Spaceship Earth Pavilion at Epcot

Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Sushi is on a roll at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – for dinner, the little Kona Island sushi bar in the upstairs lobby is now an extension of the restaurant, and the sushi is crafted in the dining room in the former dessert show kitchen, giving chefs plenty of room to create specialties from sashimi and simple rolls to more elaborate combos such as the Caterpillar Roll (inside-out tuna roll, shrimp salad, tempura crunch and avocado) or the Lava Roll (togarashi-spiced tempura shrimp, bay scallops, spicy mayo and chives).

Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort Sushi Takes Center Stage at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

If you enjoyed the Kona Island sushi bar before, you can still grab a seat there, no reservations required, and the entire restaurant menu is also available. (We’re partial to the sticky wings and Pan-Asian noodles with shrimp.) But now you can start with a little sake and more than a dozen choices on the sushi menu.

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And java fans will be happy to know that Kona Island is still the spot to grab a delicious cup of coffee and pastry in the mornings – it’s right next to the resort’s monorail station.

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

Four New Disney Attraction Poster-Inspired T-Shirts Coming to Disney Parks Online Store in April 2014

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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This year, we’ve been featuring a series of Disney Parks’ attraction poster T-shirts on our Disney Parks online store. These shirts are sold for a limited period of time, and feature some pretty amazing art of things I love at Disney Parks! Today, I’m happy to share details about four new T-shirts coming to the online shop in April. Once again, Disney Design Group Artist Richard Terpstra was inspired by posters featured in the outstanding “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book by Vanessa Hunt and Danny Handke (a must have book for any Disney fan!).

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From April 15-20, the Disney Parks online store will release two T-shirts – a purple shirt celebrating Fantasyland at Disneyland park, and a green shirt featuring the Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park. The original Fantasyland attraction poster referenced for the purple tee was created in 1955 by Bjorn Aronson.

For the green t-shirt, many readers may recall seeing this attraction poster when the Orange Bird returned to the Sunshine Tree Terrace in April 2012. I can’t wait to wear mine while enjoying a citrus swirl in Adventureland (does anyone care to join me?).

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Then, from April 22-27, we salute the 50th anniversary of two classic Disney attractions – “it’s a small world” and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Both attractions debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and later found their way to Disney Parks. For these T-shrts, we will offer both adult and kids sizes.

The “it’s a small world” shirt was inspired by the attraction poster designed by Paul Hartley in 1966. The Carousel of Progress shirt references a design from 1967 by Ken Chapman (I want to be that guy pictured at right living in Progress City!).

To find these T-shirts, I invite you to visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents during the dates referenced above. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available).

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Celebrities Help Announce Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book and a Donation of up to 1 Million Books

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Junior announced its new Give a Book, Get a Book program in a big way this past weekend, as Disney Junior stars Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn (of “Sofia the First“) and David Arquette (of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates“) performed a storybook reading at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Anaheim, Calif.

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Through Give a Book, Get a Book, Disney will partner with First Book to provide for the donation of up to 1 million books to U.S. communities in need, and also present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide. The program includes a redemption code offering a free Disney Digital book and a way for families to experience giving back by donating books to the community of their choice after purchasing a specially-marked Disney Junior book or product.

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Families and children gathered around at the Disneyland Hotel to listen to the celebrity readers. They also enjoyed hearing a story read by LeVar Burton, children’s literacy advocate and Cofounder and Curator-in-Chief of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app. Burton spoke about the importance of building literacy and of storytelling in the digital age.

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Storytelling is the foundation of Give a Book, Get a Book, designed to inspire parents and caregivers to spend time each day sharing stories that help develop the critical thinking, vocabulary and language skills a preschooler needs. The initiative includes public service announcements, interactive Radio Disney events, and free story time events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America Disney Store locations, starting April 21.

Details are available at the new website, www.giveabookgetabook.com. Families can find online activities there and also access resources that promote the value of storytelling.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

All in the Details: A Unique Perspective of Belle’s Village at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s photo of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was snapped from a unique angle – as if the Mine Train Cart was rushing down the first drop toward Belle’s Village.

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What do you think? Will you ride the attraction when it debuts later this spring?

For more on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, read the posts below:

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Commemorative Merchandise for 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Coming May 1, 2014

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recall first visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1990 during a family visit to Walt Disney World Resort. Since that time, I’ve spent many days at some of my favorite attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and One Man’s Dream (I practically lived at the latter while serving as a Walt Disney World Ambassador during the 100 years of Magic Celebration). I also have many fond memories of taking my children to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, or enjoying the Cobb salad (my favorite!) at the Hollywood Brown Derby. With Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ silver anniversary on May 1, we have created several new items to mark this occasion.

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Disney Design Group artists Thomas Scott, Costa Alavezos and John Henselmeier collaborated on the logo design. John told me that the archway near the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! attraction served as their inspiration. Costa contributed the character sketches that remind me of the vignettes found on that archway.

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We will release shirts for adults and kids including a classic, black polo-style shirt (I know a few readers have requested such a thing). Guests should also look for a messenger bag, a key chain, and a 12-inch, pre-dressed Duffy the Disney Bear.

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The Disney pin team has also created a collection of pins to celebrate this anniversary. You may recall seeing a sneak preview of a jumbo-sized pin back in January. There will also be a limited edition “I Was There” pin, an Annual Passholder exclusive pin and a few other items like a starter set.

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My favorite pin item is the mystery pin set that contains a host of characters dressed in various costumes. I love seeing the vintage-looking Donald Duck, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. Two randomly selected pins will be found in each mystery box.

All of these items will be released when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens on May 1, 2014, in Soundstage 1. This temporary merchandise shop will be located between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania. All items will be available while supplies last.

The Disney Parks online store will carry the four shirts pictured in this story from May 1-5, 2014. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available). To order the shirts starting May 1, please visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

New runDisney Anniversary Medals Revealed

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


As runners start to plan their fall and winter race schedules, we thought it would be fun to provide some extra motivation and reveal a little “bling.” Disney Yellow Shoes Art Director David Brotherton has been busy designing two amazing finisher medals to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge.

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The Wine and Dine anniversary medal captures the essence of the race with color and design, and features a spinner at the heart of the medal. One side represents the tradition of past medals and is inspired by Spaceship Earth, while the other side showcases chef Mickey on the run. A fitting reward to those taking on the sold-out half marathon in November.

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Registration for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna opens on April 22 and we are thinking this Goofy Challenge anniversary medal might be just enough to get some people thinking a little, well, Goofy. After all, running a half marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday puts you in a unique category. Looking at the medal there is no doubt we are celebrating the 10th anniversary. Featuring traditional Goofy colors, this medal also has a spinner in the middle. One side celebrates the accomplishment of the half marathon, and when you spin it, Goofy turns upside down and lets you know you added on another 26.2 miles, a grand total of 39.3 miles over two days. Goofy.

runDisney is proud of all our finisher medals and think these anniversary medals will excite our runners and be something they will be proud of earning when they cross the finish line.

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Filed: Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Step In Time: The Fun Return of ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ to Magic Kingdom Park in 1999

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you’re a fan of the “Main Street Electrical Parade,” then this is a video from our archives that you absolutely must see.

In May 1999, a few weeks before “Main Street Electrical Parade” made its return to Magic Kingdom Park, the parade floats were taken out of the park for a rare overnight road test. See this amazing sight below.

Can you imagine passing some of these sights on your way to your Disney resort?

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

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 13th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, Disney theme parks around the world joined in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “it’s a small world” attraction.

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As you know, we’ve been sharing wonderful renditions of the attraction’s unforgettable song from around the world during the last few weeks. Part of this week’s celebration was featured live on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

The broadcast began with a chorus of kids singing live in Times Square, cast members and children singing in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, a children’s chorus and dancing dragons at Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park (Paris), and ended with Disney cast members singing in front of the first “it’s a small world” attraction at Disneyland park, punctuated with a finale of fireworks.

And this week, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, unveiled a video that offered the first look at some of the amazing new characters who will be part of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. The attraction will feature some of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics figures Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created.

In our “All in the Details” series, we also released a full version of a CGI video that takes you on a colorful ride through part of the attraction, too. Check it out in Jennifer’s series.

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

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Traditional Leis – Learn about the warm Hawaiian greeting guests receive upon arriving at Aulani.

Disneyland Resort Cast Members Celebrate ‘it’s a small world’ – Watch this wonderful rendition of “it’s a small world,” sung in a variety of languages.

Remembering Mickey Rooney at the Disneyland Resort – Remember legendary entertainer Mickey Rooney, whose career spanned 10 decades and included work for Disney in “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Fox and the Hound,” and most recently, “The Muppets.”

Disneyland Wins First-Ever March Magic Challenge – Thanks to all your votes on Facebook, the Caribbean Pirates claimed the first-ever March Magic victory!

Moving ‘it’s a small world’ Across the Country and Back Again – Get a little bit of Disney Parks history … and mystery in this behind-the-scenes post on the famous attraction at Disneyland park.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; More Earth Day Fun at The Seas with Nemo & Friends – Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hosting a party this Earth Day, Aprill 22! Find out more after the jump.

Favorite ‘it’s a small world’ Sing-Along Videos on SmallWorld50.com – Thousands have participated in celebrating 50 years of this classic Disney Parks attraction by posting their own sing-along videos. Click through to see some of our favorites!

A New Way to End Your Walt Disney World Resort Day: ‘Epcot After-Hours Wind Down’ – Check out this excellent way to unwind in the after-hours at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Disney Parks Launches Smart TV App On Samsung, Plans for LG

posted on April 12th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Disney Parks fans who happen to own a smart TV now may have a whole new way to gain access to Disney Parks news and travel planning information – the Disney Parks Smart TV App.

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Viewers can visit the app to gain access to

  • Disney Parks videos, including information on special events, behind-the-scenes content, first looks and more.
  • Interactive theme park maps.
  • Photo galleries.
  • Trivia and fun facts about Disney Parks.
  • View highlights from Disney Parks-related official Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

The Disney Parks Smart TV App is currently available for Samsung Smart TVs, and will soon be available for LG Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more on this.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Do You Have Disney’s Million Dollar Arm?

posted on April 11th, 2014 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Anyone want $1 million?

Well, Walt Disney Studios is prepared to give that much money away as part of the world premiere of its new movie “Million Dollar Arm,” in which a sports agent (played by Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a Major League Baseball star.

Walt Disney Studios is staging a contest on April 25th and 26th to find a real-life “million dollar arm” by offering guests (you have to be age 18 and over with no prior professional baseball experience) the chance to throw the fastest strike. Here’s how it works: Participants at three locations;­ Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and New York City, get three chances to throw a baseball as fast as possible. Participants who throw the three fastest strikes at each location will be flown to the finals in Hollywood, Calif., where they will attend the world premiere of Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm” on May 6 and get a chance to compete for the grand prize. Any of the nine finalists who throws a 100-mph strike during their three attempts could potentially win the $1 million.

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Click here for official rules.

Even if no one wins the $1 million, everyone who steps up to the mound will be a winner in some way. All contestants will receive complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest to an advance screening of the movie at a nearby AMC Theatre location. In addition, the nine finalists and their guests will be flown to Hollywood for the movie premiere and the final competition, plus treated like VIPs along with other movie stars, Major League players and Hollywood celebrities.

If you want your shot at the million-dollar prize, just show up at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., or the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day at the Tribeca Family Festival in New York City on April 25 or 26 (New York location available only on April 25) between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time. You’ll need a valid U.S. identification card to complete and sign a registration form and release. Oh, and don’t forget your baseball glove and anything else you need to warm up.

You only have a couple of weeks to go, so start getting your arm ready. It could be worth $1 million!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Walt Disney World Resort