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Freshly Picked Music at the Garden Rocks Concert Series at Walt Disney World Resort: Taylor Dayne

posted on April 21st, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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Now that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom, it reminds us of all there is to love about it. From the whimsical Disney character topiaries and spring-inspired delicious dishes to the expert demonstrations and Garden Rocks Concert Series, where some of the biggest names in music grace the stage.

We caught up with Taylor Dayne, who will soon play Garden Rocks for the first time (you may have seen her perform at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival). Starting with her smash 1987 single “Tell It to My Heart,” it’s hard to top this New York native for infectious dance pop.

RUSS: Growing up on Long Island, did you ever imagine all the success you’ve achieved?

TAYLOR: As a little kid, I had the vision of “I’m gonna be a rock and roll star,” singing to the radio or every commercial that came on. I was very passionate about working hard. To make music was always my goal and my dream as a very, very young girl. I’m just so blessed.

RUSS: We’ve heard you’re a pretty big Disney fan. True?

TAYLOR: Ya know, the beautiful thing about Disney is I grew up on the incredible animation. And, of course, on Sunday nights we got to watch Disney on TV. The shows, the movies, the parks—it’s pretty special and amazing. Just a big part of my life.

RUSS: Any favorite Disney memories?

TAYLOR: For me growing up, it was “it’s a small world.” I made my children (12-year-old twins Levi and Astaria) go on it because the music is just so incredible.

RUSS: As for the theme parks, adrenaline rush or milder thrills?

TAYLOR: I’m not a drop-from-the-sky kind of girl. No. My son will do that. I stand there and watch while he falls from the sky and does the roller coasters with all the drops. Though I was in to it when I was younger.

RUSS: Have a favorite attraction?

TAYLOR: I love Soarin’ at Epcot! You’re in the chair and floating. It’s incredible. You’re in that entire experience. You’re moving in it. It’s brilliant.

RUSS: Describe your music.

TAYLOR: When people ask me that, I say dance, pop, some R&B to a degree. But classic. So if you’re listening to the radio, you might hear “I’ll Always Love You,” “Send Me A Lover” or “Love Will Lead You Back.” I’ve always been incredibly passionate and people feel what I’m singing. Big voice, big passion.

RUSS: People are anxious to experience your show at the Flower & Garden Festival for the very first time. What do you have in store?

TAYLOR: I hope the fans get an experience so they feel like they’ve been to a show. There’s a beginning, a middle and end. There’s a story. I want them to feel like they got a piece of me. Music is just such a universal language. Why are people so inspired by music? Because it touches them in such a sensorial way. At this point, to a lot of them these songs are the soundtrack of people’s lives. You feel like, “Wow, I remember that.” So yeah, I always look forward to performing at Epcot. It’ll be awesome.

RUSS: Thanks so much for your time. One last question. What’s something your fans may not know about you?

TAYLOR: I’m a nature freak [laughs]. That’s what I do. I go out there and find my peace. My quiet time.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues through May 17. Taylor Dayne performs May 1 through 3. All performances take place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and are included with Epcot admission.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 12th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we went behind the scenes for a special look at what it takes to make Sleeping Beauty Castle sparkle for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration — officially kicking off on Friday, May 22.

Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more on the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, and join the conversation with the hashtag #Disneyland60.

And if you’ve been following the Disney Parks Blog, you know we’ve shared dates for 2015’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and continued to keep you up-to-date on this year’s Night of Joy. This week, tickets for all three events went on sale.

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Charles shared an update on what’s shaping up to be a fantastic fall at Walt Disney World Resort. Check his original story for more details about tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney’s Night of Joy.

Also, to order tickets or find out more information on any of our Magic Kingdom Park special events, you can check out Disneyworld.com, call 407-W-DISNEY or contact your travel agent.

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

Legendary Hatbox Ghost Comes Out to Socialize in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park in May – The Hatbox Ghost is reappearing at Disneyland park in May. Here’s a sneak peek!

Bringing New Magic to Matterhorn Bobsleds and Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland Park – As we look forward to celebrating the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we have exciting changes coming to two of our classic attractions this spring.

Penny for Your Thoughts: Making Coin Presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop – Meet Rob Johnson, who has been making and maintaining coin presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop for 25 years.

A Unique Point of View: Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park – See a perspective most racers don’t get to see when they’re revving their engines at the start line on Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure park.

D23 Asks, When Did It Start For You? – When did you know you first loved Disney? It may not be your first Disney memory—and it may not even be your favorite Disney memory. But when was the first time Disney made your heart sing and your spirit soar?

New Dooney & Bourke Collections Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Walt Disney World Resort on April 25 – We have exciting news for Dooney & Bourke fans visiting Walt Disney World Resort later this month. We will release two new collections on April 25 at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Epcot Flowers Bloom at Night

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was an unusual one – and apparently a fan favorite. The original photo, which took a look at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at night, showcased a topiary of three pals from “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Because it was so popular, we didn’t want you to miss two others shots our photographer snapped while roaming the park late at night. Here are two shots of the Cinderella and Prince Charming topiaries. Notice the clock in the background? Looks like it’s almost time for her to run!

Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

You can enjoy the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival daily through May 17.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Blossoms at Night

posted on April 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I know the amazing floral displays and topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival look amazing during the day, but who would’ve thought they looked this beautiful illuminated at night?

This “Beauty and the Beast”-inspired topiary features Beast, Belle – and Cogsworth in the background.

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Have you visited the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this year? Do you prefer visiting during the day or in the evening?

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Celebrate Earth Day at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on April 8th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


The natural beauty of Mother Nature + Disney magic = a perfect place to celebrate Earth Day. Of course, you can find it at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Gardener's Palette

We think Earth deserves a whole (extended) weekend! We’ve got lots of ways to appreciate and celebrate with activities, discoveries and more.

Here’s are some fresh ways to get your green on, from April 17-22:

Three of our new specialty gardens connect families and kids with nature: Nature Rocks, presented by The Nature Conservancy, the Backyard Habitat presented by the National Wildlife Federation and the Purple Martins presented by Audubon Florida. These lush spots will inspire you and your family to spend more time outdoors, and maybe even how to bring a little Disney magic to your home.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists will visit the Festival Center (April 17-19).

At the Seas with Nemo & Friends, learn about conservation efforts to protect coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and the many other amazing creatures that inhabit our oceans (April 22).

Check out the sand sculpture that showcases Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom” movie at the World Showcase Outpost. Make sure to pick up a kids activity booklet while you’re taking a sand-selfie!

For more information about this and other Fun Fresh Weekends, check out EpcotInSpring.com.

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Magic Kingdom Special Event Tickets On Sale Today

posted on April 8th, 2015 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


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It’s shaping up to be a spectacular fall at Walt Disney World Resort.

A few weeks ago, we gave you the dates for 2015’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. And we also have been keeping you up-to-date on the 411 for 2015’s Night of Joy.

Well, if you just can’t wait to purchase tickets for your favorite Magic Kingdom Park special event, today is your lucky day.

This year, we’re planning a thrilling new show for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Some of your favorite Disney villains, along with a few new friends, are getting ready to cast a spell on you at the Castle Forecourt Stage. We’ll have more details for you soon about this wickedly delightful addition to the Halloween festivities at Magic Kingdom Park.

Get Your Tickets Now
Tickets for all three events are on sale starting today. You’ll want to buy your tickets as early as possible because dates sell out.

Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party include:

  • September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27; October 1 – Advance: $68 (plus tax) for adults; $63 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9); Day of the Event: $74 (plus tax) for adults; $69 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)
  • October 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27;  November 1 – Advance: $74 (plus tax) for adults; $69 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9); Day of the Event: $79 (plus tax) for adults; $74 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)
  • October 9, 16, 23, 29 – $79 (plus tax) for adults; $74 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)
  • Halloween – $87 (plus tax) for adults; $82 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)

Tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party include:

  • November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19; December 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 – Advance: $74 (plus tax) for adults; $69 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9); Day of the Event: $79 (plus tax) for adults; $74 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)
  • November 20, 29; December 4, 11, 17 – $79 (plus tax) for adults; $74 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)
  • December 18 – $82 (plus tax) for adults; $77 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9)

Single-day ticket prices for Disney’s Night of Joy (September 11-12) are $65 (plus tax) in advance and $80 (plus tax) on the day of the event (if available). A two night ticket also is available for $115 (plus tax) in advance of the event. Group tickets are also available by calling 877-NITE-JOY (1-877-648-3569).

To order tickets or find out more information on any of our Magic Kingdom Park special events, guests can check out Disneyworld.com, call 407-W-DISNEY or contact their travel agent.

And stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more exciting updates.

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Reservations Now Open for the Feel the Force Premium Packages During Star Wars Weekends

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Prepare to ‘Feel the Force’ with special premium packages offered this year at Star Wars Weekends. These dining packages put you close to the action of the Legends of The Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, the “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks and more in true intergalactic-foodie style.

Star Wars Weekend

Enjoy your morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, knowing the Feel the Force Premium Package includes reserved viewing for the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade from 11 a.m.-noon, with a selection of soft drinks, water and a snack.

Star Wars-Themed Cupcakes from the 'Symphony in the Stars' Fireworks Dessert Party During Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Wars-Themed Cupcakes from the 'Symphony in the Stars' Fireworks Dessert Party During Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The grand finale to your day at Star Wars Weekends is the “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party at 9 p.m. Enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts (including the famous Yoda and Darth Vader Cupcakes above), and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages–all with an up-close view of the fireworks!

You can expand your universe of choices by upgrading to the Feel the Force Deluxe Premium Package. In addition to the benefits listed above, the Deluxe Premium Package allows guests to follow behind the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard, provides reserved seating for all of the celebrity talk shows that day in the Theater of the Stars, and offers priority access to Darth’s Mall throughout the day of the package. It also comes with a commemorative lanyard and credential to honor your most impressive day.

To book this event, hurry you must. Quantities are limited. The Feel the Force Premium Packages will take place on event weekends, May 15 to June 14. For more information about premium packages, VIP tours and Star Wars dining events, visit StarWarsWeekends.com.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Frank Oz and Ian McDiarmid Among the Stars Announced for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 3rd, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


To paraphrase a certain scruffy looking nerf herder, I’ve flown from one side of the galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff … but nothing as cool as Star Wars Weekends. This year’s event is shaping up to be among the best, with a new show, new locations for merchandise and autograph opportunities and a galaxy of stars that includes returning favorites and luminaries making their first hyperspace jump to Star Wars Weekends!

So shall we dispense with the pleasantries?
Here are the celebrities scheduled to appear for Star Wars Weekends 2015 (entertainment is subject to change):

Weekend I (May 15 – 17)
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  • Ian McDiarmid: Senator/Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Amy Allen: Aayla Secura (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II (May 22 – 24)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Silas Carson: Ki-Adi-Mundi, Nute Gunray (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III (May 29 – 31)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Daniel Logan: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV (June 5 – 7)

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Ashley Eckstein: Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V (June 12 – 14)
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  • Frank Oz: Yoda (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Star Wars Rebels)
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Of course, Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels) will be appearing every week, and in addition to Ashley Eckstein’s Weekend IV guest spot, she will also be joining us every day of the event as host of “Padawan Mind Challenge – Family Edition.”

Details are still coming together for the event, but some of the highlights of what’s new for Star Wars Weekends 2015 include:

  • Star Wars: Rebels” – Relive the adventurous twists and turns of the first exciting season of the Disney XD series “Star Wars: Rebels,” in an all-new show with Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor and a special guest from the show’s voice cast … along with a few surprises!
  • Autograph Opportunities – For the first time, autograph sessions with Star Wars celebrities will be held in an indoor location, just off Commissary Lane near Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. For complete details about autograph opportunities, be sure to visit StarWarsWeekends.com prior to your visit.
  • Darth’s Mall – Can’t find the droids you’re looking for? Head over to this new complex of shops near Streets of America for the best selection of Star Wars merchandise in this galaxy or any other!

All this, plus dozens of Star Wars characters appearing throughout the park, yummy Star Wars-inspired treats and the spectacular fireworks finale, “Symphony in the Stars.” It just goes to show you that Star Wars Weekends is as close to the Force as you can get!

Believe it or not, we still have more to share with you in the weeks ahead, so keep checking Disney Parks Blog and StarWarsWeekends.com for updates, and keep the conversation going on social media using #SWW2015!

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

Jedi Knight and TIE-fighter Pilot D-Tech Me Figures Premiere at Star Wars Weekends Starting May 15, 2015

posted on March 27th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’m excited to announce that two new D-Tech Me figurines – a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot – are premiering at Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year.

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First introduced in May 2012, Star Wars – D-Tech Me is a 10-minute experience that uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. The captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine. This year, the experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, near Streets of America across from Studio Catering Company.

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In addition to the new figurines, we will again offer the Carbon-Freeze Me figurine, Alderaan Princess figurine, and male and female options for Stormtrooper and X-Wing pilot figurines.

For children, the Carbon-Freeze Me and Alderaan Princess figurines will be available in more youthful appearances.

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The Star Wars – D-Tech Me 7-inch figurines are $119.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. For 16-inch figurines, retail is $999.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. All participants will receive a specially designed button.

Completed figurines will arrive within 6-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally).

Guests can book their experience by calling 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324) starting March 26. We will only offer the experience during Star Wars Weekends 2015 (May 15 – 17, May 22-24, May 29-31, June 5-7, and June 12-14). Guests attending the Galactic Gathering event on May 14 will be some of the first individuals to experience Star Wars – D-Tech Me this year.

Please note: Separate theme park admission required for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No discounts apply unless otherwise noted. Guests must be at least three (3) years of age to participate in the Star Wars D-Tech Me experience. Children must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. A valid accepted credit card number is required at time of booking. No-shows or reservation cancellations within 48 hours of scheduled experience will result in such credit card being charged a $25 cancellation fee. The experience, due to its personalized nature, is non-refundable and not eligible for an exchange. Certain restrictions may apply. All prices, components and information are subject to change without notice.

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Art In The Garden Returns to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 27-29, 2015

posted on March 25th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I’m happy to announce the return of Art in The Garden to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This annual artist showcase will be held from March 27-29 in several areas throughout World Showcase. Here is a brief listing of which artists will be featured during this year’s event.

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Guests can meet David Doss and Greg McCullough on the World Showcase Promenade from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day. David will release one of his newest images featuring Olaf enjoying summer, while Greg will have artwork featuring Winnie the Pooh and Friends.

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In the Puffin’s Roost at Norway Pavilion, guests can meet Larry Dotson from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day. I love his artwork featuring the Stave Church from the World Showcase Pavilion.

Artist Reinhard Herzog will be in Glas Und Porzellan at Germany Pavilion from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. Known for creating amazing glass-blown keepsakes, Reinhard will release two new ornaments that resemble a bride and groom. He will also have other glass-blown items available for personalization during the event.

Finally, while not art related, I encourage you to attend the free cooking demonstrations held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Port of Entry at the entrance to World Showcase. The 15-minute demos begin at 3:00 p.m. each day and offer guests an opportunity to meet a Disney chef.

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