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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 27th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


Our holiday coverage continued this week at Disney Parks with daily stories and even a special edition of our email newsletter with an exclusive Christmas wallpaper. Along with our holiday content, we also shared some important information for those of you planning to welcome 2016 at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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Shawn posted a rundown of some of the entertainment lined up for this year’s celebration at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom Park. And if you can’t join us in person for New Year’s Eve, be sure to tune in here on the Disney Parks Blog where we’ll be hosting a live stream of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, direct from Magic Kingdom Park on December 31. Watch for more details coming soon.

We also included an update that reservations opened for Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party happens January 8-March 20, 2016 from 6:30-8 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with special viewing for the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks at 7:45 p.m. each night. You can enjoy a selection of sweets as the night sky erupts with an arsenal of impressive fireworks, set to the most dramatic and memorable Star Wars themes of all time. Check Pam’s story for more details.

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

Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Guest Talent Coordinator for Special Events Such as Disney ¡Viva Navidad! – Guest Talent Coordinator Danny Gaitan hosts guest performers at the Disneyland Resort during special events such as runDisney race weekends and holiday celebrations. Danny says he creates magic not only for our guests who experience the performances, but also for the performers who get the opportunity to entertain on a world-class stage.

Disneyland Resort Horses Featured in Horsetown Parade of Lights in Norco, California – For the second year in a row, Disneyland Resort horses participated in the annual Horsetown Parade of Lights in Norco, Calif. Pulling a vintage stagecoach used in Frontierland for many decades, Clydesdale team Lucky and Eddie glowed as festive decorations illuminated their harnesses.

By the Numbers: Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park – Last week, we put some numbers on the holiday cheer at Disneyland park, and now we’re back with some festive figures for Disney California Adventure park!

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks Now Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Nestled in the imposing shadow of Mt. Everest, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks is the perfect place for tired and hungry travelers to stop in for a quick bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. For climbers who are returning from their ascent, a stop at the bar is considered tradition.

Set Sail for Wintertime Fun with Adventures by Disney Holiday River Cruises – Every family has their holiday traditions. In my family they all seem to center around baking, sweets and the regret that comes from so much baking and so many sweets.

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Walt Disney World Resort Holidays? – Have you visited Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season? Do you think you know everything there is to know about the amazing decorations and miles of lights that make our resort even prettier this time of year?

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VIDEO: Disney Parks Yule Log

posted on December 24th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time to light up our traditional Disney Parks Yule Log. Check out our HD version, created especially for Disney Parks Blog readers and enjoy the crackling fire along with some great music and a surprise character guest.

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Disney Parks Blog Holiday Newsletter Features Exclusive Wallpaper

posted on December 22nd, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


Subscribers to the daily Disney Parks Blog email newsletter know that we like to share surprise special editions at different times of the year. Tomorrow, we’re launching our special holiday edition featuring stories, recipes, a DIY project, digital Yule Log and an exclusive Christmas wallpaper for your computer or mobile device. Here’s a sneak peek.

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It’s easy to subscribe and receive the holiday newsletter as well as our daily updates on what’s happening at Disney Parks. Just visit the sign-up page and you’ll be set. And if you’re already a subscriber, keep an eye on your inbox.

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Disney Parks Blog: Happy Holidays Toy Soldier Poster Sweepstakes

posted on December 21st, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE: This giveaway has concluded.

To kick off Christmas week, we’re giving away 150 special holiday-inspired posters created by Disney Parks Blog author and Yellow Shoes artist Will Gay.

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For a chance to win a Disney Parks Happy Holidays Toy Soldier poster, be one of the first 150 people to email us a “Happy Holidays Disney Parks Blog” greeting of no more than 50 characters in length (which could be a simple “Hi” or “Happy Holidays Disney Parks Blog” greeting) to WDW.Sweepstakes@Disney.com and include your full name and mailing address in the email.

Once the potential winners are determined, we’ll send notifications via email. See the sweepstakes rules and eligibility requirements here.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for holiday stories this week and next.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes starts 12/21/15 at 1:00pm ET and ends 12/21/15 at 4:01pm ET (or once we receive 150 entries into the Sweepstakes, whichever occurs first). Open only to persons who, upon entering, are not deemed minors in their jurisdiction of primary residence and are legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S. or D.C. Limit 1 entry per person/per email address. For complete details, including full eligibility requirements, odds of winning and limitations, see Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 20th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, thousands of guests celebrated the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens during a special-ticketed Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night event at the Walt Disney World Resort. And the group included Disney Parks Blog readers who joined us to watch the film at AMC Disney Springs 24 before enjoying a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We have a new video this weekend featuring what you had to say about the film.

And to continue the celebration, the Disney Parks Blog live streamed the “Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show on Friday night from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

“Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” is a dazzling Star Wars-themed fireworks show that’s set to memorable music featured throughout the saga. The spectacular will be featured nightly at the park.

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

Sneak Peek At ‘Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration’ Holiday Fashion – “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts and Jesse Palmer will serve as hosts to this year’s two-hour procession of floats and celebrity performances, including appearances by Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Seal, Tori Kelly, Andy Grammer, the cast of “Descendants” and more.

Wallpaper: It’s National ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater Day’! – Brittany Ungvrasky, our “Ugly Christmas Sweater” designer, racked her brain to combine the thoughts of a hideous jumper with something iconically Disney. The happy result was a digitally “stitched” design that leans toward the adorable. It is Disney after all!

Disney Parks After Dark: Colors Come Alive at Night During Holidays at the Disneyland Resort – Holiday nights at Disneyland park come alive with vivid colors from “Paint the Night” parade, “Disneyland Forever” fireworks, the attractions and the holiday décor. Take a look at six images that represent a small portion of what you can see after the sun sets during the holidays at Disneyland park.

VIDEO: Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday at Disneyland Park – “In this whole wide world there was no happier bloke” than entertainment icon and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke as he celebrated his 90th birthday with family, friends and fans at Disneyland park last Sunday.

U.S. Marine, Five-Year-Old Daughter Reunited with Help of Santa Claus at the Disneyland Resort – After a seven-month deployment, U.S. Marine Brian Demo was reunited with his five-year-old daughter, Abigail, whose one and only wish was to have her daddy home in time for Christmas.

Disney Parks Bento Magic: Jack Skellington ‘Sandy Claws’ & Christmas Treen – This week’s Disney-inspired bento box is simple to create and sure to impress your family and friends during the holiday season. It’s our first two-tiered bento box project featuring Jack Skellington in his “Sandy Claws” hat from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” film along with a special seaweed salad Christmas tree.

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Disney Parks Bento Magic: Jack Skellington ‘Sandy Claws’ & Christmas Tree

posted on December 17th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week’s Disney-inspired bento box is simple to create and sure to impress your family and friends during the holiday season. It’s our first two-tiered bento box project featuring Jack Skellington in his “Sandy Claws” hat from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” film along with a special seaweed salad Christmas tree.

Disney fan and Disney Parks Blog reader Mike Kravanis joined us in Epcot and was inspired to create today’s how-to bento box video after seeing one of the park’s beautiful Christmas trees. A seafood salad stuffed rice ball was molded to make Jack Skellington’s head and Nori, or a paper-like roasted seaweed sheet, was used for create the details of his face under a red pepper hat.

And to make the second-tier seaweed salad, Mike cut and created Christmas tree ornaments out of colored carrots and cucumbers. Try it this holiday season and then let us know which character you’d like to see featured when we continue our bento box series in 2016.

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You Could Win Tickets to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Party at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 14th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


The entry period has ended. Please keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for future opportunities.

We know many of our readers are as excited as we are about the official debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens film, so we’re offering a chance to see the film at Disney Springs and then join us for a Star Wars after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

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You can enter for a chance to win two (2) tickets to the sold-out Star Wars: The Force Awakens party which begins at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at AMC Disney Springs 24 (check-in begins at 8 a.m. EST). Winners will have a confirmed seat at one of the first public showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And the party will continue after the film, as winners can join a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2 a.m.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, winners will have access to the new Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, a DJ dance party and other special event experiences. The night will be highlighted with the preview of a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic “Star Wars” score.

You can enter for a chance to win by clicking here and following the entry instructions to complete an official entry form. Your entry must state your valid email address and full name.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

All entrants must be 18 years or older (or the age of majority in their state of primary residence, whichever is older) at time of entry, but guests of the winners do not need to be 18 or older (as long as the guest is the child of the winner).

  • We will send a notice, via email, to the winning entrants.
  • Limit one guest per winner.
  • It will be necessary for the winner and guest to check-in in advance of the party. Instructions will be provided to winners.
  • Winners must provide their own transportation to/from Disney Springs and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Winning prizes are non-transferrable and have no cash value.

Hope to see you there.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Starts 11:00 A.M. ET on December 14, 2015, and ends 3:00 P.M. ET on December 14, 2015. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. or D.C. who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. To enter, follow the instructions at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/09/disney-parks-blog-hosts-star-wars-the-force-awakens-opening-night-party. Prize does not include accommodations or transportation between winner’s home and the party taking place on December 17, 2015. Limit one (1) entry per person. For full details including eligibility requirements, odds of winning and prize limitations, see Official Rules. Void where prohibited.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 13th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, we continued sharing some great holiday stories from Disney Parks, including another behind the scenes look at one of your favorite attractions. The Disneyland Resort Entertainment team has turned the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland park into the Jingle Cruise and we took a special tour to see how they did it.

It takes about two weeks of work to change the Jungle Cruise into the Jingle Cruise for the holidays. For more information, check out Shannon’s original story.

And we also featured 16 new products that will make 2016 an Unforgettable year at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in our exclusive Disney Parks Blog “unboxed” series. The items shown in the video will be released throughout 2016 (we don’t have exact dates at this time).

Once released at Disney Parks, you may find select items using the Shop Disney Parks mobile app. This free app gives you access to thousands of products we carry at Disney Parks which you can have shipped directly to your home. To download, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Let us know which item is your favorite in the comments.

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

Discover Holidays at the Disneyland Resort with Santa Claus – Recently I had the chance to sit down with the big man in red himself, Santa Claus. We chatted about all there is to see and do during the holidays during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

#DisneyFamilia: Get Festive at Walt Disney World Resort With Gifts, Events and More! – The holiday season is in full swing at Walt Disney World Resort! Here are a few ideas on things to do and gifts for your familia!

Take a Look at These Chocolates From New Ganachery at Disney Springs – The Ganachery chocolate boutique at Disney Springs opens December 15, where delectable chocolate is the star of the show. An extraordinary custom-blended dark chocolate is blended with cream, then covered in a “chocolate waterfall” to create 16 fabulous flavors, from coffee to cinnamon and curry. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

Enjoy the Holidays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort – This year, the holiday season sparkles even brighter during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. It’s one of the best times to not only visit our parks, but also stay at one of our three hotels.

The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot – Today Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger presided over a special ceremony to dedicate the newly restored office of Walt Disney in the Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 6th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, our new Star Wars entertainment offerings and attraction enhancements were officially unveiled at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Star Wars Launch Bay offers guests the chance to interact with Star Wars characters by choosing to encounter the Dark Side in a Star Destroyer themed area, or visit with the brave Rebels in a makeshift Rebel Base. Fans of the film franchise can also visit two different exhibits – Celebration Gallery and Celebration Hallway to view iconic ships from the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Navy fleet, as well as replica Star Wars props and murals.

We also announced that The “Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” nightly fireworks show will begin blasting off December 18. You can learn more about all of the new Star Wars offerings in Jennifer’s original post.

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And 2016 is shaping up to be truly Unforgettable at Disney Parks. Check out our 16 reasons the new year should be the year you visit the Walt Disney World Resort.

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

15 Photos of Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade – In case you haven’t heard, we’ll be live streaming the parade one night only on Sunday, December 6, at 8:25 p.m. EST. In the meantime, check out these 15 photos of the parade that are guaranteed to put you in the holiday mood.

‘Grand’ New Gingerbread House on Display at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – Have you seen the “Grand” New Gingerbread House in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort? Standing at over 7 ½ feet tall and 12 feet wide, this creation took a team of 25 talented artists, engineers and bakers more than 1,400 hours to create.

Holiday How-To: Throw A ‘Disney’ Cookie Decorating Party – In case you have a few kids – or kids coming over – a cookie decorating party may be just the thing to get them in the holiday spirit. Check out our tips on how to throw a Disney themed cookie decorating party below.

Share the Joy of the Holidays During Annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive at the Disneyland Resort – In honor of Giving Tuesday, our Disney VoluntEARS would like you to join us in sharing the spirit of the season! Now through December 12, we are hosting the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots toy drive at locations throughout the Downtown Disney District and inside the lobbies of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.

VIDEO: Holidays at the Disneyland Resort Officially Begins with Lighting of ‘it’s a small world’ Holiday – On the evening of November 12, we officially kicked off Holidays at the Disneyland Resort with the ceremonial lighting of “it’s a small world” Holiday!

Download our ‘Holidays Around the World’ Wallpaper – One of my favorite things about Epcot is that, in the space of a day, you can become a world traveler. It’s a park steeped in the culture of eleven different countries. As the holidays approach, you can also learn about each country’s seasonal traditions!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on November 29th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


As part of our Thanksgiving celebration this week, we shared a special behind-the-scenes look two unforgettable holiday stories from the Walt Disney World Resort that you may have seen on ABC’s Good Morning America. They’re two heartwarming stories involving members of our military from the United States Air Force and United States Navy – and both have surprising twists.

Also this week, Disney Parks Blog readers got a quick peek at how we decked the walls of “it’s a small world” Holiday at Disneyland Resort. Check out hours of work in just 40 seconds.

The attraction’s façade has 50,000 C7 size lights in seven different colors: red, blue, green, amber, fuchsia, purple, and white. It adds up to almost five miles of light strings on the façade. Visit Shannon’s original story for more interesting facts about “it’s a small world” Holiday.

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

New ALEX AND ANI Debuts at Disney Parks – Charm your way into the new year with the ALEX AND ANI Dated 2016 Charm Bangle (available in Rafaelian Gold and Rafaelian Silver Finishes) featuring Sorcerer Mickey, beginning December 14 at Disney Parks.

International Treats at Holidays Around the World at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort – ‘Tis the season of sweets at Epcot, with World Showcase countries showing off their sugary best starting November 30 for Holidays Around the World.

PHOTO GALLERY: Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’ – Check out these special images of Rapunzel from photographer Ryan Wendler!

Holiday How-To: Holiday Leftovers Panini – Not sure what to do with your leftovers from Thanksgiving? In our final turkey-day tip, Lenny DeGeorge, Executive Chef, Concept Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, shows us how to make the perfect holiday panini.

Wildlife Wednesday: Animals Love Pumpkins! – We are thankful to care for these amazing animals every day … and, recently, the animals showed us they are thankful for pumpkins!

#DisneyFamilia: Celebrate the Holidays Mexican Style – The event Feliz Navidad is returning this year to the Mexico pavilion at Epcot where guests are welcome to celebrate the holidays a la Mexicana, by sharing their culture and traditions in a very musical way.

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