Tokyo Disneyland Park, Haunted Mansion

Halloween Tricks (and Treats) with an Optical Illusion Inspired by The Haunted Mansion

posted on October 30th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Inside the Haunted Mansion, anything can happen. As things go bump in the night, your eyes also play tricks on you. “Is this haunted room actually stretching?

In 2011, we debuted a Haunted Mansion-themed optical illusion that featured our phantom friends, The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

This year, we’re back with another Halloween treat (and a trick) for fans of the classic attraction. A haunted hallway with a floating candelabra serves as the inspiration for this apparitional optical illusion.

All of the trickery was done without the use of any video special effects. At the end of the short video, the spooky secret is revealed. Happy Halloween!

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos and Families Share October Holiday at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Legendary actor Michael J. Fox and ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos joined their wives — actresses Tracy Pollan and Alexandra Wentworth — and children last weekend for an October vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.

Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos, Tracy Pollan, Alexandra Wentworth at Disney World in Florida

Stephanopoulos, who also anchors “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” once made a cameo appearance on Fox’s hit TV show, “Spin City.” During their visit, Disney photographer David Roark was able to capture this photo of the two families on a picture-perfect day in Magic Kingdom Park.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort Create an Unforgettable ‘Disney Side’ Flight from Dallas’ Love Field

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


When you hear the familiar harmony of the world-famous Dapper Dans, you instantly know you’re at a Disney Park on Main Street, U.S.A., right?

That’s why if you were in Dallas’ Love Field early Monday morning, you might have been puzzled to hear the barbershop quartet’s tunes echoing through the airport terminal.

Walt Disney World Resort joined with Southwest Airlines to help celebrate the addition of the airline’s first non-stop route from Dallas’ Love Field to Orlando International Airport.

The Heart of Southwest Airlines Combines with the Magic of Walt Disney World Resort for an Unforgettable Flight

Prior to boarding, passengers were able to commemorate the flight by posing in front of backdrop of Cinderella Castle that served as a “Disney Side” family photo opportunity.

Then, the Dapper Dans began singing a selection of tunes from their harmonious repertoire. The quartet even debuted its new arrangement of “Let It Go.”

Aboard Flight #887, passengers listened as Jungle Cruise Skipper “Jungle Jane” made flight announcements in the attraction’s famous style of humor. (And it is true: when the plane flew through a passing shower, passengers saw the backside of water.) Mouse Ears and Mickey Mouse-shaped treats were given to passengers, as well as complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening in the Magic Kingdom. As the plane continued to Orlando International Airport, The Dapper Dans roamed the aisle of the airplane, providing one-of-a-kind, in-flight entertainment.

Take a look at this gallery of photos provided by Disney Parks photographer Ryan Wendler, as well as this video with host John Graham.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Light Painting’ Once Again Takes Art into Midair Inside Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 14th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Last month I had the pleasure of introducing our readers to two of our creative cast members, Paul Chase and Matt Stewart, and their Disney Parks version of “light painting.”

Paul, a Disney Parks Content Producer, and Matt, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director, spent an evening in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort with colored LED penlights. Just like before, Matt “drew” in midair (without a guide or template), while Paul made magic behind the camera using long camera exposures that captured every move of the penlights. There were no chances to “erase” a mistake.

In the first Disney Parks Blog post about their unique artwork, I promised a second edition of their work, and here it is.

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In this edition, Paul and Matt give fairy wings to guests, create a few classic Mickey Mouse drawings, and even head to space (or at least Pizza Planet) with one of the famous aliens from “Toy Story.” And no collection of space art would be complete without the galaxy’s most famous villain, Darth Vader.

In fact, one of Lord Vader’s famous lines comes to my mind when I see their work: “Impressive. Most impressive.”

(*Note: Matt and Paul were in a very controlled environment with proper personnel on-site. If you attempt an artful creation like this, please insure proper safety measures are taken.)

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‘Princess Etch A Sketch’ Draws Anna and Elsa to Celebrate ‘Frozen’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on August 7th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Last year, we had the pleasure of introducing our readers to Jane Labowitch, known by many online as “Princess Etch A Sketch.” True to her nickname, one of Jane’s amazing talents is her ability to create intricate pieces of art using Ohio Art’s famous Etch A Sketch® drawing toy.

In last year’s post, we commissioned the Chicago-based artist to “etch” Cinderella Castle and Sleeping Beauty Castle. We made those available to you as downloadable desktop and tablet wallpapers.

Since then, we’ve been working with Jane on several exciting projects. In June, she was the featured artist at our Disney Social Media Moms “On the Road” conference in Chicago, where she not only displayed her art but even etched portraits of a few lucky attendees. (She can create a person’s portrait on an Etch A Sketch® in approximately 12 minutes.)

With today’s exciting announcement about “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” being extended four more weeks through September 28, we asked Jane to use her talents to draw Anna and Elsa at our park.

It took her approximately one hour to create this piece on a Pocket Etch A Sketch®. That hour of work has been condensed into this short video. This video shows how Jane takes a single line (without the chance to erase anything) and creates an artful homage to Arendelle royalty.

The Etch A Sketch® product name and configuration of the Etch A Sketch® product are registered trademarks owned by The Ohio Art Company.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Sand Sculpture Brings Olaf to Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Do you want to build a snowman? How about building a larger-than-life Olaf out of sand, all in a minute or less?

Opening week of “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” featured expert sand sculptors building the summer-loving snowman in front of the theme park.

We tagged along with a time-lapse camera to let you see how the lovable Olaf took shape at the hands of these master artisans.

For more information about “Frozen” fun this summer, see the posts below:

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Katy Perry Visits Walt Disney World Resort During Fourth of July Holiday Weekend

posted on July 5th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Chart-topping singer Katy Perry took a break from her global concert tour to join friends at Walt Disney World Resort for a little R & R (rest and relaxation) and M & M (Mickey and Minnie) during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Perry is currently on the U.S. leg of her Prismatic World Tour.

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Take a look at this video and hear Perry’s thoughts on Walt Disney, and how — with a little creative ingenuity — a Mickey Mouse-shaped piece of confetti can turn into an instant fashion accessory.

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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Fourth of July Inspires Light Painting at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Walt Disney famously said, “…curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” At Disney Parks, we are fortunate to work with some very curious — and creative — minds. Two of these creative cast members, Paul Chase and Matt Stewart, recently took a vacation trip with their families. On the trip, they were inspired after watching their children playing and dancing around the campsite with flashlights.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

After seeing their kids creating circles and shapes with the flashlights, they wondered if they could sketch Disney characters, in midair, using handheld light sources and long camera exposures. So, Paul and Matt tried drawing the iconic profile of Mickey Mouse using this technique (often called “light painting”). The pair posted the image on their Twitter and Facebook pages, and followers and friends asked for more.

We asked Paul, a Disney Parks Content Producer, and Matt, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director, what other illuminated creations they could produce. The following is the result of a late evening this week in Magic Kingdom Park, using a variety of lighting sources. Paul was behind the camera as Matt was “drawing” in midair.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

“As a Disney art director, I doodle Mickey, Pluto and Goofy everywhere. So when Paul suggested we do some long exposure photography, it was a natural for me to try and do a Mickey Mouse in the air,” Matt said.

Once they started doodling, their ideas grew. “A lot of this was trial and error,” Paul said. “Should we draw Mickey head-on or profile? Profile, it is! Should we use only our flashlights or something else? What about color?”

We hope you enjoy their July 4th edition of Disney Side light painting. They created several other sparkling surprises, so look for a second edition of their work in an upcoming post on the Disney Parks Blog.

(*Note: while the pair utilized sparklers, they were used in a very controlled environment and with proper personnel on-site. We do not recommend doing this without supervision and safety measures. If you attempt we suggest using LED penlights of different colors, as Paul and Matt did in several of these artful creations.)

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A 21st Birthday Celebration for Singing Superstar Ariana Grande at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 25th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


A pop princess met a Disney princess at Magic Kingdom Park, and it was all in celebration of Ariana Grande’s 21st birthday.

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The singer, who recently topped the charts with her megahit “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea), visited Magic Kingdom Park, where she was met by Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle. Then, Prince Charming and Cinderella helped celebrate with Grande as a giant Bibbidi Bobbidi Blue-hued birthday cake, created by the talented team of Disney Pastry Chefs, was unveiled. Dozens of Grande’s friends and family members joined in the fun to help the global music superstar celebrate at Magic Kingdom Park.

In this video, Grande — a Florida native — discusses the Magic Kingdom Park celebration, the dress she chose for the occasion and how the music video for her upcoming single, “Break Free,” reminds her of Space Mountain.

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Actor John Ratzenberger talks Star Wars, his Disney•Pixar Roles & How He Once Parked Next To Kermit The Frog

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Versatile actor John Ratzenberger has worn many hats in his career. Whether it’s the cold weather military hat of Major Bren Derlin, Mack’s “Rust-eze” trucker cap or a mailman’s cap on the longtime hit series “Cheers,” he’s portrayed many favorite characters in his acting career.

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Although he had only a brief role in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, it was a memorable one. His character, Major Bren Derlin, made the recommendation to Princess Leia to close the Echo Base doors for the night, just as the Rebels were losing hope for the safe return of Luke and Han on the frigid planet of Hoth.

The quick-witted actor sat down with us during his very first Star Wars Weekends appearance to talk about his memories of Star Wars, his favorite Disney•Pixar role, and how he once had an assigned parking space next to Kermit the Frog.

The curtain will close on Star Wars Weekends 2014 this weekend, giving you one more chance to feel the Force before the Wookiees, Twi’leks and Ewoks (oh my!) depart our galaxy until their 2015 return.

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