Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

1957 Photo: Walt Disney and a Haberdashed Horse at Disneyland Park

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


Soon my colleague, Donna Fisk, will introduce a new series here on the Disney Parks Blog where you’ll meet the current stable of beautiful horses at the Disneyland Resort. But, because I know you’re champing at the bit for a horse story …
Walt Disney and a Haberdashed Horse at Disneyland Park in 1957

I’m sharing this photo I recently came across from April 1957 of Walt Disney greeting one his four-legged cast members in the Central Hub at Disneyland park – a reminder that horses have been a part of the magic from the very beginning.

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1964 Photos: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

posted on March 5th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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This year marks the 50th anniversary of a previously undiscovered region at Disneyland park (now navigable on the Jungle Cruise) known as the African Veldt.

So intrigued by this discovery, Walt Disney himself decided to pay a visit to the region to checkout the wildlife.

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Among the things Walt saw that day was a lion pride “protecting a sleeping zebra.” Now, putting your hands near a hungry lion is no laughing matter…

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Or is it?

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David Wise Celebrates Gold at the Disneyland Resort

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


“David Wise, you’ve just won the first-ever gold medal in ski halfpipe, what are you going to do next?” Well, you know the rest, right?

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On Tuesday, we caught up with the Wise family on Matterhorn Way, where Mickey Mouse stopped by to say hello.

Just one week earlier, David made headlines around the world when he took home the first gold medal for halfpipe skiing. David’s wife, Lexi, made the trip to Sochi, but they were only reunited with their two year-old, Nayeli, the day before their Disneyland trip. How much more could there be to celebrate? Well, it also happened to be David and Lexi’s wedding anniversary!

This was Nayeli’s first visit to the Disneyland Resort, and David said he hadn’t been here since he was her age, so it felt like the first time for him too. Their first Disneyland park attraction as a family? Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Nayeli’s favorite). Later, the family wrapped up their daylong celebration with “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park.

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If I had to sum up the reaction of Disneyland Resort guests as they encountered us taking this picture of David at Sleeping Beauty Castle, I would say, as so many of them did, “Congratulations, David – way to go!”

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A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Johnny Cash – 1961

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


Music legend Johnny Cash was born on this day in 1932, and today we’re sharing a rarely seen photo of “The Man in Black” during a visit to Disneyland park..

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This picture of Mr. Cash in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat was taken in the summer of 1961.

He really seems to fit the part, don’t you think?

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A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Ansel Adams – 1981

posted on February 20th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


On this date in 1902, photographer and conservationist Ansel Adams was born in California. His photography of the American West, particularly of Yosemite National Park, is among the most iconic imagery of the 20th century.

In 1980, Mr. Adams received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor. His citation reads: “At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both in film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.”

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This rarely seen photo from our archives, taken around the time of his 79th birthday in February 1981, shows Mr. Adams being greeted outside City Hall at Disneyland park by Mickey Mouse.

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Newlyweds Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting Spend ‘Mini-Honeymoon’ at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 19th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Television star Kaley Cuoco and professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting were married on New Year’s Eve, so Valentine’s Day weekend was the perfect time for Kaley to bring her husband to the Disneyland Resort for his very first visit.
Newlyweds Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting Spend ‘Mini-Honeymoon’ at the Disneyland Resort

What better place for Ryan to start than on Mad Tea Party?
Newlyweds Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting Spend ‘Mini-Honeymoon’ at the Disneyland Resort

Congratulations and best wishes to this fun-loving couple!

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Remembering Shirley Temple at Disneyland Resort

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


Iconic film star from the 1930s, turned U.S. diplomat, Shirley Temple Black, passed away yesterday at the age of 85. Although she never appeared in a Disney film, she knew Walt Disney, and has a unique place in our history including an animated caricature cameo in the Donald Duck short, “The Autograph Hound,” as well as her service as a member of the Disney board of directors in the mid-1970s.

But we have a special memory of Shirley Temple here at the Disneyland Resort that some people may not be aware of.

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In April 1957, Walt Disney invited Shirley to oversee the opening of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama.

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Her daughters Lori and Linda can be seen in the background, along with her husband, Charles Black.

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She later said this was the last time she saw Walt Disney, whom she remembered fondly.

It was 18 years earlier that Shirley, at the height of her phenomenal film career, presented Walt Disney with a special Academy Award (including seven miniature statuettes) for “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” in acknowledgment of the “significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.”

A photo of this iconic moment in Hollywood history hangs proudly in the hallway leading to the dining room of Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure park.

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Shirley: “I’m sure all the boys and girls in the whole world are going to be very happy when they find out the daddy of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ Mickey Mouse, Ferdinand and all the others is going to get this beautiful statue. Isn’t bright and shiny! Aren’t you proud of it, Mr. Disney?”

Walt: “I’m so proud I think I’ll bust. You know I think that Mickey Mouse, Ferdinand, Snow White and all the dwarfs are going to be very proud that you presented it.”

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Emma Thompson Returns to Disneyland Park

posted on January 16th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


This week, the brilliant Emma Thompson returned to Disneyland park, where just more than a year ago she filmed memorable scenes for “Saving Mr. Banks.” This time the trip was just for fun and she brought along her daughter, Gaia, who was visiting us for the very first time.

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So, what attraction did this fun-loving mother-daughter duo experience together first? Space Mountain! Emma said that after riding it two times she was ready for something a little more tame. Next stop: “it’s a small world.

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VIDEO: Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz – Behind the Scenes with Jessica Chastain as Merida

posted on January 13th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Last week, you got the first look at the latest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Disney Parks starring Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain as Merida. Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes, to the village of Cold Spring, New York, nestled inside the Hudson Valley, near a region known as the Hudson Highlands. It was the perfect setting for this stunning “Brave“-inspired portrait.

The moment Jessica walked on to the set with that red hair blowing in the wind, everyone knew that we were in for something special. From the gorgeous setting Annie selected, to the details of the dress her team had created, along with Jessica’s natural ease with the horse, being at this shoot was like stepping into Merida’s world, if only for a few hours.

Here’s a look at that memorable morning last September.

One more thing … Jessica told me her family (especially her dad) is “obsessed” with Disneyland park, and she was planning a special Christmas gift for them (we had to promise not to spill the beans before the holidays) – a surprise trip to Walt Disney World! So, here’s a little more of our conversation, where she talks about her family’s favorite thing to do while visiting Disney Parks — pin trading!

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Exclusive First Look: New Annie Leibovitz Disney Dream Portrait Featuring Jessica Chastain as Merida

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


I guess it was fate that the first character from a Disney•Pixar film celebrated in our Disney Dream Portrait series would be Merida from “Brave.” Created by the amazing Annie Leibovitz, and featuring Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain, our latest portrait is entitled, “Where your destiny awaits.”
Jessica Chastain as Princess Merida in Latest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

This stunning new portrait can be seen in the February issue of O – The Oprah Magazine, available on newsstands later this month.

Haste ye back and we’ll go behind the scenes of this hair-raising photo shoot on Friday!

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