Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park

Spring Blooms Bright at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


When you think of spring at Walt Disney World, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is likely the first thing that comes to mind. I agree, but lately, as I’ve been walking around Downtown Disney, I can’t help but notice that we’ve got a lot of colorful blooms sprouting up here, too.

My favorite, a Mickey and Minnie topiary that makes me smile every time I see it, is located near the Marketplace Fun Fountains and Earl of Sandwich. It’s the perfect photo backdrop to mark the season.

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I recently had the chance to connect with Horticulture Manager Patrick Zusack to learn more about what it takes to keep the magic growing. Patrick’s dedicated team of seven cast members starts at early at 5 a.m. each morning – which makes sense, given their task of maintaining over 21 acres of irrigated landscaping. I’ve learned that there are over 25,000 bedding plants, more than 350 containers and 75 hanging baskets currently on display daily at Downtown Disney, all adding abundant seasonal color for our guests to enjoy while visiting the property. Patrick, a 25-year cast member, shares that the most rewarding part of his job is “wowing our guests and then seeing them take pictures of one another and utilizing our colorful garden as their backdrops.”

From flower beds in front of World of Disney to potted plants lining the new pedestrian walkway that connects Pleasure Island and West Side, floral fun abounds in all three Downtown Disney districts.

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Be sure to keep an eye out for pretty petals during your next visit. In the meantime, check out the gallery below for a few of my favorite buds, then let me know which floral display at Walt Disney World Resort tops your list!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Step in Time: ‘Share A Dream Come True’ Parade Marks 100 Years of Magic

posted on April 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The “Share A Dream Come True” parade made its debut at Magic Kingdom Park on October 1, 2001, just in time for Walt Disney World Resort’s 100 Years of Magic Celebration, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.

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The parade kicked off with a mini float, upon which a performer dressed as an animator sketched Mickey Mouse at his desk and was followed by a string of floats that each showcased a different Disney film. Each float, designed as a life-sized snowglobe, contained a scene from a Disney film that was being recreated right before your eyes, such as the magic carpet scene from “Aladdin.” The procession also featured a Villains float, in which the Chernabog held the giant snowglobe, which was occupied by other Disney villains, including Captain Hook, Cruella DeVille and Jafar, among others.


For more from the “Step in Time” series, read the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: A ‘Frozen’ Royal Reception at Disneyland Park

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


The “Frozen” Royal Reception cottage in Fantasyland at Disneyland park takes on a different feeling in the early morning hours before sunrise. I love the light reflecting off the wet surface that makes the cottage enchanting.

In the “Disney Parks After Dark” series, one thing that stands out in the photos from the different parks is the beautiful lighting. The photo below is a good example of how Disney uses light to enhance the park after dark.
The Frozen Royal Reception Cottage in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park


See more of Disneyland park in out “Disney Parks After Dark” series:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: The Seas with Nemo & Friends Earns Praise for Conservation Efforts, Animal Care from Accrediting Association

posted on April 16th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Earth Month is a time when we give extra thought to how we can protect our planet year-round, including our amazing oceans and marine wildlife. So it is with tremendous pride that I share the news that The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot was granted accreditation once again by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those aquariums and zoos that meet the highest standards,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “As a leader in wildlife conservation and animal care, inspiring millions of visitors each year, The Seas is ranked among the best aquariums in the world.”

To be accredited, The Seas underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care; veterinary programs; conservation, research and education; safety; guest services; and quality of staff.

The accreditation process, which must be repeated in its entirety every five years, includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observed all aspects of the operation at The Seas, and met with and interviewed Seas and other Disney leadership and Cast.

Some of the points of particular achievement noted by the inspection team included:

  • The Seas conservation programs, including its partnership with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and conservation efforts in the state of Florida and beyond.
  • Education programs that address both local and global conservation, including guests with special needs.
  • Excellence in animal care, including enrichment, a strong program of veterinary care and nutrition, and research projects that foster animal health and knowledge focused on animals at The Seas and in the wild.
  • Staff who are dedicated, knowledgeable and exhibit a spirit of teamwork.

Being accredited by the AZA is an important way the team at The Seas with Nemo & Friends shows how much they care about connecting people with animals, and inspiring families and children to protect wildlife and nature.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Sunset at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

posted on April 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Is watching the sunset from a Disney Resort a must-do for you when visiting Walt Disney World Resort? I have to say that we have some amazing skies here in Florida – and pink clouds are always my favorite. Check them out in this view from the pier at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

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Disney Parks Celebrates ‘it’s a small world’ Live On ‘Good Morning America’

posted on April 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier today, Disney theme parks around the world joined in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “it’s a small world” attraction, part of which was featured live on “Good Morning America.”

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The broadcast began with a chorus of kids singing live in Times Square, cast members and children singing in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, a children’s chorus and dancing dragons at Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park (Paris), and ended with Disney cast members singing in front of the first “it’s a small world” attraction at Disneyland Park, punctuated with a finale of fireworks.

Check out the video below to see the celebration for yourself.

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

Wildlife Wednesdays: Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; More Earth Day Fun at The Seas with Nemo & Friends

posted on April 9th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


In what has become a beloved annual tradition, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hosting a Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day (April 22). Guests can find out what they can do to make their backyards wildlife-friendly and discover other ways to connect with, and conserve, wildlife and nature. They also can learn about some very special wildlife — brown bears in Alaska — in celebration of the release of “Bears,” Disneynature’s newest theatrical release.

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As guests enter the park, they can stop by a display in the main entrance area featuring wildlife-friendly backyard habitats and pick up a Party for the Planet postcard.

The fun continues at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where families can play a supermarket game and learn how their purchases can make a big difference for wildlife and wild places, discover new ways to spend time in nature, talk to cast members who work on conservation projects around the world, participate in a variety of nature activities—including activities focused on brown bears — and find out more about the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

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Face painters and caricature artists will be extending into Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and featuring bear-themed and other animal designs.

Special merchandise will be available at locations throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and, through April 30, a Safari-costumed Duffy the Disney Bear will be sold at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. One dollar from each sale will be donated to the National Park Foundation through Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund to celebrate Disneynature “Bears.”

At Epcot, Earth Day will be celebrated at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, where children can find out (by trying it!) how turtle excluder devices protect sea turtles, and learn about conservation efforts to protect coral reefs, manatees, sharks and the many other amazing creatures that inhabit our oceans. At VISION House in Innoventions at Epcot, a ground-breaking green show home exhibit, guests can learn about sustainable living, and on Earth Day, also can play the supermarket game to learn how their purchases can help wildlife and nature.

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Be on the lookout for other Earth Day activities at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Did you know?

  • Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears” arrives in theaters April 18, just in time for Earth Day. See the movie during its opening week (April 18-24, 2014) and Disneynature will make a donation to the National Park Foundation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect wildlife and nature.
  • Bears are one of the featured animals in the new free Disneynature Explore app. Click here to download Disneynature Explore free on the App Store.

Upcoming 2014 events for connecting families with nature (as always, dates subject to change):

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • May 6: International Migratory Bird Day
  • May 20: World Turtle Day
  • June 10: Pollinator Day
  • July 29: Big Cat Day
  • August 5: Primate Day
  • September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:

  • May 20: World Turtle Day
  • June 4: World Ocean Day
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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Morocco Pavilion After Sunset at Epcot

posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “After Dark” image was shot by Disney Photographer Kent Phillips in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot. I just love the gold colors of the buildings against the dark blue sky. What do you think? Is this one of your favorite pavilions to visit at night?

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The Newest Downtown Disney Marketplace Kiosk is for the Dogs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Recently, I let our @WDWDowntown Twitter followers know about Happy Hound, a brand-new kiosk at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The response was overwhelming, so today, I’m sharing even more info with all of you!

If you have a pooch, this is the place to score custom collars and tags, trendy outfits, squeaky toys – including a hilarious mustache fetch toy – and more for your favorite four-legged friends.

I don’t have any pets myself, but my sister has a loveable Boxer named Otis. He may not be the smartest dog, but he’s so sweet with my two young nieces that he probably deserves a special surprise from me!

Scroll through the photos below to see some of the offerings at Happy Hound. As a girl who loves to accessorize, I’m most excited about the personalized collars and engravable dog tags – though there’s plenty more to love.

The Newest Downtown Disney Marketplace Kiosk is for the Dogs at Walt Disney World Resort

Look for Happy Hound during your next visit to the Marketplace; it’s located near Marketplace Fun Finds and LittleMissMatched. (And remember, for the latest news and updates, be sure to follow the Downtown Disney Twitter handle at @WDWDowntown.)

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Step in Time: A Look Back at the ‘Remember the Magic’ Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

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


Just the title of this blog post has this parade’s theme song running through my head, how about you?
A Look Back at the ‘Remember the Magic’ Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

The year 1996 was a memorable one at Disney. It was the 25th anniversary of Magic Kingdom Park, an occasion that turned Cinderella Castle into a giant pink birthday cake, and the “Remember the Magic” parade debuted.

In this procession, Sorcerer Mickey led the way on a special Cinderella Castle-inspired float filled with Disney characters. Ariel and other characters from “The Little Mermaid” appeared in an impressive seashell float, surrounded by dancing fish friends, who would periodically pause and encourage guests to celebrate by dancing along. “The Lion King” also had its own float, which featured Simba, Pumbaa and other characters from the film. Rafiki also walked along the parade path and encouraged young guests to participate in the fun by beating drums.

Do you remember this parade (and its theme song)? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort