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#coolestsummer: Hollywood Cool

posted on July 31st, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Disney’s Hollywood Studios seems to be getting more and more cool and exciting, thanks in no small part to its starry “Frozen-ality”. All of these are oh-so-very cool:

For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration. Choose a row and move all the way down to the last available comfy, cushioned seat in the Hyperion Theater and watch the story highlights of Disney’s “Frozen” unfold through songs by Oscar winners Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. (The words appear on the screen so everyone can sing). Princess Anna opens the show, presenting the Royal Historians of Arendelle, Eric and Arianna (perhaps the funniest comedy duo since Stiller and Meara). Kristoff also takes the stage, as well as a certain frost-wielding Queen, bringing her own magical “snow” for your marveling pleasure.

Frozen Fever. During Frozen Summer Fun, you see this charming animated short “sequelette” to Disney’s “Frozen” on a big movie screen, and also get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this gem, and a glimpse at the upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection. The upcoming Blu-ray release features twelve acclaimed animated masterpieces. Some of these shorts, like “Paperman,” “Get a Horse!” and “Tangled Ever After,” preceded Disney movies in theaters, plus a few that you might be seeing for the first time, like “Lorenzo” and “Tick Tock Tale.”

Voyage of The Little Mermaid. How perfect is this for getting out of the warmish and into the coolish? It’s as if the entire ocean enfolds the theater as a live-action version of highlights from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” tell the story along with animation, lasers, special effects and that magnificent Alan Menken/Howard Ashman music. You’ll even see Ariel go from finned to footed before your eyes!

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This all-time great thrill attraction always lets you down, but in a fun, screamie way. But it’s also extremely cool because of its meticulously detailed setting of a classic old-Hollywood luxury hotel, now faded and creeped out. My favorite thing to do is to explore the library and pick out the items representing “Twilight Zone” TV episodes (the book, “To Serve Man”, the fortune telling machine, an envelope filled with recording tape with Rod Serling’s name on it, etc). You don’t have to go down the falling elevator to see the library; just ask a cast member how to use the detour in the boiler room.

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Fantasmic! Mickey is the mighty hero of this nighttime superspectacular that takes place on a massive, mountainous stage surrounded by a river. The non-stop action, fantasy fountains and furious firebursts combine and build to an electrifying finale under the stars. There’s a lot of music, too – a boatload of great Disney tunes and lots of Disney Characters! Tip: Get a reserved VIP spot for Fantasmic! with this keen dining package.

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – August 2015

posted on July 31st, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort? Be sure to check out these special artist appearances and signings taking place in August 2015!

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August 6 – 17: Representatives from Precious Moments dolls will be on hand for the release of some of their newest dolls, among other fan favorites. Meet the representatives and see the dolls throughout the day, each day, at their new location, Marketplace Fun Finds in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Tip: Artist & Doll Designer Linda Rick will be on hand for a special appearance and signing Aug. 8 – 9. Learn more.

August 6 – 9: Artist William Silvers will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his newest releases, August 6 – 9 from 12 – 8 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in Epcot. Not able to make it? William will return for additional signing opportunities August 13 – 16 from 1 – 9 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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August 8: Meet artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith who will be on hand for a special artist showcase and signing from 4 – 7 p.m. in WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

August 10 – 15: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings August 10 – 15 from 1 – 8 p.m., each day at Art of Disney in Epcot. Not able to make it? Greg will return later in the month, August 24 – 29 from 1 – 8 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

August 13 – 14: A Kit Heath representative will be on hand to show their jewelry collections at The Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot. Learn more.

August 14: Take part in Trading Night from 6 -9 p.m. p.m. in Veracruz A at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Register online now!

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August 19 – 21: Meet Fragrance Designer Geir Ness throughout the day at The Puffin’s Roost in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. Learn more.

August 19 – 23: Take part in a special Givenchy fragrance event at Plume et Palette in the France Pavilion at Epcot.

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August 21 – 22: Meet artist Whitney Pollett during a special artist signing at WonderGround Gallery in Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace from 5 – 8 p.m., each day. Learn more.

August 28 – 30: Game on! Be there for the launch of Disney Infinity 3.0 taking place throughout the day, each day, at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Be sure to watch the Disney Parks Blog for more details.

Throughout the month look for other additional appearances and signings at select World Showcase pavilion locations in Epcot, including Le Plume et Palette and La Signature in France, The Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom and Puffins Roost in Norway. Learn more.

Which events will you check out?

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#DisneyKids: Little Ones & Water Parks at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 31st, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


The two water parks at Walt Disney World Resort are well-known for their exhilarating attractions like towering water slides and an exciting surf pool, but did you know that Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are also amazing places to take preschoolers? With summer heat in full swing, the water parks are a great option for keeping cool with even the littlest kids. And don’t worry, there is plenty for you to experience together, even if they can’t quite swim yet.

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At Typhoon Lagoon, there is a dedicated area called Ketchakiddee Creek, that’s specifically for children under 48” tall. What my preschooler loves about this water zone is that feels like its just as exciting as the larger park that her older siblings get to explore, so she doesn’t feel left out. Ketchakiddee Creek features side-by-side slides, an inner-tube rapids ride, a cave with a waterfall and lots more. While my youngest can’t dive into the water to snorkel at Shark Reef, she loves to wander around on shore and check out the colorful fish, stingrays and sharks in the man-made coral reef below. She could spend hours there looking for Dory and Nemo!

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Over at Blizzard Beach, Tikes Peak gives younger kids a sense of being in the middle of an icy adventure complete with mini snow-banked slides, chutes running through the snow, and an igloo fortress with spouting pop-up jets. I like the sandy beach around the area so I can hang out with my little one while she builds sandcastles. Now that she is just tall enough (32” tall) to experience the chairlift to the top of Mount Gushmore, we can take a leisurely ride all the way to the mountaintop and get an incredible view of the park below – and watch all of the daredevils head down the “slopes” of more thrilling attractions like Summit Plummet.

And at the end of the day, you can always count on Mickey ice cream bars to bring the entire family together at the bottom of the water slides!

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Disney Parks After Dark: The BOATHOUSE Shines at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 30th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you had a chance to try out The BOATHOUSE Restaurant in The Landing area of Downtown Disney yet? The restaurant, which opened just a few months ago, offers diners delicious food, great views of the water, and the chance to experience some floating fun aboard an AquaCar and other watercrafts.

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The BOATHOUSE sure looks lovely at night!

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Live Entertainment Takes the Stage at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 30th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, shopping, dining and entertainment are still at the forefront of all we do here. Lately, the latter is stealing the spotlight in a big way!

In a typical week, up to twenty different acts take the stage, performing roughly 300 sets. Whether you fancy freestyle rap, delight to the notes of the didgeridoo, or prefer to sway to the sounds of a sultry saxophone, chances are, you can find it at Downtown Disney.

I spend most of my time here during the daylight hours, and although I know we have an incredibly full talent lineup, even I was surprised by how much live music I encountered throughout the West Side during my latest nighttime visit to the property. On most evenings, the West Side comes alive with musical flair by 6:30 p.m.

Visiting earlier? At the Marketplace, performances start at 12:30 p.m. daily near Dockside Margaritas. I recently saw one of my favorites, Pat Frost, a master who mixes steel drums, the ukulele and conch shells (yes, conch shells!) to create a unique sound that you won’t find anywhere else at Walt Disney World Resort.

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If carefree island music isn’t for you, fear not … at this locale, you can also hear everything from pop hits to new age world music. Entertainment Manager Jenni Kloote Quick shared, “we look for musicians with a fun, laid back vibe. We want them to have an inviting attitude and welcome guests to stay and enjoy the great combination of world-class music and gorgeous water views.”

No matter what your style – classical, Latin rock, or Top 40 tunes – it’s here!

Who’s your favorite act at Downtown Disney? Share in the comments below … I’d love to know!

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Download Our Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Starring Aerosmith Wallpaper

posted on July 30th, 2015 by Simone Miranda, Creative & Translation Services Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


How the years have zoomed by. We are celebrating the 16th anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster this week!

Artist Jeff Maurer on our team took the exhilaration of the ride and turned it into a rockin’ neon rendition of a wall paper. Enjoy!

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Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it. And check out our complete gallery of wallpapers here.

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New Look and Products Found in Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 30th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Disney’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith celebrates another anniversary this week. This super fast attraction originally opened in 1999 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I still recall my first ride with my father during that summer many years ago. Recently, I stopped by Rock Around the Shop, the merchandise location found at the attraction, to check out the latest rockin’ products.

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Periodically, our location planning and merchandise presentation teams make adjustments to merchandise shops. There are a variety of reasons for these changes including testing new products or improving visual statements. The last time I wrote about this location was in April 2013 (see this Disney Parks Blog article). For this latest incarnation, gone are the giant “Rockin’ Gear” graphics which were replaced with images of audio speakers and other vibrant graphic patterns.

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The shop also has a few new items not previously offered including an art gallery featuring the works of Jerrod Maruyama (I’m a big fan of his hipster Mickey art). There is also an expanded line of women’s apparel and accessories.

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The shop still offers various Aerosmith and attraction T-shirts and accessories for women and men.

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Finally, the location now carries headphones by SMS Audio, the official headphones of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Happy anniversary to my favorite super stretch limousine!

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PHOTO GALLERY: Special Images of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 28th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week in Disney History, “Alice In Wonderland” was released in theaters in 1951. The film, based on the story penned by Lewis Carroll, tells the story of a daring young girl who follows a certain white rabbit down a rabbit hole – and of the adventures that follow.

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Today, you can often meet Alice at Magic Kingdom Park at the Mad Tea Party. Be sure to check the MyDisneyExperience App for her latest schedule.

Thanks to Ryan Wendler for the great portraits. To check out more in our series, see the list below.

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

Top 5 Picks for Lunch on the Walt Disney World Monorail

posted on July 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


A lunchtime getaway on the monorail is one of our favorite tips for Magic Kingdom Park guests – take a leisurely mid-day break, then return energized to the park for more fun and fireworks.

Here are our five favorite stops, where you should be able to grab a seat without a reservation (though it’s nice to plan in advance).

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  1. Kona Cafe, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Just steps from the resort’s monorail station, this casual spot is the quickest getaway for a table-service lunch. This might be the biggest challenge without a reservation, so best to call ahead (sometimes early or late lunches work best without a reservation). The dish to taste: fish tacos with seared tilapia, tomato salsa and mango mayonnaise, also a great selection of hand-crafted sushi made to order. And, yes, the legendary Kilauea Torte is still on the menu.
  2. The Wave… of American Flavors, Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Jog downstairs to the first floor from the monorail station to this casual table-service restaurant. Again, reservations are nice, but not always necessary. Dish to taste: the build-your-own burger with Florida-raised and grass-fed beef. Add a little candied bacon, caramelized onions, guacamole – lots of delicious toppings. Organic draft beer too.
  3. Grand Floridian Cafe, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The monorail stops on the second floor, so make your way to the lobby to this airy, pleasant cafe where you reservations are preferred but not necessary. Dish to taste: the tuna Niçoise salad with a medium-rare tuna steak with greens, eggs, fingerling potatoes, green beans, Kalamata olive and tomatoes, served with fresh black olive bread. You can always add a glass of wine.

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  1. Contempo Cafe, Disney’s Contemporary Resort. No reservations necessary, and it’s just steps from the monorail station of the resort’s fourth floor. Contempo Cafe is quick service, and a fun diversion from Magic Kingdom Park. The specialty cupcakes and desserts are not to be missed. Dish to taste: the hot smoked turkey sandwich with Brie, arugula, green apple slices, apple butter and honey mustard on challah bread. Fries on the side.

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  1. Epcot. So it’s impossible to choose just one restaurant, and this requires a much longer departure from Magic Kingdom Park, but it’s doable, and reservations are best. While it’s a hike from the monorail stop to the World Showcase restaurants, a quicker stroll is Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas with Nemo & Friends – and you get a dazzling live show from the fish, sharks, turtles and rays in the giant aquarium. Dish to taste: the divine lobster bisque with tarragon and brandy has been on the menu since Day 1, but the grilled New York strip steak is a crowd pleaser.

Tell us your favorite! For reservations visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Garden Grill Restaurant Breakfast and Lunch Reservations Open Today

posted on July 28th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Tucked into the back of the Land pavilion at Epcot, Garden Grill Restaurant is known for family-style food, unique views of the “Living with the Land” attraction, and fun antics and interactions with our favorite chipmunks — Chip ‘n’ Dale.

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Beginning November 8, Garden Grill Restaurant will begin serving up breakfast and lunch in addition to dinner. The new Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Breakfast Harvest Feast will have all the fixin’s served in an all-you-care-to-enjoy family style. What’s on the menu? Look for breakfast favorites like biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Mickey waffles, and their signature item, Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake.

At lunch, look for your all-you-care-to-enjoy favorites from the dinner menu, like “Living with the Land” Harvest-inspired Farmer’s Salad (which utilizes greens from the attraction), char-grilled sliced filet of beef, roasted all-natural sliced turkey breast with freshly-harvested vegetables and scrumptious side dishes.

For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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