'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Tomorrow, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park celebrates 35 years of taking guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness. My niece recently experienced this runaway train as her first roller coaster, and I was positively thrilled to see her beaming as we got off the attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like many of the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort, is the perfect blend of fun and storytelling. In honor of the iconic attraction’s anniversary tomorrow, here are five things to point out to new pioneers braving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe details you may have missed in the past 35 years.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

1. Wilderness creatures – Most guests know to look for the famous dynamite-wielding goat, but the runaway train also passes coyotes, skunks, possums, turtles and rattlesnakes.

2. Real mining gear – In the attraction queue and all around Big Thunder Mountain, you will see a century-old stamp mill, a hand-driven drill, press gears, picks, shovels and other artifacts. These objects are actual mining gear, purchased from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming.

3. Steam mules – When you’re boarding your train and while careening around the mountain, look for two steam mules. These Victorian-era portable engines were used as set pieces in the Disney film, “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

4. Grizzly Gulch sign – Just before passing Dinosaur Gap in the queue, look for a wooden post with signs to nearby locations. If you look closely, you may see a nod to Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, located 11,743 km away.

5. Willard B. Bounds, U.S. Marshall (Retired), President, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company – Willard B. Bounds, the President of Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company, has signed several notices and proclamations around Big Thunder Mountain, including a sign at the attraction entrance. This is a tribute to Lillian Disney’s father, who was once a blacksmith and U.S. Marshall on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho.

Bonus fact: Did you know the sound of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains was used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a trip aboard the wildest ride in the wilderness! Tell us your favorite memory aboard this iconic attraction in the comments below.

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Celebrates Three Years of Paradise with a Touch of Magic

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Today marks the third anniversary of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Let’s celebrate with a look back at three major milestones this beautiful resort has seen through the past three years.

Tradition and Magic at the Grand Opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

Tradition and Magic at the Grand Opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

With the help of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Hawaiian performers and Aulani cast members, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, led the Grand Opening Ceremony. One of our favorite moments during the ceremony was the joining of Hawaiian culture and the magic of Disney – symbolized by the mixing of sand from the beach with pixie dust in an ‘umeke, a ceremonial wooden bowl.

Ka Maka Landing Officially Opens at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

New Ka Maka Landing Officially Opens Tomorrow at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Ka Maka Landing opened in October 2013, completing the Waikolohe Valley expansion. Your ‘ohana can now spend the day in the spectacular infinity-edge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and children can splash and play in the new Keiki Cove. Be sure to take a break and enjoy a poolside meal at Ulu Cafe before diving back for more Hawaiian fun.

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Travel + Leisure Readers Recognize Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa and Disney Cruise Line for Excellence

Last month, Travel + Leisure announced its World’s Best Awards 2014, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was named the Top Hotel for Families in the United States. Cast members were positively thrilled to receive this honor on behalf of our Hawaiian resort, and look forward to continuing the tradition of providing extraordinary guest service.

Please join me in wishing Aulani a hau`oli la ho’omana’o, or happy anniversary! If you’d like to visit and celebrate the anniversary too, take advantage of a special travel package this fall: book a consecutive four-night or more stay, now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.

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Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: Atmosphere Entertainment at Disneyland Park

posted on August 25th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


One of the best ways to spend the day at Disneyland park is enjoying the sights and sounds of the various atmosphere entertainment. Whether it be starting your morning on Main Street, U.S.A., listening to the Disneyland Band, or taking an afternoon break to the jazzy sounds of the Royal Street Bachelors in New Orleans Square, these are some of the moments that make Disneyland one of my favorite places in the world. Today, the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series continues with a look at some of the performances that come to life everyday throughout the park.

  • Dapper Dans – One of the most iconic Disneyland park entertainment offerings is the barbershop quartet known as the Dapper Dans. Did you know that the term “dapper dan” is a turn-of-the century phrase referring to a well-dressed gentleman? Fitting in with the time period of Main Street, U.S.A., the Dans of Disneyland feature a terrific four-part harmony that can be heard at various times throughout the morning and afternoon. If you haven’t had a chance, don’t miss their patriotic tribute during the flag retreat ceremony in Town Square. Looking for some Dapper Dans charm today? Enjoy the video below of these well-dressed gentlemen teaching you how to ride a bicycle built for four.

  • Royal Street Bachelors – This talented jazz trio has been performing in New Orleans Square since it opened in 1966. Today, they have an outdoor stage at French Market Restaurant, where they begin their sets around lunch time and play about every hour into the early evening. If you swing by around lunch time, you may find me and fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover enjoying a meal – it’s one of our favorite restaurants in Disneyland park!
  • Pearly Band – If you are a “Mary Poppins” fan like me, you won’t want to miss the Pearly Band performing in the afternoon throughout Fantasyland. Inspired by the tradition of London’s pearly kings and queens, the Pearly Band’s outfits are decorated with large, mother-of-pearl buttons. Depending on the wind, some of their supercalifragilisticexpialidocious performances may feature Mary Poppins and Bert as well!

My other favorites include the traditional Disneyland Band, the misfit gang of pirates that go by the name of The Bootstrappers in New Orleans Square, and Hook & Ladder Co., who perform outside the Main Street Fire Station! Tell us your favorite atmosphere entertainment at Disneyland park in the comments below.

Be sure to check the Entertainment times guide when you arrive to confirm performance times and locations.


For more from the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series, visit the stories below:

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Disneyland Resort Summer Tips: Relaxing at the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Relaxing at the Disneyland Resort is one of the best ways to spend a summer day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love cooling off on Splash Mountain at Disneyland park or dropping by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure park. However, a rejuvenating break has many times been the key to staying energized for “Magical” fireworks spectacular or “World of Color.” Today, I’m continuing the “Disneyland Resort Summer Tips” series with a few great locations to spend a few minutes off your feet.

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  • Rest your feet at a show – “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” is a must-do at Disney California Adventure park, and I recommend an afternoon performance because the show runs close to an hour, allowing for a nice escape from the summer heat. If you are visiting Disneyland park on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, head over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree for “The Music of: Nashville.” This all-new entertainment experience features original tunes from the hit television show along with some of your favorites from the country music charts. Lastly, journey to imagination during “Mickey and the Magical Map” in the Fantasyland Theatre! Be sure to stop by the Troubadour Tavern for a snack as you watch the show.

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  • Enjoy a light meal and speciality beverage – The lounges at the Disneyland Resort are easily at the top of the list when looking for ways to relax. I recommend visiting the the Alfresco Tasting Terrace to try the newly updated menu, including “The Disney Family of Wines.” Also at the Golden Vine Winery at Disney California Adventure park, stop by the Sonoma Terrace for a California crafted beer and a Bavarian pretzel. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is a fan favorite and a great way to unwind after a full day in the parks. If you haven’t had a chance to experience this enchanted location, make sure and add it to your must-do list!

Where is your favorite place to relax at the Disneyland Resort? Leave your answer in the comments below!


See the posts below for more Disneyland Resort Summer Tips:

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Menehune Adventure Trail

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


The legendary Menehune are mischievous little people with magical powers ​who live in the forest and only come out at night. Menehune statues are hidden throughout Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Look for them along the Waikolohe stream, along walking paths, in phone booths, elevators … pretty much anywhere! In fact, so many are hidden in the Waikolohe Valley that Aunty has enlisted Aulani guests to help find them on the Menehune Adventure Trail. Using interactive handsets, your ‘ohana can set out on ​30 challenges that immerse you in the mysteries, legends and lore of Hawai‘i. The Menehune supply plenty of enchantment along the way! The “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues today with ​an inside look at some of the secrets you will discover on the Menehune Adventure Trail.

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  • Lava Tube: Deep inside the Pu’u Kilo in the Waikolohe Valley, you might stumble upon a lava tube filled with magma. Watch out – it just may explode! You’ll need the help of the Menehune to divert the magma, avoiding trouble. During this mission to save the island, guests can sense the impressive sights and sounds of a lava flow.
  • Hula Drums: One of Aunty’s friends, Kani, is a master hula teacher who just uncovered an old video of her mother dancing the hula. However, the video has a minor technical difficulty – it doesn’t have any sound! Aunty turns to you and the Menehune to find the right rhythm for the chant using magical instruments along the trail.
  • Kapa: A traditional Hawaiian barkcloth, Kapa is the focal point of one of my favorite missions along the Menehune Adventure Trail. Aunty informs you that a young woman is about to be married, but her mother’s wedding gift, a kapa cloth, remains unfinished. With the help of the Menehune, you can help calm the mother-of-the-bride and complete the magically illuminated pattern.

Now is the best time to explore the Menehune Adventure Trail and more on a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Book a consecutive four-night or more stay now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.


For more from the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series, visit the posts below:

The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

posted on August 8th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park is one of the most treasured theme park attractions at Disney Parks around the world. It’s almost hard to believe, but this week those 999 happy haunts celebrate 45 years of welcoming foolish mortals to their beloved estate in New Orleans Square. To mark the anniversary of these grim, grinning ghosts, I’ll be your host as “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series shares the story of how Walt Disney’s masterpiece materialized.

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

As my fellow Disney Parks Blog author, George Savvas, explained in his excellent post this morning, the Haunted Mansion was years in development. Then, when Walt Disney passed away in December 1966, the team was at a loss for inspiration. Without their captain, conflict arose in the development team. One camp believed that the attraction should be atmospheric and scary, and the other felt that the experience should be fun and lighthearted.

A compromise was reached by the show’s writer, Disney Legend X Atencio. He structured the attraction into three acts:

  • Act 1 focuses on the creepy environments, without actually showing any ghosts. When guests are asked “Is this haunted room actually stretching?” they are given a hint at the frights that wait for them around each corner.
  • Act 2 begins as Madame Leota summons up the ghostly spirits, who would soon be visible. “Rap on a table,” she says, “it’s time to respond.” And soon, they do.
  • The tour of the Haunted Mansion culminates in Act 3, where the happy haunts gather in the graveyard for a swinging wake and “grim, grinning ghosts come out to socialize!”

With this storytelling design, the entire team of Imagineers felt their visions were fulfilled. Within one week of the attraction opening, Disneyland park celebrated what was then the highest single day of attendance. Even after 45 years, the Haunted Mansion continues to blend horror with humor – filled with exquisitely detailed environments and memorable characters.


For more from “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series, visit the links below:

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Three Fun Ways to Stay Fit at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 6th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


A vacation can mean a variety of things for different people, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, has something for everyone. For guests looking to staying in shape during their visit, the Mikimiki Fitness Center is a state-of-the-art health club that offers a wide variety of weights and cardio equipment. In addition, Aulani offers energizing classes daily for all fitness needs – some even outdoors on the beach – as well as Certified Personal Trainers to help you continue your personal training programs. Here are a few of the activities currently at the resort:

1. Group Spinning – If you enjoy spin classes at home, then you’ll love Group Spinning at Aulani. Not only is this fitness class a great workout for experts, it’s a perfect introduction for beginners! No matter your experience level, I promise you’ll feel the burn after this class.

2. Paddle Fitness – One of the newest fitness classes offered at Laniwai Spa, Paddle Fitness is a unique and fun way to workout! Paddle boards are set up indoors, so no need for swimwear, but be ready to increase your strength, balance, coordination and conditioning.

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3. Sunrise Yoga – Start your day watching the beautiful Hawaiian sunrise and improving your health, mental awareness and balance. Sunrise Yoga is one of the most popular fitness programs at Aulani, and it is one of my personal favorites! Even if you are a newcomer to yoga, like myself, this is the perfect way to energize for the day. If you are familiar with yoga, Hatha and Vinyasa are the two styles practiced in this specific class.

After your workout, relax in the whirlpool spas at ‘Alohi Point while savoring the gentle ocean breeze. One last tip: check The Daily ‘Iwa for beach workout and bootcamp schedules, and to see which fitness classes require a reservation before you plan your day!

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Beginning a Journey at Laniwai Spa

posted on August 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


There is nothing like the experience at Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, the amount of detail is unlike anywhere else in the world – and that is just the location. The treatments at Laniwai Spa relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. Laniwai means “freshwater heaven,” and this luxurious location spans 18,000 square feet of interior treatment rooms with an additional 5,000 square feet outdoors at the Kula Wai therapy garden – the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on O`ahu. The “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues today with an inside look at the start of your journey at Laniwai Spa.

Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Upon check-in, you first select a wishing stone etched with a word in both Hawaiian and English to focus on during your treatment. A cast member will then escort you past a water wall, through the transformation corridor. Along its curving walls, notice that one side consists of rougher surfaces and the other feels smooth. This attention to detail makes for a balanced and revitalizing experience. You begin to hear the sound of a passing rain shower and above your head hangs a web of `ohi`a logs and branches. This `ohi`a web seems to rise and fall along the pathway to give a sense of leaving the stresses and distractions of the outside world behind.

Lumi Akalani in the Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

At the end of the transformation corridor, you will arrive the spa’s focal point – the “room of heavenly reflection”. This beautiful rotunda is known as the Lumi Akalani and features a single crystal raindrop suspended from the center. Smooth pebbles fill the shallow pool below and here is where you will cast your wishing stone. Listen for the single drops of water and gaze upon the shimmering walls all around. You feel a sense of enlightenment as your Laniwai Spa journey is just beginning …

Which wishing stone did you focus on during your treatment at Laniwai Spa? I focused on Hau`oli, “Happiness” – leave your answer in the comments below.

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Dole Whip Swirls Up Excitement at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Great news, Dole Whip fans! I am very pleased to announce that the iconic Disney Parks treat is now available at the Lava Shack at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

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You and your ‘ohana can visit the Lava Shack in the Waikolohe Valley from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and order a pineapple, vanilla or swirl Dole Whip. My favorite part – it’s self-serve!

The Lava Shack also offers pool and beach gear, in case you need to pick up any before your daily adventures.

What is your favorite treat to enjoy at Aulani? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: Top 5 Locations to Watch ‘Magical’ Fireworks Spectacular

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Last summer, my friend and fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Erin Glover, shared some of the best places to enjoy “Magical” fireworks spectacular at Disneyland park. Today, we continue the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series with a video of the top 5 locations to catch the show this summer.

Where is your favorite place to enjoy “Magical”? I prefer the center of Main Street, U.S.A., between Refreshment Corner and Main Street Photo Supply Co. Leave your answer in the comments below!


For more from the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series, check out the posts below:

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