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A Home Away From Home at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: 1-Bedroom Villa

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Planning a vacation usually includes the following questions: Where are we going to eat? How much clothing do we need to pack? Who is going to sleep where? Well, I’m happy to report that a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, has an easy solution to all three with its spacious villas. The 1-Bedroom Villa, 2-Bedroom Villa and 3-Bedroom Grand Villa are all designed to comfortably accommodate larger groups and offer just-like-home amenities. This new series will spotlight these beautiful villas, beginning with a look at what is included with a stay in a 1-Bedroom Villa.

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With more than 750 square feet of living space, a 1-Bedroom Villa is perfect for up to five guests. When trying to decide where everyone is going to sleep, remember that the 1-bedroom villa has a separate bedroom and living room. So if you have little ones that need to go to sleep earlier, the family fun can still continue in the living room! Also, don’t worry about packing extra clothes because a washer and dryer is available inside the room.

One of the best tips to maximize the villa’s amenities is to pick up select food offerings at Kalepa’s Store and prepare them in the kitchen in your room. Dinnerware, glassware, pots and pans – everything you need to prepare a delicious meal – is already in your room! Have leftovers? A 1-Bedroom Villa features a full-size refrigerator as well. My fellow Disney Parks Blog author, George Savvas, recently vacationed in a 1-Bedroom Villa at Aulani, and told me that complimentary dishwasher soap and laundry detergent are included with your stay – so no need to worry about packing those necessities!

Ready to book your villa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Reserve a consecutive four-night or more stay, now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.


See the posts below for more about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa:

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10 Things To Love About Fall at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today is the first day of fall, and here at Walt Disney World Resort that means it’s the official start of a whole new season of fun.

Here are 10 reasons that fall is a great time to visit our parks.

Mickey's Boo-to You Halloween Parade

  1. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties – This special after-hours Halloween party at Magic Kingdom Park is a must-do during a fall visit. Bring your Halloween costumes, get ready to trick-or-treat and expect to see some amazing Halloween entertainment and fireworks! More details on this offering here.
  2. Villain’s Sinister Soiree - Available only on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights, guests can book this special package that offers a wicked good time that includes VIP viewing for the parade and fireworks, as well as an exclusive dessert party that features some of your favorite Disney villains, musical entertainment and some delectable treats. The package costs $99 per person and more details can be found here.

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  1. Pumpkins! (And Generally Amazing Fall Decor) - Fall at Magic Kingdom Park offers up some amazing photo opportunities, as our photography team showed in this blog post earlier this month. What I love most are the pumpkins along Main Street, U.S.A., which each feature their own unique design. Take a moment to check them out.

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  1. Haunted Mansion Merchandise Shop Set To Debut - This fall will see the debut of a new dedicated merchandise shop that Haunted Mansion fans are guaranteed to love. Steven Miller offered a sneak peek at some of the items that will be available at the shop in this post. Stay tuned for more on the shop’s opening.
  2. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival - Each night through November 10, Epcot will come alive with food and fun thanks to the return of one of our most popular events, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year, 25 marketplaces will show off the talents of 270 chefs, including some of Disney’s finest, as well as some celeb chefs.
  3. Celebrity Chef Appearances - This year’s festival will feature appearances by celeb chefs Jamie Deen, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro and Allen Susser, among others.
  4. Eat To The Beat Concert Series - While we’re talking about fall fun at Epcot, the Eat to the Beat concert series is already underway with several new acts – including Fuel, Jim Brickman, Los Lonely Boys and David Cook – in the lineup. (Concerts are included in park admission).

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  1. runDisney Races Return – Two race weekends - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend and Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – will return to Walt Disney World Resort October 3-4 and November 7-8, respectively. Registration for Kids Races and after parties are still available.
  2. Special Fall Treats - Even snacks are dressed up for the holiday, with new Maleficent cups, Zero popcorn buckets and more now appearing in parks.

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  1. Fall Savings on Resort Rooms - Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort this fall can save up to 30 percent on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels, including Deluxe Villa Resort rooms and Deluxe Resort rooms. This offer is valid for stays most nights October 4 through November 25, and November 29 through December 23, 2014 and must be booked by October 3, 2014. (Some restrictions apply). To book, visit DisneyWorld.com/fall or call 407-WDW-1896.

What’s your favorite part of visiting Walt Disney World Resort during the fall season? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Filed: Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

New Menu for Victoria Falls at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on September 22nd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Just a flight of steps down from the beautiful lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Victoria Falls Lounge is a fun spot for cocktails or a great glass of South African wine. A new menu adds flavors of Africa and India from the resort’s various restaurants – substantial bites to pair with beverages.

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The lounge’s name, by the way, comes from Africa’s breath-taking Victoria Falls, sighted in 1855 by David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer who named the magnificent falls in honor of Queen Victoria. (For a little trivia, the indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders.”)

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A sumptuous plate of artisanal cheeses features Valdeon blue cheese, Petit Agour sheep’s milk cheese & Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with Marcona almonds, honeycomb, Egyptian flowers & wild strawberry gastrique. Messy-but-delicious tandoori-spiced chicken wings are flavored with garam masala, garlic, ginger, lemon, cloves, cinnamon and served with kicky sambal sour cream. Ditto the pork “wings,” served with tamarind barbecue sauce, crispy onions and cilantro.

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Peri Peri Scallops features four pan-fried scallops with mealie pap (we Southerners call this grits), bacon lardons, coriander and chile butter. Another hot tapas is crispy chickpea bites, bite-sized fritters served with sag dahl, Tunisian olive oil, lemon balm, roasted eggplant salad and sautéed feta cheese.

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Perfect for sharing, the African-inspired tapas is a generous assortment of dates, cumin green olives, sambal Calamata olives, Bresaola, sea salt pistachios, preserved lemon artichoke hearts, with dried banana and pumpkin seed crisps.

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One of our favorites is the breads & spreads: oak-grilled pappadam, South African sea salt crisps, wheat pita and house-made lavosh served with hummus, mango chutney, lentil spinach and citrus spread.

It’s easy, no reservations, just stop by and grab a seat at the bar or a table.

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Fodor’s Travel Names Aulani a Top Hotel

posted on September 19th, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


“An enchanting resort complete with Disney character experiences and a touch of local culture in everything …”

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That’s what reviewers at Fodor’s Travel, one of the largest and most respected publishers of travel and tourism information, are saying about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, which is being recognized as a 2014 Fodor’s 100 Hotel Award winner, and one of the top 12 “Beach Getaway” hotels worldwide. Aulani was the only resort in all of Hawai‘i to be included in this distinguished category.

Fodor’s evaluated more than 5,000 properties around the globe, so cracking the top 100 – and being called out as one of the world’s greatest beach resorts – is a wonderful achievement.

What do you love most about your “Beach Getaway” to Aulani?


To read more about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, visit the posts below:

Plan Your Fall Getaway with New Disneyland Resort Hotel Offer

posted on September 17th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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Fall is one of my favorite times of year at the Disneyland Resort. The warm, sunny Southern California summer has given way to the slightly cooler but still just as sunny Southern California fall. And with Halloween Time, through October 31, and Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, from November 13 through January 6, added to the mix it’s the perfect time of year to plan a weekday getaway!

Beginning today, you can save 20 percent on premium rooms at a Disneyland Resort hotel for stays on select Sunday through Thursday nights, from October 26-December 18. To take advantage of this offer, book travel through November 19.

So plan your fall getaway now! Click here to book.

Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel for select Sunday through Thursday nights between 10/26/14 – 12/18/14. Book from 9/17/14 through 11/19/14, with travel completed by 12/19/14. Blockout dates of 10/31/14, 11/1/14, 11/7/14, 11/8/14, 11/13/14 through 11/16/14 and 11/21/14 through 12/13/14 apply. 20% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites. 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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Club Disney at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Offers Fun for Little Ones

posted on September 12th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you visited Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort lately? The resort just opened a brand-new children’s activity center called Club Disney, which is a great place for little ones to play while their parents catch some alone time.

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The look of the “club” was inspired by classic Disney Little Golden Books tales like “Pinocchio,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Here, kids ages 3-12 can play dress up, create crafts, play games, engage in storytelling activities, enjoy movie nights and more with our children’s activity coordinators. Here’s a peek inside:

To book, call: 407-WDW-DINE.

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‘Mahaloween Luau’ Coming to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel September 29

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s one day only, and guaranteed to put you in the spirit of Halloween TimeTrader Sam’s “Mahaloween Luau,” with seatings starting at 3 p.m., September 29.
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Just 100 guests per seating will have the pleasure of this kooky seasonal party that includes beverages and eats, live music and insider info with Imagineers and Disney cast members. Guests attending “Mahaloween Luau” will receive a special edition glass available only at the event. Collectors take note, the second edition of the Zombie souvenir glass will also be available for purchase at the event, before it is available to the public the next day.
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“Mahalo” is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, praise or regards, and this “Mahaloween Luau” gives fans of the Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar trademark humor an insider’s hour of fun at the legendary watering hole.

Choose your hour: 3-4 p.m., 4:30-5:30 p.m., 6-7 p.m. or 7:30-8:30 p.m. The fun starts on the patio with appetizers and two drink tickets (beer, wine, Zombie Drink or Polynesian Punch). Move inside for live entertainment and a Disney tiki presentation by Walt Disney Imagineering. You’ll also have a chance to meet some of Disney’s concept artists and other special guests.

When the party ends, you’ll get a Jungle River Cruise Expedition Bag that includes a Trader Sam panama hat, a boxed special-edition “Mahaloween Luau” glass (with a dated stamp), a Trader Sam print on canvas, and a coupon good for 20 percent off at the adjacent Tangaroa Terrace. Guests also can purchase up to two additional second-edition Zombie souvenir glasses.

Cost is $125 per person, including tax and tip. To reserve your spot, call 714-781-DINE – reservations open tomorrow!

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Re-Imagined California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Time flies when you’re at the top of your game, and a year after re-opening with a classy new interior and new seasonal menu, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki and his talented team are busy keeping guests happy seven nights a week.

“California Grill is a total experience – great food, interesting wines, craft cocktails, and an incomparable view,” says Chef Brian. He and general manager Michael Scheifler conduct a beautifully orchestrated evening with efficient, knowledgeable staff.

Pork two ways (wood fire tenderloin w goat chesse polenta_ braised lacquered belly and country applesauce

Any misses on the new menu, we asked Chef Brian? “We change the menu so fast with what’s fresh and available, so far it’s been a success,” he answers with a smile. The most-ordered dish is the Pork Two Ways with grilled pork tenderloin and lacquered pork belly served with warm goat cheese polenta, mushrooms and a touch of sweetness with house-made applesauce. For starters, the house-made charcuterie is another hit. And, of course, the buttery filet mignon with heirloom tomato risotto, baby vine tomatoes, basil and tomato butter is a top pick, too.

Chef Brian loves his new kitchen, with gadgets like a sous vide machine that seals ingredients in plastic for slowly cooking in a water bath for super tender, perfectly cooked dishes. “Most guests don’t want to know about the cooking techniques, they just love the results,” says Chef Brian.

The kitchen team reaches out to local farms, and with Florida crops just coming into high season, look for lots of local fruits and produce on the fall menu – as well as Florida seafood. A simple salad has never tasted better than the one made with local greens and topped with a poached Lake Meadow Naturals egg and Palmetto Honey vinaigrette.
Yuzu-marinated Sashimi (tuna salmon himachi snapper seaweed salad

The list of favorites must include the Cucumber Fizz cocktail, flatbreads (try the heirloom tomato BLT flatbread with lemon mayo) and the sushi (we’re fans of the yuzu-marinate sashimi). “And desserts are flying out of here,” says Chef Brian, thanks to the creativity of Pasty Chef Jeff Barnes – his hot banana fritters are the biggest hit.

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As for that stellar view, the new fireworks deck has given more guests a front-row spot for the nightly Magic Kingdom Park fireworks. While you can sit at your table with the fireworks sound track piped in, most guests love to walk out on the two decks for a bird’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom Park from the 15th floor. Now that’s a one-of-a-kind ending to a your day.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

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‘Lakeside Casual’ Attire for Servers at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


As the new Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk gets ready for a December opening, here’s a look at the classic server attire, designed by Walt Disney Imagineer Celina Lung, who’s been a Disney costume designer for nearly 20 years.

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“My inspiration comes from the trattoria’s interior and lakeside setting,” says Celina. “Like the restaurant, the server attire is charming, casual, a little upscale.” The warm décor matches the restaurant color palette, she explains. Celina’s research also took her to a seaside bistro in Southern California to come up with a look that’s “not overdesigned, but simple and elegant.”

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The burgundy shirts and blouses with gold contrast echo the décor, with khaki-colored pants for a more casual look. “We’re in America, not Italy, and I wanted the servers to look casual but polished,” says Celina. One detail, for instance, is the bladed leather belt with an antique brass buckle to lend a more refined finish.

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For colder months, she designed a jacket with a relaxed fit in classic tweed. Servers will also wear long bistro aprons, weaving the elegance of traditional European restaurant with the experience of a neighborhood restaurant.

Her expertise is in many costumes throughout Disney Parks, from the server attire at Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot to various lands and restaurants at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort (her current project) and Disneyland park. And she’s always got something in the works.

Meanwhile, interior work and recipe development continues on Trattoria al Forno, more details to come!

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Try a Slice of Poolside Heaven: Rent a Cabana at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


One surefire way to enhance your Walt Disney World Resort stay even more is to rent a poolside cabana — a private, shaded retreat perfect to while away the hours or to gather with friends and family for some added fun.

Available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (note, the cabanas at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are closed during the resort’s renovations), these private sanctuaries include standard amenities like 32-inch LCD television with cable access, DVD/CD/MP3 player, ceiling fan, mini refrigerator stocked with complimentary sodas and water, fruit basket (may only be available with advance reservation), plush towels, and padded chaise lounge and straight-back chairs. Plus, a cabana attendant helps take care of all your needs. Private dining is available at an additional cost.
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If you’re splish-splashing at one of the water parks, yeah, you’re covered (pun intended) there, too. Beachcomber Shacks at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Polar Patios at Disney’s Blizzard Beach include a locker, refillable mugs, a cooler full of bottled water, lounge furniture and towels. Attendants also offer “tips and tricks” for the water parks.

Cabanas are a great way to spoil yourself and enrich your whole resort experience. Call 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529) for reservations and info. You can also visit the Cabanas page on our website.

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