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Disney Parks Blog Celebrates Disney's 'Tomorrowland'

Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Harambe Market, a new area that will serve-up African-inspired street food, is set to open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at just how the team is currently working together to bring this new area to life.


Check out the video below to hear how members of the project team traveled to Lamu, Kenya to study architecture, learn how African foods and spices inspired parts of the area’s storyline, and much more.

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

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park?

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center

I can’t wait to see the new film “Tomorrowland” which hits theaters this Friday! In celebration of the film — and the theme park land that inspired it — this week’s quiz is all about Tomorrowland. Check and see how well you know its attractions in the quiz below.


Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park

When did Space Mountain open in Tomorrowland?
Who is your friendly guide through Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress?
Who is Mr. Tom Morrow asked to contact in the announcement heard on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover?
Which of the following is NOT a featured monster comic at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor attraction?
Which backdrop do you travel though when experiencing the Tomorrowland Speedway?

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park: Then and Now…

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

We’re continuing our special image series “Then and Now” with a look at how Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort has changed over the years. Scroll back and forth to see both views.

When Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, Tomorrowland featured Grand Prix Raceway, Flight to the Moon, the Skyway to Fantasyland and the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Over the next few years, other attractions were added, including Star Jets, Space Mountain and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

Tomorrowland underwent a major redesign in 1995, when Walt Disney Imagineers changed the land’s theming to be inspired by science fiction instead of scientific fact. This change brought attractions like The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, The Timekeeper, etc., as well as a new Tomorrowland entrance marker.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Celebrate and Learn More About Turtles at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Blair Witherington, Senior Sea Turtle Biologist

Tomorrow is World Turtle Day®! To celebrate, we’ll have activities to satisfy your curiosity and inspire conservation of these magnificent animals.


At Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can try on a turtle shell, see how biologists find gopher tortoises in their underground burrows, learn how to best keep turtles as pets, attempt to untangle a plush sea turtle from fishing line using only your “flippers” and much more! At the Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, you’ll be able to step through a turtle-excluder device. TEDs are special devices fishermen use in a trawl net to allow turtles an escape route if they are accidentally caught. You can also play interactive games to learn about the threats turtles face, while our sea turtles swim behind you in our 5.7 million-gallon tank. At both locations, you will have opportunities to ask specialists about our turtles and what they need to survive.


In honor of the holiday, we have an exclusive Disney Parks Blog update from our Conservation Team. Many of you may remember last year’s Tour de Turtles at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort during which we attached satellite transmitters to two female loggerhead sea turtles that came ashore at the resort to lay their eggs. Affectionately named Anna and Elsa after our favorite “Frozen” Arendelle royals, the two ladies have been travelling hundreds of miles since we watched them return to the sea last summer.

Anna, the smaller of the two, had healed scars on her shell from an old boat-propeller injury. Ever resilient, Anna was able to swim in the Tour de Turtles. Because each turtle in Tour de Turtles is connected to an issue that threatens sea turtles, Anna swam to raise awareness about the threat of light pollution. Bright beachfront lighting from buildings and streetlights can deter nesting females and draw hatchling turtles away from the ocean, which is very dangerous for them.


With a crowd of well-wishers cheering her on, Anna crawled down the beach at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and back into the Atlantic Ocean. For about a week, Anna swam and drifted within Florida’s coastal waters and then headed south along the coast of eastern Florida. This means that the nest she made in late July was her last of the season. If Anna was like most loggerheads, this would have been her fifth nest!

Anna’s travels south took her to Key West, where she looped around the island and settled into a beautiful shallow seagrass pasture just north of the popular tourist destination. (Perhaps it reminded her of Arendelle?) Anna’s journey has totaled 661 miles!


Elsa, the larger of the two female loggerheads, has a 40-inch long shell—that’s the height of an average 4-year old human! Elsa is swimming to raise awareness about the troubling amount of plastic debris in our oceans that many turtles mistake for food.


After Elsa left Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, she drifted for a few weeks within Florida’s offshore waters and eventually headed south. Like Anna, Elsa also swam toward Key West, but soon found her own path. She turned south to cross the Florida current toward Cuba. The strong, Gulf Stream current must have diverted her to the east, which put her on course for the Cay Sal Bank, a rich area of shallow seagrass between the United States and Cuba. This is where Elsa stayed for several months, until just recently when she looped closer to Cuba and back toward Cay Sal. Elsa’s journey has totaled 1,929 miles! That’s the distance from Orlando to Nova Scotia!


Want to learn more about turtles and our work to help conserve them? If you’re staying at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort this summer during nesting season, you can participate in a turtle night walk, during which you may see a female sea turtle lay her eggs on the beach! You can also check out our next Tour de Turtles event August 1 at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and don’t forget to celebrate turtles for World Turtle Day and every day at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and The Seas with Nemo & Friends!

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Join Us for Breakfast, ‘Tomorrowland’ & 24-Hours at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 19th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

We’re kicking off this year’s 24-hour celebration in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort with a special sweepstakes – a chance to win a prize that’ll include admission to 24 hours of fun at Magic Kingdom Park, a special breakfast and a screening of Disney’s “Tomorrowland” film on the same day it’s released in theaters, May 22, 2015.


The Disney Parks Blog-hosted event begins at 6 a.m. on May 22 at Walt Disney World Resort. We’ll start with an early breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park that’ll include photo opportunities.

After breakfast, attendees will have the opportunity to see Disney’s mystery adventure movie “Tomorrowland” at AMC Downtown Disney 24 (transportation from Magic Kingdom Park to Downtown Disney will be provided). In Disney’s riveting mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. Directed by two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird, “Tomorrowland” stars Academy Award® winner George Clooney as scientist and former boy-genius Frank Walker and Britt Robertson as Casey Newton. Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

Please read the official rules before you enter the sweepstakes. Now, to enter, send us an email titled “24 Hours in the Park,” your complete name and if you will be bringing a guest to, and we’ll select 250 winners. Only one guest is permitted.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All winners must be US residents and 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older as long as the winner is the parent or legal guardian of the guest who is under 18.
  • Disney’s “Tomorrowland” is rated PG.
  • Park admission to Magic Kingdom Park for May 22, 2015 will be provided as part of the prize.
  • Limit one guest per winner.
  • We will send an email to individuals who are selected as winners to confirm their attendance for the event.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the winner and guest to check in at the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC), adjacent to Magic Kingdom Park parking, at 5 a.m. for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Prizes are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Prize will be for the winner and guest.
  • If you do not receive an email from us notifying you that you are a winner, then you have not won the prize.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation.

Also, here are some other things you should know:

  • Please arrive early. No one will be admitted late.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C who are 18 years of age or older (or age of majority), as of entry. Sweepstakes starts 1:00 PM (ET) on 5/19/15 and ends 3:00 PM (ET) on 5/19/15. Limit one entry per person/email address. See Official Rules for details. Prize must be redeemed on 5/22/15. Prize does not include travel to or accommodations at Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, FL.

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Favorite Recipe from New Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 19th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Harambe Market opens May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and if you can’t be here for the debut, we’re sharing one of our favorite recipes from the new location.

This chickpea salad, which will be served with the Karubi Ribs from Harambe Market, features distinctive African flavors like tamarind paste and chaat masala. Give the dish plenty of time to marinate before serving.


Chickpea Salad
Serves 8 as a side dish or appetizer

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water
1/4 teaspoon chaat masala, optional
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, minced

  1. Heat oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno; cook until garlic is lightly golden. Set aside until mixture is room temperature. Whisk in tamarind paste and chaat masala. Stir in onion. Refrigerate until cold.
  2. Add chilled spice mixture to chickpeas, tossing to coat. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Just before serving, add cucumber, tomato and cilantro. Add remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, if desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cook’s notes: Tamarind paste has a distinctive, tart flavor. It can be purchased in Asian and Latin-American grocery stores or online. Chaat masala is a spice blend available in specialty food stores and some grocery stores or online.

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Fuel Your 24-Hour Party Fun at Magic Kingdom Park on May 22

posted on May 18th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator

We’re gearing up to have the Coolest Summer Ever at Walt Disney World Resort, and what better way to kick it off than with a 24-Hour party at Magic Kingdom Park?

I have a few tips for finding great bites during the 24-Hour Party at Magic Kingdom Park:

For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a cup of coffee and a pastry (or a cupcake; I don’t judge) from Main Street Bakery. A favorite for me are the waffles from Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square, delicious served topped with strawberries and whipped cream or as a ham and cheese omelet sandwich—either way, you can’t go wrong.


Cupcakes celebrating the 24-Hour Party will be available at Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern. Since we’re kicking off the Coolest Summer Ever, everything from cotton candy to our lemonade is turning blue!

For lunch, I love the Pot Roast Macaroni and Cheese or Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni and Cheese from The Friar’s Nook. Or, still in Fantasyland, I enjoy watching the ‘it’s a small world’ boats drift by in Pinocchio Village Haus while enjoying one of their delicious flatbreads (the Caprese is my favorite—I love the juicy tomatoes and balsamic drizzle).


Hang loose during the Tomorrowland beach party, starting at 4 p.m., and grab a snack at The Lunching Pad, featuring a tropical watermelon lemonade, a special gourmet hot dog topped with pulled pork and cole slaw and a crisped rice treat shaped like a flip-flop available only during the beach party.

For dinner, ample seating and air conditioning can’t be beat—it’s the best way to recharge. Try the new Deluxe Chicken Sandwich with pepper jack cheese, bacon and chipotle mayo at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café, or try one of the new Rice Bowls (choose from beef or veggie) at Tortuga Tavern. In Liberty Square, the Seafood Mac and Cheese—cheesy goodness made with lobster and shrimp—and Chicken Pot Pie from Columbia Harbor House hit the mark for comfort food (both entrees are only available after 4 p.m.).

Looking for dessert? There’s nothing like watching Wishes from Main Street with a sundae from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in hand—be sure to try Olaf’s take on this sweet treat! If dessert isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for a late-night snack instead, give the gourmet waffle fries from Golden Oak Outpost a try.

Fuel Your 24-Hour Party Fun at Magic Kingdom Park on May 22 Fuel Your 24-Hour Party Fun at Magic Kingdom Park on May 22

For the night owls who make it to the wee hours of the morning, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café will offer a breakfast plate loaded up with crispy bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs and herb-crusted roasted red skin potatoes.

My fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Pam Brandon, will be giving you east-coast food updates on May 22, and I’ll be live-blogging the Disneyland Diamond Celebration Kickoff in California!

What are you planning to eat and drink during the 24-hour Party? Let us know in the comments below.

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Moms Panel Monday: Need Recommendations on Dining at Walt Disney World Resort?

posted on May 18th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager

Food can be a big and very fun part of the Walt Disney World Resort experience, and for this issue of Moms Panel Monday our panelists offer dining suggestions to a guest who is visiting this summer.


Each panelist provides personal insight — such as favorites of their kids’ like 50s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to signature dining establishments like California Grill and Flying Fish Cafe, and even not-to-be-missed indulgences like waffle-based sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom Park or the addictive Zebra Domes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Does your family have any favorite places to grab a bite at Walt Disney World Resort?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Keep ‘Cool’ and Show Your #DisneySide at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration at Disney Parks

posted on May 18th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney

The 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration is the exciting start to the “Coolest Summer Ever” at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and launches the Diamond Celebration at Disneyland Resort. This event is a 24-hour party within the theme parks – from coast to coast!

There will be guests showing their #DisneySide in their favorite costumes and Disney-inspired outfits. I wanted to share a few ways to show your sporty #DisneySide at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration, as well as some tips from our friends at New Balance to keep comfortable if you plan on staying on your feet the majority of the day.

Here are some outfits I pieced together that will be comfortable, stylish and show your #DisneySide from the Disney Store, New Balance and Champion.


Keep 'Cool' and Show Your Disney Side at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration at Disney Parks Keep 'Cool' and Show Your Disney Side at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration at Disney Parks


Keep 'Cool' and Show Your Disney Side at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration at Disney Parks Keep 'Cool' and Show Your Disney Side at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration at Disney Parks

New Balance Tips for the 24-Hour Event

Possible Rain or Sweat?
Don’t worry! Stuff your kicks with some newspaper heel to toe, let them sit overnight to absorb moisture. Don’t put your shoes in the dryer; it’ll hurt the materials!

Wiggle Room
You’re used to a size 8 in those heels? Bump it up about a half size from your street shoe to your running shoes. It’s a good thing to have some wiggle room in the front of your shoes for your toes to splay. Minor foot swelling is also common when we spend long days walking or running on our feet, so make sure to have at least a thumbs nail length of toe room for those little piggies.

Lace with Attention
Be careful how you lace up your shoes. It’s great to lock in the heel, but don’t put too much pressure on that instep. Your feet will thank us come dinnertime.

Legs Up the Wall
Long day on your legs? Lie flat on the ground with your legs at a 90-degree angle up the wall or on the back of a couch. This very common yoga position is thought to increase blood flow to the heart. Give circulation a refresh in those stems and get back out there.

Type of Ride
Just like attractions can differ, so too do the rides of a shoe! Make sure you’re happy with the ride you select for the entire day – sandals may be too thin. If you have a few pairs of sneakers to choose from, try out the level of cushioning to ensure it’s plush enough or light enough to carry you through this adventure!

What are you planning on wearing to show your #DisneySide at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration?

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#DisneySide Doodles: Baymax & Hiro on Main Street, U.S.A.

posted on May 18th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

This week, we’re launching our #DisneySide Doodles artist series which features original artwork that depicts how different Disney characters may show their “Disney Side” while visiting a Disney theme park. This week’s contribution is from artist Ty Amato of Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group.


In creating this illustration of Hiro and Baymax from “Big Hero 6,” Ty depicted a playful Baymax interacting with the balloons you’d find on Main Street, U.S.A. at a Disney Park.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below!

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