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Julie Reihm Casaletto Honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at D23 EXPO

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was selected to be Disney’s first Ambassador in 1965, was honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at the D23 EXPO, along with eight other beloved contributors to the Disney Legacy. Julie was one of five finalists in the fall of 1964 competing to become Miss Disneyland Tencennial for the park’s 10th anniversary, when the Disney Ambassador program was introduced to help Walt Disney represent Disneyland park throughout the world.

During her tenure, Julie was featured in a special 1965 TV episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” in which she appeared alongside Walt Disney as he showed viewers upcoming concepts for Disneyland attractions. “Working with Walt was a super learning experience,” Julie shared. “His creative genius often came with a boy-like excitement of discovery.”

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When it came time to decide whether the Disney Ambassador program would continue, Julie shared her thoughts with Walt. Both agreed the program was a special opportunity for future emissaries of goodwill to share the joy and magic of Disneyland with the world. Today, the Disney Ambassador program has been introduced across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Julie has become the model upon which decades of Disney Ambassadors have patterned themselves.

“My purpose was to share the joy, hope and happiness of Disneyland to communities around the world,” Julie said. “Those unforgettable experiences have continued to influence my life and career. For decades, Disneyland has been the pixie dust of my life. I consider Disneyland and all of its wonder to be home.”

Learn more about the 2015 Disney Legends here.

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Soarin’ Around the World Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 16th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Beginning next year, guests at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort will undertake a whole new Soarin’ journey when Soarin’ Around the World opens at both locations. This new experience continues the recent updates to the popular attraction, including all-new digital screens and projection systems at both locations.

Soarin’ Around the World will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands, over some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders. It will use the same technology that will make the Shanghai attraction, Soaring Over the Horizon, so spectacular, ensuring that the very best Disney has to offer can be experienced at Disney Parks around the world.

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Star Wars Enhancements, New Experiences Coming Soon to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay and Season of the Force, guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts will soon be able to step into the Star Wars galaxy like never before!

Star Wars Launch Bay Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park

Star Wars Launch Bay will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park. Also at Disneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with Super Heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.

Hyperspace Mountain Coming for Season of the Force at Disneyland Park

Season of the Force, a new seasonal event beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will also climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Later this year, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.

Finally, Jedi Training Academy – a favorite of younger fans – will be reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series, “Star Wars Rebels.”

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Live Updates from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Presentation at 2015 D23 EXPO

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE: 4:30 PDT
The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at the 2015 D23 EXPO has concluded! Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog over the next few days for more details on these new and exciting experiences.

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at the D23 EXPO 2015 is underway! We’re excited to share the news as Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announces new attractions and entertainment, part of the unprecedented growth at Disney Parks around the world. While the guests inside Hall D23 will be the first to hear the news, we will provide live updates here. Keep an eye on this space!

UPDATE: 4:15 PDT

Guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands, fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and soar over man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its debut next year.

UPDATE: 4:00 PDT

Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland

Iron Man just landed for a special appearance at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation! Soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself when Iron Man Experience opens in 2016.

UPDATE: 3:45 PDT

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will invite guests into the world of AVATAR, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land.
  • AVATAR Flight of Passage – The centerpiece of Pandora – The World of AVATAR, brings guests into one of the most thrilling scenes from the film, in which they will soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world.
  • “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live performers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
  • Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

UPDATE: 3:30 PDT

The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with the all-new 11-acre Toy Story Land. Guests will become part of the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard, including two new Disney Parks attractions and one expanded favorite.

Toy Story Land Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – This coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a thrilling, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land on the back of Slinky Dog.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.
  • Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds an additional track to this popular attraction.

UPDATE: 3:20 PDT

Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek just reminded fans in Hall D23 of the all-new Star Wars-themed lands that are coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, announced by Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger earlier today. Chapek also shared more information about new Star Wars experiences coming to both resorts, some starting late this year.

The worlds, stories and characters of the Star Wars galaxy will come to life through new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

Star Wars Launch Bay Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park

Star Wars Launch Bay – Opening later this year, this interactive experience will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga.

Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment, themed food locations and Hyperspace Mountain – a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies on weekend nights.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger Announces Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

Today at the D23 EXPO 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced to an audience of more than 7,500 fans that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., allowing Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

Ambitious plans to bring Star Wars to life in the two parks include creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

Artist Concept Shows Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

Artist Concept Shows Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more news coming out of D23 EXPO 2015 this afternoon from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation.

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Inside the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion at the D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 14th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


The D23 EXPO 2015 is underway! In the video below, we take you inside the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion for a look at some of the new and exciting things coming at Disney Parks around the world. See what makes Shanghai Disney Resort “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese” and get a peek at the world of AVATAR, coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort!

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more coverage from D23 EXPO 2015 and join the conversation with the hashtag #D23EXPO.

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Watch the Disney Parks Blog This Weekend for Coverage of the D23 Expo

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


The Disney Parks Blog team has already assembled at the Disneyland Resort to cover this year’s D23 Expo. We’ll be providing updates right here on the Disney Parks Blog all weekend.

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Of course, other ways you can monitor our coverage include:

Keep checking back for more!

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Summertime at the Hotels of the Disneyland  Resort

posted on August 13th, 2015 by Michael Ramirez, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


As you’re enjoying the last few weeks of summer, I hope there’s a trip planned to Anaheim to experience the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration! And if you’re staying overnight (or two!) at one of our three hotels, there is plenty of fun in store for your stay.

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Whether you are looking to cool down or simply relax, here are three unexpected ways to enjoy summertime as a guest of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort:

  1. Pool Parties: Enjoy fun in the sun with a pool party at any of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort. These seasonal parties occur daily in the afternoon and include games, music and dancing!
  2. Magical Night at the Movies: For a relaxing evening, cozy up with a favorite Disney film on select nights under the stars. Movie screenings take place at all three hotels, and guests are encouraged to bring snacks for the show!
  3. Cabanas: If you’re interested in lounging by the pool all day, consider reserving a private, poolside cabana. Available for a half-day or full-day, stretch out under a shaded cabana equipped with everything you need to relax. To make a reservation at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa or the Disneyland Hotel for an additional fee, call (714) 635-2300 or visit the Guest Services desk inside either hotel.

What’s your favorite summertime activity at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort?

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Back to School: Disney Parks Alphabet

posted on August 13th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In honor of the upcoming start of the 2015-2016 school year, we have this alphabet graphic to share with you, which was created by Disney Parks Blog author Simone Miranda and team. Can you decipher all the characters?

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Disneyland Nights: Suggestions for Nighttime Fun During D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 12th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’m looking forward to attending the D23 EXPO 2015 this week at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Expo will be held August 14-16 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. After spending the daytime immersed in all things Disney, I can’t wait to visit Disneyland Resort at night. Here are some of my favorite places, in case you are looking for something to do as the sun sets in the California sky.

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Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
My number one nighttime destination is Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. While I love finding hidden treasures inside the bar area (look for a hidden Orange Bird figure), I also enjoy sitting outside on the torch-lit lanai listening to live music. If you are hungry, try the Ahi Poke or the Slow-roasted Kālua-style Pork Sandwich. For beverages, I highly recommend the HippopotoMai-Tai or, if you are sharing, the Uh Oa!, named after the tiki goddess of disaster.

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Beignets and Live Music at Downtown Disney District
I like strolling through Downtown Disney District after picking up some beignets and coffee from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express. From 6-10 p.m. this month at Downtown Disney District, each night of the week will be devoted to a different musical style . During the D23 EXPO 2015 weekend, look for these performances:

  • Friday, August 14 – Tupua Polynesian variety show
  • Saturday, August 15 – Phat Cat Swinger (I love that swing dancing is still a tradition!)
  • Sunday, August 16 – Top 40 Music Jam features Dead Ringer

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Carthay Circle Lounge on Buena Vista Street
The little details on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure park are fantastic (see my fellow author Tyler Slater’s article for a sampling). I also like Carthay Circle Lounge, which offers handcrafted cocktails by mixologists who use unique glassware, gourmet garnishes and drink-specific ice (try the Manhattan as seen in this video).

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Dole Whips in the Enchanted Tiki Garden at Disneyland Park
There is nothing greater than enjoying a Dole Whip while sitting in the Enchanted Tiki Garden at Disneyland park. I love watching the Tiki gods of the garden come to life as seen in this video.

Do you have a favorite hangout in Disneyland after dark? Please share in the comments below.

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