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Don’t Miss the Mighty Family Fun Zone at Downtown Disney West Side

posted on March 13th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival is in full swing and family fun abounds! One of my favorite highlights from this year’s event is The Mighty Family Fun Zone presented by “Muppets Most Wanted.” Here, guests can enjoy Muppets mayhem, complete with music, games and activities for the whole family.

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Inspired by the upcoming film, guests of all ages can pose for Muppets-themed photo ops, learn to draw a Muppets character, let loose at a DJ Dance Party and collect Muppets character trading cards featuring Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Constantine, Beaker and Animal. Of course, guests can get a stamp for their Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival Passport, too!

For a sweet bite, look for special Muppets Rice Crispy Treats at the Downtown Disney Food Trucks.

Visit the Mighty Family Fun Zone presented by “Muppets Most Wanted” at Downtown Disney West Side, located between Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues, from 5pm-9pm through 3/14, then enjoy extended hours, from 12pm-9pm, 3/15-3/17/14.

Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted,” an international crime caper starring Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and the whole Muppets gang, hits theaters on March 21, 2014. (Obviously, I plan to see it at AMC Downtown Disney 24!) For more information about The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival, click here.

In the meantime, I think even Kermit would have to agree with me … through March 17, it is easy being green!

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Lucky Day! The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival Starts Tonight at Downtown Disney!

posted on March 7th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Pam Brandon recently shared some early details on the St. Patrick’s fun planned for Downtown Disney. Today, I want to give you even more insight into what you can expect this year! For starters, the event has a new name: “The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival” which really ties to the over-the-top revelry we have planned. Spanning eleven days – from tonight through March 17, 2014 – there is more to experience than ever before. With festivities centered around Raglan Road and spilling throughout all of Downtown Disney, I think we can all agree that this celebration is mighty, indeed!

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A few of the highlights, below:

  • Live Entertainment – Familiar favorites, including the U2 tribute band “Elevation” and the ever-popular “3 Dollar Band” and “The Willis Clan” mix with Downtown Disney newcomers like “We Banjo 3,” an award-winning quartet from Galway, and “Goitse,” a sought-after group that infuses their own compositions into traditional Irish tunes. With three stages and a non-stop line up of talent on the docket, there’s a sound to suit every taste!
  • Festive Drinks & Food – Not sure which libations to sample first? Craving something delicious and green? Pick up a Mighty St. Patrick’s Passport to find out what’s on the menu. From Irish Cream Coffee at Forty Thirst Street (get a free sample during event hours!) to St. Patrick’s Mickey Mouse apples at Candy Cauldron, your palette will be delighted. For true Irish fare, don’t miss Raglan Road, or for a quicker bite, sample the Fisherman’s Pie (a dish from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival) at the Superstar Catering Food Truck.
  • Family Fun – It is easy being green with the Mighty Family Fun Zone presented by “Muppets Most Wanted” where guests of all ages can learn to draw Muppets friends, show off their best moves at a DJ Dance Party and take part in games, giveaways and special photo ops. Plus, with dance workshops, stilt walkers and face-painting, there’s more to be found here than at the end of the rainbow!

For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/St.PatricksFestival. Attending the event? Be sure to tag your photos with #MightyFestival to spread the Irish fun – we’ll be doing the same via the Downtown Disney Twitter handle, @WDWDowntown.

Here’s to our mightiest St. Patrick’s Celebration yet – I hope to see you there!

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Even Stars ‘Strike’ It Big With Family Time at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney

posted on February 19th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


How does a Hollywood power couple enjoy their downtime? Well, if you’re Ed Burns and Christy Turlington, you spend an afternoon at Splitsville Luxury Lanes with an extended group of friends and family.

I had a chance to meet up with the duo over the weekend; within minutes of arriving, their son, Finn, had scored a strike and a sized-for-sharing platter of Splitsville’s sushi arrived at their table. “This is really good,” gushed the supermodel. She sounded surprised; I wasn’t … Splitsville’s food is one of the things that sets the venue apart from other bowling alleys. That, and the fact that it’s truly family-friendly. With a party of 16, the group called ahead to reserve bowling lanes – there was space for everyone to kick back and relax, and plenty of opportunity for a little friendly competition and a lot of laughter.
Even Stars ‘Strike’ It Big, With Family Time at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney

“This family time is really important to us. We’re here at Walt Disney World Resort for our daughter’s gymnastics competition, but we decided to extend the trip and make a real vacation out of it” shared Ed. Christy nodded in agreement, “We left a really cold winter in New York, so this is great!”

Even though Christy admitted “I’m not a great bowler,” she looked like a natural. And though I didn’t stick around to see the final scores, Ed expected that he and his brother would “go at it” on the lanes! The couple took a moment to sign a special bowling pin for the Splitsville team to commemorate the few fun hours they spent there.

With cousins, best friends, siblings (Ed’s brother, Brian, is married to Christy’s sister, Kelly!), and kids in tow, it was the first time the group visited Downtown Disney, but hopefully not the last.

So, have you been to Splitsville? Food, bowling or something else … what’s your favorite part of the “Luxury Lanes” experience? I’d love to hear in the “Comments” section below!

To learn more about Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney West Side, including pricing, hours, and offerings, click here.

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Love is in the Air, and On the Ground, at Downtown Disney this Valentine’s Day

posted on February 12th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


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Downtown Disney is a great place for a date any day of the year, so it should come as no surprise that I highly recommend it for celebrating Valentine’s Day, too! Read on for a few of my favorite ways to spend quality time with the one you love:

If you’re a classic romantic, there’s a good chance either dinner for two, a big-screen romance or decadent chocolate tops your list of Valentine’s Day gestures. Guess who’s got them all? Restaurant options abound here at Downtown Disney (book early here or via 407-WDW-DINE), AMC Downtown Disney 24 is showing all the latest flicks, and Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop is the “go-to” source for chocolate delights. (And if you want to roll those all into one big experience, may I suggest AMC 24 Dine-In Theatres – opt for the Chocolate Brownie Sundae for dessert.)

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If you’d rather surprise your mate with something unexpected, you could take your love to new heights with a ride aboard the world’s largest tethered helium balloon, Characters in Flight, presented by Aerophile (weather permitting). Or strike it big with a lane “a deux” at Splitsville Luxury Lanes – not only can you show your flirty, competitive side, but you can feed each other gourmet sushi (if you’re into that sort of thing). One more idea that’s perfect if you just can’t decide what to get … a Valentine’s Day shopping spree! Let your love loose to pick out the perfect gift – whether it’s a watch, jewelry or a special piece of art, there are plenty of retail shops to explore.

Of course, this is just the icing on the cake (which reminds me … BabyCakes NYC is perfect for Gluten-free Valentine’s treats!); the real gift is getting to spend time with your special someone.

So? What’s your “dream” Downtown Disney date? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. And who knows, maybe your Valentine will be reading, too!

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Find Sweets for Your Sweet at Ghirardelli this Valentine’s Season

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Choosing Valentine’s Day gifts can be tricky. My advice? When in doubt, go with chocolate. With just two weeks until the holiday of love commences, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what to give your sweetheart.

To help you plan, I reached out to my friends at Ghirardelli to get the inside ‘scoop’ on what they’re offering this year. Here’s what they shared:

  • NEW! Muir Woods Sundae – This Black Forest Cherry Sundae features black cherry vanilla ice cream smothered with homemade hot fudge, whipped cream, semi-sweet chocolate chips and a cherry. You can find it at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain. (I couldn’t finish it by myself; it looks perfect for sharing, doesn’t it?)

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  • Premium Heart Gift Tins – This is a classic, can’t-go-wrong Valentine’s Gift filled with 14 assorted Ghirardelli SQUARES chocolates; 2 for $25.
  • Impression Heart Window Box – Who doesn’t love conversation hearts? The Ghirardelli version features 20 chocolate hearts, each displaying a romantic phrase; 2 for $35.
  • Sweetheart Truffles – Ghirardelli’s exquisite truffles come in an assortment of unique flavors all designed to help you celebrate romance; 2 for $20.
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I can’t help but notice that most of these items are priced as bundles of two. I’m taking that as a sign that I can gift one and keep another for myself. (That seems right, right?)

These items are available now at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop located at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Which one do you hope to unwrap on February 14th this year?

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Big Fun on the Big Screen at AMC Downtown Disney 24

posted on January 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Love movies? If so, you’re probably thrilled that we’ve officially embarked on one of my favorite times of the year – awards season! If you were glued to your TV set during Sunday’s “Golden Globes” and you’re counting down the days until the “86th Annual Academy Awards” airs on March 2, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen a movie at my favorite theater, AMC Downtown Disney 24, located at Downtown Disney West Side.

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As a local resident, this is my “go-to” venue to see all the latest releases. With 24 screens, I never have a hard time finding my flick. And whether I’m in the mood for a drama or a comedy, a romance or a thriller, I can always find something to suit my mood. (That goes for my friends, too, and they’re a sometimes-picky bunch!)

I recently saw “Frozen” and “Saving Mr. Banks” here, and I’ll admit, there’s nothing like seeing a future Disney classic right in the heart of the magic!

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While you won’t be shocked to find all the newest films here, you might be surprised that AMC often brings ‘classic’ films back to the big screen. Over the next month, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Sleepless in Seattle” will be featured. You can check out this listing of fan favorites here.

Another bonus? If you want to indulge in dinner and a movie, you can enjoy AMC Dine-In Theatres, which lets you reserve a seat in advance, then order from a full menu of drinks, food and dessert, delivered directly to you in time for the show. Get more details on the “Fork & Screen” option here.

So, fellow movie buffs, what’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? I need to catch up, so I’d love to get your reviews in the comments below.

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Embrace 2014 with Fit2Run, one of the ‘50 Best Running Stores in America’

posted on January 8th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s 2014, a brand-new year full of promise. And if you’re like millions of Americans, the year 2014 is full of resolutions, too! For those who have vowed to make health and fitness a priority in the year ahead, I’ve got great news – Fit2Run, The Runners Superstore, was recently recognized as one of the “50 Best Running Stores in America” by two leading trade and consumer publications, Running Insight and Competitor Magazine.

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Fit2Run prides itself on its strong community involvement and makes strides to empower athletes of all fitness levels to embrace a more active lifestyle. When I asked Fit2Run spokeswoman, Sharon Jacobson, what sets them apart from other retailers, she shared “Fit2Run is family owned and proud to support all our communities, raising millions of dollars for local charities and wellness programs throughout the state. Our passion is to custom ‘fit’ our guests properly using state of the art footwear technology. Our goal? Empower our guests to run or walk pain free while exercising their passion.” Indeed, the store has already been embraced by the local running community and has added vibrant color to Downtown Disney West Side.

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Ready to tackle your New Year’s Resolutions? Whether you want to simply be able to spend a full day walking in the Parks without getting winded or you want to conquer a runDisney race, make Fit2Run one of the first stops on your route to a healthier, fitter you!

Fit2Run has 10 locations in Florida, including the newest location at Downtown Disney. For more information, visit www.Fit2Run.com.

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Clean Up This Holiday Season with Gifts from Basin At Downtown Disney

posted on December 20th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


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Christmas is just a few days away. Still have no idea what to give this holiday season? For most of my friends and me, a little something from Basin is always appreciated. I love the scent of practically everything in the store and whenever I stop in, I have to try out their latest sugar scrub. (I mean it. Every time.) I often buy Basin products as gifts for others, but I rarely treat myself. Want to put a smile on my face? I’ll take a few bath bombs or a custom soap, please!

Recently, I got to chat with store manager, Justin Heninger, to learn more about what they’re offering for the holidays. Not only do they have some products that would make even the most ‘bah-humbug’ guest grin, but some items are exclusively available at the Downtown Disney location. Read on to learn more.

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  • The Fresh Facial: This Downtown Disney exclusive claims to tighten skin and moisturize skin (perfect for these colder winter temps!).
  • Glycerine Soap: These soaps look great, smell great and are extra-gentle on skin. The Mickey soaps are a Disney exclusive that can be found year-round, but the Snowy and Gingerbread scents are available especially for the holidays.
  • Dr. Spot: I’ve been told this is great for getting stains out of clothes. Hopefully I won’t need to test it out, but I have been known to drip egg nog on my Christmas sweaters!
  • Bath Bombs: These gems make bath time magical, changing the color of the water, adding healing moisturizers and, with the Pirate and Princess treasure bath bombs, ultimately revealing toys in the center. Confession: they’re not just for kids!
  • Shave Cream: This product is great for both men and women. Because it doesn’t contain alcohol, it prevents irritation and helps keep skin moisturized, too!
  • Shampoo Bar: Though it looks like a regular bar of soap, this ‘hair food’ offers extra conditioning to help dry, frizzy hair. (I think I need to try this myself!)
  • Of course, this is just a small sampling of Basin’s best-loved products! Other popular delights include Fluffy Pet Soap for your furry friends, Body Butter, Shea Scrub, Spa Wax which helps heal dry, cracked skin, and their Lip Scrub. If you simply can’t decide, a Basin gift card always works too!

    What products from Basin do you hope to find under your tree next week?

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Cirque du Soleil’s ‘La Nouba’ Marks 15 Years at Downtown Disney

posted on December 19th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


On Wednesday night, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of ‘La Nouba’ by Cirque du Soleil with a special pre-show moment and balloon drop finale. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were joined by Neil Boyd, Company Manager of La Nouba, Keith Bradford, Vice President of Downtown Disney, and ‘Les Cons’ to kick off the 7,124th performance of the show. The cast received a standing ovation and 15th anniversary balloons rained down on the crowd. Guests in attendance received a special-edition 15th anniversary print to commemorate the milestone.

See moments from the 15th anniversary show below.

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Counting Down to New Year’s Eve Fun at DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 17th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Five, four, three, two … FUN!

When I think of the new year, I don’t typically start with visions of “I’m gonna wreck it!” in my head, but this year, that could change. Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope will usher in 2014 along with Buzz Lightyear, Chip ‘n’ Dale and … you! If you buy a ticket to the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, that is!

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For guests seeking a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, this is a perfect option. The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. on December 31, 2013, and lasts until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. In addition to five floors of virtual fun, guests can also enjoy dinner (included with admission), dancing and the aforementioned Disney characters!

Michelle Homer, DisneyQuest Operations Manager, calls the event “a night of virtual awesomeness” and with unlimited video games, plus all the regular DisneyQuest attractions (except for Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster, which will be converted into a dance floor), there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. I hear the New Year’s Eve countdown will be especially colorful.

This event typically sells out, so be sure to get your tickets early; they’re $55 in advance and $65 the day of the event (if available). You can get all the details here and tickets are now on sale here, or at the DisneyQuest Box Office or by calling 407-W-DISNEY.

In addition to the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, Downtown Disney will feature DJ dance parties and live entertainment in all three districts plus a variety of food and beverage offerings including unique menu items from the new Disney Food Trucks and cocktails, beer and wine throughout property. (Tip: Walt Disney World Resort guests should plan to take Disney bus transportation and drivers should allow extra time as heavy traffic is expected.)

No matter how you plan to celebrate, I wish you all the best as you kick off a brand-new year!

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