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Wildlife Wednesday: Adopt a Retired Horse Through the Disney Equine Adoption Program

posted on January 14th, 2015 by Mark Beatty, Worldwide Ranch Animal Operations Manager


Did you know The Walt Disney Company maintains 200 horses worldwide at the Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in Paris? These horses provide opportunities for guests to ride in horse-drawn street cars, arrive at their wedding in Cinderella’s Carriage, delight in a child’s first pony ride, watch the Wild West come to life or enjoy a quiet wagon, carriage or trail ride.

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On average, our horses live with us at Disney for about 7-10 years. Their time as a member of the Disney team is based on many factors including their age when they arrive, their ability to acclimate to their surroundings and their overall health. Just like other animals at the Disney Parks, horses receive top-notch care while they are a member of our family, but did you ever wonder what life for a horse is like after Disney?

It gives me great pride to share that life after Disney is just as green on the other side of the fence. For decades, the Disney Equine Adoption Program has paired our retired horses with new adoptive families. This program has proven that our horses and ponies have plenty of magic to share even after their Disney career.

In order to identify the best potential adoptive families, the Disney Equine Adoption Program has various guidelines and policies in place. These guidelines help ensure we find people who are committed to a lifetime of care and enjoyment with our animals.

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For more information and to receive a brochure or application for the Disney Equine Adoption Program, please e-mail twdc.equine.adoptions@disney.com.

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Top 5 Entertainment Milestones at Disney Parks in 2014

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


There’s nothing our Creative Entertainment team enjoys more than producing amazing live entertainment for our guests. Here are just a few of the new experiences that debuted in Disney Parks around the world in 2014:

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  1. Disney Festival of Fantasy” Parade – This stunning daytime spectacular took to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park in March with amazingly detailed floats, vibrantly colored costumes, energetic performances, and a fire-breathing dragon – all created on an enormous scale never before seen at Walt Disney World Resort!

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  1. Seasonal Celebrations at Disneyland Paris – Already known for their festivals at Halloween and Christmas, Disneyland Paris took it up two notches this year with lively celebrations of spring and summer. “Swing Into Spring” and “Summertime” brought fresh, new promenades and shows to Main Street and the Castle Stage, along with character appearances and live music throughout both parks at the resort.

“For The First Time in Forever: A ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration”  at Disney's Hollywood Studios

  1. Summer Events at Walt Disney World Resort – It was a summer of hot and cool special events at Walt Disney World Resort. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Harambe Nights honored the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King” with the hottest party this side of Africa, featuring live concerts, celebrity narrators, and an unforgettable nighttime celebration. Meanwhile, “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios cooled things down with ice-skating, real snow, and a procession, sing-along, and fireworks featuring appearances by Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

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  1. New Disney Character Friends – A highlight of any visit to a Disney Park is getting to meet Mickey Mouse and his pals. In 2014, some other characters stopped in to say “Hello!” for the first time. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of Walt Disney’s first cartoon creations, visited Tokyo DisneySea and Disney California Adventure park, where our guests also got to meet Doc McStuffins from Disney Junior. And Hiro and Baymax flew in hot on the heels of the release of their new movie, “Big Hero 6.”

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  1. Nighttime Spectaculars – Disney Parks dazzled after dark in 2014 with the introduction of several new nighttime spectaculars. The award-winning “Once Upon a Time” came to Tokyo Disneyland in summer, and the new “Disney Paint the Night” Parade lit up Hong Kong Disneyland in October. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, nightly “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks debuted during Star Wars Weekends, and even more “Frozen” fun was added to “World of Color – Winter Dreams” at Disney California Adventure park and “Disney Dreams… of Christmas” in Disneyland Paris.

All this, plus the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event over Memorial Day weekend, expansion of Halloween on the High Seas to all four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, and more!

There’s been quite a lot happening in the world of Creative Entertainment this year, and 2015 promises to be even bigger, especially with “Frozen Fun” and the Diamond Celebration coming to Disneyland Resort. Keep reading Disney Parks Blog all year long, and we’ll have the scoop for you. Happy new year!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Top Ten Disney Parks Moments that Will Go Down in History from 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


We sure had a lot to celebrate at Disney Parks in 2014, and some of the milestones we experienced this year were memorable ones, with “Frozen” fun debuting at our parks, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening and much more.

That said, here are my top 10 picks for moments that will go down in Disney history for 2014.

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  1. Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort – Thousands of guests dressed as their favorite superhero joined the mad dash through the Disneyland Resort as a part of the very first Avengers Half Marathon. Did you #SmashTheHalf?

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  1. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador – For the first time in history, Aulani welcomed their first Disney Ambassador to represent the resort and engage our guests, cast and community. Janelle Sanqui, Aulani’s first Disney Ambassador, worked in Workforce Management at the resort and was born in Hawaii.

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  1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Reopens at Disneyland ParkBig Thunder Mountain Railroad reopened at Disneyland park back in March. The enhanced attraction debuted with upgraded track, a restored Rainbow Ridge Mining Town and other surprises.

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  1. Themed Hotels Announced for Shanghai Disneyland – In November, we announced that two new themed hotels are planned as a part of Shanghai Disney Resort – the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel.

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  1. Downtown Disney Announcements – Several announcements were made for new restaurants coming to the shopping, dining and entertainment area at Walt Disney World Resort, including three new restaurants – Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando.

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  1. “Frozen Summer Fun” Debuts At Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The first official “Frozen” entertainment offerings made their debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July. The fun included “Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome” procession, For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – and a whole lot of excited guests!

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  1. L’Aventure Totalement Toquee De Remy (Ratatouille) Attraction Opens At Disneyland Park (Paris) – This attraction, and its surrounding La Place de Rémy Courtyard, officially opened July 10, 2014.

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  1. Oswald Begins Greeting Guests At Disney California Adventure Park – This historic Disney character made his first ever appearance at a Disney Park this year. Oswald was one of Walt Disney’s first major animated characters ever developed. Learn more about him here.

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  1. “Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade” Steps Off at Magic Kingdom Park – March 10 marked the arrival of a wonderful new daytime parade at Magic Kingdom Park. A fire-breathing Maleficent, anyone?

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens at Magic Kingdom Park – The final New Fantasyland attraction made its debut at the park on May 28. Have you seen these amazing Audio-Animatronics figures?

Which moment was your favorite? Would you add anything to our list? Let us know in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Supports Toys for Tots

posted on December 26th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This holiday season, Disney VoluntEARS continued the 60-year tradition of supporting the Toys for Tots campaign by collecting gifts for children around the globe.

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Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort VoluntEARS supported the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual drive. These cast members donated more than 6,000 hours of service to help sort donations and distribute toys to families in need. Disney Cruise Line hosted toy drives onboard their ships, at their homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida and in their shore-side offices. VoluntEARS at Disneyland Paris hosted “Mission Noel.” At this event, they wrapped gifts for children from local communities who were invited to the park for Christmas Eve brunch. In total, our cast members donated more than 40,000 toys, books and games.

Toys for Tots is just one example of how we at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts enrich the lives of kids and families around the globe. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteerism, we help make lasting and positive change in the world. To learn more about citizenship at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, visit http://aboutdisneyparks.com/citizenship.

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PHOTO GALLERY: The Holidays Arrive at Disneyland Resort Paris

posted on December 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Just when you can’t possibly imagine Disneyland Resort Paris becoming any more beautiful than it usually is, the holidays arrive! The park’s celebration, Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, is well underway, with special holiday decor, festive entertainment and much more ready and waiting for guests.

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The Disneyland Resort Paris Christmas Parade is delighting guests with appearances by Santa Claus, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, Donald, Daisy (and even nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, among many others!).

This year’s Christmas tree measures more than 78 feet tall and boasts more than 1,000 glittering decorations. And of course, the tree just marks the start of a slew of festive decor that stretches down Main Street, U.S.A.

Check out the gallery of images above from photographer Tom Bricker that show just how merry the parks are during this time of year. Holiday fun will continue at Disneyland Resort Paris through January 7, 2015.

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Disney Parks Honored with Several Industry Awards

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


I’m happy to report that earlier this week, two prestigious organizations honored Disney Parks projects with multiple industry awards.

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On Tuesday, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced their annual Thea Award winners. Among the honorees, TEA announced that “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the recipient of the Thea Classic award, honoring attractions that have withstood the test of time and have endured for 20 or more years. TEA said in their announcement that the attraction “continues to captivate audiences around the world with pure charm, melded with a profound message deceptively hiding in a simple and astonishingly catchy song … This timeless classic continues to engage generation after generation. Surely “it’s a small world” is the very definition of a Classic.”

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Also, Bistrot Chez Remy, the new French restaurant at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris that is inspired by the Disney∙Pixar film “Ratatouille,” is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Themed Restaurant. “It is a truly charming and thematically thorough dining experience, where oversized objects are reused in every possible way to create tables, chairs, architectural elements, and props … [E]verything is very well-conceived and delivered to create an illusion that is both convincing and coyly self-aware. The exterior of the attraction looks like a typical Parisian café, but on closer inspection, one realizes that this is the world of Paris from the film, where there are no straight lines – a perfect blend of fiction and reality. This venue exhibits thoroughness, conceptual clarity, dedication to narrative detail, and exceptional finish.”

Wilderness Explorers Opens at  Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Finally, Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an interactive experience that combines badge collecting, guest interaction and learning about the natural world, is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Interactive Park Attraction on a Limited Budget.

“Disney has incorporated storytelling and gaming to create an experience that is intimate and personal in its connection to the guests, yet wisely recognizes that technology would be a distraction and remove guests from nature. Guests are given a role in the story – becoming a Wilderness Explorer – that was a poignant, aspirational story of a core identifiable character from the Pixar film. This intersection point between film story world, live animals and the beautiful habitats within Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a huge part of why this attraction is effective … This unique attraction is worthy of honors as much for its craft as for the authenticity and cleverness of implementation within a unique park environment.”

TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Thea Awards will be given out at an awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel on March 21, 2015.

On Wednesday night, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) awarded their Brass Rings Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence and “Once Upon a Time” at Tokyo Disney Resort won for Best Multimedia Spectacular.

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IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards mark achievements of excellence throughout the global attractions industry.

Congratulations to all who worked to create and bring these wonderful projects to life!

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Holiday Festivities Begin at Disneyland Resort Paris

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Holiday fun returned to Disneyland Resort Paris earlier this week, with the season bringing new princess experiences, “Frozen” entertainment, and much more.

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This year, multiple members of Disney royalty are visiting Disneyland Park (Paris) for the first time, including Merida from “Brave.” Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” who appeared in the parade last year, will be available for photos this year for the first time. Santa Claus, of course, will also make an appearance.

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After the sun goes down, guests can view the nightly “Magical Christmas Wishes” Christmas tree lighting celebration and enjoy the nighttime show “Disney Dreams! of Christmas,” in which Olaf steps out of “Frozen” to conduct a production of projections, fountains, special effects and fireworks at the castle.

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Photo Gallery: Disney Castles That Have Been Covered in Real Snow

posted on November 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier we mentioned that tonight guests will gather at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort to watch Elsa (from “Frozen”) magically transform Cinderella Castle into a glittering ice palace during the “Castle Dream Lights” and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.

But did you know that there are actually a few Disney Parks castles that occasionally find themselves dusted with real snow?

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Disneyland Park (Paris) is located in Marne-la-Vallée, France, and sees regular snowfall. These shots were snapped in December 2010, after a sizeable flurry added extra holiday charm to the park’s Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant castle. (Click through the gallery to see additional park attractions covered in snow).

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Every so often, Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland will also see some snowfall. Our friends at the park shared these amazing shots of their temporary “ice” castle – and other attractions – back in January 2013.

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Years ago at Tokyo Disneyland, some Disney characters took advantage of the snowfall for a playful snowball fight with their park’s snowy castle as a backdrop. Check out that photo above.

Snow-Capped Mountains Behind Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle

While it doesn’t snow in Anaheim, California (home to the Disneyland Resort), it has in higher elevations around the city. In 2009, we shared this image, which shows Sleeping Beauty Castle with snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains as the backdrop.

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Filed: Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

First Disney Ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto Welcomes New Ambassadors

posted on October 11th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts celebrates 50 years of the Disney Ambassador program, which was first introduced as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of Disneyland. Walt Disney needed someone to act as a representative of Disneyland to audiences in the community and around the world, as well as host VIP guests and foreign dignitaries. Julie Reihm Casaletto, a tour guide for the park at the time, was selected by Walt to be the first Disney Ambassador.

A half-century later, in a ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park, Julie joined more than 50 former Disney Ambassadors yesterday morning to welcome the 2015-2016 Disneyland Resort Ambassador team, Jessica Bernard and Allie Kawamoto.

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The 50-year tradition continued at Walt Disney World Resort yesterday, as Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma were announced as the 2015-2016 Disney Ambassador team, receiving the golden opportunity of sharing the magic of “our world” – and representing nearly 70,000 fellow Cast Members – with the Central Florida community.

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Rounding out the global anniversary celebration, Disney Ambassadors also were announced recently at other Disney Parks around the world. At Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Sara Hui was selected as the next Ambassador to represent the Asia-based theme park, and Tokyo Disney Resort chose Riina Imaeda as the first ambassador to serve a two-year term in Japan. Sonia Demay and Romina Grochow were welcomed as new Ambassadors at Disneyland Paris earlier this month.

The Disney Ambassador family will grow this year, as Shanghai Disney Resort, scheduled to open in 2015, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will for the first time name Disney Ambassadors.

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Halloween Celebration Begins at Disneyland Park Paris October 1

posted on September 30th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Halloween is on its way to Disneyland Park (Paris), with the return of the park’s Disney’s Halloween Festival on October 1.

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During the event, which runs through November 2, guests can watch The Maleficent Disney Villains Promenade or Mickey’s Halloween Celebration (which features Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes), visit their favorite villains in Maleficent’s Court, or take photos in one of the park’s many seasonally decorated photo locations.

Here’s a sneak peek at the fun.

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