Disney's Electrical Parade

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

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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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

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

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

Actress Pat Carroll Adds Her Autograph to the Feature Chandelier at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on June 10th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Actress Pat Carroll Adds Her Autograph to an Ursula Sketch on the Feature Chandelier at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Guests at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort recently had an under the sea surprise as they joined in a ceremony in the main lobby to celebrate Pat Carroll, the voice of Ursula in Disney’s classic animated film, “The Little Mermaid.” The resort honored the legendary actress by asking her to add her signature to the feature chandelier’s artful array of 77 animation storyboards.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of “The Little Mermaid.”

Only a few dignitaries who have made major contributions to the four animated films represented at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort can sign the chandelier storyboard panels. As an added surprise, Walt Disney Imagineer Joni Van Buren, who sculpted the maquette used to create the resort’s giant Ursula icon, joined the fun and even brought her original work to show to guests and Pat.

After the ceremony, Pat sat down with us to discuss her love of the Ursula character, the 25-year popularity of “The Little Mermaid” and how the power of great storytelling can captivate film audiences.

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

posted on June 6th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Womp rats, you’ve been warned. Luke is in town.

Actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed farmboy-turned-galactic-hero Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, makes his debut appearance at Star Wars Weekends today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He is scheduled to appear today, tomorrow and Sunday.

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Activities where guests can see the acclaimed actor include the “Legends of the Force” motorcade and a star conversation about his career and role in the original Star Wars trilogy. To enable more guests to see and hear this special edition talk show, entitled “A Conversation with Mark Hamill,” the Star Wars Weekends event team has made arrangements for a simulcast at various locations throughout the park. Be sure to ask a cast member when you arrive for viewing locations.

We caught up with Mark at the theme park while he was doing final walk-throughs with the Disney Parks Entertainment team. After posing for a few photos with Jedi Mickey Mouse, he spoke with us about the Star Wars legacy, his childhood visits to Disneyland and what makes Star Wars fans special to him.

For more info. about Star Wars Weekends and to download an event guide, head to disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends. Also, join the conversation online by using the event’s hashtag, #SWW2014.

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

New Augmented Reality Features Bring Star Wars Weekends to Life in New Ways for 2014

posted on May 17th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


If you plan on attending Star Wars Weekends 2014, be sure to try out some of the new technology designed to bring the event to life in new ways.

For the first time, Star Wars Weekends is utilizing augmented reality to provide guests “virtual” character experiences, added information in the guide maps and even interaction with the event logo itself.

Lots of fun is centered in Darth’s Mall, thanks to our official technology partner, HP.

Before arriving at the park, download the free app., Aurasma, from the App Store or Android Market to your smartphone or tablet. (Tip: While the app. will prompt you to register, you are not required to do so. You can choose to advance by clicking “Skip” in the lower right on the final welcome screen.)

Utilizing HP technology, there are special locations to utilize Aurasma in the park and even on the event’s guide map. Join me and Star Wars Weekends celebrity host James Arnold Taylor as we demonstrate some of the ways you can have even more interactive fun this year.

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

The Magic Behind the Frosting: The ‘Making Of’ the Star Wars Weekends Cupcake Video at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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


“Cupcake or cupcake not. There is no pie.”

Master Yoda might not have said that, but it seems to fit the theme of the Darth Vader cupcake video we debuted earlier this week to celebrate the launch of Star Wars Weekends 2014.

A talented, confection-loving crew gathered overnight in a Disney’s Hollywood Studios bakery to shoot the video that shows what happens when the dark side meets the “sweet side.”

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes look, then enjoy a Darth Vader cupcake (and maybe a Yoda cupcake) during Star Wars Weekends. The event begins tomorrow and will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 15 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Darth Vader Rules the Galaxy (and the Bakery) as Star Wars Weekends Takes Cupcakes to the Dark Side

posted on May 12th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


As we continue our countdown to Friday’s launch of Star Wars Weekends 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, work continues non-stop behind the scenes to prep the park for the galactic gala. Photo locations are being constructed, merchandise is being sorted and Donald Duck is shining his stormtrooper armor as everyone pitches in to make sure this is the best Star Wars Weekends yet.

One of the tastiest gems of the event includes a special snack offering, a delicious Darth Vader cupcake.

Have you ever wondered what would happen in the pastry display case if the Darth Vader cupcake was consumed by the dark side? In a video produced by the award-winning team at Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, we take a look at how that scenario just might play out. (And Star Wars fans take note: there’s an “Easter egg” in this video that ties it back to a common theme from the Star Wars saga.)

Star Wars Weekends takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 – June 15, 2014. Most event activities are included in regular theme park admission.


Click through the following posts for more Star Wars Weekends videos:

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort