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Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

It’s a Soundsational Summer at the Disneyland Resort

posted on June 3rd, 2011 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Star Tours at Disneyland Park

Combining great storytelling with the latest technology has been a hallmark of The Walt Disney Company from the very beginning, and that spirit continues with the opening of two fantastic new attractions at the Disneyland Resort. Over the last two days, we officially launched Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland park and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure park.

The force is now strong with us on both coasts as Star Tours opened at Disneyland park this week and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando just a few weeks ago. Working closely with our partners at Lucasfilm, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue combines the latest in digital 3D technology with new characters and locales from all six of the Star Wars films. With more than 50 different story combinations, guests will never know just where the Force may take them. I’ve ridden in it a dozen times already and have yet to experience the same ride twice.

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

With the addition of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Disney California Adventure park continues to generate new energy as we take another big step forward in our expansion of the park. This all-new attraction mixes the latest Audio-Animatronics technology with classic Disney storytelling to bring the undersea world of Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder to life like never before. And we will see another Little Mermaid-themed attraction at Magic Kingdom Park in a few years when our Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World Resort is complete.

Of course, if you’ve been to Disney California Adventure park lately, you’ve seen that we have a lot more still in the works. From the newly imagined entry point of Buena Vista Street to the stunning new Cars Land, all of our teams are hard at work as we head into the home stretch of our multi-year expansion effort.

'Mickey’s Soundsational Parade'

As if all of this weren’t enough, last week we premiered “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade,” an all-new parade at Disneyland Resort that is proving to be another great addition to the resort’s live entertainment offerings.

So whether you choose to hop in a Starspeeder 1000 and head for the stars, take a journey to “fathoms below” or just sit on a curb and watch the parade go by, there truly is something for everyone at the Disneyland Resort this summer. I’m tremendously proud of all of the Imagineers and cast members who have worked so hard to make these new experiences a reality and can’t wait for all of you to have a chance to enjoy them.

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Yo ho! Yo ho! A Pirate’s Night For Me

posted on May 9th, 2011 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Premiere at Disneyland Resort

It was a fantastic time at Disneyland Resort as we helped host the premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” It’s very exciting to welcome our friends from the Walt Disney Studios back to Disneyland to show off their latest film. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I am confident you’re going to love it!

'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Premiere at Disneyland Resort

I’d like to congratulate and thank all of the people from the studios and our parks who organized the event. It was a huge success in every way. It’s also great to see Jack Sparrow back on the big screen for another wild adventure. (My mistake…I meant to say, Captain Jack Sparrow).

'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Premiere at Disneyland Resort

This is the fourth time the studios and Disney Parks have celebrated a new “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. Having been to all of them, I think this was the best premiere yet. One of my favorite moments of the evening was seeing all of the fans and guests cheering as the stars of the film walked the carpet. This is really a unique event for our guests and they, in turn, add tremendous energy and excitement to the whole evening. I can see why the studios team keeps coming back – and we’re happy to have them!

'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Premiere at Disneyland Resort

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Breaking Ground on Shanghai Disney Resort

posted on April 7th, 2011 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Art Rendering of Shanghai Disney Resort

I’m writing to you from Shanghai where Bob Iger and I are just about to take the stage for a very special ceremony. In just a few minutes we will officially break ground on the Shanghai Disney Resort.

This is truly a defining moment in our company’s history. We will now begin construction on this exciting new site and cause our creative concepts to leap from the drawing boards and become a wonderful new resort where friends and families can visit and play and create memories that they’ll never forget.

Art Rendering of Shanghai Disney Resort

With Shanghai Disney Resort, we have the chance to introduce the Disney Parks experience to an entirely new group of guests. Scheduled to open in about five years, our new resort in Shanghai will include things that you know and love about a Disney theme park such as Disney characters, attractions and storytelling… but it will also feature all-new experiences and stories that were inspired by and created for the people of China. The best way to describe this new resort is authentically Disney, yet distinctly Chinese.

Art Rendering of Shanghai Disney Resort

Shanghai Disneyland will be the name of the theme park itself, but the property will also have two themed hotels, a venue for retail, dining and entertainment, a wonderful sparkling lagoon and some outdoor recreation areas.

We look forward to sharing more details with you right here on the Disney Parks Blog. Until then, I would like to thank everyone from both Disney and the Shanghai Shendi Group who have worked so tirelessly to make the dream of building a Disney resort in Shanghai a reality.

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An Amazing Disney Dream Christening Ceremony

posted on January 19th, 2011 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Since becoming chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts over a year ago, I’ve had many amazing experiences but today may have topped them all – after all, it’s not every day you get to christen a cruise ship.

Disney Dream Christening Ceremony in Port Canaveral, Florida

Today, with an enormous crowd of well-wishers looking on, we welcomed the stunning Disney Dream to the Disney Cruise Line fleet at Port Canaveral in Florida. In a manner befitting a ship of its size and grandeur, we pulled out all of the stops for this maritime tradition with a spectacular show at the Disney Cruise Line Terminal with classic Disney music, dancers, fireworks and, of course, a host of our beloved Disney characters.

Disney Dream Christening Ceremony in Port Canaveral, Florida

Disney president and CEO Bob Iger and Disney’s “dream girl” Jennifer Hudson, the ship’s fairy godmother, were on hand to do the honors and christen the Disney Dream. Jennifer began her phenomenal career on the Disney Wonder back in 2003, so it was only fitting that this award-winning artist be selected as godmother of the Disney Dream.

With the addition of the Disney Dream to the Disney Cruise Line family, we’ll now be able to help more guests create even more unforgettable Disney memories on the high seas. Both the Disney Dream and her sister ship, the Disney Fantasy, coming in 2012, boast a gross tonnage of 130,000 and will be able to carry up to 4,000 passengers. Our two new ships combine the very best in innovation, technology, artistry and the legendary attention to detail that makes a Disney experience so unique.

The christening of the Disney Dream is the culmination of a journey that began years ago. The journey then took us to Germany where the ship was built, across the Atlantic where it was tested and finally to Port Canaveral, where it will live and delight guests of all ages for decades to come. Congratulations to the thousands of Imagineers, craftsmen, designers, artists and crew who have worked so hard to make this Dream a reality.

As importantly, the Disney Dream is yet another great example of what is possible when our people set out with one objective in mind: to create something of the highest quality, something designed to surprise and delight our guests, something special in every sense of the word… in short, something truly Disney.

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Aloha from Aulani

posted on July 23rd, 2010 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs at Aulani Construction Site
Aloha from O‘ahu! I’m at the site of one of our most unique, new projects – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. The team in Hawai‘i continues to bring this beautiful beachfront property to life, and it’s exciting that in just a little more than a year, on August 29, 2011, we’re scheduled to welcome our first guests here.

Construction is well underway, and as I walked the site yesterday, the great potential for the combination of the location and Disney creativity couldn’t be more clear.

Aulani is something completely new and different for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. It is our first stand-alone Resort, separate from our theme parks that will offer both hotel rooms and villas for Disney Vacation Club members. As we’ve expanded “beyond the berm” with offerings like Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney, our goal has been to bring Disney vacation experiences to our guests. And since Hawai‘i is one of the top family destinations in the world, we always knew that this would be the perfect place for a Disney Resort.

Aulani will be a destination where families can experience the stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and friendship of Hawai‘i—in a setting only Disney could create. Much more than a place to stay, it will be a place to start—a home base from which our guests can explore all that Hawai‘i has to offer.

The culture of Hawai‘i is rooted in layer-upon-layer of meaning, ancestral heritage and a rich storytelling tradition. Obviously, storytelling is something we hold near and dear here at Disney, too. So, together with our Hawaiian advisors, we are collecting stories, legends and symbols, and weaving them into the design of Aulani. Local artists are creating giant murals that surround the resort. For example, the work of one of those artists, Harinane Orme, tells the stories of Maui and Hina, and of the great tradition of star navigation that brought the Hawaiians to this land.

There is so much creativity and passion going into the development of this new Resort. I’m excited to bring my family here and think our guests will be too.

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A Spectacular Opening Night

posted on June 11th, 2010 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Talk about creating magical memories! The premiere of ‘World of Color‘ last night was one of those great Disney moments that I will remember for a lifetime. It was a thrill to see the look on the faces of our Guests (including my wife and boys) as Paradise Bay was transformed into a rainbow symphony of our best Disney music, animation and stunning water effects. It’s a show unlike any other, and it represents the finest of what makes Disney, Disney.

Tom Staggs at World of Color Premiere

Of course, it takes a whole lot to create a show as big as ‘World of Color.’ This spectacular is the result of a great collaborative effort that has drawn on every part of The Walt Disney Company. Making magic requires teamwork, and I’m honored to be working with such talented teammates.

‘World of Color’ is the quintessential Disney celebration-one that builds on Walt’s legacy of using creativity, technology and innovation to bring our most beloved characters and stories to life in a whole new way. And I think it’s a satisfying first taste of what’s to come at Disney California Adventure and at our parks and resorts around the world. We’ve got a pretty amazing lineup of new experiences opening over the next few years: Our “Little Mermaid” attraction and “Cars Land” at Disney California Adventure park; two new Disney cruise ships; a new stand-alone resort in Hawaii; and major expansions of Hong Kong Disneyland and Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

We’ll be giving you updates here on the Disney Parks blog as these projects progress, so stay tuned. And enjoy ‘World of Color.’

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