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Adventures by Disney Moments Around the World

posted on December 29th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

As 2011 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share with all of you some of the special moments our Adventures by Disney Adventure Guides have shared with me from their trips around the world this year:

Laura Farrell in Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney

One of my favorite memories of 2011 was on a Costa Rica trip during sea turtle nesting season. There was a little girl who tried very hard to stay awake on the night walk because she wanted to see a nesting turtle so badly, but ended up falling asleep (it was very late for a 7 year old) and missing the sighting. The next morning, a couple was walking along the beach and saw a turtle laying her eggs (very rare to see in the day). They ran all the way back to the hotel to get the girl and she was able to see the turtle just before it went back into the ocean. I love this memory because it is a perfect example of the kind of magical moments that happen on Adventures by Disney trips.
– Laura Farrell

Christian Cruz Takes the Backstage Magic Tour with Adventures By Disney

Visiting Walt’s Apartment is one of the highlights of our Backstage Magic tour, especially to a mother-daughter tandem who came all the way from Belgium. Our docent gave us a heartfelt story about Walt Disney’s little abode which deeply touched that mother’s heart. Seeing her sincere tears of gratitude to Walt Disney is one of my favorite memories of 2011. It was not only a magical moment for her, but also for me in knowing that I am working with a team that connects guests from around the world to a man and his creation, one I truly believe in. And in knowing that I am an Adventure Guide not just to exclusive backstage access but also access to memories people will keep for a lifetime.
– Christian Cruz

Visit Australia with Adventures By Disney

During the welcome dinner on a tour to Australia a guest shared with the group that he had chosen to come Down Under to see a platypus. He loved platypuses. Yes, really! While in elementary school he even dressed up as a platypus for Halloween. Our visit to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, therefore, required seeing one of these creatures. We had to visit the platypus house twice (they are quite shy) before one finally made an appearance. Only a few times in my life have I ever seen anybody as truly happy as this gentleman was upon seeing his beloved animal. He was even wearing a platypus t-shirt for the occasion. It was a wonderful moment the whole group got to share, one I will never forget!
– Kira Butler

I hope you have had a wonderful year and if you have any special vacation memories on a recent trip, leave a comment and share them with us. Happy New Year from all of us at Adventures by Disney!

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Ringing in the New Year at Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney

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

In honor of ringing in 2012 in just a few days, here’s a shot from the glory days of Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney when New Year’s Eve was celebrated every night from 1990 until 2005 with music, dancing and just a little bit of confetti. Ok, a lot of confetti. Happy New Year!

Ringing in the New Year at Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney

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Filed: Disney History, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

New Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Offerings Exclusively on the Disney Fantasy

posted on December 28th, 2011 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

As the March 31 maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy draws near, one feature sure to please young cruisers is the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirates League where aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers.

With the debut of this very special boutique at sea comes exclusive costumes and accessories, only available on the Disney ship. Disney Parks Blog fans, you’re the first to learn about and see these unique offerings!

Under the Sea Package from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Aboard the Disney Fantasy

The Under the Sea Package helps little cruisers become little mermaids with a two-piece swimsuit and “mermaid tail” wrap. A floral hair clip, necklace and nail polish that changes color in sunlight creates a splashing transformation.

Disney Fantasy Package from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Aboard the Disney Fantasy

With the Disney Fantasy Package, guests go gaga over tutus! The frilly tutu in this outfit has subtle Disney Fantasy and Disney Cruise Line logos printed into the gold ribbon around the hem. The fitted graphic T-shirt has a stylish jewelry design and the outfit is topped off with a poufy headband.

On pirate party nights aboard the Disney Fantasy, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique transforms into The Pirate’s League, where swashbuckling boys, girls and grownups can get ready for the pirate life with some pirate gear exclusive to Disney Cruise Line.

The Pirate’s League Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

The Pirate’s League Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

The Pirate’s League Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

Plus, this transformation location on the Disney Fantasy will feature a full range of additional princess and pirate costumes and makeovers, with all experiences available for pre-cruise booking on the Disney Cruise Line website beginning mid March.

The Pirate’s League Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

The Pirate’s League Packages Aboard the Disney Fantasy

Also new and exclusive to the Disney Fantasy is the ultimate Royal Sea Package which includes a Castle, Under the Sea and Pirate makeover, exclusive rolling trunk filled with Princess goodies, a very special and personalized invitation, photo, and glass slipper.

Who in your family will be the first to stop by this special salon while sailing on the Disney Fantasy?

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Filed: Disney Cruise Line

Enter Now! Disneyland Hotel ‘Be Our Guest’ Contest

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

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: All winners have been selected for the Disneyland Hotel “Be Our Guest” contest! Winning entries will be confirmed via email.

Disneyland Hotel

A new year is coming, and with it, a newly transformed Disneyland Hotel! We’re so thrilled about these exciting transformations, we are inviting you – our Disney Parks Blog readers – to experience them for yourselves.

Disneyland Resort leaders and the team at the Disneyland Hotel are great supporters of the Disney Parks Blog and social media, so they are extending this special opportunity just for you. The first forty (that’s 40!) eligible persons to respond to with the correct answer to the question below will receive a one-night stay at the Disneyland Hotel on the night of your choosing between January 15-28, 2012, and two One-Day Park Hopper tickets to use during your stay! Come start the new year at the newly renovated Disneyland Hotel!

So put on your thinking caps and get ready. (Hint: The answer can be found in one of our past Disney Parks Blog posts.) Here’s your question:

On which floor of the Adventure Tower (formerly known as the Dreams Tower) at the Disneyland Hotel can you find the Big Thunder Suite, Fairy Tale Suite, Mickey Mouse Penthouse and other signature suites?

Send an email to with the subject line “Be Our Guest Contest” and the following in the body of the email (you must be 18 or older and a U.S. resident [excluding Florida] to enter):

  • Correct answer to contest question
  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing address (no P.O. boxes)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Please follow the instructions carefully. Entries that do not follow these directions will be disqualified. For official rules, please click here. No purchase necessary. Void in Florida and where prohibited by law. Transportation/travel expenses not included in prize.

I will post an update at the top of this post when all winning entries have been received. Good luck!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts

Top Five Disneyland Resort Stories in 2011

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

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

Yesterday, Jennifer shared the top 5 stories from Walt Disney World Resort in 2011. We’ve had quite a year at the Disneyland Resort as well, and I’ve listed some of our top Disney Parks Blog stories below. Which Disneyland stories of the past year stood out for you?

  1. It’s a Soundsational Summer at the Disneyland Resort – This summer, we celebrated the opening of two attractions, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. A few thousand of you Disney Parks Blog readers were even among the first to experience the attraction!
  2. Darth Vader Spends a Day in Disneyland Park – Disneyland Resort guests weren’t the only ones anxiously awaiting the opening of Star Tours, as this galactically popular video showed us.
  3. New Fantasy Faire Experience Coming to Disneyland Park – At the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis announced that Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage is being reimagined into a brand-new experience called Fantasy Faire.
  4. Main Street, U.S.A., Restaurants to Expand at Disneyland ParkDisney California Adventure park isn’t the only part of the Disneyland Resort that is expanding! Earlier this year, we announced new additions and expansions for Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park.
  5. Remembering Wally Boag at the Disneyland Resort, and a Tribute From Steve Martin – We marked two sad days in Disneyland history this month, with the passing of Disney Legend Wally Boag in June, followed by the passing of his long-time performing partner and fellow Disney Legend Betty Taylor just a few days later.
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Walt Disney World Resort Moms Panel: The First-Time Draft Picks Are Ready to Rumble

posted on December 28th, 2011 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

OK. I’m gonna be honest here. I don’t even know which sport has first draft picks or what all that means. For me, a first draft pick is deciding between a 4-, 5- or 6-inch emerald green, suede, sling-backed pump.

But in keeping with my new sports vernacular, we have picked the 15 newest members of the Walt Disney World Resort Moms Panel! These passionate Disney fans made it through thousands of other players to be on the team. They run out onto the playing field in January to help you plan the most magical, wonderful Disney Parks vacations ever! Come back in January and find out who they are.

Give me an M! Give me an O! Give me an M! What does it spell? Magic!

P.S. The 4-inch heel is too low and says “work.” The 6-inch heel is too high and says “ouch.” The 5-inch heel would be my first draft pick. Just a little info if you were curious.

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Rose Bowl Teams Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks Visit Disneyland Park

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

Rose Bowl Game Teams Visit Disneyland Park

Continuing a tradition started by Walt Disney in 1959, this year’s Rose Bowl teams – Big Ten Conference champion Wisconsin Badgers and Pac-12 Conference champion Oregon Ducks – kicked off tournament week at Disneyland park today.

During a ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema, Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly and members of both teams were recognized by Disneyland Resort Vice President Jon Storbeck and Mickey Mouse.

Oregon Ducks Visit Disneyland Park

While at Disneyland park, the teams also took time to have fun – enjoying Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Mad Tea Party!

Wisconsin Badgers Visit Disneyland Park

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Adventures by Disney Brings You Wonders of the World

posted on December 27th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

The most striking and impressive natural wonders and man-made structures have been cataloged into various lists of the “Wonders of the World” since ancient times. I plan to see as many wonders of the world as I can, and it certainly helps to be a part of the Adventures by Disney team in meeting this goal.

Josh D’Amaro Travels with Adventures By Disney to Egypt

I recently returned from Egypt where I had the chance to see the Great Pyramid of Giza and ride a camel by the Temple of the Sphinx. Did you know the Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million limestone blocks? That really put carrying my luggage into perspective. The incredible work it must have been for the Egyptians to pull this off and the precise, advanced engineering blew me away, similarly to that of Stonehenge in England, another mysterious ancient site where Adventures by Disney guests uncover the mysteries and legends of the past.

Adventures By Disney Visits Stonehenge in England

In Italy, our Bella Italia adventure stops at another wonder – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Two of our other Italian itineraries, allow Adventurers explore the Coliseum – one of the greatest feats of engineering during the Roman Empire. (And our Junior Adventurers get to reenact fun gladiatorial contests!).

Standing upon another wonder, the Great Wall of China, is an unforgettable and indescribable moment for any traveler. It just keeps going and as I stood there, able to see for miles and miles, I wondered whether there was anyone up in space looking down and seeing the same wall that I was standing on.

Another amazing site we visit is Peru and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It’s the “Lost City of the Incas,” and boasts 360 degrees of majestic views. The site is truly something to marvel at.

But right in our own backyard we have the spectacular Grand Canyon to marvel at! Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon my jaw literally dropped (luckily not a mile down). On our Southwest Splendors experience, our guests get to see it from above and whitewater raft right through it on the Colorado River, where nearly 2 billion years of geological history are revealed.

Which of these wonders have you seen? Leave a comment below to share your travel stories.

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Filed: Adventures by Disney, Vacation Planning

Dumbo Adorns the Stern of the Disney Fantasy

posted on December 27th, 2011 by Jason Lasecki, Public Relations Director, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Vacation Club

It’s not every day that you see a flying elephant! But that’s exactly the scene that played out at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany the other week when the beloved Disney character Dumbo was placed on the stern of the Disney Fantasy.

Dumbo Adorns the Stern of the Disney Fantasy

This is another construction milestone in preparation of the Disney Fantasy’s maiden voyage on March 31, 2012.

Dumbo Adorns the Stern of the Disney Fantasy

And Dumbo isn’t the only Disney character who will adorn the stern. He’ll be joined by Timothy Q. Mouse, who will sail the high seas from atop the hat of his flying pal Dumbo.

Timothy Q. Mouse Adorns the Stern of the Disney Fantasy, Sailing the High Seas From Atop the Hat of Dumbo

In case you missed it, take a look back at the video in which Walt Disney Imagineers offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the Disney Fantasy’s icon came to life.

Only 95 days left until this new Disney Cruise Line ship sets sail. Who is planning to explore the Caribbean with Dumbo and Timothy in 2012?

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Last-Minute Ideas for New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 27th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

UPDATE: All dining plans will be accepted for the World Showplace “Fantasia 2011” event.

New Year's Eve showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot

OK, procrastinators, though plenty of spots are booked, we found three Walt Disney World Resort ideas for New Year’s Eve fun.

If you’re looking for something intimate, book a table at fab Bistro de Paris at the France Pavilion at Epcot. We love the tucked-away upstairs dining room, just minutes from lively World Showcase Promenade – a true oasis for a romantic dinner. Enjoy the quiet, then stroll and watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth to end your evening.

Dinner is the creation of Chef Francesco Santin who worked for 12 years with Chef Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. The menu includes truffle soup or lobster salad; a choice of snapper with Champagne sauce, coquilles St. Jacques (scallops), beef filet or stuffed quail; and a beautiful French dessert. Each course is paired with wine for an additional $75 per person.

You’ll need park admission. The four-course dinner is $175, with seating times at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. To book, call Bistro manager Philippe Girard at 407-284-0202.

Also at Epcot, for more casual family fun, World Showplace is hosting “Fantasia 2011,” a tribute to Walt Disney’s exceptional fusion of sight and sound. Inspired by memorable scenes from Disney’s classic animated feature films, “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000,” this delightful evening is fun for the whole family.

The menu includes salads, pulled pork, lobster and seafood pie, thyme-roasted chicken, braised beef, a pasta station and lots of gooey desserts. For kids, there’s fried chicken, pasta, mac ‘n cheese and cupcakes for decorating.

Reservations are available starting at 4:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., Cost is $73.95, $47.54 ages 3 to 11 (pay when you book). Park admission required.

If you’re in the mood to dance, head to Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney’s BoardWalk from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. With a video DJ keeping energy high on the dance floor, there are three cocktail bars and a complimentary Champagne toast to ring in the New Year (no food service). Cost is $35 (due at time of booking), and you must be 21 and older. VIP seating is sold out.

At midnight, you can always step outside to catch the fireworks at Epcot. Happy New Year!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort