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Disney Days of Past: A Peek at the Polynesian

posted on February 5th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Winter got you down? Here’s to dreaming of the warm summer months ahead with a little help from some Disney friends at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in 1985.

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I’m especially a big fan of Goofy’s sunglasses. Aloha from Florida!

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

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Pu‘u Kilo

posted on February 4th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


One of my favorite locations at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the Maka‘ala Lanai, just outside the Maka‘ala lobby. Here guests take in a panoramic view of the beautiful Waikolohe Valley, including the Pu‘u Kilo – a large volcanic remnant that serves as the valley’s visual centerpiece. Today, the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues on the Disney Parks Blog with a review of the significance of this massive geological element and how it enhances the Aulani story for guests visiting this beautiful resort in Hawai`i!

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The goal of Walt Disney Imagineering was to make the resort’s landscape look as if it was already there. With this in mind, it was vital to the Aulani story for this lava outcropping to have a starring role.

Aulani Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos shared with me that “pu‘u” means “hill” and “kilo” means “seer” or “observe” and that the name of the centerpiece is a reference to the many hidden images embedded within the hill’s surface. These images reveal themselves to guests who are “seers,” or those who watch closely. As the sunlight shifts throughout the day, keep an eye out for an owl, an eel, a whale, a shark, and even a sea turtle on the jagged-edged surfaces of the Pu‘u Kilo!

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For guests at Aulani, the Pu‘u Kilo is also largely a place of recreation. Two of the major highlights are the water slides: Volcanic Vertical and Tubestone Curl. If you’re feeling adventurous, I would definitely recommend the Volcanic Vertical – a body slide that immediately plunges riders into total darkness through the center of the Pu‘u Kilo. Tubestone Curl, on the other hand, is designed as a one- or two-person slide that carries riders past the uppermost ridges of Pu‘u Kilo before splashing into the Waikolohe Stream.

Are you more tempted to splash down Volcanic Vertical or Tubestone Curl while at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Let us know in the comments below.

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Day 4 – Experience ‘My Storybook Moment’ at Meet and Greets

posted on February 4th, 2015 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG


If “A dream is a wish your heart makes” then do I have a surprise for you!

Many little girls dream of being a princess. How do we know? If you have “royalty” living in your “castle” it’s pretty obvious. Lol. They love playing dress up with gowns and tiaras, and many times, they create their very own “live-action” fairy tale, perhaps involving you in part of their epic adventure? There may also be a few requests for a pony that can live in the garage, or their bedroom? You’re smiling, you’re remembering a moment in particular huh? That’s great. This gift was designed with you in mind then.

If your sweetheart has princess character traits, you can now provide her with a new magical moment like none other. If you’re wondering what all the excitement is about, take a peek at Sundays post, Show your Disney Side, and take the quiz so you can learn how to create a “Disney magical moment” for the little princess in your life as part of our 14 Days of Love series.

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So I have a question: What if your little sweetheart could be proclaimed a princess at the Disney World or Disneyland parks, by their favorite fairy tale princess. Would you do it?

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Of course you would. And truth be told, if no one was looking, you might slip in as her stand-in if need be? To meet a Disney Princess is so magical, but to be proclaimed a princess, now that’s a moment fit for a storybook right? Perhaps her storybook? Well, due to the interest of our WDW Mickey and Minnie’s Valentine Surprise, and DLR Mickey and Minnie’s Valentine Surprise we’re expanding our experiences and releasing the first in a series of “storybook moments” for little ones.

What’s included? Inside a pink “Storybook Moment” bag is a royal invitation to any Princess meet and greet, a princess sash, fairy tale tiara and personalized storybook proclamation, but it’s missing a signature to make it official. She needs to go to a Princess meet and greet to get a Princess signature for her proclamation. And so the fairy tale begins. You help prepare her for this royal moment by draping the sash on her, placing the tiara on her head, then take her to a Princess meet and greet. Once at the meet and greet, her princess will sign her declaration and recognize her as part of the royal court.

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Want to see one take place?

Now, imagine your little ones reaction getting prepared for this moment, then experiencing it. The stories she’ll tell later and the keepsakes to place in her room will remind her that she’s loved and accepted for the essence of her.

To check it out, click on to this WDW “My Storybook Moment” link or DLR “My Storybook Moment” link to look at the keepsakes included. The price is $128.95, not including tax and delivery. The gift is available to pre-order as part of our 14 Days of Love series, with delivery on property starting May 15. You can also call a Disney Floral & Gifts Dream Maker at WDW (407)WDW-GIFT or DLR (714-781-GIFT). Your surprise can be delivered to a resort room in preparation for the next day’s visit to the parks, or you could send it to a WDW character dining location too. As her fairy godmother or godfather you have so many magical possibilities.

And, if you’re looking for an outlet to create more magical moments for those you care about, tune in tomorrow. For those who enjoy “building” a magical moment as well as experiencing one, this post will be for you. Sound “cool”? I can’t wait to share, I just hope I don’t get “frozen” in the moment. (Wink).

In the meanwhile, I think there’s a little one somewhere who’s waiting for a fairy tale moment. #Disney14DaysofLove.

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

A Taste of the New Drinks Coming to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Aloha, ahoy, aha adventurers! Here on the shores of paradise at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, our friend Trader Sam is establishing Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, a happy hideaway for all to enjoy when it opens this spring.

Here is adventure. Here is romance. Here is mystery. Here is a sneak peek of some of the new beverages coming to Trader Sam‘s Grog Grotto.

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Trader Sam has a few new tricks up his sleeve—and no, it’s not two of his heads for one of yours—his “head” beverage crafter is concocting new handcrafted cocktails made with authentic premium ingredients in souvenir drink vessels.

You’ll feel like beach-combin’ royalty sipping on a Castaway Crush—the tastiest drink this side of wicky-wacky Waikiki. Indulge in the hidden treasures of the Polynesian Pearl or, for a whale-of-a-tale, be sure to try the Nautilus. Other new libations include the Dark & Tropical Stormy (no need to batten down the hatches) and the Tahitian Torch.

Be sure to keep a seafaring eye out for favorites imported from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Resort such as the Shrunken Zombie Head, Uh-Oa!, Krakatoa Punch, and many more.

Sam’s No-Booze Brews will also be available, including the Skipper Sipper, Schweitzer Falls, and Polynesian Punch served in a souvenir sipper.

A hui hou—until we meet again!

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

Newest Disney Cookbook Features Best Recipes from Disney Parks & Resorts, Disney Cruise Line

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Oh, how Disney kitchens have changed since Disneyland park opened in 1955. Today, we feed guests from around the globe, and our award-winning chefs and sommeliers wow diners with seasonal produce, often sourced locally, and with finds from around the world. More than ever, food is an important part of any vacation experience.

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What a delight it was to work with the Disney chefs to create Kitchen Magic With Mickey, featuring 100 oft-requested recipes (many shared on the Disney Parks Blog). I sipped an elegant Colette Champagne Cocktail at Remy on the Disney Cruise Line, and tried smoked buffalo at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. But equally delicious (and a little more messy) was the Boo-Ya Chili at ESPN Club and cheesy enchilada soup at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café at Disney’s California Adventure park. From high end to family favorites, this cookbook includes a little bit of everything.

The book is divided into traditional chapters, with each recipe tested in a home kitchen. You’ll find classics such as banana bread French toast, scones, and Southern shrimp and grits, and new taste sensations like haupia from Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, and spiced tandoori tofu from Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

We hope you’ll re-create a vacation memory in your own kitchen. Kitchen Magic With Mickey is available now at Disney Parks, but here’s a recipe to get you started:

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Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Haupia with Mango Compote

Serves 4

If you love coconut, this is the perfect dessert. Chefs at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on beautiful Ko Olina in Hawaii offer guests true tastes of the islands, and haupia, a traditional sweet often served at Hawaiian luaus, is a favorite sweet ending for guests at the Disney Vacation Club resort.

Haupia

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut, toasted

Mango Compote

  • 1 mango, peeled, cut away from pit, and diced small
  • 1 small lime, washed
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom honey, heated until thin

For haupia:

  1. Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Combine remaining coconut milk, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Drizzle cornstarch mixture slowly into saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking vigorously (do not let boil), until mixture is very thick and no longer tastes floury, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Pour into 4 (1/2-cup-capacity) ramekins; cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface of coconut milk mixture.
  4. Refrigerate 2 hours. Garnish with toasted coconut.

For mango compote:

  1. Place mango in a medium bowl. Zest lime into bowl; stir to combine.
  2. Stir in honey. Serve with haupia.

Cook’s note: Mangoes have a hard, oblong pit that runs through the narrow center. To easily cube the fruit, cut each round “cheek” away from pit, score with a paring knife, and cut fruit away from peel.

This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens.
The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.

All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.,
and may not be reproduced without express permission.

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Filed: Aulani, Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Sweet, Savory Valentine’s Day Specials at Disneyland Resort

posted on February 2nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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From red velvet funnel cakes at Stage Door Café to a four-course menu inspired by St. Valentine at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Resort is adding lots of special ways to woo your sweetheart on February 14.

In Disneyland park, along with those indulgent funnel cakes, you can start your day with a sweet touch at River Belle Terrace with red velvet pancakes – linger under the umbrellas and watch the Mark Twain Riverboat paddle down the Rivers of America for a romantic morning.

Lunch and dinner add a savory side. Plaza Inn is featuring pan-seared salmon with rice pilaf, seasonal vegetables with a Chardonnay dill cream sauce. Blue Bayou Restaurant continues the “heat” theme with a “Sweet Heat Duet”: bacon-wrapped filet mignon and halibut atop tomato croutons with sautéed baby spinach and roasted potatoes, served with a rich Chardonnay dill, Cognac peppercorn and café au lait sauce.

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Carnation Café’s hearty surf and turf will please hearty appetites with sirloin, shrimp, mashed potatoes and sautéed broccoli with a sun-dried tomato butter and herb beurre blanc sauce topping the duo. Café Orleans takes a light approach with angel hair pasta with sautéed shrimp, zucchini and yellow squash tossed with a cream shrimp fumé.

Heading to Disney California Adventure park, you can sip a cherry-apple smoothie at Schmoozies, have a Valentine sugar cookie at Pacific Wharf Cafe or enjoy a Valentine’s Day Sundae at Clarabelle’s. For dinner, Wine Country Trattoria is offering a three-course menu with a choice of lobster or beef tenderloin with shrimp for the main course.

Or just keep it sweet with Alfresco Tasting Terrace & Cove Bar’s dessert sampler: vanilla fruit tart, raspberry macaroon and tiramisu served in flight glasses with a sparkling wine pairing. And to carry home, the popular, freshly baked heart and teddy bear-shaped breads from Boudin Bakery are for sale at Pacific Wharf Café, Mortimer’s Market and the Boudin Bread Cart.

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For date night, Steakhouse 55 and The Lounge at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel and Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa both are featuring prix-fixe menus. Steakhouse 55 features elegant renditions of Maine lobster bisque, surf and turf with a filet mignon and bacon-wrapped jumbo prawn and a fancy White Chocolate Baked Alaska for dessert. The four-course Napa Rose menu, “inspired by St. Valentine,” will be available with an optional wine pairing – we can’t reveal the courses, but promise it ends with a grand finale.

Happy Valentines’ Day! For reservations, visit Disneyland.com or call 714-781-DINE.

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

10 Million & Counting: MagicBands a Hit with Walt Disney World Resort Guests

posted on January 30th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you enjoy MagicBands and all they can do as much as my family does at Walt Disney World Resort then you’re probably not surprised that we’re already celebrating a significant milestone – 10 million MagicBands distributed.

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Since our original announcement, MagicBands have become a favorite way for guests to make their visit easier, more personal and magical. The colorful MagicBands link your entire MyMagic+ experience together and can serve as a theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card as well as a room key for Disney Resort hotel guests. You travel lighter with MagicBands at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Recently, MagicBand was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “26 Coolest Gadgets of 2014.” MyMagic+ was also honored with an “Innovation by Design” award by the popular magazine and website, Fast Company. It received the top spot in the “Experience Design” category when Fast Company revealed the 10 best designs of the year at their annual “Innovation by Design” Awards and Conference in New York City.

As regular Disney Parks Blog readers know, you receive a MagicBand if you stay at a Disney Resort hotel or you are a Walt Disney World Passholder. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel and are not a Passholder, you receive a card when you purchase park admission—and you have the option to purchase a MagicBand online or at select retail locations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog in future weeks for some new ways you can personalize and show your Disney Side with MagicBands.

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Trend Spotting: Our Favorite Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants for Charcuterie

posted on January 30th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Charcuterie, the fancy French term for preserved meats, is an age-old food preparation that’s popping up on lots of Walt Disney World Resort menus. The newest at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk made us want to try them all.

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We love that Trattoria al Forno features cured Italian meats on the breakfast menu with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and cheese with fonduta (an Italian melted cheese made with Fontina cheese). What a way to start the day with a press pot of good coffee. For dinner, the restaurant pairs the charcuterie with house-pickled peppers, rich olives, caponata (eggplant) and grilled bread.

On the dinner menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park, the charcuterie for two includes assorted cured meats and sausages with tart cornichons, pickled onions and a toasted baguette. Pair this one with a crisp white wine to enhance the flavors.

Over at Epcot, we head to two spots: Chefs de France in the France pavilion, and Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion. The dinner menu at Chefs de France include assiette campagnarde, a rustic assortment of French patés and charcuteries that is trés authentique. At Le Cellier, the generous platter of meats comes with grilled sourdough and buttery Italian Robiola cheese.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, stop by the al fresco Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge for the artisanal cheese & charcuterie board for two that features salami Calabrese, salami Toscano, duck rillette (similar to paté), imported prosciutto and paté de campagne. Relax with a Champagne or martini flight, or one of the craft cocktails or wines by the glass.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa features charcuterie at both Cítricos and adjacent Mizner’s Lounge, a beautiful wooden board piled with prosciutto di Parma, sopressata, dry pork coppa, beef bresaola, Palacios chorizo, domestic artisanal salame, Pecorino Romano, Medjool dates, bread-and-butter pickles and Marcona almonds. That’s dinner!

At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill starts with handcrafted charcuterie with seasonal accompaniments. Downstairs at The Wave … of American Flavors, American-crafted cheeses, country-style paté and artisan cured meats are the stars of the charcuterie board.

Others on our list: Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort mixes it up a bit with cured meats, olives, aged goat cheese, house-made bread and fruit compote on both the lunch and dinner menus. Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort kicks it up with suckling pig, country sausage, lardo and boar terrine on the charcuterie platter.

We’ll end over at cozy Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the “Northwest Charcuterie” include cured meats such as venison and bison sausage, liverwurst; artisan cheeses like creamy Rogue River Blue, cranberry-mustard, sweet pickles and walnut bread. This calls for a Moosehead!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

A Secret Sleeper Bed at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

posted on January 29th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


As we gear up for the scheduled spring opening of phase 1 of the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, we couldn’t help but share with you a couple “sneak peek” images of what some of the rooms will look like.

Currently under construction, the 360 Deluxe Studios will be the largest at Walt Disney World Resort. This flexible space will comfortably sleep up to five guests each thanks to a hidden pull-down bed tucked away in a very clever spot – beneath the television!

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Here’s a closer look at the adorable artwork inside.

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These rooms offer other great features that make them ideal for families craving space and top-notch amenities. Stay tuned as we continue to share more details and photos of this beautiful resort!

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Governor Awards Disneyland Resort California’s Highest Environmental Honor

posted on January 26th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


The Disneyland Resort was honored last week with a Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for waste reduction efforts. In the last 10 years, the Disneyland Resort has doubled the amount of waste diverted from landfills with the long-term goal of achieving Zero Waste – a designation already awarded to Circle D Corral by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and one of the success stories noted in the GEELA nomination.

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From the 4.4 million pounds of food scraps processed into animal feed annually, to the 20,000 pounds of partially used bathroom amenities collected at Disneyland Resort hotels for Clean the World Foundation, to the donation and repurposing of gently used shoes, costumes, furniture and decorations, and much more – the Disneyland Resort is doing its part to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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The Disneyland Resort also was a 2009 GEELA recipient for sustainable practices, which included the drought-conscious way water-based attractions are drained and refilled working with the Orange County Water District.

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