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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Sneak Peeks at Polynesian Fun at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 28th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, we shared a few peeks inside the changes happening at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Our author Amanda Adler shared a look inside the amazing new bungalow rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World Resort.

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

She also gave us a look at the view guests can expect at night in this week’s “After Dark” series.

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Pam Brandon gave us another sneak peek at the highly anticipated Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, which will debut at the resort late-April.

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The location will serve tropical themed beverages and small plates. Be sure to check out Pam’s original post for all of the tasty details!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Much-Anticipated Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Opens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

posted on March 27th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Enthusiastic fans of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel are celebrating the soft opening March 28 of the East Coast version. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is located off the main lobby of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort; the adjacent Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace offers views of the marina and Seven Seas Lagoon. Official opening is set for late April, when the coveted Tiki souvenir glassware arrives. (Tiki fans go bananas for the collectible mugs.) As soon as the official date is set, we will share on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Founded by Adventureland’s famous “head” salesman, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto has some similarities to the Anaheim original. But at Walt Disney World Resort, the magical theming reflects its new resort location. This enchanted South Seas hideaway welcomes guests to explore a menu of “magical tropical drinks and food,” and while this new version shares a few cocktails and small plates, Beverage Manager Brad Ward, Chef Lenny DeGeorge, and the Concept Development team have created new menu items just for the Walt Disney World Resort Trader Sam’s.

The famous Trader Sam cocktails, available in Disney collectible Tiki mugs, are a mix of old and new. We won’t share ingredients, but the names might give away the concoctions.

Only at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto:

  • Polynesian Pearl
  • Nautilus
  • Castaway Crush
  • Tahitian Torch
  • Dark & Tropical Stormy

Favorites imported from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar:

  • Krakatoa Punch
  • Uh-Oa!
  • HippopotoMai-Tai
  • Shrunken Zombie Head

And there are Sam’s No-Booze Brews:

  • Schweitzer Fall
  • Skipper Sipper
  • Polynesian Punch

Small bites are on the menu, with a couple inspired by the Disneyland Trader Sam’s menu – the chicken lettuce cups with hoisin ginger sauce and the Hawaiian poke with Sriracha aioli and wonton chips. New to the Walt Disney World Resort menu are kalua pork tacos with shredded cabbage and pickled vegetables; pan-fried dumplings with soy-sesame dipping sauce; roasted chicken and pork pâté bánh mì sliders with pickled vegetables; salmon oshizushi (press sushi); corn-battered Portuguese sausages with curry ketchup and a Headhunter Sushi Roll.

The lounge has 50 seats inside and 82 on the patio. No reservations are required.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: View of the Electrical Water Pageant from New Bora Bora Bungalows at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 26th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


We’re less than one week away from the grand opening of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World Resort.

When completed, the resort will feature 360 Deluxe Studios, as well as 20 over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows offering private decks complete with personal plunge pools and views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom Park area. Guests staying the Bungalows will be able to watch Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from their back decks (complete with the fireworks soundtrack pumped in for their listening pleasure), as well as the Electrical Water Pageant. Check out the view!

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This photo, shot last week, truly captures the beauty of this timeless nighttime parade combined with the classic South Pacific styling of our newest resort addition.

To read more about the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, visit the stories below:

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A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

posted on March 24th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


When talking about the soon-to-open Bora Bora Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World Resort, it’s hard not to gush on and on. These 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom over-the-water accommodations offer sleeping room for eight, a private deck complete with an individual plunge pool, a full kitchen, gorgeous décor, views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom Park area, in-mirror television in the master bath, a washer and dryer in each unit, gated boardwalk access and other fun features. I really could go on and on (and on).

But they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and this is certainly one time I have to agree. And, thankfully, I don’t have just one picture to share with you today, I have many.

Let’s start with the boardwalk and front porch leading into a Bungalow. Notice the handcrafted wind chime.

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

Once inside, you’ll find two bedrooms, both offering Mary Blair-inspired bed throws. The second bedroom also offers a sleek surfboard headboard and a fun window seat that’s perfect for relaxing.

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

The master bedroom offers a door to the deck, where you’ll find these (oh so comfy) chairs. Plus, not only is the master bathroom gorgeous, it features an in-mirror television!

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

The living room offers furnishings with a mid-century modern flair. And the full kitchen comes complete with a table seating eight.

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

Oh yeah, and did I mention the plunge pool? You’ll be able to watch (and listen to the soundtrack thanks to the piped-in music) the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from here.

A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows A Look Inside the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

I don’t want to give everything away, but I will leave you with a few more images highlighting just some of the fun touches that will be found throughout the Bungalows when they open next week.

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What’s your favorite feature of the new Bora Bora Bungalows?

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Smokejumpers Grill Opens Today at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on March 20th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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We recently told you about the new expansion of Grizzly Peak at Disney California Adventure park, and today we’re excited to open the all-new Smokejumpers Grill. This new quick-service location is the first phase of the Grizzly Peak Airfield addition to this land, in the space formerly known as Condor Flats. As you can see in these photos, Smokejumpers Grill honors the brave men and women who fight wildfires in our California forests. Take a closer look in the gallery below.

The location will also feature an updated menu with tasty items like a Bacon Cheddar Burger, Grilled Chicken & Jack Sandwich and Chili Cheeseburger, so stop in during your next visit!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort

Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Vote to Name a New Baby Rhino Girl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

posted on March 20th, 2015 by Karen Jasmin, Zoological Manager, Disney's Animal Kingdom


Just a few weeks ago, as the sun started to rise on a cool day in late February, Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed its second white rhino calf of 2015 into the herd! This one’s a girl and it’s the tenth white rhino baby to be born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Vote to Name a New Baby Rhino Girl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Special Edition Wildlife Friday: Vote to Name a New Baby Rhino Girl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

As we welcome this newest baby and work to deliver uncompromising excellence in animal care for the animals here at the park and across The Walt Disney Company, we haven’t forgotten about their relatives in the wild. Last year, rhinos faced the worst poaching in history, so we continue to support conservation efforts for this and many other vulnerable species around the world. Much long term work to save this species is needed in the wild, but it’s important to celebrate small victories and our animal care team definitely has much to celebrate with seemingly back-to-back white rhino calves born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this year.

While our newest mom and calf won’t make their debut out on the savannas of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve for a couple of months, our newest calf needs a name and this time the choice is yours! The animal care team narrowed it down to four options, so please help us choose which name you like best for her.

Take a look at the heart-warming pictures in the photo gallery and choose your favorite name below. Be sure to rally your friends to make sure your favorite name wins!


Voting will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. We’ll reveal the winning name soon after that!

Tell us which name you voted for and why in the comments below.

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Disney Park After Dark: A Photo to Crow About from Disneyland Park

posted on March 19th, 2015 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Just before sunrise, I was looking for silhouettes of Sleeping Beauty Castle to photograph for a Disney Parks After Dark blog post. I was pretty happy with the photos I had taken thus far, but I was still trying to find something more interesting. Then suddenly, without being cued, a flock of noisy crows flew by on the other side of the castle. I was glad I didn’t stop shooting when they flew by, because I like how the photograph turned out – especially their silhouettes in the sky.

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Reservations Open March 20 for the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on March 19th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Imagine enjoying an exclusive, unforgettable view of the fireworks over Cinderella Castle while you indulge in a decadent dessert experience. The newly enhanced Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom Park allows you to do just that.

Beginning July 5, 2015, Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom Park will be enhanced and transformed into the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party. Relax in a reserved seating area with family and friends over delicious desserts and beverages.

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Delight in a selection of themed desserts prepared daily by our pastry chef including chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, and ice cream. Delectable new additions to the menu include a variety of seasonal fruit and cheese, Disney character-themed cupcakes, and more!

As the fireworks begin, celebrate with a sparkling cider toast and create a special memory with family and friends. Throughout the evening, you can now enjoy hot drinking chocolate and signature lemonades as well as coffee and tea.

Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party is $53.24 for adults, $31.94 for children, tax included. Reservations can be made beginning on March 20 by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine, or calling 407-WDW-DINE. Remember, you can also make your next visit to Epcot extra sweet by making a reservation to enjoy the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party during the Epcot nighttime fireworks spectacular.

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

Take a 3-D Spin Around This Amazing ‘Show Your #DisneySide’ Paper Sculpture

posted on March 18th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We’ve all felt that rush of excitement or burst of childlike enthusiasm that is your Disney Side — that part of your personality that only comes out when you’re in a Disney Park. Artist Britni Brault had that feeling in mind when she created a dazzling paper sculpture – it depicts the “real world” on one side and the #DisneySide on the other (as revealed by a 180-degree spin).

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It took Britni more than a year of planning and about three months of work to construct the 3D sculpture you see below, called “Show Your Disney Side.” As you move around it, you see how a little Disney Magic turns a hair salon into Rapunzel’s tower. A travel agency becomes it’s a small world. Snow White and Jungle Cruise make appearances, too.

“I actually was raised in Anaheim and could see the Disneyland [park] fireworks from my house my whole life,” Britni says. “It was something that was a part of my life growing up.” Britni has previously done work for Disney Theme Park Merchandise and created sculptures of Mary Poppins and Bert, the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland,” and Maleficent, among others.

Take a 3-D Spin Around This Amazing ‘Show Your #DisneySide’ Paper Sculpture Take a 3-D Spin Around This Amazing ‘Show Your #DisneySide’ Paper Sculpture

Britni says her work is inspired by many artists who have worked on Disney films and Disney Parks – including Disney Legends Ken Anderson, Mary Blair, Alice Davis, Marc Davis and Blaine Gibson.

Below, you can take a a 3D spin around Britni’s “Show Your Disney Side” paper sculpture.

For a behind-the-scenes look at how Britni created this amazing paper sculpture, check out this time-lapse video.

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Behind the Scenes: Decorating Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

posted on March 17th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Recently, I was invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work and artistry that goes into creating the beautiful chocolate Easter eggs displayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I am so egg-cited to be able to give Disney Parks Blog readers a peek at the magic behind the scenes at the Grand Floridian Bakery.

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The level of detail that goes into these hand-painted, hand-carved creations is truly amazing. Erich Herbitschek, the Executive Pastry Chef of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, shared that his team begins working on the egg-stravagant pieces in January. The finished eggs will be on display starting March 20.

Be sure to keeping checking the Disney Parks Blog for more springtime food fun!

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