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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on November 1st, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared some great Halloween stories as well as a few popular announcements, including an update that you can now make reservations for Club Villain, a special ticketed event in Sunset Showcase adjacent to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Club Villain will provide a spellbinding evening to savor culinary delights from New Orleans and beyond, meet with some of your favorite villains and dance the night away. The first Club Villain will take place Jan. 16, and reservations are open this weekend. To learn more, visit Pam’s original story for more.

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And did you see Erin’s story on the tiny house built into the trunk of a tree in Adventureland at Disneyland park? Many guests have wondered who its diminutive resident could be. And if that’s you, go visit Erin’s original story right now.

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

Guests Show Their Best Disney Costumes at the D23 Mousequerade Contest – Need a little inspiration for your Halloween costume this year? Look no further than this group of Disney fans who showed their passion for favorite characters (and even attractions) at the Mousequerade event at the D23 Expo earlier this year.

A Unique Point of View: Up Close with Colorful Characters in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park – Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland park is a colorful feast for the eye as well as the camera lens. From the buildings to the interactive gags, a surprise is found around every corner.

VIDEO: Halloween Pumpkin Cheesecake from Disneyland Resort – Halloween is almost here but pumpkin cheesecake is a favorite all autumn long, whether it’s an indulgent in-park dessert or a perfect crowd-pleaser for family gatherings, like Thanksgiving.

Explore the Disneyland Dream Suite – This 9-minute video features the perspectives of renowned Imagineer Kim Irvine, explores the suite’s uniquely themed rooms and demonstrates the charming effects that come to life in surprising fashion.

Disney Days of Past: Villains Are Getting Ready! – The favorite day of many Disney villains is almost here, Halloween! In this snapshot from 2000 we see a frightful cast of characters getting ready for Villains’ Night Out. Hold on to your treats, I think this crew is more about the tricks!

Wildlife Wednesday: Halloween Tales from Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Halloween is only a few days away, and we want to share some fun Halloween tales (and tails!) with you from Disney’s Animal Kingdom about the Malayan flying foxes, Okapis and Baobab trees.

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Disney Parks Bento Box Magic: Candy Oogie Boogie

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


We’re just days away from Halloween so we thought we’d share a special edition of our Disney-inspired bento box series. Today, we’re making our first candy, cereal character bento – Disney villain Oogie Boogie from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

To create Oogie Boogie, Disney Parks Blog reader Mike Kravanis used rice cereal and candy instead of vegetables. The background is filled with lollipops and mints with some added gummy worms and insects. And if you look close, you’ll see gummy centipedes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom used to help create Oogie Boogie’s mouth.

Let us know what you think about our first Disney-inspired candy, cereal bento box.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on October 25th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared some attention-grabbing announcements with Disney Parks Blog readers, including an update that Minnie and pals will continue to host dinner at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios year-round.

With each new season, look for the experiences to feature unique music, décor, all-new costumes, menu items and interactive musical moments. Reservations open October 27 for the next seasonal dine. From January 4 to March 20, Minnie will be hosting a dinner party celebrating the magic of the movies and the glamour of Hollywood.

Check Rachel’s original story for more information or to make reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

And now that Fall flowers are in full bloom at Disneyland park, Shannon took the opportunity to share a beautiful look at the foliage you’ll see during a visit. She also included a complete list of featured foliage from our talented horticulture team in her original story.

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

Halloween How-To: Carve Pumpkins Like A Disney Pro – Lon Smart, a Creative Concept Artist for Disney Parks, has a very cool job this time of year. He gets to design a lot of the pumpkins you see on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Make-A-Wish and Disney Celebrate 100,000 Wishes Together – During a special ceremony last night, Make-A-Wish celebrated the 100,000th Disney wish, marking a momentous milestone in the organization’s 35-year relationship with The Walt Disney Company. Together, Disney and Make-A-Wish bring comfort and smiles to wish kids and families when they need it most.

Latin Baseball Festival to Be a Cultural Affair at Walt Disney World Resort – The Puerto Rican professional baseball games coming to Walt Disney World Resort next month are about to become more than just baseball games.

New Gourmet Hot Dogs Debut at Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa recently started dishing up seven new gourmet hot dogs, each themed to a different city or region of the United States.

Wildlife Wednesday: Water Buffalo are a New Species at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – We are proud to announce that three water buffalo have been introduced to the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rose, Dorothy and Blanche are enjoying the comfort of the grassy fields and brush, which they share with the blackbuck, Eld’s deer, Sarus cranes, ruddy shelducks and bar-headed geese.

Disneyland Diamond Days to Award Dazzling ‘Sleeping Beauty’-Inspired Crown Among Other Prizes – As part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, guests have the chance to win dazzling prizes in the Disneyland Diamond Days sweepstakes. In addition to individualized, VIP tours of the parks as only Disney can do, Disneyland Resort vacations and authentic diamonds custom-engraved for Disney, guests can also enter for a chance to win this gorgeous, bejeweled crown inspired by the Disney film, “Sleeping Beauty”!

A Unique Point of View: Pool Slides at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort – We seem to be experiencing an “endless summer” in Southern California — with temperatures in Anaheim in the ‘80s this week. So I thought it would be appropriate for one last water slide video.

Interview with the Hatbox Ghost in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park – Ever wonder what’s going on inside the head of the Hatbox Ghost? In a story that originally ran in the Disneyland Resort Line, a magazine published exclusively for Disneyland Resort cast members, the spirit – who’s caused a sensation since he reappeared at the Haunted Mansion earlier this year – shared his thoughts on fame, rumors and attic haunting.

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Make-A-Wish and Disney Celebrate 100,000 Wishes Together

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


During a special ceremony last night, Make-A-Wish celebrated the 100,000th Disney wish, marking a momentous milestone in the organization’s 35-year relationship with The Walt Disney Company. Together, Disney and Make-A-Wish bring comfort and smiles to wish kids and families when they need it most.

“It’s amazing to think that 35 years ago, Make-A-Wish granted its very first wish at the Disneyland Resort, which sparked a legacy of fulfilling wishes that has captured so many hearts,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “It’s wonderful to celebrate our 100,000th wish together, and we’re proud to play a role in bringing smiles and laughter to wish children and their families.”

On the giant water screens at Rivers of America, Make-A-Wish shared the story of seven-year-old Luke’s dream to visit Disneyland Resort with his entire family. Luke spent several fun-filled days visiting the parks – sharing magical moments with Lightning McQueen and Mater in Radiator Springs, meeting Anna and Elsa, and enjoying special viewings of World of Color – Celebrate!, the Paint the Night Parade and Disneyland Forever Fireworks Spectacular.

Nearly 8,000 Disney wishes are granted every year – including experiences at Disney Parks, voyages on Disney Cruise Line, and visits to TV and movie sets. We’re proud to lend our support to Make-A-Wish and help families make lasting memories together.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Event Planned For Disney Springs AMC Theatres in Florida

posted on October 18th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE: Tickets have sold out for this event. Please keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more coverage of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Are you counting down the days to the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Today we’re happy to share details of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Event, a special ticketed event that’s planned for Thursday, December 17 at the Walt Disney World Resort for those who want to be among the first to see the new film and celebrate with fellow fans.

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Starting at AMC Disney Springs 24 between 7 and 8 p.m., guests of the Opening Night Event will have a confirmed seat at the first few public showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and then enjoy a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2 a.m. The party will include access to the new Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, and a DJ dance party. The night will be highlighted with the preview of a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic “Star Wars” score. Event attendees will also get a commemorative souvenir event ticket. Guests of the Event are encouraged to come dressed in costume showing allegiance to the light side or dark side of the Force. Please see the Costume Guidelines in the FAQs.

The newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer will debut in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Monday, October 19, during halftime of the National Football League (NFL) game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Tune in to ESPN to watch the premiere of the final trailer or join your fellow Star Wars fans at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA to watch the trailer on a giant screen outside AMC Downtown Disney 12 theatres. The fun begins at 5:00 p.m. counting down to the trailer release.

Following the trailer launch, tickets to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Event will be on sale. For tickets to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Event at Walt Disney World Resort, visit amctheatres.com/starwarswdw to purchase.

Here are some important FAQs for the event.

This film is not yet rated. The number of tickets available is limited. Event may sell out early. Tickets are valid only on specific Event date and hours. Entertainment, ticket types, entitlements and prices subject to change and cancelation without notice. Tickets are nontransferable. Star Tours© Disney/Lucasfilm, Ltd. Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. As to Disney properties/artwork: ©Disney.

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WestJet Reveals New, Custom-Painted Aircraft Inspired by Disney’s ‘Frozen’

posted on October 18th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


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There’s a new aircraft joining the WestJet fleet today that we know many Disney Parks Blog readers will want to see for themselves. It’s a special, custom-painted Disney “Frozen”-themed plane featuring Anna, Elsa and Olaf from the beloved Disney film.

Disney artists, cast members and WestJetters collaborated to design the “Frozen”-themed aircraft. And similar to the earlier Magic Plane, Disney wanted the outside of the aircraft to tell a story.

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On the tail of our aircraft, Anna and Elsa celebrate sisterhood and the magic of snow. From the aircraft tail along the fuselage, the magic travels to warm the front of the aircraft where Olaf can be found enjoying a summer day on the beach.

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The inside of the plane has a design that matches the outside. In the rear of the aircraft, the overhead bins and headrest covers have a cold theme. As you move towards the middle of the plane, the interior decoration transitions to become warmer, ultimately arriving on a warm, sunny theme at the front of the plane.

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Here are some cool facts we’ve learned about the plane:

  • The aircraft was painted in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • The paint team included team members from Canada, the United States and Germany. They watched Frozen to get them into the spirit before work began.
  • The job took 21 days of 12-hour rotations involving a constant crew of six painters working 24/7.
  • Sparkles were added to the paint in sections to add shimmer and shine as the aircraft moves.
  • An airbrush artist was brought in to work on details around the sun, water and castle.
  • There are 54 separate overhead bin doors on the aircraft and each has a unique Frozen decal.

While the Disney “Frozen”-themed plane is inspired by Walt Disney World Resort, it will operate flights throughout WestJet’s network, not just to Orlando. Let us know what you like best about the new aircraft in the comments below.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on October 11th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


Sixty years ago this week, the landmark Disneyland Hotel opened its doors to families visiting the Disneyland Resort. And to mark the anniversary of this Disney Parks Blog reader favorite, we dug out some amazing photos from the archives.

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During its first year of operation, Disneyland Hotel had only 104 guest rooms. Now, it has 975 beautifully appointed guest rooms, including a unique collection of themed suites—from the Big Thunder Suite to the Pirates of the Caribbean Suite. Check out Michael’s original story for more images and facts.

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We also shared a bit more of what’s coming to Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in the future, including a new Disney chocolate shop and new restaurant for Celebrity Chef Art Smith.

The Ganachery, a new chocolate shop set to open in The Landing in late 2015 at Disney Springs, will feature a custom blend chocolate with the finest beans for the all-new concept that will feature freshly made ganache (gəˈnaSH). Pam has more details in her original story.

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And Chef Art Smith’s new restaurant concept opens in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. The restaurant’s menu will feature Southern favorites like homemade pimento cheese, Church Lady deviled eggs, low country shrimp and grits, kale salad with Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and spiced pecans and a grilled Blackstrap pork chop with sawmill gravy. There are more details about Chef Smith and the restaurant in our earlier story.

Here are some of the other stories we featured this week.

Behind the Scenes: Take a Look Back at ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Float Production – Hear from Imagineers as they checked out the various “Paint the Night” parade floats in progress!

New ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Ornament Set Debuts at the Disneyland Resort – These new ornaments capture a variety of key moments from the nighttime spectacular as well as beloved Disney characters such as Sorcerer Mickey, Mike and Sulley, Tinker Bell, “The Little Mermaid” (Ariel and King Triton) and Belle.

PANDORA Jewelry and Other Popular Products Coming to Disney Parks This October – Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller selects a handful of his favorite new things that guests will soon find either at Disney Parks or on our Disney Parks online store.

Imagineers Team Up with CAL FIRE to Create Story of Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure Park – To create the story of Grizzly Peak Airfield, Walt Disney Imagineering turned to the experts at CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), even visiting Hemet-Ryan Airfield in California for research.

Ultimate History Quiz: 17 Burning Questions About Epcot’s Horizons – Think you remember just about everything there is to know about the former Horizons attraction at Epcot? Put your knowledge to the test!

12 Disney Parks Halloween Wallpapers to Haunt Your Desktop – To help add some Halloween spirit to your desktop or mobile device, we’re happy to share with you 12 Disney Parks Blog exclusive wallpapers – all inspired by Halloween or our spookiest attractions, the Haunted Mansion and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on October 4th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


It was a great week of anniversaries and openings on the Disney Parks Blog. To kick off October, we celebrated the anniversary of the 1971 opening of Magic Kingdom Park.

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To mark the anniversary, we published a fun infographic, shared stories and even launched a new wallpaper. We also shared a fascinating video for Epcot’s anniversary on the same day.

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This week’s anniversary celebrations included six years of storytelling for the Disney Park Blog. If you missed our special Orange Bird MagicBand giveaway, you can grab our first-ever Disney Parks Blog themed wallpaper this weekend.

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

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And earlier this week, the “Disney Springs” name change became official. Disney Springs is now live online at disneysprings.com and via Twitter at @DisneySprings. Morimoto Asia also officially opened to guests this week at Disney Springs. Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more updates from Disney Springs.

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

Halloween How-To: Create A Haunted Mansion Butler Costume – In this week’s “Halloween How-To” video, we’re happy to share a tutorial on how you can make a simply amazing Haunted Mansion butler costume – using mostly repurposed and inexpensive materials you can find at your local craft store.

25th Annual CHOC Walk in the Park Returns to the Disneyland Resort on October 11 – On Sunday, Oct. 11, the 25th annual CHOC Walk in the Park supporting CHOC Children’s will return to the Disneyland Resort during the Diamond Celebration!

Preview Scenes from DisneyŸ•Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ at Disney Parks Starting October 16 – Beginning October 16, guests visiting Disney Parks will be able to catch a preview of scenes from “The Good Dinosaur” in sneak peeks planned for Disney California Adventure park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Discover With Me: Pineapple Soft Serve at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa – Not too long ago, we added a little more tropical magic to The Lava Shack in the Waikolohe Valley: the Pineapple Soft Serve!

Disney Parks Blog Readers Chow & Dine at Food & Wine – Earlier this week we celebrated the return of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival with 500 Disney Parks Blog readers at a special event in World Showplace.

13 Reasons Disney Parks Fans Still Love Horizons Today – Not only is this week the anniversary of Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but the fan-favorite attraction Horizons also opened October 1, 1983.

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Disney Parks Blog: Celebrating 6 Years of Storytelling

posted on September 28th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


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

Today marks six years of storytelling for the Disney Park Blog. And each September 28, we pause from our busy publishing schedule to thank our readers and friends in a special way.

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This year, we’re giving away a special Orange Bird MagicBand to celebrate our six-year anniversary.

You’ll have a chance to a MagicBand today if you’re one of the first 350 people to email us a “Happy Birthday Disney Parks Blog” greeting of no more than 50 characters in length (which could be a simple “Hi” or “Happy Birthday 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.

Thank you again for all of the support and great comments this year and be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog as we continue to grow.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited by law. Sweepstakes starts 9/28/15 at 1:00pm ET and ends 9/28/15 at 4:01pm (or once we receive 350 entries into the Sweepstakes, whichever occurs first). Sweepstakes 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.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

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


This week, we shared the exciting update that beginning November 16, 2015, Disneyland park guests will have the chance to jump to lightspeed with the all-new Star Wars experience – Season of the Force.

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When Season of the Force begins at Disneyland park, it’ll feature opportunities to meet some of your favorite Star Wars characters, experience an exciting twist on a favorite attraction and more. To learn more details about Season of the Force experiences coming to Disneyland park, visit Erin’s original story.

We’ll have dates to share soon for Season of the Force at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

Disney Parks is also preparing to take guests to a galaxy far, far away with new Star Wars-themed lands. With groundbreaking scheduled to take place in 2016 for our largest single-land expansions ever, building the new 14-acre lands will be major projects at both Disneyland park in Southern California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. You can also check Erin’s story for information about the new land in Disneyland.

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

Disney Parks Bento Box Magic: Goofy – Watch as Disney fan and blog reader Mike Kravanis creates a special Bento Box of a live model, Goofy!

New Backstage ‘Flavor Lab’ Opens in October at Walt Disney World Resort – Ever wonder how a new dish makes it on the menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Or how a cocktail comes to life? A new, behind-the-scenes “Flavor Lab” brings the Walt Disney World Resort chefs, front-of-house managers, sommeliers, mixologists and more together in a state-of-the-art research and development facility.

Disneyland Resort Event Snapshot – October 2015 – It’s going to be October! Where has the time gone? If you are looking to add a bit of Fall fun to your calendar, here’s a look at some of the Disney Theme Park Merchandise events taking place this coming month at the Disneyland Resort!

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Continues Through September 5, 2016 – Continue the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration with this special video, 60 seconds of happiness at Disneyland Resort.

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort Shows and Attractions Join ‘Paint the Night’ Parade, ‘Disneyland Forever’ Fireworks and More – Holidays at the Disneyland Resort begins November 13. Get all the details on what is sure to be another dazzling holiday season!

Literacy Project Foundation Surprised with $60,000 in Next Chapter of Disneyland Resort Million Dollar Dazzle – The Literacy Project Foundation is the latest recipient of a $60,000 Million Dollar Dazzle gift from the Disneyland Resort.

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