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Private Experiences in Rome with Adventures By Disney

Ciao! I recently came back from an unforgettable journey through the Old World country of Italy with Adventures by Disney. Throughout my nine-day, eight-night stay in "the boot" of Europe, I was completely immersed in the rich traditions, flavors and landscapes of the region as I traveled from Rome to Tuscany and Florence and lastly to Venice.

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We spent the first few days exploring Rome's glorious past and some of the amazing landmarks that have made Rome the birthplace of modern civilization. I was in a foodie's paradise with the outstanding restaurants within walking distance from our hotel. Pizza lovers like me can never go wrong with a slice from ReCafé! We were even within walking distance of the Vatican!

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Our time in Rome afforded us quite a few special experiences. Most spectacular of all was our private, after-hours tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.

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Led by our Adventure Guides Landon and Marco, along with local expert Stefano, this private experience allowed our group of travelers to have these popular Vatican City locales all to ourselves to explore and admire. With Adventures by Disney there was no waiting in line or crowding to see Michelangelo's masterpiece!

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We also enjoyed a special, VIP experience at the Colosseum. Here we even got access to the 3rd--and highest--level, which is reserved exclusively for groups such as ours. While we savored breathtaking views of the Eternal City, Junior Adventurers had their own interactive tour of the Colosseum that provided insight on life in ancient Rome.

Our tour of Rome included many other special features, such as private access to St. Peter's Basilica and a private tour of Castel Sant'Angelo. We also explored the Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and, of course, the legendary Trevi Fountain. Of course I couldn't help but throw my own coin into the fountain in the hopes this tradition will ensure I'll visit Rome once again.

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All that touring definitely made me hungry, so stay tuned to my next post, which takes my Adventures by Disney group to Tuscany to learn the art of pasta making and taste some of the finest wines in the region. Buon appetito!

Private Experiences in Rome with Adventures By Disney by Mark Sadowski: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Cases for iPhone 6 Coming to D-Tech on Demand at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace on September 20

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This past July, I shared a fun video about D-Tech on Demand, one of my favorite boutiques at the newly opened Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. This location combines rapid printing technology with great artwork to create personalized electronic accessories for guests. Today, I have great news for guests who want to add a splash of Disney to the latest technology. Beginning September 20, D-Tech on Demand will offer cases for the recently announced iPhone 6.

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D-Tech on Demand now offers more than 170 different art styles for select phones. The image at the top of this story shows three iPhone 6 cases with some of my favorite new artwork.

In addition to the iPhone 6, guests can design and personalize cases for other phones including iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 5C, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Coming in October, the D-Tech on Demand team will offer select iPhone 6 cases in additional Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort merchandise locations. These cases will not be offered on our Disney Parks online store at this time.

Guests should also look for iPhone 6+ cases coming to D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op later this fall.

I would love to see which case you select. Use #DisneySide if you share an image of your phone case on a social network like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Cases for iPhone 6 Coming to D-Tech on Demand at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace on September 20 by Steven Miller: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Photos, Videos Capture Your Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride at Walt Disney World Resort

"Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it's off to work we go!" That song brings up such great memories from my childhood favorite, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." We've been busy working on top-secret enhancements to the Disney PhotoPass Service and the Memory Maker product, and we're excited to announce a new "gem" today.

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What would you say if I told you that you could take home a special gem that would have you reliving all the fun and excitement of your moments aboard the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction ... your race through the diamond mine as you whisked across the rolling stone bridges, through diamond pass and into the forest to the Dwarfs' cottage?

Just released today, we are excited to add a photo and video memento at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Now, when you ride the attraction with a MagicBand and a linked Memory Maker entitlement you will have your photo and video automatically associated to your My Disney Experience account.

You'll also be able to view, download and share the photo and video of your Family & Friends Connections and Managed Guests who also experienced Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while wearing a MagicBand.

So, hop aboard Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with fellow miners and begin collecting your magical memories with your MagicBand and Memory Maker.

Photos, Videos Capture Your Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride at Walt Disney World Resort by Kelly Glassburn: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Plan Your Fall Getaway with New Disneyland Resort Hotel Offer

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Fall is one of my favorite times of year at the Disneyland Resort. The warm, sunny Southern California summer has given way to the slightly cooler but still just as sunny Southern California fall. And with Halloween Time, through October 31, and Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, from November 13 through January 6, added to the mix it's the perfect time of year to plan a weekday getaway!

Beginning today, you can save 20 percent on premium rooms at a Disneyland Resort hotel for stays on select Sunday through Thursday nights, from October 26-December 18. To take advantage of this offer, book travel through November 19.

So plan your fall getaway now! Click here to book.

Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel for select Sunday through Thursday nights between 10/26/14 -- 12/18/14. Book from 9/17/14 through 11/19/14, with travel completed by 12/19/14. Blockout dates of 10/31/14, 11/1/14, 11/7/14, 11/8/14, 11/13/14 through 11/16/14 and 11/21/14 through 12/13/14 apply. 20% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites. Ask about savings in other room types. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes applicable fees and taxes. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and five (5) people maximum per room. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks.

Plan Your Fall Getaway with New Disneyland Resort Hotel Offer by Erin Glover: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Shanghai Disney Resort Debuts 'Happy Dream' Float at Festival

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Today, we're excited to bring you some news from China. On Saturday, Shanghai Disney Resort made its first appearance in the Annual Shanghai Tourism Festival parade.
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The colorful float, called "Happy Dream," featured Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and many other popular Disney characters. And Disney dancers added to the fun by performing a Mandarin Chinese version of Disney's classic "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," from "Cinderella."

"Our performance at this year's Shanghai Tourism Festival is the result of an international collaboration between Disney experts and talented Chinese artists. We are excited to demonstrate our commitment to bringing the best of Disney experiences to the people of China, even before we officially open Shanghai Disney Resort," said Laurie Jordan, Vice President, Shanghai Disney Resort Entertainment. "We are thrilled to support the Shanghai Tourism Festival for the first time and to help promote the city as an international tourism destination."

Shanghai Disney Resort Debuts 'Happy Dream' Float at Festival by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Sights and Sounds of Disney Parks: Celebrating One of Walt's Major Magic Makers

Marc Davis' Disney career goes all the way back to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." He animated Alice, Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Maleficent and Cruella DeVil. He designed characters for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and the fondly remembered America Sings attractions. He was an accomplished painter and a caring, unforgettable teacher.

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Marc dreamed up enough major works to fill several lifetimes. Yet he was definitely not one of those "look at me, I'm so great, blah, blah, blah" kind of people. He was devoted to his wife, Alice (also a Disney Legend who was also a major contributor to Disney history as costume designer for many attractions), dedicated to Disney art and imagination, and, across the board, remembered as a genial, unassuming fellow.

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His admirers include some of the most accomplished individuals in the art and entertainment industry, who along with many of us, were waiting a long time for such a magnificent book as "Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man" to come along. This book is their opportunity to reminisce about Marc for us, and our opportunity to look for hours at each and every vivid image in this new book--many of which seem to jump off the page.

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Imagineering and Disney Legend Marty Sklar expresses his awe at Marc's work for Disney Parks. Peter Docter, Oscar-winning director of Disney•Pixar's "Up" and "Monsters, Inc." presents an extensive portfolio of Marc's concept art and pencil drawings. "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King" producer Don Hahn elaborates on Marc's fine art. Veteran Disney animator and historian Andreas Deja takes us on a tour of Marc's animal studies. Glen Keane, acclaimed animator of Ariel, the Beast, Tarzan, Rapunzel, Aladdin and others, guides us through Marc's vast collection of sketchbooks.

And there's so much more. Walt Disney Family Museum Creative Consultant and historian Paula Sigman-Lowery explains Marc's fascination with the art and people of New Guinea. Author/filmmaker Mindy Johnson helps us get acquainted with the wondrous Alice Davis. Renowned animation historian and critic Charles Solomon presents a look at the unproduced animated feature, Chanticleer. Award-winning animation director Bob Kurtz recalls Marc's skill as a teacher. There are even selections from Marc's unpublished book on how humans and animals move (Parents' alert: some tasteful nudes in this section.)

You can find "Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man" at select Disney Parks shops now (even though it will not be available to the general public until October 7). Call Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477) to locate it at either Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

Sights and Sounds of Disney Parks: Celebrating One of Walt's Major Magic Makers by Greg Ehrbar: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Halloween Time Novelty Items to Materialize at Disneyland Resort

There's nothing better than strolling down Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park during the fall with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, especially if you can bring the magic home in a souvenir mug. I love being able to enjoy my morning coffee in a favorite keepsake. Recently, I got a sneak peek at some of the spooky souvenir novelty items coming to Disneyland Resort.

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One of my fall traditions is to watch classic Walt Disney cartoons like "The Haunted House," "The Skeleton Dance" and "The Mad Doctor." I was excited to learn that the design for this year's Halloween mug and popcorn buckets, which are available throughout Disneyland Resort, feature artwork inspired by these shorts. And as a special treat, available at popcorn wagons throughout Disney California Adventure park, the Ghost Mickey souvenir bucket filled with hot, delicious popcorn is a great place to stash your candy -- after you eat the popcorn, of course!

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Well, well ... fans of the infamous Disney Villains can enjoy a refreshing drink from a Maleficent Dragon Sipper -- it's positively wicked. Thirsty for more? Keep an eye out for a Poison Apple Glow Cube coming soon to the Fantasyland Fruit Cart. Don't worry, the Evil Queen hasn't cast her spell on this one.

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Last month, fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Pam Brandon, shared the artwork for the Haunted Mansion 45th anniversary travel mug and popcorn bucket -- and if you're a fan of the Haunted Mansion like I am, you'll be ghoulishly delighted to learn these items will be available through the run of Haunted Mansion Holiday. You'll find a specialty popcorn bucket featuring Mickey as one of our favorite Grim Grinning Ghosts: the Hatbox Ghost.

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Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange? The Pumpkin King has a few tricks up his sleeve this Halloween. Look for a Zero popcorn bucket or add a Jack Skellington glow cube into one of your favorite New Orleans Square drinks. Several Disney Parks Blog readers asked what special sweets would be coming to Disneyland Resort, so here's something to soothe your nightmare--a Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Mousse Coffin Cake featuring Sally.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more Halloween Time treats.

Which souvenir item are you excited to take home?

Halloween Time Novelty Items to Materialize at Disneyland Resort by Rachel Brent: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Taste Your Way Around the World In Style With New Dooney & Bourke Bags Coming to Epcot on September 29

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With the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returning to Walt Disney World Resort, I wanted to share some exciting news. For the first time, the Disney Theme Park Merchandise team is releasing a specially designed Dooney & Bourke collection inspired by the annual festival of culinary delights.

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When designing the new colorful pattern, Disney Design Group artists were inspired by marketing artwork featuring Chef Mickey Mouse. Three of the items will contain a unique leather hangtag that has the event logo (the wristlet will not have this hangtag). I love the subtle designs used on these new bags as sometimes less is more.

The four new items will be released at the Festival Center in Epcot starting September 29.

The Festival Center is located between the Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE pavilions in Future World. We will have these items on display in that location when the event kicks off on September 19. This Dooney & Bourke collection will not be available on our Disney Parks online store at this time.

I wonder how many Kalua pork sliders I can carry in one of these bags (they are my favorite thing from the event!). I hope to see you at Epcot!

Taste Your Way Around the World In Style With New Dooney & Bourke Bags Coming to Epcot on September 29 by Steven Miller: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Wildlife Wednesday: Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Elephants and Rhinos on September 23

Disney's Animal Kingdom is home to over 1,800 animals who serve as ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild. Cast members work to educate guests through activities like Wilderness Explorers, exploration trails and attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris. Helping protect wildlife and wild places is at the core of The Walt Disney Company and recognizing the intrinsic value of nature is a guiding principle of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Throughout the day, in locations across the park, conservation messages are shared and calls to action prompt guests to learn more about endangered species and ways to get involved even after returning home.

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Conservation Station is a great place to continue your adventure and learn about conservation efforts taking place at the park. Through informative hands-on exhibits and a viewable onsite research facility, Conservation Station invites you to uncover the mysteries of the wild--and to go behind the scenes of Disney's efforts to promote conservation awareness.

For guests interested in elephants, rhinos, and conservation efforts for these great animals, September 23 will be a great day to visit as Conservation Station hosts Elephant and Rhino Day, a celebration dedicated to two beautiful, but endangered animal species. Education cast members will staff hands-on activities, the work of the Animal Nutrition Center will be highlighted and Animal Keepers from the Elephant, Savannahs, and Ituri Forest teams will be present to share information and answer questions related to the animal-care profession. Guests will also have the opportunity to speak with representatives from various conservation organizations including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to learn more about opportunities to get involved.

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Let us know what you do to help conserve wildlife and wild places in your area!

Wildlife Wednesday: Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Elephants and Rhinos on September 23 by Erin Gallagher: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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runDisney Announces The "Goofy Giveback" - New Opportunity To Participate At The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Last week millions of viewers across the country witnessed an amazing transformation. They tuned into ABC's hit summer series "Extreme Weight Loss" and watched as show hosts Chris and Heidi Powell guided a father/daughter team through a reward challenge at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.

The social media response to Jeff and Juliana's story was incredible. Viewers shared how they were inspired and motivated by the father / daughter story. Many pledged to make changes and adopt a healthy active lifestyle. And several people expressed that they would like to take participate in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, but it was sold out.

Well we have good news for you.

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Based on the overwhelming guest response runDisney is pleased to announce the "Goofy Giveback", a unique opportunity for you to participate in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon.

Want more details? Take a look at this announcement video.

For more information and to register for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon or Goofy Challenge, visit runDisney.com.

runDisney Announces The "Goofy Giveback" - New Opportunity To Participate At The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend by Faron Kelley: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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