Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Creating ‘Fantasmic!’ for Disneyland Park

posted on May 11th, 2012 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment

Fantasmic!”, the incredible nighttime spectacular at Disneyland park, marks its 20th anniversary this weekend. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the show. What had been a tranquil scene during the day was magically transformed at night by the power of Mickey’s imagination, and when the Sailing Ship Columbia fired its cannon and suddenly appeared as Captain Hook’s galleon during the show, it gave me goose bumps. It still does!

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Barnette Ricci, Vice President/Show Director of Special Events for the Walt Disney Studios, who 20 years ago was senior show director for Disneyland park. She shared some of her memories of creating Fantasmic!

'Fantasmic' debuts at Disneyland Park in 1992

We had no new attraction opening that summer of 1992, so I was asked to create a show that could be marketed as something really special. I always felt that the [Rivers of America] was a truly unique venue, but I wanted to use it in a new way to create something different for our guests.

We researched all kinds of water-related special effects, and we discovered these water screens in France. We found that projecting animation footage on the water looked absolutely spectacular! By layering the dancing water fountains, special lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics and black light, along with live performers on watercraft and this new way to project animation on water, I was convinced all of these elements combined would create a rather exciting show!

It took months of searching through Disney film footage to find the right clips for the storyline and to create the film elements so they would look great on the water. We spent three months of ‘all-nighters’ out there on the river, programming all the effects and meticulously finessing the timing based on the time code of the film. Every burst of water, pyrotechnic, laser and live element had to be exactly timed and rehearsed to be in sync with what happened on the screen and with the fantastic musical score.

The show was originally called ‘Imagination’, as the title song implies, but everyone felt it needed a stronger title, so finally – and fortunately – it was renamed ‘Fantasmic!’

The first time we performed the show for a real audience, I was thrilled watching and hearing their reaction to the show. Words cannot express how proud I am of ‘Fantasmic!’ and how proud and thankful I am of everyone who worked so hard to bring it to life, and who continue to keep it going strong, night after night.

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Disney Legend and Imagineer Alice Davis Honored with Window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park

posted on May 11th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort

Yesterday, Disney Legend and Imagineer Alice Davis was awarded one of the highest honors one can receive at the Walt Disney Company – her own window on Main Street, U.S.A at Disneyland park. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis presented the window to Davis, which is located alongside the window honoring her husband, legendary Disney animator Marc Davis.

As a costume designer with Walt Disney Imagineering, Alice Davis collaborated with art director and fellow Disney Legend Mary Blair on the “it’s a small world” attraction for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and later translated pirate attire from Marc Davis’ original drawings into clothing designs and patterns for Pirates of the Caribbean in 1965.

Take a look back at this special window dedication ceremony:

The tradition of dedicating windows at Disneyland park began more than 50 years ago when Walt Disney dedicated many of the windows along Main Street, U.S.A., to individuals who helped make the park a reality. It is a long-standing tradition to honor individuals who have had a significant impact on Disneyland park by dedicating a window to them. On the windows, honorees are made the proprietors of fictional businesses, usually relating to their occupation or hobby, which influenced the creation or operation of the park. To date, more than six dozen people have been honored with their own Main Street, U.S.A., windows.

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Send a Magical Message to Your Mom This Mother’s Day at Disney Parks

posted on May 11th, 2012 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

Moms are truly magical. They inspire, encourage, teach and guide all with a special touch that lets you know you’re loved. As a Dream Maker with Disney Floral & Gifts, I love to create a special memory every chance I get and this Mother’s Day is no exception!

A 'Magical' Proclamation for Moms on Mother's Day from Disney Floral & Gifts

Take a look at this proclamation! Here’s your chance to do something unique and magical for your mom and to create a moment she’ll remember for a lifetime.

Here’s what to do…post the reason why your mom is the “Most Magical Mom in the World.” Then, e-mail or forward this story to her along with identifying your comment number. This Mothers Day, let’s inspire and warm her heart to let her know how much she’s loved.

For more updates from Disney Floral & Gifts, see the posts below:

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Top Secret: Mater Sheds Some Light on Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 10th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort

If you missed the premiere of our first Cars Land spot last night on ABC, check it out below! Mater and Lightning McQueen are looking forward to welcoming the first guests to Cars Land when it opens June 15 at Disney California Adventure park!

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Take a Road Trip to California as We Gear Up for Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 10th, 2012 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

A few months ago, I gave you your first look at the Road Trip to California collection coming out this summer as part of the “Gear Up For Adventure” line at Disney California Adventure park. Well, I suggest you hold on and fasten your seat belts, because I’m about to get all up in your grill with these great new pin designs from our talented team of product developers and artists. Featuring many of Disney’s most beloved characters, villains, icons and attractions, this collection themed to Road Trip to California includes limited-edition pins, a boxed set, jumbo pins, a mystery set and even a pin with figurine.

Check out this pin and keychain set for Annual Passholders, which was actually inspired by a vintage car grill!

When I asked Product Developer Jeanne Lewis about the direction they headed this year for the pin designs, here’s what she had to share: “We really wanted to take things to a different level, get under the hood and crank things up. So while Disney California Adventure park was indeed shifting gears, taking on a whole new look and feel, we wanted to make sure guests would be ready to roll when the time came and could, in a sense, ‘Gear Up For Adventure.’ That’s why, with the Annual Passholder pin, we paired it with a special keychain, which will accompany the pin as a set. And of course, we previously shared the map of the United States as we watched some of our favorite Disney characters hit the road.”

Other favorites among our artists include the Rules of the Road, which in a sense pays homage to many of the rules we should often remember when driving, including Cruella’s “Don’t Drive Angry” and Minnie Mouse’s “Don’t Pick Up Hitchhikers.”

Or if you want to play the license plate game, be sure to count me in…because there is a great collection of vanity license plates available as a Mystery Set, which will feature pins themed to iconic attractions (classic and new) as well as Mad T Party and Cars Land designs.

So how can you make these pins yours? It’s easy!

  • Visit www.DisneyPins.com from June 6 – 20 and enter your name in the Online Wristband Opportunity.
  • Selected winners will have the opportunity to purchase the pins on the morning of June 29 at Disney’s Pin Traders.

To celebrate the release, Disney Design Group Graphic Designer Quynh Kimball and Senior Character Artist Monty Maldovan will be on hand from 9-11 a.m. at Disney’s Pin Traders and will make another special appearance again during the Disney Trading Night, taking place from 7-10 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

So I guess you could say we put the pedal to the metal this year…quite literally. Want to know if there’s more? Just wait until I show you some of the pins coming out later this summer. For a look at the collection and more details on the Online Wristband Opportunity, visit www.DisneyPins.com.

There’s not much more left to say…except for Road Trip! I call shotgun!

Check out these posts for more Disneyland Resort merchandise news:

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Reservations Open Today for Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 10th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

The exciting new Carthay Circle Restaurant opens Friday, June 15, at Disney California Adventure park, with reservations open beginning today.

Recalling the grandeur of the original Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937, the Spanish Colonia Revival-style restaurant is a warm setting to showcase contemporary Southern California cuisine – seasonal, artisanal ingredients; locally sourced produce, seafood and meats; hand-crafted cocktails, and California craft beers and wines.

Award-winning Executive Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose brings his second concept to the Disneyland Resort, this time focusing on seasonal products and the diverse flavors found in Southern California. His protégé, Gloria Tae, also from Napa Rose, will be at the helm of the kitchen, while Chef Andrew will split his time as executive chef between Napa Rose and Carthay Circle Restaurant. “The culinary team is a group of true artists with passion and confidence for creating delicious food,” says Sutton.

Crispy Firecracker Duck Wings Finished with Soy, Lime and Sriracha Chili Sauce at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park Angus Flank Steak Cobb salad with Mine Shaft Blue Cheese, Bacon, Avocado and Arugula with Cabernet Essence at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park

Southern California’s cultural diversity is the foundation for the global flavors. For lunch, there are delectable tastes such as crispy firecracker duck wings finished with soy, lime and Sriracha chili sauce; sautéed northern halibut with roasted red bell pepper, caperberry and orange relish; and Angus flank steak cobb salad with Mine Shaft Blue Cheese, bacon, avocado and arugula with Cabernet essence.
Grilled Jamaican Jerked Kingfish with a Tropical Salsa of Pineapple, Mango, Black Beans and Lime at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park

The dinner menu showcases entrées like Colorado rack of lamb with fried zucchini blossoms, fennel puree and summer succotash; grilled Jamaican jerked kingfish with a tropical salsa of pineapple, mango, black beans and lime; and strawberry-lemon roasted organic chicken salad with jicama, haricot verts, upland cress (greens) and buttermilk-lemon vinaigrette.
Fried Banana Split Monte Cristo Sundae at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park

You’ll want to save room for seasonal desserts, including toasted lemon pound cake with fresh marinated blueberries, lemon curd cream and Tahitian vanilla chantilly, and “Peaches In All Their Glory” with peach and white chocolate cannolis with fresh grilled peaches and peach sorbet. (But we think the best-seller just might be the fried banana split Monte Cristo sundae with raspberry and chocolate fudge ice creams, toffee nuts and warm caramel rum bananas.)

The 256-seat restaurant (200 inside, 56 on a terrace) on the second floor of the building is open daily for lunch and dinner. Diners at Carthay Circle Restaurant can also enjoy reserved center stage viewing at the World of Color nighttime spectacular. To request reservations, call 714-781-DINE, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., or email reservation requests to dine@disneyland.com.

Check out these posts for more news about dining at the Disneyland Resort:

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Inside Ramone’s House of Body Art at Cars Land with Auto Designer Chip Foose

posted on May 9th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering

In the “Cars” movies, Ramone’s House of Body Art is home to a great car artist – the one and only Ramone. So when it came to providing inspiration and styling inside Ramone’s shops at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure park, we turned to the best in the business – Chip Foose.

Chip was the perfect choice in many ways. Chip not only styled Ramone’s various paint schemes for the “Cars” movies, but as owner of Foose Design in Huntington Beach, Calif., he’s world renowned for his designs of customized cars, paint and wheels. Every time we’ve needed an expert to help us out with car colors, wheel designs and other specialized designs, we’ve turned to Chip. He’s spent so much time with us that we consider him an honorary Cars Land team member!

Our guests will be able to experience Ramone’s House of Body Art in two places inside the land – downtown Radiator Springs where it’s a merchandise shop, and inside Radiator Springs Racers where we go to get our paint job freshened up as we head for the big race. Chip and his talented team of pinstripers – Dennis Ricklefs, Brad King and Jeff Styles – have been on site with us recently, adding the finishing touches to both of these locations. It has been so much fun to watch them transform the spaces into something Ramone would be truly proud of. Take a look at this video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Of course, we want our guests to feel that it was really Ramone who added all these special touches to our land. Now you know it was really my good friend Chip Foose who was behind it all!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Painter

posted on May 9th, 2012 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort painters are known for making the old look new, and the new look old. The key is attention to detail, according to Disneyland Resort Painter Alan Smith, who will tell you more in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role!

For more Every Role a Starring Role, check out these posts:

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Disney Parks Authentic ‘ShowNo’ Perfect for Summer Fun

posted on May 9th, 2012 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

Disney Parks Authentic 'ShowNo' Merchandise

One of the many hats I get to wear in my role in Disney Theme Park Merchandise is discovering new and exciting products to share with guests. Several months ago, I visited the set of ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank. While on the set, I listened to a product idea presented by entrepreneur, Shelly Ehler, which I felt would be a perfect match for Disney Parks.

The product idea that Shelly shared was the ingeniously designed ShowNo, an all-in-one cover up and towel! I thought the ShowNo’s patented neck slit design and convenient pocket made it a perfect companion for someone visiting a Disney water park or for guests staying at a Disney resort hotel. The ShowNo can be used as a convenient cover up, yet the design still allows for it to lay flat as a beach towel. It’s made from an absorbent, 100% cotton material, and is ideal for drying off after a day playing in the water.

The Mickey and Minnie Mouse-inspired ShowNo’s are currently available at Walt Disney World Resort’s two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. The Disney Parks authentic ShowNo’s will also be available online at Disneyparks.com/Store but only until Thursday, May 10!

You can see the Shark Tank episode that features the ShowNo by visiting http://www.abc.com/SharkTank (look for episode 313 from week 13).

Happy Summer!

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We Direct Your Attention High on the Icy Slopes of the Matterhorn at Disneyland Park

posted on May 8th, 2012 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment

Matterhorn Bobsleds has always been my favorite attraction at Disneyland park. Nothing beats the giddy thrill of hurtling through caverns of ice, encountering the Abominable Snowman and splashing down in an Alpine stream.

Mountaineers Scale the Matterhorn at Disneyland Park

One of my earliest memories in the park is of walking down Matterhorn Way and stopping in my tracks when I realized there were people actually climbing the famous Swiss peak. Having real mountain climbers on the mountain is a tradition started by Walt Disney in 1959 when the attraction opened. Over the years, climbers going by the names Hans, Otto and Fritz took on the challenge of reaching the summit.

I’m excited to tell you that this summer, brave mountaineers will once again scale the icy slopes of the mighty Matterhorn. Look for them starting June 15 when the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction reopens. Seeing them is one of those only-in-Disneyland experiences that will make you yodel with joy!

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