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Vivoli Gelateria to Open Soon at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


If you’ve ever had the good fortune to travel to Florence, Italy, chances are you’re familiar with Vivoli Gelateria. I’ve never been myself, but when I searched “Florence Must-Dos” online, Vivoli appeared on every list; wedged between art galleries and chapels, it was the only food venue mentioned in National Geographic’s City Guide to Florence, so you know it must be pretty spectacular!

No immediate plans to visit Italy? No worries. The family-run gelato shop will open its second storefront – and the first outside of Italy – later this month at The Landing, the newest neighborhood to debut as part of the future Disney Springs.

I recently had the chance to connect with Silvana Vivoli, the granddaughter of Raphael Vivoli, one of the company’s founders, to learn more about the gelateria. Founded in 1932 by Raphael and his two brothers, Vivoli Gelateria started out as a dairy – at that time, it was not easy to find raw materials such as milk, eggs and sugar and there were no gelato machines and freezers. After World War II, technology enabled the brothers to follow their passion and produce gelato every day – a far cry from the early recipes that relied on barrels filled with ice and snow from the nearby mountains to keep their concoctions frozen.

Silvana’s father, Piero, learned to make gelato from his father. Silvana learned the craft from him, “keeping the same old tradition,” she shared.

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When I asked Silvana why they decided to open a location at Downtown Disney, the answer flowed freely, “Good gelato. In a fantastic place. With fun and family and a sunny destination? It’s a nice combination. Like vanilla and chocolate!”

According to Silvana, the gelato at Vivoli is made with fresh, top-quality ingredients using the exact same recipes from the original shop. The artisans plan to use local and seasonal products, with cocoa powder, hazelnut and pistachio imported from Italy. “There are ingredients not easy to buy,” muses Silvana, “these are love and passion … when you fall in love with your job, you have these for free – they’re the final ingredients that make everything so special.”

For a special gelato experience that will give you the “feeling of being in Italy for ten minutes,” make plans to try Vivoli Gelateria during your next visit to Downtown Disney. Not sure which flavor to order? I asked Silvana one final question: which is her favorite? “It depends on how I get up in the morning! But really, I cannot do without rice pudding gelato.”

In addition to their signature gelato, Vivioli Gelateria will also serve traditional Italian panini, biscotti, espresso and tarts. For a mouth-watering look at what you can expect, check out the gallery below.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Geyser Steam on an Adventures by Disney Wyoming Vacation

posted on May 28th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


I have to say, I have the most tempting job in the world, being constantly bombarded with breathtaking images taken on Adventures by Disney vacations around the globe. How can I resist the urge to hop on a plane to each and every destination I see? They all look too amazing for words.

Case in point, this incredible “after dark” shot from the Adventures by Disney Wyoming trip. Geyser steam rises, meeting the chill in the April air. And this photo beckons me to come explore this beautiful landscape more.

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But tomorrow I’ll see another photo. Perhaps of Greece or Laos and I’ll be drawn to those images as well. It’s a sweet torture to imagine all the places I could be right now.

Time to scroll through the Adventures by Disney website and pick out my next adventure!

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Disney Parks Blog Readers Enjoy #Disney24, ‘Tomorrowland’ Screening

posted on May 27th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Disney Parks Blog team kicked off the Coolest Summer Ever here at Walt Disney World Resort last Friday by holding a special event for 500 of our readers, which included breakfast at Magic Kingdom Park and a special opening-day screening of the new film, “Tomorrowland.”

PHOTOS: Step Inside Our Disney Parks Blog ‘Tomorrowland’ Breakfast & Screening

During the event, our guests had a private breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and participated in a exclusive photo op featuring a jet pack and suit used in production of the film. They were then shuttled to AMC Downtown Disney 24 for a private screening of the film. Afterwards, our guests were made honorary Tomorrowland recruiters and were sent back to Magic Kingdom Park with special Tomorrowland pins to give away.

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

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

24-Hour Events Kick Off Summer at Disney Parks

posted on May 23rd, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


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This weekend, we kicked off summer with 24 straight hours of fun at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. And during our live blog coverage from both coasts, we shared nearly 50 stories beginning with the official start to the “Coolest Summer Ever” in Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World and then continuing with coverage from the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Here’s a look at some of our favorite highlights.

During the 24 hours, many of you watched the experiences on our live video feeds and showed off your Disney Side with some amazing costumes.

Now, it’s time to look forward to all of the summer experiences at Disney Parks.

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

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Has Officially Begun – It’s here! A celebration 60 years in the making is now underway. Thousands of guests helped us kick off the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and our 24-hour event.

‘Paint the Night’ Parade and ‘Disneyland Forever’ Fireworks Premiere at Disneyland Park – The all-new “Paint the Night” parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks open for Disneyland park guests as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

PHOTOS: Step Inside Our Disney Parks Blog ‘Tomorrowland’ Breakfast & Screening – The Disney Parks Blog team kicked off our 24-hours of fun here at Walt Disney World Resort by hosting a special “Tomorrowland” – themed event for 500 of our readers.

Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the team worked together to bring Harambe Market to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

New Construction Milestone as Golden Spire Tops Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort – Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated a major construction milestone this week with the topping out of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Enter the Coolest Summer Disney Side Contest for a Chance to Win a Sleepover in the Cinderella Castle Suite! – Enter for a chance to win a Walt Disney World Resort package including a night’s stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite – the ultimate Summer sleepover!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Photo Gallery: 12 Hours of Fun, Food at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


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The Coolest Summer Ever live stream has concluded.

We’ve officially reached our midpoint of the Coolest Summer Ever 24-hour kickoff event. So far we’ve seen a ton of guests showing off their #DisneySide in some pretty amazing costumes, tagged along while Nate snacked his way through the park (he’s finally finished, by the way), and Steven is continuing his mountain challenge at the park. We also hosted a Disney Parks Blog reader event that included breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s and a screening of “Tomorrowland.”

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Check out the video and photo gallery above for a look some of the best costumes we’ve seen so far during the event. (Thanks to David Roark and Matt Stroshane for the awesome shots!)

Disney Channel and Disney XD Stars Kick Off ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Channel stars also stopped by to join in on the fun.

Be sure to keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog tonight. Our live streams are still going strong and we can’t wait to share tonight’s entertainment with you – live!

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PHOTOS: Step Inside Our Disney Parks Blog ‘Tomorrowland’ Breakfast & Screening

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


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Earlier today, the Disney Parks Blog team kicked off our 24-hours of fun here at the Walt Disney World Resort by hosting a special “Tomorrowland” – themed event for 500 of our readers.

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The event started off bright and early at the front gate of the park, where our readers witnessed a special park opening moment, starring Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.” The group enjoyed an exclusive “Tomorrowland” – themed breakfast and photo opportunities at Cosmic Ray’s, before being shuttled to AMC Downtown Disney 24 for a screening of the film.

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PHOTOS: ‘Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade’ at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


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The Coolest Summer Ever live stream has concluded.

Are you ready for one of the coolest parades ever seen at Magic Kingdom Park? It’s nearly time for all the beauty and majesty of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” starting at 3 p.m. What are you most looking forward to seeing? From the joyous musical score and the spectacularly colorful costumes to those impressive floats and a fire-breathing dragon, the entire procession is a sight to behold!

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade: Mickey's Airship

If you aren’t able to join us to experience the parade in person, be sure to follow along on the live stream. And you’ll be pleased to hear that this year, the live stream will bring you all the wonderful music and sound of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”

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Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Has Officially Begun

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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It’s here! A celebration 60 years in the making is now underway. This morning, thousands of guests helped us kick off the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and our 24-hour event. Guests lined up throughout the night to be among the first to celebrate with us. Donning their limited-edition, commemorative Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration ear hats, they filled Main Street, U.S.A., in the early hours of the morning.

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Check back throughout the day for live updates from the Disneyland Resort!

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Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Harambe Market, a new area that will serve-up African-inspired street food, is set to open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at just how the team is currently working together to bring this new area to life.

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Check out the video below to hear how members of the project team traveled to Lamu, Kenya to study architecture, learn how African foods and spices inspired parts of the area’s storyline, and much more.

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

Build Your Own Butterfly Garden with Tips from Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 16th, 2015 by Eric Darden, Area Manager, Horticulture, Walt Disney World Resort


One of my favorite things at Epcot during the International Flower & Garden Festival is the Butterflies on the Go garden in Future World, where you can see up to 10 colorful species of butterflies. Some mornings, when the butterflies emerge and their wings are drying out, I like to show kids how to hold them on their fingers so parents can get pictures – it’s a really special moment.

Want to try creating a butterfly habitat that you can enjoy at home? It’s easier than you might think.

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  • At your local garden center, find native plants with nectar-producing flowers like butterfly bush and canna lily. Make sure that you have several different species to insure something is always blooming. These plants vary depending on where you live.
  • Plant blooms of different colors, as different butterfly species are attracted to different colors.
  • Though many butterflies love the sun, some species do like shade, so it’s a plus if you can create a mix of sun and shade in your garden.
  • For best results, you’ll also want to provide plants where butterflies can lay their eggs. Most butterflies are species specific when it comes to laying their eggs. Monarch butterflies must have milkweed, Zebra Longwings (the Florida state butterfly) need passion flower, the Cloudless Sulphur lays eggs on Cassia plants, and Pipevine Swallowtails choose, what else? Pipevine!
  • Of course, once the eggs hatch, you’ll have caterpillars, which feed on plants. So if you want to have a fully functioning butterfly garden, you’ll need to tolerate some insect damage on your plants. It’s worth it!
  • Don’t forget that butterflies also need water. There are several different ways to provide water — even a birdbath can work. They often prefer a puddle on the ground, so consider creating a bare, low spot in the garden to keep wet.
  • Most important – never use insecticide, which will harm butterflies!

It’s not too late to visit our Butterflies on the Go garden as we celebrate our final week of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival through May 17. Pick up more ideas, then start creating your own butterfly wonderland. Bambi would approve!

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort