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Disney Characters Stay for Dinner at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Tusker House Restaurant in Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been a popular spot for breakfast or lunch with favorite Disney characters, and starting March 8, 2015 the lovable bunch is staying on for dinner.

Donald Duck Dressed in his Safari Best at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Donald Duck Dressed in his Safari Best at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests will find Donald Duck dressed in his safari best, and other favorite Disney pals Daisy Duck, and Goofy at the restaurant daily, with a lively celebration about once every hour. As you dine, Disney characters visit your table for laughs, photos and autographs.

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This is one of our favorite Disney buffets with the flavors of Africa offered along with all-American tastes. At breakfast, for instance, you can have bacon and eggs, waffles, cereal, fresh fruit and pastries – but also try beef bobotie (spiced minced meat with egg) or fruit chutneys.

Lunch and dinner offer an abundance of savory and sweet tastes, such as spit-roasted chicken, carved beef and Kenyan coffee BBQ pork loin; sides like vegetable samosas, curried rice, tandoori tofu and saffron-infused veggies; classic African tastes such as peri peri salmon, curry chicken and tamarind seafood stew, and pita and lavosh breads. Add chutneys, hummus and tabouli – so many interesting flavors to try. (Youngsters get their own buffet with corn dog nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes and assorted meats and cheeses.)

And save room for the warm banana-cinnamon bread pudding with vanilla sauce (even at breakfast), chocolate fudge volcano cake, cherry-apple cobbler or a bite of passion fruit tart. Breakfast is 8 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 4 p.m. Cost is $29.99, $16.99 ages 3 to 9 for breakfast, $34.99 and $17.99 for lunch and $41.99 and $19.99 for dinner.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or visit disneyworld.com/dine.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Watch Holiday Services Install & Unveil The Magic Kingdom Park Christmas Tree

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I’m sure by now, many of you have a Christmas tree sparkling somewhere in your home. Here at Walt Disney World Resort we have several “icon” trees that tower several stories tall and boast thousands of lights and hundreds of decorations.

One of those trees can be found at Magic Kingdom Park, measuring 65 feet tall. Our Holiday Services department installed the massive tree overnight – and our cameras were there to catch every moment. Check out the time-lapse video below to see how they did it.

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STK Orlando To Open in Disney Springs in 2015

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It was just announced that The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. will open STK Orlando at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015.

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STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge, will open its doors in The Landing area of Disney Springs. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building.

“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

STK is the latest in a string of restaurants who have announced new locations planned for Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia and THE BOATHOUSE are two other dining options that will open their doors in 2015.

Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information and news on Disney Springs.


For more on Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, visit the posts below:

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Filed: Disney Dining, Downtown Disney, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: 9 Intriguing Animals You Don’t Want to Miss at Walt Disney World Resort – No FastPass Required!

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Katie Leighty, Ph.D., Science Operations Manager


In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to rush through the day and miss the beauty all around you. In my role, I have the opportunity to work with hundreds of animals and I wanted to share just a few hidden gems. You might have to slow down a bit to find them, but I promise they will be worth a look on your next trip to Walt Disney World Resort. In no particular order:

1. & 2. Red kangaroos & Longnose Gar – Discovery Island Trails & Oasis, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Did you know animals could be found on your way into Disney’s Animal Kingdom? As you enter the park, adventure awaits around every corner, if you take the time to look for it. The longnose gar can be found on the path that crosses through the center of the Oasis just after you enter the park. The red kangaroos can be seen from vantage points at the front of the Tree of Life.

See the Red Kangaroos on Discovery Island Trails & Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom See the Longnose Gar on Discovery Island Trails & Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

3. & 4. Ruppell’s griffon vulture & Nyala – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is more than a resort. It’s home to more than 200 animals including the Ruppell’s griffon vulture and mesmerizing Nyala. All guests are welcome to enjoy the animals at the resort and if you’re looking for lunch plans, up to 12 guests can Dine with Animal Specialists at Sanaa to learn more about all the animals on the savannah!

Visit Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Visit the Nyala at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

5. Argus Pheasant – Maharajah Jungle Trek, Asia, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is home to more than tigers and bats. Don’t bypass the aviary on your next visit or you’ll miss the beautiful Argus pheasant.

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6. Eld’s deer – Maharajah Jungle Trek, Asia, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Eld’s deer are an endangered species that can also be found on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. On your next visit, take a look at their large floppy ears that can turn independently of one another. Those ears allow the Eld’s deer to hear predators from long distances.

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7. Shetland ponies – Tri-Circle-D Ranch, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is home to plenty of outdoor activities from horseback rides to carriage rides, and even pony rides! The Shetland ponies are located just a few feet from Pioneer Hall at the Tri-Circle-D Farm. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the Draft Horse Barn where you can see a variety of breeds and see a display on the many horses in Disney history.

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8. Pineywoods cow – Affection Section, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Affection Section is a hidden gem in itself. Guests have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few different animals and learn from animal experts and keepers. Pineywoods cattle are a critically endangered breed of “heritage” livestock, so pay this gal a visit. If you’re feeling really inspired, you can contribute to conservation efforts around the world through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

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9. Asian brown tortoise – Dinoland, U.S.A., Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Dinoland, U.S.A. is home to many animals (most are extinct). But it’s in a little island between The Boneyard and Restaurantosaurus that you can find the last animals on our list today. One side of the island is home to the American crocodile, but don’t forget to walk around and say hello to the Asian brown tortoises.

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Unwrap A Disney Parks Holiday Wallpaper by Artist Jeff Maurer

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


With Hanukkah underway and Christmas on the way, ’tis the season for holiday gatherings, family togetherness and gift giving. Today we’re happy to share another artist’s interpretation of the holiday season in this desktop/mobile wallpaper by Disney artist Jeff Maurer.

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Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it. For more Disney Parks holiday designs, check out our complete gallery of wallpapers on our special page.

For more holiday-inspired wallpapers, visit the links below:

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Your Chance To Vote And Cheer On Your Disney Side With Top Four Colleges

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


As our favorite college football teams kicked off the season this fall ESPN gave college cheer and dance teams something really big to cheer about – their Disney Side.

Dozens of squads from across the country choreographed routines to one of four Disney Parks inspired songs and submitted their videos as part of the Cheer On Your Disney Side competition sponsored by ESPN, working in collaboration with Disney Destinations and Varsity Spirit.

Last week the four finalists were announced; Auburn University, Louisiana State University, Rutgers University and Santa Monica College.

Well now it’s your turn to get into the game and vote for your favorite video at Espn.com/CheerMagic. The school with the most votes wins. And fans who vote are entered into an ESPN sweepstakes to win a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. Rules may be found at Espn.com/CheerMagic.

Online voting ends on January 6 and the winning squad will be announced on ESPN before the College Football National Championship Game on Jan. 12 in Dallas. The winning cheer or dance squad will earn a $100,000 grant from ESPN for its college spirit program and a team trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

To help you make your decision we will profile each school over the next two weeks right here on the Disney Parks Blog. You will see and hear how each team incorporated their Disney Side with their school spirit in the making of their video.

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We kick off our behind the scenes series with the Auburn Tigers. They selected “it’s a small world” and featured several of their favorite Disney attractions. Take a look at their submission video and then a behind the scenes feature.

This year, Disney Parks is encouraging people to show their Disney Side’– their fun-loving adventurous side that laughs more, says “yes” more and just plain lives life to the fullest.

ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort has been the home of Varsity Spirit’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the premier athletic competition for these teams, for over 20 years. Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today. Focused on safety, entertainment and school leadership, Varsity Spirit conducts educational camps, administrates competitions and provides apparel for more than 350,000 cheerleaders and dancers.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.
No purchase necessary. Ends 11:59 PM ET on 1/6/15. Must be a legal resident of the (50) U.S. or DC, 18 years or older, or the age of majority. Limit 1 entry/vote per person & per email per day. For prize details, odds of winning & complete Official Rules, go to www.espn.com/CheerMagic. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: ESPN Internet Ventures, New York, NY.

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Watch Mickey Mouse Take On Maleficent in 8-Bit Style

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If “Fantasmic!,” the popular nighttime spectacular from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park, were a video game, it might just look like this.

Check out this fun video our digital team created and shared earlier today.

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

New Retail MagicBands Arriving in December at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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You may recall that my top gift items this year from Disney Parks are retail MagicBands. We recently introduced the “link-it later” option for all retail MagicBands, making them great gifts for guests who may want to show off their Disney Side while visiting Walt Disney World Resort. This month, we are introducing some new open edition, graphic MagicBands on the dates listed below.

  • December 12 – Sorcerer Mickey
  • December 14 – Minnie Mouse’s iconic polka dots
  • December 17 – Stitch
  • December 22 – Disney Princesses

These graphic MagicBands will retail at $19.95 each.

Guests should look for these items in select locations at the four theme parks and Downtown Disney.

You can also find solid color MagicBands and select accessories on our Disney Parks online store by visiting http://www.DisneyStore.com/MagicBands

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

Where at Disney Parks Can You Find …

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Over the years, our holiday mystery puzzlers have been reader favorites. And I think today’s will be too – but it’s our toughest yet. Scrooge McDuck can be seen somewhere at Disney Parks if you’re looking in the right place. Any guesses? Please put your answers in the comments and we’ll update the post with the answer later today.

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Read the rest of this entry »

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Disney Artist Will Gay Shares Childhood-Inspired Holiday Wallpaper

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


Today we’re happy to share a very special Disney Parks Blog exclusive desktop/mobile wallpaper, this time created by one of our own authors, Will Gay.

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According to Will, he drew on his childhood memories of Christmas time for inspiration for this design.

“I was inspired by the scenes of classic holiday specials I watched every year growing up,” he said. “They had these simple, soft colors that just gave it an overall peaceful feel. The holidays can get a little busy and sometimes it’s nice to slow down for a second and remember all that is good – like enjoying little moments with friends and family.”

Lovely.

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it. For more Disney Parks holiday designs, check out our complete gallery of wallpapers here.

For more holiday-inspired wallpapers, visit the links below:

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort