How many times have you been on a Disney Parks attraction and said, “Hey, that guy looks familiar!” or “I recognize her voice”? We love how Imagineers seamlessly work celebrities into some of our favorite attractions. It can add additional layers to the storytelling as well as the enjoyment a guest experiences when they have the “Ah ha!” moment of, “Hey, that’s Jamie Lee Curtis playing against Ellen DeGeneres on ‘Jeopardy!’”
To celebrate the new issue of Disney twenty-three magazine in honor of Walt Disney World Resort’s 40th anniversary, D23 chatted with some of the incredible talent who appear on and in attractions around the Orlando resort. Currently featured on the D23 website is Illeana Douglas (Ghost World, Goodfellas, Cape Fear), who plays the hilarious rock band manager on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. She told us she was shocked when she was asked to be a part of the high-speed attraction. “At first I thought it was a joke,” she said. “Growing up, Aerosmith was my favorite band ever!”
We also chatted with Eric Idle who contributed his talents to two Epcot attractions (Journey into Imagination With Figment and Honey I Shrunk the Audience), who is thrilled to a part of Disney history. “I love being able to appear fifteen times a day without having to turn up!” he joked.
Coming up this week we have exclusive interviews with two other big-name talents, including an actress who experienced an Alien Encounter and an actor who sent guests careening into space by giving voice to a lovable robot. We’ll finish up the series with a round up of stories and quotes from a dozen other stars (including a mischievous pirate, a chief flight attendant and lovable bug)! You’ll be able to find them all on the D23 website.
Can you recall the first three E-Ticket attractions at Disneyland Resort that premiered in 1959? Do you know how many Academy Awards were personally awarded to Walt Disney? Which was the first animated Disney film that Alan Menken composed music for? If you know even some of these answers, you may want to head to the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday, Aug. 18, for the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament presented by Hasbro Trivial Pursuit: Disney for All Edition!
The final rounds will be held as part of the D23 Expo — the ultimate Disney event for fans and families! — on Friday, Aug. 19, and the winner of the Tournament receives a special preview cruise on the Disney Fantasy! Here are five sample Disney Parks-related questions to whet your appetite for the fun (answers at the bottom, so don’t cheat!):
- The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland park is based on what Disney live-action film?
- What is the name of the attraction that closely resembles The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris?
- What Epcot attraction narrator makes a cameo appearance in the 2011 film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?”
- What Hong Kong Disneyland attraction features a thrilling finale where fire and water gods battle one another?
- Name the pet store once featured at Lake Buena Vista Village (today known as Downtown Disney Marketplace) in which guests could purchase hamsters, parrots, and … albino skunks?!
The first round starts at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, so rise and shine and remember what you learned in your “Disney A to Z!” Because you can’t win if you don’t play!
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We’re busy putting the finishing touches on all of the incredible experiences guests will immerse themselves in at D23 Expo 2011, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts just announced an out-of-this-(Disney)-world line-up!
Attendees to the Expo, from August 19–21 at the Anaheim Convention Center, just across the street from Disneyland Resort, will be able to visit the “Carousel of Projects,” a pavilion that pays loving homage to a favorite classic Disney Parks attraction: “Carousel of Progress.” Inside, guests will get a sneak peek at what’s in store for Disney’s five resorts around the world, as well as what’s next from Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and more. There will be figures, props and ride vehicles from Radiator Springs Racers – plus a look behind the scenes and the creation of Cars Land, as well as concepts, models and plans for the tremendous expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs will offer guests a glimpse at some of the biggest projects currently in development at Disney Parks (along with a few surprises!) during his presentation on Friday, Aug. 19. And there will be a slew of other must-see presentations and panels throughout the weekend that park enthusiasts of all ages are sure to enjoy, including Radiator Springs Reality: Imagineering Cars Land for Disney California Adventure with John Lasseter, The Making of Star Tours – The Adventures Continue hosted by Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, A Good Look at Buena Vista Street (giving guests a closer look at the new entrance to Disney California Adventure park), Imagineering the Dream and the Fantasy, and Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering (a spectacular gathering of talent including Alice Davis, Orlando Ferrante, Bob Gurr and Don Iwerks, with special guest and current Imagineer Kim Irvine, daughter of Disney Legend Leota Toombs – hosted by Disney Legend Marty Sklar).
There’s much more magic in store for guests at the Expo, including the previously announced Disney Legends Ceremony, Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives 12,000-square-foot exhibit, an advance exclusive screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, the D23 Expo Dream Store, the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament, the D23 Expo Live Auction – plus Disney and ABC stars and much more. To learn more about all the excitement coming to Anaheim this August, visit D23Expo.com.
Hi everyone! We are thrilled that the prestigious Disney Legends ceremony will be returning to the D23 Expo this year. Taking place on Friday, August 19, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Disney Legends honors those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy.
Among this year’s honorees are many creative and inspiring individuals who have helped shape Disney Parks around the world. For example, this year’s group of worthy recipients include television icon Regis Philbin, previously featured in the “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire: Play It!” attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Jim Henson, whose masterful work can be seen at that park’s Muppet•Vision 3D; Disneyland Hotel creators Jack and Bonita Wrather; Ray Watson, whose vision helped lead the expansion of Walt Disney World including the opening of Epcot; and Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, who recently attended the opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure park.
Other soon-to-be Legends include former Disney Consumer Products Chairman Bo Boyd, Guy Williams who embodied Zorro, and Disney Princesses Paige O’Hara, Linda Larkin, Lea Salonga and Anika Noni Rose.
The ceremony will be hosted by Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” and will take place in the Convention Center Arena. For more details about the “Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families”— including an exclusive advance screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, visit D23Expo.com.
Hundreds of teams. Four theme parks. Two days. One amazing hunt.
Think you know Walt Disney World Resort like the back of your hand? Now is the time to put it to the test! Following on the heels of last year’s incredible hunt at Disneyland Resort, we are thrilled to announce “D23′s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World!” The hunt – set to be the largest in Walt Disney World’s history – is a two-day, four-park event sure to be a blast for serious fans as well as families. Questions will range from the more simple “Miner League” puzzlers to the fairly challenging “Major Domo” clues to the “Super-Difficult-idocious” stumpers! While we know everyone will have fun exploring the parks in new ways, there are also some incredible prizes to be won coming from virtually every corner of Disney!
The hunt is open to both D23 Members and non-members – D23 Members get a specially discounted price. For a complete list of rules and guidelines, click here. Time to lace up your sneakers and get ready to race! Or walk at a safe pace. Hope to see ya there!
I can’t tell you how excited we are here at D23, Disney’s Official Fan Club! Last fall during our “Destination D” event celebrating Disneyland’s 55th anniversary, D23 head Steven Clark announced we’d be holding an all-new event this year to celebration four decades of Walt Disney World Resort magic.
Well, we have secured some incredible talent and put together some outstanding presentations and exciting panels for “Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th,” which will be held May 14 and 15 in the Fantasia Ballroom of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The roster of names boasts a cavalcade of Disney Legends, luminaries and Imagineers including Marty Sklar, Dave Smith, Tony Baxter, Bob Gurr, Jack Lindquist, Eric Jacobson, Charlie Ridgway and Ron Logan as well as Debra Browne, the 1971 Walt Disney World Ambassador.
The unique presentations will cover topics such as bizarre and wacky moments in Walt Disney World’s past, Walt’s vision for Epcot, a peek at the Walt Disney World that never was and even a glimpse into the Resort’s future! The event’s grand finale will be “Magic Journeys: Flights of Fancy through 40 Years of Walt Disney World Musical Memories” featuring Disney Legend and Academy Award-winner Richard Sherman. The event is open exclusively to members of D23, and you see the entire line-up and schedule by clicking here. Hope to see ya there!
Hi everyone…D23, the Official Community for Disney Fans, celebrated its first anniversary in style this week at Disneyland Park, as more than 1,500 D23 Members and their guests took over Fantasyland for an after-hours blow out with classic attractions, beloved characters, scrumptious desserts, and some very special guests!
After Disneyland theme park closed to guests on Wednesday night, D23 Members were welcomed into the happiest land of all with a burst of pyrotechnics from Sleeping Beauty Castle. From there, guests—who had traveled from 25 different states as well as from places like New Zealand and Japan to be at the event—crossed the drawbridge to enjoy the event.
As part of the festivities, D23 announced the next D23 Expo, which will be in Anaheim in 2011, as well as a new D23 Member event—Destination D: Disneyland ’55, which will take place at Disneyland Park in September of this year, and will celebrate the rich legacy of Walt’s original theme park. For more information about D23, Destination D, and the D23 Expo 2011, visit Disney.com/D23.
Disney’s official fan community, D23, is starting off 2010 with a unique gift that’s sure to get any Disney fan excited — Disney Undiscovered: A 23-Month Calendar of Disney’s Unrealized Masterpieces.
The calendar is brimming with rare and never-before seen images from Disney theme-park, live-action and animation projects that were not completed, many of which have achieved legendary status among Disney fans. “Disney Undiscovered” features art from never-built project like the Mineral King ski resort and Walt Disney’s St. Louis Project, theme park lands such as Discovery Bay at Disneyland, and unproduced films including a watercolor from the original Little Mermaid that Walt had in early preproduction in the late 1930s.
D23 is giving Disney Parks Blog readers a first look at three of the pages in this stunning calendar. They show Mickey’s Madhouse (conceived as part of Dumbo’s Circusland at Disneyland back in 1976 before Toontown was created), the Swiss pavilion at Epcot (designed in 1985 and meant to stand between the Italy and Germany pavilions), and Rock Candy Mountain (which, had it been created back in 1957, would have been Disneyland’s first “mountain”). Have a look and enjoy!
Everyone who joins or renews their D23 Membership in 2010 will receive a calendar.
For more information on D23, visit Disney.com/D23.
Hi, I’m Jeffrey Epstein guest writing for the Disney Parks Blog about our latest unique experience at Walt Disney World. For two candy-coated days and nights, D23, the Official Community for Disney Fans, presented Magic & Merriment at Walt Disney World. December 12 and 13, 200 D23 members and their guests (from 25 different states!) were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at how Walt Disney World transforms each year into a winter wonderland with the help of some of Disney’s most creative talent.
Holiday Services’ Lisa Borotkanics talked about the incredible team that installs hundreds of trees, wreaths, and snowy displays throughout the resort (and the Disney Cruise Line!) before handing out sets of multiple FASTPASSes to the group for the weekend. Then Erich Herbitschek, Master Pastry Chef of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Stefan Riemer, Pastry Chef, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts came out and decorated one of their signature gingerbread houses before everyone’s eyes (and were pretty hilarious while doing so). And Saturday evening on a darkened Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Show Director John Phelan talked about the origins of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights—before flipping a giant switch (with the help of a young guest), igniting the Spectacle to glorious fanfare.
Other weekend highlights included reserved seating to see Tony award winner Chita Rivera narrate Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, a private feast on the set of Lights, Motors, Action!, a delightful lunch inside the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon with a visit from the Dapper Dans, tours of the Cinderella Castle Suite, and tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—complete with a cookie-filled hospitality suite on the Liberty Belle!
Whether they came from Iowa, Oregon, or just down the road, the weekend was truly memorable not only because of the incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences shared by all, but thanks to the passionate D23 members in attendance, whose enthusiasm and passion about Disney may only be matched by a certain special mouse.