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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on February 7th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We kicked off the first week of February with our first-ever live stream of “Fantasmic!” from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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This guest-favorite show explores the magic of Mickey Mouse’s imagination – and the adventure he embarks upon when the Disney villains show up to try to turn his dream “into a nightmare Fantasmic.”

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During the live stream, you voted to unlock a new Sorcerer Mickey wallpaper. Disney artist Mike Britton created the wallpaper that celebrates the color of “Fantasmic!”

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

See Blood, Sweat & Tears April 15-17 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival See Brian Howe April 22-24 at Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
See Georgia Satellites April 29-May 1 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival See Darlene Love May 13-15 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Also this week, we shared an update that two more weekends and four new acts will join the lineup for this year’s Garden Rocks concert series during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Thirteen pop bands with hits spanning the decades will take the stage each weekend through Memorial Day at America Gardens Theatre from March 2 – May 30. Check Victoria’s original story for more.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Josh Gad Takes Viewers to Rarely Seen Places at Disneyland Park During ‘The Wonderful Disney: Disneyland 60’ February 21 on ABC – Josh Gad will take viewers on a unique tour of Disneyland park, including peeks inside Walt Disney’s private apartment above Main Street, U.S.A., and the Disneyland Dream Suite in New Orleans Square, during the two-hour television special, “The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60,” on Sunday, Feb. 21, on the ABC Television Network.

Enter Now for Chance to Win Dazzling ‘Sleeping Beauty’-Inspired Crown in Disneyland Diamond Days – Disneyland Diamond Days sweepstakes, part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, has been giving guests the chance to win dazzling prizes – and this week’s prize is one of the most dazzling!

Making Wishes Come True at the Disneyland Resort – Recently, The Walt Disney Company celebrated making 100,000 wishes come true with Make-A-Wish. In celebration of this special relationship, we asked our cast members for some of their favorite memories fulfilling wishes.

Reservations Now Open for New Table-Service Dining at River Belle Terrace in Disneyland Park – On February 10, the next chapter for River Belle Terrace will begin as the restaurant reopens as a table-service location, featuring barbecue favorites, tasty sides and more.

New Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration HARVEYS Attraction Totes Debut – Are you ready to see the next wave of attraction poster totes from HARVEYS created for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration?

Tips for a Rainy Day at the Disneyland Resort – Here at the Disneyland Resort, wet weather does not put a damper on day of fun. Try out these activities to sprinkle extra excitement on your rainy day visit.

Celebrate Black History Month With Special Author Signings at Epcot – Guests have the opportunity to meet four renowned African-American authors and cultural icons each Saturday during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

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Disney Parks Bento Box Magic: Albert the Monkey

posted on February 4th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We’re continuing our exclusive series of Disney-inspired bento box tutorials and our first how-to video of 2016 features a favorite character from Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland Park – Albert the Monkey.

Disney Parks Blog reader and fan Mike Kravanis designed his latest bento box during a visit to the China Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. To create Albert, Mike used a few salmon salad and rice filled inari pouches and added them to a bed of kale. Radishes and olives were also combined to make Albert’s eyes.

And to complete the bento box, tomato and yellow carrots were used to make a lantern. Check out the video for step-by-step instructions.

Also, keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more Disney-inspired bento box tutorials in upcoming weeks.

For more from our “Disney Parks Bento Box Magic” series, visit the posts below:

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 31st, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, we continued our popular “All in the Details” series with an exclusive story on how Walt Disney Imagineering is putting the “springs” into Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.

At the heart of Disney Springs is a bubbling spring located in Town Center that represents not only the power and beauty of nature, but optimism and possibilities. To recreate an authentic Florida spring, Imagineers used various shades of bright glass pieces as accent colors to make the springs glitter and nearby live oak and cypress trees were incorporated into the design. Check out Jennifer’s original story for more details.

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We also announced our next Disney Parks Blog hosted live stream will be Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on February 2.

The live stream will start promptly at 6:50 p.m. EST, but join us early at 6:45 p.m. for a behind-the-scenes look at the show. To watch, simply visit the Disney Parks Blog around 6:45 p.m. on February 2. You can also engage with us by using the hashtag #DisneyParksLIVE on Twitter.

Here are some other stories we worked on this week.

Experience Disney PhotoPass Service in New Ways at Disneyland Resort – Disneyland Resort guests will soon get to experience Disney PhotoPass Service in a whole new way! With a new website, access to your memories on the Disneyland mobile app and new photo opportunities – we are gearing up for an exciting year.

Look Back at the Making of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Rose Parade Float – Weeks before the finishing touches were added, we went to the warehouse and captured the 166-foot-long Rose Parade float just as it was taking shape.

Behind the Scenes: ‘The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular’ Carries on a 35-Year Legacy of Adventure – It’s been 35 years since audiences first became enthralled with Indiana Jones, the archaeologist turned adventurous hero in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – and more than 25 years since audiences fell in love with “The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Elton John to Perform in ‘The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60’ February 21 on ABC and Fans Can Join the Fun with the Disney Applause App – The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is the inspiration for a glamorous, star-studded two-hour television event, “The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60,” on Sunday, Feb. 21 on the ABC Television Network.

runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Presented by PANDORA Jewelry Medals – Runners are gearing up to put their fairy wings on and fly to the finish line to earn this year’s runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend bling. The Disney fairies, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys will be there to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the event weekend. Check out these medals inspired by our friends from Pixie Hollow. – See more at: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/01/rundisney-tinker-bell-half-marathon-weekend-presented-by-pandora-jewelry-medals/#sthash.BspsmqHi.dpuf

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress? – Is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress one of your favorite classic Disney attractions? How well do you know it and its history? Put your knowledge to the test below! – See more at: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/01/quiz-how-well-do-you-know-walt-disneys-carousel-of-progress/#sthash.B5mdplOy.dpuf

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 24th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, our blog coverage of Disney Parks included an update on an unforgettable act of kindness that led to a dream come true and a special visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

You may remember the story of two college students who started an effort to raise money and surprise Kathryn Thompson, a beloved cafeteria worker at Acorn University in Elon, NC, with a trip to Walt Disney World. This past week, Kathryn traveled to Florida for her dream vacation and a surprise reunion with the two students who made it happen. Check out Bob’s original story for more details

We also let you know that in Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll soon be able to explore a new exhibit that delves into some of the behind-the-scenes research that went into the production of Disney’s upcoming comedic adventure “Zootopia.”

The ‘Zootopia’ exhibit opens January 29 inside Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Shawn has all of the details in his original story.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

#DisneyGrandAdventure: Magical Memories for Multi-Generation Families at Walt Disney World Resort – Keep checking the blog for #DisneyGrandAdventure posts in the months to come and learn more about the Grand Adventure for Grandparents & Grandkids here.

When I See an Elephant Fly … from the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park – Disneyland Resort fans know that our attractions need a bit of scrubbing and polishing every now and then. But when the attraction in question is the world famous Jungle Cruise, and the scrubbing and polishing involves one rather hefty bull elephant … well then, you just call in a helicopter.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Engineer Andy Fitzgerald to be Saluted at Disneyland Resort Flag Retreat Ceremony January 24 – Today we will extend a special thank you during the daily flag retreat ceremony at Disneyland park to Andy Fitzgerald, one of four U.S. Coast Guardsmen who went out to sea to rescue the crew of the SS Pendleton in 1952.

Disneyland Diamond Days Winner Enjoys Private Breakfast in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park – Recently, Disneyland Diamond Days winner Simon Dawson from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and his family enjoyed a private breakfast in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland park, along with a ride on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. The morning got even more magical when Roger Rabbit himself joined them for a visit!

Space Mountain-Themed Products Are Clear for Launch at Disney Parks – One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World Resort is Space Mountain because I’ve dreamed of being an astronaut. This classic Disney attraction in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park opened on January 15, 1975.

Kids Remember Their Disney Cruise – What are the things you remember most from your first Disney cruise? In this video, we talked with some of our youngest cruisers to hear what they had to say. Check it out!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 17th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, Disney Parks Blog readers were among the first to learn that one of the most intriguing new characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Kylo Ren – will be coming to Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Every day at Disney Parks, you can step into the exciting experiences like Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple” and Star Wars Launch Bay. Next month, a visit to Star Wars Launch Bay at either Disneyland park of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will transport you to the Star Wars galaxy for an encounter with Kylo Ren. Check out Shawn’s original story for more details.

And we also shared that ‘Tangled’ has returned to the Royal Theatre at Disneyland park. Beginning this weekend (Friday, January 15), the tale of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider is once again coming to life through the inimitable storytelling talents of resident Renaissance men, Messieurs Smythe and Jones. Take a look at our original story.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

First Look at New Rivers of America Waterfront and Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park in California – The Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland park in Southern California have closed temporarily as we prepare to bring an all-new Star Wars-themed land to the park. When these areas reopen, the north bank of the Rivers of America will have a beautiful new waterfront, which we’re excited to give you a sneak peek at.

Happy Lunar New Year Celebration Returns to Disney California Adventure Park – This year, the Year of the Monkey, brings the return of the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure park, February 5-8!

Pixar Wizards Leave Their Signatures on Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – If you’ve had the chance to stop through Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, you may have noticed the impressive Storyboard Chandelier that serves the lobby’s centerpiece. Since the resort opened in 2012, it has become tradition for film contributors – both voice actors and those working behind the scenes – to add their autograph to a sketch appearing on the chandelier.

New Year – New Disney Parks Moms Panel – The beginning of 2016 not only brings new hopes and dreams for many of us, it also brings new members to the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Decorate Your Home with New Disney Parks-Inspired Figurines – During a recent Disney Parks Blog Unboxed video, I gave you a first look at three new decorative figurines coming to Disney Parks this year. These figurines were inspired by characters and icons from attractions found at Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resorts.

Wildlife Wednesday: Meet Willie the Aardvark at Rafiki’s Planet Watch – I’m delighted to introduce you to Willie, a new resident at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Willie is an aardvark that frequents the outdoor stage next to Affection Section where I hope you get the chance to meet and learn more about him in person.

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Experience Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show One More Time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on January 15th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


As many of you know, our historic expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will bring new, spectacular experiences to the park, including entire lands inspired by the blockbuster Star Wars and Toy Story films.

Recently, we shared that the park’s Star Wars-themed land will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet with new experiences that’ll include a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts everyone in the middle of a climactic battle.

And in Toy Story Land, Andy’s backyard will come to life and the famous little green aliens from the movie will take you for a spin in their very own flying saucers. A family-friendly roller coaster will also have you riding on the back of Slinky Dog.

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In order to bring our new lands to life, the first steps of the expansion will be happening soon. We wanted to let you know that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and nearby locations around Streets of America will be closing on April 2, 2016. The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show attraction will continue its daily shows until the closing date.

While the new areas of the park come to life, we’ll continue bringing new things to Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as the recent opening of Star Wars Launch Bay, the nighttime spectacular “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” and Sunset Showcase.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on our largest-ever expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – we’ll have more information to share with you soon.

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Opening Date Set for Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney’s Newest World-Class Destination

posted on January 12th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We have some big news to share about one of the most exciting projects ever undertaken here at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Just about five months from now on June 16, Shanghai Disney Resort will host a grand opening celebration and welcome its first official guests.

“When it opens in June, Shanghai Disney resort will be a one-of-a-kind, world-class destination that is authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “The resort reflects Disney’s legendary storytelling along with China’s rich culture, and showcases some of the most creative and innovative experiences we’ve ever created. We’re looking forward to showing it to the world and sharing it with the people of China for generations to come.”

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You might remember that previously we announced an accelerated expansion plan, which will allow Shanghai Disney Resort to offer even more magic, more attractions and more entertainment. The resort will include two richly themed hotels; an expansive recreation area; a unique retail, dining and entertainment district; and an incredible new Disney theme park with six themed lands and never-before-seen attractions designed specifically for the people of China.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to experience the park. From Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park, to Tomorrowland, with its massive, color-shifting canopy at the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, not to mention the largest Disney castle ever, there’s so much to look forward to.

We’ll keep you updated as we get closer to opening day!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 10th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We kicked off the first week of the year with stories about some new experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2016, including special dining opportunities and new ways to experience some of your favorite attractions.

E.P. Ripley, One of the Steam Engines of the Disneyland Railroad Premium Tea Party at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel Beginning Jan. 22

Erin shared that while the Disneyland Railroad is temporarily closed this year, guests at the Main Street and New Orleans Square Train Stations will be able to get up-close with the historic steam engines that have circled Disneyland park for decades. Guests will be able to learn about the trains firsthand from our own train engineers and even take a picture with an engine.

There are other special opportunities around the world-famous Jungle Cruise and limited-time experiences aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia throughout the year at Disneyland park. Check out our original story for all of the experiences.

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And we welcomed a new member to the family at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – a baby marmoset. Two 3-year-old marmosets are the proud parents, and Dr. Mark Penning let us know that both are demonstrating great parenting skills. Check out Mark’s original story for video of baby and more details.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

California Farm Prepares New Home for Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm Animals – As we prepare to wish our Disneyland goats a fond farewell, we’re happy to announce that they have found a wonderful forever home on a farm in Murrieta, Calif.

VIDEO: Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Float Dazzles in the 2016 Rose Parade – We kicked off the new year in Pasadena, Calif., with the “Disneyland Diamond Celebration – Awaken Your Adventure” float appearing in the Rose Parade on January 1!

A Very Special Afternoon Tea Begins January 22 at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel – Steakhouse 55 is hosting a mid-day tea from noon to 3 p.m. beginning January 22, bringing the rich tradition of a royal afternoon respite to Disneyland Resort guests where they can enjoy sweets, savories and a grand selection of a dozen special teas.

Southern California Residents Can Enjoy Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and More with Limited-Time Special Tickets – As the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues into 2016 and Season of the Force takes guests into the Star Wars galaxy in Tomorrowland, Disneyland Resort starts the new year with a special ticket offer for Southern California residents.

New Dishes Highlight Indian-African Flavors at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village – Sanaa is one of Disney’s top table-service restaurants, but many still consider it a well-kept secret (and a Cast Member favorite).

Disney Parks After Dark: Main Street Electrical Parade Lights Up Magic Kingdom Park – With the holidays behind us, the “Main Street Electrical Parade” is again the centerpiece of nighttime entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park, shown here in a photo snapped of the Partners Statue.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is #1 Film of All-Time in US

posted on January 7th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We know Disney Parks Blog readers are some of the biggest Star Wars fans out there. And we’ve been thrilled to share new Star Wars experiences with our guests at Disney Parks around the world. Now, we’re pleased to celebrate an incredible new record for the film. Take a look at this post from our friends at Starwars.com.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 3rd, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, we rang in the New Year with a spectacular New Year’s Eve live stream here on the Disney Parks Blog featuring fireworks from Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort as well as our first, exclusive wallpaper of 2016.

Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland Park Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen To Open at Magic Kingdom Park

In 2016, there’s plenty to look forward to at Disney Parks. Check our earlier stories to learn more about some of our top reasons to celebrate at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on to end 2015 and begin the New Year.

Pinterest Points to Family Fun During the Holidays or Any Time at Downtown Disney District – These vacation weeks are a perfect time for family fun, and Downtown Disney District is a perfect family fun addition to a day or a week’s vacation at the Disneyland Resort. Entertainment, shopping, food and play are all on tap at Downtown Disney District, and Pinterest offers some great suggestions for planning your visit.

Disney by Land and Sea: Top Ways for Adults to Relax and Have Fun – Adding a Disney cruise to the end of your Walt Disney World Resort vacation is the perfect way to extend your family’s fun-filled adventures. We know the kids won’t run out of energy, but after all the fun you have in the parks, it’s likely the grownups will appreciate the many opportunities to recharge at sea.

Wildlife Wednesday: Take a Peek at Some of the Baby Animals Born This Year – What an amazing year it has been! Disney’s Animal Kingdom is seeing unprecedented growth – and I don’t mean the park expansion. I mean baby animals! We have enjoyed quite a baby boom at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the last year. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Seas with Nemo & Friends have also seen a number of births.

Top Five Most-Watched Disney Parks Blog Videos of 2015 – This year the Disney Parks Blog team got to cover so many amazing events on video – from Disney Parks Blog meet-ups, to exciting attraction announcements, to the opening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Disney Springs – it’s impossible to pick our favorite.

Gourmet Treats Kick Off the New Year at the Disneyland Resort – Ring in the New Year with new gourmet treats from our Candy Kitchens! If you’re headed to the Disneyland Resort this January, here are a few quick tips on some of the special, hand-crafted items you’ll find.

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