Enjoy the nighttime extravaganza Fantasmic! at Disney Parks

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: The Building Of Park Icons

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


This week, some of the most compelling images we shared on the Disney Parks Blog were of some iconic buildings guests have enjoyed at our parks for years, specifically the train station and entrance to Disneyland park and Spaceship Earth at Epcot.

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George Savvas shared these amazing construction images of the Main Entrance turnstiles and Main Street Station earlier this week.

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Nate Rasmussen also gave a look at the early construction of Epcot’s theme park icon – Spaceship Earth.

Which other attractions or areas of our parks are you interested in seeing early construction photos of? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

MagicBands Bring More Pixie Dust to Disney Infinity

posted on November 14th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Disney Interactive’s gaming platform Disney Infinity joined with Disney Parks to offer Walt Disney World Resort guests with a MagicBand a special surprise. In the recently released edition of the game, Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition), only guests with a MagicBand can unlock the enchanting charm of the “it’s a small world” attraction into their very own Toy Box creation.

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Guests unlock the download of “it’s a small world” for their Toy Box by placing a MagicBand over the Disney Infinity Base. The Base will detect the presence of a MagicBand, and then will instantly unlock the “it’s a small world” download with no online connectivity required. Additionally, you’ll be able to enchant other players with the iconic music from the “it’s a small world” attraction in the background. Once you’ve created a saved game, you will always have access to the new content.

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MagicBands are part of MyMagic+, an exciting new way to experience even more of the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney Infinity is an interactive gaming platform that brings favorite Disney, Pixar and Marvel toys to life in a world without limits. With Disney Infinity players have endless opportunities to create stories and fun-filled adventures!

MagicBands are intended for use in the United States only.

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Filed: MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

New Experiences Coming to Holidays Around the World at Epcot

posted on November 14th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


One of my family’s favorite traditions each year is to visit Epcot during Holidays Around the World, where time-honored traditions come alive through the sights and sounds of the countries of World Showcase. We enjoy learning about the customs of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and listening to the tales of characters like the kind-hearted witch La Befana, whom I recall from the years I spent living in Italy as a child.

For the 2014 holiday season, new Holidays Around the World experiences in Mexico, Morocco, and China join returning favorites such as “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season,” the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

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In Mexico, guests will enjoy the songs and traditions of “Fiesta de Navidad,” featuring colorful dancers and mariachis, who celebrate the holiday customs of Mexico in an interactive, musical performance. A Moroccan storyteller invites guests to join her on a journey to experience the gaiety of festivals, holiday traditions, and celebrations that are like the “spice of life” across Morocco. And the China pavilion bursts to life with the vibrant Chinese Lion Dance, bringing good fortune and happiness to all in honor of major holidays such as the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.

I can’t wait to see it all! Holidays Around the World at Epcot starts November 28 and continues through December 29, 2014. Who else is going?

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Very Merry Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on November 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Disney Parks After Dark image was snapped at Magic Kingdom Park during the special holiday fireworks that guests can see during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

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The fireworks show, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, is just one of my favorite parts of attending the annual Christmas parties – in addition to Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and the special character meet and greets. What’s your favorite part of the party? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

Thanks to photographer Mark Willard for the amazing shot.

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Learn to Draw Rapunzel’s Buddy, Pascal, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on November 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week our Learn to Draw animation series continues. He’s one of the most beloved Disney sidekicks – it’s Pascal from “Tangled”!

Grab a pencil and paper and let Heather Worley from Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios give you a quick lesson.



For more animation tutorials, visit the links below:

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

Vintage Walt Disney World: Spaceship Earth

posted on November 13th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


There is no mistaking you’re at Epcot when there’s a 16 million pound, 180 feet high geodesic sphere greeting you. Spaceship Earth has been the icon of Epcot since the park opened. In August of 1981, Spaceship Earth was beginning to take shape.

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Did you know Spaceship Earth stands on legs 15 feet above ground level? It took over 40,000 hours of labor to build this unique icon covered with over 11,000 aluminum facets.

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Read on for more posts about Epcot in the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series:

Cinderella’s Dining at Cítricos–Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Beginning January 8, 2015, the Disney princesses will welcome guests to Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa while we spruce up Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park. Reservations are available for Walt Disney World Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members beginning December 3. Reservations open to all guests on December 4.

Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Cinderella will be there to greet guests as they arrive, and the Disney princesses will visit each table for photos and autographs during the dining experience. Diners also can participate in an interactive “Magical Wishing Ceremony” with Cinderella and the Disney Princesses, with “wishing wands” and “wishing swords” for little ones.

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Breakfast and brunch hours are 8 a.m.-2:20 p.m., and cost is $49.99; $31.99 ages 3-9. The experience is on the Disney Dining Plan (2 entitlements). For reservations call 407-WDW-DINE. Online reservations and information will be available at a later date.

Cinderella’s Royal Table is expected to reopen in March.

Cinderella’s Dining at Cítricos
Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses

Adult Menu

APPETIZERS OF THE COURT

Bakery Basket

Choice of One:

Garden Salad–Artisanal Greens, Endive, Roasted Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, and
Marcona Almonds with Riesling Vinaigrette

Assorted Fresh Fruits

ENTRÉES ROYALE

Choice of One:

Traditional Breakfast–Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, and Twice-cooked Breakfast Potatoes

Scrambled Egg Whites, Hot Ten-Grain Cereal, Greek Yogurt topped with Granola,
Whole-Grain Bread, and Fresh Fruit

Steak and Slow-Poached Eggs with Twice-cooked Breakfast Potatoes and Wilted Spinach

Grilled Ham and Biscuit, Slow Poached Eggs topped with Sausage Gravy

Market-inspired Fish with Angel Hair Pasta, and Aromatic Tomato Sauce

Florida Shrimp with Creamy Cheddar Cheese and Smoked Bacon Grits

DESSERT TRIO

Beverages included:

Unlimited Coffee (regular/decaf), Iced Tea (regular/decaf),
Fountain Beverages, and Juices (Apple/Orange/Tomato)
One Specialty Beverage

Children’s Menu

APPETIZERS
Choice of One

Bite-size Cheddar Cheese and Grapes

Garden Salad
Fat-free Ranch Dressing

ENTRÉES
Choice of One

Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Pot Pie topped with a Cheese Biscuit

Roasted Chicken Leg
Roasted Chicken Leg with Brown Rice Pilaf and Broccolini

Children’s Scrambled Eggs

Mickey-shaped Waffles

Steak
served with Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Corn

DESSERT TRIO

Beverages included:

Milk and Skim Milk
Fountain Beverages
Juices: Orange/Apple/Tomato
One Specialty Beverage

Specialty Beverage Selections

Adult Specialty Beverage Selection

Choice of One

Mimosa
Champagne
Seasoned & Spiced Tomato Juice with Vodka
Cappuccino
Latte
Espresso
Glass of Wine

Children’s Specialty Beverage Selection

Choice of One served in a Specialty Cup

Tink Drink
Lemonade, Orange Juice and Sprite

Strawberry Smoothie

(Menu subject to change without notice)

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Pirates Takeover Central PaRRRk: Behind the Scenes

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


Avast Me Hearties!

I hope ye all have had a chance to see the fabulousness of New Yorkers showing their Disney Side in the Pirate Takeover of Central Park by the “prank collective” Improv Everywhere.

It’s gotten some great response. My favorite comment on YouTube was “You Best Be Liking That Page.”

And isn’t that dog the cutest! His name was Hudson. And he just happened to have a giant copper set of keys! Go figure!

Well, we at the Disney Parks Blog were there to capture all the Disney Side festivities behind the scenes.

We followed the IE team through a day of rehearsals and then the day of shooting from set up to the main event.

It was a glorious day in Central Park. Take a look.

The IE team captured the essence of New Yorkers showing their Disney Side – that playful side that comes out when even thinking about a Disney Parks vacation.

Kudos to Improv Everywhere creator Charlie Todd and his team.

And a hearty – Yo Ho Ho!

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Trattoria al Forno Wines Take Diners on a Trip Through Italy

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Opening December 18 on Disney’s Boardwalk, Trattoria al Forno promises diners an authentic taste of Italy – from the top of boot-shaped peninsula to the bottom, with classic Italian cuisine — handcrafted mozzarella, fresh pasta and pizzas baked in new wood-burning ovens.

Wine with food is a way of life in Italy, and Trattoria al Forno’s wine list “takes guests on a historic journey through the Italian wine regions,” says Jason Cha-Kim beverage manager for Disney Parks & Resorts.

“It’s unusual to have a 100-percent Italian wine list,” says Jason, who curated a list of about 70 wines from Italy’s 20 wine regions. The first page of the wine list is a map of Italy with the most famous regions highlighted, such as Tuscany and Veneto, then a few of the regions have bullet points about some of the most important wines and their flavor profiles.

“From Tuscany, we describe Chiantis and Super Tuscans,” says Jason. “From Piedmont, Barolo and Moscato d’Asti . . . and we offer wines from regions that some guests may not be familiar with, so we add a description for every single wine, along with the region and grape varietal.”

Trattoria al Forno will offer more than 30 wines by the glass, starting at $8, and also “quartinos,” which are quarter-liter carafes (about a glass and a half). “This is a great way for guests to try several different wines,” says Jason. “They’re big enough to share, so you can try wines from obscure wine regions.” Wine flights also are available.

“The wine list is like a geography lesson,” he explains, “and the list includes bin numbers for easy ordering.”
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Training the staff has been a fun journey, says Vinnie Tai, area manager for Disney’s Boardwalk food & beverage team. “We’ve been training for three months so that our servers are part of the immersive dining experience of dining at Trattoria al Forno.”

“It’s been a steep learning curve for the staff,” says Jason. “Servers had a week of intensive training with master sommeliers and leading wine educators from Italy – before opening the staff all will have an overview of Italy wine production and a tasting of all the wines on the list.”

Servers and sommeliers will be trained to suggest an Italian wine that matches a commonly known grape varietal from California and around the world – for instance, Italy’s Pinot Nero is the equivalent of a Pinot Noir, and Primitivo from Italy’s Puglia region is similar to a Zinfandel.

“It’s like a trip to Italy, and you don’t need a plane ticket or passport,” says Vinnie. “Our guests will get a true taste of Italy’s finest.” For reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarin Conservation Projects Earn Prestigious Award for Environmental Protection in Colombia!

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Hola desde Colombia! Avid Disney Parks Blog readers may be familiar with the cotton-top tamarin pair that recently moved into a new home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the pair delights guests and enjoys their new home, they also serve as animal ambassadors for cotton-top tamarins that live in their native tropical forest home in Colombia. Members of Disney’s Animal Programs have been working with Proyecto Tití in Colombia on a long-term conservation program to protect Colombia’s critically endangered primate. For the past 20+ years, Proyecto Tití and Disney have worked together to not only study wild cotton-top tamarins in the forests of Colombia, but we have helped to develop education programs for rural communities to teach about the importance of protecting cotton-tops and their forest homes and, most importantly, working with communities to develop sustainable income-generating programs so that they can reduce their dependency on forest products. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has also helped to support Proyecto Tití by helping to support the first conservation center dedicated to cotton-top tamarin conservation, awarding Felix Medina as a 2013 Conservation Hero, and providing emergency funding to help stop a fire that was spreading to the forests where our long-term field site is located earlier this year.

I am pleased to share exciting news on behalf of this organization that is so near and dear to my heart. Caracol, the largest television network in Colombia, recently announced the winners of their prize for Protecting the Environment in Colombia, and Proyecto Tití won first place!

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More than 90 organizations applied in two categories – programs led by local communities and those led by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). After selecting Proyecto Tití as one of five finalists, the expert selection committee visited the field site in Santa Catalina and had the opportunity to go into the forest to meet the cotton-tops for the first time in their lives! After their trip to the forest, the committee visited the community of Los Limites where they met the artisans that create the beautiful eco-mochilas and plush cotton-top tamarins toys. The artisans shared how they have been able to start their own businesses and how having a stable source of income has reduced the need to consume forest resources. The last stop for the judges was without a doubt the most impactful. It was when they met the students who have been part of the CARTITILLA, and other education efforts, that they really saw the difference that Proyecto Tití has made in Colombian communities. They couldn’t believe how passionate and dedicated the students are to protecting cotton-tops!

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At the awards ceremony, Felix Medina, a member of the Proyecto Tití team since it began, was overcome with emotion saying, “I remember how difficult it was when we first began working with cotton-tops, but we didn’t give up, we kept on moving forward and now our work has been recognized for its importance in saving cotton-tops. This is the best day for me and for cotton-tops!” Juan Manuael Beltran, Corporate Responsibility Advisor to Caracol shared, “There was no doubt who should win this award. Proyecto Titi’s long-term efforts to bring national and international attention to cotton-top tamarins, their education programs and their income generating programs for local communities, are a model for organizations to use in establishing conservation programs that are effective in Colombia …”

As part of the first place prize, Caracol will provide Proyecto Tití an amazing opportunity to share its story with their viewers and inspire everyone in Colombia to join us in saving cotton-top tamarins! I’ve studied these little monkeys for over 20 years. It brings me great joy to work with the Proyecto Tití team and share this exciting achievement with them!

Check out the photo gallery for more great photos from Colombia!

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