What’s up first on her itinerary? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This!”
posted on September 9th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Wildlife Wednesdays: Vultures and Manatees Demystified at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot
posted on September 4th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
Vultures and manatees are two creatures that often are misunderstood. That’s one reason why it’s so much fun for us to showcase them with special activities — there’s so much to learn about! For example, take a look at the following:
- Myth or fact: Vultures can help prevent the spread of rabies. This is a fact — by eating the carcasses of dead animals, vultures help prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases, such as rabies, among animals and humans.
- Myth or fact: Manatees are closely related to cows (or walruses, or seals). This is a myth — although they are sometimes called sea cows, elephants are one of the manatee’s closest relatives.
Guests can find out all about vultures during special activities in celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on September 5 and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge on September 7. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, activities will take place near the Tree of Life and at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, activities will take place in the Jambo House lobby. Year-round, guests can see lappet-faced vultures at the Tree of Life, black vultures at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Ruppell’s griffon vultures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
At The Seas with Nemo & Friends on September 7, special activities are designed to help guests learn about manatees and how to protect them in celebration of International Manatee Day. For example, guests will find out that manatees belong to a group of aquatic, plant-eating mammals called sirenians. They also will learn that actions all of us can take to keep waterways clean, such as recycling plastic bottles and used fishing line, can protect these majestic mammals. Rescued manatees Lou and Vail make their home at The Seas. The marine mammal team said that Lou and Vail will be celebrating International Manatee Day too, by eating fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets.
Among the 2013 projects supported by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund are projects helping protect vultures and manatees. To find out more, visit www.disney.com/conservation.
posted on August 27th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. Please CLICK HERE to view a list of the accepted event attendees. If you are on the list and do not receive a confirmation email by 6 p.m. EDT today, please contact us at WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.
UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. We’ll post a list of confirmed RSVPs here shortly.
If you’re as excited as we are about the debut of the re-imagined California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, then you’ll love what the blog team has cooked up. We’re hosting our first-ever resort meet-up and offering Disney Parks Blog readers the chance to experience the restaurant before the doors reopen to guests.
Our Disney Parks Blog California Grill Grand-Opening Meet-Up begins at 7:30 p.m., on Sunday, September 8. It’ll include the opportunity to sample dishes from the restaurant’s new menu and of course, some face-to-face time with the chefs. We’ll also enjoy Wishes! fireworks on the restaurant’s expanded view platform during the event.
Space is limited, so RSVP now by sending us an email with your name, address, and if you’re inviting a guest to WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.
Also, there are a few things you should know:
- All participants who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
- Children’s menus will not be available during the event.
- Limit one guest per registrant.
- We will send an email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
- If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant (and guest) to check in on the second floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The confirmation will include details.
- Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
- Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
- Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
- If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
- The event and individual appearances are subject to change or cancellation.
This post will be updated when capacity has been reached. Please note the event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Hope to see you on September 8.
Test Your Steely Nerve and Steady Hand with an Archery Lesson at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
posted on August 23rd, 2013 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group
From the Fort Wilderness main entrance, I headed through this 750-acre woodland oasis to the Bike Barn where the lesson is held and was surrounded by tranquility-inducing sights, sounds and smells: pillars of cypress trees, the fragrance of pine, a meandering stream perfect for canoe rentals, people horseback riding. Civilization? What civilization?
Each class is limited to 10, and participating with me were two adults and seven youngsters. It’s not surprising that the grown-ups were outnumbered. “The kids tend to really enjoy it, and are surprised at how much fun it is,” Lisa Moore, recreational regional manager, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness, told me.
No simple aim-and-shoot exercise, this is a thorough rundown of what a person needs to know to get started. Our instructors, Ron and Forrest, explained what we’d be learning — everything from how to safely hold the bow when not shooting to the proper arm and foot position. Hey, did you know the notch at the back end of an arrow that holds it in the bowstring is called the “nock”? They patiently coached us on each step as we got used to the compound bows (composed of a levering system of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs); full size for the adults, smaller ones for the kids.
After the instructions, it was time to shoot some arrows! Most of the 90-minute session was devoted to practicing our newly acquired abilities. Chatting with some of my classmates, I was relieved to discover that I wasn’t the only newbie there that sunny day.
Thanks to our tutors, I felt comfortable handling the bow, positioning my body, loading the arrows, drawing back on the string with three fingers, aligning the shots, aiming and releasing. We shot a few rounds 15 feet from the targets, then a few more 21 feet away and finally from 30 feet, increasing the challenge each time. To put that in perspective, Olympic archers shoot from 229 feet. Yikes! I better get to practicing.
While most of my arrows hit the target, I’m not about to quit my day job. Still, Ron encouraged me by saying he thought I was doing well.
As relaxed and engaging as the training was, safety was always paramount. From the mandatory safety glasses and blunt-tip arrows to the proper way to handle the equipment, Ron and Forrest ensured we all enjoyed the class without getting hurt.
An overall satisfying experience that left me with a sense of accomplishment, I recommend you do not miss out on this rousing, family-friendly test of dexterity, concentration and skill. Who knows? You may even discover your inner archer.
Call 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529) to reserve your spot. The Fort Wilderness Archery Experience costs $25–$39 and is open to all aged 7 and up. A stay at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is not required. But as Lisa advises, “book early because it sells out quickly.”
posted on August 22nd, 2013 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
The day of August 22, 1987, saw a milestone in the building of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, as the resort’s 10,150-pound cupola was hoisted into place.
This Resort, inspired by Florida beach resorts of the 19th Century, began construction in 1986 and opened in the summer of 1988. Here’s a look at the Resort under construction in September of 1987.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa continues to create “grand” vacations for guests at Walt Disney World Resort.
Wildlife Wednesdays: A Tour de Turtles First! Sea Turtle Returns to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to Nest Again in the Same Year
posted on August 21st, 2013 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs
Just a few weeks ago, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort guests cheered as two giant loggerhead sea turtles returned to the sea after nesting on the beach. The turtles had been fitted with satellite transmitters to help with conservation efforts as part of the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual “Tour de Turtles,” which tracks the turtles to their foraging grounds.
Last week, one of those sea turtles returned to nest again near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Carrie, named for a character in the Disney•Pixar film “Monsters University,” was spotted by members of our turtle monitoring team who were surveying the beach for nesting turtles. Carrie was easy to spot — she is a “monstrously” large loggerhead turtle — and she was wearing her Tour de Turtles satellite transmitter.
Carrie is the first loggerhead to be documented nesting twice during the same Tour de Turtles race! Carrie laid her eggs exactly 14 days after her first clutch, and her second nest is within a half mile of her Tour de Turtles nest. How is that for being able to find your way back to your nesting beach!
What a year it has been for sea turtles! First, one of our Disney-sponsored 2011 Tour de Turtles sea turtles, Lightning McQueen, came back this summer to lay her eggs near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and now Carrie has a second nest in the same year. We also are on track for having a monstrously successful sea turtle nesting season. We have broken our 10-year record and have more green sea turtle nests (432 on our 7-kilometer stretch of beach near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort) as of last week, and we are on track to have the second highest year for loggerheads (1,039 nests as of last week). The record was set last year with 1,365. Will we break the record this year? Maybe Carrie knows the answer!
You can track Carrie, Claire (our other Disney-sponsored turtle), and all of the 2013 Tour de Turtles sea turtles online at www.tourdeturtles.org.
posted on August 19th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort
Now through the end of September, guests staying at the hotels of the Disneyland Resort can enjoy a little extra summertime magic with special pool parties each day! These one-hour pool parties are a chance for the whole family to get together to enjoy games, music and dancing. If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel this summer, look for the daily pool parties in the following locations:
- Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa: 2 p.m. near the Fountain Pool
- Disneyland Hotel: 3:30 p.m. near the Monorail Pool
- Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel: 5 p.m. near the Californian Streamin’ Slide
Are you visiting the Disneyland Resort this summer?
posted on August 19th, 2013 by Michelle Baumann, Walt Disney World Public Relations
Aloha! Disney’s Polynesian Resort opened in 1971 as one of the first on-site hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort. The South Pacific paradise is a favorite among Disney guests with its famous Polynesian luau – and it was actually the first Disney resort I ever stayed at. I just loved the warmth of the Polynesian as it truly reflects the spirit of the islands.
As part of our resort series, here’s a look at the top ten things you might not know about Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
posted on August 19th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
A major makeover transforms the restaurant – a sleek, contemporary interpretation of mid-century modern California design, with warm oranges and yellow hues reminiscent of the 1950s. You may not recognize the dining room, but those spectacular views of Walt Disney World Resort are still part of the show.
The new menu features seasonal ingredients and a lighter touch – the popular flatbreads are back, but Chef Brian Piasecki is also using the wood-burning oven for creations such as baked local prawns with charred lemon and savory meatballs with herbed orzo. Look for updates to longtime favorites, such as the Grilled Pork Tenderloin, which is now the Pork Two Ways – grilled tenderloin and lacquered pork belly with goat cheese polenta and mushrooms. The oak-fired filet of beef returns with heirloom tomato risotto, marinated baby vine tomatoes and basil.
The sushi bar expands with a new omakase menu – 12 courses of pristine seafood with no menu, just chef’s choice. The menu might include ama ebi (sweet shrimp) tempura, lobster sashimi, crunchy Japanese bone marrow with sesame beef tartare and red onion marmalade, and spicy-crusted oysters.
With 250 choices on the wine list, there are 80 by the glass, plus 10 varieties of sake and eight kinds of crafts beers and ciders. Also, California Grill has its own list of signature cocktails you won’t find in any other Walt Disney World Resort restaurants.
Little Disney touches like a carpet design inspired by the sketches of artist and Disney Legend Mary Blair will please Disney fans (reproductions of her artwork are on display too). And just off the elevator is a new show-stopping wine display, a work of art housing 1,600 bottles. We expect the two new communal tables for 10 will be prime seating, positioned at the north end of the dining room for optimal fireworks viewing. For outdoor fireworks viewing there are now two areas – one on the northwest side, another new deck on the southwest side.
The restaurant opens daily at 5 p.m. For reservations, visit www.disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE (3463).
For more about the re-imagined California Grill, check out these posts:
posted on August 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Kids’ water play areas and pools are a great way for little ones to stay cool here at the Walt Disney World Resort. These charming areas offer slides, water spouts, fountains and spillover buckets that often reflect a fun theme inspired by a Disney film or resort.
Here are just five of our favorites.
- Casey Jr.’s Splash N Soak Station at Magic Kingdom Park – The Casey Jr. train from “Dumbo” has pulled into town and its animal passengers are ready to cool off. Here, kids can take a break from the heat and get squirted by elephant trunks and other circus animals.
- “Alice In Wonderland” Water Play Area at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – One of the newer kids water play areas, this “Alice In Wonderland”-themed area debuted at the resort last fall. Here, water overflows from teacups and the Mad Hatter’s hat. Kids can also enjoy small water slides or squirt one another with small water hoses.
- Uwanja Camp at Samawati Springs Pool, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village – This water play area is themed after an animal observation site and offers a chance to cool off
with leaky buckets, water cannons, a slide and more.
- Shipwreck at the Fuentes del Morro Pool, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – This shipwreck-themed splash area lets kids have fun on a “sinking” ship that’s complete with mini slides, leaky sails, buckets, and a crow’s nest.
- Luna Park Pool, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – The carnival-themed Luna Park Pool offers the Keister Coaster water slide, and a chance for kids to cool off under the spouting trunks of grinning elephant statues. Children can even splash about in their own kiddie pool.
What’s your child’s favorite place to cool down at Walt Disney World Resort? Tell us in the “Comments” section.