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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!


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.


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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This Week on ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

posted on June 27th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing

Greetings from California! I’m writing today’s Disney Parks Blog entry from a room overlooking the brand-new water slides at the Disneyland Hotel. Yes, I’m at the Disneyland Resort filming. Could there be something Disneyland-inspired coming soon to “My Yard Goes Disney?” I’ll never tell…

‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Now, onto this week’s episode. It’s definitely a favorite, based on a classic attraction. Ready for a not-so-subtle hint? Okay, here we go, “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s yard for me!” You guessed it: A Pirates of the Caribbean-themed yard. I think even Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud!

‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Tonight, you’ll meet the Delaney Family. Patty and Mike are personable, energetic parents with three kids who love Pirates of the Caribbean. We spent a wonderful day filming at Magic Kingdom Park with this enthusiastic family and needless to say, it was a pirate-filled experience. And, those Caribbean plunderers weren’t the only pirates who were around that day – you might catch a glimpse of Peter Pan and his pirate nemesis. (On a side note: Is it your dream to ride the attraction a dozen times in one day? If so, then I did it for you on this film shoot!).

‘My Yard Goes Disney’

Taking inspiration from our Imagineers, the HGTV Designers created a spectacular space for this terrific family. The yard is amazing, from very cool water spaces to an over the top, one-of-a-kind, custom-built pirate ship. See it take shape on “My Yard Goes Disney,” tonight on HGTV at 8 p.m.

Check out the sneak peek:

I’ll see you again right here, next Monday. Now, I wonder if I have enough time to try out the new Monorail-themed waterslide before our first filming today.

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Disney Fanatics Receive a Dream-Inspired Backyard

posted on June 20th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing

From your enthusiastic response, we’re thrilled to see how much you’ve enjoyed the first two episodes of “My Yard Goes Disney”. The inspiration for tonight’s backyard makeover didn’t come from Walt Disney World Resort…or Disneyland Resort, for that matter. This week’s episode took its cue from the biggest “dream” of all: the Disney Dream cruise ship.

The Farrell Family Receives a Disney Dream-Inspired Backyard Makeover

Tonight’s lucky family is the Farrells. They’re all Disney, all the time, on land and at sea. They told the show’s producers they have 3,000 Disney related family pictures, with 600 from their Disney Dream cruise in January alone! They were on the ship in its first month of sailing on a cruise that they describe as “the most amazing four days of their lives.”

What I think you’ll find amazing is the truly extraordinary backyard the designers built for them. You know by now that I love to bring you sneak peeks, so check it out. Mickey Mouse-shaped pool, anyone?

The Farrell Family Receives a Disney Dream-Inspired Backyard Makeover

The episode required filming with the family aboard the Disney Dream in the luxurious staterooms, Senses Spa & Salon, Palo and even on the AquaDuck water attraction. It was a tough assignment. (See? I told you I have the best job at Disney Parks).

Speaking of the AquaDuck, we developed this incredibly cool camera mount just for this attraction and captures in-the-moment reaction of the family riding. Check it out in tonight’s episode.

Here’s one more picture. The show’s designers created a cool backyard addition inspired by a statue at a Disney destination other than the Disney Dream. Who has the first correct guess?

The Farrell Family Receives a Disney Dream-Inspired Backyard Makeover

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Comes to Life in Family’s Yard

posted on June 13th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing

If you enjoyed watching Disney Parks dreams come true in the Bradburn family’s backyard on HGTV’s “My Yard Goes Disney” – then great news, that was just the beginning!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Comes to Life in the Parker Family’s Yard

Tonight’s episode features the Parker family, and we think you’ll love how the show’s creators worked to bring the magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom roaring to life behind their home. The centerpiece of their yard is a very large, very old tree – and it brought our own Tree of Life at the park to mind immediately. But it isn’t the only connection to this special place.

HGTV Designers and the Parker Family

You see, this extraordinary family has adopted six – yes, you read that right – six children from different regions of Africa. The HGTV Designers, taking inspiration from our own Imagineers, bring Disney magic from the park into their yard and at the same time, work in fantastic touches that pay tribute to the children’s home country!

The day we filmed with the family at the park was so much fun. Our team loved hanging out with this energetic bunch. You’ll see footage of them playing in Dino Land – and that was the hardest part of the entire shoot: trying to wrap it up. The kids didn’t want to stop playing!! But as you’ll soon see, they now have a pretty cool Animal Kingdom of their own to jump around in.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Comes to Life in the Parker Family’s Yard Parkers Seeing<br />
Their Backyard Plan Revealed for the First Time

I love getting to share some “backstage magic” with you, so here are a couple of “behind-the-scenes” photos from filming. I especially love the shot from one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s best-kept-secret locations – Lower Bradley Falls – where the Parkers saw their backyard plan revealed for the first time.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Comes to Life in the Parker Family’s Yard

Finally… your response to the first episode of HGTV’s “My Yard Goes Disney” has truly been overwhelming. We LOVE your ideas for Disney-inspired backyards. Who knows? Maybe yours will be next, so we want to hear more.

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Sneak Peek: ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

posted on June 6th, 2011 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing

I’ve always said that I have THE best job at the Disney Parks. As a producer, I get to make television dreams come true at the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line. Every day, I work with television networks, production companies, and incredibly talented filmmakers as they tell stories that feature the Disney Destinations.

Sneak Peek: ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

I’ve been at Disney for nearly seven years, and “My Yard Goes Disney” quickly became one of my favorite projects. As the series was being developed, working with the show’s creators has been such an exciting time. How about this for a fun gig: Planning magical days of filming in the Parks (and on the Disney Dream) that featured our families enjoying the very attractions and elements that inspired their future back yards.

Sneak Peek: ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ - Before Sneak Peek: ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ - After

The first episode, featuring the Bradburn family, took us to both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. To watch the thrill in Tommy and Angie’s eyes as they got to meet one of the Walt Disney World Railroad’s train engineers up close and personal… or the extraordinary moment when daughter Maddie got to dance with Tinkerbell in the Fairy Garden at this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival…. These aren’t just memories that will last a lifetime for them, but for me as well.

Sneak Peek: ‘My Yard Goes Disney’

See how those memories went home with them in “My Yard Goes Disney,” on HGTV tonight at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central. Here’s a sneak peek at tonight’s magical backyard transformation.

Check back here for a behind-the-scenes look at a backyard inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So, which Disney theme park would you want to see in your backyard? Please let us know in the comments.

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