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Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – March 2015

posted on February 28th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Spring is in the air! See what’s happening this March at the Walt Disney World Resort!

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March 2 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, March 2 – 8 and 18 – 22. Stop by and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

March 4 – 8: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson is set to appear this month at Epcot. Find him, March 4 – 8 at Art of Disney and March 27 – 29 at Puffins Roost in the Norway Pavilion. Learn more.

March 4 – May 17: Commemorative Epcot International Flower & Garden Merchandise will be in full bloom, beginning March 4! Visit the Festival Center, open Friday through Sunday, or the bridge kiosk at the entrance of World Showcase and find special treasures to help grow your collection. Tip: Check out special artist appearances and chef demonstrations as well as festival showcases. Learn more.

March 6: Meet author and Major League Baseball Legend, Cal Ripken, Jr. Cal will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his newest book Out at Home at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports during the 2nd inning of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training game. Please note, a game ticket is required to attend this signing. Learn more.

March 6 – 7: Join us as we celebrate the opening of WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 1 – 3:30 p.m. with Michael Lewis Glover and Jerrod Maruyama and 5 – 7:30 p.m. with Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Robert Jimenez. Learn more.

March 8: Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama will be on hand for a signing of his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival inspired piece Spring Has Sprung at the Festival Center from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. Learn more.

March 12: Something ‘charm’ing awaits you from the Disney Parks Collection │PANDORA. What you ask? Keep watching, fellow author Steven Miller will have all the details.

March 13: Pick up a copy of Lee Cockerell’s newest book, Time Management Magic at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more information regarding this event, including signing times.

March 13 – 15: Precious moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand for special appearances and signings throughout the day at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot, as we celebrate the release of her Spring collection. Linda will also appear March 20 – 22. Not able to make it? No problem! Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand March 12 – April 12 at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot and March 12 – April 27 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

March 25 – 26: Are you a fan of Ridley Pearson? Be among the first to pick up two of his newest releases, Kingdom Keepers: The Return: Book 1: Disney Lands and The Syndrome: A Kingdom Keepers Adventure. Meet Ridley, March 25 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace or March 26 from 9 – 11a.m. at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Learn more. Tip: Wristbands will be distributed to Guests at store open on the day of the signing with each purchase of a book by Ridley Pearson. A wristband from the appearance location is required to meet Ridley Pearson and allows the guest to get two books signed. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

March 27 – 29: Celebrate Art in the Garden with us and take part in special artist appearances and signings with David E. Doss and Greg McCullough from 11a.m. – 7p.m. throughout the weekend at the entrance to World Showcase. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com to learn more.

March 27 – April 5: We have ‘egg’-citing news. Check out this post on the Disney Parks Blog.

March 28: Add the limited edition hand-painted Ink & Paint cel ‘A Dapper Day in the Parks’ featuring Mickey Mouse looking his best aboard the Main Street Trolley! Ink & Paint artists will be on hand for a special signing from 10 a.m. – 1p.m. and 2p.m. – 5p.m. at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note: The cel will be available in a variety of formats including Unframed; Framed, Framed Cel with Postcard and Framed Cel with Postcard and Pin. Learn more.

Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through March 26 at 5p.m. Eastern. Of course, applicable tax and shipping fees apply. Order now!

Which artists are you most excited to see?

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: Experience the Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Carpe diem. Seize the day.

That’s exactly what you can do on an Ultimate VIP Tour. Imagine experiencing cherished attractions at three theme parks with fast-tracked access, private transportation and a Table-Service lunch in one of the parks, all in one day — accompanied by a cast member with detailed knowledge of Disney lore.

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I recently got the opportunity to go on The Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour, one of two new offerings from VIP Tour Services (The Ultimate Day of Thrills being the other), so I of course jumped at the chance.

Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park is the starting point for the tour. Tracy, our Tour Guide, handed out bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated and took lunch orders. From there, we headed to Magic Carpets of Aladdin to begin our journey. We hit some classics, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, and newer highpoints like Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid. Then it was off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (yay Toy Story Midway Mania!), via private van, that included a yummy sit-down lunch at a reserved table. The tour ended on a high note at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with front row seats at Festival of the Lion King, about as close as you can get to this beloved Broadway-style show without being in it.

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Entering via the FastPass+ lines made for minimal waiting. Tracy was also in constant contact with Brian, our coordinator, who stayed ahead to ensure everything went smoothly. Patient, personable and well versed in all things Disney, Tracy shared trivia, helpful hints and background information along the way, like giving Toy Story Midway Mania! point-scoring tips and pointing out a hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool on Kilimanjaro Safaris. What a fascinating window into the magic.

In all, we enjoyed 11 attractions in three parks — with plenty of sunshine left at the end to go exploring on our own — accomplishing a lot but never feeling rushed. A steady pace kept us on schedule. It’s a unique, specialized way to splurge on yourself and loved ones, especially if you’re pressed for time.

And though designed with mild thrills for families with children under 10 years old, don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Day for Young Families is not just for the little ones. In fact, Tracy said adults frequently enjoy the tour sans kids. In other words, everyone’s the right age. Because fun never goes out of style.

This unforgettable guided adventure (that feels intimate since there is one Tour Guide per every 10 people) through some of your kids’ (and your) favorites while spending less time in line is worth the memories. Heck, maybe you’ll discover something new in the process. I did. Okay, I admit it: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a first for me. What a blast (pun intended)! No wonder it’s so popular.

The tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and lasts six to seven hours. Attractions and entertainment offerings subject to change. The cost is $299 per person, plus tax (theme park admission not included). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, FastPass+, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

New Cinderella Premium Popcorn Bucket Coming to Disney Parks

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


It looks like Fairy Godmother has turned a popcorn scoop into Cinderella’s carriage!

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Just in time for the release of Disney’s live-action film “Cinderella” in March, the new Cinderella premium popcorn bucket is coming soon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. This specialty souvenir will also be available at the Disneyland Resort later this spring.

You’ll never have to worry about being late to the ball, because now you can take your royal coach with you. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Happy National Margarita Day!

posted on February 21st, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


With National Margarita Day just around the corner on February 22, I wanted to share some of my favorite unique margaritas across Walt Disney World Resort.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head over to The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, where you can enjoy the ‘Citizens Take Flight’ tasting of three margaritas on the charming patio. These sips have character! Sample Bucky Greenhorn’s Derby Margarita, Melivan Macheezmo’s Mango Margarita, and Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks Pomegranate Margarita.

While Cava del Tequila will be a popular spot on National Margarita Day, I enjoy gazing out at World Showcase lagoon at La Hacienda de San Angel while sipping on an Orange Mango Fire Margarita, premium silver agave tequila, ginger liqueur, orange juice, mango puree, fresh lime juice and a hint of Tabasco sauce, served on the rocks with a Tajin chili powder rim. Another delightful take on the margarita is the Italian Margarita found at Gelati in the Italy Pavilion, crafted with frozen limoncello and grappa.

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Parks aren’t the only places you can find one of these satisfyingly sour sips, pick up a drink at BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas for a leisurely stroll around the BoardWalk on a hot day.

Relax after a day in the parks at Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Their Margarita Flight lets guests sample their five handcrafted margaritas: mango blueberry basil, classic, hibiscus, pineapple and jalapeno.

At Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can sip on a Moonshine Margarita made with Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice and agave nectar topped with soda water.

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Across property, try the Grand Margarita, with Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and sweet-and sour, available at most pool bars. Another popular sip is the Habañero Lime Margarita, on the menu at several lounges and restaurants.

In the “spirit” of National Margarita Day: Coming this spring, look for a new place to enjoy an adult beverage while watching the sunset at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

How will you celebrate National Margarita Day?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: Height Requirements for Attractions at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 20th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


There are so many attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, and sometimes as a parent it can be tough to determine which ones are a good fit for younger children. Once I had kids, I was pleasantly surprised at just how many rides and experiences are available for everyone, including the littlest members of the family. There are 25 attractions without any height requirements at Magic Kingdom Park alone! Once your baby grows into a preschooler, there is even more fun to be had on rides for slightly taller kiddos.

We rounded up height requirements from the most popular attractions in all four theme parks and put them into handy charts to help you plan ahead.

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For Disney’s Hollywood Studios, click here. For Epcot, click here. For Disney’s Animal Kingdom, click here.

Once in the parks, be sure to check out the My Disney Experience mobile app for height requirements, thrill levels, wait times and more, all while on the go. If you are dying to check out a thrill ride and your youngest isn’t quite there yet, your family may be able to utilize Rider Switch, which allows adults to take turns riding the attraction without waiting in line all over again. What are your favorite attractions to experience with your little ones?

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, My Disney Experience, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Days of Past: A Look Back at ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

posted on February 19th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


According to the Chinese zodiac, goats are believed to be gentle mind-mannered, shy, sympathetic, and amicable with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

Sounds a lot like Djali, Esmeralda’s faithful sidekick goat, from Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Djali made an appearance (albeit in marionette form) in “Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame-A Musical Adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” from 1996 through 2002.

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So here’s to the goats in this world – fictional, animal and human. Happy Chinese New Year!

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Learn to Draw Tinker Bell at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on February 19th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, our Learn to Draw animation series continues with a lesson on how to draw a sassy character from “Peter Pan” – it’s Tinker Bell! Grab a pencil and get ready for step-by-step instructions from Heather Worley of the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For previous animation tutorials on some of your favorite Disney characters, check out the list below:

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PHOTOS – Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic Merchandise Checks Into Disney Parks

posted on February 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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One morning not so long ago, I checked out the new Hollywood Tower Hotel Authentic merchandise that arrived at Tower Hotel Gifts in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You may recall a previous story a few weeks ago discussing this new program that was inspired by the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney Parks. Here’s a quick look at what I discovered beyond the fifth dimension.

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Upon entering Tower Hotel Gifts, I immediately noticed the new products displayed throughout the shop. The merchandise presentation team reworked many of the wall fixtures and added some new elements to the location. The shop now features a Tower Hotel Gallery with collectible artwork such as the art deco-inspired bellhop sign created by Disney Design Group artist Richard Terpstra. It was great seeing some of my other favorite items in the shop like the bellhop hat and the bell.

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The team also added a few nods to the original television series above the merchandise displays (look above the register area to find Talky Tina). I enjoyed seeing a luggage cart being used as a fixture for apparel, and the display for the Disney Theme Park Edition of Jenga is quite creative!

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Additional items will be arriving throughout this spring at both Disneyland California Adventure park in Disneyland Resort and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort. There will more apparel items for men and women (the women’s T-shirts will arrive toward May). There will also be a new black-colored bathrobe that is due to arrive around April. Finally, new drinkware and stationary will be added to the shops in the coming weeks.

Here is a gallery of other items I found. I hope you “drop in” sometime soon to check them out.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Can You Feel the Force? Star Wars Weekends is Getting Closer!

posted on February 17th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


The Force is growing stronger here at Walt Disney World Resort as the galaxy prepares for this year’s Star Wars Weekends. If you’re as big a fan of the annual Disney’s Hollywood Studios event as I am, you’ll be excited to learn that several crowd-favorites are back in 2015, including James Arnold Taylor! Known for voicing characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Taylor will host the Stars of the Saga talk show with everyone’s favorite stormtrooper preshow at a new, larger location in Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard.

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Darth’s Mall is also moving to a new and expanded complex near Streets of America, where you can find Star Wars-themed and exclusive event merchandise just for Star Wars Weekends 2015.

One of my favorite out-of-this-world experiences to catch this year is the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine. My day just wouldn’t be complete without dinner surrounded by my favorite Disney pals dressed in their Star Wars best!

The galaxy won’t be so far, far away when beloved and iconic Star Wars characters assemble and “Summon the Force” each night for a grand celebration, including a look back at your greatest moments throughout the day on social media. For the finale, the night sky will erupt in an interstellar frenzy of fireworks as “Symphony in the Stars” salutes the saga’s most dramatic stories and brings you as close to the Force as you can get.

We’re still gathering all your favorite droids and scoundrels, so stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog and StarWars.com for the latest updates. As we announced in December, the fun comes to our galaxy Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 15 – June 14, 2015. Check out StarWarsWeekends.com for all the must-know event details.

Are you planning on joining the Force? If so, which characters are you looking forward to seeing the most? For my boys, it’s the Jawas – they love to trade with those little guys! Let us know your favorites in the comments!

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

A Disney Parks First, Guests Can Pose with an Oscar Statuette

posted on February 16th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


While “The 87th Oscars” doesn’t air until Sunday, February 22, excitement for this year’s award ceremony has already begun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can visit the park anytime this week to pose for a photo with an Oscar statuette.

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The “My Oscar Moment” photo opp will take place inside The Magic of Disney Animation building during regular park hours through Sunday, February 22. Here, guests can walk the red carpet and pose in front of a backdrop similar to the one that winning celebrities will use.

Guests can follow all of the latest Oscars news on Twitter at twitter.com/theacademy. Guests are encouraged to share their Disney’s Hollywood Studios “My Oscar Moment” using #Oscars @WaltDisneyWorld. Neil Patrick Harris hosts The Oscars LIVE Oscar Sunday, February 22 at 7e|4p on ABC.

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