Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Caption This: Mickey Takes Reservations

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


Check out this week’s “Caption This” photo, which was snapped in 1986 at the Central Reservations Office at Walt Disney World Resort. No doubt that this was fancy computer technology at the time!

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What do you think is on the slip of paper that Mickey is examining? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” image!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on July 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we announced that the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will begin in spring 2015, celebrating 60 magical years of the Disneyland Resort. As part of the celebration, you’re invited to enter a new contest.

Share Your Favorite Disneyland Resort Memories from the Past (Almost) 60 Years

You’re invited to share your favorite memories with photos taken throughout the Disneyland Decades – 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000 to the present – for a chance to win a special Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration prize or the grand prize: a trip to Disneyland Resort to kick off the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

Check out Erin’s original story to learn how it works.

No purchase necessary. Entries must be received by 8/27/14. 18/age of majority+, 50 US/DC only. Void where prohibited. See Rules for details.

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And this week, we also shared a special D-Tech on Demand video showing how rapid printing technology has been combined with great artwork to create personalized electronic accessories for guests at Disney Parks. Steven talked with merchandiser Kevin-Michael Lezotte to learn how D-Tech on Demand works.

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

A Look Back at July 20, 1969: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Watched Live at Disneyland Park – See some images of the the moon landing being watched live, and two members of the remarkable Apollo 11 crew being welcomed to Disneyland park.

Splash Mountain Celebrates 25 Years of Splashdowns at Disneyland Park – Take a look back at the opening day of Splash Mountain with this special video.

First Look at the New Disney Cruise Line Halloween Pumpkin Trees – See some of the decorations on deck for inaugural Halloween on the High Seas cruises aboard the Disney Dream!

Show Your DIY Disney Side: Disney Parks Guide Map Photo Mat – Learn how to make quick and easy photo mats using Disneyland Resort tickets and guide maps.

A Peek Inside ‘Frozen Fireworks’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – See what guests – and even some of the creators of the show – think of this new nighttime spectacular!

Summer Nights to Savor: Epcot Presents a Nighttime Transformation – Read about some of the evening activities available at Epcot this summer.

VIDEO: Celebrating 59 Years of Magic at the Disneyland Resort – Watch as Fifty-nine Disney characters wished Disneyland a happy birthday at Main Street Train Station.

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Eight Delectable Disney Parks Treats for National Ice Cream Day

posted on July 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Why do we love ice cream so much? Sunday, July 20, is National Ice Cream Day, declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and we’re happy for the pure joy of a dripping ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

Disney Parks fans know the gooey Kitchen Sink Sundae, the irresistible Dole Whip and ice-cold Mickey Mouse bar. And we’ve all picked a favorite flavor for a double scoop from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland park or Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. But for National Ice Cream Day, we’re stepping out with some ice cream creations you may not have tried.

Here are eight favorites that are a little more creative than a double dip of vanilla or chocolate:

  1. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself dining at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on National Ice Cream Day, order the Sundae Sampler, a mini-trio with Frangelico toffee mousse, a float with root-beer flavored ice cream and homemade vanilla soda and a “banana split” (mousse, fresh roasted pineapple, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, candied peanuts, chocolate sauce and a cherry). You won’t want to share.

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  1. Run, don’t walk, to try the chocolate macaron sandwich at L’Artisan des Glaces at the France pavilion at Epcot. A crunchy chocolate cookie sandwich with dark chocolate ice cream made right there, it’s simply divine. There are 16 flavors, but, seriously, that chocolate-chocolate sensation is a must. Another favorite? The hand-pressed brioche ice cream sandwich.
  2. Try something different at the new Morocco Juice Bar at Epcot World Showcase, where the chef is making bold ice cream flavors like chocolate and cinnamon, green tea, pistachio with orange blossom water (our favorite), strawberry and red bean, and toasted almond with rosewater.
  3. For a Magic Kingdom pick-me-up, grab the latte iced coffee float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland. (The kids can get a caramel or hot fudge sundae.)

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  1. At Disneyland Resort, we always make a stop at Clarabelle’s at Disney California Adventure park for the hand-dipped ice-cream bar. Choose vanilla, chocolate or mixed berry sorbet, ask for it dipped in milk or dark chocolate, then add a flourish of toppings like chocolate chips or rainbow sprinkles. Made on the spot while you watch.
  2. Get fancy at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa with a single, double or triple scoop of artisanal ice creams: Scharffen Berger chocolate chunk, Tahitian vanilla bean or creamy California strawberry. The Napa Rose pastry chefs churn it out fresh.

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  1. If you’re strolling Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, stop at Uva Bar for a homemade ice-cream milkshake. We recommend the s’mores flavor. Or if a root beer float is more to your liking, they make theirs with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream and craft root beer.

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  1. We’ve got a soft spot for cobbler a la mode, and some of the best is at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue – fresh fruit (whatever’s in season) baked in a skillet with a crunchy topping and vanilla ice cream. Grab at least two spoons and share.
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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Showing My Disney Side Using Rapid Printing Technology at D-Tech on Demand in Marketplace Co-Op

posted on July 18th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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For the past few months, I’ve been sharing many details about my favorite new shopping destination at Walt Disney World Resort – the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Containing six different boutiques, this location serves as our testing space for new products, retail concepts and guest experiences. I think my favorite boutique inside the shop is D-Tech on Demand as it combines rapid printing technology with great artwork to create personalized electronic accessories for guests. I recently spoke with merchandiser Kevin-Michael Lezotte to get the inside scoop on how D-Tech on Demand works.

Currently, we offer cases for the following phones – iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 5C, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy S4.

I loved watching how quickly cases are printed as the team can print several cases at one time. The printer uses UV ink which dries immediately and requires no cooling time. As soon as my case was finished, I covered my mobile phone.

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Kevin-Michael shared that it’s easy to add additional designs to the D-Tech on Demand system. We recently introduced 12 new designs featuring characters from Disney’s “Frozen.” Four of those designs are only found at the Marketplace Co-Op as seen in the image above.

Fans of Disney Villains, Donald Duck, Pluto, Figment, or Chip and Dale should look for additional artwork being added to the location later this summer.

I would love to see which case you select. Use #DisneySide if you share an image of your phone case on a social network like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Summer Nights to Savor: Epcot Presents a Nighttime Transformation

posted on July 18th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Something magical happens as the sun sets over Spaceship Earth. All of Epcot takes on an ethereal radiance. After all, day or night, you’re under the magic spell of Walt Disney Imagineering at a Disney Park, so evenings bring on their meticulous skills in lighting your way through another chapter of your Epcot “story.”

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Your night for spectacular attractions and entertainment

Even if you’ve never visited Epcot before, try to picture it all in your mind’s eye. The sun is disappearing into ribbons of gold and red clouds as you enter Test Track. Your vehicle speeds to a furious pace. It bursts from the show building and zooms you around the track, the lights of Epcot flashing in all directions. You take in a few more attractions and it’s off to World Showcase. Each pavilion is bathed in its own special glow.

This is a particularly special night for you. Magical things await, things you’ve never experienced before and they each involve tasty treats. But it’s still a little early and you’d like a quick meal now, so you enjoy fish and chips at the United Kingdom pavilion (nothing seems to compare to them).

Your night for IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party

World Showcase Lagoon shimmers in the evening lights, as if in anticipation of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth — the nightly fireworks, laser and music extravaganza. Here’s the nice part: You’re assured a wonderful view because you’ve booked the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party. In addition to experiencing the show from a fantastic vantage point, you’re going to enjoy delectable desserts served with coffee, tea or even a sparkling wine.

Mmm. The chefs have outdone themselves on this evening’s dessert masterpieces. Food always tastes better when they make it. How do they do it? Even though you shouldn’t, you decide to fill another dessert plate with those little chocolate thingies — so soft, so rich. Better save some room though. There’s more to enjoy later.

As the IllumiNations finale fills the entire sky with the glorious spectacle that could only happen at a Disney Park, you breathe a contented sigh. Because you also booked the Epcot After Hours Wind Down, you don’t have to make your way to the exit with the throngs of other guests.

Your night for Epcot After Hours Wind Down

For this, your first time to try this brand-new Epcot experience, you’ve chosen Spice Road Table in the Morocco pavilion as your restaurant. The buzz has been good. As a fan of tapas, it’s the chance you’ve been waiting for. (Incidentally, you might also want to visit Spice Road Table at other times of the day. If you happen to be a Walt Disney World Passholder, you have another reason to visit: a 30% discount off the regular menu now through September 17, 2014!)

A sense of calm falls over you as the cast members welcome you. Warm, friendly conversation murmurs in the elegant, intimate Spice Road Table dining room, where you are seated with a lovely view of World Showcase Lagoon. Since Epcot After Hours Wind Down includes a wine flight, you are presented with three superb international wines, each with its own flavors and scents of fine fruits and spices. You sip a little of each, comparing the “personalities” of each wine.

Three hot, tempting tapas are placed before you. Tonight, one of them is a lamb slider. Lamb has such a delightfully distinctive taste — and this is a fabulous way to enjoy it. Two petite Moroccan Lamb Sausages are completely different from the sliders but equally superb in preparation and presentation. But your favorite is the Harissa Chicken Roll, a blend of exotic spices of the east with chicken nestled in a light crusty roll. There’s no hurry. You savor each morsel, the wine cleansing your palate between every few bites. Authentic music plays in the background. The stars shine over Epcot through the picture windows. A great way to top off the evening.

Perhaps most comforting of all is your leisurely stroll along World Showcase promenade, the desserts, tapas and wine adding a light spring to your step. It’s just you and a handful of other delighted guests — ambling through the peaceful pavilions toward Spaceship Earth in the distance. It’s as if this world is here just for you.

And you know what? It is.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Merchandise ‘Rockets’ Into Disney Parks

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


My friend and Disney Parks Blog author Shawn Slater was the first to give you the inside scoop on the “Guardians of the Galaxysneak peek taking place now at Disney Parks. How many of you have already seen it? If you haven’t, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I would definitely recommend checking out this intergalactic 3D cosmic adventure the next time you visit the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park or ABC Sound Studio at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you are planning to set your course for space adventure and join the quartet of ragtag rivals along with Peter Quill to help save the universe, then we better make sure you are prepared for battle. Here’s your first look at some of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” merchandise you can expect to find at Disney Parks.

Fans of the entire “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew or Rocket, in particular, will be happy to find these film-inspired T-shrits.

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As for toys, we have those too! You’ll find the Rapid Fire Rocket, Star-Lord Blaster, a Hero Ship and Pursuit Spacecraft play sets, as well as Galactic Battler, Titan Hero figures and more.

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A few other things to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” book and CD, as well as a specially designed D-Tech iPhone case and more. One final pick for me, is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” limited edition pin. Take a look!

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Here’s quick list of where you can find all of the merchandise I’ve shown you for your very own super heroes:

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Ready, Set, Dial! Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Premium Event Reservations Open July 31

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


First, go to epcotfoodfestival.com on July 24 when the new premium events will be posted and take a few minutes to plan ahead – because at 7 a.m. July 31 you can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to book your spot at some of the most coveted events for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Dates are September 19 – November 10, and while there’s plenty of fun included with park admission, you won’t want to miss some of the top-tier experiences that require a separate ticket.

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Here’s what’s new this year:

  • Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (October 24) $99 pp or $119 pp
  • Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (September 20) $99 pp
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Boot Camp Series interactive epicurean adventure (September 21, October 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 pp
  • Food for Thought (Fridays, plus Saturday October 11) $169 pp
  • Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing (Wednesdays) $55 pp
  • Italian White Truffle & Wine Pairing Dinner (October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) $295 pp

And here are some of the most popular events making a comeback:

  • Parisian Breakfast (Saturdays) $39 pp
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (October 3, 10 and 17) $59 or $99 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining 
(more than 20 dinners throughout the festival; prices vary)
  • Shake and Indulge Like the French Featuring Grand Marnier (Saturdays beginning September 27) $55 pp
  • Cheese Seminars (Saturdays) $79 pp
  • Party for the Senses (October 4, 11, 18 and November 1) $149, $189 or $299 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Party for the Senses Featuring Disney Chefs from Around the World (October 25) $149, $189 or $299 pp
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Tuesdays and Thursdays) $55 pp
  • Sunday Mornings With … (Sundays) $99 pp

There’s more, like Italian and French pairings and lunches, a Japan “Hibachi Experience” and a Mexican tequila lunch. You can also book the popular Culinary Demonstrations ($15), Mixology Seminars ($15) and Wine Seminars ($15).

See you soon at Epcot!

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First Look: New Characters, Disney Parks Experiences coming to Disney Infinity

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’ve shared a few blog updates on Disney Infinity, but today’s may be our favorite. Disney Interactive is adding Disney characters Stitch and Tinker Bell to the next edition of the game when it launches this fall. Disney Infinity will also feature new Disney Parks-inspired content you’ll instantly recognize, like the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Here’s a first look at the new trailer where Stitch and Tink create their own Magic Kingdom.

Stitch and Tinker Bell were two of the most requested characters by the Disney Infinity fan community. Their Toy Box figures will be available in retail stores this fall.

Our friends at Disney Interactive also say additional play sets and characters will be announced in the coming months so keep an eye on infinity.disney.com and the Disney Parks Blog for more updates.

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Sneak Peek: Voices of Liberty at Epcot Add ‘Let It Go’ To Their Repertoire

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you heard? Voices of Liberty, the longtime acapella group at Epcot, recently added some new songs to their repertoire. New songs guests may hear during their daily shows include “You Raise Me Up,” “True Colors,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Here’s a sneak peek at one of those new tunes, “Let It Go” from “Frozen.

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Wildlife Wednesday: The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Is Helping Preserve Hisssss-tory

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


“Happy World Snake Day!” is not something I ever imagined I would wish anyone, but after seeing first-hand the incredible work to bring one snake species back from near extinction, I am now a fan.

For 14 years, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has supported the Antiguan Racer Project. This multi-faceted conservation program is a partnership between the Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua (in the lower Caribbean) and Fauna & Flora International.

The Antiguan Racer is a very docile reptile which had been almost completed wiped out by the mongoose, a predator actually introduced to the island to manage the rat population. Since mongooses (or mongeese) are active during the day and rats are active at night, the mongoose didn’t actually complete the work for which it was introduced to the island. As the mongoose population grew (and the Antiguan Racer population decreased), overpopulation began to upset the delicate island ecosystem, and in this case, bird populations were affected as well. The dedicated people who run the program with support from Dr. Jenny Daltry explain this much better than I, so I hope you will take a few minutes to hear their story. Afterward, I think you, too, might celebrate snakes in a whole new light.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is supported by guest contributions at various merchandise locations throughout Disney Parks and Resorts, as well as aboard Disney Cruise Line. One hundred percent of donations are matched by The Walt Disney Company and directed to nonprofit organizations through the conservation awards process.

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