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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on November 29th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

As part of our Thanksgiving celebration this week, we shared a special behind-the-scenes look two unforgettable holiday stories from the Walt Disney World Resort that you may have seen on ABC’s Good Morning America. They’re two heartwarming stories involving members of our military from the United States Air Force and United States Navy – and both have surprising twists.

Also this week, Disney Parks Blog readers got a quick peek at how we decked the walls of “it’s a small world” Holiday at Disneyland Resort. Check out hours of work in just 40 seconds.

The attraction’s façade has 50,000 C7 size lights in seven different colors: red, blue, green, amber, fuchsia, purple, and white. It adds up to almost five miles of light strings on the façade. Visit Shannon’s original story for more interesting facts about “it’s a small world” Holiday.

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

New ALEX AND ANI Debuts at Disney Parks – Charm your way into the new year with the ALEX AND ANI Dated 2016 Charm Bangle (available in Rafaelian Gold and Rafaelian Silver Finishes) featuring Sorcerer Mickey, beginning December 14 at Disney Parks.

International Treats at Holidays Around the World at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort – ‘Tis the season of sweets at Epcot, with World Showcase countries showing off their sugary best starting November 30 for Holidays Around the World.

PHOTO GALLERY: Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’ – Check out these special images of Rapunzel from photographer Ryan Wendler!

Holiday How-To: Holiday Leftovers Panini – Not sure what to do with your leftovers from Thanksgiving? In our final turkey-day tip, Lenny DeGeorge, Executive Chef, Concept Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, shows us how to make the perfect holiday panini.

Wildlife Wednesday: Animals Love Pumpkins! – We are thankful to care for these amazing animals every day … and, recently, the animals showed us they are thankful for pumpkins!

#DisneyFamilia: Celebrate the Holidays Mexican Style – The event Feliz Navidad is returning this year to the Mexico pavilion at Epcot where guests are welcome to celebrate the holidays a la Mexicana, by sharing their culture and traditions in a very musical way.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Unforgettable Reunion Captured by Good Morning America at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 28th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director

Neighbors helping neighbors – random acts of kindness going above and beyond to help someone. It’s something we have all experienced and are thankful when it happens. Sometimes those acts of kindness are small, and sometimes they are big. Air Force Lt. Colonel Jack Spencer from Georgia and his family experienced that unconditional kindness in a big way.

While deployed to Afghanistan, Spencer’s wife Mindi and his two daughters remained in Georgia going about their day-to-day lives. As difficult as it was, simple things were made easier with the help of their amazing neighbors, Jeff and Amy Campbell. From helping with lawn work, taking care of pets and taking the Spencer family to dinner, the support was significant. The most unforgettable impact came when one of the Spencer children was involved in a serious auto accident in Texas. The support the Campbells gave Mindi was the help and emotional bridge she needed until her husband could return home on emergency leave.

Jack and Mindi Spencer have searched for a way to thank Jeff and Amy Campbell, and with help from Walt Disney World Resort and ABC’s Good Morning America they finally had the opportunity by giving the Campbells a family trip to Walt Disney World. An unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience that played out on Good Morning America this morning.

With the cast of Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom performing the song Circle of Life as a backdrop, an emotional and tearful reunion played out. Together both families then enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast and a ride on Kilimanjaro Safari.

We salute the Spencer and Campbell families, all military personnel serving our country, and those everyday people who make a difference in our communities by lending a helping hand and being good neighbors.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Gift Ideas from Two Disney Coasts

posted on November 28th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations

Now that the tryptophan is wearing off, you’ll need some energy if holiday shopping is part of your seasonal tradition.

This Week in Disney Parks Photos, we’re sharing a few fun ideas for holiday gifts – from Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Michelle Harker shared this year’s commemorative Disney ¡Viva Navidad! items – a zip fleece hoodie, T-shirt, dimensional ornament, and limited release pins featuring the The Three Caballeros and Donald Duck atop an ornament.



You can find them at Seaside Souvenirs in Disney California Adventure park.


At both Disneyland Resort D Street, Downtown Disney District and Walt Disney World Resort Pin Traders, Disney Springs Marketplace, four new Funko Pop! figures themed to the Haunted Mansion just went on sale yesterday. Check out Ezra, Gus, Phineas and the popular Hatbox Ghost. Each figure retails for $19.95 plus tax.


Try not to eat your viewing device for these next items: debuting December 15, hand-crafted chocolates from the Ganachery at Disney Springs – “the most beautiful product in the world” according to Disney Pastry Chef Stefan Riemer.


A great keepsake for the true all-things-Disney fan: the custom-made bars that celebrate Disney’s iconic destinations (including Aulani, Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Resort) and the “Fab Five”.

As a dark-and-semi-sweet chocoholic, these may not make it out of the Disney Springs parking lot.

What Disney gift are you hoping to receive?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Springs, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Walt Disney World Resort

Grab Your Cameras: Last Chance to Enter the ‘Frozen – Say Freeze’ Photo Contest

posted on November 27th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations

The feasting may be done, but don’t let your guests leave just yet! They could help you win an unforgettable trip to Walt Disney World Resort in the Frozen – Say Freeze Family Photo Contest.

“Family” doesn’t have to be your folks from home. Your soccer teammates, college buddies, gal pals for life – they can be anyone with whom you share a close bond. Capture your funniest, sweetest, and wackiest group portraits, inspired by the awkward family photo in Frozen Fever. Then, send it along with a caption about your one-of-a-kind family, and what makes them the “best gift of all” this holiday season.

The Grand Prize is a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort for four, and a chance to be among the first ones in forever to experience the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction when it opens in 2016.

Here’s a “family” snapshot from Florida of the Walt Disney Imagineers working on the new Frozen attractions at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot.

Check out the contest website for instructions on how to enter and for the official rules. Your last day to submit your family photo is Monday, November 30., and voting for your favorite submission ends December 20. Enter here.

Say “Freeze”!

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Candlelight Processional Returns Tonight to Epcot

posted on November 27th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations

The gorgeous sounds you’ll hear from the America Gardens Theatre tonight is the return of one of our most beloved holiday traditions at Epcot: the Candlelight Processional.


Actor Gary Sinise will be our first narrator this evening – retelling the Christmas story while accompanied by a masterful orchestra and choir. The list of celebrity narrators for this season includes:

  • 11/27 – 11/29 — Gary Sinise
  • 11/30 – 12/3 — Neil Patrick Harris
  • 12/4 – 12/5 — Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/6 – 12/8 — Joe Morton
  • 12/9 – 12/11 — Ana Gasteyer
  • 12/12 – 12/14 — Meredith Vieira – NEW
  • 12/15 – 12/17— America Ferrera – NEW
  • 12/18 – 12/20 — Chandra Wilson – NEW
  • 12/21 – 12/23 — Daniel Dae Kim – NEW
  • 12/24 – 12/26 — Edward James Olmos
  • 12/27 – 12/28 – Blair Underwood
  • 12/29 – 12/30 — Amy Grant

You can enjoy the Candlelight Processional three times each evening, 5:00, 6:45 and 8 p.m., from November 27 to December 30. For more information and to make reservations for a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, visit

Who are you most excited to see?

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Filed: Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: Tips from a Mom’s Panelist With Little Ones

posted on November 27th, 2015 by Michelle Baumann, Walt Disney World Public Relations

This week we travel to Epcot with Disney Parks Moms Panelist, Crystal, to explore fun for little ones from Future World to World Showcase. One “must-see” pavilion great for the whole family is The Seas With Nemo & Friends. Kids can frolic in the big blue world with Nemo and pals, plus get up close with real underwater sea life in a bunch of ways. In World Showcase, there’s lots to do including Kidcot Fun Stops with crafts and activities — true lifesavers when you are looking for a quick way to entertain tired youngsters. There’s so much to explore at this sprawling 300 acre park, so check out Crystal’s helpful tips.

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Celebrate Holidays Around the World Arrives at Epcot

posted on November 27th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations

Now I know it’s REALLY the holiday season: Holidays Around the World has returned to Epcot.

Beautifully-costumed storytellers who share the traditions and cultures from their countries and entertainment themed to the holidays add to the sparkle of the gorgeous decor around the theme park.

Celebrate Holidays Around the World Arrives at Epcot

Hear from Helga, Father Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as performances from the Chinese Lion and the mariachi band and dancers in Mexico – these are just some of the special experiences available for the season.

How will you spend your holiday visit at Epcot?

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Disney Parks After Dark: A Cozy Bungalow

posted on November 26th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Tonight’s Disney Parks After Dark image was snapped at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows here at Walt Disney World Resort.

Sure looks quiet and cozy on this lovely holiday.

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Unforgettable Moment at Walt Disney World Resort Shared With the Nation on ‘Good Morning America’

posted on November 26th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director

It was a moment Lt. Colonel Shannon Patrick Thompson and his family had waited years for, the chance to thank a United States postal worker from Virginia who literally kept Thompson’s family connected while he served our country in Afghanistan.

During his deployment Thompson provided much needed medical attention to men, women and children who were sick or injured by the tragedies of war. While this Naval officer provided distinguished service, his wife Irene and daughter remained back home in Virginia trying to maintain life as normal as possible. Providing care packages to her husband became vital in an attempt to keep that normalcy. This is where a hometown hero entered their life and provided the bridge of support the family needed. Ron Johnson, a postal worker in Salem, VA, provided the shipping expertise and words of encouragement Irene needed to get through those tough days of deployment – every time she came to the post office

Working with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and Walt Disney World Resort, Thompson and his family were able to thank Johnson in an amazing way with a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for him and his fiancé. A trip filled with one-of-a-kind surprises and an emotional reunion with the Thompson family. Unforgettable moments shared with the nation this morning on “Good Morning America“.

Following the reunion, both families were treated to a Thanksgiving feast and spent time together at Magic Kingdom Park. Unforgettable moments filled with tears of happiness, laughter and thankfulness.

We salute all the men and women in our armed services and the everyday people who make a difference in our communities by lending a helping hand.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Bento Box Magic: Turkey Lurkey

posted on November 26th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

We’re continuing our series of Disney-inspired bento box tutorials with a special Thanksgiving Day treat. Today, we’re showing you how to make Turkey Lurkey from the 2005 film, “Chicken Little,” using snow peas, corn, apples, eggplant and other tasty ingredients.


Disney Parks Blog reader Mike Kravanis designed his latest artistic bento box with paper and pencil. To create it, he used eggplant for the hat, ham (not turkey) for the face and neck, yellow cheese and nori for the beak, white cheese and nori for the eyes, red pepper for the wattle and comb, white cheese and red onion for the shirt and tie.

Apples are used to create Turkey Lurkey’s feathers and snow peas and baby corn for the bento box background.

And Mike also added a Chicken Little. It’s an egg, red pepper, snow pea eyeglasses, yellow cheese for the beak, nori for the eyes and eyebrows. And if you look close, he’s sitting on kale and broccoli stalk shavings.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more Disney-inspired bento box tutorials in upcoming weeks.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort