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Year in Review: Disneyland Resort Through the Lens

posted on December 31st, 2013 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

So many of the stories we tell here on the Disney Parks Blog rely on the amazing images shared by our photographers. I rely so much on Disneyland Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer, myself – in fact, you often see his photos and you probably don’t even know it, since his work is often uncredited. But he often shares his favorite shots with us himself as a Disney Parks Blog author. Here are some of my favorite Paul photos from 2013.

Disneyland from Walt’s View – To mark Walt Disney’s birthday on December 5, Paul shared a special view of Main Street, U.S.A., from inside Walt’s apartment at Disneyland park.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

Through a Photographer’s Lens: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park – One of my favorites of the year, the colors in the shot of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure park make it look like a vintage postcard.
Frog Jump Falls at Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure Park

Through a Photographer’s Lens: Waterfalls of Disneyland Resort – Paul works his photographer’s magic in this photo to make the water rushing over Frog Jump Falls at Grizzly River Run look like cotton.

Rainy Day Reflections at Disney California Adventure Park – You may not know this (or perhaps you do, if you read the Disney Parks Blog a lot) but Paul has a fascination with reflections. Windows, puddles – if an unexpected view is bouncing back, he’s going to shoot it.

Disney Parks After Dark: Dumbo the Flying Elephant … Topiary, That is … at Disneyland Park – Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a Dumbo-shaped topiary and colorful fireworks combine to create this whimsical view of Fantasyland at Disneyland park.

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Ring in the New Year With Delectable Treatments at Disney Spas

posted on December 31st, 2013 by Michelle Baumann, Walt Disney World Public Relations

Recharge, Reenergize and Reconnect
The flavors of the season – Champagne, strawberries and chocolate mousse — are just a few of decadent ingredients in the new spa offerings at Senses – a Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. From January 1- February 28, these tasty treatments debut just in time for the new year at both Senses spa locations. I guess I have always reserved Champagne for New Year’s Eve, but it’s time to indulge. These fabulous treatments will really tantalize your taste buds and all your senses. There’s Chocolate and Strawberry Facial to tone, tighten and detoxify, a Mimosa Champagne Scrub and Body Wrap that hydrates and refines and a Mimosa Champagne and Chocolate Pedicure to give your tootsies some pampering. My mouth is watering over the Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap, created to reduce wrinkles and hydrate with rich chocolate. Yummy. It’s a perfect refresh for the new year after the stress and tension of the busy holiday season. I can see a radiant, revitalized and sweeter “new me” as I am wrapped in chocolate from head to toe. What a treat! Check out the site for a menu of offerings.

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

We’re Giving Away a Vacation-a-Day Through January 31, 2014 During the Family Time Resolutions Sweepstakes!

posted on December 31st, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

We’re celebrating the New Year early at Disney Parks with an opportunity to win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

Walt Disney World Resort Sends 2012 out with a Bang

2014 is the year to resolve to spend more fun time together as a family and there’s no better place than the parks to play together and show your Disney Side – the side of you that says “yes” more often, laughs louder and lives life to the fullest.

We’ve just launched where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January.

On, we are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not Minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (EST) on 12/31/13 and ends 11:59:59 PM (EST) on 1/31/14. Click here for Official Rules.

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13 Disney Cruise Line Highlights of 2013

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

I love the lists that start popping up at the end of each year sharing highlights of the past 12 months, don’t you? It got me thinking how Disney Cruise Line had yet another big year, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our biggest moments in 2013.

I narrowed my list to 13 highlights, but I’d love to know what you’d add. Check it out and keep the list going in the comments!


Inaugural Miami Season
The Disney Wonder kicked off this year with our inaugural season from Miami, the newest US homeport for a Disney ship, marking our first time cruising from southern Florida. Voyages to the Bahamas and Caribbean from this iconic city will continue on the Disney Wonder or Disney Magic in 2014 and 2015.

New 2014 itineraries Unveiled
WIth the expansion of our fleet the past two years, this year we announced even more itinerary options, including voyages from Puerto Rico to the Southern Caribbean in 2014. We also unveiled Venice as a brand-new homeport and cruises that visit destinations in the Greek Isles and Sicily for the very first time.


First Calls on New European Ports
Our return to Europe this year was enhanced with exciting new destinations in the Mediterranean. During our summer season, we made first calls to Mykonos in the Greek Isles, Athens, Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Disney Magic’s call on Venice marked the ship’s first return to her birthplace since construction.

Captain Tom Named First Commodore
Captain Tom Forberg, our first and longest-serving captain, was named the first Commodore in the history of the company. With this honor, given to accomplished and distinguished leaders of military, commercial and cruise fleets, Commodore Tom now serves as the highest-ranking Disney captain.


Royal Court Royal Tea Introduced on the Disney Fantasy
We rolled out one of our newest family-friendly experiences, Royal Court Royal Tea, an exclusive event that gives Disney Fantasy cruisers the chance to interact with Disney princesses like never before. At this whimsical royal tea party, families are personally greeted by the princesses and entertained by lively hosts with stories, dancing and singing.

First Call on Jamaica
As part of our cruises from Galveston, Texas, this year, for the first time ever we called on Jamaica, home to beautiful beaches, lush green forests and mountain vistas. Stops at Falmouth, one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns, will continue in 2014 on 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.


Halloween on the High Seas Celebrated on the Disney Dream
Halloween festivities are always fun on our ships, but this year we took it to a whole new level on the Disney Dream. Our extra-spooky celebration, Halloween on the High Seas, treated cruisers to special experiences like Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, Haunted Stories of the Sea and much more.

Disney Magic Received Magical Transformation
Our flagship vessel got a massive makeover this fall, one of the largest transformations ever performed in the cruise industry. The majority of this project took place in dry dock at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, with work happening in shifts around the clock to bring to life a host of magical enhancements.


Re-imagined Disney Magic Set Sail
The re-imagined Disney Magic set sail from Miami with an extra dose of magic onboard, including brand-new spaces and experiences for kids, adults and families. Some of the highlights include the AquaDunk thrill slide, transformed Oceaneer Club and Lab, new fun just for adults, Carioca’s dining room and “Drawn to Magic” dinner show.

Kids Enter the Marvel Universe on a Disney Ship
The relaunch of the Disney Magic marked the first time the super hero icons of Marvel have been introduced on a Disney ship. Inside Marvel’s Avengers Academy, kids can be part of a multi-day training experience, which includes virtually putting on Iron Man’s suit and learning the “Avengers Assemble” call sign from Captain America himself.


Very Merrytime Cruises Brought Holiday Cheer Earlier Than Ever
More guests had the chance to celebrate the winter holidays onboard this year with our Very Merrytime Cruises kicking off in early November. All four ships were transformed with sparkling decor, families came together for special holiday events and Disney characters put on their best Christmas attire – for almost two full months!

Fans Award Disney Cruise Line with Prestigious Honors
We received several prestigious honors this year, thanks to our fans, including Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for Families, making it the fifth consecutive year to be ranked in the number one spot. Plus, Condé Nast Traveler readers named all four of our ships among the top large cruise ships in the world, with the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Dream highest on the list.


New Disney Friends Sailing
Several new Disney friends joined our fun this year, including our newest visitor, Princess Anna, who’s been visiting all four ships as a special holiday treat. Jack Skellington and Sally added to the spookiness of the Disney Dream’s festivities this Halloween, and Captain America is now sailing on the Disney Magic, making special appearances in Marvel’s Avengers Academy for the kids and around the ship for cruisers of all ages.

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Three Kings Day Celebration Moves to Disney California Adventure Park, January 3-6

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

We’re wrapping up our first season of Disney ¡Viva Navidad! by bringing the popular Three Kings Day celebration to Disney California Adventure park. Friday, Jan. 3, through Monday, Jan. 6, guests can enjoy even more festive fun in Paradise Garden.

Three Kings Day Celebration at the Disneyland Resort

Three Kings Day, also known as Dia de los Reyes Magos, is celebrated in many Latin American countries as part of the Christmas story. It commemorates the day the three kings (the magi or “wise men”) followed the star to Bethlehem and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Now part of Disney ¡Viva Navidad!, our Three Kings Day celebration will offer even more delicious food, Latin-inspired entertainment and interactive elements than ever before.

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Most Popular Items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise in 2013

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

As this year draws to a close, I looked back at some of the most popular stories we shared on the Disney Parks Blog about Disney Theme Park Merchandise. Thank you for the wonderful feedback throughout the year. From what I’ve seen in development, next year is going to be awesome! Please share your favorite merchandise item from Disney Parks in 2013 in the comments below.


Disney Collection By Vera Bradley
The new Disney Collection by Vera Bradley was the most popular story in 2013. Announced in March 2013, three colors – “Midnight with Mickey,” “Just Mousing Around,” and “Where’s Mickey?” – were released in the fall at World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida, select Disneyland Resort locations and online at There are additional orders of select items en route to Disney Parks, and stay tuned for news about new colors for 2014.

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter
In May 2013, three Disney Parks were open for 24 hours as part of the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter. Michelle Harker and I enjoyed sharing updates throughout the day, including photos of my crazy coast-to-coast adventure.

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter The Haunted Mansion at Home

The Haunted Mansion at Home
In February, we shared details about nine Haunted Mansion home décor that really capture the spirit (pun intended) of this classic attraction. These items were followed by an online exclusive tee shirt in August and a beautiful Dooney & Bourke handbag in September. Haunted Mansion fans should prepare for even more incredible things later in 2014.

Beautifully Disney
In March, we launched Beautifully Disney a new collection of cosmetics and beauty products created especially for Disney Parks. Four different collections – “Wickedly Beautiful,” “Unlock the Spell” “Fiery Sprit” and “Fantasy in Flight” – can be found at Disney Parks and the Disney Parks online store. In spring 2014, a dedicated Beautifully Disney boutique will open inside the Marketplace Co Op at the Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida.


Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returns and the Droid Factory Expands
The Star Wars D-Tech Me experience returned to Star Wars Weekends 2013. Using 3D imaging and printing technology, Guests could either cast themselves in Carbonite or become a Stormtrooper. The Droid Factory, the build-your-own Astromech droid action figure experience, was also expanded to Disneyland Resort in spring.

Year of the Ear
We turned the “Limited Time Magic” spotlight a few times on iconic Disney ear hats from strawberry-inspired hats to a unique Disney heroes and villains ear hat cover.


Stylish Holiday Ornaments
Beautiful shoe ornaments strutted into Disney Parks’ locations in May 2013. They were soon followed by another wave of resin ear hat ornaments during our Christmas in July celebration. We also released two limited edition ear hat ornament sets featuring the Main Street Electrical Parade and Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Music from Disney Parks
Two new official music albums for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort were released in August. These albums can be found at select locations at Disney Parks as well as

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A Year in Dining: The Top Five Milestones at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

With culinary triumphs big (another AAA Five-Diamond award for Victoria & Albert’s) and small (the recent croissant-donut debut at Epcot), there’s been plenty to blog about the wonderful world of food at Walt Disney World Resort. Here are five standouts:


  1. California Grill: Nothing quite surpasses the re-imagination of the sleek California Grill high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. New menu, expanded sushi bar, 80 wines by the glass – and the spectacular view is still part of the show.


  1. Major makeover at France Pavilion at Epcot: On the heels of the opening of Monsieur Paul restaurant in December 2012, the makeover continued with the opening of Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles, a bakery 10 times the size of the old one at the pavilion. Best of all, the bakery opens at 9 a.m., so you can sip a latte with a warm croissant before the rest of World Showcase opens. Next door to the bakery, the new L’Artisan des Glaces Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet is making ice cream all day long in the true French tradition (simply milk, sugar, cream, eggs and fruit).
  2. Food marketplaces at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: The farm-to-table trend made its way to the festival with “festival farms” around each of the dozen Garden Marketplaces to show how the plants grow that are part of the food and beverages served at the festival. And they’ll be back in 2014.
  3. Disney Food Trucks: Four fun new trucks are now parked at Downtown Disney West Side serving everything from pierogies and kielbasa and tandoori spiced shrimp. Superstar Catering (“favorite of the stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Namaste Café (“tasty exploration from Disney’s Animal Kingdom”), Fantasy Fare Truck (“delightful dishes from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms around the world”), and World Showcase of Flavors (“the best of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival”) offer something for every taste Wednesday through Sunday.


  1. Starbucks: The iconic American coffee company debuted in the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom and at Fountain View at Epcot.

There were plenty of little gems, too: more “better for you” goodies in all four theme parks, the al fresco lounge at Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, all those designer cupcakes, wine in kegs at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival . . . the list goes on.

And 2014 promises lots of big stories that we can’t wait to share.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Year in Review: Looking Back in Time at the Disneyland Resort

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

One of my favorite subjects covered here on the Disney Parks Blog is the history of Disney Parks. Two of our authors, George Savvas and Valarie Sukovaty, specialize in the history of the Disneyland Resort. Here’s a look back at some of the stories they shared with us this year.
Walt Disney Takes a Photo with Disney Characters in Front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in 1965

Walt Disney and the Disney Characters at Disneyland Park – In his popular 3-part series, George showed us some fantastic photos of Walt Disney surrounded by Disney characters here at Disneyland park.

Floral Mickey Through the Years at Disneyland Park – This spring, Valarie gave us a wonderful look back at some of the faces of Floral Mickey through the years.
Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland Park

A Look Back: Sailing Ship Columbia Debuts at Disneyland Park 55 Years Ago This Week – To mark its 55th anniversary, we took a look at some vintage photos of the Sailing Ship Columbia.

Fantasyland Theatre Through the Years at Disneyland Park – In anticipation of the opening of “Mickey and the Magical Map,” we took a look back at some of the shows that have been performed at the Fantasyland Theatre. Do you have a favorite?

A Look Back: 1958 Opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama at Disneyland Park – These rarely seen photos gave us a glimpse into the opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad, 55 years ago.

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Unbearably Cute Costumes and More for Duffy the Disney Bear Coming to Disney Parks in Early 2014

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


While recently roaming the halls of Disney Theme Park Merchandise headquarters, I visited with Julie Young who is now the merchandiser for dolls, plush and Duffy the Disney Bear. Julie and I have been working together for more than 10 years (much of that time was spent together on the Disney pin team). That day, Julie was particularly happy to share details about new costumes and more coming for Duffy the Disney Bear in early 2014. Here is a brief summary of what you can expect to see in the New Year.


As in previous years, there will be a new 12-inch, pre-dressed bear celebrating 2014. This art is part of what we call a “global program” as it is used on a variety of hardlines and softlines merchandise. This bear will be joined by a new reversible costume for a 17-inch bear in January. One side of the costume celebrates St. Patrick’s Day while the other side celebrates Easter.


Additional costumes for 17-inch bears are coming in February. You should look for a Stitch outfit and, one of my favorites, a yellow rain poncho (do you remember those from Disney Parks?). There will also be a deluxe costume inspired by Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” that comes complete with a small Jiminy Cricket plush.

There will also be two pre-dressed bears released in February including one inspired by Steamboat Willie and one featuring Duffy in a safari outfit.


Finally, March will see another new costume for the 17-inch bear that looks like Jake from Disney Junior’sJake and the Never Land Pirates”.

The best places to find a great assortment of Duffy the Disney Bear merchandise is at Treasures in Paradise inside Disney’s California Adventure park at Disneyland Resort and at Disney’s Traders near the entrance to World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.

Select items will also be carried on our Disney Parks online store in the coming months.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 29th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

As we wrap up the year, this week’s stories featured some great looks at the best in 2013, including Jennifer’s Year in Review at the Walt Disney World Resort and Erin’s Year in Review at the Disneyland Resort.

'Glow With the Show' Debuts at Walt Disney World Resort New Fantasyland at Disneyland Park

Did you have a favorite Disney Parks story, photo or even Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2013? Let us know in the comments.

Here are some of the other stories we shared this Christmas week.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Boxing Day at the Canada Pavilion – Take a look at the Canada Pavilion, still under construction from January 1982.

Merry Christmas from Disneyland Park – Merry Christmas! Look at these photos of our Christmas tree on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park.

Top Five Entertainment at Disney Parks in 2013 – Don’t miss this list of new experiences that debuted at Disney Parks in 2013.

Disney Parks After Dark: All Is Calm & Bright at Tokyo Disneyland – Check out a peaceful nighttime shot of Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland.

Year’s Top ‘Limited Time Magic’ Experiences at Disney Parks – Watch this video recap of 2013’s top ‘Limited Time Magic’ experiences.

First Look at New Pins Coming to Disney Parks in 2014 – Collector or trader of pins? Take a sneak-peek at what’s to come in 2014!

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