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Mad Tea Party at Disney Parks

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 19th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’re as excited as we are about the upcoming 24-hour celebrations to kick off summer at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, then this was another great week to be checking the Disney Parks Blog.

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This week, we offered 24 suggestions on how you can make the most of this year’s 24-hour celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort. It begins on May 22, and here are some of our favorites:

  • Challenge yourself to get as many photos with Disney characters as possible. The My Disney Experience App will have the latest on appearance times.
  • Join the late night dance parties in your pajamas. That’s what Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale and Goofy will be wearing!
  • Show your #DisneySide by wearing a costume. (Check out the guidelines here).

Check Jennifer’s original story for the complete list and let us know what you’re planning during the 24-hour celebration.

Also, opening on May 22 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the new “Paint the Night” parade will feature some of the most innovative floats, vibrant costumes, dazzling special effects, unforgettable music and energetic performances ever presented at Disneyland Resort. Shawn shared a behind-the-scenes look at performer rehearsals with the Fiber Fairies from the opening unit and the Cars Crew, who join Mack Truck and Lightning McQueen.

Check Shawn’s original story for more details about the “Paint the Night” parade.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Closer Look at Nighttime Entertainment and More Coming for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – Hear thoughts from Steve Davison, vice president of Parades and Spectaculars, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, on the new nighttime spectaculars currently in development … and watch to the end for your first look at the “Cars” story from the new “Paint the Night” parade!

A Taste of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – The kickoff of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is right around the corner, and we have more details to share about some of the new food and beverage offerings sure to dazzle your taste buds.

Mickey Mouse and Friends to Wear Sparkling New Ensembles for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – We’ve already shared some of the sparkling new decor, entertainment and merchandise coming for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration beginning May 22. Some of our biggest stars will also sparkle for the celebration!

Disney Parks After Dark: Astro Orbitor Revisited at Disneyland Park – Disneyland Resort Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer shares some special photos of this classic attraction, both in motion and at rest.

Learn to Draw: Sorcerer Mickey from ‘Fantasia’ – This week’s Learn to Draw animation tutorial series continues with a lesson on how to create your own Sorcerer Mickey.

Disney Days of Past: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Constructed – Surrounded by over 45 acres of savanna, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge continues to be one of the most spectacular hotels at Walt Disney World. In September 2000, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was beginning to take shape as construction continued on what is now known as Jambo House.

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24 Ways to Kick Off Our Coolest Summer Ever Event on May 22 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


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We’ll officially kick off the beginning of summer here at the Walt Disney World Resort on May 22, with a 24-hour celebration at Magic Kingdom Park.

If you’re heading to our park to join in on the fun, here are 24 suggestions on how you can make the most of this year’s event.

  1. Show your #DisneySide by wearing a costume. (Check out the guidelines here).
  2. Join your favorite heroes from “The Incredibles” in the #IncrediblesSuperDanceParty in Tomorrowland, starting at 9:30 a.m.
  3. Join the “Move It, Shake It, Dance & Play It!” Street party to celebrate the start of summer. The first celebration begins at 9:30 a.m.!
  4. Find the paw prints of “Lady and the Tramp” hidden somewhere on Main Street, U.S.A.
  5. Have breakfast in the park. Mickey Waffles, anyone?
  6. Challenge yourself to get as many photos with Disney characters as possible. The My Disney Experience App will have the latest on appearance times.
  7. Catch the fun of the Royal Majesty Makers, who appear throughout New Fantasyland during the day.
  8. Attend the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” which features floats from “Tangled,” “Brave” and many more.
  9. Get your picture with Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach.
  10. May 22 is also the opening date for the film “Tomorrowland.” Celebrate with a ride through Space Mountain or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.
  11. Check out the latest Disney merchandise. Memento Mori, a new spot devoted to Haunted Mansion-inspired gifts, is a great place to start.
  12. Catch the patriotic flag retreat on Main Street, U.S.A., promptly at 5 p.m.
  13. Check out the latest additions to the park, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the interactive queue at Peter Pan’s Flight.
  14. Join the late night dance parties in your pajamas. That’s what Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale and Goofy will be wearing!
  15. Enjoy the “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show.
  16. Gather together for “Wishes” fireworks at Cinderella Castle.
  17. Change costumes at the 12-hour mark. Maybe a “hero” look for the day and a “villain” look at night?
  18. 24 hours means a lot of time for character autographs. How many can you get?
  19. Enjoy a late-night snack at the park. Popcorn or Dole Whip?
  20. Take pictures wearing as many different Mickey Ear hats as you can.
  21. See how many Hidden Mickeys you can find in 24 hours.
  22. Catch two showings of the “Main Street Electrical Parade.”
  23. Enjoy your favorite Disney attractions all day (and night) long.
  24. Take an early morning family photo – if you can make it the full 24 hours!

How will you kick off our 24-hour event? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, My Disney Experience, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Why Guests Can’t Get Enough of ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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There’s something about “Festival of the Lion King“—the music, the performers, the staging and the overall celebratory feeling—that excites guests with every performance.

This magnificent musical tribute to a young lion’s journey of discovery is created in such a way as to keep you engaged in every aspect of the story. As Tara Anderson, show director for “Festival of the Lion King,” stated: “With our production, we don’t tell the story of “‘The Lion King’.” We celebrate the music and the characters of the story. We hit all the beats of the story, but we do it in a very artistic way.”

While some audience members are welcomed to participate, guests can feel like longtime friends in this lush, exotic world. And once Timon takes the stage to lead everyone in “Hakuna Matata”, it’s impossible not to feel drawn into all the magic.

Among the show’s highlights are the very agile and sprightly Tumble Monkeys, a troupe put together by their pal, Timon. The highly-trained acrobats perform Olympic-style feats in sync to a lively jazz medley.

Of course, that cunning, two-faced Scar is also at hand, spreading villainy with his snarky hyena henchmen in “Be Prepared” which features an electrifying fire dance. But love literally soars above it all when the Flying Bird performers, clad in radiant color and plumage, bring “Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ to the highest heights in sheer balletic splendor.

“The show has wonderful individual elements,” Tara said. “What makes it work is all those elements coming together and being that circle of life.” And that is the feeling that is evoked when you hear the “Circle of Life” being sung and see all the entertainers dressed as the animals take the stage for the finale. Timon then leads everyone in singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with the Tumble Monkeys performing for all.

There are performances throughout the day, so check your Time Guide. You can use your Fastpass+ to pre-arrange times for viewing.

What is your favorite part of the show? Tell us in the comments section below!

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#DisneyKids: Cool Summer Thrills for Little Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 20th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


We have shared some details about how Walt Disney World Resort will be the coolest place for an unforgettable family getaway this summer, and as a mom of preschoolers, I was thrilled to see how much there is for my little ones to do! With Olaf as the host for “Coolest Summer Ever,” of course there will be lots of Frozen-inspired fun, but there is also so much more.

Play Along with Disney Junior - Live on Stage!

Here are some highlights of just some of the activities that little ones will enjoy:

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From hugs from favorite Disney Jr. characters at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and royal meet & greets at Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom Park, and of course the chance to cozy up to Mickey Mouse and pals at all four theme parks, kids will delight in hanging out with their favorites this summer.

Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
From June 17 – September 7, little ones’ Frozen dreams will come true at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • Where else but the magical “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” can they belt out the lyrics to all of their favorite songs from the film in a room full of other kids?
  • Kids get to feel like they’re part of the show during the daily Frozen procession, where Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and friends parade through the park and greet the citizens of “Hollywoodland.”
  • It’s worth taking a nap in order to stay up for the special Frozen Fireworks, featuring Elsa and Anna, and a dazzling fireworks display set to the music from the film.

Frozen encounters at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is a favorite for my family. There is so much to see and do, and now with FastPass+, you can reserve seating to ensure you won’t miss a moment!

Cool Off at Two Water Parks
The two water parks at Walt Disney World Resort are an ideal way for the entire family to chill out this summer.

  • At Disney’s Blizzard Beach, young children will enjoy Tike’s Peak, a play area with kid-sized versions of the attractions including slower-moving, scaled-down thrills for small fries 48 inches and under.
  • Over at Typhoon Lagoon, Ketchakiddee Creek is a play area featuring 10 different aquatic activities just for preschoolers and little kids.
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Filed: Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, FastPass+, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

New Breakfast Starts March 20 at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 16th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Starting on March 20, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort will begin testing a prix fixe breakfast from 8-10 a.m. daily through June 18.

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The fast casual breakfast menu has a decidedly French touch; each meal begins with a pastry basket for sharing. Your entrée options include assorted cured meat and cheese served with marmalade, fresh fruit and a toasted baguette. You can also enjoy eggs Florentine served in a puff pastry shell with country ham and roasted plum tomatoes. Even the open-face bacon-and-poached-egg sandwich has Brie.

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If you’re looking for something a little lighter, choose the scrambled egg whites with roasted tomatoes, multigrain croissant and fresh fruit. Or go with a vegetable quiche with mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper, onion and chive, served with seasonal fruit. The prix fixe menu will also include a selection of self-service beverages.

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But the decadent start to the day is the Croissant Doughnut: a fried doughnut topped with banana caramel sauce, chocolate ganache and whipped cream. (True vacation indulgence!)

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The kids’ menu includes brioche French toast with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with Applewood bacon and fresh fruit, fruit crepes with yogurt and fresh fruit with a berry foam, cereal and oatmeal.

Guests can make reservations beginning March 17 for dates March 20 through June 18, 2015 via DisneyWorld.com/dine, the My Disney Experience app, or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Advance reservations are encouraged. Disney Dining Plan will be accepted.

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PHOTOS – Merchandise Blooms at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 runs from March 4 to May 17 at Walt Disney World Resort. With beautiful flowers to see and delicious food to taste, I love strolling around Epcot a few times throughout spring. Here’s an update on some additional products created especially for this event. I also have a first look inside the Festival Center that will be open Fridays through Sundays in Future World between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy pavilions.

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In a previous article, I promised details about the retail MagicBand created for this event. This new item has an edition size of 5,000 and features Anna and Elsa in their “Frozen Fever” attire from the upcoming animated short debuting in theaters before Disney’s “Cinderella” on March 13. Like all other retail MagicBands, this item can be linked later. Look for it in select retail locations at Epcot (it will not be available via the Disney Parks online store).

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I also found a few apparel items for adults and kids including Olaf shirts in blue and green, a Sorcerer Mickey topiary shirt, a yellow Minnie Mouse shirt for women, and a specially designed shirt for Annual Passholders.

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Back by popular demand, we are releasing a new 12-month calendar featuring character topiaries from previous year’s festivals.

Guests will also find an iPhone 6 case with Anna and Elsa, magnets, headware, garden accessories, a new Disney Gift Card and much more.

While the Festival Center will only be open during the weekends, these items will be offered at several locations throughout Future World and World Showcase at Epcot (there are some great merchandise kiosks found along the World Showcase promenade).

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Finally, the Festival Center will host Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama on March 8 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. He will be signing his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival-inspired piece titled “Spring Has Sprung.” I love his artwork so much!

Here are a few additional images from my visit to Epcot. I hope to see you this spring!

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Filed: Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Star Wars Weekends 2015 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday, May 15. To kick off this event, Disney Theme Park Merchandise is holding a special ticketed event called “Galactic Gathering” on Thursday, May 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Similar to the “Rebel Rendezvous” event held last year, this year’s event will give guests the first opportunity to purchase new products created especially for Star Wars Weekends.

Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14 Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

Packages for the Galactic Gathering will include the following:

  • ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand (Guests can choose their side when registering online)*
  • Commemorative trading pin*
  • Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass which gives expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends.*
  • First opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise including personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation.
  • First opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards.
  • Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.

Guests who attend this event will also have the opportunity to meet Disney characters, Disney Design Group Artists and Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe.

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Finally, attendees will be some of the first to purchase the new figures for Star Wars D-Tech Me including a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot.

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Tickets to this event are $250 per guest (theme park admission is not included but required to participate in this event).

Registration will begin on March 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on http://www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

I hope to see you there!

*These items will only be available to Galactic Gathering attendees.

The number of packages available is limited and available while supplies last on a first come, first serve basis. Event package and content are not subject to discounts. Appearances are subject to space and time availability and are not guaranteed. Tickets are non-refundable. Event information subject to change without notice.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

New Viewing Areas for Parades & Fireworks Debut at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 27th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Last year, we showed you a preview of the work that we’re doing to make one of our guests’ favorite areas at Magic Kingdom Park even better. Today we’re happy to share that several new sections of the Central Plaza area between Main Street U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle are now open.

New  Viewing Areas for Parades & Fireworks Debut at Magic Kingdom Park New  Viewing Areas for Parades & Fireworks Debut at Magic Kingdom Park

This marks the first milestone in our multi-phase project that will add in sculpted gardens, new pathways, and expanded restaurant seating. And beginning February 27, the FastPass+ viewing location will relocate from the the Rose Garden Fireworks Viewing Area to the Main Street Plaza Gardens (an area adjacent to The Crystal Palace).

New Viewing Areas for Parades & Fireworks Debut at Magic Kingdom Park New  Viewing Areas for Parades & Fireworks Debut at Magic Kingdom Park

Interested in using Disney FastPass+ service for this new area? Check out your My Disney Experience account.

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#DisneyKids: Experience the Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Carpe diem. Seize the day.

That’s exactly what you can do on an Ultimate VIP Tour. Imagine experiencing cherished attractions at three theme parks with fast-tracked access, private transportation and a Table-Service lunch in one of the parks, all in one day — accompanied by a cast member with detailed knowledge of Disney lore.

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I recently got the opportunity to go on The Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour, one of two new offerings from VIP Tour Services (The Ultimate Day of Thrills being the other), so I of course jumped at the chance.

Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park is the starting point for the tour. Tracy, our Tour Guide, handed out bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated and took lunch orders. From there, we headed to Magic Carpets of Aladdin to begin our journey. We hit some classics, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, and newer highpoints like Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid. Then it was off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (yay Toy Story Midway Mania!), via private van, that included a yummy sit-down lunch at a reserved table. The tour ended on a high note at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with front row seats at Festival of the Lion King, about as close as you can get to this beloved Broadway-style show without being in it.

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Entering via the FastPass+ lines made for minimal waiting. Tracy was also in constant contact with Brian, our coordinator, who stayed ahead to ensure everything went smoothly. Patient, personable and well versed in all things Disney, Tracy shared trivia, helpful hints and background information along the way, like giving Toy Story Midway Mania! point-scoring tips and pointing out a hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool on Kilimanjaro Safaris. What a fascinating window into the magic.

In all, we enjoyed 11 attractions in three parks — with plenty of sunshine left at the end to go exploring on our own — accomplishing a lot but never feeling rushed. A steady pace kept us on schedule. It’s a unique, specialized way to splurge on yourself and loved ones, especially if you’re pressed for time.

And though designed with mild thrills for families with children under 10 years old, don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Day for Young Families is not just for the little ones. In fact, Tracy said adults frequently enjoy the tour sans kids. In other words, everyone’s the right age. Because fun never goes out of style.

This unforgettable guided adventure (that feels intimate since there is one Tour Guide per every 10 people) through some of your kids’ (and your) favorites while spending less time in line is worth the memories. Heck, maybe you’ll discover something new in the process. I did. Okay, I admit it: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a first for me. What a blast (pun intended)! No wonder it’s so popular.

The tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and lasts six to seven hours. Attractions and entertainment offerings subject to change. The cost is $299 per person, plus tax (theme park admission not included). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, FastPass+, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: Height Requirements for Attractions at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 20th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


There are so many attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, and sometimes as a parent it can be tough to determine which ones are a good fit for younger children. Once I had kids, I was pleasantly surprised at just how many rides and experiences are available for everyone, including the littlest members of the family. There are 25 attractions without any height requirements at Magic Kingdom Park alone! Once your baby grows into a preschooler, there is even more fun to be had on rides for slightly taller kiddos.

We rounded up height requirements from the most popular attractions in all four theme parks and put them into handy charts to help you plan ahead.

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For Disney’s Hollywood Studios, click here. For Epcot, click here. For Disney’s Animal Kingdom, click here.

Once in the parks, be sure to check out the My Disney Experience mobile app for height requirements, thrill levels, wait times and more, all while on the go. If you are dying to check out a thrill ride and your youngest isn’t quite there yet, your family may be able to utilize Rider Switch, which allows adults to take turns riding the attraction without waiting in line all over again. What are your favorite attractions to experience with your little ones?

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