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Merry Holiday Hunt at the Disneyland Resort: How Many of These Festive Places Will You Find?

posted on December 14th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Merry Holiday Hunt at the Disneyland Resort: How Many of These Festive Places Will You Find?

From Santa Claus and real reindeer to the biggest holiday lights you’ve probably ever seen, the Disneyland Resort is glimmering with holiday magic through January 8, 2012. If you’re bringing along friends and family to visit this season, you could treat them with a fun way to discover all the special cheer: A Merry Holiday Hunt!

Gather your group with this list, or break into teams for some competitive fun. For extra points, take photos at each location and share them with friends using Facebook or Twitter.

  1. The lively street show “Phineas and Ferb’s Rocking’ Rollin’ Dance Party” gets a merry twist at Disney California Adventure park, with holiday décor and songs. What’s the vehicle they arrive on for this interactive party?
  2. Decorators trim nearly 700 trees throughout the resort. Which character shape is represented on the ornaments of the large tree at Disney California Adventure park?
  3. What adorns the top of the 60-foot, Town Square Christmas tree in Disneyland park?
  4. Even in Southern California, it snows during the Holidays at Disneyland Resort. Where does this happen and what might you smell while you’re there?
  5. Where are two places you can see Toy Soldiers during the holidays?
  6. A wonderful transformation turns a classic attraction into “it’s a small world” Holiday. What three songs are heard as you ride through this world of laughter?
  7. Where can you find Santa in Disney California Adventure park?
  8. One of the most playful places at Disney California Adventure park is “a bug’s land.” What bright objects do you find here that make fun photo backdrops?

What item would you add to this Merry Holiday Hunt?

Note: Special thanks to our partners at the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, who shared some of their pointers. Guests at those hotels can check in at the concierge desk and ask for a copy of their exclusive hunts to enjoy in the parks.

Click here for the answers to the Merry Holiday Hunt.

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Before Star Tours, Guests Traveled to Inner Space on Another Adventure

posted on August 5th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

As you enter Tomorrowland, just beyond the Astro Orbiter attraction, you come to a familiar building on the right side. It’s home to one of the most popular places at Disneyland park this summer, the new Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. The first Star Tours attraction opened in this spot in 1987, and two decades before that, another popular “adventure” occupied this location.

If you’re older than 30, I bet you know what it was: Adventure Thru Inner Space. (I’ll have a harder question for you at the end of this post.)

On August 5, 1967, Adventure Thru Inner Space was the Star Tours of its day – a futuristic journey to a place far, far away. Walt Disney partnered with experts from the Monsanto Company to develop an attraction that would take guests to inner space by traveling through a “mighty microscope” and into the realm of a snowflake. To make this daring journey, guests had to “shrink” to the size of a molecule. The concept of guests “shrinking” became the hallmark of the attraction.

Adventure Thru Inner Space remained popular with guests for nearly two decades. The experience that once was futuristic, however, became outdated as science and space travel advanced. So, on September 2, 1985, Adventure Thru Inner Space shrank its last guest to the size of a molecule, making way for a new, inter-galactic adventure.

In both the original and the new version of Star Tours, Imagineers paid homage to Adventure Thru Inner Space with a hidden reference to the “mighty microscope.” Have you found it?

Here’s your trivia question: When Imagineers first developed the new attraction for this location – Star Tours – what was it called?

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Disney Parks Blog Readers Share Their Tips For Enjoying the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 2nd, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Splash Mountain

Holly goes to the Animation Studio to see “Turtle Talk with Crush,” Suzanne takes her children for an ice cream cone at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Mike heads for the shady benches on Tom Sawyer Island. Those are a few of the places at the Disneyland Resort that Disney Parks Blog readers named as great spots to relax on a summer day.

Thanks to everyone who shared their tips for making the most of their visits to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. We offered a few of our own tips, and here are some of the responses from guests who know a lot about enjoying the parks.

  • Felisha: “We have a family with small children and hit the park at 8 a.m. to get on the Storybook Land ride first thing, after getting my cup of coffee on Main Street, U.S.A. We … get a FASTPASS for Splash Mountain so we can get on around 2 or 3 p.m., when it seems hottest.”
  • Craig takes a break in the late afternoon and heads back to the hotel with his family: “We can swim, rest and recover from the day … We always go early, break and then close the park down each day we go. This way really takes care of grumpy, overloaded kids (and adults).”
  • Kim: “Eat meals at odd hours. The restaurants are less busy.”
  • Christian: “Watch one of the 3-D shows. I enjoy ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’ because it’s air-conditoned and the ‘acid’ spritzes are refreshing.”
  • Katie: “Go see Billy Hill & The Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe. They are so talented musically and they are so funny, plus it is air-conditioned and they have the best chili-cheese fries.”
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Tips for Visiting Disneyland Resort This Summer

posted on July 20th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

My friends and family are always asking me for tips about the parks at Disneyland Resort, especially in the summer when guests come to town and want to play. I’ve been collecting some thoughts from parents who are wise enough to plan ahead and whimsical enough to go with the flow when little ones get weary.

I bet you have lots of tips from your visits on how to best enjoy the parks. Please share them with other readers in the comments below. This video has some cool tips from cast members and guests – and check out the list below to help you plan your visit this summer.

At the parks:

Important basics (good reminders for out-of-town visitors):

  • Head to your favorite attraction first thing in the morning and get a Disney FASTPASS ticket.
  • Make reservations in advance if you want to dine at a specific, sit-down restaurant (714-781-DINE).
  • Store items in a locker (less weight to lug around on a warm day).

Summer deals:

  • Check out for special ticket and hotel offers, including special offers for Southern California residents.

OK, I know you’ve got lots more. Tell us your thoughts on making the most of your visits to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks.

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Disneyland Celebrates 56 Years on July 17

posted on July 15th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Search July 17 as a famous historical date and the year 1955 often pops up as opening day for Disneyland park. The park’s anniversary ranks alongside prominent moments in history, such as great sports achievements and the birthdays of important political figures. Disneyland has become a cultural icon, and the park’s opening day marks a milestone in family entertainment.

This year, Disneyland celebrates its 56th anniversary on July 17. It’s a very special day for cast members as well as guests, and the resort has commemorated it over the years with a variety of slogans and salutes, with celebrations big and small. Here’s a brief look back:

Disneyland Tencennial Celebration

1965: “Tencennial Re-Dedication Day” featured the “Disneyland Tencennial Celebration Parade.”

1980: “I Was There!” birthday buttons were given to guests who attended the 25-hour anniversary party. (Those buttons are now collector’s items.)

1985: “Thirty years of Magic… the Best Has Just Begun” was the theme of a new parade. A theme song thanked Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck for “30 Happy Years.”

1990: Disneyland turned 35, “proof that the good things in life get only better.”

'The Happiest Homecoming on Earth' for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary

2005: “The Happiest Homecoming on Earth” paid tribute to the 50th anniversary, and the park handed out nearly 100,000 cupcakes during the huge celebration.

One of my favorite anniversary stories is from the park’s 10th Anniversary. Guests of an employee party said that Walt Disney congratulated them and offered this perspective: the first 10 years were a “dress rehearsal,” and anyone thinking about resting on their laurels could “just forget it.”

This year on July 17, a celebratory moment will be held at 2:30 p.m. to commemorate the 56th anniversary of opening day. An audio recording of Walt Disney’s original dedication speech will be heard throughout Disneyland park. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a cast of characters will gather in Town Square to sing “Happy Birthday” to Disneyland with guests and cast members.

Were you here for any of the anniversary parties? What’s your favorite Disneyland anniversary memory?

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Peek Inside the Life of a Walt Disney Imagineer: California’s Kevin Rafferty

posted on June 9th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a peek inside the life of a Disney Imagineer? California’s tourism commission thinks so and it suspects a lot of you do, too.

This week, the tourism group is featuring the “Blue Sky” creative role of Kevin Rafferty, Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Concept Writer/Director. Kevin, who has worked on many attractions at the Disneyland Resort, is one of eight Californians highlighted in the California Travel & Tourism Commission’s current campaign – Live Like a Californian.

The campaign promotes tourism to California with some creative travel packages, each inspired by a California innovator or icon. Since Kevin’s work reflects the innovative spirit of California, this week you can take a quiz about his role as a DIsney Imagineer.

Peek Inside the Life of a Walt Disney Imagineer: California’s Kevin Rafferty<br />
© 2011 Disney/Pixar<br />
Mr. Potato Head® © Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved

Did you know Kevin worked on the attractions Toy Story Mania! and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage? His latest project is Cars Land – opening in 2012 at Disney California Adventure park.

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A Disneyland Resort Summer Ticket Deal for Southern California Residents: 3 Days for $139 (1 Park per Day)

posted on June 1st, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

If you’re planning a summer visit to the Disneyland Resort, here’s a great, new deal for local residents starting June 3. Just in time to experience “Disney Soundsational Summer,” the Resort is offering a new ticket for residents of Southern California and Northern Baja.

Experience 'Disney Soundsational Summer' at Disneyland Resort

Here are the details:

Southern California resident ticket: This offer is good for three park visits to either Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park (one park per day) within a 45-day period, for residents residing in ZIP codes 90000 through 93599, and 21000- 22999. For $139, guests will enjoy three fun-filled summer days and nights at the Disneyland Resort. This offer is subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Yes, you can upgrade: For an additional $15, local residents can upgrade to a 3-day Park Hopper ticket that allows guests to visit both parks on the same day.

When you can get it: This offer is available for use June 3 through Sept. 5 and is blocked out from July 2-4, 2011, and August 21-22, 2011.

Where you can get it: The summer ticket can be purchased at, the Disneyland Resort box office, Disney Stores, Disneyland Resort hotels and a variety of southern California supermarkets and retail chains, including Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Gelson’s and Deardens. Resident ID is required.

Thinking about a getaway? Visitors can turn this ticket into a multiday getaway with special rates at Disneyland Resort hotels.

What’s new: At Disney California Adventure park, expansion continues with the enchanting new attraction, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. It opens June 3, along with Star Tours, now in eye-popping 3-D at Disneyland park. On Main Street, U.S.A., rhythm is king as the magic of Disney music takes to the streets daily in the new “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.”

For more information about the this summer value – and new entertainment from “under the sea” to a galaxy far, far away – go to

With this kind of deal, I bet I’ll see you in the parks this summer!

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What Are Your Favorite Sounds at the Disneyland Resort?

posted on May 18th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Choose a location in either Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park, and find a nice spot where you can safely close your eyes — and just listen. You might be amazed at what you hear. In almost any themed land you visit you’ll hear the music, and then you’ll start to hear the many other layers of sound that give each place its character and nuance.

Whether it’s the telegraph machine at the New Orleans Square Station, the noisy seagulls perched in Nemo’s lagoon, or Snow White wishing for her prince, you’ll hear sounds big and small.

Snow White Grotto at Disneyland Park

If you’re a frequent visitor to the parks, you may not even realize how many ambient sounds get your attention. Combined, these bits and pieces play a huge part in making Disney Parks the magical places they are. Below are three sound clips from Disneyland park. How many do you recognize?

Did we miss one of your favorites?

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Disneyland Resort Has a Sound All its Own

posted on May 17th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Recognize these sounds?

Since the opening of Disneyland park in 1955, the strategic and clever use of sound has transported guests from frontier America to the jungles of Africa; from turn-of-the-century America to edge-of-the-galaxy Tatooine. We’ve been haunted, romanced, humored, enchanted, and sung to, with the many and varied sounds of the theme parks. And it’s not just about music.

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Resort

Joe Herrington is a Principal Media Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering and a big advocate of sound, as was Walt Disney. According to Joe, the role of sound at the Disneyland Resort, or any Disney park for that matter, tells half the story of any land, attraction or entertainment you experience.

“Walt understood that,” says Joe in a Disneyland Podcast interview. “Walt incorporated sound and always tried to find new ways to use it. He was so proactive in sound technology, and in all kinds of ways, to utilize sound.”

Which distinctive Disneyland Resort sound transports you to another place?

Look for an upcoming post with more sounds from the parks.

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Guests at “Little Mermaid Meet-Up” Enjoy Rare Opportunity to Meet Imagineers, Animators

posted on May 11th, 2011 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Last night, guests at our “Little Mermaid Meet-up” got to see some stories from the Disney Parks Blog come to life, with a rare opportunity to meet Walt Disney Imagineers and Walt Disney animators. They also got to hear some fascinating stories about the attraction that opens June 3 at Disney California Adventure park: The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

This was the star line-up for our panel discussion: Walt Disney Imagineers Lisa Girolami, Larry Nikolai and Chris Crump from the attraction’s creative team, plus Walt Disney animators Andreas Deja and Mark Henn, who worked on the animated feature film on which the attraction is based. Tim O’Day, a Disney author and historian, served as emcee.

The panelists told us the attraction took nearly four years to create, from concept to finish. Larry revealed that the “Under the Sea” scene has more than 128 characters, “if you count the 50 starfish.” And though it has been “a lot of work,” they also said they’ve had a lot of fun.

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Meet ~ Up

After an exciting presentation, with behind-the-scenes video and photographs, the panelists answered guest questions. One question came from Fred, a regular Blog reader: “What was one of the most exciting parts of creating this attraction?”

Chris Crump answered by telling a story about the Ursula character, who stands 12 feet tall and 7.5 feet wide. The team created her at the Imagineering offices, and then moved her into the attraction, calculating carefully to fit her into the allotted space. It was a tight squeeze. “When the hatch opened, I was just looking at her tentacles, hoping … and the tentacles cleared the hatch by about an inch,” Chris said, very relieved.

Our guests mingled with the Disney panelists and enjoyed some fabulous appetizers before the show began in a ballroom at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Guests also got a few autographs signed on their special gift – a beautiful lithograph featuring a portion of the mural that will be inside The Little Mermaid attraction queue line.

The guests – big fans of the Disney Parks Blog – got to meet some of our authors, Erin Glover and Jim Ames. And they took photos with Ariel, the star of the new attraction.

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Meet ~ Up

We’ll tell you more about what the Imagineers and animators had to say in another post. Today, we want to share two stories about our guests. They came from down the street in Anaheim and from as far away as Idaho and St. George, Utah.

Samantha and Anastasia, a mom and daughter from El Dorado Hills, traveled from Northern California for the meet-up. Samantha told us why she’s looking forward to the new attraction: “Ariel is the best princess ever. She’s a princess and a mermaid. How can you beat that?”

Logan Kendell and Katrina Maughan drove nearly 400 miles Tuesday from St. George, Utah, stopping on the way to don a suit for the event. Logan is a big fan of Disney and animator Andreas Deja.

When Logan met Andreas, he asked: “What was the first thing you did for Disney?” The animator told him a story about his first year at Walt Disney Animation Studios, working with then little-known director Tim Burton. That was just before Dejas began working on “The Little Mermaid” film – more than 25 years ago . After the panel discussion, Logan and Katrina wished they could stay for the opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Meet ~ Up

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Meet ~ Up

The evening closed with reserved viewing for “World of Color,” which is located just across the way from the new Little Mermaid attraction. I hope our panelists and guests had as much as fun as we did. Thank you again, Lisa, Larry, Chris, Mark and Andreas for giving our meet-up guests such a great experience last night, and thanks to all of our guests for coming to the event and following us on the Disney Parks Blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post with more insights from the Imagineers.

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