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PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This year’s D23 Expo was chock full of fun for Disney Parks fans, and highlights of the weekend were three special sessions dedicated to honoring Disney’s history and heritage, sharing news on what’s next for Disney Parks around the world, and offering sneak peeks at upcoming Disney films.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony” was held Friday, August, 14, and honored eight individuals for their unique contributions to the success of The Walt Disney Company. Among them were a few people who have specifically shaped or inspired Disney Parks experiences – or even were a part of our park’s history, including Disneyland’s first ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto, filmmaker George Lucas, and star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise Johnny Depp.

ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)

On Saturday, August 15, D23 Expo guests were treated to a “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios” presentation, which gave an overview of upcoming Disney films. Some of these films already have connections to existing Disney Parks attractions – and who knows what future park experiences may be inspired by some of these new films.

JOHNNY DEPP

During this session, several celebrities made surprise appearances in which they talked about their love of Disney Parks and share their enthusiasm for their new films, including Johnny Depp who dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”); Mia Wasikowska (“Alice Through The Looking Glass”); Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: Civil War”); and Bryce Dallas Howard (“Pete’s Dragon”).

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau also appeared with the upcoming film’s castmates, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Neel Sethi, and surprised them (and the audience) with a first look at footage from the film. Seeing their reactions was priceless – especially young Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli in the film.

OSCAR ISAAC, JOHN BOYEGA, LUPITA NYONG'O, DAISY RIDLEY, J.J. ABRAMS, HARRISON FORD, ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios), ROBERT A. IGER (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company)

The new cast of “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” also made an appearance with writer/director J.J. Abrams and special guest Harrison Ford. Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger closed the session by announcing plans for Star Wars-themed lands for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (Read more on that here).

BOB CHAPEK (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts)

Another highlight of this year’s D23 Expo for Disney Parks fans was the “Parks & Resorts Presentation,” at which Disney leaders unveiled plans for Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, details on the Star Wars-themed lands planned for Disney Parks, Soarin’ Around the World, and updates on Shanghai Disneyland.

JON LANDAU, JAMES CAMERON, JOE ROHDE

Filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau joined Imagineer Joe Rohde to announce the official name of the land Pandora – The World of AVATAR, which is currently under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They also shared the name of the land’s major attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage, which will allow guests to soar on a banshee.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

During the event, superhero mastermind Stan Lee also made a surprise appearance to help Imagineer Ted Robledo announce plans for The Iron Man Experience for Hong Kong Disneyland.

Be sure to click through all of the photo galleries above for a look inside each presentation.

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VIDEO: Disney Parks Announces Expansions and Enhancements at D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


It was a big weekend for Disney fans! The D23 EXPO 2015 was packed with news from across The Walt Disney Company, including major announcements from Disney Parks. New 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot and Disney California Adventure park and many more exciting announcements have kept fans buzzing for days. Take a look back!

Check out all the Disney Parks news from D23 EXPO 2015:

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Favorite Disney Parks Attractions Now Available on the Show Your Disney Side App

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


The Show Your Disney Side App that makeovers your selfies into Disney and Star Wars characters can now transform your photos into characters from favorite Disney Parks attractions. As we unveiled at the D23 Expo last week, show your Disney Side with Toy Story Midway Mania!, Enchanted Tales with Belle and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

You can become Buzz Lightyear, Woody or the spunky Jessie, the beautiful Belle, uber machismo Gaston and the Prince/Beast, sweet Snow White, the evil Maleficent, and Doc. With each new attraction, the app doesn’t just spruce up your photos, some even have cool animation. You’ll definitely want to share these images.

To get in on the fun, download the free Show Your Disney Side App from the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod touch at DisneySideApp.com. Don’t forget these tips: smile big, make sure your hair isn’t blocking your face, and take your photo in front of plain background. And don’t forget: these creations are made for sharing. We look forward to seeing you – and your Disney Side – on social media.

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Toy Story Land To Come To Life At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We have some exciting news to share today. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek just unveiled plans for Toy Story Land, to be built at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. The new land, inspired by the “Toy Story” film franchise, will allow guests to shrink to the size of a toy and explore the world of Andy’s backyard.

Toy Story Land Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

According to Imagineer Kathy Mangum, Toy Story Land was inspired by the overwhelming guest response to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort.

“As all of you know, here in Anaheim, we’ve been quite successful with taking immersive experiences to a whole new level as we did with Cars Land. In fact, one of our favorite stories from opening day is that we overheard a little boy asking his mom, ‘Is this where they filmed the Cars movie?'” Kathy said. “That’s exactly how we want people to feel – like they’ve stepped onto the set of their favorite film … like the quaint town of Radiator Springs or, in the case of ‘Toy Story,’ the wild and adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard.”

When Toy Story Land opens at the park, guests will be able to play with some of their favorite toys at two new attractions that will be unique to the Walt Disney World Resort, plus one expanded favorite:

Toy Story Land Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – Guests board Slinky Dog’s back for a thrilling toy-filled coaster adventure that’s ideal for the entire family.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers – but beware The Claw!
  • Toy Story Mania! – This current guest-favorite attraction, which allows guests to take aim at 3D objects in into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set, will expand with more midway track that takes you into the world under Andy’s bed where he’s built a carnival-style midway.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more details. In the meantime, tell us what you think of the Toy Story Land announcement in the “Comments” section below!

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Star Wars Enhancements, New Experiences Coming Soon to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay and Season of the Force, guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts will soon be able to step into the Star Wars galaxy like never before!

Star Wars Launch Bay Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park

Star Wars Launch Bay will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park. Also at Disneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with Super Heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.

Hyperspace Mountain Coming for Season of the Force at Disneyland Park

Season of the Force, a new seasonal event beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will also climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Later this year, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.

Finally, Jedi Training Academy – a favorite of younger fans – will be reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series, “Star Wars Rebels.”

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Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger Announces Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

Today at the D23 EXPO 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced to an audience of more than 7,500 fans that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., allowing Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

Ambitious plans to bring Star Wars to life in the two parks include creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

Artist Concept Shows Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

Artist Concept Shows Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more news coming out of D23 EXPO 2015 this afternoon from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation.

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Plan Your Walt Disney World Resort Holiday Vacation Now

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


Are you considering taking a trip to Walt Disney World Resort during the holiday season? Today we’re excited to share our list of holiday happenings with you. Read on.

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Magic Kingdom Park
The holidays will return to Magic Kingdom Park on November 8, with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This year the park will host 20 party nights: November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 29; and December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18. Parties begin at 7 p.m. and include Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas! Dance Party, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks and much more. Buy tickets now at Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty.

Epcot
Epcot’s Holidays Around the World and Candlelight Processional will return to the park November 27-December 30. Holidays Around the World brings the international pavilions alive with holiday cheer, including a Christkindlmarkt in the Germany pavilion and performances by Joyful! gospel. The Candlelight Processional, a show that combines the reading of traditional scripture with live music, is performed three times nightly at 5, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will return to the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016. This holiday offering transforms this part of the park with millions of glittering lights, mobile displays and holiday music. It’s also included in theme park admission.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
During the holiday season, guests will be able to take holiday photos with Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost at the park. Mickey and Minnie will be dressed in their holiday best, which makes for the perfect Christmas card image.

If you’re planning a visit during the holiday season, don’t forget to check out our latest offers. The Magic Together Fall Vacation Package is a 4-day/4-night room and theme park ticket package in a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts for a family of four starting at $1,701. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers/fall-together.

Families can also save up to 25 percent on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels most nights October 4 through November 24, 2015 and November 28 through December 23, 2015. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers.

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Summertime Update About Retail MagicBands and Accessories at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As the “Coolest Summer Ever” continues at Walt Disney World Resort, I wanted to give you an update about several new retail MagicBands and accessories. These items are a great way to show your Disney Side during your vacation. Here is a look at some of my favorites.

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The open edition retail MagicBands featuring Steamboat Willie and characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” are currently available in select merchandise locations.

On August 14, we will release two additional open edition retail MagicBands. One will have Winnie the Pooh while the other will feature Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Open edition retail MagicBands have a retail of $19.95 each. Like all other retail MagicBands, these open edition items can be linked later making them great gifts.

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At the beginning of the year, we released a retail MagicBand with an image of Cinderella Castle from Magic Kingdom Park. Later this month, we will have three additional open edition retail MagicBands for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m thrilled to see Figment on the Epcot-themed MagicBand!

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Some of the coolest MagicBand accessories I’ve seen are the attraction-themed MagicSliders. These small rectangular images easily slide onto the side of a MagicBand. They are a great way to either showcase your favorite Disney attractions or to keep track of which ones you’ve experienced.

Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort

There are three attraction sliders per MagicSlider pack. Look for three different packs of Magic Kingdom Park attractions, and two packs each for attractions at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each pack has a retail of $6.95.

Finally, we are now offering some of the Disney character MagicBands including Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck on our Disney Parks online store. You can find them along with select MagicBand accessories by visiting this page.

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Reservations Now Open for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine

posted on August 6th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Even though we’re in the middle of summer, some of us have started to have visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads. If you’re wondering about holiday dining plans at Walt Disney World Resort, we’ve just added one more option. Reservations open today for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine—a new dining experience taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select dates between November 7, 2014 and January 3, 2015.

Celebrate the holiday season with Minnie Mouse as she hosts a festive dinner with her friends Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and special guest—Santa Goofy. Holiday-themed décor, food, music and activities make Hollywood & Vine the perfect place to deck the halls with family and friends.

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Reservations can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/DINE or call 407-WDW-DINE. Cost is $46.99 for adults, $27.99 for children or counts as one table-service entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Fantasmic! dining is also available with Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine and is $52.99 for adults and $31.99 for children (plus tax and gratuity).

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#DisneyFamilia: Celebridades Enjoy Magical Vacations at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 5th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager


What do a soccer player, a rock star and an actress have in common? They know where to vacation with their families: Walt Disney World Resort!

Recently, we spotted the following celebrities enjoying time with their familias and taking a break from their busy schedules to visit our theme parks, where they took photos with their favorite Disney characters, rode iconic attractions and had lots of diversión (fun).

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Fher, lead singer of the rock band Maná, visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom, su parque favorito en Disney (his favorite Disney theme park) and posed with Rafiki. Fher, director of the nature conservation organization Selva Negra, is the Spanish narrator of the Disneynature film “Planet Earth.”

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Colombian soccer star Radamel Falcao García met Minnie Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park with his princesas (princesses): wife Lorelai and daughters Dominique and Desirée. The girls were crazy about meeting Minnie and they even wore the famous pink Minnie ears during the encuentro (encounter)!

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Many won’t recognize the name of Carmen Sarahí, but they may have heard her voice plenty of times in the Latin-American version of “Frozen.” The singer and actress recently visited Walt Disney World Resort to enjoy all that Frozen Summer Fun offers to our guest. She even got to sing to Olaf, her favorite snowman!

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