Walt Disney World, The Haunted Mansion Graveyard Scene

A Winning Recipe from Downtown Disney District – Just in Time for the Big Game

posted on January 26th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


A Winning Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe from Downtown Disney District - Just in Time for Big Game Parties

Big Game parties are the perfect time for indulgent dips and fried things that we try to avoid with New Year’s resolutions. Well, at least this divine dip from the ESPN Zone in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort has spinach and artichokes – and you can nibble with carrot and celery sticks (but it’s really delish on garlic bread).

Gooey, hot . . . it goes fast.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Makes 8 cups

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
2 1/2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 (14.5-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks, garlic bread, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour; cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in cream and milk, then bring to simmer, whisking often until sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Add white pepper and Parmesan, stirring until well incorporated. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Mix well.
  5. Fold in cream cheese, stirring well until cream cheese is completely incorporated. Add spinach, stirring to combine. Add artichoke hearts, stirring gently so as not to break up the artichokes.
  6. Pour mixture into a 9×9-inch baking dish and sprinkle mozzarella evenly on top.
  7. Bake 15 minutes, or until cheese on top is completely melted and bubbling.
  8. Serve hot with tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks, and/or garlic bread.
  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Behind the Scenes: Flying With Cirque du Soleil Aerialists at ‘La Nouba’ at Downtown Disney

posted on January 26th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I always love writing about Walt Disney World Resort, but this assignment was truly “uplifting.”

I recently headed backstage to learn more about the performers in “La Nouba” by Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney. There, I met Ana Cuellar, Captain of the Silks, who was kind enough to show me a thing or two about aerial ballet, one of the many amazing acts performed in the show.

While my “flight” took me 12 feet in the air, Ana and her team regularly perform as high as 45 feet during the show.

I wonder how many flights it took them to stop shrieking with excitement…

You can purchase tickets for “La Nouba” at DisneyWorld.com/LaNouba.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Behind the Scenes, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: IllumiNations Blasts Off at Epcot

posted on January 26th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


While nighttime at Epcot has become synonymous with watching IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth around World Showcase Lagoon, it wasn’t until Jan. 30, 1988, that the original IllumiNations made its debut.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot

When IllumiNations was first performed, it was described as a nighttime spectacle that captured the glitter of Times Square, the fantasy of Paris at night and the splendor of Piccadilly in an international music and light show.

The First Version of IllumiNations as seen in the Germany Pavilion

This first version of IllumiNations used 13 special-effects projectors (as seen above in the Germany Pavilion), 11 searchlights, 12 wire/mesh grids (as seen below in the France Pavilion), 180 nozzles which created the fountains, 783 fireworks pieces, and 550 theatrical lights – that’s enough to stretch across the Golden Gate Bridge more than six times.

The First Version of IllumiNations as seen in the France Pavilion

Over the last 24 years there have been three different versions of IllumiNations performed, and even today, an Epcot evening isn’t complete without the spectacular ending of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth to close out the night.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Doggy Treat Truck Goes to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 26th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Doggy Treat Truck Goes to Walt Disney World Resort

Attention dog owners: there’s a bright blue truck on property today and it’s filled with free ice cream and cookies especially for your pet. The Best Friends Pet Care Treat Truck is continuing its tour around the U.S. with a visit to the Fort Wilderness dog park, downtown Celebration and other local dog parks now through Saturday, February 4.

The Treat Truck will be all over Central Florida in upcoming days so be sure and check www.bestfriendspetcare.com/treat-truck-tour/ for a list of stops and times.

  • Share: 

Tagged:

Filed: Walt Disney World Resort

Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is done in post-production with software by taking one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are almost impossible with a single exposure. You can adjust the photo slightly or significantly to create stunning imagery.

As I was thinking about what to do for the first HDR series, I naturally thought about Mickey’s Toontown with its diverse subject matter. When I saw this first image finished, it reminded me of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence from “Fantasia.”

Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort

Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort Altered Reality at the Disneyland Resort

I’m planning to share some more HDR images, so check back soon.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Bird is the Word for Cast Members During 2nd Annual Walt Disney World Resort Bird Count

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Last Saturday, I got to spend the day doing one of the things I like best—outside enjoying nature right here at the Walt Disney World Resort. I participated, along with my fellow Disney cast members and their families and friends, in the 2nd annual holiday bird count at the Walt Disney World Resort and surrounding area organized by the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team.

“Disney

We counted an amazing 115 different bird species and over 22,000 individual birds! We were so excited to spot some rare bird species such as Florida scrub-jays, peregrine falcons, roseate spoonbills, red-headed woodpeckers, limpkins, buffleheads, and 17 bald eagles! But the biggest treat was seeing more than 5,500 American robins as they winter in Florida before they migrate north in the spring.

“Disney

Guests had fun joining in, stopping – for example – to view a magnificent hawk perched high in World Showcase at Epcot, and lingering in the evening as they were leaving Disney’s Animal Kingdom to join us in watching white ibises, little blue herons, snowy egrets, and a variety of other birds return to an area near the Oasis to roost for the night.

See how many birds you can count in this video from the event!

Walt Disney World Resort Holiday Bird Count Fun Facts:

  • The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has provided more than $5.7 million to support bird conservation around the world.
  • Our holiday bird count is modeled after the Audubon Christmas bird count, which began in 1900.
  • Data collected in bird counts from year to year allows scientists to follow trends in bird populations and abundance over time. These trends help scientists focus their conservation efforts in key bird areas.
  • Nearly one-third of the Walt Disney World Resort has been set aside as a dedicated wildlife conservation area.
  • An abundance of birds make their home in Florida year-round, and even more birds are here during the winter as the migrate from the north to Florida and beyond. You can find out more at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 12 as we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day.
  • We can help birds and other wildlife by observing them from a safe distance and not feeding them “human” food, which is unhealthy for them.
  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

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

‘Sheer Romance’ Collection Coming to Disney Parks

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Who says romance is dead? It seems to me that love is in the air, or perhaps it’s “Sheer Romance”… the newest Double 5 collection of ladies’ fashion tees, featuring some of Disney’s most beloved princesses, including Snow White, Cinderella Aurora and Belle.

“‘Sheer

This is the first official look at some of the rendered art that inspired the new line, which is set to debut February 18 at Disney Vault 28 at the Disneyland Resort and Tren-D at the Walt Disney World Resort.

What makes this collection different? Luckily I was able to catch up with Product Developer Holli McHugh, who gave me a little insight into what inspired these new designs. “Our Princesses have always been worldwide fashion icons; their sense of style is – in a word – timeless. So it seemed fitting to develop a line that celebrated both classic art and high fashion with a little bit of humor.” A special tip for our Disney Parks Blog fans: Each design has been embellished with little accents that add an extra special sparkle.

For details on this debut and a peek at the new line, visit www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

Will you add this to your wardrobe?

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

More Fun Surprises in Store for ‘The Magic, The Memories and You!’ at Disney Parks

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park Will Feature Romantic Moments in Disney Animation Beginning Feb. 1 as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!'

One of the true delights of the recent holiday season at Disney Parks was a special segment during our evening projection show, “The Magic, The Memories and You!” The faces of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park were transformed into gingerbread masterpieces, brightly colored packages and palaces of ice.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park Will Feature Romantic Moments in Disney Animation Beginning Feb. 1 as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!'

Well if you enjoyed that, our Creative Entertainment team has another treat in store, just in time for Valentine’s Day! A new show segment is set to debut Feb. 1, inspired by some of the most romantic moments in Disney animation. Cinderella Castle and “it’s a small world” will be covered in red roses for one sequence and turned into a beautiful, star-filled sky for another. During part of the show, spectacular stained glass windows will grace the façades, depicting the stories of Cinderella, Snow White and Belle.


Cinderella Stained Glass Window on the Façades of 'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!' Snow White Stained Glass Window on the Façades of 'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!' Beauty & the Beast Stained Glass Window on the Façades of 'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!' The King and Queen of 'Tangled' Appear in 'The Magic, The Memories and You!' at Disney Parks

One of my favorite moments comes when the king and queen from “Tangled” appear on a balcony, lifting a single lantern to the sky for their missing daughter. It’s soon joined by hundreds of others, creating a magical sight sure to draw “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! Of course, the most heart-warming part of any segment of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” is the images of our guests, captured by Disney PhotoPass photographers during the day and incorporated into the show each night. 


'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park Will a Sand Castle Segment in Disney Animation Beginning Feb. 1 as Part of 'The Magic, The Memories and You!'

The romance segment is planned to run as part of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” through mid-April but we’re not stopping there. Wait until you see “it’s a small world” as a sand castle in a segment we’re working on for summer. It’s chock full of detail… right up to the point where Goofy rides a wave across the façade, washing it all away to reveal… well, I don’t want to spoil all the surprises!

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Disney’s Premier Visa Card Launches with 8 Exclusive Designs

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Today we’re thrilled to share a first look at the newest Disney’s Premier Visa Credit Card from Chase offering a rewards program and special perks that many Disney Parks Blog readers will just love. With one of these new cards, Disney fans will have ways to earn rewards faster plus the opportunity to redeem toward airline travel.

 Disney’s Premier Visa Credit Card from Chase Offers Eight New Designs to Members

Take a look at the new designs. There are eight double-sided cards featuring some of your favorite Disney characters like Sorcerer Mickey, Tinker Bell and Lightning McQueen. And all of the custom designs are reserved exclusively for Disney’s Premier Visa Cardmembers.

Another great thing about the new card is that rewards add up fast. Disney’s Premier Visa Cardmembers earn 2% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars on card purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and at most Disney locations at Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Store. Cardmembers earn 1% on all other purchases made with the card. Plus there is no limit to the number of reward dollars that can be earned. For more details, visit www.getdisneycreditcard.com.

Cardmembers can, of course, redeem Disney Dream Reward Dollars toward nearly everything Disney, like resort stays, theme park tickets, Disney merchandise and Disney cruise vacations. A new feature exclusive to Disney’s Premier Visa Cardmembers is the option to also redeem Disney Dream Reward Dollars toward airline travel on any airline to any destination with no block-out dates. It’s very easy: Cardmembers simply buy airline tickets with their card and then pay themselves back by redeeming reward dollars for a credit on their monthly statement.

Cardmembers get several year-round perks. Some of my favorites include a Character Meet ‘n’ Greet at our private Cardmember location at both Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort as well as special savings at Disney Theme Parks in the U.S., Disney Store locations and DisneyStore.com. The card has a $49 annual fee. For full terms and conditions of Cardmember benefits, check out www.getdisneycreditcard.com.

You can apply for a new card at www.getdisneycreditcard.com or call (888) 752-3788. But first, be sure to let us know which card design is your favorite in the comments.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Walt Disney World Resort

When Five Nights at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa are Not Enough…A Special Offer

posted on January 24th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


UPDATE: The deadline for booking this “Sixth Night Free” offer has been extended! You may now book anytime through Saturday, Mar. 31 for travel March 1-17 and April 15 – June 9.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Visiting Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on O`ahu, is definitely one of the top benefits of my job. And each time I visit, I’m reminded of how much there is to do at the resort – pools and water slides, restaurants and lounges, entertainment, excursions, Aunty’s Beach House kids club, Laniwai spa, etc., etc.

So how many days do you need to take it all in? If your guess is somewhere in the vicinity of a week, I’ve got news for you. From now through February 29, Aulani is offering a sixth night free, plus daily continental breakfast (in the fun ‘Ōlelo Room lounge), for guests booking a five-consecutive-night stay.

To take advantage of the offer, visit DisneyAulani.com or call toll-free (800) 824-1146 and mention offer code E7D. The offer is available for stays most nights* from March 1 through March 17, 2012, and April 15 through May 31, 2012.

And here, for your enlightenment and enjoyment, is some additional information:
*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers. Offer excludes suites and three-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than two (2) adults per room. Offer applied once per reservation and not valid for previously booked rooms. Check for offers for other lengths of stay. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and subject to room occupancy limitations. Advance reservations required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Breakfast entitlements expire upon checkout, and are for guests ages 3 and older in the traveling party.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Aulani, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning