Named ‘Your Highness of Hissy Fits’

posted on September 29th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

The Queen of Hearts Wins ‘Your Highness of Hissy Fits’

Last week, fans of the Disney Villains cast their votes in the first of this year’s Wicked Gooey Apple Awards. The winner of the first category, “Your Highness of Hissy Fits” (Shortest Temper) has been named – the Queen of Hearts!

Voting is now open for the second Wicked Gooey Apple Award category – “Sinister Stylings.” Villains love to plan their dirty deeds in style and our nominees are always dressed to distress. This week, vote for the Disney Villain who you think is the most fashionable fiend. Vote now at!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort

Chef Suvir Saran’s ‘Crunchy Indian Snack’ Coming to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 29th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Looking for an easy, unusual and quick first course – or lunch in a bowl? Award-winning Chef Suvir Saran shares his “Crunchy Indian Snack” that he grew up eating in India as a child.

Chef Saran will be at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Nov. 10 and 11 as part of “Kitchen Memories,” a new series at this year’s festival. He’ll create a delicious three-course lunch and tell stories of his early years in India, his travels around the globe and his beautiful farm in upstate New York. And we just bet this salad will be on the menu. (We found bhel puri in an Indian specialty market and shopping online.)

Here’s an easy version for you to try at home:

For more information on this year’s festival and to book the session with Chef Saran, go to You also can call 407-WDW-FEST. Cost is $110, gratuity included, Epcot theme park admission required.

Crunchy Indian Snack

Serves 3 to 4

1 cup bhel puri mix*
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons favorite green chutney
2 tablespoons favorite tamarind chutney
1 small boiled potato, peeled and chopped

Fold all ingredients together in a large bowl and serve immediately.

*Cook’s note: Bhel puri is available in Indian markets or online. A popular snack all over Indian, it’s a spicy, crunchy mix of puffed rice, nuts and dried noodles.

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Behind the Scenes: Preparing for the Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 29th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Sure, it may be a bit early to talk holidays but here at Walt Disney World Resort we never stop. Cast members have been working on Christmas since January. This week, teams are extra busy inside our amazing holiday services warehouse and around the resort so we thought you’d enjoy a peek at what’s going on and what to expect this season.

Oh, you better believe we love those featured gingerbread shingles here at the Disney Parks Blog. How about you? Let us know what you most enjoy about Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays.

Can’t wait to celebrate the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort? Here’s a look at some of what you can expect:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: A Dedication with Style at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 29th, 2011 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center

Walt Disney World Resort opened its doors to guests on Oct. 1, 1971, however the official grand opening and dedication took place on Oct. 25, 1971. The dedication plaque was read aloud by Roy O. Disney with Mickey Mouse at his side.

Roy E. Disney and Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World Resort in 1971

“May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together.”

Parade Was Led by Mickey Mouse, Playing the World’s Largest Bass Drum

The official dedication parade, called Walt Disney World on Parade, traveled through Magic Kingdom Park that day. It included 5,000 performers lead by Mickey Mouse playing the world’s largest bass drum at the time. The pinnacle of the parade was a performance by a 1,076 piece ceremonial marching band.

Walt Disney World on Parade

Although I wasn’t alive in 1971, this is one of those days in Disney history I would have loved to been in attendance. I just need to start working on my time machine.

Take a look back at more moments in history at Magic Kingdom Park:

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Blog Header Spotlights Early Magic Kingdom Artwork, Images

posted on September 28th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Attention Magic Kingdom Park fans! In honor of the park’s upcoming 40th anniversary this Saturday, Oct. 1, we’re running a new series of header images on the blog that offer a peek back into the time of the park’s design and construction.

Early Artist Rendering of Swiss Family Treehouse at Magic Kingdom Park

This set of images, which ranges from artist renderings to early construction photographs of the park, include a handful of shots that even we have never seen before. Extreme Disney fans also may notice artwork and sketches by Mary Blair and Herb Ryman added into the rotation. Lastly, we wanted to send a big thank you to the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library for providing these images!

Here’s one of my favorite shots, an early artist rendering of the Swiss Family Treehouse. What do you think?

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Chef Jens Showcases Favorite New Tastes at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 28th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Just to get your mouth watering for the upcoming kick-off Sept. 30, Chef Jens Dahlmann shows my pal John Graham some of his favorite little bites at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

From sweet lobster on a crunch roll to a kalua pork slider, calamari salad and Swedish meatballs (a kid favorite), take a look at the deliciousness you can sample on a walk around the World Showcase Promenade. Prices range from $3-6, and it’s fun to share. Have you ever tried bunny chow, a favorite vegetarian dish from South Africa?

There are 30 new tastes this year, says Chef Jens. The festival runs through Nov. 13, and we plan to try them all. How about you?

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Celebrating Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary

posted on September 28th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

I hope you have already marked your calendars to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort on Oct. 1. To help you navigate around all of the happenings on Oct. 1, here’s a quick snapshot of the Disney inspired artists and special signing opportunities taking place throughout the day at Magic Kingdom Park.

Art from California Artist, Noah, for Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary

Start your morning off with a little ‘kook’iness at Diamond Horseshoe from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. as we welcome Kooky Pen Creator, Brent Reese and Disney Design Group Artist, Costa Alavezos signing the newest Kooky limited edition pen set created especially for the anniversary. Next, double your fun, with not one, but two opportunities to meet California artist, Noah, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., as we celebrate the release of his limited edition 40th Anniversary hand-painted Vinylmation figures and commemorative artwork featuring Cinderella Castle and Tinker Bell as she flies through the night sky.

Artwork from Jody Daily and Kevin Kidney’s Collection for Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary

From today’s styles to nostalgic pieces reminiscent of yesteryear, comes the 40th Anniversary collection from artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, along with Dave Avanzino, who will join in the Oct. 1 festivities at Diamond Horseshoe with signings from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Allow Kevin and Jody to take you on a trip down memory lane with their Grand Canyon Concourse inspired vase, vintage tin attraction sign set and a ceramic drinking cup reminiscent of those from opening day. What’s Dave Avanzino have in store? How about meticulously handcrafted limited- edition 3-D sculptures featuring the Haunted Mansion and a second piece celebrating attractions from the Magic Kingdom Park. Special note: The Haunted Mansion-inspired artwork features UV paint that will reveal hidden details when placed under black light.

Haunted Mansion Ballroom Organist By Jim Shore for Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary

While we’re on the topic of hauntingly good merchandise, if it’s something a little more chilling and ghoulishly thrilling that you seek, then ‘hurry back’ to Uptown Jewelers throughout the day, where an array of Disney artists, including Disney Traditions artisan Jim Shore and Miniaturist Robert Olszewski will be materializing. Jim Shore will ‘appear’ from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to sign his newest spellbinding creation, the Haunted Mansion Ballroom Organist. In another realm, from 12 Noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Miniaturist, Robert Olszewski will be ‘dying to meet you’ with the release of his iconic Haunted Mansion attraction sculpture and other pieces in the Main Street, U.S.A. collection.

Before you lose all track of time… meet Watch Artist Gene Gonda from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., who’s limited release watch depicting Mickey Mouse with Orange Bird in hand in front of Cinderella Castle will premier at Uptown Jewelers.

Limited Release Commemorative 40th Anniversary T-Shirts

If you’re not able to join us at Magic Kingdom on October 1 to celebrate the momentous 40th Anniversary celebration, not to worry, we’re offering a special treat online! This weekend only (September 30 – October 2) we’re making the limited release commemorative 40th Anniversary T-Shirts available online at These special t-shirts are only available for a short time, once the clock strikes midnight on Sunday, October 2, the 40th Anniversary commemorative t-shirts will be history!

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Filed: Art of Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

New Disney Character Meet-and-Greets This Year at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park

posted on September 28th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Even more of your Disney friends will be meeting guests at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park. In addition to Mickey and his friends appearing in their own Halloween costumes and the Disney Villains scaring up fun around the park, there will be new friends joining the party:

  • Phineas and Ferb – The popular Disney Channel will meet-and-greet with their fans at the Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage.
  • Stormtroopers – Darth Vader’s menacing armored guards are landing in Tomorrowland, so be on the lookout!
  • Duffy the Disney Bear – Find Duffy dressed in his adorable pumpkin costume at Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.

Are you as excited about Mickey’s Halloween Party as we are? Here’s a look back at some of the fun we had last year:

The first night of the party – this Friday, Sept. 30 – is already sold out, so be sure to get your tickets for the remaining nights now at!

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award Presented to Disney for Protecting Wildlife and Nature

posted on September 28th, 2011 by Beth Stevens, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Environment and Conservation

Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award Presented to Disney for Protecting Wildlife and Nature

I can’t think of better way to begin a post on Disney Parks Blog than to share with you a highlight of my career that just occurred last Saturday evening. It was my honor to accept, on behalf of The Walt Disney Company, The Jane Goodall Institute Global Leadership Award for Corporate Social Responsibility from Dr. Jane Goodall herself! Dr. Jane, one of my personal heroes, is a renowned primatologist and conservationist—and an inspiration to everyone who meets her.

Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award Presented to Disney for Protecting Wildlife and Nature

Dr. Jane chose to recognize The Walt Disney Company for its long-standing efforts to make the world a better place for all of its inhabitants. Examples include programs and experiences that connect children and families with nature—from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to The Seas with Nemo & Friends, to onboard our Disney Cruise Line ships, and at the movies and in our living rooms through Disneynature.

We inspire kids and communities about conservation beyond our parks and resorts. Just last week, we announced that the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, will award $2 million to conservation projects around the globe this year—the highest amount we’ve ever contributed in a single year. And we are thrilled to engage in Disney’s Friends for Change to make a difference for the planet.

When she presented the award, Dr. Jane said that Disney has been very responsible in carrying out Walt Disney’s commitment to conservation. Yes, it is an awesome responsibility to help carry forth this legacy of caring for wildlife and nature, but with the help of our Cast Members—who are so passionate about protecting our planet— and all of our Guests who are part of the Disney family, we will have a positive impact on the planet.

To learn more about Disney conservation efforts, visit

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Disney Parks Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

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

Yes, exactly two years ago today we hit the “publish” button and officially launched the Disney Parks Blog. As long-time readers know, we began with just a handful of authors who had a passion to share stories and of course, to listen to what was on your mind. But oh my, how we’ve grown.

We now have authors representing departments throughout Disney and our reach is global. Here they are (click image) and every story they’ve ever written on the blog.

Disney Parks Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

To begin another year, we’ve shared a really cool video of Walt Disney talking about what will be Magic Kingdom Park in honor of our 40th anniversary at Walt Disney World Resort. The anniversary is Saturday and we hope you’ll be following along on our channels, including on our new Disney Parks Blog Facebook page.

Disney Parks Blog Facebook Page

The page is now live. It’s your place to learn more about the authors pictured above, find behind-the-scenes peeks at your favorite blog content, see exclusive park photos and of course, to connect with blog team members. We’ll be there every day and we hope you will be too.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you for another amazing year on the Disney Parks Blog. You are the reason why we’re here and we can’t wait to begin year three with you. And as always, we’re busy working on a few surprises in the upcoming months you’ll want to see.

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