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Happy Thanksgiving from the Disney Parks Blog

New Storybook Moments at Chef Mickey’s from Disney Floral & Gifts

posted on November 3rd, 2015 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

Remember your best friend from childhood? Chances are you hung out on the playground together, traded snacks, made up secret handshakes, and perhaps got into a little mischief along the way. The stories you could share, right? It’s what made you best friends. Those experiences from years ago created special memories you treasure today.

Disney characters play magical roles in the lives of our kids. And if your little one could experience a deeper connection with Mickey or Minnie, it could create more heart-warming memories just for them. So, today I’m introducing two new gifting experiences that can create a magical moment to enhance your Disney meal at Walt Disney World Resort.


My Storybook Moment – Mickey Mouse

This exclusive gift lets your little one experience a “BFF” moment with their favorite pal at Chef Mickey’s. The moment begins when they receive their personalized mouse themed bag at the table filled with their first pair of Mickey ears, a Mickey plush and a “Best Friends” light up lanyard. The magic comes alive though when their favorite pal visits their table to sign a special keepsake – an exclusive matted illustration of Mickey and Minnie designed by Disney artist Charles Wissig. After becoming best pals, your loved one can meet the whole gang and get more signatures, completing a friend-filled moment!


Storybook Moment memory with Minnie

Of course, I wouldn’t dream of leaving Minnie Mouse out of the fun!

She’ll be tickled to meet your little one and create that heart-warming experience. It’ll be a day they’ll remember for a lifetime.


At Walt Disney World Resort, you can have this gift delivered to a character dine location such as Chef Mickey’s to create the ultimate dining experience. While Disneyland Resort doesn’t currently deliver to restaurants, both “Storybook Moments” are also available for delivery at Walt Disney World Resorts and Disneyland Hotels, so you’re able to experience the same magic at a character meet and greet in the parks.

To learn more, take a peek at the links above. When ready, order online or speak with a friendly Dream Maker, who’s available seven days a week. For Walt Disney World Resort Floral & Gifts, call 407-WDW-GIFT (939-4438). For Disneyland Resort Floral & Gifts, 714-781-GIFT (4438).

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New Dishes on Menu at ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 2nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Regulars know you arrive early on game day at the ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk – and they also have their favorites on the menu. Recently, under the helm of Chef Anthony Gregorek, the menu has undergone a major makeover featuring several new dishes, giving the new menu a gastropub feel—bar favorites with an upscale twist.

Bar Flats at ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk

Those ESPN wings are still there, ditto the PB&J Burger and the chicken ‘n waffles, but today, we’re delivering a full listing of the delicious new dishes.

New starters:

  • Bar Flats (the ESPN version of a flatbread with caramelized onion, bacon and beer-cheese fondue; tuna tartare; traditional margarita (mozzarella, tomato and basil); Mediterranean, and the seasonal flat.
  • Club Fries – chunky steak fries topped with ESPN chili, Cheddar and ale fondue, crumbled blue cheese, marinated tomatoes, crispy pancetta and green onion. Plenty to share.
  • Pan-fried potato and cheese pierogi topped with herb-infused sour cream and caramelized onions.
  • Crispy fried Florida pink shrimp with Cajun remoulade, Sherry aioli and grilled lemon.
  • ESPN House Chili with diced onions, shredded Cheddar, smoked bacon, pico de gallo and griddle cornbread.
  • Clam chowder with chopped bacon, herb oil and seasoned oyster crackers.

New entrees:

  • Turkey Carver sandwich with roasted turkey breast, smoke Gouda, maple aioli, tomato and bitter greens.
  • Seafood mac & cheese made with seasonal seafood and citrus gremolata.
  • Sustainable catch with market vegetables.
  • Hand-breaded chicken breast sandwich with pepper jack cheese, tomato and lettuce on a toasted bun.
  • Petite top sirloin and grilled langostinos with house-made mac & cheese, Cabernet butter and market vegetables.
  • Craft beer battered fish and chips with Cajun tartar sauce and fries or cucumber salad.
  • Coffee-brined BBQ-spiced pork chop with fried potato hash and pickled vegetables.
  • Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp and andouille sausage “gumbo style” risotto, braised kale and grilled cornbread.
  • Bourbon-ale braised beef short rib with potato and roasted garlic gratin, watercress, pan gravy and market vegetables.
  • Pan-roasted chicken breast with Parmesan risotto, lemony chicken jus and market vegetables.
  • Sausage 3 Way: bratwurst, peppers and onions on pretzel roll; kielbasa and smoked bacon cabbage on a club roll; and Andouille with pickled vegetables on a poppy seed roll.
  • Vegetarian “Unplugged” with seasonal selections.

ESPN Club also has an impressive craft beer list—over 54 varieties available, including a seasonal menu that boasts beers exclusively from the sunshine state. It’s also the only restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort to pair each entrée with a craft beer, so the flavors of the brew perfectly accompany your main course.

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Halloween How-To: Make ‘Witch Minnie’ Candy Apples

posted on October 29th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Halloween is fast approaching and I’ve got one thing on my mind – treats!


We recently stopped by the Candy Cauldron for some step-by-step directions on how you can make one of their favorite treats – the ‘Witch Minnie’ Candy Apple – that are guaranteed to impress at any Halloween party this year. To create this treat you’ll need: Apples, caramel, marshmallows, white and milk chocolate, colored sugar, a small handful of candies (for decoration), an optional candy mold and just about 15-20 mins of time.

For more from the “Halloween How-To” series, visit the post below:

Can you guess how many Witch Minnie apples Matt makes in one day? Place your guess below!

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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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#DisneyFamilia: More comida at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 28th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager

If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, you still have time! And while you are there, take advantage of the great opportunities to catch some culinary demonstrations taking place at the Festival Center.


The Chef’s Showcase Culinary Demonstrations feature Walt Disney World Resort Chefs preparing flavorful dishes. During every 45-minute session, guest are able to get useful culinary consejos (tips) and sample each dish.

On November 3 at 3pm, Disney Chef Edgardo Ruiz will prepare Fish Tacos accompanied by Crab Jicama Slaw Garnished with Calamari Rings.

Meanwhile, on November 12 at 5pm, Chef Javier Pareja from Disney’s Sunshine Seasons restaurant will showcase a Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Okra and Trinity Rice.

And last but not least, on November 13, Chef Sebastian Amico from Bongos will do a demo at 3pm that includes a delicious Zarzuela de Mariscos.

The culinary demonstrations take place at the Festival Welcome Center and have a cost of $15 per guest. Regular admission to Epcot is required.

For more información, be sure to visit

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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 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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Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort Again Voted One of Top Restaurants in U.S.

posted on October 23rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa was once again honored as one of the top restaurants in the United States in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards.


No. 6 out of 25, the Walt Disney World Resort restaurant remains is the only Florida restaurant on the illustrious list. “A truly 5 Star evening” and “as promised, a delightful experience” reads the TripAdvisor website.


Victoria & Albert’s also is a AAA Five-Diamond Award winner, under the helm of Chef Scott Hunnel, maître d hotel Israel Perez and Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek. The award-winning dining room recently added a new Chef’s Degustation Menu, a series of 10 small courses featuring some of Hunnel’s favorite dishes inspired by the seasons and by his world travels. The seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu remains, and the adjacent Queen Victoria Room offers a 10-course menu paired with exclusive wines from the restaurant’s impressive cellar. And we love the exclusive Chef’s Table in the kitchen.


TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, according to the website, with more than 250 million reviews and opinions covering accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

The awards honor top travel spots worldwide based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

Congrats to the entire Victoria & Albert’s team! The restaurant is open daily for dinner. For reservations, visit or call 407-939-3862.

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Chef Rick Bayless to Open Frontera Fresco Restaurant at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 22nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation award winner, is the latest chef to sign on to open a new restaurant at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Known for his authentic Mexican cuisine, Bayless is opening Frontera Fresco, featuring specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all crafted with his time-honored recipes. And, of course, margaritas (plus cocktails, beers and wine).

“I’m thrilled to bring Frontera Fresco to Disney Springs and share my passion for Mexican cuisine with the families who visit Orlando every year,” Bayless said.


Bayless is probably best known for winning the title of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters,” and his highly rated National Public Television Series, “Mexico–One Plate at a Time,” is in its 10th season. His popular Chicago restaurants include Frontera Grill (which received a Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2007); Topolobampo; Xoco, and several locations for Frontera Fresco.

Those six James Beard Foundation Awards, by the way, are for two cookbooks; Midwest Chef of the Year; National Chef of the Year; Humanitarian of the Year, and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Welcome to Disney, Chef Bayless.

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New Gourmet Hot Dogs Debut at Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

posted on October 21st, 2015 by Rachel Bshero, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator

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. Each specialty dog (besides one … you’ll see what I mean) is served on a bun fresh-baked daily by the Grand Floridian Bakery. With a different hot dog for each day of the week, you’ll want to plan your visit accordingly.


Cleveland – Available on Sundays, the Cleveland dog is topped with French fries, coleslaw and hot sauce.


Seattle – Lovers of spicy food will want to visit on Monday, when they can get the Seattle, topped with cream cheese, raw jalapeños, chopped cabbage and finished with Sriracha.


Kansas City – Simple and oh-so-good—the Kansas City dog is served on a sesame seed bun, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. Look for it on Tuesdays.


Memphis – Barbecue lovers rejoice, the Memphis dog is topped with two slices of bacon, barbecue sauce, chopped scallions and shredded cheddar cheese. This dog is available on Wednesday.


Idaho – On Thursdays, you’ll find the exception I mentioned earlier—the Idaho dog is (fittingly) served on a baked potato instead of a bun and piled high with bacon bits, chives, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.


New York – This hot dog will have you saying TGIF in a New York minute. Mustard, sauerkraut and onion sauce top the New York dog, served on Fridays.


Chicago – If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll recognize this staple, served at Gasparilla Island Grill on Saturdays: A traditional Chicago-style hot dog: a pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, whole sport peppers, chopped onions, green relish and mustard on a poppy seed bun.

Which hot dog will you try on your next visit to Gasparilla Island Grill?

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New Experiences at Disney Dining Locations from Disney Floral & Gifts

posted on October 20th, 2015 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

I love to watch Disney magical moments take place, don’t you? Whether it’s letting family know they’re going to Disney, or a child meeting their favorite character for the first time, the reactions are priceless. Now, you can combine a magical moment with a delicious Disney meal. Here are three new unforgettable experiences offered by Disney Floral & Gifts:

My Disney Fairytale Proclamation

Available at Walt Disney World Resort, My Disney Fairytale Proclamation lets your little one step into an enchanting fairy tale she’ll never forget.


Her eyes are going to twinkle when she sees this over-the-top gift, waiting for her on the table, featuring a sparkling tiara, light-up crystal slipper, Princess robe and a personalized proclamation. This can be sent to accompany a royal feast, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway, or 1900 Park Fare in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. These dining locations create an amazing backdrop and a one of a kind memory she’ll remember for a lifetime, provided by YOU.

My Storybook Moment – Princess

Next we have My Storybook Moment – Princess, available at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. It provides everything a guest needs to be declared royalty, starting with an invitation, a tiara, princess sash and a personalized storybook proclamation for the Princess to sign, declaring your princess, royalty!


This gift is great for Character Dine locations at Walt Disney World Resort. While it’s not available at Disneyland Resort dining locations, it can be delivered to your room and taken to a character meet and greet in the parks.

First Wish

Then, we have First Wish.

Available at Walt Disney World Resort, this exclusive gift, features a pixie-dusted rose and silver wish charm bracelet enhanced with a Swarovski crystal “wishing star”.


This surprise is available for delivery at Disney dining locations such as Be Our Guest Restaurant, as well as your Disney Resort room.

We have so many backdrops to create that heart-tugging memory, and these ideas are available year-round. To get started, check out the links above or you can speak with a Dream Maker who can guide you through the process. To reach a Walt Disney World Dream Maker, call 407-WDW-GIFT (939-4438). For Disneyland Resort, call 714-781-GIFT (4438).

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