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Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland Park

Virtual Tour of Walt Disney’s Apartment

posted on December 23rd, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

We have a special holiday treat for you today. We’re sharing rare video from inside a place that very few people have seen; a place that cast members fondly call “Walt’s apartment.” It was built on Main Street, U.S.A., for Walt Disney and his family during construction of the theme park. We’re also giving you a virtual tour that highlights some of the more special items in the apartment.

One of the unique items showcased in the video is the Tom and Jerry drink set that Walt used to entertain guests during the holidays. In Walt’s apartment, in one of the drawers underneath the Tom and Jerry set, there is a recipe for the Tom and Jerry drink that is similar to the one that Walt served.

We’re also sharing that recipe with you today in case you’re entertaining guests who are age 21 or older in your apartment (or home) this holiday season.


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New Year’s Eve 2010 at Disneyland Resort

posted on December 21st, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Fireworks at the Disneyland Resort

I’ve always thought that New Year’s Eve is a tricky holiday to celebrate. If I stay home, I’ll just fall asleep, so in the past, I’ve opted to host or go out to one place for the evening.

If you’re like me and have trouble thinking of a New Year’s plan, you might consider celebrating at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks on New Year’s Eve. This year, there will be special entertainment added to the traditional holiday fireworks in Disneyland park and the spectacular new “World of Color” show in Disney California Adventure park.

In Disneyland park, hours are extended to 2 a.m., and stages will be set up around the park for countdown festivities. DJs will encourage guests to dance into the new year at Sleeping Beauty Castle and small world Promenade while live bands will liven up Tomorrowland Terrace, Carnation Plaza Gardens and New Orleans Square, which will also be the site of three performances of “Fantasmic!” at 9 and 10:15 p.m. and immediately following the midnight “Fantasy in the Sky” New Year’s fireworks show.

At Disney California Adventure, where park hours are extended to 1 a.m., there will be special entertainment along the Paradise Pier boardwalk and a “fountains and fireworks” countdown to midnight in Paradise Park, immediately followed by the first “World of Color” show of 2011. (Earlier New Year’s Eve performances of “World of Color” will take place at 8 and 9:15 p.m.) In Hollywood Pictures Backlot, revelers on the grid in “ElecTRONica” will heat up throughout the night and into the new year.

Beginning at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve, party hats and noisemakers will be available while supplies last in both Disneyland, at the Festival Arena near Big Thunder Ranch, and Disney California Adventure park, in Condor Flats near the vintage airplane just west of the entrance to Soarin’ Over California.

The Downtown Disney District and the Disneyland Resort hotels will join in the merriment with twinkling lights and ornaments, special entertainment and holiday dining.

Let us know if you’re planning to ring in the New Year with us.

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Guest Spotlight: Celebrating 45 Consecutive Christmas Eves at Disneyland Resort

posted on December 20th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Several Disney Parks Blog authors have been sharing stories about their favorite holiday traditions at the Parks, and today we’re spotlighting a guest with a particularly special holiday tradition.

Brien, Mary and Erin Manning in front of Disney tree 2008

Erin Manning of Newport Beach, Calif. has visited Disneyland park nearly every Christmas Eve of her life, and her parents, Brien and Mary, have been celebrating Christmas Eve at Disneyland park for 45 consecutive years.

Brien Manning and Erin Manning 2008

“I know it is truly the holiday when I walk down the center of Main Street, U.S.A., and the Christmas tree and lights are shining bright,” Erin shared with me.

Erin also shared several photos with us, including this one of her Christmas Eve visit in 1968 as she sits atop her dad’s shoulders.

Brien Manning and Erin Manning Disney Parade 1968

Erin says: “Disneyland holds a special place in my family’s heart. My father tells numerous behind-the-scenes stories that we never get tired of hearing. One of my favorites is about his asking Mr. Disney for his ticket to ride the Gondola and about the days when they used to serve Mint Juleps on the River Queen. He even mentions being at the Grand opening and how it was so hot the asphalt was melting.”

Erin also loves this photo from the 1980s of her with Mickey Mouse and her sister, Shana.

Shana and Erin Manning with Mickey

Erin, we hope you and your parents have a very happy holiday and that your parents enjoy their 45th Christmas Eve at Disneyland park!

Erin shared her story with us by uploading photos of her favorite Disney memories at our “Let the Memories Begin” website. Please share your favorite Disney holiday memories with us by uploading a photo or video.

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Disney Holiday Ornaments: My Tradition of Giving

posted on December 16th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

As I’ve shared on the Blog many times, I love to travel, and every time I visit a new place, I always look for different and interesting ornaments for my own tree and to give as presents. One of my favorite sets of ornaments are some hand-carved wooden animals that I picked up on a trip in Africa. I bought lots of these for my friends and family members because I want them to know that I’m thinking of them wherever I go.

Since I’ve worked at the Disneyland Resort for the past five years, people don’t care about the ornaments I’ve picked up in China or Italy. They just want Disney ornaments and anything in the shape of Mickey’s head.

Because of that, I’ve done my share of searching for ornaments in just about every store at the Resort in the past five years. We’re sharing a few in the video today.

Do you have a favorite ornament? Do you like to give your family members and friends souvenirs from your trips to the Parks?

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Christmas Tree Decorating Tips from Disneyland Resort

posted on December 15th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Christmas Tree

Last week, Valarie shared some unique holiday decorating tips from Dave Caranci, manager of Resort enhancement at the Disneyland Resort. His ideas were all easy and inexpensive things that you could make at home, including a Mickey Mouse tree topper, a window decoration with a hidden Mickey and a TRON tree topper.

Today, we have good news from procrastinators who haven’t yet purchased your tree. Dave gave us a few tips to help make decorating your tree as easy as possible.

  • Tip 1: Picking a tree. For many holiday displays, the focal point is the tree. So make sure yours fits perfectly in your space. Measure the height AND the width of the space before heading out to buy a tree. These days, you can find almost any size; so don’t settle.
  • Tip 2: The snow knows. For a great snow effect for your household Christmas tree display, add polyester quilter’s batting to the branches. For an added touch, bring your lights up through the batting (the flame-retardant kind, of course) to add a special “glow” to your snow.
  • Tip 3: Ornaments. Use fragile, expensive and sentimental ornaments sparingly. Spotlight a few special pieces in places of honor, especially out of the reach of small children and pets. Use less expensive, more durable ornaments to fill out the display. And, again don’t be afraid to go overboard. The Disneyland Resort’s main tree display features more than 2,000 ornaments. QUICK TIP: Clustering ornaments throughout the display makes a bigger impact than spreading them around.
  • Tip 4: Think outside the “ornament” box. Almost anything can become a complement to your holiday display if it fits your theme. Disney Parks decorators have used such “eccentric” ornament collections as plates, cups, silverware and cooking utensils for culinary-themed displays; sports equipment and memorabilia for an athletic holiday offering; and sailboats, yardarms and anchors for a nautical panorama. QUICK TIP for next year: Try scouring Party and “Halloween” stores, in early November for deals on themed merchandise and costume elements.
  • Tip 5: What You Can’t Buy – Make. Get the kids involved with simple projects like stringing popcorn or cranberry garlands. Have them color or paint pictures; and use inexpensive frames to spotlight their artistic masterpieces. The more personal the ornaments, the more your friends can “ooh” and “ahh” over your resourcefulness and creativity.

Which of Dave’s tips was most interesting to you? Do you have any holiday decorating tips to share?

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Video: How to Make Holiday Tamales

posted on December 14th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Yesterday, Betsy shared how making tamales is a traditional holiday treat for her and family. The Disneyland Resort also celebrates this tradition by offering tamales at Rancho del Zocalo during the holiday season through Jan. 3.

We spoke with Chef Jay Garcia who showed us how we can make tamales at home. You can see the full recipes for the chicken tamales and vegetable tamales.

Take a peek and let us know if you participate in this tradition.

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Expansion Continues at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on December 9th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

As we look forward to 2011, we are excited to share that we are making great progress on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The year 2010 has been very exciting. In June, we made a big splash with “World of Color,” the nighttime spectacular that is wowing guests every night. On October 29, we reached an exciting milestone with Cars Land with the topping out of the mountain range – about 125 feet in the air. And, many of you have seen The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Goofy’s Sky School coming to life along the parade route. Both are scheduled to open in 2011 along with new restaurants and shops as we finish the entire Paradise Pier expansion.

Now, as we move toward a new year, expansion continues. In January, our efforts move to the front of the park.

The 'CALIFORNIA' Letters at Disney California Adventure Park

On Jan. 4, we will begin making way for a new entrance modeled after the legendary Pan-Pacific Auditorium. This means, the “CALIFORNIA” letters will be removed, and we plan to save these icons for possible future use. Now’s the time to get your photos!

Artist Rendering of the Disney California Adventure Main Entrance Area

As this work continues, we are making adjustments to the Disney California Adventure Main Entrance area, including relocation of some Guest service areas. We’ll keep you informed about those here on the Disney Parks Blog as soon as we have specific dates and locations.

Rendering of Los Angeles in the 1920s

Also on Jan. 4, we will begin the transformation of the Sunshine Plaza area into Buena Vista Street inside the Main Entrance. When complete, it will represent Los Angeles as it was when Walt Disney arrived on the west coast in the 1920s.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates as the expansion continues.

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Winter Hats at the Parks: Do You Have a Favorite?

posted on December 7th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

It’s been a little chillier than usual for us Southern Californians this winter. If you’re visiting the Disneyland Resort and are in need of something to keep you warm, take a peek at our winter headwear. There are more than 25 winter hats available around the Resort. They’ll keep you warm and also make for a fun souvenir.

Take a look at this video showing some of the hats available.

Do you have a favorite?

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Joy To Our Small World Holiday Greeting

posted on December 6th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Some of us Disneyland-based Disney Parks Blog authors had a little fun today putting together a holiday greeting for you guys. It’s pretty silly, but we hope you like it.

You can create your own, too. The dolls are inspired by “it’s a small world” Holiday at Disneyland park, and you can customize the dolls to look like you and your friends by selecting different hair styles and other features. Just go to to get started on your own holiday greeting.

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Time-Lapse Video: Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle at Disneyland Park

posted on December 2nd, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Need a little lift today or some help getting into the holiday spirit? Take a look at this serene, time-lapse video and see how Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle transforms from day into night.

At the end of the video, you saw a quickened version of one of the nighttime light shows. The Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle light show is divided into three “acts” over the course of the evening. Each one begins at the Castle and travels the length of Main Street, U.S.A., finishing at the Town Square Christmas tree. Each act features a magical snowfall, and the final act concludes with “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Park
When you need a little magic this holiday season and can’t hop on over to the Parks, come back to this video. The lights and music are very calming for me. I hope you enjoy them, too.

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