New York World's Fair 50th Anniversary

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Milt Albright

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


With the passing of Disney Legend Milt Albright last week, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to him and highlight a few of the many successes of his 45-year career with Disney.

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

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.

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Show Your ‘Disney Side’: Minnie Mouse Nail Tutorial

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s suggestion as to how you can show your “Disney Side” at our 24-hour “Rock Your Disney Side” all-night party – or anytime, really – is sure to please Minnie Mouse fans. It’s step-by-step directions on how you can give your nails a perfect Minnie makeover!

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Will you join us for our 24-hour event at Magic Kingdom Park, Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park on May 23? If so, how will you show your “Disney Side”? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

Join the conversation online with the hashtag #DisneySide.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Maleficent’ Sneak Peek Debuts in Disney Parks April 18

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Beginning tomorrow, April 18, guests at Disney Parks on both coasts will be able to enjoy an exclusive sneak peek at Walt Disney Studios’ “Maleficent,” which opens in theaters May 30.

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This special extended sneak peek will play daily in RealD 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the ABC Sound Studio and at Disney California Adventure park.

The film stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in the lead roles of Maleficent and Aurora, respectively, and tells the “untold” story of Maleficent and the betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge, Maleficent places an irrevocable curse upon the king’s newborn infant, Aurora. As she grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the conflict between a place she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy.

To kick off this special opportunity, Walt Disney Studios just sent us this exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film to share with you. Enjoy!

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Disneyland Resort Pin Trading Challenge

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.

Disneyland park

Disney California Adventure park

  • Fly ‘n’ Buy
  • Julius Katz & Sons
  • Radiator Springs Curios
  • Seaside Souvenirs
  • Tower Hotel Gifts

Downtown Disney District

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.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Top Stories

Four New Disney Attraction Poster-Inspired T-Shirts Coming to Disney Parks Online Store in April 2014

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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This year, we’ve been featuring a series of Disney Parks’ attraction poster T-shirts on our Disney Parks online store. These shirts are sold for a limited period of time, and feature some pretty amazing art of things I love at Disney Parks! Today, I’m happy to share details about four new T-shirts coming to the online shop in April. Once again, Disney Design Group Artist Richard Terpstra was inspired by posters featured in the outstanding “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book by Vanessa Hunt and Danny Handke (a must have book for any Disney fan!).

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From April 15-20, the Disney Parks online store will release two T-shirts – a purple shirt celebrating Fantasyland at Disneyland park, and a green shirt featuring the Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park. The original Fantasyland attraction poster referenced for the purple tee was created in 1955 by Bjorn Aronson.

For the green t-shirt, many readers may recall seeing this attraction poster when the Orange Bird returned to the Sunshine Tree Terrace in April 2012. I can’t wait to wear mine while enjoying a citrus swirl in Adventureland (does anyone care to join me?).

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Then, from April 22-27, we salute the 50th anniversary of two classic Disney attractions – “it’s a small world” and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Both attractions debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and later found their way to Disney Parks. For these T-shrts, we will offer both adult and kids sizes.

The “it’s a small world” shirt was inspired by the attraction poster designed by Paul Hartley in 1966. The Carousel of Progress shirt references a design from 1967 by Ken Chapman (I want to be that guy pictured at right living in Progress City!).

To find these T-shirts, I invite you to visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents during the dates referenced above. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available).

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Rave Reviews for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

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?

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Celebrities Help Announce Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book and a Donation of up to 1 Million Books

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Junior announced its new Give a Book, Get a Book program in a big way this past weekend, as Disney Junior stars Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn (of “Sofia the First“) and David Arquette (of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates“) performed a storybook reading at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Anaheim, Calif.

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Through Give a Book, Get a Book, Disney will partner with First Book to provide for the donation of up to 1 million books to U.S. communities in need, and also present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide. The program includes a redemption code offering a free Disney Digital book and a way for families to experience giving back by donating books to the community of their choice after purchasing a specially-marked Disney Junior book or product.

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Families and children gathered around at the Disneyland Hotel to listen to the celebrity readers. They also enjoyed hearing a story read by LeVar Burton, children’s literacy advocate and Cofounder and Curator-in-Chief of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app. Burton spoke about the importance of building literacy and of storytelling in the digital age.

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Storytelling is the foundation of Give a Book, Get a Book, designed to inspire parents and caregivers to spend time each day sharing stories that help develop the critical thinking, vocabulary and language skills a preschooler needs. The initiative includes public service announcements, interactive Radio Disney events, and free story time events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America Disney Store locations, starting April 21.

Details are available at the new website, www.giveabookgetabook.com. Families can find online activities there and also access resources that promote the value of storytelling.

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Disneyland Resort Restaurants Win Big at Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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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
Napa Rose
Steakhouse 55

4 Stars:
Ariel’s Grotto (Disney California Adventure park)
Blue Bayou Restaurant (Disneyland park)
Café Orleans (Disneyland park)
Storytellers Cafe (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa)

3 Stars:
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).

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Eggs-traordinary Art at the Springtime Roundup at Disneyland Park

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!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 13th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, Disney theme parks around the world joined in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “it’s a small world” attraction.

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As you know, we’ve been sharing wonderful renditions of the attraction’s unforgettable song from around the world during the last few weeks. Part of this week’s celebration was featured live on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

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.

And this week, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, unveiled a video that offered the first look at some of the amazing new characters who will be part of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. The attraction will feature some of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics figures Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created.

In our “All in the Details” series, we also released a full version of a CGI video that takes you on a colorful ride through part of the attraction, too. Check it out in Jennifer’s series.

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

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Traditional Leis – Learn about the warm Hawaiian greeting guests receive upon arriving at Aulani.

Disneyland Resort Cast Members Celebrate ‘it’s a small world’ – Watch this wonderful rendition of “it’s a small world,” sung in a variety of languages.

Remembering Mickey Rooney at the Disneyland Resort – Remember legendary entertainer Mickey Rooney, whose career spanned 10 decades and included work for Disney in “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Fox and the Hound,” and most recently, “The Muppets.”

Disneyland Wins First-Ever March Magic Challenge – Thanks to all your votes on Facebook, the Caribbean Pirates claimed the first-ever March Magic victory!

Moving ‘it’s a small world’ Across the Country and Back Again – Get a little bit of Disney Parks history … and mystery in this behind-the-scenes post on the famous attraction at Disneyland park.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; More Earth Day Fun at The Seas with Nemo & Friends – Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hosting a party this Earth Day, Aprill 22! Find out more after the jump.

Favorite ‘it’s a small world’ Sing-Along Videos on SmallWorld50.com – Thousands have participated in celebrating 50 years of this classic Disney Parks attraction by posting their own sing-along videos. Click through to see some of our favorites!

A New Way to End Your Walt Disney World Resort Day: ‘Epcot After-Hours Wind Down’ – Check out this excellent way to unwind in the after-hours at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.

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