Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Shopping in ‘Darth’s Mall’ for Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 27th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“Sneak

A little while ago, I gave you a peek at some Star Wars Weekends merchandise. Today, I have selected a few of my favorite items coming soon to “Darth’s Mall,” a massive shopping location we’re creating just for Star Wars Weekends.

The striking image of Donald Duck as Darth Maul is a common thread throughout the entire assortment. The artwork above will be used on the two main logo shirts. We will also have shirts with images of Darth Maul from Episode I, including a stunning Passholder exclusive shirt in both men’s and women’s styles. I spent hours around the office, however, wearing one of the best shirts this year — a tee shirt with an image of Darth Vader’s chest, complete with a flowing, detachable cape.

“Sneak

Similar to previous years, there will be open and limited-edition pins, boxed pin sets and a framed pin set. I enjoy the humor found in the “Piece of Death Star” pin (there is not an actual piece, but one can dream). I also like the Chewbacca-inspired, bandolier neck lanyard.

In the Vinylmation galaxy, Maria Clapsis designed six new open edition figures that feature Disney characters portraying Star Wars characters. If you are looking for the second limited release mystery series, you will have to wait until August (trust me, it will be worth it!).

“Sneak

There is a beach towel that looks like the legs of a Jedi Knight (awesome!). There will also be an iPhone 4/4S case, with the fitting edition size of 1,999.

“Sneak

One of the more unique items is an oversized bag that contains a special side pocket to carry either a poster tube (or perhaps a lightsaber!). I also thought the six different phrase buttons were a nice addition this year. Yet I can’t wait to get my Star Tours nametag with my name written in Aurebesh, one of the alphabets used in the Star Wars galaxy.

Finally, we will have three unique action figures including Donald Duck playing Darth Maul and Savage Opress, Darth Maul’s powerful brother from the planet of Dathomir. Savage Opress, who was once also Count Dooku’s secret Sith apprentice, is featured in the animated TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also, look for the limited release figure of Rizzo from The Muppets, portraying Jedi Master Yoda.

Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Action Figures Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Watches Sneak Peek at Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Coming to 'Darth Mall' Featuring Shirts

For more Star Wars Weekends updates, see the posts below:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Filming ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 26th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? If you don’t know the answer to that question, let’s face it – you might have landed here at the Disney Parks Blog by happenstance.
“The

The third edition of “The Mickey Mouse Club” made its debut on the Disney Channel this week back in 1989 and was shot on location here at Walt Disney World Resort at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
“The

“The MMC,” as it was also called, ran for seven seasons and had numerous Cast Members who later became major celebrities. The first six seasons had theme days (Music, Guest, Anything Can Happen, Party, Hall of Fame), similar in format to the original.
Production of 'The Mickey Mouse Club' at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

There is only one way to end this blog post: M-I-C, see ya real soon (next Thursday), K-E-Y, why because we like you! M-O-U-S-E. (It’s going to be stuck in your head all day long.)

For more Disney Parks history, check out these other Vintage Walt Disney World posts:

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New Chef, New Tastes on the Menu at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 25th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With a new chef who professes that her three favorite spices are “garlic, garlic and garlic,” Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is worth a visit to try some of the newest tastes on the menu.

“Seafood “Pork

Chef Beatriz Candelario most recently was chef at Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and has been cooking in Walt Disney World Resort restaurants for 15 years. The new Mama Melrose seafood cioppino, created by the kitchen team with Chef Bea’s leadership, is a great example of her love of Mediterranean dishes, a mélange of fresh clams, shrimp, calamari and mussels tossed with fregola pasta in a light tomato broth. The team’s rendition of pork Milanese comes with roasted fingerling potatoes and pancetta vinaigrette – a genuine taste of rustic Italy.
“Gnocchi

Gnocchi fans will want to try Mama Melrose’s hand-rolled version of the little Italian soft dumplings with seasonal vegetables in a basil pesto, a true Italian comfort food.
“Tiramisù

Save room for the cool, dreamy tiramisù semifreddo with layers of buttery mascarpone, ladyfingers, and Marsala wine with coffee sauce. “Semifreddo” is Italian for “half cold,” and this luscious dessert is even more delicious than the gooey classic version of tiramisù.

A solid wine list, beer and specialty cocktails make Mama Melrose’s an extra-special spot for lunch or dinner (one entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan). And you also can book the Fantasmic! Meal Package to receive designated seating during the spectacular nighttime show.

See the posts below for more news about dining at Walt Disney World Resort:

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Moms Panel Monday: Celebrate Special Events at Walt Disney World Resort with Panelist Jodie Hilson

posted on April 16th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Spring is in the air and that means it’s time for me to break out my fuchsia, tangerine and teal stilettos. I also dust off my cinnamon buns wig and lightsabers. You read that right–lightsabers! In about a month, Star Wars Weekends, an annual special event, returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. You can join Star Wars celebrities and characters for special shows and autograph signings, and even party with some stormtroopers!

The force is especially strong with one of our new Walt Disney World Moms Panelists, Jodie Hilson, who loves to visit Disney Parks with her husband and their four children during annual special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Jodie says that whatever time of year you plan to visit Walt Disney World Resort, you will find something special going on and something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, Jodie Hilson’s Family at Star Wars Weekend Seen Here with Darth Vader

“My sons are huge Star Wars fans so we surprised them a few years ago by planning a day just for Star Wars Weekends. They took photos with Darth Vader, got special posters and ended the day dancing at the Hyperspace Hoopla,” Jodie says. “There are so many fun elements to special events, from the limited edition merchandise to the rare-character encounters, these events have really been our favorite as a family.”

Jodie’s tip for making the most of your trip: plan ahead of time by looking at what events are taking place during your visit and make sure you experience all the special shows, parades and character meet and greets.

Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Jodie Hilson with her Family and Minnie Mouse at the Walt Disney World Resort

“These events are great for families who want to see special things and meet unique characters that you don’t always see in the parks,” she says. “During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for example, you can go Trick-or-Treating in costume and still go on the classic rides you know and love.”

Ask Jodie more about her favorite special events at DisneyWorldMoms.com.

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More Visiting Celebrities, Details & Tips Announced for Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 6th, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Following the post earlier in the week about the return of James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi – Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano – Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Celebrity Hosts for Star Wars Weekends, we received a new transmission from an R2 unit that reveals more Star Wars celebrities scheduled to appear this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. The annual event takes place each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.

With Donald Duck doing his best Darth Maul impression in the 2012 event logo, seen here, Star Wars Weekends 2012 will welcome several celebrities from Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace for the Force-filled fun. In fact, Donald will have the chance to meet Ray Park, the action star who portrayed Darth Maul, during an extended engagement. Ray (pictured below) is scheduled to appear in both Weekends I and II.

“Actor

Another 2012 highlight: keep a sharp eye during Weekend IV when bounty hunters — a favorite among many fans — take center stage in their very own weekend (doesn’t that seem appropriate, considering Star Wars bounty hunters generally work on their own anyway?). As an added surprise, Weekend IV will be a “Bonus Boba” weekend! Both actors who portrayed laconic enforcer Boba Fett in the saga — Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan — will appear during the event’s closing weekend.

Each weekend will also feature a visiting celebrity voice actor from the popular animated TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Here’s the scheduled celebrity lineup for Star Wars Weekends 2012 (subject to change):

Weekend I (May 18 – 20)

  • Ray Park – (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend II (May 25- 27)

  • Andy Secombe (Watto – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend III (June 1 -3)

  • Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • (Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice talent – currently TBD)

Weekend IV (June 8- 10)

  • Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
  • Daniel Logan (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
  • Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

While most daily events are still being scheduled, we have received a few additional news of note and tips for Star Wars Weekends 2012 (all activities & entertainment subject to change):

  • “Hyperspace Hoopla”: This high-energy, one-of-a-kind show is a chance to see some of the famed Star Wars characters performing like never before. It will take place on a stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey hat on Hollywood Blvd., and is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. each event evening.
  • Autograph Opportunities: As always, there is no additional charge for the celebrity autograph sessions at Star Wars Weekends. The autograph lines will once again be handled via a FASTPASS-type system. The meet-and-greet session/autograph opportunities are extremely limited, so guests need to arrive early to receive a FASTPASS. Please refer to this link, which will take you to the official Star Wars Weekends event page on DisneyWorld.com. There, you’ll find more detailed information under “Celebrity Autographs.”
  • Star-Studded Event: Keep in mind, autograph opportunities are not the only place to see the celebrities. Star Wars stars take part in fun throughout the day in Star Wars-themed talk shows, behind-the-scenes presentations, the gala “Legends of the Force” parade and more.

That’s the latest for now. Keep checking back as we confirm more scheduled activities for Star Wars Weekends 2012. Do you have any special memories of past Star Wars Weekends or of any of the celebrities that will attend this year? If so, please share in the comments.

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Disney Parks are Alive with the Sound of Music!

posted on April 6th, 2012 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


Fans of the classic film “The Sound of Music” – and let’s face it, who isn’t a fan – will find a special treat around Walt Disney World Resort this weekend. Fred Bronson, author of The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook, will be meeting fans and signing his new book at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney Marketplace today and Saturday.

“Fred

The book is an in-depth look at one of the most beloved films in cinematic history through the eyes of the cast, including Charmian Carr, Nicholas Hammond, Heather Menzies, Duane Chase, Angela Cartwright, Debbie Turner, and Kym Karath – the actors who starred as the von Trapp children. It covers the making of the film, as well as stories of the lives (before and since) of these seven adults, who are still referred to as “the kids.”

Through anecdotes, photographs, and replicas of memorabilia, The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook answers the burning questions fans have been asking for years: How did the children learn the songs and dances for the musical numbers? What was it like to attend a gala Hollywood premiere? How did their lives change after starring in such a beloved film? Pockets within the book include a DVD of their home-movie footage and replicas of Heather’s autograph book, Angela’s artwork, and Kym’s letters home to her father, the official movie poster, and much, much more.

A television writer and author, Bronson has many TV writing credits, including episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the American Music Awards. He’s also written books, including Dick Clark’s American Bandstand (with Dick Clark) and The Billboard Book of Number One Hits.

Bronson will be signing copies of The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook on Friday, April 6, at The Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Noon – 2 p.m. and on Saturday, April 7, at The Art of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace from 5 – 7 p.m.

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Celebrity Hosts Announced for Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 2nd, 2012 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


As previously mentioned in this post, Star Wars Weekends – one of the most popular month-long events at Walt Disney World Resort – returns to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios galaxy in May and June this year.

Today, we’d like to announce two of the talented Star Wars stars that will serve in Celebrity Host roles this year. They are both Star Wars Weekends veterans, so we’re especially excited to welcome them back again.

Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor to Serve as Celebrity Hosts for Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor – who provide the voices of Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively, for the popular animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – will join us for the duration of the 2012 event in their host roles.

James is the Official Celebrity Host of Star Wars Weekends 2012, and Ashley is Celebrity Host of “Behind the Force,” a show that gives fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

One of the most versatile voice actors today, James not only is famous for the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but many other popular characters from films, television, advertising and video games. He’s the current voice of everyone’s favorite resident of Bedrock, Fred Flintstone, and has a list of character voice credits including Green Arrow, Johnny Test and Ratchet (from the “Ratchet & Clank” video game series), just to name a few.

Ashley, who provides the voice of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s eager Padawan learner, is no stranger to Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. She practically grew up (literally) in the middle of the magic. Her father was a longtime Disney Parks cast member and her first plunge in show business was as a parade dancer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s full circle for Ashley; little did she know that the street (Hollywood Blvd.) where she performed in daily parades would someday be the same street where she’d be center stage as one of the featured celebrities in Star Wars Weekends motorcades. In the time since Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted, Ashley also has become a fashion designer and head of her own company, “Her Universe,” that specializes in merchandise and apparel specifically for female sci-fi fans. Look for some of her latest Star Wars-inspired designs this year during Star Wars Weekends.

We’re excited to once again welcome James and Ashley, who entertained Star Wars Weekends audiences last year in their Celebrity Hosts roles, back for another year of galactic fun. We hope you’ll join us!

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for future updates about the event, special activities and the rest of the Star Wars celebrities that will make appearances each weekend.

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No End to Cupcake Craze at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on March 17th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


“A

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 17, Pastry Chef Andreas Born at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a sweet little treat: a delectable chocolate cupcake with a leprechaun hat, chocolate Mickey ears and a flourish of shamrocks. For sale only on St. Paddy’s Day at Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, Pizza Planet, ABC Commissary and Studio Catering Co.

“Pineapple-Coconut

Chef Born follows that holiday creation with a sweet treat for spring (March 20 officially is the first day of spring). And what better excuse to enjoy a pineapple-coconut Easter cupcake with pink bunny ears? Born loves to play with flavors (and icing) and he’ll have this cutie for sale at Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, Pizza Planet, ABC Commissary and Studio Catering Co. for just 12 days — April 6 through April 17.

The spring cupcake (with the Easter bunny ears) is $4.99 and counts as a snack on the Disney Dining Plan.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Newsies ‘Carry The Banner’ On Sunset Blvd. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on March 15th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Extra! Extra! Today, previews for Disney’s NEWSIES, the new musical from Disney Theatrical Productions, start on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre.

“Cast

Based on the 1992 movie of the same name, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged late 1890s newspaper sellers (a.k.a. “Newsies”), who dreams of a better life far from the hardship of the streets.

“Cast

Did you know that the newsboys also roamed the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios trying to sell the day’s news back in 1994? Here they are at a special event with a headline reading “Sunset Boulevard Gala Tonight.”

“Newsies

While the boys are no longer selling their papers on the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can catch them on Broadway in NEWSIES for 12 weeks only. Visit the Disney’s NEWSIES website for more information.

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The Softer Side of the Force at Disney Parks

posted on March 12th, 2012 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“Duffy

I’ve always wanted to learn the ways of the Force. Sadly I’m too old to begin the training at the Jedi Training Academy in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I did, however, recently visit the park with my friend Duffy the Disney Bear, who is old enough to participate. We are introducing a new Jedi robe costume for Duffy this spring. The costume comes complete with a t-shirt, an iconic brown robe with hood and a lightsaber that actually lights up. I spoke with Denise Edelmaier, product developer for Plush and Dolls, about the new costume.

“Duffy

“The Jedi Training Academy robe is adorable,” exclaimed Denise. “It continues our strategy of introducing costumes for Duffy that are directly related to experiences found only at Disney Parks.”

“Donald

Denise also shared with me two new items that will be arriving later this spring. Donald Duck as Darth Maul will arrive in time for the launch of Star Wars Weekends 2012 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The plush will be released at Disneyland Resort in mid-summer. The other plush has Jedi Master Yoda wearing a Mouseketeer hat and is set to arrive this May in California and Florida.

These items will not be offered via the Disney Parks Online Store. Once released, you can contact Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477 or via email – merchandiseguestservices@disney.go.com – to place an order.

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