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Found Photo: Orange Bird Visits Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park, 1971

posted on March 25th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As a part of my job I occasionally get to spend some time sorting through our photo archives here at Walt Disney World Resort, and every time I do, I seem to stumble upon something I just have to share with you Disney history fans. Such was the case when I came upon this rare photo of Orange Bird at Magic Kingdom Park. Over the years, we’ve released several pictures of Orange Bird in his native environment of Adventureland (and during his brief stint at Downtown Disney), but what’s unique about this photo is that it was snapped on June 11, 1971 – several months before the park’s October 1 opening. You can see that construction on Tropical Serenade (now Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room) was still underway in the background. Maybe he was looking for the perfect place to build his own birdhouse?

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After the park opened, Orange Bird greeted families near Sunshine Tree Terrace for several years, where guests could also buy citrus drinks and Orange Bird merchandise. Orange Bird also once had his own record, which was released in 1971 to feature a tune called “The Orange Bird Song” that was composed by the Sherman Brothers (of “Mary Poppins” fame).

Orange Bird returned to Magic Kingdom Park in April 2012, when an Orange Bird statue was retrieved from the WDI Sculpture Studio in California and returned to the land’s Sunshine Tree Terrace. Today, guests can still find Orange Bird cups and merchandise at Magic Kingdom Park.

For more Orange Bird, check out the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Open at the Downtown Disney Area at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 24th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


My office is smack dab in the middle of Downtown Disney Marketplace, so I have a front row seat to all the enhancements coming to the property as we transform into Disney Springs. Some days, the progress is subtle, but last week, there was no denying that change was in the air (literally). Towering above Buena Vista Drive, a new pedestrian bridge was installed in the early morning hours of March 19 – when I came to work on Thursday, there it was, extending from the Team Disney area across the roadway to Downtown Disney.

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Our friends at Reedy Creek Improvement District worked closely with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney Springs Project Team on this impressive piece of infrastructure. Upon completion, the bridge will weigh 190 tons (or as much 50 average-sized elephants!). While there is still work to be done, it’s expected to be open to guests and cast members later this spring. A second pedestrian bridge, located near Hotel Plaza Boulevard, will open later this summer.

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Have you visited the Downtown Disney area lately? With new retail locations now open, the Village Causeway now fully accessible, and a new restaurant – The BOATHOUSE – set to open next month, this pedestrian bridge is just one more sign of what’s to come. Which one are you most excited about? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to know!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Days of Past: Downtown Disney Marks a Milestone

posted on March 22nd, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Downtown Disney turns 40 today. Guests visiting today have quite a different experience than the shopping experience back in 1975 when the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened.

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Home to shops like the Pottery Chalet, Posh Pets Etc., Toys Fantastique, and Gourmet Pantry (yep, it’s 40 years old too!), the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village was made up of shops in what we know today as the Marketplace. Pleasure Island didn’t welcome guests until 1989 and the West Side didn’t open until 1997.

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Even at 40, Downtown Disney continues to transform and grow at Walt Disney World Resort. Through 2016, the property will welcome over 75 new venues as it undergoes its largest ever expansion, transforming into Disney Springs.

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Cinderella Coach is a Magical Treat at Disney Parks

posted on March 16th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Who’s seen Disney’s “Cinderella,” now in theaters? If you haven’t yet, move it to the top of your list! My fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Steven Miller, recently shared some of the exciting new “Cinderella” merchandise headed your way, but i have a special treat for you … actually I have two!

Debuting this month at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort is a Cinderella Coach inspired apple. It’s safe to say that candy makers got a little ‘carried away’ with this concoction. The apple has been dipped in caramel as well as edible shimmering white chocolate and comes complete with carriage-looking wheels. What are they made of? I guess you’ll have to try one to see!

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Another fun way to celebrate the film’s release is with our Cinderella Coach krispy treat, sure to be a fan favorite for any movie-goer.

Here’s a list of locations where you can find them!

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

These special treats are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out!

Will you try both?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Two Restaurants Expand as Downtown Disney Evolves Into Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 12th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Look for big changes at Planet Hollywood and Paradiso 37 at Downtown Disney, with Paradiso 37 wrapping up its expansion in summer 2015, Planet Hollywood in spring 2016.

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Paradiso 37’s expansion capitalizes on its beautiful waterfront setting. “We’re nearly doubling the seating, adding more terrace dining, a new outdoor performance stage and expanding to add a greater presence on the new Disney Springs promenade,” said Rashid Choufani, chief executive officer of Paradiso 37.

The menu, a “Taste of the Americas,” will continue to offer a culinary tour of North, Central and South America, with popular dishes including ceviche, jalapeño burgers, Argentinian skirt steak, whole crispy chicken and Chilean-style salmon. Beverages include wine, beer, and specialty rum and tequila cocktails inspired by the cuisine. (The restaurant takes its name from the 37 countries in the Americas.)

Paradiso 37 will remain open while undergoing renovations.

Planet Hollywood gets a complete makeover – you may not recognize the place as it’s transformed into a four-story stargazing observatory to match the design aesthetic of Disney Springs. While the exterior is turn-of-the-century, the interior will feature spherical, planet-shaped lighting fixtures and stylish finishing to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans to celebrate a new generation of superstar entertainers. And the memorabilia from movies stays, a perfect fit to “Dine Amongst the Stars.”

A new outdoor terrace and outdoor bar space called Stargazers will feature live entertainment while music in the main dining room will include a DJ. Favorites remain on the menu, but look for new tastes too, and a trendy beverage menu – everything from milkshakes and smoothies to wines, bottled and draft beers and cocktails.

Check back for more details!

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Giant Sand Castle in the Snow Announces 24-Hour Party, ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 11th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As you may have seen on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” we shared some true Disney magic in winter-weary Boston by creating a warm summer scene, inspired by Olaf’s “In Summer” dream, to officially announce that the “Coolest Summer Ever” is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort. And it all begins with a Disney Parks Blog reader favorite – a 24-hour event at Magic Kingdom Park – during Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff to summer.

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Olaf, who is the official host of our “Coolest Summer Ever,” surprised Bostonians near historic Faneuil Hall with a 20-foot wide beach that included a Cinderella Castle made of sand, beach chairs, beach balls and other reminders of summer fun at Walt Disney World Resort. Check out how it all came together in the video below.

We’re kicking off the summer with an all-night party at the Walt Disney World Resort. Magic Kingdom Park will be open to guests for 24 hours of nonstop fun from 6 a.m.-6 a.m. May 22-23. Guests are invited to dress to show their Disney Side while a selection of favorite attractions, entertainment, merchandise, food and beverages will be on tap all night long to celebrate the start of the “Coolest Summer Ever” at Walt Disney World Resort.

For the “Coolest Summer Ever,” we’re already planning experiences you won’t want to miss. Here’s an early look at some of the highlights:

There’s more to come, so keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog or visit Disneyworld.com/CoolestSummerEver for future details and information.

Also, later this morning, Erin will be sharing a special announcement from Disneyland Resort right here on the blog.

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Filed: Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Fans ‘Meet-Up’ for ‘Cinderella’ Sneak Peek

posted on March 10th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Over the weekend, more than 500 of our readers gathered at AMC Downtown Disney 24 for our Disney Parks BlogCinderella” Royal Celebration Meet-Up.

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Many of our guests, including some of our very youngest fans, came dressed to the nines in Cinderella gowns. Other guests got creative and designed their own princess-inspired outfits for the day. Some of the most creative outfits were rewarded with autographed “Cinderella” posters. Be sure to click through the gallery above for a look at some of our spirited guests captured by Disney photographer Mariah Wild.

In addition to costumed fun, the event also featured Cinderella photo opportunities, including one with a glass slipper. For more on the event, check out the video below!

“Cinderella” and the new animated short, “Frozen Fever”, debut in theaters on March 13.

Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for future event opportunities!

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‘Food Truck Takeover’ by Shutters at Old Port Royale This Weekend at Downtown Disney

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


Recently, I shared my dining experience at Shutters at Old Port Royale at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort with you. This weekend, guests will be able to sample menu favorites from Shutters at Old Port Royale on the Fantasy Fare Truck at Exposition Park in Downtown Disney West Side.

March 6-8, you’ll be able to experience the sweet and spicy flavors of the Caribbean: Island Chicken Wings ($9.75); Jerk-seasoned Mahi with Ancho BBQ, pineapple salsa, and yellow rice ($9.50); and Warm White Chocolate-Cinnamon Bread Pudding ($4.00).

Try the Island Chicken Wings During the ‘Food Truck Takeover’ by Shutters at Old Port Royale This Weekend at Downtown Disney Try the Jerk-seasoned Mahi During the ‘Food Truck Takeover’ by Shutters at Old Port Royale This Weekend at Downtown Disney Try the Warm White Chocolate-Cinnamon Bread Pudding During the ‘Food Truck Takeover’ by Shutters at Old Port Royale This Weekend at Downtown Disney

Exposition Park, located at Downtown Disney West Side, is open 12:30-11 p.m., weather permitting. Tip: Park in the newly opened Orange Garage for nearby access.

If you’re hungry for more, Shutters is open for dinner daily, and accepts the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Sign Up for Our Disney Parks Blog ‘Cinderella’ Royal Celebration Meet up at the Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 4th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE #1: This event has reached capacity. Please stay tuned for a list of confirmed RSVPs.

UPDATE #2: Click here for a list of confirmed RSVPs. If you do not receive a confirmation email by noon on March 5, please email WDW.BlogMeetups@Disney.com.

As promised, we’re inviting Disney Parks Blog readers to a royal celebration of Disney’s new live-action film, “Cinderella” at the Walt Disney World Resort. On March 7, 2015, you have the opportunity to be part of a special preview screening of “Cinderella” and participate in a special reception at AMC Downtown Disney 24.

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The event begins at 11 a.m. EST (doors open at 10 a.m.) at AMC Downtown Disney 24 on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Attendees will be among the first to see the film inspired by Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece. You’re also encouraged to dress as your favorite prince or princess, subject to the costume guidelines below.

Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh and Screenplay by Chris Weitz, “Cinderella” stars Oscar®-winner Cate Blanchett as the infamous wicked stepmother, Lily James in the title role, Richard Madden as the Prince, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.

RSVP for the meet-up now by sending us an email 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 attendees 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 participants who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests of the participants may be younger than 18.
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • Disney “Cinderella” is rated PG.
  • 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.
  • Event confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person plus one guest.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
  • 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.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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.”

This post will be updated after capacity has been reached.

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. The screening may be overbooked and seating is not guaranteed. Disney Destinations, LLC, its affiliates and the theatre are not responsible for overbooking. 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 and phones) 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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Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – March 2015

posted on February 28th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Spring is in the air! See what’s happening this March at the Walt Disney World Resort!

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March 2 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, March 2 – 8 and 18 – 22. Stop by and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

March 4 – 8: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson is set to appear this month at Epcot. Find him, March 4 – 8 at Art of Disney and March 27 – 29 at Puffins Roost in the Norway Pavilion. Learn more.

March 4 – May 17: Commemorative Epcot International Flower & Garden Merchandise will be in full bloom, beginning March 4! Visit the Festival Center, open Friday through Sunday, or the bridge kiosk at the entrance of World Showcase and find special treasures to help grow your collection. Tip: Check out special artist appearances and chef demonstrations as well as festival showcases. Learn more.

March 6: Meet author and Major League Baseball Legend, Cal Ripken, Jr. Cal will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his newest book Out at Home at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports during the 2nd inning of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training game. Please note, a game ticket is required to attend this signing. Learn more.

March 6 – 7: Join us as we celebrate the opening of WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 1 – 3:30 p.m. with Michael Lewis Glover and Jerrod Maruyama and 5 – 7:30 p.m. with Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Robert Jimenez. Learn more.

March 8: Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama will be on hand for a signing of his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival inspired piece Spring Has Sprung at the Festival Center from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. Learn more.

March 12: Something ‘charm’ing awaits you from the Disney Parks Collection │PANDORA. What you ask? Keep watching, fellow author Steven Miller will have all the details.

March 13: Pick up a copy of Lee Cockerell’s newest book, Time Management Magic at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more information regarding this event, including signing times.

March 13 – 15: Precious moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand for special appearances and signings throughout the day at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot, as we celebrate the release of her Spring collection. Linda will also appear March 20 – 22. Not able to make it? No problem! Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand March 12 – April 12 at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot and March 12 – April 27 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

March 25 – 26: Are you a fan of Ridley Pearson? Be among the first to pick up two of his newest releases, Kingdom Keepers: The Return: Book 1: Disney Lands and The Syndrome: A Kingdom Keepers Adventure. Meet Ridley, March 25 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace or March 26 from 9 – 11a.m. at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Learn more. Tip: Wristbands will be distributed to Guests at store open on the day of the signing with each purchase of a book by Ridley Pearson. A wristband from the appearance location is required to meet Ridley Pearson and allows the guest to get two books signed. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

March 27 – 29: Celebrate Art in the Garden with us and take part in special artist appearances and signings with David E. Doss and Greg McCullough from 11a.m. – 7p.m. throughout the weekend at the entrance to World Showcase. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com to learn more.

March 27 – April 5: We have ‘egg’-citing news. Check out this post on the Disney Parks Blog.

March 28: Add the limited edition hand-painted Ink & Paint cel ‘A Dapper Day in the Parks’ featuring Mickey Mouse looking his best aboard the Main Street Trolley! Ink & Paint artists will be on hand for a special signing from 10 a.m. – 1p.m. and 2p.m. – 5p.m. at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note: The cel will be available in a variety of formats including Unframed; Framed, Framed Cel with Postcard and Framed Cel with Postcard and Pin. Learn more.

Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through March 26 at 5p.m. Eastern. Of course, applicable tax and shipping fees apply. Order now!

Which artists are you most excited to see?

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort