Fireworks at Disneyland Park

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Frank Wells

posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


Frank Wells joined The Walt Disney Company as president and chief operating officer in September 1984. He was known throughout the company as a friendly, kind soul who was always approachable and open to ideas. He and Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive at the time, were a great team. Their working relationship is often likened to that of Walt and Roy Disney; Frank handling the details and Michael in the public eye. It was a true partnership.

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During Frank’s 10-year tenure with Disney, the company experienced unprecedented growth and revitalization. Annual revenues rose from $1.5 billion to $8.5 billion. Disney stock prices increased by 1,500 percent, and the theme park and resort revenues tripled. Disney Consumer Products revenues rose 13-fold and Disney film entertainment revenues jumped 15-fold. Michael and Frank, along with studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg, helped make Disney one of the most successful film studios in the world and re-established its dominance in animated feature films with a series of hits that included “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.”

As a key supporter of Disneyland Paris, Frank expanded the company’s international presence. In 1994, Michael Eisner said, “Fortunately for all of us at Disney, Frank was a buccaneer in the office. He was smart, prudent, a dealmaker and a great closer. He was always supportive of a great idea, whether it was swans on the outside of a building or ‘ducks’ for the name of a hockey team.”

Frank was born on March 4, 1932, in Coronado, California. He was the son of a naval officer and spent his childhood on Navy bases in California and on the East Coast. He graduated from Pomona College and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in jurisprudence. He then served two years in the United States Army, attaining the rank of first lieutenant, before attending Stanford Law School.

Frank worked hard and played hard. He was an environmental enthusiast and an avid mountain climber. In 1983, he set out to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents within a single year. He scaled six, but weather forced him to turn back near the top of Mount Everest. His mountaineering exploits are chronicled in his book, “Seven Summits,” published in 1986. There is a tribute to Frank and his love of mountain climbing in the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland park, where mountain climbing equipment bearing the name “Wells Expedition” can be seen.

On April 3, 1994, Frank Wells died in a helicopter accident in Nevada; he was 62 years old. A building at The Walt Disney Studios was later dedicated in his memory. The Frank G. Wells building opened in 1998, with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by his wife Luanne and Michael Eisner. Beside the building’s entrance, a plaque contains a quote that Frank carried on a slip of paper inside his pocket for thirty years: “Humility is the final achievement.”

Frank was named a Disney Legend in 1994. He was also honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A., above Disneyana. His window, dedicated in 1996, pays homage to his love of adventure: Seven Summits Expeditions, Frank G. Wells, President, “For Those Who Want To Do It All.”

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Taste of Disney: Herb Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb from Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland Park

posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Next in our Taste of Disney series: a delectable lamb dish from Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland park. Chef Jesse Tiscareno shows us the steps, starting with a rich rosemary jus made with red wine, then a hearty white-bean stove-top cassoulet, the perfect pairing with the rich lamb.

For springtime, the panko-crusted lamb goes with just about any seasonal vegetables, and you could even add some baby carrots or fresh peas to the cassoulet.

But this is the way they serve the classic at Blue Bayou Restaurant, an oasis in New Orleans Square where diners can relax and enjoy the French influences of Louisiana (with Cajun and Creole flavors too). Re-creating this dish takes time, so start early – or make the rosemary au jus and cassoulet a day head.

For Blue Bayou Restaurant reservations (or any Disneyland Resort restaurant), visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).


Herb Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Serves 4

Rosemary Au Jus

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, stems removed, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bread Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Cannellini Beans for Cassoulet

  • 3 cups dried cannellini or great northern beans
  • Ham hocks, about 1 pound
  • 1 leek, trimmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves

Cannellini Bean Stove-Top Cassoulet

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 3 cups prepared cannellini beans (from above recipe)
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • Cooked ham hock meat (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 herb bouquet (3 stems fresh rosemary and 5 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen string)
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lamb

  • 2 racks of lamb, (16 ribs total)
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 tablespoons prepared bread crumbs (recipe above)
  • 8 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup micro-greens rainbow mix, optional
  • Rosemary jus (recipe above), for serving

For rosemary au jus:

  1. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaf, and wine.
  2. Cook until reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add beef stock and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve. Discard solids.
  3. Return liquid to pan. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time over low heat, whisking well. Season to taste.
  4. Allow to cool completely then place in an air-tight container and refrigerate several hours.
  5. About 30 minutes before serving, reheat over low heat.

For bread crumbs:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Transfer crumbs to sheet and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from oven and cool. Place in air-tight container until ready to serve.

For cannellini beans:

  1. Rinse beans, place in large bowl, cover with water and soak for several hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400°F. Place ham hocks on sheet tray or pan. Roast until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice meat off bone and finely chop for later use in cassoulet. Reserve bones.
  3. Wrap leek (white and green parts), bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns in cheesecloth.
  4. Place drained beans, water, onions, garlic, leek sachet, and ham hock bones in large pot. Add more water if necessary to cover all ingredients.
  5. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until beans are tender, about 25 minutes.
  6. Strain beans through sieve and set aside, reserving broth. Discard bones and cheesecloth with ingredients.

For stove-top cassoulet:

  1. Heat oil in medium stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic, carrot, celery, onion, red and yellow peppers, and beans, stirring frequently. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned.
  2. Add bacon and ham hock meat and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef stock and herb bouquet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook about 45 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For lamb:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cut each rack in half.
  2. Pour olive oil into large oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place lamb fat-side down in sauté pan and sear all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Transfer lamb to oven and cook until desired temperature, 145°F for well done, about 115°F to 120°F for medium rare. (Notes: If lamb cooked to a medium rare preference, this item may contain raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.)
  4. Remove lamb from oven, cover immediately with foil, and allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Slice each half rack into 2, 2-rib pieces. To serve, spoon 1/2 cup beans in bottom of each serving bowl. Drizzle rosemary au jus around beans. Brush mustard on fat side of lamb, press into bread crumbs and place 2 pieces of lamb on top of each serving of beans, one slightly crossing over the other. Repeat with remaining bowls.
  6. Sprinkle feta cheese on lamb and top with pinch of micro greens, if desired. Serve immediately.
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Five Things You Might Have Missed in ‘it’s a small world’ at Disneyland Park

posted on April 1st, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


If, like me and most Disney Parks guests, you’ve been on “it’s a small world” countless times, you may think you’ve seen every detail. I recently had the opportunity to tour the attraction here at Disneyland park on foot, giving me the time to stop and really take a look around. Since today is April Fool’s Day, it seemed like the perfect time to share some things that some guests might not have noticed while riding the happiest cruise that ever sailed.

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This one made me stop and laugh out loud. As the boat passes below the bridge in the Enchanted Isles scene, look up and see this schoolboy … um, playing? … with a frog.

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In the Western Europe scene, there is a little blonde doll holding a balloon halfway up the Eiffel Tower. She was created as a tribute to the attraction’s designer, Mary Blair. Notice the short blonde hair and groovy floral dress. Haven’t seen her before? It’s likely because riders’ backs are turned toward the side of the tower she sits on as the boat passes by. So next time you pass the Eiffel Tower, turn around and look up!

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The figures in “it’s a small world” were designed to look like a children’s art project. Look closely at Jaq and Gus next time you pass them … their whiskers and tails are made of pipe cleaners.

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You literature and/or Broadway fans are probably way ahead on this one, but two of my favorite figures in “it’s a small world” appear in the Western Europe scene. Look up and to the left to see Don Quixote fighting his unbeatable foe (windmills), with his loyal sidekick Sancho Panza (astride his donkey, of course), from the Spanish novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. Or “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” for those who aren’t really into brevity.

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I’m usually too charmed by the Pinocchio marionette to see Jiminy Cricket just over his shoulder. He’s so tiny!

What are your favorite hidden details in “it’s a small world”? Let us know in the comments, and join the 50th anniversary celebration at SmallWorld50.com!

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Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Claude Coats

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


Grand Canyon Diorama at Disneyland Park

Today marks the 56th anniversary of the opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama on what was then called the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. In 1955, Claude Coats was one of the elite artists and designers Walt Disney selected to help bring Disneyland to life, and he later worked on the development of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Dioramas for the park.

Born January 17, 1913, in San Francisco, Calif., Claude graduated from the University of Southern California in 1934 with an architecture and fine arts degree. He went on to study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles before joining the Walt Disney Studio as a background painter in June 1935.

During his time at the Studio, Claude created stunning watercolor background paintings for “Pinocchio” which continue to be heralded by Disney scholars, fans and art collectors for the rich and textured beauty they lend to the classic film. He also developed backgrounds and color stylings for many iconic animated features such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” “The Three Caballeros,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” and “Lady and the Tramp.”

Claude stood 6-feet, 6-inches tall and was known as a “gentle giant” with a warm wit and a wonderful disposition. He once recalled how Walt used to joke with him about his height. Claude said, “When the Disneyland Stagecoach was completed at the Studio, Walt and a driver were giving rides around the lot, but he wouldn’t let me get in. He said I spoiled the scale.”

While working at the Studio, Claude met his wife Evelyn Henry, an inker in the Ink and Paint Department. The couple married in July 1937 and had two sons, Alan and Lee.

“Claude

In 1955, Claude joined WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) as a show designer for Disneyland. He referred to this as his “second career” at Disney. In addition to the Dioramas, Claude worked on Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Submarine Voyage, among others. Claude also contributed to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair attractions, including Magic Skyway, Carousel of Progress, and “it’s a small world.”

After 54 years with Disney, Claude retired in November 1989. Marty Sklar, Disney Legend, former executive vice president and Walt Disney Imagineering ambassador, later recalled, “Claude paved the way in turning sketches and paintings into three-dimensional adventures. His energy, curiosity and drive to create new experiences for our Disney park guests made him a leader and a teacher for all of us. He was a genuine one-of-a-kind.”

Claude was named a Disney Legend in 1991. He passed away on January 9, 1992, in Los Angeles.

(April 11, 2013)  Main Street Windows (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

Claude’s window, located above the Emporium, is a tribute to his name and large stature: Coats & Co., Claude Coats, Proprietor, Big and Tall Sizes for Gentlemen.

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A Look Back: Behind the Scenes of the Re-imagined “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Park

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


It’s hard to believe it has been five years since the new dolls were added to “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park. I had the privilege to sit down with Imagineer Kim Irvine and several of the attraction’s magic-makers before “the happiest cruise that ever sailed ‘round the world” re-opened to guests back in 2009. As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” I thought it would be fun to revisit this video and share it with you.

I have to say, the North America scene with the Woody, Jessie and Bullseye toys is still my favorite addition. What’s yours?

Join in the 50th anniversary celebration of “it’s a small world” at SmallWorld50.com.

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Commemorative ‘it’s a small world’ Merchandise at Disney Parks to Benefit UNICEF

posted on March 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Some of you may have seen my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Thomas Smith’s recent post sharing the exciting news about the first-of-its-kind, online global sing-along that will take place on April 10 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world.” Today, I have more exciting news to share with you. Our merchandise team has been hard at work creating some very special merchandise as part of this 50th anniversary celebration.

Here’s your first look at the T-shirt and reusable totes that will be available for you to add to your very own collection:

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And here is the artwork that will appear on the commemorative pin:

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But wait, it gets better! How? One hundred percent – 100%! – of the sale price (exclusive of sales tax) of these select “it’s a small world” items (shown above) will benefit UNICEF from April 9 – 13, 2014. Purchasing limits apply, product available at:

For any of our Disney fans visiting Disneyland Paris from April 10 – 30, keep an eye out for the T-shirt (in adult and kid sizes), as well as the pin, with 100% of the sale price (exclusive of VAT) of these select items benefiting UNICEF as well.

And don’t forget – you can join in the celebration online at SmallWorld50.com!

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Filed: Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Five Things You Might Not Know About ‘it’s a small world’ at Disney Parks

posted on March 27th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Around the world, Disney Parks are celebrating the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world,” which debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. You can join the celebration at SmallWorld50.com by creating your own “it’s a small world” doll and lending your voice to our global sing-along! Today, let’s dive into some little-known details about this iconic attraction.

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“it’s a small world” was designed to look like handmade, paper-mache children’s creations. Intended to look like a child’s art project, the attraction is a look at the world through a child’s eyes.

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Husband-and-wife team Marc and Alice Davis – (that’s Marc pictured above with Walt Disney and “it’s a small world” designer Mary Blair) were also instrumental in the creation of “it’s a small world” – Marc created many of the character vignettes, while Alice helped create many of the dolls’ costumes. They are the only married couple to have been honored with windows on Main Street, U.S.A.

IT'S A SMALL WORLD AT THE 1964 WORLD'S FAIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY

The original concept featured the dolls singing the national anthems of their various countries. The result was, in Disney Legend Richard Sherman’s words, “a cacophony.” He and his brother, Robert, composed a simple song that could be translated into many languages and sung consistently throughout the attraction.

IT'S A SMALL WORLD AT THE 1964 WORLD'S FAIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Since “it’s a small world” can be found at five Disney parks on three continents (Disneyland park in California, Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland) the iconic theme song is always playing somewhere around the world.

IT'S A SMALL WORLD AT THE 1964 WORLD'S FAIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Over the course of a 16-hour operating day at Disneyland park, the “it’s a small world” theme song is played 1,200 times.

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Caryl Stern, President & CEO of U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Visits ‘it’s a small world’ at Disneyland Park

posted on March 26th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Yesterday, we were pleased to welcome Caryl Stern, President & CEO of U.S. Fund for UNICEF, to Disneyland park. In addition to recalling the long relationship between her organization and Disney, Caryl took a moment to look back her own experience as a child, riding “it’s a small world” at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

You can be a part of the “it’s a small world” 50th anniversary celebration, too, at SmallWorld50.com.

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‘it’s a small world’ Around the World: Disneyland Park

posted on March 25th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


As Thomas Smith told you on Friday, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of “it’s a small world” at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. As part of that celebration, my fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Jennifer Fickley-Baker, and I will bring you a look at this iconic attraction as it appears in Disney Parks around the world. Let’s start with the original, here at Disneyland park. Five years ago, the attraction was refurbished and updated with brand-new dolls representing some of our favorite Disney characters. Take a look!

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Check back soon, as Jennifer takes us to “it’s a small world” at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort. And be sure to join the celebration – sing along with us and create your own “it’s a small world” doll at SmallWorld50.com!

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Marvelous New Merchandise Debuts at Disney Parks

posted on March 24th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Some days do you feel like you are a superhero with the things you have accomplished? I know I do, or at least have some sort of special powers. I’m a pretty big fan of our Avengers films so you can only imagine my excitement for the upcoming release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and especially the meet and greet opportunity taking place now at Disneyland park.

Are you looking for ways to update your super hero collection? Here are a few things you might want to consider checking out or picking up.

First and foremost, keep an eye out for the dated Opening Day Limited Edition 2000 ‘shield’-inspired pin, which opens to reveal the first Avenger. The pin will debut this April and will be available at pin purchasing locations. Also being released are specially created D-Tech iPhone 4 and 5 cases which are bound to make your phone ‘super’ cool. Look for the D-tech cases to appear in late-Spring.

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Also available are ‘shield’ inspired T-shirts for adults and kids, a woman’s tank, as well as a boys rashguard T-shirt and swim trunks.

Marvelous New Merchandise Debuts at Disney Parks

But wait, there’s more! You will also find an array of other themed merchandise including a mug, keychain, sticker, magnets, four button set, books and toys as well as matted prints and limited edition giclees.

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Over the next month, continue to watch as product hits the shelves in our merchandise locations. You’ll find it at:

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

Downtown Disney Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Special Note: A limited selection of merchandise will be available aboard Disney Cruise Line.

Will you assemble for this new merchandise?

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