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Edible Art: Exquisite Macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at France Pavilion in Epcot

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Almost (almost) too pretty to eat, the dainty macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at the France Pavilion at Epcot are lined up like beautiful jewels in the pastry case – edible art, a sophisticated, light-as-a-feather French classic. Fans will fly to Paris for the perfect macaron, but now Epcot World Showcase guests can savor the tiny treats.

Thought to have originated centuries ago – macarons are a delicate, crisp-chewy balance of almond meringue cookies sandwiched with silky centers. They come in various flavors: right now you can find chocolate, raspberry, mixed berries, pistachio and white chocolate, and banana passion, packaged in a pretty box of five for $10.33 plus tax. (For the ultimate macaron decadence, try the rich, creamy chocolate macaron ice cream sandwich next door at L’Artisan Des Glaces.)

Macarons are a complicated sweet to create – take a look at Chef Olivier Saintemarie’s ballet of sweet ingredients.

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: An Extra Week This Fall

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve already got our culinary plan of attack for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival opening in just about two weeks (March 5 – May 18), and now we can look ahead to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that’s going to run a record 53 days, from September 19 – November 10. Maybe this year will be the year to sample all of the great tastes.

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That’s a whole extra week to take in the marketplaces, cool concerts and some very special dinners. Stay tuned, we won’t have the lineup of celebrity and Disney chefs until summer, but will share here on the Disney Parks Blog. And keep an eye on epcotfoodfestival.com for updates.

In the meantime, check out the Outdoor Kitchen and raised garden beds at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, a completely different culinary experience from fall’s Food & Wine Fest. Between the two, we have 128 days of yum.

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Eau de World Showcase – A Fragrant Journey Around Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 17th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’ve long associated Epcot with a variety of wonderful scents. A sniff of an orange, a rose or a campfire reminds me of my three favorite Future World pavilions – Horizons, Journey Into Imagination and Spaceship Earth respectively. In World Showcase, there are also many delightful things to smell, from the signature restaurants (hello, Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier in Canada pavilion) to the several merchandise locations that offer a variety of fragrances. I recently strolled around the “world” in search of the perfumes, lotions and more you can take home or give as gifts.

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My journey began in Norway pavilion where I found fragrances for women and men by Geir Ness. You may recall my previous interview with Geir about his perfume “Laila” which he named after his mother.

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Next, I made my way to Italy pavilion where the Il Bel Cristallo shop offers several items by Fendi, Prada, Acqua di Parma, Bvlgari and Valentino.

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The Mitsukoshi Department Store in Japan pavilion has a small assortment of perfumes and colognes by Shiseido (my personal cologne of choice!) and Issey Miyake. This pavilion is also one of three World Showcase pavilions that carries incense. I love the sandalwood incense sticks from Japan (I consider it the official scent of my apartment). Look for other incense options in China pavilion and Morocco pavilion.

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The France pavilion is home to two different fragrance destinations. The Plume et Pallette shop is home to designer French fragrances from Chanel, Escada, Givenchy, Lacoste and more. In La Signature, you can choose from over 70 different French cosmetics and fragrances, including Guerlain.

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Finally, I made my way to United Kingdom pavilion where I found a small assortment of lotions and other goods from Buckingham Palace. The Lords & Ladies shop also had gift sets and fragrances by the Berkeley Square Cosmetic Company.

After all this talk of scents, I wish my computer monitor had a scratch and sniff option.

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‘Frozen’ Fun at Disney Parks

posted on February 10th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


How many times have you seen “Frozen?”

Audiences around the world have fallen in love with the movie and its music, making “Frozen” one of Disney’s biggest hits of all time! And today I have an update for you on Anna and Elsa, the royal sisters from the film, who have been spotted at Disney Parks since November.

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With things in Arendelle well in hand, Anna and Elsa plan to continue visiting guests at the parks for the foreseeable future. When at Disneyland Resort, they can be found in Fantasyland in Disneyland park, and you can meet them in Norway at Epcot when they make their way to Walt Disney World Resort. While you’re in Norway, be sure to check out the new “Norsk Kultur” gallery, with an exhibit exploring how the culture and beauty of Norway inspired the filmmakers in the creation of “Frozen.”

Over at Magic Kingdom Park, Anna and Elsa will be joining the new daytime spectacular, “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” next month as part of the Princess Garden, along with fellow Disney Royals Belle, Cinderella, and Tiana. And in the evening, you can take in a performance of “Celebrate the Magic,” the nighttime projection show that transforms Cinderella Castle with eye-popping visuals from Disney animated classics, including “Frozen.”

So you may not be able to build any snowmen on your next Disney Parks vacation, but you can definitely count on warm hugs and lots of “Frozen” fun!

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

Show Your Disney Side with New Spring 2014 Apparel for Women and Girls at Disney Parks

posted on February 5th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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There are two times during the year that our Disney Theme Park Merchandise team introduces new apparel at Disney Parks – spring and fall. Since the spring items can be set as early as February, I contacted the softlines team for an update. They shared with me a few new items for women and girls that I thought would be perfect for showing off your Disney Side at Disney Parks.

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The first program is based on the new Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts that were recently introduced on the Disney Channel and on Disney.com. I love the animated style and humor of these new Mickey Mouse cartoons especially “Potatoland,” “Tokyo Go” and “Croissant de Triomphe.” The four new women’s T-shirts feature Mickey Mouse and friends drawn in that same cartoon style. My favorite T-shirt has Minnie Mouse on the front of the shirt kissing Mickey Mouse who is found on the back.

In California, look for these T-shirts at World of Disney in Downtown Disney District, Gone Hollywood at Disney California Adventure park, and Disney Clothiers in Disneyland park.

For guests in Florida, look for the T-shirts at World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, Mouse Gear at Epcot, and Emporium at Magic Kingdom Park.

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The softlines team also shared with me four new Minnie Mouse T-shirts coming soon to Disney Parks. They are part of a new art program called “Beyond the Dot” which contains a host of fresh, fashion-forward designs and original illustrations by Disney Design Group artists. These four women’s T-shirts are some of the first from that program. Look for additional styles in the coming months that feature Minnie Mouse in a whole new way.

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For girls, the softlines team is introducing four T-shirts that feature classic couples like Ariel and Prince Eric, or Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. They said these T-shirts are test items as they have never really featured couples like this before on girls’ apparel.

The girls’ T-shirts and the “Beyond the Dot” items will be carried in select locations at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. There are no immediate plans to carry these items on the Disney Parks online store.

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

Flower Power Concert Series Adds New Acts, Returns To Epcot March 7

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


The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is just about one month away and today we’re happy to share this year’s Flower Power Concert Series lineup with you.

Village People Will Preform at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The Flower Power Concert Series showcases the music of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, with concerts taking place Friday – Sunday at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the America Gardens Theatre. This year’s lineup includes two new acts – Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and the Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye In The Sky”) – as well as returning favorites like the Village People. Check out the full entertainment schedule (subject to change) below:

  • March 7-9 - The Guess Who
  • March 14-16 – Gary Lewis and the Playboys NEW
  • March 21-23 – The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO
  • March 28-30 – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • April 4-6 – Paul Revere & The Raiders
  • April 11-13 – Village People
  • April 18-20 – The Grass Roots
  • April 25-27 – Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
  • May 2-4 - STARSHIP Starring Mickey Thomas
  • May 9-11 – Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • May 16-18 – Alan Parsons Live Project NEW

Who are you planning to see this spring? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

For more information, visit EpcotInSpring.com.

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Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise Event Snapshot – February 2014

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


February is here! Whether you are heading to Walt Disney World Resort for vacation or for the day, here are some great merchandise events you won’t want to miss.

February 7 – 9: Looking for the perfect gift to pamper your Valentine? Heather Swanepoel from Rinse Bath and Body Co. can help you find just what you’re looking for. Heather will be at Port of Entry in Epcot each day throughout the weekend as she showcases the latest skin moisturizers, facial masks and scented soaps, among other items. My personal favorite: The flavored lip balm. Learn more here.

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February 8: Join us for the launch of the Pop of Minnie collection from Beautifully Disney and take part in Mini-Makeovers, or should I say “Minnie”-Makeovers from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more here.

February 8: Take a walk on the “wild side” with Rosemary Begley who will be on hand to showcase some of her latest pieces of art inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Meet Rosemary from 1 – 3 p.m. at Disney Outfitters located on Discovery Island. Learn more here.

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February 12 – 16: Artist Greg McCullough will be on hand for a special artist showcase at Art of Disney in Epcot. Greg will also be available February 26 – March 2 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more here.

February 13 – 14: Precious Moments Doll Maker Linda Rick is back! Be sure to stop in and say hello at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of her Valentine’s inspired collection. Look for Linda to make an additional appearance later in the month from February 21 – 23. Learn more here.

February 13 – 17: Internationally known artist Larry Dotson will be appearing daily at the Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Be sure to stop by and say hello as you check out some of Larry’s newest releases. Learn more here.

February 14 – 15: Join us as we welcome Designer, Petra Azar to Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace for a special Valentine’s Weekend trunk show! Find necklaces, earrings and more, for yourself or for the one you love. Meet Petra from 1 – 9 p.m. each day. Learn more here.

February 14 – 21: Are you a fan of David E. Doss? Mark your calendars, David will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection. Learn more here.

February 22: Make sure to mark your calendar for a special Steampunk artist signing at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace as we celebrate the release of artwork and collectibles inspired by turn of the century inventors and writers, as well as artwork inspired by Disney attractions, icons and innovations that have been cultivated from this view of the future from the past. Disney Design Group artists Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will be on hand from 2 – 5 p.m. to sign their masterpieces.

More things are coming your way, so stay tuned!

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Starting March 5

posted on January 28th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

My fellow Disney Parks Blog author Jennifer Fickley-Baker recently shared that the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is returning to Walt Disney World Resort on March 5. Her story prompted me to do some digging for details about the merchandise being offered this year. Here is a first look at some of my favorite items coming to Epcot.
New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Featuring Garden Items

You may recall that we introduced topiary artwork last year to our merchandise assortment. This fun and festive artwork was created by our Yellow Shoes Marketing group and it was wildly popular with guests attending the event. This year, we have used that artwork on new softlines, home décor and more.
New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I particularly love some of the new garden items including a Minnie Mouse wind chime that I think my mother would enjoy. The Donald Duck garden stake also made me laugh (I think he’s my favorite character topiary image from this event). We will also have a new 12-inch pre-dressed Duffy the Disney Bear that resembles a garden gnome. I’m personally buzzing about the updated coffee mug that features a hidden bee image inside.
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Topiaries also found their way onto new pins created especially for this year’s Festival. There is a limited release pin featuring Mickey Mouse that will be found in multiple locations through Epcot. There are also a series of limited-edition pins that include characters like Kermit the Frog or Mater and Lightning McQueen.
New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Featuring Vinylmation

Finally, the Vinylmation team will introduce a new “revealed/concealed” mystery set with figures shaped like topiaries on March 28. Disney Design Group artist Caley Hicks designed the 3-inch figures. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey topiary is the revealed figure in the set, and it will be found on the top of each mystery box. The other four figures will be randomly packaged, so you won’t know which one you get.

I invite you to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks as I will be offering a first look inside the Festival Center located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy pavilions at Epcot.

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A look inside Spice Road Table at Epcot

posted on January 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With fantastic views of World Showcase Lagoon and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from almost every angle of the restaurant, pretty Spice Road Table officially opens today, an authentic taste of the Mediterranean at the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot. Along with the new eatery, there’s live entertainment from Mo Rockin’ Band, henna tattoos, a “juice” bar and a shop stocked with great Mediterranean flavors to carry home (from olives to spicy harissa and mint tea). It’s a lively spot!
Spice Road Table Soft Opens – Official Opening Date Coming Soon


We love the icy blue wall color, beautiful Moroccan lighting, tilework and tapestries, and with 120 outdoor terrace seats, and 60 seats inside, it’s a hot spot for all-day dining and nightly IllumiNations. But we enjoy just relaxing with a cold drink and small plate any time of day. A fun way to sample the cuisine is one of two tapas platters, one with mussels tagine, salted cod croquettes and fried calamari, the other with a lamb slider, harissa chicken roll and merguez sausage. Pair that with organic sangria, a Mediterranean beer or signature cocktail (we like the refreshing pomegranate mimosa).

If you aren’t ready to sit and just want something cold on a hot afternoon, the juice bar is the spot for a Morocarita, Habibi Daiquiri or Sultan’s Colada (there’s also a non-alcoholic drink); ice cream in unusual flavors such as toasted almond and rosewater, plus beer, sangria and wine.

Hours are 11 a.m. until Epcot park closing. There are no reservations, and Disney Dining Plan isn’t accepted.

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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns March 5-May 18

posted on January 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will return to the park March 5, with new Muppet-themed topiaries, Outdoor Kitchens, and first-time acts in the Flower Power Concert Series.

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This year’s topiaries will feature Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt at the park’s main entrance, while Kermit and Miss Piggy will appear in World Showcase.

Outdoor Kitchens, which debuted at the festival last year, will return to showcase a slew of new “sweet & savory” and “spring-inspired” menu items.

Earlier this week, Disney Parks Blog author Charles Stovall gave you a look at new HGTV & DIY Network stars who will appear at the festival – but they aren’t the only new entertainers. Two new acts are also on the schedule for this year’s Flower Power Concert Series: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”).

Many festival favorites are also returning this year, with daily gardening seminars taking place at the Festival Center, and Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House will again be all a flutter with color.

For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

For more information, visit EpcotInSpring.com.

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort