Spaceship Earth at Epcot

‘The Little Mermaid’ Actress Jodi Benson Leaves Her Mark on Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on May 31st, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which marks its first anniversary today, celebrates the making of some favorite Disney and Pixar films, including “Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Ariel, from 'The Little Mermaid' outside of Disney's Art of Animation Resort
As a part of the resort’s design, the lobby features a fun chandelier that’s made up of sketches from each of these films. Recently, actress Jodi Benson – who voiced Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” – stopped by to autograph one of the panels that makes up the chandelier.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of this moment. And to view more of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, check out the gallery below.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Behind The Scenes: Exploring the New Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on May 23rd, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

When we shared a first peek at Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland, I know many Disney Parks Blog readers immediately added it to their “must do” list – me too. Today, there’s even more to share. Walt Disney Imagineering’s creative executive Joe Lanzisero is taking us on a behind-the-scenes tour of Lord Henry’s stately Victorian mansion.

One of the critical elements for making Mystic Manor a great attraction was the music and the addition of legendary composer Danny Elfman, according to Joe. “Danny has the ability to create tension and excitement but there is always a grin underlying it,” he said. “He has a sense of scary fun, so Danny was perfect.”

Along with an amazing soundtrack, the attraction features a trackless ride system and combines innovative special effects, state-of-the-art technology and Disney storytelling to create an immersive experience.

Mystic Manor opened on May 17 so you can now tour Lord Henry’s home yourself by boarding his latest invention – the “Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage.” But be sure to keep an eye open for Albert, Lord Henry’s pet monkey, because when he opens a peculiar music box in the museum, all of Mystic Manor’s contents magically come to life.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Hong Kong Disneyland

Behind the Scenes: Recording the Soundtrack for Test Track Presented by Chevrolet at Epcot

posted on May 22nd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

What are some of the sounds that make Epcot, well, Epcot for you? The laughter of Figment? The uplifting music of Soarin’? The narrator’s dim of the torches before IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth?

In this video, which we just received from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, our Imagineers offer a look at how they designed a new soundtrack for one of the park’s attractions: Test Track Presented by Chevrolet. Check it out – there are definitely some things you’ll want to listen for next time you stop by.

Which Epcot attraction has your favorite soundtrack? Let us know in the “Comments” section below.

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

‘Once Upon A Time’s’ Lana Parrilla Visits New Fantasyland At Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 3rd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Are you a fan of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time”?
'Once Upon A Time's' Lana Parrilla Poses with Beast
Actress Lana Parrilla, who plays Regina Mills/The Evil Queen on the show, recently visited Magic Kingdom Park to participate in a taping of a New Fantasyland promo.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video to hear from Lana, as well as cast and crew on what it was like the day the Evil Queen made her appearance in the Happiest Place on Earth. And don’t forget to watch ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” this Sunday, May 5, at 8 p.m. to see the final promo.

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

King Louie Joins Rehearsal for ‘Mickey and the Magical Map’ at Disneyland Park

posted on May 1st, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment

It’s May, and that means “Mickey and the Magical Map” opens later this month at Disneyland park! Our Entertainment cast and crew are working hard behind the scenes to create a dazzling musical spectacular for the newly refurbished Fantasyland Theatre. Here’s a sneak peek from a recent rehearsal, when King Louie joined the ensemble for a run-through of the “I Wanna be Like You” number from “The Jungle Book.”

I really like this new arrangement of the classic song and can’t wait to see it onstage when “Mickey and the Magical Map” debuts May 25!

Learn more about “Mickey and the Magical Map” in the posts below:

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Video: Spaceship Earth Transforms from Disney Parks Icon to Disney●Pixar ‘Eye-Con’

posted on April 26th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

Last night, a giant Mike Wazowski from the upcoming Disney●Pixar film “Monsters University” helped announce our first-ever three-park, all-night party at Disney Parks on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season. Eight projectors were used to transform the huge sphere of Spaceship Earth into the beloved character for the show at Epcot. Today, we have a behind-the-scenes look at how the teams made it happen.

The same artists who created Mike Wazowski for the upcoming Disney●Pixar film also created the animation for our Monstrous Summer announcement at Epcot. “You have all of these great partners working together for this one moment and it’s never happened before,” said Mike Roddy, senior show writer and director for Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. “What you’re seeing is really the first time we’ve done something like this.”

If you missed the announcement, the three-park all-night party is happening at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park in California. The parks will stay open from 6 a.m., May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, local time.

  • In Florida, Magic Kingdom Park will feature a “Monsters University” theme where Mike and Sulley will be the Grand Marshals of the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” day parade and make appearances in Tomorrowland. There will be extra entertainment throughout the day and night, including characters in their pajamas in Town Square during the late night and early morning, and late-night dance parties in and around the courtyard of Cinderella Castle.
  • In California, you’ll be able to party the night away at both parks with special entertainment including: a “Monsters University” “TLT Monstrous” Dance Club and Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland and late-night Character Pajama Party in Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland park. The new Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre at Disneyland park will become a Royal Dance Hall late at night with a live band and dancing; and guests at Disney California Adventure park will find Monstrous photo opportunities with new “Monsters University” “dorms” in Hollywood Land and a new “Monsters University” float leading the Pixar Play Parade.

All three parks will feature limited-edition specialty merchandise and food and beverage offerings, plus other surprises throughout the entire day. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and the Monstrous Summer site for more details in coming weeks.

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

Making Music for ‘Mickey and the Magical Map’ at Disneyland Park

posted on April 25th, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment

We’re just one month away from the May 25 opening of the new live show spectacular, “Mickey and the Magical Map,” in the Fantasyland Theatre at Disneyland park! I’ve mentioned before that “Mickey and the Magical Map” is a musical extravaganza, and today I’m thrilled to offer you a little taste of what you’ll hear in the show.

Creative Entertainment Executive Producer Doug McIntyre and Music Director Bruce Healey recently oversaw the recording of the show’s soundtrack, with a full orchestra on a Hollywood scoring stage. Have a listen!

In addition to a sumptuous, motion picture-quality score and classic Disney tunes, I can also tell you “Mickey and the Magical Map” will feature an original song written just for this show. The song, entitled “Journey to Imagination,” is inspired by Mickey’s journey in the show. It’s about letting go and believing in the world of dreams and imagination.

Composers Adam Watts and Andy Dodd, whose credits include everything from Disney productions like “High School Musical” to writing for artists like Kelly Clarkson and Jesse McCartney, wrote the music and lyrics for “Journey to Imagination,” with orchestration by Timothy Williams.

“We’ve written numerous songs for various Disney TV and film projects,” said Adam and Andy. “’Journey To Imagination’ was particularly unique and special in that it was an opportunity to work on a song specifically for a feature at the park that includes so many classic songs and characters. Being Southern-California natives, we grew up loving Disneyland, and to be a part of it on the creative side is truly an honor. It’s exciting to know that people from all over the world will hear our song in the show every single day. We thoroughly enjoyed the process, as well as working with such a talented team.”

I can’t wait to hear the song performed live and see all the magical things that happen onstage! What are you most excited for in “Mickey and the Magical Map”? Let us know in the comments!

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Behind-the-Scenes Look at Creating Vinylmation-Inspired ‘Ardy’ for Radio Disney Music Awards

posted on April 10th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

A few weeks ago I shared a first look at the Vinylmation-inspired award for the upcoming Radio Disney Music Awards show on April 27 in Los Angeles, California. The event will feature live performances from some of Radio Disney’s biggest stars, and will include awards as voted by Radio Disney fans. That evening, fan-selected stars will receive “Ardy,” the award name chosen by fans on Radio Disney’s official Facebook page. I recently visited artist Lin Shih at Disney Design Group in Florida to learn how he designed this iconic award.

Fans can continue voting for their favorite Radio Disney stars through April 14 on

If Lin’s work inspired you, try your hand at designing Vinylmation (including creating your own custom “Ardy”) in the Disney Create portal on

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

Get a Sneak Peek at A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on April 8th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Are you ready to experience a whole new pirate adventure?

Walt Disney Imagineering just shared a sneak peek at the new interactive quest, A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas, which will debut at Magic Kingdom Park this summer.

In the game, the fate of piracy in the Caribbean rests in the hands of new pirate recruits, who, armed with magic talismans and treasure maps, embark on five different pirate raids throughout Adventureland to collect valuable treasures, while Captain Jack Sparrow’s magic compass guides them.

Here, Imagineers Jonathan Ackley and Matt Beiler offer up a look at a few of the quest’s cool special effects.

A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas will be included with Magic Kingdom Park admission and is open to guests of all ages.

Now, which of you are ready to join the ranks of a new recruit?

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

Every Role a Starring Role – Radiator Springs Racers Electrician at the Disneyland Resort

posted on March 29th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Radiator Springs Racers recently embarked on its millionth trip through Radiator Springs, thanks in part to cast members like Joe Shanahan, who helps maintain the ride vehicles. Hear from Joe about his role as an electrician for the attraction in this installment of “Every Role a Starring Role!

Check out these posts for more “Every Role a Starring Role”:

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Cast Member Profiles, Disneyland Resort