The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The 30th Anniversary of Epcot Kicks Off Today With D23 Festivities

posted on September 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Who doesn’t love a party?

Although the 30th anniversary of Epcot isn’t until tomorrow, October 1, fans have already begun celebrating the park’s milestone at D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration at the park’s World Showplace.

“D23

So far today, D23 members have been treated to presentations by Disney Legends who helped bring Epcot to life, including Tom Nabbe, Bob Matheison, and Charlie Ridgway, as well as Walt Disney Imagineers. Cast members from the Disney Archives also presented some behind-the-scenes looks at the development of several Epcot attractions. Other activities on the list for the remainder of the day include a look at the park’s opening-day festivities, the music of Epcot, and more.

If you plan on celebrating the 30th anniversary of Epcot at the park tomorrow, be sure to check out the schedule of events – some presented by D23 – here.

Check the Disney Park Blog tomorrow for video coverage of today’s event.

Take a look back at Epcot in the posts below:

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on September 30th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


The New Fantasyland Area at Magic Kingdom Park Will Bring the Stories of Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and More, to Life When it Grand Opens on December 6

Each week, we’ve been sharing some amazing behind-the-scenes peeks at the New Fantasyland expansion in our exclusive “All in the Details” series. And you better believe, there’s much more to share in the upcoming weeks. If you’ve missed any of the reports, here’s the best way to catch up – our most popular posts:

  1. All in the Details: A Castle Fit for a…Mermaid in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park – Feast your eyes on our first look at the exterior of Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Prince Eric’s Castle.
  2. All in the Details: Tinkering in Maurice’s Cottage at New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park – This blog post offered the first look inside Maurice’s Cottage, home of Belle and her tinkerer father.
  3. All in the Details: Step Inside the World of Belle Through Her Magic Mirror at Magic Kingdom Park – In this video blog post, our Imagineers offer the first look inside Enchanted Tales With Belle, a character interaction that has to be seen to be believed!
  4. All in the Details: A Peek Inside Belle’s Library in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park – This post offered the first look at details inside Belle’s library, part of the Enchanted Tales With Belle experience.
  5. All in the Details: Introducing Prince Eric’s Castle at Magic Kingdom Park – This post took an up-close look at the detailed work on Prince Eric’s Castle by the sea. The castle, and it’s surrounding rocky cliffs, will house Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto character greeting.

The New Fantasyland area at Magic Kingdom Park will bring the stories of “Dumbo,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and The Beast,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and more, to life when it grand opens on December 6.

And this week, we shared a special look at the faces behind the familiar voices heard at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. Bill Rogers and his wife Camille Dixon showed us how they create these very special Disneyland Resort announcements.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week:

Then and Now: Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland Park – Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park has undergone quite a few changes since it first opened in 1955, but some things are still surprisingly the same.

‘Delicious Disney Holidays’ Newest in Cookbook Series –Joining “Delicious Disney Desserts” and “Delicious Disney Just for Kids,” the new “Delicious Disney Holidays” is the latest on the shelves in Disney stores. Take a look at the recipe for one of our favorites – sweet potato pancakes with honey-pecan butter.

Celebrate Epcot with Exclusive Disney Parks Blog Retro Wallpaper – We’ve been preparing for the 30th anniversary of Epcot here on the Disney Parks Blog; here’s a desktop wallpaper to help you celebrate this momentous occasion.

‘Frankenweenie’ Director Tim Burton Visits the Disneyland Resort – It’s not every day a major director like Tim Burton visits Disneyland Resort. Watch as he discusses the first animated film he’s directed for Disney, “Frankenweenie,” in this exclusive video interview

Disney Cruise Line Sneak Peek: Port Adventures in Venice – From a Disney-exclusive Evening Doge’s Palace Tour & Character Experience to the Gondolier For A Day Experience, here’s a peek at some of the one-of-a-kind adventures Disney Cruise Line is developing for guests in Venice.

Disney VoluntEARS Help Tow Away Hunger in Orange County, California – Disney VoluntEARS had “fuh-un” at the annual Orange County CANstruction event, where they spent nearly six hours “can-structing” our favorite tow truck, Mater. Take a look!

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HGTV Stars Return to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 30th, 2012 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


We love our festivals here at Walt Disney World Resort!

Having finished the 2012 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, we now turn to the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year’s food and wine extravaganza runs from September 28 to November 12, and we’re excited to announce the return of some your favorite HGTV stars.

As regular watchers of HGTV (and I’m one of them) know, HGTV programs go beyond just home renovation and gardening. They feature ideas and helpful hints for party planning, catering and tons of other food and beverage topics, which makes them a perfect fit for our festival.

“HGTV Design Star” winner Danielle Colding will kick off this year’s HGTV presentations. Here’s a look at what to expect.

Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information on the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

For more 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival news, check out the posts below:

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Seats Added for Popular Lunches at Italy for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 30th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Good news! The Italian Regional Food & Wine Luncheons that have sold out for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival have added more seats, starting with this Saturday’s lunch.

Tutto Gusto in Italy Pavilion at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Setting is the new Tutto Gusto wine cellar, where guests enjoy authentic Italian food paired with a variety of regional Italian wines from noon-2 p.m. It’s a wonderful way to escape the mid-day heat, leisurely dine and learn a little about Italy’s finest.

Lunches are every Wednesday and Saturday during the festival. Cost is $75 plus tax, gratuity included, Epcot admission required.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-FEST.

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Take 5: Attractions at Epcot

posted on September 29th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


“Disney

Since opening on October 1, 1982, several attractions have come and gone from Epcot, while others have been changed and updated. Split into Future World and World Showcase, the Epcot theme park sprawls across 300 acres (more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom Park!) and encompasses icons from the spherical Spaceship Earth to the giant slot car Test Track. To help celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of Epcot, we wanted to take a closer look at five of the unique attractions and experiences that make this Walt Disney World Resort theme park a fan favorite. Happy 30th birthday, Epcot!

Take 5: Attractions at Epcot

  1. The Scientist Who Inspired The Name of Epcot’s ‘Spaceship Earth’ – Learn about the history of the iconic Spaceship Earth. Do you know which great mind actually inspired this classic Epcot attraction?
  2. Chat Live with Walt Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick Today at 1:15 p.m. EDT – The Test Track is currently under renovation, but read this Live Chat with Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick for details on what the updated attraction will include.
  3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Fans Get Early Start Today at Walt Disney World Resort – While not an attraction, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a staple at Epcot. Now in its 17th year, the event brings food from 6 different continents together in one sensational event.
  4. Major Makeover for the France Pavilion at Epcot – By early December, Bistro de Paris in the France Pavilion at Epcot will have a whole new look plus a new name, and by mid-December, a new bakery will be open. The France Pavilion is one of eleven countries represented around the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot.
  5. Voices of Liberty Sing the National Anthem – Watch as the Voices of Liberty, the a cappella vocal group that performs daily at the American Pavilion at Epcot, sing the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
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Top Tips for Mickey’s Halloween Party from the Disneyland Moms Panelists

posted on September 28th, 2012 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


With the first night of Mickey’s Halloween Party tonight, I turned to some Disneyland Resort experts for their planning tips. Amanda Ficili and Ari Krell are the Disneyland Resort representatives on the Disney Moms Panel, a forum where guests can get advice for planning their visits to Disney Parks and Resorts.

Both Amanda and Ari recommend purchasing your tickets early for Mickey’s Halloween Party, since these 11 nights are very popular. They also encourage guests to arrive early and take advantage of this ticket’s special bonus – three extra hours to play in Disneyland park before the party begins. And they agree: arrive early to avoid delays at the parking structure (many people are arriving at the same time).

Enjoy the 'Halloween Screams' Fireworks During Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort

What are some of your favorite things to do at Mickey’s Halloween Party?

Amanda: “I like to see all the spooktacular decorations in the daylight, so I don’t miss a single detail. One of our favorite photo locations is the giant Pumpkin in Town Square and we always try to arrive early enough to have PhotoPass snap a family photo here before the sun goes down. At night, we usually head over to the “hub” at about 9:00 to stake out a ‘Halloween Screams’ Fireworks viewing location in front of the castle.”

Ari: “One of my favorite pastimes is seeing how creative the guests are with their costumes. I am always impressed by the quality and creativity they put into these outfits. My family usually has a contest on how many princesses we will see, and that makes it more fun. If you’re wearing a costume, make sure you can wear it comfortably, especially the footwear. I vividly recall seeing many park guests walking barefoot because their costume shoes were not comfortable.”

Do you have any insights for first-timers at Mickey’s Halloween Party?

Amanda: “Keep your party wristband visible on your arm! This colorful band identifies you as a ticketed party guest during the event. If you’re coming later in the day, grab dinner early since many in-park dining locations will close early to prepare for the party. Or, arrive early and grab a bite at the Downtown Disney District.”

Ari: “Be realistic about how long your kids can play. We took our little girls on a night when they were 6 and 4. While they had a great time they were exhausted by 10 p.m. We were thrilled to have a room at the Disneyland Hotel that night. Not only was it the easiest place to get in our costumes – rather than driving to Disneyland park in full Buzz Lightyear regalia – it was also a short stroll back to our beds at the end of a lovely night. That was a lot happier than a long drive home.”

Go Trick-or-Treating at Disneyland Park During Mickey's Halloween Party at the Disneyland Resort

One, final spooky tip?

Amanda: “Be sure to grab a party map when you enter Disneyland park, but keep in mind there will be surprises not listed on it. You can use the map to locate Treat or Treat stops, dining options, dance parties, and even shops that offer Halloween-themed merchandise and goodies.

For Trick-or-Treating, no one is too old for candy at Disneyland. Mom, Dad, and the whole family can take advantage of the loot at Mickey’s Halloween Party. Be sure to ask for healthy treats, too, as each station has treats such as freeze dried apples and fresh fruit.”

Ari: “Mickey’s Halloween Party is a great time to capture precious one-of-a kind moments. Kids of all ages are dressed up and they’re posing with some of their favorite Disney characters, who are all decked out in Halloween costumes. Many of the best Disney villains have been known to make a special appearance during the party and they’re always ready to strike scary poses with you.”



Are you planning to celebrate Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort? See more of what to expect in the posts below:

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Fans Get Early Start Today at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 28th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Even before the 11 a.m. opening of World Showcase, guests got an early start on opening day of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at the Festival Center, sipping Ghirardelli gourmet drinking chocolate and, yes, sipping wine by 10 a.m. at Kitchen Memories with Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, who shared stories from her own kitchen with husband John.

Guests at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort

Out on the promenade, guests started noshing at 11 a.m. when the Marketplaces opened for business. The new Terra Marketplace just across the bridge from Future World was a happy surprise for guests we chatted with as they tasted the vegan Trick’n Chick’n Curry and the Chili Colorado. Fans from last year were lining up for the Kalua Pork Slider in Hawaii, and we overheard guests talking about other favorites: the Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie at the Ireland Marketplace, the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw at the South Korea Marketplace, Linda Bean’s Perfect Lobster Roll at the Hops & Barley Marketplace.

We encouraged them to head over to Canada for the new Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce, and not to overdo and save room for dessert – but plenty of guests were starting there with a morning glass of bubbly and the trio of mini-sweets.

HGTV's Daniell Colding at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort

We cooled off in the Festival Center, and picked up some great tips – Andrea Robinson says she add a flourish of smoked sea salt to her guacamole for a little zip, And HGTV’s Daniell Colding (pictured above) took us on a trip around the world with decorating ideas inspired by Morocco, Sweden, Mexico and France.

So much to do, just 46 days to try it all! The festival runs through Nov. 12. Do you have a favorite taste our readers shouldn’t miss?

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Remembering the Shopping Experience at EPCOT Center Merchandise

posted on September 28th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Remembering the Shopping Experience at EPCOT Center Merchandise

There are a few things I enjoy collecting – tikis, vinyl records and merchandise from EPCOT Center (I first showed some items from my collection in a previous post. With the 30th anniversary of Epcot around the corner, I wanted to share some stories and images from the early days of merchandise (special thanks to my fellow author Nate Rasmussen for help with the images). The funny thing is that I’ve been waiting 10 years to write this Disney Parks Blog post.

Remembering the Shopping Experience at EPCOT Center Merchandise

While serving as a Disney Ambassador in 2002, I created a cast member presentation that discussed the EPCOT Center story (I’m honored that it’s something the Ambassador Team still uses today). At the time, I found a few merchandise related articles that have sat in a notebook until now.

Merchandise development began around 1980 with the development teams “looking for merchandise so unique and different that it didn’t exist.” EPCOT Center was to be a different experience from Magic Kingdom Park, which had opened a decade earlier. Designers wanted new items that didn’t contain well established Disney logos or characters. That is one reason why much of the early merchandise used that globe-like logo and four iconic colors of purple, red, orange and yellow.

Remembering the Shopping Experience at EPCOT Center Merchandise, Including Figment Plush

Early merchandise also included characters that were only found at the park like Figment, Dreamfinder or the cast of Kitchen Kabaret. Other Disney characters wouldn’t be found at EPCOT Center until the mid-1980s.

EPCOT Center opened with more than 30 merchandise locations, most of which were found in World Showcase. Future World locations had contemporary interiors, while the World Showcase shops had a “softer and warmer mood.” When designing the World Showcase shop interiors, designers decided to represent “what people would expect to find on their travels rather than what they actually will see in any given country.”

Remembering the Shopping Experience at EPCOT Center Merchandise

One of my favorite items in my collection is a merchandise bag which I showed in January 2011. Originally, there were plans for two separate bags, one each for Future World and World Showcase. Those plans were scrapped as one bag was introduced to “illustrate the total EPCOT Center experience” (defined as “awesome” in my book).

While we have several new items releasing starting September 28, I’d love to hear of your favorite souvenir from EPCOT Center.



Excited for the 30th anniversary of Epcot? Take a look back at these posts for more:

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Disney Parks Blog Time Capsule: September 2009

posted on September 28th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


September 2009 was a big month for the Disney Parks Blog, because September 28, 2009, was the day we posted our first story! Continuing our “Disney Parks Blog Time Capsule” series, let’s see what else happened this month, three short years ago.

Disney Parks Blog Launches

Thomas Smith kicked things off officially in our first-ever Disney Parks Blog post on September 28, 2009.

Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort Features New Attractions – Ghost Galaxy at Space Mountain

Next, we met Heather Hust Rivera, who introduced readers to what would soon become a favorite Halloween Time attraction at Disneyland park – Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.


Halloween Screams Debuts at Disneyland

Also new in 2009, Halloween Screams fireworks spooktacular made its debut at Disneyland park.


Disney Launches ‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day’ TV Spots

In September 2009, Disney Parks Blog readers got a look at two videos featuring the Muppets, who helped launched that year’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” celebration of volunteerism.



Fantasyland Forever – Photography at Walt Disney World

Disney Parks Blog readers also met someone who would become a very familiar face over the coming years when Gene Duncan showed us the first in a long line of captivating photographs.

Please join me in wishing a happy third anniversary to the Disney Parks Blog!

For more from our “Disney Parks Blog Time Capsule” series, check out the posts below:

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First Look Inside Big Top Souvenirs in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 28th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“Big

I’m excited to share with you today a first look inside Big Top Souvenirs, which is the newest merchandise location to join the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland. I visited the location this past week as they were setting the store for its opening on Sunday, September 30. After about 90 minutes and 250 photos later, I left the location in awe! Big Top Souvenirs is incredibly detailed with beautifully ornate designs that capture the golden age of the circus perfectly. Here is a closer look at what you will find.

“Big

The centerpiece of the location is the Big Top Treats. This on-stage show kitchen will offer several delicious goodies including cotton candy, caramel apples, ice cold “Goofy’s Glaciers” beverages and much more. Look for a separate Disney Parks Blog article dedicated to this wonderful new addition (I can’t wait to sample the treats!).

The location will also contain a wide variety of merchandise goods including apparel, toys, dolls, plush, Duffy the Disney Bear, pins, Vinylmation, D-Tech, seasonal good and much more. There will be two embroidery stations for ear hats toward the back of the store.

“Big

I found a handful of new items featuring Dumbo, including shirts for kids, a new mug and a plate. I also found a Storybook Circus T-shirt that features Humphrey the Bear (yes!). Humphrey is featured on the Big Top Treats sign (and look for some bear paw prints outside the entrance).

“Big

The thing that impressed me the most were the endless details. When visiting, I strongly encourage looking at all of the fixtures and display units including the decorative wheels (there are a few different versions). I particularly liked the nod to Salty the Seal who first appeared in the animated short “Mickey’s Circus” in 1936. Look for it on one of the upside down metal bins (along with a few other character nods throughout the shop). This kind of attention to detail is why I love Disney Parks, and it’s why I can’t wait for the rest of New Fantasyland.

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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