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How to Plan an Unforgettable Girlfriends’ Getaway at the Disneyland Resort

As the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues to dazzle, 2016 is a great time for you and your girls to channel your inner princesses at the Disneyland Resort. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply spending quality girl time at the Happiest Place on Earth, try out these fun activities for a magical girlfriends’ getaway!


Show off matching Mickey Ears, hats or t-shirts
Stepping out in matching Disney style is the perfect way to celebrate your friendship! Minnie ears from The Mad Hatter at Disneyland park, Disney t-shirts from Gone Hollywood at Disney California Adventure park or cute accessories from the World of Disney store in the Downtown Disney District make great photo props.

Capture your memories with Disney’s PhotoPass Service
Disney’s PhotoPass Service ensures that all the girls can get in the group photo. Friendly PhotoPass photographers will pose you in front of iconic locations in the parks, capture Disney Character greetings and even snap a photo with your personal cameras.


Rejuvenate at Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
A getaway is not complete without pampering fit for a princess! The Balinese-themed Mandara Spa inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa provides an escape to paradise with relaxing massages, manicures, facials and more. Reservations are recommended.

Enjoy dinner in the park at Carthay Circle Restaurant
With an exquisite menu and décor inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood, you and your best friends will dine like stars at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure park.

End a spectacular night with the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular
The recipe for a memorable night includes grabbing a cup of hot cocoa, cozying up near “it’s a small world” and spending quality time together as the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks sparkle in the skies above Disneyland park. This spot has a great view of the beautiful animated projections on the exterior of “it’s a small world,” too.


Grab drinks at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Located at the Disneyland Hotel, the torch-lit terrace of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is a relaxing spot to unwind and continue the fun after a day in the parks. This tropical-themed lounge evokes the feeling of a mystical oasis, and some colorful cocktails may conjure up magical surprises!

How do you have fun with your best friends at the Disneyland Resort?

Summertime at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

As you’re enjoying the last few weeks of summer, we hope there’s a trip planned to Anaheim to experience the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration! And if you’re staying overnight (or more!) at one of our three hotels, there is plenty of fun in store for your stay.


Whether you are looking to cool down or simply relax, here are three unexpected ways to enjoy summertime as a guest of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort:

  1. Pool Parties: Enjoy fun in the sun with a pool party at any of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort. These seasonal parties occur daily in the afternoon and include games, music and dancing!
  2. Magical Night at the Movies: For a relaxing evening, cozy up with a favorite Disney film on select nights under the stars. Movie screenings take place at all three hotels, and guests are encouraged to bring snacks for the show!
  3. Cabanas: If you’re interested in lounging by the pool all day, consider reserving a private, poolside cabana. Available for a half-day or full-day, stretch out under a shaded cabana equipped with everything you need to relax. To make a reservation at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa or the Disneyland Hotel for an additional fee, visit the Guest Services desk inside either hotel.

What’s your favorite summertime activity at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort?

Disneyland Hotel Debuts New Seasonal Menu At Steakhouse 55

Spring has sprung, and so have seasonal additions to the menu at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel.


Fresh and light appetizers for spring include the Fresh Pasta Tagliatelle, with stone fruit mostarda, julienne zucchini, cherry tomato and fresh sorelle; Sautéed Sea Scallops with watermelon cucumber compote, pickled radish, rhubarb sabayon; Seared Carpaccio of Beef with baby arugula, mandarin orange, whipped horseradish, smoked sea salt; and Chilled White Asparagus with Serrano ham, Pecorino Romano, minced fava bean and grapefruit essence.


Other seasonal menu changes include the Steakhouse 55 Salad with garden carrot, blue cheese, maple pecans and raspberry vinaigrette—a celebration of spring. For entrees, the Moroccan-spiced King Salmon is superb; try it with the seasonal creamed local super-sweet corn with plugra butter.


Also available is a new Steakhouse 55 Chef’s Tasting Menu, which includes a Caprese salad, 8 oz. Grilled Prime Flatiron Steak served with creamy white polenta, seared king oyster mushroom and hollandaise. The meal concludes with Vanilla Crème Brulee with a lemon madeleine, Chantilly cream and strawberry compote for dessert.


For reservations, contact your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner today!

Disney Parks Honored With Awards

We all love Disney Parks, but this week two prestigious organizations honored Disney Parks projects with multiple industry awards.


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced their annual Thea Award winners. Among the honorees, TEA announced that “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the recipient of the Thea Classic award, honoring attractions that have withstood the test of time and have endured for 20 or more years. TEA said in their announcement that the attraction “continues to captivate audiences around the world with pure charm, melded with a profound message deceptively hiding in a simple and astonishingly catchy song … This timeless classic continues to engage generation after generation. Surely “it’s a small world” is the very definition of a Classic.”


Also, Bistrot Chez Remy, the new French restaurant at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris that is inspired by the Disney∙Pixar film “Ratatouille,” is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Themed Restaurant. “It is a truly charming and thematically thorough dining experience, where oversized objects are reused in every possible way to create tables, chairs, architectural elements, and props … [E]verything is very well-conceived and delivered to create an illusion that is both convincing and coyly self-aware. The exterior of the attraction looks like a typical Parisian café, but on closer inspection, one realizes that this is the world of Paris from the film, where there are no straight lines – a perfect blend of fiction and reality. This venue exhibits thoroughness, conceptual clarity, dedication to narrative detail, and exceptional finish.”


Finally, Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an interactive experience that combines badge collecting, guest interaction and learning about the natural world, is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Interactive Park Attraction on a Limited Budget.

“Disney has incorporated storytelling and gaming to create an experience that is intimate and personal in its connection to the guests, yet wisely recognizes that technology would be a distraction and remove guests from nature. Guests are given a role in the story – becoming a Wilderness Explorer – that was a poignant, aspirational story of a core identifiable character from the Pixar film. This intersection point between film story world, live animals and the beautiful habitats within Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a huge part of why this attraction is effective … This unique attraction is worthy of honors as much for its craft as for the authenticity and cleverness of implementation within a unique park environment.”

TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Thea Awards will be given out at an awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel on March 21, 2015.


Finally, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) awarded their Brass Rings Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence and “Once Upon a Time” at Tokyo Disney Resort won for Best Multimedia Spectacular.

IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards mark achievements of excellence throughout the global attractions industry.

Congratulations to all who worked to create and bring these wonderful projects to life!

What award would you give your favorite Disney Park or Attraction?

“True Love” Dining At Walt Disney World and Disneyland for Limited Time Magic

Another “Limited Time Magic” moment is on the way: this time, sweet dining menus just for Valentine’s week, February 11-17.

Another “Limited Time Magic” moment is on the way: this time, sweet dining menus just for Valentine’s week, February 11-17.

The chefs are having fun creating special dishes – both meals for families and special fixed-price dinners for two. Probably the most frivolously fun is the chocolate cupcake with raspberry mousse filling and dark chocolate mousse frosting that’s dipped in more chocolate, then garnished with more chocolate, strawberries and a sweet little rosebud. (These are priced at $4.99, so you’d better buy at least two so you don’t have to share.) The cupcake can be found at Surfside Lounge at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel Coffee House, Pacific Wharf Café and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café at Disney California Adventure park, and Jolly Holiday Bakery Café at Disneyland Park. And we also love the sweet and sour(dough) heart-shaped bread that’s another special at Pacific Wharf Café ($6.99).

For families playing in Disneyland park, how about strawberry and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast at Carnation Café, and roasted garlic shrimp pasta for lunch? Or there’s spicy glazed salmon with chipotle pineapple glaze, roasted golden and red beets, and mushroom quinoa at Plaza Inn.

Fixed-price dinner for two is offered at both Café Orleans and Blue Bayou Restaurant – the café is doing a three-course “surf and turf to love,” and Blue Bayou’s three courses includes a pork chop stuffed with Boursin and collard greens served with housemade spaetzle. (Note: Blue Bayou is sold out for dinner on February 14.)Another “Limited Time Magic” moment is on the way: this time, sweet dining menus just for Valentine’s week, February 11-17.

At Disney California Adventure park, the Wine Country Trattoria is offering two glasses of sparkling wine with chocolate-covered strawberries. And Carthay Circle Restaurant will feature a fixed-price dinner for two with either grilled filet mignon or sautéed wild petrale sole steamed with tangerine-almond-grape brown butter. (Both restaurants are sold out for dinner on February 14.)

In the resorts, Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel has a fixed-price dinner for two with surf and turf – filet mignon and scallops with lobster mashed potatoes. And Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will create a four-course St. Valentine’s Vintners Meal and also offer a special dinner just on February 14 – details not final for either, but we know Chef Andrew Sutton will delight and surprise his guests. (Both restaurants are sold out for dinner on Feb. 14.)

At Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll find fixed-price “Dinner for Two” at several spots. At The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, dinner starts with a colossal prawn stuffed with blue lump crab and continues with a filet mignon topped with Cabernet and shallot butter.

Another “Limited Time Magic” moment is on the way: this time, sweet dining menus just for Valentine’s week, February 11-17.

In the resorts, dinner at Artist Point offers a succulent Kumamoto oyster; heirloom beets; cedar plank roasted King salmon, filet mignon or crispy buttermilk-dipped chicken; and Valrhona Chocolate Indulgence with local strawberries. Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort gives you a choice of a New York strip steak, filet mignon, twin lobster tails, Long Island duck or butternut squash tortellini – and if you want a celebratory splash at the end, sip a glass of Champagne or chardonnay (extra cost).

The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort gives diners a taste of local farms with butter-poached lobster with Florida avocado-heirloom tomato salad; duck confit with Florida candied kumquats; rib-eye steak, and a sweet finish with a citrus-infused truffle torte. And Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a trip to the islands with Caribbean conch chowder, seared rib-eye with plaintain and white sweet potato gratin, and a chocolate and strawberry sweetheart dessert.

What are your Valentine’s Day Dining Plans?

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend D23’s Destination D at the Disneyland Hotel. I listened to a fascinating presentation, “Animating the Disney Parks,” featuring Eddie Sotto and Imagineers Tony Baxter and Tom Morris. Each Imagineer shared the story of how legendary Disney animators and artists became the first Imagineers during the early development of Disneyland and then the Walt Disney World Resort.

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Tony Baxter, Walt Disney Imagineering senior vice president of creative development, got the discussion started with the story of his mentor, Claude Coats. Originally in 1935 as a background painter, Coats created the worlds of “Pinocchio,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lady and the Tramp.” His backgrounds created a sense of place, Baxter said, much like WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) would do in theme parks.

When Walt Disney was creating Disneyland, the talents of his animators were needed for this new medium. As Baxter recalled, Coats’ experience working on “Lady and the Tramp,” especially, gave him the inspiration to look at the world from an altered perspective – inspiration that would later lead to real-life experiences like Storybook Land Canal Boats and Adventure Thru Inner Space.

“Disneyland defined the ability to take you out of the world you live in,” Baxter said.

scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean

Coats was trained in architecture, Baxter said, which gave credibility to the environments he created. When the scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean were being developed, it was Coats who had the idea to paint the ceiling black, creating the illusion of a night sky and making the ceiling disappear – giving guests the sense of being outside at night.

Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad

You can see Coats’ background painting talents for yourself today in the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad.

Check back for more from “Animating the Disney Parks” – next time, we’ll focus on another master of creating a sense of place, Herb Ryman.

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