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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on March 8th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Blooms Again

This week, we kicked off the 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival by highlighting some of the featured experiences and sharing what you can expect to see this year, including a closer look at our spectacular Anna and Elsa topiaries.

You can find the Anna and Elsa topiaries at World Showcase Plaza and other Disney-themed topiaries in other locations at this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out Victoria’s original story to learn more about the new specialty gardens, our Outdoor Kitchens, the Garden Rock concert series and more.

Fly Over California with Soarin' at Epcot Toy Story Mania! at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Also, Disney Parks Blog readers were among the first to learn that we’re expanding Soarin’ in Epcot and Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We are adding another theater at Soarin’ and more midway track at Toy Story Mania. We’ll also be updating the screens and projection system at Soarin,’ bringing a visually enhanced experience.

The expansions are expected to be complete by late 2016.

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

Surprise Appearances and More at Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ Royal Celebration at the Disneyland Resort – Hundreds of Disney Parks Blog readers gathered at the Disneyland Resort for our Disney’s “Cinderella” Royal Celebration. Click through for photos, video and more details!

Sneak Peek: New Novelty Items to Celebrate Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – The countdown to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is on! Take a look at the new artwork coming to special 60th anniversary popcorn buckets and hot mugs for Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park.

‘Decades’ Art Debuts for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – Beginning this May, and over the course of the entire Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we will take a look back at milestones during each of the last six decades that have made the Disneyland Resort what it is today, with this special ‘Decades’ collection.

Today in Disney History: Indiana Jones Adventure Opens at Disneyland Park, 1995 – On March 3, 1995, Disneyland park guests began exploring the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Indiana Jones Adventure. To celebrate this anniversary, let’s do a little Disney Parks Blog archeology and look back at some of the stories we’ve shared from this favorite attraction.

New Disney Side App Transforms You Into Disney Parks Characters – Our newest app, Show Your Disney Side, is now available for download and we think it’s going to be one of your favorites!

PHOTOS – Merchandise Blooms at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 – Here’s an update on some additional products created especially for this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

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More Opportunities to Soar, Enjoy Toy Story Mania Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 5th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Here at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, we’re always making investments to exceed your expectations – whether it’s creating new attractions and entertainment or making existing experiences even better.

One of the things we’ve heard from our guests is that a visit to Walt Disney World Resort just isn’t complete without enjoying the spectacular views at Soarin’ in Epcot or a spin through Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Well, I’m excited to share that we are expanding both attractions by adding another theater at Soarin’ and more midway track at Toy Story Mania! We’ll also be updating the screens and projection system at Soarin,’ bringing a visually enhanced experience.

Fly Over California with Soarin' at Epcot Toy Story Mania! at Disney's Hollywood Studios

These expansions are expected to be complete by late 2016, offering even more opportunities for you to enjoy these beloved attractions during your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

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Learn to Draw Aladdin’s Pal, Genie, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on March 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, our Learn to Draw animation series offers up a lesson on how to draw Genie, Aladdin’s hilarious BFF. Check out the video below for step-by-step instructions from Heather Worley 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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Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Star Wars Weekends 2015 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday, May 15. To kick off this event, Disney Theme Park Merchandise is holding a special ticketed event called “Galactic Gathering” on Thursday, May 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Similar to the “Rebel Rendezvous” event held last year, this year’s event will give guests the first opportunity to purchase new products created especially for Star Wars Weekends.

Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14 Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

Packages for the Galactic Gathering will include the following:

  • ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand (Guests can choose their side when registering online)*
  • Commemorative trading pin*
  • Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass which gives expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends.*
  • First opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise including personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation.
  • First opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards.
  • Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.

Guests who attend this event will also have the opportunity to meet Disney characters, Disney Design Group Artists and Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe.

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Finally, attendees will be some of the first to purchase the new figures for Star Wars D-Tech Me including a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot.

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Tickets to this event are $250 per guest (theme park admission is not included but required to participate in this event).

Registration will begin on March 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on http://www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

I hope to see you there!

*These items will only be available to Galactic Gathering attendees.

The number of packages available is limited and available while supplies last on a first come, first serve basis. Event package and content are not subject to discounts. Appearances are subject to space and time availability and are not guaranteed. Tickets are non-refundable. Event information subject to change without notice.

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

Walt Disney World Event Snapshot: March 2015

posted on February 28th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Spring is in the air! See what’s happening this March at the Walt Disney World Resort!

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March 2 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, March 2 – 8 and 18 – 22. Stop by and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

March 4 – 8: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson is set to appear this month at Epcot. Find him, March 4 – 8 at Art of Disney and March 27 – 29 at Puffins Roost in the Norway Pavilion. Learn more.

March 4 – May 17: Commemorative Epcot International Flower & Garden Merchandise will be in full bloom, beginning March 4! Visit the Festival Center, open Friday through Sunday, or the bridge kiosk at the entrance of World Showcase and find special treasures to help grow your collection. Tip: Check out special artist appearances and chef demonstrations as well as festival showcases. Learn more.

March 6: Meet author and Major League Baseball Legend, Cal Ripken, Jr. Cal will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his newest book Out at Home at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports during the 2nd inning of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training game. Please note, a game ticket is required to attend this signing. Learn more.

March 6 – 7: Join us as we celebrate the opening of WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 1 – 3:30 p.m. with Michael Lewis Glover and Jerrod Maruyama and 5 – 7:30 p.m. with Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Robert Jimenez. Learn more.

March 8: Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama will be on hand for a signing of his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival inspired piece Spring Has Sprung at the Festival Center from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. Learn more.

March 12: Something ‘charm’ing awaits you from the Disney Parks Collection │PANDORA. What you ask? Keep watching, fellow author Steven Miller will have all the details.

March 13: Pick up a copy of Lee Cockerell’s newest book, Time Management Magic at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more information regarding this event, including signing times.

March 13 – 15: Precious moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand for special appearances and signings throughout the day at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot, as we celebrate the release of her Spring collection. Linda will also appear March 20 – 22. Not able to make it? No problem! Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand March 12 – April 12 at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot and March 12 – April 27 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

March 25 – 26: Are you a fan of Ridley Pearson? Be among the first to pick up two of his newest releases, Kingdom Keepers: The Return: Book 1: Disney Lands and The Syndrome: A Kingdom Keepers Adventure. Meet Ridley, March 25 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace or March 26 from 9 – 11a.m. at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Learn more. Tip: Wristbands will be distributed to Guests at store open on the day of the signing with each purchase of a book by Ridley Pearson. A wristband from the appearance location is required to meet Ridley Pearson and allows the guest to get two books signed. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

March 27 – 29: Celebrate Art in the Garden with us and take part in special artist appearances and signings with David E. Doss and Greg McCullough from 11a.m. – 7p.m. throughout the weekend at the entrance to World Showcase. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com to learn more.

March 27 – April 5: We have ‘egg’-citing news. Check out this post on the Disney Parks Blog.

March 28: Add the limited edition hand-painted Ink & Paint cel ‘A Dapper Day in the Parks’ featuring Mickey Mouse looking his best aboard the Main Street Trolley! Ink & Paint artists will be on hand for a special signing from 10 a.m. – 1p.m. and 2p.m. – 5p.m. at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note: The cel will be available in a variety of formats including Unframed; Framed, Framed Cel with Postcard and Framed Cel with Postcard and Pin. Learn more.

Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through March 26 at 5p.m. Eastern. Of course, applicable tax and shipping fees apply. Order now!

Which artists are you most excited to see?

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: Experience the Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Carpe diem. Seize the day.

That’s exactly what you can do on an Ultimate VIP Tour. Imagine experiencing cherished attractions at three theme parks with fast-tracked access, private transportation and a Table-Service lunch in one of the parks, all in one day — accompanied by a cast member with detailed knowledge of Disney lore.

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I recently got the opportunity to go on The Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour, one of two new offerings from VIP Tour Services (The Ultimate Day of Thrills being the other), so I of course jumped at the chance.

Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park is the starting point for the tour. Tracy, our Tour Guide, handed out bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated and took lunch orders. From there, we headed to Magic Carpets of Aladdin to begin our journey. We hit some classics, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, and newer highpoints like Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid. Then it was off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (yay Toy Story Midway Mania!), via private van, that included a yummy sit-down lunch at a reserved table. The tour ended on a high note at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with front row seats at Festival of the Lion King, about as close as you can get to this beloved Broadway-style show without being in it.

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Entering via the FastPass+ lines made for minimal waiting. Tracy was also in constant contact with Brian, our coordinator, who stayed ahead to ensure everything went smoothly. Patient, personable and well versed in all things Disney, Tracy shared trivia, helpful hints and background information along the way, like giving Toy Story Midway Mania! point-scoring tips and pointing out a hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool on Kilimanjaro Safaris. What a fascinating window into the magic.

In all, we enjoyed 11 attractions in three parks — with plenty of sunshine left at the end to go exploring on our own — accomplishing a lot but never feeling rushed. A steady pace kept us on schedule. It’s a unique, specialized way to splurge on yourself and loved ones, especially if you’re pressed for time.

And though designed with mild thrills for families with children under 10 years old, don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Day for Young Families is not just for the little ones. In fact, Tracy said adults frequently enjoy the tour sans kids. In other words, everyone’s the right age. Because fun never goes out of style.

This unforgettable guided adventure (that feels intimate since there is one Tour Guide per every 10 people) through some of your kids’ (and your) favorites while spending less time in line is worth the memories. Heck, maybe you’ll discover something new in the process. I did. Okay, I admit it: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a first for me. What a blast (pun intended)! No wonder it’s so popular.

The tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and lasts six to seven hours. Attractions and entertainment offerings subject to change. The cost is $299 per person, plus tax (theme park admission not included). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, FastPass+, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

New Cinderella Premium Popcorn Bucket Coming to Disney Parks

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


It looks like Fairy Godmother has turned a popcorn scoop into Cinderella’s carriage!

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Just in time for the release of Disney’s live-action film “Cinderella” in March, the new Cinderella premium popcorn bucket is coming soon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. This specialty souvenir will also be available at the Disneyland Resort later this spring.

You’ll never have to worry about being late to the ball, because now you can take your royal coach with you. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!

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Happy National Margarita Day!

posted on February 21st, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


With National Margarita Day just around the corner on February 22, I wanted to share some of my favorite unique margaritas across Walt Disney World Resort.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head over to The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, where you can enjoy the ‘Citizens Take Flight’ tasting of three margaritas on the charming patio. These sips have character! Sample Bucky Greenhorn’s Derby Margarita, Melivan Macheezmo’s Mango Margarita, and Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks Pomegranate Margarita.

While Cava del Tequila will be a popular spot on National Margarita Day, I enjoy gazing out at World Showcase lagoon at La Hacienda de San Angel while sipping on an Orange Mango Fire Margarita, premium silver agave tequila, ginger liqueur, orange juice, mango puree, fresh lime juice and a hint of Tabasco sauce, served on the rocks with a Tajin chili powder rim. Another delightful take on the margarita is the Italian Margarita found at Gelati in the Italy Pavilion, crafted with frozen limoncello and grappa.

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Parks aren’t the only places you can find one of these satisfyingly sour sips, pick up a drink at BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas for a leisurely stroll around the BoardWalk on a hot day.

Relax after a day in the parks at Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Their Margarita Flight lets guests sample their five handcrafted margaritas: mango blueberry basil, classic, hibiscus, pineapple and jalapeno.

At Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can sip on a Moonshine Margarita made with Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice and agave nectar topped with soda water.

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Across property, try the Grand Margarita, with Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and sweet-and sour, available at most pool bars. Another popular sip is the Habañero Lime Margarita, on the menu at several lounges and restaurants.

In the “spirit” of National Margarita Day: Coming this spring, look for a new place to enjoy an adult beverage while watching the sunset at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

How will you celebrate National Margarita Day?

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#DisneyKids: Height Requirements for Attractions at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 20th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


There are so many attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, and sometimes as a parent it can be tough to determine which ones are a good fit for younger children. Once I had kids, I was pleasantly surprised at just how many rides and experiences are available for everyone, including the littlest members of the family. There are 25 attractions without any height requirements at Magic Kingdom Park alone! Once your baby grows into a preschooler, there is even more fun to be had on rides for slightly taller kiddos.

We rounded up height requirements from the most popular attractions in all four theme parks and put them into handy charts to help you plan ahead.

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

Once in the parks, be sure to check out the My Disney Experience mobile app for height requirements, thrill levels, wait times and more, all while on the go. If you are dying to check out a thrill ride and your youngest isn’t quite there yet, your family may be able to utilize Rider Switch, which allows adults to take turns riding the attraction without waiting in line all over again. What are your favorite attractions to experience with your little ones?

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Disney Days of Past: A Look Back at ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

posted on February 19th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


According to the Chinese zodiac, goats are believed to be gentle mind-mannered, shy, sympathetic, and amicable with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

Sounds a lot like Djali, Esmeralda’s faithful sidekick goat, from Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Djali made an appearance (albeit in marionette form) in “Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame-A Musical Adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” from 1996 through 2002.

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So here’s to the goats in this world – fictional, animal and human. Happy Chinese New Year!

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