Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Take 5: Sail Away with the Disney Fantasy

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


Disney Cruise Line Celebrates the Disney Fantasy 'Float Out' at Meyer Werft Shipyard in Germany

Disney Cruise Line has been hard at work preparing for the Disney Fantasy to set sail on her maiden voyage this March. The ship is the fourth cruise liner in the expanding Disney Cruise Line fleet, and sister ship to the Disney Dream. To get you as excited as we are about the newest member to the fleet, we wanted to highlight some exciting features the ship has to offer.

Take 5: Sail Away with the Disney Fantasy

  1. A First Look at the Disney Fantasy After Float Out – Disney Parks Blog author Jonathan Frontado took us on a photo tour of the Disney Fantasy after it’s first float out from Germany.

  2. Fantastic Experiences Await Guests on the Disney Fantasy: New Details Revealed Today – In this post, we shared a great list of activities that are fun for the whole family!

  3. Magical Portholes on the Disney Fantasy – These magical “windows” offer guests a real-time view outside the ship. See for yourself!

  4. Disney Fantasy Set Sail Across Atlantic – The Disney Fantasy finally set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for her maiden voyage! Check out this video from the cruise directors before they left Germany.

  5. A Look Back at the Disney Fantasy Construction – Take a look at the magical transformation of the Disney Fantasy before it began it’s first voyage.

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Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: For Your Consideration – ‘The Oswalds’

posted on February 25th, 2012 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


If there were an Oscar for Best Actor in a Disney Parks Leading or Featured Role—let’s call it the “Oswald”—this year’s award would likely go to our own dashing Dennis Marsico, a familiar face to guests as a host of the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Action Stunt Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, appearances on numerous TV series and commercials, as well as a chameleonic Streetmosphere actor.

With so much of this year’s biggest Oscar buzz surrounding the silent masterpiece The Artist, we’d like you to laugh along with us and watch Major Dennis, an affectionate tribute from our pals at runDisney that showcases Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.

Our winner for the Best Actress “Oswald” goes to the lovely and talented Sheila Smith-Ward, who co-starred with Dennis in the first two videos in our unabashedly wacky comedy series, Little Timmy Goes to Magic Kingdom and Little Timmy Goes to Epcot, the latter highlighted by Dennis’ intense devotion to Duffy the Disney Bear. Both videos can be seen on the Disneyworld.com news page.

Since we just now made up “the Oswalds,” to whom would you award them? Let’s face it—they might as well have just as much gravitas as do so many other awards, perhaps more so…?

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OC Roots & Hops Reggae Fest 2012 at House of Blues Anaheim in the Downtown Disney District Tomorrow

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Janet Knox, General Manager, Downtown Disney District, Disneyland Resort


OC Roots & Hops Reggae Fest 2012 at House of Blues Anaheim in the Downtown Disney District

Calling all reggae fans in the Southern California area! Tomorrow, February 25, House of Blues Anaheim in the Downtown Disney District will feature “Local Brews Local Grooves presents OC Roots & Hops Reggae Fest 2012.” Starting at noon, local reggae bands like Seedless, Micah Brown, Pilot Touhill and more will perform at this family-friendly, all-day music festival.

Guests will also be able to enjoy local beers from Hangar 24, Anchor Steam, Bootleggers and Lost Coast and an open-air grill featuring Caribbean cuisine designed by House of Blues Executive Chef Jeffrey Meyer.

Tickets are $20, which includes a $10 voucher for food and beverage. Come join the fun and enjoy the sunshine, reggae grooves and California’s best brews!

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

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Sneak Peek: ‘My House Goes Disney’ Returns Tonight

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


The Disney Parks are inspiring HGTV makeovers again! For the Hinson family of seven, whose Disney passions cover everything from fairies to fish, HGTV could not keep this transformation limited to the backyard. Instead, they redesigned this house inside and out for this very special episode of “My House Goes Disney” in a makeover that allows the Hinson children to live and play in the middle of a Disney story.

Inspired by the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, HGTV created a “Finding Nemo”-themed bedroom for Ashton with a Crush the Turtle bed and a surfboard desk that converts to an extra bed. Emma and Hannah will have sweet dreams in a woodland fairy inspired bed and a Cinderella bed. They’ll dream the night away surrounded by a unique, layered mural that took three weeks to make and Brendyn and Cohen’s engines will roar in a “Cars”-themed bedroom painted Lightning McQueen red.

Finally, no house transformation would be complete without something special for Mom and Dad. The designers incorporated Jeremy and Kelsie’s love for Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts into the backyard with a new larger pool, a splash pool and a new outdoor kitchen!

See how they brought the magic of Disney Parks to this house – inside and out – in a special episode of “My House Goes Disney” tonight, Feb. 24, at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV.

Here’s a sneak peak at one of the rooms. What kid wouldn’t love chillin’ in the EAC?

A 'Finding Nemo'-themed Room Designed on HGTV's 'My House Goes to Disney.'

Which Disney Parks attraction do you dream of having a room designed like?

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Remembering Legendary Disneyland Performer Ernie McLean

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Ernie McLean, Legendary Disneyland Jazz Performer

Yesterday we were sad to learn of the loss of Ernie McLean, the legendary guitar player who performed at Disneyland park for more than 30 years. Known for his warm smile and amazing jazz guitar, Ernie was an original member of the Royal Street Bachelors – now a guest favorite in New Orleans Square.

“Ernie was the last of his breed here at Disneyland,” remembered Stan Freese, Disneyland Resort talent booking director and friend of Ernie’s. “He was a blues and rock legend. He was a kind, classy gentleman who never spoke badly about anyone or anything. He loved his job, and we all loved him. His presence will be sorely missed.”

The best person to tell Ernie’s story is Ernie himself. Below is a recent interview with the man Disneyland guests would often see sitting on a wooden stool just outside Pirates of the Caribbean, playing jazz tunes on his guitar.

Did you have a musical family?
My father taught me how to play the guitar. I started playing at the age of 11, but don’t ask me what I was playing back then because I couldn’t tell you. My father had a job playing in a government concert band in New Orleans. They told him the banjo player needed to double on guitar. When he started to learn the guitar he taught me too.

Did you continue your musical training after high school?
After high school, my father said, “Look you’re not gonna be running around like you’re crazy, this is World War II.” So I joined the Navy. When I auditioned for their band, they put music in front of me to audition and I messed it up something terrible. Then they told me I did okay. They taught me everything I needed to know about music. I played for four-and-a-half years in the Navy.

What did you do after your military service?
After I got out of the service, I decided I wanted to continue playing music for a living. When I played with Dave Bartholomew things really took off. We recorded with Fats Domino, Nancy Wilson, Little Richard, Sonny and Cher, and even did Chrysler commercials.

How did you end up working at the Disneyland Resort?
I auditioned as a guitar player for a tour. I didn’t think I was going to get the job. Then they started to talk about rehearsals and going to the studio, so I stopped them and said, “You haven’t offered me the job,” and they replied, “Why do you think we are telling you this if you didn’t get the job?” Once the tour ended, [Walt] Disney eventually called me to sub for the banjo player at Disneyland. That is when I became permanent at Disneyland.

We will miss Ernie and the joy that his talent brought to millions of guests in one of the most unique locations in any Disney park.

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Late-Night and Early Morning Snacking at the Disneyland Resort During One More Disney Day

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We know Disney fans are mapping out their 24 hours for the One More Disney Day fun at Disneyland park – when the park will be open a full 24 hours (starting Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 6 a.m.).

Of course, food is part of our equation, and the Disneyland Resort chefs have lots of goodies around the clock. To make it more fun to nosh, special items have been added especially for the celebration.

From 11 a.m. to midnight, French Market Restaurant will be offering shrimp pasta and red beans and rice. From midnight to 3:30 a.m., the menu changes to chicken gumbo, corn chowder, French dip sandwich with N’Orleans chips, shrimp salad sandwich with carrot-citrus slaw and bananas Foster cheesecake.

Roasted Bourbon Shrimp from Blue Bayou, Exclusively for One More Disney Day

For a more serious dining adventure, at Blue Bayou from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. you can order a fancy roasted bourbon shrimp stuffed with Dungeness crab mousse served with angel hair pasta and spinach in a smoked tomato-habanero-artichoke sauce. Or prime eye of round with two quail eggs, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a cabernet sauce.

Lump Crab Quiche from Café Orleans, Exclusively for One More Disney Day

If you remember when Café Orleans used to serve breakfast (three-cheese Monte Cristo French toast, anyone?) you’ll want to be sure to head over any time between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for specials from their former breakfast menu: scrambled eggs, Creole eggs benedict, three-cheese Monte Cristo French toast, lump crab quiche, bananas Foster French toast and fresh fruit with yogurt and granola.

Other spots to find late-night snacks from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.:

You should also know about the chili cheeseburger with fries that will be available at Village Haus Restaurant – an homage to a longtime guest favorite known as “The Woodcarver,” which has been off the menu for many years.

Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort

Also, guests visiting Disneyland park in the wee hours of the mornings of February 29 and March 1 for One More Disney Day will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or some breakfast at select Downtown Disney District locations which will be opening early on those special days. Click here for a list of Downtown Disney District restaurants that will be opening their doors early on February 29 and March 1.

What are you planning to try during One More Disney Day at Disneyland park?

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Exclusive Pins Come to Disney Parks Online Store

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Exclusive Pins Featuring Disney Characters Enjoying Food Items Are Available on the Disney Parks Online Store.

One of the more popular questions I’m often asked on the Disney Parks Blog is “Can I buy it online?” I also do most of my shopping online these days, so I’m not surprised when asked. The great news is that we have an online store that offers a variety of Disney Parks merchandise. This past January we released the first set in a series of online exclusive pins. This isn’t the first time we’ve introduced online-exclusive pins inspired by Disney Parks. We tried this concept way back in 2004 with a series of limited edition pins. These new items are slightly different as they were designed with new pin traders in mind.

Exclusive Pin Starter Set Available on the Disney Parks Online Store

“We wanted pins that new pin traders at Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort could only find on the Disney Parks online store,” explained Jeanne Lewis, developer for Pins. “The first item we released was a pin trading starter set and we have a few additional items planned for this year.”

I was directly involved with Disney Pin Trading for seven years so I know that it’s a fun activity to do when visiting Disney. A pin trading starter set is an easy way to begin trading as it contains a lanyard with a certain number of pins. For this online set, Adrianne Draude designed eight pins of attractions found at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

Exclusive Mystery Pin Set Available on the Disney Parks Online Store

The entire online collection is called “Disney Parks Adventures.” My favorite multi-pin set is the Disney characters enjoying iconic food items from Disney Parks (yes – another turkey leg pin!). There will also be a mystery set containing 10 pins of characters in various ride vehicles. Julie Young, developer for Pins, said that mystery collections are an easy thing to collect.

“We first introduced mystery collections in late 2004,” explained Julie. “These collections contain a finite number of pins which gives a new trader something to search for when trading at Disney Parks.”

Exclusive Quarterly Pin Set Available on the Disney Parks Online Store

To round out the collection, Jeanne created a series of pins that will be released throughout the year via the online store. When placed side by side, the pins will form a picture of characters enjoying Main Street, U.S.A.

While it’s easy to get started trading, I would love to hear your tips on how to make great trade.

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Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone; Verizon Exclusive Games, Video Added

That’s right, Mobile Magic, our first official Disney Parks app, has hit the iPhone and it’s now ready for you to download for free from iTunes.

And Disney Parks and Verizon have another exciting update to share today. If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, you now have access to new premium features, including videos and games within the app.

Verizon Premium Features

  • More than 100 behind-the-scenes, seasonal, sneak peak videos.
  • ‘Pirates’ games that test your knowledge of the famous attraction.
  • Guess the character before the timer expires with Disney Character Puzzle.
  • Find out which character is most like you with the Disney Character Quiz.
Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone; Verizon Exclusive Games, Video Added Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone; Verizon Exclusive Games, Video Added Disney Mobile Magic Now on iPhone; Verizon Exclusive Games, Video Added

If you haven’t tried the app out yet, you should. It offers accurate wait times as well as official Disney FASTPASS return times and availability for the park you’re in. The same system that powers wait times and Disney FASTPASS in the park, powers this app. With the new iPhone version, the wait times are also integrated into the Park maps, making it easier for you to decide where to go next.

Also, there are GPS-enabled park maps to get you to your favorite characters, mobile games and more to explore, including the ability to make dining reservations.

Not an iPhone user? Disney Mobile Magic is also available on a wide variety of feature phones as well as Android phones.

Go try the app and let us know what you think in the comments.

*Message and data rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations and features may vary by handset or service provider. Coverage not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.

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Did You Know? Disney Attractions Feature Academy Award-Winning Songs

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you’re anything like me, you’ll be glued to the TV this Sunday night to watch the “84th Annual Academy Awards” to see who wins all the big awards, who gives a great acceptance speech and who wears what on the red carpet.

One of the awards we’ll be watching for will be Best Original Song, for which the tune “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” film is nominated.

But did you know there are tons of Academy Award-winning songs you can hear as a part of Walt Disney World Resort attractions?

'When You Wish Upon a Star' of 'Pinocchio' Won Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1940

  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940) – The Best Original Song of 1940 can be heard in “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, on Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and in nightly performances of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” at Magic Kingdom Park.
  • “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da” (1948) – The Best Original Song of 1948 was from the Disney film “Song of the South.” It can be heard today on Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park.
  • “Chim Chim Cher-ee” (1965) – This Sherman Brothers classic was penned for “Mary Poppins.” Theme park guests can hear a clip at The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Academy Award-Winning 'Under the Sea' Can Be Heard in 'The Voyage of the Little Mermaid' at Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • “Under the Sea” (1989) – This upbeat tune from “The Little Mermaid” can be heard in “Fantasmic!” and “Voyage of The Little Mermaid” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • The Academy Award-Winning Title Song from 'Beauty and The Beast' Can Be Heard in 'Beauty and The Beast - Live on Stage' at Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • “Beauty and The Beast” (1992) – The title song from the film of the same name is performed live at “Beauty and The Beast – Live on Stage” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • “A Whole New World” (1993) – This song from “Aladdin” won the Best Original Song award in 1993. It can be heard at Mickey’s PhilharMagic and in nightly performances of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” at Magic Kingdom Park.
  • Academy Award-Winning 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' Can Be Heard in 'Festival of The Lion King' at Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (1994) – This winner for Best Original Song is performed live at “Festival of The Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • “Colors of the Wind” (1995) – This song from “Pocahontas” can be heard in Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park, and in “Fantasmic!” and sung live at The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • “You’ll Be In My Heart” (1999) – This song from “Tarzan” can be heard in the Valentine’s Day edition of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” at Magic Kingdom, or sung live at The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Academy Award-Winning 'If I Didn't Have You' from 'Monsters, Inc.' Can Be Heard at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Attraction at Magic Kingdom Park

  • “If I Didn’t Have You” (2001) – This song from “Monsters, Inc.” can be heard at Magic Kingdom Park’s Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor attraction.

Which of these songs is your favorite?

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Have a ‘Midnight Snack’ Hosted by the Disney Parks Blog at Disneyland Park During One More Disney Day

posted on February 23rd, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE: We just announced that guests visiting Disneyland park for One More Disney Day will be able to see a special 1 am showing of “Fantasmic!” Here’s a special bonus – guests of our special “Midnight Snack” event will be treated to reserved viewing of this special performance! Remember, capacity is limited and the line begins at 10 pm.

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Calling all Disney Parks Blog fans who will be spending One More Disney Day at Disneyland park! Come celebrate with us at our “Midnight Snack” from 11:45 p.m. – 12:45 a.m. on February 29, 2012 (and a little into March 1).

If you are planning to visit Disneyland park for One More Disney Day – February 29 – be sure to stop by Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue from 11:45 p.m. – 12:45 a.m. to join us for:

  • Delicious treats and hot beverages
  • Meet & greets with Disney characters
  • Live music by Denny Moynahan
  • Other surprises to be announced

No RSVP required! We will be admitting “Midnight Snack” guests into Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue at 11:45 p.m. based on capacity restrictions. Please note that the event is extremely limited and can only accommodate a small number of guests. Here are a few more things you should know:

  • Park admission will not be provided for this event. Valid park admission is required in order to enter Disneyland park on February 29.
  • Guests may begin lining up for the “Midnight Snack” no earlier than 10 p.m. on February 29.
  • Entry will be granted based on capacity and is extremely limited to approximately 200 guests.

This opportunity is available only at Disneyland park on February 29 – we hope to see you there during One More Disney Day!

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