Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Is on His Way to Disney California Adventure Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of Walt Disney’s earliest cartoon stars, has had a presence at Disney California Adventure park for the past couple of years, from those delightful rabbit ear hats to the Oswald ice cream sundaes at Clarabelle’s. Now, Oswald himself is set to come home to Disneyland Resort!

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Oswald made his film debut September 5, 1927, in the cartoon short “Trolley Troubles.” Walt Disney went on to produce 26 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts, before losing the rights to the character in 1928. It was that experience that inspired the creation of Mickey Mouse, and the rest as they say, is history. Oswald finally returned to the Disney family in 2006 and made his first Disney Parks appearance earlier this year at Tokyo DisneySea.

Later this month, you’ll finally be able to meet Oswald on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park. Just look for the lucky little rabbit strolling along the sunny side of the street, starting September 14!

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Celebrates 35 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


“This here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Guests first heard that warning on September 2, 1979, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Since then, the popular runaway mine train as taken more than 225 million guests on a wild ride through 19th century gold-mining territory. The mountain was inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and objects found inside are actual artifacts from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. The opening also marked the third peak in the Disneyland park mountain range. (Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain were the first two.)

Last March, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after an extended refurbishment with new track and an enhanced audio system. Come check it out! For now, take a trip back to 1979 and watch as Mickey Mouse turns the key and boards the runaway mine train with some of his Disney friends.

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Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Tomorrow, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park celebrates 35 years of taking guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness. My niece recently experienced this runaway train as her first roller coaster, and I was positively thrilled to see her beaming as we got off the attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like many of the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort, is the perfect blend of fun and storytelling. In honor of the iconic attraction’s anniversary tomorrow, here are five things to point out to new pioneers braving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe details you may have missed in the past 35 years.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

1. Wilderness creatures – Most guests know to look for the famous dynamite-wielding goat, but the runaway train also passes coyotes, skunks, possums, turtles and rattlesnakes.

2. Real mining gear – In the attraction queue and all around Big Thunder Mountain, you will see a century-old stamp mill, a hand-driven drill, press gears, picks, shovels and other artifacts. These objects are actual mining gear, purchased from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming.

3. Steam mules – When you’re boarding your train and while careening around the mountain, look for two steam mules. These Victorian-era portable engines were used as set pieces in the Disney film, “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

4. Grizzly Gulch sign – Just before passing Dinosaur Gap in the queue, look for a wooden post with signs to nearby locations. If you look closely, you may see a nod to Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, located 11,743 km away.

5. Willard B. Bounds, U.S. Marshall (Retired), President, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company – Willard B. Bounds, the President of Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company, has signed several notices and proclamations around Big Thunder Mountain, including a sign at the attraction entrance. This is a tribute to Lillian Disney’s father, who was once a blacksmith and U.S. Marshall on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho.

Bonus fact: Did you know the sound of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains was used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a trip aboard the wildest ride in the wilderness! Tell us your favorite memory aboard this iconic attraction in the comments below.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on August 31st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we announced reservations are open for a must-do last stop of the evening at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Villain’s Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle.
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Lady Tremaine takes over Cinderella’s Royal Table after everyone has gone to bed, and she’s invited some of the most evil friends and special guests for a decadent dessert party (maybe you’ll see the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil or Dr. Facilier?).

Pam included more details about the experience in her original story as well as what your ticket includes:

  • Preferred Viewing for the 8:15 p.m. Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade
    • Watch the Headless Horseman lead off the parade on a hair-raising ride, followed by a collection of frightful floats and some of your favorite Disney Characters in Halloween costumes.

  • Preferred Viewing for HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular
    • The Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion and some of the most notorious Disney Villains light up the sky to wicked remixes of their favorite songs.

  • Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table
    • Lady Tremaine shares her musical talents while you enjoy themed desserts, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, entertainment and visits from some of your favorite Disney villains. Each guest gets an autograph card and souvenir Maleficent dragon cup.

You can make a reservation this weekend by calling 407-939-5262 – no online reservations.

We also shared an update that applications for the Disney Parks Mom Panel will open at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, and will remain open until 12 p.m. ET on Friday, September 5, 2014.

If you know a mom, dad or grandparent who is your “go-to” person for advice about a Disney Parks vacation and loves to help others plan their trips, encourage them to check out Leanne’s story and apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. (Be sure to check the rules and regulations on the application to insure eligibility.)

More information about becoming a panelist can be found here.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: Atmosphere Entertainment at Disneyland Park – Take some top tips on how to enjoy the Dapper Dans, Royal Street Bachelors and the Pearly Band at Disneyland park!

‘Fjording’ Through Norway with Adventures by Disney – Disney Parks Blog author Amanda Adler shares more photos and stories from her “Frozen”-themed journey through Norway.

VIDEO: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Hosts Villains Unleashed – Watch the highlights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from this special event!

New Disneyland Resort Mobile Site Makes the Magic Easy with Disney eTicket and More – Check out the new mobile Disneyland.com to see how purchase tickets, make dining reservations, find attraction information and more.

‘Legends of Frontierland’ Extended at Disneyland Park Yeehaw! “Legends of Frontierland” is sticking around at Disneyland park. Mosey on down to see what all the commotion is about.

Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park – A year in the making, get an exclusive look at this unique creation before it debuts with Haunted Mansion Holiday on September 12.

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September’s Treats are Sweetly Spook-tacular at the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Gourmet apple fans take note, September is right around the corner and next month you will find the Disneyland Resort gourmet caramel apple enrobed in sweet milk chocolate and covered in a mixture of crunchy, buttery, toffee pieces and roasted almonds. How do you top that? How about adorning it with milk chocolate drizzle? Mouthwatering and delicious, this apple will not disappoint.

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I was able to “scare” up a few other details on our Halloween Time treats this year, so mark your calendars for September 12. Returning favorites include the Minnie Witch Apple, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Fudge, and festive cake pops themed to creepy crawlers (spiders) and Mummy Mickey. If you’re wondering if there’s anything new, the answer is yes. Other delightfully ghoulish and tantalizing treats will make their debut during Halloween Time, so be sure to keep an eye out. Remember they are available for a limited time only, so don’t miss out!

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Look for these items and more at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland park; Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

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365 (Consecutive) Days of Walt Disney World Resort Magic

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


When one of my Downtown Disney partners told me about Brent Dodge, an Annual Passholder who visited the four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks every day for 365 consecutive days, I couldn’t believe it. While I love the parks, just the idea of visiting every day while working full time has me exhausted!

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I wanted to find out more, so I spoke with Brent myself to find out why he did it. First things first, he confessed that he hadn’t really passed through the turnstiles (or, in our new era of MyMagic+, ventured through the main entrance touch points) for a full year, “there were actually three days that I didn’t visit a park. I was on a Disney Cruise” he shared. Well, 365 days of Disney attractions, then. Consider me impressed.

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Brent has been a Passholder since 2009, and currently carries the “Premier” pass, which also grants him access to Disneyland park. (I’d say he’s getting his money’s worth!) This Peter Pan’s Flight lover has visited the place where dreams come true since he was an infant, and when pressed for the “why” behind his latest all-year-long endeavor, he simply states, “Cause I’m a Disney nerd! If I live this close to Walt Disney World Resort, why wouldn’t I go every day? Especially when others are saving up thousands of dollars to go once in a lifetime.” Okay, he had me there.

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The “official” milestone was reached on August 13; of the estimated 2,200 days Brent has spent at the parks over his lifetime, that day ranks among his all-time-top Disney memories. “A friend surprised me with a custom t-shirt from Disney Design-a-Tee at Downtown Disney; it features my favorite character, Scrooge McDuck. A few other friends met me at Magic Kingdom Park with signs to celebrate, and we had a great view of the parade. We got to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, followed by another beloved attraction, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – three times!”

I’ll admit, it does sound pretty magical. While most of my days are spent at the Downtown Disney area, now that fall is fast-approaching, I plan to spend more time following in Brent’s footsteps and enjoying all that Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

How about you … can you imagine a daily visit to the parks?

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Disney Tails Pet Products Coming to Disney Parks in Spring 2015

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Dogs have been on my mind lately. I recently met my daughter’s new dog, Gracie, whom she found at a local shelter upon returning to college. I also read Tom Smith’s story about the Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park on August 30. Both things sparked a flood of memories about the two dogs I had growing up. I know pets are important members of many families, so I’m delighted to announce the return of pet products to Disney Parks. Coming in spring 2015, guests will find a small assortment of dog items as part of a new program called “Disney Tails.” I spoke with Nicole Brann, merchandiser for souvenirs, about this new line.

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“We know our guests love their pets,” said Nicole. “Guests may remember the pet products that we carried at Disney Parks in the mid-2000s. I’m excited to reintroduce some of those popular items under this new product line called ‘Disney Tails.’ For the initial small assortment, we will only focus on dog products, including bowls, squeak toys and apparel. I hope these new items will be another fun way that guests and their pets can show their Disney Side at home.”

Nicole shared with me concept artwork for some new items. I, of course, love the Haunted Mansion-
themed bow tie for dogs. All of the products in this line will feature packaging with the Disney Tails logo.

Look for these items in select merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts next year. I’ll share additional updates as final samples arrive at our Disney Theme Park Merchandise headquarters.

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While my traveling lifestyle makes me more of a cat person today, I miss my first dog Charlie, as seen here in 1978.

I’d love to hear a “tail” about your favorite pet, so please share in the comments below.

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‘Legends of Frontierland’ Extended at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush

I’ve got great news for you residents of Frontierland and Rainbow Ridge … “Legends of Frontierland” has been extended at Disneyland park! Originally scheduled to ride off into the sunset on September 1, this guest favorite will be around a bit longer – so if you haven’t chosen sides in the struggle for Frontierland, now is the time!

New to the story? Gather ‘round the campfire and catch up with these past Disney Parks Blog posts:

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Disney Parks Moms Panel Search Begins September 2

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Leanne O'Regan, Director, Social Media, Disney Parks


In my many years with Disney Parks, I’ve been fortunate to work on many amazing projects. One project near and dear to my heart will always be the creation and launch of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel in 2008.

The panel, made up of everyday moms and dads from around the globe, have answered hundreds of thousands of questions over the years – covering just about every Disney vacation topic imaginable. Their knowledge of Disney Parks and their passion to help our guests shines in their answers. In fact, you’ve met quite a few of them here on the Disney Parks Blog.

The panel became so popular that several years ago it was expanded to include other Disney Parks vacation experiences. The name was officially changed to the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

September has traditionally been a special month for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. It’s when we search for new panelists to join the team for the next calendar year. It’s a rigorous and thorough process, consisting of multiple rounds, that determines who will be selected to represent the panel and answer vacation questions from guests around the globe.

Thousands will apply for a small number of spots on the panel. But please, don’t let that be a deterrent. The most recent panelists to join the team include several who have applied every year, a few who applied for the very first time, and those in between. Dreams really can come true.

This year, applications will open at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, and will remain open until noon ET on Friday, September 5, 2014.

If you know a mom, dad or grandparent who is your “go-to” person for advice about a Disney Parks vacation and loves to help others plan their trips, encourage them to apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. (Be sure to check the rules and regulations on the application to insure eligibility.)

More information about becoming a panelist can be found here.

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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.

This year’s creation is based on an iron maiden torture device from the Middle Ages, says Wollweber. “It was basically a large, coffin-like box with spikes on the inside, and any person forced to stand inside would get uncomfortable very fast.”

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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