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Silly Symphony Swings at Paradise Pier

Book Spring/Summer Walt Disney World Vacations Now With Our Latest Offer

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


Considering a vacation at Walt Disney World Resort this spring or early in the summer? If so, now is the perfect time to book, as guests can save up to 30% off on stays at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with our latest offer.

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Springtime at Walt Disney World Resort means the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and so much more.

Vacations must be booked by March 28, and the trip must take place between March 2-June 15, 2015. Get more details on this offer – and learn how you can also upgrade to a package with a (minimum) 4-day park ticket and receive an additional ticket day free – by clicking here.


For more about visiting Walt Disney World Resort in 2015, visit the posts below:

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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

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8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

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13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Vacation Planning, 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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Caption This: Ducks Hit Up The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 7th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Caption This” image was shot at a previous Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Who are these curious ducks off to see? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Less Than a Month Left to Savor Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on April 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Time for another lap around World Showcase to taste more of the creative flavors in the Outdoor Kitchens – with 11 different stops, it’s nearly impossible to get a bite of everything before the festival ends on May 18.

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We caught up with Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann for the 411:

We had to try the turkey rib – what, exactly, is it?

Chef Jens: The turkey rib at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews [at American Adventure] is a brand-new item, and we’re pleased to be the first to feature it at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s actually a turkey wing that is split in half, dry rubbed, slow cooked in the oven for about two hours, then slightly smoked in our on-stage smoker for another 45 minutes. The meat is moist, tender and full of flavor.

Which new dish has been the hands-down crowd favorite?

Chef Jens: It has to be the Piggylicous Bacon Cupcake with maple frosting and pretzels, also at The Smokehouse. It was a big hit from day one and a true must-try. Second would be the Ghost Pepper-Dusted Tilapia at Urban Farm Eats.

Which returning dish is the biggest hit?

Chef Jens: This is a three-way tie between the Pulled Pig Slider at The Smokehouse, Shrimp and Grits at Florida Fresh and the Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare at Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom.

Any surprise favorites?

Chef Jens: The Eggplant Scallop at Urban Farm Eats is popular, as guests seem to enjoy the meat-like texture of slowly cooked eggplant with classic Romesco (sweet red pepper) sauce and spaghetti squash.

Marianne Hunnel, the festival’s libations expert, chimed in with the most popular drinks this year: Watermelon Passion Fruit Slush and Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria at Florida Fresh, the frozen Desert Violet Lemonade in Pineapple Promenade and the Chilled Rose Blush Lemonade in the Buttercup Cottage.

And our new finds:

  • The divine duck confit at Fleur de Lys in France, a stack of buttery duck, potatoes and caramelized onions;
  • Lemon scones with strawberry preserves and crème fraîche at Buttercup Cottage (swirl the two toppings together and dip in the scone);
  • Beijing-style Candied Strawberries at Lotus House in China;
  • And, perhaps our most favorite, the Sweet Potato-Cinnamon Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve at Pineapple Promenade. Perfect serving size – a warm waffle with ice cream. Now that’s a happy ending.

For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit www.epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Past Epcot International Flower & Garden Festivals

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Celebrating its 21st year, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom. My favorite part of the festival is all the topiaries throughout the Park. Here’s a look at a past topiary from the 1998 festival – Phil. (Hercules’s trainer)

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There are almost 100 topiaries at Epcot this year with 79 character topiaries to enjoy. What’s your favorite topiary past or present from the festival? Tell me in the “Comments” section below!

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – April 2014

posted on March 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


There’s a lot happening at Walt Disney World Resort, here’s a glimpse of what’s headed your way from the world of Disney Theme Park Merchandise events. Before we jump into April, here’s a quick peek at two events that you won’t want to miss!

March 28 – 30: How many of you have already checked out the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, as well as this year’s commemorative merchandise? I’m definitely jealous! Whether you have already been or are making plans to go, I hope you can join us for Art in the Garden Weekend with special appearances and signings by many of our beloved Disney artists, including Steve Barton, Annick Biaudet, Carlos Cuba, David E. Doss and Larry Dotson. Tip: Also keep an eye out for Greg McCullough who will be appearing the same weekend at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

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Secondly, I have to ask … have you signed up for the Rebel Rendezvous event? Check out the link for exciting info on this May 15 event, leading up to Star Wars Weekends 2014! Early shopping access to Darth’s Mall, specially designed merchandise available only to Rebel Rendezvous attendees, and exciting meet & greet opportunities are just a few reasons why you’ll want to be sure to reserve your spot!

Now, on to April!

Now – April 6: Be sure to check out the newest Fairy Houses being built by select artists on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Now – May 18: Representatives from Rinse Bath and Body Co. will be on hand throughout the day to help you select the product that is right for your skin. My favorite? Definitely, the lip balms. You should check them out, they’re amazing! Learn more.

April 4 – 6: Look for a special appearance by Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Learn more.

April 7 – 20: Renowned artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

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April 9 – 13: Artist Greg McCullough returns April 9 – 13 to Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and will appear later in the month from April 23 – 27 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

April 10 – 13: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson, April 10 – 13 at Art of Disney in Epcot and April 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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April 21 – May 4: Meet representatives from Kumquat Growers and Tropical Blossom Honey Co. who will be on hand from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., each day on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for information on special Earth Day artist appearances at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Which events are you most excited to attend?

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Muppets Celebrate Their New Film & Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Topiary

posted on March 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you visited the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival yet? The festival, which runs through May 18, features a bevy of characters in topiary form – including this year, Kermit and Miss Piggy, to celebrate the opening of their new film “Muppets Most Wanted,” which debuts in theaters today.

From the video, Miss Piggy sure is proud of her appearance at the festival this year.

And here’s the finished topiary. Sure looks like it’s easy being green for Kermit!

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What do you think about their topiary? Will you stop to see it on your next visit to the park? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on March 6th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially underway, I stopped by the Festival Center to get a first look at the set up. This location, found in Future World between the Universe of Energy and MISSION: Space pavilions, is home to a variety of things including demonstrations and a merchandise shop. When I arrived, the event team was putting finishing touches on several areas inside the pavilion. I snapped a few photographs of the merchandise store that I thought you may enjoy.

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The sound of running water filled the air as I walked around the merchandise shop. The center of the shop had a nice garden-like setting complete with trees and fountains. I spotted several garden items throughout the display including wind chimes, garden stakes and other decorative goods.

First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

In a previous article, I shared a look at some of the new merchandise we’ve created for this annual event. I enjoyed seeing the two different visual statements of these items displayed along the walls.

There were a few other things that caught my eye including new, instant photograph-inspired T-shirts for adults, kids and Passholders. There was also a jar-shaped plastic tumbler complete with the event logo. I particularly liked the calendar that contains images of the character topiaries featured throughout Epcot. This is the first time we’ve offered a calendar like this for the event.

Here is a gallery containing a few other items that I liked. The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 18, 2014. I invite you to join the conversation on social networks by using the hashtag #EpcotInSpring. You can also find more information about the event by visiting EpcotInSpring.com.
I hope to see you at Epcot; I’ll most likely be at my favorite Outdoor Kitchen, the Pineapple Promenade!

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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns Today

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


This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival returns to the park today, with new Muppet-themed topiaries, Outdoor Kitchens, and Flower Power concerts.

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In addition to many lovely floral displays, this year’s topiaries will include Mickey, Minnie and Pluto; Mater’s Parts, Plants & Play Garden; Classic Disney Couples; Beauty and the Beast; and Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden. Kermit and Miss Piggy are also appearing in topiary form in between the Italy and the Germany pavilions with a display inspired by the new movie Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted“. For a behind-the-scenes look at how their topiary came to be, check out the video below!

Also at this year’s festival, guests will be able to enjoy tastes from eleven Outdoor Kitchens, which will serve up a slew of new “sweet & savory” and “spring-inspired” menu items. (Check out a sneak peek at this year’s dishes in Pam’s previous post).

The Flower Power Concert Series also returns this Friday with The Guess Who (“American Woman”) taking the stage. Upcoming acts also include two bands making their debut Flower Power Concert performance: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”). Performances are included in park admission and take place Friday through Sunday at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

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