Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on November 23rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


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This week, we featured some “must-see” time-lapse videos on the Disney Parks Blog, including an amazing look at the all-new Disney’s Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Holiday Ice Castle inspired by Disney’s blockbuster film, “Frozen”.

Watch our video and try to find Olaf. He’s hidden 14 places in the display. Pam also included more details about the 17-foot-tall masterpiece in her original story.

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We also kicked off a new series at Disney’s Contemporary Resort this week. Our “Room with a View” stories will feature suites at the Walt Disney World Resort that have something special in common – a spectacular view.

Our first room with a view is a Club Level 1 Bedroom Theme Park View Suite on the 14th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You can see more images as well as book a stay at the Resort in our original story.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Mad T Party Steps Out of Disney California Adventure Park and Back Through the Looking Glass November 30 – Mad T Party will leave Disney California Adventure park after its November 30 performance. This is your chance to travel down the rabbit hole one more time!

Disneyland Resort Entertainment Team Shares Their Favorite Festive Feature for ‘it’s a small world’ Holiday – Watch as the same team behind Haunted Mansion Holiday’s magical makeover tells us about their favorite holiday enhancements at another famous attraction!

Visions of the Future Spring Up at Downtown Disney – Get a few more glimpses of the future as Downtown Disney continues to undergo its transformation into Disney Springs.

Planning for a Day at Castaway Cay – Dolly from the Disney Parks Moms Panel shares some of the excellent activities to take part in on this island paradise!

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: What’s in the Name? – Learn the significance behind the name of Disney’s beautiful resort on O’ahu, and how it seeks to celebrate Hawai‘i’s rich legacy of storytelling.

Runners Show Off Their ‘Super Hero Side’ at Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon – Meet some of the super heroes who ran the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon last weekend.

December 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort – Disney Parks Blog author Michelle Harker shares some of the details on merchandise events coming to Disneyland Resort in December.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: A Happy Birthday to Mickey Mouse

posted on November 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this week, we celebrated Mickey Mouse’s birthday with a “Mickey takeover” of the Disney Parks Blog.

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Our favorite pal was brought into existence by creator Walt Disney on November 18, 1928. Be sure to click through the gallery above to see photos of Mickey Mouse throughout the history of our parks.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Things That Spin in the Night at Disneyland Resort … Revisited

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Back in 2011, I started a Disney Parks Blog series called “Things That Spin In the Night.” It featured motion-blurred images of attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. I thought it would be fun to revisit that series today.

The photos from “Things That Spin In the Night” included after-dark images of Astro Orbitor, Mad T Party, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Silly Symphony Swings, and the Golden Zephyr. I realized that there was a particular photo of the Golden Zephyr that I didn’t take the first time around. The first time, I focused more on getting three attractions in one photo. This time, I focused on getting the name of the attraction in the photo. As you can see, the Golden Zephyr sign in the front of the attraction is quite attractive, especially at night when it has a blue glow.

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Click on the links below to see more of the “Things That Spin in the Night” series:

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Runners Show Off Their ‘Super Hero Side’ at Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you participate in a runDisney event, or simply come out to support a runner, one of the first the first things you notice is the variety of costumes runners wear during the race. From beloved Disney character-inspired outfits to dressing for the theme of the race, the creativity is amazing and unique to a runDisney event. And this weekend’s inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort set the bar a little higher.

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For several years now, I have had the privilege to stand at the start and finish lines for several runDisney events, and in my humble opinion, costumes this past weekend rank #1. Runners went above and beyond expectations in creating and designing their super hero alter ego. It was my observation that the most popular costume for men and women was Captain America, closely followed by Thor and Hulk. Thanks to our runners, I was introduced to super hero characters I didn’t know existed.

It really was amazing and now I can’t wait to see what Star Wars runners do in January!!

On Sunday, Disney photographer Matt Stroshane went in search of ‘super’ creative costumes. We hope you will enjoy the photo gallery featuring a few super heroes who took on and defeated 13.1 miles at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

For more information and to register for an upcoming runDisney event, visit runDisney.com.

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Room With A View: ‘Theme Park View’ Suite at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

posted on November 18th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Today, we’re kicking off a new series on the Disney Parks Blog, featuring suites at Walt Disney World Resort that have something special in common – a spectacular view.

Our first room with a view is a Club Level 1 Bedroom Theme Park View Suite on the 14th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and one of its most impressive features is the amazing sight of Magic Kingdom Park during the day and the spectacular fireworks at the park when the sun sets.

Of course, the view inside this 1,428 square foot suite is just as impressive. There’s unique artwork throughout the suite, and the open living room is set up with Bose surround sound as well as a DVD and stereo systems.

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The living room and bedroom have an oversize balcony with lounge chairs to enjoy the view of Magic Kingdom Park. The suite also features two full bathrooms and a separate living area.

You can book this suite now at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. To find prices and availability for this suite, visit our Disneyworld.com page.

We’re just getting going with this series, so let us know if this is your favorite resort view or if you have another at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Very Merry Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on November 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s Disney Parks After Dark image was snapped at Magic Kingdom Park during the special holiday fireworks that guests can see during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

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The fireworks show, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, is just one of my favorite parts of attending the annual Christmas parties – in addition to Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and the special character meet and greets. What’s your favorite part of the party? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

Thanks to photographer Mark Willard for the amazing shot.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarin Conservation Projects Earn Prestigious Award for Environmental Protection in Colombia!

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Hola desde Colombia! Avid Disney Parks Blog readers may be familiar with the cotton-top tamarin pair that recently moved into a new home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the pair delights guests and enjoys their new home, they also serve as animal ambassadors for cotton-top tamarins that live in their native tropical forest home in Colombia. Members of Disney’s Animal Programs have been working with Proyecto Tití in Colombia on a long-term conservation program to protect Colombia’s critically endangered primate. For the past 20+ years, Proyecto Tití and Disney have worked together to not only study wild cotton-top tamarins in the forests of Colombia, but we have helped to develop education programs for rural communities to teach about the importance of protecting cotton-tops and their forest homes and, most importantly, working with communities to develop sustainable income-generating programs so that they can reduce their dependency on forest products. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has also helped to support Proyecto Tití by helping to support the first conservation center dedicated to cotton-top tamarin conservation, awarding Felix Medina as a 2013 Conservation Hero, and providing emergency funding to help stop a fire that was spreading to the forests where our long-term field site is located earlier this year.

I am pleased to share exciting news on behalf of this organization that is so near and dear to my heart. Caracol, the largest television network in Colombia, recently announced the winners of their prize for Protecting the Environment in Colombia, and Proyecto Tití won first place!

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More than 90 organizations applied in two categories – programs led by local communities and those led by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). After selecting Proyecto Tití as one of five finalists, the expert selection committee visited the field site in Santa Catalina and had the opportunity to go into the forest to meet the cotton-tops for the first time in their lives! After their trip to the forest, the committee visited the community of Los Limites where they met the artisans that create the beautiful eco-mochilas and plush cotton-top tamarins toys. The artisans shared how they have been able to start their own businesses and how having a stable source of income has reduced the need to consume forest resources. The last stop for the judges was without a doubt the most impactful. It was when they met the students who have been part of the CARTITILLA, and other education efforts, that they really saw the difference that Proyecto Tití has made in Colombian communities. They couldn’t believe how passionate and dedicated the students are to protecting cotton-tops!

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At the awards ceremony, Felix Medina, a member of the Proyecto Tití team since it began, was overcome with emotion saying, “I remember how difficult it was when we first began working with cotton-tops, but we didn’t give up, we kept on moving forward and now our work has been recognized for its importance in saving cotton-tops. This is the best day for me and for cotton-tops!” Juan Manuael Beltran, Corporate Responsibility Advisor to Caracol shared, “There was no doubt who should win this award. Proyecto Titi’s long-term efforts to bring national and international attention to cotton-top tamarins, their education programs and their income generating programs for local communities, are a model for organizations to use in establishing conservation programs that are effective in Colombia …”

As part of the first place prize, Caracol will provide Proyecto Tití an amazing opportunity to share its story with their viewers and inspire everyone in Colombia to join us in saving cotton-top tamarins! I’ve studied these little monkeys for over 20 years. It brings me great joy to work with the Proyecto Tití team and share this exciting achievement with them!

Check out the photo gallery for more great photos from Colombia!

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Photo Gallery: Disney Castles That Have Been Covered in Real Snow

posted on November 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier we mentioned that tonight guests will gather at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort to watch Elsa (from “Frozen”) magically transform Cinderella Castle into a glittering ice palace during the “Castle Dream Lights” and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.

But did you know that there are actually a few Disney Parks castles that occasionally find themselves dusted with real snow?

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Disneyland Park (Paris) is located in Marne-la-Vallée, France, and sees regular snowfall. These shots were snapped in December 2010, after a sizeable flurry added extra holiday charm to the park’s Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant castle. (Click through the gallery to see additional park attractions covered in snow).

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Every so often, Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland will also see some snowfall. Our friends at the park shared these amazing shots of their temporary “ice” castle – and other attractions – back in January 2013.

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Years ago at Tokyo Disneyland, some Disney characters took advantage of the snowfall for a playful snowball fight with their park’s snowy castle as a backdrop. Check out that photo above.

Snow-Capped Mountains Behind Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle

While it doesn’t snow in Anaheim, California (home to the Disneyland Resort), it has in higher elevations around the city. In 2009, we shared this image, which shows Sleeping Beauty Castle with snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains as the backdrop.

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Filed: Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

New Holiday Decor Coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 4th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially at Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. With new decor coming to the Marketplace this holiday season, there’s even more to celebrate!

Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Holiday Services Warehouse to get a sneak peek at what’s coming. Can you imagine a giant treasure trove of holiday magic, filled from top-to-bottom with sky-high trees, larger-than-life snowmen and thousands of ornaments in every size and shape imaginable? I couldn’t, until I saw it for myself!

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I was able to get permission to share some early photos of the new enhancements coming to Downtown Disney. The new look and feel is tied to the idea of a ‘uniquely handcrafted’ Christmas. Many of the elements use found objects such as yarn, spools, buttons, burlap and the like. Remember making felt stocking ornaments as a kid? Or creating reindeer keepsakes out of clothespins? These ornaments are similar, but on a much grander scale.

Keep in mind that many of these images showcase works in progress, so what you see in the gallery below is just the start of what’s to come.

New Holiday Decor Coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

As you visit Downtown Disney this holiday shopping season, be sure to keep an eye out for all that’s new. With over 70 venues open for your enjoyment, plus the opportunity to meet Santa during Festival of the Seasons (November 14 – December 30, 2014), Downtown Disney is a ‘must-do’ during this festive time of year!

Tips for visiting during the holidays:

  • Arrive earlier in the day for a more leisurely shopping experience.
  • If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, take complimentary transportation, as parking may be limited.
  • Follow the signs to available parking, which may be located in adjacent lots across the street.
  • Allow extra travel time for reservations or showtimes; we suggest 60 minutes in advance.
  • When driving via I-4, take exit 67 for the most efficient route to property.

I love the holidays … the shopping, the music, the and yes, the peppermint lattes from Starbucks! Luckily, I can enjoy all that (and much more) right here at Downtown Disney, which makes me a happy little elf.

What’s your favorite part of the holiday season at Downtown Disney? Please share in the comments below – I’d love to know!

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It’s a Happy Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on October 31st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It sure looks like a Happy Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland, where guests are enjoying “Disney’s Haunted Halloween” celebration.

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All month long, guests have been meeting Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes, attending spooky stage shows, enjoying special menu items and snapping up special Halloween merchandise. For a look inside the celebration, be sure to click through the gallery above.

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