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#DisneyKids: Meeting Characters at Disney Parks

posted on April 24th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


One of the most fun things to do with little ones at Walt Disney World Resort is take them to meet the characters that they enjoy from beloved stories and films. It is one of those magical moments that you never forget as a parent, and it creates a memory that kids can relive at home by looking at photos and autograph books from your trip. From Disney Junior characters and Pixar friends, to fairytale princesses and the Fab 5, there is no shortage of opportunities for kids to interact with their favorites.

Parent tips: Utilize FastPass+ to bypass lines at select locations, and have Disney Photo Pass photographers capture shots of the entire family that can be added to your My Disney Experience account via your MagicBand.

Here’s a roundup of some of our guests’ top meet and greet locations in all four theme parks.

Magic Kingdom Park

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For Disney’s Hollywood Studios, click here. For Epcot, click here. For Disney’s Animal Kingdom, click here.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Artist ‘Spaghetti Toes’ Depicts Kids’ Disney Parks Memories In Artwork

posted on April 21st, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


Our guests have been sending in adorable videos of their preschoolers sharing favorite Walt Disney World Resort memories as part of our “Kids Remember” series. It has been fun and often hilarious hearing what little ones recall from their visits. So much so, that we couldn’t resist working with artist and dad Spaghetti Toes to turn some of the cutest quotes into charming posters which you can see below.

Young Isaac remembers his ride on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom Park. Who knew marshmallows could take down Emporer Zurg?

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is no match for the fearless (and curious) Arianna.

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Sweet Taryn sure got into character during Enchanted Tales with Belle at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Do your kids have any stories from your family Disney trip? You still have a chance to enter the “Kids Remember” contest by submitting a video at KidsRememberContest.com. Hurry, the last day to enter is April 30!

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

Yummy Recipe for Healthy Kids’ Day April 17 from 50’s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 17th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


What kid doesn’t love chicken nuggets? And what parent wouldn’t love for them to be healthier too? In celebration of Healthy Kids’ Day on April 17, we’re sharing the recipe for Grandpa’s Crispy Baked Chicken from 50’s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where everything on the menu is inspired by old-fashioned home cooking.

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The chicken is one of four kids’ meals that get the “Mickey Check” – a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices, found on select kids’ meals and fruit carts throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. To receive the Mickey Check, foods must meet The Walt Disney Company Nutritional Guidelines developed by health experts and align to federal dietary guideline recommendations.

So while the kids are having fun at 50’s Prime Time (watching TV and being playfully scolded by the waitresses), they are enjoying good-for-you tastes like grilled salmon, turkey meatloaf, meatless meatballs over multigrain spaghetti and this healthful version of chicken nuggets that is served with mashed potatoes, carrots and fruit salad.

Grandpa’s Crispy Baked Chicken
Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  1. Mix oil and garlic in a large bowl. Add chicken tenderloins, cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Press panko gently against each chicken strip until evenly coated. Lay coated chicken strips on a rack on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake 5 additional minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked and crisp.
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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Learn to Draw: Sorcerer Mickey from ‘Fantasia’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 16th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Learn to Draw animation tutorial series continues with a lesson on how to create your own Sorcerer Mickey. This version of the mouse made his on-screen debut in the 1940 film “Fantasia,” which went on to win two Academy Awards. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and get ready for step-by-step instructions from Don Shane of the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For previous animation tutorials on some of your favorite Disney characters, check out the list below:

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Reservations for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package at Walt Disney World Resort Now Available

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Do you want to have the Coolest Summer Ever at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Reservations for the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package are now available for dates starting June 17 to September 7. Have a day fit for Arendelle royalty, with reserved viewing to a trio of Frozen Summer Fun experiences and chill out with cool refreshments.

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Each Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package includes:

  • See Anna and Elsa in the reserved viewing for Frozen Royal Welcome, complete with regal refreshments—water, a selection of soft drinks, and ice cream
  • Reserved seating for your choice of (1) show time of For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Frozen Fireworks viewing with dessert party, a dazzling nighttime display of fireworks paired with Frozen-themed desserts as well as specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages

Cost is $69 for adults, $39 for children age 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity are included). Reservations can be made online or by calling 407-939-3463. Package availability is limited; so don’t let this opportunity go!

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

Charming Additions to the ALEX AND ANI Disney Collection

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Fans of ALEX AND ANI take note – there are quite a few styles headed to Disney Parks over the next couple of months. Start making your list … now!

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Up first are new additions to the Words Are Powerful collection, inspired by Disney sayings. These bangles will be available in Shiny Silver and Yellow Gold finishes. Whistle While You Work will debut April 13, followed by When You Wish Upon A Star on April 27, and then Believing Is Just The Beginning on May 4.

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Are you planning a trip during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration? In late May, look for a bangle featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle with two accent charms – an oval D60 and blue Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Rafaelian Silver finish. There’s also the Disneyland Forever bangle featuring a blue buffed epoxy charm with the words Disneyland Forever and two accent charms – an oval D60 and clear Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Shiny Silver finish. Please note: These two bangles will not be offered online at this time.

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What better way to wrap this up than with actual ‘wraps?’ Similar to the Dream wrap that was recently released, in late May we will debut a Wishes wrap in green, a Believe wrap in teal, and in June, a Magic wrap in red.

Where can you plan to find all of these ALEX AND ANI bangles, wraps and more?

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

Tip: Limited quantities of the bangles and wraps shown above, except for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration pieces, will be available online on or around the same dates as they debut at Disneyland and Walt Disney World merchandise locations.

Which pieces will you add to your collection?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, 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.

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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

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

Behind the Scenes: Photographing a Blood Moon at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 4th, 2015 by David Roark, Manager of Photography, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


It has been a lot of fun working on these “Moon over Walt Disney World” images over the years. Photographing a Super Moon or Blood Moon event presents a unique set of challenges. Here are some behind-the-scenes tips on how we shoot an event like this.

  1. Time of the eclipse – If the eclipse is happening well after moonrise or well before moonset, it is usually too overhead to include any Disney subject matter. The best photos come when the moon is close to the horizon within an hour of sunrise or sunset so the sky is not too dark.
  2. Unique Disney subject matter – You may have seen Super Moon with the Holiday Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth, as well as Blood Moon behind Crossroads Mickey from Hollywood Studios. These are all locations that can be photographed from a variety of angles and with a telephoto lens (300-600mm).
  3. Camera location – It is rare that the moon and a perfect camera location all line up. The preference is to have a steady camera location on the ground or on a rooftop. Most times, I need to have a bucket truck to get into the perfect spot or just get around an obstruction.
  4. Weather conditions – Clouds and fog always add another element of uncertainty. I like to think Walt helps me manage this!

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The first step I use to plan one of these photos is to use specific photo apps that tell me precisely where the moon will be at a specific time. One of my favorite apps works with Google Maps, so I get a very specific map of possible locations.

For today’s blood moon, everything lined up perfectly at the new Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, other than a very tall stand of trees near the Ticket & Transportation Center. A quick call over to the Disney Arborists and my bucket truck operator, Carlos Lopez, and I was set for a 5 a.m. start this morning. Having the bucket truck allows me to get an elevated view (and work around trees, light poles, etc), but it also creates challenges because the bucket can cause a lot of camera movement when you are shooting at long exposure times. We usually have to move the truck a few times to get into the perfect spot. I prefer to shoot moonset because the Florida weather is a bit more predictable in the morning. The moon began to enter Earth’s shadow at 6:15 a.m. Moonset was at 7:13 a.m. The moon wasn’t in total eclipse until 7:58 a.m., well after the moon had dropped below the horizon. That is why you only see it partially shadowed in this photo. It was a very clear morning, but the moon became obscured by ground fog moments after this photo was taken.

See the posts below for more about moon photography at Walt Disney World Resort:

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

Frank Oz and Ian McDiarmid Among the Stars Announced for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 3rd, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


To paraphrase a certain scruffy looking nerf herder, I’ve flown from one side of the galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff … but nothing as cool as Star Wars Weekends. This year’s event is shaping up to be among the best, with a new show, new locations for merchandise and autograph opportunities and a galaxy of stars that includes returning favorites and luminaries making their first hyperspace jump to Star Wars Weekends!

So shall we dispense with the pleasantries?
Here are the celebrities scheduled to appear for Star Wars Weekends 2015 (entertainment is subject to change):

Weekend I (May 15 – 17)
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  • Ian McDiarmid: Senator/Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Amy Allen: Aayla Secura (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II (May 22 – 24)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Silas Carson: Ki-Adi-Mundi, Nute Gunray (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
  • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III (May 29 – 31)

  • Warwick Davis: Wald, Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Daniel Logan: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV (June 5 – 7)

  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Ashley Eckstein: Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V (June 12 – 14)
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  • Frank Oz: Yoda (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Star Wars Rebels)
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
  • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
  • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Of course, Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels) will be appearing every week, and in addition to Ashley Eckstein’s Weekend IV guest spot, she will also be joining us every day of the event as host of “Padawan Mind Challenge – Family Edition.”

Details are still coming together for the event, but some of the highlights of what’s new for Star Wars Weekends 2015 include:

  • Star Wars: Rebels” – Relive the adventurous twists and turns of the first exciting season of the Disney XD series “Star Wars: Rebels,” in an all-new show with Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor and a special guest from the show’s voice cast … along with a few surprises!
  • Autograph Opportunities – For the first time, autograph sessions with Star Wars celebrities will be held in an indoor location, just off Commissary Lane near Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. For complete details about autograph opportunities, be sure to visit StarWarsWeekends.com prior to your visit.
  • Darth’s Mall – Can’t find the droids you’re looking for? Head over to this new complex of shops near Streets of America for the best selection of Star Wars merchandise in this galaxy or any other!

All this, plus dozens of Star Wars characters appearing throughout the park, yummy Star Wars-inspired treats and the spectacular fireworks finale, “Symphony in the Stars.” It just goes to show you that Star Wars Weekends is as close to the Force as you can get!

Believe it or not, we still have more to share with you in the weeks ahead, so keep checking Disney Parks Blog and StarWarsWeekends.com for updates, and keep the conversation going on social media using #SWW2015!

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