Disney's Electrical Parade

Caption This: Downtown Disney Ahoy!

posted on February 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you ever seen this friendly pirate, who is stationed outside World of Disney at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort?

What’s his mission here at Downtown Disney? Is he friend or foe? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” in the “Comments” section below!

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Love is in the Air, and On the Ground, at Downtown Disney this Valentine’s Day

posted on February 12th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


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Downtown Disney is a great place for a date any day of the year, so it should come as no surprise that I highly recommend it for celebrating Valentine’s Day, too! Read on for a few of my favorite ways to spend quality time with the one you love:

If you’re a classic romantic, there’s a good chance either dinner for two, a big-screen romance or decadent chocolate tops your list of Valentine’s Day gestures. Guess who’s got them all? Restaurant options abound here at Downtown Disney (book early here or via 407-WDW-DINE), AMC Downtown Disney 24 is showing all the latest flicks, and Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop is the “go-to” source for chocolate delights. (And if you want to roll those all into one big experience, may I suggest AMC 24 Dine-In Theatres – opt for the Chocolate Brownie Sundae for dessert.)

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If you’d rather surprise your mate with something unexpected, you could take your love to new heights with a ride aboard the world’s largest tethered helium balloon, Characters in Flight, presented by Aerophile (weather permitting). Or strike it big with a lane “a deux” at Splitsville Luxury Lanes – not only can you show your flirty, competitive side, but you can feed each other gourmet sushi (if you’re into that sort of thing). One more idea that’s perfect if you just can’t decide what to get … a Valentine’s Day shopping spree! Let your love loose to pick out the perfect gift – whether it’s a watch, jewelry or a special piece of art, there are plenty of retail shops to explore.

Of course, this is just the icing on the cake (which reminds me … BabyCakes NYC is perfect for Gluten-free Valentine’s treats!); the real gift is getting to spend time with your special someone.

So? What’s your “dream” Downtown Disney date? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. And who knows, maybe your Valentine will be reading, too!

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Show Your Disney Side with New Spring 2014 Apparel for Women and Girls at Disney Parks

posted on February 5th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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There are two times during the year that our Disney Theme Park Merchandise team introduces new apparel at Disney Parks – spring and fall. Since the spring items can be set as early as February, I contacted the softlines team for an update. They shared with me a few new items for women and girls that I thought would be perfect for showing off your Disney Side at Disney Parks.

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The first program is based on the new Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts that were recently introduced on the Disney Channel and on Disney.com. I love the animated style and humor of these new Mickey Mouse cartoons especially “Potatoland,” “Tokyo Go” and “Croissant de Triomphe.” The four new women’s T-shirts feature Mickey Mouse and friends drawn in that same cartoon style. My favorite T-shirt has Minnie Mouse on the front of the shirt kissing Mickey Mouse who is found on the back.

In California, look for these T-shirts at World of Disney in Downtown Disney District, Gone Hollywood at Disney California Adventure park, and Disney Clothiers in Disneyland park.

For guests in Florida, look for the T-shirts at World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, Mouse Gear at Epcot, and Emporium at Magic Kingdom Park.

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The softlines team also shared with me four new Minnie Mouse T-shirts coming soon to Disney Parks. They are part of a new art program called “Beyond the Dot” which contains a host of fresh, fashion-forward designs and original illustrations by Disney Design Group artists. These four women’s T-shirts are some of the first from that program. Look for additional styles in the coming months that feature Minnie Mouse in a whole new way.

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For girls, the softlines team is introducing four T-shirts that feature classic couples like Ariel and Prince Eric, or Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. They said these T-shirts are test items as they have never really featured couples like this before on girls’ apparel.

The girls’ T-shirts and the “Beyond the Dot” items will be carried in select locations at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. There are no immediate plans to carry these items on the Disney Parks online store.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Find Sweets for Your Sweet at Ghirardelli this Valentine’s Season

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Choosing Valentine’s Day gifts can be tricky. My advice? When in doubt, go with chocolate. With just two weeks until the holiday of love commences, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what to give your sweetheart.

To help you plan, I reached out to my friends at Ghirardelli to get the inside ‘scoop’ on what they’re offering this year. Here’s what they shared:

  • NEW! Muir Woods Sundae – This Black Forest Cherry Sundae features black cherry vanilla ice cream smothered with homemade hot fudge, whipped cream, semi-sweet chocolate chips and a cherry. You can find it at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain. (I couldn’t finish it by myself; it looks perfect for sharing, doesn’t it?)

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  • Premium Heart Gift Tins – This is a classic, can’t-go-wrong Valentine’s Gift filled with 14 assorted Ghirardelli SQUARES chocolates; 2 for $25.
  • Impression Heart Window Box – Who doesn’t love conversation hearts? The Ghirardelli version features 20 chocolate hearts, each displaying a romantic phrase; 2 for $35.
  • Sweetheart Truffles – Ghirardelli’s exquisite truffles come in an assortment of unique flavors all designed to help you celebrate romance; 2 for $20.
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I can’t help but notice that most of these items are priced as bundles of two. I’m taking that as a sign that I can gift one and keep another for myself. (That seems right, right?)

These items are available now at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop located at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Which one do you hope to unwrap on February 14th this year?

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Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise Event Snapshot – February 2014

posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


February is here! Whether you are heading to Walt Disney World Resort for vacation or for the day, here are some great merchandise events you won’t want to miss.

February 7 – 9: Looking for the perfect gift to pamper your Valentine? Heather Swanepoel from Rinse Bath and Body Co. can help you find just what you’re looking for. Heather will be at Port of Entry in Epcot each day throughout the weekend as she showcases the latest skin moisturizers, facial masks and scented soaps, among other items. My personal favorite: The flavored lip balm. Learn more here.

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February 8: Join us for the launch of the Pop of Minnie collection from Beautifully Disney and take part in Mini-Makeovers, or should I say “Minnie”-Makeovers from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more here.

February 8: Take a walk on the “wild side” with Rosemary Begley who will be on hand to showcase some of her latest pieces of art inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Meet Rosemary from 1 – 3 p.m. at Disney Outfitters located on Discovery Island. Learn more here.

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February 12 – 16: Artist Greg McCullough will be on hand for a special artist showcase at Art of Disney in Epcot. Greg will also be available February 26 – March 2 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more here.

February 13 – 14: Precious Moments Doll Maker Linda Rick is back! Be sure to stop in and say hello at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of her Valentine’s inspired collection. Look for Linda to make an additional appearance later in the month from February 21 – 23. Learn more here.

February 13 – 17: Internationally known artist Larry Dotson will be appearing daily at the Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Be sure to stop by and say hello as you check out some of Larry’s newest releases. Learn more here.

February 14 – 15: Join us as we welcome Designer, Petra Azar to Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace for a special Valentine’s Weekend trunk show! Find necklaces, earrings and more, for yourself or for the one you love. Meet Petra from 1 – 9 p.m. each day. Learn more here.

February 14 – 21: Are you a fan of David E. Doss? Mark your calendars, David 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. Learn more here.

February 22: Make sure to mark your calendar for a special Steampunk artist signing at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of artwork and collectibles inspired by turn of the century inventors and writers, as well as artwork inspired by Disney attractions, icons and innovations that have been cultivated from this view of the future from the past. Disney Design Group artists Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will be on hand from 2 – 5 p.m. to sign their masterpieces.

More things are coming your way, so stay tuned!

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Sights & Sounds of Disney Parks: Disney’s ‘Frozen Sing-Along’ comes to Downtown Disney

posted on January 29th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


What’s even better than watching a hit Disney animated musical? Being part of the music, magic and fun yourself!

This Friday, January 31, enchanted snowflakes will be bouncing over the words to every song so everyone can join in Disney’s “Frozen Sing-Along.” This special event will take place both at the AMC Downtown Disney 12 Theatres at Disneyland Resort in California, and the AMC Downtown Disney with Dine-In Theatres at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Of course, you may not need the snowflakes or the lyrics yourself, because you and the gang have already memorized the soundtrack album! Chances are you won’t be alone. The songs have a lot of fans. There’s nothing like the shared elation and energy of a joyous group gathered to sing their favorite songs as they experience a great musical on the big screen.

“Naturally, I’m a music guy, so I firmly believe that songs and music are at the heart of Disney just as animation, fantasy and theme parks are as well,” said Chris Montan, President of Walt Disney Music, told us. “And it’s true, when you love a song the way people love a Disney song, the words and music take on a life of their own. They live deep inside us and become part of that ‘great music mix’ inside our heads.”

Chris is referring to what I like to call the “mp-ME player.” It’s the cool part of the brain that acts just like a radio tuner and can play our favorites at will. (Seriously, I’ve got dozens of entire record albums cued up on my mp-ME player for when I’m swimming laps, driving in traffic or just need a quick pick-me-up on a busy day.) I’ve got great new mp-ME’s to upload into my head thanks to “Frozen.”

And “Frozen” isn’t just any animated musical, it’s become the biggest Disney animated film phenom of the century. “Frozen” has just become the highest grossing original animated film in history, and the soundtrack album hit Billboard’s number one spot.

“We always have high hopes for all of our new film music, but ultimately the public decides what to embrace,” said Chris. “But even we were bowled over by the response to “Frozen” — as a musical and as a film. Now kids have even more wonderful songs to grow up with, and grownups have new gems to place alongside their other “Best of Disney” favorites.”

All this musical success couldn’t happen to a nicer couple. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are relishing the glitz and excitement of having a smash Disney musical feature — and they’re especially glad to share these moments with their two young daughters, Anna and Katie (who add their talents to the film). Plus, in addition to the “Frozen Sing-Along,” there’s serious talk of a Broadway stage production of “Frozen.”

Oh, and then there’s a little thing called the Academy Awards. If you’re like us, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, rooting for the Lopez’s “Let It Go” to win the Oscar for Best Original Song! (Inside joke: Bobby and Kristen like to call their friend Chris “Gandalf’,” because he’s such a mysterious, wandering being of untold wisdom.)

No matter how any of the ol’ awards turn out, the Lopez family, and all of us, are the real winners, rich with the treasure of great new Disney music that will go on to delight generations to come.

Tickets are on sale now for Disney’s “Frozen Sing-Along” at AMC Theatres box offices and at your favorite movie ticket site.

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New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side

posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


More fun food at Downtown Disney West SideHouse of Blues opened their new Smokehouse, a quick-service window where it’s easy to grab a generous smoked beef brisket sandwich, pulled pork or chicken sandwich, smoked turkey leg, St. Louis half-rack of ribs or an all-beef hot dog. That’s the menu, short and sweet. And the cole slaw has just the right amount of tang, the baked beans are sweet, the bread is soft and warm, and the meat is smoked right there in the House of Blues kitchen. True Southern-style good eats.

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Seating is just outside of Crossroads at House of Blues on the “Front Porch,” an expanded area with a stage for live (local) music seven nights a week. And the outdoor cocktail bar is handy – you can order from the bar and Smokehouse, or servers will wait on you in the evenings. Pair a brisket sandwich with a Swamp Water specialty drink (vodka, Blue Curaçao and orange juice) for a quick and casual bite.

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The Smokehouse opens at 11:30 a.m. daily, with closing around 10 p.m. Prices range from $6.99 to $12.99 (and not on the Disney Dining Plan).

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Big Fun on the Big Screen at AMC Downtown Disney 24

posted on January 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Love movies? If so, you’re probably thrilled that we’ve officially embarked on one of my favorite times of the year – awards season! If you were glued to your TV set during Sunday’s “Golden Globes” and you’re counting down the days until the “86th Annual Academy Awards” airs on March 2, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen a movie at my favorite theater, AMC Downtown Disney 24, located at Downtown Disney West Side.

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As a local resident, this is my “go-to” venue to see all the latest releases. With 24 screens, I never have a hard time finding my flick. And whether I’m in the mood for a drama or a comedy, a romance or a thriller, I can always find something to suit my mood. (That goes for my friends, too, and they’re a sometimes-picky bunch!)

I recently saw “Frozen” and “Saving Mr. Banks” here, and I’ll admit, there’s nothing like seeing a future Disney classic right in the heart of the magic!

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While you won’t be shocked to find all the newest films here, you might be surprised that AMC often brings ‘classic’ films back to the big screen. Over the next month, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Sleepless in Seattle” will be featured. You can check out this listing of fan favorites here.

Another bonus? If you want to indulge in dinner and a movie, you can enjoy AMC Dine-In Theatres, which lets you reserve a seat in advance, then order from a full menu of drinks, food and dessert, delivered directly to you in time for the show. Get more details on the “Fork & Screen” option here.

So, fellow movie buffs, what’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? I need to catch up, so I’d love to get your reviews in the comments below.

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Disney Parks Blog Readers Feast at Downtown Disney Food Truck Meet-Up

posted on January 10th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We kicked off another year of Disney Parks Blog meet-ups with a celebration of the new food trucks at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort.
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Chef James began the event with a great explanation of the different flavors available at the food trucks parked at Downtown Disney West Side near Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues.
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And of course, after hearing about the food, Disney Parks Blog readers experienced each of the food trucks – tasting the new dishes and spending time with Chef James.

The delicious bites included Lobster Rolls, Tandori Spiced Shrimp, and Lamb Meatball Flatbread – all available at the trucks during the year. A favorite was the bright-red Fantasy Fare truck, “Delightful Dishes from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms Around the World,” that brings the legendary hand-dipped corn dogs of Disneyland Resort to the East Coast.
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Readers also enjoyed the World Showcase of Flavors truck, “The Best of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival,” offering fest favorites. Pam has more details on what you’ll be able to enjoy at the food trucks this year.

Thank you to everyone who attended our first Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2014. As always, it was nice meet new readers and spend time with blog friends again.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for information about our next meet-up opportunity.

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Embrace 2014 with Fit2Run, one of the ‘50 Best Running Stores in America’

posted on January 8th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s 2014, a brand-new year full of promise. And if you’re like millions of Americans, the year 2014 is full of resolutions, too! For those who have vowed to make health and fitness a priority in the year ahead, I’ve got great news – Fit2Run, The Runners Superstore, was recently recognized as one of the “50 Best Running Stores in America” by two leading trade and consumer publications, Running Insight and Competitor Magazine.

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Fit2Run prides itself on its strong community involvement and makes strides to empower athletes of all fitness levels to embrace a more active lifestyle. When I asked Fit2Run spokeswoman, Sharon Jacobson, what sets them apart from other retailers, she shared “Fit2Run is family owned and proud to support all our communities, raising millions of dollars for local charities and wellness programs throughout the state. Our passion is to custom ‘fit’ our guests properly using state of the art footwear technology. Our goal? Empower our guests to run or walk pain free while exercising their passion.” Indeed, the store has already been embraced by the local running community and has added vibrant color to Downtown Disney West Side.

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Ready to tackle your New Year’s Resolutions? Whether you want to simply be able to spend a full day walking in the Parks without getting winded or you want to conquer a runDisney race, make Fit2Run one of the first stops on your route to a healthier, fitter you!

Fit2Run has 10 locations in Florida, including the newest location at Downtown Disney. For more information, visit www.Fit2Run.com.

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