Tokyo Disneyland Park, Haunted Mansion

Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos and Families Share October Holiday at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Legendary actor Michael J. Fox and ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos joined their wives — actresses Tracy Pollan and Alexandra Wentworth — and children last weekend for an October vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.

Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos, Tracy Pollan, Alexandra Wentworth at Disney World in Florida

Stephanopoulos, who also anchors “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” once made a cameo appearance on Fox’s hit TV show, “Spin City.” During their visit, Disney photographer David Roark was able to capture this photo of the two families on a picture-perfect day in Magic Kingdom Park.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarins Are ‘On the Move’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Disney’s Animal Kingdom is full of excitement, updates and changes! Even some of the animals are in on the excitement, including two cotton-top tamarins, Gemma and Draco, who just moved into a new home.

Gemma, a female tamarin, has been delighting guests at Rafiki’s Planet Watch since December 2000 where she was voted “best personality” by her keepers. In March 2011, she moved to Discovery Island to debut the remodeled tamarin island in front of the Tree of Life. This week she was joined by Draco for her second grand opening in a brand new exhibit which will bring their world even closer to guests. Draco, a male tamarin, has spent most of his life with his parents and five siblings in an indoor exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He joined us at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in August. His debut will mark the first time he has experienced an outdoor exhibit! He has already been observed chasing lizards in his backstage area.

Cotton-top Tamarin Draco at Disney's Animal Kingdom Cotton-top Tamarin Gemma at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Since his arrival, Draco also has spent time becoming acquainted with his new mate, Gemma. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) identified the pair as potential mates within its Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP works to ensure long-term survival of species by helping AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums manage species’ genetic diversity through detailed records of individual animals. Through the efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ SSP, more than 300 cotton-top tamarins are cooperatively managed in more than 80 U.S. zoos. Over the past few weeks, Gemma and Draco have shown great interest in each other, and we believe they will be happy and successful mates.

Cotton-top Tamarin Exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cotton-top Tamarin Exhibit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

While Gemma and Draco finish acclimating and comfortably settle into their new home over the next few weeks, their job as animal ambassadors is just beginning! The cotton-top tamarin is one of the most endangered primates in the world. A 2008 census conducted by our partners at Proyecto Tití in Colombia concluded that only 7,500 cotton-tops remained in the wild, and the population has been severely impacted by habitat destruction throughout its range in Colombia. This information prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Primate Specialist Group to recommend changing the classification of cotton-top tamarins from Endangered to Critically Endangered in 2008. Since then, Proyecto Tití increased their public outreach and education programs, stopped the development of a proposed airport, and secured two new protected areas for cotton-top tamarins and other wildlife to live safely in Colombia. The impact of the work is beginning to pay off, as we find communities are embracing conservation efforts and the population of cotton-tops appears stable!

One outreach program has taught women to crochet using plastic bags like the ones we bring home from the grocery store. (What a great way to recycle and keep trash out of the forest!) They make beautiful, colorful tote bags called ‘eco-mochilas’. These unique and environmentally friendly totes are sold locally in Colombia, online, and at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Purchasing an eco-mochila helps communities in Colombia earn money for their families and protect forests that the cotton-top tamarins call home.

Don’t miss next week’s Wildlife Wednesday post to see Gemma and Draco in their new home, learn more about cotton-top conservation work and how education programs beginning in younger generations are positively affecting communities in Colombia. Until then, check out the video below to see some of the conservation work Proyecto Tití has already accomplished!

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Fuel Your Fun with Breakfast at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Earlier this month, my family visited from Wisconsin. We spent a long weekend in the parks, so in order to have energy to play all day we had to fuel up in the mornings. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you.

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If you are looking to try something new, Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk is serving up breakfast until the new Trattoria al Forno opens (and dishes up some tasty breakfast eats). My favorite item on the menu is the waffle topped with tiramisu mascarpone—a must-try for any coffee lover. If you’re looking for something savory, I recommend the frittata with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, onions and potatoes topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.

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I love Minnie, so I’ll take every chance I can get to dine with my favorite mouse. One of the best places to catch Minnie—along with a couple of her beach pals—is at the Beach Club Breakfast Buffet at Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It’s a great place to load up on Mickey waffles, too.

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Want to spend your day feeling practically perfect in every way? The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare is for you. From the famous strawberry soup to other signature items like lobster benedict and smoked salmon lox—this buffet has something for everyone. Some of your favorite storybook characters will even stop by while you enjoy breakfast.

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My family stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the home of one of my favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World ResortBoma – Flavors of Africa. Traditional breakfast favorites like pancakes and omelets are accompanied by the gooey French toast bread pudding and items inspired by traditional African foods like turkey bobotie.

Say ‘Aloha!’ to Tonga Toast from Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. One of my all-time favorites, this banana-stuffed sourdough French toast is rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with strawberry compote. Really hungry? Try the Big Kahuna, which consists of French toast, pancakes topped with pineapple sauce and macadamia nut butter, eggs, home-fried potatoes, ham, bacon, and sausage.

Just thinking about all these breakfast options makes me hungry! What’s your favorite way to fuel up before a day at the parks?

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort Create an Unforgettable ‘Disney Side’ Flight from Dallas’ Love Field

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


When you hear the familiar harmony of the world-famous Dapper Dans, you instantly know you’re at a Disney Park on Main Street, U.S.A., right?

That’s why if you were in Dallas’ Love Field early Monday morning, you might have been puzzled to hear the barbershop quartet’s tunes echoing through the airport terminal.

Walt Disney World Resort joined with Southwest Airlines to help celebrate the addition of the airline’s first non-stop route from Dallas’ Love Field to Orlando International Airport.

The Heart of Southwest Airlines Combines with the Magic of Walt Disney World Resort for an Unforgettable Flight

Prior to boarding, passengers were able to commemorate the flight by posing in front of backdrop of Cinderella Castle that served as a “Disney Side” family photo opportunity.

Then, the Dapper Dans began singing a selection of tunes from their harmonious repertoire. The quartet even debuted its new arrangement of “Let It Go.”

Aboard Flight #887, passengers listened as Jungle Cruise Skipper “Jungle Jane” made flight announcements in the attraction’s famous style of humor. (And it is true: when the plane flew through a passing shower, passengers saw the backside of water.) Mouse Ears and Mickey Mouse-shaped treats were given to passengers, as well as complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening in the Magic Kingdom. As the plane continued to Orlando International Airport, The Dapper Dans roamed the aisle of the airplane, providing one-of-a-kind, in-flight entertainment.

Take a look at this gallery of photos provided by Disney Parks photographer Ryan Wendler, as well as this video with host John Graham.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Water Tower History Stands Tall at House of Blues at Downtown Disney

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Like many of you, I’ve walked by the signature House of Blues Water Tower countless times. It’s a landmark, an icon and a work of art, all rolled into one. But have you ever thought about where it came from? Or how it ended up at Downtown Disney West Side? I did. So recently, I set out to find answers.

A few friends from House of Blues who all share a passion for their company’s history – Jennifer Hinckle, Maggie Sumner and Charles Spellman – were happy to enlighten me. The story was too good not to share …

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It all started with Issac Tigrett, one of the eccentric co-founders of House of Blues. An avid fan of rail travel, Tigrett would tour the country in his lavish, expertly curated train car. He was known for his keen eye and unique style; his journeys often led to the purchase of one-of-a kind art and unique memorabilia. During one trip out west in the late 90’s, he spotted the water tower and realized he had to have it for his next-to-open House of Blues venue. At the very next town, he disembarked the train, hired a car, and went back to seek out the owner of the water tower. Tigrett knew it would make the perfect welcome statement for the Downtown Disney West Side location, set to open in 1997. And he was right. Originally three sections tall, only two were approved for the property. Blade signs, light cans and artistic flames were added, giving the structure its current-day look.

Though Tigrett is no longer with the company, his influence is everywhere; perhaps most prominently in the House of Blues courtyard where recent enhancements include the quick-service Smokehouse, expanded seating, and evolving live entertainment. Though the patio has changed, the Water Tower is constant – an appropriate reminder that (at House of Blues, at least) good art, no matter the form, can withstand the test of time.

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Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom

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


When we hosted our first-ever Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park this summer, we were amazed at all of the great costumes. Readers’ pet dogs were dressed like Disney princesses, pirates and even Cruella de Vil. Here are some of our favorite memes from the event.

Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom
Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Favorite Memes from Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom

Portions of the Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom will be included in an Animal Planet Disney Side edition of “America’s Cutest Pet” scheduled to premiere on October 18.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Haunt Your Disney Side Contest, Week 2 (Food and Beverage Tips)

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


UPDATE: To give you more inspiration for your Disney-Parks-inspired Halloween treats, our friend Rosanna Pansino of the popular “Nerdy Nummies” YouTube is showing off how she haunts her Disney side by sharing how to make Maleficent-inspired candy apples.

Well, we are one week into the Disney Parks “Haunt Your Disney Side” contest and we’ve been getting some SWEET (and scary) entries at DisneySideContest.com.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in their photos of Disney-Parks-Inspired Halloween decor, food and drink concoctions, carved pumpkins and costumes so far.

And, if you haven’t uploaded your photos yet, there’s still time to enter for a chance to win a private “Midnight at the Haunted Mansion” party for you and three guests with a spooky overnight stay in Cinderella Castle. All of the details and information on how to enter can be found at DisneySideContest.com.

This week’s Disney Parks Blog post focuses on “spook-a-licous” food and drinks. We want to see those tasty treats – like Halloween cakes, cookies and cocktails inspired by Disney Parks. And we have a quick video to give you some ghostly inspiration.

Happy Haunting! And don’t forget to Show Your Disney Side!

NO PURCH NEC. Ends 11/4/14 at 11:59:59 PM ET. 50 US/DC/Canada (excl. QC), 18/age of majority +. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules.

For more from the Haunt Your Disney Side contest, visit the post below:

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VIDEO: Beautiful Visit to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recently asked my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Darcy Clark to join me during a visit to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. As you may recall from previous stories, I’m in love with this retail location that serves as a testing space for new products, shop concepts and guest experiences. This time, Darcy and I visited the Beautifully Disney boutique to check out the latest collection featuring The Haunted Mansion. I guess it’s a good thing Darcy and I have been friends for years as you will see in this short video below.

As mentioned in the video, the Beautifully Disney boutique has a small staff of trained beauty advisors who provide complimentary tips and tricks for applying the cosmetics. I was quite impressed with Laura’s expertise as I watched Darcy and her from the sidelines during the shoot.

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If you are unable to visit the Marketplace Co-Op, you can find select items from Beautifully Disney and other boutiques on our Disney Parks online store by visiting http://www.DisneyStore.com/MarketplaceCoOp.

For more about the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, visit the posts below:

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Celebrate Halloween with New Disney Gift Card Designs

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


Join Mickey and Minnie for a spooky celebration with this new Halloween Disney Gift Card, available online and at select locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort. Load your Disney Gift Card with as little as $15 and use it to purchase Halloween merchandise, costumes, treats and more during your visit.

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Heading to the Disneyland Resort?

Treat someone special to a very vampire Halloween at the Disneyland Resort, where you can join in the fun of trick-or-treating with Mickey and Minnie with this Disney Gift Card. This unique Halloween design is available at select locations throughout the Disneyland Resort.

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Both of these new Disney Gift Card designs, along with the rest of our spooky selection, are also available online at DisneyGiftCard.com. Pick up your Disney Gift Card today, and then redeem it at Disney destinations nationwide for practically all things Disney. Happy Haunting.

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Caption This: Stromboli Has His Say at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


How unique is this photo? It’s a shot of Stromboli, the villain from “Pinocchio,” stopping by to say hello to the statue of a certain television personality in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Is he sharing his troubles with her? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This”!

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