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A ‘Wildly’ Delicious Meal at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on February 17th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


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Take a walk on the wild side of dinner at Tusker House Restaurant. If you like the rich, African flavors of Boma – Flavors of Africa and Sanaa, you will love Tusker House Restaurant. This food safari is hosted by Donald and friends, all dressed in their safari-best, who stop at each table for photos and autographs.

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The food stations are set up in a beautiful market. Begin with a selection of breads and accompaniments like hummus and chutney, salads and fruit. I couldn’t get enough of the chickpea and cucumber salad!

A delicious medley of sweet and savory spiced meats, like the Kenyan Coffee BBQ Pork Loin and, my personal favorite, the Cape Malay Curry Chicken perfectly accompany delicious jollaf rice, orzo pasta and pearl couscous with sweet basil. There’s something for the whole family at this ‘wildly’ delicious buffet, including corn dog nuggets, macaroni and cheese and more.

Be sure to save room for dessert! There is an entire island filled with coconut macaroons, chocolate volcano cake, baklava, passion fruit tarts, banana-cinnamon bread pudding with vanilla sauce and even more sweet temptations.

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While Donald and friends enjoy visiting Tusker House Restaurant guests at breakfast and lunch, beginning March 8, they will make an appearance at dinner, too!

Reservations can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Valentine’s Day at Disney Parks

posted on February 14th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Happy Valentine’s Day! As you can see, the Disney Parks Blog has been transformed to celebrate the day of love and romance. Here’s a roundup of some of our best Valentine’s Day content from earlier in the week.

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Earlier this week, we shared four new Disney Parks Blog wallpapers themed for Valentine’s Day, including one featuring Pluto, WALL-E and Eve, Simba and Nala, and Donald and Daisy. Which is your favorite? (Check out a complete gallery of wallpapers here on this special page).

Nature Meets Nurture at Senses Ð A Disney Spa at DisneyÕs Saratoga Springs Resort

One of our new blog authors, Victoria Lim, also shared ideas for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your girlfriends here at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Representing the Disneyland Resort, Michelle Harker shared a look at the yummy Valentine-themed treats available this year at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park.

Will your Valentine’s Day celebration include a special Disney touch? Tell us in the comments section below.

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‘I Do!’ Memorable Proposals at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 13th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Everyone has their own special memories of the Disneyland Resort – for some, it’s a first visit or a favorite show, and for many, it’s celebrating the beginning of an exciting journey with a loved one. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m excited to share stories of three memorable proposals stories recalled by cast members from some of our most romantic restaurants – who were able to make these special moments even more magical.

Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, Disney California Adventure Park

When this guest took his girlfriend to the Disneyland Resort for the first time, he decided to propose to her in front of the wishing well at Snow White Grotto. He even presented the engagement ring in a glass slipper! Later that night, the couple celebrated their engagement in a private dining room at Carthay Circle Restaurant, where the cast members had “his & hers” ear hats waiting for them. The bride-to-be was in tears, and so were the cast members at Carthay Circle Restaurant!

Blue Bayou Restaurant, Disneyland Park

Cast members at Blue Bayou Restaurant were able to make a sweet moment even sweeter for one newly engaged couple. After the groom-to-be proposed (to applause from the entire restaurant), Blue Bayou Restaurant cast members presented the couple with special treats and sparkling cider flutes to celebrate.

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Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa

The Napa Rose team was very excited to help with this unique proposal! One prince charming created a View-Master-like disc for his girlfriend, with slides showing moments throughout their relationship, ending with a very important question on the last slide: “Will you marry me?” Cast member, Wendy, delivered chocolate truffles to celebrate the moment. Other guests even joined in the celebration … the couple sitting next to the newly engaged guests was so touched by the surprising event, they paid for the couple’s dinner.

Where would you pop the question at the Disneyland Resort? Do you have a Disneyland Resort proposal story of your own? Share with us below! And happy Valentine’s Day!

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Wine Tasting with Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Feb. 21-22 at Alfresco Tasting Terrace at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 13th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Popular Alfresco Tasting Terrace on the second floor of Golden Vine Winery at Disney California Adventure park features a very cool wine list, new wine flights and small Mediterranean-inspired plates – a lovely spot for a sip of wine on the open-air veranda.

Chef Jorge Cruz has been at Golden Vine Winery less than a year, and after stints at Club 33 and Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Resort, he’s having fun with the menu at Golden Vine Winery. His small plates on the terrace are getting high marks from fans, like the Tenderloin Sliders (recipe below) which is on the Alfresco Tasting Terrace daily menu.

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At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on February 21-22, Alfresco Tasting Terrace will premiere its Winemaker Events with Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, one of the “Disney Family of Wines,” a diverse collection that displays qualities long identified with Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company, carrying on the Disney legacy and typifying the passion, innovation and quality that the name Disney symbolizes.

The Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard Winemaker Event will feature wine, a special event appetizer menu and fun stories about the Disney family connection to the winery. For instance, Fess Parker (1924-2010) was named a Disney Legend in 1991 and was honored with his own window in Frontierland at Disneyland. Walt discovered Fess in the movie “Them” and asked him to stop by the studio; Fess brought his guitar, met Walt, sang a song, and said goodbye. Walt cast him as Davy Crockett, and he went on to star in many other Disney productions – but will always be remembered for his coonskin cap.

Seating is limited. For reservations and pricing, visit the podium at Golden Vine Winery or call 714-817-5700.

Guests must be at least 21 years of age to consume alcoholic beverages. Valid photo ID required. Appearances, presentations and events are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Other restrictions may apply.

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The Alfresco Tasting Terrace daily menu features Mediterranean-inspired appetizers and wines from the “Disney Family of Wines” — consisting of eight California vintners chosen because of their personal relationship with the Disney name.

The “family of eight” includes Chappellet Winery, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Frank Family Vineyards, Gogi, Lasseter Family Winery, MacMurray Ranch, Silverado Vineyards and Skywalker Vineyards.

These wines can be sipped with favorite appetizers, like the one below.

Tenderloin Sliders
Makes 12

Caramelized Onion-Horseradish Aioli

  • 1 white onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tenderloin Sliders

  • 1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil, divided
  • 12 slider buns, halved
  • 1 cup Caramelized Onion-Horseradish Aïoli
  • 2 tablespoons micro basil or finely chopped basil

For caramelized onion horseradish aioli:

  1. Add oil to a heavy bottom sauté pan over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add onions to hot oil, stirring to coat. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook, stirring often, until onions are golden, tender, and dark brown in spots. Set aside.
  3. Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, and 1/2 cup caramelized onions in the work bowl of a food processor; process until fully combined.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For tenderloin sliders:

  1. Bring tenderloin to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Season beef tenderloin generously with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear tenderloin on all sides until outside is well browned, about 10 to 12 minutes total.
  3. Transfer beef on skillet to oven and roast until center reaches 120°F for rare or 125°F for medium-rare, about 18 to 25 minutes. Let beef rest at room temperature at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  4. Cut tenderloin into 1 ½-inch thick slices.
  5. To toast buns, heat remaining 1 tablespoon in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place buns, cut side down, into pan and toast until light golden brown.
  6. Place 1 slice tenderloin on the bottom half of each bun; top with a dollop of Caramelized Onion-Horseradish Aïoli and sprinkle with micro basil or chopped basil. Top with top half of buns.
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Day 12 – Experience a Fairy Tale Proposal

posted on February 12th, 2015 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG


For those who’ve tuned in to learn the voting results from yesterday’s post, we have the outcome. We asked you to vote for your favorite Valentines gifting idea and you have spoken. The winner of the best Valentines magical moment is The Valentine’s Collection. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or another special occasion, you have ideas to create a special Disney moment for a loved one.

Speaking of winning magical moments, let’s talk about some winning fairy tale proposal ideas! If your love is a Princess at heart or Disney enthusiast, then getting engaged at the place where dreams come true is the ultimate proposal location. But, who do you contact and what are your options?

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As part of our Disney 14 Days of Love series, today I’m sharing Disney Floral & Gifts proposal ideas at Walt Disney World. If you’re wondering what this series is all about, check out our first story and take the Discover your Disney Side quiz to learn more.

So, back to you, our favorite topic! Proposing is a big event in your life, and we’ve learned you’re looking for charming ideas at special locations like a romantic Disney restaurant or the Cinderella Castle right before the fireworks. Your ultimate goal? To create the most enchanting proposal and celebration experience your loved one will talk about for years to come.

To help we recently enhanced our engagement/proposal page to feature four proposal ideas such as:

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  • Be our guest and make reservations at a romantic Disney dining location to set the stage for your proposal with Crown Her a Princess.

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  • Offer a “Once Upon a Time” proposal at a carriage ride, dining location or even in the privacy and comfort of your resort room.

The possibilities are endless really, simply because we can deliver your proposal surprise to Disney dining locations, excursions and resort rooms. The ideas called out above though help to provide you with established experiences.

So here’s what to do:

  1. Take a look at the four proposal ideas on our engagement/proposal page and select the location and gifting experience you like best. Next, make reservations with that location. For example, for Disney dining reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE. For carriage ride reservations, call 407-WDW-PLAY. Our Dream Makers arrange for delivery of your gift and celebration, but can’t book your dining or excursion reservations at this time.
  2. Order your proposal gift for delivery to that location.
  3. Order your romantic celebration for your resort room. You’ll especially want to check out From Mickey and Minnie with Love, Presenting Your Royal Princess-Adult and my favorite, “A Wish Come True – Two Day Romantic Experience

Take time to review your options so you feel comfortable with next steps. You can order online, yet, we also understand this is a big event and you may want to speak with a Dream Maker to walk you through the process, that’s totally fine! After the proposal, your gift will become a keepsake to remember, one they’ll be able to share for years to come. Only at Disney can you receive a “glass slipper” and be proclaimed a Princess by your Prince Charming.

And speaking of creating a moment to remember, you have to watch this video featuring a real life proposal here at Walt Disney World. Jake, did such a good job convincing his sweetheart, Maria, that this was just a photo shoot, that when he actually proposed using the Wishing Rose and bracelet proposal idea, she said yes! Take a look!

And while we’re talking about surprises, tomorrow is Friday the 13th. I have this dreadful feeling something villainous is stirring. This is not good! #Disney14DaysofLove

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New ‘Cooking Safari With Mickey’ Cookbook Debuts This Spring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on February 12th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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It was so much fun to work with the chefs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to put together “A Cooking Safari With Mickey,” a collection of recipes showcasing the flavorful cuisine of South Africa and India.

We know that our guests are well traveled and love exploring new tastes, and sharing these recipes is a treat. Here’s a sneak peek of the cookbook, with one of our favorite recipes from Sanaa in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We like it a little spicy, so add more jalapeños and chili powder. And cardamom pods can be found in Indian grocery stores – -some stores call them seeds, rather than pods. (Each pod is about the size of a dried cranberry and contains 17 to 20 tiny seeds.)

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Spicy Durban-Style Chicken
Serves 4

Dry Masala

  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder

Chicken and Curry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Course salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • Basmati rice, for serving

For dry masala:

  1. Toast star anise, cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cardamom pods in a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until spices begin to brown and are fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Grind spices in a blender or coffee grinder into a fine powder.
  3. Combine spice mixture with cinnamon, chili powder, ancho chili powder, Madras curry powder, and turmeric powder. Toast in heavy, dry skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until fragrant. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.

For chicken and curry sauce:

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Trim fat from chicken and cut into 1-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken in skillet and brown for 8 to 10 minutes, turning to evenly cook. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Add onions and jalapeños to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add ginger and garlic, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Mix in dry masala mixture with a rubber spatula and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and increase heat to high for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to skillet, add water, and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until sauce slightly thickens. Stir in cilantro. Serve immediately over basmati rice.
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Grab Gal Pals for Valentine’s Day Celebrations at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 11th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


They’re with you through tears and laughter, when you’ve kissed more frogs than princes … so grab your sisters from another mister and celebrate Galentine’s Day at Walt Disney World Resort.

Nature Meets Nurture at Senses Ð A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort

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Indulge in some group pampering – mani/pedis anyone? – at one of our signature spas: Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Spring Resort.

Dine rockin’ your prettiest tiara
You’re all princesses at our Character dining featuring fairytale friends you’d want to be buds with. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, Cinderella’s Dining at Citricos and Princess Storybook Dining grant your wishes to dine with royalty.

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Retail Therapy
Alex & Ani, Dooney and Bourke, Pandora, Vera Bradley, apparel (Downtown Disney), perfume (Bonjour, Epcot France!), jewelry (ahlan Morocco!) and more are available all over Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks.

The Great Outdoors
Consider glamping at Fort Wilderness in one of our cabins, and hit the links as your favorite foursome, ride horses, rent bicycles, kayak, parasail, even hook a fish – all with some Disney flair.

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Dinner and Dancing
Grab your grass skirt for the Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Or enjoy Mississippi-delta cuisine and live music at House of Blues in Downtown Disney West Side.

We have so many other ideas for your girlfriend getaway – even if it’s just for the afternoon. But I’d love to hear from you: what are your favorite ways to celebrate with your best buds at Walt Disney World Resort?

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February Brings Sweet Valentine’s Surprises from the Candy Kitchens at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Are you unsure about what to get your Valentine this February 14? Our Disneyland Resort candy makers have been hard at work trying to make your gift-finding job a little easier.

Our candy makers’ top pick is an apple dipped in caramel, enrobed in milk chocolate, decorated with pink sanding sugar, candy-coated chocolate polka dots and adorned with a pink bow. What a treat for any Valentine.

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Of course, you can’t go wrong with our gourmet apple of the month, Black Forest. Sinfully delicious, the apple has been dipped in creamy caramel and dark chocolate, adorned in almonds and sweet cherries and drizzled on top with milk chocolate.

Looking for something a bit sweeter? Other sweet selections for you to choose from include white, milk and dark chocolate-dipped strawberries, a marshmallow wand and krispy treat.

Find all of these delicious sweets now at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park; Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

What are you getting your Valentine?

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 9th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


With a new year comes new beginnings, and I’d like to begin 2015 by reviving one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series, “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling,” with one of my favorite snack-time spots, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure park.

See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

This 1930s-era eatery was established by Dolly, Dottie and Ethel Bounds, known professionally as Fiddler, Fifer & Practical (aka the Silver Lake Sisters). They spent a good part of their lives performing the vaudeville circuit, entertaining the troops in World War I and becoming minor celebrities in nightclubs along the then‐emerging Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

After 20 years of singing, dancing and playing their instruments (Dolly on violin, Dottie on flute, Ethel on piano), the sisters decided to put down roots on Buena Vista Street. The idea came from Ethel, the practical one. She had always handled the trio’s business affairs and was constantly urging her sisters to settle down and open a legitimate business. They finally agreed, joining together to open Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, with its name an homage to their act.

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A wall inside the restaurant features photos, posters and memorabilia from the days when Dolly, Dottie and Ethel performed as Fiddler, Fifer & Practical – the Silver Lake Sisters. You can see them in publicity shots and in photos showing them performing on stage and relaxing or prepping backstage in their dressing rooms. A map of California shows the various places they’ve performed throughout the Golden State, and above the front window, marquee letters, spell out “Silver Lake Sisters.”

So the next time you’re getting a great deal on a square meal at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, take a look around and discover the story of these talented ladies for yourself.


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

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Sweet Valentine’s Day Offerings at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 9th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Princess Tiana said it best: “My mom always said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” If that’s the case, love is all around at Walt Disney World Resort! This week, you’ll find specialty sweets throughout the resort; here are some of our favorites:

Red Velvet Waffle Sundae with Cream Cheese Icing and Sprinkles at Sleepy Hollow Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcake at Main Street Bakery

Magic Kingdom Park

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Epcot

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • Valentine’s Day heart-shaped cheesecakes, fondue for two, and chocolate covered strawberries at The Mara
  • Heart-shaped puff pastry filled with a Champagne mousse and wild strawberry sauce at Jiko – The Cooking Place

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Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort

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Disney’s BoardWalk

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Valentine Trinity Dessert featuring petite double-ganache chocolate cake, Champagne sabayon and raspberry turnover at Artist Point
  • Strawberry-dipped chocolate cupcake at Roaring Fork

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Sweetheart pancakes and Valentine’s-themed dessert buffet at Chef Mickey’s
  • Red velvet pancakes, red velvet cupcake, strawberry-chocolate crème brûlée, and flourless chocolate cake at The Wave … of American Flavors
  • Double-chocolate specialty cupcake at Contempo Café

Which treats will you share with your sweetie with on Valentine’s Day?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort