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Behind the Scenes: ‘Operation Disneyland’ Shows How ABC Made TV History

posted on July 17th, 2015 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


I am constantly in awe of the documentation I come across in the Walt Disney Company‘s archival footage. If you have seen the live telecast of opening day at Disneyland park, which originally aired on ABC on July, 17 1955, you may have thought – like me – “How did they do that?” This video shows highlights from “Operation Disneyland,” a 14-minute documentary produced for ABC closed-circuit television, which looks at the technical challenges behind broadcasting the opening ceremonies of Disneyland park.

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Behind the Scenes: This Year’s Star Wars Weekends Creative Campaign

posted on June 11th, 2015 by Will Gay, Creative Director, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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Ready are you? We sure were. All of a sudden I look around and I am in the middle of the TV commercial shoot for the upcoming launch of this year’s Star Wars Weekends. This is one of those moments that I just think, “Are you kidding me? How did I get here in the middle of all this awesomeness and where did all these troopers come from?” It is a little surreal to say the least. Maybe it really did all start “A long time ago in a galaxy” … well you know. You see, my Jedi Master creative teammates and myself are huge Star Wars fans ourselves. We grew up watching the original trilogy and playing with everything Star Wars. So working on the creative for the latest campaign here at Yellow Shoes really was a dream come true for us.

After editing this great footage we shot right here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, then adding in all the cool special effects, it was finally complete. And we are very excited to share with you today the finished spot we call, “Lit”.

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Oh, and did you notice some very familiar footage in the beginning of the spot? How cool is that? Not to mention that iconic soundtrack that comes up at the end that can make a grown man get a little misty-eyed.

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The idea behind this year’s campaign is simple: it’s as close to the Force as you can get. Everything plays out around the notion of going to Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you are literally surrounded by the Force and all things Star Wars.

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Behind the Scenes of Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park with Walt Disney Imagineering

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Matterhorn Bobsleds recently reopened at Disneyland park, following a refurbishment that brought many new creative elements to this classic attraction – including a whole new look for its most famous resident, the Abominable Snowman. In the video below, Walt Disney Imagineering takes us for a behind-the-scenes look at how this new look was created.

Have you seen the Abominable Snowman’s new look for yourself? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Behind the Scenes: Creating the Music for ‘Tangled: The Musical’ for Disney Cruise Line

posted on May 21st, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Last month, we gave you a first look at the production of “Tangled: The Musical,” coming to the Disney Magic this November. Today we continue our all-access pass with an exclusive video all about the development of the spectacular music for this show—which will include three new songs that weren’t in the movie!

In the video below, you’ll hear from some of the musical masterminds behind this production, starting with Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken, whose work includes classic Disney films like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Also featured are Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater and Tim Williams. What a team!

Stay tuned for more exclusive videos from behind the scenes of “Tangled: The Musical” over the next several months.

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Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Harambe Market, a new area that will serve-up African-inspired street food, is set to open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at just how the team is currently working together to bring this new area to life.

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Check out the video below to hear how members of the project team traveled to Lamu, Kenya to study architecture, learn how African foods and spices inspired parts of the area’s storyline, and much more.

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Behind the Scenes: Hatbox Ghost Reappears in Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

posted on May 11th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


This weekend, one of the 999 happy haunts in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park reappeared after decades in hiding. Take a look!

Hat Box Ghost

Hat Box Ghost

Today, I’m excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at this mysterious resident from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering. Watch as they take us inside the reappearance of the Hatbox Ghost.

Come see the Hatbox Ghost for yourself now at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park!

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˜New Main Street Enchanted Windows to Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on May 5th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


If you’ve wandered down Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park recently, you may have noticed some of the windows along the front of the Emporium are covered. What is going on behind those blue curtains, you ask? Today, I’m excited to tell you!

The beloved Main Street animated windows will come to life once again for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration as Main Street Enchanted Windows. Since the early 1960s, scenes from Disney animated classics have been featured in the windows of the Emporium at Disneyland park. This year, for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, these classic windows will be updated with new, exciting technology and effects. Take a look behind the scenes of the creation of these windows with John Gritz, Creative Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, in the video below!

There will be a total of six Main Street Enchanted Windows. The first two, featuring the stories of “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella,” will be unveiled in May, followed by “Frozen” and “The Princess and the Frog” in July, and “Toy Story” and “Aladdin” in August.

The Main Street Enchanted Windows are just another way the Disneyland Resort continues to delight guests in ways both big and small … from our new nighttime spectaculars and the addition of new magic to classic attractions, to special details that catch your eye as you stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. See it all for yourself when the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration begins May 22!

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Behind the Scenes: Creating Anna & Elsa Topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 4th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


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Have you taken your photo yet with the Anna and Elsa topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? It’s this year’s must-have selfie or photo spot. And we have two former Horticulture interns to thank. Let me explain …

When our creative experts in Horticulture decided to design Anna and Elsa in plant and flower form, they needed models to help create the frames that serve as the foundation for the topiaries.

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Sarah Lanners, a senior at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Jordan McGee, a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University, worked with our Horticulture team during the summer. They were asked to be the pose models for the royal sisters.

“I was absolutely thrilled to represent the ‘Frozen’ princess,” Sarah said.

“I was thrilled! I love ‘Frozen’!” Jordan told me. “I have always been partial to Anna. She may not have super powers, but … she has a beautiful amount of faith in herself and her sister.”

You can see from the photo how Sarah and Jordan had to pose in a Horticulture workroom. You can imagine, a lot of technology and steps go into concept, to creation of a model, to the creation of a topiary – and both Sarah and Jordan told me they found the whole process fascinating.

“In my own geeky horticulture way I instantly thought about how I would inadvertently be a Disney Princess in the most coolest way possible and that as long as this topiary is a part of Disney then so am I,” Sarah said. “This is something that most would consider a dream come true.”

“I was thrilled to do my small part in supporting ‘Frozen,’” Jordan said. “Being sculpted in plants is the coolest thing ever!”

Head to the entrance to World Showcase and check out the royal sisters from Arrendelle … and thanks Sarah and Jordan, and the Horticulture team!

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Behind the Scenes: Inside the Bakery at Epcot’s France Pavilion

posted on April 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You smell it before you see it – that unmistakable aroma of freshly baked bread hot from the oven. As you enter Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion at Epcot, all five senses are awakened when you smell the bread, see the beautiful pastries, hear the lilting sound of French, touch, then taste your favorite. Maybe a crisp baguette or buttery croissant. Or a Napoleon or macaron or éclair … maybe a jambon beurre sandwich or quiche Lorraine. So many choices, so little time.

Every single item in the bakery case is made by hand – in the on-stage bread ovens or in the bustling upstairs bakery where the crew arrives before daybreak to make buttery croissants, dense quiche Florentine and parfaits almost too pretty to eat. You’ll be hungry just looking at these delicious photos by Disney photographer Matt Stroshane.

We got a special behind-the-scenes peek at the expansive upstairs bakery that’s as big as Les Halles below, with cooks busy making crème brûlèe, slicing fresh Napoleon, piping éclairs and putting the finishing touches on chocolate mousse and strawberry tarts. A tray of freshly baguettes with ham and cheese with Dijon mustard butter, a classic Parisian sandwich, was readied for the first guests of the day. Freshly made macarons in jewel tones, light as a feather, were gently placed in little boxes.

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Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie opens at 9 a.m., ahead of World Showcase, and is a wonderful little hideaway for breakfast. The pastry team of 30, under the direction of Pastry Chef Olivier Saintemarie, starts their day at 5 a.m. and rotates throughout the day until 11 p.m. to make sure guests have the freshest taste of France.

We headed back downstairs to chat with Chef Baker Matthieu Cabon from Brittany, France, who, with his team of six, turns out 700 to 800 baguettes every single day, along with specialty breads such as brioche and croissants. He started baking at age 15, and studied only bread making for four years – “I mastered bread the old-school way … no shortcuts,” he says. It was the aroma that determined his career, he says, as well as the quiet of early-morning hours when bakers do their best work.

“Bread is limitless, it just takes imagination,” says Matthieu.

And, really, it’s just four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water, but you must add “know how,” says the chef. Everything at Les Halles is made from scratch, and it takes two days, start to finish, to produce a perfect baguette. His bakers make all the breads for Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, Chefs de France, Monsieur Paul and brioche for the pavilion’s ice-cream shop.

“For baguettes, day one is slow fermentation, then the dough sits overnight in a cooler to coax out the flavor,” says Matthieu. “Day two we divide it, shape it and bake. That’s it.”

But it’s the artisan touch that makes a perfect baguette. “Bread is all about feeling, but the real boss is the dough, which can be temperamental with temperature, weather and humidity,” he says. “Dough follows nature, and a good baker knows just by touching whether it’s right.”

For a perfectly flaky croissant, the chef explains that the folding process is a science. “It takes six hours to shape, then it’s baked the next day,” he explains.

And for tartines, which Americans call “open-faced sandwiches,” the bakery makes a rustic loaf with blistered, rugged crust and tangy soft inside – Chef Matthieu knocks on the crust and knows by the sound if it’s perfect.

All told, they turn out eight different kinds of bread: baguettes, croissants, tartines, whole-grain loaves, pain de mie (a type of sliced bread), brioche, focaccia and walnut-raisin bread.

He and his team also make exquisite, smaller breads for Monsieur Paul: whole-grain loaves, rustic baguettes, poppy seed “epis” (a type of artisan French bread) and a mushroom, bacon and cheese bread that’s a guest favorite.

Matthieu deftly inserts a shovel-like peel into the hot oven and slides out a dozen or so crackly loaves. From the hint of a smile on his face, you know it’s a good morning.

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‘Show Your Disney Side Week’ on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


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A few weeks ago, I dropped a not-so-subtle hint here on the Disney Parks Blog that there might be more Disney fun coming on “Wheel of Fortune” this season. Well, the wait is over: “Show Your Disney Side” Week starts tonight on “Wheel of Fortune!”

For this special week of shows, we wanted to bring our Disney Side to their Studio. So, we brought them a truckload of pixie dust – and, I literally mean a truckload – to help deliver the magic!

'Show Your Disney Side Week' on 'Wheel of Fortune' 'Show Your Disney Side Week' on 'Wheel of Fortune'

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy are there to share in all the excitement, as well. They had a terrific time with Pat Sajak and Vanna White, as well as meeting the Studio audience. (But … here’s the honest truth. It was part of my job to keep an eye on those guys, and when I wasn’t looking, a few “unplanned events” MAY have occurred. Which MAY have been captured on camera. And you MAY see in the shows. Ooops.)

Here’s another first for Disney and “Wheel”: an entire episode dedicated to our Happily Ever After Side. More about that from my friend Michelle Smits at Disney’s Fairytale Weddings and Honeymoons on the Ever After Blog later in the week – but make sure you don’t miss Thursday night’s show!

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Because I know you love it when we can “lift the curtain” and give you a behind-the-scenes look at productions, we’re thrilled to offer up an all access pass! Check out this fantastic video for a look at how we moved attraction vehicles from Disneyland Resort, up the Santa Ana Freeway, to Culver City – I wish you could have seen the look on motorist’s faces as Dumbo went “flying” by! You’ll see the Characters “working” here, too. And … you’ll even get to discover what Pat and Vanna’s Disney Side is!

The shows feature fantastic vacation prizes to both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort – a pretty good reminder that it’s time for you to be thinking about planning your next vacation to show your Disney Side, right?

And there’s even a chance for you to win a magical Grand Adventure to enjoy with your entire family at the Walt Disney World Resort, just for watching. (Details on that are here.)

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Tune in all week starting tonight! Check your local listings for details. And … buy a vowel!

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