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Haunt Your Disney Side Winners Celebrate with Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 12th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you remember our “Haunt Your Disney Side” contest, the grand prize was an experience only Disney Parks could deliver – a private party inside the Haunted Mansion followed by an overnight stay in Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. Our winners, The Kummer family from Florida, recently joined us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we wanted to share with readers.

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The Krummers kicked off their dream Disney Side celebration with an unforgettable after-hours party inside the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park. Their visit included a special performance by the Cadaver Dans, visits from spirits and late-night snacks inside the attraction.

Cinderella Castle Suite  Ready for the Winners of the 'Haunt Your Disney Side' Contest Haunt Your Disney Side Winners Celebrate with Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience at Magic Kingdom Park

After the spooky Haunted Mansion visit, the family headed to Cinderella Castle where Major Domo welcomed the family with a special proclamation. The Krummers spent the night in the Castle Suite – decorated especially for the occasion.

Thank you to everyone who entered the “Haunt Your Disney Side” contest. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for one-of-a-kind opportunities like this in the future.

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New Video Series: Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Disney Cruise

posted on February 6th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Port Adventures Manager


We’re just a few months away from our first-ever cruises in Norway! Our team has been busy developing some pretty awesome shore excursions so that you can have the adventure of a lifetime on your trip to the land of “Frozen.” I’ll be telling you all about our Port Adventures in Norway, starting today, but first I want to share with you a video from a really fun series we created, “Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Disney Cruise.”

While we were exploring all there is to see and do in the ports we’re visiting in Norway, we spoke with some of the locals about what phrases will be helpful for Disney cruisers to learn. In this first video, we caught up with Arne during our Viking Village Experience from the port of Alesund, Norway. Check out his video, and then keep reading for details about this Port Adventure.

This video was filmed on the island of Giske, an area known for its rich Viking history. One of our Port Adventures, designed exclusively for our guests, includes a quest there to a Viking village where you’ll meet the chieftan and his family. On this unique and interactive adventure, you’ll head back in time to experience the Viking world and be a part of their daily life, mingling with members of the Norse families and experiencing first-hand the traditions, authentic food and games that come with being a Viking. Check out this photo gallery of some of the fun your entire family will have while being immersed in this intriguing culture!

Next week, stay tuned for another Norway video and Port Adventure sneak peek. Farvell!

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Trolley Car Café Opens, Now Serving Starbucks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on February 6th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As an update on our previously announced plans to bring Starbucks locations to our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, we officially opened the newest location this week – The Trolley Car Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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As we shared earlier, the Trolley Car Café is themed to a classic trolley car station and gives guests a sense of atmosphere from early 20th century Hollywood. We have some of the first photos to share from this week’s opening.

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The Trolley Car Café is located on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is now serving Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange™ pastry items along with Starbucks coffee and espresso beverages.

The store is the third in-park location serving Starbucks products at Walt Disney World Resort, along with other locations at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot, as well as at Downtown Disney. In addition to these locations at Walt Disney World Resort, there’s also another along the way.

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Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog this summer for an update on the location at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Creature Comforts is being re-imagined and will also be serving Starbucks coffee and espresso beverages, as well as Frappuccino blended beverages and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Sunset at Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

posted on February 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I think I have a new favorite sight at Epcot – this shot of the torii gate in the Japan Pavilion at dusk.

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Are you one of the many guests who stop here to get a photo on your travels around World Showcase?

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Top 5 Ways to Spend a Day at the Downtown Disney Area

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


My non-Disney cast member friends think of me as their ‘insider’ expert on all things related to the four Disney Parks. Lately, with more changes coming to Downtown Disney during our largest-ever expansion, I’m getting plenty of questions about this property, too! Invariably, they want to know my top “can’t-miss” recommendations – the things they just have to make time for during their vacation. I’ve shared this list plenty of times with my loved ones, and today, I’m happy to pass it on to all of you.

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First things first, my ‘Top 5 at Downtown Disney” changes dramatically depending on who I’m talking to. Coming with kids? I’ve got you covered. Enjoying an adults-only escape? I’m on it!

Downtown Disney for Family-Friendly Fun:

  1. Shopping at Once Upon a Toy and The LEGO Store: Think kids and shopping don’t go hand in hand? At these two stores, they’re a perfect match. Once Upon a Toy houses the largest collection of Disney games and toys at Walt Disney World Resort. And at The LEGO Store, little ones can build to their imagination’s content in the (free) outdoor play area.
  2. The Marketplace Train and Marketplace Carousel: Don’t want to buy an extra ticket for yourself? Here’s a tip: parents ride free with little ones under 42 inches tall. This was my niece’s favorite part of her recent Walt Disney World Resort vacation. (Sorry, Mickey.)
  3. Ice Cream at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop: It’s ice cream; no explanation needed. Be sure to have the camera ready for those adorable hot fudge drips.
  4. Pin Trading: From the Marketplace to the West Side, look for cast members wearing pin-trading lanyards. Kids feel confident when their trade is accepted (and guess what? It always is!).
  5. Nightly DJ Dance Party at Waterside Stage: Admit it, your kid has moves. You might, too. This every-evening event is the perfect stage to let loose.

Adult Advice for the Downtown Disney Area:

  1. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: If you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable spectacle, this tops my list. Just be prepared … you’ll want to buy the soundtrack to take home with you.
  2. Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Here’s a secret: there’s more to Splitsville than bowling. This venue has become one of my “go-tos” when entertaining out-of-town guests. The food is impressive, the drinks are plentiful and the live entertainment rocks. And yes, if you want bowling or billiards, you can find that, too.
  3. Live Music at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant: I’ve actually been to Ireland and if you close your eyes while listening to the Raglan Road bands, you’ll think you’re there. Grab a Guinness on the patio or snag a table by the indoor stage for dinner – either way, this will become one of those “it-was-way-more-fun-than-I-ever-imagined” vacation highlights that you’ll want to repeat during every future trip.
  4. Dinner at Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas: I’ve been known to crave the Central American Crazy Corn and I’m not alone. Other standouts include the Mexican Dipping Trio and Argentinean Skirt Steak. Thirsty? The P37 Swirl – a lively mix of Sangria and Margarita – is frozen fun in a fancy glass.
  5. Shopping at Marketplace Co-Op: I’m somewhat obsessed with Cherry Tree Lane and the ever-changing array of accessories there, but even if bags and baubles aren’t your thing, you’re bound to be impressed by one of the other five unique boutiques housed in this location. For me, the best finds are the ones you can’t get anywhere else on-property, and there are plenty of those here!

This shouldn’t surprise you, but it was really tough to narrow my choices down to the “Top 5” in each category. There’s plenty more I wanted to mention, including many of your favorite Downtown Disney destinations, I’m sure. So … tell me, what did I miss – I’d love to know in the comments below!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: A Delicious Shot of Ratatouille

posted on January 29th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Tonight’s “After Dark” image is of the lovely La Place de Rémy area at Walt Disney Studios Park (at Disneyland Paris). This quiet square houses the Ratatouille, l’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy attraction, which whisks guests into a crazy, culinary adventure inside Chez Gusteau. Guests begin their adventure on the rooftops of Paris before boarding ratmobiles to scurry through the restaurant.

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Have you visited this part of the park yet? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – 60 Years of Popcorn

posted on January 29th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Reflecting on the last 60 years of classic Disneyland foods, popcorn has been a beloved snacking staple of Disneyland park since opening day on July 17, 1955. Walt Disney himself enjoyed piping hot popcorn on Main Street, U.S.A. Now, Disneyland Resort guests enjoy more than 185,000 pounds of this salty treat every year.

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While our love for popcorn remains, designs and containers have evolved over the years – check out 60 years of popcorn progression at Disneyland resort in the gallery below!

Today, I have a sneak peek of the premium popcorn bucket which celebrates the iconic Mickey balloon, set to debut this May as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park. Available in red, purple and blue – this bucket is perfect to hold your keepsakes long after your visit during the resort’s 60th anniversary celebration.

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Over the coming months, look for even more collectible souvenir fun and all-new art work on everything from popcorn buckets to hot mugs – as well as special limited-time treats and food and beverage offerings exclusive to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration to be revealed.

Who else is craving popcorn right now?

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

New Merchandise Artwork Sparks Fond Memories of First Disney Parks Vacation

posted on January 28th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As time passes, my memories of my first visit to Walt Disney World Resort in July 1983 become more like something from a dream. I remember the Speed Room from If You Had Wings in Tomorrowland, the warm lights of Main Street, U.S.A. at night, and the dinosaurs in Universe of Energy at EPCOT Center. The essence of those dreamy images was recently captured in new merchandise found at Disney Parks. I caught up with Disney Design Group Creative Director Eric Caszatt to learn more.

“Each year, we create an art program that we call ‘Storybook,’” explained Eric. “That art traditionally features many characters grouped together around icons from Disney Parks. This year, we took a different design approach. Unlike the dated 2015 artwork that has characters showing off their Disney Side, we wanted to capture the feelings guests may have when first visiting Disney Parks. We internally called this program ‘Project Fairytale’ as it captures the emotions, the fantasy, and the wonder that guests may experience during a Disney vacation.”

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Disney Design Group artist Ron Cohee was the lead character artist on the project. He created two beautiful main images and a few smaller vignettes for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Each vividly colorful image melds together attractions, icons and experiences from Disney Parks. The images are similar in design layout for each coast, yet they feature things specific to each Disney destination.

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The finished artwork was added to a style guide for all merchandise categories to use. The artwork was then applied to various items such as apparel, home décor, souvenirs, plush and more. Elements from the artwork that Ron created were sometimes combined to make unique images (best seen on some of the apparel items).

Here is an image gallery of other products that you can currently find in select merchandise locations at Disney Parks. You can also find some items on our Disney Parks online store – http://www.DisneyParks.com/Store.

I’d love to hear about your memories from your first visit to Disney Parks. Please share in the comments below.

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New Merchandise Kiosks Set the Bar High at Downtown Disney

posted on January 27th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Unlike most people, I’m at Downtown Disney five days a week. I get to see the property transform before my very eyes on a pretty regular basis, and I can honestly say that one of my favorite signs of progress is the opening of new venues.

With gifts galore and barware to please every beverage connoisseur, two new kiosks at Downtown Disney have put a big smile on my face; and I’m not the only one … they’ve been hugely popular with guests since their opening late last fall. Aptly named “Sublime” and “Set the Bar,” both venues are located at the recently remodeled Riverboat Square, between Fulton’s Crab House and Portobello.

Find a Unique Gift and More at Sublime

Need to find a unique card with just-the-right sentiment? Or gift a candle that will remind your recipient of you every time she lights it? Searching for a magnet that will make you chuckle? Or a book that’s sure to inspire? Find this and more at “Sublime.” In just a few short months, it’s already become one of my “go-to” stores when I need to find something fun and fanciful.

And while there are also gifts aplenty at “Set the Bar,” I think I’ll opt to keep most of what I buy there for myself, thank you very much. From bottle openers to flasks, shot glasses to copper mugs, this is a perfect perch to find the latest “must-haves” to transform your Saturday-night at-home-cocktail-hour into a truly sensational soiree. (Feel free to add me to your guest list!)

Have you had the pleasure of purchasing at these new retailers yet? If so, let me know which products you loved most … I’m almost due for another shopping spree and I could use a few ideas!

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Filed: Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Magic Kingdom Park

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


Tonight’s “After Dark” image was shot in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park. It’s a shot of one of the park’s original attractions – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.

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Is Adventureland one of your favorite stops at night? Tell us in the comments section below.

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