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Yakitori House Restaurant at Epcot

#DisneyKids: Meeting Characters at Disney Parks

posted on April 24th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


One of the most fun things to do with little ones at Walt Disney World Resort is take them to meet the characters that they enjoy from beloved stories and films. It is one of those magical moments that you never forget as a parent, and it creates a memory that kids can relive at home by looking at photos and autograph books from your trip. From Disney Junior characters and Pixar friends, to fairytale princesses and the Fab 5, there is no shortage of opportunities for kids to interact with their favorites.

Parent tips: Utilize FastPass+ to bypass lines at select locations, and have Disney Photo Pass photographers capture shots of the entire family that can be added to your My Disney Experience account via your MagicBand.

Here’s a roundup of some of our guests’ top meet and greet locations in all four theme parks.

Magic Kingdom Park

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For Disney’s Hollywood Studios, click here. For Epcot, click here. For Disney’s Animal Kingdom, click here.

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Freshly Picked Music at the Garden Rocks Concert Series at Walt Disney World Resort: Taylor Dayne

posted on April 21st, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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Now that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom, it reminds us of all there is to love about it. From the whimsical Disney character topiaries and spring-inspired delicious dishes to the expert demonstrations and Garden Rocks Concert Series, where some of the biggest names in music grace the stage.

We caught up with Taylor Dayne, who will soon play Garden Rocks for the first time (you may have seen her perform at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival). Starting with her smash 1987 single “Tell It to My Heart,” it’s hard to top this New York native for infectious dance pop.

RUSS: Growing up on Long Island, did you ever imagine all the success you’ve achieved?

TAYLOR: As a little kid, I had the vision of “I’m gonna be a rock and roll star,” singing to the radio or every commercial that came on. I was very passionate about working hard. To make music was always my goal and my dream as a very, very young girl. I’m just so blessed.

RUSS: We’ve heard you’re a pretty big Disney fan. True?

TAYLOR: Ya know, the beautiful thing about Disney is I grew up on the incredible animation. And, of course, on Sunday nights we got to watch Disney on TV. The shows, the movies, the parks—it’s pretty special and amazing. Just a big part of my life.

RUSS: Any favorite Disney memories?

TAYLOR: For me growing up, it was “it’s a small world.” I made my children (12-year-old twins Levi and Astaria) go on it because the music is just so incredible.

RUSS: As for the theme parks, adrenaline rush or milder thrills?

TAYLOR: I’m not a drop-from-the-sky kind of girl. No. My son will do that. I stand there and watch while he falls from the sky and does the roller coasters with all the drops. Though I was in to it when I was younger.

RUSS: Have a favorite attraction?

TAYLOR: I love Soarin’ at Epcot! You’re in the chair and floating. It’s incredible. You’re in that entire experience. You’re moving in it. It’s brilliant.

RUSS: Describe your music.

TAYLOR: When people ask me that, I say dance, pop, some R&B to a degree. But classic. So if you’re listening to the radio, you might hear “I’ll Always Love You,” “Send Me A Lover” or “Love Will Lead You Back.” I’ve always been incredibly passionate and people feel what I’m singing. Big voice, big passion.

RUSS: People are anxious to experience your show at the Flower & Garden Festival for the very first time. What do you have in store?

TAYLOR: I hope the fans get an experience so they feel like they’ve been to a show. There’s a beginning, a middle and end. There’s a story. I want them to feel like they got a piece of me. Music is just such a universal language. Why are people so inspired by music? Because it touches them in such a sensorial way. At this point, to a lot of them these songs are the soundtrack of people’s lives. You feel like, “Wow, I remember that.” So yeah, I always look forward to performing at Epcot. It’ll be awesome.

RUSS: Thanks so much for your time. One last question. What’s something your fans may not know about you?

TAYLOR: I’m a nature freak [laughs]. That’s what I do. I go out there and find my peace. My quiet time.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues through May 17. Taylor Dayne performs May 1 through 3. All performances take place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and are included with Epcot admission.

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‘Tomorrowland’ Creators Share How Walt’s Vision of the Future Inspired the Film

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Walt Disney’s interest in progress, technology and making strides toward the future has always been something that has shaped Disney Parks, and has inspired new attractions and experiences since day one. During his lifetime, Walt led the charge in developing Audio-Animatronics technology, planned a Tomorrowland for Disneyland park that would allow people to taste what the future may be like, and dreamed of showcasing an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” in his plans for Epcot.

According to “Tomorrowland” Director/Writer Brad Bird and Writer Damon Lindelof, it was Walt’s vision of the future that provided them with a lot of inspiration when creating their “city of tomorrow” for the film. Check out the video below to learn more.

The film “Tomorrowland,” opens in theaters nationwide on May 22, 2015. (Guests visiting Disneyland park and Epcot will be able to watch an exclusive sneak peek from the film starting this weekend, as well as see props and images from the movie. The Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland park will host their sneak peek starting Friday, April 17, and the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot will open its doors on Saturday, April 18).

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Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Returns to Epcot June 7 – July 25

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


Epcot is GROOVIN’ this June and July with the return of the Sounds Like Summer concert series.

From June 7 to July 25, the America Gardens Theater will once again rock out with some of the world’s hottest tribute bands.

2U ~ A Tribute to U2

This year’s lineup includes: (Entertainment and times subject to change)

  • June 7-13: DSB – A Tribute to Journey
  • June 14-20: 2U – A Tribute to U2
  • June 21-26: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot – A Tribute Billy Joel Show
  • June 27 – July 4: Don’t Look Back – A Tribute to Boston
  • July 5-11: Fire & Ice – A Tribute to Pat Benatar
  • July 12-18: Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees
  • July 19-25: Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles

The Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with regular Epcot admission. Show times are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. daily.

Check back to the Disney Parks Blog for updates on all things Summer 2015 at Walt Disney World!

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Epcot Flowers Bloom at Night

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was an unusual one – and apparently a fan favorite. The original photo, which took a look at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at night, showcased a topiary of three pals from “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Because it was so popular, we didn’t want you to miss two others shots our photographer snapped while roaming the park late at night. Here are two shots of the Cinderella and Prince Charming topiaries. Notice the clock in the background? Looks like it’s almost time for her to run!

Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

You can enjoy the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival daily through May 17.

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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?

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

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

It’s Almost Time for an Exclusive Sneak Peek of Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ – Only in Disney Parks!

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


You wanted to see “Tomorrowland.” Here it comes!

Our sneak peek of the new Disney movie begins Friday, April 17, at Disneyland park. Head over to the Tomorrowland Theater for an exclusive look at scenes from the film, complete with special in-theater effects. And you can continue your “Tomorrowland” experience by exploring an all-new exhibit in the Starcade, featuring original props and production artwork.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

For those of you visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, you can catch this Disney Parks-exclusive preview of “Tomorrowland” at Epcot, where the sneak peek begins its special engagement at the Imagination Pavilion in Future World on Saturday, April 18, and continues through May 24. At Epcot, you’ll also get a close-up look at one of the jet packs used in the film, along with a display of conceptual art and photos from the set.

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In Disney’s riveting mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. Directed by two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird, “Tomorrowland” stars Academy Award® winner George Clooney as scientist and former boy-genius Frank Walker and Britt Robertson as Casey Newton. Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

Here’s a look at the latest trailer for “Tomorrowland,” opening in theaters on May 22, 2015.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Blossoms at Night

posted on April 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I know the amazing floral displays and topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival look amazing during the day, but who would’ve thought they looked this beautiful illuminated at night?

This “Beauty and the Beast”-inspired topiary features Beast, Belle – and Cogsworth in the background.

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Have you visited the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this year? Do you prefer visiting during the day or in the evening?

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Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot Features ‘Disney Family of Wines’

posted on April 9th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Le Cellier Steakhouse is a top pick for guests who love a good steak – the AAA Candian beef tenderloin with truffle butter sauce is a hands-down favorite, but you also can order pan-seared snapper, free-range chicken and Kurobuta pork at this outstanding restaurant in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.

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Now the wine list kicks it up, featuring six of the eight wineries of the “Disney Family of Wines,” and will be the first restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort to feature all eight, says Rick DeCicco, area manager at Le Cellier Steakhouse. The list includes several Reserve vintages.

“We’re waiting on Skywalker Vineyards and Gogi, and they are on the way,” says Rick.

The diverse collection has a personal connection to the Disney name: an artistic talent, a sense of what makes for good storytelling, quintessential family DNA … all of the wineries display qualities long identified with Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company, carrying on the Disney legacy and typifying the passion, innovation and quality that the name Disney symbolizes.

The wineries:

  • Fess Parker Winery
  • MacMurray Ranch
  • Silverado Vineyards
  • Lasseter Family Winery
  • Gogi (owned by actor Kurt Russell)
  • Frank Family Vineyards
  • Chappellet Winery
  • Skywalker Vineyards

The restaurant has debuted a beautiful beverage book dedicated to The Disney Family of Wines, and has taken the service staff through training to educate them about the wines and winemakers. “This has a great impact on our guests since they love a great Disney story,” says Rick. Every leader at Le Cellier also has completed the introductory level course of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a feat worth mentioning (and congratulations!).

So, what does Rick suggest? “The Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon with the filet mignon is by far our most popular offering,” he says. “Or the Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon with the Angus strip steak and Cabernet butter.”

For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Celebrate Earth Day at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on April 8th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


The natural beauty of Mother Nature + Disney magic = a perfect place to celebrate Earth Day. Of course, you can find it at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Gardener's Palette

We think Earth deserves a whole (extended) weekend! We’ve got lots of ways to appreciate and celebrate with activities, discoveries and more.

Here’s are some fresh ways to get your green on, from April 17-22:

Three of our new specialty gardens connect families and kids with nature: Nature Rocks, presented by The Nature Conservancy, the Backyard Habitat presented by the National Wildlife Federation and the Purple Martins presented by Audubon Florida. These lush spots will inspire you and your family to spend more time outdoors, and maybe even how to bring a little Disney magic to your home.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists will visit the Festival Center (April 17-19).

At the Seas with Nemo & Friends, learn about conservation efforts to protect coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and the many other amazing creatures that inhabit our oceans (April 22).

Check out the sand sculpture that showcases Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom” movie at the World Showcase Outpost. Make sure to pick up a kids activity booklet while you’re taking a sand-selfie!

For more information about this and other Fun Fresh Weekends, check out EpcotInSpring.com.

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