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April 2014 Archives

April 1, 2014

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Celebrates Easter with PEEPS

Guests can hop into the holiday with PEEPS-inspired menus, glow-in-the-dark egg hunt, and Easter Bunny photos


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - March 26, 2014 - Guests at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel will experience Easter magic during PEEPtastic Easter April 16 to 23, a celebration sweetened by thousands of free PEEPS brand marshmallow samples, PEEPS-inspired menu items, PEEPS decor and Easter-themed activities for families to enjoy.

During the week, guests will be treated to complimentary PEEPS marshmallow chicks upon check-in, during special appearances by the Easter Bunny and at other surprise moments. For some sweet eats, PEEPS-inspired menu items will be featured at several of the hotel's restaurants. Menu items will include s'mores made using PEEPS, a PEEPS-inspired milkshake and chocolate-dipped PEEPS.

The Epcot Resort Area hotel's annual glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt - a favorite for kids - headlines a full schedule of Easter-themed activities at the hotel, including traditional Easter egg hunts, Easter egg races, a bunny hop relay, arts and crafts, and meet-and-greets with the Easter Bunny. (Activities are all complimentary for guests, except for a small fee for various crafts. Please check the event website for pricing.)

For an added magical Easter morning experience, guests can order an Easter Basket, featuring a variety of candy, a solid milk chocolate bunny and a plush toy, delivered by the Easter Bunny himself to their guestroom. (Additional costs apply.)

Larger-than-life PEEPS will be found across property, as the iconic chick-shaped marshmallow will serve as inspiration for several approximately 3-foot, 50-pound white chocolate sculptures.

Other special features during the week will include a special Easter dinner buffet at Garden Grove restaurant, featuring Disney character appearances on Sunday, April 20, at 5 p.m., a campfire, glow-in-the-dark volleyball, family game night and a poolside showing of the movie HOP.

For more details about PEEPtastic Easter at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, including a full schedule of activities, visit www.swandolphin.com/easter. To make room reservations, call 1-800-227-1500 and mention "PEEPS." Overnight rates start at $189 per night.

Disney Legend Tony Baxter and Designer and Sculptor Terri Hardin to Appear at Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn in April

(Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday April 1, 2014): Disney Legend and Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Advisor Tony Baxter, and designer, sculptor and puppeteer Terri Hardin will be making an appearance at Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn on Sunday, April 20, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Tony is a 47-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company. He began his career working on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park, working his way up to Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering, before retiring last year. During his tenure, Tony worked on the design and creation of some of the most notable attractions in the Disney Parks, and had a large hand in the overall concept of Disneyland Paris. It was through Tony's work on Disneyland Paris that he met Terri Hardin.

Terri is a renowned designer, puppeteer and sculptor in and out of Walt Disney Imagineering. She worked on the popular Disney Parks attractions Captain EO, Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D, and Disneyland Paris' Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, among others. Terri worked directly with Tony throughout the Big Thunder Paris project. Noticing her skill and work ethic, Tony gave her the job of creating Disneyland Paris' Dragon's Lair attraction.

Terri will be signing copies of her autobiography, Tales from Terri: A Disney Sculptor's Life. Tony will be signing copies of Poster Art of the Disney Parks, for which he wrote the foreword. Imagineers Vanessa Hunt and Danny Handke, authors of the book, will also be on hand to sign. The barn's souvenir shop will have both Tales from Terri: A Disney Sculptor's Life and Poster Art of the Disney Parks for sale the day of the event for your convenience.

Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn is located at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum at 5202 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. The barn is open the third Sunday of every month. Admission and parking are free. The barn is operated on behalf of the Walt Disney Family Foundation by the non-profit Carolwood Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity. The Foundation's mission is to preserve Walt Disney's railroad legacy. This is accomplished through: sharing our volunteers' and supporters' love of railroading; teaching our children to understand the role that railroads served in building America; and encouraging the continued appreciation of railroading.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Salutes World Autism Awareness Day by Lighting Hotel Blue


Hotel continues to spread message of autism awareness throughout April with a specialty blue cocktail served in Todd English's bluezoo;

Proceeds from drink the will be donated to Orlando's Princeton House Charter School serving children with autism

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel will be joining other iconic buildings around the world -- including the Empire State Building in New York City and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia -- and lighting up blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2.

Light It Up Blue
is a unique global campaign that kicks off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about the disorder. In honor of this historic day, thousands of iconic landmarks, buildings, hotels, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities around the globe that illuminate blue to spread autism awareness.

In addition, one of the hotel's signature restaurants, Todd English's bluezoo has created a specialty blue cocktail, named blue sparkler, in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Through April 30, proceeds from sales of the drink will be donated to the Princeton House Charter School, an Orlando area school for children with autism.

The blue sparkler is a mixture of pavan liqueur, Florida 4 orange vodka, sparkling wine with orange and vanilla syrup. Todd English's bluezoo is located in the lobby of the Dolphin and can be reached at 407-934-1111 or www.thebluezoo.com. For more information on Princeton House Charter School visit www.princeton-house.org.

April 2, 2014

FastPass+ Changes Coming


Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts provided an update today on the Disney Parks Blog about My Disney Experience and specifically, FastPass+.

Beginning this week, Day Guests can now participate in MyMagic+ by creating an online account at My Disney Experience, utilizing FastPass+ and purchasing MagicBands on site if they want them.

Here's What the Future Holds:
Guest feedback has been very positive and about FastPass+ but they want more. According to Tom Staggs: "We've heard from a number of guests that they would like the opportunity to add additional FastPass+ entitlements during their visit, in addition to the three they can plan in advance. So, we're working on providing them with the ability to add and enjoy additional entitlements on the day of their visit. Once they've used the three they've booked, we'll enable them to select another at kiosks in the parks. And once they've used the fourth, they can select another, and so on. We also heard that other guests liked the fact that with the FastPass+ service they could use FASTPASS when they park hopped. So we're working on a service enhancement to add that feature to FastPass+ as well."

Using FastPass+

Passholders can get Magic Bands

April 11, 2014

Epcot's After-Hours Wind Down - Lounges to Remain Open


Have you ever wanted to hang out at Epcot after IllumiNations but you have to leave the park?

From April 17 - September 15 you'll now be able to wind down at La Cava del Tequila (Mexico), Spice Road Table (Morocco), Tutto Gusto (Italy) or the Rose and Crown (United Kingdom) from 9:20 to 11 p.m.

Each location will have small plates for noshing paired with a beverage flight. The cost is $35, plus tax and gratuity. You must make a reservation at www.disneyworld.com/spring, call 407-WDW-DINE or stop by Epcot Guest Relations.

April 14, 2014




Contestants Can Test Their Fastball Skills at Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, Calif., ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida or the Tribeca Family Festival in New York

Nine Finalists Will Advance to the Final Contest Held at Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" World Premiere in Hollywood, California

Burbank, Calif. (April 11, 2014) -Disney is giving amateur baseball pitchers in the nation a chance to compete for a $1 million prize in the Million Dollar Arm Pitching Contest. The Million Dollar Arm Pitching Contest is being held to celebrate the opening of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm," an incredible true story about two young men who went from never throwing a baseball to getting a Major League tryout.

Amateur baseball pitchers-male or female, who are legal United States residents at least 18 years of age or older-are invited to qualify to compete in the preliminary rounds of the Million Dollar Arm Pitching Contest at either Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, Disneyland® Resort in California or at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day at the Tribeca Family Festival in New York City. The three contestants from each location who throw the fastest pitches will advance to the finals and have a chance to compete for a $1 million prize at the world premiere of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" in Hollywood, California. Official rules are available on Disney.com's "Million Dollar Arm" homepage at http://disney.com/PitchingContest.

Presented by SUBWAY® restaurants, the three qualifying events will take place on April 25 and 26, from 7 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at both Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, Calif. and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World® and on April 26 only, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day during the Tribeca Family Festival in New York City. Contestants will throw three pitches, each tracked by a radar gun, in an attempt to throw the fastest pitch. All participants will receive tickets for themselves and a guest to see an advance screening of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" at an AMC Theatres location later that evening.

Nine finalists chosen during these qualifying events will have a chance to compete for the $1 million prize at the world premiere of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm." The top three eligible pitchers with the fastest pitches from each qualifying round location will be flown with his or her guest to the final contest, which will take place at the world premiere of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" in Hollywood, Calif., on May 6. Each of these finalists will throw three pitches on Hollywood Boulevard. Any eligible finalist who throws one 100 mph strike (out of three pitches) will become a potential winner of the $1 million grand prize.

The nine finalists and their guests will be VIPs at the film's premiere along with stars, filmmakers, major league players, coaches, scouts and celebrities.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Subject to Official Rules available at event or at http://disney.com/PitchingContest.


Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren't going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball's next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called "The Million Dollar Arm." With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from "Slumdog Millionaire") and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from "Life of Pi"), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay written by Tom McCarthy, Disney's drama "Million Dollar Arm" stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell and Alan Arkin. The producers are Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray and Joe Roth. The executive producers are Palak Patel, Kevin Halloran, Bill Simmons and Connor Schell. The film will be release in the United States on May 16, 2014.

April 15, 2014


Saturday, April 26 Kicks off this Fiery Festival

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 11, 2014) - Saturdays are heating up at SeaWorld Orlando during Viva la Música, Central Florida's can't-miss Latin food and concert festival taking place Saturdays, April 26 through May 17.

Celebrate the food, fun, sights and sounds of Latin culture at this annual festival, featuring live concerts by internationally renowned Latin musical artists, included with park admission.

Enjoy savory Latin cuisine prepared by SeaWorld Orlando's Executive Chef, Héctor Colón. With more than 20 years experience - and a lifetime enjoying countless Caribbean and Latin dishes - Chef Colόn has added his touch to the traditional Latin favorites such as empanadas, arroz con pollo, carne frita and bacalaítos.

As with all SeaWorld special events, performances are included with admission, Fun Card or annual pass. Viva la Música festival activities begin at 12 p.m. each Saturday, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. at Bayside Stadium:

· Saturday, April 26 - Chino y Nacho (reggaeton)

Chino & Nacho is a Venezuelan pop duo, consisting of Jesús Alberto Miranda Perez (Chino) and Miguel Ignacio Mendoza (Nacho). In 2010, the group won a Latin Grammy for Best Urban Album for "Mi Niña Bonita." Formerly, the two men were part of the Venezuelan group, Calle Ciega.

· Saturday, May 3 - La India (salsa)

India, also known as the new "Queen of Latin Soul," made her debut in the music business in the '80s, with the popular dance group TKA, one of the first Latin free style groups to take over the streets of New York. She is a multi- Grammy Nominee, and has collaborated with renowned vocalists such as Oscar De León, Gloria Estefan and Michael Stuart.

· Saturday, May 10 - Victor Manuelle (salsa)

Originally from Puerto Rico, Victor Manuelle is an international star who has sold out concerts at Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. "Si Tú Me Besas" reached number one on Billboard's "Hot Latin Songs" chart.

· Saturday, May 17 - Olga Tañón (merengue)

Olga Tañón is a Puerto Rican recording artist whose singing career began when she joined a group called "Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie" (Ringo and Jossie's Girls) in the '80s. A short time later a very popular group in Puerto Rico called "Chantelle" noticed her mezzo soprano voice and recruited her. Over the course of her career, she has earned two Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards, and 29 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards.

The amazing shows are general seating; however, reserved seating for your favorite concerts is available with the following packages:

Front Row VIP seating -Front Row seats can be purchased starting at $39.

Viva la Música VIP Package -- Starting at $29, this special package includes a meal (entrée and any one item from a selection of side salads, side dishes or desserts, plus a regular-sized non-alcoholic beverage) at any Viva la Música food sampling area or SeaWorld cafeteria-style restaurant, plus reserved seating -- Center Stage!

VIP seating - Want to make sure you get a good seat to your favorite show? Purchase this package to buy your reserved seats for $19.

All packages are available at SeaWorldOrlando.com.

The best way to experience Viva la Música is with a 2014 Annual Pass, starting at only $13 per month with EZpay, for Florida residents. Plus, with an Annual Pass, you can experience SeaWorld's 50th Celebration featuring new interactive experiences and shows, even more up-close animal encounters at the all-new SEA Garden and the SeaWorld "Surprise Squad" treating park guests with prizes and special experiences every day.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. Viva la Música event dates, times and artists are subject to change.

April 18, 2014

MALEFICENT - Contest and Behind the Scenes Interview with Angelina Jolie


"Maleficent" explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic "Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Enter for a chance to win a trip to the world premiere of the film in the Maleficent "Embrace Your Inner Evil" Sweepstakes. Fans can enter by recreating Maleficent's laugh and posting the video to Instagram using #MaleficentLaughSweeps. Official Rules: http://di.sn/MaleficentLaugh

Million Dollar Arm - Video Clips

MILLION DOLLAR ARM opens in theaters on May 16, 2014

Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren't going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball's next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called "The Million Dollar Arm."

With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from "Slumdog Millionaire") and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from "Life of Pi"), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

April 21, 2014

Raglan Road Wins 'Best Restaurant' Honor in Orlando Magazine's 2014 Dining Awards Contest

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney captured the "Best Restaurant"� prize in the competitive annual Orlando magazine Dining Awards online readers' poll. Results appear in the May issue of the award-winning Central Florida lifestyle journal that hits newsstands April 24. Orlando magazine Editor-in-Chief Barry Glenn says it's the first time ever that an Irish restaurant earned the top prize.

In addition to its win as Best Restaurant, Raglan Road also earned first-place honors in the dining categories of "Best Live Music and Entertainment" and "Best Place to Take Company." Raglan Road took second-place kudos for "Best Place to Take Kids" and third-place for "Best Beer Selection."

"Charismatic Chef Kevin Dundon, Ireland's answer to Emeril Lagasse, takes time from his TV and book tour schedule to visit Orlando several times a year for high-energy, special event dinners, but his influence on the Raglan Road menu can be seen -- and tasted -- every day," writes Orlando magazine dining critic Joseph Hayes. "The restaurant, a series of faithfully restored bars and furnishings from ancient Old Country pubs, has the feel of a genuinely family-run restaurant (which it is). It gives Dundon a place to use traditional recipes and farm-fresh ingredients as a leaping point for new, satisfying and occasionally surprising ideas such as a killer twist on smoked haddock & Dubliner cheese dip or a wine-infused broth and seafood he calls 'It's not bleedin' Chowder!' The combination of New Irish cuisine, a pint of ale and a wink from a high-stepping Irish lass is hard to beat."

Upon hearing the news while at his home in Ireland, Dundon said he's grateful that so many readers chose Raglan Road as their favorite.

"We're very proud of this honor and want to thank all of our fans for dishing up a delicious win," Dundon said.

The restaurant, also a Diners' Choice 2012 award winner, is known for its beer-battered fish and chips, as well as its Shepherd's pie with a contemporary twist, delectable seafood, Kevin's Heavenly Ham and other popular entrees. Desserts like the Ger's Bread & Butter Pudding and the decadently chocolate Dunbrody Kiss are just as popular and also available at the restaurant's Rollicking Raglan Sunday Brunch. Raglan Road offers gluten-free items including scallops, fish and chips, calamari, onion rings and pasta dishes.

Owned and operated by Irish partners Paul Nolan, John Cooke and celebrity chef Kevin Dundon - famous for his five-star Dunbrody House hotel and cookery school in Ireland - Raglan Road features traditional Irish dishes and new creations with a Celtic twist. The restaurant's warm interior of aged walnut and mahogany woods from old Irish bars and churches was built in Ireland and shipped to Orlando. Live entertainment nightly includes Irish house bands Creel, The Brayzen Heads, Raglan Rebels and The West Coast, who perform Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. The Raglan Road Dancers perform nightly and during the Rollicking Raglan Brunch, which is served Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with entertainment from noon-4 p.m. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late. Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Visit www.raglanroad.com or call 407/938-0300.

April 22, 2014

Italian Serie A Club AS Roma Announces Return to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney

Friendly Match against Orlando City SC scheduled for May 23 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports

Italian Serie A club AS Roma
announced that it will return to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., this May. In March 2012, Roma entered into a multi-year agreement with Disney Sports to become the official professional football club of the renowned amateur and pro sports complex.

After playing its 2012 and 2013 summer matches in the U.S., Roma is returning stateside for the third consecutive summer. Roma will train at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney from May 22 to May 25 and play a friendly match against Orlando City Soccer Club of the United Soccer League on May 23 at 7:30pm local time.

Roma's presence at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex coincides with the annual Disney Memorial Day Shootout, which takes place May 23-26 and is the largest three-day soccer tournament in the U.S. In 2013, the shootout attracted more than 600 teams and consisted of more than 1,000 matches and 7,200 participants. The Memorial Day Shootout is one of 15 soccer events held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which features soccer events for youths of all ages and skill levels, in addition to professional soccer events.

"Our partnership with Disney is an important part of our efforts to connect with young fans worldwide," said AS Roma CEO Italo Zanzi. "We look forward to hosting fans, particularly the Disney Memorial Day Shootout players, at our training and for an exciting match versus Orlando City."

"It's always a thrill for the youth athletes and coaches competing and training at our sports complex when AS Roma is here," said Disney Sports' director of sports development Mike Millay. "Having world-class soccer teams, prestigious youth soccer events and creating unique soccer experiences are part of what makes our sports complex one of the premier youth soccer venues in the country."

Roma fans can purchase tickets via Ticketmaster starting today, Thursday, April 10, at 10 a.m. ET, and the general public will have an opportunity to secure their seats on Saturday, April 12, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Training session times for the Orlando City fixture will be announced at a later date.

Later this summer Roma will return to the U.S. for a rematch against Liverpool FC at Fenway Park (July 23) before playing in the loaded Guinness International Champions Cup against Manchester United (July 26 in Denver), Real Madrid (July 29 in Dallas) and F.C. Inter (August 2 in Philadelphia) and, if qualified, the final on August 4 in Miami's Sun Life Stadium. The 2014 U.S. summer tour speaks to Roma's growing international presence and follows two recent U.S. summer tours - 2012 in Boston, Chicago and New York City, and 2013 in Boston, Kansas City (vs. MLS All Stars), Toronto and Washington D.C.

Disney Dreamers and Doers Accepting Student Self-Nominations


Walt Disney World Resort recognizes Central Florida students who have excelled in their academic achievements and civic efforts, naming them Disney Dreamers & Doers Shining Stars.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 21, 2014 - Central Florida's youngest humanitarians and community service leaders are invited to come forward and be recognized as Disney Dreamers and Doers. Through April 25, the Disney Dreamers and Doers Program is accepting nominations for local students who inspire others as role models in their community, at school or in their homes.

Whether their energies are focused on helping their families, classmates and fellow kids, or community causes - students are asked to nominate themselves for their good deeds and service. From tutoring younger students to leading a food drive to overcoming challenges and improving their grades - Disney Dreamers and Doers nominees make a difference through dedication and kindness.

"It's an honor to recognize the compassion, vision and hard work of these exceptional young people, who act on their dreams of changing the world for the better," said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. "The positive impact these students make on Central Florida is an inspiration to everyone here at Walt Disney World Resort."

Based on self-nominations from students, school principals throughout Central Florida will select one student to represent their classmates as Dreamers and Doers. From the students chosen as their school's Dreamer and Doer, a panel of Disney judges will select up to 15 Shining Stars from public and private elementary, middle and high schools in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. Considered the best of the best, these students consistently demonstrate outstanding character, lead by example and have a caring spirit.

In recognition of their accomplishments, Disney Dreamers and Doers receive four Walt Disney World theme park tickets, an honorary certificate and award medallion. Students later selected as Shining Stars will receive a Mickey Mouse statue known as a "Mousecar," Walt Disney World annual theme park passes for themselves and their immediate family, a gold medallion and recognition at their respective schools.

Last year, about 400 students were recognized as Disney Dreamers and Doers, bringing the total to more than 12,000 since the program began. As part of its ongoing commitment to local children and education, Walt Disney World Resort has awarded Disney Grants for five school districts and early learning coalitions, sponsored of A Gift For Teaching, as well as donated clothing and millions of school supplies to students in the past year.

All New Medals for Runners at 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

New medals include commemorative 10th anniversary Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge medal; Registration now open for all weekend events

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 22, 2014) - Who couldn't use some more bling? All new medals await runners who complete races in the 2015 Walt Disney Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, January 7-11. Registration starts today at runDisney.com.

Among the slew of new Disney Marathon Weekend medals will be a commemorative 10th anniversary Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge medal. The 39.3-mile challenge involves completing Saturday's half marathon and Sunday's full marathon.


The Walt Disney World 10K will feature a new Minnie Mouse-inspired medal. Disney Half Marathon runners will earn an all new Donald Duck themed medal. And a Mickey Mouse-inspired medal goes to finishers of the 26.2-mile Walt Disney World Marathon.

Also, the popular Dopey Challenge is back for a second year for athletes completing all four timed events in successive days (the Family Fun Run 5K, the Walt Disney World 10K, the Disney Half Marathon and the Disney Marathon) for the chance to earn six medals for completing all 48.6 miles.
In addition to the four races, the Disney Marathon Weekend will feature Disney's Health and Fitness Expo, where runners pick up race packets, shop for the latest running apparel and technology, and meet industry experts such as runDisney official training consultant Jeff Galloway and runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus. The expo is free and open to the public at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is also the site of the runDisney Kids Races and the Mickey Mile for the littler ones to experience.

There are also additional features for the entire family to enjoy, including breakfasts with Disney characters, Pasta in the Park parties at Epcot to "carb up" for the next morning's races and celebrate Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge's 10th anniversary, ChEAR Squad amenities to help fans cheer on the runners, a Race Retreat for a VIP running experience and a Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney to celebrate each runner's victories.

For more information and to register for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna events and other runDisney race weekends, go to www.runDisney.comrunDisney.com.

Schedule of Events
Disney's Health and Fitness Expo
Jan. 7 - 10
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

runDisney Kids Races and Mickey Mile
Jan. 8, 9 & 10
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Pasta in the Park Parties
Jan. 8, 9, 10 & 11

runDisney Family Reunion Breakfast
Jan. 8 & 9

Disney's Family Fun Run 5K
Jan. 8, 6:15 am

Walt Disney World 10K
Jan. 9, 5:30 am
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Jan. 10, 5:30 am

Walt Disney World Marathon
Jan. 11, 5:30 am

Cool Down Party
Jan. 11
Downtown Disney

April 25, 2014

Disney's Hollywood Studios Observes 25th Anniversary on May 1


On Thursday, May 1, 2014, Disney's Hollywood Studios will mark its 25th anniversary.

-- At 10 a.m., Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse along with Disney's Hollywood Studios Vice President Dan Cockerell will honor some of the park's 25-year cast members during a short rededication ceremony.

-- At 7 p.m., a special motorcade -- "Stars of the Studios" -- will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. Many of the famous characters featured throughout the park will be on hand, including Mickey and Minnie, Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope, Sofia the First and more.

-- Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park's Sorcerer Hat Stage will host a dance party. A fireworks show will end the day at 9:30 p.m., paying tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.

-- 25th anniversary commemorative merchandise will be sold (while supplies last). There will also be a 25th Anniversary Chocolate Nutella Cupcake for sale.

Special events and entertainment for the celebration are subject to change, and are included in regular park admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

TIP: If you're planning to visit the park by car on May 1, plan on entering via the main toll plaza off World Drive.

FastPass+ Options


Earlier this month, the Disney Parks Blog announced that changes were coming to the FastPass+ program as a result of guest feedback.

Those specific changes have now been shared....

Beginning April 28, 2014, after guests have used their first three FastPass+ selections, they will be able to select another one at one of the kiosks located in each of the four WDW parks.

When they've used that one, they'll be able to select another, and so on, ultimately providing guests with even more ways to customize their Walt Disney World Vacation.

Guests will also be able to select and use their additional FastPass+ entitlements when they hop from park to park.

Feast - New Walt Disney Animation Studios Short


Making its world premiere at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival June 10, 2014, is "Feast," a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (head of animation, "Paperman") and Walt Disney Animation Studios.


The story of one man's love life is seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. The short will open in theaters in front of WDAS' new action-packed, big-screen adventure "Big Hero 6" on Nov. 7, 2014.

April 29, 2014

Disney Exhibit Extended at Museum of Science and Industry


Due to popular demand, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is extending the run of Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. Guests will be able to enjoy the exhibit through August 3, 2014.

"This interactive exhibit has been so well-received by guests of all ages," said Anne Rashford, director of temporary exhibits. "It tells the great story of the imagination and perseverance of Walt Disney and offers a rare peek into his life and the unforgettable entertainment he created. We are thrilled to be able to keep it at MSI for an additional three months."

From Mickey Mouse to Mary Poppins to Captain Jack Sparrow, the exhibition features more than 300 artifacts from nine decades of Disney's rich history-including props; costumes; memorabilia; and artwork from classic Disney animation, theme park attractions, television shows and live-action films. Hands-on activities allow kids and adults alike to explore animation technology from all 53 Disney animated films and learn to draw one of their favorite characters in the Animation Academy.

The exhibit is not included in Museum Entry but can be added to an Explorer ticket package. D23 Gold and Silver Members will receive a special discount on exhibit entry. For more information and to buy tickets, visit msichicago.org. For more information about D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, visit D23.com.

This exhibit is presented by Walgreens. The museum is located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60637.

Angelina Jolie Casts a Spell as Maleficent on the Summer 2014 Issue of Disney Twenty-Three


Plus, D23.com journeys to galaxies from a long time ago-and into the future-with a deep dive into the Star Wars universe and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.

BURBANK, Calif. - APRIL 29, 2014 - D23: The Official Disney Fan Club celebrates the upcoming release of the eagerly anticipated Maleficent in the summer publication Disney twenty-three. Angelina Jolie and the creative team pull back the curtain on the surprising tale behind one of Disney's most iconic villains. "I was afraid of her, and I loved her," Jolie confesses in the cover story. Accompanying the piece is an in-depth look by animation historian Charles Solomon at the development of Walt Disney's 1959 creative masterpiece, Sleeping Beauty, with rarely seen concept art and drawings.

Disney twenty-three's Summer issue, available exclusively to Gold Members of D23, also includes a behind-the-engine look at Walt Disney World's newest theme park attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, featuring striking images and interviews with the team responsible for creating the experience, which is based on the world's first animated feature. Disney twenty-three also explores the Marvel universe, talking to star Chris Pratt about his wild and wacky Super Hero adventure Guardians of the Galaxy.

Also included in the Summer issue of Disney twenty-three:

Star Wars 101: A fascinating look at the creation of the landmark films-and what's to come

Disney Villains: The comprehensive list-from the mild to the wild-of Disney's best baddies

A tour of Walt Disney's Hollywood, with rarely seen photos and stories about his favorite spots

A behind-the-scenes look at Dusty Crophopper's latest thrilling adventure in the new Planes: Fire & Rescue

Regular columns including A Walk with Walt, PHOTOfiles, D Society, and more

All D23 Members are invited to visit www.D23.com for additional members-only content, including a talk with producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) about how Disney turned the animated Sleeping Beauty into the vibrant, live-action Maleficent.

Other features coming to D23.com include:

A deeper journey into a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars mega fan Steve Sansweet

The story behind Marvel's selection of one of its lesser-known comic stories-Guardians of the Galaxy-to become its next mega-feature

A virtual map of Walt Disney's Los Angeles with rarely seen photos

Disney twenty-three, which is delivered directly to fans' doorsteps, is offered exclusively to D23 Gold Members as a benefit of their membership. The publication will begin arriving mid-May.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - the Next Level of Audio-Animatronics


Just days away from the Official Dedication (May 2, 2014) of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Disney Parks Blog has released a new video of the attraction's Audio-Animatronics.



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About April 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in April 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2014 is the previous archive.

May 2014 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.