Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Introducing the Art of SHAG to Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line

posted on January 28th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


I can still remember the first time that I saw a piece of art by SHAG. I had walked into one of our product development offices and spotted a rendering of a map filled with icons and attractions, in a style I had never seen before on Disney Merchandise.

The bold colors and retro look really captured my attention. I asked about the artist and was told his name was Josh Agle, better known as SHAG to all his fans.

I am so excited to share with you news about an upcoming appearance by one of my new favorite artists, SHAG who will be making his first appearance here at the Walt Disney World Resort on Monday, January 31 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

SHAG Walt Disney World Art

SHAG will be signing deluxe prints of the 40th Anniversary Map. The artwork showcases the original icons of the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. SHAG has captured the essence of fun and wonder that has comprised our magical kingdom since it opened its gates on October 1, 1971.

This is the very first item in the highly anticipated collection scheduled to debut in Summer 2011 – but this is just a sneak peek. Once SHAG’s event concludes on Monday, January 31, the artwork will go back into the vaults not to be released until the full SHAG Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary collection is unveiled later this summer. For more information on this sneak peek and signing be sure to visit www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

'Top Deck' by SHAG

In addition to the amazing artwork that Shag has created for Walt Disney World, he has also created new artwork for Disney Cruise Line! SHAG’s Disney Cruise Line artwork captures the magic and excitement of the and the tropical island paradise of Castaway Cay. SHAG’s original artwork, ‘Top Deck‘ and ‘Island Intermission’ were both created just for the Disney Dream.

'Island Intermission' by SHAG

Not only have we created limited edition prints of these exquisite pieces of art, but we have developed so much more to showcase the artistic styling’s of SHAG. The talented teams at Disney Theme Park Merchandise have pulled elements out of each of the paintings and applied them in fun and creative ways to commemorative merchandise keepsakes. SHAG’s artwork for the Disney Cruise Line can be found on charm bracelets, designer apparel for men and women, postcard sets, as well as home goods such as a tumbler set and coaster collection.

Keep a look out later this spring for another post on the Disney Parks Blog all about SHAG and the new line of artwork he created for Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary – the new merchandise collection is going to become a must have for every Disney collection.

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Disney Dream Sets Sail on Maiden Voyage Full of Fun and Excitement

posted on January 27th, 2011 by Jason Lasecki, Public Relations Director, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Vacation Club


Ahoy from the Disney Dream! Our newest ship visited Nassau today as part of her four-night maiden voyage to the Bahamas and we’ve got an exclusive report directly from onboard.

For all the Disney Cruise Line guests who departed from Florida’s Port Canaveral on Wednesday, it was a day full of fanfare, festivities and many happy reunions between veteran Disney cruisers and familiar crew members.

A Plane Tows a Banner Overhead Saluting the Ship’s Maiden Voyage

We haven’t forgotten all our fans back on land, however!

Several correspondents are on the Disney Dream to send reports for the Disney Parks Blog, starting with this one. You can also follow our real-time tweets throughout the maiden voyage at twitter.com/disneycruise.

The Smolsky Family Explores the Disney Dream

The fun began Wednesday when the Smolsky family of Leesburg, Virginia became the first guests to step aboard. Matt, Alison and their three children — Jake, 11, and 8-year-old twins Jordan and Julie — soon met Cruise Director Rachel Quinn then set out to explore the ship’s activities for every member of the family, including the water coaster AquaDuck.

Sailing Away Deck Party During the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Dream

A little bit later the Sailing Away deck party kicked things off up on the pool deck and Captain Tom Forberg made a special salutation from the bridge.

Mickey Mouse Hands Were Waving From on the Ship and on Land as the Disney Dream Departed

As the ship departed Port Canaveral, loud cheers erupted from guests onboard her decks and the many spectators who came to see a magical milestone years in the making.

The Disney Dream Sets Out for the Bahamas on the Ship’s Maiden Voyage

On Wednesday night, Disney Dream guests were treated to a special evening of entertainment in the Walt Disney Theatre, including the illusions of magician Mike Super and the beautiful voice of 8-year-old signing sensation Rhema Marvanne, who was thrilled to meet some of her favorite Disney characters on the ship.

Here are some highlights from a busy day of celebration:

Come back Friday for another exclusive report from the ship and add a comment below to let us know what you want to see from the ship’s maiden voyage!

The Disney Dream Passes Jetty Park at Florida’s Port Canaveral Disney Dream Guests Wave to Spectators at Port Canaveral Flutes of Taittinger Champagne are prepared for a special sail-away toast Rhema Marvanne delights Disney Dream guests with a magical performance
Guests wave farewell to Florida as they depart from Port Canaveral on the Disney Dream Families Embark with Excitement as They Get Their First Glimpse Inside the Disney Dream The Smolsky Family Steps Aboard the Disney Dream as the Maiden Voyage’s First Guests Disney Dream Guests Enjoy a Romantic Sunset at Sea as They Sail on the Maiden Voyage
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New Projection Show Turns ‘small world’ Into a Big Canvas, for ‘The Magic, The Memories and You!’

posted on January 27th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


'The Magic, the Memories and You' in 'it's a small world' – Part of Disney Parks' 'Let the Memories Begin'

I’m going to tell you about a new show at Disneyland park that takes the façade of “it’s a small world” and does some amazing things. It turns it into an animated, coloring pad; it coaxes the singing dolls from inside the attraction to appear outside in the show; and it weaves hundreds of guest photos into a giant, surprise mosaic.

Even after I tell you about it, and we share a video sneak-peek of tonight’s first show, I must admit the real thing is so much better.

If you can get here, quit reading now and get here to see “The Magic, The Memories and You!” The nightly, 10-minute spectacular utilizes projection technology and animation to transform the architecture of “it’s a small world” in ways that will make you wonder what happened to the walls.

For those of you who can’t see the show right away, I’ll share a few more details. Also, check out Show Director Alan Bruun’s post about the same type of show he created for Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

The nightly show combines guest photos from that day in Disneyland park with photos and videos taken from Disney’s “Let the Memories Begin” online hub. Classic Disney music is woven into the new “Let the Memories Begin” theme song, creating a musical and visual journey that traces the family vacation experience from surprise announcements through arrival and fun at the Disneyland Resort.

The show finale features a burst of fireworks over “it’s a small world.”

That’s what it looks like. It’s harder to tell you what the show feels like. Watching the photos will remind guests of all ages of their most cherished Disney memories, as a kaleidoscope of images is projected onto the “it’s a small world” attraction.

WHO: As part of the thousands of photographs projected each night, roughly 500 photos will be of guests who made memories in Disneyland park that day – resulting in a different “The Magic, the Memories and You” presentation each night.

WHERE: An ideal place to see the projections will be from the Fantasyland esplanade, which runs from the front of “it’s a small world” to the entrances of the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Mad Tea Party attractions.

WHEN: Tonight’s 6 p.m. “preview” show is a special preview, followed by the official debut at 7:30 p.m. The current show schedule is:

  • 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
  • 8 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Show times are at www.disneyland.com and are subject to change or cancellation

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Your photo will be considered for that night’s unique show if you have your photo taken by a PhotoPass photographer during the day. You will have the option to decline participation in the show.

Tell us about some of your favorite photo moments at the Disneyland Resort.

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‘Slo-Mo’ Magic at Walt Disney World

posted on January 27th, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Life moves fast, and we think you’ll agree that even in the world of fantasy, discovery and magic of Disney Parks, things can still move swiftly. There’s so much to see, so much to immerse yourself in, so much to experience, marvel and enjoy. With all of this, it’s possible to miss some of the simpler things happening right before your eyes. So, we decided to start giving our Disney Parks Blog readers a look at some of these in a very different way, using a special camera designed to capture video in slow motion.

Today, we premiere some “Slo-Mo Magic,” with this brief video from the Imagination! Pavilion at Epcot. Through the years, millions of Guests visiting the pavilion have appreciated the water-ful dances performed by these famed fountains. We hope to offer you a new appreciation of their beauty with a special ending. Our host, Gary, really seems to “soak in” the magic.

In upcoming weeks, we’ll be taking our cameras around Walt Disney World Resort in search of more slo-mo beauty in the parks. Any suggestions on what to feature next?

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Personalized Valentine’s Day Gifts at Disney Parks

posted on January 27th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Personalized Valentine's Day Vinylmation Figure

I took an informal survey the other day at Disney Theme Park Merchandise. My question, “Do you exchange Valentine’s Day gifts? If so, what do you give?” Overwhelmingly, the response I received was that people love to give (and receive) personalized gifts. I’d have to agree – a personalized gift goes a long way. It means that you actually took time to think about the gift. So, I asked myself what I would give to someone special this year. Feel free to use these ideas (I won’t tell).

There are many ways to say “I love you.” A different take to a traditional Valentine’s Day card is to use a blank 9-inch Vinylmation figure as a canvas painted with love. Since I’m in Florida, I could easily walk around World Showcase at Epcot and have International Program cast members write “I love you.” For the photograph above, I strolled around Disney Theme Park Merchandise and had cast members fluent in other languages write greetings.

Personalized Valentine's Day Coupons

One of my favorite ideas was creating a coupon book full of Disney experiences. I found some Disney stationery and created the four coupons pictured above (I would give a few more, of course). Once assembled, it becomes something you can share together. And who wouldn’t want a Dole Whip from Adventureland? I could use a whole coupon book for that one delicious treat.

Valentine's Day Photo Albums From Disney Theme Park Merchandise

I enjoy photography and take lots of pictures. The perfect item for me would be an empty photo album. In this case, I selected two different albums from 2011 as examples. Present your Valentine with an empty album and explain that you will fill it together with photographs of your favorite Disney places, attractions, characters or restaurants. You could also fill it with ephemera you may collect while visiting Disney Parks (in my case, lots of napkins from the Dole Whip station).

Spend Your Valentine's Day Watching a Movie Marathon

My last idea – a movie marathon! Pick three movies each and spend a day watching them together. For the photo above I selected animated features I like; and, for the person who I would want to spend time with on a deserted island, one of my favorite television shows (that one would probably require more than just one day). Oh how I wish “TRON: Legacy” was available on Blu-ray!

Please feel free to share your unique gift ideas in the comment section below. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Sharing Memories About ‘World of Color’

posted on January 26th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Yesterday we shared the exciting news that “World of Color” reached a milestone performance: No. 500, on Tuesday night. That news elicited lots of memories from guests who have seen the show at Disney California Adventure park.

I have seen “World of Color” nearly a dozen times and each time it’s a new experience. Either I see something new, or I watch it from a different angle, or one of the musical numbers sparks a special emotional response. Depending on where I am in the viewing area, I feel more or less water mist.

We think “World of Color” is the best show that debuted in a theme park in 2010. If you agree, nominate “World of Color” for the Reader’s Choice awards at the about.com theme parks site, in the “best show” section. You can nominate through Feb. 4. and then the voting begins.

I’m curious about your experiences. What do you like most about “World of Color”?

To help you remember, here’s one of the first videos we shared with you:

One part that always makes me smile is the Wall-E and Eva scene. Tell us about your special memories of the show.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: It Takes People to Save Wildlife and Nature

posted on January 26th, 2011 by Dr. Mark Stetter, Director of Animal Operations, Disney Parks


For my first Disney Parks Blog post, I’d like to share a story on a topic that may be surprising coming from a veterinarian and Director of Animal Health because it’s not about animal care or medicine. In fact, it’s not even directly about animals. It’s about Mrs. Nomusa Zikhali, the principal of a school in rural South Africa, who started her school with a handful of students under a tree. Today, thanks to her leadership and perseverance, Nkomo Primary School provides hope and education to more than 800 children, many of whom have been orphaned by HIV. She is an amazing example of the impact one person can have.

Mrs. Nomusa Zikhali, Principal of the Nkomo Primary School

I had the honor of meeting Mrs. Zikhali several years ago during a trip to Africa for work on an elephant conservation project that I will tell you more about in a future post. In the years since then, Disney and a local Central Florida school, Palm Lake Elementary, have helped with school improvement projects, wildlife conservation education enhancements and a hot meal program sponsored by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Last month, we worked with The Africa Foundation to help sponsor a visit by Mrs. Zikhali to the Walt Disney World Resort. What an incredible experience for her and for us! Imagine a woman from the heartland of Zululand, traveling to Orlando in the middle of our busy holiday season. During her visit, she shared her inspirational story with Disney Cast Members, including African Cultural Representatives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and students and teachers from Palm Lake Elementary. We also surprised Mrs. Zikhali with a $10,000 donation from the Walt Disney World Resort which she hopes to use for two additional classrooms.

Mrs. Nomusa Zikhali, Principal of the Nkomo Primary School

The Nkomo school kids live in an incredible area just next to the Phinda Game Reserve with elephants, zebras and rhinos right in their backyard. Even though I noted at the start of this post that it is not directly about animals, helping the people who live side by side with endangered wildlife is an essential part of conservation. Our next step will focus on building on our initial efforts in conservation education through enhanced programs and teacher training that incorporate learning about wildlife and nature into the school curriculum. Our goal is to take care of the kids and to teach them to care about and value wildlife and nature. By supporting Mrs. Zikhali and her school, we hope to do just that.

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Scuba Diving at Disneyland Resort?

posted on January 26th, 2011 by Betsy Sanchez, Manager of Media Relations, Disneyland Resort


You’re not hearing things! Except, we’re not talking about a new attraction – we’re talking about another fabulously unique role at Disneyland Resort – our scuba divers.

While most divers hang up their gear during the winter, our divers work year-round to maintain cleanliness and ensure that show elements living under water are ready for our guests each day.

We have more than 50 scuba divers who also hold roles as machinists, electricians and sound mechanics. They use various talents, skills, degrees and certifications to maintain our numerous water attractions including the Rivers of America, Jungle Cruise, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland park, as well as Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure park.

Check out the video below to learn more about the work our scuba divers do!

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Moms Panel: Moms Are Moms

posted on January 26th, 2011 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


As a mom who works at Walt Disney World Resort and on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I meet a lot of moms from all over the globe. What I have noticed is that we have more in common than we have differences. I believe that most moms want their families to be healthy and happy and I think all of us want to take the stress out of our lives.

The Walt Disney World Moms Panel has been giving amazing vacation planning advice to guests for over 3 years. But in my travels, I also get to bump into some more well-known moms who have great vacation planning advice. I think you just might recognize this particular mom.

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Bon Voyage! Disney Dream Departs Today on Ship’s Maiden Voyage

posted on January 26th, 2011 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Welcome aboard!

Mickey Mouse welcomes guests aboard the maiden voyage of the Disney Dream

After several years of planning, construction and preparation, the Disney Dream sets sail today on her official maiden voyage to the Bahamas. Let’s all say it together: Whoo hoo!

It’s the start of an exciting new era for Disney Cruise Line and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you here on the Disney Parks Blog. Several correspondents will capture all the hoopla aboard the ship and around Florida’s Port Canaveral so check back Thursday for a full report on the festivities.

In the meantime, you probably want to see some of what guests will be enjoying over the next several days, right? Take a look:

Art Deco atrium lobby on the Disney Dream Disney Dream Disney Dream pool deck Riders aboard the AquaDuck water coaster
Riders aboard the AquaDuck water coaster Senses Spa & Salon Disney Dream pool deck Disney Dream at Castaway Cay

Whether you’re a toddler, teenager or grownup, there’s something for everyone on the Disney Dream. From fun clubs for kids and teens to nightclubs and lounges exclusively for adults, the ship is a terrific mix of imagination, innovation and pixie dust. See for yourself:

Magic PlayFloor inside Disney’s Oceaneer Lab Enchanted Garden restaurant Edge, a club exclusively for kids 11-13 Andy’s Room within Disney’s Oceaneer Club
Animator’s Palate restaurant The cast of “Disney’s Believe” Evolution, a nightclub for adults only Vibe, a club exclusively for teens 14-17

Now then… Arrrr ya a fan of salty old pirates?

I hope so, because on a special night during every cruise the Disney Dream becomes a pirate ship filled with swashbuckling fun for all ages!

Guests enjoying Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean

The night starts with “Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean,” an interactive show featuring some of your favorite Disney characters. Guests become members of Mickey’s Pirate Crew in a series of pirate-themed musical numbers out on the ship’s pool deck.

Mickey’s Pirates IN the Caribbean

The party continues with a special appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow to kick off “Club Pirate,” an open-air dance party featuring stunning visuals and special effects.

The 'Buccaneer Blast' Fireworks Spectacular

Finally, to top it all off we’re debuting a brand-new fireworks spectacular at sea called “Buccaneer Blast!” Choreographed to a dramatic score including songs from “Pirates of the Caribbean” (the hit movies and the classic theme park attraction), it’s an unforgettable mix of sound and color in an unbeatable location.

Here’s Disney Cruise Line’s David Duffy with more:

All you landlubbers should check back tomorrow for an exclusive report from the maiden voyage. For everyone stepping aboard the Disney Dream today, bon voyage!

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