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Walt Disney and Mickey Statue at Cinderella Castle

Springtime in Disneyland Park

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort

Now that spring is here, I wanted to share some photos I have taken over the past few years that remind me of springtime. First and foremost I wanted to show a “Disney” element in each of the photos. Which of the images remind you most of springtime? For me it’s the tulips near the Partners statue in Disneyland park.

Springtime in Disneyland Park By: Paul Hiffmeyer

Springtime in Disneyland Park By: Paul Hiffmeyer Springtime in Disneyland Park By: Paul Hiffmeyer Springtime in Disneyland Park By: Paul Hiffmeyer
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Sun Sets on Another Year of Braves Spring Training at Disney

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Champion Stadium at Disney

Over the weekend, the Atlanta Braves put the final touches on another year of spring training at Disney, wrapping up nearly six weeks of training and a 17-game schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Chipper Jones at Bat

Once again, Champion Stadium hosted a collection of top teams – New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to name a few – and sellout crowds, including the Braves and Detroit Tigers game last week (pictured).

Champion Stadium at Disney

This afternoon, Major League Baseball celebrates Opening Day, and with it the Braves host the Washington Nationals in their pursuit to capture another playoff spot in 2011.

Matt Young of the Atlanta Braves

Also, can you make out the “hidden Mickey” mowed into centerfield in the photos above?

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Every Role a Starring Role – Inside the Custodial Guest Services Role at Disneyland Resort

posted on March 31st, 2011 by David Gill, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort.

Meet the Disneyland Resort’s newest artists – the custodial guest services team. That’s right! In addition to upholding Walt Disney’s original vision to keep the parks clean for our guests, this team recently began drawing Disney characters on the ground using the tools of their trade – a pan, a broom and a little water.

These individuals are called custodial guest services cast members for a reason. Their very visible presence in the parks allows them to answer guest questions, create personal connections and – now – entertain through character water art. The daily variety in this role makes it an exciting one to play. Watch the video below to hear from Allison, a custodial guest services trainer here at the Disneyland Resort.

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Have Questions Planning Your Disney Cruise Line Vacation? Andi Has Answers

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Are you thinking about taking a Disney Cruise Line vacation? Do you need help mapping out the best time of year for your family to travel, selecting an itinerary or picking which Port Adventures to book? Would you like planning and packing tips from a parents’ perspective?

Well, I have good news! There’s someone who can answer all these questions and more. I’d like to introduce you to Andi.

Andi and her pal, Captain Mickey Mouse, get ready to sail on the Disney Dream.

Andi, a mother of four, is part of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, and is our official Disney Cruise Line Mom. She and her family sail with us often, so she knows our ships from bow to stern and understands the ins and outs of traveling with kids of all ages (and also how to enjoy the adult spaces on a Disney cruise).

Andi told me, “The next best thing to going on a Disney vacation is planning one. From toddlers to teens, we’ve experienced just about everything while cruising with children and I call all hands on deck when helping others make planning decisions for a Disney cruise. It brings me such joy to share my experience with fellow sea-faring Disney guests.”

Visit Andi and ask her your Disney Cruise Line questions at And, keep an eye out for more Disney Cruise Line info and tips from Andi on the “Mom” Knows Best tab of our Facebook page.

“My best advice is to research and plan while on land, but once you’re on a Disney ship, sit back, relax and hold those plans loosely for unexpected magical surprises,” Andi said.

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‘Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play’ Release Party at Walt Disney World

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

Exciting news Kingdom Keepers Fans! The Disney saga continues in the upcoming novel, Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. Of course, we had to commemorate the premiere of the new Disney novel in style, so we invited acclaimed author Ridley Pearson to Walt Disney World to celebrate the launch of his newest book.

'Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play' by Ridley Pearson

For those of you that are not familiar with the Kingdom Keepers series, here’s a quick synopsis for you: Kingdom Keepers follows five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” and find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI – which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging – Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the acclaimed author of the Kingdom Keepers saga on April 4 & 5, 2011, at Downtown Disney Marketplace and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. To make this special event even more exciting, Walt Disney World has been given the honor of launching Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play before the national launch of the novel which means Walt Disney World Guests will have the opportunity to get the book the day before it officially releases!

During Ridley Pearson’s special appearances, he will be meeting and greeting Guests, signing copies of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, and even taking time to answer a few of your question about the Kingdom Keepers Series.

You can meet Ridley at the following Walt Disney World locations on April 4 & 5, 2011:

  • Monday, April 4 , 2011, in Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace: 4 – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in The Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 2 – 5 p.m.

In addition to signing Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, Ridley will also be signing all of the bestselling novels from the Kingdom Keepers series, Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers II: Disney At Dawn and Kingdom Keepers III: Disney In Shadow.

For more information on Ridley’s appearance and Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, please visit

Friendly Disclaimer: On Monday, April 4, Once Upon a Toy will begin selling Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at 3 p.m. Wristbands will be distributed to Guests with each purchase of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. A wristband from Once Upon A Toy is required to meet Ridley Pearson. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Wristband supplies are limited and not guaranteed. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

On Tuesday, April 5, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will begin selling Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at park opening. Wristbands will be distributed to Guests with each purchase of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. A wristband from Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required to meet Ridley Pearson If you purchase Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at a Disney owned and operated merchandise location, bring your book and Walt Disney World merchandise receipt to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to redeem a wristband while supplies last. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Wristband supplies are limited and not guaranteed. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

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Mickey’s Magical Meet-and-Greet Debuts April 1 at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Last week we gave you a sneak peek inside Town Square Theater, the new permanent meet-and-greet area for Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park. Today, we’re happy to share more details with our Disney Parks Blog readers, as well as a new batch of photos from inside the theater, which will officially open April 1.

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

Here’s a look at what you can expect on your next visit.

Town Square Theater (previously Town Square Exposition Hall), has been re-imagined as a turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century theater where posters proclaim Mickey Mouse as the star of a magic show. From the start, guests have three options: enter the queue that leads to Mickey Mouse, join the queue for Disney princesses, or pick up a Disney FASTPASS ticket that enables guests to return and visit with their favorite characters at a later time.

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

There’s plenty of magic in store for those who wait in the queue, which is lined with posters of Magician Mickey Mouse doing some of his best – and occasionally, daring – magic tricks. Guests who look closely just may see a trick or two take place before their very eyes! And fans of Walt Disney’s first successful animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, may be delighted to see him featured on one lobby poster as “Oswald the Disappearing Rabbit.”

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

Later on, you’re welcomed into Mickey Mouse’s dressing room for a meet and greet. Although Mickey is the star of the show, his dressing room sports many magical touches that may make guests take notice, including a Leota-brand crystal ball, a familiar-looking parrot umbrella and a bird in a cage that seems to vanish before your very eyes.

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

Be on the lookout for another reference to Oswald placed among Mickey’s belongings here, too.

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

Families who choose to see Disney princesses at Town Square Theater will do so in a separate new area that’s fit for royalty. This room, which is a temporary meet-and-greet location for Disney princesses, features luxurious blue tapestries and a dreamy mural of a lush forest and a royal castle.

Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom Park

After their meet and greet, guests exit through Curtain Call Collectibles, a shop with theater prop theme. Here, some of the contraptions used in Mickey’s best magic tricks – including a dunk tank, sword basket and saw of dread – have been repurposed to showcase Mickey merchandise.

Check back on Friday for video that celebrates the theater’s debut.

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Disney Parks Releases Community Reports

posted on March 30th, 2011 by Kristin Nolt Wingard, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Public Affairs

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recently released our 2010 Community Reports, which provide a snapshot of our corporate citizenship efforts in the communities where we operate. Whether in Hong Kong, Southern California, Central Florida, France, Hawai`i or the many ports around the world that our cruise ships visit, these reports describe a few of the many ways Disney Parks demonstrates our commitment to be a responsible employer, sound environmental steward and active community leader.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Community Reports

Highlights from these reports include –

The Parks and Resorts Community Reports are anchored by the 2010 Corporate Citizenship Report for The Walt Disney Company. The report highlights Disney’s progress on environmental and social impacts across the entire company.

We hope you enjoy these stories detailing our citizenship efforts in 2010, and welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children Opens With Fanfare

posted on March 30th, 2011 by Kathleen Prihoda, Manager of Media Relations, Walt Disney World Resort

There was much excitement in Orlando this morning with the official opening of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children. Hundreds were on hand to celebrate the occasion, which included a moving dedication ceremony featuring inspirational stories from former pediatric patients.

Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children Opens With Fanfare

Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, toured the state-of-the-art facility and visited with children in the hospital’s interactive lobby. Designed by Disney Imagineers, the lobby features supporting characters from “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Jungle Book” and “Brother Bear.” All seven floors of the hospital feature concepts, colors, sounds and themes inspired by these classic Disney movies. The welcoming, healing environment places young patients in the starring role. Take a look at the video to see some highlights.

The Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children represents a $10 million commitment by Disney. In touring the facility, I was struck by how special and kid-friendly the place truly is. Great attention has been paid to the finer details.

Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children Opens With Fanfare

It is a truly unique environment for children in Central Florida who require medical care. Through its support, it’s just one more way Disney is helping make dreams come true for children in need.

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All Aboard for the Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad

posted on March 30th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

With more than 55 years of history at the Disneyland Resort, it’s fun to look back now and then at special dates that have influenced the magical storytelling that happens here every day. Tomorrow, March 31, is the anniversary of the 1958 grand opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama on what was then called the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad.

When you ride the Disneyland Railroad between the Tomorrowland Train Station and Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll travel through a tunnel with two distinct dioramas. Today, we’re celebrating the anniversary of the first of those scenes to appear in Disneyland park.

Going from the bright, natural light of the park inside the tunnel plunges you into darkness, and that gives way to the enthralling vista of the Grand Canyon Diorama. Depicted from its south rim, the canyon is revealed on a canvas that is 306 feet long and 34 feet high, making this backdrop one of the world’s longest dioramas. Another remarkable aspect of this canvas: it’s seamless and handwoven.

The Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park

This replica of the Grand Canyon required 300 gallons of paint to capture its natural marvels, including a snowfall, a storm, a sunset and a rainbow. The scene is based upon Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning live-action short subject of 1958, “Grand Canyon.”

As passengers are pulled slowly past this famous American landmark, flora and fauna native to the landscape appear in realistic detail. The canyon ridges are filled with all kinds of critters, including deer, mountain lions, skunks and wild turkeys. The mood is set by the click-clack of train wheels, accentuated by music from the “On The Trail” section of American composer Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite.

I’ve seen this diorama several times while riding the Disneyland Railroad, and each time I’m impressed with the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon. This photograph made me wonder what Walt Disney might have imagined when he was directing the project. Walt visited many spectacular places around the world and many of his “mental photographs” later became a part of Disneyland park – almost like a 3D scrapbook of his memories. I’m glad he decided to share these special marvels with all of us.

Have you visited the Grand Canyon via the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad? What are your favorite scenes along the Disneyland Railroad journey?

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Dr. Jane Goodall Visits Endangered Woodrats Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Key Largo Refuge

posted on March 30th, 2011 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs

Last month, we were very proud to welcome internationally renowned conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall, to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida Keys, where endangered Key Largo woodrats born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are being reintroduced to their native habitat. Key Largo woodrats are one of the species featured on Dr. Jane’s Hope for Animals and Their World website, which shares inspirational stories about endangered species protection.

Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge Manager Steve Klett and Dr. Jane Goodall

While at the refuge, Dr. Jane met with volunteers Clay and Ralph DeGayner, who are featured on her website, Refuge Manager Steve Klett (in the photo with Dr. Jane), and Christy Alligood, Ph.D., Disney’s Animal Programs research specialist.

Scientists estimate that the Key Largo woodrat population has dwindled to fewer than 500 animals after years of habitat loss, drought and predation by non-native animal species, such as Burmese pythons and feral cats. Although small in size, these little woodrats play a vital role in the circle of life in their forest home. They are an important source of food for other native animals such as owls and hawks, and they build and maintain nests that are often used by other endangered species as well.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and one of our collaborators, the Lowry Park Zoo, have bred Key Largo woodrats as part of a recovery plan to augment the existing population found only in Key Largo. Breeding this elusive species was a challenge since scientists had very little information about social structure, reproductive biology or ecology. Through diligent research, Disney’s animal experts studied the behavior of this nocturnal animal and found ways to successfully breed 41 adorable pups! Since 2006, 25 litters have been born in Disney’s colony with litter sizes ranging from one to three pups. In 2009, the program received the Bean Award for Significant Achievement in Captive Breeding from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

In the past year, 26 woodrats born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Lowry Park Zoo have been reintroduced to their native habitat in Key Largo, where scientists track their movements using special radio transmitter collars.

Key Largo Woodrat

Before the woodrats are released in the forest, they are exposed to native plants and acclimated to their new homes inside enclosed nest structures. We’ve been happy to see that the released woodrats have the same survival skills as wild woodrats – storing food, moving between multiple nests and adding sticks to their homes. Two of the females have even conceived and given birth in the wild! Unfortunately, the released woodrats also experience the same challenges as wild woodrats, including predation. We join with other conservation organizations in supporting plans for humane removal of non-native species from endangered species habitat.

The Disney’s Animal Programs team is collaborating on the Key Largo woodrat conservation program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Dagny Johnson State Park, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of St. Andrews, Lowry Park Zoo and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Guests can learn more about Disney conservation efforts when they visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and by visiting

Key Largo Woodrats Fun Facts:

  • Key Largo woodrats share little in common with the average city rat.
  • The rodents make their homes in forested areas, eating leaves and fruit.
  • Average gestation period is 38 days.
  • In the wild, males and females live separately and only come together for breeding.

Take a look at more of our conservation efforts at Disney Parks:

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