posted on April 7th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
posted on April 5th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
This week, we continued our series of exciting updates from Disney Cruise Line with the announcement that a new stage show, “Tangled: The Musical,” will be premiering onboard the Disney Magic in November.
Jonathan told us that “Tangled: The Musical” will stay true to the storyline from the hit feature film—with a few special twists to create a live staged production—featuring favorite characters like Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, the villainous Mother Gothel and Maximus the police horse. Check out his original story for more details and information on when you’ll be able to see exclusive behind the scenes videos of the stage show.
We also shared a story many of you have been waiting for – a look at this year’s Star Wars Weekends. Details are still coming together for the event, but Shawn shared some highlights of what’s new for Star Wars Weekends 2015:
- “Star Wars: Rebels” – Relive the adventurous twists and turns of the first exciting season of the Disney XD series “Star Wars: Rebels,” in an all-new show with Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor and a special guest from the show’s voice cast … along with a few surprises!
- Autograph Opportunities – For the first time, autograph sessions with Star Wars celebrities will be held in an indoor location, just off Commissary Lane near Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. For complete details about autograph opportunities, be sure to visit StarWarsWeekends.com prior to your visit.
- Darth’s Mall – Can’t find the droids you’re looking for? Head over to this new complex of shops near Streets of America for the best selection of Star Wars merchandise in this galaxy or any other!
The event is shaping up to be among the best, with a new show, new locations for merchandise and autograph opportunities and a galaxy of stars. Go check out our original story for a list of the celebrities scheduled to appear for Star Wars Weekends 2015.
Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.
First Look: New Olaf Premium Sipper Coming to Disneyland Resort – What’s better than warm hugs from a snowman? A cool drink in an Olaf Premium Sipper! For the first time in forever, guests will be able to purchase the new Olaf Premium Sipper from Food & Beverage locations throughout Disneyland Resort.
Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Main Street, U.S.A. – See historic pictures from the construction of Main Street, U.S.A. in this special series from Disney Parks Blog author George Savvas.
Live Music Expanding at Disneyland Park Beginning July 17 – During the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, music will become an even bigger part of the storytelling within Disneyland park. Click through to learn more!
Learn to Draw Dopey from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Artist Mike Chovanec of the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers step-by-step instructions on how to draw one of the most lovable characters from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
From Stem to Stern Wine Tasting on a Disney Cruise – Learn about Disney Cruise Line’s “From Stem to Stern” wine event, where a knowledgeable sommelier teaches you to sip like a pro.
New ‘Frozen Fever’ Treats Coming to Disney Parks and Resorts – It’s official: we’ve caught Frozen Fever! The Disney Parks Food and Beverage team has created new treats inspired by the “Frozen Fever” short.
And this week, the name of the newest female baby rhino at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – determined by Disney Parks Blog readers – was revealed. You voted the Kiama as the winning name. It was the overwhelming majority with more than half of the votes.
Kiama will continue to bond and grow with her mom backstage for a few more months, but stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for updates and more information as we near her on-stage debut. Check out Karen’s story for more.
posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Earlier this year, we took a backstage look at the Tumble Monkeys from the popular stage show “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In it, we showed you the level of talent and skill that this team of gymnasts uses to add comedic fun into the show.
This week, we’re back with a behind-the-scenes look at a different act in the show – the fireknife dancer. This performer adds an element of danger during villain Scar’s song, “Be Prepared.” In reality, the show’s fireknife dancers, including VJ Tiumalu, have studied the art of this traditional Samoan warrior dance for years. For VJ, fireknife is a family tradition. He decided to become a fireknife performer when he was just 5 years old after seeing his father perform in a show. VJ’s uncle even once performed the very part VJ now plays in “Festival of the Lion King.”
To learn more, check out the video below. (Spoiler alert: As you’ll see, I’m apparently the most uncoordinated person on the planet and therefore will not be changing my career to fireknife anytime soon).
You can see “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom several times each day. Check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes during your visit.
posted on April 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Have you been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week? If so, you may have noticed a special new addition at the front of the park – a giant sand sculpture that celebrates the upcoming opening of the Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom.”
The film, which opens April 17, follows the adventurous life of Maya, a blonde-bobbed monkey, and her son Kip, through their journeys in the jungles of South Asia. When their home at Castle Rock is taken over by neighboring monkeys, Maya’s entire family retreats. She uses her street smarts to uncover untapped resources amidst her strange new surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim their home.
Our cameras were on-hand to capture the creation of this amazing sand tribute. Check it out below.
For every “Monkey Kingdom” movie ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2015), Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats.
posted on March 31st, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort
See what’s happening in the world of Merchandise Special Events this April at Walt Disney World Resort!
April 1 – 5: Artist Greg McCullough returns this month with special appearances and signings at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, April 1 – 5 and 15 – 19 from 1 – 9 p.m. Not able to make it? It’s okay! Greg will return April 29 – May 3 with special appearances each day from Noon – 8 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.
April 6 – 14: Be sure to stop in and check out some of the latest releases by artist David E. Doss from 1 – 9 p.m., each day, at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.
April 10 – April 12: Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick will be on hand for special appearances and signings of her new Easter collection throughout the day, each day, at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Not able to make it? No problem! Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand now – April 12 at Heritage Manor at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot, and now – April 27 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.
April 16 – 18: Renowned international artist Larry Dotson is scheduled to appear April 16 – 18 and 23 – 26 at Art of Disney in Epcot. If you are unable to make it, find him, April 30 – May 3 at Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.
April 17: New creations take form as Disney Pins! Be among the first to ‘assemble’ at Disney’s Pin Traders in Downtown Disney Marketplace for these new releases and meet artists Tim Loucks and Erica Virgin who will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 11 a.m. – Noon.
April 18 – 22: Celebrate Earth Day with us! Take part in special artist showcases with Bushman (April 18-19), Just Plumerias (April 18 – 22), Elemental Nursery (April 18 – 22) and William Silvers (April 20 -22), at select locations throughout at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Learn more.
April 24 – 25: Join us as we welcome artist Matt Hawkins to WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Take part in a special artist showcase and signing April 24 from 4 – 7 p.m. and April 25 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Learn more.
April 25: Meet artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith at WonderGround Gallery at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 4 – 7 p.m. Learn more.
Which event are you most excited for?
posted on March 30th, 2015 by Karen Jasmin, Zoological Manager, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Just a few weeks ago, we asked you, the Disney Parks Blog readers, to help us name the newest female baby rhino at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You spread the message far and wide and over the past week thousands of votes poured in.
While my vote was for ‘Alora’, I’m excited to announce that the winning name is Kiama! It was the overwhelming majority with more than half of the votes.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the comments section. Some of you shared that you were excited to hear about our conservation work with rhinos and other species around the world. We also learned that many from the city of Kiama in New South Wales, Australia, were excited to see the name of their town as an option. (While I’ve never been to this city in person, after looking at a few photos online, I’d love to visit).
This precious girl will continue to bond and grow with her mom backstage for a few more months, but stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for updates and more information as we near her on-stage debut.
Wildlife Wednesday: Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Set ‘Gold Standard’ for Animal Care
posted on March 25th, 2015 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
The AZA accredits only those zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards in animal management and care. Late last year, we hosted an AZA inspection team who assessed everything from the enrichment our animals receive (that stimulates their natural behaviors and provides them variety in their daily routines), to our veterinary program, our conservation and research and education programs, as well as our safety policies and procedures, security, physical facilities, guest services and the experience and quality of our staff. They look at everything from each part of the operation not only in animal care but from food and beverage to merchandise. It’s quite the process!
After this review, the AZA Accreditation Commission deliberated and shared their decision to accredit Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge this past Sunday.
Being accredited allows us to create and continue to nurture our relationships with other accredited organizations to work toward a common goal of conservation and saving species.
Here are some of the wonderful and humbling comments AZA left with us:
- “The level and commitment to animal care sets the gold standard for our community. Veterinary, nutrition, training, browse program and enrichment programs are state of the art.”
- “The keeper staff is professional, passionate and engaged.”
- “Overall safety culture is extraordinarily strong across the organization, and staff training exceeds all expectations.”
- “Disney’s Animal Kingdom staff has been successful in making conservation a key value of The Walt Disney Company. The current positive impact and future potential of this change cannot be overstated.”
- “New interpretive programs, including Wilderness [Explorers] and Wild Africa Trek, add both breadth and depth to program offerings.”
They also recognized the amazing amount of work going on with our upcoming expansion and praised our efforts to maintain a strong focus on animals, nature and conservation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Renewing our accreditation also speaks to the importance we place on connecting kids and nature. Both the park and resort provide a quality experience to learn about animal and conservation in a fun, engaging environment.
Congratulations to the Cast of Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge once again.
posted on March 20th, 2015 by Karen Jasmin, Zoological Manager, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Just a few weeks ago, as the sun started to rise on a cool day in late February, Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed its second white rhino calf of 2015 into the herd! This one’s a girl and it’s the tenth white rhino baby to be born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
As we welcome this newest baby and work to deliver uncompromising excellence in animal care for the animals here at the park and across The Walt Disney Company, we haven’t forgotten about their relatives in the wild. Last year, rhinos faced the worst poaching in history, so we continue to support conservation efforts for this and many other vulnerable species around the world. Much long term work to save this species is needed in the wild, but it’s important to celebrate small victories and our animal care team definitely has much to celebrate with seemingly back-to-back white rhino calves born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this year.
While our newest mom and calf won’t make their debut out on the savannas of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve for a couple of months, our newest calf needs a name and this time the choice is yours! The animal care team narrowed it down to four options, so please help us choose which name you like best for her.
Take a look at the heart-warming pictures in the photo gallery and choose your favorite name below. Be sure to rally your friends to make sure your favorite name wins!
Voting will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. We’ll reveal the winning name soon after that!
Tell us which name you voted for and why in the comments below.
posted on March 19th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort
Two years ago this month, we were looking forward to exciting things at Disney Parks, but we were also looking back at some memorable milestones. Take a look at these three trips back in time that we took our readers on in March 2013.
Today in Disney History: Journey Into Imagination Opens at Epcot
Jennifer took us back to March 5, 1983, for the opening of Journey Into Imagination at Epcot.
Vintage Walt Disney World: Building an Animal Kingdom
Nate took us back in time for a look at the construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
A Look Back: 1958 Opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama at Disneyland Park
George shared these rare photos of Walt Disney at the 1958 opening of the Grand Canyon Diorama.
posted on March 11th, 2015 by Steve Castillo, Animal Operations Manager, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Avid Disney Parks Blog readers may remember we welcomed five sable antelope calves to the herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom not too long ago. We are excited to now share that these adorable calves and their caring moms have officially made their debut on the savannahs of The Harambe Wildlife Reserve!
Our adult herd consists of one male and six females. Now that the youngest calf is about two months old, all calves are old enough to follow the herd and navigate the savannah with the direction of their mothers. The calves are all doing well and have been exploring their new surroundings. All dams (female antelope) are being attentive to their offspring and the calves are growing fast as they learn their place in the strong social hierarchy of the herd.
Two whole weeks seem to fly by while on this particular safari, but see if you can catch a glimpse of one of the new sables on your next visit! Until then, check out the photo gallery for more pictures of this beautiful herd.