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Seats Added for Popular ‘Kitchen Memories’ with Art Smith, Buddy Valastro at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Two of the most popular celebrity chefs for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival are hosting Kitchen Memories lunches – and due to demand, they’ve added a handful of seats!

Art Smith, amiable chef-owner of one of D.C.’s premier dining spots, Art and Soul, will be on stage from 10 a.m. to noon this Friday. (He also was Oprah’s personal chef.)

Art Smith, Chef of D.C.'s Art and Soul, Will Host Kitchen Memories Lunch at This Year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Buddy Valastro, the famous “Cake Boss” from Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J. , is cooking from 10 a.m.-noon November 9.

Buddy Valastro, Famous 'Cake Boss' From Carlo's Bake Shop in N.J., Will Host Kitchen Memories Lunch at This Year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

More than just a meal, the three-three-course lunch gives the chefs a chance to tell their own culinary tales of growing up. They’ll also show guests how to make an appetizer, main course and dessert, each served with a wine pairing and a sommelier to explain.

Both are in the Festival Welcome Center Chef’s Showcase. Cost is $110 or $160 with wine, plus tax, gratuity included. Epcot admission is required.

To make a reservation, call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).

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Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas from Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland Park

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Happy Halloween! If you’re like me and wait until tonight to carve your pumpkin, then check out this video below for some added inspiration. All of these frightfully fun faces can be spotted on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park. Want more spooktacular ideas? Take a look at the Disney-inspired templates here and here.

Read the posts below for more Halloween fun at Disney Parks:

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New Magic in the Making at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

From flying over Never Land to taking a spin in a tea cup, Fantasyland has been home to some of our guests’ favorite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort since opening day. So when we set out to reinvent the most popular land at our most popular Disney destination, we knew that it had to be something truly spectacular – and I’m proud to say that New Fantasyland is exactly that.

Last Friday, I toured the construction site as we complete the finishing touches for our official opening on December 6, and while the entire expansion is extraordinary, there are a few aspects in particular that I think will be huge hits with our guests.
Enchanted Tales with Belle in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Part of what makes Disney Parks so special is our ability to connect people with the Disney characters and stories they love. With Enchanted Tales with Belle, we’re doing that in a magical new way. Guests will enter Belle’s cottage, step through an enchanted mirror and be transported to the world of “Beauty and the Beast,” where they’ll help Lumiere, Belle and The Wardrobe recreate “the tale as old as time” by becoming part of the story themselves. Our Imagineers have brought these characters to life in ways that are sure to delight guests both young and old.

One of the hallmarks of a great Disney experience is the meticulous attention to detail that goes into the worlds we create, and the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is another fantastic example of “the more you look, the more you see.” Before taking a voyage under the sea with Ariel and her friends, guests can explore the caves and grottos in and around Prince Eric’s castle, interacting playfully with Scuttle and a few of his friends along the way. The rockwork that’s been done is spectacular, and the paintings that adorn the vaults beneath the castle help draw visitors to New Fantasyland even further into the story of the beloved animated film.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this expansion is the way that our new attractions, entertainment, merchandise and food offerings all come together to create a singular experience that is a worthy addition to a park as iconic as Magic Kingdom Park. The result is only possible through the hard work and the collaboration from people across Disney Parks and Resorts, and I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished. We can’t wait to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover the new stories, new adventures and new magic that will help them make shared memories that last a lifetime.

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

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A Magical Halloween Onboard the Disney Magic

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Peter Hofer, Cruise Director, Disney Cruise Line

Happy Halloween from onboard the Disney Magic! I’m Cruise Director Peter, writing to tell you about all the spooky fun happening as we sail from Galveston, Texas, to the Western Caribbean. Today we’re docked in beautiful Costa Maya, Mexico, and the housekeeping team is busily preparing the staterooms with Halloween surprises for the children. Shh…don’t tell!

Before I share more about Halloween festivities onboard the Disney Magic, let me introduce myself, since this is my first time writing for the Disney Parks Blog. I have been with Disney Cruise Line since 2006, when I joined the Disney Wonder as Assistant Cruise Director. I later became Cruise Director, and in 2010, I transferred to the Disney Magic. I always look forward to Halloween, one of our biggest events of the year!

A Magical Halloween Onboard the Disney Magic

All week guests have enjoyed making Halloween-inspired family crafts and activities, including the chance to learn how to draw Minnie and Goofy in their Halloween finest, plus watching “Frankenweenie” in 3D in the Buena Vista Theatre. There have been plenty of spooktacular programs for the kids, like costume dance parties, goo-ey food challenges and spooky storytime.

This afternoon, Mickey and the gang (dressed in their Halloween costumes, of course) will continue the Halloween festivities with a spooktastic family deck party and costume parade. Families can keep the fun going in “Studio Scream” (Studio Sea) where, with the help of super hero Donald Duck, they must rescue the cruise staff from a pesky spook “forcing” them to dance!

Also, tonight in the Walt Disney Theatre is the second of our Broadway-style stage shows, and nothing could be more fitting than “Villains Tonight!” which is a comical look at the Disney Villains you love to boo. Later, adults can party at “Shockin’ Bar D” (Rockin’ Bar D), where there will be special Halloween performances by the cruise staff, along with a fun costume contest.

We wish you were here, but the good news for you is that you have an entire year to plan your costume so you can celebrate with us next year. Hope to see you then!

Read more news from Disney Cruise Line in these posts:

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Bellhop

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Happy Halloween, Disney Parks Blog! On a stormy Halloween night in 1939, a bellhop and four others stepped aboard a Hollywood Tower Hotel elevator and into the fifth dimension. To mark the anniversary of their disappearance, Disneyland Resort cast member Bryan Higashi will tell you about his role hosting guests at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, whenever they drop in!

Read on for more from our “Every Role a Starring Role” series:

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Cast Member Profiles, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

Haunted Mansions at Disney Parks Around the World

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Happy Halloween, everyone!

The Haunted Mansion has always been my absolute favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World Resort, and what day better to celebrate it than today? In honor of this Halloween holiday, let’s take a look at all the Disney Parks Haunted Mansions around the globe.
The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

The first Haunted Mansion was, of course, the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland park, which opened its doors in New Orleans Square in 1969. Here, theme park guests were first introduced to “Ghost Host” Paul Frees, and boarded Doombuggies in the hopes of sighting some of the mansion’s 999 happy haunts.
The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park

When Magic Kingdom Park opened at the Walt Disney World Resort on October 1, 1971, The Haunted Mansion was one of the park’s opening-day attractions. Located in the Liberty Square area of the park, this mansion offered a totally unique exterior reminiscent of an 18th-century manor.
The Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare at Tokyo Disneyland Park

The first Haunted Mansion attraction to open in Asia did so at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. This attraction, which now features a Holiday Nightmare (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”-style) overlay at this time of the year, is located in the Fantasyland area of the park.
Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris

The newest Haunted Mansion attraction, named Phantom Manor, opened at Disneyland Paris April 12, 1992, in the Frontierland area of the park. This attraction features a slightly different backstory that focuses on the Ravenswoods – a family of Western settlers who struck it rich during the gold rush and were later affected by a series of mysterious demises.

Which Haunted Mansion attraction is your favorite to explore?

Read more about Halloween celebrations at Disney Parks in the posts below:

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

Wildlife Wednesdays: Orphaned Gorillas in Africa Under Watchful Care at Rehabilitation and Conservation Center Supported by Disney

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Tammie Bettinger, Ph.D., Senior Research Biologist, Disney's Animal Programs

Guests who come to Disney’s Animal Kingdom just love seeing our gorillas when they visit Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Gorillas are amazing animals, and we are so proud to have them in our care. We’re also very proud to be saving gorillas in the wild.
Orphaned Gorillas in Africa Under Watchful Care at Rehabilitation and Conservation Center Supported by Disney

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has given more than $2 million to support conservation projects that protect primates. And the DWCF and Disney’s Animals Programs teamed up with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and several Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities (the Dallas, Denver and Houston zoos) to build and operate GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.

Disney Parks Blog has been following the story of GRACE since the beginning. Of course, our wish, and the wish of the local Congolese people who work at GRACE, is that there would be no baby gorillas orphaned through poaching in need of human care. Until then, we are fortunate to have GRACE, a facility where orphaned gorillas can be rehabilitated for eventual reintroduction to the wild. GRACE currently is home to 12 orphaned gorillas, with 3 more arriving soon.

We hope you enjoy our new video about GRACE.

Want even more inspiration? Click here to see a second video featuring the gorillas at GRACE.

To learn more about Disney’s commitment to conservation, visit

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Disney Parks Blog Time Capsule: October 2010

posted on October 30th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

It’s time to take another look back in the archives of the Disney Parks Blog – this time, let’s see what we were up to in October 2010. We hosted one of our biggest meet-ups ever, welcomed Duffy the Disney Bear to the parks, revealed one of the stars of the upcoming reimagined Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, and more!

The Florida Project – September 9-11, 2011
Steven gave us a sneak peek at “The Florida Project: a Disney Trading and Collecting Experience” coming the following year in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2011.

Duffy the Disney Bear is on His Way
In October 2010, we welcomed a new friend to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts – Duffy the Disney Bear!

Beauty and the Beast with Co-Stars Robby Benson and Paige O’Hara

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Reunion at Disneyland Park
In October 2010, “Beauty and the Beast” co-stars Robby Benson and Paige O’Hara reunited at Disneyland park.

Haunted Mansion Holiday Panorama
We got to see Haunted Mansion Holiday in a whole new way with our first GigaPan image.

Who’s Flying This Thing?!
On October 26, 2010, Disney Parks Blog readers were the first to learn the identity of the pilot on the soon-to-reopen Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park … C-3PO!

ElecTRONica Meet-Up at Disney California Adventure Park

ElecTRONica Meet-Up: Recap of our Biggest Meet-Up Yet
On the night of October 28, 2010, three thousand Disney Parks Blog readers entered The Grid at one of our biggest Disney Parks Blog meet-ups.

Topping Out Ceremony

‘Topping Out’ – An Expansion Milestone at Disney California Adventure Park
It’s hard to believe that just two years ago this month, we were just getting started down the road to Cars Land. On October 29, 2010, we celebrated the “topping out” ceremony for the new mountain range’s tallest peak.

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Create Your Own Disney Parks Magic at Home this Halloween

posted on October 30th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Between carved pumpkins, after-hours parties and tasty treats, Halloween is one of my favorite times of year at Disney Parks. Wouldn’t you like to bring some of that Disney magic into your home this Halloween? How about conjuring up the 999 happy haunts that inhabit the Haunted Mansion?

Make Your Own Haunted Mansion Ghost Masks Make Your Own Haunted Mansion Cupcake Tombstones

Our friends at have hundreds of fun, Disney-inspired craft ideas – including tons for Halloween. Two of my favorites are these Haunted Mansion Ghost Masks and Haunted Mansion Cupcake Tombstones. They’re so easy – you just print them and cut them out. Add the mask to an old suit and the tombstones to some delicious cupcakes and you’ve got your Haunted Mansion-inspired Halloween costume and snacks!

Check out for more ideas.

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Couple Creates a Disney Halloween Celebration in Their Own Back (and Front) Yard

posted on October 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Have any of you brightened up your home or yard with Disney Halloween decorations this year?

Then check out the home of Central Florida residents Mickey and Minnie Baus (yep, “Baus” rhymes with “mouse”). They’re a couple of Disney Parks fanatics who annually entertain their neighborhood with an illuminating display of Disney decor in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Over the weekend, Mickey and Minnie were nice enough to take a few minutes away from their annual Halloween party – for which they dressed as ultimate Disney tourists – to show off this year’s display, which includes a plethora of Disney inflatables, handmade Disney decorations, and much, much more! Check it out below.

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