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Remembering Mickey Rooney at the Disneyland Resort

posted on April 7th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Iconic Hollywood star Mickey Rooney passed away yesterday at the age of 93.

In an astonishing show business career that spans 10 decades, Mickey’s work with Disney includes his roles as Lampie in “Pete’s Dragon,” the voice of grown-up Tod in “The Fox and the Hound,” and most recently, his cameo appearance in “The Muppets.”
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This photo of Mickey was taken during the red carpet arrivals for the grand opening of Disney California Adventure park on February 7, 2001. I had the pleasure of meeting Mickey that night, and I knew then that I was in the presence of a legend. The optimistic personality that defined his early film career and propelled him to superstardom in the 1930s and 1940s was still very much a part of who he was.

In thinking about Mickey’s film work, I was reminded of a small role he had in the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Phantom of the Megaplex.” Mickey’s character, Movie Mason, delivers a monologue about the power of the silver screen in which he says, in part, “When we arrive in this world, magic is all around us … yet as years pass, simple pleasures aren’t quite so simple to find … true wonder is hard to come by, but, there’s always magic at the movies.”

No one made more of that magic than you, Mickey.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Resort

Moving ‘it’s a small world’ Across the Country and Back Again

posted on April 7th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Parks has kicked off a global celebration for the 50th anniversary of the opening of “it’s a small world” at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Have you joined the celebration yet? Just go to SmallWorld50.com to record your sing-along video and create your own doll to benefit UNICEF!

In preparing for this celebration, I had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of “it’s a small world” here at Disneyland park – during which I discovered something pretty incredible. Walking behind the large set pieces, I saw these odd little stickers:

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Looking very closely, I was able to make out the date “Jan 5 1964.” Also noting that this flameproofing was done here in California led me to the conclusion that this sticker was applied after the set pieces were created and before they were shipped to New York to be assembled for their debut just months later at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

Along with these fireproofing stickers, I found lots of smaller blue stickers labeled “GLOBAL VAN LINES.” Some of you may remember that, in addition to hosting a locker facility on Main Street, U.S.A., Global Van Lines also operated many years ago from their global headquarters adjacent to Disneyland park – in fact, it was located right here where I am sitting, which is now Team Disney Anaheim (the administrative building in which many Disneyland Resort offices are housed).

Here’s the mystery: were these stickers applied for the shipping from California to New York or vice-versa? Even my friends at the Walt Disney Archives were not sure. (Feel free to discuss your theories in the comments!)

Another discovery that fascinated me were the letter/number designations painted on the back of every single set piece. I learned that these labels aided in the assembly of the large, elaborate set pieces both in New York and at the attraction’s permanent home here in Anaheim in 1966. It was also pointed out to me that some of the larger pieces were attached by hinges, making them easier to pack, ship and reassemble. Stepping back, I realized that “it’s a small world” is one huge jigsaw puzzle!

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Disney Parks March Magic Challenge Concludes With a ‘Pirates’ vs. ‘Hitchhikers’ Showdown at Disney Parks

posted on April 7th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you been participating in our March Magic Challenge on Facebook? It’s a coast-to-coast competition in which 32 Disney attractions have been going head to head to be named as the best Disney attraction.

Today is the big game, with only two attractions left for fans to vote on – the Caribbean Pirates (at Disneyland Resort) and the Gracey Manor Hitchhikers (at Walt Disney World Resort). Simply head to our official Disneyland or Walt Disney World Facebook page and vote for the attraction you prefer in the “Comments” section.

Which will you choose?

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 6th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we shared the first post of a special MyMagic+ series coming to the Disney Parks Blog with a story from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs.

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Tom shared an update that we’ve reached an exciting milestone – we’re now providing guests who might only be visiting for the day with the ability to fully engage in MyMagic+ before their visit. Guests can register on My Disney Experience online, reserve access to some of their favorite experiences with FastPass+ and also purchase MagicBands on-site, if they choose.

Check Tom’s original story for more details and keep an eye open right here on the Disney Parks Blog for more updates as we continue to roll-out MyMagic+.

CAPTION All in the Details: Jewel Sorting & More Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue at Magic Kingdom Park

And this week, Disney Parks Blog readers were treated to two new “All in the Details” stories featuring Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland. Author Jennifer Fickley-Baker started the week with a close look at the Dwarfs’ cottage. And she ended the week with a peek into an area we haven’t shared much about yet – the attraction’s queue, which features a few interactive opportunities for guests.

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

ACT Anaheim Announces $1.5M in Inaugural Grants – Accelerate Change Together for Anaheim (ACT Anaheim) is awarding $1.5M in grants to 10 local nonprofit organizations. Click through to learn more!

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Claude Coats – Read about this elite artist and his contributions to many classic Disney animated features, including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” and more.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Now on Instagram – Share your Aulani vacation photos using #Aulani and we may feature them on the newly launched @DisneyAulani!

A Look Back: Behind the Scenes of the Re-imagined “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Park – Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine gives an inside look at the new additions made to “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park.

Hear a Gospel Rendition of Disney’s “it’s a small world (after all)” – Watch this special performance “it’s a small world” to continue our celebration of its 50th anniversary!

Five Things You Might Have Missed in ‘it’s a small world’ at Disneyland Park – Catch some of the smaller details of this famous attraction you might have overlooked.

Lots of Fun Horsing Around at Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Walt Disney World Resort – Learn more about Tri-Circle-D Ranch, wagon rides, pony rides and its 90-plus residents.

Exploring Northern Europe with Disney Cruise Line – Click through to see some spectacular photos of Northern Europe and learn how you could be part of a voyage from Disney Cruise Line.

Chalkboard Art-Inspired Items Coming to Disney Centerpiece at Downtown Disney Marketplace in 2014 – Check out these striking chalkboard-inspired home goods, including dishes, glassware, pillows, picture frames and more!

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Head Inside Creative Costuming To See How ‘it’s a small world’ Doll Costumes Are Created for Disney Parks

posted on April 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Did you ever wonder how those charming little outfits are created for the dolls in our “it’s a small world” attraction? Here at Walt Disney World Resort, costumes are produced in our Creative Costuming department at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Would you believe that the costumes that appear in the attraction today are careful recreations of the designs worn nearly 50 years ago in the original attraction?

Check out the video below for more behind-the-scenes facts.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Egg’-citement Awaits at the Springtime Roundup at Disneyland Park

posted on April 4th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Mr. Easter Bunny has been spotted and he’s at the Springtime Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland park! Other rare hare sightings include Br’er Rabbit, White Rabbit, Thumper and more. So bunny hop your way down and check the furry fun now now through April 20.

Splash Mountain is my favorite attraction at the Disneyland Resort, so seeing Br’er Rabbit was the best for me! Who is your favorite Disney rabbit?

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Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of ‘it’s a small world’

posted on April 4th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


We have some really great, rare color photos of Walt Disney as he revealed some of his plans for “it’s a small world” at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

The first image was taken while Walt filmed the “Wonderful World of Color” episode, entitled, “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair.” Here he is sharing the model of the attraction as it appeared in New York. I really like looking at all the activity going on behind Walt in this image. I certainly recognize some familiar ‘small world’ faces in the background.

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

This next photo was taken outside a soundstage at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, presumably during production of another television segment for “it’s a small world.”

Rare Photos: Walt Disney and the Debut of 'it's a small world

This last photo is a personal favorite of mine. It shows Walt with Disney Legends Marc Davis and Mary Blair. Walt is admiring a figure from the attraction that seems to bear a remarkable resemblance to Mary! Have you noticed this one inside the attraction at Disneyland park? My colleague, Erin Glover has included her exact whereabouts in a great post from earlier this week.

Remember to visit SmallWorld50.com to join in the fun of our celebration!

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort

Hear a Mariachi Version of ‘it’s a small world’

posted on April 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “it’s a small world” attraction continues this week with another special performance of the attraction’s famous song “it’s a small world” – this time with a mariachi band! Check it out below.

You can join the attraction’s celebration by creating your own sing-along video. Learn more at SmallWorld50.com.

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Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Celebrates Five Magical Years at Disneyland Park

posted on April 4th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened in Fantasyland at Disneyland park. I can still remember standing outside the location on a chilly April day, before the doors opened, watching the ribbon cutting ceremony and I knew then, that we were about to create more magic for our Disney fans than we could have ever possibly imagined.

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Over the years, so many truly amazing and inspiring stories have been shared with us from our Fairy-Godmothers-In-Training regarding transformation experiences with you, our Disney fans. It’s some of those magical stories that I want to share with you today.

One of our United States Military Soldiers was homeward bound and wanted to surprise his three year-old daughter and wife. During his daughter’s transformation experience at Bibibidi Bobbidi Boutique, the ‘King’ as we called him, snuck into the photo studio in the location. After receiving the royal treatment, the ‘princess’ was escorted into the photo studio. Upon saying the magic words, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, the lights in the studio magically turned on and there stood her dad. The little girl instantly screamed Daddy, to which he replied ‘Hi Princess!’

A family with two ‘princesses’ visited Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique during the first year it was open, with each princess taking part in a Castle transformation experience. Upon making their royal debut, the family offered to pay it forward by adding an additional transformation experience on to their bill and allowing the Fairy-Godmothers-in-Training to work their magic. It didn’t take long before they found a little girl whose dream was to become Belle. As it turns out, the ‘princess’ had been living at an orphanage since she was just a couple months old, and her ‘family’ who had found her in the orphanage surprised her with her first trip to Disneyland park. Not only did the ‘princess’ receive the royal treatment, but unbeknownst to her when she and her family returned home, the ‘princess’ was going to be further surprised with the news that she would be adopted and joining her family for a ‘happily ever after.’

What amazes to this day, is that Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is something that can be experienced at almost all of our Disney Parks worldwide, aboard the Disney Fantasy in the Disney Cruise Line fleet and even at Harrods in London, England.

So I invite you to help us celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opening at Disneyland park, as well as celebrating our locations around the world! How? Share your stories and photos with us on the Disney Parks Blog and across our other social channels. Tag your Instagram photos using #BibbidiBobbidi and we may just share them on our @Disneyland Instagram feed.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

#DisneyKids: First Ear Hat at Disney Parks

posted on April 4th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’re continuing our series of different firsts to experience at Disney Parks with one of those “must-haves” – a first Disney ear hat. Our ear hats are such identifiable icons that many families use them to mark their visit.

Parents share their ear hats with their children and also pass down the tradition of selecting one. It’s another one of those “firsts” at Disney Parks that I’m sure many readers have in common.

We’re just getting going with this new series so let us know about a special, memorable or even life changing first trip to Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort in the comments below and then check back for our new #DisneyKids series.

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