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The Village Causeway Opens to Guests at Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 17th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Excited about the ongoing transformation taking place at the Downtown Disney Area? I am, too! Last Friday was an especially notable day as hundreds of cast members and partners gathered to celebrate the opening of the Village Causeway, a new bridge that connects the area near The LEGO Store across the water to Rainforest Café. Not only is this my new favorite route to work, but it’s quickly becoming a popular guest spot for photos, sunset viewing, and shopping – yes, shopping!

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I recently shared information on two new kiosks at the Downtown Disney Area, and four more have just opened on the Village Causeway:

  • Flour & Sugar – Perfect for guests who want to take a taste of the Sunshine State home with them, this new shop offers freshly baked cookies with Florida flavors like coconut, key lime and strawberry. (I hear the South Beach Toasted Coconut Key Lime Cookie is especially tempting!) You can buy them individually or in easy-to-transport canisters of six.
  • Florida Bath Co. — Lately, I’m loving specialty soaps, and this locale offers products made with home grown ingredients like organic vegetable juices and essential citrus oils. If you love Basin, you’ll love this – they share the same owners.
  • Icon Jewellery by Bico – Want your accessories to have meaning? Check out this shop where concepts like Love and Friendship, Protection, Strength and Luck are represented in pieces crafted from hand-polished fine grade pewter and enhanced with fine materials like Swarovski Crystals, New Guinea Rosewood and genuine leather. The best part … you can customize your jewelry just the way you like.
  • Kate & Leo – No doubt about it, I’ll be buying my nieces toys and games from this charming cart. With items designed to evoke a world of curiosity, creativity and imagination, you’ll find travel games, magnetic story boards, beautiful art supplies and more, no batteries required.
    New Flour & Sugar Kiosk at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort New Florida Bath Co. Kiosk at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort
    New Icon Jewellery by Bico Kiosk at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort New Kate & Leo Kiosk at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

    During your next visit to Downtown Disney Marketplace, be sure to stroll the Village Causeway – it’s my favorite recent enhancement to the neighborhood and I have a feeling it may become yours, too!

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Top ‘Cinderella’-Inspired Items from Disney Parks

posted on February 15th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the 65th Anniversary of Walt Disney’s “Cinderella,” I’m reminded of my younger sister who loved Cinderella. I remember her listening to a 33 ½ long playing record that had scenes from the animated film printed on both sides of the album. Today, her childhood bedroom in Ohio still has reminders of Cinderella with small figurines and framed prints. She found many of those items during visits to Walt Disney World Resort in the 1980s and 1990s. I thought today was a good day to share some of my favorite Cinderella-themed items currently found Disney Parks.

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To celebrate this anniversary, the Disney pin team released a limited edition pin that has an edition size of 2,000. Look for it in select pin locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Costume dresses and accessories are some of the most popular Cinderella items at Disney Parks. Little ones ages 3-12 can also be magically transformed into Cinderella at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations at Disneyland park, Magic Kingdom Park, and Downtown Disney Marketplace. I bet my sister wishes she had these options when she was a child!

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Speaking of Downtown Disney Marketplace, I stopped by Arribas Brothers to view an amazing Cinderella Castle Sculpture. The limited sculpture is detailed in hand-enameled metal and is set with 28,255 Swarovski crystals. The retail for this item is $37,500 and it can be found online.

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Finally, I have a sneak preview of a graphic MagicBand that is coming this spring. This Cinderella-themed retail MagicBand is similar to the Belle and Ariel MagicBands we released in January. While I don’t have a confirmed release date for this open edition item, the MagicBand development team thought it was the perfect thing for this Cinderella story.

Here is a gallery of other things I found including custom phone cases at D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace, dolls, mugs and the Cinderella Castle playset.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Love at First Sight: A Disney Cast Member Love Story

posted on February 13th, 2015 by Wilma Colón, Media Relations Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Is it possible for two people to meet and instantly fall in love? Is there such thing as love at first sight? Love stories like the one shared by Disney cast member Patrick Zusack and his wife Denise may turn many of the not-so-hopeless-romantics out there into believers.

Love At First Sight: A Disney Cast Member Love Story Love At First Sight: A Disney Cast Member Love Story

Next month, it will be 25 years since Patrick and Denise first laid eyes on each other outside the former Mannequins nightclub at Downtown Disney. When you are a 5’11” woman who towers above everybody else, seeing a 6’4” man in line is a life saver. So she turned, locked eyes with him and said, “I’m going to need a dance partner once we get inside.”

And danced they did…all night. A simple hug sealed their goodbye at closing time. After all, she lived in Sarasota, Florida but was soon moving to Atlanta. What was the point in taking it any further? Yet the goodbye wouldn’t be for long. A month later they ran into each other once again – at Mannequins. This time she gave him her business card and asked him to “look her up” if he ever visited Sarasota.

But fate would intervene once again: the small piece of paper that held Denise’s contact information was completely ruined, gone with the week’s laundry.

Knowing in his heart that this beautiful, tall, striking woman “was the one,” Patrick got in his car and drove to Siesta Key Beach where Denise had mentioned she played volleyball on weekends. He walked up and down the beach until his feet hurt, but never found her. Heading back to Orlando, in the evening traffic of I-75 near Tampa, he saw a red Volkswagen Cabriolet-the same kind she drove. Could it be? Yes, it was Denise.

“What are you doing here?, she yelled out the window. “I’m coming back from Siesta Key, I was looking for you!”

Less than two years later, surrounded by family and friends, they became dance partners for life.

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This last November, for their 22nd wedding anniversary, Patrick gave Denise one of the most romantic gifts anybody could think of: a paving stone from that exact same spot they met 25 years ago. A fellow cast member was able to secure the memento as he worked in the area under construction at Downtown Disney. “Soul mates met here,” says the plaque that holds the paver.

I am a believer. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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First Look at New Items for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 10th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I’m looking forward to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort that will be held February 19-22. My fiancée will be participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, so I’m excited to cheer for her and other runners throughout the weekend. She recently asked me about the merchandise that will be offered during the event, so I visited the merchandise events team to get a sneak preview.

A Variety of Apparel Items with the Princess Half Marathon Logo Will Debut During the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 A Variety of Apparel Items with the Princess Half Marathon Logo Will Debut During the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015

Like previous year’s events, we will offer a variety of apparel items with the Princess Half Marathon logo including T-shirts, jackets, tank tops and headwear. There will also be drinkware, pins and a necklace. I like the colorful new ear hat with an attached veil. There will also be an ear hat with Olaf for the Kids’ Races.

You may recall that we released a blue, runDisney-themed retail MagicBand during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January. I’m happy to share that item will return along with a new pink MagicBand. Both of these items are limited release and will have a retail of $24.95 each. They can be “linked later” which makes them perfect gifts for someone training for a future runDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort.

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For those participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will also find apparel and home goods. I think the taglines on the backs of both running jackets are great!

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We will also release a variety of Sweaty Bands and Bondi Bands containing event logos.

The D-Tech on Demand boutique in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace will also offer unique artwork for guests. You can create and customize a case for the following mobile phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Finally, we’ll have a few new Disney Princess-themed Dooney & Bourke handbags designed by Disney Design Group. Select bags will contain a specially designed Princess Half Marathon 2015 hangtag.

These items and more will be released at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Thursday, February 19 – 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 20 – 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 21 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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Filed: Downtown Disney, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Trolley Car Café Opens, Now Serving Starbucks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on February 6th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As an update on our previously announced plans to bring Starbucks locations to our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, we officially opened the newest location this week – The Trolley Car Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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As we shared earlier, the Trolley Car Café is themed to a classic trolley car station and gives guests a sense of atmosphere from early 20th century Hollywood. We have some of the first photos to share from this week’s opening.

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The Trolley Car Café is located on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is now serving Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange™ pastry items along with Starbucks coffee and espresso beverages.

The store is the third in-park location serving Starbucks products at Walt Disney World Resort, along with other locations at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot, as well as at Downtown Disney. In addition to these locations at Walt Disney World Resort, there’s also another along the way.

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Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog this summer for an update on the location at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Creature Comforts is being re-imagined and will also be serving Starbucks coffee and espresso beverages, as well as Frappuccino blended beverages and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Top 5 Ways to Spend a Day at the Downtown Disney Area

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


My non-Disney cast member friends think of me as their ‘insider’ expert on all things related to the four Disney Parks. Lately, with more changes coming to Downtown Disney during our largest-ever expansion, I’m getting plenty of questions about this property, too! Invariably, they want to know my top “can’t-miss” recommendations – the things they just have to make time for during their vacation. I’ve shared this list plenty of times with my loved ones, and today, I’m happy to pass it on to all of you.

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First things first, my ‘Top 5 at Downtown Disney” changes dramatically depending on who I’m talking to. Coming with kids? I’ve got you covered. Enjoying an adults-only escape? I’m on it!

Downtown Disney for Family-Friendly Fun:

  1. Shopping at Once Upon a Toy and The LEGO Store: Think kids and shopping don’t go hand in hand? At these two stores, they’re a perfect match. Once Upon a Toy houses the largest collection of Disney games and toys at Walt Disney World Resort. And at The LEGO Store, little ones can build to their imagination’s content in the (free) outdoor play area.
  2. The Marketplace Train and Marketplace Carousel: Don’t want to buy an extra ticket for yourself? Here’s a tip: parents ride free with little ones under 42 inches tall. This was my niece’s favorite part of her recent Walt Disney World Resort vacation. (Sorry, Mickey.)
  3. Ice Cream at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop: It’s ice cream; no explanation needed. Be sure to have the camera ready for those adorable hot fudge drips.
  4. Pin Trading: From the Marketplace to the West Side, look for cast members wearing pin-trading lanyards. Kids feel confident when their trade is accepted (and guess what? It always is!).
  5. Nightly DJ Dance Party at Waterside Stage: Admit it, your kid has moves. You might, too. This every-evening event is the perfect stage to let loose.

Adult Advice for the Downtown Disney Area:

  1. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: If you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable spectacle, this tops my list. Just be prepared … you’ll want to buy the soundtrack to take home with you.
  2. Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Here’s a secret: there’s more to Splitsville than bowling. This venue has become one of my “go-tos” when entertaining out-of-town guests. The food is impressive, the drinks are plentiful and the live entertainment rocks. And yes, if you want bowling or billiards, you can find that, too.
  3. Live Music at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant: I’ve actually been to Ireland and if you close your eyes while listening to the Raglan Road bands, you’ll think you’re there. Grab a Guinness on the patio or snag a table by the indoor stage for dinner – either way, this will become one of those “it-was-way-more-fun-than-I-ever-imagined” vacation highlights that you’ll want to repeat during every future trip.
  4. Dinner at Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas: I’ve been known to crave the Central American Crazy Corn and I’m not alone. Other standouts include the Mexican Dipping Trio and Argentinean Skirt Steak. Thirsty? The P37 Swirl – a lively mix of Sangria and Margarita – is frozen fun in a fancy glass.
  5. Shopping at Marketplace Co-Op: I’m somewhat obsessed with Cherry Tree Lane and the ever-changing array of accessories there, but even if bags and baubles aren’t your thing, you’re bound to be impressed by one of the other five unique boutiques housed in this location. For me, the best finds are the ones you can’t get anywhere else on-property, and there are plenty of those here!

This shouldn’t surprise you, but it was really tough to narrow my choices down to the “Top 5” in each category. There’s plenty more I wanted to mention, including many of your favorite Downtown Disney destinations, I’m sure. So … tell me, what did I miss – I’d love to know in the comments below!

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PANDORA Jewelry and Other Gift Ideas from Disney Parks for Valentine’s Day 2015

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, I wanted to offer a few gift ideas from Disney Parks.

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PANDORA Jewelry - Last fall, we introduced charms inspired by some of Disney’s most beloved characters as part of the Disney Parks Collection | PANDORA. As part of its first assortment, we introduced 25 charms, with an additional 16 styles, including a Disney Parks bracelet, found only at Disney Parks. The best places to find these jewelry items are at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park. Stay tuned in the coming weeks, as I’ll give you a first look at some new charms arriving for spring.

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Apparel - Mickey and Minnie Mouse celebrate the season of love with four new shirts created especially for Disney Parks. I found these items at TrenD located in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida.

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D-Tech on Demand - Guests can create custom phone cases with new Mickey and Minnie Mouse artwork at D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op. We offer cases for the following phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

MagicBand-its – Add some love to your MagicBand with Mickey Mouse heart-shaped MagicBand-its. These small accessories can attach to the side of any MagicBand.

Vinylmation – The Vinylmation Eachez for Valentine’s Day this year has an edition size of 2,500. The Mickey Mouse figure is the more common figure while Minnie Mouse is rarer to find.

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Be My Villaintine – The pin team is releasing the “Be My Villaintine” mystery set on February 12. This 13-pin collection has 10 known pins and three mystery chaser pins. Each box contains one randomly selected pin. Guests may also find a limited edition pin featuring Anna and Kristoff from Disney’s “Frozen.”

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Duffy the Disney Bear and Disney Tsum Tsum – Duffy the Disney Bear is dressed in his Valentine’s Day best this year in a new 9-inch plush. I liked the idea of giving your significant other a Disney Tsum Tsum of the Little Green Men (you have been “chosen” to be my Valentine.) Finally, I love this ceramic Orange Bird figure which can now be found in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World.

There are some additional gift ideas that can be found on our Disney Parks online store.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – February 2015

posted on January 30th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


This February, fall in love with some of the latest releases debuting at Walt Disney World Resort!

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February 5 – 23: Meet representatives from Precious Moments Dolls at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of the Valentine’s themed collection. Or make a special stop February 20 – 22 and meet creator and designer Linda Rick. Learn more.

February 9 – 15: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop by and see what’s ‘in store’ for you! Learn more.

February 12 – 16: Meet renowned international artist Larry Dotson this month at The Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace and add a new piece to your collection. Learn more.

February 13: Drop in if you dare, as we celebrate Friday, the 13th with a special artist showcase featuring Brian Blackmore, Tyler Dumas, Quynh Kimball and Richard Terpstra from 4 – 6 p.m. at Tower Hotel Gifts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as we celebrate the release of some of their new pieces in the Hollywood Tower Hotel authentic collection. Keep an eye out, Steven Miller will be sharing more details on this new collection on the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks. Learn more.

February 19 – 22: Beloved artist David E. Doss will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace February 19 – 22 and again February 26 – March 1. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

Which artist are you most excited to see?

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New Merchandise Kiosks Set the Bar High at Downtown Disney

posted on January 27th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Unlike most people, I’m at Downtown Disney five days a week. I get to see the property transform before my very eyes on a pretty regular basis, and I can honestly say that one of my favorite signs of progress is the opening of new venues.

With gifts galore and barware to please every beverage connoisseur, two new kiosks at Downtown Disney have put a big smile on my face; and I’m not the only one … they’ve been hugely popular with guests since their opening late last fall. Aptly named “Sublime” and “Set the Bar,” both venues are located at the recently remodeled Riverboat Square, between Fulton’s Crab House and Portobello.

Find a Unique Gift and More at Sublime

Need to find a unique card with just-the-right sentiment? Or gift a candle that will remind your recipient of you every time she lights it? Searching for a magnet that will make you chuckle? Or a book that’s sure to inspire? Find this and more at “Sublime.” In just a few short months, it’s already become one of my “go-to” stores when I need to find something fun and fanciful.

And while there are also gifts aplenty at “Set the Bar,” I think I’ll opt to keep most of what I buy there for myself, thank you very much. From bottle openers to flasks, shot glasses to copper mugs, this is a perfect perch to find the latest “must-haves” to transform your Saturday-night at-home-cocktail-hour into a truly sensational soiree. (Feel free to add me to your guest list!)

Have you had the pleasure of purchasing at these new retailers yet? If so, let me know which products you loved most … I’m almost due for another shopping spree and I could use a few ideas!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Best Places to Find Disney Tsum Tsum at Disney Parks

posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Last summer, my son (and the rest of the world) discovered Disney Tsum Tsum. I recall we were on vacation in Ohio when he asked to download the fun puzzle matching and stacking game. Upon returning to Florida, he found the adorable stacking plush offered both at Disney Stores and in select locations at Disney Parks. Our friends at Oh My Disney even celebrated their arrival with a visit to Disneyland park (as seen in this article). I recently asked Victoria Hamilton, merchandiser for dolls and plush at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, about the best places to find Tsum Tsum when visiting Disney Parks.

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“There are currently two different locations that offer Tsum Tsum,” explained Victoria. “Guests in California should stop by the plush room inside World of Disney at Downtown Disney District. For guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort, they should visit Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace. These two locations carry an assortment of four-inch plush and a handful of the larger sized plush.”

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She also told me that they will continue carrying select Tsum Tsum after they are released at Disney Stores. For example, guests will find the “101 Dalmatians” mini Tsum Tsum plush collection in early February at Disney Parks. This collection was first released at Disney Stores and online in early January.

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In related news, the Disney Pin Team will release a collectible pin pack featuring Tsum Tsum later this year. Each pack will contain five randomly selected pins. I grabbed a handful of pins to photograph for this story including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!

In addition to the two different locations at Disney Parks, you can find select Tsum Tsum products online at http://www.DisneyStore.com/TsumTsum.

Happy stacking!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Walt Disney World Resort