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A Silver (Screen) Anniversary for Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1

posted on April 24th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


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In a park that pays tribute to many Hollywood icons of the silver screen, a silver anniversary is a special one to celebrate. On May 1, 1989, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (known then as Disney-MGM Studios — a name that would identify the park until it was changed in 2008) became the third Disney theme park to open at Walt Disney World Resort. On May 1, 2014, the park will mark its 25th anniversary in several ways (*times and entertainment subject to change):

  • At 10 a.m., Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will take the stage with Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vice President Dan Cockerell to start the celebration day, honoring some of the 25-year cast members during a short rededication ceremony.
  • A special motorcade — “Stars of the Studios” — will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. beginning at 7 p.m. and feature many of the famous characters showcased throughout the park. Mickey and Minnie will be joined by television and film stars including Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Venellope, Sofia the First and more.
  • Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park’s Sorcerer Hat Stage will become a dance party before a fireworks show ends the day in grand fashion at 9:30 p.m. The pyrotechnics show, which will be high in the sky above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, will pay tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.

Special events and entertainment for the celebration are included in regular park admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Also, as previously outlined by fellow Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller, 25th anniversary commemorative merchandise will be sold (while supplies last). And finally, a taste-tempting treat — a 25th Anniversary Chocolate Nutella Cupcake — will be sold at many of the park’s quick service dining locations during the day.

TIP: If you’re planning to visit the park on May 1, please plan on entering via the main toll plaza off of World Drive.

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‘Feel the Force Dining Event’ Offers More Fun for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 24th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


During Star Wars Weekends, fans will be immersed in a galaxy far, far away. And now, a special Feel the Force Dining Event gives you VIP status for viewing for the Star Wars “Legends of the Force” motorcade plus a nightly dessert party (featuring the event’s popular Darth Vader cupcakes) and up-close viewing of the “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks spectacular.

The Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade viewing experience is at 11 a.m.-noon each day. Soft drinks, water and a snack will be provided. The dessert party is 9-10 p.m., with fireworks starting at approximately 9:45 p.m.

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To keep it extra special, capacity is limited. Along with the VIP viewing for the motorcade and entry into the “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party, you’ll receive a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card that can be linked to your Disney account and include a series of Star Wars Weekends photos.

The Feel the Force Dining Event will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16-June 15, 2014.
Cost is $54 for adults, $32 for ages 3 to 9, including tax and gratuity. Walk-up sales will be available until Feel the Force Premium Package is sold out. To purchase the packages, go to disneyworld.com/spring or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Magic of Disney Animation

posted on April 24th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


When Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened The Magic of Disney Animation gave a firsthand look inside the interworking of Walt Disney Animation Florida.

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This behind-the-scenes tour began with the short film “Back to Never Land” taking guests on a journey through the animation process.

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Afterwards, guests had the opportunity to peer through glass walls to witness members of the animation team at work. guests also had the opportunity to watch an animator sketch a Disney character right before their eyes.

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Walt Disney Animation Florida was responsible for the primary production of three full-length animated feature films – Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear. They also produced three animation shorts, “Off His Rockers,” and two Roger Rabbit Cartoons – “Trail Mix-Up” and “Roller Coaster Rabbit.”


For more posts in this series, read the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Past, Present and Future Galactic Stars Shine at Star Wars Weekends 2014

posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Here’s a little trivia: did you know former “Cheers” star and the Disney•Pixar “lucky charm” John Ratzenberger once appeared on the silver screen in the Star Wars saga? Before he frequented the watering hole where everybody knew his name, he braved the frigid planet Hoth in a minor role in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. Next stop for Ratzenberger (or, as he may be known to Star Wars fans: Major Bren Derlin) will be Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends 2014.
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Today, we’re pleased to announce the full talent lineup for this year’s event. Celebrities scheduled to attend include Star Wars actors and actresses from the past (from the Star Wars film saga), present (from the popular animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and even the future (from the eagerly anticipated Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels).

As we previously announced, acclaimed voice actor James Arnold Taylor is the official celebrity host of this year’s event. We’re pleased to announce today that Ashley Eckstein, voice of Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars, a former Walt Disney World Resort parade performer and now a successful fangirl fashion designer, will be the host of a special “Behind The Force” show each weekend. This year, “Behind The Force” will showcase some of the main cast members from Star Wars Rebels.

Also of note: Weekend V will feature the most Star Wars celebrities to appear at one time in the event’s history.

Here’s the lineup (*subject to change):

Weekend I: May 16-18

Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II: May 23-25

Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Wald (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Capt. Jeremoch Colton (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)

Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III: May 30-June 1

Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)

Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV: June 6-8

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Darth Bane (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)

Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V: June 13-15

Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: SuperStar Television

posted on April 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today, we’re continuing to celebrate Disney’s Hollywood Studios opening-day attractions with a look into SuperStar Television, an attraction that let learn about and even participate in “live” television broadcasts.

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At SuperStar Television, guests were cast in roles in popular TV shows like “General Hospital,” “Bonanza,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Cheers”, among others. The guests, paired up with the SuperStar Television cast, would act out their assigned roles on sets or in front of a screens, while the live studio audience could watch the finished product air on screens above.

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One of my favorite scenes that guests got to take part in was the famous scene from “I Love Lucy,” in which Lucy and Ethel take on a speeding conveyer belt of chocolates. The guest would take on the role of Ethel.

Were you ever chosen to participate in SuperStar Television? Tell us about it in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – May 2014

posted on April 21st, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here are the merchandise events headed your way this May at Walt Disney World Resort!

Before we jump in, here’s one last event taking place at the end of April that you should definitely check out!

Stop by Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace April 26 -27 for a special Disney Design Group Artist Showcase! Not only do you get the opportunity to add beautiful masterpieces to your own Disney collection, but you also get the chance to meet Disney artists Costa Alavezos, Brian Blackmore, Alex Maher, Randy Noble and Darren Wilson. Check the website for artist appearance times. Learn more.

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Now on to May!

May 1 – 4: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from May 21 – 24 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.

May 2: Ahoy there! Meet Disney Design Group artist Casey Jones, who will be on hand to sign the new “Pirates of the CaribbeanVinylmation Series 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. at D Street in Downtown Disney West Side.

May 2 – 3: Find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day during the Chamilia Trunk Show taking place throughout the day at Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

May 4: Put some spring in your step with A Perfect Petals Brunch, featuring the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley coming to World ShowPlace at Epcot on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Register now! Learn more.

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May 7 – 11: Artist Greg McCullough returns May 7 – 11 to Art of Disney in Epcot and will appear later in the month from May 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and May 28 – June 1 at Animation Gallery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

May 8 – 12: Meet Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace, May 8 – 11, as we debut her collection inspired by Cinderella. Learn more.

May 10 – 20: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

May 17 – 18: Dana and Melanie Harvey from HARVEYS seatbeltbags are headed to Walt Disney World Resort! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to pick up some of the newest silhouettes inspired by their Pop Art Mickey collection and meet Dana and Melanie, May 17 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Tren-D in the Downtown Disney Marketplace; May 18 from 12:00 to 2 p.m. at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park; and May 18 from 5 -7 p.m. at Summer Lace at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Learn more.

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Here are a few other things you don’t want to miss!

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

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Celebrating Disney’s Hollywood Studios History

posted on April 19th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week on the Disney Parks Blog, we started our countdown to the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios by taking a look back at one of the park’s opening day attractions – The Great Movie Ride.

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I adore this attraction, which takes guests on a trip through movie history. Which scene featured in the attraction is your favorite?

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If you’re excited for the park’s May 1 milestone, you also have to take a look at the sneak peek Steven Miller shared of the park’s special commemorative merchandise. Special pins, T-shirts and more will be available.

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‘Maleficent’ Sneak Peek Debuts in Disney Parks April 18

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Beginning tomorrow, April 18, guests at Disney Parks on both coasts will be able to enjoy an exclusive sneak peek at Walt Disney Studios’ “Maleficent,” which opens in theaters May 30.

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This special extended sneak peek will play daily in RealD 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the ABC Sound Studio and at Disney California Adventure park.

The film stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in the lead roles of Maleficent and Aurora, respectively, and tells the “untold” story of Maleficent and the betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge, Maleficent places an irrevocable curse upon the king’s newborn infant, Aurora. As she grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the conflict between a place she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy.

To kick off this special opportunity, Walt Disney Studios just sent us this exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film to share with you. Enjoy!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The 25th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is fast approaching on May 1, and in honor of the upcoming park milestone, Disney Parks Blog author Nate Rasmussen and I will be taking a look back at some of the park’s original attractions.
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A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios

One of my all-time favorites that you can still experience today is The Great Movie Ride. Housed inside a full-scale reproduction of Hollywood’s iconic Chinese Theater, the attraction offers a trip through movie history, starting with early black-and-white “talkies” and musicals to all-time classics like “Casablanca.” Other guest-favorite scenes include a spooky stop through some of the first horror films ever produced, a perilous scene for Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, and the moment Dorothy and friends come into sight of the Emerald City.

Did you know that the Western scene, which features both Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, was designed to represent multiple films, instead of one film in particular? Fans of those ol’ Westerns may be interested to know that John Wayne’s horse isn’t one specific horse from a film, but was designed as a composite of horses from his different films.

Which film scene in The Great Movie Ride is your favorite? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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

Finish that Disney Parks Sign: A Perfect Morning Treat

posted on April 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you spotted this sign on the side of an oversized cereal box at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? It describes everything you need in your cereal bowl for a perfect ___. What are the blurred words in the sign? You tell us in the “Comments” section below. We’ll update the post later today with the answer.

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Read the rest of this entry »

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