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Wildlife Wednesday: Celebrate Animals and Nature throughout the Year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Allyson Atkins, Education Manager, Disney's Animals, Science and Environment


In addition to celebrating with us as at our Spring Forward event, don’t forget to mark your calendars for more fun wildlife and nature inspired events heading your way!

Earth Day/Party for the Planet: April 22
Back by popular demand – it’s a “Party for the Planet” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends where we will be hosting an Earth Day celebration. Discover how you can help animals by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in your backyard. Explore ways to protect and care for marine life through engaging activities. Learn more about sustainable living and how to make great choices every day to benefit both your family and our planet! Join us and don’t forget to grab your exclusive Earth Day 2015 merchandise.
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International Migratory Bird Day: May 9
Spring is all about the birds as we celebrate our winged friends on International Migratory Bird Day. Become an “honorary bird” and discover how you measure up in size and color to nearly 350 species of wild birds while also learning about the great care we provide for our birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Discover what the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is doing to ensure our skies stay filled with the many colored feathers of these amazing animals. From what they eat, to where they fly, you’ll learn all you care to know about birds—and that’s nothing to squawk at!

World Turtle Day: May 21
While visiting Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in turtle life as you try on a replica turtle shell or get up-close with some of our turtles and tortoises including seeing our veterinarians in action with these unique animals. At The Seas with Nemo & Friends, discover how to help turtles overcome threats they face in the wild while taking part in hands-on activities that let you experience life as a turtle–all while turtles swim gracefully in the background throughout our 5.7-million-gallon aquatic habitat!
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Tour de Turtles: August 1
Hundreds of sea turtles lay their nests on the beaches of Florida every year and on this special day we invite you to join us at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort for the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual “Tour de Turtles” event. Two turtles who have made their nests at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will be equipped with satellite transmitters which allow sea turtle fans to follow the marathon migration of these turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. The turtles had been fitted with satellite transmitters to help with conservation efforts as they swim to raise awareness about the threats that sea turtles face. Join us for the race to the ocean where you can participate in beachside activities while learning ways you can help sea turtles!
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Keep an eye out for these events and more! Here are a few more dates to look forward to:

  • World Oceans Day: June 3
  • Pollinator Day: June 11
  • Big Cat Day: July 30
  • Primate Day: August 20
  • Elephant and Rhino Day: September 24
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Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are Designed with Your Needs in Mind

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


So far I’ve offered you a look at the pull-down bed feature, as well as the spacious interior, of the Deluxe Studio villas at the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, which is currently under construction. Now I’ll show you some ways in which these accommodations will go beyond simply sleeping your family comfortably, but also make getting ready a relative breeze (depending on just how much time your loved ones spend in front of the mirror) thanks to their ingenious split bath design.

Those of you who have sailed with Disney Cruise Line, or had the pleasure of staying at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, are no doubt familiar with the concept of split bathrooms. At Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the Deluxe Studios will offer a bathroom separated into two areas, each offering a sink and a shower (one with a walk-in shower, and the other with a tub/shower combo). And yes, of course the bathroom will offer a toilet (singular) as well.

Split Bathrooms in the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Split Bathrooms in the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

The split bath design will allow multiple members of your party to get ready at one time, leaving you more time to enjoy the theme parks, delight in a Dole Whip from the resort’s Pineapple Lanai or a drink from (the still under construction) Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, or relax in the resort’s revamped Lava pool (scheduled to open this Spring).

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Artist rendering

Oh, and while you’re enjoying the comforts of your Deluxe Studio you’ll also be able to make coffee and prepare snacks using the kitchenette.

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For a more detailed look at the resort’s Deluxe Studios you’ll just have to stay there yourself. But don’t worry, I do still have a few more “sneak peeks” in store for you, so stay tuned for more photos from Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows!

To read more about the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, visit the stories below:

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Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Offers Up Comfort and Extra Space

posted on February 13th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


I recently shared with you photos of the hidden pull-down bed that will be found in the accommodations at the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, which is currently under construction. This nifty pull-down bed feature, along with the pullout couch, means the Deluxe Studio rooms at this resort will comfortably sleep up to five guests. And I stress the word “comfortably” here because, once completed, these 360 Deluxe Studios will be the largest at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Model rooms shown. Floor plans and furnishings subject to change.

The rooms are designed to be flexible, allowing for lounging during the day – indoors and out on your private balcony or patio – and cozy sleeping at night (or during that mid-day naptime, which is always a must in my book).

Adding to the “comfy” factor of these accommodations are the convenient storage options. In addition to serving up plenty of closet space, guests will be delighted to find that the coffee table opens to reveal storage inside and the bed is designed to accommodate luggage underneath (fun surprise: you’ll even find a storage drawer tucked under there as well).

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Of course it wouldn’t be a Disney resort without all those playful design touches that truly make you feel as if you’re vacationing in a Polynesian paradise.

Playful Design Touches in the New Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Deluxe Studio at Walt Disney World Resort Playful Design Touches in the New Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Deluxe Studio at Walt Disney World Resort

Plus, these Deluxe Studio villas will offer a really great feature that will allow families tons of comfort while they’re getting ready to hit the theme parks, or the resort’s soon-to-be-completed revamped feature pool, each morning. But I’ll save that reveal for my next post.

Stay tuned for more details and photos from Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows!

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A Secret Sleeper Bed at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

posted on January 29th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


As we gear up for the scheduled spring opening of phase 1 of the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, we couldn’t help but share with you a couple “sneak peek” images of what some of the rooms will look like.

Currently under construction, the 360 Deluxe Studios will be the largest at Walt Disney World Resort. This flexible space will comfortably sleep up to five guests each thanks to a hidden pull-down bed tucked away in a very clever spot – beneath the television!

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Here’s a closer look at the adorable artwork inside.

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These rooms offer other great features that make them ideal for families craving space and top-notch amenities. Stay tuned as we continue to share more details and photos of this beautiful resort!

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Sales Begin Soon for Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

posted on January 7th, 2015 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


We recently shared details about the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, and based on your comments and enthusiasm, it looks like you’re just as excited as we are for this breathtaking new addition to the Disney family! Today, we are excited to share some additional photos and to announce that sales for this beautiful resort will begin on January 12 for current Disney Vacation Club Members and on February 9 for all guests. When the first phase opens, scheduled for April 1, the resort will introduce unique Disney accommodations, including Bora Bora Bungalows and the first connecting Deluxe Studios.

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

The 20 Bora Bora Bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon will sleep up to eight guests each in a two-bedroom, home-like setting reminiscent of the South Pacific.

The 360 Deluxe Studios will be the largest at Walt Disney World Resort and sleep up to five guests each.

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And of course we can’t forget all of the other incredible additions at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, including Lilo’s Playhouse and Pineapple Lanai, as well as an enhanced feature pool and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, slated to open in 2015.

What are you most looking forward to seeing on your next visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?

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New Details Announced for Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

posted on December 11th, 2014 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


You’ve probably heard about the exciting re-imagining taking place at one of the original Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and today we have more news to share about Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.

Check out this just-released rendering of the new Disney Vacation Club Bungalows, the first of their kind on any Disney property. The 20 Bungalows will sleep up to eight guests each in a home-like setting reminiscent of the South Pacific. My favorite feature though has to be the plunge pool overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon, and the view of the fireworks over Magic Kingdom Park.

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Adding to the excitement, we are opening the largest Deluxe Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. The 360 Deluxe Studios will sleep up to five guests each and have the ability to connect to another Deluxe Studio, the first time we have done this at a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Similar to Disney Cruise Line ships and The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the rooms will each have a bathroom separated into two areas, one with a shower and sink and the other with a sink and tub/shower. Plus, they also will have kitchenettes and enhanced storage space for convenience and comfort.

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Another great part? Like all Disney Vacation Club Resorts, all rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are available for rent by guests when not in use by Disney Vacation Club Members!

The addition of Disney Vacation Club to this beloved resort is part of an overall renovation. A re-imagined Great Ceremonial House will welcome guests to a tropical destination where Disney magic meets South Seas hospitality. Also included is an enhanced feature pool and new food and beverage offerings, including Pineapple Lanai where Members and guests can get their favorite Dole Whip treats and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, which will feature exotic cocktails and Polynesian-themed small plates. Earlier this year, the resort opened a brand-new children’s activity center called Lilo’s Playhouse.

New details Announced for Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows New details Announced for Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

The first phase of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is scheduled to open in 2015. Stay tuned as we continue to share more news in the coming months!

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‘Tis the Season at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on December 10th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


The merriest time of year has arrived at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i! With temperatures averaging 78 degrees, it’s no surprise that Aulani is a favorite destination for families this holiday season. Today, I’m going to share some of the entertainment programs and offerings taking place now through the end of December to help you plan your vacation in a Hawaiian winter wonderland.

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  • Holiday Entertainment on the Halawai Lawn: Your entire ‘ohana won’t want to miss the Holiday Starlit Hui taking place several times a week through the end of the year! This iconic entertainment offering at Aulani has added some seasonal touches that are sure to have everyone in the holiday spirit. Also taking place on the Halawai Lawn, the ‘Ohana Disney Movie Nights will screen holiday films under the twinkling stars every Tuesday and Friday. Check The Daily ‘Iwa for more information on both of these festive favorites.
  • Seasonal Crafts at Aunty’s Beach House & Pau Hana Room: Children ages 3-12 will enjoy holiday-themed coloring sheets and crafting activities in Aunty’s Beach House. If you have tweens and teens in your ‘ohana, be sure they stop by the Pau Hana Room for special seasonal crafts as well!
  • Aulani Christmas Day Dinner: In addition to wishing everyone a Mele Kalikimaka on Christmas Day, your ‘ohana can enjoy a savory buffet feast and live entertainment! Learn more about the menu and book a reservation for the joyous meal here. Your ‘ohana can also enjoy a special 3-course prix fixe menu featuring fresh-caught seafood and prime rib at ‘AMA‘AMA! Update: The Aulani Christmas Day Dinner is now sold out.

And be sure to look out for some of your favorite Disney characters that have decided to don their best holiday Disney Side outfits for the occasion! Look for Mickey and the gang in the Waikolohe Valley or on the Halawai Lawn daily.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season at Aulani? Tell us in the comments below!

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A Peek Inside The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

posted on December 1st, 2014 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the newest addition to the growing Disney Vacation Club portfolio at Walt Disney World Resort, offers Victorian elegance just a hop, skip and jump (or one short monorail ride, whichever mode of transportation you prefer) away from Magic Kingdom Park.

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If you’ve yet to check out this breathtaking Disney Vacation Club offering let me tell you right now – you are missing out. I could write sonnets about the lobby alone. From the whimsical “Mary Poppins“-themed fountain to the two five-tier custom grand chandeliers, the lobby is truly grand. But, since guests generally tend to sleep in the villa-style accommodations (and not the lobby, although it is certainly cozy enough), I think it’s best to focus on those.

The resort features spacious accommodations that sleep anywhere from five to twelve guests, providing even more flexibility and choices for Disney Vacation Club members and guests. The resort’s Deluxe Studios are the first at Walt Disney World Resort that sleep up to five guests, thanks to what is (arguably, although I stand by it) the coolest feature to date – a hidden pull-down bed! The front of this unassuming television stand pulls down to reveal a secret sleeping spot, complete with special Disney artwork. Ta-da!

A Peek Inside The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa A Peek Inside The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For those looking for a little more space, 1- and 2-bedroom Villas, and 3-bedroom Grand Villas offer living rooms, full kitchens and separate sleeping areas. They are all magnificent, but the Grand Villa, which sleeps up to 12 people, has some serious “wow” factor. It even has its own media room, complete with a big-screen television and comfy seating for the whole family. Want a peek inside? Check this out.

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is now nearly 80% sold out. And, while staying just steps away from the top-notch amenities available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the flagship Walt Disney World Resort experience, is certainly on my “must do” list, the great thing about being a Disney Vacation Club member is the variety of vacation destinations available to you. Whether it’s this sort of Victorian splendor you crave, or watching a giraffe munch on lunch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, or even exploring thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world, the possibilities of where you can vacation as a member are vast.

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Special Edition Wildlife Wednesday: What Are We Thankful For? You! – Thank You for Contributing to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund!

posted on November 26th, 2014 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Recently, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) was thrilled to announce its 2014 grant recipients. With this announcement DWCF surpassed $25 million awarded to nonprofits working to conserve wildlife and connect kids and families with nature. As we enter a season full of thanks and giving for many, we want to take a moment to thank you! Matched by Disney, your contributions to DWCF at Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club, are directly contributing to protecting animals and their habitats, and helping children all over the world have nature experiences. Not only do we thank you, the grant recipients thank you as well. Here are a few notes from recipients expressing gratitude for the conservation efforts made possible by your contributions.

The Marine Mammal Center: Mahalo!!! This is such wonderful news – especially as we just celebrated the opening and blessing of the new Hawaiian monk seal hospital and were joined by 150 members of the community, government, funders, and volunteers in Kona last week. And as we just sent off the first four young Hawaiian monk seal patients healthy back to the ocean – before our facility was built these four seals would have been left with no hope of survival. It is an exciting time of hope and possibility in the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal. Thank you so much for your support!

Project: Hawaiian Monk Seal Healthcare Project

The Purple Martin Conservation Association: This is most wonderful news and on behalf of our purple martin conservation team we express our deep thanks for your support of our project. We look forward to working together with Disney to make important progress in the conservation of declining populations of purple martins.

Project: Connecting Songbird Conservation Across Hemispheres

Hawaiian Monk Seals at The Marine Mammal Center Tagged Purple Martin at The Purple Martin Conservation Association

SAVE THE FROGS!: This is amazing news! Thank you so much to you all and to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for your support of our amphibian conservation programs in West Africa.

Project: Saving Ghana’s Endangered Squeaker Frog

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The Jane Goodall Institute: Thank you so much for this wonderful news. Having Disney’s support of the Jane Goodall Institute and our Mandrill Reintroduction Project is greatly appreciated. Releasing rehabilitated mandrills back into the wild is so important, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for the surrounding ecosystem. They are important contributors to their local biodiversity and their presence has a positive spillover effect on other threatened wildlife. Again, thank you to everyone at Disney for your support.

Project: Release of Wild Born Mandrills

Sea to Shore Alliance: Thank you so much to all of you at DWCF for this fantastic news! We are extremely honored to be funded for the seventh year in a row, and we know our African manatee collaborators, whose projects benefit so greatly from your grants, are very grateful as well. We look forward to sharing more news and photos with you soon.

Project: African Manatee Research and Conservation

Every $1 in guest donations is matched by The Walt Disney Company and awarded to nonprofits to support conservation projects around the world. By contributing to the DWCF, guests are making a meaningful difference in conserving species all over the world. To see more projects visit Disney.com/conservation and click on the Google Earth application.

Happy Holidays!

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First Look at New Merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on November 24th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Planning a visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, this holiday season? You might want to consider packing light or bringing an extra suitcase, because I have all of the details on new merchandise that I guarantee you are going to want to bring home with you.

From what I’ve heard, the new Aulani-inspired Dooney & Bourke collection has already become a fan favorite. Take a look at the new design on the tote and cross-body styles which are available now at Hale Manu. Tip: Look for the wristlet (shown), available this spring.

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It doesn’t stop there! New collections themed to Shellie May, Duffy the Disney Bear, Aloha Minnie and Mele Kalikimaka are now available at Kalepa’s Store.

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As you can see, this year’s Mele Kalikimaka collection features Santa Mickey and Reindeer Pluto. You’ll find this art on tees, an ornament, a mug and a pin. Tip: Although I wasn’t able to show it, the Santa Mickey Mele Kalikimaka hat should be a must for anyone visiting during the holiday time frame.

New hats, caps, totes, tanks, fashion tees and fleece have been added to the new Aloha Minnie collection. It’s fashionable, fun and a perfect addition to your vacation wear.

Shellie May and Duffy the Disney Bear have made their debut on new items this holiday season as well. Look for t-shirts, hats and more featuring these fan favorites.

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Other seasonal favorites and quick picks include holiday and Frozen dolls and plush, retro holiday merchandise, ornaments, pins and Vinylmation.

Stay tuned for more next month as we dive deeper into the world of merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

What will you pack in your bags?

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