Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park

Disney Parks After Dark: A Trip Back In Time at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Climb aboard one of the two Red Car Trolleys near the main entrance of Disney California Adventure park to enjoy a leisurely ride that takes you as far as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The Red Car Trolley also stops at Carthay Circle and on Hollywood Boulevard near the Disney Animation building.

The Red Car Trolley is powered by electricity and is based on the Pacific Electric Red Cars, which transported passengers around Los Angeles in the first part of the 20th century. While you are inside, take time to admire the retro-styled advertisements depicting Buena Vista Street merchandise and food locations.

Does anyone know what the numbers “717” on the front of the trolley pictured below honor?

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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.

Walking the resort last Sunday morning, I felt even more proud. That morning, the Disneyland Resort was full of children and families walking in support of CHOC Children’s. By 6 a.m., nearly 15,000 people lined Main Street, U.S.A. … spilling out of the turnstiles and filling the Esplanade and a good portion of the Downtown Disney District.

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This is the 13th year that Disneyland Resort has hosted the annual CHOC Walk in the Park, and it keeps getting better. The route through both parks and the Downtown Disney District was peppered with character encounters, music and entertainment, all of which encouraged the boundless energy of the families and volunteers. It is very clear just how much CHOC Children’s means to our community.

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I’m so proud of the work that CHOC Children’s has done over the past 50 years. I’m equally proud that the Disneyland Resort supported CHOC Children’s even before the hospital opened. Walt Disney was more than just the creator of Disneyland. He was instrumental in the founding of CHOC Children’s, leaving a legacy of compassion and a tradition of community support that still exists today.

I want to give a special thanks to my fellow cast members who came out by the hundreds to walk for this wonderful cause, as well as those who supported CHOC Children’s in other ways. I also want to recognize a fast-growing team of walkers made up of Disneyland Resort annual passholders. In just a few years, they have become the largest team of walkers in the entire event, raising more than $90,000 this year.

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Finally, as a board member of CHOC Hospital, I want to thank all of you who took part in this year’s event. Because of your generosity, CHOC Children’s was able to raise more than $2 million this year. If you weren’t able to join us, you can still show your support for CHOC Children’s by going to www.chocwalk.org to make a donation.

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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!

Be sure to travel down the Rabbit Hole for yourself before Halloween Time ends on October 31 to see all the special Halloween-edition madness for yourself!

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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 ResortHaunted 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.

Let’s start with the squiggly, wiggly zinfandel spaghetti with roasted golden beets, pine nuts and golden raisins at Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It looks a little fiendish, but the pasta gets its “seasonal” color from wine and it’s only available the week of Halloween.

Head to Disneyland park, where Café Orleans is featuring devilishly delicious braised short ribs with purple mashed potatoes, sautéed baby carrots, red wine mushroom sauce and fried shoestring onions. Nearby, Blue Bayou serves a hearty Creole-brined, bone-in pork chop with roasted garlic Boursin mashed potatoes, sautéed baby spinach, Champagne pear coulis and tomato relish.

Pork Tamales from Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread from Village Haus Restaurant

Bewitching quick bites include pork tamales at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante (in honor of Dia de los Muertos), and a blue cheese and onion marmalade burger at Hungry Bear Restaurant. Head to Village Haus Restaurant for Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread with buffalo chicken, serrano chile slices and chipotle aioli (definitely a treat, if you love hot stuff). A little more subdued is the “Munster” chicken sausage sandwich with onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms, Muenster cheese and chicken sausage on a baguette with a side of roasted purple potatoes.

At French Market Restaurant, try the traditional shrimp po boy with deep-fried popcorn shrimp, lettuce, tomato, vinegar dressing and Cajun remoulade sauce on a toasted potato roll. Tomorrowland Terrace has a “Monsters U” cheeseburger with special sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles and grilled onion – with a side of fries covered in Parmesan Ranch “Ooze.” Or check out the mac & cheese pizza at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port – yes, it’s pizza crust with mac ‘n cheese topped with mozzarella and Romano cheeses and seasoned bread crumbs.

Disney California Adventure park has some haunting hits as well: a burger or grilled chicken at Taste Pilots’ Grill topped with a “cobweb” of Swiss cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms, and the Anti-Vampire Chicken Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta with roasted garlic sauce, marinated chicken, smoked Gouda, roasted red peppers and a tomato-spicy harissa drizzle.

Ghoulishly good!

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Gwen Stefani Celebrates Family Birthdays at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 13th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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Last week, Gwen Stefani visited Disney California Adventure park, and Sulley caught up with Gwen and her family in Hollywood Land to scare up some special birthday cheer for not one, but two birthday girls.

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In addition to her own birthday celebration, Gwen’s niece, Stella, shown here with Gwen’s sons Zuma and Kingston, was also celebrating her special day. The birthday girls’ first stop? Cars Land!

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Pumpkin Mania at Disneyland Resort

posted on October 10th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


‘Tis the season – for pumpkin, that is. The ubiquitous gourd takes center stage at Disneyland Resort this time of year, flavoring everything from coffee to soups, and yes, even old-school pumpkin pie.

Disneyland Resort Bakery gets in on the fun with pumpkin beignets, pumpkins twists, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cream cheese muffins sold throughout the parks and hotels. We got hooked on this pumpkin cheesecake that you’ll find at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and French Market in Disneyland park and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The graham cracker crust with a pinch of ginger, classic cheesecake filling and a drizzle of chocolate on top create a trifecta of yum.

Beyond the bakery, there’s pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, and Boudin Bakery’s pumpkin-shaped sourdough at Pacific Wharf Café, the Pacific Wharf bread cart and Mortimer’s Market, all at Disney California Adventure park.

And if you’re in search of that good ol’ pumpkin pie, you’ll find it at Plaza Inn, Carnation Cafe, Village Haus Restaurant, River Belle Terrace and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, and at Flo’s V-8 Café and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 9-inch cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup butter-melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • Chocolate syrup, for drizzling

For crust:

  1. In a bowl combine the crushed graham cracker, sugar and ginger. Melt the butter and stir into mixture.
  2. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan using your hands.
  3. Place pan on a large piece of foil and wrap foil tightly up sides and around pan.

For cheesecake filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. Whisk together pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well combined. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add evaporated milk, mixing well.
  5. Slowly pour cheesecake filling onto crust mixture in prepared pan. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  6. Place foil-wrapped pan inside a larger roasting pan. Place oven rack and carefully add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of springform pan.
  7. Bake 1 hour, or until center moves only slightly when shaken.
  8. Turn oven off. Crack open oven door, and allow cheesecake to cool inside oven 1 hour.
  9. Remove pan from water bath and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover top of pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Cook’s Notes: Wrapping foil around springform pan prevents water from the water bath from getting into the cheesecake. The slow cooling inside the oven prevents cheesecake top from cracking.

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Raise Funds and Spirits for CHOC Children’s During 24th Annual CHOC Walk at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 7th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Nothing makes me more proud to be a Disneyland Resort cast member than seeing the positive impact we make in the community, which is why I am excited to invite you to support this year’s CHOC Walk!

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Bright and early on October 12, nearly 15,000 “CHOC Walkers” from throughout the world, including children, family, friends, nurses and doctors who have been impacted by Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), will line Main Street, U.S.A., for the start of the 2014 CHOC “Walk in the Park,” presented by Disneyland Resort. The 5K pediatric walk will take walkers through Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and Downtown Disney District – before opening to the public. Last year, the event raised $2.1 million, and since its inception in 1990, has raised more than $22 million.

The Walt Disney Company has a long history of supporting CHOC Children’s, beginning in the early 1960s when Walt Disney helped advocate for a children’s hospital in Orange County, Calif. This relationship has continued to grow, including a $5 million donation from the Disneyland Resort in 2012. As part of that gift, Walt Disney Imagineering brought the world of “Finding Nemo” to life in the CHOC Children’s second-floor lobby with an experience that includes the interactive “Turtle Talk with Crush” show – just like the one in Disney California Adventure park – a mural and 180-foot-wide mobile!

Even if you can’t attend the event in person, you may register as a “Sleeping Bear” and donate through October 31. To register to walk, visit www.chocwalk.org. Registration closes at 3 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

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New Halloween Trick-or-Treat Totes at Disney Parks

posted on October 3rd, 2014 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG


When you were a kid, did you get with the neighborhood gang to talk candy strategy for trick-or-treat night? We were all over it back then, remember? We covered our neighborhood, then went into adjoining neighborhoods, all in a quest to create the ultimate stash we’d call our own. Now as adults, the kid in us still comes out when it comes to candy during the Halloween season. Think about it – in your office, who comes to mind with the bowl of candy available for everyone? Only as an adult, we have to act more civilized. No running or screaming or shoving candy in our mouth – in public that is.

At Disney Parks, we get that inside every adult is a child that still loves to play and enjoy life to its fullest. So each year, our creative team talks about how we can top last year’s experience, so check this out.

For 2014 our Disney Floral & Gifts creative team developed a new Not-So-Scary Halloween Treat Bag for Walt Disney World Resort. Take a look at this exclusive canvas bag, featuring a Mickey pumpkin with battery-powered light-up eyes. Did you notice that at the bottom of the bag there’s “tattered fabric” to create a spooky look? The trick-or-treat letters glow in the dark, too. Then, our creative designer filled the tote with popular mouth-watering treats, including Mickey’s crispy treats, candy from Goofy’s Candy Company and more. It also comes with a Mickey pumpkin light-up lanyard for lighting up those spooky nights, temporary glow-in-the-dark eyeball tattoos and your very own autograph book to collect favorite character signatures. And get this, it comes in a Mickey and Minnie version for boys and ghouls.

Minnie Not-So-Scary Halloween Treat Bag Mickey Not-So-Scary Halloween Treat Bag

And, where would you want to take these bags? To Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, of course! So here’s the inside scoop, for third year in a row, I got ahold of the candy maps for the party so children and adults could start planning for their ultimate candy adventure! This year the Magic Kingdom Park has stocked up with even more candy than ever before. There will be two trick or treat trails, featuring over nine trick or treating locations where you may see some of your favorite characters all dressed up. Oh, and you may have heard that one of the many new experiences that are being launched this year revolves around the evil side of Disney at the Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square. The Club Villain Dance Party will feature a few of your favorite mischievous characters dancing the night away, so you gotta check that out. Want to see more of the Villains? Then, stay for the Happy Hallowishes Nighttime Spectacular and Villains Cast Show!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort

For those of you who can’t make it this year to the party, we can kind of send a party to you. Our Not-So-Scary Treats Tote is also part of our ship to home offerings with just a few different twists.

If you’re headed to the Disneyland Resort this season, to celebrate the holiday, it’s all about Mickey’s Halloween Party! Our Floral & Gifts team in California created Haunted Halloween Buckets to enjoy in the resort as well as in the parks! Special Tip: The Mickey pumpkin bucket features battery-operated glowing eyes and a collection of treats to keep you energized for the night!

Mickey Haunted Halloween Bucket Minnie Haunted Halloween Bucket

Of course, we got our hands on the Halloween party map as well! Make sure to catch the Halloween Screams – A Villainous Surprise in the Skies Fireworks hosted by Jack Skellington and eight trick or treating locations throughout Disneyland park.

Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort

I’ve got a few more “tales to tell” about new gifting experiences this year. One includes “orchestrating a Halloween surprise” and building your own gift from our collection of tricks and treats. So stay tuned. And remember, you can also add Mickey’s Spooktacular Celebration to your Disney World vacation and a Disney Villainous Halloween to your stay at the Disneyland Resort. Our Halloween gifts are available now through October 31st or while supplies last.

Oh, and you can also add these trick or treat totes and buckets to your Halloween In Room Celebration available at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.

If you have questions, call a Dream Maker at 407-WDW-GIFT for Walt Disney World Resort or 714-781-GIFT for Disneyland Resort.

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Delicious and Seasonal: Harvest Apple Salad from Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on September 30th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Fall is here – the season for California apples – and elegant Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure park is taking advantage of the bounty with this beautiful Harvest Apple Salad, which also includes the richness of duck confit to match the tart, sweet apples.

Confit (pronounced con-fee) may sound daunting, but it’s basically a French term for slowly roasting the duck while it’s submerged in liquid – in this recipe it’s duck fat and olive oil. This is one of those recipes that takes time, but the reward is a rich, bright salad that’s perfect for a dinner party.

In case you can’t get to the beautiful Carthay Circle Restaurant, inside the detailed re-creation of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney California Adventure park, Chef Francisco Origel shows us how it’s done. This seasonal recipe is just one of the many California-inspired dishes on the menu.

Harvest Apple Salad with Crispy Duck Confit
Serves 8

Duck Confit

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in duck legs
  • Coarse salt freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 dried bay leaves
  • Olive oil for covering duck in roasting pan

Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup fresh apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 4 gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges per apple
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide sticks
  • 6 cups thinly sliced kale
  • 6 cups thinly sliced frisée lettuce
  • 10 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced

For duck confit:

  1. Generously salt and pepper duck legs and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
    Prick skin of duck legs all over with a needle or a small, sharp knife, being careful not to pierce the meat. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and sear duck legs until golden on both sides. Place in a baking dish just large enough to fit all 6 legs and cover with rendered duck fat from skillet. Add thyme, bay leaves, and enough olive oil to submerge duck.
  3. Place in oven, uncovered, and bake 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool in fat to room temperature.
  4. Remove duck legs from fat; remove meat from bones, discarding bones; pull meat into shreds.
  5. Place shredded meat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; cook just until duck is crispy. Set aside.

For vinaigrette:

  1. Place apple cider and vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Combine reduced apple cider-vinegar and mustard in blender; blend until combined. With blender on medium speed, slowly stream in olive oil.
  3. Removed from blender and place in bowl; stir in thyme and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For salad:

  1. Smear cold butter in bottom of large skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Add apples slices and turn on heat to medium-high. As butter begins to melt and sugar caramelizes, turn apples to brown both sides. Add more butter if necessary; cook apples until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning often. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Combine kale, frisée, radishes, and gala apple sticks in a large bowl, tossing to combine. Add shredded duck.
  3. Add just enough dressing to coat, tossing to combine. Serve immediately with caramelized apple slices.
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Five Things You Might Not Know About Horticulture at the Disneyland Resort

posted on September 29th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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It’s the details that make you feel like you’re in another world at a Disney Park, and horticulture plays a huge role in creating that feeling. When you’re walking through the untamed jungles of Adventureland in Disneyland park, you may notice the towering bamboo plants near Tarzan’s Treehouse. As you’re strolling through the wooded mountains of Grizzly Peak at Disney California Adventure park, you see the colorful California foliage. These are some of the magical details created every season by the Disneyland Resort Horticulture team. Here are some things you might not know about horticulture at the Disneyland Resort:

  1. The Jungle Cruise tree canopy stands as tall as 100 feet.
  2. More than 3,600 annuals make up the smiling face of Mickey Mouse at the entrance to Disneyland park.
  3. With approximately 18,000 trees and 125,000 shrubs, the Disneyland Resort is one of the largest gardens in Southern California.
  4. Twenty-two topiary animals and characters call the Disneyland Resort home.
  5. The oldest living tree at the Disneyland Resort is a two-foot-tall Mugho Pine, which is more than 150 years old. Guests can find this tree during a cruise on the Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland.

What is your favorite detail of the landscape panorama at the Disneyland Resort?

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