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GRAMMY-Nominated for a Sixth Time, Mariachi Divas Will Perform Free on Thursday in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 4th, 2015 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


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For the many fans who see them perform regularly in Disney California Adventure park or at Tortilla Jo’s in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort, the Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea need no introduction. And it probably won’t surprise their fans to learn that the two-time GRAMMY award-winners have been nominated for a sixth time in the Best Regional Mexican Album (including Tejano) category.

To celebrate, and in recognition of their loyal followers, the Mariachi Divas will celebrate their nomination with a free concert at noon on Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Downtown Disney District.

The Divas, founded in 1999, are nominated this year for their album “15 Aniversario.” In 2014, they became the first mariachi group in history to receive a second GRAMMY, for their album “A Mi Manera.” Their first GRAMMY, for the 2009 album “Canciones De Amor,” marked the first time in history that an all-female mariachi group had been a nominee and a winner.

The 57th GRAMMY awards ceremony will take place this Sunday, Feb. 8.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Top 5 Ways to Spend a Day at the Downtown Disney Area

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


My non-Disney cast member friends think of me as their ‘insider’ expert on all things related to the four Disney Parks. Lately, with more changes coming to Downtown Disney during our largest-ever expansion, I’m getting plenty of questions about this property, too! Invariably, they want to know my top “can’t-miss” recommendations – the things they just have to make time for during their vacation. I’ve shared this list plenty of times with my loved ones, and today, I’m happy to pass it on to all of you.

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First things first, my ‘Top 5 at Downtown Disney” changes dramatically depending on who I’m talking to. Coming with kids? I’ve got you covered. Enjoying an adults-only escape? I’m on it!

Downtown Disney for Family-Friendly Fun:

  1. Shopping at Once Upon a Toy and The LEGO Store: Think kids and shopping don’t go hand in hand? At these two stores, they’re a perfect match. Once Upon a Toy houses the largest collection of Disney games and toys at Walt Disney World Resort. And at The LEGO Store, little ones can build to their imagination’s content in the (free) outdoor play area.
  2. The Marketplace Train and Marketplace Carousel: Don’t want to buy an extra ticket for yourself? Here’s a tip: parents ride free with little ones under 42 inches tall. This was my niece’s favorite part of her recent Walt Disney World Resort vacation. (Sorry, Mickey.)
  3. Ice Cream at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop: It’s ice cream; no explanation needed. Be sure to have the camera ready for those adorable hot fudge drips.
  4. Pin Trading: From the Marketplace to the West Side, look for cast members wearing pin-trading lanyards. Kids feel confident when their trade is accepted (and guess what? It always is!).
  5. Nightly DJ Dance Party at Waterside Stage: Admit it, your kid has moves. You might, too. This every-evening event is the perfect stage to let loose.

Adult Advice for the Downtown Disney Area:

  1. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: If you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable spectacle, this tops my list. Just be prepared … you’ll want to buy the soundtrack to take home with you.
  2. Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Here’s a secret: there’s more to Splitsville than bowling. This venue has become one of my “go-tos” when entertaining out-of-town guests. The food is impressive, the drinks are plentiful and the live entertainment rocks. And yes, if you want bowling or billiards, you can find that, too.
  3. Live Music at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant: I’ve actually been to Ireland and if you close your eyes while listening to the Raglan Road bands, you’ll think you’re there. Grab a Guinness on the patio or snag a table by the indoor stage for dinner – either way, this will become one of those “it-was-way-more-fun-than-I-ever-imagined” vacation highlights that you’ll want to repeat during every future trip.
  4. Dinner at Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas: I’ve been known to crave the Central American Crazy Corn and I’m not alone. Other standouts include the Mexican Dipping Trio and Argentinean Skirt Steak. Thirsty? The P37 Swirl – a lively mix of Sangria and Margarita – is frozen fun in a fancy glass.
  5. Shopping at Marketplace Co-Op: I’m somewhat obsessed with Cherry Tree Lane and the ever-changing array of accessories there, but even if bags and baubles aren’t your thing, you’re bound to be impressed by one of the other five unique boutiques housed in this location. For me, the best finds are the ones you can’t get anywhere else on-property, and there are plenty of those here!

This shouldn’t surprise you, but it was really tough to narrow my choices down to the “Top 5” in each category. There’s plenty more I wanted to mention, including many of your favorite Downtown Disney destinations, I’m sure. So … tell me, what did I miss – I’d love to know in the comments below!

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PANDORA Jewelry and Other Gift Ideas from Disney Parks for Valentine’s Day 2015

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


With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, I wanted to offer a few gift ideas from Disney Parks.

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PANDORA Jewelry - Last fall, we introduced charms inspired by some of Disney’s most beloved characters as part of the Disney Parks Collection | PANDORA. As part of its first assortment, we introduced 25 charms, with an additional 16 styles, including a Disney Parks bracelet, found only at Disney Parks. The best places to find these jewelry items are at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park. Stay tuned in the coming weeks, as I’ll give you a first look at some new charms arriving for spring.

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Apparel - Mickey and Minnie Mouse celebrate the season of love with four new shirts created especially for Disney Parks. I found these items at TrenD located in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida.

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D-Tech on Demand - Guests can create custom phone cases with new Mickey and Minnie Mouse artwork at D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op. We offer cases for the following phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

MagicBand-its – Add some love to your MagicBand with Mickey Mouse heart-shaped MagicBand-its. These small accessories can attach to the side of any MagicBand.

Vinylmation – The Vinylmation Eachez for Valentine’s Day this year has an edition size of 2,500. The Mickey Mouse figure is the more common figure while Minnie Mouse is rarer to find.

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Be My Villaintine – The pin team is releasing the “Be My Villaintine” mystery set on February 12. This 13-pin collection has 10 known pins and three mystery chaser pins. Each box contains one randomly selected pin. Guests may also find a limited edition pin featuring Anna and Kristoff from Disney’s “Frozen.”

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Duffy the Disney Bear and Disney Tsum Tsum – Duffy the Disney Bear is dressed in his Valentine’s Day best this year in a new 9-inch plush. I liked the idea of giving your significant other a Disney Tsum Tsum of the Little Green Men (you have been “chosen” to be my Valentine.) Finally, I love this ceramic Orange Bird figure which can now be found in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World.

There are some additional gift ideas that can be found on our Disney Parks online store.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – February 2015

posted on January 30th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


This February, fall in love with some of the latest releases debuting at Walt Disney World Resort!

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February 5 – 23: Meet representatives from Precious Moments Dolls at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of the Valentine’s themed collection. Or make a special stop February 20 – 22 and meet creator and designer Linda Rick. Learn more.

February 9 – 15: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop by and see what’s ‘in store’ for you! Learn more.

February 12 – 16: Meet renowned international artist Larry Dotson this month at The Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace and add a new piece to your collection. Learn more.

February 13: Drop in if you dare, as we celebrate Friday, the 13th with a special artist showcase featuring Brian Blackmore, Tyler Dumas, Quynh Kimball and Richard Terpstra from 4 – 6 p.m. at Tower Hotel Gifts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as we celebrate the release of some of their new pieces in the Hollywood Tower Hotel authentic collection. Keep an eye out, Steven Miller will be sharing more details on this new collection on the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks. Learn more.

February 19 – 22: Beloved artist David E. Doss will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace February 19 – 22 and again February 26 – March 1. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

Which artist are you most excited to see?

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

New Merchandise Kiosks Set the Bar High at Downtown Disney

posted on January 27th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Unlike most people, I’m at Downtown Disney five days a week. I get to see the property transform before my very eyes on a pretty regular basis, and I can honestly say that one of my favorite signs of progress is the opening of new venues.

With gifts galore and barware to please every beverage connoisseur, two new kiosks at Downtown Disney have put a big smile on my face; and I’m not the only one … they’ve been hugely popular with guests since their opening late last fall. Aptly named “Sublime” and “Set the Bar,” both venues are located at the recently remodeled Riverboat Square, between Fulton’s Crab House and Portobello.

Find a Unique Gift and More at Sublime

Need to find a unique card with just-the-right sentiment? Or gift a candle that will remind your recipient of you every time she lights it? Searching for a magnet that will make you chuckle? Or a book that’s sure to inspire? Find this and more at “Sublime.” In just a few short months, it’s already become one of my “go-to” stores when I need to find something fun and fanciful.

And while there are also gifts aplenty at “Set the Bar,” I think I’ll opt to keep most of what I buy there for myself, thank you very much. From bottle openers to flasks, shot glasses to copper mugs, this is a perfect perch to find the latest “must-haves” to transform your Saturday-night at-home-cocktail-hour into a truly sensational soiree. (Feel free to add me to your guest list!)

Have you had the pleasure of purchasing at these new retailers yet? If so, let me know which products you loved most … I’m almost due for another shopping spree and I could use a few ideas!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

February 2015 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


If you are planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort this February, here are a few quick tips on some of the merchandise events you don’t want to miss!

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February 6–8: Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand from noon to 10 p.m. each day, at China Closet in Disneyland park, as we celebrate the release of her Valentine’s collection, among other fan favorites! Learn more here.

February 7–8: Join us as we welcome Nidhi Chanani from 1–4 p.m. each day at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Look for additional appearances by Nidhi, February 28 and March 1. Learn more here.

February 14: Join us for a special artist showcase as we celebrate the release of some of the newest pieces by artists Nidhi Chanani, Liana Hee, Jerrod Maruyama and Miss Mindy. Meet the artists from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Learn more here.

February 14-15: Meet ACME Archives artist Guy Vasilovich who will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his latest pieces from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., each day, at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure park. Learn more here.

February 28: World renowned Mouseketeer, entertainer and author, Bobby Burgess, will be on hand for a special appearance from 9-11 a.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland park, as we celebrate the recent release of Ears & Bubbles: Dancing My Way from The Mickey Mouse Club to The Lawrence Welk Show. Learn more here.

Artist in Residence: Appearing at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District throughout the month is artist Liana Hee. Look for artist showcases on the following dates: February 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 from 6-10 p.m. Learn more here.

Which events have made your list of things to do?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Best Places to Find Disney Tsum Tsum at Disney Parks

posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Last summer, my son (and the rest of the world) discovered Disney Tsum Tsum. I recall we were on vacation in Ohio when he asked to download the fun puzzle matching and stacking game. Upon returning to Florida, he found the adorable stacking plush offered both at Disney Stores and in select locations at Disney Parks. Our friends at Oh My Disney even celebrated their arrival with a visit to Disneyland park (as seen in this article). I recently asked Victoria Hamilton, merchandiser for dolls and plush at Disney Theme Park Merchandise, about the best places to find Tsum Tsum when visiting Disney Parks.

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“There are currently two different locations that offer Tsum Tsum,” explained Victoria. “Guests in California should stop by the plush room inside World of Disney at Downtown Disney District. For guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort, they should visit Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace. These two locations carry an assortment of four-inch plush and a handful of the larger sized plush.”

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She also told me that they will continue carrying select Tsum Tsum after they are released at Disney Stores. For example, guests will find the “101 Dalmatians” mini Tsum Tsum plush collection in early February at Disney Parks. This collection was first released at Disney Stores and online in early January.

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In related news, the Disney Pin Team will release a collectible pin pack featuring Tsum Tsum later this year. Each pack will contain five randomly selected pins. I grabbed a handful of pins to photograph for this story including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!

In addition to the two different locations at Disney Parks, you can find select Tsum Tsum products online at http://www.DisneyStore.com/TsumTsum.

Happy stacking!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Walt Disney World Resort

Splitsville Hits a High Note with New Saturday Night Bands at Downtown Disney West Side

posted on January 20th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


In early November, Splitsville Luxury Lanes quietly introduced a new offering inside their venue – live bands on Saturday nights. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I only recently had the chance to experience it for myself. Three months after the first band took the stage, I can attest that “quiet” isn’t an adjective I’d use to describe it—it’s loud, bright and totally fun!

On the night I visited, The Jimmy James Band covered everything from The Beatles to Taylor Swift. Taking requests and encouraging guests to sing along and get out on the dance floor, the high-energy enthusiasm in the air was contagious. My party of four was perfectly positioned to catch every shake of the tambourine, and when the bass guitarist came on the floor to rock with the crowd, I was just inches away!

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Of course, we bowled, too. And had dinner. And drinks. With three sushi lovers and a full-throttle carnivore, our table was covered with edamame, a variety of rolls, and the Bacon Cheeseburger. Oh, and let us not forget a few Frozen Schooners – I really do think Splitsville serves the coldest beer in town! The only downside? The food was so good that everyone missed my strike.

With a new year here, Splitsville is rolling into 2015 with even more enhancements. Their menu now includes Crispy Wings, a Sushi Tuna Rice Bowl, a Foghorn Burger, Steak Alfredo and a California Crunch Roll. New drinks include a Cinnamon Toast Colada (I’m so regretting not trying that one during my last visit!) and Sangrita (Margarita meets Red Sangria). They recently expanded their first floor Bullet Bar, too, so there’s more space than ever to catch your game, people watch, or – my new favorite – enjoy live music on Saturday nights!

Want to check out the bands during your next West Side visit? The Jimmy James Band, Blonde Ambition or another guest group will perform 9 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. every Saturday night. There’s no cover charge and there are plenty of tables, bar seats and lanes on the first floor with great views of the stage and dance floor. To guarantee a spot and reserve a lane, contact kingpin@splitsvillelanes.com or call 407-938-PINS; for dinner only, you can book online here.

Now, more than ever, Splitsville really is my favorite Downtown Disney West Side spot to “Roll In & Rock Out!” Would you agree?

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Orange County Restaurant Week, March 1-7, Features Disneyland Resort Favorites

posted on January 16th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Back for the seventh year is Orange County’s annual OC Restaurant week, March 1-7. With more than 100 restaurants participating, it’s is a fun way to try new dining experiences with discounted prix fixe menus.

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Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel is back for its third year, now under the helm of Chef Marcel St. Pierre. Take a look at the delectable menu – three courses for $50, and an optional wine pairing.

Along with Steakhouse 55, Downtown Disney District participants include Naples Ristorante, Tortilla Jo’s, Catal Restaurant and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. For reservations, call (714) 781-3463.

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ORANGE COUNTY RESTAURANT WEEK 2015

Starter Course
Choose One
HEARTS OF ROMAINE
Castelvetrano Olive /Bacon Lardons / Caesar Dressing
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CHILLED TIGER PRAWNS
Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce / Shallot Mignonette / Lemon Gelée
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CREAMY ONION SOUP
Grilled Onions / California Muenster Cheese Focaccia

Entrée Course
Choose One
GRILLED PETITE FILET MIGNON
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PAN-ROASTED DOUBLE BREAST OF CHICKEN
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SLOW-ROASTED PRIME RIB
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FAVA BEAN & RYE CRUSTED KING SALMON

All Entrées Served with Sautéed French Green Beans and Delmonico Potatoes

Dessert Course
Choose One
VANILLA BEAN CRÈME BRULEE
Pear Marmalade / Candied Bacon Madeline / Cranberry Compote
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CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE
Chocolate Sponge Cake / Milk & Dark Chocolate / Nutella

Vegetarian options are available upon request

Menu Price $50.00
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Additional Wine Pairing $35.00

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

‘Food Truck Takeover’ Jan. 16-18 by New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

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


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What a fun way to get a taste of the new Trattoria al Forno menu – the first-ever “food truck takeover” January 16-18 at Exposition Park at Downtown Disney.

Beef and Spinach Meatball in a Sourdough Bread Bowl from Trattoria al Forno at Disney's BoardWalk Lasagna from Trattoria al Forno at Disney's BoardWalk Tiramisu from Trattoria al Forno at Disney's BoardWalk

Superstar Catering food truck, which usually features tastes of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, will be the makeshift kitchen for the Trattoria chefs to serve three of the restaurant’s most popular dishes: an oversized beef and spinach meatball in a sourdough bread bowl (inspired by the restaurant’s Polpetta Gigante) with housemade “Sunday gravy” ($12.25); lasagna ($10.75), and tiramisu ($6).

They’ll also be pouring a bright, well-rounded Sogno d’Italia Chianti from Tuscany, representing the restaurant’s all-Italian wine list and a perfect pairing for the lasagna and meatball.

Exposition Park hours are noon-11 p.m., weather permitting. And look for more Disney restaurants to showcase menu favorites with upcoming takeovers!

If a taste at Exposition Park leaves you wanting more, Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s BoardWalk is open 7:30-11 a.m. for breakfast, 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and accepts the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations, visit www.disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Downtown Disney, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort