Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Tween-Directed Film ‘Rocket Boy’ Takes Disney Side To Theaters

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As we shared earlier, our Yellow Shoes Creative Group has been working with a few tween filmmakers to bring to life their vision of what their Disney Side would look like on film as a part of the “Direct Your Disney Side” project.

Our friends at Yellow Shoes just shared the first of these short films, which is titled “Rocket Boy,” by Elwood Walker. As a part of the “Direct Your Disney Side” project, this short will also appear in theaters nationwide starting today as a part of the NCM First Look pre-show content (which will run before film previews begin).

We’ll have two more tween-directed videos to share with you in this series in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’ Merchandise Lands at Disney Parks

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I can’t wait to see Disney’s “Big Hero 6” when it arrives in theaters on November 7. This film is an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special friendship that forms between a high-tech, huggable robot named Baymax and a brilliant robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada. I’ve enjoyed the trailers as the film looks like it has everything I love, especially robots! I recently visited a few merchandise locations at Disney Parks to check out new products inspired by this upcoming animated feature. Here is a look at some of my favorite items.

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Similar to previous animated film releases, the Disney Theme Park Merchandise team partnered with the Disney Store to carry a few toys, plush and other items that may be found in locations outside Disney Parks. I love the Baymax plush shown at the top of this story (I want to hug him all day!).

Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’ Merchandise Lands at Disney Parks Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6’ Merchandise Lands at Disney Parks

There are other items, however, that were developed specifically for Disney Parks. They include some apparel items and a six-pin, open edition pin set.

In select merchandise locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, guests will also find a limited release, graphic MagicBand. In order to purchase this retail MagicBand, guests must present one of the following for the MagicBand to be linked to at the time of purchase: valid theme park admission, Memory Maker card or an active MagicBand.

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A D-Tech on Demand case for the iPhone 5/5S will be released at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. In the D-Tech on Demand boutique at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace, guests will soon find six new art designs with characters from the film. The cases shown above are for the iPhone 6, but they are also offered for iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 5C, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy S4 at the boutique. We will begin offering cases for iPhone 6+ and Samsung Galaxy S5 later in November at D-Tech on Demand.

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Finally, there will be a limited release Vinylmation mystery series coming to Disney Parks in early November.

Once the film releases in November, I can’t wait to meet the stars of the movie, Hiro Hamada and his huggable buddy, Baymax when the film’s characters head to Disney Parks to greet their fans!

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#DisneyKids: First Playground Visit at Disney Parks

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


At Disney Parks, even our playgrounds are driven by story. Whether it’s a whimsical playscape inside the Dumbo attraction in New Fantasyland or the larger than life Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a first visit to a Disney Parks playground is a memorable experience during a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

We’re continuing our exclusive #DisneyKids series this week with special peek at some first visits to The Boneyard, an open-air playground modeled to resemble a dinosaur dig site specifically for younger children (10 and under) in Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, we’re sharing more fun ideas for the little ones as well as some offers designed with your family in mind on our special preschool page.

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999 Happy Haunts: Here Comes The Bride

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week our Happy Haunts series is taking a look at the true lady of the house – The Bride. (This character’s storyline varies a bit at Haunted Mansion attractions around the world, so we’ll focus mainly on her appearance at Magic Kingdom Park).

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(Art by Morgan Davidson)

Imagineer Ken Anderson developed one of the first storylines for the Bride, who was a young woman named Priscilla set to be wed to a sea captain named Captain Gore. Throughout this version of the attraction – which at first was being developed as a walk-through experience – guests would follow Priscilla as she found evidence that her love was actually a wicked pirate. Priscilla then vanished and was never seen again, although her spirit presence in the mansion was said to have driven the Captain mad. In another version of the Bride’s storyline, Walt Disney himself was set to narrate the attraction (think of Walt as the “Ghost Host”), and was to reference a bride character who had “lost her head” before the big day.

The Bride’s storyline was finally solidified when Imagineers Marc Davis, Claude Coats and X. Atencio were handed the project in the mid-1960s. Set in a creepy, cluttered attic full of shadows and surprises, the Bride waited for guests at the end of the room with a red pulsing heart and a flowing dress. Over the years, her storyline became more prominent, with wedding mementos placed throughout the attic, a louder thumping heartbeat, and the tune of the Wedding March plunked on a harpischord in the background. Later changes indicate that it was the groom that really lost his head inside the mansion: the Bride currently holds an ax, and nearby portraits of the happy couple reveal a headless groom when the lightning flashes.

In the artwork above, artist Morgan Davidson gave the Bride a Halloween twist. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below!

For more Happy Haunts, check out the posts below:

Disney Parks After Dark: A Parisian Sunset at Epcot

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I love Paris … at World Showcase. And tonight’s Disney Parks After Dark photo only makes me want to visit it again. What a lovely sunset (captured by Photographer Tom Bricker).

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What’s your favorite pavilion to visit in World Showcase after the sun goes down? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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‘Direct Your Disney Side’ Shorts Showcase Tween Filmmakers’ Disney Side

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If given the chance, how would a tween express their Disney Side on film?

This was the question that our Yellow Shoes Creative Group (partnered with Adolescent Films) posed to tween filmmakers in our “Direct Your Disney Side” project. Three tweens, Elwood Walker, Jack Vinetz, and Claire Jantzen were chosen to pitch, storyboard and even direct their own short film, all inspired by how they show their Disney Side.

We’ll be sharing each student’s short here on the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at the fun the tweens had during their filmmaking adventures.

Be sure to check back tomorrow, when we’ll share “Rocket Boy” the first film in the series.

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‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!’ Street Party Starts Tomorrow at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party is ready to make its debut at Magic Kingdom Park! This new version of the park’s popular Disney character street party brings with it new music and characters and new ways for you to become part of the show.

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The fun starts as a parade of giant gift boxes make their way down Main Street, U.S.A. toward the Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle. Everyone’s invited to follow the procession and dance along to the original song, “Party Up!” Once party hosts Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy pop up, it’s time to join in and dance with our party peeps and favorite Disney pals like Stitch and Phineas and Ferb.

You’ll “Move It!” You’ll “Shake It!” And when it comes time to “Play It,” you’ll even get to vote for the next song on the party playlist!

This street party promises to be so much fun, you’re going to want to share the excitement with all your family and friends. When you post those awesome selfies to Twitter and Instagram, be sure to tag them with #MoveItShakeItPics. They may just show up on the floats as part of a special finale moment!

The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party hits Magic Kingdom Park on Friday, October 24, and will be presented several times daily, so come on out and join in the fun!

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10 Things To Know About The Haunted Mansion Theme ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the Disney Parks attractions with catchy theme songs, I sure don’t mind when this one gets stuck in my head. “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the theme of The Haunted Mansion, is both merry and spooky at the same time, and is perfectly fitting for one of our guest-favorite attractions.

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As our Halloween celebration continues, here are 10 things you may not know about this tune.

  1. The success of the catchy theme song, “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me),” at Pirates of the Caribbean spurred interest in creating a similarly compelling tune for the (then under-construction) Haunted Mansion attraction. Without “Pirates” we may never have had “Ghosts!”
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” composers Buddy Baker and X. Atencio were proven to be Disney songwriting successes when put on the project. Atencio had penned lyrics to the song “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”, while Baker’s theme park contributions included scoring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.
  3. Popular voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft sang baritone for the track. His voice can also be heard in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” among other Disney films.
  4. Thurl’s quartet, The Mellomen, also contributed harmony to “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The group had previously lent their voices to “Alice In Wonderland,” “Peter Pan” and “The Jungle Book.”

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  1. The arrangement of the tune progresses throughout the attraction, starting off on an eerie piano in the library and funeral scenes, then bolder as organ music in the dining room and a whooping party in the graveyard scene.
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” hits a high note in the graveyard scene, where a set of singing busts await “to shriek and harmonize.” Did you know that each of these busts has a name? They are: Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock.
  3. The face of singer Thurl Ravenscroft appears on one of the singing busts – Uncle Theodore, which you can identify at Magic Kingdom Park attraction as the “broken” bust.
  4. Buddy Baker, X. Atencio and Thurl Ravenscroft have all been named Disney Legends in years past for their contributions to Disney Parks and films.
  5. The pop band Barenaked Ladies did a cover of “Grim-Grinning Ghosts” in 2003 for the film “The Haunted Mansion” which starred Eddie Murphy.
  6. A reference to a “Grim Grinning Ghost” (note “ghost” is singular, not plural) appears in the William Shakespeare poem “Venus and Adonis” which was completed in 1593.
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Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarins Explore Their New Home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Last week we helped acquaint you and the newest cotton-top tamarin pair at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Gemma and Draco. The pair has been delighting guests all week. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, we’ve got you covered!

Check out these photos to see the pair exploring their new home!

Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarins Explore Their New Home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Wildlife Wednesday: Cotton-top Tamarins Explore Their New Home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Did you know…?

  • Cotton-top tamarins are a critically endangered species of primate found only in the tropical forests of Colombia. This 1-pound monkey lives 8-10 years in the wild and the median life expectancy in zoos is 11.2 years.
  • Cotton-top tamarins live in social groups of 2-10 individuals.
  • Females, on average, give birth to twins annually and parental care in this species is shared by all group members.
  • Pairs breed every 28 weeks in captivity, but once a year in the wild. The birth period in the wild appears to be linked to the rainy season when there is the greatest abundance of fruit and insects in the diet.
  • Disney’s Animal Programs’ team members have helped coordinate cotton-top tamarin pairings since 1997 through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).
  • The word ‘tamarin’ translates to ‘tití’(pronounced tee-tee) in Spanish. Proyecto Tití’s conservation program works to protect cotton-top tamarins in their tropical forest home in Colombia by having a 20+ year study of these amazing animals that has given us new insights into what they need to survive in the wild. Since field studies alone won’t save cotton-top tamarins, Proyecto Tití has also developed innovative strategies to empower local communities to get involved and benefit from conservation activities!
  • Kids in Colombia are involved in conservation, too! Check out the video below to learn more about Proyecto Tití’s programs and the impact they have had on the community and cotton-top tamarin conservation efforts!

On your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be sure to stop by and welcome Draco and Gemma into their new home!

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Finish that Disney Parks Sign: A Stop At The Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week we’re taking a sweet stop at the Confectionery on Main Street, U.S.A. I love so many of the treats inside – from the specialty apples and Mickey crispy treats to my personal favorite, the chocolate-covered pineapple skewers.

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According to this sign, the Confectionery is the home of ___. Do you remember the missing words? If so, tell us in the comments section below. We’ll post the answer later today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort