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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 17th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Star Wars Weekends 2015 began this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and we’re celebrating here on the Disney Parks Blog with new artwork, images and stories.

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Through June 14, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature some of your favorite Star Wars characters as well as the “Legends of the Force” celebrity motorcade, the all-new “Star Wars: Rebels” show at Theater of the Stars, “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks and much more.

Shawn shared a few more experiences not to be missed this year, including a visit to the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience. Check his original story for more details and list of character appearances.

Star Wars Weekends continues Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 14, 2015.

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We also announced the names of several new high-profile tenants coming Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort, including fashion retailers Uniqlo, Zara, Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer.

When work is completed in 2016, Disney Springs will have expanded to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, including four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers . We have the complete list of the tenants in our original blog story.

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

First Look: Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Souvenir Vintage Stein – This stunning souvenir vintage stein features whimsical representations of favorite lands and attractions, and is topped with Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Stars Shine Bright at the Disneyland Resort for World Premiere of ‘Tomorrowland’ – Hear from the stars on the red carpet, including the film’s star, George Clooney, about the excitement of being at the Disneyland Resort for the premiere!

Behind the Scenes: Hatbox Ghost Reappears in Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park – Last weekend, one of the 999 happy haunts in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park reappeared after decades in hiding. Take a look!

Complete List of Special Eats for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration 24-Hour Event, May 22-23 – Get a look at the ultimate foodie guide to specialty food offerings during the 24-Hour event at the Disneyland Resort.

24-Hour Event Merchandise Sparkles at the Disneyland Resort – Get a sneak peek at the artwork for the 24-hour event tees, a limited release pin and a very specially created cupcake!

Kicking Off the ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ with 24-Hours of Entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park – Next week, Magic Kingdom Park is going to stay open from 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, to 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23, to celebrate the beginning of the “Coolest Summer Ever!” Get a look at all the entertainment and plan your visit!

Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Sleeping Beauty Castle – Part One – Disney Parks Blog author George Savvas shares some of the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park.

Chef Mickey’s Opens for Brunch Starting May 31 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Reservations open May 22 for what promises to be a popular new addition to Walt Disney World Resort dining – mid-day brunch daily at Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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Announcing New Retail, Dining Experiences Coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 15th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Since unveiling plans for Disney Springs, we’ve been sharing regular updates as we reimagine and reinvent this corner of the Walt Disney World Resort. Today, we’re thrilled to share the names of 13 new high-profile tenants coming to the area, including fashion retailers Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.

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Here’s a list of the 13 new retail and dining experiences announced for Disney Springs:

RETAIL

  • Zara
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • UNIQLO
  • PANDORA
  • UGG
  • L’Occitaine en Provence
  • Edward Beiner

DINING

  • Edison
  • Sprinkles
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Vivoli Gelateria
  • Tea Traders by Joffrey’s Tea

 
 
 

Announcing New Retail, Dining Experiences Coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort Announcing New Retail, Dining Experiences Coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

When work is completed in 2016, Disney Springs will have expanded to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The area will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options – and sophisticated restaurants.

We have more information on the retail and dining experiences here. Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more details in the future as Downtown Disney continues its expansion into Disney Springs.

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New Garage Walkways Now Open at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 6th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Everywhere you look at Downtown Disney, signs of the future are popping up as the area transforms into Disney Springs. The latest can be seen in the parking garage.

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As the first of two planned parking garages for Downtown Disney, the Orange Garage at West Side opened late last year and continues to introduce enhancements to surprise and delight guests.

My favorite addition thus far? The smart technology that clearly shows how many spaces are available at each level and even identifies open spaces with an easily recognizable green light above the spots. If you’ve parked in the garage recently, you know how awesome those little lights are.

This week, we’re celebrating another milestone – the opening of two new walkways that give guests a direct connection to the West Side promenade in two locations: adjacent to Splitsville Luxury Lanes and near Planet Hollywood. These new bridges to the property are accessible via the second level of the garage and give guests the option to use stairs, elevators or escalators (my go-to mode of arrival). With lush landscaping and new hardscape finishing out the space, the walkways are a beautiful new addition to what will eventually be Disney Springs.

To experience these enhancements for yourself, park in the Orange Garage during your next outing to the Downtown Disney Area and make your way to level two – with so much new to explore, hopefully your next visit is just around the corner.

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The BOATHOUSE Opens Today at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats opens today at The Landing at Downtown Disney, the area’s first all-new dining spot featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

But of course it’s the food that we want to talk about, so we caught up with Executive Chef Bob Getchell, who’s been on the team more than five months creating the menu for the expansive restaurant that features three distinctive bars and nautically theme dining rooms. The BOATHOUSE restaurant is managed by the award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group.

“Incredible food with a waterfront view is the focal point,” says Chef Bob. “All of the dining rooms have waterfront views or are on the water.” With 600 seats – 400 indoors, 200 outdoors – there’s not a bad view in the house.

The upscale menu focuses on seafood and steaks, upscale cocktails and a solid wine list. You can get anything from a casual basket of fried clams or big butterflied shrimp to “the best Angus beef burgers in town,” says Chef Bob. (And the fries are hand cut.)

New England Lobster Roll at The BOATHOUSE

Let’s start with the raw bar, serving three to five varieties of oysters on the half shell, colossal wild-caught Baja shrimp cocktail, and the BOATHOUSE lobster cocktail made with a pound-and-a-quarter lobster. Local Anastasia Gold caviar is on the menu from a farm in nearby Pierson, Fla.

Even the salads are notable, like the sirloin steak salad with eight ounces of New York strip steak, seared ahi tuna salad with Asian dressing, and the Buffalo chicken salad with Point Reyes blue cheese and spicy pecans.
The rotisserie chicken is brined 24 hours and stuffed with citrus and fresh herbs, then slow roasted. Cedar plank salmon roasts in an 875°F oven. And you’ll find dayboat fish coming in fresh, like the Cape Canaveral tripletail that’s on the opening day menu, or Florida wahoo.

Back to those steaks – Gibsons sources their meat from small farms in the upper Midwest, and features buttery filet mignon, a 28-ounce Porter house and a 32-ounce long bone rib chop (our favorite).

“We’re famous for our big desserts,” says Chef Bob. Like the S’More Baked Alaska made with one-and-a-half gallons of rocky road ice cream with graham cracker crust, topped with a mountain of meringue and marshmallows, chunks of chocolate on the outside, then torched for the s’mores finish. Meant for sharing, of course. Or the Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake with fresh berries in a whiskey-honey syrup finished with whisked buttermilk cream and whiskey caramel sauce. But Chef Bob admits his favorite dessert is the ice cream float with grape Nehi soda, poured tableside.

Kids’ meals are no afterthought – they’re all homemade, like the Sticks and Stones with chicken breast strips and fish, hand-breaded. Or the Pig in a Blanket wrapped with pretzel dough and baked.

“We’ve got something for everyone on the menu,” says Chef Bob. More than a dining experience, The BOATHOUSE immerses guests with waterfront adventures including live music and romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi, or the 1800s antique steamboat Lady Rose, both featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. Or head to the water for guided Amphicar tours where you’ll enter the water with a splash for a 20-minute tour.

Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.

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New Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Open at the Downtown Disney Area at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 24th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


My office is smack dab in the middle of Downtown Disney Marketplace, so I have a front row seat to all the enhancements coming to the property as we transform into Disney Springs. Some days, the progress is subtle, but last week, there was no denying that change was in the air (literally). Towering above Buena Vista Drive, a new pedestrian bridge was installed in the early morning hours of March 19 – when I came to work on Thursday, there it was, extending from the Team Disney area across the roadway to Downtown Disney.

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Our friends at Reedy Creek Improvement District worked closely with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney Springs Project Team on this impressive piece of infrastructure. Upon completion, the bridge will weigh 190 tons (or as much 50 average-sized elephants!). While there is still work to be done, it’s expected to be open to guests and cast members later this spring. A second pedestrian bridge, located near Hotel Plaza Boulevard, will open later this summer.

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Have you visited the Downtown Disney area lately? With new retail locations now open, the Village Causeway now fully accessible, and a new restaurant – The BOATHOUSE – set to open next month, this pedestrian bridge is just one more sign of what’s to come. Which one are you most excited about? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to know!

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Giant Sand Castle in the Snow Announces 24-Hour Party, ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 11th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As you may have seen on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” we shared some true Disney magic in winter-weary Boston by creating a warm summer scene, inspired by Olaf’s “In Summer” dream, to officially announce that the “Coolest Summer Ever” is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort. And it all begins with a Disney Parks Blog reader favorite – a 24-hour event at Magic Kingdom Park – during Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff to summer.

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Olaf, who is the official host of our “Coolest Summer Ever,” surprised Bostonians near historic Faneuil Hall with a 20-foot wide beach that included a Cinderella Castle made of sand, beach chairs, beach balls and other reminders of summer fun at Walt Disney World Resort. Check out how it all came together in the video below.

We’re kicking off the summer with an all-night party at the Walt Disney World Resort. Magic Kingdom Park will be open to guests for 24 hours of nonstop fun from 6 a.m.-6 a.m. May 22-23. Guests are invited to dress to show their Disney Side while a selection of favorite attractions, entertainment, merchandise, food and beverages will be on tap all night long to celebrate the start of the “Coolest Summer Ever” at Walt Disney World Resort.

For the “Coolest Summer Ever,” we’re already planning experiences you won’t want to miss. Here’s an early look at some of the highlights:

There’s more to come, so keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog or visit Disneyworld.com/CoolestSummerEver for future details and information.

Also, later this morning, Erin will be sharing a special announcement from Disneyland Resort right here on the blog.

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Filed: Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Locations Join The Landing at Disney Springs in February 2015

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Signs of the future are springing up across Downtown Disney this month at Walt Disney World Resort as the area transforms into Disney Springs. Several new retail locations have opened in area to be known as The Landing. Once complete, The Landing will be home to memorable dining such as STK, Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE and unique boutique shopping. Here is a brief look at these newest additions.

The Art of Shaving at The Landing at Downtown Disney Apex by Sunglass Hut at The Landing at Downtown Disney Chapel Hats at The Landing at Downtown Disney

The Art of Shaving – offers premium grooming essentials for the modern man. The location also has a team of shaving specialists who offer advice to guests on proper grooming techniques. Appointments for a haircut or shave are suggested.

Apex by Sunglass Hut – designed with the athlete, sports and outdoor enthusiast in mind, this shop utilizes innovative technology, such as the Apex Smart Mirror, to help guests find the best choice in sport sunglasses.

Chapel Hats – specializes in fashionable hats and headwear for guests of all ages. The location carries just about any style of hat including fedoras, sun hats, floppy hats, outdoors hats, kid’s hats and more.

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Sanuk – creatively inspired footwear designed with non-traditional materials like yoga-mats.

Havaianas – offering “Make Your Own Havaianas” and “Embellish Your Own Havaianas,” this store features a large assortment of Havaianas sandals for women, men and children, plus kids’ rain boots.

Sound Lion – the latest technology in headphones, earbuds, speakers, and other digital sound and music products can be found in this shop. They also provide education in digital music applications that improve the listening lifestyle.

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Erin Mckenna’s Bakery NYC – this location will offer the same unsurpassed core vegan, gluten-free menu as its flagship bakery in New York City, and its sister bakery in Los Angeles. Look for a full selection of award-winning donuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels (with vegan butter!), and other savory items daily.

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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.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

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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STK Orlando To Open in Disney Springs in 2015

posted on December 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It was just announced that The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. will open STK Orlando at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015.

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STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge, will open its doors in The Landing area of Disney Springs. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building.

“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

STK is the latest in a string of restaurants who have announced new locations planned for Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia and THE BOATHOUSE are two other dining options that will open their doors in 2015.

Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information and news on Disney Springs.


For more on Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, visit the posts below:

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Time-Lapse Video: Imagineers Install Springs Bottling Co. Marquee at Downtown Disney

posted on November 18th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier today, we shared updates on several new offerings that are on the horizon for Downtown Disney as it transitions into Disney Springs.

One of those updates was that Walt Disney Imagineering recently installed a Springs Bottling Co. Marquee atop the building that will eventually house the Morimoto Asia restaurant. The marquee, which is now part of Downtown Disney’s illuminated nighttime skyline, helps weave the turn-of-the-century theme of Disney Springs through the area, as this building formerly served as Springs Bottling Co., the town’s bottling company.

Check out this time-lapse video of how our Imagineers installed the new marquee literally over night.

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