Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Walk Under the Arch of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Opens Its Doors

posted on June 28th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Today marks the 24th anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Nestled on the bay of the Seven Seas Lagoon, this 867-room resort is just a quick Monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom Park.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort

Back in July 1987, the resort was already well under construction. Looking towards the back of the photograph below, you’ll notice a Magic Kingdom Park without Splash Mountain.
Construction on Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort

Originally named Grand Floridian Beach Resort, the resort was renamed in July 1997 after the addition of the health club and spa in 1996.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Was Originally Named Grand Floridian Beach Resort

Estimated to open in late 2013, the resort will expand to include an estimated 147 villas as part of Disney Vacation Club, further adding to the Victorian elegance for which Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is known.

Look below for more posts from the Vintage Walt Disney World series:

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Blue Sky Cellar: Imagineering Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We’ve previously featured short clips of the films that have been shown in Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure park, and each time Disney Parks Blog readers asked for more. Earlier today, we showed you a complete video from Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar that showed Imagineers sharing their experiences while creating Cars Land. Now we’re bringing you the complete video that showed while Buena Vista Street was featured at Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar. Hear from the Imagineers themselves about the inspiration and history behind this immersive, new main entrance at Disney California Adventure park.

As you know, more Disney Parks videos can be seen at YouTube.com/DisneyParks – but now you can find even more great Disney videos on the new Disney YouTube network at YouTube.com/Disney.

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Stay on the Run at Walt Disney World Resort



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



If you’re coming to Walt Disney World Resort on vacation, there are plenty of ways to maintain your healthy and active lifestyle during your visit here. In addition to healthy food options and exercise facilities in and around our theme parks and resorts, there are several running/walking trails around the resort for anyone looking to log a few miles while on vacation.

The trails are well marked and vary in length, so they are perfect whether you are a novice runner or an experienced long-distance runner. All the trails are framed by beautiful scenery and/or wildlife; the type of experience many Disney guests rarely get to enjoy. There are trails that take you along Bay Lake between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and The Campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort or around Seven Seas Lagoon with Cinderella Castle in the distance – just the kind of vistas that can make your run more magical and help you stay fit while making vacation memories with your friends and family.

But don’t take it from me. Listen to Lori Lovell, the runDisney mom on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, who recently hit the running trails at Walt Disney World Resort and shared with us three of her favorites.



If you want to hit the trails during your next visit to Walt Disney World Resort, check out www.DisneyWorld.com or stop by the front desk of your resort for maps and directions.

 And don’t forget: if you are looking to combine a great family vacation with the challenge of a half or full marathon, runDisney events are the perfect fit. With six event weekends at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort that all feature kids’ races, Family Fun Run 5Ks, half marathons and/or full marathons, there races for runners of all ages. Get more information or sign up for a race at www.rundisney.com. And to be among the first to find out all of the news and information related to runDisney, follow us on our new Twitter feed @runDisney and at Facebook.com/rundisney.

Check out more of the latest runDisney news in the posts below:

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Blue Sky Cellar: Imagineering Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


From time to time, we’ve shared clips of some of the videos that have played in Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure park. Some Disney Parks Blog readers have asked us to post the videos in their entirety, so today I’m excited to be able to feature two videos that have been featured recently in the preview center that has displayed the concepts from Walt Disney Imagineering throughout the expansion of the park.

Up first is a beautiful feature on the creative process behind the design and construction of Cars Land, in which you hear from Imagineers themselves on the inspiration, emotion and rewards of building such an immersive experience for guests. Grab a tissue!

I’ll be back later today with another complete Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar video for you to enjoy.

For more Disney California Adventure park news, see the posts below:

Wildlife Wednesdays: Is It a Zebra? Is It a Giraffe? No, It’s an Okapi – New Baby Welcomed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Matt Hohne, Animal Operations Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


The cast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is delighted that we get to introduce our guests to so many rare and fascinating animals. One of those is the okapi, an animal that, because of its stripes, is often thought to be related to the zebra but, actually, is the only living relative of the giraffe.

“Disney's

We are very happy to announce that late last week — on June 21 — we welcomed a new okapi calf to the Disney’s Animal Kingdom family. Our teams usually take some time deciding on names for new arrivals, but they quickly chose the African name “Nafuna” for the female calf—it means “delivered feet first.”

First-time mom, Zawadi, and the calf, who weighed 35 pounds at birth, are doing very well (the baby already had her first wellness exam) and are being monitored closely by the animal care team in their backstage home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The calf’s dad, Akili, lives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where guests also can see okapi on the resort’s savanna.

Guests will have two opportunities to catch a glimpse of the okapi calf a couple of months from now, when she goes out in the park’s Ituri Forest. Guests can see okapi when they ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition and when they travel the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

In the wild, the okapi is considered rare, and they are threatened by habitat loss due to logging and human settlement, as well as by hunting.

Okapi fun facts:

  • The okapi’s stripes work as camouflage when hiding in the partial sunlight that filters through the forest canopy.
  • Okapi are typically solitary animals, living alone or in mother-offspring pairs. They are extremely wary and secretive, making okapi very difficult to observe in the lowland rainforest of central Africa where they make their home.
  • The okapi’s gestation period is about 14 months.
  • Adult okapi can reach weights of 550-720 pounds, with females typically being larger than males. They can live over 30 years in zoological facilities.
  • Normally silent, female okapi vocalize with a soft “chuff” during courtship and when calling to their calves. There are infrasonic qualities to their call, which are below the frequency that the human ear can pick up.

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Chef of Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland Shares His Favorites from the Menu

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Braised pork for lunch and a grilled strip steak for dinner – Chef Michael Deardorff had a hard time choosing, but says those are two of his favorites from the new menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

Guests can start making reservations in late August (we’ll let you know the exact date as soon as we can), with the restaurant to be open for the holidays.
Chef Michael Deardorff of Be Our Guest Restaurant, Coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Chef Deardorff has been at the helm in Disney kitchens for 25 years, most recently as part of the opening of the restaurants at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i. Now he’s back to open Be Our Guest, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast,” with three dining rooms and seats for over 500 guests.

“Lunch is quick service, but not traditional counter service,” says Deardorff. Guest-activated terminals make ordering a snap (there also will be traditional cashiers for cash orders and special dietary requests). You order, take a seat and lunch is delivered to your table – on china, not paper.

Back to the menu. “It’s all about simple, fresh ingredients,” says Deardorff. “Just like your favorite quick-service restaurants across Magic Kingdom Park, you’ll be able to enjoy sandwiches and salads at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, but all with a twist that transports you to the French setting of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

There’s a little French bistro flavor with tuna Niçoise salad and a Croque Monsieur sandwich with carved ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel and pommes frites (a fancy term for French fries). Or go for the carved turkey on a warm baguette with Dijon mayonnaise, or the grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread, both with pommes frites. Heartier fare includes braised pork that’s cooked for eight hours, and for vegetarians, there’s a loaded vegetable quiche or quinoa, shallot and chive salad.
Artist Rendering of the Be Our Guest Restaurant Coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Dinner is table service, with diverse starters such as a charcuterie plate with cured meats and sausages, mussels steamed in white wine, French onion or potato leek soup, and a salad with champagne vinaigrette. We’re intrigued by the salad trio with three mini tastes of roasted beet, raisins and orange; green beans, tomatoes and roasted shallots; and watermelon, radish and mint.

Entrées include a thyme-scented pork rack chop with au gratin pasta, rotisserie rock hen with roasted fingerling potatoes, pan-seared salmon in leek fondue, grilled strip steak with pommes frites, sautéed shrimp and scallops with veggies in puff pastry with creamy lobster sauce, and an oven-baked ratatouille.

Oh, and dessert – we vote for the cupcakes, strawberry cream cheese or triple chocolate. If cupcakes aren’t your favorite sweet ending, there’s a chocolate cream puff and a passion fruit cream puff.

For kids 9 and under, the lunch entrées include a carved turkey sandwich, roasted pulled pork, Mickey meatloaf, seared mahi mahi, or whole-grain macaroni topped with marinara and mozzarella. For dinner, it’s grilled steak, grilled fish of the day, whole-grain macaroni or grilled chicken breast.

“We think guests will be pleasantly surprised with the menu and the value,” says Deardorff.

More updates soon!

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter for the latest on the New Fantasyland expansion. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #NewFantasyland.

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Top Five Ways to Get Soaked on the Disney Fantasy

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Last week brought the first official day of summer, and with it, warm temperatures across the country! Luckily there are plenty of ways to stay cool on a Disney cruise, and in honor of the first summer at sea for Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, I want to show you the top five ways to get soaked on the Disney Fantasy.

    AquaLab on the Disney Fantasy

  1. AquaLab – Brand new to a Disney ship is AquaLab, a really cool interactive kids’ water play area invented by Donald Duck’s nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie!
  2. Donald’s Pool on the Disney Fantasy

  3. Donald’s Pool – You can’t miss Donald’s Pool, located midship, which is the perfect spot for splashing around with the whole family. (And as a food lover, I also have to mention it is right next to the quick service food stations!)
  4. The Quiet Cove Pool on the Disney Fantasy

  5. Quiet Cove Pool – Secluded and serene, the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool is the definition of relaxation. I love cooling off here with a cold beverage in hand.
  6. Satellite Falls on the Disney Fantasy

  7. Satellite Falls – Just want a quick dip before getting back to sun-bathing? Satellite Falls is a new water feature up on Deck 13 where adults can put their toes in the water or sit in the shade of a gentle rain curtain.
  8. AquaDuck on the Disney Fantasy

  9. AquaDuck – Last, but certainly not least, is AquaDuck. As the first and only water coaster at sea, I don’t need to give much explanation for why this thrilling ride of twists and turns is my favorite place to get soaked on the Disney Fantasy!

What is your favorite water spot? Let us know in the comments.

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Mickey Mouse, the Red Car Trolley News Boys and ‘A Suitcase and a Dream’ at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 26th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Buena Vista Street is now open at Disney California Adventure park, and one of my favorite things about this brand-new area is the Red Car Trolley. Not only is it a stylish way to get around town, it’s also the stage for the Red Car Trolley News Boys, who are joined in Carthay Circle by the original dreamer himself, Mickey Mouse. Watch below to see them perform “A Suitcase and a Dream” and catch them yourself on Buena Vista Street.

And “Newsies” fans – be sure to stop by and “Seize the Day” with them, too.

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Eight Ways to Enjoy Disney California Adventure Park: After Dark

posted on June 26th, 2012 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


With the grand reopening of Disney California Adventure park, there’s even more to explore day and night, from the thrills of Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land to the toe-tapping music and entertainment along Buena Vista Street. With so much to do, we came up with some specialized itineraries to help you plan your next visit. We’ll share them over the coming months, offering a “guide” for foodies, thrill seekers, little tykes, nature lovers, shoppers and fans of shows and Disney characters.

Enjoy Disney California Adventure Park After Dark with New, Extended Summer Hours

Today’s list is for guests who like to play after dark. We’d also like to hear from you about your favorite ways to enjoy the newly reopened park – let us know in the comments.

Have you tried all these magical, nighttime experiences at Disney California Adventure park?

With new, extended hours at Disney California Adventure park from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. all summer long, guests have more time to enjoy all the fun. What are you planning to do when the sun goes down at the park?

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Beatles Merchandise Invades the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 26th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Merchandise Saluting British Bands, Including The Beatles, Invades United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Music has played an important role throughout most of my life. I was a deejay for many years and I used to play the saxophone (fortunately for many, I didn’t do both activities simultaneously). I have an extensive music collection, including many vinyl albums. When my fellow author Jennifer told me that the Disney Parks Blog was saluting The Beatles, I jumped at the opportunity to write something. I own several Beatles albums and, recently, I’ve enjoyed singing two of my favorite songs during karaoke night – “All You Need is Love” and “Eight Days A Week.” There is a connection to The Beatles at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, and it is found at the Toy Soldier shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot.

Merchandise Saluting British Bands, Including The Beatles, Invades United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

The back of this merchandise location contains a Kidcot Fun Stop and is the perfect (or is that “thotful?”) spot to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. The front half is dedicated to merchandise, including music-related items, storybooks and a few Duffy the Disney Bear options. I spoke with Sylvie Brumbaugh, Product Developer for World Showcase, about the location.

“We have a variety of items that salute British bands, including The Beatles,” explained Sylvie. “For World Showcase, we like offering merchandise that represents things or icons from a particular country. The Beatles are known the world over for great music, so it made sense for us to carry their merchandise.”

Yet, there is another reason why Toy Soldier was selected as a “rockin’” good merchandise destination – the British Revolution band plays nearby. Luckily, their music provided a great soundtrack while I photographed a few of my favorite Beatles items.

Merchandise Saluting British Bands, Including The Beatles, Invades United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

The items pictured above were not developed by Disney Theme Park Merchandise, yet that doesn’t make them any less cool. I “love” the graphics on the duffle bag and matching mini-bags. The lunch boxes reminded me of my metal childhood lunchboxes (I’m jealous that my son occasionally uses a metal Mission: SPACE lunchbox at his school). Finally, I need the yellow submarine ice cube tray for my next party!

Merchandise Saluting British Bands, Including The Beatles, Invades United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Sylvie said that World Showcase merchandise changes often, so she gave me a sneak preview of new Beatles things arriving this fall.

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