Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

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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New Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz to Debut Thursday on Disney Parks Blog

posted on January 8th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Tomorrow morning we’ll have the exclusive first look at the new Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz, right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Until then, here’s a photo I took when I arrived at the stunning location of this shoot. Are you, umm, courageous enough to take a guess?

To see other recent Disney Dream Portraits, click here.

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Mandy Moore Celebrates Disney Junior’s ‘Sheriff Callie’s Wild West’ at Disneyland Park

posted on November 21st, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


“Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” is a new Disney Junior series starring Mandy Moore as the voice of a heroic kitty cat sheriff. So when Mandy visited Disneyland park last week, Frontierland seemed like the perfect place to catch up with her, since in the show, she’s the sheriff of an Old West-themed town called Nice and Friendly Corners.

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This show is the first western for preschoolers and premieres this Sunday, November 24, on WATCHDisneyJunior.com and the WATCH Disney Junior app for smartphones and tablets, and it debuts on Disney Channel and Disney Junior in early 2014. “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” was developed by the same team that created “Higglytown Heroes” – a favorite in my house for many years.

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Remembering Diane Disney Miller

posted on November 19th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Today we learned of the passing of Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller. Upon learning the sad news, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Diane Disney Miller. She is remembered by Disney fans around the world as the beloved daughter of Walt Disney, and one who graciously shared her family history and personal memories of her father.”

“Diane was a fierce guardian of her father’s legacy who never hesitated to set the record straight, opening The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco to bring her father’s fascinating story to life. In our many conversations over the years, Diane’s unique and special perspective about her father only deepened my considerable appreciation for him. Diane was incredibly generous in that regard, freely sharing her personal insights and providing details that deepened our knowledge, and we remain grateful for her many valuable contributions to our efforts to preserve Disney history. She and her sister, Sharon, have long been recognized as Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland, a place he created for families to have fun together. For that reason and many others, Diane will always have a special place in our company’s legacy and in the hearts of fans.”

“She was also known for her philanthropic efforts, including playing an integral role in the development of the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to ensure the creation of a unique venue bearing her father’s name that she believed would be “a wonderful thing for the city, for the spirit, for the soul.”

“Diane was the wife of former Disney CEO Ron Miller, as well as mother to their seven children, Christopher, Joanna, Tamara, Jennifer, Walter, Ronald and Patrick. She also had 13 grandchildren and had the great joy of recently welcoming her first great-grandchild into the world. We send our sincere condolences to the entire family and our thoughts remain with them during this difficult time.”

Last year, at the Disneyland Resort, we had an opportunity to meet Diane and take some photographs of her and her family as they visited Disney California Adventure park for the first time since its expansion. Spending a little time with her was a thrill for all of us.

Diane Disney Miller Story Teller Statue

Upon seeing the Storytellers statue, Diane remarked with a sparkle in her eye that she didn’t remember him being this young, saying, “He was older when I met him!”

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Diane also joined us at Disneyland park for our 50th anniversary celebration on July 17, 2005, pictured here with Disney Legend Art Linkletter.

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Among our favorite photos of Diane and the Disney family is this special moment captured during Walt and Lillian’s wedding anniversary celebration in The Golden Horseshoe, just four days before the grand opening of Disneyland park — her father’s dream that she and her sister Sharon inspired years earlier on that day when their dad watched them play from a nearby park bench.

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‘The View’ Co-Hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy Tape Segments to air During Broadcasts from the Disneyland Resort November 18-22

posted on November 14th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


The ladies of ABC’s hit daytime show, ‘The View,’ like to remind viewers to ‘take a little time to enjoy the view,’ and recently, co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy took a little more time to enjoy the Disneyland Resort while producing some segments to air exclusively on ABC during their broadcasts next week!

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In a charming and heartwarming segment scheduled to air Monday, November 18, Jenny McCarthy searches Disneyland park to uncover her ‘Disney Side’ during her magical visit to “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

LAMAR "SAL" SALLY, SHERRI SHEPHERD

Meanwhile, Sherri Shepherd got “all revved up” as she and her husband Lamar ‘Sal’ Sally spent some time in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. Her hilarious segment also finds the duo meeting memorable characters and riding attractions including ‘The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’ and will air Tuesday, November 19.

‘The View’ from the Disneyland Resort will feature guest stars including Jimmy Kimmel, Tim Allen, Kobe Bryant and Demi Lovato. ‘The View’ airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am – 12:00 pm, ET), check your local listings.

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First Look: Nick Cannon, Mary J. Blige, Demi Lovato, ‘Teen Beach Movie’ Cast and More at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

posted on November 12th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Last weekend, we taped some segments for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, and we’ve got an exciting first look at all the merriment you can look forward to when the broadcast airs Christmas Day on ABC.
Nick Cannon at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

Nick Cannon returns to the Disneyland Resort this year, and we caught up with him and Pluto during a break in taping.
Mary J. Blige at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

Mary J. Blige makes her first appearance on the show this year, accompanied by music legend, David Foster.
Demi Lovato at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

Demi Lovato performs a song from our upcoming animated feature, “Frozen,” that you won’t want to miss! Minnie even stopped by after Demi’s performance to say hello.
Dove Cameron at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

Dove Cameron, star of Disney Channel’s hit show, “Liv and Maddie,” makes a little Christmas Day Parade history by performing a song for the very first time in front of the Matterhorn.
Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo take to the stage to perform a classic holiday duet.
Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell and the cast of the hit Disney Channel Original Movie, 'Teen Beach Movie' at the Disneyland Resort for the 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC

The cast of the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Teen Beach Movie,” reunite for a special medley that fans are going to love!

Check back for updates on the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, and remember to tune in to ABC on Wednesday, December 25 at 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. CT/PT (check local listings) for all the music and magic!

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A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Vivien Leigh and John Gielgud – 1964

posted on November 4th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


One hundred years ago tomorrow, legendary actress Vivien Leigh was born. Today we look back at her visit to Disneyland park with longtime friend, and fellow Academy Award-winning actor, John Gielgud.

We located two rarely seen photographs of this visit from the summer of 1964.

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The first is aboard the Jungle Cruise and I can’t help but wonder about the reaction of these two masters of the stage to the, shall we say, “unique” humor, of this beloved attraction.

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The second photo shows the two famous Brits exploring the wilderness of North America aboard the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland. They really seem to be having a great time, don’t they?

For more in the “Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests” series, click the links below:

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A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Elsa Lanchester and Charles Laughton – 1956

posted on October 28th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


On this date in 1902, actress Elsa Lanchester was born in London. Disney aficionados will recognize her as the comically exasperated, and accidental, “Sister Suffragette,” Katie Nanna from “Mary Poppins,” as well as for her appearances in Disney’s “That Darn Cat!” and “Blackbeard’s Ghost.” But it is her iconic 1935 film role as “The Bride of Frankenstein” opposite Boris Karloff that makes this seem like the perfect time to look back at her 1956 visit to Disneyland park with husband, Academy Award-winning actor, Charles Laughton.
Elsa Lanchester and Charles Laughton Visit Disneyland Park - 1956

I don’t think there’s a more perfect place to photograph this silver-screen couple than the Main Street Cinema. “I’ve said my say and that’s all I’ll say!”

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Steve Carell Celebrates Halloween Time with Donald Duck at Disneyland Park

posted on October 7th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Recently, actor Steve Carell visited Disneyland park and Donald Duck stopped by to show off his Halloween Time costume.

It was Steve’s first visit to the park during this special seasonal celebration and based on this photo, I think it’s fair to say he got into the spirit of things!

Steve Carell Celebrates Halloween Time at Disneyland Park

Is it just me, or are these two quacking you up, too?

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