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Japan Pavilion at Epcot

First Look at Commemorative Products for 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on July 27th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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The countdown is on to the start of my favorite event at Walt Disney World Resort – the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The festival opens September 25 and runs through November 16, and will feature more than 30 global marketplaces (including some new experiences in Future World.) This year also marks the 20th time this event has been held at Epcot. Here is a first look at some of the merchandise commemorating this milestone anniversary.

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There are three distinct art programs for this year’s merchandise. The World Showcase logo program includes icons from each of the 11 pavilions. The Disney character program will feature Mickey Mouse and, my favorite, Figment dressed as chefs. We will also offer a “Brews Around the World” assortment, a returning favorite from previous years.

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Other returning favorite items include Vinylmation of the Swedish Chef from The Muppets, collectible pins on recipe cards, and three new Dooney & Bourke handbags. Guests will also find drinkware, four different appetizer plates, and some holiday ornaments.

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I love the coffee mug that uses Figment’s tail as the handle. I also thought the bottle opener on the “Brews Around the World” baseball cap was creative. Finally, I was happy to see salt and pepper shaker trash cans which were inspired by items released last year in Disney Centerpiece at the Marketplace Co-Op.

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Stay tuned in the coming weeks for details about a new activity called “Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak” that includes limited release pins.

The best place to find many of these items starting September 25 will be in the Festival Center. This location will be found in Future World between Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE pavilions. Additional merchandise locations throughout World Showcase will also carry select items. There are no plans at this time to carry these items on our Disney Parks online store.

Do you have a favorite item? Please share in the comments below.

I hope to see you at Epcot this fall.

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Save Up to 25% on Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Stays this Fall

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


Considering a vacation at Walt Disney World Resort this fall? The resort is filled with fun this time of year, with the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the return of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, and of course, the early holiday celebration offerings like Epcot’s Candlelight Processional and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

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Guests booking stays at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels for trips taking place between October 4-November 24, and November 28-December 23, 2015, may save up to 25% thanks to our latest room offer. Check out all of the details here. NOTE: This offer must be booked by September 18, 2015.

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Bookings Begin July 30 for Premium Events for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on July 16th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


There are more ways than ever to celebrate at the 20th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival September 25-November 16 – and while plenty of events are included with park admission, we look forward each fall to the over-the-top “premium events.”

Get ready to book your reservations when the phone lines open at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 30: 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378). And while some favorites fill up fast, there are lots of new events to celebrate the festival’s 20 years at Walt Disney World Resort. Some events can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com: culinary demos, beverage seminars, mixology seminars, general admission for Party for the Senses and general admission for the Rockin’ Burger Block Party. Check out all the events at the website, then get set to dial or book online!

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Beginning today, you can go to epcotfoodfestival.com to choose your own lineup, but here are our top picks:

  • Get a glimpse of the cast of ABC TV’s “The Chew” at a new premium event on October 8 in World ShowPlace: the Rockin’ Burger Block Party, with specialty burgers and sliders inspired by top names in the music industry such as Dave Matthews and his Dreaming Tree Wines and Carlos Santana’s Casa Noble Tequila. (Two additional Burger Block Parties are set for September 25 and November 6.) This one includes VIP seating with a specialty cocktail toast, premium bar and more.
  • One of a series of popular Party for the Senses premium events will be the first-time Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses October 31, an elegant, dance-the-night-away, gourmet tasting party with Champagne, wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails paired with food. (You’ll want to masquerade in chic yellow and black.)
  • Another Party for the Senses we don’t want to miss is October 24 with Disney chefs from the United States, Europe and Asia cooking their favorite cuisine that represents their cultures as well as the Disney Parks and Resorts they call home. Additional Party for the Senses dates are October 3, 10 and 17, and each evening starts with a reserved seat at the Eat to the Beat concert series at the America Gardens Theatre. Following the show, head to World ShowPlace for a sensational evening with more than 50 tasting stations. (And Cirque du Soleil is back!)
  • What’s Cookin’ With … begin the morning with a delightful plated brunch and sparkling wine toast. Culinary celebs will demo a favorite dish and then sit down with the emcee to answer questions from the audience and share secrets of their successes. The brunch happens every Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m.

Guests include:

  • September 27: Andrew Zimmern
  • October 2: Amanda Freitag presented by Mylan
  • October 4: Bryan Voltaggio
  • October 9: Jamie Deen
  • October 11: Carla Hall
  • October 16: Gale Gand
  • October 18: Cat Cora
  • October 23: Allen Susser
  • October 25: John Ash presented by Verlasso
  • October 30: Robert Irvine
  • November 1: Erika Davis
  • November 6: Buddy Valastro
  • November 8: David Guas
  • November 13: Alex Guarnaschelli
  • November 15: Sarah Fioroni

Others premium events we look forward to trying: the Mexican Tequila Lunch, Japanese Craft Beer Tasting and the new French Family Meal Traditions.

Included in regular Epcot admission are the new Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and attractions and park entertainment.

Entertainment and Events are subject to change without notice.

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20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Expands for First Time into Future World

posted on July 13th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For the first time ever, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is stretching into the park’s Future World with four new food and beverage marketplaces.

The festival opens September 25 and runs through November 16, and will feature more than 30 global marketplaces for sipping and noshing throughout the park.

20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Expands for First Time into Future World

Along the walkway toward Future World West, the new Artistry of Wine & Cheese festival area will feature the Cheese Studio (offering a cheese sampler served on an artist’s palette to pair with wines) and the Wine Studio with premium wines on tap – each keg keeps the wine super fresh and holds the equivalent of 26 bottles, eliminating bottle, cork, cardboard and paper waste. Bottles, corks and materials from other marketplaces are recycled.

Then, near the Epcot Character Spot, the new Next Eats area will debut with Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces inspired by ABC’s Emmy-Award® winning lifestyle series “The Chew,” starring co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. Sustainable Chew will feature three dishes, and Chew Lab will show off hot culinary tech trends like a Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.

Beginning July 15, you can go to epcotfoodfestival.com for more details. Booking for premium events like the new Rockin’ Burger Block Party (details soon!), Party for the Senses and Signature Dining Experiences will begin July 30 at 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378).

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ABC’s ‘The Chew’ Will Broadcast from 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; Also Featured in Two First-Ever Future World Marketplaces

posted on July 2nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We all have a favorite host from ABC’s “The Chew” – superstars Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz each have a special way of sharing their culinary know-how on the Emmy-Award-winning lifestyle series. And for the first time in the show’s history, these dynamic hosts are leaving the Manhattan studio to tape shows October 7, 8, and 9 from the 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. The five festival episodes will air October 12-16.

Shows will be taped before a live audience (visit thechew.com for information on how to obtain tickets), and we’re sure the hosts will be all over Walt Disney World Resort discovering remarkable dining finds, getting a taste of innovative, fun and healthful eats – the best the vacation kingdom has to offer.

CLINTON KELLY, DAPHNE OZ, MARIO BATALI, MICHAEL SYMON, CARLA HALL

Along with the taping of the show, “The Chew” will be featured in two marketplaces throughout the festival’s 53-day celebration from September 25-November 16, helping celebrate 20 delicious years. For the first time in the festival’s history, marketplaces will expand into Future World in the new Next Eats festival area with three delicious dishes from “The Chew” in their Sustainable Chew Marketplace: Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Mascarpone Grits; Ricotta & Zucchini Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle. (Herbs and veggies from The Land pavilion will flavor the marketplace dishes when harvested.) The eco-home-inspired marketplace will offer a chance for guests to learn more about how food is grown and the importance of sustainability.

Also in Next Eats, Disney chefs are collaborating with “The Chew” for the Chew Lab, a cutting-edge marketplace inspired by food-science labs and the hottest culinary tech trends.

“The Chew” airs on ABC Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. EST, noon CST. For updates on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit epcotfoodfestival.com throughout the summer.

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Look Ahead to New Merchandise Coming to Disney Parks Later in 2015

posted on June 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


As summer begins at Disney Parks, here is a sneak preview of items coming later this year. This is one of my favorite articles to write as I get to share some awesome things currently in development.

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Time For MagicSliders
One of the more popularly requested accessories for MagicBands at Walt Disney World Resort is a watch. I’m happy to report there will be two MagicSlider timepieces coming this summer – a Minnie Mouse analog timepiece and one with a digital display.

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Disney Pins From Regions Beyond
Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion-themed shop located in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park, inspired two open edition pins coming late summer. One pin resembles the brooch that female cast members wear in the location, while the other looks like a sign found outside the shop. You can see both of those items in this previous article.

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Cogsworth and Chef Figment
Cogsworth may be one of my favorite characters from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” I was happy to see there will be a medium-sized figurine coming this September. This figurine is the companion piece to the Lumiere figurine we released in 2013. The best part – Cogsworth’s face is a working clock!

Also arriving this fall is a new 12-inch Figment plush created especially for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. My favorite festival of the year returns to Walt Disney World Resort from September 25 through November 16.

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Villainous T-Shirts
This fall, Chernabog from Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and Hades from Disney’s “Hercules” will be featured on new Disney Villain T-shirts. I love this artwork created by Disney Design Group artist Dave Keefer.

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Disney Theme Park Holiday Ornaments
This year, we will release ornaments featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in attire representing different Disney Theme Parks. It’s probably no surprise that I adore the Epcot ornament especially since Mickey and Minnie are wearing their spacesuits from the 1980s.

Look for these and other items coming to select merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort.

Which item is your favorite? Please share in the comments below.

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First Look at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Get ready for an exciting 53 days for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, celebrating two delicious decades from September 25 – November 16.

Now noted as one of America’s top food festivals by the Travel Channel, the 20th rendition promises plenty of celebrity chefs and new marketplaces, but also traditions that guests look forward to each year.

First Look at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Look for favorite chefs such as Cat Cora, Jamie Deen, John Ash, Robert Irvine and Buddy Valastro onstage for demos and premium events (John Ash was at the very first Epcot fest back in 1996, and returns for 2015.) In all, more than 270 Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the U.S. will be showcased.

And for those who can’t wait to take a trip around the world at the 25-plus Marketplace kiosks, look for both new dishes (pepper bacon mac ‘n cheese at Farm Fresh Marketplace, seared venison loin in New Zealand) and returning classics (yes, the pierogies are still there in Poland, as well as Belgian waffles and kalua pork sliders in Hawaii). Wines, beers, Champagne, cocktails and mocktails are paired with good eats at each stop.

Eat to the Beat concerts are already lined up (see Charles Stovall’s blog post last week) with favorites such as Tiffany, Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And the favorite Party for the Senses grand tasting events are back every Saturday night in October featuring more than 50 wines and beers with tempting bites from eminent chefs.

Other fun stuff: the Ocean Spray cranberry bog is back. And Chase cardholders can chill out, grab a complimentary soft drink and try some interactive fun at the Chase Lounge in American Adventure. For kids of all ages, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak takes you on a scavenger hunt for little Remy statuettes (maps, stickers and prizes are involved). New premium events includes “French Family Meal Traditions” lunches on Fridays and Saturdays, a “Rockin’ Burger Block Party” on select dates, and new beverage events including “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now.”

Happy 20 years, Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! We can’t wait to celebrate. More details to follow. When a reservation booking date is announced this summer, you can call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at epcotfoodfestival.com.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 31st, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared details of an all-new show coming to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park – the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular.”

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During this Castle Forecourt Stage show, the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season. With only a few hours to run amuck, the three sisters decide to use their magic to throw the best, evil Halloween party this side of the graveyard.

“Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” will be presented exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, held select nights at Magic Kingdom Park from September 15 – November 1, 2015. Check Shawn’s original story for more details.

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And we shared the lineup for 2015’s “Eat to the Beat” concert series during this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We’re kicking things off with David Cook on September 25 and will feature new acts like Tiffany and Chaka Khan. Charles has the complete list in his original story.

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

Memorial Day Flag Retreat Ceremony at Disneyland Park Honors Fallen Soldiers – On Memorial Day, Disneyland park guests lined Main Street, U.S.A. during the daily flag retreat ceremony to pay respect to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Additional ‘Decades’ Details and Art Revealed for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – Learn where you can find Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration “Decades” collection merchandise!

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Truffles Debut at Signature Restaurants – Looking for a dazzling way to complete your meal? Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Truffles will be offered at select signature restaurants throughout Disneyland Resort — Blue Bayou Restaurant, Carthay Circle Restaurant and Steakhouse 55.

New Made With Magic Items Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – Nighttime at Disneyland Resort is now a little brighter with the release of new Made with Magic items. Created especially for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we have introduced a celebratory ear hat and a magical paintbrush!

Disney Parks Blog Readers Enjoy #Disney24, ‘Tomorrowland’ Screening – The Disney Parks Blog team held 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.”

The Ultimate Land and Sea Family Vacation with Disney Cruise Line – Disney Parks Blog author Jonathan Frontado shares five reasons why sailing with Disney Cruise Line to a tropical destination before or after a stay at Walt Disney World Resort is the ultimate family vacation.

Learn to Draw Fred From ‘Big Hero 6’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – This week our Learn to Draw animation series continues with a lesson on how to draw another member of the “Big Hero 6” team – it’s Fred, the fun-loving, comic-book aficionado of the group!

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Rick Springfield, Tiffany, Chaka Khan Rock ‘Eat to the Beat’ Concert Series at 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

posted on May 29th, 2015 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


In January, we let you in on the dates for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

One of my favorite times of the year! And this year is the 20th anniversary of the festival!

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Now, I have the enviable task of giving you more info on this year’s festival – the lineup for 2015’s “Eat to the Beat” concert series.

Being a child of the ‘80s, I’m SUPER pumped for some of our new acts like Tiffany and Chaka Khan. Also new to this year’s festival are the S.O.S. Band, Everclear and Maxi Priest.

Here’s the full list. Hope your favorite is on there!

  • David Cook – September 25-27, 2015
  • Wilson Phillips – September 28-29, 2015
  • Christopher Cross – September 30-October 1, 2015
  • Starship – October 2-4, 2015
  • Smash Mouth – October 5-7, 2015
  • The Pointer Sisters – October 8-9, 2015
  • 38 Special – October 10-11, 2015
  • Rick Springfield – October 12-13, 2015
  • Sugar Ray – October 14-16, 2015
  • The S.O.S. Band – October 17-18, 2015
  • Air Supply – October 19-21, 2015
  • Fuel – October 22-23, 2015
  • Tiffany (NEW!) – October 24-25, 2015
  • Dennis DeYoung – October 26-28, 2015
  • Jo Dee Messina – October 29-30, 2015
  • Everclear (NEW!) – October 31-November 1, 2015
  • Boyz II Men – November 2-4, 2015
  • Sister Hazel – November 5-6, 2015
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 7-9, 2015
  • Hanson – November 10-12, 2015
  • Maxi Priest (NEW!) – November 13-14, 2015
  • Chaka Khan (NEW!) – November 15-16, 2015

Please note: Daily show times take place at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. Entertainment and appearances are subject to change without notice.

Be sure to check back to the Disney Parks Blog for updated info on this year’s festival.

Bonne ẻcoute!” (Happy Listening!)

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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.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

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