Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

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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For more from the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series, check out the posts below:

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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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Enjoy a Fourth Night Free at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, with Special New Offer

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


I recently shared some useful expressions for your visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Today, I’m pleased to pass along a fantastic offer, to give your `ohana the chance to try out these useful phrases during a vacation to the recently voted Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 Top Hotel for Families in the United States!

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Purchase a consecutive four-night stay in any room at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, now through October 30, 2014, and receive the fourth night free! This amazing offer is available for stays most nights from August 15, 2014, through December 22, 2014. In addition, upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom villa and receive a $100 per night resort credit, in addition to your free night. These villas are truly homes away from home, featuring accommodations like a full kitchen, laundry amenities and plenty of room for your keiki to spread out and relax.

A resort credit can be applied to spending the day relaxing in the 18,000-square-foot Laniwai Spa or enjoying a savory meal at `AMA`AMA, overlooking the ocean. Your keiki might want to even snorkel in Rainbow Reef – O`ahu’s only private snorkeling lagoon!

Ready to book right now? Visit www.disneyaulani.com for booking and more information!

*Reservation must be booked between July 9, 2014 and October 30, 2014 for stays between August 15, 2014 and December 22th, 2014. Block-out dates of 11/26/14 through 11/29/14 apply. 4th Night Free Offer applies only to stays of four or more consecutive nights all between August 15 and December 22, 2014, excluding any nights from 11/26/14 through 11/29/14. The free night savings is distributed across total room nights and is reflected in a reduced nightly rate, based on the non-discounted rate. Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Resort Credit Offer of $100 is applied per room per consecutive night of your package stay for reservations booked in 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom villas only. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Resort credit may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, transferred, refunded or applied towards room rate. All resort credits will expire at midnight on package departure date. 4th Night Free Offer excludes Resort Fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room. Limit two rooms per reservation and subject to room occupancy limitations. Advance reservations required. Subject to additional restrictions and change without notice.

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning

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.

For more on Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, visit the posts 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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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Imagineer Joe Rohde on Design and Inspiration

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


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Rohde, creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, about his inspirations for the design of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Joe’s career has included such iconic projects as Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Expedition Everest; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa; and the upcoming AVATAR-inspired land at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, Joe shares some of the magic and tradition behind what makes Aulani unlike anywhere else in the world.

What is the significance behind the arch logo for Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa?

The curved arch is based on a traditional Hawaiian canoe house as echoed in the framing of the Maka‘ala lobby as well as in the resort’s physical layout.

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What was the inspiration for the Maka‘ala lobby?

Maka‘ala does several things all at once. It is a warm and welcoming place that expresses the spirit of aloha, acceptance and inclusion. But it also announces that this place – where you have arrived, Hawai‘i – is a special, unique and important place, and that there are stories to be learned here that you may not know … and LOTS of them. Lastly, it also suggests a feeling of elegance and artistry, which is consistent with true Hawaiian culture.

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What was the inspiration for the overall shape and design of Aulani and the Waikolohe Valley?

The resort was designed to reflect the sense of a Hawaiian valley opening out toward the ocean from highlands to lowlands. This organization has many connotations. One is the ahupua’a, the traditional organization of land that followed a watershed from the mountains to the sea and knitted all members of the community together in a working relationship and a functional sustainable relationship to the land.

Another is a Hawaiian concept of time itself as flowing – like fresh water – from the past, which is in the mountains, to the future, which is in the sea. The architectural statements of Aulani tend to follow this organizational layout.

You know, of course, that Waikolohe means “mischievous water.” That name is simply meant to connote the playful aspect of the springs, which spray you from unexpected directions, and the presence of the Menehune. It is true that, along this part of the O’ahu coast, fresh water comes from springs, and we wanted to reflect that but in a fun, mischievous way.

Hawaiian canoes are seen throughout Aulani. Why are canoes such a key aspect of the design?

We wanted to use little clues here and there to celebrate the great canoe tradition of Hawai`i, because these canoes are at the very heart of what makes Hawaiian culture Hawaiian. Without these canoes there would be no Hawaiians at all. They express the highest form of artistry, engineering, symbolic meaning, purposefulness and social cooperation that Hawaiian culture stands for. In particular, we wanted to celebrate the Hokulea, the canoe that awakened the Hawaiian cultural revival in the 1970s and continues today on its worldwide voyage.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Through The Years

posted on June 26th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


With all the exciting changes coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, I thought it would be fun to look at a guest room through the years. (No signage changed yet! This picture below is from 1989.)

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Inside the photo gallery you can take a look at guest rooms from 1972 until 2013. (Please note this is not a comprehensive look – just select photos from our archives.)

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