In addition to an upgraded track, restoration of the historic Rainbow Ridge Mining Town, repainting on portions of the mountain and updates to the ride vehicles, the refurbishment also includes some new surprises that guests should be on the lookout for when they ride again beginning March 17.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Reopen March 17 at Disneyland Park by Erin Glover: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog
The parade, which serves as a tribute to New Fantasyland, will feature nearly 100 performers telling the stories of "Frozen", Brave", "Peter Pan," Sleeping Beauty," and other Disney and Pixar films. Classic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, of course, will also highlight parade floats, some of which will measure up to 26 feet tall and 90 feet long.
Which Disney character or float are you most excited to see in the new parade? Tell us in the "Comments" section below!
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Steps Off Sunday at Magic Kingdom Park by Jennifer Fickley-Baker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog
Lucky Day! The Mighty St. Patrick's Festival Starts Tonight at Downtown Disney!
Pam Brandon recently shared some early details on the St. Patrick's fun planned for Downtown Disney. Today, I want to give you even more insight into what you can expect this year! For starters, the event has a new name: "The Mighty St. Patrick's Festival" which really ties to the over-the-top revelry we have planned. Spanning eleven days - from tonight through March 17, 2014 - there is more to experience than ever before. With festivities centered around Raglan Road and spilling throughout all of Downtown Disney, I think we can all agree that this celebration is mighty, indeed!
A few of the highlights, below:
Live Entertainment - Familiar favorites, including the U2 tribute band "Elevation" and the ever-popular "3 Dollar Band" and "The Willis Clan" mix with Downtown Disney newcomers like "We Banjo 3," an award-winning quartet from Galway, and "Goitse," a sought-after group that infuses their own compositions into traditional Irish tunes. With three stages and a non-stop line up of talent on the docket, there's a sound to suit every taste!
Festive Drinks & Food - Not sure which libations to sample first? Craving something delicious and green? Pick up a Mighty St. Patrick's Passport to find out what's on the menu. From Irish Cream Coffee at Forty Thirst Street (get a free sample during event hours!) to St. Patrick's Mickey Mouse apples at Candy Cauldron, your palette will be delighted. For true Irish fare, don't miss Raglan Road, or for a quicker bite, sample the Fisherman's Pie (a dish from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival) at the Superstar Catering Food Truck.
Family Fun - It is easy being green with the Mighty Family Fun Zone presented by "Muppets Most Wanted" where guests of all ages can learn to draw Muppets friends, show off their best moves at a DJ Dance Party and take part in games, giveaways and special photo ops. Plus, with dance workshops, stilt walkers and face-painting, there's more to be found here than at the end of the rainbow!
Starbucks to Open March 10 in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort
Coffee lovers are getting ready to celebrate another Starbucks location at Disneyland Resort. Opening March 10 in the Downtown Disney District -- conveniently located near the World of Disney store -- this new store will be a first of its kind for guests, providing a unique Starbucks coffeehouse experience.
A Mom's Take: Embarking on a Disney Alaska Cruise from Vancouver
Part of the fun of a Disney cruise to Alaska is visiting our homeport of Vancouver. There's so much to see in this vibrant Canadian city, and I highly recommend spending time here before or after your cruise.
In our next "Mom's Take" video, Nancy from the Disney Parks Moms Panel gives you a look at some of the things your family can experience here, including highlights of our debarkation day Port Adventure that takes you around town before dropping you off at the airport. Take a look, and let me know if you agree that time in Vancouver makes for the perfect start or end to a great Alaskan adventure!
For more on sailing to Alaska with Disney Cruise Line, check out the other videos in the series:
Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for more about Disney Cruise Line's voyages in Alaska. While you're on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DCLAlaska.
A Mom's Take: Embarking on a Disney Alaska Cruise from Vancouver by Jonathan Frontado: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog
New Merchandise Makes Its Way to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Don't you always feel like you're in need of a vacation? Thankfully, from time to time I get to show some of the amazing new merchandise offerings from Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, so it's a little bit of a vacation for me, at least for a moment, in my head.
So what can you expect to find on your next trip? Take a look!
The new Brights collection, which as you can see is very colorful, features beloved characters and icons on a variety of different items including T-shirts, frames, magnets, tumblers and mugs. My favorite part is that it reads "Aloha from Aulani," in a throwback to some of the vintage style postcards we have all come to know and love.
Is there more? You bet! New items are hitting Kalepa's Store and Hale Manu all the time. Here's a peek at another collection themed to floral Minnie Mouse that is sure to be a fan favorite of your island princess. The T-shirt's, tank, dresses and accessories are embellished with a flower giving it a little bit of an extra touch, making them feel as special as they are.
If it's not obvious that I love the products we are offering at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, perhaps I should tell you about and show you a few more things. There is a selection of new Nike polo shirts and T-shirts that can easily be added to your travel attire, making it your go-to look for vacation. For our Disney Vacation Club members who frequent the resort, don't despair! I have some good news for you, too. Here's a look at the new logo that will appear on an array of new items including ladies and men's T-shirts, a hat, ornament, window cling and more.
What's next, travelers? Look for a post in the coming weeks on some additional releases this spring, including newly themed Duffy the Disney Bear costumes and unique offerings from our Disney Dream jewelry collection.
For any of you visiting Aulani, look for Aunty Lorna May Pacheco (Lau hala Plaiting) and Dalani Tanahy (Kapa Printing) to appear this month as part of our Artisan Showcases.
There's so much coming your way and so much to share. Until then ... Aloha!
New Merchandise Makes Its Way to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa by Michelle Harker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog
First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
With the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially underway, I stopped by the Festival Center to get a first look at the set up. This location, found in Future World between the Universe of Energy and MISSION: Space pavilions, is home to a variety of things including demonstrations and a merchandise shop. When I arrived, the event team was putting finishing touches on several areas inside the pavilion. I snapped a few photographs of the merchandise store that I thought you may enjoy.
The sound of running water filled the air as I walked around the merchandise shop. The center of the shop had a nice garden-like setting complete with trees and fountains. I spotted several garden items throughout the display including wind chimes, garden stakes and other decorative goods.
In a previous article, I shared a look at some of the new merchandise we've created for this annual event. I enjoyed seeing the two different visual statements of these items displayed along the walls.
There were a few other things that caught my eye including new, instant photograph-inspired T-shirts for adults, kids and Passholders. There was also a jar-shaped plastic tumbler complete with the event logo. I particularly liked the calendar that contains images of the character topiaries featured throughout Epcot. This is the first time we've offered a calendar like this for the event.
Here is a gallery containing a few other items that I liked. The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 18, 2014. I invite you to join the conversation on social networks by using the hashtag #EpcotInSpring. You can also find more information about the event by visiting EpcotInSpring.com.
I hope to see you at Epcot; I'll most likely be at my favorite Outdoor Kitchen, the Pineapple Promenade!
Mirror, Mirror, Who Is the Fittest of Them All at Walt Disney World Resort?
Think you're super fit? Want to find out?
Come check out the inaugural Disney Fit Challenge, a three-day competitive fitness event in September where competitors will test the limits of their power, speed, balance, strength and endurance in a series of fitness maneuvers. And if you think you can really stack up against the competitors, then sign up to be a part of the September 26-28 event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex when registration opens March 18.
If you haven't heard, competitive fitness is arguably America's trendiest sport with hundreds of thousands of people nationwide and beyond participating in the sport, and more getting involved every day. Some national competitions involve as many as 1,000 athletes.
But not all competitive fitness events are alike. One of the unique aspects of Disney Fit Challenge is that it's designed so that competitors only compete against other fitness buffs of similar age and skill level spanning several divisions, including elite, intermediate and recreational. And the fitness maneuvers are also tailored based on age and ability, with experienced fitness athletes tasked with advanced exercises such as muscle ups and recreational athletes doing more basic exercises such as squats, pushups and kettle bell swings.
Competitors amass points based on their performance in each fitness exercise with the top point leaders from the first two days advancing to the final day of competition. Follow Disney Sports on Twitter @DisneySports to get more details on registration and spectator information.
Mirror, Mirror, Who Is the Fittest of Them All at Walt Disney World Resort? by Darrell Fry: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog