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Sixty Years of Innovation: Audio-Animatronics Technology Begins at Disneyland Park

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Continuing our look back at the amazing innovations that Disneyland has seen throughout its sixty years, we jump forward now to the 1960s and the invention of Audio-Animatronics technology. Inspired by an antique mechanical singing bird, Walt Disney was driven to bring what he saw as three-dimensional animation to Disneyland. He enlisted the help of Imagineer and Disney Legend Wathel Rogers to take the bird apart and see how it – quite literally – ticked.

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On June 23, 1963, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened at Disneyland. The first attraction to feature Audio-Animatronics technology was home to more than 200 singing birds, flowers and tikis. The following year, the first human Audio-Animatronics figure debuted at the New York World’s Fair in the state of Illinois’ “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” which opened to great acclaim and later moved to Disneyland.

In the years since, Audio-Animatronics technology has continued to develop at Disney Parks around the world. Many classics, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, continue to see new and even more impressive figures added as the technology continues to advance. What started as a curiosity for Walt all those years ago has grown into a Disney Parks legacy – storytelling technology that set a new standard and brought us all a little closer to the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 26th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we announced some fantastic new experiences coming to the Disney Dream cruise ship this fall, including interactive youth areas themed to Star Wars and Disney Infinity.

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In Disney’s Oceaneer Club, kids are in for an out-of-this-galaxy experience in a newly themed play, Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga. We’ll also offer Star Wars-themed crafts, games and activities in this space.

Also in the Oceaneer Club, a high-tech interactive space based on the Disney Infinity video game will allow kids to experience a whole new way of playing together with virtual experiences and immersive activities. Customized, on-screen adventures will bring to life characters and stories from across The Walt Disney Company.

Jonathan has more details on both spaces and other enhancements coming to the Disney Dream in his original story.

Walt Disney Describes Disneyland Park

And as we continue to count down the weeks until the beginning of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration on May 22, Erin launched the first of her series of stories looking back at some of the innovations that the Happiest Place on Earth has seen throughout its first 60 years.

This week, we started with the biggest innovation of all – Disneyland itself – recalled in Walt Disney’s own words. Check Erin’s original story for more details.

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

Five Reasons to Visit the Disneyland Resort this Spring – Spring is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort, and it’s brought unique experiences you will only find this time of year! Check out our top five reasons to visit right now.

VIDEO: Learn to Make the Manhattan from Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park – Watch as our bartender creates a Manhattan cocktail (and one of those fabulous ice spheres) from Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge.

What’s Included on Your Vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa – See three of the activities that make a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, an unforgettable experience for everyone. Plus, they are included in the price of your room!

PHOTOS: Dockside Margaritas Opens Today at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort – This past week, Dockside Margaritas opened at Downtown Disney! Click through for photos of the cool, laid-back new location.

Disney Days of Past: ‘Goof Troop’ Visits Walt Disney World Resort – Television became a little goofier this past week in 1992 when “Goof Troop” first aired on The Disney Channel. Goofy and Max joined Chip ‘n Dale (from their “Rescue Rangers” days) on stage in Mickey’s Starland as seen here in July 1992.

Show your #DisneySide at the Final Expedition Everest Challenge at Walt Disney World Resort – On Saturday, May 2 runDisney will host its final Expedition Everest Challenge. This exciting nighttime 5K through Disney’s Animal Kingdom includes obstacles throughout the course and is followed by a scavenger hunt making it the ultimate adventure.

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park

posted on April 24th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We recently shared that some exciting new magic is coming next month to Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland park. In anticipation, I’d like to go a different direction with this installment of “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” and tell you the story behind the inspiration for this classic attraction.

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The Matterhorn Bobsleds were inspired by the 1959 live action Disney feature film, “Third Man on the Mountain,” which tells the story of a young man who strives to scale the Matterhorn (called “the Citadel” in the film). During filming in Zermatt, Switzerland, Walt Disney became fascinated with the Matterhorn, and his thoughts turned to how he could incorporate this inspiration at Disneyland.

He asked his designers to think about transforming Holiday Hill (a small mound of dirt between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland) into Snow Hill, which would feature real snow. Time passed and ideas evolved, and the project grew in scope. Snow Hill became Snow Mountain, and by the time “Third Man on the Mountain” wrapped in 1958 the project had developed into Matterhorn Mountain.

The real Matterhorn in Switzerland stands 14,700 feet, while the 100th-scale replica at Disneyland reaches nearly 147 feet. Can you think of other mountains or natural wonders that have inspired attractions at Disney Parks around the world?

For more from “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series, visit the stories below:

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VIDEO: Learn to Make the Manhattan from Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


The Manhattan cocktail became popular during Prohibition, and remains popular with guests of Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure park. This swanky signature cocktail is served with Carthay Circle Restaurant’s famous ice sphere, and is garnished with cherries. The ice sphere used in the cocktail is a perfect sphere—the optimal shape for keeping your drink cold, without melting and diluting the drink.

Watch as our bartender creates a Manhattan cocktail (and one of those fabulous ice spheres) from Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge below:

For this drink, you will need:

  • 2 Ounces rye whisky
  • 1/2 Ounce sweet vermouth
  • A couple dashes of bitters
  • Cherry garnish

For reservations, visit Disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE.

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Sixty Years of Innovation: Disneyland, Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom

posted on April 22nd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


As we count down the weeks to the beginning of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration on May 22, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at some of the innovations that the Happiest Place on Earth has seen throughout its first sixty years. Let’s start with the biggest innovation of all – Disneyland itself – recalled in Walt Disney’s own words.

For those of us who grew up in the time after Disneyland opened, it’s hard to imagine a time without theme parks. But that’s how it was when Walt Disney had his idea for a place where the young and young-at-heart could have fun together.

Walt and Lillian Disney with Their Daughters at The Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland Park

“It came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters,” Walt said. “I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things—sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts—I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started.”

Walt set out to build a place like no other. At the time, amusement parks were notorious for being dirty and unsafe. As Walt recalled, “When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point—mine wouldn’t be.”

Walt Disney Describes Disneyland Park

Disneyland was to be so much more than an amusement park . . . Walt envisioned an entire fantasy world that would bring stories and imagination to life. “Disneyland is like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass,” he said. “To step through the portals of Disneyland will be like entering another world.”

Walt Disney on the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland Park

He also wanted Disneyland to be a reflection of American life. Growing up in a small midwestern town had an enormous impact on Walt, and he wanted to bring that sense of pride and hope to all who came to this happy place.

“Physically, Disneyland would be a small world in itself,” he said. “It would encompass the essence of the things that were good and true in American life. It would reflect the faith and challenge of the future, the entertainment, the interest in intelligently presented facts, the stimulation of the imagination, the standards of health and achievement, and above all, a sense of strength, contentment and well-being.”

In the years since, Disneyland has become the standard by which other theme parks are measured. Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom has stood the test of time, due to constant innovation, unlimited imagination and the fond memories that have been made here.

“But it all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”

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‘LIVE with Kelly and Michael’ Travels to California for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on April 20th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Kelly Ripa Michael Strahan

On today’s “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced that the top morning talk show will head west to Southern California for five shows originating from the Disneyland Resort, airing May 18-22, 2015! Main Street, U.S.A., and Sleeping Beauty Castle will provide the stunning backdrop for “LIVE’s” five broadcasts.

Joining in the fun with Ripa and Strahan will be a stellar line-up of guests, including superstar Mariah Carey, action star Dwayne Johnson, late night host Jimmy Kimmel, “Scandal” star Scott Foley, “The Middle” star Patricia Heaton and more. The hosts also will showcase all that’s exciting and new with the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, in addition to taking a look back at the history of Disneyland, and sharing favorite memories of an A-list line-up of celebrity fans.

“LIVE” viewers who will be in Southern California are welcome to join Ripa and Strahan by attending one of the “LIVE” broadcasts at Disneyland park. Ticket information is available on “LIVE’s” website, LIVEKellyandMichael.com.

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Five Reasons to Visit the Disneyland Resort this Spring

posted on April 20th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Spring is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort, and it’s brought unique experiences you will only find this time of year! Here are our top five reasons to visit right now:

  1. “Frozen Fun” at Disney California Adventure park — There’s still a lot of “Frozen Fun” to be had at Disney California Adventure park! Anna and Elsa are receiving visitors in their elegant greeting location, “Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome.” Guests can sing along with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff at “For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.” Everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, is ready to give a warm hug to guests of all ages at “Olaf’s Snow Fest,” which includes a giant play area with real snow.
  2. Limited-time offer for Southern California residents — Now through May 14, 2015, Southern California residents may purchase two or three days of magic and adventure at special prices, to experience attractions and entertainment throughout the Disneyland Resort. The special tickets are exclusive to Southern California residents and expire on May 21, 2015. *The offer has four purchase options: a 2-day ticket with choice of one park per day for $139; a 2-day Park Hopper ticket for $178; a 3-day ticket with choice of one park per day for $169, or a 3-day Park Hopper for $208.

Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at a Disneyland Resort

  1. Special savings at Disneyland Resort hotels — Experience the luxurious Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or the magical Disneyland Hotel, or have a “day at the beach” at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with special limited-time savings at Disneyland Resort hotels. Make reservations at any Disneyland Resort hotel from now until May 7 May 21, 2015, to save 20 percent on premium rooms and 15 percent on standard rooms Sunday through Thursday nights from April 5 to June 16, 2015. **
  2. Special “Frozen Fever”-inspired treats — Inspired by the new “Frozen Fever” short, Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake, Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day and an individual ice cream cake inspired by Princess Anna’s birthday cake are available for a limited time at select locations throughout the Disneyland Resort.

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  1. Springtime Roundup at Disneyland park — Celebrate spring with some favorite Disney bunnies, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their springtime attire, fun crafts, tasty treats and more at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland park. Springtime Roundup is available on the weekends through June 7, 2015.

*So Cal Resident Ticket: Valid only for Southern California residents within ZIP codes 90000-93599 and Northern Baja California residents within ZIP codes 21000-22999; proof of residency is required for purchase and admission. 2-Day, 1-Park Per Day ticket is valid for admission for two (2) days to either Disneyland® or Disney California Adventure® park, but not to both parks on the same day. 2-Day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® ticket is valid for admission for two (2) days to both Disneyland® and Disney California Adventure® park on the same day. 3-Day, 1-Park Per Day ticket is valid for admission for three (3) days to either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure park, but not to both parks on the same day. 3-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket is valid for admission for three (3) days to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park on the same day. Each day of use constitutes one full day of use. Tickets expire May 21, 2015. Blockout days of 3/20/15-4/4/15 apply. May purchase up to 5 tickets per person per day with valid ID. Tickets may not be sold or transferred for commercial use. Offer may not be combined with other ticket discounts or promotions. Tickets not valid before 1/7/15. Subject to capacity, restrictions and change without notice.

**Disneyland Resort Hotel Offer: Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel. Travel must be completed by 06/17/15. Ask about savings in other room types. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes applicable fees and taxes. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and five (5) people maximum per room. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy “Frozen Fun” and the Parks.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning

Special Treats for Mother’s Day at Disneyland Resort

posted on April 17th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Mother’s Day is around the corner on Sunday, May 10. Of course, taking mom to Disneyland Resort is a treat in itself, but if you want to make it a little sweeter, check out all our specialty offerings, available only on May 10.

At Carnation Cafe, look for a delicious (and healthful) Teriyaki Honey Grilled Salmon with Spinach Orzo. Bengal Barbecue has a Jambalaya Skewer, sure to spice up mom’s day. Over in Disney California Adventure park, Carthay Circle Restaurant will be serving up the “Carthay Benedict” for lunch. Their spin on this classic brunch dish is two poached eggs served on grilled petit filet medallions, country corn bread and ranchero black beans, with poblano chili hollandaise.

Blue Bayou Restaurant will be serving up a special just for the day: crayfish and herb-crusted roasted sea bass on top of angel hair pasta, tossed with vine-ripened tomato fennel sauce, asparagus spears and herb tomatoes. Over in Frontierland, try the lemon blueberry funnel cake from Stage Door Café.

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A specialty red velvet cupcake will also be available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café and Pacific Wharf Café. With white chocolate mousse frosting, white chocolate flower, heart and square garnish, and strawberry chocolate curls, it’s sure to make mom’s day extra special.

If you are looking for a more traditional way to celebrate mom, try the Mother’s Day Buffet Brunch available at Storyteller’s Café, Disney’s PCH Grill and Goofy’s Kitchen.

For reservations, visit Disneyland.com/dine, or call 714-781-DINE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Disney Parks After Dark: Astro Orbitor Revisited at Disneyland Park

posted on April 16th, 2015 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


For a photographer, Astro Orbitor is one of those Disneyland park attractions that just keeps giving. I have photographed it many times – shooting photos for use in the media and riding the attraction while photographing celebrities, which is very exciting. But honestly, the most fun is when I’m photographing it for the Disney Parks Blog.

These first two photos are from previous Disney Parks Blog posts, and show motion blur and excitement.

The Astro Orbitor at Disneyland Park The Astro Orbitor at Disneyland Park

The next three photos of the Astro Orbitor show the beauty of the attraction at rest, as opposed to its thrilling side.

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‘Tomorrowland’ Creators Share How Walt’s Vision of the Future Inspired the Film

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Walt Disney’s interest in progress, technology and making strides toward the future has always been something that has shaped Disney Parks, and has inspired new attractions and experiences since day one. During his lifetime, Walt led the charge in developing Audio-Animatronics technology, planned a Tomorrowland for Disneyland park that would allow people to taste what the future may be like, and dreamed of showcasing an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” in his plans for Epcot.

According to “Tomorrowland” Director/Writer Brad Bird and Writer Damon Lindelof, it was Walt’s vision of the future that provided them with a lot of inspiration when creating their “city of tomorrow” for the film. Check out the video below to learn more.

The film “Tomorrowland,” opens in theaters nationwide on May 22, 2015. (Guests visiting Disneyland park and Epcot will be able to watch an exclusive sneak peek from the film starting this weekend, as well as see props and images from the movie. The Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland park will host their sneak peek starting Friday, April 17, and the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot will open its doors on Saturday, April 18).

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