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Pixar Animator Tours New ‘Finding Nemo’ Wing at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

The first wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort in Walt Disney World Resort doesn’t open to guests until May 31, but Thursday, Pixar supervising animator Shawn Krause got an early tour led by the resort’s general manager, Rick Allen. Shawn knows a little something about the art of animation, having worked on Disney•Pixar classics including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Up” and “Cars 2”.

Shawn has a special connection to this first wing at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, as it’s themed to Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.” Nemo, Marlin, Dory, and Crush are just some of the characters that Shawn animated for various scenes in the Academy-Award winning classic. Shawn also led the animation team for “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” attraction at Epcot.

As a child, Shawn got hooked on animation after creating flipbooks on notepads his parents left lying around the house. Other wings at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will open through the rest of the year: “Cars” on June 18, “The Lion King” on August 10, and “The Little Mermaid” on September 15. Sources tell us Shawn was also spotted touring some of those areas. So far, Shawn isn’t talking. Maybe we can get his reaction a little closer to some of those opening dates.

Check out these posts for more of the latest news about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort:

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Splitsville Project to ‘Rock In and Roll Out’ at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Details are beginning to emerge about the look and feel of the new Splitsville location we told you is coming to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort this fall, and I’m happy to share with you all of the latest developments.

This new Splitsville is going to be their first two-level venue and, at 50,000 square feet, will be the largest one in the country – in fact, almost twice the size of any of the other four locations. And it’s going to feature 30 bowling lanes, again nearly twice as many as at any other Splitsville.

This Splitsville will also have a balcony with outdoor seating, as well as billiard tables and live entertainment, making it an ideal place for some family fun outside of the theme parks. Like other Splitsvilles, this one will serve upscale food and beverages, including sushi, amid a stylish interior that features both hip and retro décor elements. Suffice it to say, this is not going to be your father’s bowling alley.

Construction is already well underway at its location in the heart of Downtown Disney near the AMC Downtown Disney 24. Expect a grand opening sometime this fall to mark the arrival of the newest entertainment option among the stream of fresh and fun family experiences that have been added lately to Downtown Disney.

In the meantime, here’s the newest rendering of the location’s exterior and a video that will give you a feel for what it’ll be like inside.

Check out these other posts about Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort:

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Janet Knox, General Manager, Downtown Disney District, Disneyland Resort

Tortilla Jo’s in the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort

Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with food, fun and festivities in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort! Our favorite Cocina de Mexico, Tortilla Jo’s, will offer a special three-course Cinco de Mayo menu for $27, which will include:

First Course (choice of):

  • Soupa de Chorizo con Pappas – Creamy Russet Potato Soup served with sautéed leeks and Mexican chorizo topped with a cilantro oil drizzle and crema fresca
  • Ensalada de Berros – Crisp watercress tossed in orange bacon vinaigrette topped with shaved fennel, diced tomatoes, sunkist orange segments and grated parmesan cheese

Second Course (choice of):

  • Pescado Estilo Veracruz – Pan-seared red snapper served with seasoned green onion fingerling potatoes topped with a jalapeno caper Veracruz sauce
  • Tinga de Carne – Slow-roasted, shredded beef tinga on a bed of boston lettuce topped with cotija cheese and lemon crema fresca accompanied with Fresno chile frijoles and tortilla ribbons

Third Course:

  • Panna Cotta de Vino Rojo – Creamy, slow-baked custard served with three dipping sauces: strawberry and red wine syrup, mint julip and lime glaze and coconut milk creme anglaise

Complete the celebration with specialty margaritas, including:

  • Blanco Traditional Margarita – Karma Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup
  • Margarita de Raspberry Rojo – Karma Reposado Tequila, fresh lime juice, raspberries, simple syrup with a float of Grand Marnier
  • Green Melon Margarita – Karma Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and float of Midori Melon Liqueur

Tortilla Jo’s will offer something for everyone! The entire family can join in the fun of the celebration with three pinata sessions at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Early in the evening, the traditional sounds of Mexico will fill Tortilla Jo’s as we proudly present the Grammy award-winning Mariachi Divas from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Audiences will also be delighted by the South American music played by the popular band Alturas nearby in the Downtown Disney District.

We invite you to join us in the Downtown Disney District for our Cinco de Mayo celebration – I hope to see you there!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

New Renderings Depict a Reimagined Test Track at Epcot

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Many of you have asked for an update on what’s going on at Test Track at Epcot, and we’re happy to announce that new renderings were just released by Walt Disney Imagineering this morning!

New Renderings of the Reimagined Test Track At Epcot New Renderings of the Reimagined Test Track At Epcot
New Renderings of the Reimagined Test Track At Epcot New Renderings of the Reimagined Test Track At Epcot New Renderings of the Reimagined Test Track At Epcot

When complete, the reimagining of this attraction will allow guests to design their own custom concept vehicle, and then put it through its paces on the exhilarating hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit. In the post-show, guests can make a TV commercial featuring their concept car or truck, race their car or truck on our virtual track and take a picture with their custom concept vehicle.

The attraction is currently scheduled to reopen late fall.

What do you think?

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Opening Dates Announced for Beast’s Castle, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train & More

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Many of you have asked us – here on the Disney Parks Blog and on our @WaltDisneyWorld Twitter account – about opening dates for the attractions and restaurants planned for New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. I’m thrilled that we finally have some news to share today!


The next phase of Storybook Circus, which includes the second half of the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction and the Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, will open in July 2012.


And, it looks like we’ll have plenty to celebrate this holiday season, including the openings of Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Gaston’s Tavern, and Ariel’s Grotto.


Additionally, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will debut in 2014.

Now, who’s planning a visit?

For more New Fantasyland updates, see the posts below:

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Shopping in ‘Darth’s Mall’ for Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


A little while ago, I gave you a peek at some Star Wars Weekends merchandise. Today, I have selected a few of my favorite items coming soon to “Darth’s Mall,” a massive shopping location we’re creating just for Star Wars Weekends.

The striking image of Donald Duck as Darth Maul is a common thread throughout the entire assortment. The artwork above will be used on the two main logo shirts. We will also have shirts with images of Darth Maul from Episode I, including a stunning Passholder exclusive shirt in both men’s and women’s styles. I spent hours around the office, however, wearing one of the best shirts this year — a tee shirt with an image of Darth Vader’s chest, complete with a flowing, detachable cape.


Similar to previous years, there will be open and limited-edition pins, boxed pin sets and a framed pin set. I enjoy the humor found in the “Piece of Death Star” pin (there is not an actual piece, but one can dream). I also like the Chewbacca-inspired, bandolier neck lanyard.

In the Vinylmation galaxy, Maria Clapsis designed six new open edition figures that feature Disney characters portraying Star Wars characters. If you are looking for the second limited release mystery series, you will have to wait until August (trust me, it will be worth it!).


There is a beach towel that looks like the legs of a Jedi Knight (awesome!). There will also be an iPhone 4/4S case, with the fitting edition size of 1,999.


One of the more unique items is an oversized bag that contains a special side pocket to carry either a poster tube (or perhaps a lightsaber!). I also thought the six different phrase buttons were a nice addition this year. Yet I can’t wait to get my Star Tours nametag with my name written in Aurebesh, one of the alphabets used in the Star Wars galaxy.

Finally, we will have three unique action figures including Donald Duck playing Darth Maul and Savage Opress, Darth Maul’s powerful brother from the planet of Dathomir. Savage Opress, who was once also Count Dooku’s secret Sith apprentice, is featured in the animated TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also, look for the limited release figure of Rizzo from The Muppets, portraying Jedi Master Yoda.

Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Action Figures Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Watches Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Shirts

For more Star Wars Weekends updates, see the posts below:

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Cruise Line Guests to Discover the Beauty of San Diego This Fall

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development

The Disney Wonder will make its inaugural visit to San Diego this September as part of Disney Cruise Line’s new 7-night Best of California cruises. The Port Adventures Team has been busy putting together some great experiences for both families and adults.

There are plenty of ways to experience “America’s Finest City”…by bicycle, harbor cruise or a coastal walk, to name a few. Guests wanting to explore the city at a leisurely pace should choose the San Diego Trolley Car, which allows them to “hop on and off” at various attractions.

Certainly one port adventure many guests will love is a trip to the San Diego Zoo, one of the most famous zoos in the United States.

Also not to be missed is the Toasting Temecula wine adventure. On this tour, adult guests have an opportunity to explore Southern California’s only developed wine region with tastings at three different wineries.

Follow my posts for more exciting experiences when sailing with Disney Cruise Line. And don’t forget, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

For more Disney Cruise Line news, read these posts:

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Time-Lapse Video: Will You ‘Find Nemo’ At Disney’s Art of Animation Resort?

posted on April 26th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

We’re nearly one month away from the opening of Phase I of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which will include the “Finding Nemo” wing, Landscape of Flavors food court, Ink & Paint Shop merchandise location and other common guest areas.

The “Finding Nemo” wing will feature large character installations of Crush, Marlin, Nemo, and Mr. Ray, among others, as well as the largest pool ever built at a Disney resort.

Here’s an exclusive time-lapse video from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering that shows all the progress that has been made so far.

The resort’s remaining wings will open later this year, with “Cars” opening June 18, “The Lion King” on Aug. 10 and “The Little Mermaid” on Sept. 15.

Now, who is ready to book?

For more updates regarding Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, see the posts below:

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So Good You Could Eat It! Rock Candy Mountain at Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure Park

posted on April 26th, 2012 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Trolley Treats is heading down the track and into your hearts on June 15 at Disney California Adventure park. So what will you find when you look inside? Well…in the window of Trolley Treats (the new confectionery store on Buena Vista Street) will be a model of Rock Candy Mountain.

For those of you who may not know, Rock Candy Mountain was originally envisioned for Disneyland park as part of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. The Casey Jr. Circus Train would have traveled around it. It was Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats who worked on concept art for the mountain back in 1957, and while the project was never built, the idea will live on in the whimsical model that guests can enjoy in the front window of the candy shop. Climb aboard, because this journey will take you across the Rio Fudge, through Taffy Valley and over Dew Drop Hills to Rock Candy Mountain.

So, come one, come all! Pound for pound, this unique shop will offer temptations for anyone with a sweet tooth. Selections from our candy makers will range from gourmet marshmallows and hand-pulled taffy to caramel apples, dipped strawberries, toffee, fudge and other seasonal favorites.

Crave something more? Watch our Candy Makers amaze and delight you as they bring the magic of gourmet Disney candy-making to life, right before your very eyes.

If you’re wondering what’s next door…well, I’m glad you asked. A few additional shops will line Buena Vista Street, including Kingswell Camera Shop (sure to ‘capture’ special memories) and Julius Katz & Sons (gadgets and decor galore), as well as Atwater Ink and Paint (you’ll feel right at home).

Trolley Treats will be one sweet stop and one sweet shop! Are you tempted to try it?

Read these posts to learn more about Buena Vista Street, opening June 15 in Disney California Adventure Park:

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Disneyland Resort Sponsors Local Community Garden

posted on April 26th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Happy Earth Month!

Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County, Calif., Plant First of Five Magic of Healthy Living Gardens, Sponsored by the Disneyland Resort

Last weekend, more than 150 children from 15 Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County, Calif., came together for Earth Day to plant the first of five Magic of Healthy Living gardens that the Disneyland Resort is sponsoring in the local community.

Participants planted 19 types of native plants in the garden, which Disney VoluntEARS prepped earlier this month by clearing a 100 x 30-ft. area of non-native plants and weeds at Rancho Sonado, a local environmental education facility that received the first garden. The remaining gardens will benefit local schools.

Disney Kids and Nature Celebration alumni Briana Perlson, Katherine Gwaltney and Jennifer Janneck from Brea Olinda High School in Brea, Calif., rounded out the event with a mentoring activity that inspired participants to plan their own, similar project for the planet!

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Resort