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Donald and Daisy Greet Guests During the Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at the Magic Kingdom Park

Behind the Scenes at Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration

posted on December 18th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Robin Roberts and Tim Tebow Tape the 2014 Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

Christmas Day is still a week away, but today you’re going behind the scenes with some of the stars taking part in “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration” as they share their holiday wishes and talk about what it means to be a part of this Disney holiday tradition. This year our star-studded annual Christmas Day telecast on ABC originates from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in Southern California and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii.

The “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration” airs December 25, 2014 on ABC-TV at 10 a.m. EST and 9 a.m. in most other time zones. Be sure to check your local listings and join the conversation online using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

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The ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ Connection to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

posted on December 17th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park holds many hidden secrets, but it turns out that one of these secrets is hiding in plain sight …

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Walt Disney’s landmark live-action film adaptation of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” debuted sixty years ago this month. The film, which went on to win two Academy Awards®, was also the first Disney feature filmed in CinemaScope. The success of the movie gave Walt the idea to put some of its sets on display in an exhibit using available space at Disneyland in the summer of 1955.

20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit

The Nautilus Salon set created for the film was set up in Tomorrowland as a temporary exhibit, but it became so popular that it remained on display for 11 years.

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Having heard rumors for years about what happened to those original set pieces, I reached out to our friends at the Walt Disney Archives who confirmed that when the sets were disassembled in 1966, the pipe organ (without its fanned piping) was set aside for use inside the Haunted Mansion, which would open three years later.

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Yes, the pipe organ in the ballroom scene of the Haunted Mansion is the very same one that James Mason, as Captain Nemo, played in the film. I was pleased to also learn that the Walt Disney Archives still has many of the original furniture pieces from the Nautilus Salon, including the recently discovered organ bench shown in this production photo.

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First Look: Robin Roberts, Ariana Grande, Tim Tebow, Lexi Walker, Prince Royce and More at the Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration on ABC

posted on December 12th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Earlier this week, the stars came out at the Walt Disney World Resort as production continued on Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration on ABC.

“Good Morning America” Anchor Robin Roberts Hosts the 2014 Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts was joined by Anna and Elsa while hosting from Magic Kingdom Park.

Ariana Grande Tapes Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

Singing superstar Ariana Grande caught up with Mickey Mouse after her performance of “Last Christmas” and her newest holiday hit, “Santa Tell Me.”

Prince Royce Tapes Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

Singer-songwriter Prince Royce took to the stage to sing “Feliz Navidad.”

Tim Tebow Tapes Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

ESPN and SEC Network personality Tim Tebow met up with Louis the alligator from “The Princess and the Frog” during the taping.

YouTube Sensation Lexi Walker Tapes Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

YouTube sensation Lexi Walker delighted the audience with her performance of “Let it Go.”

Don’t forget to tune in to ABC on Thursday, Dec. 25:

  • Eastern Time Zone: 10 a.m.
  • Central Time Zone: 9 a.m.
  • Mountain Time Zone: 9 a.m.
  • Pacific Time Zone: 9 a.m.

You can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

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Building The Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Main Street Station

posted on December 9th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Continuing our look at Disneyland park during its construction, today I’m sharing two very rare photos of Main Street Station, the popular starting point of your “grand circle tour” aboard the vintage trains of the Disneyland Railroad.

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This image was taken as the framing of the building was far enough along to recognize the train station we know today.

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Just over one month later, the progress is stunning. I can practically hear the bell ringing and the whistle blowing as the train approaches.

You’ll notice that the clock tower doesn’t have a clock yet. In our next “construction update” you’ll see why that’s a very good thing.


Previously in the “Building the Dream” series:

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First Look: Sarah Hyland, Gavin DeGraw and Laura Marano at Aulani for Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration on ABC

posted on December 4th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Earlier this week, the beach at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was the stage for some musical segments being produced for Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration.

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Gavin DeGraw performed the classic song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and then delighted the audience with his hit song, “Fire.”

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Actress Sarah Hyland joined us to introduce the performances from Aulani.

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Austin & Ally” star Laura Marano brought some “Frozen” holiday fun to Aulani with her performance of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” – or should we say “Sandman?”

Check back for updates about Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration and don’t forget to tune in to ABC on Thursday, December 25 at 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. in all other time zones (check local listings). You can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

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Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Floral Mickey

posted on November 26th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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Main Street Station and its iconic floral depiction of Mickey Mouse have become one of the most photographed locations in the world, as millions of guests over six decades have captured their first Disney Parks memory entering Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom.

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But less than a week before opening day, the floral in “floral Mickey” had yet to materialize. Horticulturalist Jack Evans received a memo dated July 11, 1955, from Joe Fowler which read, “When are you going to plant Mickey Mouse in the entrance? Looks to me like the time is getting pretty late.”

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As you probably know, “Mickey” was planted in time for the big day and he’s been in full bloom every day since.

Check back for more “construction updates” soon.


Previously in the “Building the Dream” series:

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Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Main Entrance

posted on November 12th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


The Main Entrance turnstiles are where most guests begin their visit to Disneyland park – exclusively so until the Disneyland Monorail extended its track to the Disneyland Hotel in 1961.

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As this photo shows, construction of the park was well underway by the time the Main Entrance turnstiles were built.

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One month later, only days before opening day, the turnstiles were completed. A lot of progress was also made at Main Street Station and on the “floral Mickey” designed to greet guests upon their arrival into the park.

Check back for “construction updates” soon!


Previously in the “Building the Dream” series:

  • Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park
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    First Look: Train, Trisha Yearwood, Lucy Hale, Trey Songz and More at the Disneyland Resort for Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration on ABC

    posted on November 11th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Earlier this week we began production on our annual holiday special for ABC, this year titled Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration. Today we’re giving you the first look at what’s in store Christmas morning from the Disneyland Resort.

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    Train took the stage at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle in Disneyland park to perform “Shake Up Christmas.”

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    Donald Duck met up with Patrick Monahan and Jimmy Stafford after the performance and we snapped this fun photo.

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    Trey Songz then delighted the audience with “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

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    Daisy showed up to wish Trey Happy Holidays.

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    Over in Disney California Adventure park, Lucy Hale brought holiday cheer to Cars Land with her performance of “Mistletoe.”

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    Back at Disneyland park, Trisha Yearwood gave the audience a beautiful rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

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    Trisha met two of her biggest fans after her performance, Chip and Dale.

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    ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano from GMA Weekend joins us as host from the Disneyland Resort this year, and he and his wife Eryn brought daughter Madeline along to meet Minnie Mouse for the first time.

    Check back for updates about Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration and don’t forget to tune in to ABC on Thursday, Dec. 25 at 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. in all other time zones (check local listings). You can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

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    1958 Photo: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

    posted on October 30th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Earlier this year I shared some rare pictures of Walt Disney at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland park. There was such a great response that I set out to find and share even more photography of Walt at one of his favorite original Disneyland park attractions, the world-famous Jungle Cruise.

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    This rarely seen photo, digitally scanned from the original color negative, required some restoration, but once it was done, I couldn’t wait to share it.

    What do you think of Walt as a Jungle Cruise skipper?

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    Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park

    posted on October 27th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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    Today I’m introducing a new photo series on the construction of Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom, Disneyland park. The photos we’ll be sharing over the next several months capture the dawn of a new kind of family entertainment as dedicated, talented artists create a happy place, as Walt described it, “where parents and children can have fun, together.”

    A year before the park was to open, Walt made a deal with the ABC television network that included production of a new weekly anthology series where Walt himself could give updates on his special project. On October 27, 1954, he unveiled his plans to a national television audience during the debut episode of this new television show, appropriately titled, “Disneyland.”

    “Mickey and I started out, the first time, many, many years ago,” Walt said. “We’ve had a lot of our dreams come true. Now we want you to share with us our latest and greatest dream.”

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    “That’s it, right here. ‘Disneyland’ … we hope that it will be unlike anything else on this Earth … a place of hopes and dreams, facts and fancy, all in one.”

    “Next year, our television show will be coming from this ‘Disneyland,’ but this year, we want you to see and share with us the experience of building this dream into a reality.”

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    In that spirit, here’s a rare photo of the site Walt selected. As you can see, orange groves were still very much a part of Anaheim in 1954. The original site was made up of parcels owned by 17 different people.

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    In just a few short months, excavation of the site was complete and the first Disney park was beginning to take shape.

    Check back for “construction updates” soon.

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