The award-winning Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, located one mile from Walt Disney World and close to other area theme parks, recently unveiled their renovated lagoon pool and enhanced recreation amenities for timeless family fun. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I hope to head over soon to check it out and report on it in person. In the meantime, here are some official details about their summer specials in celebration of their new renovations and more details on what’s been added:
Walt Disney World
I must start by giving a huge thank you to Oni from Onezumiverse.com, who contacted me sharing her post on the newest Disney and LeSportsac designs, debuting in Fall 2013. I asked if I could share her photos and info here and she graciously agreed. Thanks, Oni! She was able to visit the LeSportsac showroom, where she got some exclusive photos and learned some great news about Disney and LeSportsac’s design collaboration. Let’s get right to it!
As Oni notes, these new Hawaii designs look like a wonderful tribute to the Disney’s Polynesian Resort, for us Walt Disney World fans. I know I can’t wait to see these in person (and get one too!). Apparently, LeSportsac changed their mind and are now going to sell the Hawaii designs everywhere this Fall, not just in Hawaii (phew!). In addition, she learned that the Hawaii print will not be the last design from this collaboration. Hooray!
Here is the Tropical Paradise print:
The Singing Stars print is above – with ELEPHANT CHARM! How adorable!
Below we see all the prints and charms for the Hawaii collection. I simply cannot wait –
Thank you once again to Oni, be sure to stop by her site and check out her further updates on the LeSportsac (non-Disney) Winter line. And you can check out my other coverage because of the Disney LeSportsac collaboration too.
Today Disney Parks are embarking on their second ever 24-hour park day for Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
and Disneyland AND California Adventure in California. I’ll be attending all 24(+) hours here at the Magic Kingdom, and bringing you fun photos and info along the way. I thought I’d post some helpful links here if you’d like to follow along:
Follow my photo adventures on Instagram – @zannaland ( instagram.com/zannaland if you don’t use the app)
Since I’ll be here all day and allll night (that’s 5am – 6am for those playing at home), I may pop onto Ustream to broadcast a parade, some characters, a ride or two, or Wishes as well. Word on the street is there will be some special visits by Mike and Sully from Monsters University so I’ll see what (or who) I can find.
You can find me on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/zanna-cam
If you have any requests for photo challenges, rides to go on, snacks to try, drop me a line on and of the above places and I’ll do my best to oblige! And if you are in the parks yourself, be sure to say hi if you spot me (and if I’m passed out asleep, wake me
Here are some photos and updates from throughout the day:
Here is a Vine video of the train arriving for the Disney 24 opening ceremony.
Next, we took a trip to Frontierland – Sail down the Rivers of America on the Liberty Belle! (Vine video)
The WDW Railroad from the Rivers of America (Vine video)
All in all, it was another wonderful 24 hour experience at the Magic Kingdom. I know it may seem a little silly to be falling asleep on rides, but just being in the park itself is always fun to me, and the sense of community and camaraderie was out in force last night. The crowds were definitely much much greater this time than in the Leap Year all-nighter in 2011, and I know there were some unhappy guests trying to get up and down and in and out of Main Street. Hopefully Disney can beef up its crowd control a bit to have a better plan for another event like this. It always pains me to see unhappy guests. That was just one tiny portion of the overall successful experience and did not put a damper on my enjoyment at all.
Having the Disney Parks Blog meet-up at the start of the day was a wonderful plus, the donuts were great, seeing old and new friends was great, and seeing Monsters University early was wonderful! Major thanks to the Disney Parks Blog for putting events like that on and adding so many fun surprises and souvenirs to the experience. They certainly don’t have to give back as much as they do, but they seem to always be trying to do more and do better for their readers, fans and park-goers. As a local blogger who is a fan first, it’s an honor and a privilege to be able to be a part of the community like that.
All throughout the day, I wanted to post photos of just some of what Disney means to me, amazing scenery, landscapes and breathtaking architecture that tells a story and creates magic and memories at every turn. I certainly didn’t chronicle my whole day, nor did I make it a mission to ride every ride or experience every show. I did, however, spend some relaxing time experiencing some of the classics that really say Walt Disney World to me. Riding down the Rivers of America on the Liberty Belle was so peaceful and just transported me to another time in history. The animatronics and effects on the river banks have really been tended to lately and it looks great, really making the experience worthwhile. Then over on Tom Sawyer Island, I love to see kids and families (and me!) making their own fun; exploring, running, climbing, laughing and creating their own “interactive experience”.
Being in the park for over 24 hours really lets you focus on the aspects that made you fall in love with Disney to begin with. I am grateful to Disney for letting that happen, and to my friends and all of the Disney community that I shared that with last night. Thanks for following along!
Our Merchandise Correspondent Corinne is back with some updates on what’s she’s been seeing in the Disney Parks and Resorts over the past few weeks! More to come from Corinne soon!
Classic Disney Signs and lots of new t-shirts are the theme of this weeks merchandise report.
These classic Disney attractions signs showed up at DHS and became really popular fast. According to a CM more of them will be in stock soon. They are wood signs and all run for $150 each.
Tropical and Americana T-shirts are perfect for the upcoming summer. Darth Vader is also featured on a really funny shirt.
Tinker Bell and lovey-dovey Minnie and Mickey is really popular in the women’s shirt department.
Lastly we have some Minne accessories, new Minne ears, a princess notebook and some cute and girly Vinylmations.
So I’m really impressed with the new Disney wood signs and hope they do more in the future. Which attraction do you wish they would do next?
There is the Mickey Mouse Comics Satchel by Dooney & Bourke bag for $260
and the Mickey Mouse Comics Letter Carrier Bag by Dooney & Bourke for $168
Are these your style? Will you be adding these to your Disney Dooney & Bourke collection? Remember there is a new design coming out this summer too!
*DisneyStore.com links are affiliate links, which means it costs you nothing extra to click or buy, but if you do, I get a small commission. Thanks for reading!
When “Limited Time Magic” was first announced back in October of 2012, it was met with great enthusiasm and high hopes. I know I was not alone in thinking of our distant sister parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea with their various seasonal themes, special merchandise, food, and shows. It also reminded me a bit of what makes Disneyland in California so magical, there are special things that happen throughout the year and then disappear, making them all the more special while they are around. I was truly excited that, as a local to Walt Disney World, we would get a taste of these kind of moments and make our 43 square miles feel a little bit smaller, a little more like the memories I had grown up with.
It’s not quite six months into 2013, and we, as Disney Park fans on the east and west coast of the United States, have been treated to quite a few doses of “Limited Time Magic.” Some, have been incredible successes, as judged by Disney social media fans and critics. Others, have gone by with little fanfare or appreciation. What sparked my desire to write this post was the most recent installment of Limited Time Magic: Disney’s Hollywood Studios “May the 4th Be With You” event, celebrating Star Wars Day as it has come to be known. This was, without a doubt, the greatest Limited Time Magic event to date, in my opinion. But why was this day such a success?
Well, let me first note that some of the past Limited Time Magic days have also been well-received; Long Lost Friends Week both at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland was lots of fun, True Love Week was also a unique experience, the Easter Week egg hunts were a great success as well. Other offerings of limited time merchandise, ear hats, t-shirts etc. may have been a fun addition, but certainly not to the extent that these other events have been. What’s the magic formula? And more importantly, what can Disney DO with these experiences to improve future park experiences for guests?
I think the most important key to these Limited Time Magic successes is this: community. Sure, you can bond with other folks in line for a t-shirt or a pin that you have to collect, but what better way to feel a part of the Disney community than dancing down a walkway with your favorite character, or standing in a group of fellow fans as you ooh and ahh to fireworks created especially for you? I arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the late afternoon on May 4th, but I still felt instantly a part of the special community. We all had on our Star Wars t-shirts, with smiles on our faces as a legion of Stormtroopers marched down Hollywood Blvd, or Chewbacca stood in line for Star Tours with the rest of us. A dance party is fun, but a dance party with a DJ playing real hits, where Chewie and Greedo dance in the crowds? Amazing. We all felt a part of this wonderful Disney-Star Wars family, and as a local that may or may not experience burn-out visiting the parks so frequently, it was wonderful to have something new going on that brought us all together.
In my personal opinion, I think something like May the 4th is 10 times more successful than Long Lost Friends Week, where guests may have been excited to see old characters, but really it created long lines and offered little more than a photo op and a souvenir autograph card. Fun, but not amazing. The special Limited Time Magic songs that have been created for Long Lost Friends Week and True Love Week were nice, but seemed a bit forced vs. just letting the experiences speak for themselves. Would these weeks that involve character meet and greets work if the characters were just roaming the parks as they did on May the 4th? I’m not sure, certainly I’m no expert in park logistics, but why not give it a try? I think guests would be surprised and delighted by the experience. Part of what made the Easter Week egg hunts so fun is the community aspect of interactivity. Groups of folks were all searching for the same things, finding fellow guests along the way to share experiences with. Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt?
Other parts to the Limited Time Magic offerings have been special food items, which, on their own, may not be too exciting, but when combined with enough other activities to make it part of the fun, can be a great addition. I dined at Kona Cafe a few weeks ago and saw the little cupcake with the smiling strawberry. I had been out of the Limited Time Magic Loop and had no idea this was a “Limited Time Cupcake“, but I thought it was adorable and unique and it made me smile. THAT’s the kind of little, un-looked-for magic that takes me back to the Walt Disney World I grew up loving – proving that it doesn’t have to be a huge character line-up or special show to make a difference.
Which brings me to my next point, what can Disney DO with all of these experiences? Will they end after this year is up? Will we never see a “Long Lost Friend” again now that that week is over? Will Disney stop creating unique new dessert or dining options because this campaign has ended? I certainly don’t think so on the food side of things. Disney fans are so on top of any new cupcakes or other desserts that come out and I think that will always be a way to excite guests and create buzz. But what about the rest of the park experiences?
Seeing fireworks over Disney’s Hollywood Studios was in a word, spectacular. The Star Wars music and amazing fireworks were the perfect mix. They put a smile on my face and made me proud to be a part of this Disney community, experiencing this special event first-hand. Would they be less special if those fireworks happened every Star Wars Weekend? I don’t think so. I’d definitely stay in the park later, and more than likely spend more money on food, drinks, or merchandise because the park was open later. And after seeing those fireworks, I would most assuredly make a special trip back to see them again. I’ve missed Sorcery in the Sky and I think a fireworks display is just what that park needs. Every other weekend? Once a month? I’ll take it!
These are the moments that make great vacations. These are the moments that create memories and cause little kids and grown-ups alike to go back home and spread the gospel of Disney out amongst their friends and family. I can just picture it now, a little boy or girl saying to their friends, “And then, a Stormtrooper walked right by me and stopped and we battled with his blaster and my light saber!” (or a grown up telling his or her friends the same thing 😉 ) Is that memory not so much more powerful than “and then we stood in line and got a photo with the three little pigs.”? Sure, that photo may be a treasured memory, but the former experience was an active memory rather than a passive one, which put the guest in the middle of the story. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t staged. It was a spontaneous moment and exactly what makes Disney so magical.
My hope is that Disney takes these Limited Time successes and translates them into changes across the parks. Spontaneous character interactions should be the norm, not a one-time experience. Getting the community to rally around a show or fireworks IS possible if it’s done right.
Seeing the Dapper Dans sing boy band songs, while amusing, isn’t something that will create memories that last a lifetime. In fact, if such a big deal hadn’t been made of the Dapper Dans singing boy band hits prior to that week, it probably would’ve had a much bigger impact. I could see a much bigger buzz having formed around a spontaneous rendition of “Bye, Bye, Bye,” with viral video happening and social media channels reposting all over the place. But knowing it was coming, it was just like, “Oh, ok. Cute.” At least that’s how I saw it.
Having a new set of ear hats, while cool and fun, isn’t what will form the moments that make lifelong Disney fans and guests. Keep ’em coming, the designs are great. But don’t call them “Limited Time Magic” when we all know they are just new merchandise for us to buy. (And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE merchandise. It’s where I got my start with Disney, selling merchandise on Main Street, U.S.A. – and some of the new t-shirt and other designs have been absolutely fantastic lately. But keep it separate from something that’s meant to create excitement about the parks themselves.) Keep the “magic” alive by not watering it down with experiences that happen every day anyway. Characters roaming through a park without a line to stand in? Magic. Fireworks in a park that never sees them? Magic.
Disney has had some incredible successes lately from the food booths at the Flower & Garden Festival, to New Fantasyland, to the promise of a new parade at Magic Kingdom. The most successful Limited Time Magic events have been those that truly create magical moments, instigate buzz, and make lifetime memories with guests. The kind of thing where you can say “I was there for…” such as the next major Limited Time Magic event – Disney Parks on both coasts being open 24 hours. I was there for the One More Disney Day event, and it was a unique experience like no other. May 24th is right around the corner and I know I’ll be at the Magic Kingdom all 24 hours.
I know Disney has it in them to translate these limited moments into future guest experiences that create lifelong Disney fans and supporters. I hope the decision-makers take a look at what the response has been and work on ways to make Limited Time Magic a little less limited and a little more magical. I had such a wonderful time at the May the 4th event, it made me super excited for Star Wars Weekends, but I hope some of that intimate, community feel of May the 4th can translate into not only Star Wars Weekends, but the rest of the parks as well.
What are your thoughts? What have your favorite Limited Time Magic moments been and what would you most like to see in the future?
With the weather getting warmer and the crowds in the parks getting larger you can clearly tell that spring and Easter has arrived here at Walt Disney World! With the season comes a lot of fun and bright spring and Easter merchandise. Egg, flower and bunny merchandise can be spotted almost in every store on property right now! You can even find some Easter goodies like cupcakes and cookies! And for all of you who come here to celebrate your Spring Break there is now a t-shirt for you to take home as a souvenir!
So how yummy doesn’t those Easter goodies look? The Easter Bunny Caramel apple is my favorite!
In this weeks Disney Merchandise Report we will take a look at some new Disney princess music boxes, the new Haunted Mansion line and a some pink Minnie Mouse home decor just to name a few.
First we will take a look at a new series of snow globes and some vintage-looking magnets that have popped up in the stores in almost every park!
Disney Princess merchandise has always been really popular in the parks and I think these items will become a hit with both younger and older fans! The music boxes all feature the Disney princesses in there newest reimagined look, which I really like!
These princess tote bags are in the same design as some cute tops that were released last year, so perfect if you want to have a matching bag!
Here we first have a new Minnie Mouse pink polka dot home decor collection featuring cute stuff like a jewelry hanger and a frame set. Then if pink is not your thing we have the new Haunted Mansion collection which also features some really nice home decor/collectibles.
Castle Couture in Magic Kingdom now has some more princess dress up options for your kids to choose from like Merida and Pocahontas. It’s really nice to see that Disney is giving some attention to some of the more rarer princesses!
Lastly, we have two new antenna toppers, some new water bottles and a new girly version of the popular mouse ear ornaments!
As an early visitor to Walt Disney World, back in 1983, one of my very favorite parts of our vacation was the Lake Buena Vista Village Marketplace area, or “The Village” as my family called it. Our first visits to WDW included stays at the Lake Buena Vista Vacation Villas, part of a set of villas where Saratoga Springs now resides. Your stay at one of the villas (larger town-home style rooms with bedrooms, a living area and kitchen) included a golf cart, and we would ride over to the Village every day, either for breakfast at the Empress Lilly, dinner at Heidelberg’s Deli, or for stocking up on snacks at the Gourmet Pantry. It was such a truly relaxed, unique area; it became forever engrained in my memories as “Walt Disney World.”
Over time, changes took place at the Village Marketplace, and Downtown Disney, Pleasure Island, and West Side were born. More and more visitors came to Walt Disney World and Disney answered with more shopping and dining experiences. But something was lost along the way: that relaxing, Florida feeling that made such an impression on me as a child. So when I heard the latest announcement regarding Disney Springs, I was thrilled that perhaps this would again be a place for beautiful sites and memories to be born. Hearing the description with emphasis on meandering springs, open-air promenades and waterfront charm gives me hope for this new area to capture the right balance of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Here is the official announcement from Disney this morning:
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.”
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.
- A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
What do you think of this announcement? Are you excited for Disney Springs? Disney has not officially announced the restaurants or shops which will sign on for Disney Springs, but one of the many rumors is Trader Sams, the tiki bar made so popular at the Disneyland Hotel. I’m very excited for the possibilities!
This Wednesday was the first day of Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2013 and I was, of course, very excited to check out the new merchandise! Every year the festival features some newly designed merchandise while also bringing back old favorites. Even though our weather here in Orlando has been on the cooler side lately the festival merchandise really gives you that spring feeling!
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival will be held from March 6 – May 19. The place with the best selection of Flower & Garden merchandise is the Festival Center, but you can also find some merchandise around World Showcase and inside Mouse Gear. We’ll be featuring an upcoming post in the next few days covering all the beautiful topiaries and the new food and drink booths added this year, so stay tuned!
So which Flower and Garden merchandise are you most excited to purchase? I will definitely be picking up a pair of LadyBug Minnie Mouse Ears!