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#DisneyFamilia: Traveling Around the World and to The Future at Epcot

posted on August 19th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager


When people ask me which is my favorite theme park at Walt Disney World Resort, I can never give a definite answer. But I always say that Epcot is the park that I go to most often. Por qué (why)?

Because it’s the only place on Earth that you can walk around the ‘world’ and glimpse into the future at the same time.

In this week’s “Sonia’s Best of Walt Disney World” video, blogger Sonia Gil explores this unique theme park and shows you her favorite spots in World Showcase, where 11 countries celebrate their cultural heritage, arts and entretenimiento. She also talks about her favorite attractions, and things to do at Future World, a land filled with technology and innovation.

One of the things that I love most about Epcot is that it was inspired by what Walt Disney envisioned for it: a showcase for innovation, and a place for guests to celebrate human achievement and experience cutting edge technology. That is the heart of the theme park.

By the way, do you know what Epcot originally stood for?

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Top 10 Things I Discovered at the D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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The D23 EXPO 2015 was a blast! There were incredible announcements of upcoming projects throughout the Walt Disney Company (the seven year old me can’t believe that Star Wars Land will be a real place). Besides those major announcements, I wanted to share the top 10 things I discovered during my visit this year.

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I Need to Step Up My Aloha Shirt Collection
Being a long time fan of Aloha shirts, I loved seeing John Lasseter’s Studio Collection on display. In 1999, designer Reyn Spooner created a custom shirt for John featuring art and characters from Disney-Pixar’sToy Story 2.” The tradition continues today with shirts for the newest animated features including “Inside Out.”

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Incredible Displays
Located nearby the shirt display, I found this wall of Pixar balls (above). The décor found throughout the Expo was over-the-top. I’d love to recreate something like this wall in a future home.

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DisneyNature “Born in China”
Ever since I was an attraction manager at China Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot, I’ve dreamed of visiting China. I look forward to seeing DisneyNature “Born in China” coming soon to theatres. You can see the trailer here

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Caring at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion
I loved watching Disney fans make care kits at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion. This pavilion showed what Disney is doing to inspire kids and families to think creatively, live healthier, conserve nature, and strengthen our communities.

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Disney Infinity 3.0
I’m beyond excited for Disney Infinity 3.0 which debuts on August 30 this year. I loved seeing a full size image of Sam Flynn from Disney’s “TRON: Legacy” that will be a new figure released later this month. Stay tuned for additional details about an early launch party at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace on August 28.

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Gravity Falls Mystery Shack
There was a full scale recreation of the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls. I wanted to take everything home with me. A brand new episode debuts on Monday, August 24 at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD. I can’t wait!

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Quest for Trading Cards
Since I spent 7 ½ years as Project Manager for Disney Trading, I was delighted to see trading cards at the D23 Expo. They were part of a Trading Card Quest presented by Disney Visa Card. Fans received a starter pack of cards, and could search for opportunities to collect different cards from locations all over the show floor. I even watched Disney Fans trading cards in my hotel lobby.

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Disney Dream Store
I visited the Disney Dream Store a few times. The 3-foot Vinylmation Haunted Mansion-inspired figure by artist Javier Soto was impressive.

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D23 EXPO Design Challenge
I was also impressed with the D23 EXPO Design Challenge that my fellow author Jeffrey Epstein first discussed in March 2015. In honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, artists were invited to craft their own interpretation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The image above contains just a few pieces I enjoyed seeing.

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The People Who Make the Dream a Reality
My favorite thing I learned attending the D23 EXPO 2015 is Disney fans are incredible people! While I enjoyed seeing a Nav’i from the upcoming Pandora – The World of AVATAR coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I loved meeting people who love Disney as much as me. The costumes some fans wore, such as the one my friend Mary Jo made to honor newly inducted Disney Legend Julie Reihm Casaletto, were outstanding. Stay tuned for a closer look at some of those costumes in a future Disney Parks Blog article.

What was your favorite part of the D23 EXPO this year? Please share in the comments below.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

New Frozen Ever After, Royal Sommerhus Details & Renderings Released

posted on August 18th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


New details were released at the D23 Expo on the Frozen Ever After attraction and neighboring Royal Sommerhus that are currently being constructed at Epcot.

The Frozen Ever After attraction will transport guests to Arendelle just in time for the “Winter in Summer” celebration. According to Portfolio Creative Executive Kathy Mangum, the attraction’s project team is currently partnering with many of the talented individuals at Walt Disney Animation who helped bring the original “Frozen” film to life, as well as award-winning composers Bobby and Kristen-Anderson Lopez.

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“We’re also expanding the Norway pavilion with the addition of the Royal Sommerhus – a charming cabin where guests will be able to meet Anna and Elsa,” Kathy said. “This cabin is based on an actual historic log cabin in Norway. In fact, in order to make sure we get the character and detailing right, we just sent our project team to Norway on a research trip to study the country and its cultural arts and crafts in person, just as the film team did.

“We’re confident that this attraction will bring more guests to the Norway pavilion and increase their interest and knowledge of Norwegian culture, just as the World Showcase was intended to do.”

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VIDEO: Disney Parks Announces Expansions and Enhancements at D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


It was a big weekend for Disney fans! The D23 EXPO 2015 was packed with news from across The Walt Disney Company, including major announcements from Disney Parks. New 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot and Disney California Adventure park and many more exciting announcements have kept fans buzzing for days. Take a look back!

Check out all the Disney Parks news from D23 EXPO 2015:

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Debuts for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


We’ve been cooking up something special for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2015! Beginning September 25, while supplies last, take part in Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak and help Remy as he ventures around World Showcase at Epcot collecting ingredients for his signature dish, Ratatouille.

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Recipe For Success!
Record your discoveries as you help Remy find each ingredient by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed map to represent that location.

Maps and stickers can be purchased for $7.95 $9.95, plus tax at the following locations in the park. Note: Maps, stickers and surprise available while supplies last. No discounts apply. Purchasing limits may apply.

Epcot – Disney Traders, Festival Center, Pin Central, Port of Entry and World Traveler (International Gateway).

Whether you choose to search for each ingredient or not, return your map to the redemption location at Port of Entry by November 16, 2015 at Port of Entry to pick up your surprise.

What’s the surprise? Take a look! You will have the opportunity to receive one of the pins featured here.

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Theme park admission is not included, however is required to participate. Maps, stickers and surprise available while supplies last. Information subject to restrictions and change without notice.

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Soarin’ Around the World Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

posted on August 16th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Beginning next year, guests at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort will undertake a whole new Soarin’ journey when Soarin’ Around the World opens at both locations. This new experience continues the recent updates to the popular attraction, including all-new digital screens and projection systems at both locations.

Soarin’ Around the World will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands, over some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders. It will use the same technology that will make the Shanghai attraction, Soaring Over the Horizon, so spectacular, ensuring that the very best Disney has to offer can be experienced at Disney Parks around the world.

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Plan Your Walt Disney World Resort Holiday Vacation Now

posted on August 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are you considering taking a trip to Walt Disney World Resort during the holiday season? Today we’re excited to share our list of holiday happenings with you. Read on.

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Magic Kingdom Park
The holidays will return to Magic Kingdom Park on November 8, with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This year the park will host 20 party nights: November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 29; and December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18. Parties begin at 7 p.m. and include Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas! Dance Party, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks and much more. Buy tickets now at Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty.

Epcot
Epcot’s Holidays Around the World and Candlelight Processional will return to the park November 27-December 30. Holidays Around the World brings the international pavilions alive with holiday cheer, including a Christkindlmarkt in the Germany pavilion and performances by Joyful! gospel. The Candlelight Processional, a show that combines the reading of traditional scripture with live music, is performed three times nightly at 5, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will return to the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016. This holiday offering transforms this part of the park with millions of glittering lights, mobile displays and holiday music. It’s also included in theme park admission.

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During the holiday season, guests will be able to take holiday photos with Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost at the park. Mickey and Minnie will be dressed in their holiday best, which makes for the perfect Christmas card image.

If you’re planning a visit during the holiday season, don’t forget to check out our latest offers. The Magic Together Fall Vacation Package is a 4-day/4-night room and theme park ticket package in a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts for a family of four starting at $1,701. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers/fall-together.

Families can also save up to 25 percent on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels most nights October 4 through November 24, 2015 and November 28 through December 23, 2015. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers.

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#DisneyKids: First Disney Treat at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


Walt Disney World Resort is place where little ones can try all kinds of new foods including international fare at Epcot like kebabs from Morocco and sushi from Japan, to giant turkey legs and calamari at Magic Kingdom Park. And now thanks to The Mickey Check, parents can easily identify nutritious menu options at restaurants on property.

Once your kids take their last bite of a healthy meal, sometimes it’s fun to indulge in special treats that you can only find at Disney Parks! Mickey waffles, Dole Whip, character-themed candy apples and so much more can be a sweet surprise to top off an action-packed day.

Just check out the smiles on these little faces as they try some favorite Disney Parks goodies for the first time! Do your kids have any favorite Disney desserts?

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#CoolestSummer Ever: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cool

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


There are more ways to enjoy the coolness of Disney’s Animal Kingdom than simply standing in the shadow of an elephant (and we can’t promise you can do that). Here are a few more refreshing options:

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Finding Nemo—The Musical. This is my personal favorite thing in the whole Park. Before they wrote the Oscar and Grammy-winning music for Disney’s “Frozen“, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were already treating Walt Disney World Resort guests to their catchy, clever, melody-rich songs in this marvelous show, featuring a multi-talented cast of performers and delightful puppetry. Best of all, there’s an original cast album you can purchase in select Park and Resort shops or download on iTunes.

It’s Tough to Be a Bug! This 3-D comedy romp isn’t as flashy as some other attractions—mostly because it’s tucked beneath the Tree of Life—so like Alice, you have to wander down curious passageways to get to this buggy wonderland. It’s based on Disney•Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life“, so you’ll see good ol’ Flik along with as bad ol’ Hopper. The posters in the queue area are a hoot—spoofs of Broadway shows with insect twists If you listen carefully, you can name the tunes sung by the little tiny creature chorale.

DINOSAUR. This is my kids’ favorite Disney’s Animal Kingdom attraction. To them, no visit is complete without their taking a wild ride through time, dodging more dinos than Captain Caveman. We’re a Doctor Who fan family and appreciate being able to go back in time without a Tardis (though it’s fun to pretend that the phone booths at the Epcot U.K. pavilion are, like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the outside).

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Festival of the Lion King. If you haven’t seen this magnificent show since it moved into a nice “new house” in Harambe Village, it’s cooler than ever in more ways than one. The exuberant performers, high-flying acrobatics and the Lion King characters make this an experience that is not only cool, but downright spirit-lifting.

Kali River Rapids. Getting splashed and spritzed with water is nature’s way to refresh and renew in the warm summer months. On Kali River Rapids, as you go bobbing along through the rapids where you get along swimmingly, your fellow park guests, perched upon strategically located bridge areas along the way, often add to the liquid sunshine by spraying you with water. It’s people helping people helping people. Isn’t that nice?

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Summertime Update About Retail MagicBands and Accessories at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As the “Coolest Summer Ever” continues at Walt Disney World Resort, I wanted to give you an update about several new retail MagicBands and accessories. These items are a great way to show your Disney Side during your vacation. Here is a look at some of my favorites.

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The open edition retail MagicBands featuring Steamboat Willie and characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” are currently available in select merchandise locations.

On August 14, we will release two additional open edition retail MagicBands. One will have Winnie the Pooh while the other will feature Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Open edition retail MagicBands have a retail of $19.95 each. Like all other retail MagicBands, these open edition items can be linked later making them great gifts.

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At the beginning of the year, we released a retail MagicBand with an image of Cinderella Castle from Magic Kingdom Park. Later this month, we will have three additional open edition retail MagicBands for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m thrilled to see Figment on the Epcot-themed MagicBand!

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Some of the coolest MagicBand accessories I’ve seen are the attraction-themed MagicSliders. These small rectangular images easily slide onto the side of a MagicBand. They are a great way to either showcase your favorite Disney attractions or to keep track of which ones you’ve experienced.

Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort

There are three attraction sliders per MagicSlider pack. Look for three different packs of Magic Kingdom Park attractions, and two packs each for attractions at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each pack has a retail of $6.95.

Finally, we are now offering some of the Disney character MagicBands including Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck on our Disney Parks online store. You can find them along with select MagicBand accessories by visiting this page.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort