Astro Orbitor at Disneyland Park

Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Sushi is on a roll at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – for dinner, the little Kona Island sushi bar in the upstairs lobby is now an extension of the restaurant, and the sushi is crafted in the dining room in the former dessert show kitchen, giving chefs plenty of room to create specialties from sashimi and simple rolls to more elaborate combos such as the Caterpillar Roll (inside-out tuna roll, shrimp salad, tempura crunch and avocado) or the Lava Roll (togarashi-spiced tempura shrimp, bay scallops, spicy mayo and chives).

Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

If you enjoyed the Kona Island sushi bar before, you can still grab a seat there, no reservations required, and the entire restaurant menu is also available. (We’re partial to the sticky wings and Pan-Asian noodles with shrimp.) But now you can start with a little sake and more than a dozen choices on the sushi menu.

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And java fans will be happy to know that Kona Island is still the spot to grab a delicious cup of coffee and pastry in the mornings – it’s right next to the resort’s monorail station.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Disneyland Resort Restaurants Win Big at Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Sometimes we all want a little advice when we’re making a dinner reservation, and often it’s food writers and critics that send us to the best restaurants. That’s why we enjoy seeing the annual awards from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Inc., a group formed nearly 40 years ago to keep a finger on the pulse of the region’s dining. This year the group awarded Disneyland Resort a dozen awards to eight restaurants – two in Disneyland park, two in Disney California Adventure park and three in Disneyland Resort hotels.

Here are the awards:

Golden Bacchus Wine Award (the highest wine award):
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge (Disney California Adventure park)
Napa Rose (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa)
Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)

5 Stars (the highest award):
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge
Napa Rose
Steakhouse 55

4 Stars:
Ariel’s Grotto (Disney California Adventure park)
Blue Bayou Restaurant (Disneyland park)
Café Orleans (Disneyland park)
Storytellers Cafe (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa)

3 Stars:
Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel)

Manager of the Year:
Jose Barragan – Barragan has been with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for 17 years and manages Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure park.

To make reservations at any of the Disneyland Resort restaurants, visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Traditional Lei

posted on April 11th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


The unforgettable details woven throughout Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, make the resort a destination unlike any in the world. Let’s begin this new series the same way your Aulani vacation would with a warm welcome, or e komo mai, and a traditional lei.

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Upon my arrival at Aulani, I noticed cast members waiting with lei at their side and large smiles on their faces. One of those cast members greeted me with my own personal lei. Talking with her, I learned that each member of the ‘ohana, or family, receive this symbol of aloha – the gift of a lei. Women receive an orchid and tuberose lei, while the men receive a kukui nut lei. I was then escorted into the breathtaking Maka’ala Lobby where the same cast member told me the significance of receiving a lei. The lei has been an important part of the traditional Hawaiian culture for centuries, as well as the modern local culture of Hawaii today.

I wanted to learn more about this tradition, so I asked Aulani Cultural Advisor, Kahulu De Santos. She shared many stories about lei, such as the beautiful feather lei worn by the aliʻi, the royalty of traditional Hawaii. In addition to being a symbol of aloha, the lei also symbolizes the importance of connections. Just like the flowers or kukui nuts are linked together, the lei embodies the connections to places and relationships we have with those around us.

It is through the spirit and magic of Aulani that you will establish new connections or strengthen existing ones during your stay, and your lei will help you remember those memories when you travel home.

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Once I checked into my room with my lei still around my neck, I could not think of a better way to begin a Hawaiian vacation. The warm greeting, the lei, a personal escort through the Maka‘ala Lobby and the gentle breeze – it made me realize that my magical journey was only just beginning.

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts

Disney Parks After Dark: Sunset at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

posted on April 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Is watching the sunset from a Disney Resort a must-do for you when visiting Walt Disney World Resort? I have to say that we have some amazing skies here in Florida – and pink clouds are always my favorite. Check them out in this view from the pier at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

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Lama Pa`ipa`i Time at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel

posted on April 9th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


If you’re looking for a quiet, tranquil place to unwind, check out the torch-lit terrace at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. However, if you want to party like the tiki gods, I dare you to go inside! Sam, head salesman of the jungle, has a space at the bar for even the most adventurous tourist. Exotic elixirs like the Uh Oa!, named after the tiki goddess of disaster, Shrunken Zombie Head and HippopotoMai-Tai are served up in style by bold and courageous bartenders. The video below gives a glimpse of how water, fire and ice (sometimes blended) all come together to make up one-of-a-kind cocktails behind the doors of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.

Have you been to see Sam? If so what’s your preferred potion?

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Discover Your Dream Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 8th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you had the choice of staying at either Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which would you choose? Or would you need help picking out the perfect fit? If so, check out this infographic and follow the answers to your dream vacation spot.

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Now on Instagram

posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Hello, I’m Tyler and I have been a cast member at Disneyland Resort for several years. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to discover Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, along with you here on the Disney Parks Blog. From Main Street, U.S.A., to the Maka’ala Lobby, it really is amazing to see the magic of Disney come to life in different parts of the world.

And today the magic of Aulani can be shared in a whole new way, through the newly launched @DisneyAulani on Instagram!

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Just like the @WaltDisneyWorld & @Disneyland Instagram feeds, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite fan photos through @DisneyAulani. If selected, you and your ‘ohana can see your Aulani vacation memories shared around the world.

Ready to join in? Be sure to add #Aulani to your photos and you may be featured on our new @DisneyAulani Instagram feed.

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Golden Week and Duffy the Disney Bear Merchandise Makes its Way to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I love finding special souvenirs when I go on trips! I’m pretty sure most of you do too. So if you are heading to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa during the month of April or specifically during Golden Week at the end of the month, here are some tips on what I think would make some great souvenirs to add to your collection. For those of you wondering what Golden Week is, it is a collection of national holidays in Japan that often fall within a week’s time period.

First up, is a special limited edition pin celebrating Golden Week. This limited edition 1500 pin will debut on April 10 and features Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse enjoying a sweet moment on their Hawaiian holiday. Where can you find it? Kālepa’s Store, of course! It’s a great find and it’s easy to pack for your trip home.

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Now, I know that many of you take your very own Duffy the Disney Bear with you on vacation, and I can tell you from experience that Duffy is a great traveler! So here are a few more reasons why you’ll have to make some extra room in your luggage!

Our talented teams of artists and developers have been hard at work creating a handful of new costumes that are … Who am I kidding? I just have to say it … “bear”y cute! First let me show you the dated costume and plaid costume which became available at Kālepa’s Store this past week.

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And now … for the sneak peek! Here’s your first look at some additional costumes headed your way in late spring, early summer. As you can see we had some fun dressing up Duffy the Disney Bear!

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Personally, I can’t decide which one is my favorite. Which one is yours?

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Michelle Baumann, Walt Disney World Public Relations


In its second year of operation, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort continues to surprise and delight guests with its animation-inspired design, whimsical amenities and spacious suites ideal for families. As part of our ongoing resort series, here’s the inside scoop on this highly popular Walt Disney World Resort hotel that immerses guests into classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films, in a big way! John Graham will share 10 things you might not know about this magical Disney resort.

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Chef Marcel St. Pierre New at Helm of Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel

posted on March 27th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s a homecoming of sorts for Chef Marcel St. Pierre at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Resort. When he started his Disney career in 2000, he was a young chef at Granville’s Steakhouse, now Steakhouse 55. “It’s full circle, but this time I’m leading the entire team at the Disneyland Hotel,” he says with a smile.

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Making the transition from Club 33 to Steakhouse 55 has been fun, says Marcel. “I thrive on keeping the wheels in motion,” he says. “My team and I always are thinking of new dishes – for nightly specials, weekly or seasonal.”

Filet at Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel Lobster Tail at Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel

But of course the signature dishes will always be there. The perfectly cooked steaks remain the centerpiece – from a buttery filet to the bone-in ribeye with the restaurant’s signature rub. Lamb, pork and chicken are on the menu, along with lobster tail, salmon and sustainable fish. And Chef Marcel agrees that the decadent potato stack au gratin is the perfect side (plus fresh broccoli or sauteed spinach if you want something green).

Chef Marcel can’t imagine himself anywhere but the kitchen. “I enjoy the creativity, and meeting new guests as well as catching up with regulars,” he says. “And I love the flow of the kitchen – and even the occasional chaos.”

And when he’s not in the kitchen, you might find him with a fishing pole – next to spending time with his family, fishing is his favorite pastime. “Growing up, my Uncle Charlie fished for smelt every Thursday morning, and in the evening the whole family would get together to enjoy them freshly pan fried.” For Chef Marcel, a day on the water is the perfect balance to the bustle of the kitchen.

“Most of all, I enjoy putting my feet up at the end of a long night and feeling a sense of accomplishment,” he says. “Knowing my team and I worked hard to make it a success.”

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