Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

365 (Consecutive) Days of Walt Disney World Resort Magic

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


When one of my Downtown Disney partners told me about Brent Dodge, an Annual Passholder who visited the four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks every day for 365 consecutive days, I couldn’t believe it. While I love the parks, just the idea of visiting every day while working full time has me exhausted!

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I wanted to find out more, so I spoke with Brent myself to find out why he did it. First things first, he confessed that he hadn’t really passed through the turnstiles (or, in our new era of MyMagic+, ventured through the main entrance touch points) for a full year, “there were actually three days that I didn’t visit a park. I was on a Disney Cruise” he shared. Well, 365 days of Disney attractions, then. Consider me impressed.

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Brent has been a Passholder since 2009, and currently carries the “Premier” pass, which also grants him access to Disneyland park. (I’d say he’s getting his money’s worth!) This Peter Pan’s Flight lover has visited the place where dreams come true since he was an infant, and when pressed for the “why” behind his latest all-year-long endeavor, he simply states, “Cause I’m a Disney nerd! If I live this close to Walt Disney World Resort, why wouldn’t I go every day? Especially when others are saving up thousands of dollars to go once in a lifetime.” Okay, he had me there.

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The “official” milestone was reached on August 13; of the estimated 2,200 days Brent has spent at the parks over his lifetime, that day ranks among his all-time-top Disney memories. “A friend surprised me with a custom t-shirt from Disney Design-a-Tee at Downtown Disney; it features my favorite character, Scrooge McDuck. A few other friends met me at Magic Kingdom Park with signs to celebrate, and we had a great view of the parade. We got to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, followed by another beloved attraction, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – three times!”

I’ll admit, it does sound pretty magical. While most of my days are spent at the Downtown Disney area, now that fall is fast-approaching, I plan to spend more time following in Brent’s footsteps and enjoying all that Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

How about you … can you imagine a daily visit to the parks?

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – September 2014

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Wondering what merchandise events are headed your way this September at Walt Disney World Resort? Take a look!

September 3 – 7: Artist Greg McCullough will be appearing this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, September 3 – 7 and September 17 – 21. Learn more.

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September 7: A limited number of tickets to the Vinylmation Showcase for the Disney Trade Celebration 2014 – Imagination Gala taking place at World ShowPlace in Epcot, are still available. Get yours today! Learn more.

September 8 – 11: Meet international artist Larry Dotson, who will appear be appearing this month at Walt Disney World Resort. Find him September 8 – 11 at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace and September 18 – 28 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

September 12 – 13: Join Master Sculptor Hiko Maeda as he introduces an all-new Disney Showcase Collection figurine and ornament, only available at Disney Parks. This new piece titled, “Let Your Light Shine” is available as a figurine for $50, plus tax, and as an ornament for $28, plus tax. Look for special appearances by Hiko Maeda, September 12 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park and September 13 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 – 5 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it to the event? No problem! A limited number of signed pieces will be available for pre-order through Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 5 p.m. EDT. Learn more.

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September 18 – 22: Look for the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist, Linda Rick, including her newest collection inspired by “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Linda will appear throughout the day (each day), September 18 – 21, at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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September 27: The next hand-painted Ink & Paint Cel, titled “Summertime Pals,” is set to debut at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 27, 2014. Meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.– 5 p.m. on the day of release. Not able to make it to the event? Disney Event Services is taking pre-orders via www.disneyurl.com/CelPreOrder now through September 25, 2014 at 5p.m. EDT. Learn more.

Which event are you most excited about?

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Top 5 Reasons Not to Miss ‘The Great Irish Hooley’ at Raglan Road

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Recently, Pam Brandon shared details about one of my favorite Raglan Road events, The Great Irish Hooley. I like it because it’s authentically Irish – outside of the Emerald Isle, you rarely have the chance to experience this sort of spectacle, unless of course, you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of the Downtown Disney Area during Labor Day weekend!

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Though it was hard to pick my ‘Top 5,’ I think I’ve done it. Below, in no particular order, are the things you just can’t miss:

  1. Scythian – Haven’t heard of this ultra-talented band? One listen, and you’ll never forget them! The group includes a trio of classically trained fiddle players, a jazz percussionist, and an accordion and banjo player. Currently promoting their new album ‘Jump at the Sun,’ they’ll be taking the Raglan Road stage nightly at 9:30pm.
  2. ‘A Knights Brunch’ & ‘The Rollicking Raglan Brunch’ – Whether you’re cheering for UCF or Penn State, football fans from far and wide are invited to watch the Croke Park Classic football season opener taking place in Dublin, Ireland on August 30th at 8:30am. (Yes, brunch starts at 8:00am that morning, with Guinness, Bloody Marys and more on the menu! The venue is no longer accepting reservations, but walk-ins are welcome.) On Sunday, you can book Raglan Road’s traditional Irish Brunch offering, starting at 11am.
  3. ‘From Our Roots to Riverdance’ – We’re all familiar with ‘Riverdance,’ right? Ronan McCormack, the original choreographer, will trace the origins of Irish dance from early jigs to the modern era in this energetic and entertaining event, taking place daily at 6pm on the outside patio (weather permitting). Bonus: Guest participation is encouraged.
  4. Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s Amazing Menu – If you like traditional Irish fare or a more modern twist on Irish cuisine (like me!), you’ll find something special on the menu, created with only the finest ingredients sourced from the best suppliers. The gluten-free fish ‘n’ chips continues to get rave reviews – and they have gluten free onion rings, too. Who knew?
  5. The Great Irish Ceili – I’m always awed by the Raglan Road dancers and this event puts the spotlight on their fancy footwork. Guests are invited to take part in the ceili, a traditional form of group folk dancing, on Saturday, Sunday at Monday at 3:00pm.

Farewell, summer. Hello, fall fun, ushered in the way only the Irish can do it!

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Festival of the Masters Update

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’ve been to Downtown Disney or read our Blog lately, you know changes are coming. The area is undergoing the largest expansion in its history. As we prepare for Disney Springs, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to expansion work and unfortunately we will not be able to host the event.

We appreciate the enthusiastic support we’ve received from the arts community, both locally and nationally, which has contributed to the long-running success of the Festival. Walt Disney World Resort is a strong supporter of the arts and we remain committed to nurturing the arts.

We ask for your patience and understanding during this time of growth and look forward to building new memories with you at Disney Springs.

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A Beautiful Day to Debut a New Bridge and Boat Dock at Downtown Disney

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Ninety degrees, clear blue skies and the sort of fluffy white clouds you see in magazine advertisements – it was a perfect morning to officially open the new Marketplace Boat Dock and Saratoga Bridge at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Earlier today, I joined Vice President of Downtown Disney, Keith Bradford, along with cast members and guests who had gathered to celebrate the milestone- one of many that will ultimately take place as the property undergoes the largest expansion in its history, as it transforms to Disney Springs.
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The newly-opened bridge offers a pedestrian-friendly connection between Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and more than 70 shopping, dining and entertainment offerings available at Downtown Disney. In addition, the Marketplace Boat Dock, now conveniently located near the Marketplace Bus Loop, provides easy access to the West Side and Pleasure Island. Guests aboard the complimentary water taxi may even learn more about what’s on the horizon (literally!) as they travel from district-to-district.

One of my favorite views of Downtown Disney is from this new vantage point; with a view of the entire complex, it’s a great reminder of how much there is to see and do (which, I’ll admit, I sometimes take for granted, since I’m here every day)!
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Want to experience it for yourself? The Marketplace Boat Dock operates daily starting at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting. Take a ride, then let me know what you think in the comments below!


For more on Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, read the posts below:

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All in the Details: Imagineers Unveil the Storyline of Disney Springs

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


How does Walt Disney Imagineering re-imagine an area of Walt Disney World Resort that guests have enjoyed for more than 40 years?

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That’s the creative challenge our Imagineering team, including Executive Creative Director Theron Skees, has been tasked with – to transform the area currently known as Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a destination that’s being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. From an Imagineering perspective, this means developing a storyline and creating a sense of time and place that influences everything from the architecture to the costumes.

We were also excited to share that our Imagineers will continue to share updates here in our “All in the Details” series in the coming months as their work progresses. Here’s the first piece, in which Theron introduces the Disney Springs project and Imagineering’s role in it.

The first “neighborhood” in Disney Springs – the opening of The Landing – is set for 2015. Construction on Disney Springs will continue into 2016, so be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more behind-the-scenes looks at the progress happening as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs.


For more about Disney Springs, visit the stories below:

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Anna & Elsa’s Boutique and More Thrilling Transformations Coming to the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE 8/26/14: Please note that this post has been updated to reflect the new name of Anna & Elsa’s Boutique.

Like Olaf, I’m a big fan of summer. However, like you, I also enjoy experiencing “Frozen” fun all year long. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the introduction of the newest location to the Downtown Disney District, Elsa & Anna’s Boutique Anna & Elsa’s Boutique. Currently home to Studio Disney 365, this location will undergo a transformation starting September 2, and will re-open in mid-September. I’ll be back soon with details on the new transformations, inspired by beloved characters like Anna, Elsa and Olaf, as well as details on some of the product offerings that will be available. In the meantime, here’s a look at the art for the logo that will grace this “cool” new location.

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Here are a few other things to prepare your crew for if you are planning to visit the Disneyland Resort this Halloween. Set sail in the direction of Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree from September 12 through October 31! Here, a world of themed offerings await you, including special Halloween entertainment and activities, pumpkin carvers, yummy treats and the return of The Pirates League. Recruits three and older can chart their own course, choosing from a selection of pirate-inspired looks that are both swashbuckling and spooky.

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Now, Halloween Time wouldn’t be same without a little help from our Fairy Godmother, or in our case our Fairy Godmothers-in-Training at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Keeping with their simply sweet tradition, we welcome back the Halloween Minnie Mouse-inspired transformation through October 31. Just a quick reminder, transformations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland at Disneyland park are only for our younger fans, ages 3 – 12 years. Quick Tip: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will offer extended operating hours on Mickey’s Halloween Party nights for any Trick-or-Treaters in need of a royal transformation.

So if you are planning a visit to the Disneyland Resort to take part in some of these festive Halloween Time experiences through October 31, or if you can’t wait to check out the newly-transformed Elsa & Anna’s Boutique Anna & Elsa’s Boutique and take part in new experiences they will have to offer, call 714-781-STYLE (7895).

For those of you planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort this Fall, be sure to make your appointments for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Magic Kingdom park or World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace, as Halloween packages will go fast. If you ‘arrgh’ hoping to take part in The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom park, chart your course now. Call 407-WDW-STYLE (7895) today!

Reminder: Separate theme park admission is required for transformations venues located inside Disney Theme Parks.

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Colorful Visit to Zoey & Pickles at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace

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


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The Marketplace Co-Op has been open in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort for a few months now. I’ve loved hearing from guests about their visits to this exciting new location that serves as a testing space for new retail shop concepts, products and guest experiences. With fall approaching fast, I recently visited Zoey & Pickles, which is one of the boutiques found inside this location. The merchandising team recently reset the location to create a colorful new display.

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Zoey & Pickles is a girls’ destination that contains the latest trends and glamour for the up-and-coming fashionista. The boutique carries a variety of apparel items and accessories that were created especially for the shop. The thing I noticed immediately is that everything in the shop is now organized by color (it’s exactly how I organize my closet at home). The merchandising team said they made the change so guests could easily find their favorite colors to create fun outfits.

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Colorful shoes are one of those unique items that were specifically made for the location. They range from sandals to flats to sequin–covered high tops. In addition to the giant wall of shoes, the teams added select shoes to the various wall displays. That small addition makes it easier to find the perfect shoe to complement an outfit.

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The shop carries a few different items with characters like Tinker Bell or Buttercup from Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” You’ll also find a variety of products featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. My favorite items in the shop are the shirts that contain power words as seen in the first image of this story. I encourage my daughter to live her life with those simple words – be kind, be magical, and be beautiful.


For more about the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, visit the stories below:

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Heading to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World? Don’t Miss These Navigation Tips

posted on August 15th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We recently shared some exciting updates about enhancements coming to Downtown Disney as the area expands and transforms into Disney Springs, which when complete, will double the area’s number of dining and retail options. Work is already underway to widen Buena Vista Drive which will eventually make it easier to access the area. As expansion work continues through 2016, here are some of our best tips for navigating the property during this time so you can continue to enjoy all of the shopping, dining and entertainment options that Downtown Disney has to offer.

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  • Use Complimentary Resort Transportation – Disney resorts offer complimentary bus transportation to Downtown Disney, which drops guests off at the Marketplace end. Watercraft transportation is also available from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Once at Downtown Disney, all guests can use boat transportation to travel between the Marketplace, West Side and Pleasure Island districts.
  • Follow Parking Signs For The Best Access – If driving, follow the lighted signs to available parking lots, including those at the Casting and Team Disney buildings located across the street.
  • Take Exit 67 on I-4 – If you’re arriving via I-4, take exit 67 to approach Downtown Disney from another direction and continue to follow signs for parking.
  • Arrive Early For Scheduled Entertainment & Dining Reservations – Have a reservation or tickets to a show? Be sure to allow extra time for parking; we’d suggest arriving at least an hour early. Most ticketed experiences at Downtown Disney take place at Downtown Disney West Side, so parking in the Team Disney parking lot is your best bet for those.
  • Valet Parking Is Available – Based on guest feedback, we now have two locations for interested guests to choose from. Valet Parking is available from 10 a.m.-1 a.m. at the Marketplace (via entrance 2) and from 2:30 p.m.-2:00 a.m. on the West Side (via entrance 3). The cost is $20 per vehicle.

Be sure to keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for future updates as the Disney Springs transformation continues!

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Plan Ahead for 3rd Annual ‘Great Irish Hooley’ August 29-September 1 at Downtown Disney

posted on August 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


What a perfect way to celebrate Labor Day all weekend long – the annual Great Irish Hooley music festival rocks the house at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downtown Disney.

A “hooley” is a traditional Irish social celebration, and this one combines live music, cool step dancing (you can even learn a few steps) and authentic tastes for a trifecta of fun all in one convivial spot.

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Live music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, August 29, and at noon Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1 and continues throughout each day and night. This year’s Hooley band lineup includes:

Scythian- A headliner on the Celtic festival circuit and equally at home in rock venues – the band will release a fan-funded album, “Jump at the Sun,” this month.

The Raglan Rebels- Ireland’s best up-and-coming young band with traditional and modern songs and ballads.

Drops of Green- An exciting new ballad group from the heart of Ireland.

The Brayzen Heads- A popular duo on guitar and banjo playing Raglan Road regularly.

The West Coast Trio- From Connemara, playing traditional and contemporary Irish songs on accordion, flute and guitar with plenty of reels and jigs.

Just tap your toes to the music or get up and dance – from Saturday to Monday there will be free workshops, “From Our Roots to Riverdance,” led by renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast. Or try a little “ceili” (kay-lee), a precursor to line dancing, with the award-winning Raglan Road Dancers. The complete entertainment schedule is at www.raglanroad.com.

Of course we think the authentic Irish cuisine at Raglan Road is the best part of this Hooley. Go for classics like beer-battered fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, or try something more contemporary like their butternut squash risotto with shiitake mushrooms, arugula and Parmesan. They also offer gluten-free options (including fish and chips).

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We know we’ll be there for an early (8:30 a.m.) brunch on August 30, when big-screen TVs will be tuned to the University of Central Florida-Penn State Croke Park Classic football season opener taking place in Dublin, Ireland. Start the game with a Guinness, signature Bloody Mary or other favorite morning brew or beverage. Brunch guests can tuck into the chef’s Full Irish Breakfast featuring sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with potato “roasties.” Smoked salmon omelette and pancakes with crème fraiche, maple syrup and berry compote also are on the menu. Hooley music begins right after.

For reservations, call 407-938-0300.

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