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New Chairman Visits Disney Parks Around the World

posted on March 31st, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

In the photo (from left to right) are Bernard Meyer, Managing Partner for Meyer Werft, Tom Staggs and Karl Holz
Tom Staggs has been on the move this month, touching ground in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Germany during his first “world tour” as chairman of Parks & Resorts. And at each stop, there’s been a recurring theme: people passionate about building the future.

That’s certainly happening in Germany where construction on the Disney Dream cruise ship has been moving right along. Tom arrived right as they were beginning to join the hull sections together to form a ship structure that will feature 14 decks and 1,250 staterooms with a capacity of 4,000 guests. It’s hard to imagine, but there will be approximately 66 million pounds of steel cut and welded together, some 37,000 pipes produced, and nearly 5,000 miles of cabling used by the time it is complete. The ship will sail from Germany to its new home in Port Canaveral, Florida later this year before embarking on its maiden voyage in January.

An ad from Disneyland Paris’ New Generation Festival: Buzz Lightyear soars over Disneyland Paris.

An ad from Disneyland Paris’ New Generation Festival: Lightning McQueen drives past Cinderella in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Tom also visited Disneyland Paris just in time for the launch of The New Generation Festival. The year-long celebration will highlight a new generation of heroes from Disney films such as “The Princess and the Frog” and “Lilo & Stitch,” as well as Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story,” “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles.”

Tom also got a status report on the new Toy Story Playland coming to life at Paris’ Walt Disney Studios this August.

Tom Staggs samples the excellent Peking Roast Duck at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Earlier in March, the team at Hong Kong Disneyland also welcomed Tom during his first visit to Asia as chairman. Tom met with Cast Members, dived into the operational details of the resort and was briefed on Hong Kong Disneyland’s celebration honoring the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Tom said one of the highlights of his visit was meeting with Hong Kong Disneyland’s very first Cast Member, Mariam Im, and presenting her with a 10-year service pin.

Tom Staggs visits Mediterranean Harbor during a Tokyo DisneySea park tour.  In the photo (from left to right) are Dave Vermeulen, VP & Executive Managing Director, Walt Disney Attractions Japan, Tom Staggs, Daniel Jue, Director, Design and Production, Tokyo Disney Resort, Walt Disney Imagineering Japan, Jim Hunt, EVP/CFO, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Bill Earnest, President and Managing Director, Asia, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Craig Russell, Chief Design & Project Delivery Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering.

And during his visit to Tokyo Disney Resort, Tom managed to pack in more than even our most seasoned guests by touring both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. He met with several Cast Members and Imagineers – and tried all eight flavors of popcorn sold at the parks.

Tom summed up his recent travels this way: “When you spend time at all our properties, you appreciate how unique each one really is. Of course, there is a lot that is the same. Our properties share the same DNA. But at the end of the day, each has its own identity, its own heritage. And each has its own individual challenges. One thing stands out above all else though, and that is the quality, strength and passion of our Disney Cast members.”

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Behind The Scenes: New Disney Dream Experiences

posted on March 31st, 2010 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

What do you get when you mix technological innovation with Disney’s creative imagination and set it out to sea? Short and simple – the Disney Dream cruise ship! We recently took a trip to the secret labs of Walt Disney Imagineering and got a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some amazing new experiences in development for the Disney Dream.
Concept Mock-Up From Walt Disney Imagineering


Enchanted Art

As you walk around the Disney Dream, pay close attention the artwork hanging from the walls. You see what appears to be traditional framed art (photos, oil paintings, etc.) may actually be Enchanted Art. These special pieces of art will magically come alive when you stop to admire the artwork.

Concept Mock-Up From Walt Disney Imagineering

Detective Game

Walt Disney Imagineering is also working on a really cool concept for an interactive adventure game that uses Enchanted Art and spans the entire Disney Dream. Equipped with a special detective device, guests will travel through the ship revealing secret clues hidden within the Enchanted Art to solve a mystery.

Detective Game

Interactive Play-Floor

Just for kids, we’re adding a super-cool interactive play-floor in Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Lab. The interactive play-floor allows children to participate in games and activities as their movements control the action on the floor. Thanks to this new technology, story time will be even more fun as kids feel like they are flying over the streets of London with Peter Pan or riding the ocean waves with Crush.

Interactive Play-floor

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Disney Farewell for Bobby Cox

posted on March 31st, 2010 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox
Today was the Atlanta Braves’ final 2010 home spring training game at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and also the last spring training game for manager Bobby Cox, who is retiring after this season.

Cox, 68, has been at the Braves’ helm since the sports complex at Walt Disney World opened in 1997, so it was fitting that Disney sent him off in grand style. Before Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros, Disney Sports Marketing Director Faron Kelley and Mickey Mouse congratulated Cox and presented him with an engraved “Mousekar” – our version of an Oscar, Mickey Mouse style.
Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox Receives a Mousekar
Even if you’re not an Atlanta Braves fans, it’s hard not to root for Cox and the Braves this season. A World Series title for the Braves would be the perfect storybook ending for Cox, and the team helped him get it all started with a memorable Disney sendoff in the 10-5 win over the Astros. But no matter where the team finishes this year, Cox will always have 13 seasons of wonderful memories here at Disney.

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New Stroller Area Opens at Disneyland Resort

posted on March 31st, 2010 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations

Up until a few weeks ago, if you wanted to rent a stroller, wheelchair or electric wheelchair you rented them once you were inside the gates of Disneyland park or Disney’s California Adventure park. Well, those days are gone! Now, there is a new stroller shop in the esplanade between the parks, near the dog kennels (to the right of the Disneyland park gate). This means you can rent what you need BEFORE you enter the park. You can even team up with one of your family members and have them wait in the park line while you go to the stroller shop. Two birds with one stone, right?

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Walt Disney Photography: “Details – Part 3″

posted on March 31st, 2010 by Garth Vaughan, Photographer, Walt Disney World

Details Part 3 by Garth Vaughan
The flight of a butterfly is a truly amazing thing to behold. I was over at the butterfly house at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival and was fortunate to witness this moment. Miriam and the butterfly were both willing subjects, but for only a moment. Then they were both off.

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Disney Star Wars Racers, Action Figures

posted on March 30th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

Disney Star Wars Racers
With the excitement of Star Wars Weekends ramping up, we wanted to share with you the newest Disney Star Wars Racers and Disney Star Wars Action Figures that are coming out later this spring at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. We’re excited to release the fourth collection of the popular Disney Star Wars Racers Series. Each die-cast Racer has been inspired by one of the great Star Wars Characters. The fourth series feature Yoda, Clone Trooper, Battle Droid, and Jedi Master Plo Koon.

Each vehicle is pack individually and retails for $5.95. Disney Star Wars Racers will release in June at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland Resorts.
Disney Star Wars Action Figures
Next up (and my personal favorite) is the Disney Star Wars Action Figure Series. This is the fourth series of Disney Characters “dressed as” Star Wars Characters. These action figures are fully articulated and come with detailed accessories that would impress the most gregarious Wookiee.

The collection includes:

  • Mickey Mouse as Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Mickey comes packaged with a translucent green lightsaber
  • Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia in Boushh disguise. Minnie is equipped with an accessory helmet, staff, and thermal detonator (a must when sneaking into Jabba the Hutt’s Palace)
  • Donald Duck as Han Solo trapped in Carbonite. Donald is also packed with an accessory staff and carbonite block
  • Goofy as C-3PO
  • Bad Pete as Boba Fett. Bad Pete comes with an accessory helmet, jet pack and blaster

Each action figure will be individually packaged and will retail for $8.95. They will be releasing in May at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

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A Glimpse of the Circle D Corral at Disneyland Park

posted on March 30th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

We’ve all seen the horses on Main Street, U.S.A in Disneyland park, but do you know where these horses really live? Backstage, north of Frontierland in Disneyland park, there is a working ranch, called Circle D Corral.

Here are some fun facts to consider before taking a step “backstage” in today’s video to see the animals that live in Circle D Corral:

  • The ranch is currently home to 28 horses, a jersey cow, two miniature donkeys, three turkeys and 15 goats.
  • Forty-eight cast members work at the ranch.
  • All the horses are large, “draft” horses (“draft horses” are horses that are adapted to pull heavy loads).
  • The following breeds of horse are represented at Circle D: Percheron, Clydesdale, Belgian and Shire.
  • No Disneyland horse works more than 4 hours a day, 3 days a week.
  • And, like all cast members, the horses at Disneyland park always wear their name tags when they are working.

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Dateline: Disney Ambassador Collection

posted on March 30th, 2010 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Disneyland Resort Ambassadors Quinn Shurian and Danielle DuBois

For the upcoming Dateline: Disneyland 1955 – Pin-Vited Press Event on July 10, we are turning the spotlight on two Disney Cast Members – Quinn Shurian and Danielle DuBois, the 2009/2010 Disneyland Resort Ambassador Team. With the event theme, it seemed like the perfect time to introduce the “Disney Ambassador Collection,” which features two pins inspired by these incredible representatives.

Jeanne Lewis Sketch

This is the first time we’ve featured pins inspired by Disney Ambassadors as part of the summer event in California. Jeanne Lewis, developer for special event pins, first met Danielle and Quinn during the Disney Summer Pin Festival – O’Pin House event in June 2009. At that time, she gathered ideas for their pins based on their career history and other personal experiences. Pictured above are Jeanne’s original sketches she made during that initial conversation.

Quinn Shurian Pin Design

During a recent interview in the Disneyland Resort Line (a Disneyland Cast Member publication), Quinn discussed his design with reporter Michelle Barefield.

“My favorite detail of my pin is the Disneyland ‘D,'” he said. “The emblem is something I associate with the Resort. I remember it on the marquee and letterhead and it is something important to me.”

For his design, he selected various Fantasyland attractions where he worked throughout his Disney career. His pin is presented like a patchwork quilt (little known fact, Quinn enjoys quilting -– how cool!). The pin also contains some black stewart plaid fabric which is a nod to his days as a Guest Relations host.

Danielle DuBois Pin Design

Danielle’s design was inspired by her personal connection to Mickey Mouse watches as she explained in the Disneyland Resort Line.

”I’m very attached to Mickey Mouse watches, ever since I got my first one for being a flower girl in my uncle’s wedding when I was six,” said Danielle.

The face of this watch-like pin contains four symbols that represent additional personal memories as well as classic Disneyland Resort attractions. Anyone notice the time?

So how were Jeanne’s sketches turned into these actual pins? She turned to the Disney Design Group to turn her rough concepts and the Ambassadors’ ideas into reality.

“I have a funny story about how we selected which Disney artists would design these pins,” laughed Jeanne. “I wanted artist Quynh Kimball to design Quinn’s pin simply because they shared the same first name despite their different spellings. Tyler Dumas was given Danielle’s pin as both their last names are French. We don’t always decide who gets certain projects that way, but in this case it worked. Besides, they are both very talented artists and made the Ambassadors’ designs look great!”

Guests who attend the upcoming Dateline: Disneyland 1955 – Pin-Vited Press Event will have the opportunity to meet Quinn and Danielle. For more information, please visit

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A New Animator’s Palate for the Disney Dream

posted on March 30th, 2010 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Many of you have been wondering…what do we have in store for Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream? Wonder no more!

We are getting ready to present a completely re-imagined version of our signature restaurant. The minute you walk into Animator’s Palate, you know you’re in for a treat –- it will feel like you’ve entered a classic animation studio, filled with character maquettes, paint brushes, colored pencils and other tools of the trade. Throughout the restaurant are sketches from the Disney•Pixar film “Finding Nemo.”

This is how the restaurant will look when you first arrive.

Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream

As your meal progresses, the restaurant begins an enchanting transformation and the artwork around room magically fills with bubbles, revealing scenes of a vivid undersea environment. It’s as if the dining room has been transported under the sea and the artwork has turned into windows providing incredible views of a colorful coral reef and creatures that reside on the reef.

Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream

This is where the really cool part kicks in. Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from “Finding Nemo,” will make a special appearance, swimming around the restaurant and interacting with guests. Crush will visit each section of the restaurant and ask guests about their experience onboard the ship and answer questions about his life under the sea. Other characters from “Finding Nemo,” such as Nemo, Dory, Squirt and Bruce the shark, will also swim by and visit with guests.

Check this out…the guys from Walt Disney Imagineering are hard at work putting final touches on the experience. They even mocked-up a portion of the restaurant with plywood!

Bruce the Shark with Walt Disney Imagineer

As with all Disney stories, this dining experience at Animator’s Palate has a tremendous finale moment…but I don’t want to spoil that surprise. You’ll have to sail on the Disney Dream and experience it for yourself!

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Tips on How to Find Your Favorite Candy on Main Street, U.S.A.

posted on March 29th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Making Candy Canes on Main Street, U.S.A.

As we know from the annual popularity of candy cane production at the Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., many of the Disneyland “homemade” candies have their own fan base.

If you’re a fan of the candy making on Main Street U.S.A., have you ever wished you could find out what candies are being produced each day? Well, you can. There’s a phone number you can call that will tell you which candies are being made in the park on any particular day. (It’s a recorded message and usually covers a week at a time.) Just call 714-781-0112 and consider these facts while you’re listening to the recording:

  • Caramel Apples are one of the most popular candy items purchased on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Candy Canes are definitely the most time consuming and difficult to make.
  • English Toffee creates the best aroma while the candy makers are doing their thing.

And, you might want to swing by Candy Palace when they’re making Peanut Brittle because I’ve heard the candy making process for Peanut Brittle is an attraction in and of itself.

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