Disney's Electrical Parade

Disney Parks After Dark: France Pavilion at Epcot

posted on July 31st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Here’s one place we haven’t stopped yet on our tour through the parks after dark – it’s the France Pavilion at Epcot.

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Doesn’t this shot of the pavilion’s lush garden look so serene?

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Two New Ways to Enjoy Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on July 31st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


How about an after-hours street party, and an Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package to make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival even more fun?

Delicious Desserts Tempt the Sweet Tooth

Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! street party will run from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday during the festival between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. The event includes six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, live music, entertainment, and a DJ. Cost is $79, plus tax. Bringing together the love of food with the love of music, it’s the perfect destination for a delicious final bite. Party is subject to capacity and advance reservations are recommended; to book a spot, call 407-939-3378. We know that Greece, Hawaii and Desserts & Champagne will be showcased, along with others that will change throughout the festival.

*Note: Admission to Epcot is not required after 9 p.m. for guests who have purchased credentials to the event. However, if the guest wants to visit Epcot before 9 p.m., valid theme park admission is required. Alcohol will only be served to guests 21 and older.

Now for some brand-new “Premium” fun! From noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during a select festival period (September 22-November 6), the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is an opportunity for guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel (or the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels) to sip and savor in style. The package includes an in-room gift with wine for guests 21 and older, a festival wine glass, truffles and credential for the Premium Package Areas at the festival – plus an Epcot International Food & Wine Festival MagicBand and a $50 Disney Gift Card to start the fun. The credential gives access to 10 VIP “Premium Package Areas” around World Showcase Promenade where you can order items from Marketplaces and have them delivered to you – no waiting in line. You can also bring your favorite marketplace treats into the Premium Package Areas and just relax. The package also includes one admission to Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE!, which you can attend on Tuesday or Thursday night.

Cost is $199 per guest, plus tax, plus Epcot admission.

For the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package, call 407-939-1889. For more general information on the festival, go to epcotfoodfestival.com.

For more about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit the posts below:

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – August 2014

posted on July 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Wondering what merchandise events are headed your way this August at Walt Disney World Resort? Take a look!

July 30 – August 3: Looking for the opportunity to meet artist Greg McCullough? Greg will be appearing at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, July 30 – August 3 and again from August 20 – 24. Planning to visit Epcot, August 13 – 17? Great! Look for additional appearances by Greg at their Art of Disney, throughout the day. Learn more.

August 7 - Meet Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue” director/co-writer Bobs Gannaway from 3 – 4 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace, as he signs some of the new “Planes: Fire & Rescue” merchandise available at Disney Parks. Learn more.

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August 7 – 11: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

August 14 – 17: Keep an eye out! Renowned 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! Learn more.

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August 14 – 17: It’s time for you to check out the latest releases from international artist Larry Dotson, who will be appearing throughout the day at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.

August 23: Keep an eye out for spellbinding commemorative T-shirts and more as part of the “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Remember, a separate ticket is required to attend this event. If you are thinking of going, purchase tickets now at www.DisneyVillainsParty.com or by calling 407.939.1933.

August 29: Be sure to pick up a copy of Tinker Bell: An Evolution, a full biography about everyone’s favorite fiery fairy by author Mindy Johnson. Mindy will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 3 – 4 p.m., alongside special guest and Disney Legend, Alice Davis. Tip: Also being released during the event is Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man. Learn more.

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Here are a few other things to keep in mind. Artists Brian Blackmore and Greg McCullough will be appearing during Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Learn more.

It’s also your last chance to get your ticket to Disney Trade Celebration 2014 – Imagination Gala taking place at World ShowPlace in Epcot, September 5 – 7. A limited number of tickets are still available, so sign up for the Pin and Vinylmation Showcase Packages today! Tip: Keep watching www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com as we release details about this year’s Silent Auction lots. Learn more.

There’s one last thing I couldn’t resist showing you. Here is a sneak peek at the next hand-painted Ink & Paint Cel debuting at the Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 27, 2014. This limited release titled “Summertime Pals” is so cool, you won’t be able to resist it. Not able to make it to the event? Disney Event Services is taking pre-orders via www.disneyurl.com/CelPreOrder now through September 25, 2014 at 5 p.m. EDT. Learn more.

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Are you ready for these events and more?

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

New Epcot Cookbook to Feature All Three Festivals

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You can’t buy a copy until September, but we wanted to give blog readers a sneak peek at the new Epcot cookbook that debuts just in time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (September 19-November 10). Instead of an annual cookbook just for that festival, the new book – even the title is still in the working stages – will feature, for the first time ever, recipes from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, winter’s Holidays Around the World and the springtime Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Here’s a picture of Disney photographer Matt Stroshane and stylist Laurel Ainley as they shot the new food photos for the book. Long days and lots of prep create pretty dishes we hope will make you hungry.

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Meanwhile, here’s a few photos from the book and one of our favorite recipes from this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to get you started.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6

Salmon
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 (5- to 6-ounce) Verlasso salmon fillets, skin removed

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For salmon:

  1. Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For chimichurri sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For quinoa salad dressing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For quinoa salad:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with Quinoa Salad Dressing.

To serve:

  1. Equally divide Quinoa Salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce.

Cook’s note: Verlasso salmon is sustainable and farm-raised; you can use any fresh, high-quality salmon in this recipe.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Eight Delectable Disney Parks Treats for National Ice Cream Day

posted on July 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Why do we love ice cream so much? Sunday, July 20, is National Ice Cream Day, declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and we’re happy for the pure joy of a dripping ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

Disney Parks fans know the gooey Kitchen Sink Sundae, the irresistible Dole Whip and ice-cold Mickey Mouse bar. And we’ve all picked a favorite flavor for a double scoop from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland park or Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. But for National Ice Cream Day, we’re stepping out with some ice cream creations you may not have tried.

Here are eight favorites that are a little more creative than a double dip of vanilla or chocolate:

  1. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself dining at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on National Ice Cream Day, order the Sundae Sampler, a mini-trio with Frangelico toffee mousse, a float with root-beer flavored ice cream and homemade vanilla soda and a “banana split” (mousse, fresh roasted pineapple, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, candied peanuts, chocolate sauce and a cherry). You won’t want to share.

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  1. Run, don’t walk, to try the chocolate macaron sandwich at L’Artisan des Glaces at the France pavilion at Epcot. A crunchy chocolate cookie sandwich with dark chocolate ice cream made right there, it’s simply divine. There are 16 flavors, but, seriously, that chocolate-chocolate sensation is a must. Another favorite? The hand-pressed brioche ice cream sandwich.
  2. Try something different at the new Morocco Juice Bar at Epcot World Showcase, where the chef is making bold ice cream flavors like chocolate and cinnamon, green tea, pistachio with orange blossom water (our favorite), strawberry and red bean, and toasted almond with rosewater.
  3. For a Magic Kingdom pick-me-up, grab the latte iced coffee float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland. (The kids can get a caramel or hot fudge sundae.)

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  1. At Disneyland Resort, we always make a stop at Clarabelle’s at Disney California Adventure park for the hand-dipped ice-cream bar. Choose vanilla, chocolate or mixed berry sorbet, ask for it dipped in milk or dark chocolate, then add a flourish of toppings like chocolate chips or rainbow sprinkles. Made on the spot while you watch.
  2. Get fancy at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa with a single, double or triple scoop of artisanal ice creams: Scharffen Berger chocolate chunk, Tahitian vanilla bean or creamy California strawberry. The Napa Rose pastry chefs churn it out fresh.

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  1. If you’re strolling Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, stop at Uva Bar for a homemade ice-cream milkshake. We recommend the s’mores flavor. Or if a root beer float is more to your liking, they make theirs with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream and craft root beer.

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  1. We’ve got a soft spot for cobbler a la mode, and some of the best is at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue – fresh fruit (whatever’s in season) baked in a skillet with a crunchy topping and vanilla ice cream. Grab at least two spoons and share.
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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Summer Nights to Savor: Epcot Presents a Nighttime Transformation

posted on July 18th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Something magical happens as the sun sets over Spaceship Earth. All of Epcot takes on an ethereal radiance. After all, day or night, you’re under the magic spell of Walt Disney Imagineering at a Disney Park, so evenings bring on their meticulous skills in lighting your way through another chapter of your Epcot “story.”

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Your night for spectacular attractions and entertainment

Even if you’ve never visited Epcot before, try to picture it all in your mind’s eye. The sun is disappearing into ribbons of gold and red clouds as you enter Test Track. Your vehicle speeds to a furious pace. It bursts from the show building and zooms you around the track, the lights of Epcot flashing in all directions. You take in a few more attractions and it’s off to World Showcase. Each pavilion is bathed in its own special glow.

This is a particularly special night for you. Magical things await, things you’ve never experienced before and they each involve tasty treats. But it’s still a little early and you’d like a quick meal now, so you enjoy fish and chips at the United Kingdom pavilion (nothing seems to compare to them).

Your night for IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party

World Showcase Lagoon shimmers in the evening lights, as if in anticipation of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth — the nightly fireworks, laser and music extravaganza. Here’s the nice part: You’re assured a wonderful view because you’ve booked the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party. In addition to experiencing the show from a fantastic vantage point, you’re going to enjoy delectable desserts served with coffee, tea or even a sparkling wine.

Mmm. The chefs have outdone themselves on this evening’s dessert masterpieces. Food always tastes better when they make it. How do they do it? Even though you shouldn’t, you decide to fill another dessert plate with those little chocolate thingies — so soft, so rich. Better save some room though. There’s more to enjoy later.

As the IllumiNations finale fills the entire sky with the glorious spectacle that could only happen at a Disney Park, you breathe a contented sigh. Because you also booked the Epcot After Hours Wind Down, you don’t have to make your way to the exit with the throngs of other guests.

Your night for Epcot After Hours Wind Down

For this, your first time to try this brand-new Epcot experience, you’ve chosen Spice Road Table in the Morocco pavilion as your restaurant. The buzz has been good. As a fan of tapas, it’s the chance you’ve been waiting for. (Incidentally, you might also want to visit Spice Road Table at other times of the day. If you happen to be a Walt Disney World Passholder, you have another reason to visit: a 30% discount off the regular menu now through September 17, 2014!)

A sense of calm falls over you as the cast members welcome you. Warm, friendly conversation murmurs in the elegant, intimate Spice Road Table dining room, where you are seated with a lovely view of World Showcase Lagoon. Since Epcot After Hours Wind Down includes a wine flight, you are presented with three superb international wines, each with its own flavors and scents of fine fruits and spices. You sip a little of each, comparing the “personalities” of each wine.

Three hot, tempting tapas are placed before you. Tonight, one of them is a lamb slider. Lamb has such a delightfully distinctive taste — and this is a fabulous way to enjoy it. Two petite Moroccan Lamb Sausages are completely different from the sliders but equally superb in preparation and presentation. But your favorite is the Harissa Chicken Roll, a blend of exotic spices of the east with chicken nestled in a light crusty roll. There’s no hurry. You savor each morsel, the wine cleansing your palate between every few bites. Authentic music plays in the background. The stars shine over Epcot through the picture windows. A great way to top off the evening.

Perhaps most comforting of all is your leisurely stroll along World Showcase promenade, the desserts, tapas and wine adding a light spring to your step. It’s just you and a handful of other delighted guests — ambling through the peaceful pavilions toward Spaceship Earth in the distance. It’s as if this world is here just for you.

And you know what? It is.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Merchandise ‘Rockets’ Into Disney Parks

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


My friend and Disney Parks Blog author Shawn Slater was the first to give you the inside scoop on the “Guardians of the Galaxysneak peek taking place now at Disney Parks. How many of you have already seen it? If you haven’t, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I would definitely recommend checking out this intergalactic 3D cosmic adventure the next time you visit the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park or ABC Sound Studio at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you are planning to set your course for space adventure and join the quartet of ragtag rivals along with Peter Quill to help save the universe, then we better make sure you are prepared for battle. Here’s your first look at some of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” merchandise you can expect to find at Disney Parks.

Fans of the entire “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew or Rocket, in particular, will be happy to find these film-inspired T-shrits.

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As for toys, we have those too! You’ll find the Rapid Fire Rocket, Star-Lord Blaster, a Hero Ship and Pursuit Spacecraft play sets, as well as Galactic Battler, Titan Hero figures and more.

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A few other things to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” book and CD, as well as a specially designed D-Tech iPhone case and more. One final pick for me, is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” limited edition pin. Take a look!

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Here’s quick list of where you can find all of the merchandise I’ve shown you for your very own super heroes:

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

Ready, Set, Dial! Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Premium Event Reservations Open July 31

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


First, go to epcotfoodfestival.com on July 24 when the new premium events will be posted and take a few minutes to plan ahead – because at 7 a.m. July 31 you can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to book your spot at some of the most coveted events for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Dates are September 19 – November 10, and while there’s plenty of fun included with park admission, you won’t want to miss some of the top-tier experiences that require a separate ticket.

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Here’s what’s new this year:

  • Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (October 24) $99 pp or $119 pp
  • Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (September 20) $99 pp
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Boot Camp Series interactive epicurean adventure (September 21, October 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 pp
  • Food for Thought (Fridays, plus Saturday October 11) $169 pp
  • Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing (Wednesdays) $55 pp
  • Italian White Truffle & Wine Pairing Dinner (October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) $295 pp

And here are some of the most popular events making a comeback:

  • Parisian Breakfast (Saturdays) $39 pp
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (October 3, 10 and 17) $59 or $99 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining 
(more than 20 dinners throughout the festival; prices vary)
  • Shake and Indulge Like the French Featuring Grand Marnier (Saturdays beginning September 27) $55 pp
  • Cheese Seminars (Saturdays) $79 pp
  • Party for the Senses (October 4, 11, 18 and November 1) $149, $189 or $299 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Party for the Senses Featuring Disney Chefs from Around the World (October 25) $149, $189 or $299 pp
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Tuesdays and Thursdays) $55 pp
  • Sunday Mornings With … (Sundays) $99 pp

There’s more, like Italian and French pairings and lunches, a Japan “Hibachi Experience” and a Mexican tequila lunch. You can also book the popular Culinary Demonstrations ($15), Mixology Seminars ($15) and Wine Seminars ($15).

See you soon at Epcot!

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Sneak Peek: Voices of Liberty at Epcot Add ‘Let It Go’ To Their Repertoire

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you heard? Voices of Liberty, the longtime acapella group at Epcot, recently added some new songs to their repertoire. New songs guests may hear during their daily shows include “You Raise Me Up,” “True Colors,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Here’s a sneak peek at one of those new tunes, “Let It Go” from “Frozen.

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

The Disney Side of Alex and Ani ‘Charmed Arms’ at Disney Parks

posted on July 8th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


It’s time to show us your Disney Side with your “charmed arms” from Alex and Ani! Not only do we want to see which Alex and Ani bangles from our Disney collection have made it onto your arms, but we also want to see them in front of some of your favorite characters, attractions and icons at Disney Parks.

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I know that many of you were eager to know if Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” would be making a splash at Disney Parks, and I’m here to tell you, she is, along with Rapunzel from “Tangled.” Here’s your first look!

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Joining them will be a few of everyone’s favorite Disney pals, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck.

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Look for these bangles to debut July 14 at the following Disney Parks & Resorts locations and Online.

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

Online – Shop Now!

What’s next? I can tell you this much, you will either find it a nightmare or you will consider it really cool.

Now I invite you to share your Disney ‘charmed arms’ with us! Use #DisneySide and #charmedarms across our social channels, including Twitter, Vine, Google+, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest. If you tag your Instagram photos using #DisneySide #charmedarms we may just feature it on the @Disneyland, @WaltDisneyWorld or @AlexandAni Instagram feeds.

Will you add any of these new Alex and Ani Disney Collection bangles to your wrist?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort