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Disney Parks After Dark: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Glitters for the New Year

posted on December 31st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Tonight’s After Dark image was snapped at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the park, still wrapped in holiday splendor, awaits the countdown to New Year’s Eve.

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Will you visit this park in 2016?

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Happy Holidays From Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 24th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Tonight’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was snapped at Magic Kingdom Park during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

In it, Mickey and friends join together in front of a glittering Cinderella Castle to wish a park full of guests a happy holiday season.

Have a happy holiday and a merry Christmas Eve.

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Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks Now Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on December 22nd, 2015 by Rachel Bshero, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Nestled in the imposing shadow of Mt. Everest, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks is the perfect place for tired and hungry travelers to stop in for a quick bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. For climbers who are returning from their ascent, a stop at the bar is considered tradition.

The Trek Snacks menu varies throughout the day, with delicious pastries in the morning and more substantial bites like sushi and sandwiches in the afternoon and evening. Pastries include assorted muffins and Danish, croissants and an indulgent chocolate twist.

Healthful snacks like fresh fruit, crudité and hummus, edamame and an Asian noodle salad are available. The Smoked Turkey Sandwich, Bahn Mi (roasted pork topped with pickled vegetables, cilantro and sriracha dressing), Som Tam (Thai shrimp, green papaya salad, crushed peanuts and chilis) and sushi are a perfect meal for the weary traveler. For dessert, cookies, brownies and ice cream treats (including the popular Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar) are on the menu.

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At Thirsty River Bar, look for specialty cocktails such as the Khumbu Icefall (guava rum blended with coconut and raspberry puree), Himalayan Ghost (Snow Leopard vodka, guava, and Odwalla lemonade) and the Durbar Margarita. Non-alcoholic drinks are also available, like the Flying Yak (mango puree blended with coconut water and pineapple juice) and the Pink Lotus (strawberry puree, lychee and Odwalla lemonade).

The bar represents the kind of cultural collision that has become of hallmark of the villages that serve as base camps for Everest trekkers. Originally the home for a popular Sherpa family, mementos have been tacked on the walls by travelers, but the rest of the décor is sparse and functional aside from the stable tack.

Will you be visiting Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks during your next adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

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

Disney Parks Blog Readers Celebrate The Opening Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

posted on December 21st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


The wait is over and the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens film has landed in theaters – and of course, our Disney Parks Blog fans were ready and waiting.

Guests Celebrate The Opening Of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' at Disney's Hollywood Studios Guests Celebrate The Opening Of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' at Disney's Hollywood Studios Guests Celebrate The Opening Of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Last week, our readers were among the first to see what has shaped up to be one of the most anticipated films of all time right here at AMC Disney Springs 24. They walked the red carpet – many in costume – and were also surprised with a quick Q&A with Show Director Tony Giordano who joined us in the theater before the film began to talk about how guests are reacting to the new Star Wars offerings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Afterwards, the group headed to a private event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that featured appearances by Star Wars characters (including Captain Phasma), access to the new Star Wars Launch Bay and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temples, themed food & beverage, and special photo opps.

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The evening was also highlighted with a preview performance of the new fireworks show, “Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular.”

Check out the video above for a look inside the event.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Special Portraits of Snow White

posted on December 21st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


This week in Disney history, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature film debuted in theaters, introducing us to the very first Disney Princess, Snow White.

Innocent and curious, Snow White flees from the clutches of her Wicked Stepmother to find shelter in the woods with the Seven Dwarfs. Entranced by her charm and good nature, the Dwarfs and surrounding forest creatures immediately grow fond of Snow White. When she mistakenly accepts an apple from a stranger (her Stepmother in disguise), thank goodness it’s Snow White’s love, Prince Charming, who comes to the rescue.

Snow White from Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'

Thanks to Mariah Wild for the images. To check out more in our series, see the list below.

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

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Celebrating Dick Van Dyke’s 90th Birthday

posted on December 19th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


Hollywood icon and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke kicked off this week by celebrating his 90th birthday at Disneyland. This Week in Disney Parks Photos, we’re sharing more images of his time in the Happiest Place on Earth.


A silhouette of “Bert”, from the cherry chimney sweep he made famous in 1964’s “Mary Poppins”, was unveiled. It now hangs in the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, a Poppins-themed restaurant inside Disneyland park. Van Dyke joined his a cappella quartet, the Vantastix in entertaining park guests with a few songs. And thousands of fans sang “Happy Birthday” as he rode down Main Street, U.S.A. in a special cavalcade held in his honor.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Sneak Peek At ‘Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration’ Holiday Fashion

posted on December 17th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Are you excited as we are to watch the “Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration” on December 25 this year?

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“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts and Jesse Palmer will serve as hosts to this year’s two-hour procession of floats and celebrity performances, including appearances by Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Seal, Tori Kelly, Andy Grammer, the cast of “Descendants” and more. Some of the celebs (including our Music Correspondent Janel Parrish) took a moment out of their busy “Celebration” taping schedule to talk holiday fashion with us. Who has a fun story behind his custom-made pocket square? And who showed up to our taping wearing Minnie Mouse slippers? Watch and find out!

For more on the “Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration,” follow @DisneyParks on Twitter.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

The Ganachery Chocolate Shop Now Open at Disney Springs

posted on December 15th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The Ganachery is now open at Disney Springs, a jewel box of a shop that showcases the beauty of chocolate with an experience much like a wine tasting. The star of the show is a custom-made ganache, Disney’s own recipe for a luxurious mixture of melted chocolate and cream.

Thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering, the little shop expands the story of chocolate through the design, costumes, graphics, props and packaging, says Imagineer Theron Skees.

“We like to tell a story, because when guests arrive they want to feel like it’s a real place,” says Skees. Like all the buildings at Disney Springs, there is a history – the shop used to be an apothecary where residents of the springs came for medicinal needs. Then, as the story goes, the space was taken over by a South American couple who turned their love for the cocoa bean into a fantastic chocolate shop. (Most of the cocoa beans are sourced from South America, so the Imagineers wanted to layer in a Latin American flair, from the ceramic drawer pulls to music seasoned with South American sounds.)

“It’s a fresh take on an old apothecary,” says Skees. Bottles, scales and other props are inspired by drugstores of another era, and well-used copper pots add a layer of history. Be sure to check out the chandelier made from authentic copper pots and kettles used to make chocolate.

Walls are painted the color of dark chocolate, another the color of caramel. Photos on the wall are the couple that opened the shop, making a fictitious history seem more real. “Our cast members will bring our story to life and make our guests feel part of it,” says Skees.

The theming carries through right down to the packaging, says Skees. “Traditional Apothecary labels are ‘blocked’ with spaces for weights, measurements and descriptions, so we were inspired by that idea and made it more modern for the elegant chocolate bars and chocolate boxes.” Thus the clever tagline, “the cure for common chocolate.” The packaging design and all of the shop’s coloration are browns, caramel, cream and ivory, inspired by all the colors of chocolate.


A big show window looks into a gleaming white, stainless steel kitchen where you can see chocolatiers preparing all the chocolate. “This is where Old World meets New World,” says Skees. Stop by and try one of the 16 flavors of ganache, like dark chocolate with a touch of shaved Egyptian salt, or milk chocolate with a dash of dark chocolate and a pinch of Sri Lankan cinnamon. You’ll never think of chocolate the same.

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‘Brunch at the Top’ Debuts February 7th, 2016 at California Grill

posted on December 14th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We love the nighttime views from California Grill high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but the daytime skyline is equally spectacular, with a bird’s-eye view of Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s resort hotels. And now a new Sunday brunch opens the beautiful restaurant for daytime dining for the first time ever.

‘Brunch at the Top’ at California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

The new Brunch at the Top is the perfect way to indulge on a leisurely Sunday – not quite breakfast, not quite lunch. Chef Brian Piasecki’s team is excited to launch a whole new menu to showcase their fresh, market-driven cuisine. Of course a glass of bubbly or wine (the restaurant has more than 1,600 bottles on display) pairs nicely. And there’s an over-the-top Bloody Mary Bar as well as cocktails and craft brews, as well as a signature brunch cocktail and faux “mimosas” for kids (though you can also stick with the custom-roast French press coffee).

And here’s the fun part – you get the chance to interact with the culinary team in the open show kitchen while savoring charcuterie, sushi and market-inspired salads. Start the experience with an assortment of house-made breakfast pastries delivered to your table (think caramel apple Monkey bread, Tillamook Cheddar biscuit and cranberry scones pecan) with house-made jam and orange blossom honey butter. Then head to the show kitchen for small tastes such as house smoked orange honey ham, deviled Lake Meadow Naturals eggs, Greek yogurt with vanilla-scented granola and fresh berries, kale and apple salad, baby iceberg wedge with Cherrywood bacon and avocado-buttermilk Ranch dressing, hardwood smoked salmon, California rolls with jumbo lump crabmeat, spicy tuna rolls and shrimp tempura with orange drizzle and mango. (That’s just a sampling.)

Then choose your next course, delivered tableside:

  • Pan-Fried Buttermilk Organic Chicken Cutlet with Haricots Verts, Toasted Almonds, Frisée, Beurre Noisette;
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Heirloom Apples, Dried Cranberry and Raisin Compote, Vanilla
  • Custard, Warm Canadian Maple Syrup;
  • Shrimp and Grits, Gulf White Shrimp with Tillamook Cheddar Grits, Spicy Tomato Broth,
    Espellette-Spiced Tomato Ragout;
  • Poached Lobster Benedict with Butter-Poached Tail, Two Soft-Poached Eggs, Honey Ham,
    Yuzu Hollandaise, Marble Potato Hash;
  • Chef’s Frittata with Three Lake Meadow Farms Eggs, Florida Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos, Chorizo, Creamy Goat Cheese, Marble Potato Hash;
  • Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Soft Poached Eggs, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash and Charred Red Onion.

If there’s room, share sweet mini-desserts, macarons and chocolate truffles while enjoying the beautiful skyline out the floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant’s Mid-Century Modern design has a different vibe in the daytime – Disney fans will want to check out the carpet, inspired by artist and Disney Legend Mary Blair’s sketches. Mary created the character designs for iconic Disney attractions such as “it’s a small world” and inspired the colorful mosaic tile art stretching 10 floors high on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Fun little detail.

Cost is $80, $48 ages 3 to 11. Reservations open December 16, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

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

New Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Opens Dec. 16 in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 14th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Diners at Magic Kingdom Park can soon set off on a culinary adventure at a new eatery in Adventureland featuring “World Famous Jungle Cuisine.” The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen will open on December 16 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Just steps from the legendary Jungle Cruise attraction you can enjoy the bold, flavorful tastes of Asia, South America and Africa at this new 222-seat table-service restaurant staffed by the wisecracking crew of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd.

The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park

There are three dining destinations within the company’s headquarters-turned-restaurant: Hungry passengers may find themselves in the mess hall or the jungle-inspired parlor once used by the company’s founder, Dr. Albert Falls and his family. Behind the once secret bookcase lies an additional dining room in a former meeting room of the mysterious Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

The Jungle Skipper Canteen touts an adventurous menu with some new and interesting dishes inspired by the exotic flavors of the rivers traveled on the Jungle Cruise. You can try head-on shrimp or sustainable fish collar, or stick with delicious, familiar tastes such as a grilled steak, pork tenderloin or chicken breast.

  • House-made arepas with slow-cooked beef, black beans, tostones and queso fresco;
  • Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak, a strip loin marinated in sofrito and served with yuca planks, avocado and house-made chimichurri;
  • Rice Noodle Bowl with an Asian pho broth with choice of chicken, duck breast or tofu served with jalapeños and mix of fresh herbs;
  • Trader Sam’s Head-on Shrimp, with sustainable, local, farm-raised shrimp tossed in a chili-garlic sauce and served with Chinese broccoli and choice of five-grain or white rice;
  • Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream – a vanilla chiffon cake with coconut and lime topped with white chocolate ganache;
  • Kungaloosh! This African-inspired chocolate cake is served with caramelized bananas and cashew-caramel ice cream topped with coffee dust.

Little ones can try something a little different:

  • Junior Skip’s Special Mac and Cheese is inspired by an Egyptian dish with ground beef, pasta, Béchamel Sauce and house-made cheese gratin, served with broccoli;
  • Amazon Annie’s House-made Arepas with slow-cooked beef, black beans and queso fresco served with yuca planks;
  • Sizzling Savanna Grilled Flank Steak with steamed broccoli and fingerling potatoes;
  • Smiley’s Little Croc of Chicken Noodle Soup;
  • Kids Volcano! (This gooey chocolate cake with caramel lava and exploding chocolate rocks will make your little one shout “ ‘UH OA!”)

Two non-alcoholic specialties will be served: the Punch Line Punch, with tropical fruit juice and mango puree (also available with a spiced rim for an extra zinger); and the Schweitzer Slush, with frozen apple juice and passion fruit topped with bursting green apple boba balls (legend has it this was first concocted by the noted explorer and humanitarian, Dr. Albert Slush).

The Disney Dining Plan is accepted.

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