Earlier today, a group of our Walt Disney World Resort cast members were featured on “Good Morning America” helping to create an amazing magical moment for Give Kids the World, a local nonprofit that has provided vacation experiences for thousands of children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Shouting “Move that bus!” dozens of cast members helped unveil a Give Kids the World “Extreme Village Makeover” on live TV. For this one-of-a-kind project, Disney cast members dedicated countless hours to redesign and renovate the building. This beautifully re-imagined space features a registration area and lounge, as well as a floor-to-ceiling inspirational mural created with hundreds of photos of personal moments between volunteers and families.
The Walt Disney World Resort and its cast members have been involved with Give Kids the World for more than 25 years, with the resort donating theme park tickets or providing Disney character entertainment, and cast members volunteering their time through the Disney VoluntEARS program.
After a few hints, we unveiled the mysterious new float coming this spring to the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at Magic Kingdom Park. It’s an impressive float that represents Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” – in the form of an enormous, Steampunk-inspired dragon.
The Maleficent Dragon has been designed in partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry, whose previous collaborations with Disney Parks have included the “Tapestry of Nations” parade at Epcot and “Finding Nemo – The Musical” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Check Jennifer’s original story more more details about the Maleficent Dragon and what’s coming to Magic Kingdom Park.
And we continued our blog-exclusive series on the history of the Disneyland Monorail with a look back at the Mark III. This model had nearly a twenty-year run on the rails above Disneyland park. Erin Glover has more on the history of the Disneyland Monorail Mark III.
Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns March 5-May 18 – Topiaries for this year will include Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and more!
Join the Fun at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Character Roundup at Disneyland Park – Open Fridays through Sundays, the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Character Roundup features trick ropers, the famous Disneyland Resort horses and of course, your favorite Disney characters.
Big Fun on the Big Screen at AMC Downtown Disney 24 – 24 screens show all the latest movies, including “Frozen” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” at this theater at Walt Disney World Resort.
Happy Lunar New Year Celebration Returns to Disney California Adventure Park – Celebrate the Year of the Horse with a Lunar New Year event taking place at Disney California Adventure Park!
VIDEO: Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz – Behind the Scenes with Jessica Chastain as Merida – Watch the making of this “Brave”-inspired portrait and a conversation with Jessica Chastain on all things Disney!
Magic Kingdom Park Says ‘Good Knight’ to the UCF Football Team with Gala Hometown Parade – Take in the highlights of this hometown team celebration of the 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl champs!
A Mom’s Take: Exploring the Wonders of Dubrovnik with Disney Cruise Line – Marcy, a Disney Cruise Line specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, tours the port of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
This week, we unveiled an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that’s set to debut at Magic Kingdom Park in 2014.
Walt Disney Imagineers Ben VanBeusekon and Mary Mac Eachin explained the creative process behind designing and producing themed cars for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and shared how the train cars are painted and aged in a way that contributes to the storyline of the attraction. Check Jennifer’s original blog story for more.
And did you see, leaders from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Lightstorm Entertainment kicked off the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history with a ceremonial groundbreaking for the park’s new AVATAR-inspired land with blue, Na’vi-inspired shovels.
In our photo illustration, the group was joined by a Na’vi, showing the scale of characters from the “AVATAR” film. Check our original story for more details about the area and some great video from the ceremony.
Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.
Exclusive First Look: New Annie Leibovitz Disney Dream Portrait Featuring Jessica Chastain as Merida – This stunning new portrait can be seen in the February issue of O – The Oprah Magazine, available on newsstands later this month.
Meet Captain America from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ This Spring at Disneyland Park in Anaheim – Meet the first avenger in person at Disneyland park!
Disney Parks After Dark: A Fun Night at Gaston’s Tavern at Magic Kingdom Park – See this snap of the fountain outside Gaston’s Tavern after sundown.
A Mom’s Take: Cruising with Disney to Alaska – Thinking about an Alaskan cruise? Get all the best tips here to make your vacation extra special!
Ten Things You May Not Know About Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Learn more about this fantastic Victorian-era inspired resort.
Save Up to 30% on Select Rooms at Walt Disney World Resort This Spring – Enjoy the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Star Wars Weekends and more this spring at Walt Disney World Resort.
Southern California Residents Can Show Their ‘Disney Side’ with New Disneyland Resort Ticket Offers – Consider these exciting 2-day and 3-day ticket offers for Disneyland Resort.
We kicked off another year of Disney Parks Blog meet-ups with a celebration of the new food trucks at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Chef James began the event with a great explanation of the different flavors available at the food trucks parked at Downtown Disney West Side near Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues.
And of course, after hearing about the food, Disney Parks Blog readers experienced each of the food trucks – tasting the new dishes and spending time with Chef James.
The delicious bites included Lobster Rolls, Tandori Spiced Shrimp, and Lamb Meatball Flatbread – all available at the trucks during the year. A favorite was the bright-red Fantasy Fare truck, “Delightful Dishes from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms Around the World,” that brings the legendary hand-dipped corn dogs of Disneyland Resort to the East Coast.
Readers also enjoyed the World Showcase of Flavors truck, “The Best of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
,” offering fest favorites. Pam has more details
on what you’ll be able to enjoy at the food trucks this year.
Thank you to everyone who attended our first Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2014. As always, it was nice meet new readers and spend time with blog friends again.
Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for information about our next meet-up opportunity.
Earlier this week, leaders from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Lightstorm Entertainment kicked off the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history with a ceremonial groundbreaking for the park’s new AVATAR-inspired land with blue, Na’vi-inspired shovels.
In this photo illustration, they were joined by Jake Sully, showing the scale of characters from the “AVATAR” film.
The area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in partnership with “AVATAR” creator James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney park. Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.
“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already home to some of our guests’ favorite attractions,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With AVATAR, we are adding a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced. The expansion now under way will make the park a true full-day, must-see experience.”
This week’s milestone is just the first step in a larger expansion for the park that will also include the debut of a new evening spectacular, as well as a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Check out the video below for a look inside the ceremony, and be sure to follow the Disney Parks Blog for future updates on this exciting expansion.
For previous AVATAR coverage, see these blog posts:
We kicked off the New Year with a look ahead at some great reasons to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in 2014, including the debut of Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom Park.
Visit Jennifer’s original story to see more reasons why you should be planning a vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort this year.
And we continued our previews on the Disney Parks Blog with a preview of new merchandise coming to Disney Parks in 2014. Check out Steven Miller’s early look at what’s ahead.
Here are some of the other stories we worked on to begin the year.
Stellar Wine Cellar at Napa Rose at Disneyland Resort – Ryland Brown, Sommelier at Napa Rose presents the restaurant’s excellent wine cellar.
Three Kings Day Celebration Moves to Disney California Adventure Park, January 3-6 – Disney ¡Viva Navidad! came to a close with a Three Kings Day celebration this week at Disney California Adventure park.
My Parting Shot At Disney Parks – See one of Gene Duncan’s favorite shots, as he signs off after a nearly 40 year career.
Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Cicely Rigdon – Read about Disney Legend Cicely Rigdon, a true part of Disneyland Resort history.
Year in Review: Disneyland Resort Through the Lens – Look at some of our favorite photos of Disneyland park from 2013, courtesy of Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer.
We’re Giving Away a Vacation-a-Day Through January 31, 2014 During the Family Time Resolutions Sweepstakes! – See this exciting opportunity to win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.
13 Disney Cruise Line Highlights of 2013 – A look back at the best moments for Disney Cruise Line in 2013.
A Year in Dining: The Top Five Milestones at Walt Disney World Resort – Five standout achievements in food at Walt Disney World Resort in 2013.
UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. Please CLICK HERE to view a list of the accepted event attendees. If you are on the list and do not receive a confirmation email by 5 p.m. EST today, please contact us at WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.
To kick off the New Year, we’ve cooked up a special Disney Parks Blog meet-up to celebrate the arrival of our food trucks at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The Food Truck meet-up runs from 3 – 5 p.m. EST on January 9, 2014, at Downtown Disney West Side. At the event, you’ll be able to sample some of the delicious offerings, including hand-dipped Corn Dogs, Lobster Rolls, Tandori Spiced Shrimp, and Lamb Meatball Flatbread, that’ll be available from the trucks during the year. There will also be music and plenty of fun for attendees.
RSVP now by sending us an email with your name, address and if you’ll be bringing a guest to WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com. Only one guest is permitted. A limited number of attendees will be selected for the event, so be one of the first to sign up.
Also, there are a few things you should know:
- All attendees who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
- Limit one guest per registrant.
- We will send an email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
- If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in at at Downtown Disney West Side for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
- Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
- Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
- Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
- If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
- The event is subject to change or cancellation.
This post will be updated after the planned capacity has been reached. Please note the event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Hope to see you at our first Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2014.
We’re celebrating the New Year early at Disney Parks with an opportunity to win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.
2014 is the year to resolve to spend more fun time together as a family and there’s no better place than the parks to play together and show your Disney Side – the side of you that says “yes” more often, laughs louder and lives life to the fullest.
We’ve just launched disney.com/resolutions where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January.
On disney.com/resolutions, we are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not Minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (EST) on 12/31/13 and ends 11:59:59 PM (EST) on 1/31/14. Click here for Official Rules.
As we wrap up the year, this week’s stories featured some great looks at the best in 2013, including Jennifer’s Year in Review at the Walt Disney World Resort and Erin’s Year in Review at the Disneyland Resort.
Did you have a favorite Disney Parks story, photo or even Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2013? Let us know in the comments.
Here are some of the other stories we shared this Christmas week.
Vintage Walt Disney World: Boxing Day at the Canada Pavilion – Take a look at the Canada Pavilion, still under construction from January 1982.
Merry Christmas from Disneyland Park – Merry Christmas! Look at these photos of our Christmas tree on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park.
Top Five Entertainment at Disney Parks in 2013 – Don’t miss this list of new experiences that debuted at Disney Parks in 2013.
Disney Parks After Dark: All Is Calm & Bright at Tokyo Disneyland – Check out a peaceful nighttime shot of Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland.
Year’s Top ‘Limited Time Magic’ Experiences at Disney Parks – Watch this video recap of 2013′s top ‘Limited Time Magic’ experiences.
First Look at New Pins Coming to Disney Parks in 2014 – Collector or trader of pins? Take a sneak-peek at what’s to come in 2014!
We recently wrapped up 52-weeks of magical surprises at Disney Parks. Since January, “Limited Time Magic” has included a series of unexpected opportunities with an extra sprinkle of pixie dust at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.
Before we begin a new year, we’ve collected some of the most popular and talked about “Limited Time Magic” experiences of 2013. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared the many kind words during the year.