Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarins Are ‘On the Move’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Disney’s Animal Kingdom is full of excitement, updates and changes! Even some of the animals are in on the excitement, including two cotton-top tamarins, Gemma and Draco, who just moved into a new home.

Gemma, a female tamarin, has been delighting guests at Rafiki’s Planet Watch since December 2000 where she was voted “best personality” by her keepers. In March 2011, she moved to Discovery Island to debut the remodeled tamarin island in front of the Tree of Life. This week she was joined by Draco for her second grand opening in a brand new exhibit which will bring their world even closer to guests. Draco, a male tamarin, has spent most of his life with his parents and five siblings in an indoor exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He joined us at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in August. His debut will mark the first time he has experienced an outdoor exhibit! He has already been observed chasing lizards in his backstage area.

Cotton-top Tamarin Draco at Disney's Animal Kingdom Cotton-top Tamarin Gemma at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Since his arrival, Draco also has spent time becoming acquainted with his new mate, Gemma. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) identified the pair as potential mates within its Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP works to ensure long-term survival of species by helping AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums manage species’ genetic diversity through detailed records of individual animals. Through the efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ SSP, more than 300 cotton-top tamarins are cooperatively managed in more than 80 U.S. zoos. Over the past few weeks, Gemma and Draco have shown great interest in each other, and we believe they will be happy and successful mates.

Cotton-top Tamarin Exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cotton-top Tamarin Exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

While Gemma and Draco finish acclimating and comfortably settle into their new home over the next few weeks, their job as animal ambassadors is just beginning! The cotton-top tamarin is one of the most endangered primates in the world. A 2008 census conducted by our partners at Proyecto Tití in Colombia concluded that only 7,500 cotton-tops remained in the wild, and the population has been severely impacted by habitat destruction throughout its range in Colombia. This information prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Primate Specialist Group to recommend changing the classification of cotton-top tamarins from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2008. Since then, Proyecto Tití increased their public outreach and education programs, stopped the development of a proposed airport, and secured two new protected areas for cotton-top tamarins and other wildlife to live safely in Colombia. The impact of the work is beginning to pay off, as we find communities are embracing conservation efforts and the population of cotton-tops appears stable!

One outreach program has taught women to crochet using plastic bags like the ones we bring home from the grocery store. (What a great way to recycle and keep trash out of the forest!) They make beautiful, colorful tote bags called ‘eco-mochilas’. These unique and environmentally friendly totes are sold locally in Colombia, online, and at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Purchasing an eco-mochila helps communities in Colombia earn money for their families and protect forests that the cotton-top tamarins call home.

Don’t miss next week’s Wildlife Wednesday post to see Gemma and Draco in their new home, learn more about cotton-top conservation work and how education programs beginning in younger generations are positively affecting communities in Colombia. Until then, check out the video below to see some of the conservation work Proyecto Tití has already accomplished!

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Fuel Your Fun with Breakfast at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Earlier this month, my family visited from Wisconsin. We spent a long weekend in the parks, so in order to have energy to play all day we had to fuel up in the mornings. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you.

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If you are looking to try something new, Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk is serving up breakfast until the new Trattoria al Forno opens (and dishes up some tasty breakfast eats). My favorite item on the menu is the waffle topped with tiramisu mascarpone—a must-try for any coffee lover. If you’re looking for something savory, I recommend the frittata with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, onions and potatoes topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.

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I love Minnie, so I’ll take every chance I can get to dine with my favorite mouse. One of the best places to catch Minnie—along with a couple of her beach pals—is at the Beach Club Breakfast Buffet at Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It’s a great place to load up on Mickey waffles, too.

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Want to spend your day feeling practically perfect in every way? The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare is for you. From the famous strawberry soup to other signature items like lobster benedict and smoked salmon lox—this buffet has something for everyone. Some of your favorite storybook characters will even stop by while you enjoy breakfast.

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My family stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the home of one of my favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World ResortBoma – Flavors of Africa. Traditional breakfast favorites like pancakes and omelets are accompanied by the gooey French toast bread pudding and items inspired by traditional African foods like turkey bobotie.

Say ‘Aloha!’ to Tonga Toast from Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. One of my all-time favorites, this banana-stuffed sourdough French toast is rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with strawberry compote. Really hungry? Try the Big Kahuna, which consists of French toast, pancakes topped with pineapple sauce and macadamia nut butter, eggs, home-fried potatoes, ham, bacon, and sausage.

Just thinking about all these breakfast options makes me hungry! What’s your favorite way to fuel up before a day at the parks?

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort Create an Unforgettable ‘Disney Side’ Flight from Dallas’ Love Field

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


When you hear the familiar harmony of the world-famous Dapper Dans, you instantly know you’re at a Disney Park on Main Street, U.S.A., right?

That’s why if you were in Dallas’ Love Field early Monday morning, you might have been puzzled to hear the barbershop quartet’s tunes echoing through the airport terminal.

Walt Disney World Resort joined with Southwest Airlines to help celebrate the addition of the airline’s first non-stop route from Dallas’ Love Field to Orlando International Airport.

The Heart of Southwest Airlines Combines with the Magic of Walt Disney World Resort for an Unforgettable Flight

Prior to boarding, passengers were able to commemorate the flight by posing in front of backdrop of Cinderella Castle that served as a “Disney Side” family photo opportunity.

Then, the Dapper Dans began singing a selection of tunes from their harmonious repertoire. The quartet even debuted its new arrangement of “Let It Go.”

Aboard Flight #887, passengers listened as Jungle Cruise Skipper “Jungle Jane” made flight announcements in the attraction’s famous style of humor. (And it is true: when the plane flew through a passing shower, passengers saw the backside of water.) Mouse Ears and Mickey Mouse-shaped treats were given to passengers, as well as complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening in the Magic Kingdom. As the plane continued to Orlando International Airport, The Dapper Dans roamed the aisle of the airplane, providing one-of-a-kind, in-flight entertainment.

Take a look at this gallery of photos provided by Disney Parks photographer Ryan Wendler, as well as this video with host John Graham.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disneyland Resort Guests and Cast Members Raise More Than $2 Million, Make 24th Annual CHOC Walk a Success

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Michael Colglazier, President, Disneyland Resort


As a cast member at the Disneyland Resort, it’s rewarding to walk the property and see our guests enjoying our parks and hotels. It’s a testament to our founder, Walt Disney, who dreamed of a place that will always be bursting with happiness and imagination. It’s a tribute to our Imagineers who created and built a place filled with incredible experiences and adventures. And it’s an accolade to our cast members who deliver the magic each day and are dedicated to making lifelong memories for our guests.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Celebrate the Holidays with Adventures by Disney

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Andrae Gill, Adventures by Disney


‘Tis the season for traveling! The holiday season is a perfect time to plan a holiday getaway with your loved ones to some of the world’s greatest vacation destinations. Whether you prefer dog sledding in a winter wonderland or something on the warmer side, Adventures by Disney vacations have something for everyone this December!

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It’s Halloween Time at Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


What’s in the tea that makes Mad T Party so … well, mad … during Halloween Time at Disney California Adventure park? We talked to the show’s choreographer to find out!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort, Top Stories

Water Tower History Stands Tall at House of Blues at Downtown Disney

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Like many of you, I’ve walked by the signature House of Blues Water Tower countless times. It’s a landmark, an icon and a work of art, all rolled into one. But have you ever thought about where it came from? Or how it ended up at Downtown Disney West Side? I did. So recently, I set out to find answers.

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Filed: Disney History, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Tips for the Best Possible Dining Experience on a Disney Cruise

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


One meal on our ships and you’ll find why everyone raves about the food on a Disney cruise. But it’s more than just the high quality of our dishes that cruisers are talking about. It’s also our level of service and the variety of options we offer that set our dining apart.

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Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


When we hosted our first-ever Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park this summer, we were amazed at all of the great costumes. Readers’ pet dogs were dressed like Disney princesses, pirates and even Cruella de Vil. Here are some of our favorite memes from the event.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Disneyland Resort Gets in the Spirit of Halloween Time with Bewitching Bites

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The fun is underway with Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort – Haunted Mansion Holiday, Dia de los Muertos and the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – all running through October 31, with festive food a big part of the fun through November 2.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts