Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

Wildlife Wednesday: On Your Mark, Get Set… Let Them Go! – Sea Turtles Set Off On Migratory Journey

posted on July 30th, 2014 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


This past weekend, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort hosted the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual “Tour de Turtles” event which allows sea turtle fans to follow the marathon migration of 12 sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds.

This year, Olaf’s summer dream in the Academy Award winning Disney Animation Studios film “Frozen” inspired us to feature him in our event and name the turtles after his friends Anna and Elsa. The morning began as each loggerhead sea turtle was outfitted with a satellite transmitter. Now that the females have finished nesting for the season, it is time for them to head to their foraging grounds so that they can begin feasting on those tasty crustaceans. The transmitters allow us to track the path to Anna and Elsa’s favorite foraging grounds.

Wildlife Wednesday: On Your Mark, Get Set… Let Them Go! – Sea Turtles Set Off On Migratory Journey Wildlife Wednesday: On Your Mark, Get Set… Let Them Go! – Sea Turtles Set Off On Migratory Journey

As the “turtle safe” adhesive dried, guests had the opportunity to participate in various activities as they learned more about sea turtles and earned stamps for completed activities in their nature journal. Guests watched as Disney’s Animal Programs cast members conducted a nest inventory and counted the number of eggs in a recently hatched sea turtle nest; discovered ways they can help hatchlings including knocking down sand castles after they leave the beach, and realized how difficult it could be for a sea turtle to free itself if tangled in plastic debris.

Wildlife Wednesday: On Your Mark, Get Set… Let Them Go! – Sea Turtles Set Off On Migratory Journey Wildlife Wednesday: On Your Mark, Get Set… Let Them Go! – Sea Turtles Set Off On Migratory Journey

Each sea turtle involved in “Tour de Turtles” acts as an ambassador to raise awareness about a specific threat to sea turtles. Sea turtle ‘Anna’ (sponsored by Disney’s Animal Programs and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort) is swimming to raise awareness about light pollution. Many don’t realize that bright beachfront lighting from buildings and flashlights from people walking on the beach can deter nesting turtles, draw hatchlings inland and prevent them from safely reaching the ocean. It’s important to close your curtains to prevent light from shining on the beach or using sea turtle-friendly fixtures that shield the light from the beach and never use a flashlight during sea turtle nesting season at night! Sea turtle ‘Elsa’ (sponsored by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund) is focused on the troubling amount of plastic debris in oceans around the world. The debris breaks into small pieces that are eaten by sea turtles and other marine wildlife, which causes the animals severe digestive troubles. Over the years, the consumption of this plastic debris has caused the deaths of over 100 million marine animals and floating marine debris can also lead to turtles becoming entangled in plastic, fishing line, nets and more. You can help by picking up litter, purchasing reusable grocery bags, recycling, and not releasing balloons.

Youth from the local Boys & Girls Club learned all about how scientists develop tracking devices to monitor sea turtle migration pattern in the ocean and had a front row seat to watch Anna and Elsa’s return to the ocean. Everyone wished Anna and Elsa well on their ocean journey and we look forward
to their return when they are ready to lay more eggs in two years. Check out the gallery below for more photos from the event!

You can cheer on Anna, Elsa and other turtles that are part of Tour de Turtles by logging on to http://www.tourdeturtles.org/. You can track the migration paths of 4 species of sea turtles and learn more about sea turtle conservation.

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Dole Whip Swirls Up Excitement at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Great news, Dole Whip fans! I am very pleased to announce that the iconic Disney Parks treat is now available at the Lava Shack at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

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You and your ‘ohana can visit the Lava Shack in the Waikolohe Valley from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and order a pineapple, vanilla or swirl Dole Whip. My favorite part – it’s self-serve!

The Lava Shack also offers pool and beach gear, in case you need to pick up any before your daily adventures.

What is your favorite treat to enjoy at Aulani? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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MyMagic+: 3-D Flyovers of Resorts Added to My Disney Experience

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’ve been following our MyMagic+ updates, then you know My Disney Experience is the key to personalizing your visit. It’s one of several MyMagic+ benefits and tools now available to guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

Recently, the team working on My Disney Experience added some new features, including amazing flyovers of our resorts that we wanted to share with readers.

The 3-D modeling and a “camera view” from inside the animation gives you a great perspective – from birds eye to 360-degrees – at resort features (pools, recreation, monorail, amenities) and proximity to our parks.

Ken Oelerich, a design director on the project, was able to layer creative over Walt Disney World Resort maps and create a 3-D environment with the unique “camera” view. Ken says the team was not limited by where a helicopter could fly to bring the resorts to life for My Disney Experience.

Currently, the new flyovers are for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with Disney’s Polynesian Resort coming soon. Go see the flyovers and other new features at My Disney Experience.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Summertime for Disney Characters

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This time of the year always makes me think of summer vacation. In fact, I miss those dedicated three months of freedom watching TV, swimming, and traveling to see my grandparents. Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our world-class characters spend the summer seeing our guests while they’re on vacation, but they do find time to have some fun too! Here’s Pinocchio taking a break from autographs, hugs and handshakes in 1983 water skiing at the former Disney’s Village Resort while Geppetto waves from ashore. Let’s just hope Monstro isn’t in that water!
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Five Places to Explore on O’ahu During Your Vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


One of the greatest opportunities during a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the chance to explore the beautiful island of O’ahu. From the beaches to tropical rainforests and a bustling metropolitan city, this island of Hawai’i has something for everyone. A highlight of my visit to Aulani was driving along the coast with a stop for Hawaiian shave ice, a hike to Waimea Falls and a beachside lunch. Today, I wanted share five fantastic destinations on O’ahu that are not to be missed during your Aulani vacation!

1. North Shore - Stretching for more than seven miles along the O’ahu coast, the North Shore attracts surfers from around the world. If you are hoping to see some big waves, I recommend visiting the North Shore between November – February. However, if you have any new surfers in your ‘ohana, the waves in May – September are more tranquil and perfect for beginners. After a day along the shore, stop by the town of Haleiwa to pick up a delicious meal from a shrimp truck and save room for Hawaiian shave ice for dessert!

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2. Waimea Falls - Waimea Valley is a living example of a traditional Hawaiian ahupua’a (land division that extends from the mountain to the shore.) If you want to visit this legendary location, I strongly recommend the excursion available through the Aulani tour desk. This exclusive adventure includes transportation from the resort and a guided tour of Waimea Valley by a local expert. Learn more here.

3. Waikiki - Known in Hawaiian as “spouting waters,” Waikiki is O’ahu’s main hotel and resort area, featuring world-class shopping, dining and entertainment! Your keiki will have a blast exploring the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. You can also learn how to surf along the shores that legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku grew up surfing. At night, Waikiki turns into a bustling and energetic hot spot, ready for anyone looking to dance the night away.

4. Pearl Harbor – Exploring Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is at the top of my must-do list for anyone visiting O’ahu, and Aulani offers a fantastic excursion to explore this historic harbor. Transportation to Pearl Harbor, as well as access to the Navy vessel that transports you to the USS Arizona Memorial is included. Learn more here.

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5. Diamond Head – One of most iconic monuments on the Hawaiian islands is Diamond Head, located just a few miles from Waikiki. This crater was named by 19th century British sailors who thought they discovered diamonds along the slopes. Unfortunately, these rocks turned out to be calcite crystals with very little (if any) value! While a little strenuous, the hike to the top of Diamond Head offers one of the most breathtaking views of the island.

Where is your favorite place to explore on the island of O’ahu? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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First Peek at Trattoria al Forno, New Restaurant for Disney’s BoardWalk

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


With opening planned for December, we’re sharing the first details for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant for Disney’s BoardWalk.
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A “trattoria” is an Italian restaurant serving simple food, and “al forno” is Italian for “food baked in an oven,” and this new spot will showcase Old World techniques, including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, cavatelli (small dumpling-shaped pasta) and a variety of Neopolitan-style pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens. Neopolitan pizzas, by the way, are pizzas in the classic style of Naples, Italy, with simple tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.

A beautiful Italian flywheel slicer slices paper-thin Italian meats, served with a variety of olives and caponata. Satisfying pastas, velvety seasonal risottos and fresh seafood and vegetables will celebrate the delectable diversity of Italian cuisine with authentic ingredients and recipes from Italy’s various regions.

Italy is just half the size of Texas but has wonderfully diverse cuisine, and Trattoria al Forno will showcase dishes from Italy’s various regions – for instance, braised beef Bolognese with house-made cavatelli from Bologna, semolina tagliatelli carbonara from Latium (more specifically Rome), pork chop alla Milanese named after the city of Milano. And you’ll find classic Italian favorites: chicken breast alla Parmagiana with tagliatelle pasta; shrimp with garlic, capers and anchovy butter with polenta; whole roasted fish with roasted vegetables; baked lasagna; grilled steak; slow-cooked lamb shank with polenta; and eggplant rollatini.

A seasonal risotto will always be on the menu, and vegetarians will appreciate the ruffled campanelle pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes and Genovese pesto.

Add a classic Italian dessert with an after-dinner cappuccino for a perfect ending. Look for tiramisù, lemon panna cotta with almond crunch and berries, gelatos, and the signature bomboloni (Italian donut holes) with dark chocolate and vanilla gelato.

Wines will be 100 percent Italian from historic wine regions including Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont, with over 60 offerings by the bottle and more than 25 wines by the glass – Chiantis, Super Tuscans and fine Italian white wines such as Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. Signature cocktails and Italian beers and sodas round out the drink menu, with a signature-blend Italian coffee roasted just for Trattoria al forno.

We can’t wait to share more information and photos, stay tuned. Reservations will be accepted in several weeks – we’ll be sure to let you know the date.

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Caption This: Crockett’s Tavern at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

posted on July 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Check out this week’s “Caption This” image, which was shot inside Crockett’s Tavern at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

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Sure looks like the bear has something on his mind. But what? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This”!

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Tips for Viewing the Starlit Hui at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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


Today, I’m taking inspiration from one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series, “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips,” and sharing tips for enjoying the Starlit Hui at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. During the Starlit Hui, Uncle takes you on a magical journey of Hawaiian traditions and culture, filled with music, dance and most importantly … fun! Here are some tips I found most useful, from my own experience and from Aulani cast members:

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  • Arriving for the show -To reach the Halawai Lawn, enter via the pathway between Aunty’s Beach House and ‘AMA ‘AMA. Once you arrive, pick up a lauhala mat and find a spot on the grass underneath the island stars. Beverages are more than welcome on the Halawai Lawn, so make sure to fill up your Resort-refillable mug before the show!
  • Discovering island-inspired activities before the show - Once you’ve found your place on the Halawai Lawn, your keiki won’t want to miss the variety of island-inspired activities available before the show starts. Local artisans demonstrate traditional Hawaiian arts, like weaving and lei-making. You can also learn how to do the modern hula – which you’ll see later in the show!
  • Dancing with your favorite Disney characters – Following the Starlit Hui, be sure to stick around for a high-energy dance party! Some of your favorite friends like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy may even make a special appearance as your ‘ohana dances the Hawaiian night away.

One last tip I wanted to share with you if you’re heading to Aulani this summer: Now through August, the Starlit Hui will be offered on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (weather permitting)!

Have you seen the Starlit Hui? If so, what are some of your tips? Leave your answers in the comments below.

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Travel + Leisure Readers Recognize Disney Cruise Line & Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Once again, we have readers and fans to thank for more amazing awards. Today, Travel + Leisure announced its World’s Best Awards 2014, and Disney Cruise Line and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa earned top distinctions.

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Disney Cruise Line was named the Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line for the first time and the Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line for Families once again. Readers rated cruise lines on several different criteria, including cabins, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities and value.

On land, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was named the Top Hotel for Families in the United States. That’s no surprise, given how many families continue to tell us how much they love this beautiful Disney resort in Hawaii.

What do you and your family like best about Disney Cruise Line and Aulani?

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Disneyland Resort Summer Tips: Fun in the Sun at Disneyland Resort Hotel Pools

posted on July 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


School is out, and that means it’s the best time of year to spend the day at the pool – especially at the Disneyland Resort! We have amazing pools available for Disneyland Resort hotel guests, where your family can soak up some fun in the sun. Today, I wanted to pass along some tips to help you plan your time relaxing poolside, taking a break from the fun at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks.

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  • Splash-tacular Pool Parties – Every day this summer at the hotels of the Disneyland Resort, a DJ spins music and cast members lead games like Hula-Hoop Toss and “Sand”-castle building (with cups)! Hotel guests can join the daily pool parties at these times:
  • Poolside Cabanas - If you’re looking for a luxurious way to spend the day by the pool, then look no further than a Poolside Cabana! Available at both Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disneyland Hotel, reserve your own oasis for up to six people. Inside your cabana, you’ll find a 32-inch LCD television with cable access, mini refrigerator with six complimentary water bottles and more! You can book a cabana up to 60 days in advance (just a friendly reminder – they fill up quickly). For booking and more information, click here.
  • Services near the pool – Trust me, I know it can be difficult to move from your lounge chair, even when you’re ready for a meal. Well, all of the Disneyland Resort hotel pools have nearby restaurants where you can quickly grab a bite to eat. So fortunately, your break from lounging will be minimal. At the Disneyland Hotel, head to Tangaroa Terrace, which features a newly re-imagined menu. White Water Snacks is a fantastic place at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (I personally prefer the Char-Broiled Chicken Sandwich) and don’t miss Slurpin’ USA at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. If you need sunblock and other sundries, stop by Acorns Gifts and Goods (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa), Small World Gifts and Sundries (Disneyland Hotel) and Mickey in Paradise (Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel).
  • Pool & Slide Hours – The last and probably most important tip … the pool hours! Now through the end of summer, all pools will be open from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., with the featured slides operating from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Stay safe and cool this summer! Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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