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Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Sweet Treats at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 5th, 2016 by Rachel Bshero, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you haven’t picked up a gift or made plans yet—don’t worry. There are plenty of sweet ways to show you care with specialty treats at Walt Disney World Resort.

Specialty Pops from The Ganachery at Disney Springs Pre-Packed Box of Ganache from The Ganachery at Disney Springs

At The Ganachery at Disney Springs, you’ll find specialty ganache squares and pops decorated for Valentine’s Day—raspberry enrobed in dark chocolate and passion fruit enrobed in milk chocolate. Surprise your sweetie with a pre-packed box of ganache.

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Perhaps your love’s allegiance lies with The Dark Side. Fear not, these Star Wars-inspired chocolate bars, available in both dark and milk chocolate, are the perfect way to say I love you. (I know.)

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake from Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom Park Black Forest Waffle from Sleepy Hollow at Magic Kingdom Park

In my opinion, Magic Kingdom Park is one of the most romantic places at Walt Disney World Resort, though I may be biased because I met my husband there. Romance your valentine with a chocolate raspberry cupcake from Main Street Bakery, or indulge in the Black Forest waffle with vanilla ice cream at Sleepy Hollow.

Lady and the Tramp Cupcake at Disney's Hollywood Studios Chocolate Cupcake with a Strawberry-Marshmallow Center from Epcot

If cupcakes are the way to your Valentine’s heart, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a cupcake featuring Lady and the Tramp that is paws-itively adorable. At Fountain View in Epcot, you’ll find a chocolate cupcake with a strawberry-marshmallow center, strawberry butter and a ganache drizzle sure to make your sweetie’s heart melt.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Disney Days of Past: Carnivale at Epcot

posted on February 4th, 2016 by Rose Monahan, Librarian, Walt Disney World Resort


Countries all around the world are getting ready to celebrate Carnivale. In these Epcot flashback photos from 1998, we see the elaborate costumes worn to represent different counties celebrating Carnivale. Beads were handed out to guests while floats, stilt walkers and dancers paraded down the promenade.

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Carnivale at Epcot in 1998 Carnivale at Epcot in 1998 Carnivale at Epcot in 1998
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Disney Parks Bento Box Magic: Albert the Monkey

posted on February 4th, 2016 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


We’re continuing our exclusive series of Disney-inspired bento box tutorials and our first how-to video of 2016 features a favorite character from Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland Park – Albert the Monkey.

Disney Parks Blog reader and fan Mike Kravanis designed his latest bento box during a visit to the China Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. To create Albert, Mike used a few salmon salad and rice filled inari pouches and added them to a bed of kale. Radishes and olives were also combined to make Albert’s eyes.

And to complete the bento box, tomato and yellow carrots were used to make a lantern. Check out the video for step-by-step instructions.

Also, keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more Disney-inspired bento box tutorials in upcoming weeks.

For more from our “Disney Parks Bento Box Magic” series, visit the posts below:

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More Days, More Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 3rd, 2016 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


Two more weekends and four new acts join the lineup for this year’s Garden Rocks concert series during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Thirteen pop bands with hits spanning the decades will take the stage each weekend through Memorial Day at America Gardens Theatre from March 2 – May 30.

Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice, Bad Company, former lead singer BRIAN HOWE, Georgia Satellites and Darlene Love make their Festival debut this year.

See Blood, Sweat & Tears April 15-17 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival See Brian Howe April 22-24 at Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
See Georgia Satellites April 29-May 1 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival See Darlene Love May 13-15 at the Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Here’s the lineup (subject to change without notice):

  • March 4-6 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
  • March 11-13 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
  • March 18-20 – Little River Band “Reminiscing”
  • March 25-27 – Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
  • April 1-3 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”
  • April 8-10 – The Guess Who “American Woman”
  • April 15-17 – NEW! Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”
  • April 22-24 – NEW! Bad Company, former lead singer BRIAN HOWE “Can’t Get Enough”
  • April 29-May 1 – NEW! Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
  • May 6-8 – Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
  • May 13-15 – NEW! Darlene Love “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home”
  • May 20-22 – Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
  • May 27-30 (Monday) – The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45, and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Festival and included with park admission.

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Celebrate Black History Month With Special Author Signings at Epcot

posted on February 3rd, 2016 by Annette Gibbs, Public Relations Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Anybody up for a quick trip with me down memory lane? I remember when one of my favorite books was made into the box office hit film, “Waiting to Exhale” starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. I can still hear Whitney singing one of the many catchy tunes from the movie soundtrack. The book, filled with colorful characters was written by NY Times best-selling author Terry McMillan. Now back to the present. I have great news. Terry is appearing at Epcot this Saturday, February 6th for a book signing and fan meet and greet.

But wait, there’s more! For all the foodies or, if you’re like me you just love to eat good food, on February 13th you can meet celebrity chef and author G. Garvin. When Chef Garvin isn’t cooking delicious food on TV he’s writing award winning recipe books.

These special appearances are in celebration of Black History Month. Guests have the opportunity to meet four renowned African-American authors and cultural icons each Saturday during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

Meet Terry McMillan the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot Saturday, Feb. 6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. Meet Chef G. Garvin at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot Saturday, Feb. 13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.
  • Terry McMillan
    Saturday, Feb. 6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.

    Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan is known for her powerful novels and short stories about African American women. Her novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” was adapted into a film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995. Many of McMillan’s other novels, including the award-winning “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” have also been brought to life for film and television audiences. McMillan recently published her eighth novel, “Who Asked You?”
  • Chef G. Garvin
    Saturday, Feb. 13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.

    Acclaimed chef and television host, Chef G. Garvin has mastered the art of cooking as well as writing. His cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple,” received an American Literacy Award. Chef Garvin has enjoyed continued success with his subsequent cookbooks and television show “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on The Cooking Channel.

While at American Adventure Pavilion be sure and visit the memorable exhibit “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. Philanthropists Florida natives Bernard, Shirley and their son Khalil Kinsey share some of their vast personal collection of artifacts spanning 400 years of history. Also explore the pavilion rotunda and see the exquisite portraits of influential men and women who contributed to the progress of America.

Be sure and watch the blog for updates on other authors who will appear at Epcot.

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90 Days of Delicious Tastes for 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 1st, 2016 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Two new Outdoor Kitchens join the line-up for this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, upping the deliciousness at the 23rd annual fest that will span a record 90 days from March 2-May. 30.

Outdoor Kitchens at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

La Isla Fresca and Cider House are the two new Outdoor Kitchens, and we got a sneak peek of dishes from each at a recent tasting with the Epcot culinary team. La Isla Fresca takes guests to the Caribbean for authentic bites such as Jamaican braised beef with pigeon peas and rice; spicy jerk chicken or grouper with mango salsa and a Tres Leches cake with guava puree (the traditional meringue is replaced with whipped cream in this version). Pair either of the savories with a Red Stripe Jamaican-style lager, or frozen Simply Tropical juice drink (with or without rum).

The Cider House offers a spin on tastes from the United Kingdom, including a field greens salad with greens harvested from The Land Pavilion, heirloom apples, Stilton cheese and dried blueberries; and a pear cider-brined shredded corned beef, braised cabbage and pears with Branston (a British food brand) dressing. The Cider House will offer four hard ciders, including a blueberry ciders made in Plant City, Fla., plus Cigar City Tampa-Style Lager.

Urban Farm EATS Outdoor Kitchen at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The 11 other Outdoor Kitchens include Urban Farm Eats (new seared pork tenderloin), Pineapple Promenade , Fleur de Lys, Florida Fresh, Taste of Marrakesh, Hanami, THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews (the pulled pig slider gets crispy onions on top), Primavera Kitchen, Lotus House, Bauernmarkt (German currywurst sausage is new this year) and Jardin de Fiestas. Such diversity of tastes!

You’ll be wowed by the colorful extravaganza put on by the Disney horticulture team – whimsical topiaries (yes, Elsa and Anna will be there), 220 “floating gardens” in the lagoon and a new edible flower garden next to The Land Pavilion. It’s all beautiful at night, with twinkling lights shining across the gardens.

Food lovers, mark your calendar for April 29-May 1, when Florida Fresh Weekend features the state’s edible bounty from Apalachicola to Zellwood.

For more information about the 23rd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). Watch for details at epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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February 2016 Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise Event Snapshot

posted on January 29th, 2016 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Make time on your calendar to meet the artists behind the magic! Find all the details on February merchandise special events taking place throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

February 19 – 21: Look for the release of Star Wars-themed art from ACME Artist Brian Rood, who will appear from 2 – 5 p.m. at Watto’s Grotto in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note: Not able to make it to the park? Brian will also be appearing at Star Wars Galactic Outpost (previously D-Street) in Disney Springs West Side. Learn more.

Disney Springs

February 4 – 29: Representatives from Precious Moments dolls will be on hand for the release of their new Valentine inspired collection, among other fan favorites, throughout the day, each day, at Marketplace Fun Finds in Disney Springs Marketplace. Tip: Doll Designer Linda Rick will make a special appearance February 19 – 21. Learn more.

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February 12 – 13: Take part in an artist showcase at Art of Disney with Brian Blackmore and Mark Seppala who will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of their latest works February 12 from 6 – 8 p.m. and February 13 from 4 – 6 p.m. Learn more.

February 19 – 21: ACME Artist Brian Rood will be appearing from 7 – 9 p.m., each day at Star Wars Galactic Outpost (previously D-Street) in Disney Springs West Side. Don’t miss the chance to see some of his latest Star Wars releases. Learn more.

February 20: Meet artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith who will be on hand showcasing some of her newest releases, among other favorites, from 4 – 8 p.m. in WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op. Learn more.

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February 24 – 28: Check out the latest releases from artist Greg McCullough appearing at Art of Disney from 1 – 8 p.m., each day. Learn more.

Epcot

February 10 – 14: Greg McCullough will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his latest works at Art of Disney from 1 – 8 p.m., each day. If you are unable to make it, don’t worry, look for additional appearances by Greg later this month at Disney Springs. Learn more.

February 10 – 15: Find ‘scent’sational releases from Givenchy at Plume et Palette in the France Pavilion at World Showcase. Learn more.

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February 12 – 14 and February 19 – 21: Stop in and check out the latest Yardley fragrance and beauty products and meet representative Isis Sio throughout the day, each day at The Queen’s Table in the United Kingdom Pavilion at World Showcase.

February 14 – 17 and February 19 – 21: Be sure to stop by and check out the latest releases of handmade bath and body products from Rinse. Representatives will be on hand throughout the day, each day at Heritage Manor in The American Adventure Pavilion. Learn more.

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February 18 – 21: Geir Ness will be on hand for a special appearance as he showcases the latest from his Laila fragrance and beauty collection. Meet Geir at The Puffin’s Roost in the Norway Pavilion at World Showcase. Learn more.

February 19 – 20: Meet Kit Heath representative Mary Finnegan from 2- 7 p.m. and learn more about the beautiful, classic and contemporary British Jewelry Designer and the stunning jewelry designs available at The Queen’s Table in the United Kingdom Pavilion at World Showcase. Learn more.

Which special appearances are you most excited to attend?

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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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Nine Dragons Restaurant in China Pavilion at Epcot Celebrates ‘Year of the Monkey’ Beginning Feb. 8

posted on January 25th, 2016 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion at Epcot has been a longtime favorite, maybe because we’ve had the privilege of meeting the talented Asian chefs in the kitchen who create authentic Chinese dishes. Yes, they cater to Americanized tastes with favorites such as Kung Pao chicken and sweet-and-sour pork, but it’s also the place where you can enjoy braised pork belly steamed buns, shrimp and taro lollipops and Shanghai xiaolongbao, the ultimate steamed pork soup dumplings.

In celebration of the Chinese “Year of the Monkey,” Nine Dragons is offering some special menu items and a new prix fixe lunch menu.

The lunch special (3 courses for $17.98) starts with spring rolls or pot stickers. There is a choice of three entrees: Happily Family, with sliced chicken breast, beef and shrimp stir fry; Moo Goo Gai Pan with stir-fried chicken breast, mushrooms and snow peas; and General Tso’s Chicken Buns Lunch Box with three steamed buns and hot-and-sour soup. Dessert is strawberry-red bean ice cream or ginger-caramel ice cream.

Another addition to the menu, just for Year of the Monkey are three steamed buns: braised pork belly served with chili aioli; sweet-and-sour, batter-fried fish buns topped with pork floss; and General Tso’s Chicken buns with batter-fried chicken breast. (Pork floss is dry, fluffy shredded pork seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.) Add a cold Tsingtao beer for a real treat.

The menu specials run through January 27, 2017, so you have plenty of time, with the restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner (Disney Dining Plan accepted). Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, Tables in Wonderland and Golden Oak discounts are accepted (to celebrate the Chinese New Year, all these discounts are 20% for the month of February). For reservations, visit Disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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If you’d like to try to make the steamed buns at home, here’s a recipe. Happy Year of the Monkey!

Sweet-and-Sour Fish on Steamed Buns
Makes 4

Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Fish

  • 8-ounce fillet white fish, such as cod, snapper or grouper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Pinch ground white pepper
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
  • 4 prepared bao buns (folded Chinese-style steamed buns–see Cook’s Note below)

Garnish

  • Thinly sliced onion, carrot, and lettuce
  • Pork Floss (see Cook’s Note below)

For sweet-and-sour sauce:

  1. Combine water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, stirring until dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

For fish:

  1. Pat fish dry and cut into four equal-size pieces.
  2. Season fish with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together water and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add water mixture to flour mixture, whisking just until no lumps remain.
  4. Pour vegetable oil into a deep pan to a depth of at least two inches. Heat oil to 350°F.
  5. Dip seasoned fish into prepared batter. Shake off excess. Drop gently into oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Transfer cooked fish to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Reheat steamed buns by placing in a steamer basket over simmering water 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. On a plate, assemble bun by inserting a slice of fried fish between a bun, ladle sweet and sour sauce over fried fish, and place garnish over sauce. Sprinkle with pork floss (optional). Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: Bao buns are available in the refrigerated or freezer section of Asian markets. Pork floss is a sweet and salty dried, shredded pork product available in most Asian markets.

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TradNation Brings a French Canadian Musical Tradition to Epcot

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


The rich, cultural heritage of French Québec has come alive at the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase, with the introduction of musical performances by TradNation.

In Québécois tradition, music is often a community experience that brings families, friends and neighbors together to play at every opportunity, from front porches to festival stages. TradNation features a broad repertoire, including traditional songs as well as original family compositions passed down through generations.

Come on by the Mill Stage, and immerse yourself in this interactive, musical celebration of life! You can catch this limited engangement of TradNation five days a week in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.

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