Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland Resort

Embrace 2014 with Fit2Run, one of the ‘50 Best Running Stores in America’

posted on January 8th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s 2014, a brand-new year full of promise. And if you’re like millions of Americans, the year 2014 is full of resolutions, too! For those who have vowed to make health and fitness a priority in the year ahead, I’ve got great news – Fit2Run, The Runners Superstore, was recently recognized as one of the “50 Best Running Stores in America” by two leading trade and consumer publications, Running Insight and Competitor Magazine.

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Fit2Run prides itself on its strong community involvement and makes strides to empower athletes of all fitness levels to embrace a more active lifestyle. When I asked Fit2Run spokeswoman, Sharon Jacobson, what sets them apart from other retailers, she shared “Fit2Run is family owned and proud to support all our communities, raising millions of dollars for local charities and wellness programs throughout the state. Our passion is to custom ‘fit’ our guests properly using state of the art footwear technology. Our goal? Empower our guests to run or walk pain free while exercising their passion.” Indeed, the store has already been embraced by the local running community and has added vibrant color to Downtown Disney West Side.

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Ready to tackle your New Year’s Resolutions? Whether you want to simply be able to spend a full day walking in the Parks without getting winded or you want to conquer a runDisney race, make Fit2Run one of the first stops on your route to a healthier, fitter you!

Fit2Run has 10 locations in Florida, including the newest location at Downtown Disney. For more information, visit www.Fit2Run.com.

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RSVP for Our Food Truck Meet-Up at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 3rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. Please CLICK HERE to view a list of the accepted event attendees. If you are on the list and do not receive a confirmation email by 5 p.m. EST today, please contact us at WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.

To kick off the New Year, we’ve cooked up a special Disney Parks Blog meet-up to celebrate the arrival of our food trucks at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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The Food Truck meet-up runs from 3 – 5 p.m. EST on January 9, 2014, at Downtown Disney West Side. At the event, you’ll be able to sample some of the delicious offerings, including hand-dipped Corn Dogs, Lobster Rolls, Tandori Spiced Shrimp, and Lamb Meatball Flatbread, that’ll be available from the trucks during the year. There will also be music and plenty of fun for attendees.

RSVP 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 selected for the event, so be one of the first to sign up.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All attendees who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • We will send an 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.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in at at Downtown Disney West Side for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation.

This post will be updated after the planned capacity has been reached. Please note the event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Hope to see you at our first Disney Parks Blog meet-up of 2014.

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Most Popular Items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise in 2013

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


As this year draws to a close, I looked back at some of the most popular stories we shared on the Disney Parks Blog about Disney Theme Park Merchandise. Thank you for the wonderful feedback throughout the year. From what I’ve seen in development, next year is going to be awesome! Please share your favorite merchandise item from Disney Parks in 2013 in the comments below.

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Disney Collection By Vera Bradley
The new Disney Collection by Vera Bradley was the most popular story in 2013. Announced in March 2013, three colors – “Midnight with Mickey,” “Just Mousing Around,” and “Where’s Mickey?” – were released in the fall at World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida, select Disneyland Resort locations and online at http://www.DisneyStore.com/VeraBradley. There are additional orders of select items en route to Disney Parks, and stay tuned for news about new colors for 2014.

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter
In May 2013, three Disney Parks were open for 24 hours as part of the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter. Michelle Harker and I enjoyed sharing updates throughout the day, including photos of my crazy coast-to-coast adventure.

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter The Haunted Mansion at Home

The Haunted Mansion at Home
In February, we shared details about nine Haunted Mansion home décor that really capture the spirit (pun intended) of this classic attraction. These items were followed by an online exclusive tee shirt in August and a beautiful Dooney & Bourke handbag in September. Haunted Mansion fans should prepare for even more incredible things later in 2014.

Beautifully Disney
In March, we launched Beautifully Disney a new collection of cosmetics and beauty products created especially for Disney Parks. Four different collections – “Wickedly Beautiful,” “Unlock the Spell” “Fiery Sprit” and “Fantasy in Flight” – can be found at Disney Parks and the Disney Parks online store. In spring 2014, a dedicated Beautifully Disney boutique will open inside the Marketplace Co Op at the Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida.

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Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returns and the Droid Factory Expands
The Star Wars D-Tech Me experience returned to Star Wars Weekends 2013. Using 3D imaging and printing technology, Guests could either cast themselves in Carbonite or become a Stormtrooper. The Droid Factory, the build-your-own Astromech droid action figure experience, was also expanded to Disneyland Resort in spring.

Year of the Ear
We turned the “Limited Time Magic” spotlight a few times on iconic Disney ear hats from strawberry-inspired hats to a unique Disney heroes and villains ear hat cover.

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Stylish Holiday Ornaments
Beautiful shoe ornaments strutted into Disney Parks’ locations in May 2013. They were soon followed by another wave of resin ear hat ornaments during our Christmas in July celebration. We also released two limited edition ear hat ornament sets featuring the Main Street Electrical Parade and Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Music from Disney Parks
Two new official music albums for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort were released in August. These albums can be found at select locations at Disney Parks as well as http://www.DisneyMusicStore.com.

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A Year in Dining: The Top Five Milestones at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With culinary triumphs big (another AAA Five-Diamond award for Victoria & Albert’s) and small (the recent croissant-donut debut at Epcot), there’s been plenty to blog about the wonderful world of food at Walt Disney World Resort. Here are five standouts:

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  1. California Grill: Nothing quite surpasses the re-imagination of the sleek California Grill high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. New menu, expanded sushi bar, 80 wines by the glass – and the spectacular view is still part of the show.

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  1. Major makeover at France Pavilion at Epcot: On the heels of the opening of Monsieur Paul restaurant in December 2012, the makeover continued with the opening of Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles, a bakery 10 times the size of the old one at the pavilion. Best of all, the bakery opens at 9 a.m., so you can sip a latte with a warm croissant before the rest of World Showcase opens. Next door to the bakery, the new L’Artisan des Glaces Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet is making ice cream all day long in the true French tradition (simply milk, sugar, cream, eggs and fruit).
  2. Food marketplaces at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: The farm-to-table trend made its way to the festival with “festival farms” around each of the dozen Garden Marketplaces to show how the plants grow that are part of the food and beverages served at the festival. And they’ll be back in 2014.
  3. Disney Food Trucks: Four fun new trucks are now parked at Downtown Disney West Side serving everything from pierogies and kielbasa and tandoori spiced shrimp. Superstar Catering (“favorite of the stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Namaste Café (“tasty exploration from Disney’s Animal Kingdom”), Fantasy Fare Truck (“delightful dishes from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms around the world”), and World Showcase of Flavors (“the best of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival”) offer something for every taste Wednesday through Sunday.

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  1. Starbucks: The iconic American coffee company debuted in the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom and at Fountain View at Epcot.

There were plenty of little gems, too: more “better for you” goodies in all four theme parks, the al fresco lounge at Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, all those designer cupcakes, wine in kegs at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival . . . the list goes on.

And 2014 promises lots of big stories that we can’t wait to share.

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Clean Up This Holiday Season with Gifts from Basin At Downtown Disney

posted on December 20th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


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Christmas is just a few days away. Still have no idea what to give this holiday season? For most of my friends and me, a little something from Basin is always appreciated. I love the scent of practically everything in the store and whenever I stop in, I have to try out their latest sugar scrub. (I mean it. Every time.) I often buy Basin products as gifts for others, but I rarely treat myself. Want to put a smile on my face? I’ll take a few bath bombs or a custom soap, please!

Recently, I got to chat with store manager, Justin Heninger, to learn more about what they’re offering for the holidays. Not only do they have some products that would make even the most ‘bah-humbug’ guest grin, but some items are exclusively available at the Downtown Disney location. Read on to learn more.

Clean Up This Holiday Season With Gifts From Basin At Downtown Disney Clean Up This Holiday Season With Gifts From Basin At Downtown Disney Clean Up This Holiday Season With Gifts From Basin At Downtown Disney
  • The Fresh Facial: This Downtown Disney exclusive claims to tighten skin and moisturize skin (perfect for these colder winter temps!).
  • Glycerine Soap: These soaps look great, smell great and are extra-gentle on skin. The Mickey soaps are a Disney exclusive that can be found year-round, but the Snowy and Gingerbread scents are available especially for the holidays.
  • Dr. Spot: I’ve been told this is great for getting stains out of clothes. Hopefully I won’t need to test it out, but I have been known to drip egg nog on my Christmas sweaters!
  • Bath Bombs: These gems make bath time magical, changing the color of the water, adding healing moisturizers and, with the Pirate and Princess treasure bath bombs, ultimately revealing toys in the center. Confession: they’re not just for kids!
  • Shave Cream: This product is great for both men and women. Because it doesn’t contain alcohol, it prevents irritation and helps keep skin moisturized, too!
  • Shampoo Bar: Though it looks like a regular bar of soap, this ‘hair food’ offers extra conditioning to help dry, frizzy hair. (I think I need to try this myself!)
  • Of course, this is just a small sampling of Basin’s best-loved products! Other popular delights include Fluffy Pet Soap for your furry friends, Body Butter, Shea Scrub, Spa Wax which helps heal dry, cracked skin, and their Lip Scrub. If you simply can’t decide, a Basin gift card always works too!

    What products from Basin do you hope to find under your tree next week?

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Fan Selected Artwork for 2014 Merchandise Arrives at Disney Parks Starting December 22, 2013

posted on December 20th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As part of “Limited Time Magic” this week, I’m happy to share that merchandise featuring artwork selected by Disney fans earlier this year will be arriving at Disney Parks starting December 22, 2013.

In January, my fellow author Tom Smith shared three pieces of 2014 art for a new, small line of merchandise offerings for Disney Parks. Many fans voted for their favorite art design on the Disney Parks Blog or the official Facebook pages for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. After votes were tallied, I revealed the winning design in this video interview with Patty Landing, Creative Manager with Disney Design Group.

As a celebration of the final “Limited Time Magic” surprise of the year, we will offer an early debut of some of the 2014 dated items, including an adult T-shirt, ladies T-shirt, D-Tech cases for the iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5/5S, as well as mug and a timepiece that feature the new artwork!

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Look for these items beginning December 22 (while supplies last) at either the World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort, or at the World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort.

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From December 27, 2013 through January 9, 2014, we will be carrying a limited number of items on the Disney Parks online store. A special deluxe print (as seen in the first image of this story) will be available online only. All online sales orders will be fulfilled within 6-8 weeks.

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Cirque du Soleil’s ‘La Nouba’ Marks 15 Years at Downtown Disney

posted on December 19th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


On Wednesday night, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of ‘La Nouba’ by Cirque du Soleil with a special pre-show moment and balloon drop finale. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were joined by Neil Boyd, Company Manager of La Nouba, Keith Bradford, Vice President of Downtown Disney, and ‘Les Cons’ to kick off the 7,124th performance of the show. The cast received a standing ovation and 15th anniversary balloons rained down on the crowd. Guests in attendance received a special-edition 15th anniversary print to commemorate the milestone.

See moments from the 15th anniversary show below.

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Counting Down to New Year’s Eve Fun at DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 17th, 2013 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Five, four, three, two … FUN!

When I think of the new year, I don’t typically start with visions of “I’m gonna wreck it!” in my head, but this year, that could change. Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope will usher in 2014 along with Buzz Lightyear, Chip ‘n’ Dale and … you! If you buy a ticket to the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, that is!

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For guests seeking a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, this is a perfect option. The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. on December 31, 2013, and lasts until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. In addition to five floors of virtual fun, guests can also enjoy dinner (included with admission), dancing and the aforementioned Disney characters!

Michelle Homer, DisneyQuest Operations Manager, calls the event “a night of virtual awesomeness” and with unlimited video games, plus all the regular DisneyQuest attractions (except for Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster, which will be converted into a dance floor), there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. I hear the New Year’s Eve countdown will be especially colorful.

This event typically sells out, so be sure to get your tickets early; they’re $55 in advance and $65 the day of the event (if available). You can get all the details here and tickets are now on sale here, or at the DisneyQuest Box Office or by calling 407-W-DISNEY.

In addition to the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, Downtown Disney will feature DJ dance parties and live entertainment in all three districts plus a variety of food and beverage offerings including unique menu items from the new Disney Food Trucks and cocktails, beer and wine throughout property. (Tip: Walt Disney World Resort guests should plan to take Disney bus transportation and drivers should allow extra time as heavy traffic is expected.)

No matter how you plan to celebrate, I wish you all the best as you kick off a brand-new year!

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D-Tech on Demand Comes to Disney Truck Shop at Downtown Disney West Side for the Holidays

posted on December 12th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A few weeks ago, I shared details about the new Marketplace Co Op location coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace in spring 2014. This location will occupy the space that is currently Team Mickey, and will feature six different mini-shops within the one big shop. One of those shops will be D-Tech on Demand, a place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories. I’m happy to share that guests visiting Downtown Disney West Side during the holidays can get a sneak preview of D-Tech on Demand in action at the Disney Truck Shop. I recently visited this mobile location to get a first look.

The D-Tech on Demand machines uses some cool printing technology to create phone cases for guests while they are visiting a location. We’ve featured the machine at previous events like Star Wars Weekends 2013 or Star Wars Celebration VI, a Star Wars fan event held in August 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center. This is the first time the machine has made an appearance at the Downtown Disney area.

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We are offering eight different D-Tech on Demand cases for either the iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5/5S. Guests can select their artwork, rubber bumper color (either black or white) and add their name if desired. There are four character designs including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Cinderella Castle with additional Disney characters.

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I’m particularly excited about the four holiday designs, which will be available now through December 25, 2013. Two of the designs feature artwork for what will become the holiday artwork used next season! The retro-style artwork is amazing (I adore anything mid-century modern!). I love the vintage style, colors and even character designs. In a word, I think they are “swell”! I will share some additional looks at the 2014 holiday artwork in January, so please stay tuned.

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Speaking of holidays, the other side of the Disney Truck Shop had a great mix of festive glow merchandise. I particularly liked the light up holiday necklace and the light up reindeer headband.

The Disney Truck Shop will be open at Downtown Disney West Side from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 12 through Sunday, December 15. Starting Thursday, December 19, the Disney Truck Shop will operate daily from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. through Tuesday, December 31, 2013.

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Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise Event Snapshot – January 2014

posted on December 12th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Before I jump ahead to share details on events heading your way for the month of January, here are a few last-minute additions that popped up for the next couple of weeks.

December 13: Disney fans, meet author Dave Bossert who will be on hand to sign his latest release Remembering Roy E. Disney, which draws a poignant and funny picture of a man revered and idolized by legions of Disney fans and admired, cared about, and very well-liked by all those that had the honor to know him. Dave will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 4-5 p.m. at The Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Tip: It’s a great gift for any Disney fan, film buff or animation historian. Learn more here.

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December 13 – 14: Find the perfect gift for all of the wine lovers on your holiday shopping list! These candles are simply ‘scent’sational and have been made by hand from reused wine bottles. Representatives from Rewined Candles will be on hand from 1 – 4 p.m. and 5 – 8 p.m., each day at Heritage Manor in the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot. Learn more here.

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Now on to January!

January 1 – 5: Start the New Year out right with fan favorite and Disney-inspired artist, Larry Dotson! Larry will be appearing daily at the Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park as we celebrate some of his latest releases. Learn more here.

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January 1 – 5: Make sure you stop by The Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace to meet Disney-inspired artist Greg McCullough, who will appearing daily and check out some of his latest releases. I have my favorites, do you? Learn more here.

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January 17: Be among the first to pick up Cutesters Series 6 at D Street in Downtown Disney West Side. Artists Maria Clapsis and Caley Hicks will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 5 – 6 p.m., so don’t miss out! Learn more here
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Finally, keep an eye out for special Disney Pin and Vinylmation releases this month in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

There’s more to come this February, so keep watching! Happy New Year!

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