Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

New Epcot Cookbook to Feature All Three Festivals

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You can’t buy a copy until September, but we wanted to give blog readers a sneak peek at the new Epcot cookbook that debuts just in time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (September 19-November 10). Instead of an annual cookbook just for that festival, the new book – even the title is still in the working stages – will feature, for the first time ever, recipes from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, winter’s Holidays Around the World and the springtime Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Here’s a picture of Disney photographer Matt Stroshane and stylist Laurel Ainley as they shot the new food photos for the book. Long days and lots of prep create pretty dishes we hope will make you hungry.

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Meanwhile, here’s a few photos from the book and one of our favorite recipes from this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to get you started.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6

Salmon
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 (5- to 6-ounce) Verlasso salmon fillets, skin removed

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For salmon:

  1. Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For chimichurri sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For quinoa salad dressing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For quinoa salad:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with Quinoa Salad Dressing.

To serve:

  1. Equally divide Quinoa Salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce.

Cook’s note: Verlasso salmon is sustainable and farm-raised; you can use any fresh, high-quality salmon in this recipe.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Splash Mountain at Disneyland Park

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


This “Disney Parks After Dark” post is in celebration of 25 “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” years of Splash Mountain at Disneyland park. Splash Mountain opened on July 17, 1989, in Critter Country and features the story of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear. Most Disneyland park guests ride Splash Mountain to cool off on a hot summer day, but I enjoy riding it after dark because it makes the five-story splashdown that much more thrilling.

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Can you name the other Disney Parks that have Splash Mountain and the name of the lands they are in?

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A Peek Inside ‘Frozen Fireworks’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


One of my favorite new offerings that just launched as a part of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have to be the “Frozen Fireworks,” which light up the sky at 9:45 p.m., nightly.

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What I enjoy about this fireworks show is that it combines elements of a stage show, complete with moments of narration with Anna, Kristoff and Elsa, with fireworks and songs from the soundtrack to “Frozen.”

Disney Parks Blog author Bob Hitchcock recently headed out to the park to take a look and find out what guests – and even some of the creators of the show – think of the new nighttime spectacular. Check it out below.

“Frozen Fireworks” will run nightly through September 1, as a part of the park’s Frozen Summer Fun celebration and viewing is available throughout the park.

See the posts below for more ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun:

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Harambe Nights Heats Up Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 12th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this week, Disney Parks Blog author Shawn Slater reminded us that there are only a few more weeks to enjoy Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Harambe Nights Heats Up Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Harambe Nights includes “The Lion King Concert in the Wild,” a retelling of “The Lion King” that features a celebrity narrator, live orchestra, choir and more. The evening event also features a welcome reception and the post-show street party that features Afro-pop music, performers, a buffet and more. Check out the gallery above for some additional photos we’ve never shared from the event.

Have you enjoyed Harambe Nights this year? If so, tell us what you liked about it in the “Comments” section below!

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Disney Parks After Dark: Roy & Minnie at Magic Kingdom Park

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


Tonight’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image is by far one of the best I’ve seen of the statue of Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse. This statue, which is of Walt Disney’s older brother and longtime business partner, sits near the flagpole on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Disney Performing Arts Makes a Very ‘Happy’ Dream Come True

posted on July 7th, 2014 by Tim Hill, Director of Disney Youth Programs


Every vocal and instrumental group that participates in the Disney Performing Arts program is experiencing a dream come true when they perform on a Disney stage. But there was a little extra Disney magic for the Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences choir by arranging for them to perform on the stage of Cinderella Castle.

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The talented kids – ranging in age from 8 to 13 – had long dreamed of participating in Disney Performing Arts. Their fortunes went off the charts when their performance of Pharrell’s hit single, Happy, went viral, amassing more than 1.5 million views. The video also captured the attention of national media and led to an appearance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Check out the photos from this exciting moment. The morning capped a magical weekend for the young dreamers who saw their performance dream come true, learned about the business of show business and did what kids do best – play in the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.

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‘Frozen’ Fireworks Light Up Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Last night Disney’s Hollywood Studios capped off the first day of the park’s new Frozen Summer celebration by debuting an amazing new “Frozen”-inspired fireworks spectacular. And what a show!

The spectacular, which is one of the first fireworks shows in Disney history to be inspired solely by one film, celebrates the songs, story and great characters of “Frozen.” The show also features an amazing finale moment to the song “Let It Go” that will be simply unforgettable for Elsa fans.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery below to see some of the amazing spectacular for yourself.

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The “Frozen” fireworks spectacular will run through September 1 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Did you see the show for yourself? What did you think? Tell us in the “Comments” section below or join the conversation on Twitter with the hash tag #FrozenSummer.

See the posts below for more ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun:

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Inaugural ‘Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome’ Parades Through Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier today, Anna and Elsa, the royal sisters from “Frozen” were officially welcomed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, well, for the first time in forever!

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Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome” is a new daily procession that gives everyone a chance to enjoy the pageantry and cheer of the grand arrival of the royal sisters of Arendelle. Stepping off at the front of the park, Anna and Elsa proceed through the parade route in a royal horse-drawn sleigh, while their friend, Kristoff, travels on a Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post float. Our “Frozen” friends are flanked by plenty of royal entertainers, including a flag corp twirling the flag of Arendelle, a troupe of ice men performing a routine with ice picks, sliding skiers, skating snowflakes, and more. Upon arriving at the stage in the center of the park, the sisters receive their official welcome to “Hollywoodland” before returning to their carriage and completing the rest of the parade route, ending just before the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction.

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I was there to see today’s inaugural procession for myself, along with my son, who like so many kids, watches “Frozen,” plays “Frozen,” and even sings “Frozen.” By far, one of my favorite elements was seeing the kids who were chosen to join in on the fun. Each day, 20-30 of our young park guests are going to be randomly invited to become honorary royalty of Arendelle and march along in the parade. Although these children are randomly selected to appear in the procession, word on the street is that one way to increase your chances of being selected is to dress and be seen in your Arendelle best!

“Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome” is one of many “Frozen”-inspired offerings that guests can enjoy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios through September 1, which also include a new fireworks spectacular, ice skating, a singalong, dance party, merchandise opportunities and more.

See the posts below for more ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun:

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Fourth of July Inspires Light Painting at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Walt Disney famously said, “…curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” At Disney Parks, we are fortunate to work with some very curious — and creative — minds. Two of these creative cast members, Paul Chase and Matt Stewart, recently took a vacation trip with their families. On the trip, they were inspired after watching their children playing and dancing around the campsite with flashlights.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

After seeing their kids creating circles and shapes with the flashlights, they wondered if they could sketch Disney characters, in midair, using handheld light sources and long camera exposures. So, Paul and Matt tried drawing the iconic profile of Mickey Mouse using this technique (often called “light painting”). The pair posted the image on their Twitter and Facebook pages, and followers and friends asked for more.

We asked Paul, a Disney Parks Content Producer, and Matt, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director, what other illuminated creations they could produce. The following is the result of a late evening this week in Magic Kingdom Park, using a variety of lighting sources. Paul was behind the camera as Matt was “drawing” in midair.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

“As a Disney art director, I doodle Mickey, Pluto and Goofy everywhere. So when Paul suggested we do some long exposure photography, it was a natural for me to try and do a Mickey Mouse in the air,” Matt said.

Once they started doodling, their ideas grew. “A lot of this was trial and error,” Paul said. “Should we draw Mickey head-on or profile? Profile, it is! Should we use only our flashlights or something else? What about color?”

We hope you enjoy their July 4th edition of Disney Side light painting. They created several other sparkling surprises, so look for a second edition of their work in an upcoming post on the Disney Parks Blog.

(*Note: while the pair utilized sparklers, they were used in a very controlled environment and with proper personnel on-site. We do not recommend doing this without supervision and safety measures. If you attempt we suggest using LED penlights of different colors, as Paul and Matt did in several of these artful creations.)

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First Look Inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With our summer-long celebration of Disney’s “Frozen” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting on Saturday, July 5, I wanted to give you a first look inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland. Located in Soundstage One between Toy Story Midway Mania and the Studio Backlot Tour, Oaken and his cousins have created a cold-weather wonderland filled with a frozen pond for ice skating demonstrations, photo opportunities, play areas, food and beverage kiosks, and a merchandise shop.

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Upon entering Soundstage One, guests pass by the trading post front porch on the way to the frozen pond and the merchandise location. My first stop was the ice skating rink located in the same space recently occupied by Darth’s Mall during Star Wars Weekends 2014. Surrounded by snow-covered trees, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the pond – it’s summer in Florida and I was staring at ice! I haven’t been skating since I lived in Ohio many years ago, so I can’t wait to go.

My next stop was the trading post, which is located in the front area of Soundstage One. This location will be home to a large assortment of “Frozen” merchandise. I found dolls, toys, plush, apparel, consumables, pins and much more. The assortment will evolve throughout the summer as additional items arrive at Disney Parks, like the recently discussed Olaf merchandise I shared in this article.

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We will be releasing a new D-Tech on Demand cases for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5S on Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This artwork will also be added to the D-Tech on Demand boutique inside the recently opened Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The Marketplace Co-Op location will have a few designs not found anywhere else, while the “Frozen Summer Fun” design will only be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Coming next week, we will release three open edition, retail MagicBands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with pre-printed images of Elsa, Anna and Olaf. As with all retail MagicBand purchases, guests must present one of the following for the MagicBand to be linked to at the time of purchase: valid theme park admission, Memory Maker card or another MagicBand. These items will not be available for purchase online or via Merchandise Guest Services.

I hope you are able to join us this summer as the celebration runs through September 1. Below is a gallery of a few additional things I found during my visit.

For more on Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, visit the posts below:

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