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August 22, 2017

Country Bear Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card to Be Released at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
returns to Magic Kingdom Park Friday, August 25, and this year, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans can pick up an event-exclusive game card inspired by The Country Bear Jamboree attraction.

According to Imagineer Jonathan Ackley, the County Bears were chosen to be featured on this year’s card to really celebrate the “party” atmosphere of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

“What better way to help celebrate a party than with a performance by the world’s favorite ursine band?” Jonathan Said. “And on Halloween, anything scary will have no choice but to flee before the happy music of the Country Bears!”

In case you aren’t familiar, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an in-park interactive experience that allows guests of all ages to join Merlin’s quest to stop Disney Villains from taking over Magic Kingdom Park. Guests use a map to search for villain hideouts throughout the park, and visit magic portals where they use spell cards to fight back against a villain’s plan. The journey begins at the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., where you can pick up everything you need to play.

This special event card will be distributed separately (and in addition to) the regular Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card packs you’re given at this location. Guests must register to play with their party ticket and event wristband in order to get one.

August 11, 2017

U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division Celebrated at Walt Disney World

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., August 10, 2017 – Magic Kingdom Park guests stood proudly alongside more than 130 veterans and soldiers this evening during a special flag retreat ceremony, honoring the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army’s centennial year.

An elite airborne infantry unit, the 82nd Airborne Division was established in August 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I – the same war in which Walt and Roy O. Disney both served.

“As a company founded by two brothers who served their nation in uniform during World War I, Disney has always had a strong connection to the armed services and looks for ways to show our support of active-duty military, veterans and their families,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Magic Kingdom Park.

With the 82nd Airborne Division commemorating its centennial year at the National Association Convention in Orlando earlier this week, Disney took the opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of those who have bravely served in uniform since World War I.

Among the veterans attending the flag retreat ceremony this evening at Walt Disney World Resort was 89-year-old Mel Greene. Greene joined the division after World War II and, following his service, continued to support active-duty 82nd Airborne soldiers. During tonight’s event, Greene learned he will be this year’s recipient of The All-American Medal of Honor—an annual award given to an 82nd Airborne veteran for distinguished service to this elite division.

“I was overwhelmed,” Greene said. I can’t believe that I’m getting that award tonight, because it’s the highest award that the Airborne gives every year. And I don’t know if I even deserve it or not.”

Following the ceremony, the 82nd Airborne Division completed a unit march down Main Street, U.S.A. The division’s 16-member chorus and brass quintet band also delighted guests earlier in the day with musical performances in Liberty Square and Town Square.

August 4, 2017

Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID Announce New Hyper-Reality Experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

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New VOID Experience Centers Coming to Downtown Disney and Disney Springs This Holiday Season

BURBANK, Calif. – August 3, 2017 – Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID today announced the new Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire hyper-reality experience. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World beginning this holiday season, giving Star Wars fans the opportunity to step beyond reality and into a galaxy far, far away.

“At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”

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ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s Immersive Entertainment division, created this first-of-its-kind experience, in collaboration with The VOID. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. Guests will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi sensory experience as they interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters.

“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of the division. “Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of The VOID, which also joined the 2017 Disney Accelerator earlier this year.

July 19, 2017

Minnie Van Service Starts at Walt Disney World

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Starting this month at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, the Minnie Van service is a whimsical, point-to-point transportation service that will help guests get around Walt Disney World Resort in a jiffy. Guests can order their own private Disney vehicle right from their smartphone and a Disney Cast Member will drive them wherever they want to go around Walt Disney World Resort. There is a flat fee of $20 to/from any location on Walt Disney World Resort property.

“Since we’re all about exceeding guest expectations and making every aspect of your vacation uniquely Disney, we’re creating a new point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do,” Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said.

July 15, 2017

Toy Story Land to Open at Walt Disney World Resort in Summer 2018

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Today, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced that Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios will open in the summer of 2018.

When the land opens, you’ll find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters, including Woody and Buzz. And Toy Story Land will feature two new themed attractions.

Slinky Dog Dash will be a family coaster attraction where you’ll zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits.

Alien Swirling Saucers will also be a new attraction at Toy Story Land. It’s designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”

Source: Disney Parks Blog

Plans Unveiled for Star Wars-Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World

Plans Unveiled for Star Wars-Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World


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Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, just confirmed that a Star Wars-inspired resort will debut as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept.

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According to Bob, this revolutionary new vacation experience will be a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

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Source: Disney Parks Blog

June 20, 2017

Disney Believes in Magic!

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Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando Magic Extend Community Sponsorship Agreement

ORLANDO, FLA., (June 20, 2017) – The Orlando Magic will have the power of pixie dust in its court starting next season, as Walt Disney World Resort becomes the basketball team’s first jersey sponsor. Starting with the 2017-18 NBA season, fans will feel the magic when the Disney logo is added on players’ jerseys as part of this expanded relationship.

“With Orlando as our hometown, magic has always been a key strand of our DNA,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “This expanded agreement with Disney brings our story full circle and represents the coming together of two dynamic organizations that have become synonymous with Orlando.”

Since becoming a Champion of the Community sponsor with the Magic in 2010, Disney has been working with the Magic on outreach initiatives that benefit the local community and make Central Florida a better place to live, work and play. The uniform sponsorship strengthens the relationship between Disney and the Magic and will connect both fan bases, provide shared marketing opportunities and cement Central Florida’s reputation as a global sports destination.

“At Walt Disney World Resort, we naturally believe in all things magic and are happy to support our hometown team,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This long-term relationship symbolizes our shared focus of solidifying Orlando as a world class city for sports.”

As part of this multi-year agreement, Disney will expand its presence at the Amway Center by adding a special seating and hospitality area that may be used for annual passholder upgrades during select Orlando Magic home games. Disney-branded Orlando Magic jerseys will also be available for purchase at the Amway Center.

The Orlando Magic becomes the seventh NBA team to announce a jersey sponsorship. The Disney name will appear on the front left of the jersey and measure about 2½ by 2½ inches.

June 7, 2017

Walt Disney World is offering up to a $500 New Hire Incentive Bonus

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Walt Disney World Resort is offering up to a $500 New Hire Incentive Bonus for Bus Drivers, Lifeguards, Culinary and Housekeeping Positions, both full- and part-time opportunities, hired before June 30, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 7, 2017 – With summer right around the corner, Walt Disney World Resort is offering up to a $500 New Hire Incentive Bonus for select roles. Now through June 30, 2017, successful hires into full- and part-time opportunities in Housekeeping, Culinary, Bus Drivers and Lifeguards will be eligible to receive a new hire bonus.

Interested candidates should visit our website at www.WaltDisneyWorld.jobs for full eligibility requirements* and to see current openings.

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to providing Cast Members with opportunities to reach their professional goals through access to a wide range of benefits and training in transferable skills.

The Walt Disney Company offers a comprehensive total rewards package inclusive of complimentary theme park admission, access to onsite childcare centers, Cast-exclusive offerings and events, as well as discounts at select merchandise, dining and recreation locations throughout the resort. Full-time Cast Members may also be eligible to receive medical, dental and vision benefits, as well as paid time off. Benefits are subject to change.

*To be eligible for the sign-on bonus, Cast Members must be in the position continuously for at least 30 days after hire and be employed by The Walt Disney Company at time of payment. A Cast Member is hired after the successful completion of Disney Traditions or one full day of employment. To be eligible for an incentive bonus after 90 days, Cast Members must remain employed in the position continuously for at least 90 days and be employed by The Walt Disney Company at the time of payment. Payments will be made approximately two weeks after the 30 and 90-day milestones, respectively. Bonus payments are subject to applicable taxes and other legal withholding. Disputes concerning eligibility to a bonus payment shall be resolved by Walt Disney World Recruitment in its sole and absolute discretion. The incentives offered herein are subject to change at any time, with or without notice.

Disney is an equal opportunity employer, drawing creativity from diversity.

May 9, 2017

May is for Moms: 10 Ways to Celebrate Mom at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Mother’s Day is the special time of year when you get to celebrate mom, and at Walt Disney World Resort you can treat mom to some truly unforgettable experiences that she will cherish forever. Whether mom enjoys getting pampered with a spa experience, indulging in delicious dining, or spending time exploring the attractions and shows inside the theme parks, there’s something special for every mom this Mother’s Day and throughout the month of May.

Here are 10 ways to spoil mom at Walt Disney World Resort:

1. Relax with a Spa Day

Treat mom to a relaxing spa experience Senses – A Disney Spa at either Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Both offer a therapeutic haven of pampering and wellness with services including aromatherapy massages, water therapy, sugar exfoliation body treatments, rejuvenating citrus facials and more. Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort also offers a whimsical new nail treatment: Disney Nail Designs by Jamberry. Make it a mother/daughter day and have young spa-goers get matching Mickey, Minnie or Frozen nail decals with mom. To book a treatment at either spa, call 407-WDW-SPAS.

2. Try Your Hand at Cake Decorating

A new pastry experience at Disney Springs is sure to delight mom and all the sweettooths in the family. Amorette’s Patisserie, located next to the World of Disney store, offers a 90-minute cake decorating class led by expert pastry chefs. Participants will get to decorate their own iconic Mickey Character Cake. This experience is only available to those age 10 and up, with a minimum of two guests. Reservations can be made online at DisneyWorld.com/dining.

3. Indulge in Bountiful Brunch at Walt Disney World Restaurants

Show mom how important she is with a delicious brunch at one of Walt Disney World’s top-rated restaurants. Several, such as The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Garden Grove at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, offer special Mother’s Day brunches on May 14 to celebrate mom. Several other Disney eateries offer a daily brunch. Dining reservations can be made online at DisneyWorld.com/dining or call 407-WDW-DINE.

4. Enjoy Dinner and a Captivating Show

Treat mom to an enchanting evening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a Rivers of Light dining package. Mom will enjoy a delicious meal from one of two restaurants and receive guaranteed seating for Animal Kingdom’s newest nighttime spectacle, Rivers of Light. The show combines water and light to celebrate the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world. Families can dine at either Tiffins or Tusker House for their pre-show dining experience. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dining or call 407-WDW-DINE.

5. Get Closer to Nature

Take mom on Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s newest nature tour, Caring for Giants. This hour-long expedition lets guests get a closer look at the African elephant herd on Kilimanjaro Safari’s savannah and learn what it takes to care for them. A dedicated animal specialist will detail how the animals are cared for and talk about the habits of these pachyderm. Guests must be at least 4 years old to participate. The tour is $30 per person. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.

6. Tour the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Enjoy one of the many exclusive tours offered during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. In the Gardens of the World Tour, guests join horticulture experts to learn about the landscaping that goes into preparing for and maintaining the flora and fauna of this festival, including the artistic topiaries found throughout the park. In the English Tea Garden Tour Presented by Twinings of London, mom can stroll through an English tea garden and learn about the importance of this classic beverage in British culture. These tours, along with others, can be booked by calling (407) WDW-TOUR.

7. Explore Unique Resort Adventures

Take mom on a one-of-a-kind adventure at one of many Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Mom can fly high above Bay Lake with a parasailing excursion at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. All fliers must be at least 6 years of age to take to the skies. Reservations can be made by calling (407) 939-7529. If she prefers to keep her feet closer to the ground, take her to Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. There, guests can see the horses that pull Cinderella’s carriage or trot up and down Main Street, USA. There are also pony rides, horse rides, carriage rides and more. Prices vary based on experience. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.

8. Take in a Stage Show

Enjoy a theatrical day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by taking in all of the exciting stage shows in the park. Start mom’s day off with Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. This 25-minute experience retells the classic story of Beauty and the Beast in a Broadway-style musical complete with live renditions of the film’s songs, enchanting choreography and favorite characters. After experiencing the tale as old as time, stroll over to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. This action-packed, 30-minute show gives guests a peek into how stunt scenes are executed for thrilling movies like the Indiana Jones series. Cap off the day with Fantasmic!, a 30-minute nighttime show where Cheer on Mickey Mouse and friends as they fight to win back his imagination from the hands of various Disney villains.

9. Live Adventurous Thrill Rides

The daring mom will love a day taking on the exciting attractions at Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can complete the mountain challenge by riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain all in one day. Once those are conquered, they take a ride to see where ‘a million diamonds shine’ on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland. If younger ones are in tow, take flight on The Barnstormer located in Storybook Circus.

10. Give Mom a Night Out

Guests at Walt Disney World Resort can enjoy a grown up night out and drop the kids off at one of the Children’s Activity Centers. There are four convenient locations on property that provide supervised childcare for children ages 3-12. Centers include arts & crafts, video and board games, Disney movies, dinner and activities. For reservations, see the resort’s front desk or call (407) 939-3463.

Camp Dolphin, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
Lilo’s Playhouse at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Sandcastle Club, Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Simba’s Cubhouse, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

April 28, 2017

The Music of Pixar LIVE - Dining Packages Available

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Reservations Now Open for ‘The Music of Pixar LIVE!’ Dining Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Reservations are now available for “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” Dining Package, a delicious way to reserve your seats for the new “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” a limited-time concert event featuring memorable music from beloved Pixar films, which will take place three times nightly at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning May 26. With the Dining Package, guests will receive a voucher for reserved seating to redeem at the theater.

Make your evening even more magical by combining “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” and “Fantasmic!” Dining Package, which will include reserved seating for both the concert as well as the popular “Fantasmic!” nighttime spectacular.

Participating locations include Hollywood & Vine (Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine and Minnie’s Seasonal Dine), The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Dining must occur no later than 2.5 hours prior to show time or 1.25 hours after show time; vouchers can be picked up at the restaurant (if dining prior to show time) or at the theater (if dining after the show). “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” Dining Package is Disney Dining Plan eligible and counts as one (1) table-service entitlement for Hollywood & Vine and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, two (2) table-service entitlements for The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Reservations are now available for dates beginning May 26 for The Music of Pixar LIVE! Dining Package, and can only be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE.


April 26, 2017

Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Card Available with Some Walt Disney Travel Company Packages

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For a limited time, guests who book a Walt Disney Travel Company package at select hotels with a minimum 3-day ticket are eligible to purchase discounted prepaid dining gift cards to be used at quick-service restaurant locations at Walt Disney World Resort. Hotels included in this special package add-on are:

-- the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
-- Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
-- Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels
-- Walt Disney World Good Neighbor® Hotels

Booking dates for this additional package option are now through Dec. 1, 2017 and travel dates are now through Dec. 31, 2017.

For each day of theme park admission, adults in the party will receive $40 and children will receive $15 on a Quick-Service Dine Gift Card. Guests will only be charged $35 per adult/per day and $12.50 per child/per day. For example, if you have a 3-day ticket included in your package, you will receive a $120 Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Card for only $105. A child with the same ticket will receive a $45 dine gift card for only $37.50. The Quick-Service Dine Gift Cards may be redeemed at select quick-service dining locations or food carts in Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs and Disney resort hotels.

You can upgrade the Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Card (up to a maximum value of $400 for adults and $150 for children) as long as you include a 3-day theme park admission ticket. Note that every person on the package must purchase a Walt Disney World Quick-Service Dine Gift Card with the equivalent value. The Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Card can be purchased for 3 to 10 days -- it no longer needs to match the duration of the theme park ticket purchased.

You will receive your Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Cards along with your theme park tickets upon check-in at your hotel. At that time, the Quick-Service Dine Gift Card will then follow these standard gift card policies:

· Cannot be redeemed for cash

· Will not be replaced if lost or stolen

· Unused Dining Gift Card balances are not eligible for a refund

· Cannot be used for merchandise

· Only eligible at Disney quick-service restaurant locations

· Remaining balances will be printed on receipts

· Disney Quick-Service Dine Gift Cards do not expire

For a free no obligation quote and more details, contact MouseFanTravel.com.

April 24, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar Creates 1,500 jobs for Central Florida

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Growth at Walt Disney World Resort Sparks Job Creation
Pandora - The World of Avatar Creates 1,500 jobs for Central Florida


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 24, 2017 -- When Pandora – The World of Avatar opens May 27, it will cap the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, creating 1,500 jobs with 800 construction roles and 700 operational positions including engineering, attraction hosts, food and beverage and leadership positions.

This is the latest in a steady stream of growth at Walt Disney World, with previous expansions adding to the vitality of the local economy by adding jobs and drawing even more visitors to Central Florida.

Representing the most recent example of creativity and innovation at Walt Disney World Resort, Pandora – The World of Avatar is an epic new land where guests arrive on a world filled with unbelievable sights and experiences. The land becomes an attraction itself as guests walk through the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Only here can guests soar through the skies on the back of a banshee in the attraction Avatar Flight of Passage, sail through a bioluminescent rainforest in the family-friendly attraction Na'vi River Journey and walk beneath towering floating mountains. New and unique merchandise and food and beverage locations will also complement the fun of Pandora, immersing guests in their in-park experience like never before.

The new land is one of many other recent additions, including the new Rivers of Light nighttime show, sunset safaris, other after-dark experiences and the opening of Tiffins, the first signature restaurant inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

“While guests will enjoy Pandora’s amazing expeditions and stunning floating mountains,” said Jim MacPhee, senior vice president of Walt Disney World Parks, “one of the many things they will long remember when they return home are the Cast Members who helped create magical memories during their Disney vacation.”

In addition to wearing costumes with a specialized name tag specifically for Pandora, Cast Members will be immersed in the Na’vi culture by learning about their language, environment and way of life. One example is the way Cast Members throughout the valley of Mo’ara will be able to welcome guests to this awe-inspiring land with the common Na’vi word for hello - Kaltxi (kahl-T’IH). “Anticipation is building among our Cast Members as we get closer to the unveiling of Pandora – The World of Avatar, which is the most mesmerizing land Disney Parks has created to date,” said Djuan Rivers, vice president of Disney's Animal Kingdom. “The attention to detail extends to the Cast Member experience, which includes Pandora-specific training in addition to specially designed costumes to fully engage our Cast Members in the story, which ultimately leads to a richer experience for our guests.” Walt Disney World Resort is a significant contributor to the economic well-being and vitality of Central Florida. Disney is the largest single-site employer in the United States, employing more than 73,000 Cast Members in Central Florida, in more than 3,000 different job classifications with total 2016 annual payroll of over $2 billion. Walt Disney World Resort is the largest single taxpayer in Central Florida, contributing $621 million in total state and local taxes paid and collected for 2016.

FREE DINING Returns to Walt Disney World!

Free Dining Offer - Fall 2017
Walt Disney World® Resort - Most nights 8/21/17 - 12/23/17

Here's a delicious way to make your vacation dreams come true! Book a non-discounted Walt Disney World® Magic Your Way package and get a select Dining Plan - Free*!

Book a Value & Moderate resort - Get Quick Service Dining Plan
Book a Deluxe or villa - Get the Disney Dining Plan

Valid for stays most nights:
Aug 21 - Sept 30
Nov 14 - Nov 20
Nov 25 - Nov 27
Dec 8 - Dec 23

Book by July 7, 2017

For details, contact our preferred travel provider at MouseFanTravel.com

March 24, 2017

Fast Pass+ Reservations for Pandora Now Online

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IMPORTANT: You will not be able to book a FastPass+ for both Pandora attractions on the same day.

Great news for those of you anxiously counting the days until the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27 – FastPass+ reservations are now open to experience the land’s never-before-seen attractions for guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

As you may know, Pandora – The World of Avatar will transport guests to a visually stunning world with floating mountains, bioluminescent plants and more. It’ll also feature two one-of-a-kind attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage, which will allow guests to fly on a banshee over the world of Pandora and the family friendly Na’vi River Journey, which will send guests down a mystical river hidden within a bioluminescent rainforest.

Guests at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can reserve FastPass+ selections for the two attractions up to 60 days prior to check in, beginning today. For all other guests who have pre-purchased valid park admission, reservations will be available starting 30 days prior to their visit, beginning May 27, 2017. You may select one of these two attractions in your first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, depending on availability.

And beginning May 27 (through July 4), guests staying in select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have the opportunity to experience Pandora — The World of Avatar with special nighttime Extra Magic Hours. Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with a valid theme park admission can fly on the back of a banshee, navigate a mystical river and walk under floating mountains beyond regular park hours – from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. This benefit is in addition to the Extra Magic Hours already available to you at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

DIsney Parks Blog

Music of Pixar Live Debuts May 26th

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The Music of Pixar Live! Will Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios This Summer

This summer, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters.” This limited-time concert event will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, complete with a live orchestra and appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters.

Starting May 26, “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (following the regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”). The show will also feature highlights from some of Pixar’s greatest scores, from films like “Toy Story” to “Cars 3.” Guests can also expect appearances by Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley, the Incredibles and more.

January 31, 2017

Celebrate your team’s conference football championship at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

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Atlanta and New England fans can celebrate their teams’ successful seasons with a free night at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, while the residents of the champion’s state will be able to celebrate in style with a free room upgrade!

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Jan. 30, 2017 – The winners of this year’s big football game between Atlanta and New England will celebrate their victory in style – and now their fans can, too. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is once again rewarding fans with the “I’m off to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort!” deal for residents of each team’s state.

Residents of both Georgia and New England will receive a free night at the Epcot Resort-area resort when booking two nights at the standard price before February 28, 2017 for stays through Jan. 31, 2018.

For fans of the big game’s winner, there is even more in store. Residents of that team’s state will celebrate in style with a complimentary room upgrade.

Fans also can enjoy a championship-caliber meal at any of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort’s 17 restaurants and lounges, including Shula’s Steak House, the restaurant of the NFL’s winningest coach, Don Shula.

There’s no better place to celebrate a team’s victory than the place known for championship celebrations.

For additional information, or to make reservations, guests can call 1-800-227-1500 and mention their home state –Georgia or New England. Details of the offer are also available online at www.swandolphin.com/offers/biggame.html. Guests must have valid appropriate state identification (valid New England states include Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) to present upon check-in. Based on rate schedule availability. Offer is not valid Dec. 22 – 31, 2017. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups.

January 20, 2017

ABC's 'The View' Comes to Walt Disney World Resort March 6-10

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Lucky Viewers Can Enter for a Chance to Join the Festivities in 'The View's "Magic Is Endless" Sweepstakes

The magic kicked off on The View recently as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto joined Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sara Haines, Jedediah Bila and Sunny Hostin live in studio to share the exciting news that “The View” will broadcast from Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. March 6-10 (11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET). The co-hosts will experience the endless magic of all four Walt Disney World theme parks, enjoy entertaining conversations on the hottest topics and welcome celebrity guests to the talk show’s stage at the majestic “Tree of Life.”

“The View” continues its year-long celebration of season 20 with its first-ever broadcast from Walt Disney World and ratings up across the board, making it the only broadcast daytime show to see gains in the key demos this season. The show previously broadcast for one week from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. in March 2009 and from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. in Nov. 2013.

The excitement continues with “The View”’s “Magic Is Endless” Sweepstakes presented by American Tourister, offering the chance for three lucky viewers to win grand-prize packages including a trip for themselves and up to three guests each to Walt Disney World Resort, attend the taping of “The View” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and receive a $500 Disney gift card. Plus each grand-prize winner and their guests will receive a hardside carry-on suitcase featuring Disney and Star Wars characters courtesy of American Tourister.

The entry period ends Jan. 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET. “The View”’s “Magic is Endless” Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 or older. No purchase necessary. Winners must travel between March 3-8, 2017. Viewers can learn more and enter for a chance to win at www.TheViewMagicIsEndlessSweepstakes.com or by visiting The View’s homepage at abc.com/theview, which contains full details and Official Rules.

January 4, 2017

"Delicious Disney, A Chef Series" Continues in 2017 at Walt Disney World Resort

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Imagine an intimate evening filled with delicious cuisine prepared just for you by an award-winning culinarian from Walt Disney World Resort. This year, the Walt Disney World Resort chefs launched a new dinner series to showcase the stellar talents of the culinary team; with unique and inspired culinary creations coupled with deliciously creative wine pairings. And the “Delicious Disney, A Chef Series” will continue in 2017 with the theme of “storytelling with food.” These dinners are a wonderful opportunity for epicureans to meet amazing chefs as they prepare specially themed meals for you.

The dinners are often intimate (no more than 60 guests), and the kickoff for 2017 will be Jan. 31 at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park. There will be nine dinners in all, in other locations including Markham’s at Golden Oak, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park, and backstage at the Walt Disney World Tree Farm. See the full schedule below.

All reservations may be booked by calling 407.939.5773 daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Prices range from $199 - $499 and includes tax, gratuity, and wine.

January 31st at 7:45 p.m. Fireworks Reception – 9 p.m. Dinner
Celebrate the Magic Kingdom Parks’s 45th Anniversary!
Featuring Magic Kingdom’s Culinary Director Robert Gilbert and Team
Location Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park

February 22nd at 6:30pm
Come Explore a Journey around the World of Flavors
Featuring Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Culinary Director Robert Adams and Team
Location Markham’s at Golden Oak*

April 26th at 6:30pm
Enjoy Legendary Culinary Moments from Disney Animation History
Featuring Victoria & Albert’s Chef de Cuisine Aimee Rivera and Team
Markham’s at Golden Oak

May 31st at 6:30pm
Celebrating the Silly Symphony Flowers and Trees Anniversary
Featuring Park Event’s Culinary Director Chef John Clark and Team
Location Markham’s at Golden Oak*

June 28th at 6:30pm
A Culinary tribute to Ratatouille’s 10th Anniversary
Featuring Citricos’s Chef Dominque Filoni and Team
Location Markham’s at Golden Oak*

July 19th at 6:30pm
Enjoy the exotic and exquisite tastes of a journey Under the Sea
Featuring Flying Fish’s Timothy Majoras and Team
Location Markham’s at Golden Oak*

August 16th at 6:30pm

A Walk around the World with Disney
Featuring Culinary Director Edwin Wronski and the Flavor Lab Team
Location Markham’s at Golden Oak*

September 5th at 8:30pm
Enjoy a sampling of the Beast’s favorite French Cuisine
Featuring Flavor Lab’s Chef de Cuisine Roland Muller with Magic Kingdom Park’s Culinary Director Robert Gilbert
Location Be Our Guest, West Wing, Magic Kingdom Park

December 6th at 6:30pm
Farm to Table Dining Experience
Featuring a collaboration of our Disney Chefs
Location The Tree Farm

*Markham’s at Golden Oak Events are hosted by Chef de Cuisine Phillip Ponticelli

December 8, 2016

Morimoto Asia Rings in the Holidays

Ready to ring in the holidays? Visit Morimoto Asia for new and inovative holiday cocktails!

Winter Wonderland, Fuji Apple Holiday Cider and more. (Click on the photo for a detailed image.)

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How about an Asian Whisky Flight? (Click on the photo for a detailed image.)

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Morimoto Asia is located in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World.

December 6, 2016

New Land of Fantasy and a New Year Full of Magical Additions at Walt Disney World

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The unveiling of a magical, mythical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees anchors an exciting 2017 at Walt Disney World Resort – a year filled with new water park fun, a new festival for Epcot, more openings at Disney Springs, an awe-inspiring nighttime experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and much more.

Here’s a roundup at what the new year has in store:

Pandora – The World of Avatar – A transformational experience unlike any other, Pandora – The World of Avatar, opens in summer 2017. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR, in a breathtaking new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Avatar Flight of Passage will send guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee. Bioluminescent rainforests dramatically wrap around Na’vi River Journey, a family-friendly boat ride.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders. “From the place making to the two extraordinary attractions that will be in the land…these promise to set new high-watermarks for the experiential magic we give our guests,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks and Resorts.

More Additions to Disney Springs in 2017 – With the multi-year makeover of this hip, happening district for dining, shopping and entertainment in the homestretch, still more exciting openings are on tap for 2017. Great new food and beverage venues lead the way.

Paddlefish – Sleek and modern after a bow-to-stern transformation from the former Fulton’s Crab House, Paddlefish will serve fresh seafood, steaks and chops. Unique menu choices for seafood lovers include a build-your-own boil. A new rooftop lounge will serve up a late-night menu and shipshape views of the water and Disney Springs. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Planet Hollywood Observatory – Longtime Downtown Disney-goers will remember the iconic domed restaurant that drew celebrities and fans of the Hollywood scene. The reborn space will be themed to stars of a different kind: a turn-of-the-20th-Century observatory serving up amazing burgers and sandwiches created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and craft cocktails whose names are inspired by the planets and space travel. Movie memorabilia, video screens, contemporary music and themed merchandise complete the scene.

The Polite Pig – A sister restaurant to the Ravenous Pig, a favorite with Orlando locals, The Polite Pig will bring the same focus on genuine Florida cuisine to a broader global audience at Disney Springs. Lunch and dinner menus will feature a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items as well as an innovative beverage program that serves all drinks on tap, including beer, wine and cocktails.

Wine Bar George – Orlando master sommelier George Miliotes uncorks his first Disney wine bar in a space reminiscent of a winemaker’s estate warmed by oak wood and cozy lighting. Small plates dominate the food menu but it will be the wines with a starring role: more than 100 selections both by the bottle and the glass in a range of varietals and vintages.

Home to four distinct neighborhoods, Disney Springs treats guests to a world of beautiful open-air promenades, flowing springs, arcing foot bridges and waterfront charm. Venues have doubled – to approximately 150.

New Family Raft Ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – Aboard this family-style raft adventure, guests will be immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer. Legend holds that this treasure hunter roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her at Typhoon Lagoon. Guests gently ascend in treasure rafts, only to plunge into a whitewater adventure where they will encounter some of Mary’s deep sea booty. When it opens in spring 2017, it will be one of the longest attractions (2 minutes) at Disney’s Water Parks.

Rivers of Light – Coming in 2017, this powerful theatrical production takes Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests on a magnificent emotional journey – a visual mix of water, fire, nature and light choreographed to an original musical score. Continuing the park’s transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience, the amazing after-dark show on the banks of Discovery River celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world. With innovative and never-before-seen technology, Rivers of Light will be unlike any other production ever staged at Walt Disney World Resort.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Epcot welcomes an all-new festival playing winter weekends and treating guests to a triple scoop of artful fun. For six colorful weekends (Fridays through Mondays) Jan. 13-Feb. 20, visual, culinary and performing arts will take center stage. Each weekend will feature taste bud-tempting and eye-dazzling creations from the Disney culinary team. Meantime, exciting new art from various media will tempt art lovers. Because the artwork will change out, it’s a new art festival every weekend. In addition, the lagoon-side stage at American Gardens Theatre will pulse with favorite showtunes performed by Broadway talent. In a collaboration with Disney Theatrical, songs from some of Disney on Broadway’s award-winning shows including The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin will be performed.

Unique All-New Experiences for Dining, Star Wars Fans – A new adventure in Disney dining and the ultimate Star Wars tour are being offered to guests in 2017.

Disney’s famed monorail is your connection in a movable feast called Highway in the Sky Dine-Around. The new experience gives guests priority boarding on the monorail for a distinctly Disney dining experience with stops for cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert. From a welcome cocktail at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, guests call at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (apps), Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (entree) and back to the Contemporary for dessert, cordials and coffee. Offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

For the ultimate Star Wars fan comes the ultimate tour. An all-new Star Wars Guided Tour is a seven-hour immersion in all current Star Wars experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Character greetings, themed dining, ride experiences, insider’s tours, dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular are among highlights. Offered Mondays and Saturdays, it’s part of several new Star Wars additions announced in December 2016 for the park, including a new onstage sequence in the daytime experience “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.” Star Wars-themed lands are planned for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

New Cabins and Deluxe Villas coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – In 2017, a proposed new Disney Vacation Club Resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is scheduled to open, featuring new Resort accommodations that include plans for Deluxe Villas and unique waterfront cabins. Other enhancements coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge include a brand-new bar & grill, in addition to a quick-service restaurant. A sweeping re-imagination of the former Hidden Springs Pool, part of Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is also scheduled to open in summer 2017. Named Boulder Ridge Cove, this area will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool.

New Cheerleading, Dance Venue for ESPN Wide World of Sports – A first-of-its-kind venue specifically designed for the high-energy world of cheerleading and dance team competition opens its doors in 2017 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The complex is collaborating with Varsity Spirit, the nation’s top cheerleading organization, in bringing the new multi-use venue to life. The venue will include a flexible design that allows for as many as four competition areas. With the ability to seat more than 8,000 guests, the sports and entertainment venue also can accommodate six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or be configured for concerts.

December 3, 2016

New PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs

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A brand-new Disney PhotoPass Studio just debuted in the Marketplace at Disney Springs, and is the perfect place to snap a family portrait.

At the Studio, guests can choose from the original standard background or new virtual backgrounds that place you front and center at some of your favorite Disney scenes. A Disney PhotoPass Photographer will be onhand to find the perfect virtual background for your portrait.

Along with additional portrait spaces, new view stations have been installed for you to easily preview, purchase and print all of your vacation memories linked to your Disney account with the assistance of a Disney PhotoPass Photographer*.

Reservations are not needed to visit the Disney PhotoPass Studio, and photos taken at this location will be linked to your My Disney Experience account. Studio photos are also included as part of an active Memory Maker entitlement.

*Online account registration required. Disney PhotoPass Service and Memory Maker are subject to the Disney PhotoPass and Memory Maker terms and applicable policies available at https://mydisneyphotopass.disney.go.com/help-and-support/policies. Photos in your account will expire pursuant to the expiration policy Downloads are restricted to personal use only. Not responsible for missing, lost or damaged photos. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.

November 29, 2016

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around Launches Dec. 2 at Walt Disney World Resort

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The new Highway in the Sky Dine-Around will give guests priority boarding on the monorail for a dining journey around the circuit between Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

The journey starts with check-in at The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You then board the monorail to be whisked off to Disney’s Polynesian Resort to celebrate the spirit of the South Pacific with island-inspired sips and appetizers.

Afterward, you return to the monorail and head to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where you will enjoy a sumptuous wine dinner at award-winning Citricos. After dinner, sip sparkling wine and sample artisanal cheese in the Grand Floridian's lobby.

The monorail then takes you to your final stop -- Disney’s Contemporary Resort for dessert, cordials and coffee on a private patio with a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks over Cinderella Castle.

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around is offered Tuesday, Friday and Sunday beginning December 2. Reservations open November 29. (No dine-around between Dec. 18 and Jan. 3). Cost is $150 plus tax and gratuity. Valet parking is included. For reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.

Source: Disney Parks Blog

November 16, 2016

New Special Ticket Offer Lets Guests Discover Endless Magic Starting this Holiday Season at All Four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2016) – With so many new attractions and experiences to discover at each of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, there has never been a better time to plan a visit to Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and a new special ticket offer, the 4 Park Magic Ticket, gives guests the chance to experience the distinctive magic in each park for only $70 per day plus tax.

Guests will be able to purchase the new 4 Park Magic Ticket, which provides one admission to each of the four theme parks on four separate days. Only available for a limited time, this special ticket offer may be used Nov. 15, 2016 through May 26, 2017, with block out dates including Dec. 17, 2016 – Jan. 2, 2017 and April 10 – 21, 2017.*

Here’s a look at some of the new experiences guests can look forward to:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

-- New this holiday season, guests can experience the jolliest new nighttime spectacular, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Each evening through Dec. 31, the night is lit up with stunning projections, dazzling fireworks and state-of-the-art special effects that tell the story of Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve.

-- Guests can venture to a galaxy far, far away anytime they would like with Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular stage show, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, and special appearances by Star Wars characters.

Epcot

-- The spirit of the holidays comes to life around World Showcase with new Holidays Around the World marketplaces offering tasty bites and beverages, the Candlelight Processional with celebrity narrators sharing the Christmas story, and larger-than-life holiday decorations throughout the park.

-- Adventurers can take to new heights on Soarin’ Around the World, with new destinations that transport guests on a journey throughout the globe. Frozen fun awaits on the new Frozen Ever After attraction, taking guests into Arendelle.

Magic Kingdom Park

-- Guests can celebrate the spirit of the season with festive décor that sparkles throughout the park, with a gigantic Christmas tree welcoming guests to Main Street, U.S.A. and more, plus the Jungle Cruise transforms during the holiday season to the Jingle Cruise—with the skippers cracking holiday jokes and jolly decorations all around.

-- New this fall, the ‘Once Upon a Time’ nighttime spectacular illuminates Cinderella Castle and immerses guests in some of the most beloved Disney stories in an all-new projection show.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

-- Guests can now encounter the wonders of nature with rare animals both day and night. From the Tree of Life ‘awakening’ as the sun goes down, to taking an after-dark ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, to soaking in the fun aboard Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest both day and night, there’s more to experience than ever before.

Guests may purchase this special ticket starting Nov. 15, 2016 through March 5, 2017 at DisneyWorld.com/tickets or by calling (407) 939-5277.

November 14, 2016

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Special Performances Sunday November 20

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Two Special Performances - Sunday November 20th Only!

This Sunday, La Nouba will perform two shows deviating from its regular schedule of Tuesday - Saturday.

Enjoy a special matinee performance at 3pm. La Nouba will also have a performance at 6pm.

Families can save big on the performances, with tickets for children nine and under 50% off. With the discount, kids’ tickets start at just $24 with the purchase of an adult full price ticket. Tickets can be purchased at www.lanouba.com.

November 7, 2016

Baseball World Champions Celebrate Historic Victory with Magical Visit to Walt Disney World

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2016) – America’s love affair with its newest baseball heroes made its way to Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park on Saturday afternoon when baseball’s world champions did what so many sports champions do: They “go to Disney World!’’

Championship MVP Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Javier Baez, who all helped lead the Chicago Cubs to the world championship earlier this week, rode along with Mickey Mouse in a celebratory parade at Walt Disney World Resort. A throng of cheering fans, many dressed in the team’s colors, lined the parade route at Magic Kingdom waving “W’’ flags and holding signs. Mickey Mouse and Goofy both dressed for the occasion, wearing their classic baseball uniforms!

The players and their families enjoyed some of the theme park’s signature attractions, including Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Plus, they spent time hanging out with Mickey Mouse and Goofy and took photos to capture the memory.

“I can’t believe how many (Cubs fans) there were at the parade. It’s just unbelievable,’’ said Zobrist. “It’s an amazing following of people right here at Disney World.’’

The parade was the perfect exclamation point on a championship celebration that was 108 years in the making. The team last won baseball’s Fall Classic in 1908, the longest interval between championships in sports history.

The parade was also one of the most heart-warming salutes in Disney Parks’ long tradition of sports champions celebrating their victories by “Going to Disney World’’ which dates back to 1987.

The Cubs rallied from the brink of defeat (they were down 3-1 in the best-of-seven-game series) to win a nail-biting Game 7 in 10 innings. Zobrist hit a double in the 10th inning that scored the go-ahead run that led to their momentous victory.

Likewise, Russell and Baez were both huge contributors throughout the Cubs’ playoff run. Baez accounted for the Cubs’ only run – a solo homer – in their 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series. And Russell hit a grand slam home run in Game 6 that helped force the deciding Game 7, keeping the team’s title hopes alive.

Three Holiday Specials Featuring Star-Studded Performances from Disney Parks and Disney|ABC Television Group

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Nov. 2, 2016–Disney kicks off the holidays with three musical specials originating from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California. The shows will be presented on Disney|ABC Television Group platforms, including ABC Television Network, Disney Channel, the ABC and Disney Channel apps and VOD, among other branded digital platforms. The holiday specials will include performances by some of the world’s most popular recording artists, celebrity hosts, Disney character appearances and heartwarming wish-come-true moments for three lucky families from across the country.

Julianne Hough (“Grease: Live”) and Derek Hough (“Hairspray Live”) are set to host two specials on ABC – “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, Nov. 24 (8:00–10:00 p.m. EST), and “The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration” on Christmas morning, Sunday, Dec. 25 (9:00–11:00 a.m. EST; airtimes vary, check local listings). Julianne, who will also act as executive producer on the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials, and Derek are longtime “Dancing With the Stars” fan favorites with multiple Emmy Awards and mirror ball trophies between them.

Stars of “Descendants 2,” the highly anticipated sequel to the global smash hit “Descendants,” will host and perform holiday songs in “Disney Parks Presents: A Descendants Magical Holiday Celebration” on Disney Channel on Friday, Nov. 25 (8:00–9:00 p.m. EST). Hollywood Records recording artists Forever In Your Mind and Sofia Carson will also perform holiday songs.

Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks join the festivities, performing on all three holiday specials. The multi Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning artists will light up the night singing duets from their newly released album, “Christmas Together” (Pearl Records, Inc.), plus solo performances, all from the steps of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Multi Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson will also perform on all three holiday specials. From iconic locations across the Walt Disney World Resort, the talented singer, songwriter and author will perform songs from her 2013 Christmas record, “Wrapped in Red,” in addition to one of her most popular hit songs.

On each of the specials, ABC and Disney Channel stars will also grant wishes to families throughout the Disney theme parks, part of Disney’s “Share the Joy” campaign, inspiring families to spread goodwill this holiday season by giving back and volunteering to help others.

“Disney Channel Holiday Hits,” an album featuring holiday songs performed during “Disney Parks Presents: A Descendants Magical Holiday Celebration” will be released from Walt Disney Records on Friday, November 18. The album features four songs: “Jolly to the Core,” a holiday rendition of “Rotten to the Core” from “Descendants” (performed by Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce and Booboo Stewart); “Silent Night” (performed by Sofia Carson); “This Christmas” (performed by China Anne McClain) and “Celebrate,” an original song from Forever In Your Mind.

The holiday specials are being produced by Disney|ABC Television Group and IMG.

The multi-platform programming schedule is:

THANKSGIVING – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24

“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” premieres on the ABC Television Network (8:00–10:00 p.m. EST) and on the ABC app. Join Emmy Award-winners Julianne and Derek Hough as they host the magical two-hour special from the Walt Disney World Resort. They join “Descendants 2” star Sofia Carson to kick off the holiday season in a way only Disney can, showcasing extraordinary music performances, special appearances and some unforgettable Disney magic moments.

Musical performances include:

Solo and duet performances by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks from their newly released album, “Christmas Together.”
Kelly Clarkson performing “Underneath the Tree” and “”

Additional performances will be announced in the coming weeks.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25

“Disney Parks Presents: A Descendants Magical Holiday Celebration” premieres on Disney Channel (8:00–9:00 p.m. EST) and on the Disney Channel app and Disney Channel VOD, beginning at 12:01 a.m. PST. The special will be available on-demand and will be featured in encore presentations on Disney Channel through Tuesday, December 20.

Musical performances include:

“Jolly to the Core,” performed by Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart.
“Descendants 2” star China Anne McClain performing “This Christmas.”
“Silent Night,” performed by Hollywood Records and Republic Records recording artist Sofia Carson.
Forever In Your Mind performing “Celebrate.”
Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform a holiday duet from their newly released album, “Christmas Together.”
Kelly Clarkson will also be performing a song.

ABC stars and Disney Channel stars Jenna Ortega and Isaak Presley, of “Stuck in the Middle,” and “Bizaardvark” stars Olivia Rodrigo and Madison Hu will join Carson and Boyce in surprising families from around the country, who are dedicated to various philanthropic efforts, with once-in-a-lifetime experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

CHRISTMAS – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25

“The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration” will air on the ABC Television Network (9:00–11:00 a.m. EST; airtimes vary, check listings) and on the ABC and Disney Channel apps. This Christmas, Disney Parks celebrates the joy of the holiday season, as hosts Julianne and Derek Hough take viewers on a magical ride down Main Street and beyond. The Christmas Day celebration will be bigger and brighter than ever before, bringing together the beloved Christmas day parade, magical musical performances, surprise celebrity guests and heart-warming family stories to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Musical performances include:

Solo and duet performances by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks from their newly released album, “Christmas Together.”
Kelly Clarkson performing “Underneath the Tree.”

Sofia Carson performs “Silent Night,” featuring an alternate musical arrangement from her performance on Disney Channel, and also hosts from backstage.
“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire)” performed by Jordan Fisher, who will also make his Broadway debut in “Hamilton” on November 22.

Additional performances will be announced in the coming weeks.

October 28, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Sparkles with Endless Magic During the 2016 Holiday Season

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Deck the halls! Walt Disney World Resort does that and plenty more this holiday season -- turning up the yuletide magic with new shows, thrilling spectaculars, beloved characters to create lasting memories, yummy and festive holiday treats, and theme parks and resort hotels all aglitter with holly, jolly decorations.

Here’s a sampling of the holiday fun in store for guests:

Magic Kingdom

· Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: It’s a Christmas party like no other, with joyful music, a shimmering Cinderella Castle, characters in their festive finery and the Magic Kingdom decked out and even more magical for merry-making guests of all ages. Disney princes join princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall. Guests can meet Nick and Judy from “Zootopia” in Tomorrowland. The special party – complete with cookies, cocoa and snow flurries – begins at 7 p.m., after regular park hours. Dates for this year:

November 7 ,8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29

December 1, 2, 4 ,6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16 ,18, 22

For more information and to purchase tickets for this after-hours spectacular: Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty

· All new! Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration: New to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Mickey and his pals host some of their friends for an unforgettable Christmas soiree filled with medleys of delightful classic and contemporary holiday songs, and magical holiday projections on Cinderella Castle building to a sensational, snowy finale. (Also available Dec. 23 – 31 during regular park operating hours).

· Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade: The enchanting holiday parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party transforms Main Street, U.S.A. Santa Claus, gingerbread men, elves, reindeer, toy soldiers and other friends from the North Pole join Mickey and his pals. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf from “Frozen” join in the fun.

· A Frozen Holiday Wish (Castle Dream Lights): This season, the wintry wonder and magic of Disney’s blockbuster “Frozen” enchants park guests as Queen Elsa transforms Cinderella Castle into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays.

· Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season: The night sky bursts with color high above Cinderella Castle with a holiday fireworks spectacular.

Epcot

· New Holidays Around the World Marketplaces – Explore what the holidays taste like around the globe at five new marketplaces: indulge in duck confit and dumplings from the Alpine Haus Marketplace, celebrate with the shredded beef tamale from the Three Kings Feast Marketplace, toast with Williams Punch from the Germany Marketplace, and more.

· Holidays Around the World entertainment – Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions.

· A cherished Epcot tradition, the Candlelight Processional captures the spirit of the season in the retelling of the Christmas story by celebrity narrators, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and choir. The Candlelight Processional is performed three times each evening, 5:00, 6:45 and 8 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre from Nov. 25-Dec. 30. Narrators in 2016 include Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Meredith Vieira, and Cal. Ripken, Jr. Candlelight dinner packages are available through Disneyworld.com/holiday.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

· An all-new nighttime spectacular, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!,” premieres at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Nov. 14-Dec. 31, sending beloved Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests – capped by a special message from Santa himself.

· A new dessert party themed to the show will be offered nightly, one hour prior to each performance, in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater. Guests who book the “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Holiday Party enjoy holiday-inspired snacks, decadent desserts and specialty beverages. Guests can call 407/WDW-DINE or visit Disneyworld.com to reserve their spot (November 14-December 17, $69 adults, $39 children, including taxes and gratuities; December 18-31 $79 adults, $45 children, including taxes and gratuities).

· New for 2016 is the opportunity to meet Santa Claus at the Once Upon a Time shop. The beautiful and vintage setting reflects the bygone days of Santa’s visits to the great department stores across the country.

· During the holiday season, “Tinsel Town” takes on a new meaning at the theme park celebrating the magic of movies and television. A giant Christmas tree towers over the main entrance, holiday displays capture the imagination, shops along Hollywood Boulevard welcome holiday shoppers and colorful garlands and lights sparkle throughout the park.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s adventure park presents holiday themes in a whole new “dark.” Decorations park-wide frame new daytime-into-night experiences, including Tree of Life transformations, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali Rivers Rapids and Expedition Everest.

· Guests will be greeted, at the park’s entrance, by a dramatic, animal-themed holiday tree.

· Mickey and Minnie don their holiday best to meet and greet guests at Adventurers Outpost. Their friends Santa Goofy, Baloo, King Louie, Donald and Chip and Dale also show off their holiday finest.

Disney Springs

With a multi-year makeover nearly complete, every corner of Disney Springs is wrapped and ready for its first full season of holiday cheer. Disney Springs becomes “the place to be” as each of its four neighborhoods is transformed through festive décor, entertainment and holiday shopping at exciting new retail locations, from name-brand to cozy boutiques to everything in between.

A sampling of what’s new:

· Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail: To capture the spirit of the holidays, Marketplace guests can stroll among 15 custom decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme.

· At the Once Upon a Toy Fountain (Marketplace), toys have magically come alive for an interactive holiday dance party nightly on the plaza. There’s pin trading, a nightly tree lighting ceremony and more.

Marketplace will be a holiday shopper’s delight. Seasonal offerings will fill shelves at Disney’s Days of Christmas, Art of Disney, Wonderful World of Memories, Marketplace Fun Finds and Marketplace Co-Op. Goofy’s Candy Co. is the place for yummy holiday treats. At Art of Disney, guests can find sketch artists doing holiday artwork. Meantime, some of the most recognizable names in retailing have opened their doors at Town Center, alongside venues unique to central Florida.

At Every Corner of Our World: Holiday Displays

Disney bakers and magic-makers transform Disney resort hotels and theme parks for the holidays. Just a few of the festive sights to greet guests:

· Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will feature an African Marketplace – made of gingerbread.

· Guests of Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Grand Canyon Concourse) will marvel at a world of majestic mountains and fjords anchored by a 17-foot-tall Gingerbread Holiday Ice Castle, inspired by Frozen and adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees.

· An annual treat, a life-sized holiday gingerbread house, is an eye-filling (and aroma-savoring) sight in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The Bake Shop uses a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria for its cookies and ornaments.

· A life-sized, edible spinning carousel is a holiday tradition at Disney’s Beach Club Resort while a holiday village with miniature train holds forth at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

No holiday is complete without a special dining experience. Holiday menus that celebrate the season may be found at restaurants throughout Walt Disney World Resort. For holiday dining information and reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE.

October 3, 2016

2017-2018 Ambassadors Selected to Represent Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When it comes to making magic at Walt Disney World Resort, every role Disney Cast Members play is a starring role. But there’s one that stands out among the rest, represents more than 74,000 Cast Members and shares the inspiration of Disney throughout the resort and community – the role of Walt Disney World Ambassador.

Ken Facey and Brandon Peters learned they were selected for this highly esteemed position, as the pair were named the 2017-2018 Walt Disney World Ambassador team. Prior to the announcement, Ken served as a leader at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, supporting the housekeeping and custodial team, while Brandon was in entertainment as a performer and part of the 2016 Disney University Traditions team.

“Today we selected two Cast Members who will continue the tradition of bringing to life the values that make Disney special, such as innovation, optimism and exceptional service,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “As they represent more than 74,000 Cast Members who call Central Florida home, Ken and Brandon will share our heritage and legacy with our guests, Cast Members and community.”

In a special ceremony, the 2017-2018 Disney Ambassador team was surprised with news of their new roles by Kalogridis and an executive selection panel. Current Walt Disney World Ambassadors Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma, as well as several Walt Disney World Ambassador alumni, joined the close-knit group of well-wishers congratulating the new team.

A South Florida native, Brandon Peters grew up with the Walt Disney World Resort in his backyard. Knowing from a young age that he wanted to be a performer, Brandon got the coveted role of part-time Walt Disney World performer as he worked toward a fine arts degree at the University of Central Florida. After years of dancing down Main Street U.S.A. and waltzing on the Cinderella Castle stage, Brandon moved to Louisville, Ky. to be an apprentice at the prestigious Actors Theatre of Louisville. He returned to Walt Disney World Resort as an equity performer for Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial.

Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Ken dreamed of working at Walt Disney World Resort. His dream came true when he joined the Disney College Program as an attractions host in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park. Since then, Ken has continued to share the magic of Disney with roles in operations, guest relations, lodging and custodial guest services. Along the way, he served the Disney University Traditions program, helping to welcome and inspire thousands of new Disney Cast Members. Ken also spent time as a guest correspondent, responding to letters from guests about special moments created by Disney Cast Members.

Today’s ceremony was the culmination of an intensive, two-month search for candidates who demonstrate enthusiasm for community service, passion for Disney guest service, knowledge of Disney heritage and business, professionalism, integrity, compassion and character. Every two years, thousands of Cast Members are invited to participate in the ambassador selection process, which includes several rounds of interviews.

Following a three-month training in Florida and California, the team will begin their busy two-year term, which lasts from Jan. 1, 2017–Dec. 31, 2018. With thousands of events to attend throughout the year, the Ambassadors are responsible for duties such as championing the Disney VoluntEARS program, supporting company programs and business initiatives, serving as master of ceremonies at park events and recognizing Cast Members’ milestones and achievements.

The Disney Ambassador tradition began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland when Walt was overwhelmed with requests for appearances and media interviews. Since he chose the first Disney Ambassador to serve in 1965, the program has evolved to represent the company, its Cast Members and ideals throughout 50 years of Disney milestones.

October 1, 2016

New Benefits Coming to Walt Disney World Passholders During Resort's 45th Anniversary Year

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Wrapped in exciting fall events, the merriest of holiday happenings and a 2017 filled with spectacular openings, Walt Disney World Resort is marking its 45th anniversary — and unwrapping three special offers for passholders.

Popular Walt Disney World passes, good for theme park admission, valuable Disney savings and other perks throughout the year, gets even sweeter to mark the anniversary:

-- New dining and merchandise benefits – Passholders will receive 10 percent off food and nonalcoholic beverages at select table-service restaurants at theme parks and Disney resort hotels and 20 percent off purchases at Disney owned-and-operated merchandise locations. These new benefits will continue even after the anniversary comes to an end on Sept. 30, 2017.

-- Even more savings exclusively during the 45th anniversary – In addition to the ongoing benefits, passholders can save up to 20 percent off the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages at select restaurants in the theme parks, resort hotels and Disney Springs, as well as dinner shows. Passholders can choose from 45 restaurants participating in this special offer during the 45th anniversary year that runs now through Sept. 30, 2017. Among the great restaurant choices: Signature Dining (Flying Fish, Artist Point, Citricos) and Family Dining (Jungle Skipper Canteen, Wave of American Flavors). And, for the first time in forever, savings are available at select quick-service locations.

-- Get 13 months for the price of 12 – Guests who purchase a 12-month pass will enjoy 13 months of unsurpassed passholder magic filled with seasonal events, unique attractions and stellar entertainment. New passes must be purchased between Oct. 2, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017. Prices vary depending on pass type selected – Weekday Select, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus.

In addition to offering theme park admission, passes include special savings on resort hotel rooms, merchandise, recreation, sports, tours and spa treatments. Passholders will find still more savings on admission to special events and entertainment. Passes also add value and convenience with benefits like standard parking, park-hopping privileges and a Magic Band.

With all the magic happening now and coming soon to Walt Disney World Resort, there’s never been a better time to be a passholder. Here’s just a sampling of events and happenings:

-- The 21st Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, on now through Nov. 14, features celebrated chefs, more than 30 marketplaces, wine seminars, workshops, dining and tasting events, and the Eat to the Beat Concerts.

-- Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, on select dates now through Oct. 31, brings spooktacular fun to the Magic Kingdom with a Halloween parade, themed fireworks, trick or treating, and a stage show featuring Disney villains.

-- Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort means enchanting fun with dazzling lights, spirited song and snow flurries. Events include Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and an all-new stage show at Magic Kingdom, Candlelight Processional at Epcot, plus caroling, tree-lighting ceremonies and visits by Santa himself.

-- Pandora – The World of Avatar (2017) – The awe-inspiring land envisioned by filmmaker James Cameron comes to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with floating mountains and bioluminescent rain forests.

-- Disney Springs completes its build out, reimagined from Downtown Disney. There’s more shopping, dining and entertainment than ever before all set among beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm. With more than 150 establishments, Disney Springs include trendsetting brands like UNIQLO, kate spade new york and Zara along with and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Foodies can savor everything from tasty food-truck treats to celebrity-chef restaurants.

For more information on either offer or to sign up for a pass, guests can visit DisneyWorld.com/passholders

September 29, 2016

Disney Parks Salutes U.S. Military with Special Tickets, Room Rates for 2017

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — At Walt Disney World Resort from Sept. 28, 2016 through Dec. 16, 2017, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active or retired members of the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)) or their spouses can purchase:

-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $209 each, plus tax.
-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $209 each, plus tax.
-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $246 each, plus tax.
-- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $224 each, plus tax.
-- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $224 each, plus tax.
-- Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $261 each, plus tax.

Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used Jan.1, 2017, through Dec. 19, 2017, except that the tickets may not be used April 9-23, 2017.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Dec. 19, 2017.

At the Disneyland Resort - from Nov. 1, 2016 through Dec. 16, 2017, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active or retired members of the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))) or their spouses can purchase:

-- Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $156 each.
-- Disney Military Promotional 4-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $181 each.

Disneyland tickets may be used Jan. 1 - Dec. 19, 2017, except that the tickets may not be used April 9 - 23, 2017.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Dec. 19, 2017.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced rooms at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels.* This offer is valid for stays most nights from Jan. 1 - Dec. 19, 2017, except for April 9-23, 2017.

For information on Disney 4-Day/5-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to Walt Disney World Resort, or to make room reservations at Walt Disney World Resort, military personnel may call 407-939-5684 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices. For information regarding Disney 3-Day/4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort, or to make room reservations at the Disneyland Resort, military personnel may call 866-943-7872 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices. Information is also available at DisneyMilitaryOffers.com.

Here are some other details guests should know about:

-- Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets ONLY by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and other family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold.

-- “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

-- The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above.

-- Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets.

-- Subject to certain exceptions, Disney 4-Day/5-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. Tickets and options expire and may not be used after December 19, 2017. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.

-- Disney 3-Day/4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort expire and may not be used after December 19, 2017. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.

-- No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse.

-- Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.


*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply. Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in, and military member (or spouse) must stay in the room. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Additional per-adult charges apply at the Walt Disney World Resort if there are more than two adults per room. Other restrictions apply.

September 26, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating a Season of WonderFALL Experiences

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The arrival of fall marks one of the best times of the year to indulge in sips, savors, songs and scares across the Walt Disney World Resort. Special events and seasonal celebrations all add up to create the “WonderFALL” world of Disney.

Here’s some of what’s in store this fall:

Epcot

The most delicious time of year is underway at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Running now until November 14, the 21st epicurean adventure features five new marketplaces, and for the first time in the Festival’s history, an expansion into the Disney resorts. At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa there’s a fabulous “brunch with a twist” prepared by top chefs from across Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can also get a behind-the-scenes look at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney Polynesian Village Resort. Interactivity is also a star of the Festival this year, providing guests the chance to prepare food and drinks along-side Disney and celebrity chefs and mixologists.

Eight new acts join the Eat to the Beat concert series, including Plain White T’s, Soul Asylum and Jeffrey Osborne. For those who want a music-and-meal combination, dining packages guarantee seats to popular restaurants including Le Cellier, Les Chefs de France and Spice Road Table and to that evening’s concert. This year, premium events like the themed Party for the Senses and Rockin’ Burger Block Party include different live entertainment each night.

While guests explore the 30 marketplaces around World Showcase, they can stop by the Norway Pavilion to visit the kingdom of Arendelle in the new Frozen Ever After attraction. Beloved characters, songs from the hit movie “Frozen” and an icy-blast await. Princesses Elsa and Anna are also in residence at their nearby Royal Sommerhus vacation cabin where guests can meet them in person.

After tasting their way around the globe, guests can fly around it: Soarin’ Around the World is a multisensory, hang-gliding-like adventure over the most popular landmarks and stunning sights across six continents.

Magic Kingdom

Happy haunts come out to socialize when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at Magic Kingdom Park on 29 select nights now through October 31. Favorite Disney Characters join the fun, decked in costumes and ready for trick-or-treating. In between the treat trails and attractions, live entertainment stirs up mischief: the Sanderson Sisters return to the Cinderella Castle stage for the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. Partygoers can also catch the eerie and whimsical procession of “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” before the “HalloWishes” fireworks spectacular lights up the sky.

For guests who prefer their treats during daylight hours, the Magic Kingdom is all decked out with festive fall decor. New park entertainment includes the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire that brings together Mickey Mouse and his pals for a musical celebration on the castle stage. The daily show features Disney’s contemporary characters and classic songs.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A bewitching dance party awaits at Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Every Friday and Saturday night in October (and of course on Halloween, Oct. 31), Dr. Facilier hosts a lineup of dastardly dancing divas – Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen – Potion Bar beverages and New Orleans-inspired cuisine. For tickets, guests can call 407-WDW-DINE/407-939-3463.

An out-of-this-world fireworks and projection show fueled by The Force paints the sky over Disney’s Hollywood Studios nightly in Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Set to the stirring and unforgettable music from the saga, this visual journey takes guests scavenging with Rey on Jakku, navigating through an asteroid field, soaring down the trench of the Death Star and delivering the final blow to destroy Starkiller Base, transporting guests to a galaxy far, far away.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Mystery and majesty come alive as night “falls” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life undergoes extraordinary “awakenings” throughout the evening as animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. Animal encounters shift at twilight, too, as darkness camouflages the boundaries between wildlife and guests on sunset excursions with Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guest can also dance alongside African performers in Harambe and indulge in the new signature restaurant, Tiffins.

Disney Springs
The four neighborhoods of Disney Springs are now open, bringing guests 150 new establishments for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment. Wrapped in Florida-inspired, made-for-strolling promenades, arcing footbridges, flowing streams and small-town charm, the waterfront district is a collection of unique and high-end brand names, James Beard award-winning chefs, and even amphibious cars.

Florida’s ideal fall weather means it’s the perfect time to sip a cocktail or indulge in a meal created by a celebrity chef at one of the many new waterfront restaurants.

To learn more about all that’s happening around the WonderFALL world of Disney, guests may visit Disneyworld.com or call (407) 939-5277.

August 30, 2016

Fall Finale Announced for Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

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As colors change along Main Street, U.S.A. with the onset of fall at Magic Kingdom Park, “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” is also preparing to mark the season with enhancements to the show’s grand finale.

Beginning September 2, the finale scene in “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” will feature new costumes, décor and choreography. You’ll also hear an original song celebrating autumn, from the songwriting duo of Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn who composed the show’s catchy tune “On This Day.”

Presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” brings to life beloved Disney stories both classic and contemporary in a spectacular performance featuring memorable music, lively dancing, delightful costumes and special effects magic. Mickey and his troupe of Merry Makers have invited friends from other lands to join them in a grand celebration. In addition to favorites like Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, the show also brings together a wonderful cast of characters including Anna, Elsa and Olaf from “Frozen;” Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and the gang from the Snuggly Duckling in “Tangled;” and Tiana, Naveen and Louis from “The Princess and the Frog.”

Also starting this weekend is the special fall edition of the popular Main Street Trolley Show, greeting everyone along the avenue with a joyous song all about “the magic that can happen when it’s autumn.” So be sure to head on out to Magic Kingdom Park this fall and take in all the wonderful sights and sounds of the season!

August 16, 2016

Celebrate Disney PhotoPass Day August 19th

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On Friday, August 19, PhotoPass teams at both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will celebrate the art and fun of photography at Disney Parks through the first-ever #DisneyPhotoPassDay, a one-day celebration that will feature exciting offerings and experiences for guests.

Special Character Experiences At Magic Kingdom Park & Epcot

Enjoy special character experiences at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot, where Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture your encounter with Pinocchio, Gideon and Foulfellow in Storybook Circus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At Epcot, a friend or foe will join some of your favorite Disney characters around World Showcase, including Mushu and Mulan in the China Pavilion; Snow White and Dopey in the Germany Pavilion; and the Queen of Hearts, who will join Alice in the United Kingdom Pavilion. Check the My Disney Experience app or the Epcot Times Guide on August 19 for these Disney characters’ schedule.

Complimentary Photo Locations at All Disney Parks & Disney Springs

There will be one location at each of the four theme parks (and Disney Springs) at the Walt Disney World Resort and at both parks at Disneyland Resort where a Disney PhotoPass photographer will capture your special moment. That photo will be available in the My Disney Experience app at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland app at Disneyland Resort to download and share at no charge as part of the #DisneyPhotoPassDay celebration. (Normal My Disney Experience registration is required to access the image). Check out Disney’s PhotoPass Service Facebook page on Tuesday for a list of participating photo locations.

Participate in a Disney PhotoPass Challenge

Complete a Disney PhotoPass Challenge at any of our parks at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort to get a Disney PhotoPass photo on us. All you need to do is get your photo taken by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer at each of the designated challenge locations on August 19. Once you’ve stopped by all of the locations, visit a Disney PhotoPass Sales Center to claim your Disney PhotoPass photo. At the Walt Disney World Resort, participants will receive a voucher for one Disney PhotoPass download. Participants at Disneyland Resort will receive one 5×7 print of a Disney PhotoPass photo. Challenge locations and details will be posted on the Disney’s PhotoPass Service Facebook page on Wednesday.


(Note: All theme park offerings are included in park admission and any character experiences are subject to change).

Two New Holiday Event Packages Now Available at Walt Disney World Resort

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Groups can Celebrate the Season with a Festive Catered Experience

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Available just in time for the 2016 holiday season, groups can now enjoy two new event offerings at Walt Disney World Resort including the Winter Wonderland Escape package available at Disney's Contemporary Resort and the Holiday Memories offering available at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. From gatherings of family and friends to corporate and social groups, it has never been easier to celebrate the holidays -- with a touch of Disney magic.

Available December 2 through December 29, the new event packages include immersive theming and specially designed menus offering an affordable way for teams, organizations or families to experience the wonder of the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort.

At Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center, guests will enter an elegant ballroom and find themselves transported into a world of snow-capped evergreens and larger-than-life snowflakes through the Winter Wonderland Escape package. Available for groups of 20 to 200 guests, the customizable holiday experience offers lunch and dinner menus featuring festive holiday fare such as Herb Panko-Crusted North Atlantic Cod, Turkey Meatballs tossed with Maple-Granny Smith Apple Gastrique and Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake.

Classic holiday merriment abounds through the Holiday Memories package at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center where guests will be immersed in a classic atmosphere featuring red, green and gold tables decorated with assorted ornaments and flickering candlelight. Lighting projections will illuminate the walls with holiday gifts, candy canes and holly, adding a joyful tone. Available for groups of 20 to 80 guests, this holiday event offers lunch and dinner menus featuring festive bites such as Carved Maple-Glazed Turkey with Thyme Jus, Mama's Pot Roast with Pan Gravy and a variety of holiday dessert selections.

Pricing for both event options start at $45 inclusive* per person** for lunch and $70 inclusive* per person** for dinner. Additional enhancements are available to customize event experiences including culinary action stations with renowned Disney chefs, festive performances by a string trio or small group of carolers, or an appearance by a beloved Disney character such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in their best holiday attire.

In addition to these exciting new event offerings, guests can also enjoy other seasonal activities available at Walt Disney World Resort including Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party available select nights at Magic Kingdom Park or the popular Candlelight Processional at Epcot. ***

These affordable new holiday event packages are just two of many customizable options available at Walt Disney World Resort, offering unique locations, décor, culinary experiences, group activities and character appearances. With more than 700,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Walt Disney World Resort also features four theme parks, two night nighttime entertainment districts, three championship golf courses, world-class spas and endless recreation opportunities for meeting attendees and their guests.

To learn more about hosting a Disney holiday event visit www.disneymeetings.com or call 321-939-7129.

*Includes tax and service fees.
**Minimum of 20 attendees required.
***Valid Theme Park admission or special event ticket required. Events and dates are subject to change.

August 9, 2016

Free Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD

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Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

Perhaps you are wishing you were planning a trip and want to feel a little of the magic!

A free Disney DVD is available to you now.

The Walt Disney World DVD will give you a tour of the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and over 20 resort hotels in Orlando Florida.

The Disneyland DVD tours the Disneyland Resort in California and includes both theme parks and the 3 resort hotels.

Both DVDs offer affordable ways to play and stay during your vacation, plus personalized tips and information.

Simply Click below and you are on your way!

July 10, 2016

"The Great Irish Hooley" Returns to Raglan Road

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Raglan Road will host its 5th annual ‘Great Irish Hooley’ Sept. 2-5 at Disney Springs. Labor Day weekend guests can celebrate Orlando’s only boutique Irish festival with authentic Irish cuisine and beverages and a memorable long weekend of top Irish talent, including award-winning bands and performances by the Raglan Road Dancers.

A line-up of celebrated Irish bands will play traditional, folk and rock tunes on the restaurant main stage and outside on the pub patio. This year’s line-up features top acts Screaming Orphans, The Raglan Roots Coalition, Flat Out, The Marianne Fraser Band, The High Road, Swingin’ On The Gate, Cooney and Ryan and Jake Richardson. Additional bands and show times will be announced over the coming weeks.

Headline act the Screaming Orphans are the four Diver sisters from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland. They have carved a great reputation of being a captivating and entertaining live band in Europe and America, combining their own original pop/rock music with the Céilí traditional style of music that was inherited from their family roots. Their mesmerizing, dynamic and highly electric live performances and stage presence have taken the festival circuit by storm.

Performances begin at noon Friday, Sept 2, through Monday, Sept. 5, and continue throughout each day and night.

June 29, 2016

Sand Sculpting Festival Coming to Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

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Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – June 29, 2016 – For the first time, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will host Sandtastic Weekends on August 26-28 and September 2-4. Open to both resort guests and the public, the event will feature activities for all ages, with the highlight being 100 tons of intricately sculpted sand art designed by award-winning world-class sculptors from Team Sandtastic and constructed right on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort’s private beach.

The event will offer guests a variety of different ways to take part in the action, from watching the masterpieces being created up close to learning the tips and techniques of sand sculpting during a sand sculpting clinic. Those with a competitive side can take part in amateur sculpting contests or try to stump the professionals by giving suggestions for speed sculpting demonstrations, where a piece is created in just 10 minutes.

The fun will extend beyond the sand sculpting, with plenty of indoor and outdoor food selections featuring creations from the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team, including the resort’s own Phins and Feathers craft beer; games on the beach like corn hole and table tennis; a DJ; and to close the day, a campfire and s’mores.

The fun continues to Labor Day Monday, September 5, with special tributes to celebrate the Kickoff Classic college football game between Florida State and Ole Miss taking place in Orlando. Fans of each team will find a giant sand sculpture in honor of the game incorporating a tribute to both teams and the lights on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort causeway will feature team colors. Coverage of the Kickoff Classic between the Florida State Seminoles and Ole Miss Rebels will be shown on an outdoor oversized projection screen.

Overnight accommodations during Sandtastic Weekends start at just $168 per night. To reserve a room or for more information, including a full schedule of events, please visit www.sandtasticweekends.com.

Parking at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is $18 for self-parking and $26 for valet.

June 16, 2016

Statement from The President of Walt Disney World

George A. Kalogridis offered the below statement regarding the tragic accident that occurred yesterday at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

“There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss. We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help them during this difficult time.

On behalf of everyone at Disney, we offer them our deepest sympathy.”

George A. Kalogridis,
President, Walt Disney World Resort

June 6, 2016

Reservations Now Open for New Magic Kingdom Dining Package

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Tony's Town Square Restaurant Offers New Dining Package

There’s a new way to enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom Park! You can now make reservations to take a mid-day break and enjoy a three-course lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Indulge in a delicious Italian meal, knowing you’ll also receive reserved viewing for the Main Street Electrical Parade, right in front of the flagpole on Main Street U.S.A.

The dining package includes your choice of appetizer, entrée, dessert and a beverage. Start your meal with delicious soup, salad or the addictive Zucchini Fries. Choose from favorites like Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti with meatballs or Margherita Pizza. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with classic Tiramisú or decadent chocolate cake layered with a chocolate-hazelnut filling.

Cost is $45 for adults, $17 for children plus tax and gratuity, or is one table-service entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Reservations open June 7, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or calling 407-WDW-Dine.

SOURCE: Disney Parks Blog

May 24, 2016

Name Changes at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Enrich Storytelling

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Disney Vacation Club is pleased to announce an enhanced name for The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge that deepens the Resort’s roots in Disney storytelling.

Since welcoming its first Members home in 2000, this rustically elegant Disney Vacation Club Resort has celebrated the optimistic journey of Americans who rode the rails west to forge a new way of life. The villas draw inspiration from the quaint residential communities established by those pioneers along the tracks that enabled their mass migration.

The Resort’s new name – Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – gives that rustic community a more distinctive identity and allows Walt Disney Imagineers to bring the community’s story to life in new ways, including through the re-imagined (and soon to be renamed) Hidden Springs Pool area.

The new, more richly themed name also distinguishes the Resort’s condominium association from any proposed new Disney Vacation Club developments at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

The naming evolution is not new to Disney Vacation Club. Disney’s Old Key West Resort, which opened in 1991 as Disney Vacation Club Resort, later adopted its more richly themed name as other Disney Vacation Club Resorts joined the neighborhood. Just as the Disney’s Old Key West Resort name distinguished the Resort from its neighbors and allowed Imagineers to more deeply explore the Resort’s thematic connections to the Florida Keys, the transition from The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge allows Imagineers to further explore the Resort’s rugged roots.

Look for updates to signage and other materials at the Resort in the months ahead, and watch future editions of Disney Files Magazine for more details about the enhanced pool area and its connections to the story of Boulder Ridge.

May 20, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort Launches Summer Vacation Season with Magical Premieres in All Four Parks

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences open to guests starting this Memorial Day Weekend and kick-off summer vacation season with new magic across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Springs and beyond.

The fun heats up starting May 27 when new nighttime experiences awaken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with stunning animation on the Tree of Life, new after dark adventures on favorite attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more, as well as festive new nighttime entertainment across the park.

A day later on May 28, Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book provides inspiration for a new nighttime show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, that comes to life on Discovery River.

And starting June 17, guests can experience the enhanced Soarin’ Around the World attraction at Epcot; the star-studded new stage show “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” at Magic Kingdom Park; and the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Starting June 21, the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction and Royal Sommerhus, where Anna and Elsa will greet guests in authentically Norwegian-inspired settings, opens to guests at Epcot.

More Magic, More Memories, More Fun

Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends at Walt Disney World Resort, making every moment as magical as it can be:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature, starting May 27.

-- The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.

-- Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.

-- Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. Premiering May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (photo above) is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

-- Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island beginning May27. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.

Tiffins

-- Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot beginning June 21. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ Around the World takes guests to new heights starting June 17.

Frozen Ever After

-- Anna, Elsa and their “Frozen” friends will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion starting June 21. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

-- Also at the Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.

Soarin'

-- In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the expanded Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion on June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the enhanced attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.

-- Guests can now find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know better when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.


Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars beginning June 17 in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

-- For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

Elena of Avalor

-- Disney Parks will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.

-- Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

-- The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere June 17 with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.

-- The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.

first-order-stormtroopers-captain-phasma.jpg

-- First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the summer, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests.

-- As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.

-- More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues.

-- Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With its chic style and Pan-Asian flavors, Morimoto Asia offers just a taste of what’s to come as more new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.

-- Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.

-- At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcases a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach

-- At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen Games” of friendly, fun competitions that begin May 27 and run through Aug. 21.

-- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

Disney guests will have a magical summer experience wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels. For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, visit www.disneyworld.com and www.disneyparksblog.com.

Awaken Summer Announcements

Today is a blockbuster day for announcements of attractions and events happening this summer at WDW.

Here is a summary of the dates announced, more details to follow:

May 21 - FP+ Reservations Open for Frozen Ever After

May 21 - Reservations Open for Tiffins

May 21 - Reservations open for Dining Packages at Animal Kingdom that include reserved seating for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

May 27 - The original Epcot Soarin' Over California attraction returns until June 16.

May 27 - Animal Kingdom begins its night openings with the Tree of Life awakenings, Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnival

May 28 - The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic debuts on Discovery River at Animal Kingdom


May 28 - Tiffins and Tusker House begin dining packages that include reserved seating for The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

June 17 - New Soarin' Around the World Film Debuts - FP+ now available

June 17 - 'Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire' show debuts at Magic Kingdom

June 17 - Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios

June 21 - Frozen Ever After and Royal Summerhus Open in Epcot

April 25, 2016

WDW Announces Free Dining for Late Summer and Fall

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Walt Disney World announced today that a free dining plan MAY BE available when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day package that includes a room at a select Disney resort hotel and a ticket with the Park Hopper Option.

The offer must be booked April 25, 2016-July 8, 2016, for arrival dates between August 23-October 1; November 15-21; November 26-28, or December 10-21, 2016.

AllEars recommends you price this offer out carefully to see if it meets your needs and saves you money!

AllEars recommends MEI and MouseFanTravel for all your Disney (and non-Disney) trips!


April 20, 2016

Magical New Experiences Will Debut This Summer Across All Four Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Tree of Life

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences will debut this summer across all four Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond.

A flurry of fireflies awakens the iconic Tree of Life with colorful animation, and the songs of Disney’s new hit film “The Jungle Book” come to life on Discovery River, just two of the many new experiences as Disney’s Animal Kingdom introduces nighttime hours for the first time in the park’s 18-year history.

“Frozen,” the top animated film of all time, comes to life for the first time in an enchanting, music-filled attraction in the Norway pavilion at Epcot.

Princesses Tiana and Rapunzel join a rousing show on the grandest stage of all in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.
An awe-inspiring new Star Wars fireworks and projection spectacular premieres at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney Springs welcomes more top shopping destinations and celebrity chef restaurants in a glittering new setting.
Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends, making every moment as magical as it can be.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature beginning Memorial Day Weekend.

The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.

Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail.

Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island Memorial Day Weekend. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.

Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot beginning this June. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin takes guests to new heights.

Anna, Elsa and their Frozen friends will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

Also at Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.

In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the new Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the expanded attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.

Guests will also find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” beginning in May with characters from Disney•Pixar film “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.

Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars this June in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire show. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

Disney Parks will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.

Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere this June with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.

The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.

First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march in formation from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the summer, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests

As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.

More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues.

Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With its chic style and Pan-Asian flavors, Morimoto Asia offers just a taste of what’s to come as more new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.

Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.

At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcase a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.
Meanwhile, Disney water parks will ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen” Games of friendly, fun competitions.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

Disney guests will have a magical summer experience wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels. For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, visit www.disneyworld.com and www.disneyparksblog.com.

March 22, 2016

Summer Savings Await Preschool Families with Walt Disney World Resort Vacation Package

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You’re Never Too Young for Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Summertime fun awaits guests at Walt Disney World Resort with a special package just right for preschool families. Beginning May 30 - Aug. 25, 2016, guests can enjoy a three-night, two-day vacation package with theme park tickets starting at $1,021 for a family of three at one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts.

There’s never been a better time to visit Walt Disney World Resort with something new in every corner of our world. Rekindling childhood memories and creating new family traditions are easy at Walt Disney World’s 40-square-mile playground where some 60 attractions and entertainment options are relevant to preschoolers. Here’s what’s new:

-- In late spring, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park has embarked on a historical expansion offering new nighttime experiences sure to delight little ones. The wondrous new Rivers of Light show will take center stage at the park, along with Kilimanjaro Safaris extending into the evening hours, plus a lively nighttime street party filled with food, song and dance, and lots more.

-- This Summer at Epcot, youngsters can take in an all-new Frozen-inspired attraction called Frozen Ever After boat ride at the Norway pavilion, or meet Anna and Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus.

-- The Force grows even stronger at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the new Symphony in the Stars Spectacular fireworks show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular stage show, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, plus meet and greets with iconic characters like Chewbacca at Star Wars: Launch Bay. And kids can make magical memories at several Disney Junior experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including Disney Junior Live on Stage, Play ‘n’ Dine at Hollywood & Vine, and Character Greetings with Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Captain Jake.

-- Preschoolers can enjoy “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” when it premieres this summer at Magic Kingdom. For the first time, contemporary Disney characters Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of Disney characters take to the grandest stage at Walt Disney World Resort. Plus, there’s don’t miss classics including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Guests can book this offer now through June 10, 2016, for most stays Sunday through Thursday nights. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/special-offers.

March 2, 2016

Blockbuster Experiences Will Debut This Summer Across All Four Walt Disney World Theme Parks

rivers-of-light-concept.jpg


New ‘Star Wars’ Stage Show Premiere April 4; ‘Rivers of Light’ Set for Earth Day Opening and Finding Dory Swims into Epcot this Summer

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 2, 2016)– An unbeatable lineup of blockbuster attractions will debut at Walt Disney World Resort this year starting with the April 4 launch of a new live stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Earth Day, April 22, a sweeping immersive, animal-themed theatrical production, “Rivers of Light,” will premiere as the first-ever nightly show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

An epic array of shows and attractions will continue to open throughout summer, creating exciting new guest experiences across all Disney theme parks and entertainment venues. A new Magic Kingdom castle show will bring favorite characters from “Tangled” and “Princess and the Frog” for the first time to the grandest stage in Walt Disney World. Stars of the runaway Disney hit, “Frozen,” will take a bow in multiple Disney parks, and the first Frozen-themed attraction will sail into guests’ hearts at Epcot. Even more Star Wars-themed original entertainment, nighttime Animal Kingdom experiences and Disney Springs openings will set the stage for endless summertime fun.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The magic of nature after dark takes center stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the all-new Rivers Of Light waterside show premieres April 22, Earth Day — marking the Walt Disney World theme park’s thrilling transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience.

“Rivers of Light,” an immersive nighttime extravaganza blending performers, floating lanterns, special effects and stunning theatrical imagery projected upon giant water screens, will premiere in a new Discovery River waterside theater.

The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.

Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure. Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the look of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore and enjoy this attraction well into the night.

For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.

Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant, opening later this summer on Discovery Island. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.

Across the park, guests can experience long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids with more time to enjoy them into the night.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot and several other Disney parks. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ takes guests to new heights.

frozen-ever-after-rendering.jpg

Anna, Elsa and their latest-generation Audio-Animatronics co-stars will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway pavilion. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson.

Also at Norway pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.

In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the new Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land pavilion this summer. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the expanded attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.

Guests will also find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” beginning in early-May with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory.” When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.


Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars this June in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage; and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

mickeys-friendship-show-1.png

For the first time, modern Disney characters Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of classic characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers — Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.

Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere this summer with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the iconic score of the film series.

star-wars-galactic-spectacular-rendering.jpg

The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” will debut April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.

The March of the First Order Stormtrooper procession led by Captain Phasma from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage adds menace to the entertainment. The just-opened Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.

In the park’s Hyperion Theater, the Royal Historians of Arendelle host a jolly sing-along tale of their “Frozen” kingdom with special appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. And at Celebrity Spotlight, guests can meet Olaf and give him a warm hug.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Disney guests will spend their first summer at Disney Springs as it continues its transformation. The charming waterfront town, comprising The Landing, Marketplace and West Side, expands to debut its fourth neighborhood, Town Center, adding more shops, restaurants and architectural detail than ever.

New high-profile tenants are coming onboard at Disney Springs, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include: Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO, PANDORA, UGG, L’Occitane en Provence and Edward Beiner.

A total of 32 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including 29 retail shops and three new dining venues.

Morimoto Asia recently celebrated its grand opening and more new eateries are firing up the scene in 2016 including the upscale STK steakhouse with the only rooftop dining in Disney Springs; The Edison, a lavish, “industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination; Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, star-themed Planet Hollywood with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.

Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.

At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcase a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.

Meanwhile, Disney water parks will ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

At Blizzard Beach, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach of friendly, fun competitions.

Typhoon Lagoon castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

Disney guests will have a blockbuster summer wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels.


March 1, 2016

Spring Break Blockout Dates Lifted for Florida Resident Disney Select Ticket


Experience the Force, Flowers, and New Food at Walt Disney World Resort

Florida residents can enjoy a Walt Disney World Resort vacation during Spring Break now that blockout dates in March have been lifted for those with Florida Resident Disney Select tickets. While other blockout dates still apply, March 19 - April 1 are now available for those ticketholders.

During Spring Break, guests can savor the tastes of outdoor kitchens during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Or, their dark and light sides with encounters with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And, with the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen now accepting same-day reservations, guests can sample exotic flavors while visiting Magic Kingdom.

The Florida Resident Disney Select ticket pricing is $68 per day for a 3-day ticket (total price: $202), and $56 per day for 4-day ticket (total price: $223). It provides access to one theme park per day, includes FastPass+ and expires six months after first use or by December 17, 2017. Summer blockout dates apply. For terms and conditions, and more information about the Florida Resident Disney Select Ticket, visit Disneyworld.com/resident.

Disney Springs Water Tower Raised

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The new water tower at Disney Springs was recently installed.

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The water tower will serve as the new marquee for Disney Springs and welcome guests as part of the property’s entrance gateway.

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February 27, 2016

New Seasonal Pricing on Disney 1-Day Tickets

The Disney Parks Blog Announces: Seasonal pricing for a 1-Day ticket and price increases for multi-day tickets go into effect at Disney Parks on Sunday, Feb. 28

As you may have read in the news, the demand for Disney Parks continues to grow, particularly during peak periods. At the same time, we have an unwavering commitment to exceeding the expectations of all our guests. That is why we continue to expand our parks with new attractions like those noted above, as well as entire new themed lands based on AVATAR, Star Wars and “Toy Story.”

It is also why we continue to look for ways to help spread out visitation. So, beginning tomorrow, we are shifting to seasonal pricing for 1-Day tickets. It’s an approach that you are probably familiar with from many other areas, including sports, entertainment and travel.

How does it work? Each month is divided into value, regular and peak days with an 8-11 month calendar available for viewing online. Here’s an example, if guests plan their visit for September, they’ll have a variety of options, including many days in the value period, which will give them the opportunity to pay less for a 1-Day ticket. If they plan to visit during a peak period, like the winter holidays, they will pay more. Purchasing a 1-Day ticket in a non-peak period, or choosing multi-day tickets and annual passes, will provide additional flexibility and value.

February 16, 2016

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire Castle Show Debuts this Summer

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Joining the lineup of unparalleled Walt Disney World Resort entertainment, “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” will immerse guests in a royal musical celebration set to debut this summer on the Cinderella Castle stage at Magic Kingdom Park.

Mickey Mouse and his pals unite in a tale of friendship featuring songs and characters from Disney’s contemporary classics “Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” and “Frozen.”


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From the land of the bewitching bayous, Goofy has invited Princess Tiana, Naveen and Louis to add a little spice of New Orleans jazz to the party. Donald Duck brings some new friends he met in the land of the enchanted woods, where Daisy Duck introduces us to her special guests, Rapunzel and Flynn. Finally, Mickey Mouse shares a surprise with Minnie Mouse, as he has traveled to the land of the mystic mountains to invite Olaf, Princess Anna, and Queen Elsa, who swirls a blast of her icy magic.

The celebration culminates in a grand dance, marked by a magical fireworks finale. “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” will be presented multiple times daily.

February 8, 2016

Celebrate Black History Month at Walt Disney World Resort

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Epcot’s Tapestry of America: Celebrating African American Heritage

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2016) – Guests can celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February with special experiences at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot. From historical displays and intriguing artifacts to book signings by Celebrity Chef G. Garvin and best-selling author Terry McMillan, guests can take a stroll through the pages of America’s history and learn about the influence of African-American culture.


Black History Month Author Series

In honor of Black History Month, guests have the opportunity to meet three renowned African-American authors and cultural icons select Saturdays during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

Terry McMillan, author of “Who Asked You?”
Saturday, Feb.6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan is known for her powerful novels and short stories about African American women. Her novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” was adapted into a film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995. Many of McMillan’s other novels, including the award-winning “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Disappearing Acts,” and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” have also been brought to life for film and television audiences. McMillan recently published her eighth novel, “Who Asked You?,” a story about the challenges and strength of a family.

Chef G. Garvin, author of “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”
Saturday, Feb.13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Acclaimed chef and television host, Chef G. Garvin (pictured above) has mastered the art of cooking as well as writing. His first cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple,” received an American Literacy Award and nomination for an NAACP Image Award. Chef Garvin has enjoyed continued success with his subsequent cookbooks and television show “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on The Cooking Channel.

Terrence Roberts, author of “Lessons from Little Rock”
Saturday, Feb. 27, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Terrence James Roberts, Ph.D. is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of history-making African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Roberts was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1999. His book, “Lessons from Little Rock,” is a memoir of his experience during the integration of Little Rock Central High School and the lessons learned from that historic episode.

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New pieces at Epcot’s Kinsey Collection exhibit

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. Philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and their son Khalil Kinsey share some of their vast personal collection of artifacts spanning 400 years of history. Touch screens and guest-activated lanterns with narration by Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer and other celebrities help bring the history to life. Three new pieces recently have been added to the exhibit which is open daily.

“Banneker’s Almanack and Ephemeras” by Benjamin Banneker, is the mathematical and mechanical work of Benjamin Banneker. Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, read and approved of Banneker’s work. The almanac was published in 1771.

“My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass, is an autobiography recounting Frederick Douglass’s life as a slave and that as a freeman. Published in 1855, the book is a first edition.

“Survivor” by Elizabeth Catlett, is a beautiful Linoleum block print inspired by a photograph taken by Dorthea Lang titled “Ex-slave with a Long Memory.” The print was created in 1983.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more information about the collection, visit TheKinseyCollection.com.


Legacy Portraits Tell a New Story

As guests explore the American Pavilion Rotunda, they are greeted by images of influential men and women who contributed to the progress of America. New portraits have been added to the collection for the month of February to further illustrate the contributions of many African American notables.

The new displays feature African American figures such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Ronald Erwin McNair, the second African American to fly in space; and Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to stage a public airplane flight in America.

Taste of Southern Comfort

Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes. One popular dessert recipe featured in the cookbook, Mrs. Fisher’s Peach Cobbler, is available for guests to purchase and enjoy at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure Pavilion.

February 5, 2016

High School Students Nationwide Chosen for 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort

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Approximately 100 “Dreamers’’ selected from thousands of applicants across the country for ninth-annual career and mentoring event taking place in March; Group includes more than 50 students from the Southeast and more than 10 from the Northeast, Southwest, West and Midwest regions


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2016 – Approximately 100 students from across America will soon pack their bags for a fabulous, fun-filled and educational trip to Walt Disney World Resort as part of this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE, March 3-6, 2016.

The teens, along with a parent or guardian, will take off on an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where they will experience once-in-a-lifetime educational and mentoring program designed to inspire them to dream big and discover a world of possibilities that will help them prepare for their future.

The students, known as “Dreamers,” are taken on stage and behind the scenes, where Disney theme parks become vibrant ‘classrooms’ and students discover new careers and pursue their dreams while also creating fun memories that last a lifetime.

During Disney Dreamers Academy, students participate in hands-on, immersive career-oriented workshops, ranging from animation to zoology. Each student is given important tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills, and networking strategies.

Additionally, Dreamers are exposed to acclaimed motivational speakers and popular celebrities who share their stories and insight on achieving success and DREAMING BIG. Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while gaining first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and renowned entrepreneurs and executives.

“Disney Dreamers Academy is a one-of-a-kind program that, since its inception, is helping more than 800 students achieve their dreams,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of deluxe resorts. Powell serves as Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “As we prepare for our ninth annual event, the greatest reward has been seeing so many of our previous Dreamers use their experience at Disney Dreamers Academy to expand their dreams and move even closer to making them a reality. After all, that is what the program is all about,” said Powell.

Walt Disney World Resort, along with syndicated television and radio personality Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Communications, will host the selected Dreamers during their magical four-day career and educational exploration.

“Disney Dreamers Academy provides an excellent learning environment to help young students with their aspirations and to dream even bigger,” said Harvey. “I can’t wait to meet this year’s new students and kick off the 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in March.”

Michelle Ebanks, president of ESSENCE Communications, added: “We are excited to once again join with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey to encourage our youth to dream big. Our expectation is that this group of remarkable teens will be the leaders of tomorrow and positively impact the world for years to come. It is our honor and commitment at ESSENCE to be part of that process.”

This year’s students were selected from thousands of applicants who answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. The students were chosen by a judging panel that included: gospel music legend Yolanda Adams; ESSENCE magazine editor-at-large Mikki Taylor; education advocate Dr. Steve Perry; The Sister Accord founder and author Sonia Jackson Myles; award-winning motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles; Simply Ellis Custom Clothier CEO Dr. Alex O. Ellis; Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation executive director Brandi Harvey; Steve Harvey Products creative director Karli Harvey; and professional speaker Princeton Parker and Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus.

For more information, visit DisneyDreamersAcademy.com. Regular updates about Disney Dreamers Academy are also available on social media at Facebook/DisneyDreamersAcademy or Twitter/DreamersAcademy.

For a list of 2016 Dreamers and Bios, please visit DisneyDreamersAcademy.com/dreamers/2016

*Participation is subject to verification and return of the required documentation.

February 3, 2016

Mickey and Minnie's All New Date Ideas for the Month of Love in 2016 at Walt Disney World Resort

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love and romance are in the air at Walt Disney World. Guests can celebrate this month of love near the most famous couple of all, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

A variety of offerings and memorable experiences are available all month long – from Valentine’s Day merchandise and special entertainment to romantic dinners for two. With so many of Cupid’s arrows flying about, guests should be sure to book early and perhaps celebrate their love any time during this sweet month of February.

1. A romantic ride on Italian Water Taxi Cruise/VIP Wine Tour – Guests can experience the unforgettable romance of an intimate cruise aboard Venezia, the breathtaking 40-ft Italian Water Taxi. Couples will relax and unwind to beautiful Italian music, savor award-winning wines and feast on an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres. The BOATHOUSE’S trusted captain and crew take guests on a whimsical water journey through the waters of Lake Buena Vista and the gorgeous scenic riverway. Sweetheart Wine Tasting Cruises embark Friday. Call 407-939-2628 to make a reservation.

2. The new Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise – Couples can take in a breathtaking view of the Magic Kingdom Park night time fireworks from an exclusive and romantic spot on Seven Seas Lagoon with desserts and drinks. Guests can enjoy this sweet ending to their day, before watching the “Wishes” nighttime spectacular overhead, the largest fireworks show at Walt Disney World Resort. The medley of famous Disney songs and the voices of Disney characters are piped through the boat’s sound system for this magical viewing. For reservations, visit com/DINE or call 407-WDW-DINE. Anchors Aweigh!

3. The new Brunch at the Top at California Grill – Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and the Brunch at the Top is a fabulous way to indulge. Chef Brian Piasecki’s team launches a whole new menu in February to showcase their fresh, market-driven cuisine. Of course a glass of bubbly or wine (the restaurant has more than 1,600 bottles on display) pairs nicely. And there’s an over-the-top Bloody Mary Bar as well as cocktails and craft brews (though guests can also stick with the custom-roast French press coffee). Reservations can be made by visiting com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

4. An out-of-this-world evening – Sweets and stars collide at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as guests look to the sky January 5 – March 19, for a special viewing of the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks. Guests enjoy a selection of sweets as the night sky erupts with an arsenal of impressive fireworks, set to the most dramatic and memorable Star Wars themes of all time. On the menu are Star Wars-themed desserts treats, including the popular Droid and Darth Vader cupcakes and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

5. Disney Springs shopping spree – Disney Springs continues to expand and transform with all new shopping options. The World of Disney in Disney Springs Marketplace recently expanded with an additional 6,000 sq. feet of retail selling space. Couples can spend the day searching for some new Disney merchandise to celebrate their love for each other … and Disney. Nothing says “love” like chocolate so the shopping spree can continue with a stop for some handcrafted sweets at The Ganachery. Or perhaps couples are looking for an all-vegan treat? Erin McKenna Bakery NYC is a unique bakery with savory offerings and an all-vegan and gluten-free menu.

6. Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine at Hollywood & Vine – Just in time for Academy Awards season, Minnie Mouse and her friends celebrate the magic of the movies and glamour of Hollywood with an epic feast at the new Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Dinner guests will walk the red carpet and get ready for their close-up with some of the biggest stars of the silver screen, beloved Disney characters dressed in their designer best. Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine runs from Jan. 4 to March 20, 2016. Reservations can be made by visiting com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

7. All new acts at La Nouba at Disney Springs – La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary and stimulates the imagination from beginning to end with daring acrobatics, dazzling choreography, vibrant music and whimsical characters only at Disney Springs. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, La Nouba continues to bring new acts: B-Boy, commonly referred to as breakdancing, and Aerial Bamboo, a technique mastered by only a handful of performers worldwide. The acts join the recent additions of uproarious clowns and a breathtaking juggling rolla bolla act. For more information about La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, visit DisneyWorld.com/entertainment.

8. Sushi Bar at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs – Morimoto Asia is a one-of-a-kind dining experience from Chef Masaharu Morimoto. From Feb. 12 – 14, a special Valentine’s Day romantic dinner for two includes a four course, prix-fixe menu starring Chef Morimoto’s signature Peking Duck for two. For an even more exclusive and intimate culinary experience on Feb. 14 only, it’s chef’s choice with a five-course Omakase dinner at the intimate second-level 14-seat sushi bar. With a “hidden” VIP entrance along the side of the building, the Forbidden Lounge is a great place to hang, late-night, at Disney Springs any night in February. An exclusive menu is featured upstairs from 10pm to 2am and features a variety of late-night dining. For reservations, call 407-939-6686 (MOTO).

9. Monsieur Paul Proposal-popping and Vow Renewal dinner at Epcot – In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (replica), indulge in a decadent meal by new chef Nicolas Lemoyne who just joined the restaurant from Monsieur Paul Bocuse’s restaurant in Lyon, France. Peer out of the second story windows that overlook the World Showcase Lagoon, toast with champagne, and dessert is served with an extra sparkle on the plate: the big question, and your token of “l’amour.” Reservations can be made by visiting com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

10. Sunset and cocktails at the Polynesian – Disney has some spectacular beaches that are perfect locations to watch the sunset, like the one at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Sip on some champagne and strawberries against the backdrop of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the beautiful new Bora Bora Bungalows. Take a moonlit stroll along the torch-lined waterfront and visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the latest addition to the newly reimagined Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Located off the Great Ceremonial House, the themed lounge will serve exotic drinks and small plates, while offering scenic views of the marina and Seven Seas Lagoon.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2016/02/02/mickey-and-minnies-all-new-date-ideas-for-the-month-of-love-in-2016-at-walt-disney-world-resort/#sthash.NfR4TE1J.dpuf

January 12, 2016

New Lion Guard Adventure at Animal Kingdom Limited Time

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Fans of "The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar" will be able to play The Lion Guard Adventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom beginning February 7th.

This interactive experience will allow young guests to explore the park in search of five main characters from “The Lion Guard” – Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Beshte, and Ono, who are represented as colorful statues that are perfect for a kid-sized photo-ops. Like the movie, the experience encourages interest in protecting animals and caring for nature. Once they complete the adventure, each child can take a special pledge to become an honorary member of “The Lion Guard” and receive a special button.

The experience will be offered in Disney’s Animal Kingdom through late March, as one of many activities celebrating the debut of “The Lion Guard” series on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

December 23, 2015

Disney*Pixar Short Film Festival Debuts Today - 12/23/15!

As previously announced by the Disney Parks Blog, Epcot would be filling the space left by Captain EO with the "Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival!" The Short Film Festival debuts today, December 23, 2015.

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"This new experience will feature a look into the visionary minds behind some of the world’s most iconic animated films today. Once inside the theater, guests can put on their 3D glasses and enter the imaginative worlds of three animated shorts – “Get A Horse,” “For The Birds” and “La Luna” – which will burst to life on the big screen (and in the theater) like never before.

“Get a Horse” stars Mickey Mouse and features Walt Disney himself as the voice of the iconic character. This black-and-white, hand-drawn short follows Mickey, his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow as they delight in a musical wagon ride — until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road.

“For The Birds” opens to show one by one, a flock of small birds perch on a telephone wire. Sitting close together has problems enough, and then along comes a large dopey bird that tries to join them. The birds of a feather can’t help but make fun of him—and their clique mentality proves embarrassing in the end.

And lastly, “La Luna” is the timeless fable of a young boy coming of age in the most peculiar circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way amidst their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?"

December 22, 2015

16 Reasons 2016 Will Be An ‘Unforgettable’ Year at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – 2016 is shaping up to be truly unforgettable for guests at Walt Disney World Resort with the debut of new attractions and stunning shows, delectable new dining options, signature shopping locations and returning guest-favorite annual events.

Here are the top reasons to start packing your bags for a Walt Disney World vacation:

1. The Galaxy Is Sweeter Than Ever Before: New Star Wars Experiences Debut

Starting Jan. 5, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will launch its latest Star Wars-inspired experience with the addition of the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party.” As the enthralling fireworks show lights up the sky, guests can enjoy out-of-this-world desserts and specialty drinks in this separate ticket offering until March 19. This experience complements all of the other new ways to experience Star Wars in the park, including Star Wars Launch Bay, which takes guests into the Star Wars saga, including the newest movie adventure, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, special merchandise and opportunities to encounter Chewbacca and Darth Vader.

2. Light Up The Night With “Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive at night with new nighttime entertainment and experiences, the most spectacular being the “Rivers of Light” show debuting this spring. With a waterway as its stage, the innovative new show will feature entertainers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery in a performance that truly brings the animal kingdom to life at night.

3. Explore Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night

Starting in spring, guests will get to experience the African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light: amid the orange glow of the setting sun. During the nighttime adventure, guests can extend their travels on the safaris into the evening.

4. Experience Frozen Ever After at Epcot

The new “Frozen”-inspired attraction will open its doors in the Norway pavilion at Epcot in spring. In it, guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa creates a special day for the kingdom. Guests also will travel to Elsa’s Ice Palace, the ice-blue world of the North Mountain, and the Bay of Arendelle.

5. Stop By The New Frozen Character Greeting Location at Epcot

Guests can meet the royal sisters Anna and Elsa at Epcot at a new character greeting location in the Royal Sommerhus at the Norway pavilion starting in spring.

6. Experience New Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park

This new, themed restaurant opens in December 2015 and gives guests the chance to experience “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms, including a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The restaurant is staffed by friendly Jungle Cruise Skippers, known for their clever jokes.

7. Try New Dining Offerings at Disney Springs

Disney Springs will continue to grow in 2016, with plans to add new eateries including STK steakhouse, The Edison, Sprinkles, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, as well as two new restaurant concepts by chefs Art Smith and Rick Bayless.

8. A Shopper’s Paradise at Disney Springs

As Disney Springs nears completion with the opening of Town Center, 2016 will bring some new, must-do retail shops to Disney Springs, including Edward Beiner, Lilly Pulitzer, L’Occitane en Provence, PANDORA, Tommy Bahama, UGG, UNIQLO and Zara.

9. Staying Fit While Having Fun With runDisney Events

The 2016 runDisney racing season kicks off Jan. 6-10 with the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This will be the first of four racing weekends held at Walt Disney World Resort in 2016, which include:

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Feb. 18-21
Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side April 14-17
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 4-5.

10. Save On A Magical Stay at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Guests visiting early in 2016 can take advantage of a special Disney resort hotels offer for stays most nights Jan. 2 – April 13 and save up to 25 percent on rooms at select Disney resort hotels. Guests can book the offer by visiting DisneyWorld.com/special-offers or by calling (407) 939-7709.

11. Enjoy Walt Disney World’s Springtime Events

Epcot will be in full bloom this spring when the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, with its colorful topiaries and dozens of Outdoor Kitchens, returns for 90 days starting March 2 through May 15, the longest the festival has ever run. And, more fun grows at Disney Springs with Raglan Road’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 17.

12. Soarin’ Around The World at Epcot

Guests onboard the popular Soarin’ attraction will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its debut at Epcot in 2016.

13. Dine at Tiffin’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The parks’ newest eatery will open its doors this spring to offer a menu inspired by the places the Imagineers traveled to when developing Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffin’s will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

14. Celebrate The Invictus Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports

The Invictus Games will come to the United States for the first time ever in 2016. The games celebrate our wounded servicemen and women from around the world competing in a variety of sports events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex May 8-12.

15. Experience Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Grown-up guests can party with the Disney Villains in a soiree led by Dr. Facilier from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” at the new Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The fun starts Jan. 16 and is a separate ticket event. Tickets to Club Villain can be purchased for $99 per person, tax and gratuity included. Reservations can be made online at DisneyWorld.com, or by calling (407) 939-3463.

16. Share An Unforgettable Fall & Holiday Season

A new year means the return of festive fall events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and more.

December 17, 2015

Metal Detectors Installed at Walt Disney World Theme Parks

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According to reports from local Orlando media, including the Orlando Sentinel and WESH-TV, Walt Disney World has added metal detectors at the entrances to its theme parks as part of new security measures. Initial reports are that guests will be selected randomly for screening with these detectors.

The parks have also added special canine units and uniformed security guards to patrol the property. Similar measures are expected to be put in place at Disneyland Resort in California.

Attendees of the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" tonight at the AMC Theatre in Disney Springs may also pass through a metal detector before the screening.

Other security measures are also being implemented throughout the parks. Toy weapons are no longer permitted in the parks, and Disney has stopped the sale of such toys, including squirt guns and toy blasters, at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Disney has also changed its policy on wearing costumes in the parks: costumes are now not permitted for those 14 years old and up, not even at Halloween.

Both Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando also have increased security for the holiday season.

You can read more about Disney's current Park Rules HERE.

December 14, 2015

Sunday Brunch at California Grill Debuts February 7!

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A new Sunday brunch is set to open at the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort on February 7, 2016.

Dubbed "Brunch at the Top," the new meal launches a whole new menu as the restaurant opens for daytime dining for the first time.

As part of the dining experience, you get the chance to interact with Chef Brian Piasecki's culinary team in the open show kitchen.

The brunch offers a Bloody Mary Bar, cocktails and craft brews, as well as a signature brunch cocktail (included in the brunch price) and faux “mimosas” for kids. There is also a custom-roast French press coffee.

Brunch starts with an assortment of house-made breakfast pastries delivered to your table (for example, caramel apple Monkey bread, Tillamook Cheddar biscuit and cranberry scones pecan) with house-made jam and orange blossom honey butter. Then you head to the show kitchen for small tastes, such as house-smoked orange honey ham, deviled Lake Meadow Naturals eggs, Greek yogurt with vanilla-scented granola and fresh berries, kale and apple salad, baby iceberg wedge with Cherrywood bacon and avocado-buttermilk Ranch dressing, hardwood smoked salmon, California rolls with jumbo lump crabmeat, spicy tuna rolls and shrimp tempura with orange drizzle and mango.

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Then you can choose your next course, delivered tableside:

--Pan-Fried Buttermilk Organic Chicken Cutlet with Haricots Verts, Toasted Almonds, Frisée, Beurre Noisette
-- Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Heirloom Apples, Dried Cranberry and Raisin Compote, Vanilla Custard, Warm Canadian Maple Syrup
-- Shrimp and Grits, Gulf White Shrimp with Tillamook Cheddar Grits, Spicy Tomato Broth, Espellette-Spiced Tomato Ragout
-- Poached Lobster Benedict with Butter-Poached Tail, Two Soft-Poached Eggs, Honey Ham, Yuzu Hollandaise, Marble Potato Hash
-- Chef’s Frittata with Three Lake Meadow Farms Eggs, Florida Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos, Chorizo, Creamy Goat Cheese, Marble Potato Hash
-- Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Soft Poached Eggs, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash and Charred Red Onion.

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Mini-desserts, macarons and chocolate truffles close out the meal.

Cost is $80 (includes signature cocktail) for adults, $48 ages 3 to 11. The meal is two dining credits if you're using the Disney Dining Plan. Tables in Wonderland discount is accepted. Reservations open December 16, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

December 10, 2015

Painted Dogs and Hyenas Join the Kilimanjaro Safari

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Information and photos from the Disney Parks Blog article by Dr. Jackie Ogden

As promised at the D23 Expo in August, two new species have joined the Kilimanjaro
Safari ride in Animal Kingdom: Hyenas and Painted Dogs. Both share the same space on the savannah.

Hyenas

Groups of Hyenas are referred to as clans. The clans sometimes come together to hunt and defend their territory, but most activities are done solo or in small groups. In the wild, they hunt their own food and – contrary to public opinion – do not often scavenge another animal’s meal.

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The ranking of hyenas’ social structure and clans are also very important to a hyena’s way of life. Females are the leaders of the clans, with the lowest-ranking female ranking above the highest-ranking male. The low-ranking males will often be found on the outskirts of the clan and only participate in hunting or fights.

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Although hyenas are doing better than many species in the wild, because of their wide range and large population, they are still facing a population decline. Loss of habitat is a significant threat, as well as local communities treating them as pests and hunters poaching them.

By having hyenas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we hope to show our Guests that the misconceptions about this species are not true. These animals deserve our consideration.


Painted Dogs:

The name “painted dog” originates from their scientific name Lycaon pictus, which means “painted wolf-like animal” in Greek and Latin. Painted dogs, also known as African wild dogs, are known for their large round ears (They look a lot like Mickey Mouse ears!) and multi-colored fur coats. Each individual dog has unique paint-like splotches on their coat that are similar in their distinctiveness to a human fingerprint. Most also have bushy white-tipped tails.

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Painted dogs are among the most endangered species in Africa. By introducing painted dogs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we hope to raise awareness of the species and the threats they face, including human-habitat infringement and illegal hunting. The Disney Conservation Fund has been supporting painted dog conservation work in the wild since 1996 and has given more than half a million dollars to support painted dog conservation and research organizations.

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Painted dogs are fascinating in their social behaviors. They operate as a family unit with all members of the pack caring for each other. They will even share food with ailing members of their pack or nursing mothers. The entire pack cares for pups after they are born. Both males and females will stay back with them as “babysitters” during hunting excursions.

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When you’re on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna, I hope you can catch one of their elaborate greeting ceremonies. Each dog tries to interact with every other dog in the pack each time they wake up or return to the pack. Their yips and squeals are vocalizations that are unique to each dog and help others identify them.

The painted dogs and hyenas will share the same spot of the savanna, but at different times of the day and evening. As always, guests will experience a different safari every time they ride.


December 8, 2015

The 32nd Annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Promises to be the Most 'Unforgettable' Special Yet!

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Tune in for the Magic December 25 on ABC


Robin Roberts Returns to Host the "Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration" with Performances by Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Seal, Reba McEntire and more

ANAHEIM, Calif. and LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., (Dec. 8, 2015) -- This Christmas, Disney Parks celebrates not only the joy of the holiday season, but the unforgettable family moments it has helped guests create over the past sixty years. “Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration” airs Friday, Dec. 25, 2015 (10:00 am.-12:00 p.m ET; airtimes vary; check local listings) on the ABC Television Network.

Now in its 32nd year, the unforgettable Christmas special welcomes back Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” (GMA) as lead host. Reporting from the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Roberts is accompanied by Jesse Palmer, who joins the event for the first time as a correspondent. New to the GMA team as a special contributor, Palmer shares key parade updates in the midst of the action on Main Street, U.S.A. Janel Parrish, star of the ABC Family hit show “Pretty Little Liars” – which will debut under the new network name, Freeform for its winter premiere on Jan. 12, 2016 – serves as music correspondent alongside Stitch from Cinderella Castle.

The holidays have long been cherished for their ability to bring family and friends together from near and far to create heartfelt memories to last a lifetime. In the spirit of “Unforgettable Happens Here,” throughout the celebration Disney Parks will tell the inspiring real-life stories of three families whose personal connection to Disney Parks will make their Christmas dreams come true. It all culminates with an unforgettable Christmas Day surprise that is sure to warm the hearts of television audiences across the country, providing the perfect toast to the most festive time of the year.

For a dose of nostalgia, viewers are also treated to magical memories from the Disney Christmas shows of yesteryear, along with beloved Disney Park moments shared by actors and actresses from both classic and current Disney films.

Bringing together the biggest names in music and entertainment, music industry legend, David Foster, joins today’s top artists to sing their interpretations of Disney classics from the “We Love Disney” album, along with a mix of Christmas favorites. The star-studded lineup includes the following:

*performance lineup subject to change

Jason Derulo shakes up this year’s parade with his rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” – available on the “We Love Disney” album

International superstar, Ariana Grande pays tribute to the Greek demi-god, Hercules with the Disney favorite “Zero to Hero,” also available on the “We Love Disney” album, along with her latest single, “Focus”

GRAMMY® winning artist, Seal dazzles parade spectators with his interpretation of “This Christmas” and new hit, “Every Time I’m With You”

Country music legend, Reba McEntire sings her original song, “Going Out Like That” and the popular Christmas tune, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

Breakout musical artist, Andy Grammer delights the crowd with medley of “Honey I’m Good” and his new single “Good to be Alive,” along with the iconic Christmas song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Rising pop star, Charlie Puth adds Christmas cheer with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and his own single, “One Call Away”

“Should’ve Been Us” singer, Tori Kelly spreads Disney magic with the beloved classic “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas” – available on the “We Love Disney” album – and the holiday favorite, “Winter Wonderland”

Soulful singer, Charles Perry jazzes up the festivities with a “World of My Own/Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat” medley and his own spin on the famous Christmas duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

The cast of the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Descendants,” Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, and Sofia Carson, pay tribute to Disney’s most infamous villains with “Rotten to the Core”

Featuring floats and characters from movie favorites including “Toy Story,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Inside Out,” and the wildly-popular “Frozen,” along with the all-new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and upcoming “Finding Dory” movie, slated for release next summer, this year’s Disney Christmas Parade is expected to be the most spectacular of all. Viewers can also look forward to watching other Disney parade stars take the spotlight, such as beloved Disney princesses, characters from Disney Junior, a special performance from the stars of the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Descendants,” and of course, the iconic Disney Toy Soldiers and Santa Claus.

The 32nd annual Christmas celebration airs nationwide on December 25 at 10 a.m. EST and 9 a.m. CST, MST and PST on ABC-TV. The show will also air in Canada on CBC Network and across the globe on the American Forces Network.

For more information, visit Disney.com/DisneyParksChristmas to learn about the special telecast, including local broadcast times and a full list of parade talent. Guests can also join in fun online by using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

November 14, 2015

Goodbye Captain EO - Hello Disney*Pixar Film Festival

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Captain EO, Fuzzball and Major Domo's last days are here! After returning on July 2, 2010 (after a 16 year hiatus), the movie is moving on to Yesterdayland! The show officially closes on December 6, 2015!

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A new 4D experience is coming to the Magic Eye Theatre called the "Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival". Inside the theater, guests can put on their 3D glasses and enter the imaginative worlds of three animated shorts, which will burst to life on the big screen (and in the theater) like never before.

No start date for the Film Festival has been announced.

Check out our Captain EO Pages from its revival in 2010!

Here is our archive from the original showing, which went from September 12, 1986 until July 6, 1994.

November 6, 2015

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Disney Springs Showcases Seasonal Dishes Featuring Local Pork

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Pasture Prime Berkshire Pig Breed a Local Treasure with British Origins

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 4, 2015) – Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant master chef Kevin Dundon introduces local farm-raised pork from Pasture Prime Family Farm to the menu in three featured dishes now through February at the Disney Springs location.

For starters, “An Irish Egg” features a fresh farm egg coated in crispy Guinness and Onion Sausage served on a bed of pickled cabbage with saffron aioli. Dundon’s “Pork by Pork” entree (pictured above) is a sage-and-onion-stuffed pork loin with cider-braised pork fricassee served with mashed potatoes and applesauce. And risotto lovers will get a spicy kick out of “Rinky Risotto,” a grilled chorizo and mushroom risotto. Dundon uses Pasture Prime pork with smoked paprika, cilantro and garlic for the house-made chorizo sausage.

“Pasture Prime raises a breed of pig, the Berkshire pig, which we also have at home in Ireland,” says Dundon, host of the award-winning PBS/Create TV cooking series, “Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food” and “Kevin Dundon’s Back to Basics.” The Berkshire is known for succulent marbling and intense flavor and was first mentioned in stories of British army exploits nearly 300 years ago, according to Pasture Prime Family Farm.

“I decided to use this Central Florida farm, in particular, because I love to see passion when it comes to producing good food, and Pasture Prime has an abundance of passion,” Dundon says.

This past summer, Dundon’s seasonal menu showcase was a hit with three dishes featuring Wild Ocean Seafood from Port Canaveral, Fla.

To complement the seasonal pork dishes, Raglan Road now offers an autumn trio of brews that include Terrapin Pumpkinfest, Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest and Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider.

And Raglan Road guests can toast the season with new fall cocktails including “The Great Pumpkin” made with Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Calvados apple brandy, egg white, Terrapin Pumpkinfest and the pub’s own house-made Guinness Glaze. A second Raglan Road seasonal libation with a kick is the “Spiced Carmel Apple Martini” made with Calvados, butterscotch Schnapps, Magners cider and freshly muddled apples served in a glass with cinnamon-sugar rim and spiced apple skewer.

Raglan Road delivers a dining experience infused with genuine Irish hospitality for guests seated inside the restaurant’s multiple dining rooms, as well as those choosing to dine on the patio overlooking Disney Springs. The restaurant’s custom furnishings include those designed and built by Irish craftspeople, as well as century-old antiques, ornamentation and bric-a-brac shipped to Central Florida from Dublin. Traditional and contemporary Irish music and step dance performances create a spirited ambience daily from late afternoon through closing and during the Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch.

Know for its beer-battered fish and chips, seasonal farm-to-fork specialties and the freshest cold-water seafood flown in regularly, Raglan Road also offers a menu of gluten-free dishes. Dundon, one of Ireland's most celebrated chefs, works with a large culinary team to develop dishes with modern flair and Celtic creativity.

Raglan Road serves lunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late; Saturday and Sunday Rollicking Raglan Brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Visit www.raglanroad.com or call 407/938-0300.

November 3, 2015

A Feast of Disney Tastes Featured on Thanksgiving Day

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Walt Disney World Resort guests can indulge in a fresh take on an American tradition by enjoying their Thanksgiving feast Nov. 26, 2015 with a bounty of Disney tastes. With more than 30 different dining choices at Disney theme parks and resorts, families and friends can come together for a variety of Thanksgiving lunch and dinner offerings.

Special holiday menus include roasted turkey breast with all the trimmings plus traditional Norwegian meatballs and pan-seared salmon at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, poppy seed lavash, house-made naan, and apple-cranberry achar at Sanaa, roasted heirloom beets with candied walnuts and mulled apple cider at Artist Point, and other unique dishes to enjoy with the holiday classics.

At Epcot, guests can dine on Thanksgiving menus during lunch and dinner seatings at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Restaurant Marrakesh, and Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, as well as quick service at Sunshine Seasons.

Holiday menus also are offered at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood & Vine and The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Within the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, special Thanksgiving dining options are available at:

Artist Point and Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Resort Riverside
California Grill, Chef Mickey’s and The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Captain’s Grille and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Citricos, Grand Floridian Café, Narcoossee’s and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
End Zone Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Flying Fish Café and Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving Feast and Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas-Disney’s Kidani Village
Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Sanaa at Disney’s Kidani Village Resort
Shutters at Old Port Royale at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Availability is limited and dining events are subject to change. For information and reservations, guests can call 407-WDW-DINE or book online at DisneyWorld.com/dine.

October 20, 2015

Minnie's Hollywood and Vine Dinners now Year Round

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In August, Walt Disney World announced Minnie Mouse would be hosting a holiday dining experience at Hollywood and Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Today WDW has announced that Minnie will now host a seasonal dinner year 'round. From January 4 to March 20, Minnie wil be celebrating the magic of the movies and the glamour of Hollywood. Other themes may include Delightful Spring, Excitement of Summer and Frightening Fun for Halloween.

Reservations open October 27th.

October 19, 2015

Event: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night

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Walt Disney World has announced a special ticketed event on December 17th for Star Wars movie fans to be held at the AMC Theatre in Disney Springs. Ticket prices reflect a variety of format options for the movie, including 2D ($94.99), 3D ($98.99) and 3D ETX ($99.99).

Starting at AMC Disney Springs 24 between 7 and 8 p.m., guests of the Opening Night Event will have a confirmed seat at the first few public showings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and then enjoy a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2 a.m. The party will include access to the new Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, and a DJ dance party. The night will be highlighted with the preview of a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic “Star Wars” score. Event attendees will also get a commemorative souvenir event ticket. Guests of the Event are encouraged to come dressed in costume showing allegiance to the light side or dark side of the Force.

HOW TO GET TICKETS:

The newest “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer will debut in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Monday, October 19, during halftime of the National Football League (NFL) game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Tune in to ESPN to watch the premiere of the final trailer or join your fellow Star Wars fans at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA to watch the trailer on a giant screen outside AMC Downtown Disney 12 theatres. The fun begins at 5:00 p.m. counting down to the trailer release.

Following the trailer launch, tickets to the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Opening Night Event will be on sale. For tickets to the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Opening Night Event at Walt Disney World Resort, visit amctheatres.com/starwarswdw to purchase.

For more information read the FAQ on the event!

October 4, 2015

Annual/Seasonal Pass and Tables in Wonderland Price Increases

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Walt Disney World has announced a number of price increases that go into effect today, October 4, 2015.

1. Annual and Seasonal passes have been renamed and given a new price structure.

OLD NAME: Premium Annual Pass
NEW NAME: Platinum Plus Pass
PRICE: $729 for Florida Resident/DVC Member / $829 Otherwise

Entitles guest to:
-- unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except activities/events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand
-- park hopping privileges
-- Disney PhotoPass (unlimited downloads)

The pass expires 365 days after activation.

OLD NAME: Annual Pass
NEW NAME: Platinum Pass
PRICE: $649 for Florida Resident/DVC Member / $749 Otherwise

Entitles guest to:
-- unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except activities/events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand
-- park hopping privileges
-- Disney PhotoPass (unlimited downloads)

The pass expires 365 days after activation.

NEW TIER: Gold Pass
PRICE: $549 for Florida Resident/DVC Member

Entitles guest to:
-- unlimited admission to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, except for “blockout” dates around Christmas/New Year's and Easter/spring break
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand
-- park hopping privileges
-- Disney PhotoPass (unlimited downloads)

The pass expires 365 days after activation.

OLD NAME: Seasonal Pass
NEW NAME: Florida Resident Silver Pass
PRICE: $389 for Florida Resident

Entitles guest to:
-- unlimited admission from the activation date to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, except for “blockout” dates around Christmas/New Year's, Easter/spring break, and peak summer vacation period
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand
-- park hopping privileges

The pass expires 365 days after activation.

NEW TIER: Florida Resident Weekday Select Pass
PRICE: $259 for Florida Resident

Entitles guest to:
-- admission on weekdays only to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom except for “blockout” dates around Christmas/New Year's, Easter/spring break, and peak summer vacation period
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand
-- park hopping privileges

The pass expires 365 days after activation.

TIER: Epcot After 4 P.M. Pass
PRICE: $249 for Florida Resident

Entitles guest to:
-- admission to Epcot, after 4 p.m.
-- theme park parking
-- complimentary MagicBand

The above prices DO NOT include tax. For a table with the complete listing of all Walt Disney World admission prices, including tax, as well as renewal prices, visit our Ticket Price Comparison Chart.

2. Tables in Wonderland prices have increased.

-- NEW PRICE: $175 for Florida Residents (was $125)

-- NEW PRICE: $150 for Annual / Seasonal Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members (was $100)

Add a second membership for your spouse or partner for $50 more.

Tables in Wonderland memberships are good for one year.

October 3, 2015

The Good Dinosaur Preview Scenes at Disney Parks October 16

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Preview Scenes from Disney•Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ at Disney Parks Starting October 16

Imagine if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct. That’s the premise behind Disney•ŸPixar’s epic adventure, “The Good Dinosaur,” coming to theaters this Thanksgiving.

Beginning October 16, guests visiting Disney Parks will be able to catch a preview of scenes from “The Good Dinosaur” in sneak peeks planned for Disney California Adventure park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

At Disney California Adventure park, “The Good Dinosaur” preview will be presented at the Bug’s Life Theater with special in-theater effects. Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get to see this advance look at clips from the film, as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction on Mickey Avenue.

In “The Good Dinosaur,” Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

Directed by Peter Sohn (“Partly Cloudy”) and produced by Denise Ream (“Cars 2”), DisneyŸ•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters on November 25, 2015.

September 8, 2015

Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise Debuts October 4

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A new nighttime fireworks cruise will debut at Walt Disney World on October 4. Called Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise, the cruise is the perfect way to take in a breathtaking view of the Magic Kingdom Park night time spectacular fireworks from an exclusive spot on Seven Seas Lagoon with dazzling desserts and drinks.

The cruise on the double-stack ferryboat departs from the Ticket & Transportation Ferryboat Dock one hour prior to “Wishes” Nighttime Spectacular, which is offered select nights weekly. The boat's decks are laden with sweets such as “The Grand” key lime tart; pineapple upside down cake from the chefs at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort; spiced flourless chocolate cake from the pastry kitchen at Disney’s Contemporary Resort; “Main Street” Mickey Balloon Tarts; mini “fireworks” cupcakes with a pop; Cinderella’s Sugar Slipper with Orange Financier; no-sugar-added Florida mango panna cotta; and a fabulous fruit and cheese spread. You can toast the evening with specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in souvenir glow glasses.

While you sample the sweets, “Wishes” will light the sky overhead. The medley of famous Disney songs and the voices of Disney characters will be piped through the boat’s sound system. And you can bet there will be some special “magical moments” Disney style (REMEMBER: On Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very-Merry-Christmas Party nights, the fireworks display will be Happy HalloWishes or Holiday Wishes- Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, not the usual “Wishes” Nighttime Spectacular.)

Space is limited for each sailing. Price is $99 for adults, $69 ages 3 to 9, including tax and gratuity. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/DINE or call 407-WDW-DINE.

(source: Disney Parks Blog)

September 2, 2015

Morimoto Asia Announces September 30 Opening Date as Downtown Disney Nears its Transition to Disney Springs

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Chef Morimoto’s first pan-Asian restaurant will sit in the heart of the new Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

(NEW YORK) Sept. 2, 2015 – Morimoto Asia, a highly anticipated collaboration between Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group, is pleased to announce a scheduled opening date of September 30, 2015 as Downtown Disney nears its transition to Disney Springs. The Japanese master chef’s first pan-Asian dining experience will showcase flavors from across the Asian continent, all with Morimoto’s creative touch.

Morimoto Asia’s eye-catching, 36-foot tall, two-story layout has been designed by STUDIO V Architecture. It includes lounges, dining spaces, and an exhibition kitchen that allows guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the culinary action. The second-level sushi bar and lounge have a separate entrance. Morimoto Asia will debut as part of The Landing, one of four neighborhoods in the new Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

“This has been a project of passion for our team and Chef Morimoto. We can’t wait to open our doors to everyone visiting Disney Springs this fall and beyond,” said Nick Valenti, restaurateur and CEO of Patina Restaurant Group.

Morimoto Asia will offer an entirely new experience for the diner, due to the creativity of Chef Morimoto, already one of the most inventive forces in Asian cuisine. The menu is Chef Morimoto’s eclectic take on his favorite Asian flavors including moo shu pork, Peking duck, lobster chow fun, sweet and sour crispy whole fish, and kung pao chicken. Dim sum will be served during weekend brunch service, and will include a variety of dumplings, shumai, bao, spare ribs and more. Being a true family-friendly destination, kids will have a variety of Asian-infused dishes including chicken ramen, kakuni pork bao, and karaage fried chicken.

The sushi bar will be a culinary experience unto itself. The intimate, 14-seat counter will offer pristine sushi and sashimi options from around the world. Items include toro, kanpachi, Japanese red snapper, uni, sea eel, hamachi, fluke, and salmon, as well as more ocean delicacies. A variety of specialty sushi rolls and selections from the raw bar will also be offered. While traditional sushi service will be limited to the guests seated at the sushi bar, a selection of specialty rolls and sushi platters will be available to the main restaurant’s diners.

Not to be outdone, the beverages at Morimoto Asia will also be destination-worthy. The beers will feature mostly Asian varieties in both bottle and on draft, including the Morimoto signature beer by Rogue Ales.

In addition to the collector’s edition Imperial Pilsner and Morimoto Soba Ale and the highly coveted Black Obi Soba will also be available by the bottle. The restaurant will also offer an assortment of sake, including the Morimoto signature line, plus a wine list showcasing wines of the world, signature cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

“I am excited to create a menu that allows so many of my favorite Asian flavors to come alive all in one place,” said Chef Masaharu Morimoto. “I hope the guests at Morimoto Asia have as much fun eating this food as I have creating it.”

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Morimoto Asia will be a visually stunning addition to Disney Springs. The restaurant’s main entrance features a three-story glass corner, revealing the dramatic interior design including a multi-level bar and spiraling chandelier made of illuminated glass bottles. The sculptural bar at over 270 feet in length is one of the largest in the world, as it leaps through the soaring 36-foot tall space to connect the grand dining room on the ground floor with the upper level, wrapping around the grand stairway. Custom glass beaded chandeliers evoke the ocean delicacies of Chef Morimoto’s cuisine, and are reflected in antique mirrors, interspersed with glass mosaic artworks based on ancient Japanese prints. Chef Morimoto’s exclusive sushi bar is sculpted from hundreds of pieces of hand-selected ash wood, backed with a wall of hammered copper. Morimoto Asia’s two-story outdoor terrace provides patio seating with sweeping views of Disney Springs.

Morimoto Asia will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch with dim sum. www.morimotoasia.com

March 26, 2015

New Menu Coming to Studio Catering Company at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Studio Catering Company at Disney's Hollywood Studios has announced new menu offerings!

Braised Pulled Brisket Sandwich with Munster Cheese, Arugula, and creamy horseradish

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Deli Sandwich with Ham, Salami, Pepperoni, Provolone cheese, creamy pesto spread, pepper relish and Balsamic glaze.

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Panini with Turkey, Swiss, Provolone and Honey Mustard with Tomato Basil Soup

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Lighter fare includes the new Vegetable Wrap with Garlic Herb Spread

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There are 2 new sides: House-made chips and Tomato Basil Soup.


March 6, 2015

Soarin and Toy Story Updates

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In response to overwhelming guest demand for Epcot's Soarin' and Toy Story Mid Way Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World has announced plans for expansion and updates of the popular attractions.

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Another theater is being added to Soarin' as well as new screens and a projection system bringing a visually enhanced experience.

Toy Story Midway Mania will be adding more track to accommodate more riders.

Preparation and construction for both have been underway for a few months. Completion date for both attractions is late 2016.

February 22, 2015

Walt Disney World Raises Ticket Prices

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After several weeks of rumors, it has become official that the US Disney Parks have raised prices as of February 22, 2015.

For Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida, it will now cost $105 plus tax to spend one day at the Magic Kingdom. The other 3 Orlando park one day tickets are now $97 each.

The biggest change, however, is the elimination of "No-Expiration Options". Now, your multi-day ticket will expire 14 days from first use.

Florida resident and other annual pass prices are also higher.

For new prices visit our Ticket Price Charts!

Like wise at Disneyland, ticket prices also were increased. The one-day ticket to either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure have gone from $96 to $99.

AllEars Recommends Maple Leaf Tickets for discounted Orlando Theme Parks and show.

MapleLeaf is offering tickets at the lower price while supplies last!

MapleLeafTickets.com is excited to offer AllEars readers an extra discount via our dedicated ticket order form. All our prices include tax with no other hidden fees or gimmicks attached! We look forward to saving you both time and money on your attraction ticket needs - You must use this special link to get the special AllEars Pricing!

October 27, 2014

New Morimoto Asia Restaurant to Open at Disney Springs

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NEW YORK: October 27, 2014 - Chef Masaharu Morimoto is teaming up with Patina Restaurant Group to open Morimoto Asia as Walt Disney World Resort brings to life Disney Springs, an entertainment-dining-retail district re-imagined from Downtown Disney. To open in summer 2015 at The Landing, in the heart of Disney Springs, Morimoto Asia is the Japanese master chef's first pan-Asian dining experience.

Morimoto Asia's extraordinary, 36-foot tall, two-story layout includes a vast range of areas to explore including open terraces, grand hall, private rooms, long bar, cocktail lounge, waterside seating and more. The restaurant is being designed by STUDIO V Architecture.

"We are delighted to work with Morimoto to create this one of a kind restaurant, which will be a spectacular dining destination at the new Disney Springs," said Nick Valenti, restaurateur and CEO of Patina Restaurant Group.

"I'm very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I've always dreamed of," said Chef Morimoto. "It's a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent."

Morimoto Asia's culinary elements will provide flavors from across Asia, while exhibition kitchens will showcase the continent's traditions. Included among them are street-food stalls, Peking duck carving and dim sum. Morimoto's inspiration and perspective will create an unmatched dining experience in this richly layered setting.

"We're thrilled to bring Chef Morimoto's renowned culinary style to Disney Springs as we expand the range of dining experiences for our resort guests as well as local Florida residents," said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort.

For dining reservations and more information about Morimoto Asia, guests will be able to visit Disneyworld.com in the future.

October 17, 2014

Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 Coming to Disney Parks

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The DisneyParksBlog announced in August that Big Hero 6 characters would be coming to Disney Parks in the US this fall.

Although the start date has not been announced (mid-November is all we know right now), the locations of the Meet and Greet have. In Disney's Hollywood Studios, look for Hiro and Baymax inside the Magic of Disney Animation attraction. The themeing of the area will be the lab from the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and then you'll find the characters inside Hiro's garage workshop.

The current Meet and Greet for Wreck-it-Ralph will close on October 24th to prepare for Big Hero 6!

In Disneyland, Hiro's robotic workshop will be located near the Starcade in Tomorrowland. Also right now in Disneyland you can see a preview of the new film in Tomorrowland's Magic Eye Theatre.

September 9, 2014

Trattoria al Forno Costumes - Lakeside Casual

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In July, 2014, Disney announced that Trattoria al Forno (Italy) would replace Kouzzina (Greece) at Boardwalk.

Today Disney shares the costume designer renderings of the costumes for the cast members. These were designed by Walt Disney Imagineer Celina Lung. Lung has also designed costumes for Epcot's Coral Reef restaurant as well as various locations in Disney parks around the world.

The attire is "charming, casual, a little upscale", said Lung, and will match the restaurant color palette.

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Burgundy shirts and blouses will be paried with khaki-colored pants. To provide a more refined finish the bladed leather belt will have an antique brass buckle. Serves will also wear bistro aprons.

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A classic tweed jacket will complement the outfits in the colder months.

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The restaurant is scheduled to open in December 2014. Kouzzina closes at the end of September. While Kouzzina is closed, breakfast will be offered at the Flying Fish Cafe.

July 23, 2014

New Fall Offer at Walt Disney World!

Save up to 30 percent on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels, valid for stays most nights October 4 through November 25, and November 29 through December 23, 2014. Book by October 3, 2014.

Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels Save up to 30 percent
Select Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels Save up to 30 percent
Select Disney Moderate Resort Hotels Save 20 percent
Select Disney Value Resort Hotels Save 15 percent

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts.

Length of Stay Requirements

Minimum - 1 night
Maximum - 14 nights
Discounted room rate will only be applied to travel dates that are valid offer travel dates.

Offer Restrictions

Advance reservations required.
Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.
Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas.

To book by phone, call Disney at (407) 939-1896 and speak with a vacation planning expert or call your travel agent. AllEars.Net's preferred travel service provider is MouseFanTravel.com.

June 27, 2014

Two New VIP Tours at Walt Disney World

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Two new tours, The Ultimate Day of Thrills - A VIP Tour Experience and The Ultimate Day for Young Families - A VIP Tour Experience, are now available for booking at Walt Disney World.

Each tour lasts six to seven hours and features rides on attractions at Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Midway Mania! and Expedition Everest. The tours also include a meal at a Walt Disney World table-service restaurant. (Note that the Ultimate Day for Young Families will include attractions specifically meant for young children, as well.)

These tours will be offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and cost $299 per person. Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney VISA Cardholders and Annual Passholders can receive a 15 percent discount.

Call 407-WDW-TOUR for more information or to book one of these tours.

source: The Disney Parks Blog

May 20, 2014

Petty Holdings, LLC and Pixar Animation Studios Roll Out Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along Cars

Custom character cars include Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin from the movie "Cars"

CONCORD, NC (May 19, 2014) - Petty Holdings, LLC and Pixar Animation Studios are bringing to life two characters from the Academy Award-nominated 2006 animated feature film "Cars" - Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin at Walt Disney World Resort. Petty Holdings initially began their relationship with Pixar when Richard Petty became the voice of "The King" in the original "Cars" movie.

The two full-size custom character cars, created by "Cars" creative director Jay Ward, will enter the line-up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World® Speedway near Orlando, Fla. beginning Saturday, June 14. The #28 Aiken Axler and #80 Sage VanDerSpin cars will be used in the new Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along program. For just $59, the Junior Ride-Along program gives children ages 6 to 13 (and at least 48 inches tall) the chance to experience real-life racing excitement as they ride shotgun with a professional driving instructor for three thrilling laps in a specially equipped Piston Cup race car.

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"We're thrilled to have Sage and Aiken join the Richard Petty Driving Experience team and know they'll provide a truly magical element to our popular Junior Ride-Along program," said Chris Kirby, Petty Holdings director of marketing. "Jay did an amazing job bringing these two characters to life in the form of two full-sized, high-performance, 600HP race cars."

According to their official biographies, #80 VanDerSpin races for Team "Gask-its" and is the youngest winner of the Junior Piston Cup Pro Series. Axler is the #28 Nitroade racer who captured the Vitoline Rookie of the Year honors in his first full season of Cup competition. Both will be sporting their team colors and sponsors, along with their larger-than-life personalities, thanks to a specialty window wrap.

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"The window wrap makes it possible to see the character eyes from the exterior, which really brings them to life, but doesn't interfere with the view of the track," added Kirby. "Once passengers are inside the car, the track can be clearly seen so they can fully enjoy the experience of racing around the track."

Ward has also been named guardian of the "Cars" franchise due to his in-depth knowledge and love of cars. Ward's position allows him to have a hand in developing consumer products, interactive games, theme parks, marketing and ancillary projects involving "Cars," - which led to his role in developing the VanDerSpin and Axler Piston Cars. Since joining Pixar in 1998, Ward has worked in the art department on a number of other Pixar movies including "Ratatouille," "Monster's Inc." and "Brave."

Both cars feature custom racing seats designed by The Joie of Seating - a premier fabricator of custom-fitted aluminum racing seats, owned and operated by two-time NASCAR Nationwide series champion Randy LaJoie. Specifically designed to ensure the safety and security of smaller bodies, these full containment racing seats feature built-in shoulder and head protection and a five-point safety harness with the same design used by NASCAR drivers.

Junior Ride-Alongs do not require reservations and are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more information about program offerings, dates and times by visiting Drivepetty.com or call 800-237-3889.

'Rock Your Disney Side' as Disney Parks Kicks Off Summer Vacation Season With 24 Hours of Magic on Both Coasts, May 23-24

Three Disney Parks Celebrate Summer Fun with a Rockin' Bi-Coastal All-Nighter

ANAHEIM, Calif. and LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 15, 2014) - Disney Parks will kick off the summer travel season with a 24-hour, coast-to-coast celebration that invites guests to "Rock Your Disney Side" at three Disney theme parks ­­- Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in California, and Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

From 6 a.m. Friday, May 23, to 6 a.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014*, on each coast, guests will spend 24 hours laughing, screaming, dancing and embracing their own Disney Side - that fun, playful side that emerges as they enter a Disney park. (* Hours of operation: 6 a.m. on 5/23/14 to 6 a.m. on 5/24/14; subject to capacity restrictions. Only select attractions, entertainment and services will be available. Valid theme park admission required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.)

Disney pirates, princesses, villains and a few rarely seen characters will stay in the parks all day and all night, inviting guests to dress up for the occasion, too. Guests may join the party dressed in costume, perhaps as their favorite Disney Hero or Villain. Costumes should be child-friendly and adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney.

The 24-hour celebration of summer also features special entertainment in all three parks.

At Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Florida
In Florida, a cast of Disney Villains will have a special place in the Magic Kingdom 24-hour celebration, including Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and such rarely spotted miscreants as the Big Bad Wolf, Stromboli from "Pinocchio," and Bowler Hat Guy from "Meet the Robinsons." They will appear in locations throughout the park and also join in the "It's Good to Be Bad" cavalcade preceding Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade.

Guests at the Magic Kingdom will enjoy nighttime dancing around Cinderella Castle and in Frontierland. The "#IncrediblesSuperDanceParty," a nightly feature throughout the summer, will be followed during the All-Nighter by special screenings of "The Incredibles" at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland.

At the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
In California, the 24-hour fun begins in the Esplanade outside the entrances to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks, where guests will discover Olaf, the lovable snowman from Disney's blockbuster animated film "Frozen, represented by a larger-than-life sand sculpture. Fireworks and live entertainment will entertain guests as the parks open at 6 a.m. Pacific Time.

At Disneyland, exciting entertainment will include the "Avengers Super Hero Movie Marathon" throughout the day and overnight in the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland. Nighttime highlights will feature an after-midnight performance of "Mickey's Soundsational Parade" and dance-till-dawn parties at the Tomorrowland Terrace Dance Club and the Sleeping Beauty Castle Forecourt Dance Club. In addition to 24 hours of atmosphere entertainment and appearances by Disney characters, the Disney Villains are planning an overnight "takeover" of the Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire.

Disney California Adventure invites guests to kick off summer with an all-night "Mad T Party," dancing in Pacific Wharf and Paradise Garden, and a special 3 a.m. performance of "World of Color," the water spectacular with nearly 1,200 dancing fountains.

Just the Beginning
The All-Nighter is just the beginning of the summer fun at Disney Parks on both coasts.

At Walt Disney World, the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, opening May 28, takes guests on a rollicking musical ride into the mine "where a million diamonds shine" and becomes the crowning jewel of New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Also at Magic Kingdom, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade brings the magical stories of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A., through fantastic and innovative parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack that features beloved songs from favorite Disney films along with a new parade theme song.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the popular and highly interactive musical show "Festival of the Lion King" returns this summer in the new Harambe Theatre. The park will offer Harambe Nights on Saturday evenings, June 7 through August 9, featuring a dazzling theatrical experience and energetic street party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney's acclaimed "The Lion King."

Vacationers can stay in the middle of the magic this summer with special savings at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. For reservations, contact 407-934-7639, or visit Disneyworld.com.

At the Disneyland Resort, guests will enjoy the thrills of the newly reopened and enhanced Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, along with dazzling summer entertainment that, beginning in mid-June, will include "Frozen" characters in a special pre-parade float for "Mickey's Soundsational Parade." The pre-parade unit features Princess Anna and snowman Olaf frolicking in the snow while Queen Elsa is depicted in her icy domain.

Other summer entertainment in Disneyland includes daily performances of the enchanting "Mickey and the Magical Map" stage show, nightly performances of both "Fantasmic!" and "Magical" fireworks, featuring aerial flights by both Tinker Bell and Dumbo, and a variety of new entertainment daily in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. At Disney California Adventure, guests continue to enjoy the thrills and fun of Cars Land and the after-dark excitement of "World of Color" and "Mad T Party."

Vacationing families may take advantage of special Disneyland Resort room and ticket packages at the resort and at nearby Good Neighbor hotels, with a selection to match every budget. For details, call 714-520-5060 or look for vacation packages at Disneyland.

Guests who choose to stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel - Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel or Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa - have the added benefits of Extra Magic Hour early admission to the parks (selected locations), easy access to Disney Character Dining in hotel restaurants, an exclusive entrance into Disney California Adventure park through Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and special wake-up calls from Disney characters. Visit the Disneyland Resort Hotels page for details.

April 22, 2014

Disney Dreamers and Doers Accepting Student Self-Nominations

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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.

March 26, 2014

Star Wars Weekends Dining Experiences

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Great news for our Star Wars™ fans and Guests! Beginning March 26, two new dining experiences will be available for booking for Star Wars™ Weekends from May 4 to June 15, 2014.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars™ Dine at Hollywood and Vine

The Fantasmic! dinner experience at Hollywood and Vine has been transformed into a Star Wars™ themed venue where Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Chip & Dale will all be dressed as their favorite Star Wars™ characters (Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald, and Ewoks Chip & Dale). The characters will meet and greet and interact with Guests throughout the evening.

Dates: May 4 - June 15, 2014

Times: 4:15pm to 8 or 8:30 pm (sometimes 9pm to 9:30 - based on park close)
Price: Adult - $59.99 with Fantasmic! Package or $55.99 without
Child - $36.99 with Fantasmic! Package or $32.99 without

A digital photo of the party with the Ewoks Chip & Dale on a commemorative PhotoPass card is included.


Star Wars™ Dine-In Galactic Breakfast
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater becomes the Star Wars™ Dine-in Theater for this character dining experience. Characters include Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, and Boba Fett and a Darth Vader Meet & Greet after check-in. Additionally, the traditional Sci-Fi clips will be replaced with Star Wars™ clips, trailers and music.

Dates: May 4 - June 15, 2014
Times: 8am - 12pm
Price: Adult - $47.99
Child - $29.99

A digital photo of the party on a commemorative PhotoPass card is included.

March 13, 2014

New Offer for Disney Visa Card Holders

A new special vacation offer is now available for Disney Visa Card Holders. Save as much as 35% on stays of 6 nights or longer; save up to 30% on stays of up 1-6 days. Savings is based on resort selected and on the non-discounted price for the same room. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package.

Upgrade to a package and save even more. (Minimum 6-day Magic Your Way Ticket required.)

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length of stay requirements may apply.

Book with your Disney Visa® Card now through 6/6/14 for stays 6/15 - 8/28/2014.

Call 1-407-939-7217 or call your travel agent (AllEars.Net recommends MouseFanTravel.com) and mention code S499R.

This offer becomes available to the general public on March 17, 2014.

March 8, 2014

Finding "Frozen" in Disney Parks

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From the kingdom of Arendelle, guests can immerse themselves in the Oscar-winning animated blockbuster hit Frozen throughout Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. From meet and greets with royalty, to vacationing at the stunning sites that inspired the blockbuster film, here's where you can enjoy your own icy adventures:

Walt Disney World Resort:
• Meet Elsa and Anna inside the Prinsesse Plass, located in the Norway pavilion at Epcot (See photos from this meet and greet HERE.)
• Elsa and Anna will join the new daytime spectacular "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade" at Magic Kingdom, when it debuts March 9
• Also at Magic Kingdom, the "Celebrate the Magic" nighttime projection show transforms Cinderella Castle with visuals from Frozen

Disneyland Resort:
• Meet Elsa and Anna in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park
• Olaf the snowman greets Disneyland park guests before they meet Elsa and Anna in Fantasyland
• Elsa appears in "World of Color - Winter Dreams," the holiday version of the popular after-dark spectacular at Disney California Adventure Park. "World of Color - Winter Dreams" may be seen during the Holiday season, which starts in November.

Adventures by Disney:
• A new vacation experience to Norway guides families through an eight-day, seven-night adventure across the stunning lands that inspired the movie Frozen: Fjords, Bergen and Oslo

Disneyland Paris
• Elsa, Anna and Olaf appear in the "Disney Magic On Parade"

Disney Cruise Line
• Anna is onboard the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream
• Olaf greets guests at the post office on Castaway Cay
• Guests can watch Frozen in the theaters on all four Disney cruise ships

March 7, 2014

Disney Dreamers Academy Kicks Off at Walt Disney World

Disney hosts select high school students for annual program

Dreamers to engage in career and mentoring workshops at seventh-annual Disney Dreamers Academy in March

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Steve Harvey, Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell, ESSENCES's Mikki Taylor, Minnie and Mickey with Dreamers in 2013 Magic Kingdom Parade
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Mar. 6, 2014) - This weekend, Walt Disney World Resort will host an exclusive group of teens for the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. The teens, along with a parent or guardian, received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort March 6-9, but they aren't vacationing. Instead, they will be participating in a once-in-lifetime, innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational and mentoring program.

Entering its seventh year, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future. Each year, students participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to a bevy of career paths ranging from animation to zoology. Each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies.

It all takes place in a magical setting: the Walt Disney World theme parks. Both on stage and behind the scenes, the parks become vibrant classrooms, leading to career discoveries, the pursuit of dreams and fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Motivational speakers and celebrities share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and DREAM BIG. Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renowned entrepreneurs and executives.

"Over the past six years, we have helped 600 Dreamers unlock their potential and get started on their journeys in life," said Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell. "The seventh Disney Dreamers Academy marks another year of continued motivation, education and success. Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Communications share in our vision of enriching lives. Everyone leaves this program inspired to live their best life."

Walt Disney World Resort along with Steve Harvey, syndicated television and radio personality, and ESSENCE Magazine will host the selected Dreamers during their four-day power packed career and educational exploration. Harvey, speaking on the program, says, "Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities. We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold."

ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks added, "We are excited about the seventh Disney Dreamers Academy. This program transcends the normal classroom setting, taking learning to the next level. This year we plan to go above and beyond to encourage Dreamers. Our valued partnership with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey represents our commitment to the leaders of tomorrow."

This year's students were selected from nearly 10,000 applicants - the most applicants in the history of the program - by a panel of judges representing the best in their fields that included Powell, Harvey and Ebanks. Applicants answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and life dreams.

The rest of the 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy judging panel was comprised of: Mikki Taylor (Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine); Dr. Steve Perry (education advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson Myles (founder and author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (award-winning motivational speaker); Chef Jeff Henderson (celebrity chef and motivational speaker); Brandi Harvey (Corporate and Community Relations Director, the Steve Harvey World Group); Karli Harvey (Hair Artesian, U Salon, Atlanta) and Princeton Parker (Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus).

This accomplished group, along with others including Yolanda Adams (gospel music legend); Terrence J (actor and host of E! News); Stephen A. Smith (broadcaster and sports analyst); and Alex O. Ellis (CEO, Simply Ellis Custom Clothier), remains involved in Disney Dreamers Academy throughout the year, serving as the program's ambassadors and advisory panel as part of Disney Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group.

For more information, visit www.disneysdreamersacademy.com, www.facebook.com/disneysdreamersacademy or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dreamersacademy.

February 4, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith "Goes to Disney World"

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Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith rides Feb. 3, 2014 with Mickey Mouse in a parade through the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Smith, a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, helped lead his team to a 43-8 victory last night over the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, N.J. After the game, Smith became the NFL's first defensive player to star in the iconic Disney Parks commercial where he proclaimed "I'm Going to Disney World!"

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 3, 2014) - The victory atmosphere moved south from New Jersey to Walt Disney World Resort Monday where Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith celebrated his team's stunning Super Bowl XLVIII championship win as thousands of fans lined Main Street, U.S.A.

Just hours after his title win against the Denver Broncos, Smith was riding high atop a convertible smiling and waving to guests at Walt Disney World Resort.

Flashing lights, a whirlwind of fluttering confetti, balloons and Mickey Mouse himself accompanied the Super Bowl MVP down the famous street at the Magic Kingdom. It was a remarkable dream come true for Smith, who went from being the last player the Seahawks drafted in 2011 (No. 242 overall) to the hero of the Super Bowl.

In the frenzied moments following his team capturing the National Football League championship Sunday night in New Jersey, Smith stood in front of a TV camera and shouted five words that have become an almost iconic reaction to milestone achievement: "I'm going to Disney World!"

The commercial aired Monday morning and is the 47th of a series that began in 1987 following Super Bowl XXI featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. The campaign pays tribute to personal achievements of athletes and celebrities and continues to be an iconic celebration as only Disney can do.

Smith set another mark Sunday night. He became the first defensive player to star in the Disney commercial.

This year's commercial marks a "Frozen" first. Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa in Disney's Academy Award®-nominated animated feature film "Frozen," sings the traditional "When You Wish Upon a Star" to accompany the iconic ad. Menzel, who performs the Academy Award®-nominated hit song "Let It Go" in the film and the all-new hit "Frozen" soundtrack, becomes the first contemporary artist to perform "When You Wish Upon a Star" in the Disney Parks Super Bowl ad. She recorded the vocal track in New York City on Jan. 26, 2014 and it was paired with the orchestral track recorded the previous week at London's famed Abbey Road Studios.

Smith joins an all-star lineup of heroes from sports and beyond who have celebrated milestone accomplishments in "I'm going to Disney World" commercials.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/02/03/super-bowl-xlviii-mvp-malcolm-smith-goes-to-disney-world/#sthash.woZNwePR.dpuf

January 14, 2014

Festival of Fantasy Parade - Maleficent

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Maleficent the Dragon!

Details are slowly emerging about the new Magic Kingdom Parade called Festival of Fantasy, which will debut this spring. The new parade celebrates Fantasyland and the floats bring to life characters that can be found in Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, and Tangled.

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The Maleficent float is 35 feet long and 26 feet high. Michael Curry, a Tony Award Winner, is collaborating with Walt Disney World on this parade. Previously he worked with Disney Parks on the Tapestry of Nations parade and Finding Nemo the Musical.

Here are some additional photographs released by Disney Parks Blog:

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January 10, 2014

Groundbreaking for AVATAR-Inspired Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Using Na'vi-inspired shovels and assisted by a Na'vi, (left to right) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; a Na'vi; Jon Landau, AVATAR Producer; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rohde, creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, pose Jan. 8, 2014 during the ceremonial groundbreaking of an AVATAR-inspired land at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The multi-year and largest expansion in Disney's Animal Kingdom history, the new land will invite Walt Disney World Resort guests to experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with the banshees, encounter the Na'vi and explore a rich cultural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.


January 7, 2014

Spring Offer Save Up to 30% on Select Rooms at Walt Disney World Resort

Spring is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. This year, the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Atlanta Braves Spring Training games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the return of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios are just a few of the things our guests have to look forward to.

If you're considering booking a spring vacation, now is the time to do so. Guests who book their resort stays now through March 31, 2014, (for vacations taking place March 14 - April 12, 2014, and April 20 - June 15, 2014) may receive up to 30% off the cost of their room. Plus, when you upgrade to a Magic Your Way package with a minimum four-day theme park tickets, you'll get one more ticket day for free.

Visit the AllEars recommended Travel Agency: MouseFanTravel.com

December 23, 2013

2014 Night of Joy Full Line-Up

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The 2014 Night of Joy will be held in the Magic Kingdom on September 5th and 6th. The entertainment line-up has now been fully announced:

Friday, September 5, 2014:

Hillsong United
Chris Tomlin
Matthew West
For King & Country
Mandisa
Building 429
Matt Maher
The Neverclaim

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

Skillet
Casting Crowns
MercyMe
Israel Houghton & New Breed
Britt Nicole
Colton Dixon
Rhett Walker
We As Human
One Girl Nation

The Night of Joy is a special separate ticketed event held in the Magic Kingdom.

November 9, 2013

Marketplace Co Op Coming to Downtown Disney in 2014

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The Disney Parks Blog announced yesterday that a new merchandise location is coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace in spring 2014.

The Marketplace Co Op will occupy the site that currently houses Team Mickey, next to TrenD. Team Mickey will close in early January 2014 to make way for the new Co Op.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, the marketplace will act as a collection of shops within a shop -- a sort of "incubator," serving to introduce new Disney specialty retail shops and products to the public.

The current building will be slightly redesigned, but will retain its original ceiling elements, including the skylight.

When it opens, The Marketplace Co Op will house:

-- Beautifully Disney - featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories.

-- Cherry Tree Lane - accessories such as scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry.

-- D-Tech on Demand - personalized, customized electronic accessories.

-- The Trophy Room - vintage inspired, lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles.

-- Centerpiece - room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware with a touch of Disney.

-- Zoey and Pickles - the latest trends and glamour for young girls.

October 31, 2013

New $999 Walt Disney World Vacation Package Offer

Purchase a 3-night, 2-day Magic Your Way Room and Ticket Package PLUS Quick Service Dining at a select Disney Value Resort hotel (in a standard room, excluding Disney's Art of Animation Resort) for a family of three (two adults plus one child ages 3-9) for $999* for stays most nights January 5 - February 12, 2014!

This package includes:

-- 2-day theme park tickets
-- the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
-- 3 nights in a standard room at a Disney Value Resort hotel (excluding Disney's Art of Animation Resort), valid for stays most nights January 5 through February 12, 2014.

Ask about other great rates for other lengths of stay, alternative family configurations and other Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights January 5 - March 5, 2014.

Rates may vary based on Disney Resort hotel, room type, party size and length of stay. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Book by December 31, 2013.

The number of packages available at this rate is limited. Tickets are valid for one theme park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Excludes alcoholic beverages and gratuities. Children ages 3-9 must choose from the children's menu, if available.

To book, call (407) 939-7750 or call your travel agent. AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider is Mouse Fan Travel.

*Sample package price based on 2 adults and one child (ages 3-9) for a 3-Night/2-Day Magic Your Way room, ticket and Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan package.


October 7, 2013

Frozen Coming to the Disney Parks this Fall

The Disney Parks Blog has announced that Frozen (arriving in theatres November 27, 2013) will have a presence at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.

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Anna and her sister Elsa, will appear in the Norway pavillion at Epcot for meet and greets. Also in Norway, the current exhibit in the Stave Church will be transformed to show how Norway inspired the filmmakers to create Frozen.

At Disneyland, you will find Olaf in Fantasyland and as previously announced in Disney California Adventure, Olaf will host the new World of Color version called "World of Color - Winter Dreams"


October 4, 2013

New Special Offers for Disney VISA Card Holders

Disney VISA card holders can save up to 35% when staying at a select Walt Disney World® Resort hotel with one of these new offers.

NOTE: These offers are currently just for Disney VISA cardholders. They will be available to the general public as of October 8, 2013.

1) Disney VISA -- Stay, Play & Dine Offer

Stay, Play Dine and Save up to $600* with the purchase of this 5-Night/6-Day Walt Disney Travel Company room, ticket and dining plan package at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels (based on a family of four).

-- Book a 5-night, 6-day Magic Your Way package with Disney Dining Plan and save up to $600*!

-- Book a 5-night, 6-day Magic Your Way package with Quick Service Dining Plan and save up to $400*!

Book a Moderate or Deluxe Resort or Villa and get the Dining Plan.
Book Value Resort and get the Quick Service Dining plan.

For stays most nights January 5 - March 5, 2014
Book by December 31, 2013.

This vacation package offer becomes available to the general public on October 8, 2013.
Call 407-939-7737 or contact AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider MouseFanTravel.com.

Book by December 31, 2013, with your Disney Visa® Card and use code JJQ for Value Resorts and code TRJ for Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts.

* The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price of the same package for 2 adults, 1 junior and 1 child. Tickets valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Children ages 3-9 must choose from the children's menu, if available. Excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.

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2) Disney VISA - Room Offer - save up to 35%

Stay and experience the magic up close. Be close to the heart of all the magic, from the Theme Parks and entertainment to exciting nightlife, shopping and more. Save up to 35%* when you stay at a select Walt Disney World® Resort hotel

Save up to 20% - Select Value Resort Hotels
Save up to 25% - Select Moderate Resort Hotels
Save up to 35% - Select Deluxe & Villa Resort Hotels


For stays most nights -
January 5 - March 5 & March 14 - April 12, 2014.

book by December 31, 2013.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price of the same room. Length of stay requirements may apply. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Moderate and Deluxe Resort suites may be available at a lower discount; please call for information. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites and villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort - The Little Mermaid standard rooms.

For more details, visit https://disneyrewards.com/offers/wdwroomoct14/

To book, contact Disney directly at 1-407-939-7737 and mention code JHO or contact AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider, MouseFanTravel.com

October 1, 2013

Air Supply to Perform October 2-4 in Epcot's "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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Air Supply ("All Out of Love") will perform October 2-4, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

September 28, 2013

The Go-Gos Perform Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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The Go-Go's ("We Got the Beat") will perform September 30-October 1, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

September 25, 2013

Starship Starring Mickey Thomas Kicks Off 2013 "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series

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Starship starring Mickey Thomas ("We Built This City") will perform September 27-29, 2013, as part of the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival "Eat to the Beat" concert series.

Shows are nightly at America Gardens Theatre in Epcot's World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Performances are included with Epcot admission.

September 20, 2013

Downtown Disney Offers "Foodtopia" in October

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Fantastic flavors from some of Downtown Disney's signature restaurants will take center stage this fall and feature some of the restaurants' most popular dishes during "Downtown Disney Foodtopia," Oct. 1-Oct. 31.

Seven restaurants are rolling out three-course dinners for $30, with a $60 option at Fulton's Crab House (tax and gratuity extra). The seven restaurants include Bongo's Cuban Cafe, House of Blues, Paradiso 37, Planet Hollywood, Portobello, Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Wolfgang Puck Cafe.

Each of the flavorful menu options include three full courses and a non-alcoholic beverage. For instance, at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, guests can start with garlic and white bean hummus, a Caesar salad or butternut squash soup. Entrees include pesto chicken, crispy pork loin or spaghetti Bolognese. Desserts are key lime pie, carrot cake or a brownie sundae.

Paradiso 37 is offering blackened mahi sliders, a hearty beef burrito or chicken enchiladas paired with a starter and dessert, while Planet Hollywood has a choice of their Celebrity BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, lasagna or their gargantuan Southwest Salad for your entree options. Splitsville lets guests choose from eight appetizers and 10 entrees, with a brownie with ice cream for dessert.

For guests craving savory seafood, the Fulton's Crab House menu includes either shrimp cocktail, steamed clams and mussels or jumbo lump crab cake to start; a whole Rhode Island lobster, cioppino or filet mignon for an entrée, and a Tollhouse Cookie sundae, key lime pie or root beer float for dessert.

Guests can sample all that Foodtopia has to offer any day of the week between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Reservations and payment are required at least 48 hours in advance by calling 407/WDW-DINE. Reservations can be made starting Sept. 28.

And for those wanting to make it a dinner-and-a-show evening, guests who make a Foodtopia reservation can save on tickets to Cirque du Soleil "La Nouba" with a 20 percent discount for everyone in their party.

To make dining reservations for Foodtopia, guests can call 407/WDW-DINE.

September 10, 2013

New Interactive Glow With the Show Mickey Ear Hats Let Guests Shine During After-Dark Spectaculars at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Guests of the Walt Disney World Resort will light the night thanks to new Glow with the Show Ear hats that will magically change colors in sync with fireworks, shows and each other at Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Fun interactive versions of the famous Mickey Ear hats will debut on Oct. 15 during the 15th anniversary of Fantasmic!, the nighttime spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

These magical Ear hats glow in myriad colors, commanded with the latest technology to complement the imagery and beat of the fireworks and spectaculars. When not activated by these experiences, more surprises are in store for participants as the magical ears glow with other ears and settings around the Vacation Kingdom.

"Technology allows the Ear hats to dance and play along with each musical and illuminated sequence. They truly bring the show's environment out of the lagoon and the sky, and into the audience in an amazing and dazzling new way, making our guests truly Glow With the Show," said Dara Trujillo, manager of merchandise marketing, communication, synergy and integration, Walt Disney World Resort.

And beginning Oct. 19, guests will be able to experience the Wishes fireworks extravaganza at Magic Kingdom with the new Glow with the Show Ear hats. And during the holiday season guests can don their hats and "glow" with Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and at Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks display and Celebrate the Magic, the nighttime projection show at Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom.

Each set of Glow with the Show Ear hats is available for $25 at select locations throughout the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

For more than 55 years, the classic, black Mickey Mouse Ear hat has been a Disney Parks favorite and signature souvenir item. Across the decades, there have been more than 200 different ear hats including limited and novelty editions. The new Glow with the Show Ear hats made their debut at Disney California Adventure in 2012 at World of Color.


Here's a look at 2 Glow with the Ears segments from World of Color:

September 3, 2013

Fountain View at Epcot Reopens; Includes Starbucks Products

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Reopening September 4, Fountain View has a new look and new offerings for Epcot guests -- featuring Starbucks products. Popular Disney-made treats will be served alongside Starbucks favorites like coffee, espresso and Frappuccino-blended beverages, as well as breakfast sandwiches and pastries.


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Fountain View is the second Starbucks location at Walt DIsney World Resort. Like Main Street Bakery's nostalgic design on Main Street, U.S.A at Magic Kingdom, Fountain View was designed to match the futuristic theme of Future World. More locations are planned for Walt Disney World Resort as well as Disneyland Resort in California.

Friday the 13th Mischief Is Bi-Coastal at Disney Parks During Unleash the Villains Event Sept. 13, 2013

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Disney's dastardly villains are ready to unleash some Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks on September 13 -- Friday the 13th.

Both Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort will stay open until the 13th Hour (1 a.m.). To celebrate the momentous evening, notorious Disney villains like Maleficent, Capt. Hook, Hades will host a wicked dance party, plus lots more spooky fun.

The hub of the villains' festivities will be staged "dead" center of Disney's Hollywood Studios at Hades' Hangout -- the hottest club north of the Underworld.

The "Lord of the dead," Hades, will host spine-tingling fun while his henchmen, dancers, interactive DJ and hot house band keep the nighttime activities on fire. Hades' 13 devilish Disney brutes will be waiting in Villain Encounters surrounding Hades' Hangout for greetings and autographs with guests.

To celebrate the imminent arrival of the midnight witching hour "Villainy in the Sky" will set the sky ablaze with spectacular fireworks, and keep the party going until the 13th hour.

It's all happening for a limited time only from 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. on Friday, September 13, 2013 as part of Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks. Limited Time Magic features 52 weeks of magical experiences -- big and small -- ranging from park-wide events to special culinary treats to special moments of surprise and delight.

On this spooktacular evening, villains will take over Disneyland as well. Town Square is transformed for the party where guests may see villains like Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts, Judge Frollo and Lady Tremaine. Cobwebs and vines, Halloween-themed projections, lighting effects and an eerie fog set the tone for the evening. Witches and warlocks will get the dance party started, spinning a mix of upbeat Halloween tunes and Disney-friendly Top 40 hits.

Later in the evening, the twisted celebration spills over to New Orleans Square Train Station with lurking Disney villains ready for the Unleash the Villains Dance Party featuring a lit-up dance floor and raised platforms, spooky decor and lighting effects. A mischievous station master DJ conducts this party -- announcing the arrival of a different ghoulish Disney villain at the 13th minute after every hour. Villains will be on the prowl after dusk for photo ops and character greetings, plus a few special surprises.

For more information, visit www.limitedtimemagic.com.

July 23, 2013

Disney Parks Salute U.S. Military with Special Tickets, Room Rates

Disney has announced special pricing on theme park tickets and accommodations for active duty U.S. military personnel, retirees and their families.

At Walt Disney World Resort : From August 12, 2013, through September 24, 2014, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $169 each, plus tax
-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $169 each, plus tax
-- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $198 each, plus tax

Walt Disney World tickets may be used September 29, 2013, through September 27, 2014, except December 20 - 31, 2013; April 13 - 20, 2014, at all theme parks and all Water Park fun and more locations; and July 4, 2014, at Magic Kingdom Park only. For more details, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/military-4-day-ticket/

At Disneyland Resort : From August 12, 2013, through September 25, 2014, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

-- Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $129 each

Disneyland Resort tickets may be used September 29, 2013, through September 27, 2014, except December 19 - 31, 2013; April 13 - April 20, 2014; and July 4, 2014, at both theme parks.

For more details visit:
http://disneyland.disney.go.com/offers-discounts/#/?int_cmp=ILC-US_EN-DPSOtoDLRFY13Military&,

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced rooms at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels! This offer is valid for stays most nights from September 29, 2013, through September 27, 2014, except for November 28 - November 30, 2013, December 23-31, 2013, and April 14 - April 19, 2014.

For more details, visit the official Disney site.

May 12, 2013

Disney Welcomes Merida into the Disney Princess Royal Court

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Gymnastics Gold Medalist, Gabby Douglas Hosts Royal Celebration With Her Mom At Walt Disney World On Mother's Day Weekend

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 11, 2013) - In celebration of mothers and daughters everywhere, Disney today proudly welcomed Merida from Disney∙Pixar's Academy Award winning film, "Brave," into the Disney Princess royal court. With her mother Queen Elinor proudly by her side, the ceremony took place at the Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in conjunction with Mother's Day festivities. Gymnastics Gold Medalist and All-Around champion, Gabby Douglas, hosted the celebration accompanied by her mother, and shared her personal story of strength, perseverance and courage - the true meaning of being a Disney princess.

Watched by hundreds of park guests, Merida's procession through the Magic Kingdom to Cinderella Castle was led by a troop of Scottish dancers and an authentic pipe and drum band. In true Merida fashion, she forged her own path, foregoing the traditional horse-and-carriage arrival and instead wowing the audience as she rode in on her trusty horse Angus. She was welcomed on stage by the entire Disney Princess court, and was crowned by her mother Queen Elinor in a touching moment of love and respect that highlighted the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter. Over the last few years, the Disney Princess royal court has expanded to welcome new princess characters whose stories, personalities and inner qualities serve as role models inspiring girls around the world.

"I admire Merida for being determined and courageous as these are qualities that have had a big impact on my own life and helped me achieve my goals as an athlete," said Gabby Douglas, gymnastics gold medalist. "And like Merida, I have a strong relationship with my mom, whose support and belief in me has helped me recognize my own inner princess qualities. It's really special for us to be here and share in Merida's celebration, especially on Mother's Day weekend."

"As a Disney Princess, Merida sets an admirable example for all, being brave, strong, passionate, determined and confident," said Katherine Sarafian, "Brave's" producer. "When Queen Elinor placed the crown on Merida's head, it signified a moment of deep connection, as a mother recognized the spirit, heart and true personality of her daughter. It's moments like these that encapsulate what is special about being a princess, but also resonate with mothers across the world."

On hand to join in on the festivities were 10-year-old and six-year-old British singers and TV personalities of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, who celebrated their inner princess by performing an original song on stage. Also in attendance were young girls and their families from Give Kids The World, a 70-acre nonprofit "storybook" resort where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong cost-free family vacations.

As part of Merida's celebration, a group of 200 mom bloggers and their families attending the Walt Disney World Social Media Moms conference were treated to a first look at the latest video from the "I Am A Princess" campaign, which features Merida and a real-life young archer. The campaign's message encourages girls to believe in themselves and their inner strength.

Highlights from Merida's Royal Celebration ceremony will be available on May 15 at DisneyPrincess.com.

May 9, 2013

Free Dining Offer - September 2013 Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World® Resort - Most nights 9/2/13 - 9/25/13

Here's a delicious way to make your vacation dreams come true! Book a non-discounted Walt Disney World® Magic Your Way package and get a select Dining Plan - Free*!

Book a value resort - Get Quick Service Dining Plan- Free

Book a moderate, deluxe or villa - Get the Disney Dining Plan-Free

Valid for stays most nights:
September 2, 2013 - September 25, 2013

Book by July 31, 2013

For details, see the website of AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider, Mouse Fan Travel:

http://www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/walt-disney-world-resort/latest-deals/free-dining-offer-september-2013


Late Summer Room Offer - Save up to 30%

Walt Disney World® Resort - Most nights 8/15/13 - 9/28/13

Stay and experience the magic up close. Be close to the heart of all the magic, from the Theme Parks and entertainment to exciting nightlife, shopping and more. Save up to 30%* when you stay at a select Walt Disney World® Resort hotel

Save up to 20% - Select Value Resort Hotels

Save up to 25% - Select Moderate Resort Hotels & Cabins

Save up to 30% - Select Deluxe & Villa Resort Hotels

Book this special deal by 7/31/13
for stays most nights - 8/15/13 - 9/28/13

For details, see the website of AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider, Mouse Fan Travel: http://www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/walt-disney-world-resort/latest-deals/late-summer-room-offer-save-30

Don't forget Free Dining Also Available to Disney Visa Card Holders!

May 6, 2013

Free Dining for Disney VISA Cardholders: September 2-25, 2013

Are you a Disney VISA cardholder? Here's a delicious way to make your vacation dreams come true! Book a non-discounted Walt Disney World® Magic Your Way package and get a select Dining Plan - Free!

Book a value resort - Get Quick Service Dining Plan- Free
Book a moderate, deluxe or villa - Get the Disney Dining Plan-Free

Valid for stays most nights:
September 2, 2013 - September 25, 2013

Book by July 31, 2013

For details, see the website of AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider, Mouse Fan Travel:

http://www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/walt-disney-world-resort/latest-deals/disney-visa-cardholders-free-dining-offer


April 25, 2013

Disney Parks to Kick Off a ‘Monstrous Summer’ With 24 Hours of Magic on Both Coasts

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ANAHEIM, Calif. and LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 25, 2013) - Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will kick off a Monstrous Summer by keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours nonstop on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season.

The Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in California will stay open from 6 a.m., May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, local time* marking the beginning of a summer of fun inspired by the upcoming Disney-Pixar comedy adventure Monsters University.

The oversized fun of a 24-hour Disney park "All-Nighter" called for an equally epic announcement, and the huge sphere of Spaceship Earth was transformed from Disney Parks icon to Disney-Pixar "Eye-con," becoming a 180-foot-tall, fully animated Mike Wazowski, the loveable green-bodied, one-eyed monster who joins best pal James P. Sullivan ("Sulley") in the prequel to Monsters, Inc., this summer as college students with hopes of becoming Scarers.



Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis joined Mike to share the news of the first-ever, three-park All-Nighter.

"This summer, Disney Parks are bursting with a monstrous lineup of new thrills, shows and happenings," said Kalogridis. "Guests can start Memorial Day Weekend with a 24-hour-marathon of memory-making as three Parks stay open all day and all night to celebrate the bi-coastal kick-off of a Monstrous Summer at Disney Parks."

Mike and Sulley will take a break from collegiate life and their Scare studies at Monsters University to host the All-Nighter, dropping in to scare up some school spirit. Guests will scream and giggle with delight at the lineup of thrills and entertainment that promises to make this a day and night to be remembered for a lifetime.

In Florida, the Magic Kingdom will feature a Monsters University theme where Mike and Sulley will be the Grand Marshals of the "Celebrate a Dream Come True" day parade - complete with pomp and circumstance - and make appearances in Tomorrowland. Guests also will find extra entertainment throughout the day and night, including characters in their pajamas in Town Square during the late night and early morning, and late-night dance parties in and around the courtyard of Cinderella Castle.

In California, guests can party the night away at both parks with special entertainment, including a Monsters University "TLT Monstrous" Dance Club and Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland, and late-night Character Pajama Party in Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland. The new Fantasy

Faire Royal Theatre at Disneyland will become a Royal Dance Hall late at night with a live band and dancing, and guests of Disney California Adventure will find Monstrous photo opportunities with new Monsters University "Dorms" in Hollywood Land and a new Monsters University float leading the Pixar Play Parade.

All three parks will feature limited-edition specialty merchandise and food and beverage offerings plus other surprises throughout the entire day.

The All-Nighter is just the beginning of the fun. In California, vacationers at "The Happiest Place on Earth" will see how Disneyland Resort "Just Got Happier" with great new attractions such as the "Mickey and the Magical Map" stage show. It is also the first summer for guests to experience the new Fantasy Faire with Disney Princesses at Disneyland, and they continue to enjoy the exciting new offerings of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.

Walt Disney World Monstrous Summer includes new offerings and popular favorites in all four parks. This is the first summer for New Fantasyland, which has received rave reviews from guests since its December grand opening as the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Guests also will find new, engaging offerings for the entire family throughout the Walt Disney World Resort this summer such as an interactive "Pirates Adventure" game at Magic Kingdom, the newly re-imagined Test Track at Epcot, the new Disney Junior show, featuring Sofia The First and Doc McStuffins, as new additions at Disney's Hollywood Studios, plus Wilderness Explorers at Disney's Animal Kingdom that will bring families together in exciting new ways.

ABOUT "MONSTERS UNIVERSITY"

Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer-and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike's plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, "Sulley" (voice of John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair's out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University's elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right. Screaming with laughter and oozing with heart, Disney-Pixar's "Monsters University" is directed by Dan Scanlon ("Cars," "Mater and the Ghostlight," "Tracy"), produced by Kori Rae ("Up," "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc.") and features music from future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and award-winning composer Randy Newman ("Monsters, Inc.," "Toy Story 3"). For more information, like us at facebook.com/PixarMonstersUniversity, and follow us on twitter.com/disneypixar. The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in 3D in select theaters. For more information, check out disney.com/MonstersU.

For more information on Monstrous Summer, check out http://www.disneyparks.com/MonstrousSummer

Monstrous “Monsters University” Monorail Pulls Into Walt Disney World Resort

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Just in time for a monstrous summer at Walt Disney World Resort, a special themed monorail featuring Mike, Sulley and a few of their classmates from Disney-Pixar's new movie "Monsters University" made its debut April 24 on the Magic Kingdom Park/Resorts loop. The new movie, in theaters in 3D June 21, takes a fun look back at how mismatched monsters Mike and Sulley met during college and eventually became the best of friends.

Here's a video of the "monsterrail" in action:

Summer Soars at Walt Disney World Resort

Shows, Attractions, Events and More Add Up to Monstrous Fun

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - How big is summer 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort? So big that only one word describes the attractions, shows, events and more awaiting summer guests to the Florida Vacation Kingdom: MONSTROUS.

Disney's Monstrous Summer is bursting with good times for the entire family, whether it's the first summer of fun in New Fantasyland or the nonstop thrills of a re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet. Whether it's the next surprise and delight experience of Limited Time Magic or all-new adventures letting guests play pirate in the Magic Kingdom or wilderness explorer in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The "Monstrous" lineup includes entertainment enhancements celebrating the June 21 release of the Disney-Pixar animated feature, "Monsters University." Mike and Sulley are dropping in from MU to scare up monstrous surprises all summer long. Guests will find all-new collegiate settings for meeting their favorite aspiring scarers. On the Backlot at Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests will find the Monsters University Student Union, complete with a view of the campus. Over at Magic Kingdom, the gang at the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor have been studying new jokes and are ready to graduate to new comedy bits in honor of their alma mater.

Throw in Star Wars Weekends, the grand reopening of California Grill, a new spa for Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and more and it adds up to a summer that's exciting, thrilling, magical - Monstrous!

"With top-flight new experiences and classic favorites, Walt Disney World celebrates summer like never before," said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "Summer season is always in-season for family vacations. For families and friends, our parks and resorts are poised to deliver memories to last a lifetime."

Here's a look around:

MONSTROUS FIRST SUMMER FOR.
New Fantasyland - From the lofty spires of Beast's Castle to the fathoms-deep world of Ariel, New Fantasyland pours on its first summer of fun for Magic Kingdom guests. The new space doubles the size of Fantasyland and is the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in an elegant ballroom inspired by Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" animated film classic. By day it's "great food fast" for lunch while at night it's full-service table dining featuring French-inspired cuisine. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid puts guests in clamshells traveling with Ariel and friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves. Enchanted Tales with Belle takes guests to a far-off French village and right into the world of Belle, Lumiere and Madame Wardrobe - feeling transformed in the process.

Guests can refresh with a frothy LeFou's Brew at Gaston's Tavern. Meantime over at Storybook Circus, guests can take a spin on one of two Dumbos, dip and soar aboard The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini or meet Disney characters at Pete's Silly Sideshow. There's more New Fantasyland to come as late 2013 sees the opening of Princess Fairytale Hall and all is on track for the spring 2014 opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a rollicking family coaster attraction.

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet -The re-imagined iconic attraction puts guests in the designer's studio for an immersive experience as they create their own virtual concept vehicle before boarding a "SimCar" to race through a thrilling series of hills, hairpin turns and straightaways.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes - If bowling is right up your alley, come experience the hottest trend going by rolling over to Splitsville, at Downtown Disney West Side. The hip, retro-style emporium features 30 lanes across two levels, live entertainment, lively indoor and outdoor bars and upscale dining including sushi, filet mignon sliders and more.

Limited Time Magic - Magical experiences in all shapes and sizes that appear and disappear as the next special surprise debuts will continue with a weeklong Independence Day celebration highlighting the summer season - all part of Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks. Independence Week will be red, white and blue as Disney Parks celebrates America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party - for an entire week. Guests enjoy an extra dash of pixie dust each week in 2013. Limited Time Magic takes its inspiration from those special, but fleeting, moments when families spend time together with shared experiences.

Disney Junior - Live on Stage! - Disney's Hollywood Studios guests get a real summer treat as Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First have been added to the onstage fun - joining the latest, most popular characters and stories from the Disney Junior line-up on television. Sofia the First as a series premiered earlier this year on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow experience - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow gives Disney's Hollywood Studios guests a chance to become immersed in the action and adventure of the four "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Buccaneer wannabes journey deep into an eerie lost grotto, where they are put to the test to see if they have what it takes to sail with Captain Jack's crew.

MONSTROUSLY NEW
Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort - Joining later this summer its sister spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, the new Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs will be inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. A completely redesigned space, Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, will feature 10 treatment rooms offering an array of services including water therapy, massage and facials. Senses will incorporate the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theming. Call 407-WDW-SPAS.

Wilderness Explorers Comes to Disney's Animal Kingdom - Coming soon, Disney's Animal Kingdom guests will be invited to become Wilderness Explorers and experience the park in engaging and challenging ways aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. Taking the official pledge, armed with field guides and earning sticker badges along the way as they complete their challenges, guests explore the park at their leisure. Aimed at guests 7-10 but fun for the entire family, Wilderness Explorers will be self-guided and encourage more "up close and personal" time with the animal inhabitants of the park. Wilderness Explorers will be included in Disney's Animal Kingdom admission.

New Meet-Up with Mickey, Minnie at Disney's Animal Kingdom - Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are scheduled to welcome Disney's Animal Kingdom guests to their new exploration headquarters, Adventurers Outpost, on Discovery Island, beginning this spring. The all-new indoor retreat is the perfect spot for guests to meet the globetrotting duo as they get ready to set off on their next adventure.

A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas - Coming soon, "A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas" will be a new interactive adventure where Magic Kingdom guests participate in pirate raids throughout Adventureland. Pirate maps lead to fabulous treasures as guests join Captain Jack Sparrow and fight off the Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, headhunters, curses - and the greatest threat of all, Calypso, the sea goddess. If they help Jack succeed in all the missions, they will be welcomed as part of his new crew. If not, they face the wrath of the cruel sea alone. The adventure is divided into 5 different raids, each comprising a series of interactive tasks.

"Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection" - Epcot guests can journey through 400 years of African-American achievement and contribution at this just-opened exhibit at the American Adventure pavilion. Exhibits draw from an extensive collection of rare art, artifacts, documents and books amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who share a passion for African-American history. Included in Epcot admission.

Disney Dining - Coming by summer's end: a re-imagined California Grill crowning Disney's Contemporary Resort. Guests will experience a beautiful new dining room, onstage kitchen and new dining choices - chef Brian Piasecki will keep the focus on creative, fresh, seasonal dishes and top-of-the-line sushi. At Epcot, what says summer better than ice cream? In France, L'Artisan des Glaces, an artisan ice cream and sorbet shop, debuts in mid-June with 16 yummy flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients (with the option of adding a shot of liquor on top, for grown-up tastes). Guests to France also will find Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, with delightful French sweets and savories, and Monsieur Paul for upscale dining that pays homage to celebrated chef Paul Bocuse.

Summer Latte, Anyone? More Starbucks Locations Coming to Disney Parks -Starbucks will be opening locations at Disney theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. When it reopens in early summer, Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom will keep its name and theming and continue to serve Disney favorites such as cookies, brownies and seasonal cupcakes, in addition to Starbucks signature beverages and other menu items.

At Epcot, Starbucks products will be featured when the Fountain View location reopens for midsummer. Each Starbucks location inside a Disney Park will reflect the theme of its surroundings.

New Summer Line of Disney Parks Cosmetics - In time for summer, fairy tale legends and secrets come to life with the captivating new Unlock the Spell collection from Beautifully Disney, Disney Parks' line of cosmetics and beauty products. The new-for-summer collection - inspired by the spellbound Tiana, Belle and Rapunzel - is rich in lush colors: soft, pretty yellow, rosy golds, and punchy purples. Unlock the Spell will make its debut at Trend-D at Downtown Disney.

MONSTROUS SUMMER EVENTS
'Star Wars' Weekends Returns to the Disney Galaxy in May and June - Star Wars Weekends, the Force-filled fun-fest that takes place annually at Disney's Hollywood Studios, returns to the Walt Disney World Resort galaxy every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 17-June 9, 2013. Among the features: a special Star Wars-themed parade, appearances by Star Wars celebrities, special additions to Jedi Training Academy, a Star Wars-themed talk show, behind-the-scenes presentations, limited-edition merchandise, a nightly dance celebration and more.

Downtown Disney Revs Up for Car Masters Weekend June 14-16 -Car Masters Weekend, now in its third year, is the perfect way to celebrate Father's Day as Downtown Disney West Side hosts a classic car show with a modern twist June 14-16, 2013. Featuring all things "Cars," the event showcases more than 150 classic, muscle and exotic cars; a chance for guests to meet "Cars 2" stars Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissile; and special appearances by automotive designer Chip Foose and Disney-Pixar "Cars" filmmaker Jay Ward. Completing the car-nucopia of events, fans may purchase tickets for a "Cars" & "Cars 2" movie marathon at AMC Downtown Disney 24, "test drive" Ridemakerz "Cars" models, and enjoy caricatures, themed food and beverage, live entertainment and more. Entertainment subject to change.

MONSTROUSLY GOOD DEAL FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS
Discover Disney - From now until early June, Florida residents can kick-start their summer - and score real savings with the Discover Disney ticket, offering three days of park-going fun for $119 (plus tax) for adults and children age three and up. The special Florida resident ticket can be purchased through June 3, 2013 for use any day (excluding block-out dates) from now through June 7, 2013.

March 14, 2013

Disney Unveils Vision for Disney Springs

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Downtown Disney Expansion Brings New Shops, Dining, Entertainment to Guests and Economic Boost for Central Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 14, 2013 - Walt Disney World Resort today announced the multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a unique destination that will treat guests to significantly more shopping, dining and entertainment amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm.

Disney Springs will feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands. From boutique shops to unique flagship anchor stores, guests will be able to explore a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences and discover options unlike any other currently available in Central Florida.

"Disney Springs will be a timeless, vibrant place where Walt Disney World guests and local residents can relax, shop, dine and be entertained in an imaginative setting where they'll instantly feel at home," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Featuring distinctive brands, world-class restaurants and unforgettable entertainment, Disney Springs will be brought to life with the same focus on storytelling and attention to detail that goes into our theme parks, resorts and cruise ships, resulting in a welcoming space that only Disney could create."

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Disney Springs will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments. In addition, Staggs noted, Central Florida stands to benefit from the expansion with more jobs, tax revenues and business opportunities.

Drawing inspiration from Florida's waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will include four outdoor neighborhoods interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront. In addition to a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry, the destination will feature:

-- The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.

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-- A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.

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-- The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.

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-- A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.

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Collectively, these efforts will not only have an impact within Walt Disney World, but will also have an economic ripple effect on Central Florida. The project will create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational roles.

Disney will share more details on specific experiences coming to Disney Springs in the future. Construction is slated to begin next month with new areas opening in phases. Disney Springs is expected to be complete in 2016.

February 21, 2013

Character Changes at Animal Kingdom - Adventurers Outpost Announced

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Beastly Bazaar located in the Discovery Island area of Animal Kingdom closed last August. It was announced a new character meet and greet would open in that building later in the year.

Walt Disney World has finally been announced (via the Disney Parks Blog) that the location will open this spring as The Adventurers Outpost, a character Meet and Greet with Mickey and Minnie.

With Mickey and Minnie moving out of Camp Minnie-Mickey, who will take their place? According to Disney Communications Manager Shawn Slater, "some of the friends you might find there include Chip 'n' Dale, Baloo, King Louie or Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. The best thing to do is to check with a Cast Member on the day of your visit."

Taking Pooh and Tigger's place at the Discovery Island Character Landing will be Daisy and Donald Duck.


February 4, 2013

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco Went to Disney World!

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2013) - Fresh from his team's 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco made good on his "I'm Going to Disney World" proclamation by quarterbacking a gala celebration Monday at Walt Disney World Resort.

Smiling and waving from a red convertible alongside Mickey Mouse in the shadow of Cinderella Castle, Flacco -- named the game's Most Valuable Player -- greeted cheering Magic Kingdom guests along a parade route lined with colorful red, white and blue balloons. Cheerleaders, Disney characters in football gear and a Florida blizzard -- of confetti -- completed the festive scene as Flacco quarterbacked another drive, this time down Main Street, U.S.A.

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Flacco was one of the game's standout players, firing three first-half touchdown strikes en route to 287 total passing yards. It capped a remarkable post-season in which Flacco connected on 11 TD passes, throwing no interceptions.

His "I'm Going to Disney World" - anchoring one of TV's most enduring and iconic Super Bowl commercials - was captured seconds after the final whistle Sunday night. A produced commercial from that moment aired on networks just hours before Flacco's appearance at the Magic Kingdom.

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Flacco's declaration became the 26th Super Bowl commercial aired in the Disney series that began in 1987 following Super Bowl XXI. The first "I'm Going to Disney World" commercial featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms was considered a groundbreaking concept - a produced commercial involving a current event, airing on major networks within hours of its conclusion. Flacco joins an all-star lineup of heroes from sports and beyond who have celebrated milestone accomplishments in "I'm Going to Disney World" commercials.

February 2, 2013

A Preview of the New California Grill at the Contemporary Resort

The Contemporary Resort's popular restaurant, California Grill, closed yesterday for an extensive refurbishment.

The Disney Parks Blog recently released renderings of what the new California Grill dining room and onstage kitchen will look like when it opens later this summer.

Designed by the Puccini Group in San Francisco, the restaurant will feature a wall of wines at the entrance and will showcase the spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom below.

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Chef Brian Piasecki has already begun working on the restaurant's new menu. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the menu will have updated versions of some of the restaurant's classics, like the beloved pork and polenta. This dish will become "Pork Two Ways" -- wood-fired tenderloin with goat cheese polenta, and braised lacquered pork belly with country applesauce.


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The Parks Blog also revealed a new 24-hour braised beef short rib with truffle whipped potatoes, vol-au-vent (puff pastry) with roasted vegetables and natural jus.


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As previously announced, sushi chef Yoshie is retiring, but the new sushi chefs will continue her legacy with such creative new tastes as Sea Urchin Nigiri with mamanori (soybean paper), salmon roe and freshly grated wasabi root.


January 28, 2013

Wheel of Fortune and Disney Come Together to Make Magic Memories for Contestants and At-Home Viewers

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Collaboration includes On-Air "Making Disney Memories Week" and "Wheel of Fortune Making Memories Sweepstakes"

CULVER CITY, CALIF. (January 2013) - It's "Disney Time" at Wheel of Fortune as the fun of America's Favorite Game Show and the magic of Disney come together in the game show's 30th season for a fully integrated, multiplatform collaboration including a week of shows and a sweepstakes for at-home viewers.

"Wheel of Fortune Making Disney Memories Week," airing January 28-February 1, 2013, will feature a custom set including three different scenes depicting Sleeping Beauty Castle, Cinderella Castle and the Disney Dream cruise ship. Additionally, Disney is providing iconic elements from the Disney Parks including a Disney teacup from the Mad Tea Party attraction, Lightning McQueen from the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, a pirate ship from Peter Pan's Flight and a Dumbo car from Dumbo, the Flying Elephant. And show hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White will be greeted on set by beloved Disney characters.

During the week of shows, Wheel of Fortune contestants can win Magical Vacations to Disney Parks or on Disney Cruise Line. The cars available through the 1⁄2 Car Tag game element will alternate between Honda and Chevrolet models, sponsors of Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, respectively.

In preparation for the broadcast, Vanna White and the Wheel of Fortune crew went on location to shoot customized segments at Disneyland theme park, Disney California Adventure theme park, Magic Kingdom theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, Epcot and the Disney Dream cruise ship.

The Wheel of Fortune Making Memories Sweepstakes encourages viewers to watch Making Disney Memories Week on Wheel of Fortune and enter each night's bonus puzzle solution at www.wheeloffortune.com. Ten winners will each enjoy a vacation for four to the winner's choice of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California.

The sweepstakes will live on a co-branded mini-site, accessible via www.wheeloffortune.com that will feature links to various Disney websites as well as photo and video galleries from Vanna's shoots.

Additionally, Wheel of Fortune will be able to offer its nearly 8 million members of their loyalty program, the Wheel Watchers Club, the chance to find their own Happily Ever After with Disney vacation offers.

Walt Disney World Resort Turns Up the Romance During "True Love" Week All Part of Limited Time Magic

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Lake Buena Vista, Fla. -- Love is in the air at Walt Disney World Resort as fairytale princesses find true love with their princes, and "happily ever after" becomes reality. It all happens during True Love Week February 11-17, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort.

The weeklong love fest is all part of Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks, where each week in 2013 guests will be treated to a sprinkling of Disney magic where unexpected surprises and delights enhance vacation memories.

During True Love Week, a tapestry of romance is woven throughout the resort - from limited- time Valentine's merchandise and special entertainment, to romantic dinners for two and new themed photo locations offering greetings with beloved Disney sweethearts - all for a limited-time only.

The weeklong event celebrates the love of friends and family, and invites couples to rekindle the flame. Here is the lineup:

-- Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as banners proclaiming True Love, heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn the Magic Kingdom.

-- Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of pink, red, lavender and blue bathe Cinderella Castle with themed lighting synced to a musical melodies adding to the ambiance.

-- Dinners for Two: Candlelit dinners for two with prix fixe menus at select restaurants during the most romantic week of the year. Specially-created menus at Artist Point (Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort); The Wave of American Flavors (Disney's Contemporary Resort); Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney's Hollywood Studios); Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney's Yacht Club Resort) make an ideal setting for a romantic evening. To book visit Disneyworld.com or call 407/WDW-DINE.

-- Valentine's-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plushes, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations available at select merchandise locations.

-- Royal Gathering: The rare opportunity to get a photo with Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses to enchanting character greeting locations.

In Town Square Theater you may find Mickey and Minnie, Aurora with Phillip or Rapunzel and Flynn. Mary Poppins joins Bert in Fantasyland, while Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana meet guests in the Enchanted Glade in Liberty Square.

Romantic Photo Locations in Magic Kingdom with your Sweetie:

-- Carriage Awaits: New Fantasyland invites lovers to create memories alongside Cinderella's Glass Coach situated by the new Castle wall for True Love Week.
-- Wishes Come True: Hearts and flowers enhance Cinderella's Wishing Well creating the perfect backdrop for a cherished moment.
-- Rose Walk: The Rose Garden in Central Plaza is all decked out with enchanting decor.

And more--

Romantic Touches: Long stem roses, chocolate covered strawberries, the finest champagne, or scattered rose petals create a romantic scene for lovebirds, all available through the Disney florist at www.disneyflorist.com.

Elegant Oasis for Relaxation: An aromatherapy couples' massage is just the escape after a day with the kids in the theme park. Couples' massages are available at the newly opened, full-service Senses, A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.

Perfectly Princess: Join your prince for the ultimate fairytale come true with a customized Disney wedding or honeymoon getaway. More than 1,000 couples get married, or renew their wedding vows in romantic settings in various locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort every year. Visit disneyweddings.com for more information.

Disneyland Park in California will celebrate True Love week with similar in-park offerings. Visit Disneyland.com for updates.

January 11, 2013

Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles Opens in France Pavilion

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Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles has opened in Epcot's France pavilion, in the space adjacent to the movie theater exit.

The new bakery, which replaces the former Boulangerie Patisserie in the pavilion, is much more spacious and offers a new, expanded menu. Offerings include pastries and other sweets, soups, sandwiches, salads and authentic French dishes such as quiche, Croque Monsieur (grilled ham and cheese) and pissaladiere, a pizza-like dish from the South of France.

The bakery opens at 9 a.m. every morning, before the official 11 a.m. World Showcase opening time.

The Disney Dining Plan is accepted for many items at this location.

The former patisserie is being remodeled and will soon reopen as an ice cream shop called Glacier.

January 1, 2013

Disney’s Animal Programs Works with New England Aquarium to Aid Sea Turtles

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 28, 2012 --The Seas with Nemo & Friends welcomed some new swimmers recently, with the addition of eight Kemp's Ridley sea turtles suffering from hypothermia after a recent cold snap in New England.

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Walt Disney World Resort is one of several organizations working with the New England Aquarium to provide medical care for the weak sea turtles after the New England Aquarium sea turtle hospital reached capacity. Disney's Animal Programs' team members picked up the sea turtles and provided thorough medical assessments including x-rays and blood tests.

Sea turtles are vulnerable to cold weather and frigid waters that lower their body temperatures and slow their metabolism, which could lead to life-threatening comas.

"The team at Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate and conserve turtles and tortoises every day," said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president, of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. "Over the years, our animal care team has nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and released them back to the wild."

Currently, Disney's animal care experts are focused on increasing the turtles' body weight and strength for open water swimming in the ocean. According to the care team, the sea turtles are eating well and recovering nicely. The ultimate goal is to release them into the wild, under direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In addition to caring for the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, Disney's Animal Programs Cast Members have transported cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtles to other rehabilitation centers in Florida.

Did you know?

-- Disney's Animal Programs often is called upon to help distressed animals. Disney animal care experts help to support the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of injured and orphaned animals every year.

-- Since its inception, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts.

November 26, 2012

The Village People and Tommy Roe Among Acts to Rock Flower Power Stage

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - A blooming bounty of festival firsts will welcome Disney guests to the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. First, the news:

-- Epcot chefs will cook up first-time festival food and beverage fun, with special cooking stations offering exclusive-to-the-festival bites along the park's World Showcase promenade.
-- A new circus-like "Land of Oz Play Area," based on the Disney fantastical film adventure "Oz: The Great and Powerful" to be released in March 2013, will debut a kaleidoscope of interactive fun.
-- Disney topiary experts will grow, shape and manicure a Fab Five Disney character topiary with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) featured in a celebratory floral cookout scene in living topiary color at the park's front entrance.
-- New illuminated gardens in the park's Future World and World Showcase will cast a colorful glow over each festival evening.

Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, colorful garden displays, a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers, interactive gardening seminars and whimsical children's play areas. On weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and '70s will perform.

Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars. During opening weekend, March 8-10, Chris Lambton of "Going Yard" will appear; other designers scheduled to take the stage include Brandon Johnson of "My Yard Goes Disney" and Meg Caswell of "Meg's Great Rooms."

Now the details:

-- Festival-themed flavors: Guests will discover culinary creations and refreshing libations at multiple festival-themed food and beverage locations. Chefs are tweaking the menu to include backyard barbecue and a variety of garden-inspired and global tastes. Around the World Showcase promenade
-- Fab Five topiary barbecue: 14-foot-tall topiary Goofy will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. At Epcot Front Entrance
-- Land of Oz Play Area: This interactive new children's play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids' imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents and the "Oz Movie Garden" of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming "Oz: The Great and Powerful." Also on tap: fun games, photo opportunities, the "great and powerful Oz's" crashed hot-air balloon and lush plants inspired by the movie. On the Imagination Walkway
-- Illuminated Gardens: Every night when the sun sets, many of the festival's world-famous Disney topiaries and gardens will twinkle and shine in a new light. Throughout World Showcase and Future World
-- "Monsters University" topiary: Floral representations of Mike and Sully from the hit Disney-Pixar film "Monsters, Inc." and stars of Disney-Pixar's June 2013 release, "Monsters University," will join the festivities as new topiary family members. On the Future World Walkway
-- Phineas and Ferb topiary: The popular Disney Channel animated celebs limit their shenanigans to go green for a family photo-op. Behind Spaceship Earth
-- "Radiator Springs" interactive play zone: Race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck "Mater" of the Disney-Pixar film "Cars 2" will be the well-maintained topiary stars of this play area. On the Test Track Walkway
-- Flower Power Firsts: 1970s top disco band The Village People (April 19-21) and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe (May 3-5) bring on the Flower Power beat when they take the concert stage. At America Gardens Theatre

And a new twist:

-- Fawn's Butterfly House: Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, take over the Butterfly House this year where hundreds of colorful winged beauties flit to life. On the Imagination Walkway

In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape. Daily hands-on gardening seminars, and other Festival Center events will offer innovative ideas, design tips and gardening know-how to park guests.

The Flower Power concert series kicks off March 6-10 with Micky Dolenz ("I'm a Believer") and continues each weekend with pop favorites including:

March 15-17: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats

March 22-24: The Guess Who

March 29-31: Nelson

April 5-7: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie

April 12-14: Paul Revere & the Raiders

April 19-21: The Village People (new!)

April 26-28: The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II

May 3-5: Tommy Roe (new!)

May 10-12: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

May 17-19: Starship starring Mickey Thomas.

While Disney guests celebrate spring during their festival visit, they also can explore the reimagined, design-centric Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, the hang-gliding sensation of Soarin' and other high-tech Future World marvels. In World Showcase, where the spotlight will shine on topiaries of Disney princesses, storybook characters and even pandas and trolls, guests will discover the attractions, shops and restaurants that represent cultures and cuisine of 11 countries.

For more information about the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

November 10, 2012

Starbucks Locations at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot Set to Open Next Year

According to the Disney Parks Blog, two Starbucks locations will open in Walt Disney World Resort next year, one in the Magic Kingdom and one in Epcot.

The Magic Kingdom's Main Street Bakery will close for refurbishment in January 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks in early summer. The cast members there will wear a costume consistent with the early 20th century look and feel of Main Street, U.S.A.

Over in Epcot, the Fountain View will close in March 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks location in midsummer. The cast member costumes there will be themed to match the park's futuristic theme.

The Starbucks locations at Magic Kingdom and Epcot will both offer the full complement of Starbucks signature beverages, artisan breakfast sandwiches and a wide selection of baked goods, including muffins, scones and specialty treats.

In June, a Starbucks location opened at Disney California Adventure park in the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe. More Starbucks locations are slated for both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland.

November 9, 2012

Buckle up for Fun! Epcot Guests “Drive their Design” at the Re-Imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Walt Disney World Resort guests will experience the thrill of designing their very own virtual vehicle - then putting their design through its paces - when the re-imagined, multi-sensory Test Track Presented by Chevrolet grand reopens Dec. 6, 2012.

The iconic Epcot attraction, a new collaboration between Chevrolet Design and the creative team of Walt Disney Imagineering, celebrates how meticulous design not only shapes the look of Chevrolet cars and trucks, but drives their performance on the open road.

For inspiration for the project, Walt Disney Imagineers made numerous visits to Detroit, collaborating with Chevrolet designers and touring the inner sanctums of Chevrolet's design studios.

"As storytellers, to be able tell Chevrolet's design story was fun for our Imagineers," said Eric Jacobson, senior vice president of WDI. "Chevrolet designers come from the same creative roots as Imagineers. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will become, for Epcot guests, an exciting part of their visit to Walt Disney World Resort."

Amid upbeat music, eye-popping lighting effects and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers -- and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.

"Through an enduring partnership, Chevrolet and Disney continue to inspire generations to imagine the impossible and innovate," said Chris Perry, vice president, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. "The re-imagined Test Track reflects the personality and values of Chevrolet design and offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at a discipline that drives our business. This first-of-its-kind automotive design attraction represents the best of Chevrolet design and Disney innovation."

Test Track guests enter an all-new, interactive pre-show area -- completely retooled and re-imagined from the garage-like testing area of the former GM Test Track. The sleek new "Chevrolet Design Center" invites guests to create their own virtual custom-concept vehicle. Car design wannabes will get to shape their own virtual car, truck or crossover vehicle and learn how their design choices perform against four important attributes:

Capability
Efficiency
Responsiveness
Power

At design kiosks, rows of touch screens become canvasses for guests to try their hand at design magic. Here, they can virtual-draw -- maneuver their vehicle design by shape, length, width and engine size. Once they create the design of their dreams, guests complete their creation with even more choices. They can make a design statement with an expressive front grill, order up wheels by size and style, add paint and other graphics and trick out their vehicle -- top to sides, front to back -- with the latest accessories. Then comes the crowning touch of their design -- adding Chevrolet's world-famous bowtie logo.

Their virtual Chevrolet vehicle complete, the adventure then shifts into high gear as guests -- armed with a card encoded with their personal design that travels with them -- board their 6-person "SimCar" ride vehicle. Ahead: a thrilling journey into a dazzling multi-sensory digital experience as guests put their personal design through a series of performance tests -- the exhilarating heart of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

Along their route, riders experience changing terrain and extreme conditions as their designs are scored for Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power. How does their design stand up on the challenging hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit? How well does it navigate through bumpy roads, icy conditions, turn-on-a-dime curves and other surprises? Their design skills are put to the test -- at speeds of up to 65 mph.

The fun and excitement continues in the post-show area.

Scoring their design. Guests get to compare their car's results to that of a baseline SimCar -- and also see how they performed against their fellow "designers."
At a digital driving table laying out a road course, guests can race their virtual custom-concept vehicles against other guests' designs, over changing terrain and encountering extreme conditions.
Brand-new car designers can create their own commercial -- starring their virtual car.
In another experience, guests get to pose with actual Chevrolet vehicles. Through green screen technology -- with a few taps on their touch screen -- guests can suddenly find themselves posing with their Chevrolet on the lunar surface, arcing across the galaxies, navigating the bright-white of a polar landscape or other thrilling scenes. The images become easily sharable on social media, sending virtual postcard greetings to family, friends or co-workers back home.
New and concept Chevrolet vehicles are laid out showroom-style. Guests can get behind the wheel of Chevrolet's latest models. Chevrolet product specialists are on hand to answer any questions.

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet is included in Epcot admission. For more: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/test-track/

October 17, 2012

Disney Parks Announces "Limited Time Magic" for 2013

The Disney Parks Blog announced this morning:

We have 52 weeks of magical surprises planned for you at Disney Parks in 2013.

Regular Blog readers already know that next year is a momentous year - with New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom Park history at Walt Disney World Resort and the first full year of a re-imagined Disney California Adventure park. And now, we're adding "Limited Time Magic," featuring unexpected experiences with an extra sprinkle of Pixie Dust at Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort that'll appear, and then disappear when the next debuts.

As part of this morning's "Limited Time Magic" announcement, Mickey and pals helped unveil a three-story castle in the heart of Times Square in New York City. The fairytale castle is made of 45,000 pounds of ice and will be visible for a limited time thanks to the warm Autumn weather.

Disney Ice Castle Times Square

So, what can you expect with "Limited Time Magic" at Disney Parks when it begins in January? Here's an idea:

True Love: Celebrate romance and enchantment throughout Valentine's Week with special moments and entertainment geared to lovebirds. Disney Princes join their Princesses to meet park guests in special settings, prix fixe menus turn up at select restaurants and Valentine's collectibles will be offered for the week.

Independence Week: It's red, white and blue as Disney Parks salutes America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party - for an entire week, with patriotic lighting bathing the Disney castles on both coasts. Mickey Mouse appears in his patriotic finest and guests will find special USA shirts, Ear Hats and other limited-edition souvenirs.

Long Lost Friends Week: Lesser-known Disney characters will move from the shadows to the spotlight meet-and-greets on both coasts. Photo opps with characters that could include Flik, Clarabelle Cow, Remy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will surprise and delight guests. And Disney guests even have the chance to vote online for which characters they want to see.

Pirate Week: Why talk like a pirate one day when you could celebrate these scalawags all week long? The adventures of Jack Sparrow come to life like never before during a bicoastal buccaneer bash in which Disneyland and Walt Disney World become pirate-palooza: pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and more.

Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands: The Dapper Dans, the iconic quartet from Main Street, U.S.A., will add a special finale to their show, claiming the title of the "Original Boy Band" and delivering a medley of hits from One Direction, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.

Unleash the Villains: Friday the 13th in September 2013 is a special day, so Disneyland park and Disney's Hollywood Studios are staying open until the 13th hour (1 a.m.). Maleficent, Captain Hook, Jafar and other Disney Villains host a dance party, complete with limited-edition collectibles and other nighttime mischief.

Golden Horseshoe Revue: The fabled Frontierland show returns to Disneyland park for one month only, bringing back the corny jokes and enduring songs that were often enjoyed by Walt Disney himself.

October 14, 2012

Walt Disney World Names 2013-14 Ambassadors

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 12, 2012 - Continuing a 47-year tradition created by Walt Disney himself, Walt Disney World Resort has selected two Cast Members to serve in the revered and sought-after role of Ambassadors.

In a ceremony held today at Epcot, Tye Arnold and Rich Tamayo received their official ambassador pins as part of the announcement, which was greeted with a burst of confetti and the applause of friends, family and Cast Members. The pair will represent more than 64,000 Cast Members as they share the magic of Disney throughout the resort and the Central Florida community from Jan. 1, 2013 - Dec. 31, 2014.

"Today, we celebrate two amazing people who exemplify the talent and excellence of Walt Disney World," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. "The role of Ambassador is special, not just because it represents our more than 64,000 Cast Members, but because it is a tradition that began with Walt Disney. And today, our Ambassadors share the magic of Disney with our guests, our Cast and our community."

When Tye Arnold sent a letter to the Disney Channel from his small Northeast Arkansas hometown to ask how he could become a Cast Member, he never imagined the variety of roles he would play at Walt Disney World Resort. After interning with the Disney College Program in Magic Kingdom, he worked in various host, tour and Cast leader roles at several of the resort's parks. Chosen as a Dream Squad Specialist during "The Year of a Million Dreams," Tye has helped create magical moments for Guests as part of the Guest Relations team and as year-end leader for Magic Kingdom's Dream Squad.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Rich Tamayo has transformed his passion for sports into a successful Disney career. After starting out as an event service assistant at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, he's held a variety of roles in the company's sports and recreation sphere - from working with the Atlanta Braves during spring training to ensuring guest satisfaction at various Disney resorts in Central Florida and Hilton Head, S.C. Most recently, Rich continued building his hospitality skills by joining the front office team at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.

Today's ceremony was the culmination of an intensive, two-month search for candidates who demonstrate a commitment to fellow Cast Members and the community, an understanding of the company's heritage and, above all, Disney passion. Each year, thousands of Cast Members are invited to participate in the Ambassador selection process, which includes several rounds of interviews and, for the finalists, an opportunity to interact with Cast, visit non-profit organizations and test their presentation and media interview skills.

Following a two-month training, the new Ambassadors will begin their busy two-year term. With more than 3,500 events to attend throughout the year, the Ambassadors will be responsible for duties such as hosting Disney VoluntEAR events, making appearances with Disney characters at community presentations, serving as master of ceremonies at park events and recognizing Cast Members' milestones and achievements.

The Disney Ambassador tradition began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland when Walt Disney was overwhelmed with requests for appearances and media interviews. The program has continued since he chose the first Disney Ambassador to represent the company, as well as its Cast Members and ideals, in 1964.

August 24, 2012

Frost Fairy Periwinkle from Disney’s ‘Secret of the Wings’ Will Soon Join Tinker Bell at Disney Parks

A new character will soon join Tinker Bell at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, to coincide with the release of the Disney Fairies movie "Secret of the Wings," which arrives on Blu-ray and DVD October 23.

In Secret of the Wings, Tinker Bell journeys into the mysterious world of the Winter Woods, where curiosity and adventure lead her to an amazing discovery and reveal a magical secret that could change her world forever. In the Winter Woods. Tinker Bell meets Periwinkle, a frost fairy who turns out to be Tink's sister, born of the same baby's laugh.

Periwinkle and Tinkerbell

Soon, you'll be able to meet Periwinkle with upcoming appearances at Tinker Bell's Magical Nook at Magic Kingdom Park and Pixie Hollow at Disneyland park. These areas will receive a sparkling layer of snow and ice, creating the perfect environment to greet Periwinkle and make her feel at home. Even Tinker Bell will be dressed for the occasion, wearing her warm, wintry ensemble from the film.

Look for Periwinkle to join her sister at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom parks, beginning in mid-September.

August 7, 2012

Pete's Silly Sideshow Coming to Fantasyland Expansion

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion


The one section of Storybook Circus that hasn't opened yet is the area that houses 3 huge big-top tents. We know one will be merchandise, one will probably be food and the other will house Character Meet and Greets.

The Disney Parks Blog has announced details for Pete's Silly Sideshow!

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion

This new character greeting area has two entrances: One line leads to Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus star) and Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortuneteller), while the other line leads to The Great Goofini (Goofy as a daredevil stunt pilot) and The Amazing Donaldo (Donald Duck as a snake charmer).

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion


Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion


Once inside the tent, guests have two options: Join a line that leads to Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus star) and Madame Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortuneteller), or head to see The Great Goofini (Goofy as a daredevil stunt pilot) and The Astounding Donaldo (Donald Duck as a snake charmer).

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion

Pete's Silly Sideshow Fantasyland Expansion


In case you were wondering, Mickey Mouse will continue to greet guests in his current location at Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A. And as usual, all entertainment is subject to change.

July 31, 2012

Maurice's Cottage in Fantasyland

Each week more details and photographs are released by Disney Parks Blog for the new Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World

Here is a look at Maurice's Cottage and some of the detail going into the exterior.

Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

This home has a tinkerer's touch both inside and out. The roof sports mismatched chimneys and a creative weather vane.

Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

On the ground level, the house is highlighted with heart shutters. Support beams line the house, which Imagineers intricately hand-carved and stained to look just like wood. Also, notice in this shot how the metal that affixes the beams to the house was designed to look aged and weathered.

Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

A wishing well and wooden fence, which has been repaired by the handy Maurice using extra wood found around the house, outline the property.


Maurice and Belle's Cottage in Fantasyland

Here is more information about Maurice's Cottage

Tinkering with the interior light fixures


Storytime with Belle and Lumiere

A Peek behind the walls

July 26, 2012

Watching the Olympics While at Disney World

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The 2012 Summer Olympic Games start in London on Friday, July 27.

Starting that day, and through Sunday, August 12 when the Olympics end, you'll find many televisions around Walt Disney World Resort tuned to the telecasts:

-- Animal Kingdom Lodge: Victoria Falls, Sanaa Lounge, Maji Pool Bar and Uzima Springs Pool Bar

-- Yacht Club: Crew's Cup Lounge

-- Beach Club Resort: Martha's Vineyard

-- Contemporary Resort: The Wave Lounge

-- Grand Floridian: Mizner's Lounge

-- BoardWalk: ESPN Club

-- Port Orleans Resort - Riverside: Muddy Rivers Pool Bar and River Roost Lounge

-- Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter: Scat Cat's Lounge

-- Old Key West Resort: Gurgling Suitcase

-- Saratoga Springs Resort: On the Rocks Pool Bar and The Turf Club Lounge

-- Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground: Crockett's Lounge

-- Wilderness Lodge: Territory Lounge

-- All-Star Sports Resort-- all three pool bars

-- Caribbean Beach Resort: Banana Cabana

-- Animal Kingdom: Rainforest Cafe

-- Coronado Springs Resort: Rix Lounge

-- Downtown Disney: Fulton's Crab House, Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Paradiso 37, House of Blues and Rainforest Cafe

-- Polynesian Resort: Tambu Lounge

July 17, 2012

Epcot's 30th Celebration - Merchandise

Product Developer Mary Myers has been working on merchandise for Epcot's 30th Celebration.

The shirts below are already available in Mouse Gear (Future World)

Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise

Here are examples of the merchandise that will be released this fall including shirts, pins, and "toothpick" holders sporting the original Future World icons!


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise


Epcot 30th Celebration Merchandise

July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

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July 3, 2012

Beautiful Mosaics in the Be Our Guest Restaurant

Each week more details are revealed for unopened areas of the Fantasyland Expansion. This week, more photos of the inside the Be Our Guest Restaurant have been released:

beourguestmosaic1.jpg

One of the floor mosaics in the entrance is the Beast's enchanted rose trimmed in gold.

beourguestmosaic2.jpg

The mosaics on the walls tell the love story of Belle and the Beast.

beourguestentrance1.jpg

This is the doorway to the restaurant. Notice the detail in the columns!

The Be Our Guest restaurant will begin taking reservations sometime in August and will open in time for the holidays.

July 2, 2012

California Grill to Close for Extensive Rehab

California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort Gets Ready for a New Look

California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney's California Grill will be closing for an extensive renovation beginning January 6, 2013. The restaurant is slated to reopen late summer.

Sporting a new look when it reopens, Chef Brian Piasecki is very excited about the "enhancements to the interactive kitchen - we'll be able to give a fresh spin to California Grill classics, and add some cutting-edge new selections to the menu."

Chef Brian Piasecki

There will be changes to the menu but Chef Brian explains "we'll still focus on a fresh, seasonal menu with top-of-the-line sushi. You can still look for creative flavors and techniques, and sophisticated cuisine."

California Grill's two private dining rooms are expected to remain.

The Cast Members in the kitchen as well as the dining room all plan to return.

California Grill sits high atop the Contemporary Resort offering spectacular views of not only the Magic Kingdom, but Epcot and the surrounding areas as well. It is one of the most popular spots for dinner and viewing the Magic Kingdom fireworks!

California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

June 27, 2012

Okapi Baby Born at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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The cast at Disney's Animal Kingdom is happy to announce that late last week -- on June 21 -- they welcomed a new okapi calf to the family. The female calf has been named Nafuna, an African name meaning "delivered feet first."

First-time mom Zawadi and the calf, who weighed 35 pounds at birth, are doing very well and are being monitored closely by the animal care team in their backstage home at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The calf's dad, Akili, lives at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, where guests also can see okapi on the resort's savanna.

Guests will have two opportunities to catch a glimpse of the okapi calf a couple of months from now, when she goes out in the park's Ituri Forest. Guests can see okapi when they ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition and when they travel the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

In the wild, the okapi is considered rare, and they are threatened by habitat loss due to logging and human settlement, as well as by hunting.

Okapi fun facts:

-- The okapi's stripes work as camouflage when hiding in the partial sunlight that filters through the forest canopy.
-- Okapi are typically solitary animals, living alone or in mother-offspring pairs. They are extremely wary and secretive, making okapi very difficult to observe in the lowland rainforest of central Africa where they make their home.
-- The okapi's gestation period is about 14 months.
-- Adult okapi can reach weights of 550-720 pounds, with females typically being larger than males. They can live over 30 years in zoological facilities.
-- Normally silent, female okapi vocalize with a soft "chuff" during courtship and when calling to their calves. There are infrasonic qualities to their call, which are below the frequency that the human ear can pick up.

June 20, 2012

President Obama and Mitt Romney to Address NALEO Conference at Disney

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 20, 2012 - Serving as the site for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) 29th Annual Conference, Disney's Contemporary Resort and Convention Center will be a hub of political activity today through Saturday as President Barack Obama, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and other special dignitaries are scheduled to address attendees.

"We're pleased that the President of the United States will be joining our nation's Latino leadership at this historic event," said Sylvia R. Garcia, NALEO President. "With the changing demographics and the growing Latino population, this conference is an opportunity for the President to address key elected officials and leaders regarding the Administration's efforts to address the unique issues and challenges facing the Latino community today."

"We are grateful that Governor Mitt Romney has accepted our invitation to join us and address the nation's Hispanic leadership at our annual conference," said Juan C. Zapata, Chairman of the NALEO Educational Fund. "Hispanic officials are eager to hear more about the Governor's plans for the country and his thoughts on the Hispanic community's aspirations and concerns."

Additional speakers include: US Senator Bill Nelson, US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solís; Florida Governor Rick Scott and former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, among others.

The three-day convention is the nation's largest gathering of Latino leadership with nearly 1,000 Latino public officials who work in all levels of government. Conference participants will join political and policy leaders for panel discussions on education, health, financial empowerment, broadband adoption and the growing clout of Latino voters in American politics.

Click here to view the conference schedule.

NOTE: Possible traffic congestion and delays are anticipated during the President's visit on Friday, June 22. Guests and Cast Members should allow extra time for travel.

Also, now through Saturday, June 23, the guest parking lot at Disney's Contemporary Resort will only be available to Guests staying at the resort or with dining, spa or recreation reservations.

On Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, the following guest parking lots will be available only to Guests staying at the resort or with dining, spa or recreation reservations:

· Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

· Disney's Polynesian Resort

June 14, 2012

Record-Setting Attempt at Disney’s Blizzard Beach

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Disney's Blizzard Beach joined 500 host locations for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson event June 14, 2012. It was part of a worldwide simultaneous effort to break the Guinness World Record set last year. The global swim lesson, aside from great fun, brings awareness to the importance of water safety.

June 12, 2012

Tinkering in Maurice's Cottage at New Fantasyland

The latest round of detailed photos of the Fantasyland expansion are from Maurice's Cottage (opening in time for the holidays).

Maurice's Cottage is the room that welcomes guests to the Enchanted Tales With Belle meet-and-greet experience. You can explore the tinkerer's humble cottage and workshop.


maurice1n.jpg


maurice2n.jpg


maurice3n.jpg

June 5, 2012

Sneak Peak at Prince Eric's Castle -Fantasyland Expansion

Prince Eric's Castle will house what will certainly be a very popular addition to the Fantasyland Expansion, Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. While the ride itself is almost identical to the version in Disney California Adventure, the exterior theming is completely different.

Eric-Castle1.jpg

Eric-Castle2.jpg

Eric-Castle3.jpg

Fantasyland Expansion Continues - What's Next for Dumbo

As Fantasyland gears up for the next phase to open, the Disney Parks blog has shared some sneak peak photos for Storybook Circus.

While a new Dumbo and re-themed Goofy's Barnstormer has already opened, the next phase will include the 2nd Dumbo and the brand new interactive queue area!

According to Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager, "This innovative queue area will completely redefine what it means for guests to prepare for a Disney attraction. Here's how it will work: Guests arrive at Dumbo's big top and receive a circus ticket pager that virtually holds their place and notifies them when it's their turn to board the attraction. Kids (and kids of all ages) can then become part of the show inside the tent by enjoying circus-themed play experiences, while Dumbo flies high above."

Families no longer have to wait in outdoor lines in the hot sun! With 2 Dumbos and the new queue area, the Must Do Dumbo charge will hopefully turn into a more pleasant experience for all.

Dumbo Queue

Dumbo Queue


June 1, 2012

Walt Disney World Ticket Price Increase June 3, 2012

source: Disney Parks Blog 6/1/12

Ticket prices at Walt Disney World Resort will increase on June 3.

AllEars.Net's preferred ticket vendor MapleLeafTickets.com will honor the pre-increase prices into next week.

Theme Park Ticket Options(*)
Days On Ticket Base Ticket Optional Add-Ons
Ages 10-up Ages 3-9 Park Hopper® Water Park Fun & More Park Hopper® & Water Park Fun & More No Expiration
10 days $318
($31.80/day)
$300
($30.00/day)
$57 $57 (10 visits) $79 (10 visits) $275
9 days $308
($34.22/day)
$290
($32.22/day)
$57 $57 (9 visits) $79 (9 visits) $250
8 days $298
($37.25/day)
$280
($35.00/day)
$57 $57 (8 visits) $79 (8 visits) $215
7 days $288
($41.14/day)
$270
($38.57/day)
$57 $57 (7 visits) $79 (7 visits) $190
6 days $278
($46.33/day)
$260
($43.33/day)
$57 $57 (6 visits) $79 (6 visits) $165
5 days $268
($53.60/day)
$250
($50.00/day)
$57 $57 (5 visits) $79 (5 visits) $130
4 days $256
($64.00/day)
$239
($59.75/day)
$57 $57 (4 visits) $79 (4 visits) $85
3 days $242
($80.67/day)
$226
($75.33/day)
$57 $57 (3 visits) $79 (3 visits) $40
2 days $176
($88.00/day)
$164
($82.00/day)
$57 $57 (2 visits) $79 (2 visits) $30
1 day $89 $83 $35 $57 (2 visits) $79 (2 visits) n/a

Base Ticket admits guest to one theme park each day of use. Park choices are: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Park Hopper option entitles guest to visit more than one theme park on each day of use. Park choices are any combination of Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom on each day of use.

Water Park Fun & More option entitles guest to a specified number of visits (between 2 and 10) to a choice of entertainment and recreation venues. Choices are Disney's Blizzard Beach water park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park, DisneyQuest, Disney's Oak Trail golf course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (includes 30-minutes of game play at The PlayStation® Pavilion), Disney's Fantasia Gardens (before 4:00 pm) and Disney's Winter Summerland (before 4:00 pm).

No expiration means unused admissions on a ticket have no expiration date. All tickets expire 14 days after first use unless No Expiration is purchased.

Theme Park Annual Pass Options (*)
Ticket Ages 10-up Ages 3-9
Annual Pass $574 $574
Annual Pass entitles guest to unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except activities/events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as complimentary parking.
Premium Annual Pass $699 $699
Premium Annual Pass entitles guest to unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except activities/events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Disney's Oak Trail golf course, DisneyQuest and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, as well as complimentary parking.
Attractions Outside the Theme Parks (*)
Ticket Ages 10-up Ages 3-9
Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach 1-Day 1-Park / Annual Hopper $52 / $99.95 $44 / $80.50
DisneyQuest 1-Day / Annual Pass $44 / $89 $38 / $71
DisneyQuest + Water Parks Annual Pass $129 $99
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex $14.95 $10.28
Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba $73-$128 $58-$102
Theme Park Miscellaneous Options (*)
Parking $14 (tax included) ($15 camper/trailer) per day
Single Stroller $15 per day ($13 per day for length-of-stay rentals)
Double Stroller $31 per day ($27 per day for length-of-stay rentals)
Locker Theme Parks: $7 per day (large lockers $9 per day) + $5 refundable deposit
Water Parks: $8 per day (large lockers $10 per day) + $5 refundable deposit
Wheelchair $12 rental per day ($10 per day for length-of-stay rentals)
ECV $50 rental per day + $20 refundable deposit

Stroller, Wheelchair and ECV rentals at Downtown Disney require a $100 refundable deposit.

Florida Resident Theme Park Tickets and Options (*)
Park Hopper® Water Park Fun & More Park Hopper® & Water Park Fun & More
Ages 10+ Ages 3-9
Florida Resident 4-Day Ticket $192 $178 $28.50 $28.50 $57
Florida Resident 3-Day Ticket $169 $157 $28.50 $28.50 $57
1-Day MYW Ticket $89 $83 $17.50 $28.50 $46

Valid proof of Florida residency per adult is required for purchase and use. Florida Resident 3-Day Ticket and Options and Florida Resident 4-Day Ticket and Options expire 6 months after first use or 12/18/2013, whichever comes first. Block-out dates apply.

Florida Resident Theme Park Annual/Seasonal Pass Options (*)
Ticket Ages 10-up Ages 3-9
Florida Resident Annual Pass $425 $425
Florida Resident Annual Pass entitles residents to unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom, plus complimentary parking.
Florida Resident Premium Annual Pass $559 $559
Florida Resident Premium Annual Pass entitles residents to unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks, DisneyQuest, Disney's Oak Trail golf course and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, plus complimentary parking.
Florida Resident Seasonal Pass $299 $299
Florida Resident Seasonal Pass entitles residents to admission to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom except for "blockout" dates around Christmas/New Years, Easter/spring break, and peak summer vacation period; the pass expires 365 days after activation.


Florida residents can also take advantage of special pricing on 3-Day and 4-Day tickets and a popular monthly payment plan for annual passes.

Any of these ticket options enable guests to make the most of their Walt Disney World experience.

Mail a Smile Forever Stamps Celebrate Disney-Pixar Characters

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - Amid a sea of smiles, the U.S. Postal Service celebrated the issuance of 125 million new stamps today featuring popular Disney-Pixar characters. The Mail a Smile Forever stamps official First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony took place at Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Available nationwide today, all 125 million stamps can be purchased online at usps.com/shop, by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724) or by visiting Post Offices.

"These delightful stamps lift spirits and touch hearts and remind us that when it comes to connecting with loved ones, technology is no match for the mail," said Jo Ann Feindt, Postal Service Southern Area vice president, in dedicating the stamps as part of the resort's grand opening.

Joining Feindt in dedicating the stamp featuring beloved Disney-Pixar characters was Jay Ward, legacy guardian for Pixar Animation Studios.

"We're thrilled 'to infinity and beyond' that these popular characters from Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo and other great Disney-Pixar films are featured on these colorful new stamps," said Ward. "This stamp issue will make posting a letter lots of fun for everyone in the family."

Following up on Send a Hello stamps issued in 2011, the eagerly awaited Mail a Smile stamp sheet includes five different designs spotlighting:

Flik and Dot from "A Bug's Life" (1998);
Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and Dashiell "Dash" Parr from "The Incredibles" (2004), with "Dash" also shown running in the background;
Nemo and Squirt from "Finding Nemo" (2003);
Woody, Bullseye, and Jessie from "Toy Story 2" (1999); and
Boo, Mike Wazowski, and James P. "Sulley" Sullivan from "Monsters, Inc." (2001).

The back of the stamp sheet shows blue-pencil sketches of characters from these movies interspersed among text that exhorts readers to mail a smile to a loved one. Postal Service art director William Gicker of Washington, DC, worked with Disney-Pixar to design the stamp art.

Customers may view the Disney-Pixar characters Forever stamps, as well as many of this year's other stamps, and vote for their favorite stamps on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service's online site for background information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at a local Post Office, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Mail a Smile Stamp
Main Office - Orlando
10401 Post Office Drive
Orlando, FL 32862-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes by mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Aug. 1, 2012.

How to Order First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service Catalog Request

PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
Philatelic Products

There are nine philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

470063, First-Day Cover Set of 5, $4.45.
470066, Postcards (20) 4 of each design, $15.95.
470067, First-Day-of-Sale Set of 5, $4.45.
470068, Digital Color Postmark (DCP) Set of 5, $8.
470084, Uncut Press Sheets, $36.
470091, Ceremony Program (random single), $6.95.
470092, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
470094, Stamp Deck Card w/DCP (random single), $1.95.
470099, Cancellation Keepsake (Random DCP w/Pane), $10.95.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

May 31, 2012

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens, Putting Hundreds More Cast Members to Work in Central Florida

AoA grand opening

Central Florida Leaders Gather for Historic Moment at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. May 31, 2012 - Disney's Art of Animation Resort opened its doors for the first time today as hundreds of Cast Members welcomed guests and community leaders from across Central Florida who shared in the historic moment.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort supported 800 jobs during construction and once completely open later this year, will employ 750 Cast Members.

"Disney's Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world's premiere family vacation destination," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. "As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites."

The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens its first phase today with 320 Finding Nemo family suites, which sleep up to six guests. Cars will open June 18 with 480 suites, and The Lion King opens Aug. 10 with another 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each of the classic films. Standard-sized guest rooms will make up The Little Mermaid wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort hotel tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It immediately transports guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in. Pencil drawings of Nemo, Ariel, Lightning McQueen and Simba adorn the entryway, and a chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

At each wing of the resort, giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters pave the way to each storyline revealed. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort's exterior and interior.

"Our goal is to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney-Pixar animated classics," said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Inside the guestrooms, everything from linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all tie to the storyline. In Finding Nemo, there's coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the "Big Blue" pool, the largest resort hotel swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children's play area.

The food and beverage offerings at Disney's Art of Animation are drawn from guest feedback received at restaurants across Walt Disney World Resort. As a result, the Landscape of Flavors food court will feature new offerings that include fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and a Mongolian grill.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the main lobby and nighttime movies poolside.

Disney Imagineers continue to put finishing touches on the three wings of the resort opening throughout the summer and into September. At Cars, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It's a journey through an African landscape in The Lion King complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel's grotto in an under-the-sea kingdom in The Little Mermaid courtyard.

Situated adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort will open in phases with family suite rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as $95.

Those staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens, Immerses Guests in the Middle of the Story With Enchanting Tales

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. May 31, 2012 - The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life just in time for the summer vacation season as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens its doors today with "Finding Nemo," the first phase of the new resort offering at Walt Disney World Resort.

Opening in phases, each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney-Pixar films.

Family suite wings will showcase "Finding Nemo" opening today with 320 suites, "Cars" opening June 18 with 480 suites, and "The Lion King" opening Aug. 10 with 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each beloved film depicted. Standard guest rooms will make up "The Little Mermaid" wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It will immediately transport guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in as pixilated patterns and wavy ribbons of bold colors decorate the resort's exterior. Pencil drawings of Ariel, Lightning McQueen, Nemo and Simba adorn the entryway, and a whimsical chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

"Our goal was to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney-Pixar animated classics," said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters seem to come to life as they pave the way to each storyline revealed. Scenic settings, icons-including a brightly-colored coral landscape, a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, a towering Mufasa and more-immerse guests into the playful world of animation. At the "Cars" wing, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It's a journey through an African landscape in "The Lion King" complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel's grotto in an under- the-sea kingdom in Little Mermaid courtyard.

From linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all details of the guestrooms tie to the storyline. In "Finding Nemo," there's coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine. Zazu takes center stage on the headboards in "The Lion King," while Pumbaa and Timon decorate the shower curtain.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the "Big Blue" pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children's play area. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort's exterior and interior.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar, and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the "Finding Nemo" lobby, and nighttime movies poolside. There are two additional pools under way in the "Cars" and "The Lion King" wings as well.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar, pizza delivery and Landscape of Flavors food court. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food court features items such as fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue. Original backgrounds from featured films decorate the walls in the dining area, adding to the attention to detail and sense of immersion.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, will open in phases with rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as $94.

"Disney's Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world's premiere family vacation destination," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. "As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites."

Those staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

For reservations, guests can call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or contact their travel agent.

May 29, 2012

Savor Global Tastes, First Vegan Marketplace, Florida Flavors at 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 28-Nov. 12

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Festival Planners Add Extra Day of Tasting Fun

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - For a record 46 days beginning Sept. 28, 2012, Disney guests can taste their way around the world during the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. The culinary event, which includes daily Eat to the Beat! pop concerts, will continue through Nov. 12 -- adding one extra day of festival fun.

Festival chefs are firing on all burners with menus designed for every palate and a new Marketplace VIP Access Chef Tour geared toward the foodie who wants the inside culinary scoop.

Fresh from festival planners:

New festival marketplaces debut - TERRA Marketplace will offer all vegan menu items including Trick'n Chick'n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese; FLORIDA Marketplace will introduce fresh twists on regional flavor samplings. More than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces with tantalizing new aromas and flavors will tempt guests in the World Showcase.

Marketplace Chef Tours give VIP access - Each Wednesday, festival chefs will host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. Guests will taste five marketplace dishes and five beverage items to include beer, wine and cocktails while learning chefs' culinary secrets.

Newly crafted beverages are geared toward family dining - Children of all ages can try inventive new sips during the family's marketplace dine-around. Child-friendly bites to pair will include beef empanadas and cheese fondue.

Fan favorites debut at Eat to the Beat! Concerts - Pop acts like Smash Mouth (Oct. 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of "The Voice" (Oct. 13-14) will sizzle during their first Epcot nightly concerts included with other festival activities in admission. Eighteen Eat to the Beat! acts are slated, including other new bands Blues Traveler (Nov. 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (Nov. 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series Sept. 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

HGTV sets the table - Superstar HGTV designers host home entertaining seminars every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Celebrity chefs bring it - Renowned chefs like Robert Irvine and Rock Harper share their talents during culinary demos.

Festival Welcome Center buzzes with extras - Guests can make the most of complimentary Authentic Taste seminars. Culinary demonstrations and wine seminars feature new tastes and sips for a nominal fee.

Reserved culinary events kick tastings up a notch - Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.

Other festival highlights include:

-- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events.
-- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
-- Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
-- "3D" Disney's Dessert Discovery on select Fridays.

What's Included with Epcot admission:

Authentic Taste seminars, HGTV seminars, special book signings, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.
Special Programming by Reservation:

The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs will be updated periodically this summer at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

May 18, 2012

New Fantasyland Model On Display at One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The model for the New Fantasyland expansion, which was last on display for media during the Summer to Remember press event and for Disney fans at the 2011 D23 Expo, is currently being placed into the One Man's Dream exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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May 9, 2012

White Rhino Gives Mother’s Day Special Meaning at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 9, 2012 - Mother's Day may be a little more memorable this year for a Disney "mom" that recently gave birth to a white rhino calf at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

After a 16-month gestation period, Kendi delivered her fourth calf Friday, May 4. The healthy male, which has not yet been named, is the ninth white rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom; his mother, 13-year-old, Kendi, was the first.

"The birth of a white rhino calf is certainly something to celebrate since the population of this species is endangered in the wild," said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. "It's encouraging that with protection and careful management, the global population of white rhinos continues to grow."

The calf and mother doing well and are currently off the savannah bonding at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Guests will be able to see them when they return to the herd in the coming weeks.

Disney's Animal Kingdom participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The program focuses on sustaining the white rhino population in North America.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the success of the rhino breeding program has directly contributed to the conservation of other white rhinos in the wild. In 2006 two rhinos born at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Nande and Hasani, joined four others at Ziwa Sanctuary to help reestablish a white rhino population in Uganda. So far, Nande has been responsible for two offspring - a male calf born in 2009 was the first rhino born in Uganda since the 1980s followed by a female white rhino born in 2011.

Disney's commitment to conservation and rhinos goes beyond breeding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have provided more than $1 million in support to programs in Africa and Asia to protect the last five remaining species of rhino. For more information on the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund visit www.waltdisneyworld.com/about.

White rhino fun facts:

-- White rhinos are named not for their color, which is gray, but for the shape of their mouths. The word "weit" in Afrikaans means wide.
-- The white rhino is among the world's largest land mammals, second only to the elephant. A male rhino can grow to more than 5,000 pounds as an adult.
-- A rhino can move its ears independently to pick up sounds but it depends most on smell.
-- The receptors responsible for the rhino's sense of smell are larger than the animal's entire brain.
-- The white rhinoceros has the widest set of nostrils of any land based animal.

May 4, 2012

Splitsville Rolls into Downtown Disney in Fall 2012

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla, April 27, 2012 - Each year, 55 million people try their hand a bowling around the world. Everyone finds a bit of joy in the experience from the avid league bowler to the weekend warrior. But the age-old image of bowling is about to change with the new opening of Splitsville, America's Bowling Alley, at Downtown Disney this Fall.

"We're really excited to be opening our doors in such a special place," said Guy Revelle, co-founder of Splitsville. "Bowling is a perfect experience for groups of all sizes. It's where families come together to create memories, children can teach adults, and friendly rivalries are born. Guests laugh, shout, cheer and bring back the timeless high-five. And that's just in the first frame!"

If you think that this is your father's bowling alley, think again. Splitsville's 50,000-square foot, two-story Downtown Disney location will have 30 lanes, two kitchens, a dramatic balcony, ample outdoor seating, billiard tables and live entertainment.

"In a world of smart phones, tablets, texting and social media, people need an outlet to connect again," said Mark Gibson, co-founder of Splitsville. "We believe that a concept centered around the classic sport of bowling, but with an improved atmosphere, upscale food and pleasant service, results in a surprising destination for people to have fun together."

Located in the heart of Downtown Disney's West Side, Splitsville puts a whole new spin on bowling with its emphasis on unique design. Guests will be greeted with upscale sushi bars, plush booths and dynamic decor overlooking the bowling lanes. The design blends both hip and retro elements, resulting in an energetic yet comfortable atmosphere.

"One of Splitsville's differentiating features is its innovative interior design," said Gibson. "The lanes are separated into several clusters, which create unique lines of sight and allow guests to view bowling from a perspective that you can't find anywhere else. It makes for a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience."

"Splitsville is clearly going to be a great place to bowl," said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. "But I think our guests are going to be surprised that they can also go there for great food and to watch sports. That's what makes Splitsville a perfect fit and such a great addition for Downtown Disney."

Splitsville has taken great care to develop an exceptional menu that combines traditional and upscale offerings. With the help of award-winning chef Tim Cushman, Guests will find surprising elements such as fresh rolled sushi, grilled mahi-mahi with "Voodoo" shrimp and hand-cut steaks alongside alley-classics like cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries and pepperoni pizza.

"We have created a collection of sharable foods combined with unique beverages and signature desserts," said Revelle. "Splitsville truly has something for everyone. We invite you to Roll in and Rock out!"

May 1, 2012

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant Salutes Belfast-Built Titanic

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100th Anniversary Giftware Collection

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant celebrates the legacy of the R.M.S. Titanic, built in Belfast, Ireland, with its gift-shop introduction of the Titanic Official Merchandise Giftware Collection.

One hundred years after the Olympic-class luxury cruise ship sank on her maiden voyage, Raglan Road presents a selection of gifts and memorabilia as a tribute to the world-class liner and its passengers.

"It was a beautiful ship with such an incredibly poignant story that touched so many hearts," says Lorraine Gorham, Raglan Road marketing director. "As the world pays tribute to the Titanic and its legacy, we are pleased to offer these fine collectibles for Titanic enthusiasts."

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The shop's Titanic Official Merchandise Giftware includes a wide range of items such as key rings, shirts, hip flasks, spoon sets, shot
glasses and other items from $7-$25. There's a spoon rest with a haunting image of the ship that's perfect for the home cook, and a collection of shot glasses with different images of the ship and its White Star Line flag on each. The shop will add additional gifts to the collection through the year.

And on October 4, Raglan Road celebrity chef Kevin Dundon will present a Titanic-themed Signature Dinner as part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival's culinary lineup.

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located on Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Live entertainment nightly includes Irish house band Creel (Monday through Saturday) and Irish band Tuskar Rock (Sundays) plus Irish dance performances. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late.

Contact Raglan Road at 407-938-0300.

April 27, 2012

Epcot's Test Track to Get Major Redesign

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The Disney Parks Blog has announced details and concept art relating to the redesign of Epcot's Test Track.

The revamped attraction will allow you to design your own custom concept vehicle, and then put it through its paces on the hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit. In the post-show, you'll be able to make a TV commercial featuring your concept car or truck. You'll also have the chance to race your car or truck on a virtual track and take a picture with your custom concept vehicle.


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The attraction is currently scheduled to reopen late fall.

Magical Events, Exciting New Attractions and Interactive Experiences Add Up to a Memory-Making Summer for Guests at Walt Disney World Resort

Magical Events, Exciting New Attractions and Interactive Experiences Add Up to a Memory-Making Summer for Guests at Walt Disney World Resort

Summer Soars with New Fantasyland Experiences, Enchanting Tales at Disney's Newest Resort, Nonstop Interactive Fun and a trip to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Summer is the perfect time for a Walt Disney World vacation and
making memories with family and friends to last a lifetime. Talk about memory-making: guests can dive into the magical worlds of Disney animation at a brand-new resort, fly with Dumbo in the new - and expanding - Fantasyland, "hang 10" at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon or ship out on the first summer sailings of Disney Fantasy.

Here's a look at what's in store for this and more.

Dumbo Flies Again as First Phases of the New Fantasyland Spring to Life.
Fun-seekers can soar with a true Fantasyland icon or take a rollicking coaster ride with The Great Goofini as the first phases in the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history welcome summer guests

"The Magic, The Memories, and You!" summer show. Starting May 25, a new summertime version of "The Magic, The Memories, and You!" will project onto Cinderella Castle. The nightly spectacular - a park favorite since it debuted in early 2011 -- includes hundreds of photos of Magic Kingdom guests taken that day. Also projecting onto "it's a small world" at Disneyland Resort.

Stay Amid Enchanting Tales as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
May 31 marks the opening of Disney's newest resort, consisting primarily of family suites immersing guests in the magical worlds of Disney and Disney-Pixar animated films. Landscape of Flavors food court will feature customized dining options at this value-category resort.

Game-Play Away the Day (and Night). Parks Come Alive with New Interactive Experiences. This is the first summer for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, an engaging interactive experience enabling guests - armed with magic spells in the form of special cards -- to defeat the Disney Villains. Coming this June, Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventureturns Epcot guests into secret agents seeking clues that help Agent P defeat his nemesis Dr. Doofenschmirtz.

Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Galaxy in May-June.
With character appearances, themed parades, star conversations, behind-thescenes presentations and autograph sessions, the popular event brings a galaxy far, far away to Disney's Hollywood Studios weekends May 18 - June 10, 2012.

Everybody's Gone Surfin'"..at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. What says summer better than surfin? Guests this summer can cut, carve and "hang 10" as part of Craig Carroll's Cocoa Beach Surf School. It's at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, one of two award-winning Disney water parks that are a cooling option for summer guests.

First Summer for Caribbean Cruises of Disney Fantasy. Fresh from her March 31 maiden voyage, Disney Fantasy offers entertainment, activities and dining experiences made for seven-night cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean.

AAU Basketball National Championships come to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Boys and girls compete in events July 3 through Aug. 4. The competition features top high-schoolers and has historically been among the premiere collegiate basketball recruiting events in the nation.

Splitsville. Coming to Downtown Disney West Side this fall, Splitsville will be a
new daytime and nighttime hub for strikes, spares and nonstop family fun, boasting 30 bowling lanes on two floors.

April 23, 2012

Starbucks Coming to Disney Parks

Starbucks drinks and food items are coming to all of the theme parks at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

In June, the first of six planned Starbucks locations is scheduled to open at Disney California Adventure park. And more locations are planned at Disneyland park and Walt Disney World Resort (Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom).

The Starbucks locations inside our parks will be designed to fit the theme of their surroundings. At Disney California Adventure park, Starbucks will be located in the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café on Buena Vista Street, a place that transports guests to 1920s Los Angeles, when Walt Disney arrived in California and a cup of coffee was the perfect way to jumpstart a busy day. The store's location plays off the Spanish/Mexican architecture of the period, and baristas will wear 1920s-inspired attire.

The café will serve Starbucks items, including coffee and espresso beverages, Frappuccino® blended beverages, and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Guests also will have their choice of Disney favorites, including signature sandwiches and other items, as well as delicious desserts and sweet treats.

From the Disney Parks Blog

April 13, 2012

Disney Kids and Nature Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

DISNEY CHANNEL STARS JOIN YOUTH LEADERS
FOR DISNEY KIDS AND NATURE CELEBRATION
AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT

-- Two-Day Celebration Includes Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Awards Ceremony, World Premiere of Disneynature's "Chimpanzee" and Disney's Friends for Change Youth Summit

-- Hollywood Records' McClain Sisters to Perform "Rise," This Year's
Disney Friends for Change Anthem, at Event

Disney Channel stars Debby Ryan ("Jessie"), Bella Thorne and Zendaya ("Shake It Up"), Ross Lynch and Laura Marano ("Austin & Ally") will join more than 100 youth leaders from around the world for the Disney Kids and Nature Celebration April 13-14 at the Walt Disney World Resort. The two-day celebration recognizes youth efforts to help protect the planet and organizations that work to connect kids to nature.

The celebration begins Friday, April13 with remarks by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert A. Iger at the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Awards Ceremony. The event honors five organizations for their efforts to create experiences and opportunities for kids to connect with nature. They are: Children and Nature Network, Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy and Youth Service of America.

At the ceremony, Hollywood Records' McClain Sisters will perform their hit song "Rise," this year's Disney Friends for Change anthem, as featured in Disneynature's "Chimpanzee." The film will make its world premiere later that day.

As part of the weekend, Disney Channel stars will participate in workshops and discussions, alongside kids, during Disney Friends for Change Youth Summit.

On Saturday, April14, Disney Channel stars will help galvanize kids to make a difference during Disney's Friends for Change Youth Summit, a day-long event designed to inspire kids to think of creative ideas and solutions that generate positive change in the world. Through a series of panels, workshops and discussions, youth leaders, between the ages of 10-18, are encouraged to imagine their planet's future and discuss conservation efforts in order to return home with new ideas to put into action in their own communities. Radio Disney's lead on air personality Ernie D will host the event.

Activities include:

Friends for Change's Disney Planet Challenge Ceremony --
Ross Lynch and Laura Marano will recognize the grand prize winners of Disney's Planet Challenge, a national project-based environmental science competition for 3rd-8th grade students and the in-school edition of Friends for Change.

Inspiring and Adventurous Careers Panel --
Kids will engage with key Disney leaders whose careers merge creativity with stewardship of the planet.

Send Your Message On Workshop --
Youth participants will learn what it takes to reach audiences, encourage people to take action for the planet, and workshop the best practices for sharing messages through social media. Kids will come up with creative ways to tell their story in two minutes. Debby Ryan, Bella Thorne and Zendaya, Ross Lynch and Laura Marano will rotate through groups to help kids create their own messages.

Imagine Our Planet Youth Discussion --
Youth leaders will facilitate small-group discussions about what each participant plans to do once they return home. Students will present their "Conservation Charters." Debby Ryan, Bella Thorne and Zendaya, Ross Lynch and Laura Marano will divide among teams to help develop action plans.

Disney's Friends for Change is a multi-platform initiative that inspires kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world by helping people, communities and the planet. Activities are united by an overarching emphasis on fostering creativity, conservation and compassion. Through on-air PSAs and online action kits, the program provides useful resources to encourage kids to make small changes that add up to big differences. To date, Friends for Change kids in 33 countries around the world have taken almost five million actions, and $4.5 million dollars has been awarded to nonprofits with Friends for Change projects. For more information, please visit Disney.com/friends.

April 8, 2012

Party for the Planet – Including Chimpanzees – in Celebration of Earth Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom is hosting a Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day. Guests can find out what they can do to make their backyards wildlife-friendly and discover other ways to conserve wildlife and protect nature, including chimpanzees, in celebration of the release of "Chimpanzee," Disneynature's newest True Life Adventure.

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Full-park festivities will take place on the first and last days of the celebration, April 13 and 22 (Earth Day). As guests enter the park, they can get the party started at two table displays in the main entrance area: one featuring wildlife-friendly backyard habitats and the other "Chimpanzee."

Activities in the park include:

Asia (Maharajah Jungle Trek)-Families can play a supermarket game and learn how their purchases can make a big difference for wildlife and wild places.

Africa (Pangani Forest Exploration Trail)-Children can observe and identify chimpanzee tracks and clues left behind along trails as they move through the forest.

Rafiki's Planet Watch, courtyard-Outside Conservation Station, guests will discover fun ways to spend time in nature with their families and find "Chimpanzee"-related merchandise, as well as face painters and caricature artists.

Rafiki's Planet Watch, inside Conservation Station-Families can visit the Chimpanzee Research Station and participate in a variety of activities based on real conservation work. Guests also can talk with cast members who work on conservation projects around the world and learn about the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

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Although the full-park festivities take place April 13 and 22, there will be lots for guests visiting April 13 through April 22 to see and do:

Outside the theme park's main entrance, a sand sculpture and display will celebrate the "Chimpanzee' film.

Families can visit the Chimpanzee Research Station inside Conservation Station.

Guests can visit with special artisans in Discovery Island.

Fun Facts:

Although we don't have chimpanzees at Disney's Animal Kingdom, we do have many other fascinating primates, including gorillas, siamangs, white-cheeked gibbons, colobus monkeys, cotton-top tamarins and lemurs.

Disneynature joined forces with the Jane Goodall Institute for a special "See 'Chimpanzee,' Save Chimpanzees" program. For every moviegoer who sees "Chimpanzee" during the film's opening week (April 20-26, 2012), Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in order to protect chimpanzees and their habitats.

Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 True Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, including "Seal Island" (1948), "Beaver Valley" (1950), "The Living Desert" (1953) and "Jungle Cat" (1958). The films earned eight Academy Awards®.

Upcoming 2012 wildlife conservation events at Disney's Animal Kingdom (as always, dates subject to change):

May 12: International Migratory Bird Day
May 23: World Turtle Day
June 6: Pollinator Day
August: Cotton-Top Tamarin Month
Sept. 5: International Vulture Awareness Day
Sept. 26: Elephant Awareness Day
Oct. 31: Bat Day

March 30, 2012

Merida from ‘Brave’ is Coming to Disney Parks

Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment reports on the Disney Parks Blog that the Merida is coming to the Disney Parks soon!

In the upcoming Disney*Pixar movie "Brave," Merida is a headstrong teenager with a vibrant spirit and a softness of heart, struggling to take control of her own destiny. You'll be able to discover Merida's story when "Brave" opens in theaters June 22 and, beginning in mid-May, Merida will be coming to Disney Parks in an all-new character greeting experience.

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At Magic Kingdom Park, Merida will appear in Fairytale Garden in a setting inspired by her Scottish Highlands home, where young guests will be invited to engage in archery lessons and other activities until it's their turn to meet her. Joining Merida will be the three bear cubs from the film, who will no doubt be up to plenty of mischief.

To prepare for Merida's arrival, Rapunzel will be moving from Fairytale Garden April 15, to a new spot at the outskirts of Adventureland where she will continue to greet her loyal fans and subjects.

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When visiting Disneyland park in California this summer, Merida and the cubs will find a home away from home near "it's a small world" in Fantasyland, where guests will also be able to participate in activities inspired by Merida's story.

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According to Creative Director Reed Jones, "These new play and greet experiences at both parks will immerse our guests in 'Brave,' giving them the opportunity to be a part of Merida's Scottish clan. And we're all excited to have the bear cubs join Merida with their silly antics, creating a whole new way to bring our beloved Disney Characters to life."

"Regardless of where they find Merida," said Reed, "Guests are really going to fall in love with her and the bears."

Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’-Themed Monorail to Debut This Spring at Walt Disney World Resort

Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager, reported on the Disney Parks Blog that the Avengers are coming to Walt Disney World this spring!

In Marvel's "The Avengers," super heroes team up to pull the world back from the brink of disaster when an unexpected enemy threatens global security.

Similar to the "Tron"-themed wrap, one of our Magic Kingdom Park Monorails is currently undergoing a Marvel's "The Avengers"-themed changeover to celebrate the May 4 opening of the film, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

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February 14, 2012

American Federation of Musicians, Local 389, Ratifies New Labor Agreement with Walt Disney World Resort

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New 6-year agreement covers more than 400 musicians performing across Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 13, 2012 - Members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 389, have voted to approve a new labor agreement with Walt Disney World Resort that extends through June 2018.

Walt Disney World Resort's new agreement with the AMF, Local 389 includes:

-- Guaranteed pay raises for cast members each of the next six years;
-- Bonus pay of up to $750.

"The positive working relationship between Walt Disney World and Local 389 is the centerpiece of our success," said Mike Avila, president of AFM, Local 389. "We're pleased we could come together on an agreement that meets the needs of both Disney and our musicians."

"Throughout every step of the negotiation process the team at AFM, Local 389 worked hard with us to find common ground," said Steve Eisenhardt, vice president of labor relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Our new agreement recognizes the unique contributions the musicians make at Walt Disney World Resort and helps set up our musicians and our company for success in the coming years."

For more than 40 years, Walt Disney World Resort has maintained a positive working relationship with unions and regards their members as a key part of the company's business success. Across the resort, 18 unions currently represent approximately 36,000 Cast Members.

February 10, 2012

VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS Pella® Partners with Green Builder® Media to Showcase Products

New exhibit helps families experience green, state-of-the-art home

PELLA, Iowa, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- It sounds like a futuristic movie scene: a woman at work uses her smart phone to remotely unlock her front door for a repairman. As the sunny winter day turns into evening, her time-activated home automation system lowers the blinds in the family room to help prevent heat loss.

Innovative home technology like this -- including a new product from Pella Corporation -- will soon be a reality in the new green home exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® -- an experiential exhibit created by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with Green Builder® Media, highlights the major themes of whole-home automation, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, security, multi-generational design and durability. The home will utilize Pella Designer Series® windows in its design.

"As an industry leader dedicated to innovation, Pella is pleased to participate in this project that helps visitors learn how to make sustainable, energy-efficient choices in their own homes," said Polly Tousey, Pella strategic programs manager.

Throughout the exhibit, opening in early spring in honor of Earth Day 2012, children and adults are encouraged to consider how they can reduce their personal impact on the planet, as well as changes they can implement in their own homes to help make them more sustainable, healthier, safer and more durable.

Why Pella Designer Series windows? From their energy-efficient design to the stylish and innovative technology options, Pella Designer Series windows and patio doors are a smart choice for any home. Benefits include:

Home automation - Designer Series windows with the new Pella SmartSync(TM) technology can control optional snap-in shades or blinds with a smart home automation system, like Nexia(TM) Home Intelligence. Pella SmartSync technology -- available for the emerging smart home market later in 2012 -- is designed to quickly and conveniently adjust blinds or shades in Pella windows to control light, privacy and help save energy in a home or business.

Energy efficient - With their solid wood construction and superior insulating qualities, Pella Designer Series windows with triple-pane glass are up to 74 percent more energy efficient(1) and can help save nearly one-third on heating and cooling costs(2).

Improved indoor air quality - Optional between-the-glass blinds or shades help prevent and reduce certain indoor airborne allergens from accumulating on the surface area of blinds or shades. Windows with ordinary roomside blinds accumulate 200 times more of certain airborne allergens than Designer Series products with between-the-glass blinds.(3)

Safer design - Between-the-glass blinds and shades are a great choice for multi-generational homes because the blinds and shades are protected from dust and damage, requiring less maintenance and cleaning. They're also safer for homes with children and pets because there are no potentially hazardous roomside cords.

Good for the environment - The water-based Pella factory finish for Designer Series windows and patio doors means fewer chemicals are used in the process, contrasted with solvent-based finishes that may be applied on the job site.

About VISION House in INNOVENTIONS

Inspired by Green Builder Media's VISION House demonstration home series, the INNOVENTIONS exhibit teaches visitors that each house is a set of interactive systems and that proper management of those systems can maximize comfort and minimize operational costs.

Incorporated into the exhibit will be Pella SmartSync technology -- an integrated system that allows shades or blinds to be controlled simply by a remote control or by a home or building automation system through Web-enabled devices like computers and most smart phones. In the VISION House, Pella SmartSync technology is powered through the Nexia(TM) Home Intelligence home automation system supported by brands like Schlage® and Trane® from Ingersoll Rand.

It's a green worldPella earned the ENERGY STAR® partner of the Year 2011 award and ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award 2011 -- recognizing the commitment Pella has shown in successfully managing energy use and promoting ENERGY STAR products.

"Pella started recycling in 1925, the year our company was founded," Tousey said. "Today our roots still run deep in recycling, sustainability and innovative ideas. SmartSync is our newest product designed with a purpose to help add convenience and peace of mind to today's time-pressed and energy-conscious consumers."

In addition to Pella Designer Series wood windows with SmartSync technology, the home will include these advanced products and technologies:

Electronic vehicle charging station by SIEMENS

Chevy Volt electric vehicle by GM

High efficiency heating and cooling systems and controls by Trane, door hardware by Schlage and an innovative whole-home automation system supported by both Ingersoll Rand brands

Durable and environmentally friendly exterior systems, including smog-eating tile roofs, cultured stone, bricks, permeable pavers and trim by Boral

Ventilation solutions by Panasonic

Water-conserving fixtures, faucets, showerheads and home standby generators by KOHLER


About PellaPella Corporation is a leader in designing, testing, manufacturing and installing quality windows and doors for new construction, remodeling and replacement applications.

As a family-owned and professionally managed privately-held company, Pella is known for its 87-year history of making innovative products, providing quality service and delivering on customer satisfaction. Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, the company is committed to incorporating new technologies, increasing productivity and practicing environmental stewardship to create satisfied customers.

Pella manufactures quality windows, patio doors and entry door systems sold through a Direct Sales Network operating Pella Window & Door Showrooms across the United States and Canada and select building materials retailers. For more information, call 888-847-3552 or visit pella.com. Follow Pella on Twitter.com @Pella_News, on Facebook at facebook.com/pellawindowsanddoors and on YouTube at youtube.com/pellawindowsanddoors.

About VISION House in InnoventionsOpening this spring, the VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® is a groundbreaking green show home exhibit presented by Green Builder Media® in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering. This experiential exhibit in the heart of Epcot® highlights the very best in green residential design and sustainable living. Visitors will leave with a greater understanding of green design, technology, and products as well as a host of sustainable living ideas that they can incorporate in their lives the minute they get home from vacation.

In addition to Pella, other sponsors for this exciting project include Siemens, GM, Ingersoll Rand, Armstrong, Boral, Hanwha, Kohler and Panasonic.

About INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®INNOVENTIONS is located in the heart of Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Creativity and imagination abound as guests celebrate inspiration and innovations that improve their lives and expand their horizons. Hands-on, interactive exhibits allow children and adults to be immersed into ideas that inform, entertain and inspire. For more information about INNOVENTIONS, visit www.innoventions.disney.com .

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

February 3, 2012

Habit Heroes Exhibit Debuts at Innoventions at Epcot

from the Disney Parks Blog:

A new interactive exhibit, Habit Heroes presented by Florida Blue and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, debuted at Innoventions at Epcot today.

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This new experience encourages children of all ages to learn healthy lifestyle habits and become more active. Guests can join forces with Habit Heroes Will Power and Callie Stenics to fight off villains like Sweet Tooth and The Snacker.

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Two Habit Heroes even made a special in-person appearance today for the kick-off of the exhibit.

Can't make it to Epcot? Kids can visit www.HabitHeroes.com to create their own avatar and learn how to fight bad habits.

February 1, 2012

Walt Disney’s Mantra for ‘Dreaming Big’ Remains Alive as Disney’s Dreamers Academy Celebrates Five-Year Milestone

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Celebrity Panel of Judges Led by TV host Steve Harvey to Select Next 100 Students for Dreamers Academy Class of 2012

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The legacy of visionary Walt Disney includes an impressive list of trail-blazing accomplishments. One outcome of his passion for motivating those around him to "dream big" inspired Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, a four-day power-packed program for high school students uniquely designed to inspire youth to chart successful career paths.

Now entering its fifth year, more than 500 high school students will have participated since Disney's Dreamers Academy opened its doors in 2008.

On Dec. 4th, 2011, a celebrity panel of judges led by "Family Feud" TV show host, philanthropist and Disney's Dreamers Academy champion Steve Harvey will gather in Atlanta to review applications and select the next 100 high school students who will become the Class of 2012 Disney's Dreamers Academy. The criteria used to select the Disney Dreamers includes exhibiting curiosity, compassion and leadership skills.

Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, scheduled for March 8-11, 2012, takes place in what many have called the world's most creative classroom - the Walt Disney World Resort. The Academy inspires and fuels the dreams of the selected students to help them dream bigger, discover a world of possibilities and get a jump start on making those dreams come true.

The students engage in multiple activities, including interaction with a range of industry professionals to an immersive introduction to various career paths. Disney's Dreamers Academy students participate in workshops on a variety of subjects including entertainment, entrepreneurship, the medical field, culinary arts and creative inspiration from Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative gurus behind Disney Parks' theme parks and attractions.

"Many years ago, Walt Disney himself said, 'If you can dream it, you can do it,'" said Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts. "Dreaming big and encouraging students to pursue their dreams are at the core of Disney's Dreamers Academy and reaching this five-year milestone means we've touched the lives of more than 500 students and given them that boost of confidence that everyone needs."

"I am so thrilled to celebrate five years of teaching teenagers how to dream big" said Steve Harvey, who has served as Ambassador of Disney's Dreamers Academy since the program started. "These kids already have the big dreams when they walk through those doors. We simply show them how to achieve those dreams. We encourage them to believe in themselves and to focus on their future now. We tell them how we achieved our successes, and suddenly you see the light bulb turn on for them."

Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks said, "All you need to do is talk to some of the students who have participated in Disney's Dreamers Academy to hear how it has impacted their lives in such an incredible way. There are so many success stories and we keep adding more and more each year."

Two recent graduates from the Class of 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy - Diamond Sims of Miami, Florida, and Princeton Parker of Los Angeles - were invited to share their stories on the popular blog Huffington Post.

"Disney's Dreamers Academy was a part of my life that I will never ever forget," said Sims, who is now a freshman at University of Florida. "I met people who are from the same place as I am. I met people from all types of professions who were willing to provide advice, guidance and encouragement. In only a few days, they helped mold me into the young woman that I am today."

Parker,17, who will start his first year of communications studies at University of Southern California next year, said: "Disney's Dreamers Academy changed my life not only by enlarging my dreams and understanding, but also by introducing me to more than 100 other young visionaries who possess the same drive, tenacity, vigor, and capacity to dream."

Celebrity Panel of Judges to Select Class of 2012

Judges for the Class of 2012 Disney's Dreamers Academy class will include: Harvey; Mikki Taylor (Editor-at-Large, Essence Magazine); Walters-Powell (Executive Champion, Disney's Dreamers Academy); Yolanda Adams (Gospel Music Legend); Terrence J (BET host of 106 and Park); Stephen A. Smith (Broadcaster and Sports Analyst); Dr. Steve Perry (Education Advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson-Myles (Founder and Author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (Award-winning Motivational Speaker); Chef Jeff Henderson (Food Network TV host of The Chef Jeff Project); Brandi Harvey and Karli Harvey (Co-founders of Young, Fit and Fly)

January 25, 2012

February 1st the New Romantic "The Magic, The Memories and You" Debuts!

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The Disney Parks Blog has announced that a new show segment is set to debut Feb. 1, inspired by some of the most romantic moments in Disney animation. Cinderella Castle (Walt Disney World) and "it's a small world" (Disneyland) will be covered in red roses for one sequence and turned into a beautiful, star-filled sky for another. During part of the show, spectacular stained glass windows will grace the façades, depicting the stories of Cinderella, Snow White and Belle."

Shawn Slater Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment shares: One of my favorite moments comes when the king and queen from "Tangled" appear on a balcony, lifting a single lantern to the sky for their missing daughter. It's soon joined by hundreds of others, creating a magical sight sure to draw "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! "

The romance segment is planned to run as part of "The Magic, The Memories and You!" through mid-April.

January 20, 2012

President Obama at Walt Disney World: “America is Open for Business”

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The eyes of the nation were focused on Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday as President Barack Obama unveiled a comprehensive set of initiatives to attract more international visitors and make the United States the world's top tourism and travel destination.

"People want to come here. And China and Brazil are two of the countries with the biggest backlogs," Obama said. "So this is what it's all about - telling the world that America is open for business."

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With Cinderella Castle serving as his backdrop, the president outlined his plans to improve the U.S. travel visa process, especially for residents in emerging countries such as China, Brazil and India. He also detailed other strategies that will significantly increase foreign visitors in the U.S., which not only will contribute to the country's economic growth but will help create jobs as well.

Each year, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line and all of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' domestic businesses attract millions of international Guests, providing positive economic impact throughout the communities in which they operate. Disney has a long-standing history as an industry leader in initiatives to increase international visitation and supports the President's efforts to further bolster the growth of potential markets such as Brazil, China and India.

President Obama was the fourth sitting U.S. president to visit a Disney theme park. The sitting Presidents who visited previously are Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

January 10, 2012

Florida Residents Can Make More Memories in 2012 with 3-Day, 4-Day ‘Wild For Disney’ Passes

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Just in time for the new year, Florida Residents get added incentive to make more memories at Walt Disney World this spring, with an extra special ticket offer.

From now until May 21, 2012, Florida residents can purchase a "Wild for 3-Day Pass" for $99 (plus tax) or upgrade to a "Wild for 4-Day Pass" for $129 (plus tax), valid for entry into one Walt Disney World park per day. For even more memory-making, Florida Residents can also add "Park Hopper" or the "Water Park Fun and More" option for $27.50 per ticket.

Details:

3-Day "Wild for Disney" Pass
Price: $99, plus tax
Includes: admission to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks any three days (excluding blockout period); one park per day.
4-Day "Wild for Disney" Pass
Price: $129, plus tax
Includes: admission to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks any four days (excluding blockout period); one park per day.
Both Passes
Offer period: Jan. 4 - May 24, 2012
Purchase by: May 21, 2010
Blockout dates: Feb. 18, 2012 - February 20, 2012; April 1, 2012 - April 13, 2012
Proof of Florida residency required; pass is nontransferable and excludes activities/events separately priced.

To purchase or for more information: disneyworld.com/99.

January 9, 2012

Brazil’s Costa Establishes New Streak at Dramatic Walt Disney World Marathon

Fredison Costa Wins Second Consecutive Walt Disney World Marathon

Brazilian runner wins second straight Disney Marathon after fierce battle with perennial winner Adriano Bastos; Virginia Beach's Renee High easily wins women's title; field of more than 16,500 pushes weekend total to record 56,000 runners

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2012) - Brazilian runner Fredison Costa did it again, holding off his heavily-favored countryman Adriano Bastos on Sunday to win his second straight Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna.

Costa waged a fierce battle with the 7-time champion Bastos throughout the 26.2 mile race through Disney's four theme parks - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios - before narrowly winning. Costa crossed the finish line in 2:19:01 - just 14 seconds ahead of Bastos (2:19:15), who had won six Disney Marathons in a row before Costa's back-to-back feat.

Renee High of Virginia Beach, VA., was the first woman to cross the line. High, who is scheduled to run the marathon at the US Olympic Trials next week in Houston, completed the race Sunday in 2:48:33 just ahead of Emily Kroshus (2:53:11) of Boston and Christa Stephens (2:55:10) of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Costa, 34, and Bastos 33, ran virtually shoulder to shoulder through much of the race. But with about two miles to go, Costa inched ahead slightly and maintained that slim lead until the end to become the first person other than Bastos to win back-to-back Disney Marathon titles since Brazil's Santiago de Araujo did it in 1998 and 1999. Costa's time was even quicker than a year ago when he won with a time of 2:21:15. Matt Hensley of Port St. Lucie, Fla. was third (2:23:11).

"I think a victory is a victory and they are always very special," Costa said through an interpreter. "But I think this was such a difficult time overcoming some things for me. I've been through so many things that this race was very, very special to me."

Douglas Morton of Sebring, Fla. won the men's Masters Division (runners age 40 and over) with a time of 2:35:52 and Terri Rejimbal of Tampa won the women's Masters Division (3:09:33). In the wheelchair division, Krige Schabort of Cedartown, Ga. (1:46:16) won for the fourth straight year.

On Saturday, Jose De Morais of Brazil won the 13.1-mile Disney Half Marathon with a time of 1:10.12. Rosa Chacha of Ecuador was the top woman finisher, posting a time of 1:16.43.

In all, runners from all 50 states and 60 other countries took part in a variety of Disney Marathon Weekend events, such as the Family Fiesta 5K, Kids Races and the Disney Half-Marathon in addition to the Disney Marathon. And once again more than 6,500 runners put themselves to the ultimate test - Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge - by running the half-marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.

Registration for the 2013 Disney Marathon Weekend opens this spring. To register or for more information on all runDisney events, visit rundisney.com. Also follow us on Twitter @disneysports and Facebook (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex).

December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Fireworks at Walt Disney World

Continuing a grand Disney tradition from past years, New Year's Eve is one of the biggest fireworks evenings of the year at Walt Disney World Resort, a place where fireworks are both spectacular and an every-night event. Magic Kingdom presents "Holiday Wishes" at 8:30 p.m. and the classic "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks display at 11:51 p.m. Epcot's "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" salutes the approaching 2012 at 7:00 and 11:42 p.m. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the 25-minute spectacular "Fantasmic!" will be presented at 6:30 and 8 p.m., with the popular "Lights! Camera! Happy New Year!" fireworks display at midnight.

December 9, 2011

Neil Patrick Harris Narrates Epcot's Candlelight Processional December 10-12

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Neil Patrick Harris, the Emmy Award-nominated star of the hit television series "How I Met Your Mother" and former star of the hit series "Doogie Howser, M.D.," will be the guest narrator for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot December 10-12 2011

November 14, 2011

Petty Holdings Adds Exotic Driving Experience

The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway will be new home to "supercars"

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Combine some of the world's finest automobiles with a track specifically designed for drivers to safely experience their awe-inspiring acceleration, speed and handling and you have "Exotic Driving Experience", the latest offering from Petty Holdings.

Best known as owner and operator of Richard Petty Driving Experience, the worldwide leader in the stock car ride and drive business, Petty Holdings has applied its expertise in delivering safe, accessible, exciting automotive entertainment to develop an experience allowing anyone with a driver's license the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a "supercar" - a rarified class of automobile.

It will officially begin on January 16, 2012.

Exotic Driving Experience will feature supercars by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche. Future plans include the addition of other exotic models, as well.

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"This exotics business is the most significant new offering from our company since the creation of Richard Petty Driving Experience in 1994" said Brian Flynn, Petty Holdings Chief Executive Officer. "This was a strategic decision intended to expand our customer base by diversifying our experiential offerings."

Plans call for Exotic Driving Experience to operate approximately 150 days annually on The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway, a new track configuration (see below) at the motorsports complex located on the grounds of the world-famous theme park.

Driving Experiences will start at $189 for six laps around the circuit. Thrill Rides with a professional driver at the wheel will be available for $99.

The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway®

Built in 1994, the one-mile oval at Walt Disney World Speedway® has been home to Indy Racing League (IRL), NASCAR Truck series and United States Auto Club (USAC) sanctioned races. Since 2000, it has been operated year-round exclusively by Richard Petty Driving Experience, which has seen more than 250,000 people drive or ride in one of its NASCAR race cars.

Petty Holdings recently completed an interior road course-style section at the track, specifically for Exotic Driving Experience, which features a series of quick, challenging right and left-hand turns, known as "switch backs." Complete with barriers and rumble strips, this section replaces the frontstretch of the oval when the supercars are on track and, together with the backstretch, comprises another one-mile layout which has been named The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway®.

"We needed a circuit that would allow customers to really get a sense of what these incredible cars are capable of" said Rick Fedrizzi, President and Chief Operating Officer, who designed the new interior section. "Drivers can rapidly accelerate to high speeds on the backstretch of the oval and, when they come into the interior section, feel the incredible braking and handling characteristics of whichever exotic they've selected."

"It is an absolute blast to drive this course in any one of these cars," Fedrizzi said.

Although Exotic Driving Experience officially begins after the new year, reservations for 2012 can be made at exoticdriving.com or by calling 855-822-0149.

November 2, 2011

UPDATED: Joyful Celebrations and Timeless Traditions Delight Guests at Walt Disney World Resort

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[UPDATED 10-31-11 to include information about The Magic, The Memories and You plus new dates for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios and new dates for Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom.]

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It's the month before Christmas and throughout Mickey's house, the trees are all glowing, bringing smiles to The Mouse. Choirs are singing, bakers taking great care, sounds and smells of the season are filling the air"

At Walt Disney World Resort in 2011, it begins to look a lot like Christmas as early as Nov. 8. Santa's elves bedazzle every corner of the Vacation Kingdom for a seasonal spectacle filled with heartwarming stage productions, enchanting parades, garlands and wreaths, millions of sparkling lights and even the first flakes of winter.

And with a ho, ho, whole lot of cheer being spread over more than a month, guests have more choice as to when they join in the magical, one-of-a-kind celebration.

MAGIC KINGDOM
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - On 19 special nights, holiday revelers can delight during this cheery, family-friendly event. Party-goers embrace the joys of the season - sipping cocoa, catching a "snowflake" and enjoying merry shows, fireworks, carolers and special character meet and greets.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will take place Nov. 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18, 2011, from 7 p.m. until midnight. Day-of-event pricing is $62.95 and $57.95 for ages 3 to 9. Savings of $6 per ticket are available if tickets are purchased in advance. Visit Disneyworld.com/holidays.

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This after-hours party on select nights between Nov. 8 and Dec. 18, 2011, features a sleigh full of merriment:

• An enchanting Cinderella Castle adorned with Castle Dream Lights (through Jan.8)

• Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself

• An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza - Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

• Live entertainment featuring Disney characters

• Meet and greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom theme park with favorite Disney characters

• Complimentary cookies, apple slices and hot cocoa

• A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.

• Many popular Magic Kingdom attractions open for fun

• Complimentary family photo


Castle Dream Lights
- Each evening of the season, Cinderella Castle shimmers with lights brought to beaming brightness during a ceremonial show performed at dusk. Beginning Nov. 8 and continuing through Jan. 3, 2012, Cinderella and favorite Disney characters decked out in festive holiday garb take center stage and magically transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace draped with 200,000 ice cycle-white lights - a breathtaking focal point to a park ready for revelers with wreaths, bows, garland, towering Christmas trees and scarlet poinsettias dominating the landscape.

The Magic, The Memories and You! - The nightly light show on Cinderella Castle gets in "the spirit" throughout the holidays with a special segment that wraps the Magic Kingdom landmark in colorful bows and boughs, gift paper and ribbons, ornaments, candy stripes and multi-colored strands of lights " and gingerbread.

EPCOT
Candelight Processional - An inspirational retelling of the Christmas story accompanied by a mass choir and 50-piece live orchestra punctuates the reason for the season during this time-honored Epcot tradition. Each evening Nov. 25-Dec. 30, 2011, a celebrity narrator (from a lineup that includes Steven Curtis Chapman, Marlee Matlin and Neil Patrick Harris) takes to the America Gardens Theatre stage and shares the story of Christ's birth. Guests can sing along as the trumpeters and full orchestra offer a riveting performance featuring seasonal melodies. Shows are at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

To ensure a seat for this memorable performance, Candlelight Dinner packages are available at select Epcot restaurants. They include a special fireworks viewing area and guaranteed seating for Candlelight Processional. For bookings call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Holidays around the World
- Throughout World Showcase, international storytellers share traditions and tales from their homeland. Strolling along the promenade during the Holidays around the World celebration may put you face-to-face with the good-hearted witch La Befana, known in Italy for filling children's shoes with treats, or the jolly gift-bearer Father Christmas in the United Kingdom. There are meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the American Adventure, plus other legendary icons who share messages of goodwill. The celebrations of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are celebrated as well.

The evening is capped by "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth," the mesmerizing Epcot spectacular on World Showcase lagoon featuring fireworks, laser lights and water choreographed to a musical soundtrack - with a holiday finale.

DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights - Entering the Hollywood Studios backlot, guests discover a virtual city of lights. On, over and among the cityscape buildings are millions of dazzling bulbs, dancing lights and animated displays synchronized to high-energy holiday tunes at Disney's Hollywood Studios Nov. 10-Jan. 7, 2012. The spectacle will not be operational Dec. 8.

It's truly a mega-watt spectacle for the eyes with colorful wreaths, twirling carousels, flying angels, Santa and his reindeer, swirling snow flurries, and amazing 3-D effects around every corner.

The tradition began in 1986 in Arkansas, at the home of businessman Jennings Osborne, who strung 1,000 lights as a Christmas gift to his daughter. After the exhibit grew larger and brighter each year, it was transported to Disney in 1995 where the light exhibit now mesmerizes guests from all over the world each year. The tradition continues after Jennings' death on July 27, 2011.


DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGD0M

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade - King Louie and Baloo lead a rousing musical cavalcade - safari style - through the park from Nov. 10 to Jan. 3, 2012, during Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. The wild side of Disney's Animal Kingdom blends with a playful spirit of the holidays as Chip & Dale, stilt walkers and savannah friends dance alongside decorative floats at 4 p.m. daily. The savory scent of chocolate floats thru the air as Minnie's candy cane and hot cocoa float roll by.

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Santa Goofy's Holiday Village at Camp Minnie-Mickey
has decked the halls big time with festive décor. A perfectly trimmed Christmas tree adorned with animal crafted ornaments welcomes guests at the park's entrance. Carolers spread holiday cheer and Santa Goofy and friends greet guests for photo opportunities.


DOWNTOWN DISNEY

With dozens of shops that stretch from the Marketplace to the West Side (and plenty of taste-bud-tempting treats!), Downtown Disney is a shopper's delight. There are one-of-a-kind boutiques such as TrenD, a sports shop at Team Mickey, plus enough toys, games, character merchandise, and costumes to fill Santa's sleigh at Once Upon a Toy and World of Disney. There's also Fuego by Sosa Cigars, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Basin (soaps and bath products), LEGO Imagination Center and much more - including Disney's Days of Christmas where guests can choose Disney ornaments and decorations any season of the year.

School choirs and bands often perform at the dock stage to ring in the season. Kids can pose for pictures and sit with Santa Clause, Nov. 19 - Dec. 24, 2011.

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RESORT HOTELS
Disney resort hotels are dressed up for the holidays, offering an ideal home-away-from-home during the season. An intricate, life-size gingerbread house cooked up by Walt Disney World pastry chefs is a must-see at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The yummy sugar shack is baked with 1,050 pounds of honey, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 35 pounds of spices and more. It even has a chimney that puffs out delicious cinnamon smoke.

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A magnificent gingerbread carousel complete with chocolate and soft-candy ponies and oversized candy-cane poles takes center stage at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Other hotels are spruced up with wreaths and trees decorated with miles of garland, ribbon and glistening ornaments. Check each hotel for holiday dining offerings and special entertainment.

October 24, 2011

Boyz II Men - Eat to the Beat Concerts

Eat to the Beat concert series features Boyz II Men on October 24-26, 2011.

The concerts, which are included with Epcot admission, will be at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.


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October 1, 2011

Millions of Smiles Later, Walt Disney World Marks its 40th Anniversary, Primed for an Exciting Future

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 1, 2011) - Anchored by the Mouse "who started it all," Walt Disney World Resort marked its 40th anniversary Saturday with a gala procession fronted by characters parading up Main Street, U.S.A. to a colorful celebration in front of Cinderella Castle.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald, Pluto and all their pals waved to cheering crowds. Onstage, they were joined by Disney executives, singers and 40-year cast members in a colorful celebration.

It was 40 years ago - Oct. 1, 1971 - when Walt Disney World officially opened, rising from the marshy landscape southwest of Orlando, Florida. The much ballyhooed "Florida project" was the dream of visionary Walt Disney.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds since then," Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton told guests assembled in front of the Castle Saturday. "But the fact remains that this place, as it appeared on October 1, 1971 was the last great vision of one of the world's greatest dreamers."
The Dapper Dans, a barbershop quartet, led park guests in a chorus of "When You Wish Upon a Star" and daytime fireworks and streamers shot into bright blue skies. A special edition of the "Wishes" nighttime spectacular was planned for after sundown.

Though he never lived to see opening day, Walt Disney's legacy of family entertainment lives on - millions of smiles later - in four theme parks (including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom), two water parks, more than two dozen resort hotels, the Downtown Disney retail-dining-entertainment complex, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and other venues.

In 2012, Disney World will open a family suites value resort, as well as the first in a series of attractions that will double the size of Fantasyland - the largest-ever expansion of the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates 40 Years of World-Class Theme Parks and Resorts

Magic Kingdom Opening Launched Disney Empire in Central Florida
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Once upon a time, a fairy tale castle rose on the edge of a Florida town where citrus grew, egrets waded and cattle roamed. In the shadow of the blue-spired castle named for the princess Cinderella, magical lands sprouted whimsical shows and attractions for world-weary families wishing to shed their cares and embrace a day of fun and fantasy.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It was October 1, 1971, and Magic Kingdom turnstiles began to spin after three weeks of trial runs by nearly 100,000 selected guests from throughout Central Florida. Twenty-two park attractions opened, and 5,000 costumed cast members (employees) made their debut as guests took a dive aboard 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, flew through the air in flap-eared Dumbo the Flying Elephant cars and met the iconic film character who started it all - Mickey Mouse.

The Magic Kingdom premiere 40 years ago, followed three weeks later by a star-studded grand-opening event with Bob Hope, Julie Andrews and other luminaries, put Walt Disney World Resort on the map. It was the most talked-about destination in the Western world, but no one could imagine what it would become.

"There were all kinds of predictions and expectations about how it might grow, but not very many people I knew had expected that it would grow the way that it did," says Charles Ridgway, veteran Disney publicist. "I knew that there were great expectations, but when we started out, they were relatively limited expectations."

Back then, just two of the current 25 Walt Disney World themed resort hotels opened- the Contemporary and Polynesian. Not until the 1980s, when two more theme parks, a water park, a nighttime entertainment complex and multiple Disney hotels rose across the landscape, did Walt Disney World establish itself as a multi-faceted, world-class vacation destination.

Making Disney Dreams Come True

In the 40 years since guests first strolled down Main Street, U.S.A., Walt Disney World Resort has blazed brave new entertainment trails based on its founder's fertile imagination and his vision that the resort would always be evolving.

"Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland . . . the blessing of size," Walt Disney said after the "Florida Project" was announced in 1965. "There's enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine."

In 1982, Epcot opened as a theme park celebrating innovation and discovery rather than as the "city of tomorrow" Walt initially had envisioned. In 1989, Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) brought Tinseltown magic to Central Florida to showcase movies, television and animated treasures from the Disney collection. In 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom first welcomed guests to explore a world of exotic, extinct and imaginary animals. The park is a fitting tribute to Walt Disney, who once lived on a farm and whose love for creatures great and small shone in his Academy Award-winning film series Tru-Life Adventures.

As each new park took root and thrived, the Magic Kingdom churned out a blizzard of pixie dust, adding thrills like the iconic Space Mountain, high-tech interactive rides like Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and immersive experiences like Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. A late 20th century wave of Walt Disney Studios animated film classics inspired a treasure trove of additional Disney attractions. Beloved characters like Ariel, Simba and Nemo found homes at "Voyage of the Little Mermaid,", "Festival of the Lion King," and "The Seas with Nemo & Friends."

Even in the midst of those mega-park expansions, Walt Disney Imagineers - the creative designers, architects and engineers behind each new attraction - dreamed up new water adventure parks, resort hotels, Disney Vacation Club properties, a wedding pavilion, more championship golf courses and multiple dining, sports, shopping and nighttime entertainment venues. In 1998, Disney Cruise Line would extend the Walt Disney World entertainment experience to the high seas.

Ever since the Magic Kingdom opened, celebrities from across the planet have visited. Presidents and princesses, rock stars and movie stars have been photographed at Walt Disney World. A long lineup of Super Bowl heroes like Phil Simms, Hines Ward and Emmitt Smith hopped on planes to be Magic Kingdom grand marshals after appearing in post-game "I'm Going to Disney World!" television commercials. Musicians, dancers and other talents have performed at events ranging from the yearly holiday Candlelight Processional to springtime Flower Power concerts.

Could Walt Disney have imagined the outcome when he first snapped up more than 27,000 Central Florida acres for his new themed world? Maybe. Maybe not. But he knew the potential was there when he said: "Part of the Disney success is our ability to create a believable world of dreams that appeals to all age groups." Surely he couldn't help but be delighted to know that 60,000 well-trained cast members keep Walt Disney World Resort humming 365 days a year to welcome "kids" of all generations from around the world.

Entertainment Innovation in Action

As entertainment technology became more cutting edge, the ideas and plans of Disney's dream makers took shape in the form of innovative thrill rides and attractions. Engineers programmed the 13-story "haunted" Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios so that new thrills could be added to the storyline and the runaway elevator's drop sequence could be changed. Soarin,' at Epcot, combines an IMAX high-definition projection system with a realistic motion-based ride system to take thrill seekers young and old on an exhilarating journey across the skies of California.

Imagineers collaborated with Pixar to break new ground at Turtle Talk with Crush in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion in Epcot. Using computer graphics, digital puppetry and image projection with live improvisational banter, the attraction features a wildly popular real-time conversation between the surfer-dude turtle, Crush, from the film, "Finding Nemo," and children in the audience. No two shows are alike.

In the spring, a new 3-D version of the long-popular Star Tours attraction based on the iconic Lucasfilm "Star Wars" films debuted with immersive new twists and more than 50 different ride experiences at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

"The things that we do as Walt Disney Imagineers are extremely complex, yet our goal is to make them look like magic to our guests," says Bruce Vaughn, WDI Chief Creative Executive. "It's a real mix of innovation and new technology blending creative imagination with technical knowhow."

Magical New Horizons

In keeping with Walt Disney's vision of an always-changing Florida entertainment kingdom, a lineup of openings is scheduled in the years ahead. In 2012, Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens and another new ship joins the Disney Cruise Line fleet. In coming years, Downtown Disney will transform into a waterfront district with a modern twist on an early 20th century port city and amusement pier. The vibrant district will expand dining options by 25 percent and invite guests to explore stylish new boutiques and a lakeside park. A new shopping, dining and lodging district is slated to rise just outside Disney's western gateway, and a 900-acre luxury resort by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is on the drawing board along with an 18-hole championship golf course as well as single- and multi-family homes and vacation homes.

And one of the most anticipated projects is taking shape right now as construction progresses on the largest Magic Kingdom expansion in history. The park's Fantasyland will double in size, with initial phases beginning to open in 2012 featuring attractions based on blockbuster Disney films like "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Dumbo." When The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster opens and princesses like Aurora and Cinderella hold court at Princess Fairytale Hall, the Disney storytelling legacy will have a compelling new showcase, says Phil Holmes, vice president of Magic Kingdom park and 40-year Disney theme park veteran.

"As an opening day cast member, I'm excited to see Fantasyland further transformed into Walt Disney's original vision of a place where fairy tales come true," says Holmes, whose first park role was as a Haunted Mansion greeter. "By showcasing modern-day classics like 'Beauty and the Beast' alongside Walt's first animated feature, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,' our cast members will bring these stories to life in a way like never before, creating even more wonderful memories for our guests."

August 29, 2011

Walt Disney World Resort Links with Arnold Palmer Golf Management to Tee Up Even More Magic for Disney Golfers Plans include Arnold Palmer golf course design enhancements

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 24, 2011 - Walt Disney World Resort and Arnold Palmer Golf Management have signed a 20-year strategic alliance to create even more magic for Disney golfers. Beginning Sept. 25, Arnold Palmer Golf Management will operate, manage, maintain and help promote all five Disney courses including Disney's Palm and Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge and Oak Trail golf courses.

As part of this long-term alliance agreement, golf legend Arnold Palmer and his golf course design team will be actively engaged in implementing strategic and innovative design features to several of the golf courses. Future enhancements include plans for a full renovation of Disney's Palm under his direction to become an Arnold Palmer designed course.

"After 40 years as a golf course architect, I'm looking forward to this opportunity to contribute to Disney's rich and storied golf legacy," said Arnold Palmer. "I've enjoyed a lifetime of memories playing golf and it will be a great reward to pass that on to those who share a passion both for Disney and the game of golf."

With an extensive following of serious golf enthusiasts, Arnold Palmer Golf Management is known for its excellent course conditions, pace of play, service standards and player development. In addition to course operation, the company also manages "Palmer Advantage", a reciprocal club and concierge service program, that provides members with unique travel benefits and access to more than 250 private clubs, resorts and golf courses around the world.

"Drawing on Arnold Palmer Golf Management's expertise and experience enables us to build on our mutual strengths and extend our appeal both among leisure players and avid golfers," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "We're excited about this new collaboration, which will benefit Disney guests and Palmer Advantage club members wanting a destination golf experience."

The agreement gives Arnold Palmer Golf Management an opportunity to add a uniquely Disney, family-friendly golf destination to its portfolio of more than 70 private clubs and championship golf courses. Disney Golf will be promoted within the Palmer Advantage network of golf devotees, through a dedicated website and featured within the exclusive publication, "Kingdom Magazine," which celebrates Mr. Palmer's contributions to the game of golf and extensive philanthropic ambassadorship.

"With a reputation for service excellence and exceptional family entertainment, Walt Disney World is an ideal complement to our member offerings," said Jim Hinckley, president of Arnold Palmer Golf Management. "This collaboration will give our members both a superior golf experience and a one-of-a-kind family golf vacation."

Since Walt Disney World opened with two 18-hole courses in 1971, golf has been a key component of the resort. Over the past four decades, Disney World has hosted professional and amateur golf tournaments, including one of the longest-running events in PGA Tour history - the PGA Tour's Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Disney has also hosted the LPGA Tour, NCAA golf championships and dozens of celebrity golf tournaments.

August 2, 2011

Chiquita and Walt Disney World Resort Announce Multi-Year Alliance to Offer Fresh, Healthy Chiquita and Fresh Express Products to Disney Guests

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 29, 2011) - Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) and Walt Disney World Resort announced an agreement today that will bring premium, healthy fresh Chiquita® and Fresh Express® products to a number of retail points at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and Disney Cruise Line. This new strategic alliance represents the commitment of both companies to provide consumers with healthy food options.

"We are pleased to work with Disney to offer healthy, nutritious Chiquita and Fresh Express products to the millions of guests who visit Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line each year," said Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita chairman and chief executive officer. "This alliance joins two companies with the shared commitment of providing quality experiences to consumers. This is yet another step in Chiquita's efforts to improve world nutrition by extending distribution of our healthy fresh products, now to include the world's favorite vacation destinations."

Throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line, Chiquita and Fresh Express products will receive brand exclusivity within their respective categories and enjoy significant exposure to important consumer segments. The new agreement continues Chiquita's expansion into distribution points beyond traditional channels as well as providing an opportunity for Chiquita to educate consumers about the benefits of proper nutrition.

"This alliance complements our company's commitment to providing guests with high-quality, healthy food options," said George Aguel, senior vice president, Corporate Alliances for The Walt Disney Company.

As part of the agreement, Chiquita will serve as the sponsor of both the "Crush 'n' Gusher" at Typhoon Lagoon, themed around a tropical fruit processing center, and the "Living with the Land" attraction, where Chiquita will join forces with Disney to help teach guests about nutrition. In another joint effort, Chiquita will also participate in the "runDisney" marathon series to help promote healthy living and active lifestyles. Beginning with the upcoming Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in September, Chiquita will share with guests and participants how its fresh and convenient products can help improve personal nutrition.

Chiquita and Fresh Express products add to Disney's existing portfolio of nutritious snack items as well as its ongoing effort to promote healthy lifestyles and nutrition for kids and families. Chiquita bananas and Fresh Express salad items will be featured throughout Walt Disney Resort and offer visitors convenient low calorie snacks.

The Walt Disney Company first pioneered groundbreaking nutritional guidelines in 2006 aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a comprehensive initiative launched in 2010, builds on that commitment by inspiring kids and families to explore simple and fun ways to eat right and be active. Today, more than 85 percent of Disney's licensed food portfolio consists of healthier options, including produce and low-fat dairy.

May 3, 2011

Walt Disney World Resort Gears Up for Summer Hiring


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- April 29, 2011 - Walt Disney World Resort is gearing up for summer hiring by filling jobs for full-time, part-time and seasonal roles beginning April 30 with a week-long, online job fair.

Through the website www.WaltDisneyWorld.jobs/jobfair, prospective cast members can apply for diverse positions in the resort's four theme parks, two water parks, Downtown Disney and 24 hotels.

Opportunities are available in a variety of areas including quick service foods, lifeguards, merchandise, attractions and entertainment.

In addition to competitive pay, cast members receive unique benefits including theme park admission, on-site health and wellness center, discounts on select dining and merchandise, affordable on-site child care, learning opportunities and exclusive access to Mickey's Retreat, a 19-acre recreation complex.

The job fair ends May 8.

April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Viewing Party at Disney's Wedding Pavilion

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A ROYAL CELEBRATION: Hundreds gathered at Disney's Wedding Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on April 29, 2011, to celebrate the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William during a special Royal Wedding viewing party hosted by Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons.

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April 28, 2011

FREE Dining Offer with Vacation Package

Create lasting memories with this savory offer.
For a limited time, get a FREE dining plan when you buy the New Walt Disney Travel Co. Memories Vacation Package for 5 nights/6 days at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels.

The New Memories Vacation Package includes:

* Walt Disney World® Theme Park tickets. Enjoy admission to one Theme Park per day, each day of your ticket.
* Stay in a select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotel.
* A Disney's PhotoPass® Photo Book to relive your Disney vacation memories! Choose from a variety of layouts and page designs and customize with your favorite photos! This 20-page book is printed on archival paper to preserve it for years to come.1

And, for a limited-time with this Memories Vacation Package, enjoy a FREE dining plan for stays most nights 8/28-9/24/11. See important details:

* For 5 night/6 day packages at select Disney Value Resorts, get the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan - includes 2 quick-service meals and 2 select snacks per person per night of your package stay, plus one Resort Refillable Drink Mug per person (refillable only at your Disney Resort Hotel).
* For 5 night/6 day packages at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts, get the Disney Dining Plan - includes 1 table-service meal, 1 quick-service meal and 1 select snack per person per night of your package stay.

Call 407-939-7211 or your travel agent -- AllEars.Net's preferred travel provider is MouseFanTravel.com

Book through August 27, 2011, and use code I25 for Value Resorts or code 02M for Moderates and above.

April 26, 2011

New Storybook Rooms and Health and Wellness Suites Continue Growth Strategy at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 26, 2011 - Over the course of the next year, new Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms and suites will open that will allow guests to sleep like visiting Disney royalty or perhaps add a yoga session or two to their Disney vacation. It's part of an overall lodging strategy at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts that includes the addition of new niche rooms and suites to its guest offerings.

Beginning in fall 2011, guests will be able to experience new health and wellness suites on the 14th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort. In the spring of 2012, new Royal Guest Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort will take guests on a vacation getaway to Princess Tiana's guest house where her friends have also come to visit.

"All Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms and suites are completely renovated on a regular cycle," said Mark Rucker, vice president of lodging for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Our new Royal Guest Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort and the new health and wellness suites at Disney's Contemporary Resort are examples of how we use our scheduled renovation time to look for new opportunities to 'plus up' the guest experience."

Rucker says health and wellness rooms and amenities are an emerging trend in travel, particularly amongst guests who stay in deluxe accommodations. The health and wellness suites on the 14th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort will provide guests who fit that travel profile with the ultimate balanced Disney vacation by including all the magic and fun of Disney theme parks while making healthy and relaxing amenities easier than ever to enjoy.

Inside the new suites, guests will be able to enjoy the benefit of exercising at the own pace and time with cardio equipment right in their suite. They'll also be able to start and end their days with seasonal and organic fresh foods at the concierge lounge or enjoy a yoga session and spa treatment in the completely renovated wellness studio. Guests staying on the 14th floor can also take advantage of more traditional club level services, like advance itinerary planning.

The new suites are being renovated with new Bamboo flooring, 100% cotton linens on the non-allergenic wrapped mattresses, as well as rain water showers in the bathrooms. Of course, the 23 completely renovated suites on the 14th Floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort also provide sweeping top floor views of Magic Kingdom Park and Bay Lake. Continuing the popular "storybook" room concept launched in 2009 at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort with elaborately themed pirate rooms, 512 rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort are being renovated with a new "Royal Guest Room" theme centered on Disney princes and princesses.

The story behind the Royal Guest Rooms is Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" invited her royal friends for a vacation getaway. Friends like Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" and Jasmine from "Aladdin" brought along some of their most treasured possessions. Since "The Princess and the Frog" is set in Princess Tiana's hometown of New Orleans, Disney's Port Orleans Resort is a natural fit for the story.

A new royal bed design that includes headboards with special effects above ornately decorated beds and various icons associated with Disney princes and princesses throughout the room will further immerse guests in their favorite stories.

Generally, Walt Disney World Resort rooms are completely renovated on a 12-year cycle. The room's "soft goods" - including carpets, fabric, and paint - are replaced after six years; and the "hard goods" - including furniture, fixtures, and flooring - are replaced after 12 years, which is in line with industry standards.

All 3,056 rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort, including the 512 new Royal Guest Rooms, are undergoing a hard goods renovation that will be compete by June 2012.

Another niche guest lodging offering at Walt Disney World Resort will be available when 1,020 family suites and 864 value rooms open at the new Disney's Art of Animation Resort beginning in May 2012.

April 20, 2011

‘Star Tours – The Adventures Continue’ Brings Star Wars™ Thrills in 3-D to Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The power of the Force and the magic of Disney have combined to create "Star Tours - The Adventures Continue," a new 3-D attraction set to open at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park on May 20, 2011. The attraction also will open at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., on June 3, 2011.

Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tours will take Walt Disney World Resort guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they will interact with characters from throughout the Saga. And it will all be in 3-D.

With eye-popping 3-D digital filming, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests will be immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering worked with Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Industrial Light & Magic - the groundbreaking visual effects division of Lucasfilm - to bring the out-of-this-world attraction to life.

Star Tours, which had thrilled Disney Parks guests since the 1980s, was "powered down" at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010 so Imagineers could begin work on the new attraction.

And in a new twist, guests may be able to enjoy the attraction multiple times without ever experiencing the same adventure. More than 50 story combinations are possible for guests to experience aboard Star Tours.

Just as the Star Wars films immerse movie-goers in storylines that keep them on the edge of their seats, Star Tours will feature multiple stories and scenarios that will hurtle park guests throughout the Star Wars galaxy. And all of the storyline's twists and turns will be random, affording guests the chance to ride the attraction multiple times.

Whether it's a battle with Darth Vader and his legion of stormtroopers or a plea from Princess Leia to help her save the Rebellion, guests will find themselves in the middle of the action - literally - in the 3-D, multi-sensory attraction.

Entering the attraction queue area, Star Tours guests walk into a bustling spaceport. The famed Star Wars droid duo, C-3PO and R2-D2, greet them as the Starspeeder 1000 is prepped for service. Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO and the only actor to appear in every theatrical chapter of the Star Wars Saga, reprises his role as the golden protocol droid. Daniels worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to record new dialogue for the attraction. Guests also are introduced to AC-38, a hotshot droid pilot known simply as "Ace," and Aly San San (voiced by actress Allison Janney), the "spokesbot" for the spaceport.

After winding through the spaceport, guests board the Starspeeder 1000 spacecraft and prepare for Star Tours Flight #1401. Through a series of mishaps, however, C-3PO finds himself in the pilot's seat instead of Ace, and it's up to him and R2-D2 to navigate their passengers through the galaxy. However, the tyrannical Empire is out to stop the Starspeeder at all costs. C-3PO and R2-D2 take the controls and try to outwit and outrun the Imperial forces and a galactic bounty hunter hired to pursue the spaceship and its passengers.

Utilizing the 50+ random story combinations, the Starspeeder then embarks on a wild trip through the galaxy, visiting several planets made famous in the Star Wars films. Among the locations that might provide haven from the Empire's pursuit are the icy planet of Hoth, the lush jungles of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan world of Naboo. And along the way guests may encounter Star Wars characters that offer to help (or hinder) their journey, including Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. "Skytroopers," a legion of stormtroopers created just for the Star Tours attraction story, might even join in the chase.

In fact, with multiple ways to experience each flight, guests will never know where the Force will take them.

At Walt Disney World Resort, Star Tours opens May 20, 2011, the same day the annual Star Wars Weekends event begins at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. Star Tours and Star Wars Weekends event activities are included in regular admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

Gathering and ‘Tweet up’ of Princess Proportions on Tap on ‘Royal Wedding Day’ at Walt Disney World Resort

[UPDATE (4/20/2011): The response to the "Tweet Up" mentioned below was so astounding -- the 250 RSVPs for which the event was originally planned poured in during a period of about two hours -- that Fairy Tale Weddings event organizers convened, broadened the plan for the viewing party, and re-opened the invitation ... and then closed it again when a second wave of RSVPs poured in Tuesday, April 19, 2011. The number of guests expected for the event is now in excess of 500.]


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In celebration of the long-awaited Royal Wedding, Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons will host its first-ever "Tweet Up" and a viewing party on April 29, 2011, from 4-8 a.m. at Disney's Wedding Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort.

The first 250 people who responded to a "tweet up" invitation have already secured their seats in Disney's Wedding Pavilion.

"Everyone remembers where they watched the last royal wedding," said Korri McFann, marketing director, Disney's Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons. "April 29 is another royal occasion and we are thrilled to offer such a special viewing to help create lasting memories for moms, daughters, families and friends."

Guests are invited to dress up in "princess or prince attire" -- or come in their pj's -- for the early-hour gathering to watch, via live television, the royal couple tie the knot. Deemed as the biggest royal wedding since Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the exchange of vows between Kate Middleton and Prince William will take place at Westminster Abbey with the Archbishop of Canterbury officiating.

In addition to the viewing, the occasion at Disney's Wedding Pavilion will include:

* An English-inspired breakfast will be served to honor the occasion.
* Cinderella's Coach, which was crafted by Bennington Carriages -- coach maker for the British Monarchy -- will be available as a backdrop for pictures.
* Newly-released Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Jewels and tiaras, as well as Disney Princess-inspired wedding gowns from Disney Fairy Tale Weddings by Alfred Angelo will be showcased.
* There'll be a few entertainment surprises in store.

April 17, 2011

GOING GAGA OVER DISNEY

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Grammy Award-winning singer Lady Gaga (right) poses April 16, 2011 with the Evil Queen from Disney's classic animated film "Snow White" at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

April 6, 2011

The Florida Project at Walt Disney World

Registration begins today for
Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project
Epcot® - World ShowPlace
September 9 - 10, 2011 - 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
September 11, 2011 - 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Public Day)

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We have uncovered an alternate Preview Center for Walt Disney World® Resort featuring a sneak preview of the new 'Vacation Kingdom of the World.' Guests are invited to take a nostalgic trip back to the 1970's to the opening of Walt Disney World® Resort during Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project from September 9 - 10, 2011 in World Showplace at Epcot®.

Guests attending Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project will have the first opportunity to purchase specially designed pins; enjoy fun trading activities and games; and meet Disney Traders and collectors from around the world.

Event admission is $120 per Guest.
(Event admission does not include Theme Park admission to Epcot® but is required to attend.)
Event Registration begins on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. (EST)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE DETAILS

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EVENT ADMISSION INCLUDES:

* First opportunity to pre-purchase limited edition pins designed especially for this event.
* "Purchase with Purchase" pin promotion featuring exclusive pins for event Guests only.
* Trading activities and games in World ShowPlace located at Epcot®.
* Limited edition commemorative gifts, including an event tee-shirt*
* Silent Auction of pre-production pins, artist proof pins and more.
* Opportunity to trade for specially designed pins for Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project.
* Meet Disney Pin Product Developers and Disney Artists from The Walt Disney Company.
* Two (2) $15 Gift Cards redeemable at Epcot® Food and Beverage locations.
* Plus extra special surprises throughout the event.

EARLY REGISTRATION PIN:
The first 750 Guests who register for this event will receive a limited edition early registration pin.

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT:
Guests that register for this event by May 06, 2011 will receive an early booking discount. The early booking admission for this event will be $105.00 per Guest. After May 06, 2011, the event admission will be $120.00 per Guest. Event admission does not include Theme Park admission Epcot®.

*EVENT TEE-SHIRT:
When registering for Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project, please indicate your desired tee-shirt size.

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SPECIAL EXPERIENCES FOR THE 2011 EVENT

THE FLORIDA PROJECT - COMMEMORATIVE BREAKFAST
Start your trading day off by attending The Florida Project Commemorative Breakfast on Friday, September 9, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Breakfast admission is $40 per Guest and includes the following:

* Continental breakfast
* Exclusive trading time inside The Florida Project from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
* Exclusive Florida Project breakfast pin (Limited Edition 400).

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THE FLORIDA PROJECT DESSERT RECEPTION

End your day at The Florida Project by attending the Dessert Reception on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Dessert Reception admission is $40 per Guest and includes the following:

* Delectable array of desserts with coffee and tea.
* Exclusive trading time inside The Florida Project from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
* Special viewing area for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at 9:00 p.m.
* Exclusive Florida Project Dessert Reception pin (Limited Edition 500).


In order to register for The Florida Project Commemorative Breakfast or The Florida Project Dessert Reception, Guests must also be registered for Disney Pin Celebration 2011. The Florida Project Commemorative Breakfast and The Florida Project Dessert Reception are not available to Guests who only register for the Vinylmation" Showcase event.

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The Florida Project - Vinylmation" Showcase
Epcot® - World ShowPlace
September 11, 2011 - 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Join us on Sunday, September 11, 2011 as we celebrate Vinylmation with the Vinylmation™ Showcase. The Vinylmation™ Showcase will take place in World ShowPlace at Epcot® from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Public day for all Epcot® Guests will follow from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Event admission is $40.00 per Guest.
(Event admission does not include Theme Park admission to Epcot® but is required to attend.)

EVENT ADMISSION INCLUDES:

* First opportunity to purchase new Vinylmation™ Figures created for The Florida Project
* Silent auction featuring a variety Vinylmation™ items from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
* Vinylmation™ Trading opportunities.
* Artists Signings with Disney Design Group Artists.
* Limited edition commemorative gift.
* Plus extra special surprises throughout the event.

Event Registration begins on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (EST)

Guests do not have to register for Disney Trade Celebration 2011 - The Florida Project in order to attend the Vinylmation™ Showcase on Sunday, September 11, 2011. This is a separate ticketed event from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

All information is subject to change including but not limited to dates, times, artwork, release dates, edition sizes and retail prices.


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE DETAILS

April 2, 2011

Save 25 Percent with Voucher When You Dine Off Hours at Disney Parks

originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Back by very popular demand, a voucher for 25 percent off dining with the purchase of any entree at select quick-service restaurants - this time, from April 17-23 at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

To save money - and alleviate wait times during one of the busiest seasons - you must dine before 11:30 a.m. or between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Alcohol is excluded.

Walt Disney World Dining Voucher

Print Walt Disney World Voucher HERE.

In Magic Kingdom Park, try a hearty meatball sub at Pinocchio Village Haus, or a veggie burger or chicken wrap at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café. Go for the oak-grilled veggie flatbread sandwich at Sunshine Seasons at Epcot. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, we recommend the Asian salad at ABC Commissary, and the tasty barbecue from Flame Tree Barbeque at Disney's Animal Kingdom. At Disneyland park, it's a great opportunity to try out the new fried green tomato sandwich and other new menu items at Hungry Bear Restaurant. The full list of restaurants is below.

Disneyland Resort Dining Voucher

Print Disneyland Resort Dining Voucher HERE.

You can print out the voucher from this website, or find one in the Walt Disney World Resort Times Guide, at the bottom of select merchandise receipts or at the bottom of receipts from select resort quick-service restaurants. At Disneyland Resort, it's on the Entertainment Times Guide or on select merchandise receipts.

Sorry, can't be combined with any other offer or promotion. Theme park admission is required and taxes and tips are not included.

Participating quick-service locations:

Disneyland Park

* French Market Restaurant
* Village Haus
* Hungry Bear Restaurant
* Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante
* Redd Rockett's Pizza Port
* Tomorrowland Terrace

Magic Kingdom Park

* Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café
* Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café
* Columbia Harbour House
* Pinocchio Village Haus
* Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant

Epcot

* Electric Umbrella
* Liberty Inn
* Sunshine Seasons

Disney's Hollywood Studios

* Backlot Express
* ABC Commissary
* Studio Catering Company

Disney's Animal Kingdom

* Flame Tree Barbecue
* Pizzafari
* Restaurantosaurus
* Tamu Tamu Refreshments

March 29, 2011

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Maintains Classic Look Thanks to Environmentally Friendly Paints

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Currently refreshing its facade, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is getting its most environmentally friendly treatment ever thanks to a touch up with special "green" paints.

Standing at 199-feet-tall, the Tower of Terror attraction is being covered from top to bottom using a special low volatile organic compound paint, also known as low VOC paint.

In Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is a leader in the use of low VOC paint. Until Walt Disney World Resort began using the paint just two or so years ago, low VOC paints were not widely available at most large paint distributors in Florida. Previously, distributors and painters considered VOCs essential to the durability and performance of paint, both in how well the paint withstood outdoor weather conditions and how quickly it dried.

Low VOC paint significantly reduces environmental emissions that can react with other elements to produce ozone and cause air pollution.

"Here at Disney, the use of low VOC paint extends from our longstanding commitment to conservation and is part of our environmental journey," said Don Weschler, director of engineering services for Walt Disney World Resort. "Since our switch to low VOC paints just two years ago, we have reduced the amount of VOC emissions from our property by more than two-thirds."

Weschler says once paint suppliers developed the low VOC paint formulas, they were tested at an independent laboratory to ensure they would provide the same durability during Central Florida's warm and rainy seasons as the paints used across Disney Parks since 1971.

Walt Disney World Resort then developed a conversion matrix in-house that allows for a low VOC substitute for almost any type of paint in use.

The Blizzard Beach rehab project is another example of a large-scale project using low VOC paints. As Disney's Blizzard Beach water park reopens this spring, the bright colors - from the showcase "snow" on Summit Plummet to the smallest details at Lottawatta Lodge - will all be thanks to the environmentally-friendly paints.

Last year, Walt Disney World Resort and its many contractors used more than 110,000 gallons of paint. That's enough paint to cover 7,000 standard-sized homes.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Selected as Host Site for World's Largest Swimming Lesson

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Mar. 28, 2011 - Guests visit Disney's Typhoon Lagoon for thrills like the Crush 'n' Gusher water coaster and Gang Plank Falls. This June, they'll hit the water park's wave pool to help break a world record and spread an important message about teaching children to swim.

"We were honored Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park will once again serve as the official headquarters location for a second record-breaking World's Largest Swimming Lesson," said Jean Gallagher, director of water parks for Walt Disney World Resort. "At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts we have a strong commitment to water safety and the World's Largest Swimming Lesson is a reminder to guests of all ages that when they step in the water we want them to have fun and be safety smart at the same time."

Last year's inaugural World's Largest Swimming Lesson, hosted by Walt Disney World Resort, established the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson when almost 4,000 participants across 34 states, five countries and three continents participated to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning.

To help spread the message about the importance of learning to swim, the worldwide safety and accessibility team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has produced a popular DVD, Disney's Wild About Safety with Timon and Pumbaa: Safety Smart in the Water. In the DVD, Timon and Pumbaa help children learn that fun in the water starts with safety. Hundreds of copies of the DVD were distributed at last year's event.

Tragically, drowning is the second leading cause of unintended injury related death of children ages 1-14 in the United States. In fact, more than one in four fatal drowning victims is a child under the age of 14.

Research also shows if a child doesn't learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will. The threat of childhood drowning is even greater outside the U.S.

Olympic gold medal swimmers Rowdy Gaines and Janet Evans once again serve as official spokespeople for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. Evans will encourage swimmers at a remote site in California, while Gaines will kick off the event at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and serve as master of ceremonies.

"I'm thrilled to be working with The World's Largest Swimming Lesson for the second year to help spread the word that swimming lessons save lives," said Gaines. "Learning to swim and the exposure to the water safety messages that swimming lessons offer provide a fundamental first step in drowning prevention."

March 21, 2011

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings Celebrates Platinum Milestone of ‘Happily-Ever-Afters’ at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- To mark the 20th anniversary of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, Disney has announced special wedding packages plus a unique campaign showcasing the happily-ever-after stories of real life couples who have tied the knot at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and aboard Disney Cruise Line.

"The 'Bringing the Fairy Tale to Life' campaign is a tribute to all the brides and grooms who have shared their special day with us," said Korri McFann, Worldwide Marketing Director of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons. "We are honored to have our guests recall cherished memories during Disney's 'Let the Memories Begin' campaign, where Disney is sharing real home videos and photos submitted by guests."

Couples will be highlighted in print and online advertisements as well as at Behindthefairytale.com.

In honor of the platinum year, Disney has also created a specially priced wedding package perfect for vow renewals: the Memories Collection. Throughout the 20-month celebration, couples are invited to create new memories through intimate ceremonies at Walt Disney World Resort. The Memories Collection includes up to six guests, including the couple, a floral bouquet for the bride, solo violinist, transportation (three-hour limousine charter) and a professional photographer for one hour.

Ceremony locations include: Conch Key Marina at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Narcoossee's Landing at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Luau Beach at Disney's Polynesian Resort.

Disney has been making memories come true for couples and their families for two decades with a variety of wedding offerings. Traditionally recognized as a top-ranked wedding and honeymoon destination, Walt Disney World Resort currently hosts more than 1,000 couples tying the knot each year. Beyond Disney's Wedding Pavilion, nuptials at Walt Disney World Resort also take place in outdoor garden settings, gazebos and courtyards, as well as indoor resort locations. All told, more than 40,000 couples have married at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and aboard Disney Cruise Line.

To celebrate 20 years of happily-ever-afters, Disney has partnered with Alfred Angelo to create a Platinum Anniversary wedding gown so that brides everywhere may be a part of the celebration.

The Memories Collection is priced at $1,991 in honor of the 1991 opening year of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, and will take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. More information: DisneyWeddings.com or 321/939-4610.


March 15, 2011

New Relay and Medal Await Runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon


Registration Now Open for all 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Events

Lake Buena Vista, FL (March 15, 2011) - Registration for the
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA opens today and two new features -- a relay option and a new medal -- await runners who sign up this year for the weekend event, Jan. 5-8, 2012.

Runners who want to participate in the 26.2 mile Disney Marathon
can now join a buddy and sign up for the Disney Marathon Relay.
Unlike other marathon relays, the Disney Marathon Relay runners will
each run 13.1 miles through Walt Disney World's four theme parks.

The first runner will travel through Epcot and Magic Kingdom, while the second runner goes through Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios before finishing at Epcot. Both runners receive official half-marathon times as well as a combined team time, plus the new Chip and Dale medal -- the first new character medal for Disney Marathon Weekend since the Goofy medal was introduced in 2006. The Disney Marathon Relay will be run simultaneously with the Disney Marathon and share the same course.

"Many runners find a half marathon's 13.1 miles is the perfect
challenge for them so our new Disney Marathon Relay is the perfect way to run that half marathon distance but in the Disney Marathon," said Kathleen Duran, Disney Sports Area Manager. "It also gives
half-marathon runners a chance to run a different course by completing the second half of the marathon, and provides another opportunity for family members or friends to participate together."

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon will also offer a new feature
-- a special edition Donald Duck medal to commemorate the 15th
anniversary of the race. Earlier this year the Disney Half Marathon
reached record capacity with a little more than 27,000 registered
runners.

Once again the Disney Marathon Weekend will be anchored by the
Walt Disney World Marathon (Jan. 8) running through all four Disney
theme parks and rewarding finishers with the coveted Mickey medal.
Other Disney Marathon Weekend events include the Disney Family 5k Fun Run (Friday, Jan. 6), Disney Kid's Races (Jan. 6-7), and Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge (Jan. 7-8). There's also Disney's Health & Fitness Expo (Jan. 5-8) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney, which will feature the latest in running merchandise, equipment and products, plus healthy and fitness seminars by leading authorities such as renowned marathon trainer Jeff Galloway, the official training consultant for runDisney.

Runners who register for Disney Marathon Weekend events before
April 25 receive a discount. To register for any of the races or for
more information, go to www.rundisney.com.

The Disney Marathon Weekend is the crown jewel among Disney's
four signature runDisney events. The other signature weekend events are the Disneyland Half Marathon (Sept. 4, 2011), the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon (Oct. 1, 2011) and Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Lady Foot Locker (Feb. 26, 2012). For more information, go to www.rundisney.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at DisneySports and on Facebook at Facebook.com/rundisney.

March 14, 2011

Disney's First Magic of Healthy Living - The Weekend: Disney Channel Stars and 50 Young 'Healthy Living Champions' Explore a World of Flavor and Fun at Walt Disney World Resort

Inaugural Event Features a "TRY-athlon," Inspiring Kids to "TRY" New Ways of Leading a Healthier Lifestyle

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fifty young essay contest winners, their families, Disney Channel Stars and Disney characters celebrate and explore a world of flavor and fun at Disney Magic of Healthy Living - The Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort March 18-20, 2011. The setting for the two-day event is World Showcase at Epcot where the "Healthy Living Champions" will participate in a one-of-a-kind "TRY-athlon," an imaginative, colorful and inspiring course around the "world" to discover new ways that "healthy" can be fun and easy. The weekend, the first in an annual series of Disney Magic of Healthy Living special events, will also include spectacular opening and closing ceremonies full of magic and surprises.

The guests of honor for the weekend (ages 8-14) are winners of a national Disney Magic of Healthy Living essay contest. The youngsters shared their own fun ideas for leading healthier lifestyles at home, in school and in their communities. The essay contest is a key component of Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a multimedia initiative designed to partner with parents in their quest to raise happy and healthy kids.

Disney Channel stars and Disney character coaches will lead The Weekend TRY-athlon, which features all kind of activities from all parts of the planet:

* TRY-athlon activity #1: "Play-Your-Way" - Fun and creative games from different countries, including Chinese jump rope, South African "keep away" and Spanish "dodge ball."
* TRY-athlon activity #2: "Pass the Plate" - A lunchtime challenge with Disney World chefs guiding families in preparing quick, balanced and healthy meals.
* TRY-athlon activity #3: "Bouncing Around the World" - A hunt for playmates in the countries of Epcot World Showcase led by, among others, the Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow.
* TRY-athlon activity #4: "Garden of Possibilities" - Walt Disney World flower and garden experts guide the kids in planting a variety of vegetable gardens, including a special Italian pizza garden.
* Spectacular opening and closing ceremonies with surprise guests and entertainment.

Disney Channel Stars, who will act as coaches for The Weekend event, include:

* Kenton Duty: Shake It Up
* Daniel Curtis Lee: Zeke and Luther
* Jennifer Stone: Wizards of Waverly Place
* Alyson Stoner: Phineas and Ferb, Camp Rock 2
* Caroline Sunshine: Shake It Up

Disney Magic of Healthy Living launched in September 2010 with a year-long series of healthy living public service announcements on Disney television and radio networks featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Disney Channel stars. It also features two websites, one geared for kids, Disney.com/healthyfun; the other, Family.com/healthymagic, offers healthy living advice and resources, including delicious recipes.

The Disney Channel is the #1 cable network with tweens (#2 cable network overall) available in 37 million households in 105 countries. Radio Disney is the #1 radio network for kids with 29.2 million listeners a week. The websites have had plenty of traffic as well: 175-thousand unique visitors with 500-million impressions.

In a special taped message, to be delivered during The Weekend event, First Lady Michelle Obama congratulates the essay contest winners for setting a healthy example, "I love hearing your ideas about eating better and staying active. You are showing that eating right and exercising aren't just good for you, they're also a lot of fun."

The Disney Magic of Healthy Living initiative builds on The Walt Disney Company's landmark 2006 nutritional guidelines associating Disney brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods. Disney Magic of Healthy Living takes that commitment to the next level, enlisting many of the Company's assets and multi-media platforms to inspire kids and help reinforce the work of parents.

"Disney has always been a champion for the happiness and the well being of kids, parents, and families," said Kevin Callahan, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship. "We want to inspire kids and parents and show them how to weave fun and simple healthy living practices into the fabric of their everyday lives."

Disney Magic of Healthy Living will share the magic of The Weekend with the Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Four hundred and fifty Mom Bloggers and their children will have the opportunity to experience first-hand what Disney is doing to champion fitness and nutrition for the entire family. Also during the fun-filled weekend, kids and families can sample a nutritious array of fresh produce from a variety of vegetable gardens and fruit trees as part of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

Healthy living goes hand in hand with staying active and that's why Disney Magic of Healthy Living is partnering with KaBOOM! to build twelve play spaces and learning gardens in under-served neighborhoods around the country. As a prelude to The Weekend festivities, one of those playgrounds will be built in Orlando on March 16th, with the help of community partners and Disney VoluntEARS. The Walt Disney Company has donated more than $1 million to KaBOOM!, the non-profit organization whose mission it is to have a play space within walking distance of every child in America.

March 8, 2011

2011 Disney’s Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - An unprecedented 110 "Dreamers" from across the country came together at The Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom Park as Walt Disney World Resort rolled out the red carpet for the 4th annual Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

Disney's Dreamers Academy is a four-day program aimed to motivate, empower and inspire high school students. This year's class is the largest ever since the program began.

"There are turning points in your life and this might be one of them, right here, right now at Walt Disney World Resort," nationally syndicated radio host Steve Harvey told the 2011 class of Dreamers. "My dream since I was 9-years-old was to be on TV. I didn't get there until I turned 38 but I got there because I believed in my dream."

The 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy participants were selected from a pool of almost 4,000 applicants. Many of the young people were picked for demonstrating a spirit of volunteerism at local community centers, schools and churches. Some have achieved academic excellence in spite of challenging family circumstances. Others have overcome physical challenges.

Jim Lewis, president of Disney Vacation Club told the students regardless of why they were selected, it's most important for them to look at the future and not at the past.

"From this moment on, we want you to dream big," said Lewis. "When you believe in something, have confidence in yourself and your dreams, you can find the confidence to make the impossible, possible. All you need to do is continue to have the faith that your dreams can come true."

During their special weekend, the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy will participate in more than 20 different hands-on workshops and seminars, exploring education and career fields that include:

Broadcasting: Dreamers will spend time with very special guests from ESPN: The Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios including superstar athletes Chad OchoCinco, Cal Ripken Jr. and Alonzo Mourning.
Marine Biology: Dreamers will learn about the world of marine life at Disney's 5.7 million gallon aquarium at The Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction, unveiling the beauty of life under the sea and how to care for it
Entertainment: Dreamers will experience the audition process for American Idol as Ruben Studdard and Kimberley Locke take them inside the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Language/International Studies: Dreamers will meet with representatives from the Walt Disney World International Studies program, as well as students from other countries working in the international pavilions at Epcot.
Dreamer Tierney Byrd of Michigan says she's looking forward to visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom as one step toward realizing her dream. "I'm very excited to see and learn about the animals here because my dream is to study veterinary medicine and one day become a veterinarian. This whole weekend is such a neat experience because everyone here has a different dream."

Three Central Florida teens are taking part in the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy - 18-year-old Monica Abernathy from Windermere, 17-year-old Chante Rodgers from Orlando, and 14-year-old Alexis Sheppard from Orlando.

As the welcome session neared its end, camera flashes went off across the auditorium and the Dreamers rose to their feet as gospel singing legend Yolanda Adams took to the podium to welcome them. Adams says the judging process was tough.

"We used a lot of tissue when we read your applications. But we're happy because we know today that each of you here has the potential to change the world forever."

Frogs Remind Guests to Spring Ahead

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., - Disney's Animal Kingdom guests will get a "leap" on the upcoming daylight saving time change with a variety of frog-focused activities reminding them to set the clocks ahead one hour on Sun., March 12.

Frogs, toads and salamanders will take center stage on Wed., March 9 as part of Disney's effort to raise awareness of the serious decline in amphibian populations. According to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species may be threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease.

Amphibians play an essential role in the ecosystems of the world and are keenly attuned to changes in the environment and are considered an "indicator" species, meaning they can provide an early warning for endangered ecosystems. In addition, frogs provide valuable scientific and medical benefits to humans. The skin of amphibians contains substances that can protect them from some microbes and viruses, which can offer possible medical cures for a variety of human diseases, including AIDS.

"Frogs also provide a free pest-control service," according to Kathy Lehnhardt, curator of education for Disney's Animal Programs. "Frogs eat billions of harmful insects annually, including mosquitoes and their larvae. So we want to do all we can to protect them."

This year, children and families visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom will make toad abodes for their backyards, listen to frog calls, spring like a frog, examine amphibians up close and meet their keepers. They'll also learn about conservation actions that they can do to help amphibians survive for the future. Some of the suggestions include:

* Build a pond with native shrubs.
* Provide an overturned pot, small areas of leaf litter, logs, and dirt piles to benefit amphibians.
* Get an amphibian field guide to learn where certain amphibians live.
* Find books on frogs and discover why they sing loudly, hear well and stay up late.
* Visit a local pond or nature park and listen for the calls of different frog species.
* Use fewer chemical pesticides to keep amphibians healthy.
* Observe the variety and behaviors of frogs by just looking; allow them to continue their important work.
* Take part in a local pond or stream clean-up to ensure that native amphibians will have a clean home.
* Remember that the chemicals from soaps and lotions can hurt their delicate skin if they're touched.

March 4, 2011

New Photography Featuring Penelope Cruz, Queen Latifah, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, and Alec Baldwin Celebrates Disney Memories

ANAHEIM, Ca. and LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 3, 2011) -- As Disney Parks invites guests to "Let the Memories Begin," spectacular new images were unveiled today featuring the work of acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The portraits star Penelope Cruz as Belle and Jeff Bridges as the transformed prince from "Beauty and the Beast," Queen Latifah as the villainous Ursula from "The Little Mermaid," and Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen with Alec Baldwin as the Spirit of the Magic Mirror from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

The three Disney Dream Portrait images are the latest to be commissioned by Disney, which debuted the successful series of celebrities set in Disney fantasy settings in 2007. These are the first new images to debut since 2009 and the first to include Disney villains.

"After the incredible response of Disney fans to Annie's amazing work, we couldn't be more excited to share these stunning new images," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Annie has captured Disney experiences that evoke nostalgia and transport viewers to faraway magical places which is why they have generated so much enthusiasm and affection."

Asked by Disney Parks to continue lending her vision to the successful campaign, Leibovitz has created inspired images of Disney fantasy come to life. Her photographs for the campaign embody the captivating, narrative style indicative of her world-renowned work.

Each image features a scene with well-known celebrities transformed into the role of famous Disney characters.

* Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges appear as Belle and the transformed prince, recalling the final scene from "Beauty and the Beast." The celebratory moment's tagline reads, "Where a moment of beauty lasts forever."

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* As the Spirit of the Magic Mirror, Alec Baldwin joins Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." In the dark depths of her lair, the Queen has summoned the mirror's spirit through wind and darkness to reveal the identity of a lovelier maid than she. The tagline reads, "Where magic speaks, even when you're not the fairest of them all."

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"I've wanted to work with Annie my entire career," said Wilde. "I was overwhelmed when I heard I could have this chance. This is such a great idea; to pair some of the most iconic characters from all our childhoods with the photographer who is so good at capturing icons, and that's why I think this Disney-Leibovitz collaboration works so well together." she added.

* Queen Latifah comes ashore as the Sea Witch, Ursula, from "The Little Mermaid." The tagline reads, "Where memories take hold and never let go."

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"I was excited about doing this project," said Queen Latifah. "Villains get to have all the fun!"

The portraits will appear as a special insert in the April issues of O -- The Oprah Magazine, People en Español, Real Simple, Essence, and InStyle as well as the March 28 issue of People.

February 28, 2011

Victoria & Albert’s Chef Among Semi-finalists Named Best in South

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., February 22, 2011 - The James Beard Foundation has released its highly coveted annual list of top chefs in the country and among the semi-finalists for "Best Chef: South" is Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the Foundation's mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America's culinary heritage and diversity.

To make the list of the best and the brightest talents in the food and beverage industries, the James Beard Foundation annually holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October. This year, over 28,000 entries were received, the most in the Awards' history. Semifinalists in 19 awards categories are determined by committee and placed on a nominating ballot. The list of nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 550 judges across the country, who votes to determine five finalists in each category. Results are kept confidential until the winners are announced at the Lincoln Center in New York City in May.

This isn't the first time Chef Hunnel has been nominated as one of James Beard's best. He also got a nod from the Foundation in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for his refreshingly contemporary approach in the kitchen and straightforward cooking philosophy.

For the past 17 years, Hunnel has drawn national and international applause for his preparation of American regional cuisine with classical influences. During his tenure at Victoria & Albert's, the elegant, 50-seat restaurant has repeatedly achieved AAA Five-Diamond status - the only restaurant to do so in Central Florida.

To keep exceeding guests' expectations, Chef Hunnel often takes gastronomic journeys around the world for inspiration and ideas. In recent years, his search has taken him to the kitchen of George V in Paris, truffle hunting in Italy and to markets and restaurants in Hong Kong, Bangkok and London. Those experiences have led to other accolades including Forbes Four Diamonds, the DiRōNA Award of Excellence, Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence and Florida Trend's Golden Spoon award.

February 27, 2011

Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Caps Weekend of events that draws event-record 22,000 participants to Walt Disney World Resort

Jacksonville runner wins annual runDisney event

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - (Feb. 27, 2011) - Holding off challengers virtually the entire race Sunday, Jennifer Hanley-Pinto of Jacksonville, Fla. survived long enough to cross the finish line first to win Disney's 2011 Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort.

Caitlin Latimer of Lexington, Ky. came in second with a time of 1:23:14, which was just 24 seconds behind Hanley-Pinto, whose winning time was 1:22:50. Heather Schulz of Orlando was third (1:25:01) despite running a faster time than last year when she finished second.

Yet as fast as the field was, no one could quite outrun Hanley-Pinto, 33. Latimer and Schulz stayed on her heels down the stretch but couldn't overtake her as she finished ahead of a field of more than 17,000 runners. In all, more than 22,000 runners participated in endurance events throughout the weekend at Disney, including a health and fitness expo, a 5K and several kid races.

The weekend of events were all designed to celebrate and promote women's empowerment, health and an active lifestyle. It's widely regarded as one of the nation's largest endurance race weekends geared towards women.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend was the second of runDisney's four signature events. The remaining two are the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (September 2-4, 2011) and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (September 30-October 1, 2011) events. For more information or to registration for any runDisney events, go to www.rundisney.com.

February 25, 2011

Disney’s Innovative Technology for Visually Impaired Guests Earns National Award

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., February 22, 2011 - Walt Disney Parks and Resorts first-of-its-kind technology developed for visitors with disabilities has received another national accolade. The Assistive Handheld Technology Device for visually and hearing impaired guests earned the American Foundation for the Blind's prestigious Access Award.

The nonprofit organization's Access Award honors companies that foster equality by designing their services for all people. The foundation credited Disney's Assistive Handheld Technology Device with creating "unprecedented freedom" for guests with disabilities.

"Too often, swift advances in technology bring the rewards of convenience and entertainment to an eager world while inadvertently leaving those who are visually impaired behind," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Each of this year's Access Award winners displayed a real commitment to making sure their products and services are equally accessible to everyone. And with the growing number of people with vision loss, focusing on accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it's also a savvy business decision."

Initially debuted by Disney engineers in 2001, the Assistive Handheld Technology Device recently added ground-breaking, Disney-patented* technology that expands guests' accessibility through audio and visual descriptions at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The 7.2-ounce device displays vivid audio narratives and descriptions of popular rides, attractions, and scenery. Utilizing wireless technology, an interactive menu allows users to access diverse information including architectural elements or the location of the closest restroom, and takes pre-programmed actions to fully immerse guests in the Disney experience.

"Working with our own team of experts and industry leaders, we continuously researched and tested new ways to achieve rich visual and audio descriptions for moving rides and outdoor scenery," said Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of Worldwide Safety and Accessibility for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "The unprecedented technology we introduced last year exemplifies Disney's long legacy of commitment to innovation and heightens accessibility for guests with disabilities."

The ingenuity behind the Assistive Handheld Technology Device has been well-received by guests with visual impairments such as Robyn Walker. "I commend Disney for doing this, I travel extensively and I spend a lot of time looking for things like restaurants and restrooms. This device helped me find things quickly, I am very impressed," she said.

The Access Award is the most recent honor bestowed the Assistive Handheld Technology Device. Last year, the technology earned the National Society of Professional Engineers 2010 "New Product Award."

"We appreciate the recognition received for Disney's Assistive Handheld Technology Device, but our greatest reward is continually improving the quality of the Disney experience for guests with special needs," said Hale. "Guests' and industry groups' encouraging response to the device inspires us to spread our technology so it can be emulated beyond our parks."

Through patents and licensing, Disney's technology has helped expand accessibility for a wide variety of retail, commercial and industrial applications. Locations already employing the technology include the World of Coca Cola Museum, The Hall at Patriot Place and Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

February 23, 2011

Magic Kingdom Guests Will Be Able To Determine a Time To Meet with Mickey Mouse Beginning Later This Spring

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Magic Kingdom officials have a hunch a really "hot ticket" in their realm this summer is going to be something other than a ride, a snack or a show. Rather, it's a first-ever opportunity to nail down a time to meet with Mickey Mouse.

When meet-and-greets with Mickey move into a permanent new location in Town Square later this spring, Magic Kingdom guests will be able to obtain a Disney's FASTPASS ticket specifying a one-hour window when they can return to see the popular character for hugs, photos and autographs -- without waiting in the standby queue. It will mark the first time the complimentary, computerized service has been available for a character meet-and-greet at any Disney Park.

Since spending time with Disney characters is at the top of the "must-do list" of many guests, the FASTPASS ticket will allow them to experience their Mickey Mouse meet-and-greets more conveniently. As a result, guests will be able to devote more time enjoying other Magic Kingdom experiences with family and friends.

The new meet-and-greet location, Town Square Theater, will be located inside the current Exposition Hall area just inside the park entrance. Imagineers already are working to completely transform the space for the new experience. "This isn't just remodeling Expo Hall; it is completely re-imagining this entire venue as a beautiful Victorian-era theater and the new home for Mickey Mouse," Jon Georges, WDI Director, Senior Show Producer, said.

"Mickey and Main Street, U.S.A. are great examples of pure Americana that complement each other very well," Concept Designer Jason Grandt said. "We drew a lot of inspiration from classic Mickey animated shorts such as The Nifty Nineties and Mickey's Grand Opera. Many of the scenes in these shorts look like they take place right on Main Street."

Guests arrive at a building befitting Mickey Mouse's stardom -- with a grand-Victorian-theater elevation, including a marquee that glistens with gold-leaf trim and sparkles with lights. Inside, there's a mosaic floor, lush curtains with gold rope tie-backs and polished-brass chandeliers. Imagineers are creating new elements and surprises for Magic Kingdom guests, including an interactive queue -- with an extra touch of Disney magic -- and highly themed retail shops.

The queue takes guests "backstage," where Mickey is waiting to greet them in a rehearsal-room environment amid posters, steamer trunks and stage props.

In addition, during the New Fantasyland construction, royalty will be visiting as the Disney Princesses will be in Town Square Theater to meet and greet their loyal subjects.

Currently, guests can visit with Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland, in a location to the right of Space Mountain. Meet-and-greet experiences with the Disney Princesses are currently at Adventureland Verandah.

February 15, 2011

Let the Memories Begin with the Disney Parks Memories Sweepstakes

Let the Memories Begin with the Disney Parks Memories Sweepstakes
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Enter the Disney Parks Memories Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 4-person family vacation to a Disney Resort each week in February 2011!

Guests can enter either online or via mobile once a day for the chance to win:
• Current week: 5-days, 4-nights at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
• Week 4: 7-days, 6-nights at any Disney Resort worldwide

Guests can also go to the sweepstakes site each day to download the Daily Digital Download, featuring exclusives such as Disney-themed picture frames, wallpapers and more.

The sweepstakes runs from now until Feb. 28, 2011.

For rules, please see: Official Rules

February 9, 2011

Walt Disney World Resort Offers Romantic Playground for Lovebirds on Valentine's Day and Every Day

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The storybook setting and amorous ambiance of Walt Disney World Resort has lovebirds flocking to the Vacation Kingdom for a romantic getaway. Moonlit strolls, luxurious spas and intimate dining make it feel like Valentine's Day every day. With all the choices available, couples commemorating their commitment have a "heart full" of enchanting ways to customize their Valentine's vacations.

Couples who've been bitten by the love bug don't need a fairy godmother to find romance at Walt Disney World Resort. This is, after all, home to some of the world's most famous romances: Cinderella and Prince Charming, Lady and the Tramp, Beauty and the Beast - and don't forget America's sweethearts, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Throughout the 40-square-mile playground, love is in the air at the Vacation Kingdom. During a couples spa experience. In the middle of a romantic dinner. Or on one of the "love boats" that cruise Walt Disney World waterways.

Honeymooners thrive in the romantic allure of Walt Disney World Resort - a top-rated honeymoon destination, according to industry experts.

And for couples who want to make their own fairy tale dream come true - complete with Cinderella's coach and her famous glass slipper - Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings can create an unforgettable union.

The four Walt Disney World theme parks create a perfect setting for spontaneous romance - whether it's a stroll along the lush Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom or a relaxing stop for espresso and pastries at a sidewalk table in the France pavilion at Epcot World Showcase. Beyond the parks, couples can embrace a bouquet of romantic experiences that seem designed just for them:

The Couple that 'Spas' and 'Flies' Together".. - What's more enjoyable than a luxurious spa treatment? Imagine sharing it with that special someone. The Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club, in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, features a "couples room" where guests can enjoy specialized spa treatments - such as massages and facials - with the one they love. For information about spa treatments, call 407/824-2332.

Make like Aladdin and Jasmine - fly through the sky with your loved one on an adventurous tandem parasail over Bay Lake. Those looking to soar to new heights can spend 10 minutes alone soaring high above Disney and get a bird's-eye view of Magic Kingdom and its neighboring resorts. Contact Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre at Disney's Contemporary Resort, or call 407/939-0754 for reservations.

Magical Resorts - From the romance of an African lodge to the Victorian splendor of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the mood is set for an enchanting stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Disney's fantasy hotels transport couples to faraway places with lavish theming, picturesque views and superior service. For reservations, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639).

The Love Boat - The Grand Floridian's Grand 1 - an elegant 52-foot yacht - can give couples, or parties up to 18, a stunning view of "Wishes" fireworks showering above Magic Kingdom during select evening cruises along Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Private butler service and gourmet meals also are available. Reservations may be made up to 90 days in advance by calling 407/824-2682.

Disney Dining Serves Romance - Couples find Disney dining infused with romance in settings ranging from subdued to spectacular. For Walt Disney World dining information, guests can call 407/WDW-DINE (939-3463) or check out all the possibilities at www.disneyworld.com/dining.

Nature Lovers - A horseback ride through one of the backwoods trails at Walt Disney World Resort is just the thing for couples who share a love of nature and each other. Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers wrangler-led tours (45 minutes) through the deep, pine-scented woods that make up part of the Vacation Kingdom's 40 square miles. Tours leave several times daily from Trail Blaze Corral, and may be reserved by calling 407/WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Romantic Evening - Horse-drawn carriage rides through the wilderness of Walt Disney World Resort are a romantic treat for couples looking for a secluded nighttime outing. The antique carriages depart from Pioneer Hall at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and traverse throughout the scenic landscape of the 750-acre rustic resort. Or guests can choose a relaxing old-fashioned carriage ride through Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside with pickup at Boatwright's Dining Hall. For reservations, guests can call 407/WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Weddings Around the 'World' - The epitome of Disney romance can be summed up in four words: Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings. Since the first wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in 1995, approximately 1,600 couples each year have exchanged vows at Walt Disney World Resort.

For these couples, dreams become reality. Where else but at Disney could a bride arrive for her wedding in Cinderella's glass coach, have a handsome major domo carry wedding rings to the altar in a glass slipper, or have Mickey and Minnie greet guests at the reception?

Whether it's an elegant ball at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a traditional ceremony at Disney's Wedding Pavilion or a beach-themed wedding complete with tiki torches, leis and luau on one of the Walt Disney World white-sand beaches, Disney custom designs each wedding with the famous "Disney Difference" - providing attention to the tiniest detail.

Disney's wedding specialists incorporate all the elements in a one-stop shop including the ceremony, entertainment, cuisine, floral arrangements, audiovisuals and accommodations. For more information on Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings, call 321/939-4623 or visit disneyweddings.com.

Couples who are tying the knot back home can arrange a Disney's Fairy Tale Honeymoon by calling 321/939-4623 or visiting the website at disneyhoneymoons.com.

Renewing Vows - Many couples who've been married for years are coming to Walt Disney World Resort, often with their families, to renew their vows five, 10, 25 and 50 years later. A Disney vacation provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate this family milestone. Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings experts can tailor the ceremony and celebration to suit each couple.

February 2, 2011

14,000 Birds of a Feather Flock Together at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 1, 2011 -- While Donald Duck may be the most famous bird at Walt Disney World Resort, he's not the only one. He's apparently got a lot of company.

On a recent day in January, Disney cast members and friends counted as many as 14,000 birds, representing at least 110 different species around the resort. This day-long census was conducted during the first Holiday Bird Count at Walt Disney World. The one-day bird-fest enabled birders of all skill levels to join together to help determine which birds are found in Central Florida during the winter. The event was modeled after the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count, which began in 1900 as a way for scientists to track trends in bird populations.

"As part of our commitment to conserving bird species, we're excited to engage our cast members in citizen science projects," said senior conservation biologist Dr. Anne Savage, Ph.D. "Ultimately, our goal is to protect birds and their habitat and one of the best ways to do that is by sharing the amazing stories of wildlife found in Florida and around the world."

At Walt Disney World Resort, it appears that the most abundant bird species is the fish crow, with 2,725 of them cited. White ibises ranked second with over 1,000 birds roosting by Oasis in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The bird counters also noted some new species to the list, including Brown Pelicans, Hooded and Black-throated Green Warblers, a Forster's Tern, a Pine Siskin, a Vesper Sparrow and a Shiny Cowbird.

But the most photographed bird of the day was a life-sized duck wearing a sombrero in the Mexico Pavilion. Donald Duck showed his appreciation for the volunteers by posing for pictures with his bird-friendly admirers.

February 1, 2011

Magical Festivities Salute Chilean Miners as Walt Disney World Resort Honors the Freed Heroes and their Families

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2011) - Magical new memories were embraced today by the rescued Chilean miners as they paraded down Main Street, U.S.A. in grand fanfare at Walt Disney World Resort toward the close of a Disney-sponsored vacation honoring the miners, their rescuers and their families.

Last fall, the world united to celebrate the dramatic rescue of the trapped Chilean miners. Since last Thursday, the miners and their rescuers and families joined in a festive gathering in their honor at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Aboard Copa Airlines, the group of nearly 160 Chileans arrived last week in grand style to Orlando International Airport where they received a ceremonial "water salute" by local firefighting vehicles: a dramatic arch of water rising over the tarmac as the airplane passed underneath.

Their summer holiday (seasons are reversed in Chile) included a welcome party Friday hosted by Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton and local dignitaries at The American Adventure pavilion in Epcot. The miners enjoyed a long weekend filled with thrilling attractions, shopping, character hugs and VIP treatment in all four theme parks, creating lasting memories with their families.

One highlight of their six-night vacation to Disney was serving as Grand Marshals of the Main Street, U.S.A. parade Monday in Magic Kingdom. The miners and rescuers were greeted by cheers of guests waving Chilean flags in their honor, Disney characters and entertainers pulling out all the stops and the 'Mayor' of Main Street proclaiming their special day. To the accompaniment of "When You Wish Upon a Star" their day was capped by daytime pyrotechnics and streamers in a rainbow of colors of the Chilean flag. Later that evening, they watched Cinderella Castle magically transform during the nighttime spectacle, "The Magic, The Memories, and You!", a projection spectacular starring images of guests shot earlier in the day in the park.

"These courageous men captivated the world with their story of hope and perseverance," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "Great stories are at the heart of all we do at The Walt Disney Company and we are pleased that the next chapter in this inspirational story is taking place at Walt Disney World Resort."

The Chilean miners (31 of the 33 miners were able to make the trip) were scheduled later Monday to share their lessons of hope, courage and pride with about 40 youngsters from local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Trapped 2,300 feet inside the earth for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine, the men were pulled from the darkness in a miracle rescue. In one of 2010's most compelling stories, their unbending faith and endurance sustained them throughout a saga that transfixed the world.

"We are not the heroes," said Omar Reygada, one of the miners whose comments were translated from Spanish. "Our families and all the people around the world who prayed, wished us well and helped us through our ordeal - those are our real heroes."

During their Walt Disney World vacation, the miners also will be treated to a keepsake group photo in front of Cinderella Castle and personal photo albums of their visit.

Their departure for home is scheduled for Feb. 2.

January 12, 2011

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! Set for Spring Debut at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 5, 2011 - As Disney Channel prepares to launch a new multiplatform brand, Disney Junior, in February, both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's California Adventure are set to debut the new "Disney Junior - Live on Stage!" attraction in March.

It's a prime example of Disney putting synergy in motion across its various business units.

Beginning next month, Playhouse Disney - a block of programming on Disney Channel and about two dozen Disney international channels - will be rebranded as Disney Junior.

At Disney Parks, a new 22-minute stage show will update the popular "Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage!" attraction. The new show brings back three audience favorites - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins - and also introduces a brand new segment based on Disney Junior's newest series that will debut in February 2011, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates."

"Disney Junior - Live on Stage! demonstrates the agility of our company in meeting the expectations of our guests," said Rilous Carter, vice president of Disney's Hollywood Studios. "We go to great lengths to ensure something special for all of our guests, including very young children. Disney Junior - Live on Stage! will be unique entertainment that, at its core, is developed specifically for parents and small children to enjoy together."

Carter says that television is a rapidly changing medium, with new shows and new stories every season, and adds that guests want to see those stories and characters in person, in Disney Parks.

In early 2012, an expanded Disney Junior will premiere on cable and satellite television channel lineups, reaching about 75 million homes. The new Disney Junior channel will provide 24-hour children's programming currently available only on the Playhouse Disney block of Disney Channel.

January 7, 2011

Join Jane Goodall for an Exclusive VIP Weekend at Walt Disney World

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While many people dream of going to Africa to live like renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, most of us just don't have the time to pack up and fly around the world, particularly those of us with children. The Jane Goodall Institute, together with our longtime friends at Walt Disney World, would like to offer you and your family the next best thing: An Exclusive VIP Weekend at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge® featuring the chance to spend time with Jane over President's Day Weekend.

Trip Highlights Include:

• Private VIP transportation provided to and from Orlando International Airport;
• Three nights in a savannah view room in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge®;
• Exclusive breakfast with Dr. Jane Goodall and some of Disney's famous characters;
• Intimate campfire with Jane Goodall overlooking Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge® savannah including stories, hot chocolate, s'mores and more;
• Opportunity to get up close to a variety of spectacular and majestic animals in their backstage habitats on Disney's special Backstage Safari Tour;
• Gala dinner featuring an exclusive private performance of the Festival of the Lion King;
• Access to Disney's theme parks with Park Hopper® passes. Transportation to any of the Disney parks is included, along with a Dining Card valid at a variety of locations; and
• More!

Package is for Presidents Day Weekend (February 18-21, 2011). Complete experience includes capacity of up to 30 people. Includes hotel, select meals, unlimited three-day admission to all Disney theme parks, transportation to and from the Orlando airport, and all scheduled events.

Cost: $8,500 per adult and $7,500 per child, ages 7 and up. Includes hotel, select meals,unlimited three-day admission to all Disney theme parks, transportation to and from the airport, and all scheduled events.

See janegoodall.org/travelwithjgi for more information.

December 25, 2010

Holiday Surprise: Hero's Welcome Awaits Chilean Miners, Rescuers and Their Families at Walt Disney World Resort

BURBANK, Calif., Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A New Year will mean new memories for the Chilean miners whose saga transfixed the world, as they are treated to a hero's welcome and family vacations of a lifetime at Walt Disney World Resort next month.

During their complimentary six-night Disney vacation, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2011, the miners, their rescuers and immediate families will meet Disney characters, visit all four Walt Disney World theme parks and serve as honorary Grand Marshals of the Main Street, U.S.A. parade in Magic Kingdom.

Trapped 2,300 feet inside the earth for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine, the men were pulled from the darkness in a miracle rescue. In one of the year's most touching stories, their unbending faith and endurance sustained them throughout the ordeal.

"The amazing story of these miners captured the attention of the world for demonstrating the true power and resilience of the human spirit," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "We are proud to welcome these courageous men and their families to the Walt Disney World Resort."

The group will arrive to a welcome dinner with characters, dancing and Chilean cuisine prepared by Disney chefs. During their vacation, they also will be treated to a $500 gift card per family, a group photo in front of Cinderella Castle and personal photo albums of their visit.

Disney Shares Details On New Hotel Jobs For Central Floridians

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 16, 2010 - Plans for Disney's Art of Animation Resort mean new construction jobs for Central Floridians now and new permanent resort hotel jobs when the property opens in 2012.

Already in the land clearing stage, the project is expected to create up to 800 construction jobs. Once open by the end of 2012, Disney's Art of Animation Resort will also create 750 permanent resort hotel jobs, for a total of 1,550 jobs created. Walt Disney World Resort features 24 uniquely themed, Disney owned-and-operated resort hotels with more than 26,000 guest rooms. Disney's Art of Animation Resort will likewise be unique, with themed building exteriors and room interiors that bring to life The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid.

Located adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, the new resort will include 1,120 family suites in The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo wings, and 864 themed rooms in The Little Mermaid wings. Suites will feature both a living room and a bedroom, offering added space for families.

"The construction of family suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort is an innovative approach to a changing marketplace," said Kevin Myers, vice president of resort operations for Walt Disney World Resort. "Today more and more multi-generational families are traveling together for various celebrations, including family reunions. These families not only want to play together, they want to stay together, which has created tremendous demand for family suites."

The larger-than-life icons depicted in newly-released renderings demonstrate one way guests at Disney's Art of Animation Resort will be immersed in their favorite stories. For example, guests exploring The Lion King courtyard will see characters from the film - like the hyenas and Simba's evil uncle, Scar - through the eyes of Simba and in the same size and scale as the young Lion King cub would experience them.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort will be a uniquely-themed 68,800-square-foot commercial building with shopping, dining and features such as three pools and a water play area.

The family suites and rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort will fit into the "value" category of lodging, with nightly rates similar to Disney's All-Star Resort and Disney's Pop Century Resort.

December 11, 2010

Fantasyland Expansion Update

As work continues on the previously announced expansion of Fantasyland, the last day of operation for Mickey's Toontown Fair will be February 11, 2011. After that date, the following changes will take effect:

· Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney princesses will move to Town Square in the location currently known as Town Square Exposition Hall in spring 2011. Until that location is ready, they will greet guests throughout Magic Kingdom Park at locations to be determined.

· Tinker Bell will be relocating to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Her other fairy friends will appear later in the spring at Epcot.

· The Walt Disney World Railroad will stay open but the Toontown station will be closed during construction.

Once Mickey's Toontown Fair has closed, there are a number of other options for guests looking for similar experiences:

· The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farms has a 35" height requirement. Guests looking for other attractions with low height requirements can still experience the Tomorrowland Speedway, which has a 32" minimum for accompanied children. The next lowest height requirement is 40" at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Stitch's Great Escape!

· The Laughin' Place play area near Splash Mountain is a great alternative to Toon Park. It will continue to be available and is suitable for kids ages 2 through 5.

· Instead of Donald's Boat, guests may still enjoy a chance to cool off in Adventureland at the leaky tikis near The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

· Balzac (inflatable ball) products will continue to be available from the cart in Tomorrowland located near the Cool Ship.

· The face painting area will close with Mickey's Toontown Fair. Guests looking for a fun makeover can stop by The Pirates League or Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to inquire about availability. Face painting will continue to be available in the other Walt Disney World theme parks.

December 7, 2010

HOST WITH THE MOST: Ryan Seacrest stars in 2010 "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade"

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Ryan Seacrest poses with Minnie Mouse Dec. 3, 2010 while taping the "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The annual holiday telecast airs Dec. 25, 2010 on ABC-TV. Seacrest hosts the special from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Nick Cannon hosts from Disneyland Resort in California. Performers include Mariah Carey, Amber Riley, Selena Gomez, Lee DeWyze, Debby Ryan and Darius Rucker.

Walt Disney World Resort, Steve Harvey, Essence Magazine Announce the 100 Students Selected for Fourth Disney’s Dreamers Academy

High School Teens from Coast to Coast Will Attend
the Ultimate Outside-the-Classroom Education Experience


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2010) - Walt Disney World Resort, in collaboration with nationally syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, the leading communications company dedicated to African-American women, has announced the selection of 100 high school students from across the country to participate in Disney's Dreamers Academy class of 2011.

Dreamers will travel to Walt Disney World Resort in March 2011 to participate in immersive workshops focusing on a variety of subjects including Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment, entrepreneurship and culinary arts. Disney experts, world-renowned entrepreneurs and celebrities will share their blueprints for success, upholding the program's mission to motivate, empower and inspire young adults.

Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts, said, "Disney's Dreamers Academy is a perfect platform to further the goal, shared by Disney Parks, Essence Communications and - it goes without saying - by Steve Harvey, to inspire children. We are genuinely excited about the possibilities ahead."

Walt Disney World Resort and Steve Harvey developed Disney's Dreamers Academy in an effort to unveil a world of possibilities, inspire teens to dream big and help them to get started on their career paths. Launched in 2007, the program was designed to motivate high school students in grades 9-12 to achieve their dreams personally and professionally. Earlier this fall, parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and students nominated thousands of aspiring Dreamers for the program. The criteria used to select the Dreamers included exhibiting curiosity, compassion and leadership skills. Selected students, no matter their background, share common traits: the power to BELIEVE and DREAM. The program allows teens the opportunity to learn the process through which to attain their goals.

"Each year we strive to find young people who may have a will or passion, but may not have the courage to explore their dreams." Harvey said. "So we hope to unlock the power that will allow them to pursue their hearts' desires. Walt Disney World, Essence Magazine and I are excited to be a part of these young Dreamers' experience that will encourage them to bring their dreams to life."

Disney's Dreamers Academy is dedicated to the complete advancement of youth. The goal is for each participant to leave knowing that no Dream is too far-fetched. These students and their parent or guardian will be given unprecedented access to the enchantment behind Walt Disney World Resort.

Earlier this year Essence Communications joined forces with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey to help take Disney's Dreamers Academy to the "next level."

Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks said, "Essence is closely aligned with Disney and Steve Harvey in supporting the mission of Disney's Dreamers Academy and its commitment to positively impacting our youth. Disney's Dreamers Academy is helping teens take steps in the right direction, and we want to be right there with the students, both encouraging them and sharing their stories."

Participants for the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy class were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including: Steve Harvey; Yolanda Adams (Gospel Music Legend); Angela Burt-Murray (former editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine); Dr. Steve Perry (Education Advocate and CNN commentator); Dalonte Hall (DDA Dreamer, Class of 2010); Terrence J (MTV Personality); Carole Munroe (Director of Media Relations, Disney Parks & Resorts); Tracey Powell (Director of Pricing, Disney Parks & Resorts); Stella Ringer (Marketing Manager, The Coca-Cola Company); Lorraine Robertson (Blogger) and Stephen A. Smith (Broadcaster/Sports Analyst).

Thirteen students from New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., who missed the 2010 program due to inclement weather, have been invited to experience the magic of Disney's Dreamers Academy along with the 2011 class.

The 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy will take place March 3-6, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando in central Florida. The complete list of the 2011 class is below. For more information, visit www.disneysdreamersacademy.com.

December 4, 2010

Star-Studded Entertainment Lineup and Magical Parade Floats Make the Season Bright During the 27th Annual ‘Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade’ Telecast on ABC-TV

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and Anaheim, Calif. (Dec. 3, 2010) - Disney Parks has pulled out all the (silver) bells and whistles for the 2010 "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" TV special - including performances from five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Mariah Carey, country music chart-topper Darius Rucker, singer/actress Amber Riley, Disney Channel stars Selena Gomez and Debby Ryan, young soprano sensation Jackie Evancho, "American Idol" Lee DeWyze, swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, professional dancers from ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars" and R&B sensation Sean Kingston.

The annual holiday television special airs Dec. 25 on ABC-TV. Viewers can check local broadcast times online at http://DisneyParksChristmasDayParade.com and find out more information about the parade telecast.

Chart-topping Celebrities Ring in the Magical Holiday Spirit

From start to finish, the 2010 "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" is packed with festive musical performances from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
(Please note: all talent subject to change)

• Global pop superstar Mariah Carey gives fans a tuneful taste of her brand-new holiday album, "Merry Christmas II You," with a new song, "Oh Santa," and her perennial holiday smash, "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

• Big band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy gets the season swinging with "Christmas Is Starting Now" from the fun-filled holiday album, "Phineas & Ferb: Holiday Favorites"

• Professional dancers from ABC-TV's smash-hit series, "Dancing With The Stars," Tony Dovolani, Kym Johnson, Louis Van Amstel, and Chelsea Hightower, join in with a jovial jive

• Former Hootie & the Blowfish front man and current country music star Darius Rucker shares his new hit holiday single, "Candy Cane Christmas"

• Singer Amber Riley stars in a balcony performance above Main Street, U.S.A, as Disney princesses and princes join in a regal dance below

• R&B superstar Sean Kingston performs the holiday classic, "This Christmas"

• Disney Channel starlet Selena Gomez, from the Disney Channel hit show "Wizards of Waverly Place," casts a holiday spell with the seasonal favorite, "Winter Wonderland"

• "American Idol" Season 9 Champion Lee DeWyze performs his own rousing rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy"

• Ten-year-old soprano sensation Jackie Evancho sings "Pie Jesu," one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's songs that she wowed audiences with this year on the TV show "America's Got Talent"

• Direct from Disney Channel, "The Suite Life on Deck" star Debby Ryan rocks the parade route with her modern take on "Deck the Halls" from the all-new Disney holiday movie, "The Search for Santa Paws"; she'll be joined by little Santa Paws himself, the star of the film, which is now available on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Movie Download

Holiday Hosts with the Most!

Ryan Seacrest leads the fun as the show's host at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Nick Cannon hosts from Disneyland Resort in California. Maria Menounos serves as a special co-host at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Samantha Brown checks in as the show's travel correspondent.

Disney Stars and More Gather for this Annual, Family-Friendly Television Extravaganza

Dressed in their holiday best, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy take to Main Street, U.S.A. to celebrate this special time of year and invite the entire Disney character family to join in the merriment. The fun doesn't stop there! Straight from the North Pole, Gingerbread Men, steadfast Toy Soldiers and prancing reindeer spread cheer during the festive parade, concluding with a very jolly guest of honor.

Also joining in the festivities:
(Please note: all characters/floats subject to change)

• Making his "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" debut, Duffy the Disney Bear joins his new pals for the holiday special. Duffy, the newest character at Disney parks, is Mickey Mouse's very own teddy bear

• Silly stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb, from the popular Disney Channel animated series, pack the parade with their playful antics

• Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, from the Disney-Pixar hit film "Cars," and Woody and Jessie,from the Disney-Pixar trio of "Toy Story" films, spread a revved-up toybox of holiday magic along the parade route

• Even the dark side can't resist the spirit of the season - Darth Vader and his legion of Stormtroopers from the Star Wars film saga march down Main Street, U.S.A.; their first-time appearance in Magic Kingdom is in celebration of the new Star Tours 3-D attraction, coming soon to Disney parks; the "reimagined" Star Tours attraction will open at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2011

• Disney princesses Jasmine, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Belle share a royal holiday with guests along the parade route

• The famous Disney Parks Toy Soldiers lead the way during "The Toyland March;" the brightly colored toys are joined by the very merry Gingerbread Men

• Wrapping up the TV special, the one-and-only Santa Claus, along with his regal reindeer, glide down Main Street, U.S.A. spreading the message of giving and joy this holiday season

As Buzz Lightyear Might Say, "To Disney Parks, and Beyond!"

In addition to the parade fun at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, expert travel correspondent Samantha Brown gives viewers a taste of what's coming soon around the globe. First, she checks in from Papenburg, Germany, with an exclusive preview of the Disney Dream, the newest Disney Cruise Line ship. The Disney Dream will launch in January 2011 from Port Canaveral, Fla. She also gives viewers a taste of the all-new Disney Destination, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai"i. The new resort opens Aug. 29, 2011.

What Time Does It Air?

The 27th annual "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" airs Christmas Day on ABC-TV. Viewers are also asked to check their local listings and go online to http://DisneyParksChristmasDayParade.com for times and more information about the parade telecast.

The show is scheduled to air at the following times:
• Eastern Time Zone: Noon - 2 p.m.
• Central Time Zone: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
• Mountain Time Zone: 10 a.m. - noon
• Pacific Time Zone: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
• Los Angeles: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Text Updates Available

Fans are invited to join the parade mobile text alert program to get fun information about the parade as well as submit holiday greetings, which may appear on the "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" broadcast! To sign up, send an SMS message with PARADE to 37275 (DPARK)*
(*Msg. & data rates may apply. Participants under 18 years of age must have parent/guardian's permission.)

The Parade Magic Continues on Radio Disney

Radio Disney will air a one-hour special on SATURDAY, DEC. 25 (9 a.m., ET/6 a.m., PT and 3 p.m., ET/Noon, PT) hosted by on-air personalities Ernie D and Jake Whetter. The "2010 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Special on Radio Disney" will feature behind-the-scenes interviews and sneak previews of performances by stars of the parade including Mariah Carey, Selena Gomez, Sean Kingston and Debby Ryan.

November 22, 2010

Disney, Gowalla Deliver the Magic of Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, In a New Way

Gowalla's Unique Product Features Inspire Visitors
To Experience Disney Parks Like Never Before


GLENDALE, Calif.(Nov. 18, 2010) - In its first foray into location services, Disney Parks has teamed up with Gowalla - the social network that inspires people to keep up with friends and share the places they go - to provide park-goers a new way to explore the magic of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Starting today, visitors to these parks can engage with family and friends around the world through the custom Disney Gowalla pages and Passport Stamps, and track their experiences at Disney like never before.

"Gowalla is the perfect complement to the park visit by rewarding guests with exclusive digital stamps, and by suggesting new ways to explore the parks with fun trip itineraries," said Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president, Global Marketing for Disney Destinations. "We are excited to work with Gowalla to enhance the check-in experience for our guests. As we encourage our guests to make memories at Disney parks, Gowalla is a great way for them to share their Disney memories as they happen."

Capturing and Sharing the Magic of Disney
People are able to view park happenings with custom Gowalla Disney Passport pages for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts that include maps featuring a check-in stream, a list of popular places, exciting Trips, special Items and more.

Hundreds of locations within Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts will feature custom Stamps created by Gowalla - the largest number of custom Gowalla Passport Stamps ever developed for a brand. The Stamps can be collected in their Gowalla Passports and kept as a virtual scrapbook by park-goers of their experiences at Disney. In addition, park visitors will discover and collect Pins as a special reward for visiting featured Spots, and Virtual Items will be placed around the parks. "Beware of the hitchhiking ghost taking residency in your Gowalla Passport," added Tom Aronson, digital marketing director, Global New Media, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Discovering the Magic of Disney
For guests looking for a creative way to explore the parks, Disney has developed Gowalla Trips that "bundle" attractions by age or interest. A sampling includes:

• "For the Little Ones (under 44 inches)" is a dream track fit for pint-sized park-goers to Magic Kingdom in Florida. It includes "Mickey's PhilharMagic," Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan's Flight and more.

• "Characters in the Wild" treats Disney's Animal Kingdom guests to a show track that includes "Festival of the Lion King," "Finding Nemo-The Musical," "Flights of Wonder" and more.

• Just in time for the holidays at the Disneyland park, "Santa's Reindeer Roundup," "Believe in Holiday Magic" fireworks and Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle are on the menu for the "Seasons Greetings" Trip.

Throughout the year, Disney will be highlighting special events at its parks via Gowalla. This feature allows park-goers to secure unique Passport Stamps for checking in at custom events to record all of their Disney Parks' experiences

"Part of what makes Gowalla special is our vision to inspire people to discover and explore truly remarkable places around the world and then share those experiences with friends and family worldwide. Disney has consistently created this kind of wonder and excitement with its park-goers, so teaming up to create something new has been a thrill for us," said Andy Ellwood, business development director, Gowalla. "This is the first time we've developed a partnership this comprehensive with a brand and it's only possible because of the remarkable number of places and experiences the Disney parks have to discover."

To participate, guests are encouraged to join Gowalla via the web or download the free application onto their smartphone. All the custom Stamps and Items guests collect will be added to their Gowalla Passport and each check-in can be shared via Facebook and Twitter. Guests can start their new Disney Parks adventure by going to Gowalla.com/WaltDisneyWorld, Gowalla.com/Disneyland or Gowalla.com/Disney.

November 16, 2010

Walt Disney World Resort Launches Annual Toys for Tots Drive with ‘Cuddliest Christmas Tree’ Featuring 1,200 Stuffed ‘Duffy’ Bears

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2010) - Walt Disney World Resort launched its annual Toys for Tots collection drive today with a little help from Duffy the Disney Bear and his pals Mickey and Minnie, creating the "Cuddliest Christmas Tree," a 20-foot-high, 10-foot-wide Christmas tree made of 1,200 stuffed Duffy bears.

Topping the "Cuddliest Christmas Tree" with a giant red bow at today's ceremony were members of the U.S. Marine Corps, Walt Disney World Ambassador Clay Shoemaker and Walt Disney World VoluntEARS.

Each year, Walt Disney World VoluntEARS donate thousands of hours of service and tens of thousands of toys to Toys for Tots - all with the goal of making the holidays brighter for deserving children throughout Central Florida. For the next few weeks, Walt Disney World cast members will play the role of Santa's helpers by collecting new toys for the annual toy drive, which will be added to today's donation of 1,200 stuffed Duffy bears from the "Cuddliest Christmas Tree."

"As the story goes, Minnie created Duffy as a pal for Mickey to bring him comfort and joy, and we hope that Duffy brings those same gifts to children throughout Central Florida during the holidays," said Walt Disney World Ambassador Clay Shoemaker. Duffy the Disney Bear was recently introduced at both Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California after becoming a phenomenon at Tokyo Disneyland. The plush has become an instant favorite with guests.

"Disney cast members have big hearts and time and again show their generous spirit," said First Sgt. Michael Diaz, who heads up the 2010 Central Florida Toys for Tots campaign. "As we head into the holiday season, we are seeing a record level of people in need and these donations will make a big difference in the lives of thousands of kids."

During the resort's annual collection drive for Toys for Tots, Disney cast members collect items appropriate for infants and teenagers alike, ranging from learning toys and board games to arts and crafts and sports equipment. Donations from cast members will continue to be accepted through Dec. 10, with a final tally on toys expected thereafter.

This year, Central Florida Toys for Tots expects to assist thousands of families from Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties in celebrating the holiday season with gifts for their children. The annual toy drive is meant to send a message of hope to youngsters by ensuring they have at least one new gift to open during the holidays. Nationwide, Toys for Tots has drop-off sites set up to accept toy donations. For locations, visit http://toysfortots.org.

The Walt Disney Company's involvement with Toys for Tots began more than 60 years ago when Walt Disney and his animators designed the original Toys for Tots logo that is still used today. In 2009, Disney VoluntEARS collected more than 23,000 toys for Central Florida Toys for Tots and gave more than 3,000 hours toward helping the U.S. Marines register families in need, sort and stock toys and assist with toy distribution.

The annual toy drive is one of many charitable activities underway at Walt Disney World Resort during the "Season of Sharing" that focuses on improving the lives of local children and their families during the holidays and beyond.

November 2, 2010

Chris DiMarco and Golf Channel Contestant Mike Perez Join Celebrity Golfers Competing in PGA TOUR Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney

DiMarco and Perez enter as sponsor's exemptions; NBA Hall of Famer Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, Rays players Carlos Pena and James Shields, and former World Series champions A.J. Pierzynski and Aaron Rowand headline celebrity pro-am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Three-time PGA TOUR winner and Orlando resident Chris DiMarco and Golf Channel's Big Break Disney Golf winner Mike Perez received sponsor's exemptions for the 40th Children's Miracle Network Classic Nov. 11-14 at Walt Disney World Resort, where they will compete alongside a host of celebrity pro-am golfers, such as Julius "Dr. J' Erving, Carlos Pena and A.J. Pierzynski.

DiMarco, who won the 2000 SEI Pennsylvania Classic, the 2001 Buick Challenge and the 2002 Phoenix Open, has competed on the U.S. Ryder Cup team (2004 and 2006) and the Presidents Cup (2003 and 2005). He has earned $400,040 on the tour this year and $21,235,123 for his career, as well as 61 career Top 10 finishes.

DiMarco has played at Disney 13 times in his career beginning in 1994, with his best result a runner-up finish to Bob Burns in 2002. Last year, he tied for 15th place.

Perez earned his sponsor's exemption after winning the Golf Channel's Big Break Disney Golf earlier this year at the Palm and Magnolia courses at Disney. In the Disney Classic, Perez will compete against his brother, Pat Perez, ranked 103rdon the money list.

"The DiMarco family has long been a part of the Disney Classic, dating back to Chris's father, Rich, who played in the Pro-Am, and continues to this day with Chris and his kids participating in the traditional father-child event here at Disney," said tournament chairman Kevin Weickel. "Mike Perez obviously knows our course well after winning Big Break Disney Golf, and we look forward to seeing his dream come true of playing in a PGA TOUR event here at Disney."

With DiMarco and Perez in the field, the Children's Miracle Network Classic has two remaining sponsor's exemptions to extend to players who otherwise wouldn't qualify for the field of 128 players that will tee off in the PGA TOUR Fall Series finale. The final two spots will be announced in the next couple weeks.

The two-day pro-am field, which will compete the Thursday and Friday of tournament week, is also nearly filled, headlined by Erving, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, San Francisco Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand and Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena and pitcher James Shields.

Defending champion Stephen Ames, who also won the tournament in 2007, is among an impressive group of former winners, which includes Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart and Raymond Floyd. Celebrating its 40th year, the event was initially held as the Walt Disney World Open Invitational shortly after the resort opened in 1971. This year's tournament will again be televised live each day on the Golf Channel.

Once again, guests also will have the opportunity to experience the Wine & Dine Walk, throughout the back nine of Disney's Magnolia Golf Course. Patterned after the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, five specialty locations will offer culinary pairings of tapas-sized appetizers, entrees, desserts and wines especially for the event.

Tickets for individual rounds ($10), badges for Classic week ($20) and a new one-day Wine & Dine ticket ($45) are available at www.ChildrensMiracleNetworkClassic.com or through www.ticketmaster.com. The new Wine & Dine ticket is good for five entrees, one at each location, and one beverage, along the back nine of the Magnolia Golf Course. Net proceeds go to Children's Miracle Network hospitals, including the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, and Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville.

Enjoy a D-Lightful Yuletide Season With Disney Institute Holiday Tours

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- With the holidays just around the corner, Disney Institute is offering guests of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the opportunity to go behind the scenes of celebrations at various theme parks.

Yuletide Fantasy and Holiday D-Lights, both led by seasoned Disney Institute facilitators, offer guests a special look at holiday attractions and events, including a peak behind the curtain, where production of Disney's holiday season takes place. Yuletide Fantasy is a three-and-a-half hour tour that takes place in the morning and afternoon and costs $84 per person; Holiday D-Lights is a five-hour tour that takes place in the evening and costs $199 per person.

"These tours are great for guests interested in discovering what makes the Walt Disney World Resort a favorite place for families to celebrate the holidays," said Jeff James, vice president, Disney Institute.

Yuletide Fantasy uncovers the origins of holiday traditions as guests travel through the culturally diverse celebrations of World Showcase at Epcot before getting an up-close look at the bows and bells lining Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom. While in World Showcase, Disney Institute facilitators visit Germany, Italy and Japan to demonstrate how each country communicates the story of the holidays. The tour continues to the Magic Kingdom where guests learn about the birth of holiday traditions celebrated in the United States.

The last stop is a backstage visit to holiday services. This department produces and stores holiday decor for all Walt Disney properties on the East Coast, including two Disney Cruise Line ships. Guests are able to see the scope of Disney's holiday operations and how thousands of decorations are used.

Holiday D-Lights journeys through the history of Disney traditions, with visits to Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Each location's interpretation of holiday lighting is showcased, kicking off with priority viewing for Epcot's Candlelight Processional. This event features the story of Christmas retold by a special celebrity narrator and is accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The next stop on the Holiday D-Lights tour is to the Magic Kingdom, where guests experience Cinderella's Holiday Wish before watching her castle illuminate with more than 200,000 LED lights.

Before traveling to Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests will be treated to a light meal while marveling at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Lastly, guests get a behind-the-scenes look at how Disney creates holiday lighting displays while visiting decorating support. This unique department coordinates all of the lighting logistics for the entire Walt Disney World Resort.

The tours are open to anyone ages 16 years or older. All participants must present a valid government-issued photo ID. For more information or to book a Disney Institute holiday tour please call, (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687, or visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tours-and-experiences/.

October 25, 2010

U.S. Military Can ‘Let the Memories Begin’ in 2011 with Special Offers at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resorts

As guests of Disney Parks share Disney vacation memories through the "Let the Memories Begin" program in 2011, America's military personnel will have opportunities to make memories through special offers on theme park tickets and accommodations.

At Walt Disney World Resort - now through Sept. 28, 2011, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses (but not both) can purchase:

* Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $138 each, plus tax
* Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Parks Fun and More Option for $138 each, plus tax AND
* Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More Options for $165 each, plus tax

At Disneyland Resort - now through Sept. 28, 2011, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses (but not both) can purchase:

* Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $99 each

Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets only by active and retired U.S. military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer. In addition, all six must be purchased at the same time and one of the six must be for use by the eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse). Valid military identification is required.

All tickets and options are non-transferable and may not be used after Oct. 1, 2011. In addition, Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets (including any options) for the Walt Disney World Resort may not be used on the following blockout dates: Dec. 27, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2010, and April 17, 2011, through April 23, 2011, at all Walt Disney World Theme Parks and other gated attractions; and July 4, 2011, at Magic Kingdom Park; and Disney 3-Day Military Promotional Tickets for the Disneyland Resort may not be used on the following blockout dates: Dec. 24, 2010, through Jan. 1, 2011, Feb. 18, 2011, through Feb. 21, 2011, April 17, 2011, through April 23, 2011, and July 1, 2011, through July 4, 2011, at the Disneyland Theme Parks.

Don't forget to ask about special room rates at select hotels at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort (including official eligibility requirements, restrictions and black-out dates), or to make room reservations at the Walt Disney World Resort, military personnel may call (407) 939-7830 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices. For information regarding Disney 3-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort (including official eligibility requirements, restrictions and black-out dates), or to make room reservations at the Disneyland Resort, military personnel may call (714) 956-6424 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.

October 23, 2010

Grad Nite with Pauly D

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Paul Delvecchio (left), aka "DJ Pauly D" from the hit MTV series "Jersey Shore," takes a ride aboard the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster Oct. 22, 2010 in the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Delvecchio, riding with Celebration (Fla.) High School senior Bryan Lopez (front right) and a host of central Florida high school seniors behind him, was at the theme park to announce his involvement as one of the featured performers for "Disney Grad Nite 2011," a private, after-hours party at the Magic Kingdom in April and May 2011 for high school seniors from across the country. Delvecchio will serve as the party's featured DJ, and headline the graduation party alongside UK-born R&B singer Taio Cruz and pop duo "3OH!3." (Diana Zalucky, photographer)

October 17, 2010

Alamo Rent A Car and Disney Renew Alliance

Theme park and resort guests benefit from exclusive promotions and quick, convenient car rentals

ORLANDO, Fla., October 14, 2010 - Alamo Rent A Car and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have renewed a multi-year alliance, extending Alamo's designation as the official rental car company of the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando and Disneyland® Resort in California.

"This partnership remains a natural fit because of Alamo's and Disney's strong emphasis on providing a superior customer experience," said Ron Cerko, vice president of travel industry relations for Enterprise Holdings, which operates the Alamo brand through its regional subsidiaries. "We are proud to offer families and individuals traveling to Disney resorts the speed and convenience of our airport kiosks combined with exclusive Alamo promotions to help provide for an exceptional vacation experience."

Disney guests who take advantage of the agreement can experience the speed and convenience of the rental car industry's first and largest system of easy-to-use, self-service kiosks. This award-winning technology enables travelers to skip counter lines, getting them to their destinations easier and quicker than ever before. Alamo has more than 163 kiosks at 67 U.S. airports, as well as on-site branches at the Disney Car Care Center at Walt Disney World® Resort and at Disneyland® Resort.

"Through our ongoing alliance agreement, Alamo has helped our guests make countless memories," said George Aguel, senior vice president, Alliances and Operating Participants, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We share a commitment to the highest quality guest service and to making all aspects of the vacation experience as seamless as possible. We look forward to working together to continue to exceed our guests' expectations."

The agreement extends Alamo's position as the official rental car provider for Walt Disney Travel Company, Inc., one of the country's largest tour operators, specializing in Disney vacation packages to Southern California and Central Florida. Alamo is the only car rental company with a rental branch office on-site at Walt Disney World Resort at the Disney Car Care Center, and on-site at Disneyland Resort at Downtown Disney.

Alamo will continue to promote the alliance using television and online advertising, at its rental facilities and on its Web site. A link on Alamo's website will offer online ticket sales as well.

October 15, 2010

Dreams Come True for Two Walt Disney World Cast Members Selected for 2011-2012 Ambassador Team

Prestigious Honor Reflects 45-Year Disney Tradition

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 15, 2010 - Before an audience of their peers, family and friends, the next chapter in a true-life Cinderella story unfolded this morning at Magic Kingdom Park as two Walt Disney World Cast Members were chosen to step into the time-honored role of Walt Disney World Ambassador. During a special ceremony in front of Cinderella Castle prior to park open, Norman Vossschulte and Jennifer Mason were named as the 40th Walt Disney World Ambassador Team and will serve from Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2012.

"Our Walt Disney World Ambassadors represent our resort, their fellow cast members, and the heritage, tradition and values of Walt Disney. It is a role filled with great significance" and great responsibilities," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "Those chosen as Ambassadors are truly talented individuals who represent Disney Cast Members with purpose and grace, and bring the magic of Walt Disney World to the world at large."

The 45-year tradition of the Disney Ambassador program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those selected. Individuals named as Ambassadors accept a two-year-long assignment representing Walt Disney World Resort's approximately 58,000 Cast Members and share the magic of Disney throughout the community and the world. Typical Ambassador responsibilities include making hospital visits and appearances with Disney characters, participating in community outreach events and recognizing Cast Members' milestones and special achievements.

Every two years, thousands of Cast Members are invited to participate in the Ambassador recruitment process that starts with information sessions and ends with a ceremony announcing the new Ambassador team.

Following a two-month training, the 2011-2012 Ambassador team will start their year with a full schedule and can expect to participate in more than 3,500 events for various occasions.

Norman Vossschulte steps into the Ambassador role from Disney's Hollywood Studios, where he currently is a Jedi Master at the Jedi Training Academy. Born in Berlin, Germany, Vossschulte has lived all over the world, holds baccalaureate degrees in physical science and biology and trained as an actor in New York City. His Disney career began in 2008 when he became a safari driver at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. Vossschulte went on to join the Guest Relations team at Epcot and eventually Entertainment.

Jennifer Mason currently oversees the Magic Kingdom Custodial team and ensures the place where dreams come true is kept clean. Born in Alabama, Mason grew up in Clearwater, Fla. and spent countless days at the Walt Disney World Resort with her family. After graduating from Florida State University, she became a member of the opening team of Disney's Animal Kingdom Park in 1998. Throughout her Disney career, she has served as a leader for several Operations teams at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
The great honor of being selected as a Disney Ambassador began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland, when Walt Disney himself was overwhelmed with requests for appearances and media interviews. As a result, he selected the very first Ambassador in 1964 and the tradition has continued ever since.

Bookings Begin Oct. 15 for Unique New ‘Wild Africa Trek’ at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Wild Africa Trek

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Navigating a rickety footbridge over a river chasm can be dicey enough for explorers. In an all-new Disney adventure, what lurks below that bridge may quicken their step to get to the other side: Crocodiles!

A ravine of menacing-looking crocs, pools of hippos, bushwalks along untracked terrain and other thrills await guests on Wild Africa Trek, a unique wildlife experience scheduled to launch in early 2011 into the deepest, most-remote reaches of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Reservations can be booked beginning Oct. 15, 2010, for the three-hour, expert-led adventure that will immerse guests in the realms and wildlife thrills of far-off Africa - without leaving Walt Disney World Resort. In small groups, guests on the Wild Africa Trek will enjoy an "up-close-and-personal" experience with African wildlife species that make their home in Pangani Forest as well as other areas of the park's Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

As part of the adventure, guests will clip onto a lifeline as they step to the very edge of a cliff to get amazingly close to the hippos and crocs waiting just below. Talk about cliff-hangers!

Adventure-minded guests will have the experience of a lifetime as they get immersed in an authentic African safari experience that only Disney can deliver," said Michael Colglazier, vice president of Disney's Animal Kingdom. "We are thrilled to be offering this unique outdoor adventure aimed at active vacationers, taking interactions with the incredible animals that inhabit the Harambe Reserve to the next level and literally blazing new trails in our park."

Highlights of what's in store for guests on this add-on adventure:

* Trekking with experienced guides through areas of Harambe Wildlife Reserve that aren't explored during regular Disney's Animal Kingdom experiences.
* Navigating through fern and vine forests on a bushwalk that sets a course for adventure.
* Clipping into a harness attached to a safety line, crossing a seemingly precarious rope bridge over the Safi River and cliff-hanging at the edge of gullies that are home to hippos and crocodiles.
* Experiencing the thrill of "over-landing" in customized open-air vehicles following the edge of a magnificent, wide-open savanna.
* Unwinding from an unforgettable adventure at a private safari camp for wildlife viewing. At this station elevated above the savanna, guests savor sample tastes of Africa as their adventure draws to a relaxing and satisfying close.

Wild Africa Trek will be offered several times daily at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Groups will be kept small, consisting of no more than 12 trekkers per safari.

Reservations for Wild Africa Trek can be arranged by calling 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687). Pricing for this unique adventure will vary seasonally. Guests who reserve a booking from Jan. 16-Feb. 26, 2011, may take advantage of an introductory offer starting at $129. Park admission is required for participants.

August 17, 2010

Fairy Tales Come True at Newly Designed Franck’s Studio at Walt Disney World Resort

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Franck's Bridal Studio at Walt Disney World Resort has undergone a major enhancement, bringing high-tech tools to couples tying the knot at the popular wedding destination.

Franck's, named after the wedding planner character Martin Short played in the film "Father of The Bride," was built 15 years ago alongside Disney's magical Wedding Pavilion. The Victorian summerhouse was created as a one-stop shop for couples to meet with a Disney wedding planner to review all the details for the big event. The immersive studio showcases cakes, linens, floral, table settings and other details for a dream-come-true affair.

A highlight of the Franck's makeover involves online tools to assist with remote planning, including a Facebook application (http://apps.facebook.com/Disney-weddings) so couples can easily share details of their wedding with friends and family. The tools also allow guests to accept RSVPs and purchase tickets and room nights. Using Google Earth images and video, the Virtual Venue Tool brings storybook wedding and reception venues at Disney to life with the click of a mouse.

Two new planning rooms, additional computers and televisions, and newly designed furnishings round out the elegant setting.

July 30, 2010

Curtain Call! By Popular Demand, ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ Extended Indefinitely at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 29, 2010) - With its glittery galaxy of 23 illuminated floats, 80 performers, and trademark synthesizer music sweetened with Disney theme songs, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" has been leaving Magic Kingdom guests aglow all summer.

Now, the cherished entertainment spectacular is being extended by popular demand, Walt Disney World announced today.

"The return of Disney's 'Main Street Electrical Parade' to the Magic Kingdom has been an overwhelming success," said Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes. "Guests begin cheering as soon as they hear the opening fanfare and see those fantastic floats covered in lights. The parade is a magical part of a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort, so we're thrilled to be announcing we're leaving the lights on."

Fronted by a new lead float starring Tinker Bell, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" officially bowed at Magic Kingdom June 6, 2010.

Beloved by generations, the parade anchors Disney's multi-park "Summer Nightastic!" entertainment extravaganza of attractions and events. Once "Summer Nightastic!" draws to a close on Aug. 14 as previously announced, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" will continue an open-ended run.

The iconic pageant of illuminated floats dates to 1972 when it first debuted at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and became an instant hit.

Prior to its current run in Florida, the parade last performed at Walt Disney World Resort from 1999 into 2001. This summer, Magic Kingdom guests have been treated to all-new elements that continue in the encore phase of the run:
--Tinker Bell leads the eye-filling procession, waving from the basket of a balloon floating gracefully above a magical garden shimmering in fairy light.
--Pinocchio and the boys from the classic film's Pleasure Island sequence join the parade, and ---Snow White joins the Seven Dwarfs on a diamond mine float.

There are new lighting effects, and the parade's highly recognizable musical theme is brightened by new technology.

Beloved floats like the Honor America finale display - featuring the American flag and giant American eagle - are among parade favorites, along with popular characters such as Alice, Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

Especially Good News for Florida Residents

The extension will enable Florida Resident Seasonal and Weekday Select Passholders to experience the parade on their passes. And with the ability to sign on for a new monthly payment program, Florida Resident Passholders can enjoy the parade and so much more Disney theme park magic for as little as $16 a month, after an initial down payment. The payment program is available only online and complete information is available at www.disneyworld.com/payments.

July 21, 2010

Disney Vacation Connection Desktop Widget Serves Up Planning Information in a Fun and Creative Way for Disney-bound Guests

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Planning that next magical Disney vacation? The newly released Disney Vacation Connection desktop widget is a free application that can be downloaded to a PC or Mac computer to view news, videos, weather, park hours, events and vacation planning tips. Also included is a Disney vacation countdown clock that will tell guests the days, hours and minutes until their next Disney vacation.

Content on the app includes Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii.

With the Disney Vacation Connection widget loaded on their desktop, Disney guests will be able to:
· Stay up-to-date on the latest news and special offers
· Plan their next magical Disney vacation
· Count down to the vacation with the countdown clock
· Check Disney theme park hours
· Learn about upcoming special events
· Find out the weather forecast for the Disney vacation destination

The widget is a free download. Guests can learn more about the Disney Vacation Connection desktop widget, and download it, by visiting www.DisneyVacationConnection.com.

July 16, 2010

New Adventure for Guests Coming to Animal Kingdom

As reported by the Disney Parks Blog:

If you've ever wanted to venture off the beaten path and farther into the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition savannah, you'll have a chance later this year. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be offering a new, immersive experience that'll take a small group of Guests on personalized, guided treks along some unexplored areas of the Harambe Reserve.

During the excursions, you'll be able to spend more time observing the wildlife on the savannah and have a chance to learn about the animals and their behaviors from one of our Disney guides. Adventurers will also trek through an undeveloped forest area of the Harambe Reserve and then board a unique vehicle specially designed for the rest of the quest.

Walt Disney Imagineers are still working on many of the details. Reservations for this specially priced tour won't begin until later this year.

July 6, 2010

Essence Communications Joins with Disney Parks, Steve Harvey to Help Take Disney’s Dreamers Academy to the ‘Next Level’

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NEW ORLEANS (July 2, 2010) - Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, a program created by Disney Parks to provide career-exploration and mentoring to high school teens, has gained another "voice" - another big, national voice: Through an agreement announced today with Essence Communications Inc., the annual event is being relaunched as Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

The program, which brings together 100 high school students from across the country for several days of interactive workshops and seminars, mentoring and inspiration focusing on careers and life enrichment (all sprinkled with Disney fun), will be convening its fourth class at Walt Disney World Resort in early 2011.

"Essence is closely aligned with Disney and Steve Harvey in supporting the mission of Disney's Dreamers Academy and its commitment to positively impacting our youth," said Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. "Disney's Dreamers Academy is helping teens take steps in the right direction, and we want to be right there with the students, both encouraging them and sharing their stories."

Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts, added, "Disney's Dreamers Academy is a perfect platform to further the goal, shared by Disney Parks, Essence Communications and - it goes without saying - by Steve Harvey, to inspire children. We are genuinely excited about the possibilities ahead as Essence joins with Steve and Disney to take the initiative to the next level."

Upon creating Disney's Dreamers Academy in 2007, Disney joined forces with Harvey, a nationally syndicated radio personality, actor and best-selling author, to launch the initial nationwide search for high school students who possess a winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character and an attitude that will enable them to seek and take advantage of opportunities for their future.
Each fall since then, thousands of teens have been nominated by parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves. A distinguished panel of leaders from communications, education, industry and entertainment - includingHarvey and Disney cast - reviews the applications and selects a Dreamers Academy class of 100 teens in grades 9 through 12.

"This is really such an amazing collaboration," Harvey said. "We have the gold standard of international entertainment with Walt Disney World Resort. Essence is known the world over for being a clear and positive voice for African American women. Disney and Essence will bring these kids so much hope and show them the world is right at their fingertips if they learn how to dream. Disney's Dreamers Academy is evolving into more than I even imagined it could be."

As Disney, Essence Communications and Harvey formulate plans for the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy, their collective minds will be to develop a program that inspires high school students to "dream bigger, explore a world of possibilities and get started making those dreams a reality," according to Disney's Walters-Powell.

The "getting started" or "training" component being developed marks an elevation to the "next level," she added.

"Motivation, inspiration is a building block," she said. "Now we are going to add the nudge that puts these young people's plans into action as they prepare for productive adult lives."

Nominations for the Class of 2011 can be submitted from July 2-Oct. 31, 2010, with information about procedures at www.DisneysDreamersAcademy.com. The 100 high school students selected will travel to Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando in central Florida, for Disney's Dreamers Academy March 3-6, 2011.

June 24, 2010

Luxury Pet Resort to Open at Walt Disney World Resort

New vacation destination for pets is now accepting reservations

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Pet lovers visiting Walt Disney World Resort can now plan to board the family pet in fun, luxurious new accommodations. Reservations are being accepted for pet boarding stays beginning August 27, 2010 for the new Best Friends Pet Care Resort.

The one-of-a-kind resort comprises more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas, and an expansive private dog park exclusively for the use of pet resort clients and their dogs.

The facility will accommodate up to 270 dogs and 30 cats for both daytime and overnight boarding. A wide selection of suite choices for dogs includes air-conditioned indoor rooms, 48-square-foot indoor-outdoor suites, and four expansive VIP (very important pet) suites with television, raised bedding and private outdoor yards.

Feline guests will spend their visit in the separate "Kitty City" pavilion -- away from the dogs -- in two and four-room condos. All suites and condos are designed to provide comfort and privacy and will be cleaned daily with hospital-grade disinfectants.

"Best Friends has long been the industry leader for boarding, and this will be our crown jewel. We've taken the 'best of breed' in every category to create the perfect environment for pets," said Dennis Dolan, President and CEO of Best Friends Pet Care. "Our goal is to ensure that pets staying with us have a fun, action-packed vacation - just like their families vacationing at Walt Disney World."

The resort's exclusive dog park features a fenced walking trail bordering the natural wetlands around the park. Inside the trail, guests can choose from a variety of different play areas, including a 3,300 square-foot area covered in artificial turf, a 4,500 square-foot area with shade trees, and a 1,300 square-foot "canines only" water park. There are several large areas for owners to sit, relax and watch their dogs play. The entire park is secured from outsiders and is illuminated for use after dark.

Other features of the resort include: a grooming salon, which will provide go-home-fresh baths and haircuts for pets; two 1,100 square-foot "camp rooms" for play group and doggy day camp, each opening onto an outdoor play-yard; and a special facility for the boarding of "pocket pets," such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets.

Pet parents can choose from a wide range of a la carte activities for pet guests from one-on-one playtimes and social playgroup with other doggy guests, to cuddle time and bedtime stories with staff. Additional amenities and upgrades include Ice Cream Treats, Bottled Water and Premium/Orthopedic Bedding. Feline guests can also enjoy private playtimes, activity toys in their suites, and treats such as Cookies and Milk or Tuna on a Ritz.

The pet resort is located across from the Port Orleans Resort at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway in Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Pricing and other details are available at wdw.bestfriendspetcare.com or by calling 877-4-WDW-PETS.

Disney Unveils Unique Residential Resort Community at Walt Disney World Resort

Golden Oak Will Offer Luxury, Single-Family Custom Homes for Purchase

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (June 23, 2010) - Today Disney unveiled Golden Oak, a one-of-a-kind luxury residential resort community offering the unprecedented opportunity to purchase a home at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Especially designed for resort living, Golden Oak will provide an entirely new way for families to connect with the world's best-known family destination and entertainment brand.

"We have a range of options for guests at all price points to enjoy the Walt Disney World Resort. But Golden Oak is something totally new: a residential resort community, right in the heart of the magic," said Matt Kelly, vice president, Disney Resort Real Estate Development. "Golden Oak will be a place where families can come together and make memories for generations to come - with Disney World right at their doorstep."

Golden Oak will offer a limited collection of single family custom homes priced between $1.5 and $8 million, with fewer than 30 home sites available for sale this year. Designed by Disney's famed Imagineers, the gated community will feature intimate neighborhoods and amenities created with everyone in the family in mind. Disney's well-known attention to detail is visible in every park, pathway and the custom-design of the proposed private clubhouse. Expansive conservation areas comprise almost half of the entire 980-acre footprint.

The proposed private clubhouse, concierge services and collection of Walt Disney World Resort benefits will bring Disney's guest service culture directly to Golden Oak residents. As previously announced, Golden Oak is planned to include Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, combining Disney's renowned service and hospitality with Four Seasons' defining standard of excellence. Golden Oak plans to offer residents access to select Four Seasons' future amenities including the full-service spa, restaurants, golf course and event space.

Initially, Golden Oak will consist of three types of single-family homes. Village Homes will capture the romantic look of a Mediterranean village on home sites up to one-quarter acre. Estate Homes, on approximately one-half-acre home sites, will offer a variety of architectural styles including Tuscan, Spanish Revival, Venetian, Italianate, Dutch Colonial and Island Colonial. At up to three-quarters-acre in size, Grand Estate Homes will include architectural styles consistent with Estate Homes and will accommodate the needs of large families. Homeowners will use one of Golden Oak's select custom homebuilders to build the home of their dreams.

More information about Golden Oak is available at www.disneygoldenoak.com. Golden Oak will use a Priority Reservation List for potential homebuyers with an interest in purchasing a home. A position is secured on the list in the order in which a signed Lot Release Priority Agreement and a refundable $25,000 deposit is received. Deposits are now being accepted, with the first completed homes projected for 2011. At build-out, Golden Oak is anticipated to include approximately 450 homes.

May 6, 2010

Walt Disney World Guests Can Find Summer Savings With Special Vacation Packages, Room Offers

Summer 2010 is a great time to visit Walt Disney World Resort with tons of special entertainment offerings. From June 6 through Aug. 14, "Summer Nightastic!" lights up the entertainment experience at the Vacation Kingdom with a megawatt parade, a fireworks extravaganza, a rockin' dance party, concerts and other surprises. Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot all present special events designed to add summertime energy to the after-dark theme-park experience.

Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will find a feast of savings for summer and early fall travel with a number of great vacation offers.

Free Dining

Guests booking a 5-night/6-day room and theme park ticket package at select Disney Value Resorts for stays most days from Aug. 15 to Oct. 2, 2010, can add the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan for FREE. The plan includes two quick-service meals and two snacks for each night of the package stay. The plan also includes one (1) Resort refillable drink mug per person, per package (eligible for refills at Quick Service locations only in the guest's Disney Resorthotel).

Guests booking a 5-night/6-day room and theme park ticket package at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts for stays most days from Aug. 15 to Oct. 2, 2010, can add the Disney Dining Plan for FREE. The plan includes one quick-service meal, one snack and one table-service meal at up to 100 restaurants for each night of the package stay.

With this special offer, a family of four can get a 5-night stay at select Disney Resorts and a 6-day Magic Your Way base ticket for each family member for as little as:
· $1,440 at a Value Resort*
· $1,843 at a Moderate Resort*
· $2,304 at a Deluxe Resort*
· $2,613 at a Deluxe Villa Resort*

The package can be booked now through August 14, 2010.

Kids Stay & Play Free

Guests can also take advantage of a "Kids Stay & Play Free" offer for summer travel. Kids, ages 3 to 9, can stay and play for free when guests buy a non-discounted 4-night/5-day room and ticket package at select Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts for stays most nights May 2 through Oct. 2, 2010. For Example: For stays most nights May 2 through June 3, 2010, packages start at only $499 per adult based on adult double occupancy in a standard room at select Disney Value Resorts. **

Other Savings

Walt Disney World guests can also find great rates for non-package accommodations for summer and fall travel. Guests can save up to 30 percent at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights through Aug. 14, 2010, and guests can save up to 40 percent at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights Aug. 15 through Oct. 2, 2010. Rooms at Disney's Value Resorts during value season (Aug. 15 through Sept. 30, 2010) start at just $58 plus tax per night. ***

How to Book

Guests can book these special offers at disneyworld.com/deals or by calling
407/W-DISNEY (407/934-7639) or their local travel agent.

* Prices are based on two adults, one junior (ages 10 to 17) and one child (ages 3 to 9) in a standard room at a Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Deluxe Resort or Disney's Deluxe Villa Resort.
** Number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets are for one theme park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. Child must stay in same room with adult. Maximum of 4 Guests per room.
***The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals where applicable. Savings based on non-discounted price for the same room.

April 13, 2010

Southwest Airlines Joins Resort Airline Check-In at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Apr. 7, 2010 - Southwest Airlines, the busiest carrier at Orlando International Airport, is now officially a part of Resort Airline Check-In at Walt Disney World Resort.

Resort Airline Check-In is the popular service that allows guests the convenience of checking their bags through to their final destination before leaving their hotel. With the addition of Southwest Airlines to the service, more than 90% of domestic passengers who depart Central Florida for Orlando International Airport will have Resort Airline Check-In service available to them at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.

According to Orlando International Airport, nearly one of every four guests who flies into the airport arrives on Southwest Airlines. Many Southwest passengers already use Disney's Magical Express service for transport to and from the airport. Since guests flying on Southwest Airlines no longer need to carry their own luggage through the airport and may go directly to security check, Resort Airline Check-In could help reduce terminal traffic and reduce wait times at Orlando International Airport.

Disney and Southwest launched a pilot program at Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's All-Star Resorts to test the impact of Southwest's baggage on the Resort Airline Check-In program.

"The testing proved to be very smooth, seamless progression," according to Steve Schreiber, general manger of Disney's All-Star Resort. "Luggage handling is not the most fun part of a guest's vacation. When the worry of luggage is no longer a concern, guests can spend a longer time enjoying their vacation, rather than trying to manage luggage."

Since March 9, Resort Airline Check-In with Southwest Airlines has been gradually rolled out to all but two Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, culminating with the addition of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa the week of April 6.

Upon completion of a construction project at Disney's Old Key West Resort and an assessment at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Resort Airline Check-In with Southwest Airlines should be available at every Walt Disney World Resort hotel by the end of 2010.

April 7, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

Space shuttle Discovery is seen April 5, 2010 lifting off over Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The pre-dawn launch with the crew of STS-131 occurred at 6:21 a.m. EDT in nearby Cape Canaveral, Fla.

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'Hoppy' Easter in the Magic Kingdom

'HOPPY' EASTER IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM

Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny ride in grand style down Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom April 4, 2010. The floppy-eared bunnies are among the highlights of Easter holiday activities at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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April 5, 2010

Disney Online Honors Winner of Pixiehollow.com Fairy House Design Contest

Winning Design Revealed During Special Celebration at 17th Annual Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival
Tinker Bell throws a pixie dust salute to Zoe P, winner of the pixiehollow.com "Design a Fairy House" contest at Epcot.

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WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT - LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - April 3, 2010 - Disney Online announced today the winner of its "Design a Fairy House Art Contest," which ran in February on the popular online world for girls, Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow (www.PixieHollow.com). The fairy house, inspired by 15-year-old winning designer, Zoe P., from Frazier Park, Calif., was revealed during a special ceremony in the Pixie Hollow Garden at the 17th Annual Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival. Zoe and her family were in attendance to celebrate the momentous occasion, as the fairy house will be on display for the duration of the festival.

Zoe P, winner of the pixiehollow.com "Design a Fairy House" contest closely examines her Fairy House at Epcot. Her design was chosen from thousands of entries and built by the horticulture team at Walt Disney World Resort.

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The winning house design was selected by DisneyToon Studios filmmakers, currently working on the upcoming "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue," coming to Disney Blu-ray and DVD this Fall. Director Brad Raymond, and the film's Producer, Helen Kalafatic, attended the celebration to personally congratulate the winner, meet with Tinker Bell fans and sign autographs.

Tinker Bell and Terence were on hand to celebrate with Zoe P, winner of the pixiehollow.com "Design a Fairy House" contest at Epcot. The pixie dust salute was enjoyed by Director, Brad Raymond and Producer, Helen Kalafatic of "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue" and VP of Epcot, Dan Cockerell.

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"We were thrilled to honor Zoe and her winning design at this very special celebration," said Jason Everett, Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow product director. "This contest offered the Pixie Hollow community an exciting opportunity to utilize their love for Disney Fairies as inspiration to create their very own fairy house art design. To see that design come to life and be featured in the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival is truly a delight for everyone."

About Disney Fairies
Disney Fairies is rooted in Disney's rich heritage of children's storytelling. The franchise builds upon the enormous popularity of Tinker Bell and introduces girls to her secret, magical world and a new circle of enchanting Fairy friends - Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta and Silvermist - each with an incredibly diverse talent, personality and look. Launched just a few years ago, the $800 million franchise boasts a thriving publishing and lifestyle merchandising program. To date, over 575 Disney Fairies books and over 125 Tinker Bell movie books have published worldwide in 60 countries and 35 languages, selling nearly 18 million copies; Disney Fairies magazines have sold over 7.5 million copies in 28 countries and an array of products from apparel and toys to electronics, home décor and stationery has extended storylines into many girls' homes across the globe. DisneyFairies.com is now available in more than 20 territories across North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Fans have created more than 25 million personalized Fairy avatars to date that can take flight in the virtual world of Pixie Hollow. Disney theme parks have also launched a Pixie Hollow attraction where fans can meet the Disney Fairies. Following the success of Walt Disney Pictures Tinker Bell on Disney Blu-ray and hi-def DVD, Disney released Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure as the second title in the series in October 2009. The Disney Fairies are highlighted in the production of Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy, and additionally, Tinker Bell is in four other Disney On Ice shows touring the world.

March 23, 2010

Florida Residents Find Two Ways to Win with New Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Web Site

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The 17th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues through May 16, 2010. And now Florida residents have two ways to win with a new Web site dedicated to this year's festival.

· At http://www.EpcotGardenContest.com, Florida residents (18 years of age and older) can play the "Grow Your Garden" game for a chance to instantly win a pair of Florida Resident "4-Day Dream Passes" to enjoy the festival - and other favorite experiences and attractions in the Walt Disney World theme parks. Available only to Florida residents, this special ticket provides admission for 4 days to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks most dates from now until May 25, 2010. (The 4 days do not need to be consecutive, admission is for one park per day and blockout dates apply.*)

· Also, as Disney Parks celebrates the spirit of volunteerism in 2010, Disney is awarding to an eligible community organization a garden designed by Disney horticulturists using some plants from the festival. Florida residents nominate their community organizations through the Web site, and one organization will be chosen by Disney. Disney's master horticulture staff continually creates the topiary, fragrance and interactive gardens for the festival.

Florida residents have until April 30 to enter.

In addition to the contests, http://www.EpcotGardenContest.com features information, photos and video showcasing the 17th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival with its theme "Celebrating the Great Outdoors." For information on more special offers, Florida residents can call 407/W-DISNEY, their local travel agent or check out the special Florida Resident section on Disneyworld.com.


NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. "Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Grow Your Garden Instant Win Game & Community Garden Essay Contest" starts 3/8/10 at 12:00 AM, ET and ends 4/30/10 at 11:59:59 PM, ET. See Complete Official Rules at www.EpcotGardenContest.com for entry qualifications, participation instructions, judging criteria, prize details, odds of winning Instant Win Game and other important information. Open only to legal residents of Florida who are 18 or older. Void outside of Florida and in all jurisdictions where prohibited.

March 20, 2010

New TRON Monorail Debuts at Walt Disney World

Disney's 3D sci-fi adventure film "TRON: Legacy" doesn't debut in theaters until December, but starting March 19, 2010, guests at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida can see a bit of the TRON universe zipping high above their heads. Renderings of yellow and blue light cycles have transformed one of the trains on Walt Disney World's legendary monorail line. A blue light cycle zips to the left along one side of Walt Disney World's "highway in the sky" and the yellow light cycle zooms to the right. This particular monorail currently takes guests between Epcot and Walt Disney World's main Ticket and Transportation Center. "TRON: Legacy" is a sequel to 1982's classic "TRON," both starring recent Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges. "TRON: Legacy" will be released in both Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D and is currently scheduled to debut across the US on December 17.

March 12, 2010

Main Street Electrical Parade Lights the Night again as Disney World Launches 'Summer Nightastic' June 6

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" will light up the streets of Magic Kingdom, headlining a season of after-dark excitement coming to Walt Disney World Resort in summer 2010.

Beginning June 6 and continuing through August 14, "Summer Nightastic!" will light up the night with shimmering, shining Disney magic in Walt Disney World theme parks. Here's a look at what's in store:

Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade

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Showcasing floats and characters appearing at Walt Disney World Resort for the first time, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" returns with its joyous sights and sounds. Direct from Disneyland Resort and marking its first engagement in Florida since 2001, the cherished parade will be led by Tinker Bell waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new float. Pinocchio and Snow White join the parade this summer aboard bright new floats. Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" is set for its summer-long nighttime premiere June 6 at Magic Kingdom.

The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios welcomes "drop-ins" this summer with even more pulse-racing surprises. New lighting effects created especially for "Summer Nightastic!" will bring unexpected frights to guests who step into that infamous service elevator " if they dare.

"Summer Nightastic!" also means music! In the courtyard of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney's Hollywood Studios, "Rock N' Glow Dance Party" will have guests wanting to "trip the light fantastic" to sizzling summer sounds being spun by DJs. Across the Vacation Kingdom, more high-energy music presented by DJs will get guests' toes a-tapping during a Magic Kingdom dance party. And at Epcot, the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series returns (June 12-July 31) with bands playing musical tributes to artists who filled summers gone by with musical magic.

Fireworks light the night over Magic Kingdom

What could be more summery than fireworks on a star-studded night? Magic Kingdom will treat guests to "Summer Nightastic Fireworks Spectacular," filling the night sky with vivid colors and brilliant visual effects while whimsical music fills the air.

March 10, 2010

The Ultimate Park-Hopper

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03.10.10 - Disney Parks fans rejoice! On Wednesday at The Walt Disney Company's Annual Meeting, a new Annual Passport valid for admission to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks was introduced - Disney Premier Passport!

The Disney Premier Passport is a brand-new Annual Passport valid for admission to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks.

Guests who currently hold both a Disneyland and a Walt Disney World Annual Pass will be able to upgrade their passes to the new Disney Premier Passport, and the expiration date will be based on the latter of the two annual passes. Annual Passholders who currently have a pass to one Disney Resort may upgrade their current pass to a Premier Passport (the passholder will be credited the difference based on the retail value of their current Annual Pass).

The Disney Premier Passport will only be available for purchase (or upgrade) on site at a domestic Disney theme park. A new Premier Passport will retail for $700. The Premier Passport will be on sale March 11, 2010.

Benefits include:

Unlimited admission for 365 to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, including Park Hopper privileges

Parking for all theme parks

Unlimited admission to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach water parks at Walt Disney World

Subscriptions to Passholder publications

A one-year subscription to Disney Family Fun magazine (one per household)

Unlimited admission (except activities/events specially priced) to DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney Orlando, ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex (valid only on event days; some events require an additional admission charge) and Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (greens fee only; tee time reservations are required and subject to availability).

A PERFECT BLEND OF RETRO AND URBAN AT D STREET

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Downtown Disney West Side will welcome a hip new boutique where urban pop culture intersects with stylized Disney. D-Street will feature eclectic apparel, Vinylmation™ figures and novel collectibles, artwork, handbags, accessories and jewelry for men and women. Opening in April 2010 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the store will feature a raw, unfinished industrial look with walls adorned with Disney art created by local artists.

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‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day’ Reaches Goal – 1 Million People Inspired to Volunteer in 2010 through the Disney Parks Program

"Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" - a first-of-its-kind program of Disney Parks - reached its goal of inspiring 1 million people in 2010 to give back to their communities through volunteer service in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Since the program started just 10 weeks ago, on Jan. 1, a million people already have volunteered or have committed to volunteer in their communities, according to Disney Parks and HandsOn Network, the nation's largest volunteer network and a facilitator of "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day."

To celebrate the good deeds of these individuals, Disney Parks offered each volunteer who completed an eligible project a free one-day admission to one theme park in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland Resort in California. Although registration is now closed and the program has ended, those who volunteered have until Dec. 15, 2010, to redeem their free park ticket (certain block-out dates apply).

"By any measure, the 'Give a Day, Get a Disney Day' program exceeded our expectations," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "These one million volunteers touched their communities with their hearts and hands. Their commitment to service is truly worth celebrating, and there's no better place to celebrate than at Disney Parks."

Volunteerism has been a part of the Disney culture since the beginning. Through Disney VoluntEARS, cast members have been giving back to communities for more than a quarter century. More than 5.5 million hours of volunteer service worldwide have been donated, and Disney's commitment to volunteerism will continue even as "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" draws to a close.

Officials at HandsOn Network credited the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program for increasing volunteer activities this year.

"The innovative nature of this program has exponentially increased our capacity to both invite and excite people about volunteerism," said Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of Points of Lights Institute. "The overwhelming participation of families - and youth especially - is a testament to a growing trend. Many of these volunteers are serving for the first time, and some will develop into service leaders who help change the face of our nation."

Encouraging that kind of commitment was one aim of the Disney program, Staggs said.

"The goal of the 'Give a Day, Get a Disney Day' program was to lay the groundwork for a new spirit of volunteerism," he said. "The need for volunteers across the country is ongoing. We look forward to more people, especially families, carrying on the momentum and giving back to their communities through volunteerism."
Neighborhoods in need were the big beneficiaries of "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" - from San Juan to San Diego, Vero Beach to Vancouver.

In Puerto Rico, 500 volunteers cleaned the beaches of Vaciatalega and La Perla located in the vicinity of Old San Juan. In Oakville, Ontario, a neighborhood center got new shelving and a spruced-up mural.

In Boston, volunteers served meals to people in need, knitted and crocheted scarves and mittens for children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses and helped as caregivers at an animal adoption center. In California, San Francisco Bay-area volunteers helped with basic English lessons, painted park benches and planted flowers.

In Jacksonville, Fla., volunteers painted murals and spruced up rooms at a home for women and children, while in Pittsburgh they took on construction tasks - tiling, sanding, staining and painting - to help create affordable housing.

Although the program has ended and a free Disney theme park ticket will no longer be provided, those still interested in volunteering may search for opportunities through HandsOn Network at HandsOnNetwork.org (or in Canada, at govolunteer.ca).

February 15, 2010

New Addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family: Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon

White Cheek Gibbon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 15, 2010 -- Guests visiting the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom are getting a glimpse of the latest addition to the park's family - an endangered white-cheeked gibbon born Feb. 2.

The yet-to-be named male and his mother, Melaka, are bonding well according to the animal experts who oversee the daily care of primates. Guests may see them and the baby's two sisters, Suki and Tuyen, in their habitat near Kali River Rapids.

This most recent birth is the fourth gibbon born at Disney's Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. Disney's Animal Kingdom also participates in AZA Species Survival Plans for several other animals, including elephants, cotton-top tamarins and okapi.

White-cheeked gibbons typically produce a single offspring every two to three years after seven to eight months gestation. Following birth, infants are able to cling to their mothers, allowing the females complete range of motion as they move about the forest with their offspring.

The species is also distinguished by the changing characteristics of their fur which differs by gender and age. While nursing, babies typically maintain a light-brown or golden-colored fur that easily blends with their mother's coat. Once weaned around the age of one, babies' fur transitions to black. While the males maintain black fur for their entire lives, female gibbons will change back to golden fur between the ages of six and eight.

As social animals, gibbons are strongly territorial and defend their boundaries with vigorous visual and vocal displays. During early morning singing, female and male gibbons emit loud vocalizations that result in complex duets between mated pairs. Solo performances may also signal invitations to mate or advertise territory.

White-cheeked gibbon Fun Facts:

The average life span of the white-cheeked gibbon ranges from 25 - 30 years, but some have been known to live up to 40 years

Both males and females measure between one-and-a-half to two-feet tall

An adult gibbon may weigh up to 18 pounds

They are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals

White-cheeked gibbons are found in Laos, Vietnam and southern China in evergreen tropical rainforests and monsoon forests

Gibbons spend their whole lives in the tops of rainforest trees. You can help their rainforest homes by purchasing shade-grown coffee, which grows in the shade of the rainforest trees

February 12, 2010

A CAN-DO SPIRIT!

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(L-R): Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of the Points of Light Institute; and Ty Pennington, host of the ABC-TV series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," pose at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Feb. 11, 2010 with Mickey Mouse and Goofy in front of a sculpture made up of 115,527 canned goods. The canned food structure, featuring Disney characters and a "Celebrate Volunteers" message, was unveiled during a special event for Disney Parks new "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" volunteer initiative. The canned goods in the sculpture represent more than 70,000 meals and will be donated to food banks in Orlando, Fla., Miami and Atlanta. The sculpture was authenticated by Guinness World Records as a new world record for canned food structures. To recognize their good deeds, in 2010 Disney Parks is celebrating those who volunteer through the program by giving them a free one-day admission to either a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Volunteers can start the search and sign-up process by going to www.disneyparks.com. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day’ Program Reaches 600,000 Volunteer Sign-Ups – and Counting!

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2010) -Against the backdrop of a world-record sculpture of canned goods destined for food banks, Disney Parks officials on Thursday announced a major milestone with the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program, a first-of-its-kind effort to help inspire 1 million people to perform volunteer service.

Since the program's launch only six weeks ago, more than 600,000 people in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada have volunteered or signed up for volunteer projects in their communities, announced Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

"With the launch of our 'Give a Day, Get a Disney Day' program, we hoped to spark something truly special," Staggs said. "But even we have been overwhelmed with the response."

To recognize their good deeds, in 2010 Disney Parks is celebrating those who volunteer through the program by giving them a free one-day admission to either a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Volunteers can start the search and sign-up process by going to www.disneyparks.com.

HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute and the largest volunteer network in the nation, is supporting the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program by connecting volunteers with projects.

According to Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of Points of Light Institute, 10,000 community organizations, through the Disney Parks program, are getting the volunteers they need to meet important community challenges.

"The level of volunteerism we have seen in the first weeks of 2010 is tracking to new highs," she said. "Our dream at HandsOn Network is for everyone to recognize their power to make a difference. Disney is helping us make that dream a reality, a million times over."

Since the launch of the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program on Jan. 1, 2010, volunteers have trekked through wetlands near Long Beach, Calif., and through mountain preserves in Phoenix, Ariz., clearing away non-native vegetation. A continent away, volunteers have whisked away trash on Atlantic Coast beaches in Brevard County and Dade County, Fla. In Port Huron, Mich., "soccer families" have picked up paint brushes to help spruce up a community center. In Atlanta, Ga., volunteers have assisted hospitalized children as they create arts and crafts projects. And with the forecast for a cold night ahead, the homeless in Central Florida were handed blankets by caring volunteers.

In addition to celebrating the "Give A Day, Get a Disney Day" program, Disney Parks welcomed to Walt Disney World Resort Thursday other outstanding volunteer families from the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada who gave back to their communities in special ways, as part of Disney's celebration of family volunteerism in 2010.

"Today we are here to celebrate you," Staggs told the families. "With each of your efforts, you make a difference."

Volunteering: A Snapshot


PEOPLE WANT TO VOLUNTEER
Organizations have seen a dramatic increase in volunteer efforts during the past few years. People of all ages have made a conscious effort to get out and do more, especially intheir local area.

* Since 2007, the number of people working to fix a community problem has risen 31 percent - a substantial amount - further benefitting local communities especially during the current economy, according to Volunteering in America 2009.


A FAMILY THAT VOLUNTEERS TOGETHER
Spending time together is usually always a priority for families - and many parents are using this time to set an example for their children.

* More parents than single adults (68 percent vs. 55 percent) plan to volunteer in some way in 2010, according to a survey conducted by New York-based Kelton Research in November 2009.
* Approximately five out of six (84 percent) moms surveyed would like their children involved in youth volunteer activities, according to the 2008 Quaker Youth Volunteerism Report.
* In fact, Just Kid. Inc. reports 37 percent of kids, 44 percent of tweens and 46 percent of teens would volunteer more if given the opportunity.
* Young adults (ages 16-24) are helping lead the way in volunteerism - with more than 441,000 young volunteers in 2008 versus 2007, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Youth today believe it is essential and "very important" to help others in need, the report also found.


WHO BENEFITS FROM VOLUNTEER EFFORTS?
Nonprofits were especially helped by those who contributed their efforts in 2008, and planned to increase their reliance on volunteers in 2009. Additionally, local communities are reaping the ongoing benefits of these added helping hands.

* Between September 2008 and March 2009, more than a third (37 percent) of nonprofit organizations planned to increase the number of volunteers they used, and almost half (48 percent) expected an increase in 2009, according to a national survey of nonprofit organizations.
* Parents also are noticing the benefits of volunteering at home. Family volunteerism is a hands-on way to teach children the values of kindness, compassion, tolerance, community responsibility and good citizenship. Additionally, family volunteerism helps mobilize thousands of new volunteers and instills the next generation with a lifelong commitment to volunteering.
* Moms have identified respect (88 percent), teamwork (87 percent) and compassion (85 percent) as the positive traits that a young volunteer develops when helping others, according to the 2008 Quaker Youth Volunteerism Report.


AMERICANS' GOALS FOR 2010
Volunteerism has seen a surge of interest in recent years - in fact, almost 60 percent of all Americans would rather resolve to give back by volunteering in 2010, according to the New York-based Kelton Research survey from November 2009.

* More women than men (62 percent vs. 54 percent) include volunteering as a 2010 goal.
* When asked what Americans anticipate they could accomplish in 2010, 30 percent selected volunteering as a foreseeable goal.


HANDSON NETWORK'S VOLUNTEERISM EFFORTS
HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute, is an international nonprofit organization whose core mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.

* The organization has more than 250 Action Centers (local affiliates) serving 83 percent of the American population and 12 international communities.
* HandsOn reported a 43 percent increase in volunteers registering in 2009 and a 58 percent increase in people signing up for new volunteer opportunities.
* The first six months of 2009 saw a 29 percent increase in the unique opportunities available for volunteers, compared to the same period in 2008.
* Collectively, it is estimated that 30.4 million total service hours were completed by volunteers engaged by HandsOn Network in 2008, according to findings from the 2008 Annual Affiliate Report.


POPULAR WAYS TO LEND A HAND
Through HandsOn Network affiliates, those looking to donate their time have a variety of unique volunteer service opportunities to choose from - whether it's disaster relief and environmental causes to seniors, children/youth and community enrichment programs. Below are examples of opportunities available through the HandsOn Network affiliates located throughout the country:

* Help package donations at a food pantry
* Plant, weed and tend a community garden
* Participate in a local community clothing or toy drive
* Visit nursing homes to play games, make crafts or share talents with senior residents
* Read books to children at a local daycare center
* Assemble backpacks with school supplies for under-resourced schools


DISNEY'S VOLUNTEARS 'SPREAD THE MAGIC'
Volunteerism has been a part of the Disney culture for more than a quarter century, encouraging cast members to dedicate their time through Disney Parks' VoluntEARS program.

* Launched in 1983, Disney VoluntEARS have donated 5.5 million+ hours of service.

February 11, 2010

World-Record Sculpture of Canned Goods

As part of the event celebrating family volunteers and to dramatize the spirit of giving, Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday unveiled a mammoth structure of canned goods - food that will be donated to food banks in Orlando, Miami and Atlanta.

The canned food sculpture - titled "Celebrate Volunteers" - was revealed for media and guests at Epcot. Disney VoluntEARS shaped the sculpture with a larger-than-life Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto - all sculpted out of cans. Goofy's trademark hat consisted of cans of bread crumbs, for instance. Mickey's famous head was shaped from cans of black olives, and cans of sliced pineapple made up Pluto's eyes.

The cans represent approximately 70,000 meals, according to Dave Krepcho, president/CEO of Second Harvest of Central Florida. "Each can makes a difference in someone's life who cannot afford this food," he said. "Much of this food goes to children in need, working moms trying to provide, senior citizens coping on fixed incomes and people whose disabilities keep them from working."

The spectacular, character-themed structure - consisting officially of 115,527 cans - was also a world record, according to Guinness World Records, the internationally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. Guinness World Records Thursday authenticated the achievement as the Largest Canned Food Structure ever created, easily eclipsing the previous record of 54,527 cans set in June 2009 in New Zealand.

Main Street Electrical Parade Lights the Night Again as Walt Disney World Resort Launches ‘Summer Nightastic!’

New Terror for Tower, too

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2010) - The "Main Street Electrical Parade" lights up the streets of Magic Kingdom and headlines a season of after-dark excitement coming to Walt Disney World Resort.

"After the sun goes down, our Walt Disney World parks will light up the night with 'Summer Nightastic!', " announced Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort, at a media event Wednesday.

Disney magic will shine and shimmer in a whole new light. Here's a look around:

* With floats and characters appearing for the first time at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's "Main Street Electrical Parade" returns with its joyous sights and sounds. Direct from Disneyland and marking its first engagement in Florida since 2001, the cherished parade will be led by Tinker Bell waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new float.