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The Gracey Manor Ghouls Win the Title of 2015 Fan-Favorite Disney Parks Attraction

posted on April 8th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Over the past few weeks, 32 teams inspired by favorite Disney attractions competed for the title of the ultimate Disney attraction. Yesterday, the competition came down to its final round with The Gracey Manor Ghouls at Magic Kingdom Park going head-to-head with Space Mountain Blast at Disneyland park. You voted, and the winning 2015 fan-favorite Disney Parks attraction is The Gracey Manor Ghouls.

Thanks for showing your #DisneySide and helping choose this year’s March Magic winner. Check out the highlights of their high “spirited” celebration below!

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Reservations Now Open for the Feel the Force Premium Packages During Star Wars Weekends

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Prepare to ‘Feel the Force’ with special premium packages offered this year at Star Wars Weekends. These dining packages put you close to the action of the Legends of The Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, the “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks and more in true intergalactic-foodie style.

Star Wars Weekend

Enjoy your morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, knowing the Feel the Force Premium Package includes reserved viewing for the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade from 11 a.m.-noon, with a selection of soft drinks, water and a snack.

Star Wars-Themed Cupcakes from the 'Symphony in the Stars' Fireworks Dessert Party During Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Wars-Themed Cupcakes from the 'Symphony in the Stars' Fireworks Dessert Party During Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The grand finale to your day at Star Wars Weekends is the “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party at 9 p.m. Enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts (including the famous Yoda and Darth Vader Cupcakes above), and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages–all with an up-close view of the fireworks!

You can expand your universe of choices by upgrading to the Feel the Force Deluxe Premium Package. In addition to the benefits listed above, the Deluxe Premium Package allows guests to follow behind the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard, provides reserved seating for all of the celebrity talk shows that day in the Theater of the Stars, and offers priority access to Darth’s Mall throughout the day of the package. It also comes with a commemorative lanyard and credential to honor your most impressive day.

To book this event, hurry you must. Quantities are limited. The Feel the Force Premium Packages will take place on event weekends, May 15 to June 14. For more information about premium packages, VIP tours and Star Wars dining events, visit StarWarsWeekends.com.

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

QUIZ: Are You a DINOSAUR Expert?

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


DINOSAUR is a fan-favorite ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Have you taken an adventurous trip back to the age of the dinosaurs at this attraction? Test your knowledge below!


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DINOSAUR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

What dinosaur do you travel back in time to rescue from extinction?
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What is the name of the vehicle you board for your time travel journey?
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Approximately how far back in time do you travel in DINOSAUR?
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Who is narrating as you enter into the Dino Institute?
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What is the first dinosaur you encounter when you travel back in time?
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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Little League Baseball Star Mo’ne Davis Shows Walt Disney World Resort How To ‘Throw Like Mo’

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


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The whirlwind ride of Little League baseball star Mo’ne Davis made a stop at Walt Disney World Resort this week. The most recognizable 13-year-old pitcher on the planet visited Magic Kingdom Park with her family and got to be the honorary Grand Marshal of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”

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Davis, who is from Philadelphia, showed her Disney Side by wearing Mickey ears and a Mickey Mouse shirt. After the parade, Davis spent some time with some little girls near Cinderella Castle, showing them how to hold and throw a baseball. She even played a little baseball with them before taking off to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in the parks with her family.

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The visit to Walt Disney World Resort continues what has been quite a ride for Davis since last summer when the Little League slugger became the first girl to win a game as a pitcher during the Little League World Series. Afterwards, she met President Obama, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in a documentary directed by Spike Lee, published a book and has her jersey in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

More recently, Disney Channel announced it plans to make a made-for-TV movie about her life entitled “Throw Like Mo.’’ But Monday, Davis wasn’t focused on any of that. She was just thrilled about hanging out with Mickey Mouse.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

A Rare Behind the Scenes Look at ‘La Nouba’ by Cirque du Soleil at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


As a longtime fan of “La Nouba” by Cirque du Soleil, I’ve always wondered what happens behind the scenes. How much practice do the performers need? What time do they start doing make-up? Who helps them with their costumes?

I never dreamed I’d get the chance to peek behind the curtain, but recently, I had the chance to do just that. And the best part? Photographer Matt Stroshane joined me and captured several rarely-seen moments to share with you.

On the day we visited, one of my favorite acts, fondly referred to as “the diabolos,” were working on their routine. The young quartet from China practices five to seven hours a week (and it’s not uncommon to see some of the other talent working out nearby). It was dizzying to watch them balance, flip and spin just a mere few feet away. Check out the photo below – if you look closely behind my shoulder, you’ll see one of the girls is in mid-air, halfway through her backflip dismount. Even in sweats and messy buns, their nearly flawless performance left me breathless. Most of the girls will spend one to two years as part of the show and some may return for a second stint. My favorite new fun fact? The current coach was part of the first diabolo team who originally opened “La Nouba.”

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Also getting in some pre-show practice were a few of the trampoline artists. And yes, we got to witness that, too! Looking down from the rafters, we got a bird’s eye view of them for an entirely new perspective.

The backstage area was a flurry of activity as the curtain call neared. We ducked into the dressing room and caught principal performers putting on their show make-up. We also saw a glimpse of the costuming team in action, fitting one of the aerialists, putting finishing touches on hand-painted sneakers and sewing on glittering rhinestones. (The wardrobe room was a utopia of color, filled with fabric, sequins, wigs, props, and more costumes than I could count!) All the while, technicians supporting everything from lighting to audio were hard at work, prepping for the performance.

Now that I’ve seen what it takes to make “La Nouba” a success, I appreciate it even more. After browsing the gallery below, hopefully you will, too!

Interested in seeing the show for yourself? Click here for tickets and more information.

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California Grill Salad Celebrates Florida Tomato Month at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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April is Florida Tomato Month, a fact that makes our neighbors to the North just a little covetous – as they are getting ready to plant for summer, we’re already harvesting beautiful, juicy Florida tomatoes. So if it’s early for you, stash this recipe ‘til summertime and re-create a divine taste of this California Grill salad that showcases heirloom tomatoes with a snappy vinaigrette and a rich dollop of ricotta cheese.

Chef Brian Piasecki says his restaurant high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort will just have the Florida tomato salad on the menu for a few more weeks. “Later in the season, we get our heirlooms from Ohio,” says Chef Brian. In peak tomato season California Grill serves up to 200 pounds of tomatoes a week – on everything from tomato flatbreads to risotto, salads and other seasonal dishes.
For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shisito Pepper Vinaigrette
Serves 4

Shisito Pepper Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup shisito peppers, stems removed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heirloom Tomato Salad

  • 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
  • 1 pint small heirloom tomatoes cut in half
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, toasted and cut into circles with a round cutter
  • 1/4 cup shaved red onion (about a 1/4 of a small red onion)
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 3/4 cup shisito pepper vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 12 small basil leaves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For shisito pepper vinaigrette:

  1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add peppers and stir until skins are blistered.
  2. Combine blistered peppers, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  3. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until dressing is thick. Add Tabasco, pulsing to combine.
  4. Transfer to medium bowl and stir in herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For heirloom tomato salad:

  1. Layer 4 tomato slices and 2 bread rounds on each of 4 plates.
  2. Combine halved tomatoes, red onion, arugula, and shisito vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss well to coat.
  3. Divide mixture evenly among plates.
  4. Dollop 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese on top of each salad; top with basil leaves.

Cook’s Note: Shisito peppers are small Japanese peppers that are slightly sweet and mildly spicy. You may substitute poblano peppers for a similar flavor.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

VIDEO: Made with Magic Items Light Up the Night at Disney Parks

posted on April 6th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I love nighttime at Disney Parks! There is a little bit of extra magic in the air once the sun sets. I recently stopped by Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida one evening to check out some Made With Magic items. You may recall that these items allow guests to become a part of a show by lighting up in time with or in the same color scheme at select nighttime spectaculars. During my visit, I learned how to harness some magic using my favorite item, the Sorcerer Mickey wand.

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Made with Magic items can be found in a variety of locations at Disney Parks. Each item has a retail of $25.00.

Starting today, guests may also find select Made with Magic items online at DisneyStore.com/MadewithMagic.

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

Disney Vacation Account Helps You Plan, Save for Future Disney Vacations

posted on April 6th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you’re one of our many readers who can’t wait for their next Disney trip, you’ll want to check out our newest program – Disney Vacation Account. It simplifies saving for your next dream vacation – a little at a time – and includes some great online tools to help you do it.

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Disney Vacation Account was created after hearing your feedback. You let us know that you wanted more tools to help plan a Disney experience and we’ve created a program that’ll let you save for magical vacations at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, or Adventures by Disney.

Disney Vacation Account helps you manage your vacation savings at your own pace, in a way that fits your budget. And it’s easy to get started.

First, our Account Budget Estimator will help you estimate the cost of your vacation based on current prices. Please remember prices change from time to time.

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Next, calculate your savings contribution on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Then sit back and track your savings with a personalized account page and fun emails that help you plan your vacation along the way.

Accounts can be updated at any time—like changing your savings contribution amounts and frequency or stopping your contributions—at no cost.

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When you’re ready to book your dream vacation, you can use your Disney Vacation Account to pay for your vacation. To use your Disney Vacation Account funds toward paying for your vacation, you must book it either directly with Disney or through a participating travel agency booking directly with Disney. Please ask your travel agent whether your booking will be eligible to be paid for with your Disney Vacation Account.

There are no fees to create or maintain a Disney Vacation Account. And all of your contributions are fully refundable.

Also, if you use your Disney Vacation Account to pay for your vacation before December 31, 2017, (date subject to extension) you’ll be eligible for a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1,000 spent on qualified vacation purchases with your Disney Vacation Account. Certain limitations apply.*

To sign up and get started, visit our Disney Vacation Account site. And let us know how it helped you with your next Disney vacation.

*Maximum of a total of $500 in Disney Gift Card(s) per household. Your Disney Vacation Account must be active for a minimum of 120 days at the time of spending in order to receive this bonus. Request your Disney Gift Card(s) 4-6 weeks in advance of your vacation date to allow time for delivery to your mailing address. Visit DisneyVacationAccount.com\FAQ\Bonus for complete details.

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Filed: Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Good Morning from Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station

posted on April 6th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


One of my favorite additions to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park has been the charming Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station where kids of all ages can cool down during the day. Looks like the train cars are just waking up for another day of fun.

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For more morning photography, check out the posts below:

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Sign Up for Our First-Ever Disney Cruise Line Meet-Up at Disney’s Boardwalk Area

posted on April 6th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Update: Click here for a list of confirmed RSVPs.

We’ve hosted a variety of meet-ups since launching the Disney Parks Blog but our next one will be a first – our first-ever Disney Cruise Line meet-up. On Thursday, April 9, 2015, a select group of readers will have the opportunity to join us in Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk area for a special sneak peek preview of the exciting new entertainment coming to Disney Cruise Line.

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The event begins at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday April 9, 2015 at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk area at the Walt Disney World Resort. Attendees will be among the first learn about new entertainment coming to Disney Cruise Line and have the chance to talk with the creative team that develops the onboard entertainment. There will also be special photo opportunities with some of your favorite Disney characters and you’ll be able to taste a few special Disney-themed desserts.

RSVP for the meet-up now by sending us an email with your name, address and if you’ll be bringing a guest to WDWMeetUps@gmail.com.

Only one guest is permitted. A limited number of attendees will be able to attend the event, so be one of the first to sign up.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All participants who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests of the participants may be younger than 18.
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • We will send a confirmation email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
  • Event confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person plus one guest.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk area at the Walt Disney World Resort for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

This post will be updated after capacity has been reached.

Hope to see you at our first Disney Cruise Line meet-up.

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