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Valentine’s DIY: Make Disney Bride & Groom Candy Apples from Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 1st, 2016 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Walt Disney World Resort’s candy shops offer a wide range of treats that are as delightful for the eye as they are for the tummy. We’ve previously shared tutorials on how you can recreate some of their bestselling items right in your own home, including Minnie Witch Candy Apples, Olaf Marshmallow Treats and more.

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This month we’re back with a look at candy apples that make perfect surprises for lovebirds – the Mickey Groom and Minnie Bride Apples. Here’s a fun fact: while you may not normally see these designs stocking the shelves at our candy shops, guests can ask to have a Mickey Groom or Minnie Bride Apple made for them right on the spot! What a way to celebrate an engagement, wedding or honeymoon.

Check out the tutorial above, in which Candy Cauldron Confectioner Bryanna gives us step-by-step directions on bringing this sweet duo to life.

See the posts below for more DIY projects:

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#DisneyTweens: Disney Channel Star’s Perfect Disney Day

posted on January 28th, 2016 by Raquel Giorgio, Public Relations Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


As a parent of an older child, perhaps you wonder if a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort is still as special and magical as when they were younger. I can honestly tell you that my tween daughter would LIVE at Walt Disney World Resort if there wasn’t school or gymnastics practice getting in the way. But don’t just take it from me!

Tween favorite Peyton List, star of “Bunk’d” on the Disney Channel, adores Walt Disney World Resort! Just a few weeks ago, she came to visit with her mom, dad and brothers and she shared some of her favorite things to do while at Walt Disney World Resort. First on the list … go shopping at a Disney retail shop to find Minnie Mouse ears to match her outfit. A girl can’t be too coordinated!

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Then, it’s time for an encounter at the new Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where she shares a smooch with Chewbacca on the Light Side. She also found some First Order Storm Troopers for a photo opp.

Peyton claims she’s a “daredevil” and tries to ride all of the roller coasters and wild rides in all four theme parks. There’s certainly many to choose from … including Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Test Track at Epcot.

When hunger strikes, it’s time to snack on a soft serve pineapple Dole Whip from Adventureland in Magic Kingdom Park. It hits the spot for her every time and she says she can’t visit Walt Disney World Resort without indulging in the creamy, sweet treat!

After all the thrills and adventures, Peyton ends her Disney day with “Wishes” nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park. With all those dazzling and brilliant fireworks bursting above and around Cinderella Castle, it’s just the perfect kiss goodnight!

I bet your older child would agree … Walt Disney World Resort is still the place to be!

For more information on planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort with your tween, check out www.disneyworld.com/Tweens.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: Here’s an Update on Native Gopher Tortoise ‘Wheels’

posted on January 27th, 2016 by Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


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Remember Wheels, the native gopher tortoise who found himself at our veterinary hospital? A car-strike injury to his shell made it difficult for him to move around, and our team attached LEGO blocks with wheels to the bottom of his shell to help him walk. Of course, his nickname “Wheels” soon followed.

Wheels healed well, and I am proud to report that he is now back in the wild. We attached a telemetry device to his shell so we can track his whereabouts and make sure that he is coping out there. This kind of data is very valuable to our conservation team and helps us learn much more about this protected species.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 24th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


This week, our blog coverage of Disney Parks included an update on an unforgettable act of kindness that led to a dream come true and a special visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

You may remember the story of two college students who started an effort to raise money and surprise Kathryn Thompson, a beloved cafeteria worker at Acorn University in Elon, NC, with a trip to Walt Disney World. This past week, Kathryn traveled to Florida for her dream vacation and a surprise reunion with the two students who made it happen. Check out Bob’s original story for more details

We also let you know that in Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll soon be able to explore a new exhibit that delves into some of the behind-the-scenes research that went into the production of Disney’s upcoming comedic adventure “Zootopia.”

The ‘Zootopia’ exhibit opens January 29 inside Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Shawn has all of the details in his original story.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

#DisneyGrandAdventure: Magical Memories for Multi-Generation Families at Walt Disney World Resort – Keep checking the blog for #DisneyGrandAdventure posts in the months to come and learn more about the Grand Adventure for Grandparents & Grandkids here.

When I See an Elephant Fly … from the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park – Disneyland Resort fans know that our attractions need a bit of scrubbing and polishing every now and then. But when the attraction in question is the world famous Jungle Cruise, and the scrubbing and polishing involves one rather hefty bull elephant … well then, you just call in a helicopter.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Engineer Andy Fitzgerald to be Saluted at Disneyland Resort Flag Retreat Ceremony January 24 – Today we will extend a special thank you during the daily flag retreat ceremony at Disneyland park to Andy Fitzgerald, one of four U.S. Coast Guardsmen who went out to sea to rescue the crew of the SS Pendleton in 1952.

Disneyland Diamond Days Winner Enjoys Private Breakfast in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park – Recently, Disneyland Diamond Days winner Simon Dawson from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and his family enjoyed a private breakfast in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland park, along with a ride on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. The morning got even more magical when Roger Rabbit himself joined them for a visit!

Space Mountain-Themed Products Are Clear for Launch at Disney Parks – One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World Resort is Space Mountain because I’ve dreamed of being an astronaut. This classic Disney attraction in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park opened on January 15, 1975.

Kids Remember Their Disney Cruise – What are the things you remember most from your first Disney cruise? In this video, we talked with some of our youngest cruisers to hear what they had to say. Check it out!

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Discover the Real World Research Behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ‘Zootopia’ in a New Exhibit Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on January 20th, 2016 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


In Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll soon be able to explore a new exhibit that delves into some of the behind-the-scenes research that went into the production of Disney’s upcoming comedic adventure “Zootopia.”

At Walt Disney Animation Studios, the journey in making every film begins with research. In order to create the rich and engaging modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia and its wide variety of animal inhabitants, the filmmakers spent 18 months studying animals and their habitats. Their very first stop was Disney’s Animal Kingdom in March 2014, where they worked closely with the park’s team of animal care professionals.

“Research is such an important part of every animated film we make at Disney, and for ‘Zootopia’ our research began at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to meet with some of the best animal experts in the world,” said Clark Spencer, the Oscar®-nominated producer of “Zootopia.” “Everything that we learned about animal behaviors, personalities and movement our artists incorporated into the world of ‘Zootopia,’ and to now be able to share those discoveries and influences with the guests at the park is truly a full circle moment.”

The ‘Zootopia’ exhibit opens January 29 inside Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Beginning this week, you can also catch our special sneak preview of scenes from “Zootopia,” giving you an advance look at several clips from the upcoming film. The sneak peek opens as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, January 21, and comes to the Bug’s Life Theater at Disney California Adventure park this Friday, January 22.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4 in 3D.

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Celebrating National Popcorn Day at Disney Parks and Resorts

posted on January 19th, 2016 by Rachel Bshero, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


January 19 is National Popcorn Day, and at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, we’re celebrating everything popcorn—from the sight of bright yellow kernels is an iconic Disney Parks popcorn sleeve or souvenir bucket to the smell of salt and butter filling the air as you walk by a popcorn cart. Is there anything better than strolling down Main Street U.S.A. with a snack of piping hot popcorn?

To celebrate one of my favorite food holidays, I’m sharing a first look at a brand new souvenir popcorn bucket that will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests will be able to purchase the lotus popcorn bucket later this year. But that’s not all, this bucket also lights up, becoming a beautiful luminary.

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On the West Coast, guests can look for a second edition of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration 60th Anniversary bucket, available now. The bucket is available in red, blue and purple, but we’ve added that ‘Disneyland’ banner everyone knows and loves on Mickey Popcorn Balloons.

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Did you know Walt Disney Parks and Resorts guests enjoy more than 540,000 pounds of popcorn annually? Recently, Pop Secret was named the official popcorn of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, meaning our popcorn carts all sell hot, fresh Pop Secret-brand popcorn—YUM! Look for new Pop Secret co-branded popcorn scoops to arrive at Disney Parks later in 2016.

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How are you celebrating National Popcorn Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Wildlife Wednesday: Meet Willie the Aardvark at Rafiki’s Planet Watch

posted on January 13th, 2016 by Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


I’m delighted to introduce you to Willie, a new resident at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Willie is an aardvark that frequents the outdoor stage next to Affection Section where I hope you get the chance to meet and learn more about him in person.

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Animal keeper Julie has spent a lot of time with Willie as he acclimates to his new home and she already has lots of interesting and fun stories to share about Willie. One of Julie’s most memorable moments happened when Willie first walked into Affection Section and every goat and sheep turned their attention to the new arrival. As Julie explained to me, “They were all very interested and lined up at the fence to check him out. It was just as enriching for us [cast members] as it was for all of them.”

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Although Willie generally focuses on learning new skills and exploring his world in the late afternoon, he sometimes decides to sleep through training time. (I’m usually ready for a nap around that time, too!) Willie’s behavior and preferred schedule is completely fine because all of the animals can choose whether they wish to participate in activities or not.

As much as Willie loves to sleep, he seems to like to eat even more, especially bugs, bananas and avocados. On occasion, he’ll get honeycomb larvae as a special treat.

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In the pictures above, you may notice Willie is wearing a harness. This common practice is for Willie’s safety during the early stages of training, and while he’s getting used to the environment at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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In the wild, aardvarks can most commonly be found roaming throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. Because of their nocturnal nature, you typically will see them only at night. Aardvark populations are declining because of human habitat infringement and illegal hunting in the wild. They are hunted mainly for their prized meat, but also for their skin, claws and teeth which are used to make jewelry and some traditional medicine.

Learn more about some of the animals you can visit at the Walt Disney World Resort at DisneyAnimals.com.

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Thrills Await at Expedition Everest

posted on January 12th, 2016 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


This week’s “Good Morning” shot was snapped at Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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In this attraction, Himalayan Escapes – Tours and Expeditions whisks guests on a tour through the icy and towering Mount Everest. But beware the Yeti, the legendary protector of the mountain!

Is Everest a must-do for you?

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Costa Does It Again at the Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 10th, 2016 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


Fredison Costa is only about 140 pounds soaking wet, but he said he felt very heavy on Sunday. Maybe it was from the weight of five – count them, five – Walt Disney World Marathon medals he now has in his possession.

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Costa, the Brazilian runner who trains at Walt Disney World Resort, continued to pile on the victories Sunday morning, winning his third straight Walt Disney World Marathon and his fifth in the last six years.

Costa’s win, along with Natasha Yaremczuk’s victory in the women’s division (2:52:23), capped the 23rd Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. The signature runDisney event drew more than 100,000 runners and fans for races of all levels, a Health & Fitness Expo and the first-ever runDisney Race Director Series for race executives from around the world.

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Costa, 38, provided the perfect punctuation to the weekend and is quickly gaining on Adriano Bastos for the title of winningest runner in Walt Disney World Marathon history. With his fifth victory, Costa is only three behind Bastos, who is an eight-time winner.

It’s been anything but easy, especially Sunday. His win – he crossed the finish line in 2:33:24 – was the slowest of his five victories, roughly 15 minutes slower, in fact, than his winning time last year (2:18:06). That’s because he was coming off a recent calf injury that forced him to suspend his training for 10 days. And it didn’t help that it was a warm and wet morning, which also zapped some of his speed as he navigated the 26.2-mile course through all four Disney theme parks.

Nevertheless, Costa said he achieved the one thing he wanted more than anything. He won.

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“I was not happy with my time,’’ said Costa, who trains with former Olympic track & field coach Brooks Johnson at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. “But I’m the happiest man on earth.’’

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on January 10th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We kicked off the first week of the year with stories about some new experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2016, including special dining opportunities and new ways to experience some of your favorite attractions.

E.P. Ripley, One of the Steam Engines of the Disneyland Railroad Premium Tea Party at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel Beginning Jan. 22

Erin shared that while the Disneyland Railroad is temporarily closed this year, guests at the Main Street and New Orleans Square Train Stations will be able to get up-close with the historic steam engines that have circled Disneyland park for decades. Guests will be able to learn about the trains firsthand from our own train engineers and even take a picture with an engine.

There are other special opportunities around the world-famous Jungle Cruise and limited-time experiences aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia throughout the year at Disneyland park. Check out our original story for all of the experiences.

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And we welcomed a new member to the family at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – a baby marmoset. Two 3-year-old marmosets are the proud parents, and Dr. Mark Penning let us know that both are demonstrating great parenting skills. Check out Mark’s original story for video of baby and more details.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

California Farm Prepares New Home for Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm Animals – As we prepare to wish our Disneyland goats a fond farewell, we’re happy to announce that they have found a wonderful forever home on a farm in Murrieta, Calif.

VIDEO: Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Float Dazzles in the 2016 Rose Parade – We kicked off the new year in Pasadena, Calif., with the “Disneyland Diamond Celebration – Awaken Your Adventure” float appearing in the Rose Parade on January 1!

A Very Special Afternoon Tea Begins January 22 at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel – Steakhouse 55 is hosting a mid-day tea from noon to 3 p.m. beginning January 22, bringing the rich tradition of a royal afternoon respite to Disneyland Resort guests where they can enjoy sweets, savories and a grand selection of a dozen special teas.

Southern California Residents Can Enjoy Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and More with Limited-Time Special Tickets – As the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues into 2016 and Season of the Force takes guests into the Star Wars galaxy in Tomorrowland, Disneyland Resort starts the new year with a special ticket offer for Southern California residents.

New Dishes Highlight Indian-African Flavors at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village – Sanaa is one of Disney’s top table-service restaurants, but many still consider it a well-kept secret (and a Cast Member favorite).

Disney Parks After Dark: Main Street Electrical Parade Lights Up Magic Kingdom Park – With the holidays behind us, the “Main Street Electrical Parade” is again the centerpiece of nighttime entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park, shown here in a photo snapped of the Partners Statue.

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