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Spaceship Earth Pavilion at Epcot

Disneyland Resort Honored by Clean the World Foundation, Inc.

posted on March 11th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


We’ve shared before on the Disney Parks Blog that partially used soaps and shampoos from Disney Hotels and Resorts in Florida and California are voluntarily collected by housekeeping cast members (remember Disneyland Resort cast member Apo Susa?), and then sanitized, repackaged and distributed to people in need around the world by Clean the World Foundation, Inc.

Disneyland Resort Honored by Clean the World Foundation, Inc.

Last week, Clean the World’s CEO and co-founder Shawn Seipler was in Anaheim to recognize the Disneyland Resort for collectively donating nearly 20,000 pounds of soaps and bottled bath amenities from its three Resort hotels in 2012 – more than any other participating property in California!

“The passionate, voluntary support of our housekeeping cast members is what makes this program successful at the Disneyland Resort,” said Pilar Hamil, general manager of the Disneyland Hotel. “They have brought this program to life at our hotels and thousands of lives have already been changed because of them.”

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Moms Panel Monday: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words at Disney Parks

posted on March 11th, 2013 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


“Moms

Ever thought of a different way to capture magical moments at Disney Parks? If you already have pictures with the Fab 5, your loved ones in front of the castle, and other iconic areas at the parks, why not get pictures you’ve never taken before? For Disney Parks Mom Panelist Mandy Milhoan, taking pictures becomes a game for the whole family and a new adventure each time she visits the parks. “I love Disney Parks, but I know that sometimes subtle magical details are overlooked. There are layers of stories in the streets of the Disney theme parks that you have probably passed by a million times.”
“Moms

Mandy and her family have scavenger hunts that open their eyes to the very smallest details. “The wonderful thing about scavenger hunts is that you can tailor them for your age group. I prefer a photo scavenger hunt because you will have some hilarious memories,” she says.
“Moms

What are some of the unique and little known details you have found on your journeys through Disney Parks? You can tell me. I can keep a secret.

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Through a Photographer’s Lens: A Case of the Mondays at Disneyland Park

posted on March 11th, 2013 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Through a Photographer's Lens: Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Park

Who hasn’t felt like this on a Monday morning? Raise your hand. I really like to look for the humor in photos I take, and this shot of a grotesque outside the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park just made me laugh.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on March 10th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, spring arrived early at Epcot with the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. We shared some wonderful stories featuring the flowers, the food, and of course, the new merchandise at this year’s celebration. If you missed it, be sure and check out the fun topiary video we launched to kick things off.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival which will run through May 19, features more than 100 Disney-themed topiaries, including floral versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Phineas and Ferb, Lightning McQueen and Mater, among others.

“Disney-Inspired

Our most shared story of the week was the announcement that new Disney-inspired handbags and accessories by Vera Bradley will bloom this fall at Disney Parks. Disney Theme Park Merchandise worked closely with Vera Bradley to develop two new patterns that will appear on items this fall. Go check out Steven’s original post for a closer look at the patterns.

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

Rapunzel and Belle Join the Show at the Royal Theatre in Fantasy Faire at Disneyland Park – Meet some of the stars of the new Royal Theatre coming to Fantasy Faire when it opens March 12 at Disneyland park!

First Look: Shanghai Disneyland Model Unveiled – An image of a model of Shanghai Disneyland Park was unveiled this week on the Disney Parks Blog.

Radio Disney Music Awards Show Will Feature Award Inspired by Disney Parks Collectible – Take a peek at the Radio Disney Music Awards Show & see how it will incorporate a favorite Disney collectible.

New Disney Cruise Line Youth Activities in Europe – Looking for a Disney Cruise Line adventure that’s perfect for the whole family? Read about a few new youth excursions for our itineraries in Europe.

Sound the Trumpets! Fairy Tale Treasures Opens March 12 at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland Park – Does your little one need a Disney Princess dress before visiting the Royal Hall or the Royal Theatre? Fairy Tale Treasures opens March 12 at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland park!

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns Today – The 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival kicked off this week! Watch this clip to see how one topiary in particular is having a lot of fun celebrating.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns, Countdown to Fantasy Faire Continues

posted on March 9th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We had a very exciting week here at Disney Parks, from the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to the unveiling of a new Shanghai Disneyland model, among other fun. The Land of Oz Garden at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Here at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney photographer Gene Duncan took the first few shots of this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – including one of the festival’s new offerings: The Land of Oz Garden.
Fairy Tale Treasures at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland park

At the Disneyland Resort, the countdown to the opening of Fantasy Faire and the Fairy Tale Treasures merchandise location continues.

Be sure to click through the gallery to see other key moments of the week that were captured and shared on the Disney Parks Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.

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Take 5: ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ at Disney Parks

posted on March 9th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


“‘Journey

Over the past few weeks, Disney Parks was, and continues to, prepare readers for “Oz The Great and Powerful”, which opened in theaters yesterday, March 8. Read the posts below to learn how we’ve prepared for this fantastical adventure, from a Disney Parks Blog Meet-Up, to the Land of Oz Garden at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, to a visit from the “Journey to Oz Balloon Tour” at Disneyland Resort, and more.

Take 5: ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ at Disney Parks

  1. Celebrating Springtime at Epcot in the Land of Oz – Check out some vibrant photos from the Land of Oz Garden at Epcot, and come celebrate springtime at Walt Disney World Resort.
  2. Get a Sneak Peek at ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ at Disney California Adventure Park During ‘Limited Time Magic’ – Learn how you can get a special sneak peek of Disney’s new fantastical adventure at Disney California Adventure park through March 31!
  3. Disney Parks Celebrate ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ with New Merchandise – Steven Miller shares the new “Oz The Great and Powerful” merchandise at Disney Parks, including apparel and Vinylmation.
  4. The Land of Oz Garden Magically Appears at Epcot – The Land of Oz Garden, based on the new Disney film “Oz The Great and Powerful,” magically appeared at Epcot for the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  5. Off to See the Wizard: ‘Journey to Oz Balloon Tour’ Visits the Disneyland Resort – “Journey to Oz Balloon Tour” floated into the Disneyland Resort on February 17 to celebrate “Oz The Great and Powerful.”
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Behind the Scenes with Zach Braff at ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ Exclusive 4D Sneak Peek

posted on March 8th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


It’s finally here – we’ve followed the Yellow Brick Road all the way to opening day for “Oz The Great and Powerful.” For a few weeks, Disney California Adventure park guests have had the chance to view an Exclusive 4D Sneak Peek of the new film, hosted by star Zach Braff who plays both Frank (in the “real world” of Kansas) and Finley (in the wonderful land of Oz).
Behind the Scenes with Zach Braff at ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ Exclusive 4D Sneak Peek
In the photo above, you can see Braff at Walt Disney Imagineering recording the introduction for the ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ Exclusive 4D Sneak Peek, showing now through March 31 at Disney California Adventure park. Check it out on your next visit and see the film – it opens today!

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Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr., Preview Fantasy Faire at Disneyland Park

posted on March 8th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


With only a few days until Fantasy Faire debuts on March 12, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar and her husband, actor Freddie Prinze, Jr., got an opportunity to experience this enchanting new area in Fantasyland at Disneyland park with their 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

While making our way through Fantasyland, Sarah mentioned to me that they knew all about our new Fantasy Faire and that she and Freddie were really excited to be able to preview it with their daughter. Then, this happy family got even happier when we arrived and Rapunzel stopped by for a special visit following her appearance in the new show at the Royal Theatre.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr., Preview Fantasy Faire at Disneyland Park
When a child like Charlotte meets a Disney Princess for the first time, something special happens that reminds you what Disney memories are all about, and Fantasy Faire is the perfect place to make more of them.

Keep an eye here on the Disney Parks Blog for more information on Fantasy Faire, and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #FantasyFaire.

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‘Limited Time Magic’ Spotlight on MousekeEars as Part of ‘Year of the Ear’ at Disney Parks

posted on March 8th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“'Limited

It’s the “Year of the Ear” and this week our “Limited Time Magic” spotlight is on some of the cutest ear hats at Disney ParksMousekeEars! These mini-hats feature fun, pop colors or Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto. You may recall that each hat is presented in a window box which doubles as a great display box. A chin strap, a hairclip and a key chain attachment are also included. The hats are fun to wear, make great gifts and are easy to collect. And, as an extra bonus, we are offering a special “Limited Time Magic” promotion on the MousekeEars while supplies last.
“'Limited

In select locations at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and on the Disney Parks online store, you can get two MousekeEar hats for $15.00 (plus tax). MousekEars hats normally have a retail of $12.95 each.

I have enjoyed seeing some fun images from guests using these hats while visiting Disney Parks. Even my fellow author Gary Buchanan used them in a video he created last fall for the Disney Parks Blog. I figured I’d join the club and take a few unique images of my own.
“'Limited

Fortunately, a co-worker and her adorable daughter visited our office just as I was finishing this story. I grabbed my camera and quickly captured an image of her wearing a mini-hat (it was her first pair of Mouse ears!). I also found that a MousekeEar hat fit my Orange Bird cup nicely (how I wish I had a Citrus Swirl to go with it).

If you are visiting Disney Parks, I’d love to see more images of MousekeEars. You can join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic. You can also find updates on our latest extra sprinkle of pixie dust on our LimitedTimeMagic.com web page.

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Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: An Artist’s Journey from Disney Parks to Oz

posted on March 8th, 2013 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


One of the things I love about Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful“, which opens nationwide in theaters today, is how the citizens of Oz worked together to make magic happen.

Finley, China Doll, Tinkers, the Quadlings, and others are characters you may not recognize now but will soon seem like old friends. They, along with beloved Ozians like the Munchkins, make a difference, regardless of their size or the size of their contribution. While those in power may boldly lead, inspire and make heady decisions, every person everywhere may also affect the world in a positive way as well. (It was one of the messages in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, too.)
“Sights

Some people can change entire “worlds” in a more literal way. Art director Arte Contreras created magical settings for Disney Parks years before he was selected to be one of the two assistant art directors for “Oz The Great and Powerful”, led by Production Designer Robert Stromberg (two-time Academy Award winner for Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” and James Cameron’s “Avatar“).

While studying architecture in college, Arte met and worked with his mentor, Eddie Martinez Sr. A retired Imagineer who helped design Epcot, Eddie’s many accomplishments include painting the portrait of Walt Disney with his characters, which became a U.S. postage stamp. “Eddie took me under his wing,” said Arte, “and introduced me to his friend and mentor Herbie Ryman – a Disney Legend and one of the original Disneyland park designers.

“Both Eddie and Herbie worked with, and were mentored by, the great John DeCuir Sr., three-time Academy Award-winning Production Designer for numerous movie classics, such as “The King and I”, “Cleopatra” and “Hello Dolly!”, I feel blessed and fortunate to be associated with such a talented legacy.”
“Sights

Arte’s prior realization of believable yet fantastic places in Disney Parks was one of the reasons he is a perfect fit in Oz. When he was with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment as an art director, he designed Disneyland Resort parade floats and Disney Afternoon Avenue, which was the precursor to Mickey’s Toontown. He worked on live shows as well, including “Belle’s Bookshop” – a show pre-dating the Broadway musical – and was involved with the design of Fantasmic!

After working in Walt Disney Imagineering on designs for Disney California Adventure park, Tokyo DisneySea and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Magic Kingdom Park, Arte’s career took him to other entertainment venues, live shows and the Emmy-nominated Disney’s Greatest Hits on Ice. “There is something special about doing a project for Walt Disney Pictures that takes place in a fantastic place like Oz,” Arte said. “I prefer doing things that lean toward fantasy. It allows you to take existing architectural styles and artistic motifs and add flares of individuality.”

“When I joined the Oz production, a lot of the sets had already been fleshed out. Rob started out with an affinity and appreciation for Walt Disney’s original classics. We went to The Walt Disney Archives to see the actual animation artist’s cel paintings from “Dumbo“, “Pinocchio“, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and others. This was the inspiration we used to create much of the fantastical world of Oz.
“Sights

As art director on Glinda’s courtyard, for instance, I oversaw all construction and made sure we had the right colors and textures, as well as a lot of ornamental detail that accentuated and complimented Glinda’s character. Rob envisioned the courtyard as an iridescent, art nouveau French chateau that reflected her strong yet feminine personality. I sketched a lot of doors, railings, topiary and other architectural and sculptural details.”

Arte and his team created scale models of each set once a design was approved. The graveyard was a large model,” he recalled. “It’s an American Victorian hybrid with the flare of Tim Burton (whom Rob had worked with on “Alice in Wonderland”). When I was designing the gates, the tombstones and the entry gargoyles, I used Alice and the Haunted Mansion attraction as my inspiration.”

Tinker’s was the third main set that Arte was asked to design and art direct. “This set appears toward the end of the film, in which a plan is formulated to save the Land of Oz from evil,” he said. “The setting has an intricate and mechanical theme. This set brought to light an interesting coincidence – Rob and I found out that we worked together on a project in 1993 and never knew it. He said, “I want you to design Tinker’s and I want it to look like that project we did 100 years ago with heavy wood grain, kinetics—turning cogs, gears and pipes – with a Disney-like Fantasyland feel.”

During the filming of “Oz The Great and Powerful”, people would come up to me on Glinda’s courtyard set and say, ‘This feels like a Disney Theme Park!’ I would smile at the compliment, giving credit to my Disney roots – this background that helped me channel that Disney magic to a very magical Disney film.”

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