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Happy Fourth of July from Disney Parks

Behind the Scenes: Creating Anna & Elsa Topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 4th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


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Have you taken your photo yet with the Anna and Elsa topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? It’s this year’s must-have selfie or photo spot. And we have two former Horticulture interns to thank. Let me explain …

When our creative experts in Horticulture decided to design Anna and Elsa in plant and flower form, they needed models to help create the frames that serve as the foundation for the topiaries.

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Sarah Lanners, a senior at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Jordan McGee, a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University, worked with our Horticulture team during the summer. They were asked to be the pose models for the royal sisters.

“I was absolutely thrilled to represent the ‘Frozen’ princess,” Sarah said.

“I was thrilled! I love ‘Frozen’!” Jordan told me. “I have always been partial to Anna. She may not have super powers, but … she has a beautiful amount of faith in herself and her sister.”

You can see from the photo how Sarah and Jordan had to pose in a Horticulture workroom. You can imagine, a lot of technology and steps go into concept, to creation of a model, to the creation of a topiary – and both Sarah and Jordan told me they found the whole process fascinating.

“In my own geeky horticulture way I instantly thought about how I would inadvertently be a Disney Princess in the most coolest way possible and that as long as this topiary is a part of Disney then so am I,” Sarah said. “This is something that most would consider a dream come true.”

“I was thrilled to do my small part in supporting ‘Frozen,’” Jordan said. “Being sculpted in plants is the coolest thing ever!”

Head to the entrance to World Showcase and check out the royal sisters from Arrendelle … and thanks Sarah and Jordan, and the Horticulture team!

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Commemorative ‘May the 4th’ Items Coming to Disney Parks for Star Wars Fans on May 4

posted on May 4th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Being a long-time fan of Star Wars, I love visiting Disney Parks on May 4. This annual, fan-proclaimed “Star Wars Day” is a great day to ride Star Tours – The Adventures Continue with other fans who grew up in the Star Wars universe like I did. Here is a quick look at some commemorative items we’ve created to celebrate this day-long celebration at Disney Parks on May 4.

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This year, fans will find two T-shirts – one with Jedi Mickey for “May the 4th” and one with Goofy dressed as Darth Vader for “Revenge of the 5th.” The same artwork was used on two limited edition pins. A matching water bottle will be released in Florida only.

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A new 9-inch plush of an Ewok named Teebo will be released in both California and Florida that day.

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Guests in Florida will find two open edition MagicBands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with stylized images of Luke Skywalker and a Stormtrooper. Each will have a retail of $19.95; they both can be “linked later” making them great gifts.

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I’m also excited to share that we will release the Second Edition Star Wars headphones by SMS Audio, the official headphones of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. This second series depicts fan favorite themes such as Tie Fighter, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Darth Vader. These headphones will only be found at Tatooine Traders in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Finally, we will release an “I Am Your Father’s Day” shirt on the Disney Parks online store from May 4-10 at DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents. Please allow 3-5 weeks for delivery.

At Disneyland Resort, guests should look for the T-shirts, pins and plush at Little Green Men Store Command in Disneyland park and at Disney’s Pin Traders in Downtown Disney District. The T-shirts and plush will also be offered at D-Street.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, guests should visit the following locations to find select items: Tatooine Traders, Mickey’s of Hollywood, Beverly Sunset and Studio Prop Shop.

May the 4th Be With You!

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Exclusive Sneak Peek of Disney•Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Coming to Epcot This Summer

posted on May 1st, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Have you ever looked at someone and wondered what’s going on inside their head? Disney•Pixar’s original new film “Inside Out” takes us inside the mind to find out, and this summer at Epcot, you can go inside “Inside Out” for a special preview of the movie. This sneak peek will offer guests an advance look at a sequence from the film, complete with special in-theater effects and an exclusive introduction from the filmmakers.

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“Inside Out” ventures inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley and introduces us to the Emotions that guide her: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. Based in Headquarters, the five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. “Inside Out” is directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”, “Up”) and produced by Jonas Rivera (“Up”) with an original score by Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up”).

This sneak peek opportunity begins May 30, following our special preview of Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” playing at the Imagination Pavilion theater at Epcot now through May 24. When visiting Epcot, you can also enjoy the “Inside Out” Emotion Garden as part of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in theaters on June 19, 2015.

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot: May 2015

posted on April 29th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


See what’s happening in the world of Merchandise Special Events this May at Walt Disney World Resort!

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April 29 – May 3: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings April 29 – May 3 from 1 – 9 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot and May 18 – 23 and 27 – 31, from 1 – 9 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

April 30 – May 3: Meet artist Larry Dotson, April 30 – May 3 (throughout the day) at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for additional appearances by Larry, May 14 – 17 at Art of Disney, Epcot. Learn more.

May 1-2: Need a gift for Mother’s Day? Stop by Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace where you can find some of the latest releases from PANDORA and just the gift you’ve been looking for. Learn more.

May 1 – 11: Representatives from Precious Moments dolls will be on hand for the debut of the Precious Moments Mother’s Day Collection. Meet the representatives and see the dolls throughout the day, each day, at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Artist Appearance Tip: Look for a special appearance by designer and artist Linda Rick, May 8 – 10. Learn more.

May 8 – 9: Disney Fine Art artist, Michelle St. Laurent, will be on hand for a special appearance from 3 – 9 p.m., each day at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

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May 8 – 9: Join us as we welcome artist Liana Hee to WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 4 -7 p.m. each day. Learn more.

May 8 – 16: Stop in and find some of the latest releases by artist David E. Doss from 1 – 9 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

May 14: We are summoning the most loyal in the galaxy to gather at the Galactic Gathering Event on May 14, 2015 between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A limited number of tickets to this special merchandise event are still available. Learn more.

May 15 – June 14: Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Fridays – Sundays for Star Wars Weekends. Darth’s Mall is expanding to a three-location complex and is your one-stop galactic destination for commemorative merchandise. Tip: Take part in special artist appearances and signings each weekend. Learn more.

Are you curious what else we have up our sleeve? Here are a few other events to keep in mind.

June 20: A new hand-painted limited edition Ink & Paint cel, titled Ariel and Friends, will make a splash at the Animation Gallery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Look for appearances by the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 5 p.m. on the day of release. Not able to make it? A special pre-purchase opportunity will be available May 4 through June 18, 2015. Learn more.

September 11 – 12: Wanna trade? Tickets to this year’s GenEARation D event are available now and are in limited supply. Don’t miss out! Find out all the details and get a sneak peek inside the merchandise catalog for the event. Learn more.

Which event are you most excited for?

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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!

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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.

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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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