Disney's Hollywood Studios, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Interior

‘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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Catch the ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Finale July 30

posted on July 29th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


If you’re a loyal viewer of “My Yard Goes Disney” – you know that our last family saw the back of their home magically transformed into a mini-Disneyland park, complete with an “it’s a small world” façade and a life-size, spinning tea cup inspired by The Mad Tea Party.

But, every reader of the Disney Parks Blog knows that a visit to the Disneyland Resort isn’t complete without a day at Disney California Adventure … and the designers at HGTV agree that the first season of the show should be topped off with a yard inspired by that very place!

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Tomorrow, you’ll meet the DeJesus family. Carlos and Meggan actually met for the first time in Orlando. As annual passholders, their favorite date was going to Epcot to watch Illuminations together. Now the parents of three energetic kids, they make frequent visits to the “Happiest Place on Earth” and Disney California Adventure has become their #1 family destination.

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Until this point, we’ve seen some pretty incredible creations show up in these back yards. But you’re not going to believe the extraordinary replica of the Silly Symphony Swings the designers created for this family. Utilizing the original animation art that the Imagineers used to crown the attraction, it feels like the ride was magically transported to their backyard. And my “boss” makes another very bright appearance on a pretty cool replica of Mickey’s Fun Wheel, too!

This family loves getting wet, so while we briefly thought about recreating “World of Color” behind their house, we decided it wasn’t quite big enough. (Plus, can you imagine THAT water bill?) Instead, kids Bella, Luci and Carlos got their own version of the Princess Puddle Park from the Park’s A Bug’s Life Land. It’s making quite a splash with their friends and neighbors!

Here are a couple more of those “behind-the-scenes” photos you’ve written to tell us you like so much. We try to make it look effortless on the air, but it takes a big crew to pull these things off.

Behind-the-Scenes of ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Finale Behind-the-Scenes of ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Finale Behind-the-Scenes of ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Finale

Tonight’s episode airs at 8 p.m. EST on HGTV. It brings us to the end of our first season of “My Yard Goes Disney.” It’s been a blast bringing you pirates, fairies, trains, Mickey Mouse-shaped pools and a whole lot more!

Here’s a sneak peek from tomorrow night’s show:

Our fingers are crossed for more episodes soon. In the meantime, I’m working on a number of television projects at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. I even have a trip set to film at our sparkling new resort, Aulani – a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii to tell you about. So … see you real soon!

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What If Disneyland Was In Your Backyard?

posted on July 4th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


If you’re a regular reader of the Disney Parks Blog, you know I was recently filming a new episode of “My Yard Goes Disney” across the country at the Happiest Place on Earth!

The Williams Family on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Tonight’s episode features the Williams family: Larry and Maronica have three amazing kids – Zuri, Zoe and 16-month-old L.G. – and Disney is a big part of their lives. They’re frequent visitors to both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, and recently the family took their first Disney Cruise!

Maronica has a Disney memory that really struck a chord with the HGTV Designers: Larry’s first ride on Mad Tea Party with Zuri and Zoe. This inspired the team to create a one-of-a-kind Tea Cup – and, yes, it spins – for their yard. (In fact, “Alice in Wonderland” touches appear throughout. I keep expecting to see the White Rabbit pop out from behind their brand new landscaping!)

Another family favorite is the “it’s a small world” attraction. You’ll be amazed at how the designers created the attraction’s iconic façade in their backyard – and it even has moving parts just like the original!

HGTV Crew Filming the Show at Disneyland

Have you seen us filming a television show while at a Disney park? If not, it can be quite a production (pun intended)! I thought you might like a glimpse of what it takes, so here’s a behind-the-scenes photo when we were shooting this very episode in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

I hope you’ll tune in to HGTV tonight at 8 p.m. to meet the Williams family, before you head out to enjoy fireworks. Whatever your plans are, happy Fourth of July!

Here’s a sneak peek from tonight’s show:

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