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#DisneyTweens: Thrills and Adventures Await Your Tweens at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 8th, 2016 by Raquel Giorgio, Public Relations Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Hi! I’m Raquel Giorgio, Public Relations Manager at Walt Disney World Resort, and the mother of one very adorable and enthusiastic Tween. My nine-year-old daughter is just starting to yearn for independence … but still wants to know her family is within arm’s reach. Sound familiar to you?

I want to welcome you to the latest series on the Disney Parks Blog. It’s all about … you guessed it … Tweens! While we know that Walt Disney World Resort is a favorite vacation destination for families with younger children, I’m here to tell you that Walt Disney World Resort is also the perfect place to bring your older kids! Thrilling and adventurous experiences in all FOUR of our Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, TWO water parks and Disney Springs await them! Now that they are older, Tweens can do and experience so much more! They’re taller and height restrictions may no longer apply to them. And they may be up for more adventure now!

Just check out brothers Graeme and Corbin as they try to one-up each other with a challenge to go on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.

Whenever I bring my daughter to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s mandatory that the family ride Expedition Everest three times … in a row! She just loves it! And then she’ll exit the ride to search out a chance to meet Mickey and Minnie in their trendy safari outfits!

What are some of your favorite thrill rides here at Walt Disney World Resort that you’d like to share with your older kids? Is it Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park? Perhaps Test Track at Epcot or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments below.

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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What’s New in Walt Disney World Resort Dining: 16 for 2016

posted on January 7th, 2016 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


2015 was full of culinary news for Walt Disney World Resort, and 2016 promises to be equally exciting, especially at Disney Springs. From new restaurants to more fun with Disney characters, here’s a look ahead at 2016.

  1. Sunday brunches are the hot weekend ticket. Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a new one, and Brunch at the Top debuts February 7 at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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  1. Get over to the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom Park and try a rice noodle bowl, sustainable local farm-raised shrimp in chili-garlic sauce, or the Kungaloosh!, an African-inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas with cashew-caramel ice cream. This is an all-new menu for the Disney chefs.
  2. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival expands to 90 days, March 2 to May 30 (from 75 days last year). Fresh garden produce, savory bites and sweet treats will be abundant at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, returning for a fourth year with guest favorites and new food and beverage offerings.

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  1. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate the art of traveling, featuring foods from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling).
  2. Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge will feature hand-crafted cocktails using the art of mixology with African, Asian and South American flavors, beers and wines from those regions, and a selection of specialty non-alcoholic beverages in addition to small bites.
  3. Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk will temporarily close the end of January, then reopen in the fall with a whole new look – and while the kitchen is working on new menu items, Chef Tim Keating promises that potato-wrapped snapper and the popular New York strip steak will be back. Stay tuned for details.

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  1. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’’s Hollywood Studios debuted in 2015, but guests can look forward to new themes coming in 2016, including Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, Minnie’s Springtime Dine, Minnie’s Summertime Dine and Minnie’s Halloween Dine.

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  1. Let’s start 2016 with a taste of the chocolate at The Ganachery at Disney Springs – the proprietary blend of chocolate and cream made right in the shop is not to be missed. The lovely little space elevates sweets to an experience akin to a wine tasting.
  2. Coming to Disney Springs in early 2016 is STK, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge and emphasizing a social and fun environment. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building, including a main level and a rooftop-dining area with incredible views of Disney Springs.
  3. Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, will serve up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies at Disney Springs in 2016. Their innovative Cupcake ATM will satisfy sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.
  4. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza also comes to Disney Springs in 2016, a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant will feature an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh toppings.

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  1. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will showcase the cuisine of Chef Art Smith at Disney Springs when it opens in Summer 2016. Smith, who was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, will feature farm-to-fork cuisine that showcases the bounty of Florida, and design inspired by turn-of-the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s.

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  1. Also opening in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs, Frontera Fresco by Chef Rick Bayless will showcase the gourmet Mexican cuisine that has made Chef Bayless a culinary legend. The restaurant will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared from time-honored recipes with natural, locally sourced ingredients. Frontera Fresco also will serve an extensive selection of margaritas, cocktails and craft beers and wine.
  2. Look for a re-imagined Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs as the flagship venue is transformed into a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.
  3. Also at Disney Springs, new Disney quick-service locations and kiosks will be blooming this spring. Perfect for a quick bite. Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more information on these locations.
  4. Two new Disney cookbooks for 2016: a new Delicious Disney: Sweet Treats book due out in the fall, and one celebrating both the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (dates still TBD for the food & wine fest when the book will debut).
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ALEX AND ANI to Retire Mickey, Minnie and Pluto Character Bangles at Disney Parks

posted on January 5th, 2016 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


The new year is here, and new styles and designs from ALEX AND ANI are on their way. In order to make room, for the very first time, the following character silhouette ALEX AND ANI bangles will retire beginning January 11, 2016.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ALEX and ANI Bangles Will Retire Beginning January 11, 2016 Mickey Mouse and Pluto ALEX and ANI Bangle Will Retire Beginning January 11, 2016

If you’re looking to add one of these bangles to your collection or someone else’s, be sure to get them before they’re gone! Look for these ALEX AND ANI pieces and more online and in stores at:

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

Which character silhouette is your favorite?

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

#DisneyFamilia Rings in the Nuevo Año with Disney Parks and Univisión

posted on December 31st, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager


To help celebrate the end of 2015 and welcome 2016, Disney Parks is partnering with Univisión Network to host a New Year’s Eve TV special with performances from top artists like Luis Fonsi, Becky G, Piso 21 Joey Montana, Luis Coronel and more!

Ring in the Nuevo Año with Disney Parks and Univisión Ring in the Nuevo Año with Disney Parks and Univisión

Univisión Feliz 2016 will broadcast today live from Disneyland park at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and from Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST on your local Univisión stations. Be sure to follow all of the night’s action by following and using the hashtags #UnivisionFeliz2016 and #DisneyInolvidable.

Here’s a special message from actress and singer Sofía Carson!

Feliz Año Nuevo a todos!

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January 2016 Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise Event Snapshot

posted on December 30th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Take time in the New Year to meet some of the amazing artists behind the magic. Here are a few events taking place in January 2016 at the locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort, which is how I captured them this month, so be sure to keep a close eye on where exactly they will be appearing.

Disney Springs
Now – Jan. 4: Representatives from Precious Moments dolls will be on hand for the release of some of their newest dolls, among other fan favorites, throughout the day, each day, at Fun Finds in Disney Springs Marketplace. Learn more.

Jan. 1 – 3: Join us as we welcome artist Bryan Fyffe, who will be on hand for special appearances and signings, Jan. 1 – 2 from 5 – 8 p.m. and Jan. 3 from Noon – 3 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in Marketplace Co-Op. Learn more.

Jan. 13 – 17: Artist Greg McCullough returns to Art of Disney this month. See some of his latest releases and more Jan. 13 – 17 and Jan. 27 – 31 from 1 – 8 p.m., each day. Learn more.

Jan. 16: Meet artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith who will be on hand showcasing some of her newest releases, among other favorites, from 4 – 7 p.m. in WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op. Learn more.

Jan. 22 – 24: ACME Artist Raymond Swanland will be appearing from 7 – 9p.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.

Epcot
Jan. 1 – 3: Larry Dotson returns to Art of Disney this month with special appearances throughout the day, each day, Jan. 1 – 3 and Jan. 7 – 10. Learn more.

Jan. 8 – 10: 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, Jan. 8 – 10 and Jan. 15 – 17 at Heritage Manor in the American Adventure Pavilion. Learn more.

Which artists are you most excited to meet?

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15 for ’15 – What a Year for Walt Disney World Resort Dining!

posted on December 29th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


New restaurants open, one closes (to reopen in 2016) – here are 15 top Walt Disney World Resort culinary stories for 2015. Up next: 16 for 2016.

Starting in March, the Outdoor Kitchens expanded at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. It was the third year for the culinary addition at the festival, with the new Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between France and Morocco pavilions with treats like cachapas with farmer’s cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, and seafood ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado.

Also in March, the new breakfast started at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park. The quick-service breakfast menu has a decidedly French touch, with everything from assorted cured meat and cheese served with marmalade, fresh fruit and a toasted baguette to eggs Florentine served in a puff pastry shell with country ham and roasted plum tomatoes.

Late March saw the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s a popular spot, and guests ooh and ah over more than 1,200 pieces of memorabilia. The hand-crafted cocktails are delicious (order an Uh-Oa! and see what happens with the special effects).

Beginning April 1, new allergy-friendly menus debuted in 2015 at more than 100 quick-service and table-service locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, along with more ways to make the special-diet-request process easier.

In May, the much-anticipated Harambe Market opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where food plays a starring role with African-inspired street food at four walk-up windows and plenty of shaded seating. Skewered chicken and kabob flatbreads, beef and pork sausage fried in a curried corn batter (like a corn dog), spice-rubbed karubi ribs and South African wines are a home run. Or try tikka masala chicken, the newest addition to the menu.

April saw the opening of The BOATHOUSE, the first all-new dining spot at Disney Springs – not a bad view in the house with all of the dining rooms with waterfront views or on the water. Seafood is the star (try the lobster roll). Then take a ride in the dream boats from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s (or watch for free from the dock).

The new Ferrytale Wishes, A Fireworks Dessert Cruise, debuted in September, the perfect way to experience Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from a spot on Seven Seas Lagoon. The decks are laden with delectable sweets, plenty of ice cream and beverages (with and without alcohol) in souvenir glow glasses. Enjoy this sweet ending to your day, then settle to watch the spectacular Wishes nighttime spectacular overhead, the largest fireworks display ever at Walt Disney World Resort.

20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival expands for first time into Future World (Sept. 25-Nov. 16) with four new food and beverage marketplaces. Starting along the Rose Walk between Future World and World Showcase, the new Artistry of Wine & Cheese festival area featured the Cheese Studio (offering a cheese sampler to pair with wines) and Wine Studio with premium wines on tap. The new Next Eats area included Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces inspired by ABC’s Emmy-Award® winning lifestyle series “The Chew.”

Late September was the opening of the much-anticipated Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar along the waterfront at Disney Springs. With 150 seats inside and out, the bar cleverly features salvaged equipment, spare airplane parts and mementos from Jock’s travels.

For the first time ever, “The Chew,” ABC’s Emmy-Award® winning daytime show, broadcasted from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival October 7-9. Hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Carla Hall filmed segments across Walt Disney World Resort in addition to taping before a live audience. Episodes aired October 12-16, 2015.

Minnie’s Seasonal Dine added to Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With five distinct dining experiences depending on the season, including Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, Minnie’s Springtime Dine, Minnie’s Summertime Dine, Minnie’s Halloween Dine, and Minnie’s Holiday Dine. Festive new costumes and seasonally themed eats make this dinner fun for the whole family.

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Morimoto Asia also opened in November, the newest to join the line-up at Disney Springs. It’s the newest venture for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and his first restaurant featuring Pan-Asian cuisine, including the signature Morimoto Peking Duck, carved and roasted in house.

New Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen opened in December in the Magic Kingdom. Diners can set off on a culinary adventure at a new eatery in Adventureland featuring “World Famous Jungle Cuisine.” Just steps from the legendary Jungle Cruise attraction you can enjoy the bold, flavorful tastes of Asia, South America and Africa at this new 222-seat table-service restaurant staffed by the wisecracking crew of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd.

The Ganachery opened in December at Disney Springs, a jewel box of a shop that’s showcases the beauty of chocolate. The star of the show is a custom-made ganache, Disney’s own recipe for a luxurious mixture of melted chocolate and cream. Stepping inside this shop is reminiscent of an apothecary of another era, a lovely little space elevates sweets to an experience akin to a wine tasting.

Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa ends the year on a high note by winning the coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award – that’s 16 years in a row, putting the restaurant in an exclusive tier of dining experiences. Each year AAA reviews nearly 30,000 restaurants, but just 0.4 percent make the AAA Five Diamond. The restaurant also was once again honored as one of the top restaurants in the United States in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards (No. 6 of 25). And Time Magazine named Victoria & Albert’s to its Top 100 list of U.S. restaurants.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 27th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


Our holiday coverage continued this week at Disney Parks with daily stories and even a special edition of our email newsletter with an exclusive Christmas wallpaper. Along with our holiday content, we also shared some important information for those of you planning to welcome 2016 at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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Shawn posted a rundown of some of the entertainment lined up for this year’s celebration at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom Park. And if you can’t join us in person for New Year’s Eve, be sure to tune in here on the Disney Parks Blog where we’ll be hosting a live stream of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, direct from Magic Kingdom Park on December 31. Watch for more details coming soon.

We also included an update that reservations opened for Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party happens January 8-March 20, 2016 from 6:30-8 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with special viewing for the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks at 7:45 p.m. each night. You can enjoy a selection of sweets as the night sky erupts with an arsenal of impressive fireworks, set to the most dramatic and memorable Star Wars themes of all time. Check Pam’s story for more details.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Guest Talent Coordinator for Special Events Such as Disney ¡Viva Navidad! – Guest Talent Coordinator Danny Gaitan hosts guest performers at the Disneyland Resort during special events such as runDisney race weekends and holiday celebrations. Danny says he creates magic not only for our guests who experience the performances, but also for the performers who get the opportunity to entertain on a world-class stage.

Disneyland Resort Horses Featured in Horsetown Parade of Lights in Norco, California – For the second year in a row, Disneyland Resort horses participated in the annual Horsetown Parade of Lights in Norco, Calif. Pulling a vintage stagecoach used in Frontierland for many decades, Clydesdale team Lucky and Eddie glowed as festive decorations illuminated their harnesses.

By the Numbers: Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park – Last week, we put some numbers on the holiday cheer at Disneyland park, and now we’re back with some festive figures for Disney California Adventure park!

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks Now Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Nestled in the imposing shadow of Mt. Everest, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks is the perfect place for tired and hungry travelers to stop in for a quick bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. For climbers who are returning from their ascent, a stop at the bar is considered tradition.

Set Sail for Wintertime Fun with Adventures by Disney Holiday River Cruises – Every family has their holiday traditions. In my family they all seem to center around baking, sweets and the regret that comes from so much baking and so many sweets.

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Walt Disney World Resort Holidays? – Have you visited Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season? Do you think you know everything there is to know about the amazing decorations and miles of lights that make our resort even prettier this time of year?

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Special New Year’s Eve Entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 26th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Well, 2015 has certainly been fun, and now here we are on the cusp of another incredible new year! For those of you planning to welcome 2016 at Walt Disney World Resort, we have quite a party planned for you. Here’s a rundown of some of the entertainment lined up for this year’s celebration.

Walt Disney World Resort Sends 2012 out with a Bang

  • Epcot – It’s a night-long party throughout Epcot, with unique entertainment including a DJ and light show at the Future World Fountain Stage, dancing under flame effects and a smoke-billowing dragon in China, a British blast to the past in United Kingdom, Euro-pop and lasers in Italy, a Latin band and DJ on the America Gardens Stage and a “Silent DJ” party in Japan. Cap it all off with one of two showings of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” The 6:00 p.m. show will include our holiday finale, while the 11:40 p.m. performance will be followed by a countdown and pyrotechnic salute to the New Year.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Ring in a most unforgettable New Year with a Disney character dance party at Center Stage, leading up to fantastic fireworks set to the soundtrack of favorite films and memorable moments from across Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (Note: ‘Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular’ will not be presented on Dec. 31)
  • Magic Kingdom Park – You can get a head start on the festivities, with a special New Year’s Eve eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks at 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30. The same show will be repeated on December 31. For families looking to wrap things up a little earlier, both nights will also feature the Holiday Wishes New Year’s Celebration at 6:30 p.m., complete with expanded fireworks and a New Year’s Eve countdown.

If you can’t join us in person for New Year’s Eve, be sure to tune in right here to Disney Parks Blog, where we’ll be hosting a live stream of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, direct from Magic Kingdom Park on December 31. Watch for more details coming soon!

So tell me… What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

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Mariachi Cobre Plays ‘Fum, Fum, Fum’ at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 23rd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Earlier this month, we shared a holiday musical performance with you by Epcot’s Mariachi Cobre, one of the musical groups you can find playing seasonal tunes during the park’s Holidays Around the World.

This week we’re happy to share with you another performance by the group. The song “Fum, Fum, Fum.”

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‘Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival’ to Debut Today At Epcot

posted on December 23rd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


We recently shared plans for a new “Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival” experience to open in Future World at Epcot, and we’re happy to announce that this new offering will officially open its doors today.

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This new experience will feature a look into the visionary minds behind some of the world’s most iconic animated films today. Once inside the theater, guests can put on their 3D glasses and enter the imaginative worlds of three animated shorts – “Get A Horse,” “For The Birds” and “La Luna” – which will burst to life on the big screen (and in the theater) like never before.

“Get a Horse” stars Mickey Mouse and features Walt Disney himself as the voice of the iconic character. This black-and-white, hand-drawn short follows Mickey, his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow as they delight in a musical wagon ride — until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road.

“For The Birds” opens to show one by one, a flock of small birds perch on a telephone wire. Sitting close together has problems enough, and then along comes a large dopey bird that tries to join them. The birds of a feather can’t help but make fun of him—and their clique mentality proves embarrassing in the end.

And lastly, “La Luna” is the timeless fable of a young boy coming of age in the most peculiar circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way amidst their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?

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