Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador

posted on October 30th, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a Hawaiian experience with that touch of Disney magic that makes your island vacation unforgettable. Todayʻs exciting news highlights that touch of Disney magic here in paradise. For the first time in history, Aulani will have a Disney Ambassador to represent our Disney resort and engage our guests, cast and communities. For those of you who may not know the role of a Disney Ambassador, the tradition dates back to 1965 when Walt Disney first selected a cast member to serve as the official spokesperson and representative at Disneyland park.

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Janelle Sanqui, Aulani’s first Disney Ambassador, currently works in Workforce Management at the resort and was born in Hawaii. She lived in California before returning to to the islands nearly 10 years ago. Her previous experience includes two years as a parade performer at the Disneyland Resort, and she was part of our Aulani entertainment team when we opened in 2011.

Our announcement was recently made along with news of the first-ever Disney Ambassador selections for Shanghai Disney Resort. Also earlier this month, new 2015-2016 Disney Ambassadors were named at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Disney Ambassador Program.

Please join me in saying hoʻomaikaʻi, congratulations, and giving a warm “e komo mai” to Janelle!

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Choose Your Savings with New Disneyland Resort Hotel Offer

posted on October 29th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort

What better way to begin a new year than with a visit to the Disneyland Resort? If you’re planning a vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth between January and March, I’ve got some great offers to share with you!

First, you can save up to 25 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Resort hotels on select nights, Sunday through Thursday, for travel from January 4 – February 12, 2015.

If your travel plans fall later in the winter, you can save up to 20 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Resort hotels on select nights, Sunday through Thursday, for travel from February 13 – March 26, 2015.

To take advantage of these savings, be sure to book today through February 12, 2015. You can make reservations online here.

*Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel for select Sunday through Thursday nights between 1/04/15 – 03/26/15. Book from 10/29/15 through 02/12/15, with travel completed by 03/27/15. 25% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites for travel between 01/04/15 to 2/12/15 and 20% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites for travel between 02/13/15 to 3/26/15. Ask about savings in other room types. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes applicable fees and taxes. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and five (5) people maximum per room. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks.

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Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel Debuts New Menu October 29

posted on October 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The spiffing-up began earlier this year at Steakhouse 55, one of the finest restaurants at the Disneyland Resort: new carpet, new chairs, new dishes, new silverware – “It’s almost like opening a new restaurant,” says Chef Marcel St. Pierre.

Chef Marcel took the helm in early 2014 and has been working on the new menu for nearly four months, side-by-side with manager and sommelier Brian Van Amber. And now, with extensive training for the staff complete in everything from guest service to wine pairings, Chef Marcel says they’re ready to launch tomorrow.

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While a handful of dishes may sound familiar (Baltimore crab cake, filet mignon, slow-roasted prime rib), every single dish on the menu has been refined, says Chef Marcel. You’ll still find Tiger Prawns, but they’re served with a new Bloody Mary cocktail sauce, shallot mignonette and lemon gelée. The new pan-roasted pork belly appetizer comes with truffle mascarpone, green apple and pickled black kale. Chef Marcel is especially proud of the new smoked filet mignon tartare, the meat arriving tableside under a crystal dome. When the dome is lifted, there’s the aroma of smoke as the dish is gently tossed tableside with mustard aioli and cage-free egg yolk, then served with shaved rye croutons.

A clever new appetizer is ratatouille “meatballs,” made with finely chopped mushrooms, lentils, carrots, celery, onions and a little bread crumbs. The meatballs are served with zucchini spaghetti, vegan Bolognese and a shave of Parmesan (request no Parmesan for the perfect vegan starter).

Hearts of romaine is the Steakhouse 55 version of the classic Caesar, with Castelvetrano olives from Italy, crispy bacon lardons and Caesar dressing. The new French onion soup gets a hearty seasonal vibe with cream and chicken stock, served with grilled onions and California Muenster cheese focaccia.

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You’ll still see the classic cuts of meat: filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, New York strip, prime rib, Porterhouse. But the classic cuts receive a special twist, like a hickory-molasses rub on the New York strip. King salmon is crusted with fava bean and rye. Lamb chops are roasted with garlic “dust” and peppercorn. Each cut of beef is beautifully garnished with roasted bone marrow (with a tiny fork for scooping out the rich center) topped with lemon gremolata.

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Some of the new sides to share the spotlight are a truffled mac ‘n cheese, flash-fried spinach, and the Delmonico Gruyère Casserole — a decadent, cheesy side made with fingerling potatoes, Applewood smoked bacon and fresh thyme. Duck-fat fries come with blood orange sabayon for dipping; the mashed potatoes have a new mushroom-infused gravy.

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Dessert isn’t an afterthought, and while the legendary 24-Layer Cake stays on the menu, it’s now served with spiced pumpkin gelato and roca (almond butter-crunch toffee). Chef Marcel thinks the new warm apple butter cake will be another home run, served right out of the oven with a scoop of Bourbon ice cream and a side of crème Anglaise. Or try the banana mascarpone cheesecake with caramel glaze, honey-dipped pecans and butterscotch sauce.

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The new, three-course Steakhouse 55 Chef’s Tasting for $55 ($85 with wine pairings) makes it easy to choose: start with the Fifty-Five Salad (ruby beets and feta cheese with apricot granola and citrus vinaigrette); next, the braised short rib Bourguignon with roasted root vegetables, and finish with crème brûlèe served with pear marmalade, candied bacon madeleine and cranberry compote.

The new Steakhouse 55 has been a real team effort,” says Chef Marcel. “We hope we’ve created a fantastic new dining experience for our guests.”

For reservations, call 714-781-DINE or visit disneyland.com.

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And the 2014 Orbitz Best in Stay Elite Award Goes to … Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


The magic of a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is at the top of any must-do list for families looking for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway. With included amenities designed for every age like Aunty’s Beach House, Painted Sky and the Aulani Starlit Hui, it’s no surprise that Orbitz recently recognized this beautiful Hawaiian resort with the 2014 Orbitz Best in Stay Elite Award!

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The 2014 Best in Stay Awards recognize up to five properties in each category, and Aulani earned the Elite Award for being the highest-rated hotel in the Family category. Each of the winners were selected based on hotel reviews submitted by Orbitz customers and travel experts, spanning 75 of the most popular destinations in the world.

If your bags aren’t packed yet, there is still time to book a consecutive four-night stay at this award-winning resort and receive the fourth night free! This offer is available to book through October 30, 2014, for most vacations to Aulani through December 22, 2014. Don’t forget – you can also upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom villa and receive a $100 per night resort credit, in addition to your free night. Learn more about this limited-time offer here!

What does your family love most about a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Tell us in the comments below!

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More Pumpkin Yum from Disneyland Resort

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


In case you can’t make it to Disneyland Resort to taste all the delectable pumpkin treats we mentioned in last week’s pumpkin cheesecake recipe post, here’s one more recipe we just had to share just in time for National Pumpkin Day (Oct. 26): hearty pumpkin muffins packed with the flavors of sweet golden raisins, nutmeg and cinnamon. A crunch of streusel on top makes them perfect with coffee to start the day.

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You could nosh on more Disneyland Resort pumpkin treats from morning ‘til night: pumpkin beignets (Café Orleans and Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland park); pumpkin twists (Troubadour Tavern and Maurice’s Treats at Disneyland park and Cozy Cone Motel at Disney California Adventure park); pumpkin pie (Plaza Inn and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, Flo’s V-8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure park); pumpkin cheesecake muffins (Market House in Disneyland park and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café at Disney California Adventure park), and pumpkin cheesecake (Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa). Beyond the bakery treats at various spots throughout the parks and resorts, there’s pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks and Boudin Bakery’s pumpkin-shaped sourdough at Pacific Wharf Café, Disney California Adventure park bread cart and Mortimer’s Market.

You’ll find these pumpkin muffins in Disneyland park at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and the Cappuccino Cart in the Hub. At Disney California Adventure park, they’re at Schmoozies and Pacific Wharf Café. You can also find them at White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Surfside Lounge at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

But if you can’t make it to Disneyland Resort, whip up a batch and enjoy – maximum flavor, minimum guilt.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Muffin Recipe
1 cup cake flour
1 cup bread flour (may substitute all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 5-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 cup golden raisins

Streusel
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

For muffins:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Sift together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat together sugar and eggs until pale yellow in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend in oil and pumpkin purée until mixture is smooth.
  4. Blend half of flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl, then stir in raisins. Add remaining flour mixture to batter, mixing just until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, filling about 3/4 full.

For streusel:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mash butter with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon streusel on each muffin.
  2. Bake 18 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 325°F and bake 5 minutes more or until golden brown.
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‘This is Halloween’ at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on October 17th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Disney Parks Blog authors have recently shared details about the Halloween tricks and treats taking place this year at Disney Parks & Resorts around the world. Today, I’m excited to “carry the banner” and pass along details about the festivities materializing at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai`i! And the best part? Like most activities during a vacation to Aulani, these special Halloween events are included with your stay!

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  • Keiki Halloween Party – On October 17, 24 and 31, the Halawai Lawn transforms into a frightfully fun party perfect for the entire family. Adults and keiki staying at Aulani are encouraged to dress up for craft activities, game stations and face painting. Be sure to bring your cameras and autograph books as well because some of your favorite Disney characters are making special appearances!
  • Hallow “Teen” – Teens ages 13-17 celebrate the Halloween season on October 24, 26 and 28 with their own exclusive party. They’ll meet up at Makiki Joe’s Beach Rental and then head to the beach for a pumpkin sand sculpting contest and other surprises.
  • Trick or Treat – If you are vacationing at Aulani on Halloween, don’t miss the chance to go trick-or-treating! A special map showcases all the treat locations and you can show your “Disney Side” by wearing a Halloween costume.

Be sure to check The Daily ‘Iwa upon your arrival for any more spooky surprises taking place during your vacation this October!

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Considering a Walt Disney World Vacation? Check Out Our Latest Vacation Deals

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


Are you considering a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays or winter season? Well, we’re happy to share that two new deals we recently launched that you won’t want to miss!

Goofy Lights Up the Holidays

First up, our Play, Stay, Dine, & Save package is back, for guests booking vacations with travel dates between December 14-20, 2014, and January 5-March 7, 2015. This package includes theme park tickets, a resort stay, and a dining plan. (How much you save depends on which category of resort you choose).

Guests traveling to Walt Disney World Resort January 5-March 7 can also save up to 30% off on most Disney resorts.

Both the Play, Stay, Dine & Save Package and the Resort Discount offer can be booked between October 9 – December 29, 2014. For more information on both, click here.

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First Look at Menu for New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk — Reservations Open October 21

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


Opening day is set for December 18 for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk that will showcase classic Italian cuisine including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, fresh cavatelli pasta and pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens.

Uncle Pats Pickled Peppers at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Meatball Cannelloni Basil at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk
Lasagna Bolognese at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Chicken Parmesan at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

Open daily for breakfast and dinner, with reservations starting October 21, Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team in Trattoria al Forno’s kitchen are creating a true taste of all of Italy’s diverse regions.

We’re so excited to finally share the menu with you – in upcoming posts we’ll be sharing details from Walt Disney Imagineering about the décor and more as we get closer to opening. And some delicious recipes for you to try at home!

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Trattoria al Forno will be open 7:30-11 a.m. for breakfast, 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and accepts the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or www.disneyworld.com/dine.

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Fuel Your Fun with Breakfast at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Earlier this month, my family visited from Wisconsin. We spent a long weekend in the parks, so in order to have energy to play all day we had to fuel up in the mornings. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you.

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If you are looking to try something new, Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk is serving up breakfast until the new Trattoria al Forno opens (and dishes up some tasty breakfast eats). My favorite item on the menu is the waffle topped with tiramisu mascarpone—a must-try for any coffee lover. If you’re looking for something savory, I recommend the frittata with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, onions and potatoes topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.

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I love Minnie, so I’ll take every chance I can get to dine with my favorite mouse. One of the best places to catch Minnie—along with a couple of her beach pals—is at the Beach Club Breakfast Buffet at Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It’s a great place to load up on Mickey waffles, too.

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Want to spend your day feeling practically perfect in every way? The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare is for you. From the famous strawberry soup to other signature items like lobster benedict and smoked salmon lox—this buffet has something for everyone. Some of your favorite storybook characters will even stop by while you enjoy breakfast.

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My family stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the home of one of my favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World ResortBoma – Flavors of Africa. Traditional breakfast favorites like pancakes and omelets are accompanied by the gooey French toast bread pudding and items inspired by traditional African foods like turkey bobotie.

Say ‘Aloha!’ to Tonga Toast from Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. One of my all-time favorites, this banana-stuffed sourdough French toast is rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with strawberry compote. Really hungry? Try the Big Kahuna, which consists of French toast, pancakes topped with pineapple sauce and macadamia nut butter, eggs, home-fried potatoes, ham, bacon, and sausage.

Just thinking about all these breakfast options makes me hungry! What’s your favorite way to fuel up before a day at the parks?

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Disneyland Resort Gets in the Spirit of Halloween Time with Bewitching Bites

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The fun is underway with Halloween Time at the Disneyland ResortHaunted Mansion Holiday, Dia de los Muertos and the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – all running through October 31, with festive food a big part of the fun through November 2.

Let’s start with the squiggly, wiggly zinfandel spaghetti with roasted golden beets, pine nuts and golden raisins at Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It looks a little fiendish, but the pasta gets its “seasonal” color from wine and it’s only available the week of Halloween.

Head to Disneyland park, where Café Orleans is featuring devilishly delicious braised short ribs with purple mashed potatoes, sautéed baby carrots, red wine mushroom sauce and fried shoestring onions. Nearby, Blue Bayou serves a hearty Creole-brined, bone-in pork chop with roasted garlic Boursin mashed potatoes, sautéed baby spinach, Champagne pear coulis and tomato relish.

Pork Tamales from Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread from Village Haus Restaurant

Bewitching quick bites include pork tamales at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante (in honor of Dia de los Muertos), and a blue cheese and onion marmalade burger at Hungry Bear Restaurant. Head to Village Haus Restaurant for Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread with buffalo chicken, serrano chile slices and chipotle aioli (definitely a treat, if you love hot stuff). A little more subdued is the “Munster” chicken sausage sandwich with onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms, Muenster cheese and chicken sausage on a baguette with a side of roasted purple potatoes.

At French Market Restaurant, try the traditional shrimp po boy with deep-fried popcorn shrimp, lettuce, tomato, vinegar dressing and Cajun remoulade sauce on a toasted potato roll. Tomorrowland Terrace has a “Monsters U” cheeseburger with special sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles and grilled onion – with a side of fries covered in Parmesan Ranch “Ooze.” Or check out the mac & cheese pizza at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port – yes, it’s pizza crust with mac ‘n cheese topped with mozzarella and Romano cheeses and seasoned bread crumbs.

Disney California Adventure park has some haunting hits as well: a burger or grilled chicken at Taste Pilots’ Grill topped with a “cobweb” of Swiss cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms, and the Anti-Vampire Chicken Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta with roasted garlic sauce, marinated chicken, smoked Gouda, roasted red peppers and a tomato-spicy harissa drizzle.

Ghoulishly good!

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