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Spotlight on New Pins Coming to Disney Parks in 2015

posted on January 13th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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From new retail MagicBands to upcoming Orange Bird products, I’ve recently been sharing previews of items coming to Disney Parks in 2015. This time, I turn the spotlight on Disney pins, which are a fun way to show off your Disney Side when visiting Theme Parks and Resorts.

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For years, we’ve offered various “pin-of-the-month” collections, which have new pins released monthly (or sometimes quarterly) for guests to collect. This year, the “Best Friends” collection will contains two individual pins that are great for sharing with your best friend. The “Wonderfully Wicked” collection showcases some of the most famous Disney villains. Both of these monthly collections will be found in select locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Guests in Florida will find the “Shields of Fantasy” collection. These hinged pins open to reveal Disney
characters who reside in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

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The “Piece of Disney History” collection returns this year. First introduced in 2005, these limited edition pins contain actual pieces of attractions, shows, or parades from Disney Parks. This year, we continue our “Piece of Disneyland Resort History” collection for guests in California, while guests in Florida will find a continuation of the “Piece of SpectroMagic history.”

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With the “Generation D” collection, we are counting down to the annual Disney Trading Event that will be held in September at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort. Each of these 13 limited edition pins will have an edition size of 500 and will be released monthly.

We also have a few surprise pins planned including a collection featuring Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” for Disneyland Resort. When placed next to each other, the pins will form a complete picture. Guests in Florida will find pins celebrating the themed lands of the Magic Kingdom Park. Both of these pin collections will be released at random times throughout the year.

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Finally, if you are headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios I invite you to stop by our newest Disney pin destination at Sunset Market Ranch on Sunset Boulevard. This location is now the main headquarters for all things pins inside the theme park.

As a reminder, new pins are typically released on Thursdays at Disney Parks. Look for one-sheets highlighting key pin releases toward the beginning of each month on the official Disney Pin Trading website – http://www.DisneyPins.com.

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

The Winner of the ESPN Cheer On Your Disney Side Contest is …

posted on January 12th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


The votes are counted and the results are in. The winner of the ESPN Cheer On Your Disney Side contest is – Rutgers University!

After casting more than 47,000 votes, you selected the Scarlet Knights as the top cheer and dance squad in the national competition sponsored by ESPN, in collaboration with Disney Parks and Varsity Spirit.

Dozens of schools from across the country submitted routines choreographed to one of four Disney Parks inspired songs. Four finalists were selected by a panel of judges; Auburn University, Louisiana State University, Rutgers University and Santa Monica College. Today, Rutgers will be announced as the winner on ESPN during the network’s pre-game coverage of the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Scarlet Knight dance squad wins a $100,000 grant from ESPN and a team trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

The Knights winning routine was inspired by “it’s a small world” and featured team members dressed as their favorite Disney princesses. Lacking energy and enthusiasm, the Scarlet Knight brings the princesses together to inspire the squad and bring back their spirit.

Congratulations to Rutgers University and all the schools who shared their Disney Side.

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Third Tween-Directed ‘Direct Your Disney Side’ Short Debuts

posted on January 2nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Last year, we introduced the “Direct Your Disney Side” project, in which our Yellow Shoes Creative Group (partnered with McGarry Bowen and Adolescent Films) worked with three tween filmmakers to bring their #DisneySide-inspired short films to life.

The final short in the series, “Soar,” will appear in theaters nationwide starting today, as a part of the NCM First Look pre-show content (which will run before film previews begin). “Soar,” by 15-year-old Claire Jantzen, tells the story of a female heroine who braves many dangers and villains to rescue a boy and fly off to a happily ever after.


Watch the other shorts in this series here:

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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

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8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

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13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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

31 Disney Dream Vacations, Nights in Cinderella Castle to be Awarded in Disney ‘Flip’ Side Sweepstakes

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2015 in a big way by “flipping” Disney Side around and giving away a Walt Disney World Resort vacation that includes a night in Cinderella Castle Suite everyday in January!

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Disney Parks Blog readers know that everyone has a Disney Side – that side of you that comes out to play the moment you step through the gates at any of our parks. Well, this month, we’re “flipping” it and exploring how your favorite Disney characters show their Disney Side in fun and unexpected ways.

It’s already begun.  From now until January 31, visit DisneyFlipSide.com to check-out videos and photos from Sam, the Disney Parks Insider, as he goes behind the scenes with all-Parks access, an arsenal of cameras and crafty disguises to show you never-before-seen Disney Sides of some of your favorite Disney Park personalities. While visiting, be sure to enter the Disney “Flip” Side Sweepstakes. There is a new winner selected everyday in January. That’s 31 winners who will receive a 5-day/4-night dream vacation at Walt Disney World Resort for four that includes:

  • 1-Night stay at the Cinderella Castle Suite in the Magic Kingdom Park
  • 3 Nights at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
  • 5-Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options
  • $500 Disney Gift Card
  • Personalized “Disney Side” Welcome Basket
  • Glass Slipper Gift inspired by the new live-action film “Cinderella,” in theaters March 13
  • Round-trip coach airfare (If the winner resides more than 250 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort)

Visit DisneyFlipsSide.com and enter everyday for a chance to win. It’s Disney Side fun, flipped around just for you.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (PT) on 1/1/15 and ends 11:59 PM (PT) on 1/31/15. The Sweepstakes is made up of 31 daily sweepstakes each beginning at 12:01 AM (PT) and ending at 11:59 PM (PT) each day. Limit one (1) Entry per daily sweepstakes. Click here for full Official Rules.

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Top 10 Disney Parks YouTube Videos of 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


In 2014, there were some great Disney Parks YouTube videos shared around by readers, including our “Ultimate Tweet” at the Walt Disney World Resort – our top video of the year.

Take at look at our list of the Top 10 Most Popular Disney Parks YouTube videos in 2014.

1. Behind the Scenes | 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’

2. 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’ | Disney Side | Disney Parks

3. Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ Sing-Along Performed at Walt Disney World Resort | Disney Parks

4. Moms Have a Disney Side too | Mother’s Day | Disney Parks

5. #DisneyKids: First Teacup Ride | Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

6. Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

7. Ursula Moves Into Her Lair at Disney California Adventure Park | Disneyland Resort | Disney Parks

8. #DisneyKids: First Photo at Magic Kingdom Park | Walt Disney World

9. #DisneyKids: Remembering Favorite Attractions at Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

10. ‘Frozen’ Meet & Greet with Anna & Elsa at Epcot | Walt Disney World

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Year in Review: Greatest Hits from Disney Theme Park Merchandise in 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


This year was an exciting time for Disney Theme Park Merchandise. On behalf of my fellow author Michelle Harker and the entire merchandise team, thank you for your feedback! We loved reading your comments as new things were revealed. Below is a brief list of popular items from 2014. I’d love to know your favorite products from this past year, so please share in the comments below.

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Disney Character Mugs – This past spring, we released several new Disney character mugs. This article was one of the most popular stories of the year, particularly on Pinterest.

Disney Parks Collection By PANDORA JewelryIn August, we announced a new partnership with PANDORA Jewelry. We released a collection of hand finished sterling silver and 14K gold charms developed especially for Disney Parks.

Disney’s “Frozen” – Some of the most requested items this past year were inspired by Disney’s “Frozen.” We introduced graphic MagicBands with Anna and Elsa; Olaf-shaped candy apples, unique headware, and, of course, dresses! Guests could also visit Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, a make-over destination at Downtown Disney District in California.

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Marketplace Co-Op – In June, we opened the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. This location is a testing space for new Disney retail concepts, shops and products and contains some of my favorite places to shop like D-Tech on Demand, Disney Centerpiece or Cherry Tree Lane.

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Haunted Mansion Authentic – In the fall, more than 100 new Haunted Mansion-themed products were introduced at Disney Parks. Part of a program titled, “Haunted Mansion Authentic,” these items were inspired by characters, icons and details from this classic attraction. In August, the attraction celebrated its 45 anniversary at Disneyland park. In October, we opened Memento Mori, a Haunted Mansion shop located in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. The new location is also home to a unique Spirit Photography experience.

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Showing Your Disney Side – Guests showed their Disney Side with products created especially for Disney Parks. We released new colors for the Disney Parks Collection by Vera Bradley. Guests loved combining pixie dust and positive energy with Alex and Ani bracelets. We also released several Dooney & Bourke handbags including some for Disney Cruise Line and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Shirts, Shirts and More Shirts – I’m sure I’m not the only one who had to clean out their closets to make room for new Disney Parks apparel. From online only tees to exercise apparel, guests had plenty of choices for attire with nods to Disney Parks.

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

Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun

posted on December 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In 2014, we started encouraging you to show your Disney Side – that silly, carefree side of you that lets go when you’re at a Disney Park and allows you to just have fun, whether that means wearing Mickey ears or running to get a perfect photo with Pluto.

Today, we’re taking a look back at the many ways our guests showed their Disney Side at our parks throughout the year.

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In January, we invited you to show us how your family shows their Disney Side on this website, which enabled you to build your own stick figure family – Disney style.

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We kicked off the summer season Memorial Day weekend with 24-hour Rock Your Disney Side all-night parties at Magic Kingdom Park, Disneyland park, and Disney California Adventure park. During the events, thousands of guests dressed to show their Disney Sides, whether pirate or princess, hero or villain.

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In August, 101 four-legged friends got a chance to show their Disney Sides when they were selected to participate in the first-ever A Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park, in which the pack of pooches dressed in their Disney best for a walk through the park.

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In September, more than 100 Disney Parks Blog readers showed their Disney Side during our “Disney Side Not-So-Scary Soiree” meet-up at Magic Kingdom Park, with guests dressing in Disney costumes for our annual Halloween event.

Also in fall, a handful of tween filmmakers got to partner with our Yellow Shoes department to share what their Disney Side would look like on film, in the “Direct Your Disney Side” series of short films. Learn more about those (and view two of the shorts in the series) here.

How will you show your Disney Side in 2015? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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

Watch New Year’s Eve Fireworks Live at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 28th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our exclusive series of Disney Side holiday live events at Walt Disney World Resort wraps on New Year’s Eve with a special surprise from Magic Kingdom Park.

We’re live streaming a special New Year’s Eve eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

At 11:50 p.m. EST on Wednesday, we’re hosting coverage of the special New Year’s Eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks. To see it live, just visit the front page of the Disney Parks Blog beginning at 11:35 p.m. on December 31.

See you then.

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Santa Monica College Cheers On Their Disney Side

posted on December 24th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


It may be a small world but the Santa Monica College cheer squad is big when showing their Disney Side and love for one of the most beloved attractions at Disney. Celebrating team and campus diversity, the cheer squad used their memories of “it’s a small world” to choreograph a routine for the Cheer On Your Disney Side competition sponsored by ESPN, in collaboration with Disney Destinations and Varsity Spirit.

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The video follows four young park guests through the attraction as they experience everything from the famous boat ride, to beautiful costumes and a cultural celebration.

Santa Monica College is one of four finalists in the Cheer On Your Disney Side competition, alongside Auburn, Louisiana State University and Rutgers University. Dozens of universities from across the country submitted videos choreographed to one of four Disney Parks-inspired songs. The winning squad will earn a $100,000 grant for its college spirit program and a team trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

How will the best cheer be selected? By your vote!

Guests are asked to go to Espn.com/CheerMagic to view and vote for their favorite video from the final four. The school with the most votes wins. Fans who vote are entered into an ESPN sweepstakes to win a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. Rules may be found at Espn.com/CheerMagic. On-line voting ends on January 6 and the winning squad will be announced on ESPN before the College Football National Championship Game on January 12 in Dallas.

Before casting your vote take a look at the inspiration and Santa Monica College spirit that went into the making of the cheer.

This year, Disney Parks is encouraging people to show their “Disney Side”– their fun-loving adventurous side that laughs more, says “yes” more and just plain lives life to the fullest.

ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort has been the home of Varsity Spirit’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the premier athletic competition for these teams, for over 20 years. Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today. Focused on safety, entertainment and school leadership, Varsity Spirit conducts educational camps, administrates competitions and provides apparel for more than 350,000 cheerleaders and dancers.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.
No purchase necessary. Ends 11:59 PM ET on 1/6/15. Must be a legal resident of the (50) U.S. or DC, 18 years or older, or the age of majority. Limit 1 entry/vote per person & per email per day. For prize details, odds of winning & complete Official Rules, go to www.espn.com/CheerMagic. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: ESPN Internet Ventures, New York, NY.

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