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Mad Tea Party at Fantasyland

Miss America 2011 Contestants at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 27th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Miss Alabama 2010 Ashley Davis, of Dothan, Ala.; Miss Virginia 2010 Caitlin Uze, of Arlington, Va.; and Miss Iowa 2010 Pauli Mayfield, of Davenport, Iowa with Minnie
Sharing a laugh with Minnie Mouse is a great way to end a week and begin a weekend, as contestants in the upcoming 2011 Miss America Pageant discovered during a visit to Magic Kingdom Park today. Miss Alabama 2010 Ashley Davis, of Dothan, Ala.; Miss Virginia 2010 Caitlin Uze, of Arlington, Va.; and Miss Iowa 2010 Pauli Mayfield, of Davenport, Iowa (pictured above) joined the rest of the contestants at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday. Here’s a quick video of some of the fun:

During their visit, the contestants recorded segments for the 2011 Miss America Pageant broadcast. . Returning to ABC for the 90th anniversary of the Miss America Pageant, the competition will broadcast live from Las Vegas on Saturday, January 15 at 8 P.M. ET.

Here are a few more images from today’s visit.

North Dakota 2010 Beth Dennison (center), of Hutchinson, N.D. poses for a photo with Belle (left) and Cinderella (right) at the Magic Kingdom. Miss Oregon 2010 Stephenie Steers (center), of Klamath Falls, Ore., poses for a photo with Belle (left) and Cinderella (right) at the Magic Kingdom. Miss California 2010 Arianna Afsar, of San Diego, Calif., meets Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom.
Miss Alabama 2010 Ashley Davis (left), of Dothan, Ala., gives Minnie Mouse a kiss at the Magic Kingdom. Miss Alabama 2010 Ashley Davis (left), of Dothan, Ala., gives Minnie Mouse a kiss at the Magic Kingdom. Miss Florida 2010 Jaclyn Raulerson, of Plant City, Fla., meets Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom.
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‘World of Color’ Meet-Up Guests Get Inside Scoop

posted on August 27th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Yesterday, guests at our “World of Color” Meet-Up at Disney California Adventure park were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “World of Color.” The event kicked off at 7 p.m. in Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure park, with a different kind of world of color as the stage was filled with multi-colored lights and music.
Inside the ‘World of Color’ Meet-Up room
Guests participated in a panel discussion with Steven Davison, a Disney Parks Blog author and Vice President of Parades and Spectaculars, Sayre Wiseman, Director of Production at Walt Disney Imagineering and Mary Niven, Vice President of Disney California Adventure park and Guest Services.
‘World of Color’ Meet-Up Panel
Steven Davison gave guests a look at concept ideas for “World of Color.” He shared a never-before-seen animatic that was created back in 2008 and showed some of the early planning that went into the show.

Sayre Wiseman, who helped bring “World of Color” to life, shared some interesting stories creating the show. She also showed some home videos that she and Steven shot of the production process.

Mary Niven talked about some of the unique challenges she and her team faced in trying to create the best possible experience for guests. Mary said that she thought this nighttime spectacular was a real “game changer” for guests and the Park. She also shared some funny stories about her conversations with guests and her granddaughter’s first impressions of the show.

After the panelists finished, we turned the event over to our guests and let them ask our speakers whatever was on their mind. There were a few particular insights from the show that I really enjoyed. When asked how the team created “glitter,” Steven replied that it was actually a “magical discovery” that happened almost on accident. During special effects tests, they learned that the glitter effect happened when lasers hit water in a certain way.
Josh Latka from Newnan, Ga.
While walking around and talking with our meet-up guests, I learned that we had guests from as far away as Minnesota and Georgia. Josh Latka, 21, from Newnan, Ga., never thought he’d get in to the meet-up and said he faced a dilemma when he got in: “I was trying to figure out what to do. My parents said, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. You have to do it.’ So I bought a ticket and came out.”

We also had some other super-fans in attendance. Three members of the audience participated in all our blog-related events at Disneyland Resort: Toy Story Mania Meet-Up, ‘World of Color’ Premiere Trivia Contest and last night’s “World of Color” Meet-Up. To thank these superfans, we gave them an exclusive blanket that was only given to the “World of Color” opening team.

Meet-up guests were also treated to a few gifts, including the special Disney Park Blog pins a glossy 8×10 “World of Color” photo shot by Disney Parks Blog author Paul Hiffmeyer, and a “World of Color” candy apple.

To end the event, guests were escorted to Paradise Park for a viewing of “World of Color.” After the show guests were free to enjoy the Park till closing.

I hope our speakers and guests had as much as fun as I had. Thank you again, Steven, Sayre and Mary, for giving our meet-up guests such a great experience last night, and thanks to all of our guests for coming and following us on the Disney Parks Blog, Facebook and Twitter.

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A Cut Above The Rest!

posted on August 27th, 2010 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Mickey and girl silhouettes

While silhouettes may seem sort of old fashioned, I assure you it’s one of the hottest crazes out there. You’ll find several notable fashion and jewelry designers who have made silhouettes part of their Fall lines, and several notable actors and musicians who are keeping in style with the trend.

For almost 55 years, our Silhouette artists have been ahead of the trend, capturing moments in time and creating magical memories for Guests of all ages. A Main Street, U.S.A. gem to discover, the Silhouette Studio is currently home to veteran silhouette artists, Bonnie and Sylvia, who have been on the cutting edge for over 30 years.

If you’ve never had your silhouette done or you’re wondering how it works, check out this video, and watch as this amazing artistry comes to life.

Did you know? Our artists can actually create a silhouette in approximately 60 seconds, per portrait, of course.

Special Tip: Silhouettes make the perfect gift for special occasions and holidays and can even be a fun way of announcing engagements, weddings or new additions to the family. Reminder: Grandparent’s Day is right around the corner, if you’re still on a quest for that special something for Grandma and Grandpa.

I thought that you all might enjoy this touching story from one of our cast members, giving you a first-hand look at their experiences. As you’ll see, silhouettes don’t just make a great gift, they make special moments and dreams come true.

A mother and daughter came in to have her daughter’s silhouette done. Upon completion of the silhouette, the girl looked at the silhouette and began to cry. I asked her why she was crying and she replied, “That can’t be me because that is so pretty and I am not.” To which, I immediately replied, “I only cut what I see.”

Silhouettes are $9 each (two copies, in opposite directions), and if you’re looking to make it into a gift, then have it framed while you wait.

So whether you want to add a personal touch to your next gift or capture a moment in time, be sure to stop by the Silhouette Studio and watch art in motion.

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Fishin’ with Friends at Walt Disney World

posted on August 27th, 2010 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort

Goofy, Mickey and Pluto fishing at Camp Minnie-Mickey
As I strolled through Camp Minnie-Mickey this week, I happened upon three of our favorite Disney personalities quietly waiting for “the big one.” I’m glad they brought a lunch box along, as I reckon it is going to be a long day. Goofy, wake up! I think you’re getting a nibble.


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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Night of Joy Band Profile – Casting Crowns

posted on August 26th, 2010 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager

Casting Crowns with Stitch
Today’s Night of Joy update features one of the biggest selling bands in Christian Music history, Provident Music Group artist Casting Crowns.

The Crowns, who formed in the Daytona Beach area, have amassed nearly 5.1 million career album sales, a GRAMMY Award, an American Music Award and 23 Dove Awards in just six years of public life as a band. Their fourth album, Until The Whole World Hears, sold 167,000 copies first-week setting a sales record as the highest debuting Christian Music artist in SoundScan history; and Aug. 31 will see the release of a live CD/DVD of their “Until The Whole World Hears” tour.

In addition to their huge success as a band, the members of Casting Crowns are also active in their churches, some even – like lead vocalist Mark Hall – are full-time ministers in the suburbs of Southern Atlanta. Most weeks see Hall and team spend Sunday through Wednesday working in their churches – then, get on a bus Wednesday night and drive through the night to their first concert. With concerts usually Thursday through Saturday nights, they then drive back home, sleeping on the bus to be ready in time for Sunday morning service – and start the process all over again.

The band spent some of their almost non-existent free time at Walt Disney World this spring, meeting Stitch and riding the World Famous Jungle Cruise.

In addition to 2010 Christian music Artist of the Year Casting Crowns, past Christian music “Artists of the Year” Third Day, mercyme and Chris Tomlin head a star-powered 16-act lineup set for Disney’s Night of Joy 2010 Sept. 10-11 when the long-running Christian music event makes its return to Magic Kingdom.

Also part of the two-night event (when specific acts play one evening each): David Crowder*Band, Family Force 5, Red, BarlowGirl, Day of Fire, Smokie Norful, Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets, Thousand Foot Krutch and Britt Nicole.

Night of Joy tickets and additional information about the event are available at

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First Look: New Disney Fairy Vidia Debuts at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 26th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Vidia and Tinker Bell
Yes, there’s a new fairy in Pixie Hollow at the Walt Disney World Resort and her name is Vidia. She’s known as the fastest-flying fairy there is and beginning today you’ll be able to meet Vidia and her other pixie friends – including the world’s most beloved fairy Tinker Bell – at Magic Kingdom Park. Vidia is one of the stars of the upcoming movie “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue” set to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and via movie download on September 21.

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What’s Your Favorite Hidden Mickey?

posted on August 26th, 2010 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations

UPDATE: Did you figure out where all the Hidden Mickeys in the video are located? Here are the answers in order of appearance: Disneyland Dream Suite, Shooting Exposition in Frontierland, Aladdin’s Oasis, Exit of Pirates of the Caribbean, Golden Horseshoe, Indiana Jones Adventure, Gadget’s Go Coaster in ToonTown, Haunted Mansion, Innoventions Dream Home.

Do you know what a “Hidden Mickey” is? Fellow Disney Parks blogger Thomas Smith blogs about the ones at Walt Disney World. I figured it’s time to talk about the “Hidden Mickeys” right here at the Disneyland Resort.

If you do indeed know what a “Hidden Mickey” is, then you’re smiling right now and probably proud of yourself that you’ve found a few or more. A “Hidden Mickey” is a Mickey Mouse shape that Walt Disney Imagineers have strategically placed throughout the Disneyland Resort. (They’re actually in all the resorts.) It comes in many forms, from a complete Mickey Mouse profile to the outline of his head and ears. They come in all sizes and they’re fun to “hunt.” They’re top secret too, like Area 51. Ask a Walt Disney Imagineer where the “Hidden Mickeys” are and he or she will say they don’t know what you mean. (They’ll say it with that Disney twinkle in their eye.)

My favorite “Hidden Mickey” is in Soarin’ Over California. As you “fly” over Palm Springs, look at the golf ball as it comes hurtling towards you. (Your instinct will be to shut your eyes, but keep them wide open or you’ll miss it!) There on the golf ball is a black “Hidden Mickey.”

What’s your favorite “Hidden Mickey?” Look at this video and try to guess where these little guys can be found. By the way, some people say there are nearly 200 “Hidden Mickeys” at the Disneyland Resort. (I can neither confirm nor deny.) Have fun!

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Celebrating the Art of… Randy Noble

posted on August 26th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

Michelle Harker has been taking you behind the magic and introducing some of our talented Walt Disney Imagineers and Disney inspired artists in a special Artist Corner series titled, “The Art Of…” I enjoyed reading Michelle’s Art Corner so much, I asked her if I could take the reins this month and introduce you to one of our talented artists from Disney Design Group, Randy Noble.

Randy has a rich history with Disney. He began his career with Disney Parks in the fall of 1998, when he joined Disney Design Group as a Senior Character Artist. Randy has a true passion for Disney and in shows in all of the imaginative and beautiful art that he creates.

Cinderella Watercolor

Dara: Our Guests have gotten to know you through your Disney art and collectible merchandise as well as your original artwork. How would you describe your art style to someone who has never seen any of your work?

Randy: I guess as far as my paintings go the paintings guest react the most to are my watercolors. They are loose with big washes of color and are more free flowing in style not worrying about where the color may go. I like to work in a variety of mediums like oil, acrylic, casein, and gouache but watercolor is still my favorite.

Dara: In addition to limited edition art work, what additional projects have you worked on that our Guests may not be familiar with? Are there any past projects that you have worked on that you’re most passionate about?

Randy: I have been very lucky to have worked on many great projects during my time at Disney Design Group such as Star Wars Weekends, Food & Wine Festival, Pin events, Disneyana, and the creative for our Disney Store on 5th Avenue in New York. I guess I was most passionate about Vinylmation. This was a project that my partner in Arts & Collectibles (Aaron Babcock) and I started from scratch and have watched it grow much larger than we first envisioned.

Goofy Watercolor

Dara: When selecting the characters that will appear in your art, is there a process you go through to help determine what character you’re going to focus on? Where do you draw your inspiration for each piece?

Randy: Each time I sit down and think of a new painting I try and keep in mind our guest and what characters they love. I do have favorites like Goofy and Pluto but I really enjoy painting all the characters. My inspiration comes from Disney Parks, I’m reminded every day as I drive onto Disney property what a great job I have, and how lucky I’ve been in my career.

TIP: On Friday, August 27, Randy Noble will be debuting three new original pieces of art at the Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Visit for more information about Randy’s upcoming appearance.

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Filed: Art of Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Moms Panel: Top Coffee Spots

posted on August 25th, 2010 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Kona Café sign
Early mornings, excited kids and tired parents all mean one thing – a HUGE need for a great big ole’ cup of Joe. Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Suzannah D knows the secret to finding a great cup of java in Walt Disney World. She is one of the few panelists who lives within driving distance to Walt Disney World Resort, so she is here a lot in the mornings.

It’s no secret to those who know “Zanna” that second only to her love of Walt Disney World is her love of coffee. Here are Zanna’s “Top Spots for a Great Cup of Liquid Gold.”

Where do you get your coffee fix? Let us know know in the comments.

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New Signature Suite at the Disneyland Hotel: Big Thunder Suite

posted on August 25th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Hang on to your hats and glasses because there’s a new signature suite at the Disneyland Hotel – the Big Thunder Suite. Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at the Big Thunder Suite, and in the coming weeks, we’ll also share details of some of the other signature suites, including the new Fairy Tale Suite, Mickey Mouse Penthouse and Pirates of the Caribbean Suite. All are located on the 11th floor of the hotel’s Dreams Tower and boast a distinct design, luxurious amenities and amazing views.

The Big Thunder Suite is the wildest suite in the wilderness and immerses up to six pioneers in 1,400-square-feet of luxurious rustic accommodations inspired by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction at Disneyland park.

Big Thunder Suite Bedroom

Howling wolves sound to the push of the suite’s doorbell as guests step into a mine shaft foyer inlaid with Fool’s Gold and hear the rumble of a passing runaway mine train. A button on the wall can be pushed to trigger sound effects from the attraction. The mine shaft leads into a living and dining area that separates the suite’s two bedrooms. In many rooms, repurposed wood from a Midwestern barn is used as flooring and paneling, which is complimented by textured earthen walls.

Big Thunder Suite Dining Room

A stone-hearth fireplace in the living area serves as the suite’s centerpiece and houses a mounted flat-panel television. When not in use, the TV is cleverly concealed by one of the many pieces of attraction concept art found throughout the suite. The living area also includes a surround sound-stereo system and displays antique tools once used for mining gold, including an 1850s gold scale and pan.

The centerpiece of the dining area is a knotted table with seating for eight, with a wagon-wheel chandelier. Nearby is a wet bar made of petrified wood and above the bar hangs a “living portrait” of a gold miner who magically changes activities over the course of the day.

Rustic décor belies the luxurious amenities found in the suite’s two bedrooms. The master bedroom is appointed with a desk, sitting area, TV and king-sized bed with a commanding headboard made of rich wood, brown leather and exposed brackets.

The master bath is revealed through a sliding barn door, where a free-standing copper tub is surrounded by a dramatic stone wall. The tub’s copper finish matches the copper piping in the adjacent steam shower, which is tiled with an earth-tone mosaic. A television is concealed behind the mirror above the bathroom’s bucket sinks.

Big Thunder Suite Bathroom

To inquire about prices and availability, please call (714) 956-6425.

What do you think is the coolest feature of the Big Thunder Suite?

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts