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Top Five Behind-The-Scenes Looks at Walt Disney World Resort Holidays

posted on November 29th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

We love sharing behind-the-scenes looks with you here on the Disney Parks Blog. Some of our most interesting holiday content from years past have included backstage glimpses of how Walt Disney World Resort readies for the holiday season, whether it’s decorating overnight or building larger-than-life gingerbread structures.


Here are some of our best behind-the-scenes looks at the holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Did you know that some departments work year-round to plan holiday fun? John Graham takes you behind the scenes at our Holiday Services department and Holiday Merchandise showroom to sneak a peek at how we start planning months in advance.

Did you know that Magic Kingdom Park is decorated for the holidays just a few days after Halloween is over? Check out this timelapse video to see how our “elves” transform the park from “Halloween Spooky” to “Holiday Sparkle” in a matter of hours.

Cinderella’s Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights lights up Magic Kingdom Park throughout the season. Check out this video with Entertainment’s Reed Jones on what it takes to string lights on Cinderella Castle.

Are you a fan of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Check out this video, in which Entertainment’s John Phelan tells the story of how this holiday spectacle came to be.

Have you seen the creative gingerbread houses (and other sugary structures) that decorate our resorts each season? Check out this behind-the-scenes timelapse of the gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

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Behind the Scenes: Creating a Very Merry Ad Campaign For Magic Kingdom Park

posted on November 25th, 2013 by Will Gay, Creative Director, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Have you ever wondered what makes Mickey’s Christmas Party “very merry” and not just normal merry? Well, for the first time ever, the creative team here at Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group found the answer.

The idea behind this year’s holiday campaign revolves all around the name of Mickey’s Christmas Party – which you can see in a new VERY merry logo and over-the-top merry scenes. Since the party is a classic Christmas party at Magic Kingdom Park, the style and tone of the campaign – from the hand-drawn logo to a traditional animated short – was inspired by the classic Disney shorts and vintage holiday greeting cards.

One of the most exciting pieces to work on was an original 30-second animation featuring Mickey and the gang getting ready for the very-est, merriest party of the year. The commercial was traditionally animated in the style of the Disney classic cartoons of the late 1930s and 1940s. The sound design was really fun, too. We love the narrator’s ‘Goofy How-To’ vibe and the character voices throughout. The soundtrack, a jazzy rendition of Jingle Bells, was also inspired by a 1940s big band and recorded by a live orchestra.

The entire campaign was sparked by a fun Christmas story that explains the origins of Mickey’s first Very Merry Christmas Party. The story is a great way to get your kids excited for the Christmas Party. And, even if you’re not going this year, it’s just really fun to ad-lib Donald Duck’s not-so-merry outbursts. You can download the full story by clicking the image below.


You can also expect to see very merry billboards, banner ads, and hear radio spots leading up to the party, which is happening select nights now through December 20. (Tickets are on sale now at

And, since no Christmas would be complete without a gift or two, we made some very merry wallpapers just for our Disney Parks Blog readers. Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpapers before you download it.


Have a VERY merry Christmas!

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It’s Freaky Friday – Time to Open Another Door on the Gingerbread House Inside Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on October 11th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park makes Friday even more fun: it’s the day to open another door on the “13 Faces of Jack” Advent Calendar Mausoleum. Behind every door is another likeness of the infamous Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the inspiration behind the cool seasonal décor at the Haunted Mansion.

“It’s the biggest yet,” says Brian Sandahl, Senior Designer at Disney Creative Entertainment. The mausoleum measures 8 feet wide and 13 feet tall and sits imposingly on the table in the ballroom of the Haunted Mansion.

The over-the-top decorations are the result of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. Here’s a look back at the making of this year’s gingerbread creation.

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Behind the Scenes: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Car Completes Drop Test at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 23rd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier today, Imagineers and Design & Engineering marked a milestone in the construction of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.


Last week, the team completed the car’s first push/pull test, and today marked the first time the train ran under its own gravity and completed its first drop out of the station.

As a reminder, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is set to debut in 2014.

For more on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, read the posts below:

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Creating the Magic of Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on September 18th, 2013 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

In celebration of the 13th season of Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park, I set out to talk to some cast members whose jobs are to help Jack Skellington and his buddies take over the Haunted Mansion each year. Edward, Richard and Lindsey have worked a combined 32 spooktakular seasons creating the magic, and as you’ll see in this video, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Check out more posts about Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort:

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Celebrating 13 Frightfully Fun Seasons of Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on September 13th, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment

What’s This? The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park reopens today as Haunted Mansion Holiday, with the classic attraction taken over by the citizens of Halloween Town for the 13th year in a row.

This year, in honor of that unluckiest of anniversaries, several new surprises have been added to the mix. Of course, Jack Skellington and company couldn’t do it all alone. They got some help from the Creative Entertainment team, including Creative Director Steven Davison and Senior Designer Brian Sandahl.

Brian recently took us behind the scenes at Haunted Mansion Holiday to share how they’ve brought the attraction to life for 13 seasons.

So head on over to Haunted Mansion Holiday to see what’s new for this year, and be sure to check back on the Disney Parks Blog later this month, when we reveal additional surprises coming as part of “Limited Time Magic!”

Read more about Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort on the Disney Parks Blog:

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Behind the Scenes: New Custom Animation for ‘World of Color – Winter Dreams’ at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on September 11th, 2013 by Steven Davison, Imagineer, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment

Happy Holidays! ‘World of Color – Winter Dreams’ is coming up faster than you can imagine. This new holiday water spectacular is going to be visually breathtaking!

As part of show, we are working closely with our partners at Walt Disney Animation Studios. This outstanding group of artists is going out of their way to bring new and amazing animation to the show. From classics like “Bambi,” to new characters like Olaf from the upcoming animated feature “Frozen,” all are being customized for the “World of Color” fountain/projection stage.

To tell you a little bit more about it and give you a look behind the scenes, here’s a video with Dave Bossert, Producer and Creative Director of Special Projects for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He’s going to chat about about the custom work they are doing for the all-new show.

Season’s Greetings!

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VIDEO: Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz – Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Hudson as Tiana

posted on August 23rd, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

Yesterday we revealed the newest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Disney Parks featuring the amazing Jennifer Hudson as Tiana. Today we’re going behind the scenes to the town of Patterson, NY, where last May, Annie Leibovitz and her skilled team of artists and technical wizards created a photo set in the middle of an actual swamp. This beautiful location, known as the Great Swamp, was just perfect for a shoot featuring characters from “The Princess and the Frog.”

This video really captures the fun atmosphere on the set and Jennifer’s deep connection to Disney Parks. You’ll hear her discuss what this “full circle moment” means to her as a mother and as a former cast member aboard the Disney Wonder. Pay particular attention to her skill at giving directions. Once a Disney girl, always a Disney girl!

Having her son, David, on the set for this special shoot was very meaningful to Jennifer and I don’t think either of them will soon forget it.

Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz with Jennifer Hudson as Tiana Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz with Jennifer Hudson as Tiana Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz with Jennifer Hudson as Tiana

Jennifer, who is also the Godmother of the Disney Dream, loves to visit our parks with her family and she told me that her favorite place to visit at any Disney park is the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She also mentioned that her favorite song happens to be a Disney song. Can you guess which one?

Go behind the scenes of other recent Disney Dream Portraits in the stories below:

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Behind the Scenes: Stunt Driving at Lights, Motors, Action! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 23rd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

The stunt driving in Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is simply amazing, with drivers executing a show full of choreographed 180- and 360-degree spins, two wheels and jumps – often in the midst of controlled explosions that guests can feel in their seats.

We love taking you behind-the-scenes at our attractions and this video was an absolute blast to create. In it, stunt drivers Eduardo Marques, Jr., Mike Sawyer and Kial Butler tell us what they love about performing in the show and even take us for a spin inside the car. Check it out!

Is the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show a must-see for you? Tell us what you love about the show in the “Comments” section below.

*Note: There is no ride-along experience offered at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.

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Behind the Scenes: Designing a Disney Fireworks Show

posted on July 1st, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Designing a fireworks show for a Disney Park involves selecting music, playing with color, and choosing individual fireworks as carefully as if you’re choosing actors for a play – all to create one amazing story in the sky.

A Disney Parks Fireworks Show

Many of those “stories” will play out at Disney Parks this week, with Fourth of July fireworks spectaculars happening at both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.

Check out this video, in which Steven Davison, vice president of Parades & Spectaculars, gives us a behind-the-scenes look.

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