It’s been one month since the “wildest ride in the wilderness” reopened after an extended refurbishment here at Disneyland park. Since then, our guests have been telling us how impressed they are with the improved track and new effects at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Today we’ve got a special look at these improvements as they took shape over the last year.
posted on April 18th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort
posted on April 17th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort
The “Frozen” Royal Reception cottage in Fantasyland at Disneyland park takes on a different feeling in the early morning hours before sunrise. I love the light reflecting off the wet surface that makes the cottage enchanting.
In the “Disney Parks After Dark” series, one thing that stands out in the photos from the different parks is the beautiful lighting. The photo below is a good example of how Disney uses light to enhance the park after dark.
See more of Disneyland park in out “Disney Parks After Dark” series:
posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park
Milt always said his luckiest day was June 19, 1947 – the day he achieved his goal to work for Walt Disney. It all started 10 years earlier, in December 1937, when he saw a Time magazine cover story featuring fellow Missourian, Walt Disney. He knew then and there that it was his destiny to work for The Walt Disney Company.
Milt was born in Kearney, Mo., on June 7, 1916. He was the oldest of three boys and grew up on the family farm north of Kansas City. When Milt was a young man, a friend of his father paid him to deliver a car to Los Angeles. He fell in love with the area and decided to make Southern California his home.
Milt joined the Walt Disney Studios in 1947 as a junior accountant. Working in the Payroll Department, he was entrusted with the job of preparing and delivering paychecks for top executives, which brought him into direct contact with both Walt and Roy Disney.
By 1953, the self-described “poor accountant” had another goal – he wanted to be involved with the development of Walt’s new “amusement” park in Anaheim. In an attempt to gain attention from Walt, Milt, an automobile buff, designed a miniature car using a 1954 Corvette as his model for what would eventually become the Autopia attraction. Walt was intrigued by the fiberglass auto and took it for a drive before Milt could explain that it was not finished – it had no brakes.
“Well, Walt crashed into a wall to stop it and the body of the car split in half like a walnut,” Milt recalled in a 1987 interview with the Anaheim Bulletin. While Walt was not impressed with the car, he did take note of Milt.
In the spring of 1954, Milt was hired as manager of accounting for Disneyland. “I got to come down here because they wanted somebody they could trust,” said Milt. “Didn’t have to be very smart – just honest.” Milt hung a framed organizational chart in his office that was the first such chart for the park. It was dated July 1, 1954, and had 17 “employees” on it including Milt, Walt and Ron Miller, who eventually became president of Walt Disney Productions.
In 1957, Milt became manager of Holidayland, a private party and picnic area (near the area that is now Critter Country) designed for group events. In 1958, he transferred to Group Sales where he founded one of the most innovative and successful in-house marketing programs ever conceived. It was called the Magic Kingdom Club, and it offered discounts and special admission tickets to card holders. At its peak, the Magic Kingdom Club boasted nearly 6 million members associated with more than 30,000 companies worldwide. Milt also extended the private party concept to Grad Nite. The first Grad Nite, held on June 15, 1961, was one night only with about 8,000 graduates from 30 local high schools in attendance. The Grad Nite program continues to be successful today and remains a popular tradition for many Southern California graduates.
In the late 1970s, Milt became manager of special projects for Marketing. He was later promoted to manager of Guest Communications, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.
Upon his retirement on July 17, 1992, Milt said, “I had the enormous good fortune to be hired by the finest entertainment company in the world. I believed it then, and I believe it still. Based on a lifetime with Disney, I would say with great conviction to any young person that you’ll never find a better place to start. Tough out the lean early years, learn Disney teamwork and don’t be afraid to innovate … to come up with new ideas. I’ve had 45 years of challenge and some success in Marketing because I took a chance and built an Autopia prototype car for Walt.”
Milt was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A., in 1992. The window, located above The Mad Hatter, highlights Milt’s innovative business sense and his ambition to take on any project: Milt Albright, Entrepreneur, “No Job Too Big – No Job Too Small.”
Milt was named a Disney Legend in 2005 for his significant contributions to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He passed away on April 7, at the age of 97.
posted on April 16th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort
If you know, me, you know I’m always up for a challenge. So when my dear friend and fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover challenged me to a Disney Parks Blog Pin Trading Challenge at Disneyland Resort, I said, “I’m in!”
What would the challenge entail? Erin and I headed into Disneyland Resort with rarely seen Disney Parks Blog pins in hopes that we could make some great trades with Disney fans and take part in some of the fun activities and trading opportunities available. You truly have to see this for yourself!
As you can tell, we had a lot of fun trading, and we only visited a handful of locations. There are so many more places you can go. Remember you can also trade with any cast member and other guests.
- Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree
- Disney Showcase
- Little Green Men Store Command
- Westward Ho
- 20th Century Music Co.
- Fly ‘n’ Buy
- Julius Katz & Sons
- Radiator Springs Curios
- Souvenir 66
- Tower Hotel Gifts
I always say, Pin Trading is as easy as 1-2-3. There are just a few things to remember. Here are some guidelines on Disney Trading to help get you started. Tip: Keep an eye out for Hidden Mickey pins, generally found on Disneyland Resort cast member lanyards.
My own personal tip on trading: I always say trade for pins that mean something to you, whether it’s a favorite character, attraction or icon. Trade for things you love. Pin trading can be fun by yourself or with the entire family. It’s a great way to meet new friends, visit with old ones and share stories. Remember, Disney pins and trading are popular at many of our Disney Parks & Resorts.
Now, back to business, the competition is still on and we need your help! Both Erin and I are convinced we each have the best pins on our lanyard, so share your comments with us and let us know who you think has the better pins.
posted on April 15th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort
I recently asked Disneyland park guests to review the newly refurbished Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. While it was the return of a Frontierland favorite for some and a pioneer trip on the train for others, all passengers agreed it’s still the “wildest ride in the wilderness.”
Have you had a chance to take a tour on the runaway ghost train since it reopened? If so, what did you think?
posted on April 14th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
Sometimes we all want a little advice when we’re making a dinner reservation, and often it’s food writers and critics that send us to the best restaurants. That’s why we enjoy seeing the annual awards from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Inc., a group formed nearly 40 years ago to keep a finger on the pulse of the region’s dining. This year the group awarded Disneyland Resort a dozen awards to eight restaurants – two in Disneyland park, two in Disney California Adventure park and three in Disneyland Resort hotels.
Here are the awards:
Golden Bacchus Wine Award (the highest wine award):
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge (Disney California Adventure park)
Napa Rose (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa)
Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)
5 Stars (the highest award):
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge
Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel)
Manager of the Year:
Jose Barragan – Barragan has been with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for 17 years and manages Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure park.
To make reservations at any of the Disneyland Resort restaurants, visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).
posted on April 14th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort
There are dozens of reasons to visit the Springtime Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland park, but seeing egg artisan Ray Brown in action is definitely a fan favorite. Ray is part of an elite team who create ‘eggs’-tra special works of art each day by designing, painting and sculpting the oval shapes into one-of-a-kind Disney characters. Recently Ray shared some of his top tips for creating the perfect egg with us:
Come visit the Springtime Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree through April 20!
posted on April 11th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort
Last week, Shannon gave us a peek inside the Springtime Roundup, going on right now in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree at Disneyland park. Springtime Roundup features singing, dancing, egg decoration in addition to opportunities to meet special Disney friends.
I love Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their springtime outfits – don’t you?
And of course Mr. Easter Bunny is there!
Along with Mr. Easter Bunny, guests can meet some of their favorite Disney bunnies, like Br’er Rabbit.
Even Roger Rabbit is making special surprise appearances!
My favorite Disney bunny, though, is Thumper. How sweet is he?
Come join us during Springtime Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree now through April 20.
posted on April 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
The broadcast began with a chorus of kids singing live in Times Square, cast members and children singing in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, a children’s chorus and dancing dragons at Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park (Paris), and ended with Disney cast members singing in front of the first “it’s a small world” attraction at Disneyland Park, punctuated with a finale of fireworks.
Check out the video below to see the celebration for yourself.
posted on April 9th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
We have an exciting day planned Thursday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Disney’s “it’s a small world” attraction, including online and in-park sing-alongs, musical performances and even a special Google Hangout with Disney Legend Richard Sherman.
We’re kicking off the global celebration early on Thursday with a live sing-along with ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” in Times Square in New York City. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out. In addition to Times Square, GMA will feature choirs singing live at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, plus a choir at the Unisphere in New York at the original location of the 1964 World’s Fair, where “it’s a small world” debuted.
During the day, you’re also invited to join guests and cast members at Disney Parks around the globe for a historic “it’s a small world” sing-along at our global online hub, SmallWorld50.com. And as Erin shared last week, you can also join us for our Google Hangout event with Disney Legend Richard Sherman, live at 1 p.m. PDT from Disneyland park. The event can be seen live here and in the “Gallery” section of SmallWorld50.com.
Throughout the day, guests at Disney Parks will be participating in the celebration at all five resorts around the world. Here are the details for each park:
- At the Walt Disney World Resort, hundreds of Magic Kingdom Park guests are joining in the song during a special “pre-parade” before the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”
Throughout the day, in-park performers – the Dapper Dans, Coke Corner Pianist, Notorious Banjo Brothers, Royal Majesty Maker Musicians and Main Street Philharmonic – are scheduled to include “it’s a small world” in their appearances.
- At the Disneyland Resort, songwriter Richard Sherman is scheduled to appear in a sing-along cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., conducting hundreds of Disneyland guests in their “it’s a small world” sing-along.
- At Hong Kong Disneyland, cast members and students from Hong Kong Children’s Choir are singing “it’s a small world” in Cantonese.
- At Tokyo Disneyland, cast members and guests are gathering to sing in Japanese at Tokyo Disneyland.
- At Disneyland Paris, a “blue carpet” event featuring international cast members is planned for on Main Street, U.S.A., with students from the European International School, singing a multi-language version of the iconic anthem in front of “it’s a small world.”