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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

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8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Top 5 Entertainment Milestones at Disney Parks in 2014

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


There’s nothing our Creative Entertainment team enjoys more than producing amazing live entertainment for our guests. Here are just a few of the new experiences that debuted in Disney Parks around the world in 2014:

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade: Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty"

  1. Disney Festival of Fantasy” Parade – This stunning daytime spectacular took to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park in March with amazingly detailed floats, vibrantly colored costumes, energetic performances, and a fire-breathing dragon – all created on an enormous scale never before seen at Walt Disney World Resort!

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  1. Seasonal Celebrations at Disneyland Paris – Already known for their festivals at Halloween and Christmas, Disneyland Paris took it up two notches this year with lively celebrations of spring and summer. “Swing Into Spring” and “Summertime” brought fresh, new promenades and shows to Main Street and the Castle Stage, along with character appearances and live music throughout both parks at the resort.

“For The First Time in Forever: A ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration”  at Disney's Hollywood Studios

  1. Summer Events at Walt Disney World Resort – It was a summer of hot and cool special events at Walt Disney World Resort. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Harambe Nights honored the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King” with the hottest party this side of Africa, featuring live concerts, celebrity narrators, and an unforgettable nighttime celebration. Meanwhile, “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios cooled things down with ice-skating, real snow, and a procession, sing-along, and fireworks featuring appearances by Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

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  1. New Disney Character Friends – A highlight of any visit to a Disney Park is getting to meet Mickey Mouse and his pals. In 2014, some other characters stopped in to say “Hello!” for the first time. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of Walt Disney’s first cartoon creations, visited Tokyo DisneySea and Disney California Adventure park, where our guests also got to meet Doc McStuffins from Disney Junior. And Hiro and Baymax flew in hot on the heels of the release of their new movie, “Big Hero 6.”

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  1. Nighttime Spectaculars – Disney Parks dazzled after dark in 2014 with the introduction of several new nighttime spectaculars. The award-winning “Once Upon a Time” came to Tokyo Disneyland in summer, and the new “Disney Paint the Night” Parade lit up Hong Kong Disneyland in October. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, nightly “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks debuted during Star Wars Weekends, and even more “Frozen” fun was added to “World of Color – Winter Dreams” at Disney California Adventure park and “Disney Dreams… of Christmas” in Disneyland Paris.

All this, plus the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event over Memorial Day weekend, expansion of Halloween on the High Seas to all four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, and more!

There’s been quite a lot happening in the world of Creative Entertainment this year, and 2015 promises to be even bigger, especially with “Frozen Fun” and the Diamond Celebration coming to Disneyland Resort. Keep reading Disney Parks Blog all year long, and we’ll have the scoop for you. Happy new year!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Top 10 Disney Parks YouTube Videos of 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


In 2014, there were some great Disney Parks YouTube videos shared around by readers, including our “Ultimate Tweet” at the Walt Disney World Resort – our top video of the year.

Take at look at our list of the Top 10 Most Popular Disney Parks YouTube videos in 2014.

1. Behind the Scenes | 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’

2. 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’ | Disney Side | Disney Parks

3. Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ Sing-Along Performed at Walt Disney World Resort | Disney Parks

4. Moms Have a Disney Side too | Mother’s Day | Disney Parks

5. #DisneyKids: First Teacup Ride | Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

6. Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

7. Ursula Moves Into Her Lair at Disney California Adventure Park | Disneyland Resort | Disney Parks

8. #DisneyKids: First Photo at Magic Kingdom Park | Walt Disney World

9. #DisneyKids: Remembering Favorite Attractions at Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

10. ‘Frozen’ Meet & Greet with Anna & Elsa at Epcot | Walt Disney World

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Top Ten Disney Parks Moments that Will Go Down in History from 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


We sure had a lot to celebrate at Disney Parks in 2014, and some of the milestones we experienced this year were memorable ones, with “Frozen” fun debuting at our parks, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening and much more.

That said, here are my top 10 picks for moments that will go down in Disney history for 2014.

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  1. Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort – Thousands of guests dressed as their favorite superhero joined the mad dash through the Disneyland Resort as a part of the very first Avengers Half Marathon. Did you #SmashTheHalf?

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  1. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador – For the first time in history, Aulani welcomed their first Disney Ambassador to represent the resort and engage our guests, cast and community. Janelle Sanqui, Aulani’s first Disney Ambassador, worked in Workforce Management at the resort and was born in Hawaii.

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  1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Reopens at Disneyland ParkBig Thunder Mountain Railroad reopened at Disneyland park back in March. The enhanced attraction debuted with upgraded track, a restored Rainbow Ridge Mining Town and other surprises.

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  1. Themed Hotels Announced for Shanghai Disneyland – In November, we announced that two new themed hotels are planned as a part of Shanghai Disney Resort – the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel.

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  1. Downtown Disney Announcements – Several announcements were made for new restaurants coming to the shopping, dining and entertainment area at Walt Disney World Resort, including three new restaurants – Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando.

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  1. “Frozen Summer Fun” Debuts At Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The first official “Frozen” entertainment offerings made their debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July. The fun included “Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome” procession, For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – and a whole lot of excited guests!

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  1. L’Aventure Totalement Toquee De Remy (Ratatouille) Attraction Opens At Disneyland Park (Paris) – This attraction, and its surrounding La Place de Rémy Courtyard, officially opened July 10, 2014.

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  1. Oswald Begins Greeting Guests At Disney California Adventure Park – This historic Disney character made his first ever appearance at a Disney Park this year. Oswald was one of Walt Disney’s first major animated characters ever developed. Learn more about him here.

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  1. “Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade” Steps Off at Magic Kingdom Park – March 10 marked the arrival of a wonderful new daytime parade at Magic Kingdom Park. A fire-breathing Maleficent, anyone?

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens at Magic Kingdom Park – The final New Fantasyland attraction made its debut at the park on May 28. Have you seen these amazing Audio-Animatronics figures?

Which moment was your favorite? Would you add anything to our list? Let us know in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

One Week Left to Experience ‘The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights’

posted on December 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you haven’t experienced The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios yet, you still have one more week to enjoy this illuminated holiday extravaganza.

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The offering covers the Backlot area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in millions of glittering lights. Periodically the display “dances” to special songs of the season. Be on the lookout for twirling carousels of angels, toy soldiers, a spinning Earth, and Santa and his trusty reindeer.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included in theme park admission and will run through January 4, 2015.

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Caption This: Elves at Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

posted on December 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


One Walt Disney World Resort holiday offering that lasts through January 4, 2015, is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. And it looks like two of Santa’s elves just arrived via subway for one last look.

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Where will they head first? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This!”

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Learn to Draw Scrooge McDuck from ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’

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


This week, our Learn to Draw animation series continues with a lesson on how to draw a character from a classic Disney holiday film, Scrooge McDuck from “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Get ready for step-by-step instructions from Heather Worley of the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


For previous animation tutorials on some of your favorite Disney friends, check out the list below:

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#DisneyKids: First Holiday Visits at the Walt Disney World Resort

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


It’s a special time of the year at the Walt Disney World Resort – and our ongoing #DisneyKids series has showed us, holidays are often the best times for a “first memory.” Whether it’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights or another park experience, there are so many opportunities to make a first memory.

Today, we have a #DisneyKids treat – a first holiday greeting with Mickey.

If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, we’re sharing more fun ideas for the little ones as well as some offers designed with your family in mind on our special preschool page.

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These Are the Gifts You’re Looking For At Disney Parks This Holiday Season

posted on December 19th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I know where I will be almost one year from now – sitting in a movie theater with my son as the opening credits roll for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Being a long-time fan of all things Star Wars, it will be the perfect holiday gift to myself next year. I remember receiving many Star Wars-themed gifts growing up in the late 1970s (the Death Star Space Station playset was one of my favorites!). If you are looking for Star Wars holiday gifts this season, I have a few suggestions of items created especially for Disney Parks.

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I love this fun holiday sweater T-shirt featuring Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and other icons (it’s perfect for winter in Florida).

The Disney Pin team released some new holiday pins including a 9-pin mystery set with Star Wars gingerbread characters.

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If you are looking for toys, there are a few different options including the Starspeeder 1000 vehicle playset inspired by Star Tours – The Adventures Continue; a giant Clone Trooper found only at Disney Parks; and Disney Racers die-cast cars which make for great stocking stuffers.

I also like the Star Wars Droid Factory where you can design and build your own Astromech droid action figure. This experience is offered at Tatooine Traders in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida, and The Star Trader in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park in California.

You can also find other Star Wars items online at DisneyStore.com/StarWars.

May the Holidays Be With You!

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Watch Mickey Mouse Take On Maleficent in 8-Bit Style

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If “Fantasmic!,” the popular nighttime spectacular from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park, were a video game, it might just look like this.

Check out this fun video our digital team created and shared earlier today.

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