Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyKids: First runDisney Race

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Okay, I am just going to be honest with you, this Disney First is really cute and the photos and videos below are guaranteed to put a big Disney smile on your face. What do you get when you combine adorable kids in costumes, Disney characters and a runDisney event? You get unforgettable Disney memories that will last a lifetime.

This past weekend hundreds of kids participated in their first runDisney race at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. From the 400 meter run to the diaper dash, our youngest competitors lined up to challenge themselves and each other.

If you or your child wants to experience a runDisney first at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, visit runDisney.com for more information and to register.

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Disneyland Resort Wraps Up #GetHappier Summer

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


All summer long, the Disneyland Resort has been making Mondays happier with special surprises, both online and in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. Now that our #GetHappier summer has concluded, I wanted to take a look back on some of the happiness we spread among our park guests.

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One of the first #GetHappier surprises here at the Disneyland Resort was a special visit from the Seven Dwarfs at Snow White Grotto. Throughout the day, they surprised Disneyland park guests, making sure that even the grumpiest guest left happy. (Get it?)

Tomorrowland Happier Hour Collage

Among the most popular of our #GetHappier surprises were the Happier Hours. These surprise nighttime events were an opportunity for 1,500 guests to enjoy one of the lands of the Disneyland Resort for an extra hour after the rest of the park closed. Happier Hours took place in Adventureland and Frontierland, Paradise Pier, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland.

Vinylmation Giveaway Suprise - Image Collage

#GetHappier also featured surprise giveaways, with park favorites like Vinylmation, churros, Disney FASTPASS and more.

While our #GetHappier summer may be over, the happiness it created lives on! Was your Monday made happier by one of our #GetHappier summer surprises? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Disney Parks Moms Panel Search Begins September 2

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Leanne O'Regan, Director, Social Media, Disney Parks


UPDATE: We are no longer accepting applications for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. I want to thank everyone who applied and shared their passion for Disney Parks. Be sure to check back right here on the Disney Parks Blog for future updates on the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

In my many years with Disney Parks, I’ve been fortunate to work on many amazing projects. One project near and dear to my heart will always be the creation and launch of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel in 2008.

The panel, made up of everyday moms and dads from around the globe, have answered hundreds of thousands of questions over the years – covering just about every Disney vacation topic imaginable. Their knowledge of Disney Parks and their passion to help our guests shines in their answers. In fact, you’ve met quite a few of them here on the Disney Parks Blog.

The panel became so popular that several years ago it was expanded to include other Disney Parks vacation experiences. The name was officially changed to the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

September has traditionally been a special month for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. It’s when we search for new panelists to join the team for the next calendar year. It’s a rigorous and thorough process, consisting of multiple rounds, that determines who will be selected to represent the panel and answer vacation questions from guests around the globe.

Thousands will apply for a small number of spots on the panel. But please, don’t let that be a deterrent. The most recent panelists to join the team include several who have applied every year, a few who applied for the very first time, and those in between. Dreams really can come true.

This year, applications will open at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, and will remain open until noon ET on Friday, September 5, 2014.

If you know a mom, dad or grandparent who is your “go-to” person for advice about a Disney Parks vacation and loves to help others plan their trips, encourage them to apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. (Be sure to check the rules and regulations on the application to insure eligibility.)

More information about becoming a panelist can be found here.

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I runDisney: Dave McGillivray

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Dave McGillivray is the race director of one of the most prestigious running events in the world, the Boston Marathon. Every April he and his team put on an elite event, attracting the top marathoners in the world. It is the one race every runner hopes to qualify for and complete in. McGillivray is also an accomplished runner who has competed in races around the globe. At one point in his early years, he literally ran across the country, Medford, OR, to Medford, MA, for charity. He lives, works, eats, and breathes running.

Running is extremely personal to McGillivray, the roots of which start at an emotional time in his life. As a child McGillivray wanted nothing more than to be an athlete, but each time he tried to make a team he was faced with a challenge, his size, and turned away. In elementary school he gave it one last shot and tried out for the basketball team. Not lacking in ability but lacking in height the coach once again cut him. At the age of 12 this was a defining moment in his life. It was then he decided he would never again let anyone tell him he wasn’t good enough and he took up running because no one can cut you from that.

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“Running gives me self confidence, it gives me self esteem, it makes me feel good about myself,” McGillivray said. His message to runners and those thinking about starting to run, “never under estimate and never not appreciate where you’re at, that you have this gift to be able to do this (run).” “Never take it for granted that you are healthy enough to do this,” he added. And speaking of health, recently McGillivray was hit with a heart related health issue and he reminds runners, “That just because they are fit doesn’t mean they are healthy.” Make the right choices to take care of yourself for you and for those around you.

Some of his McGillivray’s favorite race memories are those from runDisney events. This veteran of several runDisney marathons, and the 2014 inaugural Dopey Challenge, gives high marks to the entertainment and excitement for Disney races. “It is one of the most well managed, well orchestrated road races I have ever competed in,” McGillivray said. Having young kids he’s also quick to point out how exciting these destination races are for the entire family.

We hope you will take a moment to be motivated by Dave McGillivray’s story and see the unique way he celebrated his 60th birthday. There is no doubt Dave McGillivray has gone and continues to go through life running.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit irundisney.com.

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The Art of Glass Cutting at Disneyland Park

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


There is a shop in Disneyland park that some say is a cut above the rest – and no doubt that’s crystal clear to glass cutter Manuel Arribas who has worked there for 47 years. Manuel is part of a family of artisan glass cutters at Crystal Arts on Main Street, U.S.A. His brothers Alfonso and Tomas met Walt Disney at the 1964 New York World’s Fair where Walt was introduced to the Spanish brothers’ business of glass cutting and eventually brought the family trade to Disneyland Resort. They specialize in personalized glassware, figurines and jewelry. The next time you’re window shopping down Main Street, U.S.A., stop by and watch these artists in action.

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Interview with Imagineer Lisa Girolami Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland park guests have been wowed by the updates to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ever since it re-opened this spring. I recently took a ride on the attraction with Imagineer Lisa Girolami, who oversaw its extensive refurbishment. The wildest ride in the wilderness might not be the best place for an in-depth interview, but it sure is the most fun!

What do you like best about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park? Tell us in the comments!


See the posts below for more on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Is on His Way to Disney California Adventure Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of Walt Disney’s earliest cartoon stars, has had a presence at Disney California Adventure park for the past couple of years, from those delightful rabbit ear hats to the Oswald ice cream sundaes at Clarabelle’s. Now, Oswald himself is set to come home to Disneyland Resort!

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Oswald made his film debut September 5, 1927, in the cartoon short “Trolley Troubles.” Walt Disney went on to produce 26 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts, before losing the rights to the character in 1928. It was that experience that inspired the creation of Mickey Mouse, and the rest as they say, is history. Oswald finally returned to the Disney family in 2006 and made his first Disney Parks appearance earlier this year at Tokyo DisneySea.

Later this month, you’ll finally be able to meet Oswald on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park. Just look for the lucky little rabbit strolling along the sunny side of the street, starting September 14!

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Celebrates 35 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


“This here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Guests first heard that warning on September 2, 1979, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Since then, the popular runaway mine train as taken more than 225 million guests on a wild ride through 19th century gold-mining territory. The mountain was inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and objects found inside are actual artifacts from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. The opening also marked the third peak in the Disneyland park mountain range. (Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain were the first two.)

Last March, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after an extended refurbishment with new track and an enhanced audio system. Come check it out! For now, take a trip back to 1979 and watch as Mickey Mouse turns the key and boards the runaway mine train with some of his Disney friends.

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Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Social Media Content Coordinator


Tomorrow, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park celebrates 35 years of taking guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness. My niece recently experienced this runaway train as her first roller coaster, and I was positively thrilled to see her beaming as we got off the attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like many of the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort, is the perfect blend of fun and storytelling. In honor of the iconic attraction’s anniversary tomorrow, here are five things to point out to new pioneers braving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe details you may have missed in the past 35 years.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

1. Wilderness creatures – Most guests know to look for the famous dynamite-wielding goat, but the runaway train also passes coyotes, skunks, possums, turtles and rattlesnakes.

2. Real mining gear – In the attraction queue and all around Big Thunder Mountain, you will see a century-old stamp mill, a hand-driven drill, press gears, picks, shovels and other artifacts. These objects are actual mining gear, purchased from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming.

3. Steam mules – When you’re boarding your train and while careening around the mountain, look for two steam mules. These Victorian-era portable engines were used as set pieces in the Disney film, “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

4. Grizzly Gulch sign – Just before passing Dinosaur Gap in the queue, look for a wooden post with signs to nearby locations. If you look closely, you may see a nod to Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, located 11,743 km away.

5. Willard B. Bounds, U.S. Marshall (Retired), President, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company – Willard B. Bounds, the President of Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company, has signed several notices and proclamations around Big Thunder Mountain, including a sign at the attraction entrance. This is a tribute to Lillian Disney’s father, who was once a blacksmith and U.S. Marshall on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho.

Bonus fact: Did you know the sound of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains was used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a trip aboard the wildest ride in the wilderness! Tell us your favorite memory aboard this iconic attraction in the comments below.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on August 31st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we announced reservations are open for a must-do last stop of the evening at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Villain’s Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle.
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Lady Tremaine takes over Cinderella’s Royal Table after everyone has gone to bed, and she’s invited some of the most evil friends and special guests for a decadent dessert party (maybe you’ll see the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil or Dr. Facilier?).

Pam included more details about the experience in her original story as well as what your ticket includes:

  • Preferred Viewing for the 8:15 p.m. Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade
    • Watch the Headless Horseman lead off the parade on a hair-raising ride, followed by a collection of frightful floats and some of your favorite Disney Characters in Halloween costumes.

  • Preferred Viewing for HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular
    • The Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion and some of the most notorious Disney Villains light up the sky to wicked remixes of their favorite songs.

  • Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table
    • Lady Tremaine shares her musical talents while you enjoy themed desserts, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, entertainment and visits from some of your favorite Disney villains. Each guest gets an autograph card and souvenir Maleficent dragon cup.

You can make a reservation this weekend by calling 407-939-5262 – no online reservations.

We also shared an update that applications for the Disney Parks Mom Panel will open at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, and will remain open until 12 p.m. ET on Friday, September 5, 2014.

If you know a mom, dad or grandparent who is your “go-to” person for advice about a Disney Parks vacation and loves to help others plan their trips, encourage them to check out Leanne’s story and apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. (Be sure to check the rules and regulations on the application to insure eligibility.)

More information about becoming a panelist can be found here.

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

Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: Atmosphere Entertainment at Disneyland Park – Take some top tips on how to enjoy the Dapper Dans, Royal Street Bachelors and the Pearly Band at Disneyland park!

‘Fjording’ Through Norway with Adventures by Disney – Disney Parks Blog author Amanda Adler shares more photos and stories from her “Frozen”-themed journey through Norway.

VIDEO: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Hosts Villains Unleashed – Watch the highlights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from this special event!

New Disneyland Resort Mobile Site Makes the Magic Easy with Disney eTicket and More – Check out the new mobile Disneyland.com to see how purchase tickets, make dining reservations, find attraction information and more.

‘Legends of Frontierland’ Extended at Disneyland Park Yeehaw! “Legends of Frontierland” is sticking around at Disneyland park. Mosey on down to see what all the commotion is about.

Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park – A year in the making, get an exclusive look at this unique creation before it debuts with Haunted Mansion Holiday on September 12.

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