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 Disney Parks Releases 
Every Role a Starring Role - Hotel Programs Coordinator

Did you know that guests staying at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels have an opportunity to participate in fun, exclusive activities? Hotel Programs Coordinator Dave Lay and his team work together to create and facilitate these unique experiences for our hotel guests, including learning to drawing Mickey Mouse and morning power walks through Disney California Adventure park, before it's open to day guests! Watch how Dave leads hotel guests through these one-of-a-kind activities in this "Every Role a Starring Role!"

Every Role a Starring Role - Hotel Programs Coordinator by Melanie Vogel: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Real Super Heroes at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort

I love runDisney finish lines. Short of running and crossing myself, there is no place I would rather be during an event weekend. The shouts of joy, tears of happiness and the pure emotion of runners achieving their goals is amazing.

Although it is exciting to see the winners and top finishers cross, it's the runners in the middle of the pack and at the end of the race where I find the most inspiration. For many of these athletes, and yes they are athletes, it is their first race. They set a goal, trained hard and are now experiencing one of the greatest accomplishments in their lives. Others are running for a cause dear to their heart. And for some of these runners they battled hardship on the course and are digging deep to make it to the finish.

If you follow my posts you know one of my favorite stories to produce are profiles on last-place finishers. Partly because I like to point out that runDisney treats the last place finisher just like race winners with fanfare, music and confetti, but also because I like to share what motivated and gave those runners the will to finish. My hope is their stories inspire others to get off the couch, try running, adopt a healthy active lifestyle and join us for a runDisney event.

Recently at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort, I set out to do that story again. Fortunately for all of us I ended up getting a story with a little more meaning -- an inspirational story that focuses on selfless sportsmanship.

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Now, I'm not going to give you all the details in this blog post because I am hoping you will watch and see the story unfold as it did for me. But what I will tell you is that on race day Cambrey Fuller from South Jordan, UT, met an angel, a true super hero, Ashley White from Phoenix, AZ.

On behalf of all of us at runDisney, congratulations Cambrey for crossing the finish line, and thank you Ashley for being a super hero. This is what running and runDisney are all about.

For more information on runDisney and to register for an upcoming event, visit runDisney.com.

Real Super Heroes at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort by Robert Hitchcock: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Celebrate Thanksgiving With A Disney Parks Turkey Leg Wallpaper

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Just in time for Thanksgiving Day, we have our latest holiday-inspired Disney Parks Blog wallpaper. The art features one of our famous theme park turkey legs and Disney Artist Jeff Maurer created it so you can spruce up your smartphone or computer for the big day.

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Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it. And check out our complete gallery of wallpapers on our special wallpaper page.

Celebrate Thanksgiving With A Disney Parks Turkey Leg Wallpaper by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park - Floral Mickey

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Main Street Station and its iconic floral depiction of Mickey Mouse have become one of the most photographed locations in the world, as millions of guests over six decades have captured their first Disney Parks memory entering Walt Disney's original magic kingdom.

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But less than a week before opening day, the floral in "floral Mickey" had yet to materialize. Horticulturalist Jack Evans received a memo dated July 11, 1955, from Joe Fowler which read, "When are you going to plant Mickey Mouse in the entrance? Looks to me like the time is getting pretty late."

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As you probably know, "Mickey" was planted in time for the big day and he's been in full bloom every day since.

Check back for more "construction updates" soon.


Previously in the "Building the Dream" series:

Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park -- Floral Mickey by George Savvas: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Tree of Life

Symbolizing the interconnected nature of all living things, the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom rises up from the center of Discovery Island at the park. Soaring over 140 feet into the air, the Tree of Life hadn't "grown" any of its 100,000+ leaves yet in January 1997.

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The 14-story tree is 50 feet wide at its base with roots that spread 170 feet in diameter. More than 8,000 branches make up the foliage that spreads 160 feet over the park below.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Tree of Life by Nate Rasmussen: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Family Volunteer Day - Serving Communities in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

On Saturday, November 22, Disney Friends for Change sponsored Family Volunteer Day, a nation-wide effort that demonstrates the magic created when families volunteer together to support their neighborhoods and communities around the world. The annual event, now in its 22nd year, celebrates the power that families have to make a real difference in their community, while strengthening their relationships and spending quality time together. Here's a look at how Walt Disney Parks and Resorts teams participated in Family Volunteering Day and other holiday giving projects:

  • At Disneyland Resort, Disney VoluntEARS helped pack food boxes at the Orange County Food Bank in support of Family Volunteer Day. VoluntEARS hosted another event at the Downtown Disney District to make healthy snack-packs that were also donated to the Orange County Food Bank. Additionally, Disneyland cast members participated in a Military Care Package drive and a canned food collection.
  • To support Family Volunteer Day, Disney VoluntEARS and families from Hong Kong Disneyland took part in a coastal cleanup activity at Silvermine Bay. The event gave families the opportunity to spend time together while contributing to the cleanliness of their surrounding shoreline. In December, Hong Kong Disneyland cast members and their families will also visit two local hospitals for festive celebrations to help spread the joy of the holidays amongst patients and their loved ones.
  • Every year, VoluntEARS from Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa partner with their neighbors at Ko Olina Resort for Thanksgiving Outreach, an event that serves meals to 4,000 people across Oahu's Leeward Coast.
  • In the spirit of Family Volunteer Day, Shanghai Disney Resort partnered with the non-profit organization Right to Play China through "Imagination Playground," a play outreach program that aims to strengthen family bonds through various creative play activities. More than 100 children of migrant workers and low-income families have participated in family play activities with Shanghai Disney Resort VoluntEARS this holiday season.
  • At Walt Disney World Resort, cast members and their families partnered with the 2013-2014 Walt Disney World Resort Ambassadors to support Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation's (ONIC) Family Fun & Fall Festival. VoluntEARS helped set-up and break down the event, staff the activity and game stations and serve refreshments. Additionally, VoluntEARS from Disney's Pop Century Resort will serve meals on Thanksgiving at the Coalition for Homeless Center for Women & Children and Men's Pavilion.

Real magic comes from the efforts of families working together to make lasting and positive change in the world. Thanks to our teams from around the world and to the families who are part of that magic every year.

Family Volunteer Day - Serving Communities in the Spirit of Thanksgiving by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Learn More About The Talented Hong Kong Disneyland Chefs

Since 1955, Disney Parks and Resorts have been places where guests can create memorable experiences with their friends and families. Immersive dining experiences have become an integral part of the storytelling and guest experience. Disney chefs across the world create meals for guests with careful attention to detail. The talented chefs at Hong Kong Disneyland have recently proven themselves to be international culinary leaders.

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The wide range of dishes prepared by Hong Kong Disneyland chefs showcase their diverse culinary talents. They are able to cook delicious American meals, South Asian cuisine and even Halal-certified and vegetarian options. The chefs at the award-winning Crystal Lotus restaurant in the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel can even create dishes from four major culinary regions of China: Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

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The chefs at Hong Kong Disneyland have boosted the resort's reputation for its culinary excellence. A team of chefs led by Hong Kong Disneyland won the world-renowned Salon Culinaire Mondial last year. This western cuisine competition is held every six years in Basel, Switzerland and measures culinary art at the topmost level. Also, two young chefs from Hong Kong Disneyland won the 2013 International Young Chef Challenge in Korea.

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Not only do these chefs cook excellent meals at the park, they use their time and culinary talent to serve people in the community. Through a partnership with Hong Kong's leading hunger relief charity, Foodlink, the Hong Kong Disneyland chefs donate surplus food to those in need. Since the program began in December 2013, Hong Kong Disneyland has collected more than 11 tons of safe-to-eat excess food from its hotel and restaurants. Chefs volunteer their personal time and use surplus ingredients to make delicious meals which are then delivered to underserved children and families in nearby communities in Hong Kong each week.

We are thrilled to have such talented chefs at Hong Kong Disneyland!

Learn More About The Talented Hong Kong Disneyland Chefs by Pam Brandon: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Special Edition Wildlife Wednesday: What Are We Thankful For? You! - Thank You for Contributing to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund!

Recently, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) was thrilled to announce its 2014 grant recipients. With this announcement DWCF surpassed $25 million awarded to nonprofits working to conserve wildlife and connect kids and families with nature. As we enter a season full of thanks and giving for many, we want to take a moment to thank you! Matched by Disney, your contributions to DWCF at Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club, are directly contributing to protecting animals and their habitats, and helping children all over the world have nature experiences. Not only do we thank you, the grant recipients thank you as well. Here are a few notes from recipients expressing gratitude for the conservation efforts made possible by your contributions.

The Marine Mammal Center: Mahalo!!! This is such wonderful news - especially as we just celebrated the opening and blessing of the new Hawaiian monk seal hospital and were joined by 150 members of the community, government, funders, and volunteers in Kona last week. And as we just sent off the first four young Hawaiian monk seal patients healthy back to the ocean - before our facility was built these four seals would have been left with no hope of survival. It is an exciting time of hope and possibility in the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal. Thank you so much for your support!

Project: Hawaiian Monk Seal Healthcare Project

The Purple Martin Conservation Association: This is most wonderful news and on behalf of our purple martin conservation team we express our deep thanks for your support of our project. We look forward to working together with Disney to make important progress in the conservation of declining populations of purple martins.

Project: Connecting Songbird Conservation Across Hemispheres

Hawaiian Monk Seals at The Marine Mammal Center Tagged Purple Martin at The Purple Martin Conservation Association

SAVE THE FROGS!: This is amazing news! Thank you so much to you all and to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for your support of our amphibian conservation programs in West Africa.

Project: Saving Ghana's Endangered Squeaker Frog

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The Jane Goodall Institute: Thank you so much for this wonderful news. Having Disney's support of the Jane Goodall Institute and our Mandrill Reintroduction Project is greatly appreciated. Releasing rehabilitated mandrills back into the wild is so important, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for the surrounding ecosystem. They are important contributors to their local biodiversity and their presence has a positive spillover effect on other threatened wildlife. Again, thank you to everyone at Disney for your support.

Project: Release of Wild Born Mandrills

Sea to Shore Alliance: Thank you so much to all of you at DWCF for this fantastic news! We are extremely honored to be funded for the seventh year in a row, and we know our African manatee collaborators, whose projects benefit so greatly from your grants, are very grateful as well. We look forward to sharing more news and photos with you soon.

Project: African Manatee Research and Conservation

Every $1 in guest donations is matched by The Walt Disney Company and awarded to nonprofits to support conservation projects around the world. By contributing to the DWCF, guests are making a meaningful difference in conserving species all over the world. To see more projects visit Disney.com/conservation and click on the Google Earth application.

Happy Holidays!

Special Edition Wildlife Wednesday: What Are We Thankful For? You! - Thank You for Contributing to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund! by Kim Sams: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Holidays Shine Bright in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

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What do you get when you combine Christmas lights and neon lights? The holidays in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park! Radiator Springs is aglow with the twinkle of the season as residents have decorated their businesses along Route 66.

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Showing that you don't have to be fancy to be festive, even Mater's junkyard sparkles.
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And across the street, Sarge puts the spirit in the season with a patriotic display that guarantees fireworks every night.

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Luigi's Casa della Tires and Ramone's House of Body Art shine against the beautiful backdrop of Ornament Valley.

What is your favorite holiday display in Cars Land?

Holidays Shine Bright in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park by Erin Glover: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Top 5 VIP Experiences with Adventures by Disney

Imagine traveling around the world and vacationing like a VIP in some of the world's most incredible destinations. With Adventures by Disney you can do just that! An Adventures by Disney vacation includes admission and private access to popular attractions, behind-the-scenes tours, and front-of-the-line access, all with world-class Disney hospitality.

Adventures by Disney trips offer front-of-the-line access to locations and opportunities that would often be difficult to experience without Disney. Here are some of my favorite VIP experiences.

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Wyoming
Enjoy a rustic but luxurious stay at the historic Brooks Lake Lodge, which is reserved exclusively for Adventures by Disney Wyoming vacation guests during your stay. As awe-inspiring as the day it was founded, this historic lodge offers incredible views of Wyoming's mountainous landscape, as well as access to activities such as horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, canoeing and archery.

Italy
The sights, the tastes and the history of Italy make this popular destination a must visit. But imagine having the Sistine Chapel all to yourself? When you travel to Italy with Adventures by Disney you can explore some of Michelangelo's magnificent achievements as your Adventure Guides take you on a private, after-hours visit to the Vatican City Museum and Sistine Chapel with a local expert.

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Australia
Take a trip "down under" to Australia to see the largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders on Earth. And with Adventures by Disney Australia vacation you'll enjoy the knowledge provided by a private marine biologist who joins your journey and can answer any questions as you snorkel around the reef, or view it from 3 feet below the surface on a semi-submersible vessel.

France
What could be better than visiting the Louvre museum in Paris? How about dining just steps away from the Mona Lisa in a room with a seriously impressive view? On the Adventures by Disney France itinerary you can enjoy an exquisite farewell dinner in a private room at the Louvre overlooking its famed glass pyramid entrance in the Cour Napoléon.

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Southern California
Combine a behind-the-magic private tour of the Walt Disney Studios, exclusive access at Walt Disney Imagineering and the Jim Henson Company Studios, a unique visit to Walt Disney's apartment inside Disneyland park, a 2-day VIP experience at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park with special Disney's FASTPASS service and reserved parade seating, and you've just begun to scratch the surface of all the special, behind-the-scenes treats in store for you on an Adventures by Disney vacation to Southern California.

From a private catamaran excursion in Costa Rica to dance lessons in a Broadway theater in New York City, you can enjoy an array of other VIP experiences with Adventures by Disney. Start your planning today at AdventuresbyDisney.com.

Top 5 VIP Experiences with Adventures by Disney by Andrae Gill: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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