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It’s a Peaceful Morning at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I always enjoy visiting Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, especially with my son. It’s such a peaceful place that it always feels as if we’ve been transported a million miles away. Not to mention it’s a great place to watch the horses at Tri-Circle-D Ranch.

Check out this shot from photographer Mark Willard of the resort just waking up for the day. I can’t wait to visit again. What’s your favorite part of this resort?

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See the posts below for more morning views from around Disney Parks:

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The BOATHOUSE Opens Today at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats opens today at The Landing at Downtown Disney, the area’s first all-new dining spot featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

But of course it’s the food that we want to talk about, so we caught up with Executive Chef Bob Getchell, who’s been on the team more than five months creating the menu for the expansive restaurant that features three distinctive bars and nautically theme dining rooms. The BOATHOUSE restaurant is managed by the award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group.

“Incredible food with a waterfront view is the focal point,” says Chef Bob. “All of the dining rooms have waterfront views or are on the water.” With 600 seats – 400 indoors, 200 outdoors – there’s not a bad view in the house.

The upscale menu focuses on seafood and steaks, upscale cocktails and a solid wine list. You can get anything from a casual basket of fried clams or big butterflied shrimp to “the best Angus beef burgers in town,” says Chef Bob. (And the fries are hand cut.)

New England Lobster Roll at The BOATHOUSE

Let’s start with the raw bar, serving three to five varieties of oysters on the half shell, colossal wild-caught Baja shrimp cocktail, and the BOATHOUSE lobster cocktail made with a pound-and-a-quarter lobster. Local Anastasia Gold caviar is on the menu from a farm in nearby Pierson, Fla.

Even the salads are notable, like the sirloin steak salad with eight ounces of New York strip steak, seared ahi tuna salad with Asian dressing, and the Buffalo chicken salad with Point Reyes blue cheese and spicy pecans.
The rotisserie chicken is brined 24 hours and stuffed with citrus and fresh herbs, then slow roasted. Cedar plank salmon roasts in an 875°F oven. And you’ll find dayboat fish coming in fresh, like the Cape Canaveral tripletail that’s on the opening day menu, or Florida wahoo.

Back to those steaks – Gibsons sources their meat from small farms in the upper Midwest, and features buttery filet mignon, a 28-ounce Porter house and a 32-ounce long bone rib chop (our favorite).

“We’re famous for our big desserts,” says Chef Bob. Like the S’More Baked Alaska made with one-and-a-half gallons of rocky road ice cream with graham cracker crust, topped with a mountain of meringue and marshmallows, chunks of chocolate on the outside, then torched for the s’mores finish. Meant for sharing, of course. Or the Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake with fresh berries in a whiskey-honey syrup finished with whisked buttermilk cream and whiskey caramel sauce. But Chef Bob admits his favorite dessert is the ice cream float with grape Nehi soda, poured tableside.

Kids’ meals are no afterthought – they’re all homemade, like the Sticks and Stones with chicken breast strips and fish, hand-breaded. Or the Pig in a Blanket wrapped with pretzel dough and baked.

“We’ve got something for everyone on the menu,” says Chef Bob. More than a dining experience, The BOATHOUSE immerses guests with waterfront adventures including live music and romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi, or the 1800s antique steamboat Lady Rose, both featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. Or head to the water for guided Amphicar tours where you’ll enter the water with a splash for a 20-minute tour.

Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.

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24 Ways to Kick Off Our Coolest Summer Ever Event on May 22 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


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We’ll officially kick off the beginning of summer here at the Walt Disney World Resort on May 22, with a 24-hour celebration at Magic Kingdom Park.

If you’re heading to our park to join in on the fun, here are 24 suggestions on how you can make the most of this year’s event.

  1. Show your #DisneySide by wearing a costume. (Check out the guidelines here).
  2. Join your favorite heroes from “The Incredibles” in the #IncrediblesSuperDanceParty in Tomorrowland, starting at 9:30 a.m.
  3. Join the “Move It, Shake It, Dance & Play It!” Street party to celebrate the start of summer. The first celebration begins at 9:30 a.m.!
  4. Find the paw prints of “Lady and the Tramp” hidden somewhere on Main Street, U.S.A.
  5. Have breakfast in the park. Mickey Waffles, anyone?
  6. Challenge yourself to get as many photos with Disney characters as possible. The My Disney Experience App will have the latest on appearance times.
  7. Catch the fun of the Royal Majesty Makers, who appear throughout New Fantasyland during the day.
  8. Attend the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” which features floats from “Tangled,” “Brave” and many more.
  9. Get your picture with Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach.
  10. May 22 is also the opening date for the film “Tomorrowland.” Celebrate with a ride through Space Mountain or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.
  11. Check out the latest Disney merchandise. Memento Mori, a new spot devoted to Haunted Mansion-inspired gifts, is a great place to start.
  12. Catch the patriotic flag retreat on Main Street, U.S.A., promptly at 5 p.m.
  13. Check out the latest additions to the park, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the interactive queue at Peter Pan’s Flight.
  14. Join the late night dance parties in your pajamas. That’s what Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale and Goofy will be wearing!
  15. Enjoy the “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show.
  16. Gather together for “Wishes” fireworks at Cinderella Castle.
  17. Change costumes at the 12-hour mark. Maybe a “hero” look for the day and a “villain” look at night?
  18. 24 hours means a lot of time for character autographs. How many can you get?
  19. Enjoy a late-night snack at the park. Popcorn or Dole Whip?
  20. Take pictures wearing as many different Mickey Ear hats as you can.
  21. See how many Hidden Mickeys you can find in 24 hours.
  22. Catch two showings of the “Main Street Electrical Parade.”
  23. Enjoy your favorite Disney attractions all day (and night) long.
  24. Take an early morning family photo – if you can make it the full 24 hours!

How will you kick off our 24-hour event? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 12th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we went behind the scenes for a special look at what it takes to make Sleeping Beauty Castle sparkle for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration — officially kicking off on Friday, May 22.

Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more on the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, and join the conversation with the hashtag #Disneyland60.

And if you’ve been following the Disney Parks Blog, you know we’ve shared dates for 2015’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and continued to keep you up-to-date on this year’s Night of Joy. This week, tickets for all three events went on sale.

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Charles shared an update on what’s shaping up to be a fantastic fall at Walt Disney World Resort. Check his original story for more details about tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney’s Night of Joy.

Also, to order tickets or find out more information on any of our Magic Kingdom Park special events, you can check out Disneyworld.com, call 407-W-DISNEY or contact your travel agent.

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

Legendary Hatbox Ghost Comes Out to Socialize in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park in May – The Hatbox Ghost is reappearing at Disneyland park in May. Here’s a sneak peek!

Bringing New Magic to Matterhorn Bobsleds and Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland Park – As we look forward to celebrating the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we have exciting changes coming to two of our classic attractions this spring.

Penny for Your Thoughts: Making Coin Presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop – Meet Rob Johnson, who has been making and maintaining coin presses at the Disneyland Resort Electromechanical Shop for 25 years.

A Unique Point of View: Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park – See a perspective most racers don’t get to see when they’re revving their engines at the start line on Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure park.

D23 Asks, When Did It Start For You? – When did you know you first loved Disney? It may not be your first Disney memory—and it may not even be your favorite Disney memory. But when was the first time Disney made your heart sing and your spirit soar?

New Dooney & Bourke Collections Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Walt Disney World Resort on April 25 – We have exciting news for Dooney & Bourke fans visiting Walt Disney World Resort later this month. We will release two new collections on April 25 at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Epcot Flowers Bloom at Night

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Disney Parks After Dark” image was an unusual one – and apparently a fan favorite. The original photo, which took a look at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at night, showcased a topiary of three pals from “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Because it was so popular, we didn’t want you to miss two others shots our photographer snapped while roaming the park late at night. Here are two shots of the Cinderella and Prince Charming topiaries. Notice the clock in the background? Looks like it’s almost time for her to run!

Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Cinderella and Prince Charming Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

You can enjoy the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival daily through May 17.

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Helping Hands Helping Nature with The Walt Disney Company

posted on April 11th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Earth Month is a special time for all of us at Disney—and even around the world—as we are reminded of how we can join together and care for the world we share. At the Company, one of the ways we protect wildlife and wild places is through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF).

Established in 1995 on Earth Day, the Disney Conservation Fund’s mission is to protect the planet and connect kids with nature. It supports nonprofits that conserve wildlife, engage communities in conservation and connect kids with nature. The fund has provided $27 million in guest dollars and corporate support for conservation projects in 114 countries and connected more than 12 million kids with nature.

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Helping families connect with nature through sponsoring NatureRocks.org, saving the Central American river turtle and working to reduce human-wildlife conflicts are just a few of the projects the fund supports.

Every dollar you donate to the fund is matched by The Walt Disney Company and goes directly to nonprofit organizations. A portion of the Wild Africa Trek tour admission fee in Disney’s Animal Kingdom also supports the fund.

A Priceless Encounter in a Theme Park

You can witness wildlife conservation here at Walt Disney World Resort. Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation Director, Disney’s Animals, Science & Environment (ASE), and James Mejeur, Zoological Manager, spearhead a special project. Though ASE funds their own projects, they’re partnering with the Purple Martin Conservation Association (which has received grants from the Disney Conservation Fund) and scientists from York University as they help save the purple martin, the largest member of the swallow family. Starting with only six pairs of breeding birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are now 120 pairs of birds and 240 total purple martins that return across property annually.

“One of the things I ask people,” Dr. Savage said, “is, ‘Have you ever been to the Amazon Rainforest?’ No? Well, these birds have.” The birds migrate from Brazil by early January to nest and raise their chicks here on property. Once the chicks are ready, they all make the 3,000-mile journey back to South America in June and July.

It’s a great way to involve guests, as I recently observed at the Purple Martin Garden in Epcot. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. during the breeding season, Lauren Moscar, Conservation Programs Technician, checks on 50 nest compartments.

The impact on the guests is obvious as they gather around to watch Lauren. She even shows them the nests and any eggs. On this day, there were quite a few youngsters obviously transfixed by what Lauren was sharing with them.

“I love talking to the guests and answering their questions,” Lauren told me. “It’s what it’s all about.”

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Charming Additions to the ALEX AND ANI Disney Collection

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Fans of ALEX AND ANI take note – there are quite a few styles headed to Disney Parks over the next couple of months. Start making your list … now!

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Up first are new additions to the Words Are Powerful collection, inspired by Disney sayings. These bangles will be available in Shiny Silver and Yellow Gold finishes. Whistle While You Work will debut April 13, followed by When You Wish Upon A Star on April 27, and then Believing Is Just The Beginning on May 4.

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Are you planning a trip during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration? In late May, look for a bangle featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle with two accent charms – an oval D60 and blue Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Rafaelian Silver finish. There’s also the Disneyland Forever bangle featuring a blue buffed epoxy charm with the words Disneyland Forever and two accent charms – an oval D60 and clear Swarovski crystal. This will be available in a Shiny Silver finish. Please note: These two bangles will not be offered online at this time.

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What better way to wrap this up than with actual ‘wraps?’ Similar to the Dream wrap that was recently released, in late May we will debut a Wishes wrap in green, a Believe wrap in teal, and in June, a Magic wrap in red.

Where can you plan to find all of these ALEX AND ANI bangles, wraps and more?

Disneyland Resort

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Tip: Limited quantities of the bangles and wraps shown above, except for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration pieces, will be available online on or around the same dates as they debut at Disneyland and Walt Disney World merchandise locations.

Which pieces will you add to your collection?

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First-Ever Disney Cruise Line Meet-Up Showcases Exciting New Entertainment

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Yesterday we hosted our first-ever Disney Cruise Line meet-up! This special event was a sneak peek at exciting new entertainment coming to our ships, and meet-up guests got to go behind the scenes with the creative team who develops our onboard entertainment.

We heard from three show directors about our new series of “Frozen”-inspired experiences, Star Wars Day at Sea and “Tangled: The Musical.” The event was packed full of fun with special appearances by Disney friends like Anna, Elsa and Olaf. We also got a first look at our “Tangled: The Musical” in production, including this never-before-seen artwork of one of the show’s spectacular scenes . . .

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I loved the opportunity to meet hundreds of Disney Parks Blog readers. There were some familiar faces there, too, including friends from “Frozen,” Star Wars and “Tangled.” To be expected, Olaf gave out plenty of warm hugs!

Check out the video and photo gallery below to see highlights from this incredibly fun event. Thanks to all of you who made Disney Cruise Line’s first meet-up a great one!

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Why Guests Can’t Get Enough of ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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There’s something about “Festival of the Lion King“—the music, the performers, the staging and the overall celebratory feeling—that excites guests with every performance.

This magnificent musical tribute to a young lion’s journey of discovery is created in such a way as to keep you engaged in every aspect of the story. As Tara Anderson, show director for “Festival of the Lion King,” stated: “With our production, we don’t tell the story of “‘The Lion King’.” We celebrate the music and the characters of the story. We hit all the beats of the story, but we do it in a very artistic way.”

While some audience members are welcomed to participate, guests can feel like longtime friends in this lush, exotic world. And once Timon takes the stage to lead everyone in “Hakuna Matata”, it’s impossible not to feel drawn into all the magic.

Among the show’s highlights are the very agile and sprightly Tumble Monkeys, a troupe put together by their pal, Timon. The highly-trained acrobats perform Olympic-style feats in sync to a lively jazz medley.

Of course, that cunning, two-faced Scar is also at hand, spreading villainy with his snarky hyena henchmen in “Be Prepared” which features an electrifying fire dance. But love literally soars above it all when the Flying Bird performers, clad in radiant color and plumage, bring “Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ to the highest heights in sheer balletic splendor.

“The show has wonderful individual elements,” Tara said. “What makes it work is all those elements coming together and being that circle of life.” And that is the feeling that is evoked when you hear the “Circle of Life” being sung and see all the entertainers dressed as the animals take the stage for the finale. Timon then leads everyone in singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with the Tumble Monkeys performing for all.

There are performances throughout the day, so check your Time Guide. You can use your Fastpass+ to pre-arrange times for viewing.

What is your favorite part of the show? Tell us in the comments section below!

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It’s Almost Time for an Exclusive Sneak Peek of Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ – Only in Disney Parks!

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


You wanted to see “Tomorrowland.” Here it comes!

Our sneak peek of the new Disney movie begins Friday, April 17, at Disneyland park. Head over to the Tomorrowland Theater for an exclusive look at scenes from the film, complete with special in-theater effects. And you can continue your “Tomorrowland” experience by exploring an all-new exhibit in the Starcade, featuring original props and production artwork.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

For those of you visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, you can catch this Disney Parks-exclusive preview of “Tomorrowland” at Epcot, where the sneak peek begins its special engagement at the Imagination Pavilion in Future World on Saturday, April 18, and continues through May 24. At Epcot, you’ll also get a close-up look at one of the jet packs used in the film, along with a display of conceptual art and photos from the set.

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In Disney’s riveting mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. Directed by two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird, “Tomorrowland” stars Academy Award® winner George Clooney as scientist and former boy-genius Frank Walker and Britt Robertson as Casey Newton. Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

Here’s a look at the latest trailer for “Tomorrowland,” opening in theaters on May 22, 2015.

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