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Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park

Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

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8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Top 10 Disney Parks YouTube Videos of 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


In 2014, there were some great Disney Parks YouTube videos shared around by readers, including our “Ultimate Tweet” at the Walt Disney World Resort – our top video of the year.

Take at look at our list of the Top 10 Most Popular Disney Parks YouTube videos in 2014.

1. Behind the Scenes | 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’

2. 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’ | Disney Side | Disney Parks

3. Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ Sing-Along Performed at Walt Disney World Resort | Disney Parks

4. Moms Have a Disney Side too | Mother’s Day | Disney Parks

5. #DisneyKids: First Teacup Ride | Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

6. Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

7. Ursula Moves Into Her Lair at Disney California Adventure Park | Disneyland Resort | Disney Parks

8. #DisneyKids: First Photo at Magic Kingdom Park | Walt Disney World

9. #DisneyKids: Remembering Favorite Attractions at Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

10. ‘Frozen’ Meet & Greet with Anna & Elsa at Epcot | Walt Disney World

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

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party Reservations Now Open for January and February 2015

posted on December 27th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Looking for an exciting and delicious way to start 2015? IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party will delight your senses. Savor a confectionery assortment of delectable desserts and sparkling wines from around World Showcase.

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This sparkling soiree will take place select Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at Epcot’s Showcase Plaza — an exclusive setting perfect for viewing “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” Sample sweets from around the globe, such as traditional Moroccan baklava, Italian tiramisu, French chocolate ganache tarts and more.

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party reservations are now open for January and February. Cost to attend is $49 for adults and $29 for children ages 3-9. For reservations, visit Disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Fireworks Around Our World

posted on December 27th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are fireworks a must-see for you on New Year’s Eve? Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our holiday spectaculars have been lighting up the night for weeks in anticipation of Christmas. Check out the gallery of images below for a look at the latest fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

For details on what our parks have planned for New Year’s Eve, click here.

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Filed: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Blair Underwood ‘Thrilled’ To Narrate The Candlelight Processional Dec. 26-27

posted on December 26th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Actor Blair Underwood is set to narrate The Candlelight Processional at Epcot December 26 – 27, and he just can’t wait to hit the stage.

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“Being a narrator for The Candlelight Processional really is the highlight of my Christmas and my family’s Christmas,” he says, speaking of wife Desiree, and their kids Paris, Brielle and Blake, who eagerly accompany him on his holiday trip. “If you want to get into the holiday spirit – the Christmas spirit – there’s nothing like coming into The Candlelight Processional to feel and be transported into the greatest story ever told.”

Blair, who has appeared in the show as a narrator for several years, says for him The Candlelight Processional is not only a chance to participate in a beautiful musical performance, but it also enables him to take part in something very meaningful for him during the holiday season.

Blair Underwood ‘Thrilled’ To Narrate The Candlelight Processional Dec. 26-27 Blair Underwood ‘Thrilled’ To Narrate The Candlelight Processional Dec. 26-27

“What I notice more than anything during the show is a sense of peace, a sense of traditional holiday spirit, and a sense of love,” he says. “[The show] is always magical and that’s what Disney World was created to be. [Instead] it’s people coming into that moment and celebrating the birth of Christ, which is very important to me, as I am a Christian.”

In addition to celebrating the season at the show, Blair and his family are also looking forward to spending some fun family time together in the theme parks during their visit as well. This year, they’re also looking forward to trying out the latest things Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, such as “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” and seeing the technology of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

“Our tradition is to try to cram in as much as possible,” he laughs. “When our kids were younger, we spent a lot of time at Magic Kingdom. Last year we spent more time at Epcot, which has been an eye-opener. We as a family love to travel and it’s fun to go to those different countries in Epcot and see the similarities between the pavilions and the actual countries. The food is always a big part of that, too.”

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Isabella Rossellini To Narrate ‘The Candlelight Processional’ Dec. 24-25

posted on December 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Actress Isabella Rossellini will take the stage to narrate the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day performances of “Candlelight Processional” (December 24-25).

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The show is a retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator with seasonal songs performed by a live choir and orchestra. Shows take place daily at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre.

In addition to Rossellini, remaining narrators in this year’s line-up include:

  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Have you seen the Candlelight Processional at Epcot this year?Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Final Week to Experience the Candlelight Processional at Epcot

posted on December 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Attention music lovers: The 2014 season of the Candlelight Processional is now in its final week at Epcot.

Christmas by Candlelight

In case you haven’t seen the show, it’s a joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, plus music supplied by an orchestra and choir. Performances take place at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre at Epcot.

Remaining narrators this season are:

  • 12/21 – 12/23: Marlee Matlin
  • 12/24 – 12/25: Isabella Rossellini
  • 12/26 – 12/27: Blair Underwood
  • 12/28 – 12/30: Steven Curtis Chapman

Narrators are subject to change without notice.

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Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – January 2015

posted on December 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Are you visiting Walt Disney World Resort this January and are looking for a few other things to check out? Here are a couple of artist showcases that made my list.

January 1 – 4: Artist Larry Dotson will be on hand to kick off the New Year with special appearances and signings at Walt Disney World Resort, January 1 – 4 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park and January 8 – 11 at Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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Now – January 5: Get dolled up! Stop by Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace and meet representatives from Precious Moments Dolls who will be wrapping up this season’s showcase. Learn more.

January 6 – 8: Fall in love with the latest fragrance, The Essence of Norway, from Laila Inc. Fragrance Designer Geir Ness will be available for a special appearance and signing from Noon to 6 p.m., each day, at The Puffin’s Roost in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. Learn more.

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January 19 – 25: Have you been waiting to meet artist Greg McCullough? Find him this month at Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace. It’s never too late to add a new piece by Greg McCullough to your collection. Learn more.

We have many more events in store for you this year, so keep watching the Disney Parks Blog.

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Seasonal Craft Beers at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 19th, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


I’m a huge fan of craft beers, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out several seasonal craft brews are offered at Walt Disney World Resort.

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“When the weather turns cold, it’s time to seek out some of the most popular seasonal beers, including winter ales and Indian Pale Ales (IPAs),” says Jason Cha-Kim, Beverage Manager at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “These beers are brewed stronger, richer and more full-bodied with wonderful holiday flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and caramel.”

A few of the craft beers you can enjoy at Walt Disney World Resort include Widmer Brothers Brrr Seasonal Ale, Bell’s Winter White Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer Spiced Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop IPA and Shock Top Shockolate Wheat.

Another brew perfect for this time of the year is the Einstok White Ale available at the beer cart in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot—the only place you’ll find this ale on tap outside of Iceland!

Keep an eye out for these limited-time brews throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

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Ana Gasteyer Narrates the Candlelight Processional December 18-20

posted on December 18th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Comedian Ana Gasteyer will take the stage at Epcot tonight in her debut appearance as the narrator for the Candlelight Processional.

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In case you haven’t seen the show, the processional is a retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator plus seasonal songs performed by a live orchestra and choir. Shows take place daily at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

Remaining narrators this season are:

  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

As a reminder, all entertainment is subject to change without notice.

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort