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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot: May 2015

posted on April 29th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


See what’s happening in the world of Merchandise Special Events this May at Walt Disney World Resort!

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April 29 – May 3: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings April 29 – May 3 from 1 – 9 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot and May 18 – 23 and 27 – 31, from 1 – 9 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

April 30 – May 3: Meet artist Larry Dotson, April 30 – May 3 (throughout the day) at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for additional appearances by Larry, May 14 – 17 at Art of Disney, Epcot. Learn more.

May 1-2: Need a gift for Mother’s Day? Stop by Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace where you can find some of the latest releases from PANDORA and just the gift you’ve been looking for. Learn more.

May 1 – 11: Representatives from Precious Moments dolls will be on hand for the debut of the Precious Moments Mother’s Day Collection. Meet the representatives and see the dolls throughout the day, each day, at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Artist Appearance Tip: Look for a special appearance by designer and artist Linda Rick, May 8 – 10. Learn more.

May 8 – 9: Disney Fine Art artist, Michelle St. Laurent, will be on hand for a special appearance from 3 – 9 p.m., each day at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

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May 8 – 9: Join us as we welcome artist Liana Hee to WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 4 -7 p.m. each day. Learn more.

May 8 – 16: Stop in and find some of the latest releases by artist David E. Doss from 1 – 9 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

May 14: We are summoning the most loyal in the galaxy to gather at the Galactic Gathering Event on May 14, 2015 between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A limited number of tickets to this special merchandise event are still available. Learn more.

May 15 – June 14: Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Fridays – Sundays for Star Wars Weekends. Darth’s Mall is expanding to a three-location complex and is your one-stop galactic destination for commemorative merchandise. Tip: Take part in special artist appearances and signings each weekend. Learn more.

Are you curious what else we have up our sleeve? Here are a few other events to keep in mind.

June 20: A new hand-painted limited edition Ink & Paint cel, titled Ariel and Friends, will make a splash at the Animation Gallery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Look for appearances by the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 5 p.m. on the day of release. Not able to make it? A special pre-purchase opportunity will be available May 4 through June 18, 2015. Learn more.

September 11 – 12: Wanna trade? Tickets to this year’s GenEARation D event are available now and are in limited supply. Don’t miss out! Find out all the details and get a sneak peek inside the merchandise catalog for the event. Learn more.

Which event are you most excited for?

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

PHOTOS: Dockside Margaritas Opens Today at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Last week, we shared that Dockside Margaritas would be opening soon at Downtown Disney. Today is opening day, and we’re sharing the first photos of the cool, laid-back new location. Sit back and enjoy the relaxing things in life — Florida style — while you take a look through the gallery below.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Princess Perfection at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 21st, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Two years ago when I was new to the Downtown Disney team, my family visited with my then 2-year old niece. One of my first Disney Parks Blog stories was “Big Fun For Little Ones at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort.” Twenty-four months and two more kids later (my sister now has a 6 month old and an 18 month old, too!), I’ve seen hundreds of little princesses come out of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but recently, it was finally MY little princess — my now four-year-old niece, Harper.

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As excited as Harper was about picking out her dress (she went with Princess Anna), she was equally as nervous about having someone brush her curly hair. For a minute, I thought we might have to cancel our appointment, and then we met her Fairy Godmother-in-training, Lydia. She was amazing! Before Harper got into the makeover chair, Lydia did a practice run to show Harper how gently she would brush her curly locks. To Harper’s surprise, it didn’t tug at all.

During her princess transformation, Harper got to pick out her hairstyle (I was thrilled that she went with the ever-classy “Fairytale Princess” option), choose her nail polish color, and select her make-up shades. The finishing touches were a shimmering princess jewel for her face, a rhinestone crown for her head, and a pink Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique sash to complete the look. When it was all over, she was invited to sign the “Princess Autograph Book” – she left her signature “H,” taking up a full page.

Later that afternoon, when I asked Harper what her favorite part of the day was, she said “being with my Fairy Godmother. I hope she will always be my Fairy Godmother.” I also caught Harper looking at herself in the full length-mirror, doing a twirl, and whispering to herself “today is my princess day” when she thought no one was looking. (This is a true story. And it was as adorable as it sounds.) Finally, on our car ride home, after a full day in the parks, she told me that when she grows up she wants to be a Fairy Godmother, too.

Harper left Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with a princess backback filled with her remaining make-up and polish, which came in handy, because she wore her Princess Anna dress three days in a row! More importantly, she left with memories that will last for years to come and pictures that will always make me smile.

Have you taken your princess to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? What was your experience like? Please share in the comments below – I hope it was just as magical as ours was!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: The BOATHOUSE Docks at Downtown Disney

posted on April 18th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The BOATHOUSE, the newest eatery to open at Downtown Disney here at the Walt Disney World Resort, officially opened its doors on Monday.

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The restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind waterfront dining experience that includes a menu of steaks, chops, fresh seafood and much more. The BOATHOUSE also showcases a must-see display of rare watercrafts from the 1930s – 1950s, plus a special fleet of 1960s Amphicars. (Check out Darcy’s original blog post to learn how you can take a ride in one of these beauties).

The BOATHOUSE is so unique and visually compelling that we had to share more images with you. Be sure to check out the gallery below.

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Dockside Margaritas Opening Soon at Downtown Disney Marketplace

posted on April 16th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Dockside Margaritas is set to open later this month at Downtown Disney Marketplace. This waterfront margarita bar is the perfect place for enjoying the relaxing things in life – Florida style. Everything about Dockside Margaritas projects a fun, laid-back vibe—from the theming which is reminiscent of a Florida fruit stand from the 1960s with cool, tropical colors and eclectic, modern furniture to the handcrafted margaritas and authentic Floridian brews.

Waterfront entertainment will return, with live performers from 2:30-10:30 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 12:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. With live entertainment daily, beautiful views of the waterfront at Buena Vista cove and ample seating, Dockside Margaritas is sure to be a popular destination to relax with friends and family.

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Refreshing, handcrafted margaritas and cocktails include:

  • Patrón Añejo Margarita – Patrón Barrel Select Añejo Tequila, Grand Marnier, Sweet-and-Sour and fresh Lime Juice
  • Habanero Lime Margarita – Patrón Silver Tequila, Habanero Lime, fresh Lime Juice and Florida Sugar Cane Simple Syrup
  • Sunset Margarita – Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, fresh Lime Juice, Sweet-and-Sour and Orange Juice
  • Orange Grove Rum Runner – Siesta Key Spiced Rum, Blackberry Brandy, Crème de Banana, and Florida Citrus Juices with a float of Gosling’s 151 Rum
  • Sugar Cane Mojito – Siesta Key Silver Rum, Florida Sugar Cane Simple Syrup, fresh Lime Juice and Mint
  • Strawberry Margarita – Herradura Reposado Tequila and fresh Lime Juice blended with Strawberry Purée
  • Florida Citrus Freeze – Florida Cane ‘Orlando Orange’ Vodka and Peach Schnapps blended with Orange Purée

Look for craft beers from Florida breweries, like Orange Blossom Pilsner, Bold City Duke’s Brown Ale and Cigar City Jai Alai IPA. Tropical Florida wine in refreshing flavors like Mango Mamma and Key Limen will also be available.

Dockside Margaritas is set to open April 23 at Downtown Disney Marketplace–just in time to kick back and enjoy Florida summer.

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Last Chance to Enter the ‘My Magical First Sweepstakes’ from Disney Junior

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


We’re all about celebrating a childhood “firsts” here at the Walt Disney World Resort – the first time you meet Mickey Mouse, your first haircut at the barber shop on Main Street, U.S.A., the first time you’re tall enough to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway by yourself.

My most memorable “first” was my first character breakfast. It was on the Empress Lily, now Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney.

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Our colleagues at Disney Junior want to celebrate those firsts with you in the My Magical First Sweepstakes. You can now enter for a chance to win a 5-day, 4-night vacation for four to Walt Disney World Resort from Disney Junior at Disney.com/MyMagicalFirst.

Imagine your little one’s first Walt Disney World vacation including:

It will be a magical time that you will remember forever. Trust me.

Check out Disney.com/MyMagicalFirst for all the information including how to enter and keep watching the Disney Parks Blog and the #DisneyKids for more fun for ideas for your little ones.

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

New Allergy-Friendly Menus at Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resorts

posted on April 14th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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On April 14, Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts will begin to introduce new allergy-friendly menus at approximately 120 quick-service and table-service locations. The menus provide more convenience and readily available options for guests with special dietary requests.

“Over the years, the number of guests with food allergies and intolerances has continued to grow. In 2013 alone, our cast members assisted with more than 650,000 special dietary requests. These new allergy menus are another way in which we can provide high-quality, safe and more accessible alternatives, and the best possible dining experience for guests with specific dietary needs,” says Gary Jones, chef and culinary dietary specialist for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

The new allergy-friendly menus provide allergen content for each menu item, making informed choices easier. Menu selection includes appetizers (where applicable), entrées, side items, desserts and kids’ meals, and focuses on the most common allergens: gluten/wheat, milk, peanut, tree nut and fish.

Guests are still able to consult directly with a restaurant chef or special diets trained cast member. We also encourage guests to continue to communicate special dietary needs to our restaurant cast members, as this allows our culinary team to take extra measures during preparation to prevent the introduction of the allergen.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the recipient of a FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Award for dedication to providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience for vacationing families and our chefs have been recognized for their commitment to food allergy awareness, education and management.

The new menus will be introduced in signature restaurants on April 14, then debut at other table-service and quick-service restaurants (including Walt Disney World water parks, Downtown Disney and resort hotels) through September 2015. For more information on special dietary requests, click here for Walt Disney World Resort and click here for Disneyland Resort.

Click here to check out a sample menu.

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

The BOATHOUSE Makes a Splash at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Over the past year, The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats has been hoisting up along the Downtown Disney skyline. The venue, open today, is the first of several new restaurants coming to The Landing, a new neighborhood that will be part of Disney Springs.

The BOATHOUSE is an upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600 seat nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s – 1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called Amphicars.

I had the chance to talk with Theron Skees, executive creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering to learn more about how The BOATHOUSE charted its course. Theron shared “It’s been such a team effort between WDI and the Schussler design team; to see Steve’s dream come to life is awesome. It’s been a true collaboration. Guests will experience rooms that represent different time periods in the history of the building, with a focus on a view of the water. Each design element: the height of the restaurant ceiling, the width of the deck, the transparency of the railing, it was all considered so guests would have maximum visibility to the water.”

I got to tour The BOATHOUSE recently, and if stunning water views and impeccable attention-to-detail were what they were aiming for, well, they nailed it!

Earlier today, Pam Brandon shared details on the menu, so now I’m giving you an early look at what else you can expect at this unique location:

Amphicar Rides – Is it a car? A boat? Yes. And yes! Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests. Along the way, you’ll have a great view of Downtown Disney, direct from the water. I tested the Ampihicars last week and had a blast; you literally drive into the lake with a splash – plus, I felt like a celebrity, waving to all the curious guests onshore! This is the only place in the world to ride in these vintage vehicles. Tours are available daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, and will be available soon.

The BOATHOUSE Is Set To Make a Splash at Downtown Disney In Florida

Italian Water Taxi Cruise – The Venezia, a breathtaking 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi also offers a Captain’s guided tour of Downtown Disney; this one is complete with live music, chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast. Tours will be offered hourly from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, starting soon, for individuals and groups of up to 20. The cost is $75 per person or $50 per child under age 13. (Want a more private tour for two? Ask about the Antique Steamboat Tour aboard Lady Rose; the cost is $150 per couple.)

“Floating Art” – I knew they were beautiful, but I had no idea I was looking at a multi-million dollar fleet of rare boats. Gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world, be sure to take some time to stroll the marina. Photos are not only allowed, but encouraged, so have your camera handy.

Interior Décor – Boat motors mounted on the wall. Trophies from regattas of days gone by. Stunning photography and artwork, some historical, some richly modern. It’s all incredible. But perhaps my favorite décor element is the brand-new boat that the team modified so it could include a dining table. (I’ll just say it now, everyone will want to sit there, me included!) Of course, the true visual hero, even from inside the restaurant, is the water. The good news is that every single table has a great view, so there’s no such thing as a bad seat.

Entertainment – Harbor Master festivities take place throughout the day and evening, with flag ceremonies and lively musical performances of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard Lady Rose. Inside, live entertainment takes center stage with a variety of musical styles – during my “sneak peek,” familiar songs were floating through the restaurant.

Check out the gallery below for a glimpse of what you can expect when you visit.

It’s hard to guess what guests will love most about The BOATHOUSE. What are you most excited for? Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to know!

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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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Charming Additions to the ALEX AND ANI Disney Collection

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Fans of ALEX AND ANI take note – there are quite a few styles headed to Disney Parks over the next couple of months. Start making your list … now!

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Up first are new additions to the Words Are Powerful collection, inspired by Disney sayings. These bangles will be available in Shiny Silver and Yellow Gold finishes. Whistle While You Work will debut April 13, followed by When You Wish Upon A Star on April 27, and then Believing Is Just The Beginning on May 4.

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Are you planning a trip during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration? In late May, look for a bangle featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle with two accent charms – an oval D60 and blue Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Rafaelian Silver finish. There’s also the Disneyland Forever bangle featuring a blue buffed epoxy charm with the words Disneyland Forever and two accent charms – an oval D60 and clear Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Shiny Silver finish. Please note: These two bangles will not be offered online at this time.

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What better way to wrap this up than with actual ‘wraps?’ Similar to the Dream wrap that was recently released, in late May we will debut a Wishes wrap in green, a Believe wrap in teal, and in June, a Magic wrap in red.

Where can you plan to find all of these ALEX AND ANI bangles, wraps and more?

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Tip: Limited quantities of the bangles and wraps shown above, except for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration pieces, will be available online on or around the same dates as they debut at Disneyland and Walt Disney World merchandise locations.

Which pieces will you add to your collection?

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