Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Finish That Disney Parks Sign: Finding Directions to Harambe

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Disney Parks sign is a newer one that can be found in the Harambe section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Do you remember the missing words here? Where can you find fresh water and clean beds? If you remember, tell us in the “Comments” section below. The post will be updated later today with the answer!

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Wildlife Wednesday: When You Think of Elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. . . Think Big!

posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Kathy Lehnhardt, Curator of Education, Disney’s Animal Programs


Elephant care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a big job! Elephants are intelligent, social, and complex animals so meeting all their care requirements means lots of work and dedication, especially when the herd consists of eight unique individuals to look after. Our Animal Care Team provides daily baths, facility cleaning, foot care, feeding, record keeping, advanced training and enrichment programs all completed in an environment that is safe for both elephants and people. Our Veterinarians are able to perform many medical procedures without tranquilization as a result of effective training, so the elephants actually assist in their own health care. And of course there is plenty of time for elephant social interactions in not one, but three large habitats spanning about seven acres.

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As you can imagine, elephants are big… really big! In fact, they are the largest land animal on our planet. But it’s hard to imagine just how big they are until you stand next to an African bull [male] elephant. Since this is an opportunity very few people have the chance to experience, the Elephant Care Team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom worked with Disney Imagineering to simulate the experience by adding three life-sized silhouettes of elephants on the elephant house:

1. An adult bull at 11 feet tall
2. An adult cow at 8 feet tall
3. A newborn calf at 3 feet tall

Guests participating in the Backstage Safari program now have the chance to safely measure themselves next to an elephant –an elephant silhouette that is – for a real height and size comparison. Day guests onboard the Wildlife Express Train at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can also view the elephant silhouettes as the train passes the backstage elephant house.

To further enhance the area and share our commitment to elephants, both at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and in the wild, the team also added an inscription to the elephant house that proudly declares: “Dedicated to Elephant Care and Conservation.”

Conserving elephants in the wild is also a big job! It is currently estimated that each day, 96 African elephants are killed for various reasons including their ivory tusks. Only by working together can we help protect elephants from illegal poaching.

Walt Disney said it best, “Conservation isn’t just the business of a few people, it’s a matter that concerns all of us … If we will use our riches wisely, if we will protect our wildlife, and preserve our lakes and streams these things will last us for generations to come.”

To learn more about how you can get involved in elephant conservation, visit: www.elephantconservation.org, www.Savetheelephants.com or the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign, at www.96elephants.org.

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Happy July 4 Week! Our Top 10 All-American Eats at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 1st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


July 4 is all about celebrating the red, white and blue. If you’re spending July 4 at Walt Disney World Resort, here are our Top 10 All-American eats:

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  1. We’re starting with a cocktail, as it’s only available on July 4 – “red, white and blue” mojitos (red berry, classic and blueberry-lemon). You’ll find them at bars throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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  1. Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can order the Famous All-American Picnic Burger at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. It’s an Angus burger topped with a grilled hotdog, sautéed onions, sauerkraut and a pickle. Yum!
  2. Head to Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom Park for a hit list of American baseball favorites: hot dogs, nachos, corn dog nuggets, French fries, cotton candy and Cracker Jacks. Grab a seat outside and listen to the all-American ragtime piano player.
  3. Step back to the days of Colonial Williamsburg at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom Park. For lunch, try the Liberty Boys BLT with slow-roasted pork, fresh greens and tomatoes on house-made bread with caramelized shallots and a mushroom-mayo spread.
  4. Sip a Liberty Swirl Slush (Fanta Strawberry and Blue Raspberry) at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square, or maybe an All-American Sundae at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – vanilla and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, peanut butter drizzle, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

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  1. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, what’s more all-American than a half slab of St. Louis ribs from Flame Tree Barbecue, served with baked beans and cole slaw – picnic tables and lots of napkins make it easy to be messy.
  2. The New England-style lobster roll at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (and check out the new red, white and blue costumes the servers will be wearing, just in time for the holiday). On a butter-toasted Parker House roll, it’s a classic New England recipe.
  3. Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is our go-to for fancy, super-fresh all-American seafood. Tuck into a 2-pound steamed Maine lobster, crispy Rhode Island calamari, pan-seared George’s Bank day boat scallops, and/or Alaskan wild-caught halibut.
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  1. For a taste of the South, it’s Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort: shrimp and grits or a shrimp po boy are our favorites.
  2. And just one more burger – the All-American Bacon Cheeseburger at ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. Nothing fancy, just Cheddar cheese and bacon on an Angus burger. Add a draft beer, and you’ve got the quintessential July 4 meal.
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Celebrating Fourth of July at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 30th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


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Independence Day is coming up, and the parks at Walt Disney World Resort are planning to celebrate with some star-spangled salutes to America in honor of our nation’s 238th birthday!

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World Resort for the 4th of July, here is some of what you can look forward to:

  • Magic Kingdom Park – “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” rockets into the air above Cinderella Castle. This special, fireworks spectacular will be presented two nights in a row, at 9 p.m. on both July 3 and 4.
  • Epcot – On July 4, enjoy a special concert of great American songs by Voices of Liberty at America Gardens Theater, where they’ll be performing at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. You can also meet some favorite Disney characters in patriotic attire outside The American Adventure, and catch the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps at the pavilion at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. That evening, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” joins the celebration at 10 p.m., with a heart-pounding, pyrotechnic grand finale.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration” at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage on July 4, features the “Rock Your Summer Side” Dance Party, with a DJ and live band. The Hollywood Rockers will take you on a rock ‘n roll road trip across America that culminates with the band playing live during that night’s fireworks spectacular. The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. and continues through 11 p.m., with fireworks at 10:15 p.m.

Looks like the 4th of July is going to be a blast all across Walt Disney World Resort!

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – July 2014

posted on June 27th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here are the merchandise events headed your way this July at the Walt Disney World Resort!

June 20 – July 3: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Look for David again July 24 – 27. Learn more.

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June 26 – July 7: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Look for special appearances by Linda each day, July 3 -6. Visiting later in the month? Stop by July 17 – 28. Learn more.

July 1 – 4: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson will be appearing throughout the day at Art of Disney in Epcot, July 1- 4. Look for Larry again, July 17 – 20 at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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July 4 – 11: Meet artist Greg McCullough this month at the Walt Disney World Resort. Greg will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, July 4 – 11 as well as July 30 – August 3. Look for additional appearances by Greg at Art of Disney in Epcot, July 16 – 20 and July 23 – 27. Learn more.

July 25: Get an early jump on your holiday shopping and celebrate Christmas in July with us and Disney artists, Costa Alavezos, Cody Reynolds and Derrick Lirette from 6 – 8p.m. at Disney’s Days of Christmas in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Have you signed up for Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Keep an eye out for specially themed merchandise and special appearances by artists Brian Blackmore, Larry Dotson, Greg McCullough and Darren Wilson. Learn more.

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Finally, a limited number of tickets to Disney Trade Celebration 2014 – Imagination Gala taking place at World ShowPlace in Epcot, September 5 – 7 are still available, so sign up for the Pin and Vinylmation Showcase Packages today! Learn more.

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Enjoy ‘The Ultimate Day of Thrills’ at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 27th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Want to receive the full VIP treatment on your next visit to Walt Disney World Resort? You’re in luck, because two new tours, The Ultimate Day of Thrills – A VIP Tour Experience and The Ultimate Day for Young Families – A VIP Tour Experience, are now available at the Walt Disney World Resort.
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Both tours last six to seven hours and include experiencing a certain number of attractions at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom – such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Midway Mania! and Expedition Everest. (The Ultimate Day for Young Families – A VIP Tour Experience offers attractions that are specifically accessible to young children, as well). Both tours also include a meal at a Disney table-service restaurant. These tours will be offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and cost $299 per person. Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney VISA Cardholders and Annual Passholders receive a 15% discount.

Call 407-WDW-TOUR for more information.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Get Outside This Weekend by Participating in the Great American Backyard Campout

posted on June 25th, 2014 by Allyson Atkins, Education Manager, Disney's Animals, Science and Environment


Summer is a perfect time to get outside and spend time exploring nature with friends and family. Whether you are here at Disney’s Animal Kingdom getting close to hippos on the Wild Africa Trek, discovering the Alaskan wilderness with Disney Cruise Line or spending time in your own local park, you are part of making the outdoors the new “in” place to be! Even Disney Channel star Olivia Holt is on board and spreading the word!

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At Disney we are committed to connecting families and kids with nature through both Disney experiences, as well as support for other nature-related resources. If you are looking for a fun way to get outside this weekend, you can join thousands of families across the country by taking the pledge to be part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 28. In your own (or a neighbor’s) backyard, local park or campground, spend the evening together looking at the stars, telling campsite stories or making animal shadows in your tent with a flashlight. The Great American Backyard Campout site features great information to help get you started, from camping tips to things you may need on your camping trip. Make sure to check out the fun ideas for camping games and activities as well as tasty meal ideas and recipes to make the evening even better. And remember, your night under the stars can make a real difference for wildlife.

Wildlife Wednesday: Get Outside This Weekend by Participating in the Great American Backyard Campout Wildlife Wednesday: Get Outside This Weekend by Participating in the Great American Backyard Campout

Not only is it fun to spend time together outdoors, there are studies that show time in nature can help improve academic performance, promote imagination and creativity and even lead to better health and well-being! On top of that, you are helping inspire the next generation to care about the planet, leading to positive actions for nature as adults.

So check it out, get outside and have a wild time!

Want to learn more about how you can connect with nature and help people, communities and the planet? Spread the word by sharing this blog post with your friends and family. Learn more about Disney’s conservation efforts both locally and around the world at WDWnews.com/about/environment/ and Disney.com/conservation. Experience more of our conservation work by participating in our guest offerings, such as Wild Africa Trek and Backstage Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Seeing Stars During Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


“The Lion King – Concert in the Wild,” the incredible theatrical experience produced for Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrates the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King.” This all-new show is a 55-minute retelling of Simba’s story as never seen before, combining music, dance, and spoken word, all performed in the spirit and style of African cultural traditions.

In “The Lion King,” Simba’s father, Mufasa, invites him to look to the stars. “The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars,” he says. “So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you, and so will I.”

This and other wonderful messages and moments from that classic film have resonated with people the world over, including the stars participating as celebrity narrators for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.” For the opening night performance earlier this month, we were honored to be joined by Viola Davis, Tony award winner and Oscar nominated star of “The Help,” “Doubt,” and the upcoming ABC drama “How to Get Away with Murder.” She shared with us her impressions of the performance, as well as her personal connection to one of the main messages of the film.

Harambe Nights continues every Saturday evening through August 9, 2014. The lineup of celebrity guest narrators features acclaimed and award-winning actors and actresses from film, TV, and Broadway, each bringing their own passion for “The Lion King” story. Scheduled to appear*:

  • June 28 David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color” – SOLD OUT
  • July 5Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy” – SOLD OUT
  • July 12Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”
  • July 19Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”
  • July 26Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”
  • August 2Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”
  • August 9Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

Every event night so far has sold out, but great seats are still available for each of the remaining dates in July and August. You’ll need to act fast, though! Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax, and include parking, a Welcome Reception, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild,” two hours of additional live entertainment during the Harambe Nights Street Party, and abundant food and drinks throughout the evening. For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

(*Entertainment subject to change)

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Oscar-Winning ‘Frozen’ Songwriters Enjoy a Heart-Warming Visit to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 21st, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


They’ve been called “Cutest Couple Ever.” They’ve won the Academy Award for “Let it Go,” part of a musical score that has already become the stuff of legend. The New York home of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez is laden with awards — including the Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy (making Bobby an “EGOT,” a person who has won all four awards).

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So, what did they want to do next? Go to Disney Parks!

Kristen and Bobby are firm on a very important point. No amount of fame and acclaim can compare with the love of friends and family (they just welcomed a little nephew into the fold last month). Clearly they’re having as much fun seeing their daughters react to Disney magic as they’re enjoying it themselves (I feel the same way about my kids, just like my father did about me).

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As Kristen says in the video, “We’re Disney people!” They’ve got an especially warm attachment to the first stage musical they worked on together, Finding Nemo—The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — as well as The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, which features their song, “In the Big Blue World.” They told me about their Disney fandom in this interview.

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By the way, have you checked out the Limited-Edition color 12” vinyl LP album version of the “Frozen” soundtrack?. It’s available here. I love to shine the two blue discs and the crystal engraved disc up to the light — that is, when I’m not listening to them!

You can find the compact disc soundtrack of “Frozen,” as well as the Finding Nemo — The Musical cast album at select Walt Disney World Resort shops (or by calling Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477).

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Olaf Celebrates ‘First Day of Summer’ on the Disney Parks Blog

posted on June 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s summer! – or at least that’s how I imagine Olaf, the lovable snowman from Disney’s “Frozen”, would shout it.

Since today is officially the first day of summer, what better way to celebrate than with a Disney Parks Blog takeover by one of our favorite pals from “Frozen”. If you remember in the film’s song, “In Summer,” Olaf dreams of all the things that his first summertime could bring – to him, that means “bees that buzz, kids that blow dandelion fuzz” and a host of other fun things.

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At Disney Parks, summertime means that guests who are traveling here for their summer vacations will have the opportunity to experience a whole lot of new offerings. Check out some of what’s new this summer below.

At Walt Disney World Resort

At Disneyland Resort

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