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MyMagic+ : 3-D Flyovers of Resorts Added to My Disney Experience

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’ve been following our MyMagic+ updates, then you know My Disney Experience is the key to personalizing your visit. It’s one of several MyMagic+ benefits and tools now available to guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

Recently, the team working on My Disney Experience added some new features, including amazing flyovers of our resorts that we wanted to share with readers.

The 3-D modeling and a “camera view” from inside the animation gives you a great perspective – from birds eye to 360-degrees – at resort features (pools, recreation, monorail, amenities) and proximity to our parks.

Ken Oelerich, a design director on the project, was able to layer creative over Walt Disney World Resort maps and create a 3-D environment with the unique “camera” view. Ken says the team was not limited by where a helicopter could fly to bring the resorts to life for My Disney Experience.

Currently, the new flyovers are for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with Disney’s Polynesian Resort coming soon. Go see the flyovers and other new features at My Disney Experience.

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WonderGround Gallery Joins Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace

posted on July 25th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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One of my favorite places to shop at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort in California is the WonderGround Gallery. Opened in June 2012, the distinctive and eclectic contemporary art location showcases unique art collections by some incredibly talented artists. I have great news for fans who love this location like I do. A small assortment of WonderGround Gallery items was recently added to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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Located just inside the main entrance of the shop, this new addition contains a handful of prints, mugs, magnets, postcards and more from various artists originally featured in the California location.

You may recall that the Marketplace Co-Op was designed to be a testing space for new retail products, store concepts and guest experiences. This small addition is a great example of the flexible space inside the location.

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During my recent visit, I saw a new “Welcome” sign inside the shop (just look at those letters!). I love the “The Village Marketplace Co-Operative” label found on the side of the orange crates. Benches were also added to the center area between the boutiques.

If you are unable to visit the Marketplace Co-Op in Florida or the WonderGround Gallery in California, you can find select items from the location on our Disney Parks online store.

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Disney Parks After Dark: A Peaceful Night at Tom Sawyer Island

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In my opinion, tonight’s “After Dark” image is one of the best we’ve ever shared. It’s a snap of Tom Sawyer Island right at sunset. It’s so calm and serene that it just makes me want to visit again very soon.

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A Journey Through Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you had a chance to experience the “Frozen” Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios yet?

Earlier this month, we shared a look at the new “Frozen Fireworks” show that light up each night. This week we’re taking a look inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, a location set up adjacent to Toy Story Mania! that offers “Frozen” merchandise, ice skating, a snow play area for kids, themed treats, and fun photo ops.

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Check out the photo gallery above for a look at the fun inside.

What’s your favorite “Frozen” summer offering? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.


For more on “Frozen” Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, visit the posts below:

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Spotlight on New Pins Arriving in July 2014 at Disney Parks

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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This summer, the Disney pin team is releasing about 250 new items for guests to collect or trade at Disney Parks. It’s time to turn the spotlight once again on some new pins coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts this month. I spoke with Erin Catalano, the merchandiser behind many of these pins, about some of her favorite selections.

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“There are so many favorite pins we are releasing this month,” exclaimed Erin. “I love the new four-pin chalkboard art set featuring characters from Walt Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The set reminds me of the chalkboard art-inspired home goods found in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida. I also like the vintage Mouseketeer logo as it recall watching the Mickey Mouse Club when I was younger. Finally, Disney’s ‘Hercules’ is one of my favorite animated films, so I included a pin with Hercules and Meg.”

I was happy to see that Blank and Bow, the adorable Vinylmation figures from Valentine’s Day this year, will come to life in pin form.

I also recently spotted the Anna and Elsa pins at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the Frozen Summer Celebration. Those pins are also available in a handful of other locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Speaking of Anna and Elsa, their shoe-inspired ornaments are included in a multi-pin set that contains other character-inspired shoes.

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Finally, I pulled together an image of Chip ‘n’ Dale pins as I thought my fiancée would enjoy seeing them (she’s a super fan of those chipmunks). I also know there are a few fans that will be delighted to see a new “Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers” pin (sing along with me … Ch-ch-ch-ch-Chip…).

Look for these pins in a variety of Disney pin locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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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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Soccer is the Game, Developing Leaders is the Game Plan – Celebrating at Disney Cup International

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


“At the end of the day they don’t remember the scores….. I want them to remember the experience, I want them to remember the feeling.” With that belief at the center of his coaching, Steven Horwood of the Ajax Football Club from Ontario, Canada, has led his team to victory both on and off the pitch. The majority of his team has played together since they were 8-years-old, and now playing in their final season together, Horwood thought the Disney Cup International, Presented by AS Roma was the right thing to do for all they have accomplished.

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Ajax Football Club was one of 239 teams, more than 3,500 players, representing 18 countries, to play in the tournament. Teams from Canada, South America, Aruba and as far away as Australia came to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort to test their skill against international competition.

But before stepping on the plane to come to Disney, before the kick-off whistle blew for their first game, Ajax FC was already a winner when it came to international sportsmanship.

For more than seven years these young women have volunteered more than 3,000 hours in their community helping others. The most notable program has them literally giving away the jerseys off their backs. Through the SOS Children’s Village program the team donates jerseys and soccer equipment to kids in Ghana, Africa. To date they have donated more than 300 uniforms, and expect to send another 200 after the tournament at Disney, as well as some other Disney keepsakes.

“Soccer is the sport but we really wanted to make them community leaders,” said coach Horwood. Helping fellow teammates in Africa is rewarding and raises their awareness of the world around them. Recently the girls received photographs of kids in Africa wearing their jerseys and playing with their equipment. “Growing up soccer has been kind of a lifestyle for me, something I really enjoy, giving the chance to give other kids in Africa the chance to play is fulfilling,” said Ajax FC defensive back Lauren Pugh.

On behalf of everyone at Disney Soccer and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, I want to congratulate Ajax FC for their hard work on and off the pitch. Win or lose, we celebrate the fact you have all scored one of the most important goals of your lives.

For more information on Disney Cup International and other Disney Soccer events, visit espnwwos.com.

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Be Prepared for ‘Villains Unleashed’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


We’re just one month out from August 23, the night a record number of Disney villains – more than 50 in all – will invade Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the park’s new, separately ticketed event, “Villains Unleashed.” While some of the surprises being planned for this one-night-only party remain hidden under a cloak of mystery, other tantalizing details are beginning to emerge, and it’s shaping up to be one fiendishly fun evening!
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  • Hades Hangout - The party kicks off at 8 p.m. at the main event stage, where hosts Hades, Megara, Pain and Panic are killing ‘em with comedy. They’re joined throughout the night by the Underworld Dancers, DJ Igg Nite, live music from Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, and a rogues gallery of roaming rottens, from the Queen of Hearts and Sheriff of Nottingham to the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook.
  • Villains Dominion – For this one special night, the Streets of America area of the park will be swarming with baddies. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to meet favorites like Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Dr. Facilier and Gaston, along with more rarely seen baddies such as Shan Yu from “Mulan,” Bowler Hat Guy from “Meet the Robinsons,” or Captain Gantu and Dr. Hämsterviel from “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.” In addition to these dedicated villain encounters, you may spot even more wandering evildoers in the area. Look for Judge Claude Frollo, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and more!
  • The Dark Side – During “Villains Unleashed,” the area around Star Tours – The Adventures Continue becomes a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the place to find nefarious bounty hunter Boba Fett, Sith apprentice Darth Maul, and the ultimate villain – Darth Vader! And that’s not all! Wandering the area, you’ll stumble upon more malcontents from that galaxy far, far away: Zam Wessel, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, Greedo, Jawas, and others.
  • Villainous Encounters – Visit Stage 4 (where The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction is seen during the day), and you can “Parlay” with the one and only Hector Barbossa. And just around the corner in the Animation Courtyard is where you’ll discover a bit of the Moors, where you can have an audience with the mistress of all evil, Maleficent!
  • Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – Over on Sunset Boulevard, Theater of the Stars presents a production of extreme performances, hosted by the original master of scare-monies, Oogie Boogie. It’s an all-new show that’s sure to thrill!
  • Fantasmic! Strolling up Sunset Boulevard, a gang of villainous henchmen, known as the Night Crawlers, tempt you to join them for a special pre-show to the evening’s performance of Fantasmic!, itself a celebration of the power and intrigue of some of the greatest Disney villains.
  • “Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks – Ultimately, Hades summons Maleficent to the main event stage to close things out with a devilishly dazzling display of pyrotechnics!

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And there’s more! You can get a Villains ExScream Makeover with complimentary face painting at stations around Echo Lake, join in on one of the dance parties taking place in the park, and enjoy a wicked cabaret atmosphere – not to mention some delectable, small-plate menu items – at Club Evil in the Hollywood Brown Derby.

For fans of Disney’s darker characters, “Villains Unleashed” promises to be a nightmare come true! It’s all happening one night only, August 23, 2014, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You won’t want to miss it, so get your tickets now, before they all disappear!

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

Join Us for a Special ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Disney Parks Blog Meet-Up

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE: Our “Guardians of the Galaxy” Disney Parks Blog meet-up has been has been filled to capacity. Click here for a list of official attendees.

Sure, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie hits theaters in August but the Disney Parks Blog is providing a special opportunity to see it early. On Sunday, July 27, 2014, we’re hosting a “Guardians of the Galaxy” Disney Parks Blog meet-up at the AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Walt Disney World Resort.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is an action-packed, epic space adventure where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunter after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

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Our event begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, in AMC Downtown Disney 24. At the meet-up, you’ll be able to watch the “Guardians of the Galaxy” in RealD 3D. Some of the meet-up attendees may be wearing Super Hero costumes (no masks) and it’d be great if you did too, subject to the costume guidelines below.

RSVP now by sending us an email titled “Guardians of the Galaxy’ Meet-Up” with your name, address and if you’ll be bringing a guest to WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com. Only one guest is permitted. A limited number of people will be able to attend the event, so be one of the first to sign up.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All attendees who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” is rated PG-13.
  • Costumes should adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney including:
    • Costumes should not be obstructive, offensive or violent; drag on the ground; contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another guest; contain any weapons or objects which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon. Masks will not be permitted.

  • Costumes are also subject to any rules posted or otherwise provided by AMC Downtown Disney 24 including without limitation the following AMC notice: “We will not allow any guests into our theatres in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings.”
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • We will send a confirmation email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in at the AMC Downtown Disney 24 West Side for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

This post will be updated after the planned capacity has been reached.

Also, here are some other things to know:

  • This is an advance screening of the film. Closed Captioning and Descriptive Video services may not be available.
  • Please arrive early. Seating is first come, first seated. No one will be admitted late. We may refuse, revoke or limit admission in our sole discretion at any time.
  • NO RECORDING

The screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any video or audio recording devices (including, without limitation, cameras) into the venue and you consent to a physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device during this screening, you consent to your immediate removal from the venue and forfeiture of your recording device and its contents. Any attempted unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. We reserve the right to pursue any and all available remedies at law and in equity for any unauthorized recording and/or copyright infringement, including without limitation statutory damages of up to $150,000 per violation, and nothing contained in this notice shall be construed to limit our available remedies and/or legal recourse. You assume all risks of personal injury arising from or incidental to attending the screening, whether occurring prior to, during, or after the event. Further, by attending you grant permission to Disney Destinations, LLC, its licensees, licensors, affiliates and agents, to record and utilize your name, voice and likeness to publicize the screening and promote the movie.

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New Renderings Offer A Glimpse at the Future Access to Disney Springs

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


If you’ve visited Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort lately, you’ve most likely noticed the many changes underway as the area transforms into Disney Springs – it’s the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history and, when completed, will double the area’s number of dining and retail options. Through this expansion, guests can continue to enjoy more than 70 themed and immersive shopping, dining and entertainment venues day and night. One of my personal favorites is the new Marketplace Co-Op, which has unique Disney boutique shops and has been featured several times here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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The surrounding roadways and parking areas at Downtown Disney are growing too and will eventually offer easier access to the area. Today we have two new renderings to share with you that showcase the work that is already underway, which includes widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to 10 lanes and constructing two multilevel garages (the first of which, pictured above, is set to open by late 2014 to offer 4,000 parking spaces). Two pedestrian bridges are also planned that will help lead guests into Disney Springs near the current Marketplace side, while the other will offer access in through the West Side.

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As you can see above, the changes will also include a new I-4 interchange that will offer guests direct access to Disney Springs.

All of this work is part of the area’s transformation into Disney Springs, which will continue into 2016. The first phase of the expansion, an area called The Landing, will open in 2015 to offer lakefront shopping and dining. In the meantime, if you are planning to visit Downtown Disney for activities with set times, such as Cirque du Soleil performances, concerts or movies, early arrival is suggested.

Be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for future updates.

For more on Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, click the link below:

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