Season’s Greetings! That’s right… our holiday celebrations are getting ready to set sail. And this year, our Very Merrytime Cruises are more magical than ever with brand-new events for the whole family!
Today marks the first day of our Very Merrytime Cruises on the Disney Fantasy, and the party starts tomorrow on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder and Monday on the Disney Dream. If you’re cruising with us this week through the New Year, here’s some of the new holiday fun you can expect…
Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic – In the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree. This special event is the perfect way to kick off the holiday celebrations!
Winter Wonderland Ball – To celebrate the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, you’re invited to don your holiday finest and join Disney friends and princesses for a glamorous ball. On this night filled with dancing, singing and festive treats, you’ll be enchanted by the transformation of a snowman into jolly old Saint Nick himself before a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium.
Holiday Carolers – Dickens-inspired characters and carolers carry the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends.
All of these special events are in addition to the activities you already love, like meet and greets with Santa, building gingerbread houses, listening to holiday storytellers and dancing at the tropical-themed “Deck the Deck Holiday Party.”
Of course no holiday celebration would be complete without sparkling decor, and our team of elves works hard throughout the year creating decorations unique to each ship (more than 300 pieces of custom decor per ship!) Then they have just a few hours to install it! To give you a better idea of the work taking place right this moment on the Disney Fantasy, take a look back at the 20-foot tree going up for the ship’s very first holiday season…
Now that’s what I call teamwork! What part of our Very Merrytime Cruises are you looking forward to most?
To learn more about our Very Merrytime Cruises, check out these posts:
Central Park turned into Central pARRRk recently, courtesy of the group Improv Everywhere, showing their Disney Side to New York park goers and vice versa.
Such iconic locations as the Central Park Boathouse, Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain were overrun by the fiercest scallywags to ever sail “The Lake” in the park – seemingly straight out of our very own Pirates of the Caribbean attraction! Imagine that!
Take a look.
Improv Everywhere, creators of the “Films in Real Life” viral video series, is a New York City-based “prank collective” that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.
As you can see, New Yorkers weren’t afraid to show their Disney Sides, as well.
We at the Disney Parks Blog were there to cover all the action. Check back soon for a behind-the-scenes report!
Are you excited to see “Big Hero 6” when it opens in theaters this weekend?
This week, we began celebrating the film’s upcoming release with a fun addition to Downtown Disney West Side – a 40-foot-tall Baymax! Our cameras were there to see just how this larger-than life, lovable robot was brought to life. Be sure to check out the video below to see for yourself.
For more on the film, be sure to check out these blog posts:
You may have heard of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, but did you know we have our own goat version almost every day at Disneyland park?
The Disneyland goat herd, numbering 13 goats, spend their days at the Petting Farm at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland. Between naps, they welcome guests with their calm demeanor and somewhat bewitching eyes. But when “quitting time” comes, the energy level goes up quite a bit. With dinner on their minds, they scoot over the hill to Circle D Ranch, where supper awaits them.
Next time you’re in Disneyland park around sunset, be sure to stop by and witness this adorable bunch scamper home! In the meantime, you can catch the “goat running” in the video below.
The Hollywood Brown Derby is tops for dining at the theme park, with an all-day menu featuring original creations such as blue lump crab springs rolls, Scotch maple-glazed Loch Duart Salmon and pan-seared, coriander-crusted black grouper. But you can also get a simple grilled burger (it just happens to be Wagyu beef and topped with a fried egg) and the ever-classic Cobb Salad, made from the same recipe as the original in Hollywood, California.
Watch Chef Andreas create this beautiful and tasty sweet finish – he tops with fancy bites, but you can rest assured it’s just as delicious without. It take a little time to make the mousse, but the result is worth it.
For reservations at The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, call 407-WDW-DINE or visit disneyworld.com.
Banana Toffee Mousse on Cocoa Crunch Serves 12
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 tablespoons crushed chocolate cookies
1/2 cup chocolate-covered toffee pieces
Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water. Melt chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in double boiler over simmering water; whisk for 4 minutes and remove from heat.
Sprinkle gelatin over hot water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Microwave 10 seconds, stirring gelatin until melted. Set aside.
Beat eggs and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in gelatin mixture, then mashed bananas. Fold in melted white chocolate.
Whip heavy cream to soft peaks in a separate large bowl. Gently fold whipped cream into banana mixture to create mousse. Divide mixture in half.
Spoon 1 tablespoon chocolate cookie crumbs in the bottom of 12 1/2-cup ramekins. Evenly top each with half of mousse. Add thin layer of toffee pieces. Repeat process with remaining mousse.
Paradise Garden Grill is offering this classic Mexican soup as part of Disney ¡Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure park. It is also offered at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante in Disneyland park on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Since it’s not always there, here’s the recipe for you to try at home. And it’s even better the second day. Pozole (or posole) is a hearty hybrid of soup and stew with chewy hominy and tender pork – the fresh garnishes add crunch and freshness.
Pozole Serves 8 to 10
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, peeled, and split lengthwise
2 bay leaves
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons coarse salt, divided
6 dried Guajillo chiles
2 dried ancho or New Mexico chiles
1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into large pieces
3 medium or 2 large plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and cored
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 (15-ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
6 radishes, sliced thinly
3 limes, quartered
1 bunch fresh cilantro, large stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
Rinse diced pork under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer pork to a large stock pot over medium-high heat; add 8 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer; skim off and discard foam and solids that float to surface.
Stir in garlic, bay leaves, onion, cumin, and 1 tablespoon salt. Turn heat to medium to keep soup at a light simmer. Cover and simmer 90 minutes (do not boil). Periodically skim foam from surface.
Meanwhile, remove and discard stems, seeds, and large veins from dried chiles. Break into large pieces in a medium saucepan and add 3 cups water. Top with sweet onion, tomatoes, and garlic cloves, keeping chiles submerged. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside 15 to 20 minutes.
Working in 2 batches, puree chile mixture with cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into soup pot, pressing solids with back of spoon to extract liquid.
Simmer soup for 90 minutes, then stir in black pepper, oregano, and hominy. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.
Remove a piece of pork and taste for doneness. If meat is not tender, simmer 15 to 20 minutes more.
Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes, the master of all things sweet at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is in the kitchen cooking up this year’s gingerbread extravaganza … well, at least we think he is. Take a look at this video – that’s Walt Disney Imagineer Joseph Konopka bringing something “Frozen” for Chef Jeff to work into his creative thinking. Joseph and Chef Jeff teamed up for the masterpiece that debuts November 13 in the fourth floor atrium of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
More details to come as Chef Jeff builds his sweet concoction – but we can guarantee there will be plenty of chocolate. Any guesses?
1. More time to play
All Disneyland Resort hotel guests enjoy admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland or Disney California Adventure parks for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days!
2. A warm welcome
Everyone knows that a stay in a Disneyland Resort hotel begins with a warm “Welcome!” from the cast members at the front desk. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, more than 50 of these cast members have learned to say “welcome” in 10 different languages to make all guests feel at home.
“Guests visit the Disneyland Resort Hotels from all over the world,” says Guest Services Manager Brian Elling. “When a cast member says ‘welcome’ in a guest’s own language, it creates an instant connection with the guest and puts them at ease.”
3. Surf’s Up!
Did you know that the PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is the only dining location at the Disneyland Resort where you can enjoy a meal with Mickey Mouse? The Surf’s Up! Mickey and Friends Breakfast is an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast experience, and seeing Mickey Mouse himself dressed in his beachy best is a perfect way to start surfing your way through a fantastic day at the Disneyland Resort.
“You definitely get to have a full experience with our characters during the breakfast,” says PCH Grill Area Manager Stacey Edwards. “Every guest gets to see Mickey in our photo location when they come in, and while they’re eating, guests can even get up and dance with the characters!”
4. Closer to the magic
Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel puts you just steps away from all there is to do at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks and the Downtown Disney District. Plus, you’re surrounded by all the special Disney details that make the Disneyland Resort such a magical place to be – you never have to leave the Happiest Place on Earth until it’s time to go home!
Thirsty travelers over 21 years of age can order a Shipwreck on the Rocks or Krakatoa Punch at this tropical oasis at the Disneyland Hotel. But be careful, because the tiki gods might just create a fearsome lightning storm (complete with thunder and a sinking ship in a bottle) or cause a volcano eruption.
“We’re ex-skipper captains from the Jungle Cruise,” explains Bartender Roy Hanzal. “We kept wrecking the boats, so Trader Sam sent us over here to serve drinks to the guests instead.”
6. Kids have a getaway of their own
Pinocchio’s Workshop offers supervised play and themed activities each evening for children (ages 5 – 12) of hotel guests, providing parents an opportunity to have their own adventures. This fun-filled child activity center is located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa but is open to guests staying at any of the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort.
7. A ‘Signature’ experience
While every guest room at a Disneyland Resort hotel includes special Disney touches, the six themed Signature Suites at the Disneyland Hotel fully immerse guests in the magic of Disneyland. From the replica of Davy Jones’ Dead Man’s Chest in the Pirates of the Caribbean Suite to a twinkling Tinker Bell turning on the lights of the Sleeping Beauty Castle model in the Fairy Tale Suite, it would take much longer than one night to see all the details in these extraordinary suites.
8. Something special for fitness fanatics
While a walk in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks is a great way to stay in shape during a vacation, a power walk before a park opens to the public is a special treat. The early-morning Get Up and Go Power Walk through Disney California Adventure Park and Fitness Fusion class at the outdoor fireplace at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are open to guests at all three hotels.
9. See more with a tour
The Happiest Hotel on Earth tour at the Disneyland Hotel teaches guests about the history and heritage of the hotel, while the Art of the Craft tour at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa shows the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on the hotel. These tours are complimentary and available on select days to all guests, including those not staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, though reservations are encouraged.
10. Time for a bedtime story
Everyone loves a good story — and there’s nothing quite like having your own personal storyteller at bedtime. Guests cuddle up with blankets and gather in the rocking chairs around the stone fireplace in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to hear Tales from the Hearth. It’s a great way for the whole family to wind down after a day at the parks. But if you miss it, no fear: just turn to the designated channel on your TV at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels to hear Disney’s Princess Story Time. What better way to have sweet dreams?
Special thanks to my fellow cast member, Madeline Des Jardins, for providing these great tips!
On Saturday, October 25, the city of Anaheim presented its 90th annual Halloween Parade. The Disneyland Resort was well-represented in the festivities by Disney Ambassador Sachiko White and Donald Duck, resplendent in his wizard costume. Pulling their carriage were two of Circle D Corral’s finest steeds. Take a look at our video, which shows the preparations necessary to get parade-ready as well as shots from the parade itself.