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#CoolestSummer Ever: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cool

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


There are more ways to enjoy the coolness of Disney’s Animal Kingdom than simply standing in the shadow of an elephant (and we can’t promise you can do that). Here are a few more refreshing options:

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Finding Nemo—The Musical. This is my personal favorite thing in the whole Park. Before they wrote the Oscar and Grammy-winning music for Disney’s “Frozen“, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were already treating Walt Disney World Resort guests to their catchy, clever, melody-rich songs in this marvelous show, featuring a multi-talented cast of performers and delightful puppetry. Best of all, there’s an original cast album you can purchase in select Park and Resort shops or download on iTunes.

It’s Tough to Be a Bug! This 3-D comedy romp isn’t as flashy as some other attractions—mostly because it’s tucked beneath the Tree of Life—so like Alice, you have to wander down curious passageways to get to this buggy wonderland. It’s based on Disney•Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life“, so you’ll see good ol’ Flik along with as bad ol’ Hopper. The posters in the queue area are a hoot—spoofs of Broadway shows with insect twists If you listen carefully, you can name the tunes sung by the little tiny creature chorale.

DINOSAUR. This is my kids’ favorite Disney’s Animal Kingdom attraction. To them, no visit is complete without their taking a wild ride through time, dodging more dinos than Captain Caveman. We’re a Doctor Who fan family and appreciate being able to go back in time without a Tardis (though it’s fun to pretend that the phone booths at the Epcot U.K. pavilion are, like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the outside).

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Festival of the Lion King. If you haven’t seen this magnificent show since it moved into a nice “new house” in Harambe Village, it’s cooler than ever in more ways than one. The exuberant performers, high-flying acrobatics and the Lion King characters make this an experience that is not only cool, but downright spirit-lifting.

Kali River Rapids. Getting splashed and spritzed with water is nature’s way to refresh and renew in the warm summer months. On Kali River Rapids, as you go bobbing along through the rapids where you get along swimmingly, your fellow park guests, perched upon strategically located bridge areas along the way, often add to the liquid sunshine by spraying you with water. It’s people helping people helping people. Isn’t that nice?

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#coolestsummer: Hollywood Cool

posted on July 31st, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Disney’s Hollywood Studios seems to be getting more and more cool and exciting, thanks in no small part to its starry “Frozen-ality”. All of these are oh-so-very cool:

For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration. Choose a row and move all the way down to the last available comfy, cushioned seat in the Hyperion Theater and watch the story highlights of Disney’s “Frozen” unfold through songs by Oscar winners Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. (The words appear on the screen so everyone can sing). Princess Anna opens the show, presenting the Royal Historians of Arendelle, Eric and Aria (perhaps the funniest comedy duo since Stiller and Meara). Kristoff also takes the stage, as well as a certain frost-wielding Queen, bringing her own magical “snow” for your marveling pleasure.

Frozen Fever. During Frozen Summer Fun, you see this charming animated short “sequelette” to Disney’s “Frozen” on a big movie screen, and also get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this gem, and a glimpse at the upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection. The upcoming Blu-ray release features twelve acclaimed animated masterpieces. Some of these shorts, like “Paperman,” “Get a Horse!” and “Tangled Ever After,” preceded Disney movies in theaters, plus a few that you might be seeing for the first time, like “Lorenzo” and “Tick Tock Tale.”

Voyage of The Little Mermaid. How perfect is this for getting out of the warmish and into the coolish? It’s as if the entire ocean enfolds the theater as a live-action version of highlights from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” tell the story along with animation, lasers, special effects and that magnificent Alan Menken/Howard Ashman music. You’ll even see Ariel go from finned to footed before your eyes!

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This all-time great thrill attraction always lets you down, but in a fun, screamie way. But it’s also extremely cool because of its meticulously detailed setting of a classic old-Hollywood luxury hotel, now faded and creeped out. My favorite thing to do is to explore the library and pick out the items representing “Twilight Zone” TV episodes (the book, “To Serve Man”, the fortune telling machine, an envelope filled with recording tape with Rod Serling’s name on it, etc). You don’t have to go down the falling elevator to see the library; just ask a cast member how to use the detour in the boiler room.

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Fantasmic! Mickey is the mighty hero of this nighttime superspectacular that takes place on a massive, mountainous stage surrounded by a river. The non-stop action, fantasy fountains and furious firebursts combine and build to an electrifying finale under the stars. There’s a lot of music, too – a boatload of great Disney tunes and lots of Disney Characters! Tip: Get a reserved VIP spot for Fantasmic! with this keen dining package.

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#CoolestSummer Ever: Ep-Cool

posted on July 24th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


As it’s written in the sage words of many a colorful Walt Disney World Resort brochure, “Epcot is the only place where you can travel the world, voyage to the bottom of the sea and zoom into space — all in one unique park.” It’s also a great place to seek out über-cool fun at it’s über-coolest.

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Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros! This is one of Epcot’s most charming and cheerful attractions – and what a totally Disney way to cool off! As your boat floats amid festive festoonery, Donald Duck, Panchito and José Carioca host a south-of-the-border celebration that seems to have come directly from the Disney animated classics, “The Three Caballeros” and “Saludos Amigos.” Master Disney animator Eric Goldberg directed the flawless animation of our pals, while master Disney art director Susan Goldberg painstakingly crafted the film segments to look like they were created in the glorious Technicolor days of Walt himself.

Impression de France! If this magnificent film had been entered in the Cannes film festival, it might have won the Palme d’Or — at least, that’s what we fans would give it. Arguably the most poetic and evocative five-screen motion picture to appear in a Disney Park, it’s highlighted with Buddy Baker’s stunningly beautiful musical arrangements of such cool composers as Saint-Saëns, Debussy and Ravel — as well as Buddy’s original compositions. C’est si bon!

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Chill out in the primeval past. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is perfect for midday time travel. The attraction tucks you in for a cool and cozy journey. The Audio-Animatronics dinosaurs are always impressive, suggesting the dioramas of Disneyland park and the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and also the skirmish in “Fantasia” between the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus Rex (not to mention a verbal skirmish between Ellen and Judy!). You’ll emerge from it all refreshed and ready to challenge earth, space and everything else at Epcot.

Who needs wings to fly? Get there first thing or just before park closing, or set up a Disney’s FastPass+ reservation as far ahead as you can for the Soarin’ attraction, because it’s mighty popular. But even if you use the standby queue, it’s aaahhh-conditioned. As soon as you start soaring on Soarin’, it’s coolness turned all the way up to eleven.

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Have your dessert and watch it, too. It’s majorly cool to savor gourmet desserts with an excellent view in the glow of moonlight, lasers and fireworks. Our Epcot World Showcase chefs have outdone themselves with their delectable spread of international treats: tiramisu, tarts, cupcakes, baklava and more to munch as, from a special viewing location, you see “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” dazzles the pavilions and paints the heavens with a kaleidoscope of color. This IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party requires an additional cost, and you can make reservations here.

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#CoolestSummer Ever: Liquid Cool at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 10th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


When temperatures creep up, there’s nothing like a bit of H2O. Here are some watery ways folks ward off summer’s generous warmth:

Spritzes of circumstance. For a quick refresh, you need only catch a Magic Kingdom Park camel at the right time at The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. And even though you can get plenty of moisture at Kali River Rapids, you can also get a sprinkle or two from other Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests aiming squirt guns from the bridge over the attraction. Think of it a kind of public service for this time of year.

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Kid’s mini-water frolic areas. Some parks have mini-water fun areas, where festive sprays pop up at random and kids let off steam. Similar fun is flowing at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. The newest wonderful world of wet was suggested by reader Thomas in an earlier post, and it’s a big hit for the little ones, as well as a Magic Kingdom Park joy for fans of the Disney animated classic, “Dumbo.”

Club Cool. Beware of the Beverly! If you’ve been to this ethereal Epcot oasis before, you’ll probably get the reference. At Club Cool, you can sample international Coca-Cola products to your heart’s content. Everybody has a favorite, and more than one have stood poker-faced as newbies take sips of a brew called “Beverly” and watched them make the same face as Lucy did when she joined the thousands of happy peppy people who spooned their way to health with her first taste of Vitameatavegamin (“It’s so tasty, too. Tastes just like candy!”).

Disney Water Parks, of course. You can pretend you’re splashing around “snow-capped peaks” at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park–where little ones can step across ice blocks and giggle on Lilliputan miniatures of the park attractions. This summer, we’ve even introduced a fantastic selection of delicious foods at both Water Parks. And whether you’re Disney Channel fans or those of us whose hearts belong to Annette (or both), you can groove to music, entertainment and games during the Teen Beach 2: Beach Party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Twistin’ rockin’ eatin’ and laughin’ at beach parties is the height of summer coolness.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

#CoolestSummer Ever: AmeriCool!

posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


To lots of folks, the Fourth of July is one of the coolest times of the year. There are fireworks, icy cold drinks, fun foods and, of course the spirit of America – a spirit that can take on many forms, from ingenuity and tradition to good old-fashioned belly laughs.

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Here are a few AmericFaves, in no particular order of preference:

The Hall of Presidents. Many thanks to those readers who commented on last week’s post (and on all of our posts)! Several of you—including Jason, Eric, Sidney and James’s wife-named The Hall of Presidents as a great place to cool off and enjoy a spectacular presentation in which every U.S. President appears on stage. Thanks for the nice comments about what a great attraction it is!

The American Adventure. This is one of my personal favorites because the voice of Ben Franklin is done the late actor Dal McKennon, who worked on dozens of Disney films, park attractions, TV shows and records. Dal was also the voice of TV’s Archie, Gumby, and on camera played lots of character roles, including Cincinnatus on TV’s “Daniel Boone” starring Fess Parker, and Sam the cook in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Living on the West Coast, it was over 20 years before Dal actually saw The American Adventure. He wept for joy, and the guests who happened to be there that day had the pleasure of briefly meeting him in person.

Muppet*Vision 3-D. And now, for something completely silly. Who else but the madcap Muppets would present a crazy extravaganza like Sam Eagle’s “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”, in which what appear to be “it’s a small world” characters and “Babes in Toyland” figures cavort in utter chaos, as Lady Liberty Piggy beams majestically … until … well, you know what went down if you saw it. If not, check out Muppet*Vision 3-D soon!

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Corn-on-the-cob, chicken, burgers, mac and cheese are national treasures. Whether it’s the Fourth of July or not, this is a great way to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Chip ’n Dale, hear live country music and watch rope tricks (kind of like “Talent Roundup Day” on the Mickey Mouse Club!). This is an open-air experience with lots of circulating fans to supply the coolness. Reservations for dinner are required, but you don’t have to be staying at Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort to book it. Allow yourself some time to explore the lovely surrounding area, too (don’t forget to look for the Lawnmower Tree).

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Walt was called an “American original”; the very personification of hard work, goals and dreams realized (and some setbacks as well). But Walt and his creations are not bound by lines on a map or stars in the sky. His magic really belongs to the entire world. This magnificent journey through his amazing life, career and myriad of creations is sheer joy for everyone to share … makes no difference who you are.

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#CoolestSummer Ever: Magic Kingdom Park Cool

posted on June 26th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Magic Kingdom Park is a wonderland of pleasant places and experiences waiting to be discovered, and then made into regular visit traditions. When the summer sun is beaming it brightest, every seasoned guest has favorite attractions that are refreshingly air-conditioned and/or cooled nicely with fans and are relatively moderate as to queues (of course, “subject to change without notice” and all that stuff).

Anyway, here are a few super summer “ahhh-tractions”:

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Mickey’s PhilharMagic – What a great attraction for fans of classic Disney and great music! Again, the queue is primarily inside, amid funny “concert posters”, and the show is breezy and thoroughly delightful. (Here’s a bit of trivia: Hollywood studio singer Gene Merlino sings in the chorus of “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly”, just as he did in the original 1953 film!)

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Dumbo The Flying Elephant – Whoever came up with the idea of a circus tent waiting area, complete with benches and plenty of fun for kids, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, or at least a smoked turkey leg. You’re given a handy device that glows when you can enter the queue, after waiting in air-conditioned bliss. And when it’s time to fly with Dumbo, he tries really hard to catch the breeze as you whirl through the air.

Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor – By midday, who couldn’t use a chuckle or two in a stylish night club setting where Mike Wazowski presents the all-time best of the wincingly worst in super silly jokes and riddles. (My favorite riddle: “How do you know when an elephant has been in your refrigerator?” “He leaves his footprints in the butter!”)

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Country Bear Jamboree – This is a cherished Audio-Animatronics classic, as laid back as an contented ol’ dog taking a break in some cool, shaded grass. Highly recommended if members of your group are starting to get as revved up as long-tailed cats in a room full of rockers. (In my family, moodiness can sometimes also be cured with a quick snack and cool beverage. Not that anyone is ever moody on a Walt Disney World Resort dream vacation. It’s probably just my relatives.)

What are your favorite Magic Kingdom Park attractions for midday cool-downs?

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Sights and Sounds of Disney Parks: Playing It Cool at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 12th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Amid all the excitement of the fun and magic during the Coolest Summer Ever, let’s share some thoughts about all the Walt Disney World ways and wonders we enjoy to keep us cool. You’re probably already an expert on tips for dialing up the fun and toning down the sun, but to get started, here are just a few:

Stay cool inside. Drink plenty of water—even before you get too thirsty. Make sure the whole gang stays properly hydrated.

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Stay cool outside. Wear hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and comfy shoes—shoes that were made for walking. You don’t have to be a runner or jogger to visit your hometown running shoe store (or Fit2Run at the Downtown Disney Area). They’ll help you find shoes that support the way you specifically walk. Just wait until you’ve walked in shoes so comfy, they’re ‘like butter’!

Take a break. Make use of extended park hours and Extra Magic Hours so briefly bid adieu to the parks for an hour or two at your Disney Resort hotel. Take a refreshing “power nap.” Loll around in the pool (staying in the shade as much as possible). Savor a leisurely meal at a Disney Resort restaurant (make reservations soon). When you get back to the parks, you’ll feel as fresh as the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!

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Write a book. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Well, we’re very proud of a brand new gem now available in select shops called “My Walt Disney World Travels”. It’s an easy-to-carry spiral bound book with lots of places to jot down the delightful details of up to five Walt Disney World Resort visits. Each of the five visit sections has a pocket for odds and ends that become personal treasures.

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You might ask, “Sure, ‘My Walt Disney World Travels’ is filled with fun, clever things, but isn’t it a kids’ book?” Yes and no. Yes, hand them to the kids when they’re in need of a cool-down break; when they’re asking when their chicken nuggets will be served, or just about to make all the grownups wake up just a little too soon. But why should kids have all the journal fun? The book has a wonderful Mary Blair flair to it, so it epitomizes the pinnacle of style and sophistication.

That reminds me, I’ve got to go jot something down right now! Until we meet here next Friday, what are your tips for keeping cool and comfortable on warmish summer days?

For information on purchasing select Disney merchandise items, call Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477 or send an email to 
merchandiseguestservices@disney.go.com.

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Why Guests Can’t Get Enough of ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 10th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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There’s something about “Festival of the Lion King“—the music, the performers, the staging and the overall celebratory feeling—that excites guests with every performance.

This magnificent musical tribute to a young lion’s journey of discovery is created in such a way as to keep you engaged in every aspect of the story. As Tara Anderson, show director for “Festival of the Lion King,” stated: “With our production, we don’t tell the story of “‘The Lion King’.” We celebrate the music and the characters of the story. We hit all the beats of the story, but we do it in a very artistic way.”

While some audience members are welcomed to participate, guests can feel like longtime friends in this lush, exotic world. And once Timon takes the stage to lead everyone in “Hakuna Matata”, it’s impossible not to feel drawn into all the magic.

Among the show’s highlights are the very agile and sprightly Tumble Monkeys, a troupe put together by their pal, Timon. The highly-trained acrobats perform Olympic-style feats in sync to a lively jazz medley.

Of course, that cunning, two-faced Scar is also at hand, spreading villainy with his snarky hyena henchmen in “Be Prepared” which features an electrifying fire dance. But love literally soars above it all when the Flying Bird performers, clad in radiant color and plumage, bring “Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ to the highest heights in sheer balletic splendor.

“The show has wonderful individual elements,” Tara said. “What makes it work is all those elements coming together and being that circle of life.” And that is the feeling that is evoked when you hear the “Circle of Life” being sung and see all the entertainers dressed as the animals take the stage for the finale. Timon then leads everyone in singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with the Tumble Monkeys performing for all.

There are performances throughout the day, so check your Time Guide. You can use your Fastpass+ to pre-arrange times for viewing.

What is your favorite part of the show? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: Lucie Arnaz and the Space Mountain Launch

posted on January 8th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


You may be aware that Space Mountain celebrates its birthday this month—it’s 40 years young!—as a beloved attraction. But do you know that it’s the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida? Or who were the first two stars to be launched into the Tomorrowland galaxy? Emmy-winning entertainer/producer Lucie Arnaz and Tony-winning Broadway legend Tommy Tune, that’s who.

The Space Mountain grand opening festivities were almost as elaborate as the opening of Walt Disney World Resort itself, so much so that a musical variety special was created for “The Wonderful World of Disney TV” show by Academy Awards producer Marty Pasetta. It was called “Welcome to the ‘World'” because it was the first network TV special to take place at Walt Disney World Resort (earlier broadcasts were either non-network programs or short previews).

Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975 Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975 Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975

We caught up with the versatile Lucie as she was finishing a triumphant national tour of the hit musical “Pippin.” She was delighted to gab with us about what went on behind the scenes during the opening festivities for Space Mountain, though she hadn’t watched the special in years but got the opportunity recently when Marty Pasetta sent her a copy.

So what was her reaction seeing the definitely-’70s (think groovy fashions and splashy production numbers) show again? “Fantastic!”

And she shared a tasty tidbit with us. Aside from the technicians who tested it out, Lucie and Tommy were the first two people to ever ride on Space Mountain, introducing the country to the soon-to-be fan favorite.

“It was just incredible fun. Nothing like you’d ever seen before. Because it was in the dark! A roller coaster is one thing, but when you were in the dark you couldn’t tell if you were going to go left or right or up or down—it’s like WLLAHH! Just amazing.”

To get the amazing shots needed for the special, more than half a dozen cameras were installed all around the inside of Space Mountain. And what you see is what you get—when you see the stars riding the attraction, they’re actually doing it, again and again and again, until the director was satisfied with the takes.

Or, as Lucie explains it, “We were like, ‘Oh, good! We get to go around again! YAY!’”

The song “I’m Flying” from “Peter Pan” was recorded before the taping and the stars lip synched to it while cameras rolled. They put speakers in the rocket and every time the director yelled “Action!” the song would play and they’d sing along to their vocal track.

Between singing and general screaming while riding Space Mountain, Lucie says her voice was “lost in space.” But she still calls it a “spectacular experience.”

During rehearsals, they’d open the park early for the stars and that took her back to another time. “I felt just like a kid again, back when my mom [TV legend Lucille Ball] used to take us to Disneyland.”

She and Tommy even got the chance to waltz together, by themselves, at night, in front of Cinderella Castle. It doesn’t get more magical than that.

A musical highlight of the show mentioned all the things you could do at Walt Disney World Resort—circa 1975—to the tune of “Holiday for Strings.” It begins with the line “They have a Mickey Mouse, a haunted house” and ends with “Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Doc and … DOPEY!” Incredibly, Lucie remembers the song verbatim and even sang it for us.

The memorable TV special finale was the Space Mountain grand opening ceremony with astronaut Gordon Cooper. And that was no accident. The Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 astronaut served on the Space Mountain creative team as a consultant.

As our conversation wound down, I asked Lucie if she’s had the chance to enjoy Space Mountain here in Orlando since she hosted the special. Her response was immediate. “Yes, yes! Several times since then. I’ve been to Disney World a lot with my kids.”

With all that Lucie Arnaz continues to accomplish, it’s gratifying to learn that she enjoys Disney Parks stuff just as much we all do. Obviously, the Space Mountain show wasn’t just a TV gig for her.

And that was the opening chapter for an attraction that is so popular, Space Mountain now exists at every Disney Resort across the globe. So when was the last time you enjoyed a rousing rocket ride to explore the wonders of outer space?

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Sights & Sounds of Disney Parks: An Inside Peek at Mickey’s ‘Boo-to-You’ Halloween Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 7th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Under the seasoned auspices of the multitalented, Tara Anderson, Senior Director at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment, ghosts waltz, spirits become more spirited, villains strut their stuff and happy haunts materialize — all on the otherwise chipper, cheery Main Street, U.S.A.

Even if you’ve never met Tara (and she’s super nice), countless Magic Kingdom Park guests (perhaps including you) have cheered the artistry of Tara, along with the creative team, singers, dancers, characters and villains that make Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade one of the all-time most popular features of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Tara sat down (something she rarely gets a chance to do) and told us about her boo-tiful baby.

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GREG: You know this parade backwards and forwards, the way Queen Elsa knows advanced refrigeration. What is the “story” that unfolds as we watch the parade?

TARA: The story of the parade is that Mickey and his Magic Kingdom friends are having a series of parties. So, the first scene is Mickey’s own party. It kind of represents Main Street, U.S.A. because he, Minnie, Donald and Daisy are in a quaint gazebo. He’s invited friends like Snow White, Dopey, Pinocchio, Gepetto, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Aladdin, Jasmine and Pooh. And Pluto has a new costume this year — an adorable lion!

Then the parade takes us to Adventureland, where it’s pirates, pirates, pirates! This year, we put Peter Pan and Wendy and some Lost Boys on the pirate ship. It’s my homage to the scene in the film where the pirates have them trapped and Peter comes to the rescue Of course, we have Captain Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and some crewmembers. That’s our Adventureland salute.

GREG: What songs do we hear during this sequence?

TARA: You’ll hear “Boo To You,” written specifically for the parade. It’s so catchy, we find ourselves still singing this tune to ourselves six months into the next year! There’s no question that every parade really starts with the music. For Hook’s ship, we have “Yo-Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” from Pirates of the Caribbean and “A Pirate’s Life is a Wonderful Life” from Peter Pan.

The next sequence is Liberty Square and Haunted Mansion. It begins with the Groundskeeper and his dog, Jolene.

GREG: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene?”

TARA: (laughs) Oh no, not at all! Our Jolene is actually a rescue dog, which is why none of the craziness going on ever phases her. The gravediggers — known as the Deadly Dozen — and our graveyard float follow Jolene and the Groundskeeper. This year, we doubled the number of dead waltzers.

GREG: I love the dead waltzers. So light on their feet!

TARA: Then, of course, the Hitchhiking Ghosts come along and the Grim Grinning Ghosts.

GREG: And those gravedigger shovels that spark. Is that a special effect?

TARA: Actually, that was a happy accident. We were backstage one night, just walking around a building and somebody was dragging a shovel and it sparked. It was like “Ooooohhh!” and we made it part of the show.

GREG: It’s such a simple thing! Everyone loves the shovels.

TARA: To represent Frontierland, we have a Halloween Hoedown. This year, our cowgirls have new costumes. We decided to give everybody cowboy boots and denim and just rock it out a little bit. The music there is mostly “Ghost Riders in the Sky” with a little bit of “Rodeo” thrown in. Clara Cluck sits up in her barn while Clarabelle Cow calls out the square dance for Chip ‘n Dale, Brer Bear, Brer Fox, Brer Rabbit and the Country Bears — Big Al, Wendell and Liver Lips.

GREG: And as everybody knows, a party is never quite the same without Liver Lips.

TARA: Isn’t that the truth! (laughs) From here, we change things up in the parade a little bit. Our Goofy’s Candy Company truck got an extreme makeover and it’s a new Sugar Rush delivery truck full of candy corn. Wreck-It Ralph rides the truck and Vanellope runs around, being Vanellope. The truck looks like it’s made out of candy. Really cute. Goofy’s Candy Factory is after the Sugar Rush truck.

GREG: Then lots of villains bring up the rear.

TARA: They get to be the grand finale. They’re singing “It’s Good To Be Bad” around a float carrying the Dead Head Band, and behind there’s the Queen of Hearts, Frollo, Big Bad Wolf and others. They’re on a villain float with Chernabog; we have Maleficent, Jafar and the wicked queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” New this year is the Bowler Hat Guy from “Meet the Robinsons” and he’s very, very funny!

GREG: How many months in advance do you start preparing this parade?

TARA: After the current parade has its run, we have a post-parade meeting to discuss successes and opportunities for improvement. Then around February, we talk about the event as a whole and determine what we might want to do in the coming year. If we’re going to revamp a float or create new costumes, they need the longest lead times. This year we started rehearsals at the beginning of August because we opened the party on September 1.

GREG: How does this parade rate on the “Tara Meter”?

TARA: On the “Tara Meter”? I don’t know — I’m not supposed to have favorites among my children! It is certainly one of my favorites. It’s just one of those things where everything came together just right. Yes, we tweak it every year. I love that it has that sort of flexibility to add and take away, but the core is so solid, you can do that.

GREG: It’s sort of like a great Broadway show. It might be revived dozens of times, but there are always alterations, the score changes, the chemistry of the cast varies and scenes are moved around. It’s always fresh.

TARA: Absolutely. And we do that. We want it to be fresh for our new guests and our many returning guests — and we’re grateful that there are so many. We want them to see the things that they’ll remember and want to see again and also be thrilled by new things. That’s why “Boo-to-You” is forever new!

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