Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

999 Happy Haunts: Here Comes The Bride

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week our Happy Haunts series is taking a look at the true lady of the house – The Bride. (This character’s storyline varies a bit at Haunted Mansion attractions around the world, so we’ll focus mainly on her appearance at Magic Kingdom Park).

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(Art by Morgan Davidson)

Imagineer Ken Anderson developed one of the first storylines for the Bride, who was a young woman named Priscilla set to be wed to a sea captain named Captain Gore. Throughout this version of the attraction – which at first was being developed as a walk-through experience – guests would follow Priscilla as she found evidence that her love was actually a wicked pirate. Priscilla then vanished and was never seen again, although her spirit presence in the mansion was said to have driven the Captain mad. In another version of the Bride’s storyline, Walt Disney himself was set to narrate the attraction (think of Walt as the “Ghost Host”), and was to reference a bride character who had “lost her head” before the big day.

The Bride’s storyline was finally solidified when Imagineers Marc Davis, Claude Coats and X. Atencio were handed the project in the mid-1960s. Set in a creepy, cluttered attic full of shadows and surprises, the Bride waited for guests at the end of the room with a red pulsing heart and a flowing dress. Over the years, her storyline became more prominent, with wedding mementos placed throughout the attic, a louder thumping heartbeat, and the tune of the Wedding March plunked on a harpischord in the background. Later changes indicate that it was the groom that really lost his head inside the mansion: the Bride currently holds an ax, and nearby portraits of the happy couple reveal a headless groom when the lightning flashes.

In the artwork above, artist Morgan Davidson gave the Bride a Halloween twist. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below!

For more Happy Haunts, check out the posts below:

Disney Parks After Dark: A Parisian Sunset at Epcot

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I love Paris … at World Showcase. And tonight’s Disney Parks After Dark photo only makes me want to visit it again. What a lovely sunset (captured by Photographer Tom Bricker).

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What’s your favorite pavilion to visit in World Showcase after the sun goes down? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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‘Direct Your Disney Side’ Shorts Showcase Tween Filmmakers’ Disney Side

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If given the chance, how would a tween express their Disney Side on film?

This was the question that our Yellow Shoes Creative Group (partnered with Adolescent Films) posed to tween filmmakers in our “Direct Your Disney Side” project. Three tweens, Elwood Walker, Jack Vinetz, and Claire Jantzen were chosen to pitch, storyboard and even direct their own short film, all inspired by how they show their Disney Side.

We’ll be sharing each student’s short here on the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at the fun the tweens had during their filmmaking adventures.

Be sure to check back tomorrow, when we’ll share “Rocket Boy” the first film in the series.

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10 Things To Know About The Haunted Mansion Theme ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the Disney Parks attractions with catchy theme songs, I sure don’t mind when this one gets stuck in my head. “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the theme of The Haunted Mansion, is both merry and spooky at the same time, and is perfectly fitting for one of our guest-favorite attractions.

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As our Halloween celebration continues, here are 10 things you may not know about this tune.

  1. The success of the catchy theme song, “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me),” at Pirates of the Caribbean spurred interest in creating a similarly compelling tune for the (then under-construction) Haunted Mansion attraction. Without “Pirates” we may never have had “Ghosts!”
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” composers Buddy Baker and X. Atencio were proven to be Disney songwriting successes when put on the project. Atencio had penned lyrics to the song “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”, while Baker’s theme park contributions included scoring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.
  3. Popular voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft sang baritone for the track. His voice can also be heard in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” among other Disney films.
  4. Thurl’s quartet, The Mellomen, also contributed harmony to “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The group had previously lent their voices to “Alice In Wonderland,” “Peter Pan” and “The Jungle Book.”

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  1. The arrangement of the tune progresses throughout the attraction, starting off on an eerie piano in the library and funeral scenes, then bolder as organ music in the dining room and a whooping party in the graveyard scene.
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” hits a high note in the graveyard scene, where a set of singing busts await “to shriek and harmonize.” Did you know that each of these busts has a name? They are: Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock.
  3. The face of singer Thurl Ravenscroft appears on one of the singing busts – Uncle Theodore, which you can identify at Magic Kingdom Park attraction as the “broken” bust.
  4. Buddy Baker, X. Atencio and Thurl Ravenscroft have all been named Disney Legends in years past for their contributions to Disney Parks and films.
  5. The pop band Barenaked Ladies did a cover of “Grim-Grinning Ghosts” in 2003 for the film “The Haunted Mansion” which starred Eddie Murphy.
  6. A reference to a “Grim Grinning Ghost” (note “ghost” is singular, not plural) appears in the William Shakespeare poem “Venus and Adonis” which was completed in 1593.
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Finish that Disney Parks Sign: A Stop At The Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week we’re taking a sweet stop at the Confectionery on Main Street, U.S.A. I love so many of the treats inside – from the specialty apples and Mickey crispy treats to my personal favorite, the chocolate-covered pineapple skewers.

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According to this sign, the Confectionery is the home of ___. Do you remember the missing words? If so, tell us in the comments section below. We’ll post the answer later today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Residents of The Haunted Mansion

posted on October 18th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Well, they aren’t exactly photos, but I think some of the coolest images we shared this week appeared in our “999 Happy Haunts” series, in which we’re taking a closer look at the residents of The Haunted Mansion attraction.

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Each post in the series focuses on a different ghost or other resident of the mansion – and each post features a unique piece of artwork created especially for it by a different artist.

Two more posts are set to run in this series. Which image is your favorite so far? Tell us in the comments section below.

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999 Happy Haunts: The Hitchhiking Ghosts

posted on October 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Our weekly series in which we take an in-depth look at the ghostly residents of The Haunted Mansion continues this week with a look at a fan-favorite: The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

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(Art by Mercedes Crespo)

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were actually some of the final ghoulish “residents” that were added into the plans for The Haunted Mansion. Not only that, but their look (designed by Imagineer Marc Davis) and their location within the attraction changed throughout the development process. According to Jason Surrell’s book “The Haunted Mansion: From The Magic Kingdom To The Movies,” some of the earlier ghosts designed to be in the hitchhiking trio were moved up to other scenes within the attraction.

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(Art by Kyle Olson)

In the end, the three hitchhikers were designed as a traveler with a top hat and carpetbag, a tall skeletal figure and a fuzzy bearded fellow carrying a ball and chain. The three were later dubbed Ezra, Gus and Phineas by fans.

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(Art by Richard Page)

Something that has made this trio a favorite of many Haunted Mansion fans is their unique ability to “follow you home,” which they appear to do by hopping into (or on top of) your Doom Buggie in the following scene.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were enhanced at the attraction at Magic Kingdom Park in 2011 with additional special effects (watch a behind-the-scenes video on that here).


For more on the residents of The Haunted Mansion, check out the spooky good posts below:

Considering a Walt Disney World Vacation? Check Out Our Latest Vacation Deals

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are you considering a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays or winter season? Well, we’re happy to share that two new deals we recently launched that you won’t want to miss!

Goofy Lights Up the Holidays

First up, our Play, Stay, Dine, & Save package is back, for guests booking vacations with travel dates between December 14-20, 2014, and January 5-March 7, 2015. This package includes theme park tickets, a resort stay, and a dining plan. (How much you save depends on which category of resort you choose).

Guests traveling to Walt Disney World Resort January 5-March 7 can also save up to 30% off on most Disney resorts.

Both the Play, Stay, Dine & Save Package and the Resort Discount offer can be booked between October 9 – December 29, 2014. For more information on both, click here.

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Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Learn to Draw Winnie The Pooh at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, our “Learn to Draw” series is focusing on a classic character, Winnie the Pooh.

This week, Brian James Fichtner from Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is back to give you a lesson in how to draw the perfect pooh bear. Let’s do it!



For more animation tutorials, visit the links below:

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Caption This: Stromboli Has His Say at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


How unique is this photo? It’s a shot of Stromboli, the villain from “Pinocchio,” stopping by to say hello to the statue of a certain television personality in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Is he sharing his troubles with her? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This”!

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