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The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns Today

posted on March 4th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival starts today, and we’ve got plenty of fresh experiences, food and music for you to enjoy.

Our 11 Outdoor Kitchens are bursting with flavors from the garden, the barbecue and the globe. The new Botanas Botanico features Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese, a Seafood Ceviche and a fruity La Tizana punch that can become an adult beverage with a splash of Santa Teresa RHUM Liqueur.

Ten new specialty gardens including a pepper garden, health garden of healing herbs, Shakespeare garden and dinosaur plant gardens may inspire your green thumb.

Kids will love the Living Desert Road Rally with Mater and Lightning McQueen topiaries and the Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden. (Truth be told … I was tempted to do some climbing myself on the rope web – check it out!).

Ease into the evening with Garden Rocks concert series. The Gin Blossoms – perfect for a festival featuring flowers and gardens, right? – kick off our festival music offering.

Linger as the sun goes down to roam our illuminated gardens. It’s really a wondrous way to see Epcot at night.

We’ve already seen two of the newest stars make some young guests leap out of their strollers and dash for a closer look. The Anna and Elsa topiaries are pretty spectacular. Horticulture Manager of the festival, Eric Darden, gives us a closer look at the royal sisters before they made their debut at Epcot.

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PHOTOS – Merchandise Blooms at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015

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


The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 runs from March 4 to May 17 at Walt Disney World Resort. With beautiful flowers to see and delicious food to taste, I love strolling around Epcot a few times throughout spring. Here’s an update on some additional products created especially for this event. I also have a first look inside the Festival Center that will be open Fridays through Sundays in Future World between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy pavilions.

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In a previous article, I promised details about the retail MagicBand created for this event. This new item has an edition size of 5,000 and features Anna and Elsa in their “Frozen Fever” attire from the upcoming animated short debuting in theaters before Disney’s “Cinderella” on March 13. Like all other retail MagicBands, this item can be linked later. Look for it in select retail locations at Epcot (it will not be available via the Disney Parks online store).

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I also found a few apparel items for adults and kids including Olaf shirts in blue and green, a Sorcerer Mickey topiary shirt, a yellow Minnie Mouse shirt for women, and a specially designed shirt for Annual Passholders.

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Back by popular demand, we are releasing a new 12-month calendar featuring character topiaries from previous year’s festivals.

Guests will also find an iPhone 6 case with Anna and Elsa, magnets, headware, garden accessories, a new Disney Gift Card and much more.

While the Festival Center will only be open during the weekends, these items will be offered at several locations throughout Future World and World Showcase at Epcot (there are some great merchandise kiosks found along the World Showcase promenade).

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Finally, the Festival Center will host Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama on March 8 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. He will be signing his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival-inspired piece titled “Spring Has Sprung.” I love his artwork so much!

Here are a few additional images from my visit to Epcot. I hope to see you this spring!

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Filed: Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – March 2015

posted on February 28th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Spring is in the air! See what’s happening this March at the Walt Disney World Resort!

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March 2 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, March 2 – 8 and 18 – 22. Stop by and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

March 4 – 8: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson is set to appear this month at Epcot. Find him, March 4 – 8 at Art of Disney and March 27 – 29 at Puffins Roost in the Norway Pavilion. Learn more.

March 4 – May 17: Commemorative Epcot International Flower & Garden Merchandise will be in full bloom, beginning March 4! Visit the Festival Center, open Friday through Sunday, or the bridge kiosk at the entrance of World Showcase and find special treasures to help grow your collection. Tip: Check out special artist appearances and chef demonstrations as well as festival showcases. Learn more.

March 6: Meet author and Major League Baseball Legend, Cal Ripken, Jr. Cal will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of his newest book Out at Home at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports during the 2nd inning of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training game. Please note, a game ticket is required to attend this signing. Learn more.

March 6 – 7: Join us as we celebrate the opening of WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing from 1 – 3:30 p.m. with Michael Lewis Glover and Jerrod Maruyama and 5 – 7:30 p.m. with Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Robert Jimenez. Learn more.

March 8: Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama will be on hand for a signing of his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival inspired piece Spring Has Sprung at the Festival Center from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. Learn more.

March 12: Something ‘charm’ing awaits you from the Disney Parks Collection │PANDORA. What you ask? Keep watching, fellow author Steven Miller will have all the details.

March 13: Pick up a copy of Lee Cockerell’s newest book, Time Management Magic at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more information regarding this event, including signing times.

March 13 – 15: Precious moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand for special appearances and signings throughout the day at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot, as we celebrate the release of her Spring collection. Linda will also appear March 20 – 22. Not able to make it? No problem! Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand March 12 – April 12 at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot and March 12 – April 27 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

March 25 – 26: Are you a fan of Ridley Pearson? Be among the first to pick up two of his newest releases, Kingdom Keepers: The Return: Book 1: Disney Lands and The Syndrome: A Kingdom Keepers Adventure. Meet Ridley, March 25 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace or March 26 from 9 – 11a.m. at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Learn more. Tip: Wristbands will be distributed to Guests at store open on the day of the signing with each purchase of a book by Ridley Pearson. A wristband from the appearance location is required to meet Ridley Pearson and allows the guest to get two books signed. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

March 27 – 29: Celebrate Art in the Garden with us and take part in special artist appearances and signings with David E. Doss and Greg McCullough from 11a.m. – 7p.m. throughout the weekend at the entrance to World Showcase. Watch DisneyParksMerchandise.com to learn more.

March 27 – April 5: We have ‘egg’-citing news. Check out this post on the Disney Parks Blog.

March 28: Add the limited edition hand-painted Ink & Paint cel ‘A Dapper Day in the Parks’ featuring Mickey Mouse looking his best aboard the Main Street Trolley! Ink & Paint artists will be on hand for a special signing from 10 a.m. – 1p.m. and 2p.m. – 5p.m. at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note: The cel will be available in a variety of formats including Unframed; Framed, Framed Cel with Postcard and Framed Cel with Postcard and Pin. Learn more.

Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through March 26 at 5p.m. Eastern. Of course, applicable tax and shipping fees apply. Order now!

Which artists are you most excited to see?

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Disney Egg-stravaganza Returns to Disney Parks

posted on February 27th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I obviously didn’t need an egg-scuse this year to tell you about the return of the ever-popular Disney Egg-stravaganza at Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and Epcot! Here’s what you can egg-spect! From March 27 – April 5, 2015, you’ll be able to search for special hidden eggs themed to Disney characters at some of your favorite theme parks.

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How it works, for eggs-ample!
Have fun eggs-ploring the parks hunting for eggs that portray Disney characters! I can tell you from personal egg-sperience, fans were egg-cited to participate, even taking it to the egg-streme. Just record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed Egg-stravaganza map to represent that location. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $4.95, plus tax, at the following parks and locations.

There’s no reason to walk on eggshells – whether you choose to hunt for eggs or not, return your map to a redemption location – Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure park; Disney Showcase in Disneyland park or Port of Entry in Epcot – by April 30 and participate in an ‘egg-scramble’ to pick up your surprise.

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I think you’ll be egg-static about the new surprises this year! They’ll bear a striking resemblance to what you are already searching for and will be an eggs-cellent addition to your collection. I’ll take it one step further if you pardon the egg-spression, and tell you this time, you’ll want to make sure you put all of your eggs in one basket, because all new characters have been gathered to delight you, no yolk.

Purchasing limits will apply, while supplies last. Keep in mind that no discounts apply and separate admission is required to enter Disney Theme Parks. The experience of course, is subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Have I egged you on enough?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Leave A Legacy

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Were you one of the thousands who participated in Leave a Legacy at Epcot and got you or your family’s photo placed on a tile here? The area sure looks beautiful at night.

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Preview of New Disney Parks Collection | PANDORA Jewelry Coming in March 2015

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A few weeks ago, I promised a look at some new charms items from the Disney Parks Collection | PANDORA, which will launch in multiple merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts on March 12. The new charms will join the previously released jewelry collection that features hand-finished .925 sterling silver and 14K gold charms inspired by some of Disney’s most beloved characters and icons. Here’s a preview of some new items created especially for Disney Parks.

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We will release two charms inspired by Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. These sterling silver dangle charms, which make great keepsakes, feature the resort destination name on the bottom of each castle.

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This spring collection will also include a sterling silver and teal enamel charm featuring Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Disney California Adventure park. My favorite charm, however, is a sleek sterling silver geometric sphere that resembles Spaceship Earth with a monorail from Epcot.

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Guests should also look for a Minnie Mouse charm that is similar to the “Mickey Mania” charm released last fall. The sterling silver openwork “Minnie Mania” charm has colorful red, light yellow, black and white enamel details.

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Black and red enamel Mickey and Minnie Mouse icons are also pictured on a sterling silver safety chain with enamel hearts. For those who may not be familiar with a safety chain, it’s a stylish and practical way to keep your charms secure on your PANDORA bracelet. To use, simply thread one end on the bracelet first, add your charms and then thread the other side of the safety chain on the end of the bracelet to secure.

The best places at Disney Parks to find PANDORA jewelry are at La Mascarade d’Orleans in New Orleans Square in Disneyland park at Disneyland Resort, and at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.

Guests will also find an additional jewelry charm designs from the spring 2015 Disney | PANDORA Jewelry Collection at select Disney Parks merchandise locations and at PANDORA stores throughout North America.
We will also offer select charms on our Disney Parks online store at http://www.DisneyStore.com/PANDORA.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Celebrate Animals and Nature throughout the Year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Allyson Atkins, Education Manager, Disney's Animals, Science and Environment


In addition to celebrating with us as at our Spring Forward event, don’t forget to mark your calendars for more fun wildlife and nature inspired events heading your way!

Earth Day/Party for the Planet: April 22
Back by popular demand – it’s a “Party for the Planet” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends where we will be hosting an Earth Day celebration. Discover how you can help animals by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in your backyard. Explore ways to protect and care for marine life through engaging activities. Learn more about sustainable living and how to make great choices every day to benefit both your family and our planet! Join us and don’t forget to grab your exclusive Earth Day 2015 merchandise.
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International Migratory Bird Day: May 9
Spring is all about the birds as we celebrate our winged friends on International Migratory Bird Day. Become an “honorary bird” and discover how you measure up in size and color to nearly 350 species of wild birds while also learning about the great care we provide for our birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Discover what the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is doing to ensure our skies stay filled with the many colored feathers of these amazing animals. From what they eat, to where they fly, you’ll learn all you care to know about birds—and that’s nothing to squawk at!

World Turtle Day: May 21
While visiting Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in turtle life as you try on a replica turtle shell or get up-close with some of our turtles and tortoises including seeing our veterinarians in action with these unique animals. At The Seas with Nemo & Friends, discover how to help turtles overcome threats they face in the wild while taking part in hands-on activities that let you experience life as a turtle–all while turtles swim gracefully in the background throughout our 5.7-million-gallon aquatic habitat!
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Tour de Turtles: August 1
Hundreds of sea turtles lay their nests on the beaches of Florida every year and on this special day we invite you to join us at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort for the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual “Tour de Turtles” event. Two turtles who have made their nests at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will be equipped with satellite transmitters which allow sea turtle fans to follow the marathon migration of these turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. The turtles had been fitted with satellite transmitters to help with conservation efforts as they swim to raise awareness about the threats that sea turtles face. Join us for the race to the ocean where you can participate in beachside activities while learning ways you can help sea turtles!
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Keep an eye out for these events and more! Here are a few more dates to look forward to:

  • World Oceans Day: June 3
  • Pollinator Day: June 11
  • Big Cat Day: July 30
  • Primate Day: August 20
  • Elephant and Rhino Day: September 24
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Celebrating the Ultimate Girls Weekend at the Disney Princess Half Marathon

posted on February 24th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


It was the ultimate runDisney girls weekend as more than 49,500 registered runners participated in the Disney Princess Half Marathon presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Walt Disney World Resort.

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From our princesses-in-waiting competing in the runDisney Kids Races, to more experienced princesses participating in the Disney Princess 5K, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the weekend was filled celebrating the attributes of a true princess – commitment, perseverance and determination.

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The crowning moment came on Sunday when more than 24,000 runners participated in the Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile journey took runners to Magic Kingdom Park, through Cinderella Castle and finished with a royal celebration just outside Epcot. Waiting for runners was one of the most coveted rewards, the Disney Princess Half Marathon Tiara Finisher Medal. And for those special princesses registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge, completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday (19.3 total miles), an additional medal was bestowed upon them, the Glass Slipper Challenge Medal.

Fun During the Disney Princess Half Marathon Fun During the Disney Princess Half Marathon

Although every runner had something to celebrate, one runner’s journey was just a little more magical.

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After falling on ice and breaking her hip one year ago, and fearing she would never run again, 30-year-old Lauren Passell from New York City was the winner of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Dressed in a Tinker Bell-inspired outfit, Passell had a winning time of 1:22:59. She was followed by second-place finisher Heather Schulz of Orlando (1:23:28) and Mariela Ortiz of Argentina was third (1:23:45).

Congratulations to Lauren Passell and all who ran and celebrated like a princess. We hope the following video helps you relive your accomplishment. And for those who weren’t able to participate, we hope it inspires you to join us February 2016.

For more information about Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and other runDisney events, visit runDisney.com.

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First Look at Anna & Elsa Topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 24th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


Sneak peek alert!

We have two pieces of true, original Disney art to share with you, in the form of new topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Still at the nursery, here is a first look at Anna and Elsa. Aren’t they just gorgeous?

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The festival opens in eight days. To help plan your visit, check out EpcotinBloom.com

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Disney Student Seminars Celebrate Black History Month

posted on February 23rd, 2015 by Tim Hill, Director of Disney Youth Programs


Disney Youth Programs recently concluded another exciting Disney Student Seminars at Walt Disney World Resort. This event honored Black History Month with a special presentation from Khalil Kinsey, curator of The Kinsey Collection. Khalil shared his passion for the contributions and achievements of African Americans and inspired the audience to appreciate their own heritage and family history.

Over 500 students, parents and educators gathered inside The American Adventure pavilion at Epcot to engage in Khalil’s story. Among the audience were students of U.B. Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts from West Palm Beach, FL — a school named after Khalil’s grandfather. These students had the opportunity to experience a piece of history for themselves, by meeting Khalil and discovering the roots of their school.

The Kinsey Collection is a national touring museum exhibit of rare African American art and history. It is showcased around the country in a variety of museums. We are honored to have pieces of this incredible collection currently on display as part of “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” at Walt Disney World at The American Adventure pavilion, where guests can explore and appreciate all aspects of American history.

Disney Student Seminars Celebrate Black History Month

To learn more about the Kinsey Collection and traveling exhibits in your area please visit: www.thekinseycollection.com

Visit www.disneyyouth.com for more information on all of the Disney Youth Programs offerings.

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