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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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Photo Gallery: Disney Castles That Have Been Covered in Real Snow

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


Earlier we mentioned that tonight guests will gather at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort to watch Elsa (from “Frozen”) magically transform Cinderella Castle into a glittering ice palace during the “Castle Dream Lights” and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.

But did you know that there are actually a few Disney Parks castles that occasionally find themselves dusted with real snow?

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Disneyland Park (Paris) is located in Marne-la-Vallée, France, and sees regular snowfall. These shots were snapped in December 2010, after a sizeable flurry added extra holiday charm to the park’s Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant castle. (Click through the gallery to see additional park attractions covered in snow).

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Every so often, Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland will also see some snowfall. Our friends at the park shared these amazing shots of their temporary “ice” castle – and other attractions – back in January 2013.

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Years ago at Tokyo Disneyland, some Disney characters took advantage of the snowfall for a playful snowball fight with their park’s snowy castle as a backdrop. Check out that photo above.

Snow-Capped Mountains Behind Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle

While it doesn’t snow in Anaheim, California (home to the Disneyland Resort), it has in higher elevations around the city. In 2009, we shared this image, which shows Sleeping Beauty Castle with snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains as the backdrop.

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Filed: Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

New Holiday Decor Coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 4th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially at Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. With new decor coming to the Marketplace this holiday season, there’s even more to celebrate!

Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Holiday Services Warehouse to get a sneak peek at what’s coming. Can you imagine a giant treasure trove of holiday magic, filled from top-to-bottom with sky-high trees, larger-than-life snowmen and thousands of ornaments in every size and shape imaginable? I couldn’t, until I saw it for myself!

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I was able to get permission to share some early photos of the new enhancements coming to Downtown Disney. The new look and feel is tied to the idea of a ‘uniquely handcrafted’ Christmas. Many of the elements use found objects such as yarn, spools, buttons, burlap and the like. Remember making felt stocking ornaments as a kid? Or creating reindeer keepsakes out of clothespins? These ornaments are similar, but on a much grander scale.

Keep in mind that many of these images showcase works in progress, so what you see in the gallery below is just the start of what’s to come.

New Holiday Decor Coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

As you visit Downtown Disney this holiday shopping season, be sure to keep an eye out for all that’s new. With over 70 venues open for your enjoyment, plus the opportunity to meet Santa during Festival of the Seasons (November 14 – December 30, 2014), Downtown Disney is a ‘must-do’ during this festive time of year!

Tips for visiting during the holidays:

  • Arrive earlier in the day for a more leisurely shopping experience.
  • If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, take complimentary transportation, as parking may be limited.
  • Follow the signs to available parking, which may be located in adjacent lots across the street.
  • Allow extra travel time for reservations or showtimes; we suggest 60 minutes in advance.
  • When driving via I-4, take exit 67 for the most efficient route to property.

I love the holidays … the shopping, the music, the and yes, the peppermint lattes from Starbucks! Luckily, I can enjoy all that (and much more) right here at Downtown Disney, which makes me a happy little elf.

What’s your favorite part of the holiday season at Downtown Disney? Please share in the comments below – I’d love to know!

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It’s a Happy Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on October 31st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It sure looks like a Happy Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland, where guests are enjoying “Disney’s Haunted Halloween” celebration.

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All month long, guests have been meeting Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes, attending spooky stage shows, enjoying special menu items and snapping up special Halloween merchandise. For a look inside the celebration, be sure to click through the gallery above.

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13 Halloween-Inspired ‘Light Paintings’ at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 29th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


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It’s Halloween week and we’re back at Magic Kingdom Park creating some amazing free hand “light painting” artwork in the air with colored LED penlights.

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The Hitchhiking Ghosts and our 12 other Halloween-themed “light paintings” were drawn without a guide or template during an after-hours park visit. Each image was drawn quickly and with skill by Matt Stewart, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director. And while Matt “drew” the art, Paul Chase, a Disney Parks Content Producer, used long camera exposures to capture each move of the penlight.

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Matt and Paul have used this same technique to create “light paintings” that featured the iconic profile of Mickey Mouse, an impressive American Flag in front of Cinderella Castle and the galaxy’s most famous villain, Darth Vader.

Let us know your favorite “light painting” in the comments and keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more light art at Disney Parks.

(*Note: Matt and Paul were in a very controlled environment with proper personnel on-site. If you attempt an artful creation like this, please insure proper safety measures are taken.)

To see more “light painting” artwork at Magic Kingdom Park, visit the posts below:

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Photo Gallery: Halloween Fun at Tokyo Disney Resort

posted on October 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As Halloween approaches in just a few days, the party is already in full swing at Tokyo Disney Resort, where both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are hosting “Disney’s Halloween” celebrations.

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At Tokyo Disneyland, guests can enjoy the Happy Halloween Harvest Parade, which features seven fall-themed floats and Disney characters in costumes. Families can also experience The Haunted Mansion in a whole new way, with Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare temporarily enhancing the attraction’s existing storyline. The park has also been festooned with Halloween decor, and guests can end their night with special Halloween fireworks.

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Over at Tokyo DisneySea, guests are enjoying “New York Halloween Follies,” a Halloween party that’s themed to the roaring 20s, hosted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Guests can also visit Lido Isle to spy a performance by some festive skeletons or head to Lost River Delta to attend Chip and Dale’s Skeleton Fiesta.

Be sure to click through the photo gallery above for a look at the fun.

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‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It’ Street Party Livens Up Magic Kingdom Park

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


The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party stepped off at Magic Kingdom Park on Friday, offering a traveling celebration that encourages guests to party right along.

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The party features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and other favorite Disney friends. Guests get to vote on songs for the Street Party’s playlist (see Shawn Slater’s original blog post for more details on that). Our cameras were out for the inaugural Street Party – here’s what guests had to say.

Want to catch a Street Party for yourself? Check the Times Guide at the park on the day of your visit for more information.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on October 26th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared an update many of you were thrilled to read – Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, one of the most popular parts of last summer’s “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is back and staying through the holidays.

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The new Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Snowground! can now be found on Streets of America just steps away from Studio Catering Co. and “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.” It features a larger-than-ever play area with real snow, plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and those yummy “Frozen”-inspired cupcakes and other treats.

To find out what else you can experience, go check out Shawn’s original Disney Parks Blog story.

@RizzosCookies: 1955 Disneyland Opening Week. Cousins w/ Mr. Walt Disney @Disneyland Fire Station @KrazyKevinWolff: My Dad, Uncles, & Grammy at the ‪@Disneyland ‪#Matterhorn Bobsleds in the late '60s @eilonwey28: 1970's Disneyland. Me and Pluto on Main St. - taken by my Dad in Mar. 1977, on my 2nd birthday
@kerinjmb: Throwback Thursday to Disneyland circa 1988 @mssmith702: This was in 1999 and was Dominic's first visit to Disney. I always thought this pic should be a postcard. I miss these days! This pic makes me #happy @carlajh: <3 Thank you Walt <3 And to think, it all started because of a mouse! 2014

We also posted the finalists from each of the Disneyland Decades – 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000 to the present – for you to decide who has the top Disneyland Resort memory and will win the grand prize: a trip to Disneyland Resort to kick off the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Take a look at each memory and then go to Erin’s post to vote for your favorite.

Voting will remain open until 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 29. We will announce the grand prize winner soon after, so stay tuned!

For complete rules, click here.

No purchase necessary. 18/age of majority+, 50 US/DC only. Void where prohibited. See Rules for details.

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

#GetHappierContest Winner Shares Happy Memories from Disneyland Park – See the adorable winning photo from our #GetHappier Instagram contest. Congratulations to Mary Powell from Nevada!

The Halloween Tree at Disneyland Park – Read the story behind this Disneyland landmark, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1972 fantasy novel “The Halloween Tree,” and dedicated to the author on Halloween night in 2007.

The New Anna & Elsa’s Boutique in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort Will Give You ‘Chills’ – Get the details on an array of “Frozen”-inspired merchandise worth melting for at this new shop.

Glow With the Show Evolves Into Made With Magic This Fall at Disney Parks – New Made With Magic items will include a new Minnie Mouse-inspired headband, a Mickey Mouse glove and a magical wand, all designed to light up and interact with select Disney experiences at Disney Parks.

Pumpkin Carvers Show Their Disney Side During Halloween Time at Disneyland Park – Bridget McCarty, creative pumpkin carver at the Halloween Carnival in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, discusses her colorful creations.

Another Look at PANDORA Jewelry Coming to Disney Parks in November 2014 – See the new sterling silver Disney Parks “Wonderful World” bracelet from PANDORA Jewelry, styled with Disney-inspired charms.

‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!’ Street Party Starts Tomorrow at Magic Kingdom Park – The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party is ready to make its debut at Magic Kingdom Park! Click through for more details.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Halloween at Disney Parks

posted on October 25th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


With Halloween less than one week away, celebrations are now in full swing at Disney Parks.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Transforms Magic Kingdom After Dark

Here at the Walt Disney World Resort, guests are enjoying Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party fun at Magic Kingdom Park. At the Disneyland Resort, families are having a blast at Mickey’s Halloween Party and Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park, and Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure.

Be sure to click through the gallery above for a look inside all of the fun.

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