Show Disney.com Hide Disney.com
Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Walt Disney World Resort

VIDEO: Walt Disney Talks Creating Carousel of Progress

posted on January 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As Nate shared earlier this morning, this week marks the 40th anniversary of the Carousel of Progress here at Walt Disney World Resort – a now we have a special treat to share with you. What better way to celebrate this classic attraction’s anniversary than by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the carousel led by Walt Disney himself.

This video clip was originally featured in “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair,” which aired on television on May 17, 1964. In it, Walt gives viewers behind-the-scenes looks at the Carousel of Progress, one of a handful of attractions he and his team of WED engineers were creating for the then-upcoming 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. In it, Walt proudly shows off the carousel’s model, tours the sets as they’re being built, shows off the latest Audio-Animatronics technology, and offers up the first listen to the attraction’s theme song, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

It’s clear that Walt put a lot of heart and imagination into this attraction. Check it out below.

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Days of Past: Carousel of Progress Marks 40 Years at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on January 12th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Forty years ago this week, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opened at Magic Kingdom Park and this classic attraction has entertained guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort for generations. Here’s a look at the Carousel of Progress being built in 1974.

Carousel of Progress being built in 1974 Carousel of Progress being built in 1974

Sponsored by General Electric when the attraction first opened, the Carousel of Progress theme song was changed to “The Best Time of Your Life” mirroring GE’s philosophy when opening in Florida. After going through a rehab in 1993, the song “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” returned along with the Carousel’s family celebrating four holidays – Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas. Below is a look at the original final scene from 1975 version.

propro937993

The Carousel of Progress is still a “must do” on our list of attractions to visit every time my family visits Magic Kingdom Park – a true, classic Walt Disney original.

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Replay Our Live Stream of The Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 11th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This is your chance to share in the excitement of a runDisney start and finish line. You can now watch a replay of your friends, family and thousands from around the world start and finish the Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna. The 26.2-mile journey started just outside Epcot on Epcot Center Drive, and took runners through the Magic Kingdom, on the track of the Walt Disney World Speedway, through Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and finished in the shadow of Spaceship Earth outside Epcot.

Below is a choice of two live streams. The first includes the start line, multiple cameras and social media feeds. The second, an uninterrupted stream from the finish line.

You can join in the runDisney social media conversation by using #WDWMarathon.

For more information on the half marathon, marathon and other runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

Walt Disney World Marathon:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Marathon, click here.

Walt Disney World Marathon Finish Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Marathon Finish Line, click here.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Replay Our Live Stream of The Walt Disney World Half Marathon

posted on January 10th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This is your chance to replay the excitement of a runDisney start and finish line. Check out replays of our live streams from earlier today as your friends, family and thousands from around the world start and finish the Walt Disney World Half Marathon presented by Cigna. The 13.1-mile journey started just outside Epcot on Epcot Center Drive, and took runners to the Magic Kingdom, through Cinderella Castle, back to Epcot, past Spaceship Earth, and finished in the Epcot parking area.

Your chance to track, watch runners cross the finish line and share in their celebration “live” begins by viewing the video feeds below.

Below is a choice of two live streams. The first includes the start line, multiple cameras and social media feeds. The second, an uninterrupted stream from the finish line.

You can join in the runDisney social media conversation by using #WDWHalf.

For more information on the half marathon, marathon and other runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Start Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Start Line, click here.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Finish Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Finish Line, click here.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Cinderella’ Sneak Peek and Golden Coach Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on January 9th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Who else is getting excited to see Disney’s dazzling, live-action feature “Cinderella” when it comes out this spring? Well, for a limited time starting January 17, you can head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for an exclusive preview of “Cinderella” at the park’s ABC Sound Studio. This special sneak peek will be presented through March 21.

Cinderella-Coach_Film

The original golden coach from the film is also on its way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where it will soon be on display outside the movie theater façade on Streets of America. There, you will have an opportunity to capture your own close-up with this stunning set piece from “Cinderella.” This one-of-a-kind, red carpet appearance of the coach will be available February 1 – April 11, 2015.

On New Year’s Eve, guests visiting Magic Kingdom Park were treated to a glimpse of the magical coach and other “Cinderella” surprises. Here’s a look at what happened when they discovered how “Midnight Changes Everything!”

Inspired by the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella” brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Kenneth Branagh from a screenplay by Chris Weitz, the film stars Lily James in the title role, Richard Madden as the Prince, Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as the infamous stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.

“Cinderella” arrives in theaters March 13.

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: National Bubble Bath Day

posted on January 8th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


According to the Internet, National Bubble Bath Day is celebrated today. Whenever I think of baths, I think of the “perennial houseguest” Uncle Orville over at Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park who is seen here, prior to the attraction officially opening, bathing sans bubbles in 1974.

PUO695924

Here’s to a day of pampering and relaxation … and hopefully a little privacy too. (Poor Uncle Orville never seemed to get any.)

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: Lucie Arnaz and the Space Mountain Launch

posted on January 8th, 2015 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


You may be aware that Space Mountain celebrates its birthday this month—it’s 40 years young!—as a beloved attraction. But do you know that it’s the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida? Or who were the first two stars to be launched into the Tomorrowland galaxy? Emmy-winning entertainer/producer Lucie Arnaz and Tony-winning Broadway legend Tommy Tune, that’s who.

The Space Mountain grand opening festivities were almost as elaborate as the opening of Walt Disney World Resort itself, so much so that a musical variety special was created for “The Wonderful World of Disney TV” show by Academy Awards producer Marty Pasetta. It was called “Welcome to the ‘World'” because it was the first network TV special to take place at Walt Disney World Resort (earlier broadcasts were either non-network programs or short previews).

Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975 Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975 Lucie Arnaz Hosted the Space Mountain Openin Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975

We caught up with the versatile Lucie as she was finishing a triumphant national tour of the hit musical “Pippin.” She was delighted to gab with us about what went on behind the scenes during the opening festivities for Space Mountain, though she hadn’t watched the special in years but got the opportunity recently when Marty Pasetta sent her a copy.

So what was her reaction seeing the definitely-’70s (think groovy fashions and splashy production numbers) show again? “Fantastic!”

And she shared a tasty tidbit with us. Aside from the technicians who tested it out, Lucie and Tommy were the first two people to ever ride on Space Mountain, introducing the country to the soon-to-be fan favorite.

“It was just incredible fun. Nothing like you’d ever seen before. Because it was in the dark! A roller coaster is one thing, but when you were in the dark you couldn’t tell if you were going to go left or right or up or down—it’s like WLLAHH! Just amazing.”

To get the amazing shots needed for the special, more than half a dozen cameras were installed all around the inside of Space Mountain. And what you see is what you get—when you see the stars riding the attraction, they’re actually doing it, again and again and again, until the director was satisfied with the takes.

Or, as Lucie explains it, “We were like, ‘Oh, good! We get to go around again! YAY!’”

The song “I’m Flying” from “Peter Pan” was recorded before the taping and the stars lip synched to it while cameras rolled. They put speakers in the rocket and every time the director yelled “Action!” the song would play and they’d sing along to their vocal track.

Between singing and general screaming while riding Space Mountain, Lucie says her voice was “lost in space.” But she still calls it a “spectacular experience.”

During rehearsals, they’d open the park early for the stars and that took her back to another time. “I felt just like a kid again, back when my mom [TV legend Lucille Ball] used to take us to Disneyland.”

She and Tommy even got the chance to waltz together, by themselves, at night, in front of Cinderella Castle. It doesn’t get more magical than that.

A musical highlight of the show mentioned all the things you could do at Walt Disney World Resort—circa 1975—to the tune of “Holiday for Strings.” It begins with the line “They have a Mickey Mouse, a haunted house” and ends with “Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Doc and … DOPEY!” Incredibly, Lucie remembers the song verbatim and even sang it for us.

The memorable TV special finale was the Space Mountain grand opening ceremony with astronaut Gordon Cooper. And that was no accident. The Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 astronaut served on the Space Mountain creative team as a consultant.

As our conversation wound down, I asked Lucie if she’s had the chance to enjoy Space Mountain here in Orlando since she hosted the special. Her response was immediate. “Yes, yes! Several times since then. I’ve been to Disney World a lot with my kids.”

With all that Lucie Arnaz continues to accomplish, it’s gratifying to learn that she enjoys Disney Parks stuff just as much we all do. Obviously, the Space Mountain show wasn’t just a TV gig for her.

And that was the opening chapter for an attraction that is so popular, Space Mountain now exists at every Disney Resort across the globe. So when was the last time you enjoyed a rousing rocket ride to explore the wonders of outer space?

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Cinderella Castle Wallpaper Series Now Available on the Disney Parks Blog

posted on January 7th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


During the holidays, we wrapped our popular Cinderella Castle unique perspective wallpaper series with a special image from Magic Kingdom Park. Whether it was sunset, night or just a bird’s-eye view of the Castle, each image captured by Walt Disney World photographer Kent Phillips was spectacular.

Today, for Disney Parks Blog readers who may have missed any of the wallpapers, we’re offering the entire series right here. To download the art, simply click on the images below.

Cinderella Castle Wallpaper Series Now Available on the Disney Parks Blog Cinderella Castle Wallpaper Series Now Available on the Disney Parks Blog

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Space Mountain: Laughing, Cheering, Screaming … and Learning

posted on January 7th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Sure, Space Mountain has been a Magic Kingdom must-do since it opened 40 years ago—January 15, 1975—but did you know that it also teaches kids about physics in fun, interactive ways? Well, that’s exactly what happens with Disney Youth Education Series programs that offer incomparable opportunities for student groups and individual children like yours.

Properties of Motion Physics Lab allows kids to use the scientific method to gain understanding about inertia, centripetal force, speed, velocity and acceleration.

spacmn639901

“We give a quick overview of the scientific method and why each process in that method is so critical to Theme Park attraction design,” explains Barbara Blake, Manager, Walt Disney World Youth Education. “Then the students begin experimenting (and developing their critical thinking) as they discover the energy needed to give a roller coaster attraction its effect.” In other words, they learn the difference between potential and kinetic energy.

The kids experience Space Mountain once they’ve made hypotheses about the top speed of the vehicles, the elapsed time of the attraction, the height of the track and the height of the longest drop. And they get to experience it with the lights on. The students review and record their observations then it’s back on the attraction for the same experience, but now in the dark. Who knew Space Mountain was such a great place to learn Newton’s first law of motion?

After a second Space Mountain flight through the galaxy, the students are asked what’s changed? Did the drops get higher? Was the ride faster? They discover how environmental differences—lights on or off—affect scientific observations.

But Space Mountain isn’t the only attraction to serve as a classroom. Because from there, it’s off to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad where Properties of Motion Physics Lab looks into centripetal force, inertia, vertical and lateral g-forces. And at either Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin or Pirates of the Caribbean, the kids learn about the use of pneumatic and hydraulic systems in creating “life’ in the Audio-Animatronics figures.

All the Disney Youth Education Series programs are designed to enhance the classroom experience to show real-world application of principles learned in school. These programs take place in the information-rich setting of Disney Parks in Florida, California and Hong Kong, China. They help students practice teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills even as they participate in unique moments that use the magic of Disney to make learning even more impactful.

“These programs are meticulously conceived under the highest educational guidelines, accredited by AdvancEd, a national organization that also accredits brick-and-mortar schools. The studies are standards-based and designed to reinforce classroom lessons. But what a fantastic way to give students and their teachers a hands-on, educational adventure,” Barbara says.

The Energy & Waves Physics Lab looks at the physical properties of light and sound waves and how Disney uses those properties to create special effects in Magic Kingdom Park.

For instance, the properties of light waves are explored at Haunted Mansion to see how black light (ultraviolet wavelengths), refraction of light and reflection of light work. The students get to go under the working attraction to see the “Pepper’s Ghost” effect that allows the “ghosts” to dance through solid tables in the ballroom scene. What a cool ghoul school!

Any youth group of 10 participants can book a group physics program most days of the year. But for individuals and smaller groups, open enrollment is also offered. Open enrollment dates for individuals at the Properties of Motion Physics Lab at Magic Kingdom Park are July 22, August 19 and October 14, 2015; dates for individuals at the Energy & Waves Physics Lab at Magic Kingdom Park are January 14 and February 4, 2015.

For more information, visit disneyyouth.com.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

More Chances to See ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on January 5th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


A Frozen Holiday Wish,” the new show at Magic Kingdom Park featuring the wintry wonder and magic of Disney’s “Frozen,” has been extended for a limited encore engagement.

Queen Elsa from “Frozen” Transforms Cinderella Castle in "A Frozen Holiday Wish"

Presented on the Castle Forecourt Stage, “A Frozen Holiday Wish” brings sisters Anna and Elsa on a visit to Magic Kingdom Park, along with rugged mountain man Kristoff and lovable snowman Olaf. The show culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom, transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering palace of ice.

If you didn’t get a chance to see “A Frozen Holiday Wish” during the show’s initial run, you now have one more week to catch it. “A Frozen Holiday Wish” can be enjoyed at 6:30 p.m. each evening, today through Monday, January 12.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort