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Disney’s ‘Celebrate Soulfully’ honors Black Heritage Month

by Susan and Simon Veness

“Celebrate Soulfully” returns to Walt Disney World in February, honoring Black Heritage Month through music, art, food, more. And, for the first time, the event will also take place at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Celebrate Soulfully gospel singers
Photos courtesy of Disney

New experiences join with returning favorites as Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort celebrate Black heritage and culture throughout the month of February and beyond, as the Disney parks “reimagine tomorrow.”

Black talent takes center stage in live musical performances at selection locations:

Walt Disney World:

  • Take in live Motown, jazz, R&B, and pop performances all month long at Disney Springs.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom presents The Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe and their “rhythms of the Congo” in Mombasa Marketplace.
  • Broadway-style “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings the songs of the hit movie “The Lion King” to life through puppetry and live performers.

Disneyland Resort:

  • “Celebrate Gospel” features gospel music star Kierra Sheard (Feb. 19) and Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music (Feb. 26), along with gospel singers and community choirs, starting at 3 p.m. on the Fantasyland Theater stage.
  • Downtown Disney District hosts nightly outdoor R&B, reggae, funk, and jazz concerts throughout February, plus gospel music each Saturday.
  • Enjoy nightly jazz music at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and “Motown Mondays” at Disney Springs.
Celebrate Soulfully, The Singers of Soul
The Singers of Soul

“Cooking with Soul” culinary creations inspired by Black culture:

Walt Disney World:

  • Black chefs at select locations throughout Walt Disney World have created exciting menus inspired by Black stories.
  • Disney Springs restaurants Wine Bar George, House of Blues, City Works Eatery & Pour House, STK, and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ offer special bunch and Happy Hour menus.
  • Polite Pig, Jock Lindsay’s Hanger Bar, and D-Luxe Burger have added new items featuring the flavors of the Caribbean, Southern United States, and Africa to their menus.
  • Look for snacks at Disney Springs’ Amorette’s Patisserie and The Ganachery, inspired by Disney and Pixar’s hit move, “Soul,” and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog,” and support Black-owned business with the purchase of limited-edition Coffee Pot Gelato at Vivoli il Gelator, made with coffee stout from Florida-based Green Bench Brewing Company.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom features several locations that pay tribute to African recipes and historic Black chefs.
  • Stop in at Epcot’s quick-service Refreshment Outpost for the flavors of Eastern Africa, or drinks inspired by “Soul” at Fife & Drum.

Disneyland Resort:

  • Indulge in creole cuisine – including the popular NOLA BBQ Shrimp & Grits – at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in the Downtown Disney District.
  • Imbibe in a refreshing drink from Hearthstone Lounge’s enhanced menus featuring beer, wine, and spirts from Black-owned businesses.
Disney's Celebrate Soulfully Black-inspired dessert

Immerse in the creativity of Black artists and visionaries through exhibits, murals, and art displays:

Walt Disney World:

  • The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” remains on display at The American Adventure pavilion in Epcot.
  • Meet African artisans at Mombasa Marketplace in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who will be offering their hand-crafted items for sale.
  • Stop in to view House of Blues’ permanent collection of Southern Vernacular Art in Disney Springs.
  • Disney Springs will host the new Disney Animation Spotlight at Art of Disney store, and also a new Artist Q&A.

Disneyland Resort:

  • Check out the debut of spectacular murals in the Downtown Disney District that were inspired by “Soul” and created by Black artists Bee Harris, Bianca Pastel, Arrington Porter, and Cory Van Lew.
  • Watch live chalk-art designs by muralist Marcella Swett as they come into being at the Downtown Disney District.
Disney's Celebrate Soulfully artists, Island Reggae
Island Reggae

Both Disney Springs and the Downtown Disney District feature art displays inspired by Penny Proud and her family, ahead of the debut of “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” series, premiering February 23 on Disney+.

Disney Resort hotels will also honor Black History Month with Movies Under the Stars, including “The Princess and the Frog,” “Soul,” “Remember the Titans,” and “Black Panther.

Jazz music in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa lobby
Jazz music in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa lobby

Guests visiting Disney California Adventure can also meet heroes Black Panther and Okoye in Avengers Campus, while Princess Tiana may be on hand at the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

More experiences will be announced soon.

For the full break-down of all that’s on offer during “Celebrate Soulfully” visit Disneyworld.com and Disneyland.com.

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