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New Renderings Offer A Glimpse at the Future Access to Disney Springs

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you’ve visited Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort lately, you’ve most likely noticed the many changes underway as the area transforms into Disney Springs – it’s the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history and, when completed, will double the area’s number of dining and retail options. Through this expansion, guests can continue to enjoy more than 70 themed and immersive shopping, dining and entertainment venues day and night. One of my personal favorites is the new Marketplace Co-Op, which has unique Disney boutique shops and has been featured several times here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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The surrounding roadways and parking areas at Downtown Disney are growing too and will eventually offer easier access to the area. Today we have two new renderings to share with you that showcase the work that is already underway, which includes widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to 10 lanes and constructing two multilevel garages (the first of which, pictured above, is set to open by late 2014 to offer 4,000 parking spaces). Two pedestrian bridges are also planned that will help lead guests into Disney Springs near the current Marketplace side, while the other will offer access in through the West Side.

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As you can see above, the changes will also include a new I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

All of this work is part of the area’s transformation into Disney Springs, which will continue into 2016. The first phase of the expansion, an area called The Landing, will open in 2015 to offer lakefront shopping and dining. In the meantime, if you are planning to visit Downtown Disney for activities with set times, such as Cirque du Soleil performances, concerts or movies, early arrival is suggested.

Be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for future updates.

For more on Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, click the link below:

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20 Facts For The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s 20th Anniversary

posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today we’re celebrating a special milestone on the Disney Parks Blog – it’s the 20th anniversary of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!

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In honor of today’s milestone, here are 20 fun facts about the attraction.

  1. Our Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
  2. The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  3. The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.

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  1. The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  2. The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
  3. The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.

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  1. The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.

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  1. The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.

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  1. Some of the sculptures featured in the lobby are the work of 19th century sculptor Auguste Moreau.
  2. A copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk.

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  1. The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  2. The clip of film in which Rod Serling introduces the attraction was taken from a “Twilight Zone” episode called “It’s a Good Life.”
  3. While actor Rod Serling appears in the film in the Library room, the voice you hear is actually voice actor Mark Silverman.
  4. The young girl who disappears in the elevator carries a Mickey Mouse doll.
  5. The attraction’s “Fifth Dimension” scene was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
  6. The attraction offers a 13-story drop.
  7. The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  8. Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.

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  1. There are now four Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World Resort), Disney California Adventure park (Disneyland Resort), Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris), and Tokyo DisneySea (Tokyo – pictured above) each have their own version.
  2. The attraction will take center stage during runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend this fall, which will feature a The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, a 5K fun and kids races.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.

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‘Scandal’ Actor Joe Morton Visits Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are you a fan of ABC’s “Scandal”?

Actor Joe Morton, who plays the mysterious “Papa Pope” on the show, recently stopped by the Walt Disney World Resort to narrate a performance of “The Lion King: Concert in the Wild” during Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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During his visit, Joe, who is nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his role on the show, shared with us what he and his family love about Disney Parks. Be sure to check out the video below.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Caption This: Mickey Takes Reservations

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Check out this week’s “Caption This” photo, which was snapped in 1986 at the Central Reservations Office at Walt Disney World Resort. No doubt that this was fancy computer technology at the time!

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What do you think is on the slip of paper that Mickey is examining? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” image!

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Filed: Walt Disney World Resort

Sneak Peek: Voices of Liberty at Epcot Add ‘Let It Go’ To Their Repertoire

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you heard? Voices of Liberty, the longtime acapella group at Epcot, recently added some new songs to their repertoire. New songs guests may hear during their daily shows include “You Raise Me Up,” “True Colors,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Here’s a sneak peek at one of those new tunes, “Let It Go” from “Frozen.

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A Peek Inside ‘Frozen Fireworks’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


One of my favorite new offerings that just launched as a part of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have to be the “Frozen Fireworks,” which light up the sky at 9:45 p.m., nightly.

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What I enjoy about this fireworks show is that it combines elements of a stage show, complete with moments of narration with Anna, Kristoff and Elsa, with fireworks and songs from the soundtrack to “Frozen.”

Disney Parks Blog author Bob Hitchcock recently headed out to the park to take a look and find out what guests – and even some of the creators of the show – think of the new nighttime spectacular. Check it out below.

“Frozen Fireworks” will run nightly through September 1, as a part of the park’s Frozen Summer Fun celebration and viewing is available throughout the park.

See the posts below for more ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun:

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Caption This: Crockett’s Tavern at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

posted on July 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Check out this week’s “Caption This” image, which was shot inside Crockett’s Tavern at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

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Sure looks like the bear has something on his mind. But what? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This”!

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Harambe Nights Heats Up Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 12th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this week, Disney Parks Blog author Shawn Slater reminded us that there are only a few more weeks to enjoy Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Harambe Nights Heats Up Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Harambe Nights includes “The Lion King Concert in the Wild,” a retelling of “The Lion King” that features a celebrity narrator, live orchestra, choir and more. The evening event also features a welcome reception and the post-show street party that features Afro-pop music, performers, a buffet and more. Check out the gallery above for some additional photos we’ve never shared from the event.

Have you enjoyed Harambe Nights this year? If so, tell us what you liked about it in the “Comments” section below!

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Disney Parks After Dark: Roy & Minnie at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Tonight’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image is by far one of the best I’ve seen of the statue of Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse. This statue, which is of Walt Disney’s older brother and longtime business partner, sits near the flagpole on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Two Challenges Remain in the ‘Be The Eighth Miner’ Contest

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Only two weeks (and two challenges) remain in the “Be The Eighth Miner” contest, which lets you share your excitement for the opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction in creative ways via social media.

You can enter the “Be The Eighth Miner” contest for a chance to win a seven-day, seven-night vacation to Walt Disney World Resort to meet the Dwarfs and experience the attraction for yourself. Each week, a new challenge will be posted on BeThe8thMiner.com that asks you to show specific “Seven Dwarf”-inspired skills in a photo or Vine video. Once your entry is done, you follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter, and tweet out your entry along with the hashtag #8thMinerContest.

Throughout the contest, social media superstars have been contributing example videos or photos to illustrate what the week’s challenge is all about. This week, Mindy McKnight of YouTube’s Cute Girl Hairstyles, shares looks for “Miner Hair” and “Beards.”

For more on this contest and official rules, click here.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort