Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Dragon Mission: Accomplished! I Found My Flying, Fire-Breathing Friend in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 5th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

After weeks of poring through page after page on the Internet, studying grainy video, hearing reports of strange encounters and trying to make sense of archival photos from another era, I finally saw the Dragon tonight.

The graceful, fire-breathing creature made his grand entrance tonight in the night skies over Magic Kingdom Park. The majestic, reptilian-like wonder soared high above New Fantasyland, and then roared loudly (in what sounded like roars of joy…if my dragon-speak translation skills are what they used to be).

Sources tell me the Dragon made this special appearance tonight because he was drawn to the New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration. As he disappeared into the darkness, I was left wondering if we would ever see him again. There were plenty of cameras on hand to capture this magic moment, and the Disney Parks Blog captured this stunning video of him. Take a look. And don’t forget to check out my Disney Dragon Tumblr site for more.

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Tracking the Disney Dragon to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 4th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

In my quest to find the Disney Dragon, I was tipped off last week by a friendly anonymous(e) source to go to an “Enchanted Forest” and wait for magic to happen. I didn’t know why and didn’t know when. But I knew I had to head to New Fantasyland. From the blurry photos and cryptic videos that have been posted on my Dragon Tumblr blog, I knew the dragon was a bit on the shy side. He doesn’t seem to enjoy being spotted. So if the dragon visited the Enchanted Forest, it would probably happen under the cover of night. Dressed in my best dragon sleepwear, I decided to make a late-night visit, and wait.

What I saw — or didn’t see, actually — is pretty amazing. While I didn’t see our flying friend in person, thankfully a cast member and my camera guy were quicker and caught a glimpse. Take a look.

Maybe my day for seeing him in person is coming. Or maybe not. Some people I’ve talked to think that after so many years of being on his own, the dragon won’t actually stake a claim to call anyplace “home.”

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Stars Shine at Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Taping at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 3rd, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

After the stars came out last month at the Disneyland Resort during the west coast taping of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, the spotlight shifted to Walt Disney World Resort for its annual TV taping at the Magic Kingdom Park.

It’s all in preparation for December 25, when the award-winning parade telecast airs nationwide on the ABC Television Network from 10 a.m.-noon in the Eastern time zone, and 9-11 a.m. in the Central, Mountain, Pacific time zones. The show also will air in Canada on CBC Network, and around the globe on the American Forces Network.

Lady Antebellum Performs at the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Taping at Walt Disney World Resort

At Walt Disney World Resort, musical trio Lady Antebellum, who headlines this year’s parade, performed a seasonal song from their new holiday album “On A Winter’s Night.” Acoustic queen Colbie Caillat also performed a song from her new holiday release and Gospel legend Yolanda Adams took Cinderella Castle stage for an inspirational rendition of “Joy to the World.” Cast members from Disney’s Newsies: The Musical, “carried the banner” down Main Street, U.S.A., with a high-energy performance from the Tony Award-winning show, and “American Idol” champion Phillip Phillips sang “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” on Main Street, U.S.A. Also shining in the Magic Kingdom Park spotlight this weekend were Nick Cannon, who hosts this year’s TV special (tag-teaming with Mario Lopez, who hosts from Disneyland Resort) and parade co-host Maria Menounos.

And of course, no parade would be complete without fanciful floats and colorful cavalcades down Main Street, U.S.A. Dozens of Disney and Disney-Pixar characters don their holiday best to wish everyone a Merry Christmas during this 29th annual holiday TV special.

Be sure to tune in December 25 for all the fun. You can join the social media conversation before and during the telecast using the hashtag, #DisneyParade.

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Did the Villains Banish the Dragon from New Fantasyland? When is He Coming Home? Finding Out the Truth Directly from Princesses, Villains and an Anonymouse Source

posted on November 30th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

Scouring the internet for clues about the dragon rumored to be heading “home” to New Fantasyland has been quite a quest — one that’s led me to even more questions. I’ve found archival photos, and had reports of sightings sent to me which have been chronicled on my “Disney Dragon” Tumblr blog.

For a dragon-loving guy like myself I have to admit — it’s been fun, but also frustrating at times. There’s definitely something flying around up there. But I need to find it. I need to see it.

So, I decided to go straight to the source, New Fantasyland, to dig for new clues. I wanted to talk to the residents, royalty and villains of the land. The truth is out there, and I won’t stop until I find it. Interviewing Disney Princesses and Villains gave me a few leads, and a few dead ends. But I feel I am getting closer.

A breakthrough, though, came when I received a hot tip about someone who had reliable information on where our flying friend might appear. While I can’t reveal the name of my anonymouse source, I can say this tipster is in the know about all-things-Disney. My exclusive interview is below.

Stay tuned, because I feel a major breakthrough coming soon. I think the next step in my dragon dilemma might just be an overnight expedition to where this highly placed source advises me to search.

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Mysterious Film, Photos Emerge in Disney Dragon Dilemma at New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on November 20th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

This has been a big week for big sightings and I’m still trying to fit puzzle pieces together and make sense of this dragon dilemma. For me, it’s not a question anymore, it’s a quest.

This week, as I wondered where this dragon came from and where’s he’s heading, I found more clues. First, I uncovered this worn, 8mm piece of film. I found evidence of footprints. And then, this photo:
Evidence of a Dragon Sighting in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park?

It’s not dated, but judging by the logo on the utility vehicle and the “WED Enterprises” label, it has to be old. By the proximity of Cinderella Castle, it could be smack-dab in the middle of the Enchanted Forest. Could this be related to the “curse” over the forest that’s told at FindingFantasyland.com? (And could those creatures seen flying above the forest be dragons too?)

Do you believe yet? I do. I’ll post more findings here, and you also can keep up with my dragon blog at
for updates. If you want to keep up with similar conversations on Twitter, use the hashtag #BelieveInFantasy.

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What Exactly Is This? Gary Discovers a Dragon…He Thinks

posted on November 14th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

If you’ve read the Disney Parks Blog in the past, you might have run across some of my posts, photos and videos that show some of my interests. I love Disney Parks (of course); I’m curious and enjoy new experiences. But here’s something you probably didn’t know: I love dragons. Always have. When other kids on my block liked dinosaurs, I liked dragons. And what’s not to like? Some can fly, some breathe fire, some protect castles and some attack them. Some are good, some are evil. But they are all magical. For me, Disney and dragons share that quality — they’re both chock-full of magic.

In this video, I take you into my home for a look at a discovery I recently made online. I found something that could be the greatest dragon I have ever seen. But I’m not sure. Maybe it’s an internet hoax, maybe it’s an albatross or condor. But maybe, just maybe, it’s a dragon.

I want to believe it’s a dragon. I will find out more, so stay tuned for updates.

And if you want to see exactly how much I love dragons, take a look at my dragon-centric Tumblr blog: disneydragons.tumblr.com. If you have your own dragon stories (or possible sightings!) to share on Twitter, use the hashtag #BelieveInFantasy. Because isn’t that what “magic” is all about — believing?

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Phineas and Ferb & YOU: Free Fun at Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World Resort Now Through December 1

posted on October 29th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

Have you ever wanted to hang out with Phineas and Ferb? I know I have. The animated pair are coming to life in a new way at Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World Resort, and even inviting you to join their ‘toon world.

Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality” gives you the chance to jump into one of 20 randomly pre-determined animated, 30-second scenes. They’ll even shoot a photo during your scene. As you leave, you’ll receive an address to a special website where you can share the picture from your starring role with friends and family. And it’s all free fun.

Just look for the giant backyard set at Downtown Disney West Side, next to Bongos Cuban Café. The experience will run through December 1, 2012, from 2-9:30 p.m. daily. (Please note: the experience will be temporarily closed November 8-11 during the annual “Festival of the Masters” event.)

I recently took a trip to Downtown Disney to hang out with Phineas, Ferb, Perry the Platypus, Dr. Doofenshmirtz and even the mysterious Agent P. Check out some of the animated fun I had with my virtual pals in this video. And let us know if you’ve had a chance to hang out with the inventive duo.

Read more about what’s happening at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort in the posts below:

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What’s Your Favorite Dish? Trying All 29 Marketplaces in One Day at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 26th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

The fun is on the griddle at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and there’s still time to enjoy the culinary adventures throughout the park before the event comes to a close November 12.

Half the fun of the festival is discovering new dishes in the 29 marketplaces. But what’s your favorite?

That’s the assignment I had on my recent trip around the Epcot culinary world. Whether it’s the subtle seasoning of the Kefta Pocket at the Morocco Marketplace; the volcano sauce on the Spicy Hand Roll at Japan; a smooth, fine Merlot from France; Griddled Greek Cheese at Greece or the wonderful selection of ales and beers at the Hops and Barley Marketplace, there’s a lot to please every palate. Rob, our Concerned Bystander, also makes a cameo in this video, but it seems his tune has changed just a tiny bit.

So, after experiencing all 29 marketplaces in one day, what was my favorite dish?

The Kalua Pork Slider (the chutney and spicy mayo are an unbeatable blend) from the Hawai’i Marketplace takes the top spot in my (very) unscientific sampling. Although the White Corn Arepa (AREPA!) from the Florida Local Marketplace was a close second. With the famous sweet corn from nearby Zellwood, Fla., it’s a tasty treat. (And if you order it, please shout “Arepa!” and you might get a reaction just like I did in the video.)

The best thing is that I received a special stamp at the Festival Center for visiting all 29 countries. (Although I might suggest visiting Epcot a few times before the event ends to collect all of the marketplace stamps!)

Let us know in the comments if you have visited all 29 marketplaces, or if you have discovered your favorite from this year’s festival. Arepa!

See what’s happening at the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in the posts below:

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Dance Party, Disney Style: The Jabbawockeez and Mickey Mouse Join for Some Amazing Dance Moves at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 3rd, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

It’s not odd to see guests often dancing through our Disney Parks. The parks just have that effect on many people (including me). That’s one reason I was excited to hear the Jabbawockeez dance crew was on vacation at Walt Disney World Resort. Since I’ve tried to dance in previous videos at Raglan Road and also with Barbara, the dancing cast member at Magic Kingdom Park, I jumped at the chance to learn from these world-famous pros.

The Jabbawockeez, a name inspired from the pages of Lewis Carroll’s classic literature, exploded onto the scene by winning the first season of MTV’s dance competition series, “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Known for their signature, expressionless mime masks and high-energy moves, the Jabbawockeez star in stage shows in Australia and Las Vegas (an original show called “MÜS.I.C”), and have guest-starred on shows like the dance-driven comedy series “Shake It Up” on Disney Channel and “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC-TV.

During their visit, I asked the guys to stop by the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot for a quick (and unmasked) interview. I also asked Mickey Mouse to drop by and showcase a few of his newest hip-hop moves. And as you’d probably expect, Mickey does some pretty magical dancing. Take a look and let us know in the comments what you think of this all-star dance party. (Plus, give yourself some bonus points if you remember — like I do — the famous “Mickey Mouse Disco” record. To my delight, Mickey was kind enough to show me off-camera some of his famous disco steps. It’s good to know he still appreciates the classics.)

And keep an eye out for Rob, our always-concerned bystander. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him. I guess he’s been practicing his dance moves as well.

Read more about dancing at Disney Parks in the posts below:

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Final Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Special Flyover at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 19th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

In a place where fairies fly, Space Shuttle Endeavour made a “ferry flight” today, mounted atop a NASA-modified 747 airliner. The historic flight took place in the early morning hours and was a space-explorer surprise for early-rising guests across Walt Disney World Resort. As part of its flight path, Endeavour soared over Magic Kingdom Park and could be seen from various points across property.

When a space shuttle is mounted above a 747, the NASA term for it is a “ferry flight,” which is quite appropriate since Magic Kingdom Park is a place where fairies fly.

Conducted in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration Endeavour’s cross-country journey is the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program. Endeavour’s final destination is the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it will be on display to inspire future generations with the storied history of the space shuttle era.

Endeavour Facts

First Flight: May 7, 1992
First Flight Launch Weight: 256,597 pounds
Total Missions: 25
Total Days in Orbit: 299
Total Orbits of Earth: 4,671
Total Miles Travelled: 122,883,151

As Endeavour makes its way across the country, our friends at NASA encourage people who spot it to use the Twitter hashtags #SpotTheShuttle and #OV105 (Endeavour’s official orbiter designation). To keep up with Endeavour’s cross-country journey, log on to NASA.gov for the latest updates.

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