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A Royal LEGO Adventure at Downtown Disney

posted on June 25th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


I bet we’ve all dreamt about winning a once-in-a-lifetime Walt Disney World Resort vacation, right? For 10-year-old Sami from Greenwood, Ind., that dream recently came true when Radio Disney called to tell her she was the Grand Prize winner in their “Royal LEGO Adventure” sweepstakes. Even better? She got to bring along her mom, dad, and cousin, Chaeli.

Sami’s prize was over-the-top, including hotel accommodations, Disney Theme Park tickets, a private meet ‘n’ greet with Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” and an incredible afternoon at Downtown Disney that included a princess makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a shopping spree at The LEGO Store.

Sami’s dad, Steven, is a high-school band director. So while the family had visited Disney Parks before, it was usually with hundreds of other people. I had the chance to talk with Princess Sami during her Downtown Disney visit and it was clear that this was a special trip for her, “I’ve always wanted a ‘family’ vacation – finally I get a break from all 300 people!”

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And what a break it was … all eyes were on Sami (literally – her makeover took place in the front window of World of Disney!) as she transformed into her favorite princess, Elsa. “I love her because of her powers. And the best part about her is that she really cares about people,” Sami shared. After her makeover, Sami enjoyed a red-carpet welcome at the LEGO Store, where she was treated to “Frozen”-themed treats from Goofy’s Candy Company and had a personal LEGO escort to help her make her merchandise selections.

Sami Before Her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Makeover at Downtown Disney Sami After Her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Makeover at Downtown Disney

Her smile said it all. “This was everything I’ve hoped for,” Sami told me. And I had to smile, too, knowing that once again, the magic of a Disney vacation made another little girl’s dreams come true.

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July 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here’s a look at some of the merchandise events headed your way in July at the Disneyland Resort!

July 12: Take part in a special artist showcase with Walt Disney Imagineers, Stephen Cargile, Larry Nikolai and Mark Page as well as former Walt Disney Imagineers, Maggie Parr and George Scribner from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland park. Learn more.

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July 12: Artists Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Noah are set to appear from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Learn more.

July 12: Meet the filmmakers behind “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” 3 – 5 p.m. at Fly n’ Buy in Disney California Adventure park. Keep an eye out for more information on this event shortly on www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

July 12 – 13: Jasmine Becket-Griffith will also take part in a special artist showcase from 2 – 5 p.m at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Learn more.

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July 19: Artists J. Scott Campbell, Sean Chao, Martin Hsu and Sarah “Nei” Ruffino will take part in an artist signing from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District, as we celebrate the release of some of their latest works. Learn more.

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Artist in Residence: Appearing at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District throughout the month of July is Amy Mebberson. Look for artist showcases on the following dates: July 4 – 6, 11 – 13 and 18 – 20 from 6 – 10 p.m. Learn more.

Which events are on the top of your list?

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Meet Disney Artists Behind Vinylmation Park Starz 3 at D-Street in Downtown Disney West Side on June 27, 2014

posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A few weeks ago, the newest Vinylmation series, Park Starz 3, was released at Disney Parks. I love the Park Starz collections as they feature classic characters I love from attractions, shows and parades at Disney Parks. This newest series looks awesome (hello, Dreamfinder!!). On Friday, June 27, three Disney Design Group artists – Thomas Scott, Casey Jones and Caley Hicks – who designed figures in this series will be at D-Street in Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World Resort. They will be signing figures and talking with fans from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. that day. I recently asked lead Vinylmation artist Thomas Scott about his favorite figures.

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“I love them all as they are my babies,” laughed Thomas who has been designing Vinylmation figures for a few years now. “I’m a big fan of space toys, so I included a Space Mountain-inspired astronaut in this series mostly because I wanted one. I also think the turtle from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade is one of the best figures we’ve ever designed. Casey Jones’ caveman from Spaceship Earth is also pretty unique as he is a character rarely found on merchandise.”

There are 12 figures in this limited release series – 11 known figures and one mystery chaser figure. They are sold either in individual mystery boxes or you can get the entire series by purchasing a tray.

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You may recognize new characters in this collection from attractions that were in Vinylmation – Park Starz Series 1 and Series 2 such as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. I’m guessing my fellow author Erin Glover is excited to see a figure of the Abominable Snowman from the Matterhorn.

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The artists also created some limited edition variant figures. Two of these items – the Pirate with pig and the Big Al with Trixie set – will be released on Friday, June 20. The remaining two – the Mission: SPACE astronaut and the clear Hitchhiking Ghost – will be released on Friday, June 27. These releases will take place at the D-Street locations in Florida and California where you can also find individual boxes or trays.

You can also find select items on our Disney Parks online store – http://www.disneystore.com/vinylmation/mn/1000828/

Which character is your favorite from this series? Please share in the comments below.

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Do You Want ‘S’more’ Gourmet Apples at the Disneyland Resort?

posted on June 19th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


It’s been almost an entire year since we have been treated to that ooey-gooey fan-favorite that I like to call the s’more gourmet apple. But guess what, Disney fans? It’s back!

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If you need a reminder as to why it was so good, maybe this will help. The apple has been dipped in chocolate and topped with graham crackers and marshmallows that have been toasted to perfection. Just like last year, you can enjoy this tasty treat fireside or just camping out with family and friends.

The s’more gourmet apple can only be found during the month of July at the following Disneyland Resort locations:

  • Disneyland park – Candy Palace
  • Disney California Adventure park – Trolley Treats
  • Downtown Disney DistrictMarceline’s Confectionary
  • Was this your favorite gourmet apple, too?

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

    New Soccer Merchandise Scores a Goal at Walt Disney World Resort

    posted on June 18th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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    My fellow author Darcy Clark recently shared a look at the United World Soccer store at Downtown Disney West Side. This new location is a must-stop destination for fans of fútbol (and it would appear there are many as the world watches the events unfold in Brazil). Elsewhere at Walt Disney World Resort, we have recently introduced new soccer-themed goods that have a splash of Disney.

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    Decorated in hues of blue, green, yellow and white, this small new assortment was created specifically for World Showcase at Epcot. The main logo features a silhouette of Mickey Mouse kicking a soccer ball, which was used on several apparel items, a glass mug and two open edition pins.

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    These items can be found in select locations at Epcot and at the World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The two open edition pins will also be released in select locations at Disneyland Resort.

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    One of my favorite items is a limited release pin featuring José Carioca, a character not often seen on Disney merchandise. He was originally created for Walt Disney’s “Saludos Amigos” in 1942, and now stars in the Mexico Pavilion attraction at Epcot, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. This pin was released at Disney Traders and Village Traders in World Showcase at Epcot, World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and Sport Goofy at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.

    Speaking of Epcot, you can watch many of the World Cup games in the Odyssey Center. That’s just one of many viewing locations at Walt Disney World Resort. See the complete list here.

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    Disney Parks Blog Readers ‘Meet-Up’ For ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’

    posted on June 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


    Over the weekend, hundreds of Disney Parks Blog readers gathered for a sneak preview of “Planes: Fire & Rescue” at AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Walt Disney World Resort.
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    In addition to seeing the film, which tells the story of a crew of elite firefighting aircrafts who protect the historic Piston Peak National Park from wildfires, our guests also heard some “making-of” details from Producer Ferrell Barron and Director/Co-Writer Roberts “Bobs” Gannaway.
    Disney Parks Blog Readers ‘Meet-Up’ For ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’

    “Planes: Fire & Rescue” will open in theaters on July 18, 2014.

    Be sure to check out our recap of the event in the video below.

    Did you attend our meet-up? Let us know in the “Comments” section below!

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    First Look: New Disney•Pixar Custom Character Cars at Walt Disney World Speedway

    posted on June 14th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


    Last month, we let you know that new Piston Cup Racers Aiken Axler & Sage VanDerSpin would be unveiled during this year’s Car Masters Weekend at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort. And today, we have a first look at both custom character cars, as they enter the line-up for the first time at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

    First Look: New Disney•Pixar Custom Character Cars at Walt Disney World Speedway

    The #28 Aiken Axler and #80 Sage VanDerSpin cars were created by Disney•Pixar “Cars” creative director Jay Ward. Both will be used in the new Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along program for the Richard Petty Driving Experience beginning this weekend. Here’s a taste of what it’ll be like.

    If you look closely, you’ll notice the character eyes on the car’s windshields help bring the vehicles to life – but the window wraps do not interfere with the view of the track.

    Junior Ride-Alongs do not require reservations and are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more information about program offerings, dates and times by visiting Drivepetty.com or call 800-237-3889.

    You can see Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin during Car Masters Weekend at Downtown Disney. Disney•Pixar “Cars” and “Cars 2″ characters Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissle will also be stopping by the event for meet and greets.

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    Car Masters Weekend is back at Downtown Disney West Side

    posted on June 13th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


    Earlier today, Pixar Cars Guardian, Jay Ward, and Car Designer and Customizer, Chip Foose, stopped by to share what they’re looking forward to the most at this year’s Car Masters Weekend at Downtown Disney. Take a look, then join us Saturday and Sunday to experience the fast-paced excitement for yourself.

    Visit disneycarevent.com for more details and we’ll see you there!

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    ESPN Zone Cast Member Plays Dad and Colleague to Three Daughters

    posted on June 12th, 2014 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


    Creating guest memories is a family affair for many Disneyland Resort cast members, and among these are inspirational dads who lead their families at home and work. With Father’s Day around the corner, now is a great time to introduce you to the Hernandez family!

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    When Shaleena Hernandez, a server at ESPN Zone, needs someone to talk to, she turns to her father, and doesn’t have to go far. Richard Hernandez also works at the Downtown Disney District restaurant — as do his other two children, Jessica and Briana. And would you believe Shaleena’s and Jessica’s fiancées also both work at ESPN Zone? They do!

    Richard values the time he spends with his daughters and future sons-in-law on and off the clock. “Being together is great,” said Richard. “I have always enjoyed working at the Disneyland Resort because of my supportive co-workers, and now it’s extra special because I get to also work with my daughters.”

    Shaleena, Jessica and Briana attribute their work ethic to their dad. “Working with my dad allows me to spend time with him and see his hard work,” Jessica said. “I love my dad, and we hope he enjoys his day off on Father’s Day.”

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    ‘Trucks on the Town at Downtown Disney West Side’ June 21 at Walt Disney World Resort

    posted on June 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


    Get ready to tweet, here’s a brand-new event to share with all your foodie friends: the first-ever food truck festival at Downtown Disney, a mini-theme park for food lovers from 5-10 p.m. June 21. Your biggest challenge will be what to order when you get to the window, as we’ll have 14 trucks dishing out sandwiches, empanadas, pupusas, barbecue, gator bites, seafood, tacos, cupcakes and more.

    Presenting the First-Ever Food Truck Bazaar at Downtown Disney

    Collaborating with The Daily City.com Food Truck Bazaar, local trucks sharing their delicious tastes at Disney for the first time include:

    • TJ’s Seafood Shack
    • Magic 4 Ur Palate
    • Yum Yum Cupcake Truck
    • Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ
    • La Empanada
    • Philly’s Best Cheesesteaks
    • El Cactus Azul
    • Mayan Grill
    • Med Fresh Taverna

    Of course the four Downtown Disney food trucks, along with the ESPN food truck, will be there – Namaste Café with favorites plus some new flavors from Disney’s Animal Kingdom – think butter chicken and tandoor shrimp; Superstar Catering with favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios like Margherita flat bread; Fantasy Fare with Magic Kingdom Park goodies like the corn dog and sticky chicken n’ waffles; and World Showcase of Flavors with Epcot tastes from pierogies to grass-fed beef sliders.

    A live DJ will create a convivial atmosphere that’s fun for all ages at the event that will be at Downtown Disney West Side on the event lawn near House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil. Best parking is lots O, P and Q behind Cirque due Soleil, via entrance 5. And, sorry, no pets allowed.

    Downtown Disney plans to open a permanent food truck park later this summer between Bongos Cuban Café and the new Starbucks at Downtown Disney West Side. Details soon!

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