Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: A Cute Addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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


By far my favorite photo we shared this week on the Disney Parks Blog was of the new baby gorilla that was just born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The yet-to-be-named male gorilla is the fourth to be born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the park’s history. Too cute!

Yet-To-Be-Named Baby Male Gorilla at Disney's Animal Kingdom Yet-To-Be-Named Baby Male Gorilla at Disney's Animal Kingdom
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Experience the “Guardians of the Galaxy” Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party During “Villains Unleashed” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on August 15th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Guardians of the Galaxy” has become a blockbuster hit with audiences all over the world enthralled by the thrilling cosmic adventure’s cast of characters and chart-topping soundtrack. “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” a mix tape of retro-1970s gems given to Peter Quill by his mother, plays a key role in the story of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Now a mysterious gang of villains has stolen that prized cassette, and Peter Quill – you may know him as the legendary Star-Lord – is on his way back to Earth on a mission to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that a “Guardians of the Galaxy” Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party is being planned as part of the “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

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For those of you attending the event, be sure to duck into Stage 5 in the Animation Courtyard with your fellow Terrans, where the “Guardians of the Galaxy” Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party promises to be the hottest spot this side of Knowhere with an out-of-this-world DJ and other surprises. Plus, you never know when Star-Lord and his infamous teammate, Gamora, might crash the party to retrieve his prized cassette!

“Villains Unleashed” is a separately ticketed special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, happening after regular theme park operating hours on August 23, 2014. Tickets are $67 plus tax ($62 plus tax for children 3-9). Quantities are limited, so get yours before they’re gone!

In “Guardians of the Galaxy,” actor Djimon Hounsou portrays the feared intergalactic hunter, Korath. Hounsou visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently and spoke with us about what it was like to play a villain in the film.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll definitely want to catch “Guardians of the Galaxy,” now playing in theaters in 3D. I’ve seen it twice myself and can’t wait to watch it again! How many times have you seen the movie? What’s your favorite song from the soundtrack? Let us know in the Comments.

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

Experience the Ultimate Day VIP Tour at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 15th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


What could possibly be better than enjoying all there is to enjoy at the acclaimed Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Enjoying it via the Ultimate Day VIP Tour!

Delicious Desserts Tempt the Sweet Tooth

Begin the daylong festivities at the VIP Lounge hidden within the Festival Center at the Wonder’s Retreat. This special tour includes Champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on some of the most popular Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular and more. Whew!

Sip, taste and enjoy as you travel World Showcase at Epcot. You won’t want to miss this extraordinary celebration of all things culinary, the grape and brew as your Disney VIP Guides accompany you throughout, highlighting special moments not everyone gets to experience.

Occurring rain or shine Thursday and Sundays on select dates September through November, this private tour lasts six and a half hours and costs $399 per person (21 and up only). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info.


For more about the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festive, visit the posts below:

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Remembering Lauren Bacall at Disney Parks

posted on August 15th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


This week we learned of the passing of legendary actress Lauren Bacall. The award-winning star of stage and screen who rose to fame in the film noir dramas of the 1940s was reportedly one of the femme fatales from Hollywood’s golden age who inspired the creative team behind “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in their design of Jessica Rabbit.

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Ms. Bacall visited Disneyland park in the summer of 1963 with her husband, actor Jason Robards, pictured here at Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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Twenty-six years later, Ms. Bacall was on-hand for the opening festivities of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (known then as Disney-MGM Studios), where she placed her handprints in cement in the courtyard outside The Great Movie Ride – an attraction inspired by the kind of movie magic she, herself, created.

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

Special Edition – Wildlife Friday: Karibuni! Welcome A Baby Gorilla To Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on August 15th, 2014 by Rachel Daneault, Primate-Carnivore Zoological Manager


Hamjambo! This is a Swahili greeting guests may hear at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as they make their way through Africa to experience the sights, sounds and attractions of the area inspired by the diversity of the country. Another Swahili term is ‘karibuni’ which means welcome. Guests who travel down the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail may be among the first to help welcome the newest member of the gorilla family troop!

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The Animal Programs team reported that mom, Azizi, has been doing great with her new baby boy. During the first days of an infant’s life, mom needs to learn how to locomote while the infant clings to her body. Nursing and learning how to cling to mom without assistance are among the first essential skills for this little guy. Usually, within the first week, the infant is clinging with all four limbs and mom may return to quadrapedal locomotion.

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As with any new baby, there is a lot of curiosity about the newest member of the group especially from 4 year old, Lilly. Both Azizi and Gino (silverback/dad) have been disciplining her appropriately if she gets too rambunctious. So far, she has touched him gently on the head.

The new baby, which is yet to be named, is the fourth gorilla born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. The first gorilla birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom occurred in 1997 before the park opened, the second baby arrived in 1999 and the third was born in 2010.

Join us in saying ‘karibuni’ to the newest member of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom family!

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Heading to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World? Don’t Miss These Navigation Tips

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


We recently shared some exciting updates about enhancements coming to Downtown Disney as the area expands and transforms into Disney Springs, which when complete, will double the area’s number of dining and retail options. Work is already underway to widen Buena Vista Drive which will eventually make it easier to access the area. As expansion work continues through 2016, here are some of our best tips for navigating the property during this time so you can continue to enjoy all of the shopping, dining and entertainment options that Downtown Disney has to offer.

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  • Use Complimentary Resort Transportation – Disney resorts offer complimentary bus transportation to Downtown Disney, which drops guests off at the Marketplace end. Watercraft transportation is also available from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Once at Downtown Disney, all guests can use boat transportation to travel between the Marketplace, West Side and Pleasure Island districts.
  • Follow Parking Signs For The Best Access – If driving, follow the lighted signs to available parking lots, including those at the Casting and Team Disney buildings located across the street.
  • Take Exit 67 on I-4 – If you’re arriving via I-4, take exit 67 to approach Downtown Disney from another direction and continue to follow signs for parking.
  • Arrive Early For Scheduled Entertainment & Dining Reservations – Have a reservation or tickets to a show? Be sure to allow extra time for parking; we’d suggest arriving at least an hour early. Most ticketed experiences at Downtown Disney take place at Downtown Disney West Side, so parking in the Team Disney parking lot is your best bet for those.
  • Valet Parking Is Available – Based on guest feedback, we now have two locations for interested guests to choose from. Valet Parking is available from 10 a.m.-1 a.m. at the Marketplace (via entrance 2) and from 2:30 p.m.-2:00 a.m. on the West Side (via entrance 3). The cost is $20 per vehicle.

Be sure to keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for future updates as the Disney Springs transformation continues!

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Disney Parks After Dark: A New Fantasyland Scene

posted on August 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was shot by photographer Tom Bricker in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

I love the interesting angle he took on this shot, which shows the intricately sculpted detail of the Fantasyland wall, plus the light and color of the carousel and Cinderella Castle in the background. Such a pretty sight!
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D23 Expo 2015 — Tickets Now Available!

posted on August 14th, 2014 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


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What happens when all the wonderful worlds of Disney come together under one roof for three magical days? Find out at D23 Expo 2015! Tickets are now available for the Ultimate Disney Fan Event. From August 14-16, 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center (just across the street from Disneyland Resort!), D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is putting on the biggest Disney event in the world uniting Disney, ABC, LucasFilm, Pixar and more for a spectacular weekend.

Once again, guests will enjoy a look at what’s new and what’s next from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as well as the Walt Disney Studios, Disney Interactive and much more! Returning to the event will be the Disney Legends ceremony, honoring those who have made a significant contribution to the Disney legacy, as well as a brand new Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit.

Special Early Bird tickets are available now through December 31, 2014, and D23 Members enjoy extra savings. See you at the Expo!

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‘Light Painting’ Once Again Takes Art into Midair Inside Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 14th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Last month I had the pleasure of introducing our readers to two of our creative cast members, Paul Chase and Matt Stewart, and their Disney Parks version of “light painting.”

Paul, a Disney Parks Content Producer, and Matt, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director, spent an evening in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort with colored LED penlights. Just like before, Matt “drew” in midair (without a guide or template), while Paul made magic behind the camera using long camera exposures that captured every move of the penlights. There were no chances to “erase” a mistake.

In the first Disney Parks Blog post about their unique artwork, I promised a second edition of their work, and here it is.

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In this edition, Paul and Matt give fairy wings to guests, create a few classic Mickey Mouse drawings, and even head to space (or at least Pizza Planet) with one of the famous aliens from “Toy Story.” And no collection of space art would be complete without the galaxy’s most famous villain, Darth Vader.

In fact, one of Lord Vader’s famous lines comes to my mind when I see their work: “Impressive. Most impressive.”

(*Note: Matt and Paul were in a very controlled environment with proper personnel on-site. If you attempt an artful creation like this, please insure proper safety measures are taken.)

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Preview of Merchandise and Food & Beverage Coming to Villains Unleashed Event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on August 14th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A record number of Disney villains will be unleashed during a special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23. This separately ticketed event will include some awesome entertainment and opportunities for up close encounters with some of the most popular Disney villains. Guests attending the event will also find event merchandise and a variety of food & beverage offerings. Here is a sneak preview at what you can expect.

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We’ve developed a small assortment of event logo merchandise that includes my all-time favorite villain, Hades (he rules!). Guests should look for both women’s and men’s T-shirts, a limited-release pin and a water bottle. These items will be sold in the Studio Prop Shop located near the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I also learned that the Villainy in the Skies Fireworks Spectacular that night will have some Glow with the Show elements so don’t forget your ear hat.

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The food & beverage team has also created some incredibly delicious offerings for the party. I love the Disney villain-themed hot dogs, and the Maleficent cupcake sounds amazing – dark chocolate cake filled with a decadent blackberry filling topped with smooth blackberry buttercream (well, well!).

At Club Evil in The Hollywood Brown Derby, the Disney chefs will offer an assortment of small plate menu items. These “Villanishious” items include things like “Cruellas Devious Eyes” – fresh mozzarella with ugly ripe tomato spheres, balsamic gelée and basil oil powder – or “The Queen of Hearts famous ‘Off with their heads’”!, which is deviled eggs, pig crackling and a garlic chili gelée and lobster custard with Tobiko caviar and citrus oil.

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Guest should also look for specialty cocktails at Club Evil and at select bar locations throughout the party. There will also be non-alcoholic option called “Pain and Panic Punch,” which is apple juice, Monin pomegranate, Monin vanilla topped with soda water.

After reading the entire menu, I’m ready to party right now!

If you are going, I invite you to join the conversation online with the hashtag #VillainsUnleashed. I can’t wait to see photos of the more than 50 Disney villains that night!

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