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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on June 14th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared a first look at our plans for a “Frozen” attraction in Epcot and more of what you can expect to experience when it opens in 2016.

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Frozen Ever After,” will be an adventure fit for the entire family that’ll take guests through the kingdom of Arendelle. The fantastic Disney storytelling combined with new technology and favorite moments and music from the film will make guests feel like they stepped into the magical world of “Frozen.”

You can find more information about the attraction in our original story.

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And we shared new details about “The Edison and “STK Orlando” coming to Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort. Similar to its sister location on the west coast, The Edison at Disney Springs will be dedicated to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication and romance.

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We also shared a new rendering of STK Orlando – a location that’ll be the only spot that offers rooftop dining, in a gorgeous lounge setting, at Disney Springs.

Darcy has more details on both in her “coming soon” story.

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

New Cars Land Merchandise Cruises into Disney California Adventure Park – The collection features something for everyone in your family, and friends too! You’ll find youth and adult hats, tees, fleece, a water bottle, pins and even an engine-revving tailgate party tote and duffle bag.

Top Five: Donald Duck at Disney Parks – Over the years, Donald’s been a guest favorite at Disney Parks around the globe, whether it’s meeting him during a character greeting, spotting him in “Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade” or shopping for Donald gifts.

Celebrating 1 Million @DisneyParks Twitter Followers – One of the popular Twitter accounts for many Disney Parks Blog readers – @DisneyParks – just reached a big milestone – 1 million followers. And to help celebrate the occasion and thank all of our fans, we’ve gathered some of your favorite Disney characters for a special stop-motion surprise.

A Mom’s Take on the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Disney Vacation Club accommodations offer special features perfect for families of all sizes. The Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, are the largest at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Behind the Scenes: This Year’s Star Wars Weekends Creative Campaign – The idea behind this year’s campaign is simple: it’s as close to the Force as you can get. Everything plays out around the notion of going to Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you are literally surrounded by the Force and all things Star Wars.

Behind the Scenes: Creating Our @DisneyParks Stop-Motion Film – What do you get when you take 1,000 photos, 60 lbs of confetti, seven Disney characters and one photographer with a big imagination? Something magical, of course!

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COMING SOON: New Details Emerge About ‘The Edison’ and ‘STK Orlando’ at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 10th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


A few weeks ago, several new retail and dining experiences were announced for Disney Springs. Among them: The Edison, a lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination that will feature exceptional classic American food, artisanal craft cocktails and unparalleled live entertainment.

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Similar to its sister location on the west coast, The Edison at Disney Springs will be dedicated to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication and romance. Themed to a 1920s-period electric company, the space will recall an exuberant era of invention and imagination. With 35-foot ceilings and a range of themed areas to explore, The Edison will feature nightly entertainment including contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more.

Today, I’ve also got more details on STK Orlando – a new rendering and another fun bit of info: this location will be the only spot that offers rooftop dining, in a gorgeous lounge setting, at Disney Springs.

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Progress also continues on Morimoto Asia, the first pan-Asian restaurant from celebrity Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

STK Orlando and Morimoto Asia will debut later this year. The Edison will open in 2016.

Which new restaurant are you most excited for? Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to know!

For more about Disney Springs, visit the stories below:

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on June 7th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, Mickey Mouse and the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” were in Sacramento to celebrate as the California State Senate and Assembly proclaimed June 1, 2015 as “Disneyland Day!”

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During the day, the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” floated over the Capitol lawn before Mickey Mouse and Disney Ambassador Allie Kawamoto visited young patients at UC Davis Medical Center. Disneyland Resort’s visit included a stop in West Sacramento, where 500 volunteers from Disney, KaBOOM! and the city of West Sacramento built Disney’s largest KaBOOM! playground ever.

Check out Kevin’s original post for more images and details of the day.

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We also unveiled a new, extraordinary entertainment experience for guests of all ages coming to Disney Springs called The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is going to be a one-of-a-kind destination featuring hands-on activities that put families and guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. You’ll be able to explore inside the world of professional basketball with numerous interactive experiences and enjoy a restaurant and retail store.

Check out our original story for more details about The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

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

Behind the Scenes of Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park with Walt Disney Imagineering – Matterhorn Bobsleds recently reopened at Disneyland park, following a refurbishment that brought many new creative elements to this classic attraction – including a whole new look for its most famous resident, the Abominable Snowman.

See an Exclusive Sneak Peek of ‘Ant-Man’ at Disney California Adventure Park Starting June 19 – Soon, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the next evolution of Super Hero when the Bug’s Life Theater at Disney California Adventure park hosts a sneak peek of the high-stakes, tension-filled adventure, “Ant-Man”!

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park? – This week was the anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park here at Walt Disney World Resort. How well do you know this park? Give your knowledge a test!

Rhino Kiama Makes Her Big Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Earlier this year, thousands of you voted to name our female baby rhino Kiama. She has been growing rapidly – gaining about three or four pounds a day – and now you can see her during your next adventure on Kilimanjaro Safaris!

Team Disney VoluntEARS Raises More than $30,000 for Cancer Research and Runs Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort – While training together for the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Team Disney VoluntEARS raised more than $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the organization’s Team in Training program.

Six Scrumptious Desserts Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – It’s a party, so you’re allowed to eat dessert first. For the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, here are six new sweets for 60 years, and they’ll stay on the menu throughout the celebration.

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‘NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort’ Coming to Disney Springs

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As we approach tip off for the 2015 NBA Finals, we wanted to share some exciting details on a new, extraordinary entertainment experience for guests of all ages coming to Disney Springs called The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

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The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is going to be a one-of-a-kind destination featuring hands-on activities that put families and guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. You’ll be able to explore inside the world of professional basketball with numerous interactive experiences and enjoy a restaurant and retail store.

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The Walt Disney Company and the NBA just made the joint announcement and also shared that initial development work has just begun. “We’re excited to join the NBA in offering this unique form of family entertainment,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “It will be a terrific addition to the world-class lineup of shops and restaurants coming to Disney Springs.”

The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will be one of more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues at Disney Springs.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more details about The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort as Downtown Disney continues its expansion into Disney Springs.

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Vivoli Gelateria to Open Soon at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


If you’ve ever had the good fortune to travel to Florence, Italy, chances are you’re familiar with Vivoli Gelateria. I’ve never been myself, but when I searched “Florence Must-Dos” online, Vivoli appeared on every list; wedged between art galleries and chapels, it was the only food venue mentioned in National Geographic’s City Guide to Florence, so you know it must be pretty spectacular!

No immediate plans to visit Italy? No worries. The family-run gelato shop will open its second storefront – and the first outside of Italy – later this month at The Landing, the newest neighborhood to debut as part of the future Disney Springs.

I recently had the chance to connect with Silvana Vivoli, the granddaughter of Raphael Vivoli, one of the company’s founders, to learn more about the gelateria. Founded in 1932 by Raphael and his two brothers, Vivoli Gelateria started out as a dairy – at that time, it was not easy to find raw materials such as milk, eggs and sugar and there were no gelato machines and freezers. After World War II, technology enabled the brothers to follow their passion and produce gelato every day – a far cry from the early recipes that relied on barrels filled with ice and snow from the nearby mountains to keep their concoctions frozen.

Silvana’s father, Piero, learned to make gelato from his father. Silvana learned the craft from him, “keeping the same old tradition,” she shared.

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When I asked Silvana why they decided to open a location at Downtown Disney, the answer flowed freely, “Good gelato. In a fantastic place. With fun and family and a sunny destination? It’s a nice combination. Like vanilla and chocolate!”

According to Silvana, the gelato at Vivoli is made with fresh, top-quality ingredients using the exact same recipes from the original shop. The artisans plan to use local and seasonal products, with cocoa powder, hazelnut and pistachio imported from Italy. “There are ingredients not easy to buy,” muses Silvana, “these are love and passion … when you fall in love with your job, you have these for free – they’re the final ingredients that make everything so special.”

For a special gelato experience that will give you the “feeling of being in Italy for ten minutes,” make plans to try Vivoli Gelateria during your next visit to Downtown Disney. Not sure which flavor to order? I asked Silvana one final question: which is her favorite? “It depends on how I get up in the morning! But really, I cannot do without rice pudding gelato.”

In addition to their signature gelato, Vivioli Gelateria will also serve traditional Italian panini, biscotti, espresso and tarts. For a mouth-watering look at what you can expect, check out the gallery below.

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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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