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Listen As Epcot’s Mariachi Cobre Play ‘Fum, Fum, Fum’

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


Earlier this month, we shared a musical performance by Mariachi Cobre, the band you can find at Mexico Pavilion in Epcot that plays the folk music of Jalisco, Mexico, for guests. This week we’re happy to share another holiday carol the band is currently sharing with the audience as a part of the park’s Holidays Around the World celebration. Enjoy!


For more holiday performances from around our “World” check out the videos below.

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Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Cold Sea Turtles Cared for By Disney Animal Programs Cast Members

posted on December 12th, 2014 by Blair Witherington, Senior Sea Turtle Biologist


Eight cold-stressed Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were treated in recent weeks by Disney Animal Programs cast members. These were among hundreds of cold-stunned turtles that washed ashore at Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, following a sudden cold spell. The turtles were collected by volunteers from Massachusetts Audubon, and then taken to the New England Aquarium’s Rehabilitation Center in Quincy, Massachusetts, to be stabilized and warmed. When the turtles were ready for travel, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, with support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), transported and loaded 193 critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into a US Coast Guard plane for the trip south!

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Kemp’s ridleys are the rarest sea turtles in the world. The turtles being treated and warmed at Disney each weigh about five pounds and are two to three years old. This is an age at which little Kemp’s ridleys have just moved into coastal waters from the open sea. Most Kemp’s ridleys grow up in the Gulf of Mexico, but some are carried out of the Gulf and up the Atlantic coast by strong currents. These little turtles move into bays and estuaries from Massachusetts to Florida. During warmer months, there are lots of blue crabs and other crustaceans for ridleys to eat in these waters. When winter arrives, the turtles typically swim south to avoid cold water. However, if there is a sudden cold snap, the turtles can become trapped in the bays.

Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Cold Sea Turtles Cared for by Disney Animal Programs Cast Members! Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Cold Sea Turtles Cared for by Disney Animal Programs Cast Members!

Sea turtles enjoy warm water and have a body temperature about the same as the water that surrounds them. When the water temperature dips below 45 degrees, turtles get chilled, lose their ability to swim, and immobile turtles begin to wash ashore.

Normally, ridleys and other sea turtles anticipate cold weather and move south in the fall. But the sandy spit of Cape Cod makes this seasonal migration a special challenge. The cape hooks out into the Atlantic and catches southbound turtles, which collect within Cape Cod Bay. Turtles caught in the bay can find their way back out, except when the onset of frigid weather is rapid, like it was in recent weeks. Under these conditions, turtles in the bay are literally caught out in the cold, and a sea turtle cold-stunning event occurs.

Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Cold Sea Turtles Cared for by Disney Animal Programs Cast Members! Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Cold Sea Turtles Cared for by Disney Animal Programs Cast Members!

Emergencies such as this cold-stunning event often require a fast response. Through the DWCF Rapid Response Fund, we are able to provide emergency support to help animals when they need it most, like we did for these young endangered turtles.

The young Kemp’s ridleys taken in by Disney are now swimming in a backstage location at The Seas with Nemo & Friends to regain their strength. Plans are to release these rare turtles into warm Florida waters as soon as they are well.

Here at Disney, we hope to make an impact that will ensure that future generations will continue to be inspired and delighted by sea turtles. To that end, we have worked to protect endangered sea turtles by providing grants to conservation nonprofits through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Disney has helped support 115 projects protecting sea turtles and their habitat, with more than $1.8 million in funds since 1998.

Check out this video for behind-the-scenes footage of this rescue effort!

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Spread Holiday Cheer with Tasty Treats at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 11th, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


There’s no place like Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays. From Holidays Around the World at Epcot to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park, there is so much to do and so many treats to try. Today, I’m spreading some holiday cheer by sharing some of my favorite holiday treats.

Guests Can Decorate Gingerbread Cookies in the Lobby of Jambo House Guests Can Decorate Gingerbread Cookies in the Lobby of Jambo House

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, guests can decorate gingerbread cookies in the lobby of Jambo House. The suggested $5.00 donation goes to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. While you’re there, stop by their holiday treat table, where you’ll find all kinds of scrumptious goodies including peppermint bark, chocolate and pistachio crackle cookies, gingerbread cookie animals, butternut crunch bark, coconut cream cupcakes and house-made chocolate hazelnut spread. The African hot chocolate is made from scratch using Ghanaian milk and Tanzanian dark chocolates, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles—perfect to sip by the resort’s fire pit on a cool evening.

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The gorgeous gingerbread house in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is a Walt Disney World Resort holiday season staple, but just outside the main entrance of the resort’s lobby, you’ll find “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” from noon – 6 p.m. At the Garden View Tea Room, look for festive indulgences like holiday-inspired tea blends, gingerbread scones, apple butter and cranberry trifles. Gasparilla Island Grill is serving up a seasonal holiday turkey sandwich, piled high with traditional fixings like stuffing and cranberry.

BoardWalk Cupcake

Still craving the sweet stuff? BoardWalk Bakery has a specialty chocolate-peppermint cheesecake cupcake decorated to look like a Christmas Tree.

DHS Cupcake

If you are looking for some festive in-park treats, be sure to stop by Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a specialty gingerbread cupcake. Adults can take in the beauty of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights with Yuletide cheer in the form of one of several specialty Christmas cocktails available throughout the park, such as the Gumdrop with Stoli Razberi vodka, Chambord, Sprite, pineapple and cranberry juices garnished with candy gumdrops. There’s also a Winter Berry and Torched Holiday Cider and my favorite, the Very Merry Cherry. At Pizza Planet Arcade, you’ll find The Claw—Sauza Gold Tequila, Disaronno, triple sec, and sweet-and-sour served with a souvenir glow cube. Catalina Eddie’s on Sunset Boulevard is the home of Very Berry Lemonade, and at ABC Commissary, you’ll find Holiday Delight—Bacardi Razz rum, blue curacao, orange juice and a splash of Sprite with a souvenir glow cube.

These holiday offerings are only around for a limited time, so be sure to check them out while you can!

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

Listen As Epcot’s Mariachi Cobre Plays An Amazing ‘Silent Night’

posted on December 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Holidays Around the World has brought Epcot’s World Showcase alive with holiday cheer and fun seasonal entertainment.

We recently stopped by the Mexico Pavilion to catch a performance by Mariachi Cobre, the band who plays folk music of Jalisco, Mexico, for guests. This time of year, they’ve added several Christmas carols into their repertoire. Check out the video below for their performance of “Silent Night.”

Holidays Around the World at Epcot will run through December 30.

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Explore Holiday Topiaries at the Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


While towering Christmas trees and glittering holiday wreaths often catch a lot of attention from Disney Parks guests, there are many other (smaller-yet-charming) holiday touches that we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss.

For example, topiaries are putting on their Santa hats at Epcot.

Christmas Topiaries at Spaceship Earth in Epcot

In the park’s U.K. pavilion, instead of a Christmas Tree, you can spot this “Christmas Tea” among the gardens.

Christmas Tea at the U.K. Pavilion in Epcot

At the France pavilion, the area’s fountains are now overflowing with poinsettias and Christmas bulbs.

Christmas Decorations in France at Epcot Christmas Decorations in France at Epcot

What clever holiday touches have you spotted at Epcot or at our other Disney Parks? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Gift Ideas From Around the World in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I recently shared details about unique shopping destinations at Epcot for Holidays Around the World. On the same day I took images for that story, I visited all 11 World Showcase pavilions to find some unique holiday gifts. This is one of my favorite articles to write each year because it helps me complete my holiday shopping (plus who doesn’t want to get paid to walk around Epcot for a few hours?). Here are some highlights from my shopping trip around the world.

Gift Ideas From Canada Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From France Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Canada Pavilion – Look for Hatley pajamas for adults and kids; silver jewelry that’s made in Canada; or “Giggling Goat Soap,” which is the best name for authentic Canadian farm soap.

United Kingdom Pavilion – This pavilion is home to Twinings teas; jewelry and apparel inspired by “Downton Abbey;” and an amazing assortment of new Rose & Crown Pub products.

France Pavilion – This pavilion contains a variety of fragrances, home décor items featuring “La vache qui rit” (the Laughing Cow), chocolate truffles, and wine.

Gift Ideas From Morocco Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Japan Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From American Adventure in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Morocco Pavilion – You can find versatile cloth handbags, shoes, decorative vases and more.

Japan Pavilion– The Japan Pavilion has a nice assortment of Bento box accessories, items for wrapping gifts in reusable cloth, wallets, and an awesome food tray for kids.

American Adventure – Find goods from American companies in Heritage Manor Gifts including penny jewelry, wines and sauces. The location also carries patriotic Tervis tumblers.

Gift Ideas From Italy Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Germany Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Italy Pavilion – Look for fragrance gift sets in Il Bel Cristallo, beautiful Venetian cat masks, scarves and home goods.

Germany Pavilion – You can find a variety of German-themed ornaments, decorative steins, apparel and Black Forest cuckoo clocks.

Gift Ideas From China Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Norway Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Mexico Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

China Pavilion – The House of Good Fortune offers Panda-themed handbags, inspirational word stones, lamps and fun three-dimensional puzzles.

Norway Pavilion – Stay warm with apparel by Dale of Norway and Helly Hansen. The location also offers trolls in a variety of sizes and food items.

Mexico Pavilion – Inside the pavilion, you will find items celebrating “Day of the Dead,” beautiful jewelry, handbags, scarves and drinkware.

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Disney Parks After Dark: A Holiday View of ‘IllumiNations’

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Disney Parks Blog photo takes a look at an entertainment offering that is regularly dressed up for the holidays – “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” During this time of year, the show concludes with a special finale to the song “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

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Thanks to photographer Mark Willard for the great shot.

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Think Outside the Box for New Year’s Eve Celebrating at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Early birds are already making their New Year’s Eve plans, and reservations go fast for many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. But we’ve got some offbeat ideas for ringing in 2015 that don’t require a reservation (except for one).

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If you’re at Epcot, you can still make a reservation for early dining at lovely Monsieur Paul upstairs in the France Pavilion (one of our top spots for fine dining). It’s a treat to lunch at Monsieur Paul, as it’s usually just open for dinner: there are still seats available at 11:45 a.m., noon, 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. This gracious experience ($85 per person plus tax and gratuity), starts with Cassolette d ’escargots Cauderanaise (escargot cassolette with white wine, bacon, shallots); a salad with Roquefort cheese, pear and caramelized pecans, or mussels soup with saffron and light fennel cream. Entrées include chicken with morels mushrooms and white sauce; broiled Maine lobster casserole, or beef short ribs braised in red wine with Parisian gnocchi with herbs. The sweet ending is a delectable French dessert.

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If you can’t snag a reservation, another favorite is Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in the Italy Pavilion, a cozy spot to sip Bellinis or martinis, or choose from a solid wine list. Small plates include pastas, Tuscan-style pork ribs, paninis, charcuterie and imported cheeses. La Cava Del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion doesn’t take reservations either – try a flight of tequilas (more than 100 to choose from) and pair with chips and guacamole or a shrimp cocktail for a light bite.

If you prefer to watch Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from afar, grab a seat in the lounge at Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The expansive wine and cocktail list pairs nicely with small bites from the kitchen like arancini (crispy risotto with sweet Italian sausage and mozzarella), Prince Edward Island mussels or slow-roasted Berkshire pork belly.

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You can also see Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from Disney’s Contemporary Resort where The Wave . . . of American Flavors lounge (ages 21 and older) offers signature cocktails, beer and wine along with seasonal tastes such as steamed Florida Cedar Key clams, lump crab, Florida rock shrimp cakes and a sustainable fish taco.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge offers prime outdoor seating with wine, beer and cocktails and a substantial menu – yes, you can get the famous Cobb Salad as well as Wagyu beef sliders, artisinal cheeses and charcuterie and Maine mussels (we love the desserts too, like the warm blueberry cobbler with crème fraîche and orange blossom honey).

Another tucked-away spot that’s got a view of Epcot fireworks from along the BoardWalk at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is casual Crew’s Cup Lounge – beer fans highly recommend the Sam Adams beer flight, but there’s a bounteous selection of other brews, cocktails and wine. The menu runs the gamut from a New England-style lobster roll to pappardelle pasta with braised short ribs.

And if fireworks aren’t an important part of your year-end celebration, for a lovely spot head to Victoria Falls Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can sip a Coconut Elixir (non-alcoholic), a truffle olive martini or a fabulous South African wine while listening to live music. The menu is one of our lounge favorites: tandoori-spiced chicken wings, peri peri scallops, pork wings, crispy chick pea bites and artisanal cheeses. For guests looking for a heartier meal, Boma Flavors of Africa still has reservations available on New Year’s Eve.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!

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

Santa Is Making the Rounds at Disney Parks

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Festival Of The Seasons

Santa Claus is a busy guy this time of year, but we have good news! He’s carving time out of his schedule to pay a visit to Disney Parks, where you can meet him and fill him in on your fondest wish for this holiday season. Between now and Christmas Day, Santa will be making stops throughout Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Here are some of the places you’re bound to find him:

Be sure to consult the in-park Times Guide or ask a cast member to find out just when you can see Santa on the day of your visit, and have a wonderful ho-ho-holiday!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Candlelight Shines At Epcot

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


There’s a lot of shouting for joy over at the America Gardens Theater at Epcot now that the Candlelight Processional has started for the holiday season. The Candlelight Processional has been a holiday tradition at Disney Parks dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park.

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Before moving to Epcot in 1994, the Candlelight Processional was performed at Magic Kingdom Park. Below is a look at the Processional being performed in front of Cinderella Castle in 1980 and in front of the Main Street Train Station in 1983.

Candlelight Processional Performed in Front of Cinderella Castle in 1980 Candlelight Processional Performed in Front of Main Street Train Station in 1983

Candlelight Processional is presented at Epcot three times nightly through December 30th.

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