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Behind the Scenes: ‘Monkeying Out’ with the Tumble Monkeys at ‘Festival of the Lion King’

posted on February 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


One of my favorite parts of my job with the Disney Parks Blog is that I occasionally get to go behind the scenes and try out something that is really amazing, like stunt car driving at “Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show,” or learning stage combat at the “Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.”

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My most recent adventure took me to “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where I was lucky enough to spend some time with a few stars from the show – the fan-favorite Tumble Monkeys.

Behind the Scenes: 'Monkeying Out' With The Tumble Monkeys at ‘Festival of the Lion King’ Behind the Scenes: 'Monkeying Out' With The Tumble Monkeys at ‘Festival of the Lion King’

In case you haven’t seen “Festival of the Lion King,” the show celebrates the story of Simba the lion cub through live music, dance, puppetry, fireknife, and more. The Tumble Monkey scene adds humor into the story when a group of monkeys bounce, climb, flip, jump and swing in a hilarious gymnastics routine.

In reality, the Tumble Monkeys are a group of highly trained gymnasts who studied the sport up through their college years. In reality, I have not done a cartwheel since about age 7. This made it a pretty interesting challenge to go backstage and learn some of their (beginner) stunts. They also shared with me a team secret, which they call “Monkeying Out.” Check it all out below.

You can see “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom several times each day. Check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes during your visit.


For more behind-the-scenes looks, check out the videos below:

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Video Rewind: Caring for Classic Disneyland Park Attractions

posted on January 19th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Here at Disney Parks, we’re always looking for new, innovative ways to immerse our guests in Disney stories. That’s something we’ve been doing from the very beginning, which is why it is just as important to care for our classic attractions, each of which were innovations in their own time – and continue to inspire us today. Let’s take a look back at some behind-the-scenes videos we showed you in years past here on the Disney Parks Blog to see how we care for our classic Disneyland park attractions.

In 2009, Heather Hust Rivera showed us how the (at that time) soon-to-reopen “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” was using new advancements in Audio-Animatronics technology.

Then in 2010, Heather took us behind the scenes to see how the antique horses on King Arthur Carrousel are meticulously maintained.

And in 2011, I shared one of my favorite videos ever – showing how elephants are transported from the Jungle Cruise to be given a seven-week “check-up” approximately every ten years.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park: Building Strength and Coordination

posted on January 6th, 2015 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


In the latest in our series of Disneyland Resort horse training videos, we’ll see Duke working on his ground driving skills with Circle D Equine Trainer Cindy Moser. To a casual observer, ground driving looks like the trainer is simply driving a horse without a cart, but these exercises are an ideal way to develop a horse’s strength, fitness and coordination. And for a new Disneyland Resort horse, these skills are another achievement on the path to pulling the trolley on Main Street, U.S.A.



See the posts below for more on training the horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland park:

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Walt Disney World Cast Members Transform Main Street, U.S.A., For The Holidays

posted on November 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you started decorating your home for the holidays yet? Our Holiday Services department works year round to make sure that everything is ready to be installed at each park and resort here at Walt Disney World Resort.

Last week, they completed an overnight installation of holiday decor at Magic Kingdom Park – just in time for the park’s first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the season.

With the park’s new daily procession, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, and its sizeable floats that make their way down Main Street, U.S.A., some of the holiday decor had to be reimagined for this year. Check out this video for a behind-the-scenes look!

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Once Upon a Parade’ – Bonus Feature – ‘Sleeping Beauty’

posted on October 7th, 2014 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


To call “Sleeping Beauty” a classic is certainly an understatement. With its extraordinary story and unforgettable characters, it’s thrilled generations of filmgoers. Of course, at Disney Parks, it inspired the Imagineers to build our very first castle at Disneyland park. And it continues to inspire magic in our parks to this day, including many elements of our brand new, “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at Magic Kingdom Park.

So, we’re excited that a brand new Bonus Feature, “Once Upon a Parade”, all about the creation of “Festival of Fantasy”, is making its debut on the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray of “Sleeping Beauty” today! (It’s available in Digital HD, too.)

Some of my favorite projects here have been collaborating on other Bonus Features for titles such as “The Jungle Book” and “The Little Mermaid.” So, we were so excited to again have the opportunity to work with our friends at the Walt Disney Studios.

It’s a behind-the-scenes look, of course. But, this time, the filmmakers are showing you a whole different kind of magic – something you’ve never seen before! Who better to create a Disney Parade than the citizens of Fantasyland themselves – and this film will show you how they did it!

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As you know, we love to give you a little “backstage” look at our filmmaking process – so, here goes: This film utilized two tons of hay, plus smoke, thunder, lightning effects, half a ton of feathers, a snow machine … and every frame of it was shot inside Magic Kingdom Park.

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“Once Upon a Parade” stars the amazing Sarah Hyland from ABC’s “Modern Family”, and we had a fantastic time working on the project. I’m not certain I know a bigger fan of the Disney Parks than Sarah – she might know more Disney trivia than any of us! Check out the video, where Sarah talks about the project, her passion for all things Disney … and even gives you a sneak peek at the Bonus Feature, too!

“Sleeping Beauty” releases today, for the first Time on Diamond Edition Blu-ray and Digital HD. Go get your copy!

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Behind the Scenes: Adding ‘Fantasia’ Magic to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival features the creative talents of many different departments here at Walt Disney World Resort, including our excellent Food & Beverage team. But did you know that Walt Disney Imagineering and Horticulture also play an important part in getting the park ready for the festival?

Check out this video, in which our Walt Disney Imagineers and Horticulture cast members work together to transform the park’s Entrance Planters with “Fantasia”-inspired graphics and topiaries – in just eight hours.

Drawing inspiration from the film, the graphics and horticulture designs illustrate Chef Mickey orchestrating “magical forks” to spread flavor throughout the festival. This theme is carried out throughout the park’s other graphics and horticulture displays.

What is your favorite part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Time-Lapse Video: Haunted Mansion Holiday Gingerbread House Installed at Disneyland Park

posted on October 1st, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Halloween Time is upon us, and that means the return of seasonal fan favorite, Haunted Mansion Holiday. Each year, Jack Skellington takes over the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park, transforming the iconic attraction in honor of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.” One of the signature details of Haunted Mansion Holiday is the enormous gingerbread house, which changes each year. Our video team documented the installation of this year’s creation … take a look in this time-lapse video!

Have you seen the new gingerbread house inside Haunted Mansion Holiday this year?

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

What’s This? Disneyland Resort Entertainment Team Shares Top Pics for Haunted Mansion Holiday

posted on September 16th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Every August, the Disneyland Resort Entertainment team begins helping Jack Skellington take over the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park to create Haunted Mansion Holiday. To see them in action is quite a treat. There’s always something new and different to discover, so I thought I’d ask the talented team to show me their favorite parts of Skellington’s magical makeover.

My favorite feature is seeing all of the spooky stockings; I can only imagine what’s inside of them! What’s your favorite part of Haunted Mansion Holiday?

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Check out the sketch of this year’s gingerbread creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday, the masterful work of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. The masterpiece debuts when Haunted Mansion Holiday opens at Disneyland park on September 12.
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“The Ghost Host of Haunted Mansion Holiday always says, ‘even a gingerbread house can be scary,’ and we’ve definitely taken the design towards scary this year,” says Tim Wollweber, Graphic Designer/Sculptor.

Of course, the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house adds a little whimsy with a hapless gingerbread zombie trapped inside – and those frightening spikes are very sharp, red-and-white candy canes. The gingerbread house also will feature opening and closing doors and lights.

The wood foundation is wired, then sent to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply 200 pounds of gingerbread, 200 pounds of royal icing, 150 pounds of fondant, and all sorts of other sticky treats. The gingerbread house stands at almost 7 feet tall.

There’s plenty of time to take it all in – Haunted Mansion Holiday goes through January 6, 2015.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park: Building Trust

posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


In the second of a series of videos designed to go backstage at Circle D Ranch at Disneyland park, you’ll see Lead Equine Trainer, Jennifer Gable, working on groundwork skills. Consistent groundwork is important to build trust between the horse and trainer, and it also allows for new concepts to be introduced to the horse in a safe way. Another important idea behind groundwork is acknowledging the horse’s instincts. As a herd animal, horses naturally look toward the herd leader for guidance and safety. As the horse’s trainer, the goal is to take on the role of the leader, resulting in a horse that’s respectful, responsive and relaxed.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort