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Happy Fourth of July from Disney Parks

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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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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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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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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Commemorative Merchandise for 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Coming May 1, 2014

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recall first visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1990 during a family visit to Walt Disney World Resort. Since that time, I’ve spent many days at some of my favorite attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and One Man’s Dream (I practically lived at the latter while serving as a Walt Disney World Ambassador during the 100 years of Magic Celebration). I also have many fond memories of taking my children to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, or enjoying the Cobb salad (my favorite!) at the Hollywood Brown Derby. With Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ silver anniversary on May 1, we have created several new items to mark this occasion.

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Disney Design Group artists Thomas Scott, Costa Alavezos and John Henselmeier collaborated on the logo design. John told me that the archway near the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! attraction served as their inspiration. Costa contributed the character sketches that remind me of the vignettes found on that archway.

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We will release shirts for adults and kids including a classic, black polo-style shirt (I know a few readers have requested such a thing). Guests should also look for a messenger bag, a key chain, and a 12-inch, pre-dressed Duffy the Disney Bear.

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The Disney pin team has also created a collection of pins to celebrate this anniversary. You may recall seeing a sneak preview of a jumbo-sized pin back in January. There will also be a limited edition “I Was There” pin, an Annual Passholder exclusive pin and a few other items like a starter set.

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My favorite pin item is the mystery pin set that contains a host of characters dressed in various costumes. I love seeing the vintage-looking Donald Duck, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. Two randomly selected pins will be found in each mystery box.

All of these items will be released when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens on May 1, 2014, in Soundstage 1. This temporary merchandise shop will be located between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania. All items will be available while supplies last.

The Disney Parks online store will carry the four shirts pictured in this story from May 1-5, 2014. The shirts will ship in 6-8 weeks once orders are completed (express shipping is not available). To order the shirts starting May 1, please visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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New Options for Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returning to Star Wars Weekends Starting May 16, 2014

posted on April 9th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I recently shared with you a first look at new merchandise coming to Star Wars Weekends 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning May 16. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that the Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience will return this year with a few new options for guests. This year, the experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, located in Soundstage 1 between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania.

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars – D-Tech Me, this 10-minute experience uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. The captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine. My fellow author Gary Buchanan has a cool, behind-the-scenes video about the experience as seen in this story.
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This year, two returning favorites – Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper – will be joined by two new figurines – Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot. There are both male and female options offered for X-Wing pilot, Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper figurines. For children, Alderaan Princess and Carbon-Freeze Me figurines will be available in more youthful appearances.
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For the first time, we are introducing a 16-inch figurine. While a wise Jedi Master once said “size matters not,” you can see the size differences of the Stormtrooper figurines in the above image.
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Additionally, we will share details starting May 16 on DisneyParksMerchandise.com about how you can have your image from last year added to a new figurine this year. An example of this is shown above with a Stormtrooper figurine image from last year applied to the new X-Wing Pilot figurine.

The Star Wars – D-Tech Me 7-inch figurines are $99.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. For the 16-inch figurines, retail is $1,499.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. All participants will receive a specially designed button.

Completed figurines will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally).

To book your experience, please call 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324). We will only offer the experience during Star Wars Weekends 2014 (May 16 – 18, May 23 – 25, May 30 – June 1, June 6 – 8, and June 13-15).

Finally, guests attending the Rebel Rendezvous event on May 15 will be some of the first individuals to experience Star Wars – D-Tech Me this year. Registered event guests should look for an email soon that will explain how to sign up. If you still want to go to the Rebel Rendezvous event, we’d love to have you! Please see DisneyParksMerchandise.com for more details.

Please note: Separate theme park admission required for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No discounts apply unless otherwise noted. Guests must be at least three (3) years of age to participate. A valid accepted credit card number is required at time of booking. No-shows or in the event a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of scheduled experience will result in such credit card being charged a $25 cancellation fee. The experience, due to its personalized nature, is non-refundable and not eligible for an exchange. Children must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. Certain restrictions may apply. All prices, components and information are subject to change without notice.

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