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Vintage Walt Disney World: Taking a Spin Through Tomorrowland

posted on November 29th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center

Today, back in 1974, Star Jets opened at Magic Kingdom Park in Tomorrowland. Below is a look at the attraction still under construction in June 1974.

Scaled-down Apollo-Saturn replica rockets propelled guests up to 60 feet above Magic Kingdom Park.

While guests can no longer hop aboard a Star Jet, the Astro Orbiter continues the legacy of space flight in Tomorrowland.

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

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Pick Up New Disney Trains, Orange Bird & Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Gifts This Season at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 29th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

The Christmas season is here, which means I get to engage in one of my favorite holiday traditions – holiday shopping!

I recently stopped by Disney Parks Merchandise headquarters here in Florida to visit with my fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Steven Miller, to get a sneak peek at some of the new gifts you’ll be seeing pop up at our theme parks this year. There, we explored the Holiday Showroom, which is chock-full of new goodies – including a new train, a 2013 calendar that offers a nod to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Orange Bird antenna toppers and much more.

Check out some of our tour:

Which gift looks most interesting to you? I know I’m grabbing one of those calendars! Share your favorite in the “Comments” section below.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DisneyHolidays.

Read more about the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort in these posts:

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Disneyland Ambassadors 2000 and Beyond: Where Are They Now?

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

For the last installment in our “Disneyland Ambassadors: Where Are They Now?” series, we’re catching up Disneyland Ambassadors who have served since 2000. Read on to find out what these distinguished representatives of the Disneyland Resort are up to now!

Heri “Eddie” Garcia, 2000-2001
“My son, Herison, who was born while I was ambassador, is now 11! Along with my son, I share my time with my wife, Noelle, and my daughters Victoria and Charlotte. I have spent the last 10 years working at a credit union in Las Vegas as the training and project manager. I’m now heading home to Southern California to start another chapter of my life; my new role is vice president of operations for a credit union in San Bernardino.”

Doina Osborn, 2000-2001
“I am currently working as a portfolio planning manager with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment. I live in Anaheim with my husband of 18 years. We have two adorable dogs (JoJo and MacGyver) and I enjoy traveling, cooking healthy and ministry activities. My husband and I recently traveled to Europe as a mission trip effort with our church.”

Matt Ebeling With His Family

Matt Ebeling, 2002
“I currently reside in Malibu and serve Pepperdine University (my alma mater) as its executive director of alumni affairs. More importantly, I’m in love with my family, starting with my wife (and Disney cast member) Kim Ebeling and our 17-month-old son, Sawyer, who is already a big fan of Winnie the Pooh. When I’m not with my family or serving students and alumni, I love bodysurfing, movies and riding my motorcycle along the Malibu coastline and Santa Monica Mountains. The Ambassador Program was, and continues to be, an incredible blessing that gave far more to me than I feel I gave to it.”

Disneyland Ambassador Andrae Rivas Gill in 2005–2006 2005–2006 Disneyland Ambassador Andrae Rivas Gill With Her Family

Andrae Rivas Gill, 2005–2006
“I currently work on the marketing for Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, and Adventures by Disney. I live in Orange with my husband and our dog, Jack Jack. The way the program changed my life, and probably the most important one, was that I met my husband (and former ambassador), [and Disney Parks Blog and Disney Post author] David, through the Ambassador Program. Who knows if we would have ever met if we both didn’t become ambassadors?”

Becky Phelps, 2005-2006
“I am very fortunate that I get to stay at home with our beautiful 1-year-old son while working part-time as a freelance event planner. We are expecting our second baby at the end of December!”

Lindsay Garnett Rabicoff With Her Family

Lindsay Garnett Rabicoff (formerly Schoonover), 2007
“I currently live in Scottsdale, Ariz., with my husband and new son. This year I will be graduating from law school at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and will be practicing with a large law firm in Phoenix as an attorney. Between law school and the little one, there is not much time for hobbies, but I do dabble a bit in photography, working out and video gaming.”

Adonis Reeves, 2007
“I am currently living in Pompano Beach, Fla., and working at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. I specifically work with a discipleship school called Patmos, where young adults come to grow in their Christian faith. I have been in Florida for almost three years and my Disney experience and ambassador training has played a beautiful role in my current position.”

Disneyland Ambassador Danielle Berry in 2009-2010 2009-2010 Disneyland Ambassador Danielle Berry With Her Family

Danielle Berry (formerly DuBois), 2009–2010
“Currently, I’m a stay-at-home mom in Mission Viejo. I got married during my ambassador term, and was pregnant soon after. Nowadays, I spend my days at play dates with my 17-month-old daughter and preparing for a new baby due in January 2013! Being ambassador was such an amazing experience for me and a perfect way to spend two of my five years with the resort.”

Disney Parks Blog Author Steven Miller

And of course, I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to my fellow Disney Parks Blog author, and former Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador, Steven Miller. Steven served on the 2001/2002 Ambassador team, and I think we all know what he’s been up to since.

Read more about the Disneyland Ambassadors in the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort

Let the Countdown Begin: Disney Cruise Line Says “See Ya Real Soon” To Miami

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

See ya real soon, Miami! Earlier today I shared with you a photo where Captain Mickey Mouse met Miami in a Disney-style celebration.

Now, take a look at this video with Cruise Director Christiaan Abbott who shows you the sleek speed boat, dazzling fireworks and the grand unveiling of an enormous banner adorning Miami’s cruise terminal that ignited the countdown to Disney Cruise Line’s maiden voyage from Miami on December 23, 2012.

The Disney cruises from Miami will stop at multiple ports in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, including Nassau, Key West, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Can you guess the port the South Florida families I talked to today are most excited about visiting? Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, of course! Miami is the newest addition to the list of Disney Cruise Line homeports from which guests can escape to this exclusive tropical paradise.

Which Disney cruise are you counting down the days until?

For more Disney Cruise Line updates, check out the posts below:

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D23 Announces Disney Events Across the Country For 2013

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Jeffrey Epstein, Senior Manager, Communications

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has just announced a slate of extraordinary events for 2013, which will cross the country sprinkling pixie dust on D23 Members and Disney enthusiasts of all ages.
D23 Expo 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center Directly Across from the Disneyland Resort.

The fan club will bring its popular Sip & Stroll event, celebrating the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, back to Walt Disney World Resort in fall 2013, as well as an all-new festive family event, D23’s Holiday Splendor, which will deck the halls in December of 2013.

Walt Disney World Resort will also play host to one of the ten stops of D23’s Fanniversary Celebration, the exciting multimedia road show event, which commemorates dozens of magical milestones celebrating an anniversary in 2013. This all-new show will highlight anniversaries for such park favorites such as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (50th), Tokyo Disneyland Resort (30th), Horizons (30th) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (15th). Along with its Orlando stop, Fanniversary will bring Disney delight to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The Walt Disney Imagineering campus in Glendale will host two special events at its Mickey’s of Glendale employee store, flinging open its doors exclusively to D23 Members on Saturday, April 13 and Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Returning in 2013 are D23’s popular tours of the Walt Disney Studio Lot and Archives, where guest have the opportunity to truly walk in Walt’s footsteps, as well as their 50 and Fabulous and From the Vaults film series held in the original Studio Theater on the Burbank Lot.

Of course, D23’s most spectacular event of 2013 will be its third D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, which will take place August 9 – 11, 2013, at the Anaheim Convention Center, directly across from the Disneyland Resort. This can’t-miss, unforgettable three-day experience for Disney fans will once again be brimming with live appearances, musical performances and autograph opportunities by Disney’s top stars from films, TV and music; exclusive sneak peaks of what’s on the horizon at Disney Parks around the world, plus entertaining presentations on a variety of Disney topics. Attendees will also thrill to the always compelling Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit and the exciting Disney Legends Ceremony.

To read more about D23’s 2013 events, click here.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Send a Special Holiday Greeting from the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

New Customizable E-Card From the Disneyland Resort

Are you looking for a way to spread holiday cheer to your friends and family? Mickey Mouse and the gang are here to help, with an all-new customizable e-card! Just upload your photo, select from among the message options, and Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto will help you create a holiday greeting full of Disney magic. You can even share your creation with friends and family on Facebook or through email.

Just click here to get started!

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on the holiday season at Disney Parks, and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DisneyHolidays.

Read more about the holidays at the Disneyland Resort in these posts:

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Disney Cruise Line Prepares for Inaugural Season from Miami

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Only 25 days to go! Today, Captain Mickey Mouse officially kicked off the countdown for the arrival of the Disney Wonder to Port Miami with a Disney-style unveiling of a larger-than-life banner proclaiming “See Ya Real Soon.”

When the Disney Wonder arrives in Miami on December 23, 2012, it will mark the first time a Disney Cruise Line ship has home-ported in South Florida.

Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural Miami season will start with a 7-night Eastern Caribbean Christmas cruise and then ring in the New Year with a 6-night Western Caribbean voyage. These two holiday cruises set the stage for a very happy 2013 with three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.

Be sure to check back later for our video so you can see more of the Disney Cruise Line fun that took place in Miami today.

For more Disney Cruise Line updates, check out the posts below:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Helps Rescue Animals from Hurricane Sandy and Other Disasters

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company

In this season of giving, it seems especially fitting to give thanks for the people who tirelessly work to help animals every day. If you have contributed to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), you have joined Disney in supporting their noble efforts. The DWCF, with your help, has enabled wildlife conservation projects around the world, but it has also aided animals (and people) in need right here in the US.

We are proud to share that the DWCF recently awarded $250,000 to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), whose animal rescue team rushed to join the effort to save animals after Hurricane Sandy. This grant helped equip a disaster response trailer used by IFAW responders and it will continue to provide immediate resources for disaster response as well as help IFAW to plan for the future by providing training sessions for disaster preparedness globally. The funding for this Animal Rescue and Readiness initiative was provided through DWCF and a collaborative effort with Disney Friends for Change to help the planet by directing the proceeds from the iTunes downloads of several of their popular anthems, including “Rise” and “Send it On.”

Our colleagues at IFAW shared that their Hurricane Sandy rescue team members found that, time and time again, families affected by the storm were more concerned about their pets than they were about themselves — and that they were overwhelmed with relief knowing that their pets were going to be safe thanks to the animal agencies responding to provide care and housing for pets. Thank you, IFAW. It is good to know that animals affected by the disaster are receiving care while impacted families can focus on rebuilding and recovery.

The DWCF has supported IFAW’s efforts for more than 10 years, including the rescue of 20,000 endangered penguins from an oil spill in South Africa in 2000, and support for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.

Check out the posts below for more from the “Wildlife Wednesday” series:

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Disney Style Snapshots: An Outfit from Under the Sea

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Michelle Stepney, PR Content Director

Ariel’s autumnal-hued hair inspired this week’s outfit. For fall, we’ve paired the character tee with a cozy sweater and jeans. When the weather warms up, shed the sweater and swap the jeans for your favorite pair of khaki shorts. The look is accessorized with under-the-sea-themed jewelry and a sparkly green nail color (Fresh Frog of Bel Air) from OPI’s The Muppets Collection.

You may choose to wear this look for a ride on the new Walt Disney World Resort attraction Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, where you’ll encounter Ariel and her friends. The attraction is part of New Fantasyland, a multiyear project and the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom Park history. It officially opens on December 6.


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Photo Tour: Exploring Walt Disney World Resorts During the Holiday Season

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

If you’ve ever visited the Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays, then answer this question for me – which Disney resort has the best decorations?

New Decor at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

This year, a total of 150 semi-trailer truckloads of decorations have been spread all over Walt Disney World Resort property, with holiday trees, lights, wreaths and garland creating some truly amazing holiday sights at our resorts – including the new decor at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (pictured above).

That said, here’s a look at some of our favorite holiday displays at Walt Disney World resorts:

If you’re still considering making a trip to Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays, don’t forget to check out Magic Your Way packages, which are available for stays most nights November 23 to December 20, 2012.

Join our discussion on holiday events at Disney Parks on Twitter by using the hashtag #DisneyHolidays.

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort