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#DisneyFamilia: Staying Inside the Magic

posted on August 26th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager


In this week’s video series “Sonia’s Best of Walt Disney World,” Sonia gives us an inside look on all of the benefits that our familias get when they stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Did you know that we have hotel suites that accommodate up to six people? Now, abuelita can stay with the whole family the next time you come to Walt Disney World Resort!

Sonia shares these and other little tidbits of information, including her favorite resorts and all the benefits you get by staying in our hotels to help you enjoy even more Disney magic.

So tell me, out of the more than 25 resorts at Walt Disney World, which one is your favorite?

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Download Our ‘Dog Days of Summer’ Wallpaper

posted on August 26th, 2015 by Simone Miranda, Creative & Translation Services Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Living in Florida we learn to enjoy the “dog days of summer” – the hottest days of this sunny season. Why not celebrate with a fun wallpaper?

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Our designer, Kenzie Schmaltz, had some fun featuring Rolly from “101 Dalmations” because, according to Kenzie, “There’s nothing cuter than a happy puppy!”

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

And check out our complete gallery of wallpapers on our special page.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: Welcome our Baby Giraffe to the Savanna!

posted on August 26th, 2015 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Big news for the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – our newest giraffe calves have ventured out onto the savanna for the first time. Mara, Milo and Lincoln are 3-, 4- and 5-months old, respectively, and are doing very well in their new home.

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Although on our savanna, the giraffe don’t have to be concerned with predators, we want to make sure they are old enough to follow their mothers and family, so our animal keepers keep them backstage until they are old enough to feel secure. In the wild, giraffe calves have to learn how to follow their mothers in case there is danger.

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Of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai giraffe are the amongst most populous in the wild at about 35,000, but sadly reports of increased poaching for their meat, hide and tails are leading to significant reductions. Two of the other subspecies are already critically endangered. When you see them on the savanna, note their spots – Masai giraffe have leafy, uneven spots. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will find reticulated giraffe that have smooth-edged spots.

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Giraffe are very curious, observant animals that like to survey their land very carefully. This makes “every day a new day” for giraffe. They will notice if there are any new additions to the savannah, including other animals or changes to the landscape. This is true in the wild as well; because giraffe are so tall and pay such close attention to their surroundings, other animals use them as safety indicators.

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The next time you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we hope you see Lincoln, Milo and Mara on the savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris. They will probably be close to their moms, learning all they need to know to grow to adulthood.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Find ‘Fancy Footwork’ with Customized TOMS at Curl by Sammy Duvall at Downtown Disney West Side

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Whether you have one pair or a hundred, shoes are some of our most important accessories. Every good stroll requires a good pair, and more and more, shoes have become a reflection of our own personal, unique styles. Walk the West Side at Downtown Disney and you can find a one-of-a-kind, custom-painted-just-for-you pair of TOMS at Curl by Sammy Duvall. A team of talented artists creates inspired art, using the shoes as their canvas. And the best part? When you purchase any pair of TOMS shoes, the company will donate a second pair to someone in need.

Check out the video below to get some ideas for your next pair, or feel free to come up with your own suggestions for the TOMS customization team at Curl!

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Some Favorite Ways to Experience Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 25-Nov. 16

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’re counting down the days and deciding the best ways to take advantage of all the food, wine, celebrity chefs, live music and more at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Looking ahead, here are three ideas to maximize your fun. We love the idea of the new 20th Festival Tasting Sampler that gives you a credential (and a cool collectible pin) to taste your way around the fest. For $59 you get your choice of eight tastes of food or beverages at all of the 30 marketplaces plus priority seating at the nightly Eat to the Beat concert.

Your credential will include ideas for pairing a dish and a drink at the marketplaces – we’re excited to try some of the new dishes such as the pepper bacon mac ‘n’ cheese paired with a hard cider at Farm Fresh Marketplace (both new); lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney and a pinot noir at New Zealand (both new), and the butter chicken with naan bread with a chenin blanc in Africa. There are 29 new dishes this year, and 72 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders!

We’ve always had fun at Eat to the Beat, and this year’s dining package includes lunch or dinner at 13 different restaurants from Coral Reef Restaurant and The Garden Grill in Future World to France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Morocco and United Kingdom. This is a nice “plan ahead” experience.

Price varies by restaurant, starting at $34.99 for lunch and includes appetizer, entrée, dessert and drink or buffets. And then you get guaranteed seating at the 5:30 p.m. Eat to the Beat concert for lunch reservations, and the 6:45 or 8 p.m. show for lunch or dinner.

Fan favorites are back on the America Gardens Theatre stage, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And there are four new acts in the concert series lineup — Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest and Chaka Khan.

For a really special treat, set aside a week for the Food & Wine Premium Package that gives you VIP treatment from noon- 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the festival. Eleven shaded “Premium Package” areas are reserved for a spot to eat, drink and relax, and you get to choose an IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party to attend, as well as a Festival Center culinary demo or beverage seminar.

Cost is $199, and you also get a gift bag with your own wine glass, a bottle of 20th celebration festival wine, a Food & Wine Fest-themed MagicBand and four food tickets for food or beverage from festival marketplaces.

For reservations, call 407-939-3378. Admission to Epcot is required.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Follow Disney Parks on Tumblr

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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Have you discovered the new official home for Disney Parks on Tumblr? Check it out at disneyparks.tumblr.com! You’ll find fun and shareable posts from Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club – each with its own dedicated space, making it easy to find posts from the places you love!

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In addition to photos, animated GIFs & fun graphics you can only find on our Disney Parks Tumblr site, we are also re-blogging our favorite posts created by Disney Parks fans!

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Follow disneyparks.tumblr.com for your daily dose of magic.

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Filed: Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Feels the Dark Side of the Force in All New Star Wars Half Marathon Event

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Faron Kelley, Director of Non-Leisure Marketing and Sales Strategy


The Force has awakened at Walt Disney World Resort through runDisney’s newest addition to its portfolio – Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side.

This intergalactic quest through Walt Disney World theme parks blasts off April 14-17, 2016 and channels the Dark Side of the Force. The events will include a 5K, 10K, kids races and half marathon plus a special challenge for completing the 10K and half marathon called the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge!

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Runners who join the Galactic Empire will enjoy a true Star Wars experience, including Dark side-inspired medals and merchandise throughout the weekend.

After the thrilling inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort this past January, runners and Star Wars fans alike have been vocal about their desire for a similar themed race at Walt Disney World Resort.

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To differentiate the two races, Disneyland Resort will embrace the Light Side of the Force with a 5K, 10K, kids races and half marathon as well as continuing its Star Wars Rebel Challenge upon completion of the 10K and half marathon.

Whether you are a runDisney veteran or Star Wars enthusiast, these races will be a journey like no other. By participating in both Star Wars Half Marathon events, runners will earn the inaugural Kessel Run Challenge medal, which Star Wars fans know is the ultimate test of skill.

As runDisney broadens its resume, it continues to bring runners uniquely inspired races while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle!

Registration for the East Coast event opens September 22, 2015 at noon ET. May the courses be with you!

Are you excited for this event? Let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #StarWarsHalf!

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Shop For Authentic Walt Disney World Resort Merchandise with New Shop Disney Parks Mobile App

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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One of the most popular questions I’ve received during my time with Disney Theme Park Merchandise is, “Can I buy this item online?” I’m delighted to answer that question with the launch of the Shop Disney Parks mobile app.

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Shop Disney Parks lets you shop your way, making it easy and convenient to find favorite Walt Disney World Resort authentic products. The app offers access to thousands of products, including some of the newest arrivals created especially for Disney Parks. New products will be added weekly.

The app also provides delivery options which let you ship directly to your home.

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The coolest part of Shop Disney Parks is the online map that can be used to locate products in theme parks and resorts. I searched for my favorite Orange Bird figurine and found it located in several shops as seen in the images above. You can also scan a barcode in a shop, purchase the item through the app and have that item sent directly to your home.

Look for additional enhancements in the coming weeks including delivery to the front of theme parks and delivery to your Disney resort hotel. At this time, products from Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line are not available via Shop Disney Parks.

The app is available for iPhone, iPad and smartphones for Android. Visit this page for more details how to download the app.*

*Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations and features may vary by handset or service provider. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.

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Filed: Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Favorite After-School Snack from Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 24th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s a blast from the past with an updated twist – most grown-ups still consider tomato soup and grilled cheese a favorite comfort food. The Disney chefs took this classic and made it a healthful finger food that’s perfect as an after-school snack (or supper for everyone).

In less than hour you’ll have freshly made tomato soup (forget the canned version). Cut grilled cheese into strips that are perfect for little hands – and dipping in the soup is the fun part. Add crunchy apple wedges on the side for a satisfying crunch.

You’ll find it on the menu at Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom Park, but here’s a version for you to make at home.

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Tomato Soup, Cheese Dippers and Apple Slices
Serves 4 to 6

Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups tomato puree
1 sprig each fresh thyme, rosemary, basil, and tarragon
2 cups water
1 teaspoon coarse salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Multigrain Cheese Dippers
8 slices multigrain bread
16 thin slices provolone cheese
Olive oil spray

Green Apple Wedges
3 Granny Smith apples

For tomato soup:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato puree; cook 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in herbs and water; turn heat to low and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Strain through a medium strainer set over a bowl, pushing soup through with a spatula. Whisk in tomato paste, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

For multigrain cheese dippers:

  1. Make 4 sandwiches, each with 2 slices of bread and 4 slices of provolone.
  2. Spray tops and bottoms of sandwiches with olive oil spray.
  3. Heat sauté pan over medium heat and grill each side 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden.
  4. Cut each sandwich into 4 equal strips. Serve hot.

For apples:
Core and slice each apple into 6 wedges.

To serve:
Evenly divide dippers and apples slices with 3/4 cup soup.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Celebrate National Waffle Day

posted on August 24th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director


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Happy National Waffle Day!

This morning we join our friends at Chef Mickey’s as they prepare one of their most popular dishes on the menu, Mickey Waffles.

For you trivia buffs, National Waffle day is celebrated in the United States on August 24 to recognize the date Cornelius Swartwout was issued a patent for the waffle iron back in 1869.

What do you like on your Mickey Waffles? This blog author likes natural maple syrup and strawberries. Now I‘m hungry.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort