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“it’s a small world” Holiday at Disneyland Park

Video: Watch Highlights from ‘Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade’

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


If there ever was a merry sight that could instantly fill you with holiday joy, it’s “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.”

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Performed during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event nights, this parade celebrates everything merry about the holiday season – friends (like Mickey, Minnie and pals dressed in holiday attire), family (look for Anna and Elsa in the line-up), food (watch as dancing gingerbread men and a cookie-baking float pass by), toys (especially on that “Toy Story” float). Santa Claus, of course, also makes a special appearance.

See “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” for yourself by attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Find details on that here.

What’s your favorite part of this parade? Tell us in the comments section below.

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

Disney Parks After Dark: A Canopy of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on November 27th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is in full swing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with more than 5 million lights on display.

Here’s a shot of my absolute favorite part of the display – the canopy of lights that you get to walk under as you exit the Streets of America area of the park.

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Come out to the park to see it for yourself through January 4, 2015.

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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, 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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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort