Via Napoli Restaurant, Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Learning at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Educational Activities for the Whole ‘Ohana

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


There are opportunities for every member of your ‘ohana to learn or even pick up new talents during a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! One of my favorite activities is Ho‘okani Pila – Learn to play the ‘ukulele. I was amazed at how easy it was for me to learn such a unique instrument. I spoke with Daniel Hee, Family Program Manager at Aulani, to ask which activities offer a fun learning experience for the whole family.

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  • Ho‘okani Pila – Learn the ‘Ukulele: Families can learn how to play a song or two on the ‘ukulele and also learn how the instrument became so popular in Hawaii. Even if you have never played an instrument before, this introductory lesson is simple and perfect for beginners of all ages!
  • ‘Ohana Hula: For me, it wouldn’t be a trip to Hawai’i without a lesson in hula dancing. Aulani features a weekly lesson about hula – Hawai‘i’s unique dance. During this activity, your ‘ohana will learn fun hula moves like the ‘ami hip roll and more. Some of the classes include Premium Experiences that teach you even more about the Hawaiian culture and the tradition of hula dancing.
  • Disney Family Fun Animation: Disney animated films have delighted generations. While at Aulani, your family can learn how to draw a favorite Disney Character and even take home your very own masterpiece. Trust me, I’m not an artist, and was pleasantly surprised how simple each step was while creating my own piece. Don’t forget to sign your sketch when you’re finished!

TIPS: When you check in at Aulani, a cast member will give you The Daily ‘Iwa, a listing of the wide variety of activities taking place around the resort, which will help you plan your day. Keep in mind that some of the activities do require reservations. The Daily ‘Iwa also lists activities for specific age groups, like the Teen Ho‘okani Pila (just for teenagers at Aulani) and Keiki Hula (just for kids)!

What is your ‘ohana’s favorite activity at Aulani? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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National Lobster Day June 15 – So Many Tastes at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 11th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Delectable lobster is at the top of our list of seafood favorites, and with National Lobster Day coming up on Sunday, it’s the perfect excuse to order anything from a lobster omelet (our favorite) at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World Resort to an indulgent lobster tail at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort. And there’s everything in between.

Nothing better than the sublime lobster bisque topped with a lobster fritter and jalepeño oil at The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios … well, maybe the lobster Pad Thai roll at Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure park. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list, do you have a favorite?

Walt Disney World Resort:

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1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Lobster Benedict at breakfast

Ale and Compass Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Lobster sliders on Parker House Rolls

The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  • Lobster club sandwich with lobster salad, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and lemon mayo

BoardWalk Bakery at Disney’s BoardWalk

  • Maine lobster with buttered chive mayo on a split-top roll

Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Lobster omelet with butter-poached lobster, asparagus, chive cream at breakfast; for lunch, New England-style lobster roll on a butter-toasted Parker House Roll

Chefs de France at France Pavilion, Epcot

  • Lobster bisque

Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom Park

  • Warm lobster and crab crêpes with cheese, spinach, sautéed lobster and blue crab – a poached egg on top, drizzled with hollandaise sauce

Columbia Harbor House at Magic Kingdom Park

  • Classic lobster roll

Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Classic lobster roll

Coral Reef Restaurant at The Seas With Nemo & Friends Pavilion, Epcot

  • Creamy lobster soup tarragon and brandy, or lobster and shrimp orecchiette pasta with white cheddar and asparagus

Crew’s Cup Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • New England-style lobster sliders on butter-toasted rolls

Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney

  • Lobster corn dogs with salsa verde and sweet chili aioli
  • Lobster bisque with blue crab garnish
  • Lobster ravioli with asparagus, cherry tomato and garlic
  • Maine lobster and Florida rock shrimp roll with celery, red onion and mayo on a toasted roll
  • Lobster Boil

Grand Floridian Café at the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • For breakfast, lobster Eggs Benedict with two poached eggs, lobster hash, asparagus and hollandaise sauce

Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Lobster and shrimp mac n’ cheese

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Portsmouth lobster bisque with lobster fritter and jalepeño oil

Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Lobster, shrimp and scallop roll on Parker House bread with citrus mayo

Le Cellier Steakhouse at Canada Pavilion at Epcot

  • Le Cellier Lobster Chopped Salad with mixed greens, haricot verts, avocado, tomatoes and Lake Meadow Naturals egg
  • New Brunswick lobster “poutine” with butter-poached lobster and Meyer Lemon crème fraîche

Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom Park

  • For lunch, crab and lobster dip

Monsieur Paul at France Pavilion at Epcot

  • Maine lobster with sautéed mushrooms, mollet quail egg, creamy black truffle bouillon

Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Maine lobster bisque with butter-poached lobster, coral, sherry cream and chervil
  • Two-pound steamed Main lobster with fallen corn soufflé

Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Lobster bisque with Maine lobster, crème fraîche, preserved lemon, fines herbes

Disneyland Resort:

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Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure park

  • For lunch, grilled lobster tail salad with greens, hickory-smoked bacon, avocado, tomato and quail egg with Point Reyes Blue Cheese dressing or vinaigrette

Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure park

  • Lobster Pad Thai Imperial Roll with cashew tamarind sauce

Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure park

  • Lobster nachos with lobster, black beans, pico de gallo, serrano peppers, cilantro, chipotle crema and jack and cheddar cheeses on tortilla chips

Harbour Galley at Disneyland park

  • Lobster roll on buttered brioche with Old Bay-seasoned home-style chips

Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

  • cold water lobster tail

Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

  • For dinner, Lobster Cobb Salad with chilled lobster, avocado, bacon, tomato, blue cheese and egg with a low-fat citrus-chive vinaigrette
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Relax With Our Senses – A Disney Spa Signature Collection at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 10th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


When you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, you get to experience non-stop magic and fun for everyone. This is why you also deserve a little something just for you. A convenient escape to relax, unwind and enjoy some “me time” to round out that perfect Disney vacation. If you’re saying to yourself right now, sign me up! I’ll tell you, it’s easier than that. It’s an escape that comes in the form of a visit to one of our Senses – A Disney Spa locations which you can find at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

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At either location, not only will you find yourself awash in soothing tones, soft lighting and peaceful music but you’ll also experience pure tranquility and pampering in an environment designed to indulge all of your ‘Senses.’ One of the things I’m most excited about is that Senses – A Disney Spa is launching a signature collection of “lavender Ylang-Ylang” products, which include Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Body Lotion. This new collection is now available for you to enjoy while visiting one of our Senses Spa facilities or to take home with you.

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Here are a few things I found when using the new line. The Shampoo not only added moisture to my hair, but also strengthened and added volume, while the Conditioner finishes off by giving my hair the shine and gloss it needs to feel and look great.

The Body Wash and Body Lotion are also definitely must have’s — together they are the perfect combination for your skin! Soothing aloe vera makes the body wash very moisturizing, while the lotion contains nourishing elements that leaves the skin looking healthy and radiant!

If that’s not enough and you want to take it your relaxation one step further, than be sure to take home one of the plush, micro-fiber Senses – A Disney Spa robes, to feel like you are on vacation, all of the time.

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Are you planning to have some “me time” at Senses – A Disney Spa on your next vacation?

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Actress Pat Carroll Adds Her Autograph to the Feature Chandelier at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on June 10th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Actress Pat Carroll Adds Her Autograph to an Ursula Sketch on the Feature Chandelier at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Guests at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort recently had an under the sea surprise as they joined in a ceremony in the main lobby to celebrate Pat Carroll, the voice of Ursula in Disney’s classic animated film, “The Little Mermaid.” The resort honored the legendary actress by asking her to add her signature to the feature chandelier’s artful array of 77 animation storyboards.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of “The Little Mermaid.”

Only a few dignitaries who have made major contributions to the four animated films represented at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort can sign the chandelier storyboard panels. As an added surprise, Walt Disney Imagineer Joni Van Buren, who sculpted the maquette used to create the resort’s giant Ursula icon, joined the fun and even brought her original work to show to guests and Pat.

After the ceremony, Pat sat down with us to discuss her love of the Ursula character, the 25-year popularity of “The Little Mermaid” and how the power of great storytelling can captivate film audiences.

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#DisneyKids: First Pony Ride at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 30th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As we continue our series of firsts at Disney Parks, we thought we’d take a look at an experience known for making faces light up with joy at Walt Disney World Resort – a first pony ride.

Interacting with Mickey’s petite ponies at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch is often an unforgettable experience for children and parents. And it’s not uncommon for a parent who had a first ride here to visit years later with their children.

The pony rides are an experience for the child and adult and it’s unique that Disney does this, according to Robin Walker Zoological manager at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. Rides are offered daily near Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

Let us know about your first pony ride or another special, memorable or even life changing first visit to Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort in the comments below and then check back for our new #DisneyKids series.

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Light Up Your Night With a Campfire at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 29th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Campfires are a social event like none other. There’s the night sky, the smells of burning wood, the laughs and the kinship. Did you know that they’ve been a beloved and longtime tradition at Walt Disney World Resort?

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“They started at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground many years ago,” explains Michael Cooper, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Lodging Line of Business – Recreation. “Then their popularity grew so much that they spread across property.” Today, campfire activities (held nightly, weather permitting) can be enjoyed at many resort hotels.

Marshmallows and sticks are provided at all locations that host a campfire, except for Fort Wilderness, where you can bring your own or purchase a s’mores kit. It’s a great way to relax when the sun goes down after visiting the parks — a roarin’ good time in the great outdoors to gather ‘round and share stories and connect with your little (and not-so-little) ones.

But it’s not all fun and games. “As much as we want our guests to enjoy themselves, safety is always top of mind,” Cooper says. “There are always two cast members present at every campfire to ensure everybody’s well-being.”

For an extra-special treat when the unwinding winds down, the singing and dancing kick in (pun intended) near the Meadows Trading Post at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. The complimentary Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long is a spirited campfire entertainment experience. And an ideal opportunity to interact with two of your favorite Disney characters plus a guitar-strummin’ cowboy.

And if that isn’t magical enough, you can snuggle up with those you care about most and take in a favorite Disney movie on a huge outdoor screen with Movies Under the Stars. Bring your own chair or blanket for these complimentary screenings of Disney films; some resort hotels even offer benches. Can you think of any better way to top off a magical day at Walt Disney World Resort? Yeah, didn’t think so.

For campfire times and movie schedules, check the recreation calendar of the particular location you plan to visit or the front desk at your resort hotel for more information. You can also call 407-939-2273.

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Tangaroa Terrace Menu Gets Makeover, Plus Three New Drinks at Trader Sam’s at Disneyland Hotel

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


Tangaroa Terrace is a favorite stop for a quick bite at the Disneyland Hotel, especially when it’s a perfect Southern California day and we can snag a seat on the patio overlooking the Monorail Pool.

Starting with breakfast, they’ve added the Loco Moco, a burger served over rice with brown gravy and a fried egg with a side of island fruit. Aloha! This reminds us of breakfast at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Get healthy with a bowl of apple cinnamon-spiced steel-cut oatmeal served with coconut whipped cream and island fruit. Or opt for Mickey-shaped waffles with fruit and bacon or Portuguese sausage.

Slow-Roasted Kalua-Style Pork Sandwich at Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel Shrimp Tacos at Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel

The all-day menu starts at 11 a.m. (through closing at 10 p.m.) and new on the menu are shrimp tacos with sautéed shrimp, cabbage and lime tartar sauce all wrapped up in warm corn tortillas and a side of tropical slaw. Also, a slow-roasted kalua-style pork sandwich is on a sweet Hawaiian roll topped with tropical slaw. Or teriyaki chicken breast that comes with fresh caramelized pineapple, Havarti cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato on a multi-grain bun. Side options include tropical slaw, sweet potato fries, french fries or island fruit.

Tangaroa Terrace Salad adds more tropical flair with lettuces, cabbage, black kale, caramelized pineapple, grape tomatoes and crispy marinated tofu, all tossed in a sweet vinaigrette and topped with toasted macadamia nuts. (Substitute sautéed shrimp for the tofu for a little extra.) And the Big Island Flatbread is topped with marinara sauce, ham, caramelized pineapple, red onion, cilantro and mozzarella.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar fans will love three new cocktails. Start with the Murky Mojito made with rum, fresh lime juice, mint and organic agave nectar topped with a splash of Angostura bitters. Or the Passionate Python with dark and aged rums, red passion fruit and tropical juices, garnished with an orange peel “python.” If you’re foregoing alcohol, try the Polynesian Punch, a mix of Sam’s Gorilla Grog with hibiscus grenadine. Sit back, sip and let the fun begin.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Kapa Name Tags

posted on May 27th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Today we continue our look at some of the unforgettable details at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, with an iconic tradition passed down by Walt Disney himself – cast member name tags. Starting with Disneyland park, Walt wanted to make sure every guest was on a first-name basis with cast members. Distinctive details make each of the name tags worn at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the world a little different. I met with Aulani Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos to ask her to share with me what makes the name tags at Aulani unique and special.
Aulani Kapa Name Tag 1

The name tags worn by cast members at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa are inspired by kapa, traditional Hawaiian barkcloth. An intricate design process of creating and decorating Hawaiian bark cloth makes each kapa distinctive. Designs may be unique to an ‘ohana or linked to other significant ancestral traditions. At Aulani, name tags featuring kapa designs are an extension of the story and traditions passed down through the ‘ohana – family — of cast members working at the resort.

Aulani Kapa Name Tag 2

If you look closely, you’ll notice differences in colors and designs between the men’s and women’s cast member name tags. They feature two different sections of the same kapa. For female cast members, the name tag has a unique design with a brownish-reddish color and the shapes are more round and smooth. The male name tags have more sharp and jagged shapes, and incorporates blue. Another distinctive feature of the Aulani name tag is the ‘Olelo Hawai`i language designation, worn by cast members who are fluent in the Hawaiian language.

What is your favorite name tag you have seen at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts around the world? One of my favorite details of cast member name tags was the “Class of … “ during the 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Disneyland Resort. Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Disney’s Polynesian Resort To Open Club Disney in June, Trader Sam’s in 2015

posted on May 15th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this spring, we unveiled a few changes that are currently underway at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, including the fact that the resort will soon return to its original, 1971 opening-day name: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Today, we’re happy to share more details about additional enhancements planned for one of your favorite classic Disney Resorts.

First of all, making its debut next month is a brand new children’s activity center called Club Disney. Here, children can be supervised by Disney cast members while they play dress up, make crafts and participate in storytelling experiences while their parents have fun on their own elsewhere at the resort. The area itself looks like a child’s fairy tale brought to life, as our Imagineers drew inspiration from classic Disney Little Golden Books, including “Alice In Wonderland,” “Pinocchio” and “Lady and The Tramp.” Club Disney will open at the resort next month and guests can begin making reservations now.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort To Open Club Disney in June, Trader Sam’s in 2015

We previously shared that a Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, similar to the one at Disneyland Hotel in California, is also planned for the resort. Today we’re happy to share that Trader Sam’s will open its doors at the resort in 2015. In addition another new food and beverage location, Pineapple Lanai kiosk which will offer a tropical guest favorite – Dole Whip – will open later this year.

Additionally, the resort’s Nanea Volcano pool is currently undergoing several enhancements, including expanding to include a new aquatic playground with slides for children, a new hot tub, and a larger deck with more seating for guests.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more on these enhancements in the coming months.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: The History of California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

posted on May 15th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Today, back in 1995, the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened. This signature restaurant atop the 15th floor was recently reimagined and here is a look at the lobby in 1995 and today.

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When Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened in 1971, the 15th floor was known as the Top of the World Restaurant and looked quite a bit different than it does today.

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In June of 1981, the “Broadway at the Top” dinner show debuted at the restaurant and ran until September of 1993. Below is a look at the show and its performers in January 1985.

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What’s my favorite part of the California Grill? It’s a toss up between the delicious food and the amazing view.

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