Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Show Off Your Disney Side at Walt Disney World Resort with Retail MagicBands and Accessories

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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My fellow author Tom Smith recently shared some details about My Disney Experience – a key component of MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, I wanted to highlight a fun way to show your Disney Side using another element of MyMagic+ – retail MagicBands and accessories.

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Guests who book a Walt Disney World Resort vacation already receive a MagicBand in their choice of select colors. We also offer retail MagicBands which are great for guests who may not be staying at a Walt Disney World Resort owned and operated hotel but want to take advantage of some cool technology during their visit.

There are currently seven different colors offered. You may also recall seeing some special graphic MagicBands at events like Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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I spoke with merchandiser Kevin-Michael Lezotte about how guests can show their Disney Side using MagicBands.

“There are a few ways guests can personalize their MagicBands before or during their visit,” explained Kevin-Michael. “We have ‘MagicBandits,’ which are small characters or icons that attach to the side of a MagicBand. We also have ‘MagicSliders’ and ‘CoverBands,’ both of which can slide over the tops of MagicBands. The latter is offered in large and small sizes depending on the size of a guest’s wrist. These accessories are a fun way for guests to show off their Disney Side while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.”

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The seven solid-color retail MagicBands are $12.95 each plus tax. Retails for other MagicBand accessories vary.

At the time of purchase, guests must present one of the following for retail MagicBands to be linked: valid theme park admission, Memory Maker card or an active MagicBand. If the item linked to is already connected with the guest’s My Disney Experience account, all existing plans – such as tickets, dining reservations, Disney PhotoPass Service, and FastPass+ selections – will seamlessly link and automatically be accessible via the new MagicBand. Guests who don’t have an established My Disney Experience account prior to purchasing a retail MagicBand can easily create one by visiting www.MyDisneyExperience.com.

It is important to note that the touch to pay option will only work for guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort owned and operated hotels who have establish charging privileges on their resort accounts.
You can find retail MagicBands and accessories in several merchandise locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort. The Disney Parks online store also carries select MagicBand accessories.

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Try a Slice of Poolside Heaven: Rent a Cabana at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


One surefire way to enhance your Walt Disney World Resort stay even more is to rent a poolside cabana — a private, shaded retreat perfect to while away the hours or to gather with friends and family for some added fun.

Available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (note, the cabanas at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are closed during the resort’s renovations), these private sanctuaries include standard amenities like 32-inch LCD television with cable access, DVD/CD/MP3 player, ceiling fan, mini refrigerator stocked with complimentary sodas and water, fruit basket (may only be available with advance reservation), plush towels, and padded chaise lounge and straight-back chairs. Plus, a cabana attendant helps take care of all your needs. Private dining is available at an additional cost.
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If you’re splish-splashing at one of the water parks, yeah, you’re covered (pun intended) there, too. Beachcomber Shacks at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Polar Patios at Disney’s Blizzard Beach include a locker, refillable mugs, a cooler full of bottled water, lounge furniture and towels. Attendants also offer “tips and tricks” for the water parks.

Cabanas are a great way to spoil yourself and enrich your whole resort experience. Call 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529) for reservations and info. You can also visit the Cabanas page on our website.

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Experience The Grand Adventure at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Sure, Sunday is National Grandparents Day but we’ve been celebrating the endearing relationship that exists between grandparents and grandchildren all summer. It’s a club of two generations that parents don’t have a membership to. And at Walt Disney World Resort, there are amazing family adventures to experience, especially if you have the word “grand” in your title.

A Grand Adventure between grandparents and grandchildren at Disney Parks is like no other outing. Whether it’s flying on elephants, meeting characters or just exploring the parks, it can be an experience of a lifetime. Take a look at some of our most popular “grand” adventures.

What’s your favorite Grand Adventure at Walt Disney World Resort? Let us know in the comments and then keep exploring on our special Grand Adventure page.

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Disney Parks After Dark: An Enchanted Fantasyland

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I absolutely adore this image of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. Photographer Tom Bricker did an amazing job capturing just how magical this part of the park is. And I’ve always loved the intricate detail that appears on this side of the castle.

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Is this one of your favorite “After Dark” images we’ve shared? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Original Cast of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Reunites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As Pam shared earlier, we’re celebrating the official 40th birthday of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. And to mark the occasion, we have a special video – the first-ever reunion of the original cast. The Pioneer Hall Players were college students to begin the show’s 40-year run and tonight, they’re back to share their favorite memories.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue presents three shows nightly, seven days a week, at 4 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. If you’ve experienced Hoop-Dee-Doo, please let us know about your favorite memories in the comments.

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ESPN Prepares Football Fans With Inaugural Fantasy Football Convention at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Are you ready for some football? Are your lineups set?

Tonight, the 2014 NFL season kicks-off as the Green Bay Packers square off against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. While most of us are just now planning for an upcoming season of tailgating, chili and pumpkin-flavored beverages, hundreds of lucky fans kicked-off their “fantasy” season with some serious bragging rights. They had the opportunity to tailgate with ESPN’s Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck and Sara Walsh, sit in on a live telecast of ESPN2′s “Fantasy Football Now”, and get some insider tips on choosing the right team. It was all capped off with a fantasy football draft coached by NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

Here are some highlights of the event:

The ESPN Fantasy Football Convention is an example of the type of event you can only experience when Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN join forces. And it only happens at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. While this year’s Convention has come and gone, there’s still time to sign your family and friends up for some friendly competition with ESPN Fantasy Football.

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#DisneyKids: First runDisney Race

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Okay, I am just going to be honest with you, this Disney First is really cute and the photos and videos below are guaranteed to put a big Disney smile on your face. What do you get when you combine adorable kids in costumes, Disney characters and a runDisney event? You get unforgettable Disney memories that will last a lifetime.

This past weekend hundreds of kids participated in their first runDisney race at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. From the 400 meter run to the diaper dash, our youngest competitors lined up to challenge themselves and each other.

If you or your child wants to experience a runDisney first at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, visit runDisney.com for more information and to register.

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Happy Birthday! Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Celebrates 40 Years of Food, Fun at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


September 5 marks the official 40th birthday of one of the longest-running dinner shows in American history – Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We say “official” because the show got its start that summer (on June 30) as part of the Disney World Fine Arts College Workshop program, with six young actors playing the roles, says Forrest Bahruth, the original choreographer who still creates fantastic shows for Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment.

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“Hoop-Dee-Doo was upbeat, and guests came for the corny jokes, good food and lots of fun,” said Forrest Bahruth, show director, Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment and the original choreographer for the dinner show. “Forty years later, the heart is still in it, the energy is still there.”

Of course we think the endless buckets of fried chicken and ribs play a starring role, too. The menu has only had one major change since its debut – the apple pie for dessert was changed to strawberry shortcake way back in 1979. Today, servers (who are part of the high-energy show) dish up about 900 pounds of fried chicken every night, and cooks spend about six hours each day just breading the chicken. Add 400 pounds of pork ribs, slow cooked starting at 11 a.m. daily on a big outdoor smoker.

For sides, there are 120 pounds of corn, 400 pounds of potatoes to be mashed and 30 gallons of baked beans. It takes 15 gallons of strawberries and 12 gallons of whipped cream to make dessert.

Add beer, wine, sangria and soft drinks, and you got a formula for fun – a show that has presented about 37,000 performances before more than 10.5 million guests. And like the food, the show, while fine-tuned, hasn’t changed much, says show director Tom Vazzana.

“Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue exemplifies everything that Disney stands for,” says Vazzana. “It’s interactive fun for families and stellar entertainment – six performers put on a show that’s 90 minutes of pure enjoyment.”

Performers sing, dance and act their way through the timeless classic. “I love to go and hear kids squeal with delight at Six Bits, but also hear strong American ballads,” says Vazzana. “Families tell me it’s the first time they’ve seen a Broadway-style show – it’s obtainable and accessible, quintessential Disney.”

Hoop-Dee-Doo presents three shows nightly, seven days a week, at 4 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or book online.

Looking Back

In true Disney fashion, Walt Disney Imagineers designed Pioneer Hall in authentic Wild West style with 1,283 hand-fitted pine logs from Montana and 70 tons of stones from North Carolina to recreate a look from the late 1800s. The building opened April 1, 1974.

Themed entertainment is always part of the Disney story. While Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was being written and cast, a group of country-Western musicians called The Star-Spangled Washboard Band opened in Pioneer Hall, according to an historical timeline by Larry Billman, author/writer and Disney entertainment consultant, who was the author and writer of the original show.

Bob Jani, the director of entertainment for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, saw the potential for a “dinner theater show” and hired Billman. After multiple rewrites (the first version was called “We’re With You, Mother McCree!”), Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was born.

Students from the 11-week college workshop auditioned for the three female and three male character performers in Hoop-Dee-Doo: Six Bits Slocum and Dolly Drew (comic relief), Jim Handy and Flora Long (the singers), and Johnny Ringo and Claire de Lune (the dancers).

Fun Facts

  • Today, one member of the original cast from the college program still works for Disney – Marilyn Kay Magness, who played the part of Dolly Drew. She’s executive creative director, Disney Parks, Creative Entertainment.
  • An early draft of the show was titled The Whoop-Dee-Doo-Revue, which was revised to Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
  • Principal songwriter was Tom Adair, who also wrote words for the score for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and the “Mickey Mouse Club.”
  • In 1979 the song “Apple Pie Hoedown” was replaced with “Strawberry Short Cake Walk” when shortcake replaced apple pie on the menu.
  • The writers added a nod to Disney legacy with “The Legend of Davy Crockett” skit, complete with a coonskin cap and bear puns.
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was part of the opening entertainment at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, with Larry Billman and Forrest Bahruth directing and staging the new version. The show played there until 1995.

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Disney’s Night of Joy 2014 Update: Event ‘Sold Out’, To Be Webcast Live

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


This Just In!

We’re excited to let you know that Disney’s Night of Joy 2014 is officially “Sold Out” for both nights, Friday night (September 5) and Saturday (September 6). But if you didn’t get a ticket, you can still be a part of the action.

Blue Scout Media will be webcasting the event live from Magic Kingdom Park both nights.

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The link is http://stagehop.com/nightofjoy. Check out artist performances including acts like Hillsong United, Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Skillet and Matthew West who are performing under the glow of Cinderella Castle.

To see the entire artists lineup and event schedule, check out my last post on the Disney Parks Blog.

Feel free to let your friends know, using #DisneyNOJ

Have a great weekend and enjoy the show – whether you’re here at Magic Kingdom Park with us or watching us online.

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Learn To Draw Minnie Mouse at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, our “Learn to Draw” series is focusing on a classic Disney character who needs no introduction. It’s Minnie Mouse!

This week, Heather Worley from Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is here to give you a quick tutorial on how to draw the perfect Minnie. Grab a pencil and paper and let’s go!

For more animation tutorials, visit the links below:

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