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Country Bear Christmas Special at Disneyland Park

Disney Parks After Dark: A Holiday View of ‘IllumiNations’

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Disney Parks Blog photo takes a look at an entertainment offering that is regularly dressed up for the holidays – “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” During this time of year, the show concludes with a special finale to the song “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

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Thanks to photographer Mark Willard for the great shot.

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Think Outside the Box for New Year’s Eve Celebrating at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Early birds are already making their New Year’s Eve plans, and reservations go fast for many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. But we’ve got some offbeat ideas for ringing in 2015 that don’t require a reservation (except for one).

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If you’re at Epcot, you can still make a reservation for early dining at lovely Monsieur Paul upstairs in the France Pavilion (one of our top spots for fine dining). It’s a treat to lunch at Monsieur Paul, as it’s usually just open for dinner: there are still seats available at 11:45 a.m., noon, 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. This gracious experience ($85 per person plus tax and gratuity), starts with Cassolette d ’escargots Cauderanaise (escargot cassolette with white wine, bacon, shallots); a salad with Roquefort cheese, pear and caramelized pecans, or mussels soup with saffron and light fennel cream. Entrées include chicken with morels mushrooms and white sauce; broiled Maine lobster casserole, or beef short ribs braised in red wine with Parisian gnocchi with herbs. The sweet ending is a delectable French dessert.

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If you can’t snag a reservation, another favorite is Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in the Italy Pavilion, a cozy spot to sip Bellinis or martinis, or choose from a solid wine list. Small plates include pastas, Tuscan-style pork ribs, paninis, charcuterie and imported cheeses. La Cava Del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion doesn’t take reservations either – try a flight of tequilas (more than 100 to choose from) and pair with chips and guacamole or a shrimp cocktail for a light bite.

If you prefer to watch Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from afar, grab a seat in the lounge at Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The expansive wine and cocktail list pairs nicely with small bites from the kitchen like arancini (crispy risotto with sweet Italian sausage and mozzarella), Prince Edward Island mussels or slow-roasted Berkshire pork belly.

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You can also see Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from Disney’s Contemporary Resort where The Wave . . . of American Flavors lounge (ages 21 and older) offers signature cocktails, beer and wine along with seasonal tastes such as steamed Florida Cedar Key clams, lump crab, Florida rock shrimp cakes and a sustainable fish taco.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge offers prime outdoor seating with wine, beer and cocktails and a substantial menu – yes, you can get the famous Cobb Salad as well as Wagyu beef sliders, artisinal cheeses and charcuterie and Maine mussels (we love the desserts too, like the warm blueberry cobbler with crème fraîche and orange blossom honey).

Another tucked-away spot that’s got a view of Epcot fireworks from along the BoardWalk at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is casual Crew’s Cup Lounge – beer fans highly recommend the Sam Adams beer flight, but there’s a bounteous selection of other brews, cocktails and wine. The menu runs the gamut from a New England-style lobster roll to pappardelle pasta with braised short ribs.

And if fireworks aren’t an important part of your year-end celebration, for a lovely spot head to Victoria Falls Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can sip a Coconut Elixir (non-alcoholic), a truffle olive martini or a fabulous South African wine while listening to live music. The menu is one of our lounge favorites: tandoori-spiced chicken wings, peri peri scallops, pork wings, crispy chick pea bites and artisanal cheeses. For guests looking for a heartier meal, Boma Flavors of Africa still has reservations available on New Year’s Eve.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Santa Is Making the Rounds at Disney Parks

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Festival Of The Seasons

Santa Claus is a busy guy this time of year, but we have good news! He’s carving time out of his schedule to pay a visit to Disney Parks, where you can meet him and fill him in on your fondest wish for this holiday season. Between now and Christmas Day, Santa will be making stops throughout Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Here are some of the places you’re bound to find him:

Be sure to consult the in-park Times Guide or ask a cast member to find out just when you can see Santa on the day of your visit, and have a wonderful ho-ho-holiday!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Candlelight Shines At Epcot

posted on December 4th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


There’s a lot of shouting for joy over at the America Gardens Theater at Epcot now that the Candlelight Processional has started for the holiday season. The Candlelight Processional has been a holiday tradition at Disney Parks dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park.

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Before moving to Epcot in 1994, the Candlelight Processional was performed at Magic Kingdom Park. Below is a look at the Processional being performed in front of Cinderella Castle in 1980 and in front of the Main Street Train Station in 1983.

Candlelight Processional Performed in Front of Cinderella Castle in 1980 Candlelight Processional Performed in Front of Main Street Train Station in 1983

Candlelight Processional is presented at Epcot three times nightly through December 30th.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: New Disney Animals Fact-Filled Pages Debut Online

posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Dr. Jill Mellen, Education & Science Director


Do you know why rhinos roll around in the mud or what elephants can do to lower their body temperature? Did you know that one shark can have as many as 30,000 teeth during its lifetime?

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There’s a fun new way to find these answers and learn a lot more about some of the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot and what we are doing to protect them in the wild! The Walt Disney World Resort website has introduced a new Disney Animals section that provides a wealth of information about 10 species that are a very special focus for us.

You can go to DisneyAnimals.com to read about African lions, Asian tigers, rhinos, African elephants, Western lowland gorillas, sharks, cotton-top tamarins, sea turtles, coral reef and migratory birds. While it’s not a complete list of all the animals you can see at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or at The Seas with Nemo at Epcot, it represents 10 conservation species Disney is working to protect and provides a valuable connection to nature. We hope this fun animal information inspires you to action! All of the species you read about are endangered, which makes it even more important for us to understand them and to learn more about what we can do to help save the species. You also can read a bit of behind-the-scenes information about how we care for these animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot, as well as some fun facts like the ones that appear at the beginning of this story. Speaking of those, do you know the answers?

  • Rhinos roll in the mud to keep themselves cool, get rid of parasites and prevent sunburns.
  • Elephants can flap their ears to lower their body temperature.
  • Sharks can have as many as 30,000 teeth over their lifetime because their teeth are not rooted in their jaws or gum lines. They can lose teeth when they take a powerful bite out of their prey. But don’t worry! New teeth can grow in just two to eight days.
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Now it’s your turn. Pop quiz! Here are a few questions, and the answers can be found by reading our new Disney Animals pages. When you’re finished, you can check your answers here.

  1. How many lions typically make up a family group, or pride?
  2. Guests can see a critically endangered Sumatran tiger on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. How many of these tigers exist in the wild?
  3. How can you tell the difference between a black rhino and a white rhino? (HINT: It’s not the color of their skin; both are gray.)
  4. Other than humans, elephants do something that few other animals are known to do. What is it?
  5. Gorillas share 98.3 percent of humans’ DNA. However, gorillas have two things humans do not. What are they?
  6. How many species of sharks are there in the world?
  7. Where do cotton-top tamarins live in the wild?
  8. How do female sea turtles choose where to lay their eggs?
  9. Corals provide a home for what percentage of the oceans’ fish?
  10. Name a significant threat to migratory birds. How many birds are killed each year because of this threat?
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New ALEX AND ANI Bangles Debut in Time for the Holidays at Disney Parks

posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


As you all know, I’m an avid fan of ALEX AND ANI! So, when I see new bangles on the horizon that are what I consider ‘must-haves’ for the holidays, I want to share them with all of you. Here’s your first look at some of the new styles headed to Disney Parks.

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Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you! It All Started With A Mouse and Hakuna Matata are the first pieces in a new collection, Words Are Powerful, inspired by Disney sayings. These bangles will be available in Shiny Silver and Yellow Gold finishes beginning December 15. Also debuting is the 2015 Dated bangle featuring Mickey Mouse, a perfect way to commemorate your visit to the parks next year! This bangle will be available beginning December 15 in Rafaelian Gold and Rafaelian Silver finishes.

Look for these new bangles at locations throughout the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Charmed? I know I am! Which bangle will you add to your collection this holiday season?

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

Holidays Around the World Returns to Epcot With Unique Shopping Destinations

posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


The annual Holidays Around the World returns to Epcot from November 28 to December 30, 2014. This is one of my favorite holiday events at Walt Disney World Resort. Between the amazing Candlelight Processional and the entertainment commemorating the international spirit of the season, this event puts me in such a good holiday mood. I recently visited World Showcase to check out some of the unique shopping experiences created especially for this year’s event.

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This year, we are offering some Disney pins to celebrate the season including a limited release logo pin. There are also two different pins created for guests who are Annual Passholders or Disney Vacation Club members. I love the Figment ornament pin which can be added to a tree.

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At Germany Pavilion, guests can visit the Christkindlmarkt. Located next to the pavilion, artist Reinhard Herzog will create some beautiful glass-blown ornaments each day now through December 23 (the snowman is adorable). You can also try some traditional German holiday treats such as Glűhwein or Hot Salted Caramel (the latter beverage is one of my favorite holiday drinks at Epcot!).

I also stopped in Karamell-Küche in Germany Pavilion to survey the newest treats made with Werther’s Original Caramel. The location is now offering a caramel gingersnap and a caramel S’more. My son tried, or should I say devoured, the s’more during a recent visit to Epcot; he said it was delicious!

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Guests visiting the American Adventure will find Santa’s Village. This outdoor market offers holiday gift items including character ornaments or festive holiday trimmings.

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Santa’s Village will also carry Precious Moments including one of their newest dolls that looks like Maleficent. You can also find Mickey’s Merry Christmas Village products from Department 56.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog as I’ll soon provide my annual World Showcase holiday shopping guide.

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Actor Jonathan Groff Narrates The Candlelight Processional December 3-4

posted on December 2nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Actor Jonathan Groff, who voiced Kristoff in “Frozen,” will make his debut appearance as a narrator in the Candlelight Processional tomorrow at Epcot.

Jonathan Groff, Verge Magazine, January 15, 2013

The show, which combines a narration of the Christmas story with live music from an orchestra and choir, takes place at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at the park, and is included in theme park admission. Jonathan is one of two new narrators making their debut appearance in the show this season, the other is comedian Ana Gasteyer, on December 18-20. Check out the full list of narrators below (entertainment is subject to change).

  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 – 6, 2014
  • Levar Burton – December 7 – 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 11, 2014
  • Joe Morton – December 12 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

So, will any of you “Frozen” fans be out there to cheer Jonathan on for his first appearance?

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Over-the-Top Gingerbread Creations Wow Walt Disney World Resort Guests

posted on December 1st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


How about an amazing gingerbread ice castle inspired by the blockbuster movie “Frozen,” or a life-size replica of a Jersey Shore concession stand stocked with holiday goodies?

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These are just two of the spectacular, all-new gingerbread designs that Walt Disney World Resort pastry chefs have spent months planning and weeks meticulously building. While the finished creations may look easy as pie, cobbling together a life-size masterpiece in gingerbread takes a lot of skillful hands.

You can see the displays through the first week of January, 2015.

Fast facts:

  • The all-new “Frozen” gingerbread ice castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees – Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are decorated with sugar, chocolate and candy. In all, 423 pounds of chocolate and 311 pounds of honey went into the creation. While you can’t eat the house, there’s a special blue raspberry cake “Frozen” gelato, plus gingerbread and sugar cookies, snowflake ornaments, linzer and the popular chocolate-peppermint cookies. Take home a build-your-own snowman kit.
  • Also all new is a life-size replica of a Jersey Shore Boardwalk concession stand serving holiday treats – ice cream cones, gingerbread houses and cookies and stollen bread. Sweet wreaths and Mickey- and Minnie-shaped gingerbreads decorate the stand that’s made of 674 gingerbread shingles, with a huge ice cream cone on top – and the marquee features 420 marshmallows! You can even make your own gingerbread house with kits for sale.
  • The life-size gingerbread house celebrates 16 years at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – the pastry chefs use the same building plans to re-create a fresh masterpiece each year, using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria (they estimate 400 hours of baking). The house stands 16 feet high and features 40 window panes, made with a whopping 1,050 pounds of honey, 700 pounds of chocolate, 600 pounds of confectioner’s sugar, 35 pounds of spices, 800 pounds of flour, 140 pints of egg whites and 180 pounds of apricot glaze – more than 10,000 pieces of gingerbread make up the house. Gingerbread house decorating demos are featured daily except Sundays, and this is the place to buy gingerbread cookies, stollen, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate-peppermint bark (divine), gingerbread ornaments, mini-gingerbread houses and other goodies.
  • Head over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort and check out the 14th annual Holiday Carousel, a life-size, spinning carousel with ponies made of chocolate and fondant, handcrafted poinsettia and gingerbread snowflakes – look for 14 hidden Mickeys, one for each year! The chefs used 36 pounds of honey, 96 pounds of bread flour, 100 pounds of icing and 50 pounds of dark chocolate to create the extravaganza that also features a miniature Magic Kingdom Park Castle made of gingerbread. Sweets for sale include mini-gingerbread houses, cookies, gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese icing, stollen and gingerbread kits. While you’re there, look for a new winter wonderland gingerbread scene in Fittings and Fairings, as well as a chocolate Maleficent at the Beach Club Marketplace.
  • Next door at Disney’s Yacht Club, an adorable holiday village with miniature train adorns the lobby, surrounded with sugar rock mountains.
  • At Epcot on the Promenade at American Adventure in World Showcase, Mrs. Claus’ Bake Shop is offering freshly baked gingerbread, sugar and chocolate cookies, peppermint bark, hot cocoa and ciders (perfect for Epcot Candlelight Processional snacks). Inside, you’ll find a gingerbread version of the Capitol building of the United States.
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Neil Patrick Harris Narrates the Candlelight Processional November 30-December 2

posted on November 30th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Actor Neil Patrick Harris will take the stage tonight at Epcot as narrator of the Candlelight Processional.

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Neil, who has participated in the show for several years, is a fan-favorite narrator among many Disney guests. The show – which is a retelling of the Christmas story, accompanied by a live orchestra and choir – will take place nightly at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. “The Candlelight Processional” is included in theme park admission.

Is @ActuallyNPH one of your favorites in the lineup? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

Click here for a full list of 2014 Candlelight Processional narrators. As usual, entertainment is subject to change.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort