Jan 15

Disneyland Turns 60. Find Out How They Are Going to Celebrate!


Three sensational new nighttime spectaculars will dazzle guests at the Disneyland Resort when the Diamond Celebration begins Friday, May 22nd, 2015. Nighttime will glitter as never before when the latest technology and immersive special effects lift the “Paint the Night” parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular beyond anything seen in the past at Disneyland Park. In Disney California Adventure Park, a new “World of Color” show featuring Mickey Mouse will tell the story of Walt Disney and the Happiest Place on Earth through fountains, film, animation, a stirring musical score and amazing visual surprises.

The electrifying new shows will take guests into the worlds of Disney stories like never before, celebrating 60 years of magic with a nighttime parade that shines with more than 1.5 million individually controlled lights – the first all-LED parade at the resort; a reinvention of the classic fireworks that adds projections to transform the park experience; and a moving, new version of “World of Color” that celebrates Walt Disney’s dream for Disneyland.


In addition, the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland and Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney California Adventure will glisten and gleam for the celebration, each with its own diamond medallion. The Disneyland Resort and surrounding streets will sparkle with Diamond Celebration décor and festive banners in shades of Disneyland blue. Also bearing the diamond anniversary theme, creative merchandise and food items will be designed to complement the celebration.

“Sixty years ago, Walt Disney welcomed the first guests to Disneyland.  Nearly 3 billion guest visits later, it’s amazing to contemplate all that Disney Parks and Resorts represents to so many people around the world,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Innovation Inspires Exciting Future

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland on July 17, 1955, he inaugurated a tradition of innovative, immersive storytelling that inspired classic theme park attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Soarin’ Over California, Toy Story Midway Mania and Radiator Springs Racers. The Diamond Celebration will continue this tradition with three fantastic new shows that expand the boundaries of after-dark entertainment – Disney’s signature “kiss goodnight.”


  • “Paint the Night” parade – New technology and unleashed imagination permeate this after-dark parade, flooding Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland with vibrant color and more than 1.5 million, brilliant LED lights that flash and glow as they bring Disney stories to life. The luminescent parade introduces a new era of magical entertainment, as Mickey Mouse uses his imagination to harness the power of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust and “Paint the Night” in dazzling Disney dreams. Those dreams include special appearances by Mickey’s pals and beloved characters from tales such as “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Toy Story” and “Frozen.” The parade features special effects, unforgettable music, energetic performances, fun surprises and spectacular floats, with Mickey leading the grand finale.

Disneyland Forever Fireworks

  • “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular – The Disneyland Resort tradition of creating big, dazzling fireworks shows will soar to new levels as “Disneyland Forever” immerses guests in stories from the tips of their toes to the sky high above. Thanks to the largest installation of projection mapping technology in a Disney park and surprising special effects, guests will find themselves transported into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney●Pixar films, including a dance with King Louie from the “The Jungle Book” and a flight over London with characters from “Peter Pan.” Showing just how magical the Magic Kingdom can be, the fireworks “stage” will extend to Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world,” Rivers of America and the Matterhorn as projections transform familiar park icons into stunning story scenes. Two original songs also will be featured, the theme “Live the Magic,” and the inspiring closing song “Kiss Goodnight,” written by Disney Legend Richard Sherman. “Disneyland Forever” will be visible from Main Street, U.S.A., and several Disneyland locations.

World of Color in Disneyland

  • “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney”  – Mickey Mouse will entertain guests as mischievous host of this fun-filled new presentation of the popular, nighttime “World of Color” spectacular in Disney California Adventure. Illuminating the night in a contemporary and moving celebration of Walt Disney and his dream of Disneyland, Mickey Mouse will take guests on an inspirational journey through the unparalleled imagination of Walt Disney, exploring his decades-long legacy of memorable animated moments and the dream of Disneyland Park. Both epic and intimate in scope, “World of Color – Celebrate!” brings to life the remarkable story of Walt and The Happiest Place on Earth with animated imagery, live-action film, fountains, lasers, special effects and a stirring musical score, all on the magical water canvas of “World of Color.”

A Source of Joy and Inspiration to the World

The popularity of Disneyland through nearly 60 years celebrates Walt Disney’s dream of a place where family members of all ages can have fun together in an atmosphere that emphasizes imagination, fantastic storytelling and extraordinary guest service. Since 1955, dignitaries, heads of state, celebrities and more than 700 million guests have passed through the gates of a place that Walt imagined as “a source of joy and inspiration to the world.”

Disneyland transformed the amusement industry with an entirely new concept in family entertainment: a “theme park” where rides, shows, characters, merchandise and cast members in costume become part of a total storytelling environment. In the nearly six decades since it opened, the Disneyland Resort has continued to use creativity, technology and innovation to bring stories to life, while fulfilling Walt’s promise that “Disneyland will never be completed … as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

Jan 15

Why the B Resort and Spa Orlando is the Perfect Hotel for Your Next runDisney Half Marathon

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

runDisney Racecations can be both exilerating and exhausting. Earlier this month I participated in the runDisney Dopey Challenge. Four races (5K, 10K, Half Marathon & Full Marathon) run over four consecutive days with four consecutive 3:30 am wake-up calls. These events don’t leave much time for park touring. I knew that I would need a comfortable place to sleep and I wasn’t too concerned with staying in a Disney owned and operated hotel that came with extra magic hour perks since I really wasn’t going to be partaking in extra park time. I was there to run. The fun would come after I crossed the finish line of my fourth and final race.

I had also had the bright idea of volunteering at the runDisney race expo the Thursday before all of this running was about to take place. Sometimes my bright ideas get dimmer as D Day approaches. Standing on my feet for a seven hour volunteer shift might not have been the best idea before running 48.6 miles, but hey…I was giving back to this community I so adore.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

So for the first two nights of my Dopey Challenge racecation I stayed at the all new B Resort and Spa Lake Buena Vista.

The resort is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard adjacent to Downtown Disney and inside the gates of Walt Disney World Resort.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

These mattresses were seriously in my top five of “comfortable beds” at a resort. No lie. The resort has it’s own signature bedding called Blissful Bed. This is the number one thing that mattered to me during my racecation. I needed what little sleep I was going to get to be restful sleep. It’s hard to get good sleep when you’re away from home. This bed was as close to my plush, comfy king mattress at home as you could get.

Also…how can you not love Jelly Bellys on your pillow at night?

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

The room had a 47″ flat screen TV, clock radio with bluetooth capabilities, mini-fridge, safe, and a B Treated Box full of goodies all at $5 each.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

The bathroom was amazing! My room had a hairdryer and was fully stocked with AVEDA products.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

That little stuffed frog is placed in every room and is available for purchase. It’s the resort mascot and a percentage of the proceeds from all sales go to the Florida Wildlife Foundation. Rooms are also stocked with recycle bins and the bathrooms are outfitted with water conserving toilets and showers.

This plush velvet couch converted into a bed so you could comfortably sleep five adults in a room.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

…and check out the view. I could see Downtown Disney and was able to watch Wishes Fireworks over the Magic Kingdom after I returned from my volunteer shift at the race expo.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

If you chose to book your next runDisney Racecation at B Resort & Spa you can enjoy:

  • Complementary shuttles to Walt Disney World theme parks
  • Zero entry heated pool
  • Tennis Courts
  • Free in-room WiFi
  • Courtesy loaner iPads
  • Valet and self-parking options
  • B Active Fitness Center
  • B Indulged AVEDA full service spa (See a review here)
  • Executive Business Center
  • Within walking distance to Downtown Disney Marketplace

I was also really impressed with the Monscierge digital touch screen concierge and destination guides that were located in the hotel lobby. You could send a postcard back home and even check in to your return flight via the touch screens. Your boarding pass would print out right at the hotel front desk for easy pickup.

B Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World

The resort’s restaurant is called American Q and I was so bummed not to have been able to try their BBQ while staying there. How cool is that cherry red 1951 Ford F1 flatbed pickup truck? It houses the all-you-can-eat buffet. When you’re run’gry the buffet is the way to go!

B Resort and Spa is approximately 17 miles from Orlando International Airport. A taxi will run you around $46 each way or you can take a shuttle for $34 round trip. Rates start at around $104 a night.

Seen enough and ready to book? Here are the hotel details.

B Resort & Spa
1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

I was hosted as a guest of the B Resort for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Jan 15

Florida Resident Discounted Disney Ticket – The 2015 Discover Disney 3-Day Pass

Walt Disney World Tickets

Guests can enjoy three days of new and classic attractions and experience the Walt Disney World theme parks for $139 per person plus tax from January 3rd to June 5th, 2015. Add a fourth day for just $20 more.

Enjoy a weekend or spread out the magic, as the Discover Disney Ticket can be used on non-consecutive days. Disney FastPass+ is included at no extra charge with valid theme park admission. With FastPass+, guests can reserve their favorite must-do attractions right from home, with the flexibility to change plans on the go.

Hop on the rollicking, family-fun Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom. Explore the new Africa Marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening this spring. Delight in whimsical topiaries and fresh bites during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 4th – May 17th, 2015. Channel your inner Jedi during Star Wars Weekends May 15th – June 14th, 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

More information about the Discover Disney Ticket is available on Disneyworld.com/3days and by calling 407-939-7886. Proof of Florida residency is required. Subject to blockout March 30th to April 9th at Magic Kingdom only.

Jan 15

7 New Things Coming to the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Mickey Topiary Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Spring 2015 will burst onto the scene at Walt Disney World Resort with a fresh take on lush gardens, inspired flavors and lively entertainment during the 75-day Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 4th – May 17th.

Here are some of the new additions to the festival this year:

Ana and Elsa Topiaries

“Frozen” will melt hearts at the park’s World Showcase Plaza: Disney’s first Ana and Elsa topiaries will appear in a garden vignette from the Oscar-winning film’s finale. The garden will pop with color as the icy “Frozen” world, illustrated with white and silver blooms of delphinium, alyssum and other flowers, transforms to a brilliant spring palette featuring Gerbera daisies, petunias, Sweet William and other flora.

Chip & Dale Topiaries

Other brand-new Disney character topiaries will be Chip and Dale taking a turn in two whimsical Epcot front-entrance “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes. Topiary Goofy, Daisy and Pluto will be in on the fun.

New Menu Items in the Outdoor Kitchens

Fresh new menu items will debut at the festival’s 11 Outdoor Kitchens. The new Bonitas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between France and Morocco pavilions will showcase treats like Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, and Seafood Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado. Guests can sip the new La Tizana, a non-alcoholic punch finished with fresh fruit that can become an adult beverage with a splash of Santa Teresa RHUM Orange Liqueur. For the third festival year running, guests can taste garden and spring inspired tapas-sized food and beverages, see how the ingredients are grown and have their complimentary Garden Passports stamped as they stroll the World Showcase promenade.

10 New Gardens

Ten new gardens will surprise guests around every corner. Guests will discover a new healing-and-health garden, a pepper garden, a dinosaur-plant garden, a Southwest desert garden and a Shakespeare garden, among others, each designed with a storytelling element.

Butterflies on the Go Exhibit

Guests can follow the story of the Monarch butterfly’s epic journey across the continent and see butterflies emerge from their chrysalises to flit from plant to plant at the Butterflies On the Go exhibit in Future World.

Flower Power is Rebranded to The Garden Rocks Concert Series

The Garden Rocks Concert Series will keep crowds rockin’ every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the park’s America Gardens Theatre stage. Little River Band, Pablo Cruise, Gin Blossoms and Village People join the lineup of top bands representing four decades of pop music. See the complete lineup here: 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival {Flower Power} Garden Rocks Concert Dates and Times

Special Weekend Lineups

Special weekend festivities are slated: March 13-17 Spring into Spring Weekend with a nod to St. Patrick’s Day; March 27-29 Art in the Garden Weekend with outdoor art displays; April 17-22 Earth Day Weekend with nature activities for kids and families, Disney’s Animal Kingdom specialists April 17-19, and a sand-sculpture creation to showcase Disneynature’s soon-to-be released “Monkey Kingdom” film; and April 24-26 Florida Fresh Weekend featuring a bounty of edibles and other plants that thrive in Florida.

Disney gardeners will lead weekend how-to Gardening Seminars and workshops at the Festival Center, where guests also can pick up signature festival merchandise.
When the sun sets, illuminated topiary and play gardens will glow brightly for an after-dark festival experience.

As park guests nibble on inspired Outdoor Kitchen goodies, they can wander among multiple themed gardens and children’s play areas. Nearly 100 expertly crafted topiary characters, including Snow White, Bambi, Mickey Mouse and Peter Pan, will animate the landscape when Epcot transforms to a vibrant wonderland of sweeping floral beds and exhibits. Children can clamber around play gardens featuring state-of-the-art climbing equipment and hands-on activities in Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden and The Living Desert Road Rally Garden with Mater and Lightning McQueen topiaries.

A Healing & Health Garden near The Land pavilion in Future World will display ancient medicinal plants including garlic, aloe, chamomile, fennel, mint and others. Plants used to develop modern prescriptions will be papaya, periwinkle, turmeric, yew, thyme and valerian. And the new Shakespeare Garden at the United Kingdom pavilion will feature roses to represent Romeo and Juliet. Also in the garden: rosemary from Hamlet, lavender from The Winter’s Tale, plus representations featuring poppy, lily, honeysuckle and willow.

Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers” and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape. At least 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.

For more information about the 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639).  The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Jan 15

10 Reasons to Book Your Next runDisney Race Vacation at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort King One Bedroom Suite

Last weekend I completed my second Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you’re not familiar with the Dopey Challenge, it’s a 48.6 mile 4-day race challenge that consists of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon completed on successive days. For the half marathon and full marathon portions of the race weekend I called the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort home. The Waldorf and attached sister property, the Hilton Bonnet Creek are my “go-to” race resorts for runDisney events. Here’s why…

1. Complementary Race Transportation

There are very few non-Disney owned and operated hotels that are going to offer free race transportation to your runDisney race start line and then back to the resort at the finish of the race. (Transportation departs from the attached Hilton Bonnet Creek)

2. 10% off of your food and beverage purchases at 12 locations on property

waldorf astoria orlando resort bonnet creek walt disney world hotel bull and bear short rib

With 12 restaurants and lounges spread out between the Waldorf Astoria and attached Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort there is something to satisfy the strongest runger you might have.

The resorts offer up Marathon Weekend exclusive carb load pasta dinners at the Hilton Bonnet Creek’s La Luce as well as Harvest Bistro.

This trip I was sharing a room with a fellow runner with a very restrictive food allergy. The evening before the full marathon she was able to order a room service dinner of baked chicken and a plain baked potato. This is something that she eats before every race. I jokingly refer to it as prison food since it’s so plain but it’s what works for her. The resort doesn’t even offer a baked potato at any of their restaurants but room service was happy to accommodate her request and baked one special for her. Now that’s first class service! The following evening, after she ran the full marathon, she was able to pig out on delicious gluten free bread and pasta at La Luce in the Hilton.

3. Free Race Day Morning Breakfast

Bonnet Creek Hilton Marathon Weekends Runner Breakfast at Walt Disney World

The complementary spread the resort put’s out for runners on race day morning is extensive and includes coffee, tea, bottled water, energy bars, muffins, bananas, oatmeal, granola bars and bagels with spreads.

4. A Chance to win a free return weekend stay

waldorf astoria orlando resort bonnet creek walt disney world hotel hilton lasy river pool

Hotel guests who are running during Marathon Weekends can join the “Runner’s Challenge” where they will have a chance to win a return weekend stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek by predicting their expected finish time. Ballots are given out in your runner welcome bag upon checkin. You simply fill out your anticipated finish time and drop it in the ballot box on your way to the free race transportation. For the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend one winner was selected from the half marathon and one from the full marathon as well.

5. A Special Marathon Welcome Amentity

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Runners Amenity

Feel like a real VIP when you check into your room!

6. A Special Marathon Rate for Runners

Rack rates start at $149 a night at Hilton and $279 a night at the Waldorf, but during Marathon Weekends a special Runner Rate is offered (based on availability). The quoted rate is exclusive of taxes, resort fee and daily parking and/or valet fee.

7. Text the valet for you car

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Marathon Weekends

Seriously! This was a dream after running 48.6 miles. To know that I wouldn’t have to park my car and walk a mile to my hotel room. Just zip up to the front of the resort and let valet handle everything else. At 3 am when I needed my car delivered to leave for my race I simply texted valet and when we walked downstairs there my vehicle was waiting for me.

8. Huge Soaking Tub for an Ice Bath

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Marathon Weekends Ice Bath

Waldorf bathrooms, besides being ridiculously spacious, are equipped with both a stand up shower and huge soaking tub. Fill that puppy up with ice and recover like a pro.

9. Complementary Adult Beverage Vouchers

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Marathon Weekends Drink Voucher

Upon check-in at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort you will receive two complementary adult beverage vouchers. What better way to toast your successful runDisney race finish than a nice glass of wine in Peacock Alley Lounge.

10. Employees are top notch

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The service at both Bonnet Creek Resorts is impeccable. There’s a reason that the Hilton Bonnet Creek received  the Connie Award, Hilton Worldwide’s highest achievement for an individual property, in 2014. The singular award given by the global hospitality company annually honors the best of the best within the Hilton brand. And Hilton Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort are definitely the best when it comes to their treatment of runners during Marathon Weekends!

Ready to book here for your next Walt Disney World Racecation? Here’s the skinny on this resort.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821

I was a guest of the Waldorf Astoria and was provided with complementary accommodations over the race weekend. I was not required to write this post and no monetary compensation has been received. If you click the link above and book a room I will earn a small commission to keep my servers running. And as always, all opinions are my own.