Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Official Reopening Date Set for ‘Captain EO’ Featuring Michael Jackson

posted on February 19th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company


Since we first announced the return of “Captain EO” on the Disney Parks Blog, there has been an incredible response from fans, and we’ve received many enthusiastic emails and phone calls asking exactly when the classic “Captain EO” attraction featuring Michael Jackson will reopen.

Today, we are excited to give you an update on the Captain’s return!

On Tuesday, February 23, as a tribute to the magic, music and messages of “Captain EO,” the 3-D musical adventure is returning to the Tomorrowland theater in which it debuted. While it’s not possible to replicate some special effects elements from the original presentation, it will boast a new 70mm print of the film, and it will sound better than ever thanks to acoustic enhancements made to the theater since the film last played there in 1997.
1986 photo of 'Captain EO' characters at Disneyland park.

1986 photo of “Captain EO” characters at Disneyland park.

Check back on the Disney Parks Blog next week for more updates. We’ll also share a special “Captain EO” announcement on Twitter early next week. To be the first to hear it, follow us on Twitter: @Disneyland.

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Disney Parks ‘Quick Hits’ – February 18th, 2010

posted on February 19th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Two new collectible light-up cup clips debut March 17 at Walt Disney World – Tinker Bell and Buzz Lightyear. When you order a Minute Maid lemonade punch, served in a souvenir “fairies” or “Toy Story 3” cup –Tink and Buzz are clipped to the side. Here are a few more items of interest that didn’t make it to the blog this week.

Steamboat Willie Disney Pin — Walt Disney’s greatest moments in animation come to life in a new series.

Summer Savings. — Save 25-40% on select WDW Resorts for stays most nights 6/4 – 8/14.

Moms Panel: Check-In Times — The Walt Disney World Moms Panel answers the question, “What are the check in times for the hotels?”

This Week in History — Ground breaking for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 1998.

Mickey Mouse Pin — Here’s a new Disney pin featuring Mickey Mouse in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Personalized Muppet Video — Join Kermit, Miss Piggy and the whole gang in a one-of-a-kind Muppet extravaganza starring…you.

Magical Express Transportation — Here’s how Disney’s Magical Express Transportation works

“Steamboat Willie” Disney pin — Minnie Mouse is featured in this unique pin.

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‘Alice in Wonderland’ Ear Hats Coming to Disney Parks

posted on February 19th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


'Alice in Wonderland' Ear Hat
Hi everyone…I wanted to let you know that we’re launching some unique limited-edition items soon, including an interesting “Alice In Wonderland” collectible ear hat. It’s a limited edition hat between the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort that’ll only be available at select Disney Parks locations…where ear hats are sold. Of course, the piece celebrates the launch of the new Tim Burton film in theaters March 5, 2010.

According to Megan Kachur, Product Developer for all headwear, this ear hat has so many pieces and parts from its satin interior, dangling key, brim accents from signature film icons to its linticular Cheshire cat box cover that it’s sure to be a conversation starter. So, do you have a favorite Disney ear hat?

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Relaunch

posted on February 18th, 2010 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will officially relaunch on the evening of February 25 and it’s going to be an event you won’t want to miss.

Right now many of the new enhancements are installed and ready for the big day. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new signage and facilities at the Complex, from the main sign and entrance gate to the new globe and Champion Stadium jumbo screen. But be sure to check back as we have saved some of our coolest enhancements for the big reveal!

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
And here’s your official invite to come check out the new complex that will take youth sports to the next level. Some of your favorite athletes and ESPN personalities will be in attendance at the official ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Red Carpet event. High-five today’s biggest athletes from MLB, NFL, and NBA, shake hands with the familiar faces of ESPN and get ready for a grand opening moment you have never seen before. Be sure to arrive before 5pm and stick around for some great events after the red carpet. The Harlem Globetrotters will put on a special performance including appearances from some of the biggest names in sports and four MLS teams will be playing in the inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, so get your tickets now for a full night of events!

To get updates on the complex and the relaunch event follow us on Twitter @DisneySports, and we will see you out there!

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Disney Cast Member Figure Part of New ‘Star Tours’ Set

posted on February 18th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Star Tours Boarding Party Commemorative Figures
That’s right…a Disney Cast Member-inspired figure will be introduced in the Hasbro Star Wars 3 ¾ action figure series celebrating the original Star Tours theme park attraction.

Disney & Hasbro will release a commemorative set of figures from the original Star Tours boarding party, featuring Star Tours Officer, Kaink, Teek, Ree-Yees and Chewbacca. Ree-Yees will include a custom 3-eye camera as seen in the Star Tours pre-boarding video.
Star Tours Boarding Party Commemorative Figures
The Disney Cast Member will be introduced as the Star Tours officer when the set launches in May during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

The boarding party will not be as rare as the Holographic Emperor Stitch figure but it will be a one-time production run…limited to 15,000 pieces. Sets will also be available at the Disneyland Resort.

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A Foggy Morning on the Rivers of America

posted on February 18th, 2010 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Sailing Ship Columbia
Early morning is my favorite time to explore the Parks, especially when it’s foggy. As a photographer, I appreciate the element of mystery that fog can add to a shot. This photo of the Sailing Ship Columbia was taken around 6 a.m., and the light coming in on the right side is from a video shoot near the Mark Twain. Without this lighting, the right side of the photo would normally be darker and not as interesting.

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Behind the Scenes: Disneyland Resort Ambassador

posted on February 17th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company


Many people see the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Ambassadors on TV, in the Parks and at high-profile events, but who are they? What is their job really like? How did the role start? How do you apply?

I sat down with Quinn Shurian, Disneyland Resort Ambassador for 2009 and 2010, to get the scoop.

HHR: How did this role, the Disneyland Resort Ambassador, start?

QS: In 1964, Walt Disney was being pulled in a variety of directions – the New York World’s Fair was about to start, Mary Poppins was soon to be released in theaters, Disneyland Park was going to celebrate its first fabulous decade in 1955 and Walt had a glimmer in his eye that would later become the Walt Disney World Resort.

Because of these commitments, Walt knew it would be impossible to focus on the job at hand and to grant the enormous requests for his time. So, he decided to select a single Cast Member, Julie Rehim, to represent him throughout 1965. And the tradition has continued ever since.

HHR: How long have you been a Cast Member and what has your time at the Disneyland Resort been like?

QS: As a California native, raised in Newbury Park, I was lucky that a trip to Disneyland Park was no more than a freeway ride away. I’ve worked here for 15 years and began my career in Fantasyland where I worked on “it’s a small world,” Storybook Land Canal Boats and others. Being an Ambassador has been a dream come true. In fact, I was a finalist for the 2007 team and was determined to try again. I knew this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity that I did not want to miss!

HHR: What are some of the duties of an Ambassador?

QS: As the Ambassador, the job functions basically fall into four categories – Emissary of Goodwill, Official Host, Cast Member representative and Resort Spokesperson.

As Emissaries of Goodwill, we get the incredible opportunity to visit area children’s hospitals with Mickey Mouse and some of his pals and attend a great number of Disney VoluntEARS events. You can imagine, the look of joy on the young patients faces when Mickey and an Ambassador enter the room for a short visit. In terms of hosting, I personally have had the great honor of hosting Disney Legend and Academy Award winning actress Julie Andrews during a recent appearance at the Resort. Ambassadors are also requested to participate in some amazing Cast Member events, like the Spirit of Disneyland Award ceremony and the service awards celebrations. Finally, as a Resort spokesperson, we have the chance to speak to the media about the great reasons to visit the Resort.

I am often asked what a typical day looks like for the Ambassador – my answer is simple, there is no such thing as a typical day!

Do you have any questions for the Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort Ambassadors?

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Tables in Wonderland at Walt Disney World

posted on February 17th, 2010 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Chef Frank Brough

Annual Passholders and Florida residents get sweet dining deals with Tables in Wonderland (if you don’t know about TIW, check it out at Disneyworld.disney.go.com). We love the complimentary valet parking and 20 percent discount for dinner at dozens of Walt Disney World Resort restaurants.

From time to time, Tables in Wonderland hosts fabulous dinners, and the next one is Feb. 25 at The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, celebrating the Sunshine State’s local bounty of fruits and veggies. Imagine heirloom tomatoes from Myakka, strawberries from Plant City, tiny opal basil and arugula from Odessa, Florida Gulf coast spiny lobster…all turned into delicious creations in the kitchen of Chef Frank Brough. And dinner guests get to meet farmers Mike and Sandy Lott who grow their delicious strawberries near Plant City. Wine will be paired with each of the four courses by sommelier Jim Killam of Vineyard Brands.

Dinner starts at 7 p.m. Cost is $92 per guest. For reservations, send an e-mail to wdw.tables.in.wonderland@disney.com and tell them your name, phone, address and how many guests. The event is limited to 50 diners.

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Holographic Emperor Stitch Figure Coming to Disney Parks

posted on February 17th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Holographic Emperor Stitch Figure
Since confirming that a new Star Wars action figure is coming to Disney Parks, we’ve learned that an even rarer figure will launch this summer – LE Holographic Emperor Stitch.

We’re releasing the limited edition piece in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. Here’s what you should note — it’ll be limited to 1,980 figures. That’ll make it a very rare item in the Disney Star Wars Action Figure Series. The piece will come on a numbered back card and in a collector blister case molded with the Star Wars Weekends logo.
Holographic Emperor Stitch Figure
Want one? It’ll be available in May at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. The figure will cost $11.95.

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It’s the Muppet … Vinylmation!

posted on February 17th, 2010 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“It’s the Muppet Show!” As a child of the late 70s, those four words kept me glued to the television every week. I think “Pigs in Space” was my favorite segment, or maybe it was Sam the Eagle. So imagine my excitement upon seeing the new Vinylmation Muppets Series #1. As it turns out, I’m not alone in my love for the Muppets.

Disney Design Group Artist Monty Maldovan

Walk into Disney Design Group artist Monty Maldovan’s office and immediately you’ll see that he really loves the Muppets. Surrounded by various Muppet figures and toys he’s collected, I asked Monty about his fondness for Kermit the Frog and friends.

“I grew up with the Muppets,” said Monty. “I love the characters, the incredibly talented Puppeteers and the Vaudevillian, slapstick humor found in the shows. Jim Henson was a great storyteller much in the same way Walt Disney told great stories.”

Despite his obvious passion, Monty wasn’t specifically approached about creating a Muppets series.

Disney Design Group Artist Monty Maldovan

“The initial work for the Muppets series was started in 2008,” continued Monty. “I started sketching various Muppet figures on a blank template which I thought would work for future Park series. Once I started drawing, I couldn’t stop. I eventually ended up with way more than 12 designs.”

The next step in the process was narrowing down choices for final 12 figures.

“I wanted to include so many of my favorite characters like Sam the Eagle,” said Monty. “But we had to make cuts. I guess that is why we called this ‘Muppets Series #1.’ (Wait, did he imply that Sam the Eagle is coming? Yes!)

Muppets Series #1

Next up, unique packaging was designed for this series. Taking a cue from the Vinylmation Cutesters series, the packaging needed a point of difference from the Park or Urban collections. Quynh Kimball from Disney Design Group lead the charge.

Muppet*Vision 3-D: Inspiration for Muppets Series #1

“In a way, Monty and I wanted this series to be an extension of the Muppet*Vision 3-D attraction,” explained Quynh. “The packaging needed to have all the fun, whimsical and wacky Muppets sense of humor. We visited the attraction and took pictures for inspiration. Many details from those photos made it onto the final packaging.”

Look for the Vinylmation Muppets Series #1 arriving in February at select Walt Disney World Resort locations and in March at select Disneyland Resort locations.

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