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Happy Holidays from Disneyland Resort Paris

It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas throughout the Downtown Disney Area

posted on December 9th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas throughout the Downtown Disney Area

Sure, Thanksgiving was just last week, but already, the Downtown Disney Area at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is bustling with holiday excitement. The Festival of the Seasons is now underway and new holiday décor is lighting up the Marketplace.

Read on for some of my favorite festive fun:

  • Meet Santa: Naughty or nice, you can share your wish list with Santa Claus through Christmas Eve (Santa Goofy Steps in December 25th – 29th)! New this year, guests can check in at the Santa Chalet podium to receive a pager that buzzes when their turn to meet Santa is near. It’s a great opportunity to snag a family photo, too, with Disney’s PhotoPass photographers on standby. (12pm – 9:30pm daily).
  • Enjoy Holiday Entertainment: Pick up a times guide to discover the sounds of the season. From carolers to stilt walkers, live musicians to DJ dance parties, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. My favorite new spot to catch a performance is Exposition Park on the West Side – and while you’re there, you can indulge in fresh fare from the Disney Food Trucks!
  • Shop the new Marketplace Co-Op: Of course, World of Disney will always be a ‘must-do’ for holiday shopping, but I’ve added this new venue to my shopping list as well. With six distinct boutiques, some featuring items that can’t be found anywhere else at Walt Disney World, this is the place to find unique gifts for loved ones. Want even more gift-giving inspiration? Follow us on Twitter at @WDWDowntown and look for hashtag “#25daysofDTD” to see some of our top picks.
  • Indulge in Holiday Treats: Peppermint Mocha from STARBUCKS? Decadent hot chocolate from Ghirardelli? A homemade treat from Goofy’s Candy Company or Candy Cauldron? Whatever you fancy, you’ll find something sweet to tempt your taste buds! (Me? I’m partial to the Olaf-inspired specialty apples.)

With a portion of the West Garage now open to guests and boat transportation available for travel between the West Side, Pleasure Island and Marketplace (weather permitting), it’s easy to explore all of Downtown Disney.

For tips on visiting the property, click here.

Happy Holidays, and I hope to see you out and about at Downtown Disney enjoying the season soon!

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DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown

posted on December 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are you planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort and counting down the days? Then check out our new #DaysTillDisney countdown craft. Simply print out your favorite themed numbers (here: Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown, or here: Disney Parks Holiday Vacation Countdown), then visit this pin to learn how to create the countdown craft! Each number is themed to a different Disney character.

DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown
DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown DIY: Create-Your-Own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown

We’ll be adding new numbers in the future, so make sure to follow our Pinterest account to collect them all. Once you’ve created your own countdown calendar, show us how you customized it by sharing on Instagram with #DaysTillDisney!

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In True Disney Fashion, the Story of Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

posted on December 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Opening Dec. 18, Trattoria al Forno is the newest Disney dining experience, and together Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks Food & Beverage Concept Development have crafted a backstory that builds upon the Disney legacy of storytelling and originality. Trattoria al Forno has been a creative collaboration bringing story elements such as authentic food and ingredients, a wine list featuring 100% Italian wines, and décor together to create an exciting new dining experience for Walt Disney World Resort guests.

“The Trattoria al Forno story was inspired by the authentic Italian menu and the rich storytelling of the turn-of-the-century boardwalk setting, says Missy Renard, Walt Disney Imagineering resorts art director. “Working closely with the Food & Beverage Concept Development team throughout the project was critical to the seamless merging of the story, menu and design – it was a shared vision.”

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The story begins with an Italian family that ran a modest tavern and boarding house on the boardwalk, which expanded over the years into a popular restaurant. The menu’s mix of authentic and innovative dishes supports the story of the restaurant being handed down, with each generation adding their own touches to the meals and the restaurant’s design. The color palette throughout is inspired by the fresh ingredients used to make the flavorful dishes.

The new restaurant is arranged as a series of separate rooms, starting with the original Entrata, or entrance, where the story begins. An arched brick wall with an aged keystone medallion anchors the room and introduces the traditional building materials used throughout the restaurant. Along the back wall, a custom wine cabinet displays authentic regional wines offered on the menu. Vintage family photos line the walls and introduce the generational story.

“As the restaurant was growing, boardinghouse rooms were converted into additional dining spaces,” explains Renard. “There are four distinct dining rooms, with furnishings, finishes and lighting relating to the character of each original boarding house room.” The first room, the Cucina, is designed as the eat-in kitchen for the boarding house guests. The forno, or oven, with its rustic wood mantle and copper hood, is the centerpiece. Next is the Sala da Pranzo, the formal dining room, which showcases the family’s fine silver, glassware and eclectic china in a grand hutch, with two crystal chandeliers above in the vaulted ceiling. “The finishes are more opulent – carpet, draperies, settee-style seating and a communal table in front of the show kitchen,” says Renard.

The Sala da Pranzo leads into Salotto, or living room, of the old boarding house, now a dining area with tufted circular booths and upholstered chairs, and photos of vintage Italian market scenes decorating the walls. Finally, the Taverna is a secluded dining area located in the structure’s original tavern, where the mirrored back bar still hangs in front of exposed brick walls.

“The three main dining rooms are open to the show kitchen and to each other, but the styling differences in each create individual dining experiences,” says Renard. “The result is combination of intimate and lively dining spaces with a tailored progression of storytelling.”

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Explore Holiday Topiaries at the Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


While towering Christmas trees and glittering holiday wreaths often catch a lot of attention from Disney Parks guests, there are many other (smaller-yet-charming) holiday touches that we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss.

For example, topiaries are putting on their Santa hats at Epcot.

Christmas Topiaries at Spaceship Earth in Epcot

In the park’s U.K. pavilion, instead of a Christmas Tree, you can spot this “Christmas Tea” among the gardens.

Christmas Tea at the U.K. Pavilion in Epcot

At the France pavilion, the area’s fountains are now overflowing with poinsettias and Christmas bulbs.

Christmas Decorations in France at Epcot Christmas Decorations in France at Epcot

What clever holiday touches have you spotted at Epcot or at our other Disney Parks? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


One year ago 9-year-old Adisen Kallas made a wish with her family in front of Cinderella Castle. She wished that her dad, Navy SEABEE UT1 Scott Kallas, would return from deployment in Afghanistan in time to watch her dance at the 2014 Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. At that time Scott was preparing for his fifth military deployment.

Well Adisen, wishes do come true.

Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

What happened on Saturday after Adisen and the Mighty Might Tri Town Raiderettes dance team from Schererville, IN, performed was nothing short of magical. It is a moment you will want to watch for yourself.

Welcome home Scott Kallas. Thank you for serving our country and showing all of us that wishes do come true.

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Disney Parks Merchandise Offers Hanukkah-Inspired Gifts This Holiday Season

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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During a recent visit to World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, I spotted a small assortment of Hanukkah-inspired merchandise. This year, the wondrous eight-day celebration begins in the evening on December 16 and ends in the evening on December 24. Here is a closer look at some gift items for welcoming the festival of lights during this holiday season.

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This isn’t the first time Disney Theme Park Merchandise has developed Hanukkah-inspired items. My former teammate turned Disney Pins merchandiser Erin Catalano shared an update on the Disney Parks Blog back in 2011 as seen in this article.

This year’s assortment includes a decorative banner with bells, a wine goblet, a mug, and a small serving plate that is perfect for traditional treats.

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The Disney pin team also created two different pins this year. The Chip and Dale pin is open edition (item number 400007900547), while the pin with Donald Duck’s nephews is limited edition (item number 400008890380). The latter pin features a dreidel that spins.

Finally, I’m delighted to share that the seasonal team is currently developing a new Hanukkah-inspired assortment that will debut next year.

I wish you a Happy Hanukkah filled with wonder and light!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Listen To ‘Carol of the Bells’ By Chakranadi At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the musical performances we’ve ever shared on the Disney Parks Blog, this has to be one of the most unique – and emotionally stirring – that I’ve ever heard.

As part of the park’s “Festival of All Seasons” celebration, Chakranadi performs seasonal tunes on the sitar and tablas.

Check it out for yourself.

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Gift Ideas From Around the World in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I recently shared details about unique shopping destinations at Epcot for Holidays Around the World. On the same day I took images for that story, I visited all 11 World Showcase pavilions to find some unique holiday gifts. This is one of my favorite articles to write each year because it helps me complete my holiday shopping (plus who doesn’t want to get paid to walk around Epcot for a few hours?). Here are some highlights from my shopping trip around the world.

Gift Ideas From Canada Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From France Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Canada Pavilion – Look for Hatley pajamas for adults and kids; silver jewelry that’s made in Canada; or “Giggling Goat Soap,” which is the best name for authentic Canadian farm soap.

United Kingdom Pavilion – This pavilion is home to Twinings teas; jewelry and apparel inspired by “Downton Abbey;” and an amazing assortment of new Rose & Crown Pub products.

France Pavilion – This pavilion contains a variety of fragrances, home décor items featuring “La vache qui rit” (the Laughing Cow), chocolate truffles, and wine.

Gift Ideas From Morocco Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Japan Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From American Adventure in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Morocco Pavilion – You can find versatile cloth handbags, shoes, decorative vases and more.

Japan Pavilion– The Japan Pavilion has a nice assortment of Bento box accessories, items for wrapping gifts in reusable cloth, wallets, and an awesome food tray for kids.

American Adventure – Find goods from American companies in Heritage Manor Gifts including penny jewelry, wines and sauces. The location also carries patriotic Tervis tumblers.

Gift Ideas From Italy Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Germany Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Italy Pavilion – Look for fragrance gift sets in Il Bel Cristallo, beautiful Venetian cat masks, scarves and home goods.

Germany Pavilion – You can find a variety of German-themed ornaments, decorative steins, apparel and Black Forest cuckoo clocks.

Gift Ideas From China Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Norway Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Gift Ideas From Mexico Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

China Pavilion – The House of Good Fortune offers Panda-themed handbags, inspirational word stones, lamps and fun three-dimensional puzzles.

Norway Pavilion – Stay warm with apparel by Dale of Norway and Helly Hansen. The location also offers trolls in a variety of sizes and food items.

Mexico Pavilion – Inside the pavilion, you will find items celebrating “Day of the Dead,” beautiful jewelry, handbags, scarves and drinkware.

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Filed: Epcot, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Caption This: Fun With Santa Goofy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Caption This” image was shot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where one young guest is enjoying the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights with none other than Santa Goofy.

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Where do you think their next stop will be? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” image in the comments section below!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on December 7th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared the exciting news that Disneyland Resort will celebrate the opening of spectacular new “Frozen Fun” at Disney California Adventure park, featuring magical adventures with characters from Disney’s blockbuster hit, “Frozen”.

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A sneak peek of many of the experiences begins Saturday, Dec. 20. The “Frozen Fun” officially launches at Disney California Adventure park starting January 7, 2015, and a new “Frozen” show makes its debut in Fantasy Faire at Disneyland park.

Check Shawn’s original post for more details on the experiences and follow along with the hashtag #FrozenFun.

Wallpaper: Holiday Image from Disney Artist Jeff Maurer Wallpaper: Sunset at Walt Disney World Resort

And we also shared some fun wallpapers, especially for Disney Parks Blog readers. The first is a brand-new holiday image from Disney Artist Jeff Maurer. The second is a spectacular photo captured earlier this year by Walt Disney World photographer Kent Phillips at Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park. To download, simply click on the images above.

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

New ALEX AND ANI Bangles Debut in Time for the Holidays at Disney Parks – Here’s your first look at some of the new ALEX AND ANI styles headed to Disney Parks!

‘Frozen’ Winter and Holiday Celebration Underway at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort with Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink and Downtown Disney Winter Village Through February 22 – Watch the holidays take shape at Downtown Disney District in this time-lapse video.

Today in Disney History: Walt Disney Was Born in 1901 – Celebrate Walt’s birthday by watching the historic announcement of Walt Disney World Resort!

Star Wars Weekends Returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 15-June 14 – Get ready to plan your adventure to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2015, as we’ve unveiled the dates for next year’s Star Wars Weekends. This is the trip you’re looking for.

By the Numbers: Holidays on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park – Ever wonder how many thousands of ribbons, lights and ornaments adorn Disneyland park for the holidays? We did! Click through to learn more.

Readers Cruise into the Holidays at Disney Parks Blog Christmas in Cars Land Meet-Up at Disney California Adventure Park – Hundreds of Disney Parks Blog readers attended the Disney Parks Blog Christmas in Cars Land Meet-Up on a rainy night at Disney California Adventure park.

Video: Watch Highlights from “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” – Get in the holiday spirit with photos and video from this Walt Disney World tradition.

Recipe: Aunt Cass’ Wings from “Big Hero 6″ – Disney Parks Blog author Rachel Brent shares how to make Aunt Cass’ “Melt-Your-Face-Off” Wings from “Big Hero 6″.

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