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'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

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

31 Disney Dream Vacations, Nights in Cinderella Castle to be Awarded in Disney ‘Flip’ Side Sweepstakes

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2015 in a big way by “flipping” Disney Side around and giving away a Walt Disney World Resort vacation that includes a night in Cinderella Castle Suite everyday in January!

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Disney Parks Blog readers know that everyone has a Disney Side – that side of you that comes out to play the moment you step through the gates at any of our parks. Well, this month, we’re “flipping” it and exploring how your favorite Disney characters show their Disney Side in fun and unexpected ways.

It’s already begun.  From now until January 31, visit DisneyFlipSide.com to check-out videos and photos from Sam, the Disney Parks Insider, as he goes behind the scenes with all-Parks access, an arsenal of cameras and crafty disguises to show you never-before-seen Disney Sides of some of your favorite Disney Park personalities. While visiting, be sure to enter the Disney “Flip” Side Sweepstakes. There is a new winner selected everyday in January. That’s 31 winners who will receive a 5-day/4-night dream vacation at Walt Disney World Resort for four that includes:

  • 1-Night stay at the Cinderella Castle Suite in the Magic Kingdom Park
  • 3 Nights at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
  • 5-Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options
  • $500 Disney Gift Card
  • Personalized “Disney Side” Welcome Basket
  • Glass Slipper Gift inspired by the new live-action film “Cinderella,” in theaters March 13
  • Round-trip coach airfare (If the winner resides more than 250 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort)

Visit DisneyFlipsSide.com and enter everyday for a chance to win. It’s Disney Side fun, flipped around just for you.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (PT) on 1/1/15 and ends 11:59 PM (PT) on 1/31/15. The Sweepstakes is made up of 31 daily sweepstakes each beginning at 12:01 AM (PT) and ending at 11:59 PM (PT) each day. Limit one (1) Entry per daily sweepstakes. Click here for full Official Rules.

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VIDEO: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Happy New Year! Tonight, we live streamed our special New Year’s Eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks from Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort – and you can watch the replay for yourself below. To view the fireworks show, skip ahead to 20:10 in the video below.

Be sure to check back for more live events on the Disney Parks Blog in 2015.

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Top 5 Entertainment Milestones at Disney Parks in 2014

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


There’s nothing our Creative Entertainment team enjoys more than producing amazing live entertainment for our guests. Here are just a few of the new experiences that debuted in Disney Parks around the world in 2014:

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade: Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty"

  1. Disney Festival of Fantasy” Parade – This stunning daytime spectacular took to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park in March with amazingly detailed floats, vibrantly colored costumes, energetic performances, and a fire-breathing dragon – all created on an enormous scale never before seen at Walt Disney World Resort!

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  1. Seasonal Celebrations at Disneyland Paris – Already known for their festivals at Halloween and Christmas, Disneyland Paris took it up two notches this year with lively celebrations of spring and summer. “Swing Into Spring” and “Summertime” brought fresh, new promenades and shows to Main Street and the Castle Stage, along with character appearances and live music throughout both parks at the resort.

“For The First Time in Forever: A ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration”  at Disney's Hollywood Studios

  1. Summer Events at Walt Disney World Resort – It was a summer of hot and cool special events at Walt Disney World Resort. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Harambe Nights honored the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King” with the hottest party this side of Africa, featuring live concerts, celebrity narrators, and an unforgettable nighttime celebration. Meanwhile, “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios cooled things down with ice-skating, real snow, and a procession, sing-along, and fireworks featuring appearances by Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

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  1. New Disney Character Friends – A highlight of any visit to a Disney Park is getting to meet Mickey Mouse and his pals. In 2014, some other characters stopped in to say “Hello!” for the first time. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of Walt Disney’s first cartoon creations, visited Tokyo DisneySea and Disney California Adventure park, where our guests also got to meet Doc McStuffins from Disney Junior. And Hiro and Baymax flew in hot on the heels of the release of their new movie, “Big Hero 6.”

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  1. Nighttime Spectaculars – Disney Parks dazzled after dark in 2014 with the introduction of several new nighttime spectaculars. The award-winning “Once Upon a Time” came to Tokyo Disneyland in summer, and the new “Disney Paint the Night” Parade lit up Hong Kong Disneyland in October. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, nightly “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks debuted during Star Wars Weekends, and even more “Frozen” fun was added to “World of Color – Winter Dreams” at Disney California Adventure park and “Disney Dreams… of Christmas” in Disneyland Paris.

All this, plus the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event over Memorial Day weekend, expansion of Halloween on the High Seas to all four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, and more!

There’s been quite a lot happening in the world of Creative Entertainment this year, and 2015 promises to be even bigger, especially with “Frozen Fun” and the Diamond Celebration coming to Disneyland Resort. Keep reading Disney Parks Blog all year long, and we’ll have the scoop for you. Happy new year!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Top 10 Disney Parks YouTube Videos of 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


In 2014, there were some great Disney Parks YouTube videos shared around by readers, including our “Ultimate Tweet” at the Walt Disney World Resort – our top video of the year.

Take at look at our list of the Top 10 Most Popular Disney Parks YouTube videos in 2014.

1. Behind the Scenes | 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’

2. 140-Disney-Character ‘Ultimate Tweet’ | Disney Side | Disney Parks

3. Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ Sing-Along Performed at Walt Disney World Resort | Disney Parks

4. Moms Have a Disney Side too | Mother’s Day | Disney Parks

5. #DisneyKids: First Teacup Ride | Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

6. Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

7. Ursula Moves Into Her Lair at Disney California Adventure Park | Disneyland Resort | Disney Parks

8. #DisneyKids: First Photo at Magic Kingdom Park | Walt Disney World

9. #DisneyKids: Remembering Favorite Attractions at Walt Disney World | Disney Parks

10. ‘Frozen’ Meet & Greet with Anna & Elsa at Epcot | Walt Disney World

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Top Ten Disney Parks Moments that Will Go Down in History from 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


We sure had a lot to celebrate at Disney Parks in 2014, and some of the milestones we experienced this year were memorable ones, with “Frozen” fun debuting at our parks, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening and much more.

That said, here are my top 10 picks for moments that will go down in Disney history for 2014.

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  1. Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort – Thousands of guests dressed as their favorite superhero joined the mad dash through the Disneyland Resort as a part of the very first Avengers Half Marathon. Did you #SmashTheHalf?

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  1. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador – For the first time in history, Aulani welcomed their first Disney Ambassador to represent the resort and engage our guests, cast and community. Janelle Sanqui, Aulani’s first Disney Ambassador, worked in Workforce Management at the resort and was born in Hawaii.

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  1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Reopens at Disneyland ParkBig Thunder Mountain Railroad reopened at Disneyland park back in March. The enhanced attraction debuted with upgraded track, a restored Rainbow Ridge Mining Town and other surprises.

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  1. Themed Hotels Announced for Shanghai Disneyland – In November, we announced that two new themed hotels are planned as a part of Shanghai Disney Resort – the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel.

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  1. Downtown Disney Announcements – Several announcements were made for new restaurants coming to the shopping, dining and entertainment area at Walt Disney World Resort, including three new restaurants – Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando.

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  1. “Frozen Summer Fun” Debuts At Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The first official “Frozen” entertainment offerings made their debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July. The fun included “Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome” procession, For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – and a whole lot of excited guests!

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  1. L’Aventure Totalement Toquee De Remy (Ratatouille) Attraction Opens At Disneyland Park (Paris) – This attraction, and its surrounding La Place de Rémy Courtyard, officially opened July 10, 2014.

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  1. Oswald Begins Greeting Guests At Disney California Adventure Park – This historic Disney character made his first ever appearance at a Disney Park this year. Oswald was one of Walt Disney’s first major animated characters ever developed. Learn more about him here.

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  1. “Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade” Steps Off at Magic Kingdom Park – March 10 marked the arrival of a wonderful new daytime parade at Magic Kingdom Park. A fire-breathing Maleficent, anyone?

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens at Magic Kingdom Park – The final New Fantasyland attraction made its debut at the park on May 28. Have you seen these amazing Audio-Animatronics figures?

Which moment was your favorite? Would you add anything to our list? Let us know in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Year in Review: Greatest Hits from Disney Theme Park Merchandise in 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


This year was an exciting time for Disney Theme Park Merchandise. On behalf of my fellow author Michelle Harker and the entire merchandise team, thank you for your feedback! We loved reading your comments as new things were revealed. Below is a brief list of popular items from 2014. I’d love to know your favorite products from this past year, so please share in the comments below.

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Disney Character Mugs – This past spring, we released several new Disney character mugs. This article was one of the most popular stories of the year, particularly on Pinterest.

Disney Parks Collection By PANDORA JewelryIn August, we announced a new partnership with PANDORA Jewelry. We released a collection of hand finished sterling silver and 14K gold charms developed especially for Disney Parks.

Disney’s “Frozen” – Some of the most requested items this past year were inspired by Disney’s “Frozen.” We introduced graphic MagicBands with Anna and Elsa; Olaf-shaped candy apples, unique headware, and, of course, dresses! Guests could also visit Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, a make-over destination at Downtown Disney District in California.

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Marketplace Co-Op – In June, we opened the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. This location is a testing space for new Disney retail concepts, shops and products and contains some of my favorite places to shop like D-Tech on Demand, Disney Centerpiece or Cherry Tree Lane.

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Haunted Mansion Authentic – In the fall, more than 100 new Haunted Mansion-themed products were introduced at Disney Parks. Part of a program titled, “Haunted Mansion Authentic,” these items were inspired by characters, icons and details from this classic attraction. In August, the attraction celebrated its 45 anniversary at Disneyland park. In October, we opened Memento Mori, a Haunted Mansion shop located in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. The new location is also home to a unique Spirit Photography experience.

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Showing Your Disney Side – Guests showed their Disney Side with products created especially for Disney Parks. We released new colors for the Disney Parks Collection by Vera Bradley. Guests loved combining pixie dust and positive energy with Alex and Ani bracelets. We also released several Dooney & Bourke handbags including some for Disney Cruise Line and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Shirts, Shirts and More Shirts – I’m sure I’m not the only one who had to clean out their closets to make room for new Disney Parks apparel. From online only tees to exercise apparel, guests had plenty of choices for attire with nods to Disney Parks.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun

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


In 2014, we started encouraging you to show your Disney Side – that silly, carefree side of you that lets go when you’re at a Disney Park and allows you to just have fun, whether that means wearing Mickey ears or running to get a perfect photo with Pluto.

Today, we’re taking a look back at the many ways our guests showed their Disney Side at our parks throughout the year.

Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun Why 2014 Was A Full Year of Disney Side Fun

In January, we invited you to show us how your family shows their Disney Side on this website, which enabled you to build your own stick figure family – Disney style.

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We kicked off the summer season Memorial Day weekend with 24-hour Rock Your Disney Side all-night parties at Magic Kingdom Park, Disneyland park, and Disney California Adventure park. During the events, thousands of guests dressed to show their Disney Sides, whether pirate or princess, hero or villain.

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In August, 101 four-legged friends got a chance to show their Disney Sides when they were selected to participate in the first-ever A Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park, in which the pack of pooches dressed in their Disney best for a walk through the park.

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In September, more than 100 Disney Parks Blog readers showed their Disney Side during our “Disney Side Not-So-Scary Soiree” meet-up at Magic Kingdom Park, with guests dressing in Disney costumes for our annual Halloween event.

Also in fall, a handful of tween filmmakers got to partner with our Yellow Shoes department to share what their Disney Side would look like on film, in the “Direct Your Disney Side” series of short films. Learn more about those (and view two of the shorts in the series) here.

How will you show your Disney Side in 2015? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Watch New Year’s Eve Fireworks Live at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 28th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our exclusive series of Disney Side holiday live events at Walt Disney World Resort wraps on New Year’s Eve with a special surprise from Magic Kingdom Park.

We’re live streaming a special New Year’s Eve eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

At 11:50 p.m. EST on Wednesday, we’re hosting coverage of the special New Year’s Eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks. To see it live, just visit the front page of the Disney Parks Blog beginning at 11:35 p.m. on December 31.

See you then.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Fireworks Around Our World

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


Are fireworks a must-see for you on New Year’s Eve? Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our holiday spectaculars have been lighting up the night for weeks in anticipation of Christmas. Check out the gallery of images below for a look at the latest fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

For details on what our parks have planned for New Year’s Eve, click here.

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Filed: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort