Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Disneyland Resort Guests and Cast Members Raise More Than $2 Million, Make 24th Annual CHOC Walk a Success

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Michael Colglazier, President, Disneyland Resort


As a cast member at the Disneyland Resort, it’s rewarding to walk the property and see our guests enjoying our parks and hotels. It’s a testament to our founder, Walt Disney, who dreamed of a place that will always be bursting with happiness and imagination. It’s a tribute to our Imagineers who created and built a place filled with incredible experiences and adventures. And it’s an accolade to our cast members who deliver the magic each day and are dedicated to making lifelong memories for our guests.

Walking the resort last Sunday morning, I felt even more proud. That morning, the Disneyland Resort was full of children and families walking in support of CHOC Children’s. By 6 a.m., nearly 15,000 people lined Main Street, U.S.A. … spilling out of the turnstiles and filling the Esplanade and a good portion of the Downtown Disney District.

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This is the 13th year that Disneyland Resort has hosted the annual CHOC Walk in the Park, and it keeps getting better. The route through both parks and the Downtown Disney District was peppered with character encounters, music and entertainment, all of which encouraged the boundless energy of the families and volunteers. It is very clear just how much CHOC Children’s means to our community.

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I’m so proud of the work that CHOC Children’s has done over the past 50 years. I’m equally proud that the Disneyland Resort supported CHOC Children’s even before the hospital opened. Walt Disney was more than just the creator of Disneyland. He was instrumental in the founding of CHOC Children’s, leaving a legacy of compassion and a tradition of community support that still exists today.

I want to give a special thanks to my fellow cast members who came out by the hundreds to walk for this wonderful cause, as well as those who supported CHOC Children’s in other ways. I also want to recognize a fast-growing team of walkers made up of Disneyland Resort annual passholders. In just a few years, they have become the largest team of walkers in the entire event, raising more than $90,000 this year.

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Finally, as a board member of CHOC Hospital, I want to thank all of you who took part in this year’s event. Because of your generosity, CHOC Children’s was able to raise more than $2 million this year. If you weren’t able to join us, you can still show your support for CHOC Children’s by going to www.chocwalk.org to make a donation.

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Water Tower History Stands Tall at House of Blues at Downtown Disney

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Like many of you, I’ve walked by the signature House of Blues Water Tower countless times. It’s a landmark, an icon and a work of art, all rolled into one. But have you ever thought about where it came from? Or how it ended up at Downtown Disney West Side? I did. So recently, I set out to find answers.

A few friends from House of Blues who all share a passion for their company’s history – Jennifer Hinckle, Maggie Sumner and Charles Spellman – were happy to enlighten me. The story was too good not to share …

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It all started with Issac Tigrett, one of the eccentric co-founders of House of Blues. An avid fan of rail travel, Tigrett would tour the country in his lavish, expertly curated train car. He was known for his keen eye and unique style; his journeys often led to the purchase of one-of-a kind art and unique memorabilia. During one trip out west in the late 90’s, he spotted the water tower and realized he had to have it for his next-to-open House of Blues venue. At the very next town, he disembarked the train, hired a car, and went back to seek out the owner of the water tower. Tigrett knew it would make the perfect welcome statement for the Downtown Disney West Side location, set to open in 1997. And he was right. Originally three sections tall, only two were approved for the property. Blade signs, light cans and artistic flames were added, giving the structure its current-day look.

Though Tigrett is no longer with the company, his influence is everywhere; perhaps most prominently in the House of Blues courtyard where recent enhancements include the quick-service Smokehouse, expanded seating, and evolving live entertainment. Though the patio has changed, the Water Tower is constant – an appropriate reminder that (at House of Blues, at least) good art, no matter the form, can withstand the test of time.

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VIDEO: Beautiful Visit to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recently asked my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Darcy Clark to join me during a visit to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. As you may recall from previous stories, I’m in love with this retail location that serves as a testing space for new products, shop concepts and guest experiences. This time, Darcy and I visited the Beautifully Disney boutique to check out the latest collection featuring The Haunted Mansion. I guess it’s a good thing Darcy and I have been friends for years as you will see in this short video below.

As mentioned in the video, the Beautifully Disney boutique has a small staff of trained beauty advisors who provide complimentary tips and tricks for applying the cosmetics. I was quite impressed with Laura’s expertise as I watched Darcy and her from the sidelines during the shoot.

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If you are unable to visit the Marketplace Co-Op, you can find select items from Beautifully Disney and other boutiques on our Disney Parks online store by visiting http://www.DisneyStore.com/MarketplaceCoOp.

For more about the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, visit the posts below:

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Pumpkin Mania at Disneyland Resort

posted on October 10th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


‘Tis the season – for pumpkin, that is. The ubiquitous gourd takes center stage at Disneyland Resort this time of year, flavoring everything from coffee to soups, and yes, even old-school pumpkin pie.

Disneyland Resort Bakery gets in on the fun with pumpkin beignets, pumpkins twists, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cream cheese muffins sold throughout the parks and hotels. We got hooked on this pumpkin cheesecake that you’ll find at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and French Market in Disneyland park and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The graham cracker crust with a pinch of ginger, classic cheesecake filling and a drizzle of chocolate on top create a trifecta of yum.

Beyond the bakery, there’s pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, and Boudin Bakery’s pumpkin-shaped sourdough at Pacific Wharf Café, the Pacific Wharf bread cart and Mortimer’s Market, all at Disney California Adventure park.

And if you’re in search of that good ol’ pumpkin pie, you’ll find it at Plaza Inn, Carnation Cafe, Village Haus Restaurant, River Belle Terrace and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, and at Flo’s V-8 Café and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 9-inch cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup butter-melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • Chocolate syrup, for drizzling

For crust:

  1. In a bowl combine the crushed graham cracker, sugar and ginger. Melt the butter and stir into mixture.
  2. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan using your hands.
  3. Place pan on a large piece of foil and wrap foil tightly up sides and around pan.

For cheesecake filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. Whisk together pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well combined. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add evaporated milk, mixing well.
  5. Slowly pour cheesecake filling onto crust mixture in prepared pan. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  6. Place foil-wrapped pan inside a larger roasting pan. Place oven rack and carefully add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of springform pan.
  7. Bake 1 hour, or until center moves only slightly when shaken.
  8. Turn oven off. Crack open oven door, and allow cheesecake to cool inside oven 1 hour.
  9. Remove pan from water bath and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover top of pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Cook’s Notes: Wrapping foil around springform pan prevents water from the water bath from getting into the cheesecake. The slow cooling inside the oven prevents cheesecake top from cracking.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Hotels & Resorts

Guests Have a Blast at ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ Meet-Up at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Our latest Disney Parks Blog meet-up, an advanced screening of Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” took place over the weekend, and boy did our fans enjoy this one.

Guests Have a Blast at ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ Meet-Up at Walt Disney World Resort

The film tells the tale of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible, horrible day of his young life. He soon learns that he’s not alone, when his family members all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In addition to a screening of the film, guests at this Disney Parks Blog meet-up were the first to test out our very special Disney Parks Blog photo opp. Learn more about it and see the behind-the-scenes video here.

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Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort Offers Shivery Tricks and Spooky Treats For Halloween Time

posted on October 8th, 2014 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


What’s your favorite scary experience for the Halloween season? The shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort are providing plenty of Halloween Time atmosphere for the season.

Build-A-Bear Workshop is offering a grizzly change of pace: you can build a werewolf; House of Blues will host a Halloween costume contest on October 31; and seasonal treats are available at Starbucks, La Brea Bakery, Haagen-Dazs, Jamba Juice, Marceline’s Confectionery and other locations throughout the Downtown Disney District.

Special Halloween artwork may be found at WonderGround Gallery and Kaman’s Art Shoppe. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen offers both a Haunted Gingerbread House Building Workshop (October 25 and 26) and “The Password is Murder” interactive murder mystery show including champagne reception and four-course dinner (October 22). We’ll share more information about these and more over the next few weeks.

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Would-be trick-or-treaters, ages 3-15, in search of a “Frozen”-themed makeover for the holiday will find what they’re looking for at the newly opened Anna & Elsa’s Boutique. And watch for some ghostly décor to appear around the portal entry and common areas of the Downtown Disney District as Halloween approaches!

If you have a taste for classic spooky movies, AMC Downtown Disney 12 has a special Thursday night series for you.

  • October 9 features two vintage classics: “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi at 7 p.m. and “The Wolf Man” with Lon Chaney Jr. at 9 p.m. For those who can’t get enough of the world’s most famous vampire, “Dracula Untold” is opening in IMAX at AMC Downtown Disney 12 that same night!
  • October 16 offers somewhat lighter fare: “Casper” with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman at 7 p.m.
  • October 23 turns the spotlight on Boris Karloff, starring in the original “Frankenstein” and “The Mummy” chillers.

AMC Downtown Disney 12 also will present a special, limited time return engagement of Disney’s “Maleficent,” starring Angelina Jolie, Friday, Oct. 24, through Thursday, Oct. 30. Experience this wickedly fun twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale as Disney’s most iconic villain is brought to life like never before. Audience members may receive special gifts, including Maleficent horns, while supplies last, during the run. “Maleficent” is new on Blu-ray & Digital HD November 4 and on DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com. Also watch for screenings of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Friday and Saturday of Halloween weekend, October 31 and November 1.

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Raise Funds and Spirits for CHOC Children’s During 24th Annual CHOC Walk at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 7th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Nothing makes me more proud to be a Disneyland Resort cast member than seeing the positive impact we make in the community, which is why I am excited to invite you to support this year’s CHOC Walk!

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Bright and early on October 12, nearly 15,000 “CHOC Walkers” from throughout the world, including children, family, friends, nurses and doctors who have been impacted by Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), will line Main Street, U.S.A., for the start of the 2014 CHOC “Walk in the Park,” presented by Disneyland Resort. The 5K pediatric walk will take walkers through Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and Downtown Disney District – before opening to the public. Last year, the event raised $2.1 million, and since its inception in 1990, has raised more than $22 million.

The Walt Disney Company has a long history of supporting CHOC Children’s, beginning in the early 1960s when Walt Disney helped advocate for a children’s hospital in Orange County, Calif. This relationship has continued to grow, including a $5 million donation from the Disneyland Resort in 2012. As part of that gift, Walt Disney Imagineering brought the world of “Finding Nemo” to life in the CHOC Children’s second-floor lobby with an experience that includes the interactive “Turtle Talk with Crush” show – just like the one in Disney California Adventure park – a mural and 180-foot-wide mobile!

Even if you can’t attend the event in person, you may register as a “Sleeping Bear” and donate through October 31. To register to walk, visit www.chocwalk.org. Registration closes at 3 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

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Anna & Elsa’s Boutique Opens in Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 6th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Looking for a new place to chill out? Check out the newly transformed Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, now open in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort.

There has been a slight change to the age limit; I’m excited to announce that guests ages 3–15 can show their Disney Side with transformations inspired by some of your favorite “Frozen” characters. Our Crystalizers (stylists) will help you look your Arendelle best, from hair and makeup to wardrobe options that will generate plenty of warm hugs! Click here for a few details on what each package has to offer as well as a few things to know before you go.

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Are you already cool enough? Anna & Elsa’s Boutique will also offer an array of “Frozen”-inspired merchandise worth melting for, including apparel, toys, dolls and more.

So remain icy calm, “Frozen” fans, and visit today!

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Sign Up for Our Disney’s ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ Meet-Up at Downtown Disney

posted on October 1st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. Please CLICK HERE to view a list of the accepted event attendees. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email by 5 p.m. EST today, please contact us at WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.

We’re kicking off October for Disney Parks Blog readers with the opportunity to be part of a special preview screening of “Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” at AMC Downtown Disney 24 at the Walt Disney World Resort before the film opens in U.S. theaters on October 10, 2014.

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Our Disney Parks Blog meet-up begins at 1 p.m. EST (doors open at noon) on Saturday, October 4, 2014. At the event you’ll see the film, Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” which follows 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life. Alexander soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Here’s a sneak peek:

RSVP for the meet-up now by sending us an email with your name, address and if you’ll be bringing a guest to WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com. Only one guest is permitted. A limited number of attendees will be selected for the event, so be one of the first to sign up.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All attendees who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • We will send an email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in across from AMC Downtown Disney 24 for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
    The event is subject to change or cancellation.

This post will be updated after capacity has been reached.

Also, here are some other things to know:

  • This is an advance screening of the film. Closed Captioning and Descriptive Video services may not be available.
  • Please arrive early. No one will be admitted late. We may refuse, revoke or limit admission in our sole discretion at any time.
  • NO RECORDING

The screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any video or audio recording devices (including, without limitation, cameras) into the venue and you consent to a physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device during this screening, you consent to your immediate removal from the venue and forfeiture of your recording device and its contents. Any attempted unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. We reserve the right to pursue any and all available remedies at law and in equity for any unauthorized recording and/or copyright infringement, including without limitation statutory damages of up to $150,000 per violation, and nothing contained in this notice shall be construed to limit our available remedies and/or legal recourse. You assume all risks of personal injury arising from or incidental to attending the screening, whether occurring prior to, during, or after the event. Further, by attending you grant permission to Disney Destinations, LLC, its licensees, licensors, affiliates and agents, to record and utilize your name, voice and likeness to publicize the screening and promote the movie.

Hope to see you there.

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‘Fall’ in Love with Pumpkin-Inspired Delights at Downtown Disney

posted on September 30th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Living in Florida, fall is my favorite time of year. Temperatures start to dip, the humidity (sort of) takes a break and autumn is in the air. Fall has already arrived here at Downtown Disney – and I know this because I’m surrounded by pumpkin-tinged treats. See a few of my top picks below:

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  • Pumpkin Spice Caramel Squares from Ghirardelli – you can only find these bites of amazingness in September and October, so stock up while you can. My fellow Disney Parks Blog author Jennifer Fickley-Baker introduced me to these mouth-watering morsels and I love/hate her for it!
  • Pumpkin Shampoo and Conditioner Bars from Basin – with potassium, alpha-carotene, zinc, beta-carotene and lutein, they make your hair strong, soft and silky – a perfect complement to any Halloween costume you may be considering. (Rumor has it Basin also has a “Pumpkin Patch” soap, too. So fun.)
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks – this caffeinated favorite needs no explanation; my motto: once you’ve taken your first sip of the season, cute boots, bulky sweaters and festive scarves are fair game, no matter what the thermometer reads.
  • Sweet Treats from Goofy’s Candy Company and Candy Cauldron – luckily, we’ve got eight weeks to sample the latest concoctions from my go-to candy shops. First up? Pumpkin fudge. (Review: Amazing.)

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Keep up with the latest seasonal offerings from Downtown Disney via our Twitter handle, @WDWDowntown. In the meantime, tell me which pumpkin product you can’t wait to try in the comments below.

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Happy fall, y’all! (I’m originally from Georgia, so I can say that.)

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