Congratulations to Jeff Reitz and Tonya Mickesh, who today reached the milestone of visiting the Disneyland Resort every day in 2012! Having made at least 366 memories this year (including One More Disney Day, of course), Tonya and Jeff received a special welcome this morning from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
As the couple entered Disneyland park, Tom was waiting to greet them at the other end of Main Street, U.S.A. Moments later, he marked the occasion by making Tonya and Jeff honorary citizens of Disneyland. And Tom presented one more added surprise – a gift that would ensure at least one more memory in 2013: a stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite.
“Jeff and Tonya have an affinity for Disney Parks that is shared by many of our guests, and I wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate them on reaching this milestone,” Tom said. “During this momentous year, their dedication to the Disneyland Resort is a testament to why we continue to expand, grow and share the Disney Parks experience with guests around the world.”
Did you know that the Disneyland Kennel Club opened as the Ken-L Land Pet Motel on January 18, 1958? Participating in the opening ceremonies were Old Yeller’s son, Duke, and Kevin Corcoran, the youthful star of the film who would become a Disney Legend. If you’ve ever boarded your pets at the Disneyland Kennel Club while visiting the Disneyland Resort, you may remember Ginny Bullock, who will tell you about her role as a Disneyland Kennel Club attendant in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role!
Last month, we gave you a first look at the Destination: Disney video series on Disney Online featuring an interview with Bob Iger talking about innovation and technology on the Disney Dream. Today, there’s more to share. This time, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman, Tom Staggs talks about the “Disney Difference” aboard the Dream:
As regular readers know, we love talking about the “Disney Difference” here on the Disney Parks Blog. That’s why we’re thrilled to tell you about a new video series debuting today on Disney Online that’ll be doing just that – offering an inside look at things that’ll likely have you saying, “Only Disney can do that.” While filming the series, host Samantha Brown had the opportunity to sit down with President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney World Company Bob Iger to talk about the Disney Dream cruise ship and how the AquaDuck came to be.
The first episode of the “Destination: Disney” series featuring Innovation and Technology on the Disney Dream can be viewed on Disney Online.
What began as a normal December day in the Magic Kingdom turned into another lesson for me about making Magic. And I have David to thank for it.
As the chill of the morning air began to lift, the park was just opening and Guests were hustling to their first attraction or show of the day. That’s when I spotted David.
A Magic Kingdom Custodial Cast Member from Amherst, N.Y., David was quietly making his way around the Cinderella Castle hub area. Using water as his paint and a custodial broom as his brush, the rose-hued sidewalk under his feet became a giant canvas as he created larger-than-life sketches of Disney characters. Meticulously, and seemingly effortlessly, he created his aqua artwork to resemble Pluto, Donald Duck and even the animated version of The Mad Hatter.
As David moved around the hub to his next sketching spot, I watched as several guests went from a fast-walk to a dead-stop — in an instant — to take a look at what was under their feet. They stood, soaked it in and motioned to friends and family to see what they had spotted. One Guest even sat down on the sidewalk, in the middle of The Mad Hatter sketch, to have her photo taken. She told her friend it was the “coolest drawing” she had ever seen of her top-hatted hero from Wonderland.
Across the hub, David glanced over at the activity and smiled. While these Guests never knew how The Mad Hatter sketch got there, or even who sketched it, to them it was Disney Magic.
At first glance, it’s hard to tell you’re looking at a hospital lobby…but that’s the point. The entrance to the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children uses fantasy, imagination and adventure to create a remarkable healing environment. And today, its doors were officially opened.
Take a look at the images – Walt Disney Imagineers designed the lobby with the same attention to detail they’d give to any attraction at the theme parks. Characters like Timon and Pumbaa from ‘The Lion King,” Flounder and Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid” and Rutt and Tuke from “Brother Bear” immediately catch your eye when walking in. And once inside, children can experience interactive activities, including the opportunity to fish for virtual salmon, step into a safari to touch and illuminate a cave wall, generate jungle sounds on musical step pads and swat chirping bugs that glow during a memory game.
As you may know, the lobby is the first in a series of milestones for the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children. Construction and renovations are currently underway and work will continue throughout the year to complete units and patient rooms. By early 2011, the addition including seven stories and more than 200 dedicated pediatric beds, will open. It’ll feature colors, sounds and themes inspired by the lobby design. For more about the Pavilion, visit www.floridahospitalforchildren.com.
Before we get into this week’s “Quick Hits” links, there’s an update to last week’s “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon post. About 400 Walt Disney Cast Members volunteered to answer more than 15,000 calls from the Disney Reservations Center in Orlando and assisted in routing donations to disaster relief organizations. Donations are still being accepted online at www.hopeforhaitinow.org. Here are some other links worth noting that didn’t make it to the blog this week.
A gentle breeze across a reflecting pool at Epcot creates a surreal, yet serene image of guests strolling through the park. The stark, leafless form of a tree stands in perfect contrast to the passersby who are dressed as if for summer.
This photograph has not been enhanced in any way, other than to turn it upside down.
As you probably know by now, the “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon airs tonight. And the growing list of volunteers involved now includes hundreds of Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members.
Disney VoluntEARS will be fielding calls and processing donations real-time from the Disney Reservations Center in Orlando. They’ll also be offering their expertise in guest services. Thousands of Disney Cast Members have personal ties to Haiti and some are still trying to locate friends or family members in the region.
The two-hour telethon airs worldwide on major networks and cable outlets tonight at 8 p.m. ET. “Hope for Haiti Now” will be accepting donations online at www.hopeforhaitinow.org and by phone 877-99-HAITI.