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‘My Yard Goes Disney': An All-Star Sports Twist on Toy Story Mania

posted on July 29th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


One of the hardest questions I get asked around here is, “What’s your favorite attraction at Disney?” (Unfortunately, I was told that an Ocean View Room at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii doesn’t qualify as an “attraction.”) So, I usually follow up with, “Which Park?”

When someone says Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s easy. I love Toy Story Mania. How can you not? Speed, skill, thrills. And I get to break virtual plates, pop virtual balloons, not get in trouble AND don’t have to clean anything up? Count me in!!

You can count the Brown Family in, too, who you’ll meet tonight in HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney. Aaron and Heather and their kids, Tobey (9), Timothy (5), and Tyler (18 months), love Buzz, Woody, and everything Toy Story! So when the HGTV Designers heard that, inspiration for this backyard makeover came easily!

The Brown Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Toy Story Mania and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort on HGTV’s'My Yard Goes Disney'

Of all the families we featured this season, none was more athletic than the Browns. Huge sports fans, all of them! Then, it’s no wonder that they’re big fans of Disney’s All Star Sports Resort – so much so, that the Designers recreated the Resort’s oversized sports court right in their backyard!

This family had so much fun playing football at the Resort that they were nearly late for their meeting with Buzz and Woody! (And, wouldn’t you know it, Sarge and his men showed up to put these kids through their paces, as well!)

Take a sneak peek at the designer’s out-of-this-world interpretation of Buzz’s spaceship. It’s one-of-a-kind… it’s life-size… it’s got on-board special effects… and you can see it here first.

Join us for all the mania on tonight’s episode of “My Yard Goes Disney!” at 5:30pm Eastern on HGTV.

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': Creating a Backyard Wilderness Resort

posted on July 22nd, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


Many of us have spent lots of time exploring the Walt Disney World Resort. There’s so much beyond our fantastic theme parks and water parks!

One of my favorites is what insiders refer to as the “Wilderness Region.” This area is comprised of two unique resort experiences. At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, guests hike winding paths, explore nature trails on horseback and have the time of their lives in the great outdoors among hundreds of acres of natural beauty. They can enjoy heated pools and a foot-stompin’ heap of recreation activities, including a campfire and nightly movie with Chip ‘n’ Dale. Although the resort is relaxing and quiet, Magic Kingdom Park is just a boat ride away!

At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, guests escape to the rustic charm of a resort that recalls the majesty of the grand National Park Service lodges from the Great American Northwest.

The Monize family, whom you’ll meet tonight on HGTV’s “My Yard Goes Disney” episode, has the largest backyard the HGTV designers have ever encountered. Brendon and Mimi, along with their two daughters Sulah (6) and Linah (5), are huge Disney fans. And, because they couldn’t make up their mind which resort they love more, the designers used both as inspiration!
The Monize Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on HGTV’s 'My Yard Goes Disney'

The girls are avid bike riders – in fact, the family love their surrey bike rides throughout the Wilderness Region. So the designers built them an amazing bike path! Have you ever toasted marshmallows with Chip ‘n’ Dale and watched an outdoor movie at the Campgrounds? Well, the Monize family gets their very own outdoor movie theater to make their Fort Wilderness memories last a lifetime!

And, to top it all off, see if you can spot a backyard geyser to rival Fire Rock Geyser, the Wilderness Lodge’s recreation of the famous geyser “Old Faithful.”

Hope you’ll gather round with us tonight for “My Yard Goes Disney!” at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': A Blizzard Beach-Meets-Brooklyn Backyard

posted on July 15th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


With summer in full swing, who doesn’t love a visit to a Disney Water Park? My idea of a perfect July day is to spend the morning riding thrilling attractions at one of the parks and then heading off to Blizzard Beach for a splash of excitement!

You love the Disney Water Parks, too? Imagine if you had one in your backyard!
The Thompson Family’s Backyard Gets a Blizzard Beach Makeover on HGTV’s ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Tonight, on HGTV’s “My Yard Goes Disney,” you’re going to meet the Thompson Family. Maria and Rodney, along with their sons Issac (7) and Alex (4), fell in love with Walt Disney World Resort when the boys were younger. Alex visited Magic Kingdom Park when he was six months old. His parents bought him a plush Mickey Mouse doll that has followed him everywhere they’ve lived, from Puerto Rico to New York City.

Their absolute favorite place is Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. They love the snow theme throughout the park. As a family, they love the wave pool and Teamboat Springs. Rodney’s favorite is the Ski Patrol Training Camp and, no surprise here, Maria loves Melt-Away Bay.

Dad grew up in Brooklyn and doesn’t get to see snow now – except when he’s at Blizzard Beach. When the HGTV Designers discovered that, they knew that this would be the perfect makeover for their backyard. Just look at this snowy landscape they created!

The level of detail is truly extraordinary – right down to my favorite Water Park snack, the Blizzard Beach mini-donuts!

Chill with us on tonight’s episode of “My Yard Goes Disney” at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, Inspires a Backyard Retreat

posted on July 8th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


I hope that you, your friends and your family had a fantastic and restful Fourth of July. I was at my favorite Independence Day spot – Magic Kingdom Park here at Walt Disney World Resort! Is there any better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than watching “Disney’s Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky”?

Another favorite place of mine is Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this spectacular destination half a dozen times in the last year. (See, I keep telling all of you that I have the best job at Disney!) But no visit was as memorable or as special as my trip there to film with tonight’s “My Yard Goes Disney” family, the Greens.

Titus, Emily, and their three energetic kids, Logan (6), Mia (4), and Andi (2) are huge Disney fans. They’re lucky enough to live not too far from Walt Disney World Resort, so they visit frequently. But their big dream was to visit Hawaii – and when the HGTV Designers saw their backyard, they immediately knew that it would be a fantastic spot to build an Aulani-inspired oasis.

The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney'
The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney'
The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Green Family Gets a Backyard Makeover Inspired by Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai'i, on Tonight’s 'My Yard Goes Disney'

We had the most fantastic time exploring all of the great water play areas at Aulani, hearing the amazing stories of Hawai’i as told by our cast, and sampling pretty amazing Hawaiian food, too! Plus, the family even learned to surf on one of the exclusive Adventures by Disney excursions offered at the resort. You’ll see on tonight’s show that Logan was standing on a surfboard after less than an hour of instruction.

So much of our beautiful resort is captured in the family’s backyard. Take a peek and see if you can spot some of the infamous Menehune that live all over Aulani!

Please join us tonight at 5:30 p.m. EST on HGTV for some Disney magic, with a touch of aloha spirit!

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': An Area Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 29th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


“My Yard Goes Disney” returns to the reimagined Disney California Adventure park this week.
The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney'

Tonight you’ll meet the Castro family – Allen and Paula, as well as 10-year old Paulina and 5-year-old Lia. They love their visits to both Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, and especially the memories they’ve created at the amazing and unique swimming pools at the hotels. It was Lia, in fact, who served as “family spokesperson,” and she is not the least bit modest about her swimming skills. So, when Lia announced that she “can swim better than Ariel,” it got the HGTV Designers thinking.

Any visitor to Disney California Adventure park knows what a big “splash” The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure made when it opened last year, and it continues to thrill our guests who go “under the sea” every day.

The attraction serves as the perfect inspiration for a pool fit for a mermaid, so we brought the family to the Disneyland Resort, where they met Ariel at her grotto and experienced the attraction for the first time! You’ll get to experience that visit tonight and see their amazing new backyard, where they’ll continue to make memories that last a lifetime in their undersea adventure-inspired pool! See if you can spot its very unique feature in this video.

Next week, “My Yard Goes Disney” visits Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawai’i, for the very first time, which inspires a backyard makeover you won’t believe. Until then, enjoy tonight’s episode, airing at a new time at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.

The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney'
The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney'
The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney' The Castro Family's Yard Gets a Makeover Inspired by The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on 'My Yard Goes Disney'

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': A Haven Inspired by Epcot

posted on June 22nd, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


After visits to the Disneyland Resort for the opening of Cars Land, and to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i for the Magic of Healthy Living Weekend, it’s great to be “home” – which for me, of course, is the Walt Disney World Resort. And this week, “My Yard Goes Disney” is here, too, with an amazing episode that’s all Epcot!

Tonight you’ll meet the Trautwein family – John and Ileana, and their three children, Robert (8), Victoria (6), and Thomas (2). John works at NASA, so it’s not surprising that Spaceship Earth, Mission: SPACE and Soarin’ are amongst his favorite Epcot attractions. (Okay…a little production secret. Even though we didn’t film at the Magic Kingdom Park, I took them over and let them ride Space Mountain. After all, Dad’s all about space flight, right?)

And the family has another interesting tie to Epcot: The Trautweins enjoy growing what they eat. They have a vegetable garden, citrus trees, and lots more growing in their yard. Dad loves to ride Living with the Land at Epcot to see what’s flourishing there.

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So, when the HGTV Designers heard about John’s dream of having his own greenhouse like those at The Land Pavilion, they decided to create one for him. And, because the family loves Spaceship Earth so much, their new greenhouse looks just like it! They even got a little help from our friends over at Epcot Science, who gave them lots of tips about how we grow our plants at Epcot!

Add in an Epcot-themed water feature – and some spectacular flora, inspired by our annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – and you’ve got a very cool backyard. I bet you’ll even see a butterfly or two…just watch!

Next week’s show will take us out to Disney California Adventure park and “Under the Sea” with Ariel. But until then, enjoy tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.

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‘My Yard Goes Disney': An Escape to Castaway Cay

posted on June 15th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


Greetings from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort! It’s been a historical day here, as we rededicated Disney California Adventure park, and as the brand new Cars Land welcomes its first guests. Among them was the Ricardson family, who you’ll meet later this summer as their Yard Goes Disney, Cars Land style!

As I write today, it’s not hard to remember how much fun we had with the We family. Rebecca, Dennison, and their three kids Leilani (7), Soleil (4), and Elijah (2) consider themselves Disney Cruise Line experts! They were amongst the very first passengers to sail aboard the Disney Dream after its christening in early 2011, and they couldn’t wait to go again a few months ago, when we all sailed together to the Bahamas.

The We family has an enormous backyard – and it was completely empty until the crew of HGTV’s “My Yard Goes Disney” arrived.

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Have you ever seen the fantastic Family Cabanas at the Family Beach on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay? Now, we all know that our island is paradise, but these cabanas are like a cherry on top of an already amazing sundae! The We family loved them so much, the HGTV Designers used a little pixie dust of their own and created a full-sized Family Cabana right in the family’s yard!

If you’ve been a passenger on either the Disney Dream or the Disney Fantasy, you know what a special place the Nemo’s Reef Wet Play Area is for our little sailors. It was certainly 2-year-old Elijah’s favorite spot! So, the designers created a fantastic island in the middle of a new lagoon pool, complete with Nemo-inspired characters shooting water everywhere! Look at this dream yard!

One of the many cool things about my job is that I usually get a sneak peek at the shows I’m involved with. Watching this episode sent me right to DisneyCruiseLine.com to book another Disney Dream cruise!

Next week, I’ll be back at Walt Disney World Resort, as will “My Yard Goes Disney,” for an Epcot-inspired episode. Enjoy tonight’s show at 8 p.m. EST on HGTV.

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Expedition Everest Inspires Tonight’s ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

posted on June 8th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


Aloha! As I write to you today, I’m sitting on my balcony at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in beautiful Ko Olina, Hawai’I, overlooking the spectacular pools and the Menehune Bridge. I was honored to join a number of stars from Disney Channel and Disney XD as they celebrated the Magic of Healthy Living here. I’m sure you’ll see more about that here on the Disney Parks Blog… and keep an eye open for some cool highlights of the event coming up on both those channels.

On to this evening’s edition of HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney!

The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’
The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Krantz Family Sees the Transformation for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Tonight, you’ll get to see the amazing transformation of the backyard of the Krantz family. Jim and Christina have three children — Roland (9), Jack (8), and Luke (4). Their favorite vacation spot is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at the Walt Disney World Resort. While we were filming, young Luke didn’t want to leave the Boneyard, where he was busy digging for fossils. It almost made us late for our “appointment” with the Yeti, because it was time for the family to experience Expedition Everest! Both of these unique attractions inspire elements in this family’s brand new backyard – including a one of a kind coaster like nothing you’ve ever seen!

Jim and Christina told us how amazed they were by the level of detail throughout the park, but especially in the queue at Expedition Everest. The HGTV Designers took the hint – and used that unique inspiration to do an amazing makeover of the Krantz’s treehouse!!

We think it’s a backyard you won’t soon forget. Take a look!

I’ll be writing to you from the Disneyland Resort next week, as we prepare to open the brand new Cars Land. Enjoy the show tonight at 8pm Eastern on HGTV.

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‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Returns Tonight

posted on June 1st, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


All of us are so excited that we’re about to embark on another season of HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney. Here’s the best news – we have eleven brand new episodes this year – and it all starts tonight!

You’ll be meeting the Morales family – Geo, Gwen, Kayla and Emma. Like most of us, they love all things Disney. But, with two girls ages 5 and 3, is it any wonder that they love the Disney Princesses? So much, in fact, that young Kayla told the HGTV designers exactly what she wanted in her backyard. So the designers went to work and created a spectacular space, with a Fantasyland-inspired village and a one-of-a-kind Castle known to belong to a favorite princess who might be looking for a missing slipper…

The Morales Family Sees the Plans for their Backyard on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Host Brandon Johnson Helps Landscape the Morales Family's Backyard The Crew of ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Constructs a Miniature Village in the Morales Family's Backyard
‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Created a Miniature Village in the Morales Family's Backyard A Miniature Train in the Morales Family's Backyard - ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Morales Family with ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Host Brandon Johnson
Fantasia Golf in the Morales Family's Backyard - ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Wishing Well in the Morales Family's Backyard - ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ The Morales Family's Backyard Transformed, Thanks to ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Another favorite spot for the Morales family is our very own Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. A similar course ends up in their yard, too. (When you watch the episode, be on the lookout for my friend Goofy. He showed up while we were filming, and tried to give Emma some “how to golf” pointers. I’m told that the cast members over there are still trying to find the 46 missing golf balls he used to demonstrate his “fool-proof hole-in-one technique”…)

Anyway…the end result? Their backyard – just like Walt Disney World Resort – became a place where a couple of little princesses’ dreams come true. Just look!

Now, I’ve told all of you that I have the best job at Disney…and because of this season of My Yard Goes Disney, it’s even better than before! I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with a dozen wonderful families all over the Walt Disney World Resort, and at the Disneyland Resort as well. We travelled to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i…and two lucky families were aboard our brand new Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. All of them now have spectacular new backyards inspired by these magical places, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Speaking of Aulani…next week, I’ll be writing to you from that beautiful spot in paradise, as I help celebrate the Magic of Healthy Living with some of our Disney Channel friends. Until then, enjoy tonight’s show at 8 p.m. Eastern time on HGTV.

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Sneak Peek: ‘My House Goes Disney’ Returns Tonight

posted on February 24th, 2012 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


The Disney Parks are inspiring HGTV makeovers again! For the Hinson family of seven, whose Disney passions cover everything from fairies to fish, HGTV could not keep this transformation limited to the backyard. Instead, they redesigned this house inside and out for this very special episode of “My House Goes Disney” in a makeover that allows the Hinson children to live and play in the middle of a Disney story.

Inspired by the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, HGTV created a “Finding Nemo”-themed bedroom for Ashton with a Crush the Turtle bed and a surfboard desk that converts to an extra bed. Emma and Hannah will have sweet dreams in a woodland fairy inspired bed and a Cinderella bed. They’ll dream the night away surrounded by a unique, layered mural that took three weeks to make and Brendyn and Cohen’s engines will roar in a “Cars”-themed bedroom painted Lightning McQueen red.

Finally, no house transformation would be complete without something special for Mom and Dad. The designers incorporated Jeremy and Kelsie’s love for Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts into the backyard with a new larger pool, a splash pool and a new outdoor kitchen!

See how they brought the magic of Disney Parks to this house – inside and out – in a special episode of “My House Goes Disney” tonight, Feb. 24, at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV.

Here’s a sneak peak at one of the rooms. What kid wouldn’t love chillin’ in the EAC?

A 'Finding Nemo'-themed Room Designed on HGTV's 'My House Goes to Disney.'

Which Disney Parks attraction do you dream of having a room designed like?

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