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Via Napoli Restaurant, Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Reservations for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package at Walt Disney World Resort Now Available

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Do you want to have the Coolest Summer Ever at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Reservations for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package are now available for dates starting June 17 to September 7. Have a day fit for Arendelle royalty, with reserved viewing to a trio of Frozen Summer Fun experiences and chill out with cool refreshments.

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Each Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package includes:

  • See Anna and Elsa in the reserved viewing for Frozen Royal Welcome, complete with regal refreshments—water, a selection of soft drinks, and ice cream
  • Reserved seating for your choice of (1) show time of For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Frozen Fireworks viewing with dessert party, a dazzling nighttime display of fireworks paired with Frozen-themed desserts as well as specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages

Cost is $69 for adults, $39 for children age 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity are included). Reservations can be made online or by calling 407-939-3463. Package availability is limited; so don’t let this opportunity go!

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New Allergy-Friendly Menus at Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resorts

posted on April 14th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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On April 14, Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts will begin to introduce new allergy-friendly menus at approximately 120 quick-service and table-service locations. The menus provide more convenience and readily available options for guests with special dietary requests.

“Over the years, the number of guests with food allergies and intolerances has continued to grow. In 2013 alone, our cast members assisted with more than 650,000 special dietary requests. These new allergy menus are another way in which we can provide high-quality, safe and more accessible alternatives, and the best possible dining experience for guests with specific dietary needs,” says Gary Jones, chef and culinary dietary specialist for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

The new allergy-friendly menus provide allergen content for each menu item, making informed choices easier. Menu selection includes appetizers (where applicable), entrées, side items, desserts and kids’ meals, and focuses on the most common allergens: gluten/wheat, milk, peanut, tree nut and fish.

Guests are still able to consult directly with a restaurant chef or special diets trained cast member. We also encourage guests to continue to communicate special dietary needs to our restaurant cast members, as this allows our culinary team to take extra measures during preparation to prevent the introduction of the allergen.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the recipient of a FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Award for dedication to providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience for vacationing families and our chefs have been recognized for their commitment to food allergy awareness, education and management.

The new menus will be introduced in signature restaurants on April 14, then debut at other table-service and quick-service restaurants (including Walt Disney World water parks, Downtown Disney and resort hotels) through September 2015. For more information on special dietary requests, click here for Walt Disney World Resort and click here for Disneyland Resort.

Click here to check out a sample menu.

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Caption This: Meeting Dinos at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 14th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This brave young guest is cozying up to one of the colorful dinos in Dinoland, U.S.A., at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Sure looks like they’re pretty good buddies. What are they up to? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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The BOATHOUSE Makes a Splash at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Over the past year, The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats has been hoisting up along the Downtown Disney skyline. The venue, open today, is the first of several new restaurants coming to The Landing, a new neighborhood that will be part of Disney Springs.

The BOATHOUSE is an upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600 seat nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s – 1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called Amphicars.

I had the chance to talk with Theron Skees, executive creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering to learn more about how The BOATHOUSE charted its course. Theron shared “It’s been such a team effort between WDI and the Schussler design team; to see Steve’s dream come to life is awesome. It’s been a true collaboration. Guests will experience rooms that represent different time periods in the history of the building, with a focus on a view of the water. Each design element: the height of the restaurant ceiling, the width of the deck, the transparency of the railing, it was all considered so guests would have maximum visibility to the water.”

I got to tour The BOATHOUSE recently, and if stunning water views and impeccable attention-to-detail were what they were aiming for, well, they nailed it!

Earlier today, Pam Brandon shared details on the menu, so now I’m giving you an early look at what else you can expect at this unique location:

Amphicar Rides – Is it a car? A boat? Yes. And yes! Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests. Along the way, you’ll have a great view of Downtown Disney, direct from the water. I tested the Ampihicars last week and had a blast; you literally drive into the lake with a splash – plus, I felt like a celebrity, waving to all the curious guests onshore! This is the only place in the world to ride in these vintage vehicles. Tours are available daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, and will be available soon.

The BOATHOUSE Is Set To Make a Splash at Downtown Disney In Florida

Italian Water Taxi Cruise – The Venezia, a breathtaking 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi also offers a Captain’s guided tour of Downtown Disney; this one is complete with live music, chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast. Tours will be offered hourly from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, starting soon, for individuals and groups of up to 20. The cost is $75 per person or $50 per child under age 13. (Want a more private tour for two? Ask about the Antique Steamboat Tour aboard Lady Rose; the cost is $150 per couple.)

“Floating Art” – I knew they were beautiful, but I had no idea I was looking at a multi-million dollar fleet of rare boats. Gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world, be sure to take some time to stroll the marina. Photos are not only allowed, but encouraged, so have your camera handy.

Interior Décor – Boat motors mounted on the wall. Trophies from regattas of days gone by. Stunning photography and artwork, some historical, some richly modern. It’s all incredible. But perhaps my favorite décor element is the brand-new boat that the team modified so it could include a dining table. (I’ll just say it now, everyone will want to sit there, me included!) Of course, the true visual hero, even from inside the restaurant, is the water. The good news is that every single table has a great view, so there’s no such thing as a bad seat.

Entertainment – Harbor Master festivities take place throughout the day and evening, with flag ceremonies and lively musical performances of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard Lady Rose. Inside, live entertainment takes center stage with a variety of musical styles – during my “sneak peek,” familiar songs were floating through the restaurant.

Check out the gallery below for a glimpse of what you can expect when you visit.

It’s hard to guess what guests will love most about The BOATHOUSE. What are you most excited for? Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to know!

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It’s a Peaceful Morning at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I always enjoy visiting Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, especially with my son. It’s such a peaceful place that it always feels as if we’ve been transported a million miles away. Not to mention it’s a great place to watch the horses at Tri-Circle-D Ranch.

Check out this shot from photographer Mark Willard of the resort just waking up for the day. I can’t wait to visit again. What’s your favorite part of this resort?

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See the posts below for more morning views from around Disney Parks:

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The BOATHOUSE Opens Today at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats opens today at The Landing at Downtown Disney, the area’s first all-new dining spot featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

But of course it’s the food that we want to talk about, so we caught up with Executive Chef Bob Getchell, who’s been on the team more than five months creating the menu for the expansive restaurant that features three distinctive bars and nautically theme dining rooms. The BOATHOUSE restaurant is managed by the award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group.

“Incredible food with a waterfront view is the focal point,” says Chef Bob. “All of the dining rooms have waterfront views or are on the water.” With 600 seats – 400 indoors, 200 outdoors – there’s not a bad view in the house.

The upscale menu focuses on seafood and steaks, upscale cocktails and a solid wine list. You can get anything from a casual basket of fried clams or big butterflied shrimp to “the best Angus beef burgers in town,” says Chef Bob. (And the fries are hand cut.)

New England Lobster Roll at The BOATHOUSE

Let’s start with the raw bar, serving three to five varieties of oysters on the half shell, colossal wild-caught Baja shrimp cocktail, and the BOATHOUSE lobster cocktail made with a pound-and-a-quarter lobster. Local Anastasia Gold caviar is on the menu from a farm in nearby Pierson, Fla.

Even the salads are notable, like the sirloin steak salad with eight ounces of New York strip steak, seared ahi tuna salad with Asian dressing, and the Buffalo chicken salad with Point Reyes blue cheese and spicy pecans.
The rotisserie chicken is brined 24 hours and stuffed with citrus and fresh herbs, then slow roasted. Cedar plank salmon roasts in an 875°F oven. And you’ll find dayboat fish coming in fresh, like the Cape Canaveral tripletail that’s on the opening day menu, or Florida wahoo.

Back to those steaks – Gibsons sources their meat from small farms in the upper Midwest, and features buttery filet mignon, a 28-ounce Porter house and a 32-ounce long bone rib chop (our favorite).

“We’re famous for our big desserts,” says Chef Bob. Like the S’More Baked Alaska made with one-and-a-half gallons of rocky road ice cream with graham cracker crust, topped with a mountain of meringue and marshmallows, chunks of chocolate on the outside, then torched for the s’mores finish. Meant for sharing, of course. Or the Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake with fresh berries in a whiskey-honey syrup finished with whisked buttermilk cream and whiskey caramel sauce. But Chef Bob admits his favorite dessert is the ice cream float with grape Nehi soda, poured tableside.

Kids’ meals are no afterthought – they’re all homemade, like the Sticks and Stones with chicken breast strips and fish, hand-breaded. Or the Pig in a Blanket wrapped with pretzel dough and baked.

“We’ve got something for everyone on the menu,” says Chef Bob. More than a dining experience, The BOATHOUSE immerses guests with waterfront adventures including live music and romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi, or the 1800s antique steamboat Lady Rose, both featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. Or head to the water for guided Amphicar tours where you’ll enter the water with a splash for a 20-minute tour.

Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.

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24 Ways to Kick Off Our Coolest Summer Ever Event on May 22 at Walt Disney World Resort

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


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We’ll officially kick off the beginning of summer here at the Walt Disney World Resort on May 22, with a 24-hour celebration at Magic Kingdom Park.

If you’re heading to our park to join in on the fun, here are 24 suggestions on how you can make the most of this year’s event.

  1. Show your #DisneySide by wearing a costume. (Check out the guidelines here).
  2. Join your favorite heroes from “The Incredibles” in the #IncrediblesSuperDanceParty in Tomorrowland, starting at 9:30 a.m.
  3. Join the “Move It, Shake It, Dance & Play It!” Street party to celebrate the start of summer. The first celebration begins at 9:30 a.m.!
  4. Find the paw prints of “Lady and the Tramp” hidden somewhere on Main Street, U.S.A.
  5. Have breakfast in the park. Mickey Waffles, anyone?
  6. Challenge yourself to get as many photos with Disney characters as possible. The My Disney Experience App will have the latest on appearance times.
  7. Catch the fun of the Royal Majesty Makers, who appear throughout New Fantasyland during the day.
  8. Attend the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” which features floats from “Tangled,” “Brave” and many more.
  9. Get your picture with Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach.
  10. May 22 is also the opening date for the film “Tomorrowland.” Celebrate with a ride through Space Mountain or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.
  11. Check out the latest Disney merchandise. Memento Mori, a new spot devoted to Haunted Mansion-inspired gifts, is a great place to start.
  12. Catch the patriotic flag retreat on Main Street, U.S.A., promptly at 5 p.m.
  13. Check out the latest additions to the park, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the interactive queue at Peter Pan’s Flight.
  14. Join the late night dance parties in your pajamas. That’s what Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale and Goofy will be wearing!
  15. Enjoy the “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show.
  16. Gather together for “Wishes” fireworks at Cinderella Castle.
  17. Change costumes at the 12-hour mark. Maybe a “hero” look for the day and a “villain” look at night?
  18. 24 hours means a lot of time for character autographs. How many can you get?
  19. Enjoy a late-night snack at the park. Popcorn or Dole Whip?
  20. Take pictures wearing as many different Mickey Ear hats as you can.
  21. See how many Hidden Mickeys you can find in 24 hours.
  22. Catch two showings of the “Main Street Electrical Parade.”
  23. Enjoy your favorite Disney attractions all day (and night) long.
  24. Take an early morning family photo – if you can make it the full 24 hours!

How will you kick off our 24-hour event? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 12th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we went behind the scenes for a special look at what it takes to make Sleeping Beauty Castle sparkle for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration — officially kicking off on Friday, May 22.

Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more on the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, and join the conversation with the hashtag #Disneyland60.

And if you’ve been following the Disney Parks Blog, you know we’ve shared dates for 2015’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and continued to keep you up-to-date on this year’s Night of Joy. This week, tickets for all three events went on sale.

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Charles shared an update on what’s shaping up to be a fantastic fall at Walt Disney World Resort. Check his original story for more details about tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney’s Night of Joy.

Also, to order tickets or find out more information on any of our Magic Kingdom Park special events, you can check out Disneyworld.com, call 407-W-DISNEY or contact your travel agent.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Legendary Hatbox Ghost Comes Out to Socialize in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park in May – The Hatbox Ghost is reappearing at Disneyland park in May. Here’s a sneak peek!

Bringing New Magic to Matterhorn Bobsleds and Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland Park – As we look forward to celebrating the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we have exciting changes coming to two of our classic attractions this spring.

Penny for Your Thoughts: Making Coin Presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop – Meet Rob Johnson, who has been making and maintaining coin presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop for 25 years.

A Unique Point of View: Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park – See a perspective most racers don’t get to see when they’re revving their engines at the start line on Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure park.

D23 Asks, When Did It Start For You? – When did you know you first loved Disney? It may not be your first Disney memory—and it may not even be your favorite Disney memory. But when was the first time Disney made your heart sing and your spirit soar?

New Dooney & Bourke Collections Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Walt Disney World Resort on April 25 – We have exciting news for Dooney & Bourke fans visiting Walt Disney World Resort later this month. We will release two new collections on April 25 at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Epcot Flowers Bloom at Night

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was an unusual one – and apparently a fan favorite. The original photo, which took a look at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at night, showcased a topiary of three pals from “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Because it was so popular, we didn’t want you to miss two others shots our photographer snapped while roaming the park late at night. Here are two shots of the Cinderella and Prince Charming topiaries. Notice the clock in the background? Looks like it’s almost time for her to run!

Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

You can enjoy the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival daily through May 17.

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Helping Hands Helping Nature with The Walt Disney Company

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Earth Month is a special time for all of us at Disney—and even around the world—as we are reminded of how we can join together and care for the world we share. At the Company, one of the ways we protect wildlife and wild places is through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF).

Established in 1995 on Earth Day, the Disney Conservation Fund’s mission is to protect the planet and connect kids with nature. It supports nonprofits that conserve wildlife, engage communities in conservation and connect kids with nature. The fund has provided $27 million in guest dollars and corporate support for conservation projects in 114 countries and connected more than 12 million kids with nature.

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Helping families connect with nature through sponsoring NatureRocks.org, saving the Central American river turtle and working to reduce human-wildlife conflicts are just a few of the projects the fund supports.

Every dollar you donate to the fund is matched by The Walt Disney Company and goes directly to nonprofit organizations. A portion of the Wild Africa Trek tour admission fee in Disney’s Animal Kingdom also supports the fund.

A Priceless Encounter in a Theme Park

You can witness wildlife conservation here at Walt Disney World Resort. Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation Director, Disney’s Animals, Science & Environment (ASE), and James Mejeur, Zoological Manager, spearhead a special project. Though ASE funds their own projects, they’re partnering with the Purple Martin Conservation Association (which has received grants from the Disney Conservation Fund) and scientists from York University as they help save the purple martin, the largest member of the swallow family. Starting with only six pairs of breeding birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are now 120 pairs of birds and 240 total purple martins that return across property annually.

“One of the things I ask people,” Dr. Savage said, “is, ‘Have you ever been to the Amazon Rainforest?’ No? Well, these birds have.” The birds migrate from Brazil by early January to nest and raise their chicks here on property. Once the chicks are ready, they all make the 3,000-mile journey back to South America in June and July.

It’s a great way to involve guests, as I recently observed at the Purple Martin Garden in Epcot. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. during the breeding season, Lauren Moscar, Conservation Programs Technician, checks on 50 nest compartments.

The impact on the guests is obvious as they gather around to watch Lauren. She even shows them the nests and any eggs. On this day, there were quite a few youngsters obviously transfixed by what Lauren was sharing with them.

“I love talking to the guests and answering their questions,” Lauren told me. “It’s what it’s all about.”

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