Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

Festival of the Masters Update

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’ve been to Downtown Disney or read our Blog lately, you know changes are coming. The area is undergoing the largest expansion in its history. As we prepare for Disney Springs, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to expansion work and unfortunately we will not be able to host the event.

We appreciate the enthusiastic support we’ve received from the arts community, both locally and nationally, which has contributed to the long-running success of the Festival. Walt Disney World Resort is a strong supporter of the arts and we remain committed to nurturing the arts.

We ask for your patience and understanding during this time of growth and look forward to building new memories with you at Disney Springs.

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Perfect Pre-Dinner Fun: Wine Pairings at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Tucked in a quiet corner of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Martha’s Vineyard is one of our favorite quiet spots for a pre-dinner cocktail or a light bite. And now, new late-afternoon wine pairings combine food and wine with a little enlightenment, with wine experts on hand to talk about what you’re sipping.

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Upcoming dates are 4-5:15 p.m. September 4, September 25, October 2 and October 30. Wineries aren’t yet announced (the last one was France’s Louis Jadot), but the Disney chefs are having fun with pairing delicious food with whatever is poured – we tried a mild white fish with dry Pouilly-Fuissé, a seafood paella with fresh Chardonnay and a strong red Beaujolais-Villages with a chocolate flourless cake and cherry sorbet. The wine expert and the chef are a delightful duo as they lead guests through the hour-long tasting. No need to takes notes, they’ll send you home with a bookmark that tells about the wines.

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It’s an intimate setting – no more than 18 guests, and the conversation flows with the wine. Cost varies, but is in the $20-30 range for three wines paired with three small plates, and price depends on what’s being poured.

For reservations, call 407-934-3833.

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Double Rainbow Fills Sky at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


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There’s nothing unusual about getting some rain this time of year at Walt Disney World Resort. But the double-rainbow that appeared after a recent storm at Magic Kingdom Park was anything but ordinary. Cast member Brian Hicks captured a series of beautiful shots and we wanted to share them with Disney Parks Blog readers.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Welcome a Sumatran Tiger to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Jill Piltz, Zoological Manager-Primate and Carnivore Team


Sohni is a name of Hindi origin which means beautiful. This is certainly a fitting name for the newest tiger that can be seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a self-guided walking tour set in the land of Asia.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is home to many different species including komodo dragons, birds, bats and hoof-stock. Until very recently only one species of tiger could be found on this trail, but with Sohni’s arrival comes increased diversity in the form of a Sumatran tiger, a species that is only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. To help you identify the difference, remember that Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. Females weigh between 165 – 242 lbs. and males weigh between 220 – 310 lbs.

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Human population growth has dramatically reduced the tigers’ natural habitat. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and it is estimated that there are fewer than 500 individuals left in the wild. You can help protect tigers and many other species by supporting conservation organizations through contributions or volunteering.
You can learn more about tigers including Sohni on your next visit, but until then here are a few tiger fun facts:

  • Tigers mark their territory with visual signals, such as scratches on a tree or on the ground, and chemical signals, such a spraying a tree with urine and scent gland secretions.
  • Tigers can be extremely swift for short distances, running 30 to 35 mph, and can leap impressive distances averaging 13 feet.
  • Tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.
  • Tigers are carnivores and are the top predators in their ecosystem. A male tiger in the wild requires nearly 3 tons of food per year.
Wildlife Wednesday: One of These Is Not Like the Other – Welcome a Sumatran Tiger to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Wildlife Wednesday: One of These Is Not Like the Other – Welcome a Sumatran Tiger to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) supports local and global nonprofit organizations that address the planet’s most urgent conservation issues including tigers around the world. In spring 2013, the DWCF supported an emergency request to assist the rehabilitation of orphaned tiger cubs in Russia. For more information and an update on the tigers supported in this project, check out the video on IFAW’s website.

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Everything You Need to Know to Attend Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


More than 50 Disney villains are set to rule Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23, as a part of the new Villains Unleashed event.

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Villains Unleashed, which is a one-night event that requires a separate party ticket, will feature appearances by rare villains, meet-and-greet opportunities, an Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show, “Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks and much more.

The park will be buzzing with activity and fun that night. Here are some tips on how to make the most of it!

  • Parking – Guests arriving by car for Villains Unleashed should come through the Main Auto Plaza, the south entrance located off US-192 and World Drive. The satellite entrance (across from the Hess station) will be closed for this event.
  • Arrive Early – The party starts at 8 p.m., but guests with an event ticket can enter the park as early as 5 p.m.
  • Event Guide – Pick up an Event Guide for show times and details on which characters can be found in different areas.

  • Kick Off The Party At Hades Hangout – The fun begins at 8 p.m. at Hades Hangout as he summons the villains for the night’s festivities.
  • Meet Characters – Villains available for character greetings will have established queues with posted appearance times. There will be separate queues for each villain, so you can be sure of meeting the one you want.
  • Fantasmic! – Arrive early so you don’t miss the pre-show with the Night Crawlers (starts at 9:35 p.m.).
  • Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – Four showings during the night at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. (Some content may be too intense for young children.)
  • See Special Fireworks – “Villainy in the Sky” starts at 12:45 a.m. Excellent viewing is available in front of the Sorcerer Hat, and all along Hollywood Blvd.



See the posts below for more about Villains Unleashed:

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A Beautiful Day to Debut a New Bridge and Boat Dock at Downtown Disney

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Ninety degrees, clear blue skies and the sort of fluffy white clouds you see in magazine advertisements – it was a perfect morning to officially open the new Marketplace Boat Dock and Saratoga Bridge at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Earlier today, I joined Vice President of Downtown Disney, Keith Bradford, along with cast members and guests who had gathered to celebrate the milestone- one of many that will ultimately take place as the property undergoes the largest expansion in its history, as it transforms to Disney Springs.
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The newly-opened bridge offers a pedestrian-friendly connection between Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and more than 70 shopping, dining and entertainment offerings available at Downtown Disney. In addition, the Marketplace Boat Dock, now conveniently located near the Marketplace Bus Loop, provides easy access to the West Side and Pleasure Island. Guests aboard the complimentary water taxi may even learn more about what’s on the horizon (literally!) as they travel from district-to-district.

One of my favorite views of Downtown Disney is from this new vantage point; with a view of the entire complex, it’s a great reminder of how much there is to see and do (which, I’ll admit, I sometimes take for granted, since I’m here every day)!
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Want to experience it for yourself? The Marketplace Boat Dock operates daily starting at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting. Take a ride, then let me know what you think in the comments below!


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

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All in the Details: Imagineers Unveil the Storyline of Disney Springs

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


How does Walt Disney Imagineering re-imagine an area of Walt Disney World Resort that guests have enjoyed for more than 40 years?

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That’s the creative challenge our Imagineering team, including Executive Creative Director Theron Skees, has been tasked with – to transform the area currently known as Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a destination that’s being expanded to include more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. From an Imagineering perspective, this means developing a storyline and creating a sense of time and place that influences everything from the architecture to the costumes.

We were also excited to share that our Imagineers will continue to share updates here in our “All in the Details” series in the coming months as their work progresses. Here’s the first piece, in which Theron introduces the Disney Springs project and Imagineering’s role in it.

The first “neighborhood” in Disney Springs – the opening of The Landing – is set for 2015. Construction on Disney Springs will continue into 2016, so be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more behind-the-scenes looks at the progress happening as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs.


For more about Disney Springs, visit the stories below:

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Anna & Elsa’s Boutique and More Thrilling Transformations Coming to the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE 8/26/14: Please note that this post has been updated to reflect the new name of Anna & Elsa’s Boutique.

Like Olaf, I’m a big fan of summer. However, like you, I also enjoy experiencing “Frozen” fun all year long. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the introduction of the newest location to the Downtown Disney District, Elsa & Anna’s Boutique Anna & Elsa’s Boutique. Currently home to Studio Disney 365, this location will undergo a transformation starting September 2, and will re-open in mid-September. I’ll be back soon with details on the new transformations, inspired by beloved characters like Anna, Elsa and Olaf, as well as details on some of the product offerings that will be available. In the meantime, here’s a look at the art for the logo that will grace this “cool” new location.

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Here are a few other things to prepare your crew for if you are planning to visit the Disneyland Resort this Halloween. Set sail in the direction of Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree from September 12 through October 31! Here, a world of themed offerings await you, including special Halloween entertainment and activities, pumpkin carvers, yummy treats and the return of The Pirates League. Recruits three and older can chart their own course, choosing from a selection of pirate-inspired looks that are both swashbuckling and spooky.

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Now, Halloween Time wouldn’t be same without a little help from our Fairy Godmother, or in our case our Fairy Godmothers-in-Training at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Keeping with their simply sweet tradition, we welcome back the Halloween Minnie Mouse-inspired transformation through October 31. Just a quick reminder, transformations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland at Disneyland park are only for our younger fans, ages 3 – 12 years. Quick Tip: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will offer extended operating hours on Mickey’s Halloween Party nights for any Trick-or-Treaters in need of a royal transformation.

So if you are planning a visit to the Disneyland Resort to take part in some of these festive Halloween Time experiences through October 31, or if you can’t wait to check out the newly-transformed Elsa & Anna’s Boutique Anna & Elsa’s Boutique and take part in new experiences they will have to offer, call 714-781-STYLE (7895).

For those of you planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort this Fall, be sure to make your appointments for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Magic Kingdom park or World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace, as Halloween packages will go fast. If you ‘arrgh’ hoping to take part in The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom park, chart your course now. Call 407-WDW-STYLE (7895) today!

Reminder: Separate theme park admission is required for transformations venues located inside Disney Theme Parks.

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Colorful Visit to Zoey & Pickles at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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The Marketplace Co-Op has been open in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort for a few months now. I’ve loved hearing from guests about their visits to this exciting new location that serves as a testing space for new retail shop concepts, products and guest experiences. With fall approaching fast, I recently visited Zoey & Pickles, which is one of the boutiques found inside this location. The merchandising team recently reset the location to create a colorful new display.

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Zoey & Pickles is a girls’ destination that contains the latest trends and glamour for the up-and-coming fashionista. The boutique carries a variety of apparel items and accessories that were created especially for the shop. The thing I noticed immediately is that everything in the shop is now organized by color (it’s exactly how I organize my closet at home). The merchandising team said they made the change so guests could easily find their favorite colors to create fun outfits.

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Colorful shoes are one of those unique items that were specifically made for the location. They range from sandals to flats to sequin–covered high tops. In addition to the giant wall of shoes, the teams added select shoes to the various wall displays. That small addition makes it easier to find the perfect shoe to complement an outfit.

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The shop carries a few different items with characters like Tinker Bell or Buttercup from Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” You’ll also find a variety of products featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. My favorite items in the shop are the shirts that contain power words as seen in the first image of this story. I encourage my daughter to live her life with those simple words – be kind, be magical, and be beautiful.


For more about the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, visit the stories below:

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Cheer On Your Disney Side As The New College Football Playoff System Kicks-Off On ESPN

posted on August 18th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


There’s a change in the air and it’s just not back to school, cooler temperatures and changing leaves. It is the dawn of a new era in college football, and the chance for college cheer and dance teams to cheer their Disney Side to support their team and win a $100,000 grant for their spirit program and a group trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

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This fall, Disney is teaming up with ESPN and the ABC family of networks to cheer on the new College Football Playoff system and what is sure to be the most memorable college football season yet. Every team starts the season “in,” but only four teams will stay “in” for the inaugural College Football Playoff in January on ESPN.

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The competition is not just limited to the player on the field. ESPN, in partnership with Disney Parks and Varsity Spirit, is excited to invite college cheer and dance teams to create a 30-second Disney Parks-inspired routine set to four music remix choices of our favorite Disney Parks attraction music. Teams can submit their routines between September 3 – November 10, and the top 4 will be announced on December 11, during a live ESPN broadcast of a College Football Special from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort immediately following the College Football Awards Show. The winning team will be announced on January 12, the day of the College Football Championship.

Teams can get more information and register by visiting ESPN.com/CheerMagic.

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