Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park

Characters Take Center Stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 5th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Anyone heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios next month? If so, you may be happy to hear that there are several exciting new character meet-and-greet experiences in the works for the park.

Beginning May 16, the spotlight at The Magic of Disney Animation attraction will shift to Winnie the Pooh in honor of his upcoming feature film, “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh,” which hits theaters July 15. In addition to meeting-and-greeting Pooh, you also can take a look at the making of the film inside the attraction.

Phineas and Ferb with Disney Channel Star Alyson Stoner at the Recent Disney Magic of Healthy Living Event at Epcot

Also on May 16, Disney Channel animated stars Phineas and Ferb (shown here in a photo with Disney Channel star Alyson Stoner at the recent Disney Magic of Healthy Living event at Epcot) will arrive at a new movie-themed play ‘n’ greet experience. Here, the duo are making a movie about their crazy adventures. With the help of the Guests and Cletus Filmore, the greatest movie Director in the Tri-State Area, Phineas and Ferb will recreate some of their favorite moments…unless they are taking a break to meet with their fans – signing autographs and taking pictures.

Lightning McQueen to Debut in Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Changes are also taking place over at Luigi’s Garage in preparation for the release of “Cars 2.” Lightning McQueen will launch a meet-and-greet opportunity, and in June, he’ll make his debut at the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show in a cameo that will replace the Herbie the Love Bug scene in the show. Herbie fans will still spot the lovable little bug during their journey through the Studio Backlot Tour.

Also, additional performances of the Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy and Mulch, Sweat & Shears have been added to the summer schedule.

Tip: The best way to find your favorite character at Disney Parks is to pick up a Times Guide (offered with park guide maps) at any theme park entrance.

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‘Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play’ Release Party at Walt Disney World

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


Exciting news Kingdom Keepers Fans! The Disney saga continues in the upcoming novel, Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. Of course, we had to commemorate the premiere of the new Disney novel in style, so we invited acclaimed author Ridley Pearson to Walt Disney World to celebrate the launch of his newest book.

'Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play' by Ridley Pearson

For those of you that are not familiar with the Kingdom Keepers series, here’s a quick synopsis for you: Kingdom Keepers follows five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” and find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI – which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging – Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the acclaimed author of the Kingdom Keepers saga on April 4 & 5, 2011, at Downtown Disney Marketplace and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. To make this special event even more exciting, Walt Disney World has been given the honor of launching Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play before the national launch of the novel which means Walt Disney World Guests will have the opportunity to get the book the day before it officially releases!

During Ridley Pearson’s special appearances, he will be meeting and greeting Guests, signing copies of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, and even taking time to answer a few of your question about the Kingdom Keepers Series.

You can meet Ridley at the following Walt Disney World locations on April 4 & 5, 2011:

  • Monday, April 4 , 2011, in Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace: 4 – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in The Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 2 – 5 p.m.

In addition to signing Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, Ridley will also be signing all of the bestselling novels from the Kingdom Keepers series, Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers II: Disney At Dawn and Kingdom Keepers III: Disney In Shadow.

For more information on Ridley’s appearance and Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play, please visit ArtOfDisneyParks.com.

Friendly Disclaimer: On Monday, April 4, Once Upon a Toy will begin selling Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at 3 p.m. Wristbands will be distributed to Guests with each purchase of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. A wristband from Once Upon A Toy is required to meet Ridley Pearson. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Wristband supplies are limited and not guaranteed. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

On Tuesday, April 5, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will begin selling Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at park opening. Wristbands will be distributed to Guests with each purchase of Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play. A wristband from Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required to meet Ridley Pearson If you purchase Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play at a Disney owned and operated merchandise location, bring your book and Walt Disney World merchandise receipt to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to redeem a wristband while supplies last. A limited number of wristbands will be available the day of the signing. Wristband supplies are limited and not guaranteed. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.

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New Star Tours Destinations to be Announced Soon

posted on March 29th, 2011 by Tom Fitzgerald, Executive VP & Senior Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


Star Tours Departure Board

Recently, we talked about the characters you’ll meet in Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Since then, there’s been a lot of speculation about where we’ll meet those characters. Well, stay tuned. While the Star Tours Company does fly to many destinations (as you can see in the attached image – especially if you read Aurebesh) we’ll soon give you the flight list for our show!

For more information on Star Tours, see these previous updates:

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Adventure for Little Ones: ‘Disney Junior – Live on Stage!’

posted on March 25th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As a new parent, I’m constantly rediscovering our theme parks through the eyes of my six-month-old son, Lucas. Over the weekend, our latest adventure took us to see “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is a newly refreshed version of Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!

Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

This 24-minute spectacle is geared toward families with preschoolers and takes them on a journey through some of the most popular Disney Junior programming. A host of characters from “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Little Einsteins,” and my son’s favorite – “Handy Manny,” take the audience along as they plan a surprise party for Minnie Mouse, participate in a space ship race, and fix a bubble machine.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

A new scene that was added to the show earlier this month features characters from “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” – a young pack of friends who encounter Captain Hook and Smee during their search for treasure. During this scene, families can help Jake, Izzy, Cubby and Skully, et back their Team Treasure Chest full of gold doubloons.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

For me, one of the best parts of the show is that the theater offers floor seating only, which I think is perfect for very young children who just can’t sit still when there are colorful puppets in the room. In fact, kids are encouraged to get up and clap, dance or move to the beat many times throughout the show. I had enough room to sit cross-legged on the floor, cuddle my son in my lap and rock him to the music.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

If you go, be sure to arrive a few minutes early, as Disney Junior characters often meet and greet guests just outside the theater.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! also debuts at Disney California Adventure park today.

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Where at Disney Parks Can You Find…

posted on March 22nd, 2011 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Where at Disney Parks Can You Find This Gold Star?

I’ve been seeing stars in the parks since sharing our latest mystery image, and if you have been too, then this week’s puzzler will be a cinch. It’s a gold star that’s easy to spot from many locations somewhere at Disney Parks – but where? Please put your answers in the comments and we’ll update the post with the answer later today.
Read the rest of this entry »

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More Than Meets the Eye at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on March 17th, 2011 by Kent Phillips, Photographer, Walt Disney World


Sorcerer Mickey Icon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

One of the things I’ve discovered in my near infrared photo travels through the parks at Walt Disney World is that I really love the drama of direct sunlight in this style of photography. I tried shooting a few things one morning when it was overcast and found the results flat and lifeless. This was partly because of the lack of contrast in the scene and partly because the shots didn’t have the dramatic, near-black tones that come from a nice, blue sky.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has proven the most challenging to photograph because a lot of what I love in the look of near infrared photography is the drama of the surreal tones rendered in foliage. And unlike Magic Kingdom and Epcot, my first two locations, the greenery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a bit more subtle.

Shooting down Hollywood Boulevard toward the Sorcerer Mickey Icon was kind of a no-brainer, though I was surprised at how the 122-foot tall hat almost looks like part of a miniature set. Some of that may be due to the fact that the photo was shot about 30 seconds before the park opened and the streets were still eerily empty.

Gertie at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

After I had that angle covered off, however, I found myself walking in ever-widening circles around the icon to find another point of view, and that’s when I saw Gertie, who looms above Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction on Echo Lake (I didn’t know the lake had a name). Gertie was the main character in Winsor McCay’s 1914 silent film, “Gertie the Dinosaur,” which was originally created to be used as part of his vaudeville routine.

Okay, that’s it for today. I’m off to get some ice cream.

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On This Day in Disney History…

posted on March 17th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Plane Crazy, the first Mickey Mouse short ever made (and the third released), premiered with sound at the Mark Strand Theater in New York City on March 17, 1929.

Plane Crazy, the First Mickey Mouse Short Ever Made

In this short, Mickey Mouse dreams of being like his idol, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. He decides to build his own flying machine to impress his new sweetheart, Minnie Mouse, who, after a series of mishaps, ends up bailing from the plane by using her bloomers as a parachute.

An exact reproduction of the animation table animators at Walt Disney Productions used to make the first three Mickey Mouse shorts – Plane Crazy, The Gallopin’ Gaucho, and Steamboat Willie – currently is on display at the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Among the animators who worked on the Plane Crazy short was Disney Legend Ub Iwerks.

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Paying Tribute to Tradition of Hand Drawn Animation

posted on March 8th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


The other day I was chatting with fellow blogger, Steven Miller, while we were flipping through a few Disney heritage books in the office. Disney history buffs, ourselves, we both gravitated towards the books that featured Walt Disney, the Nine Old Men, and the classic art of hand drawn animation. As we flipped through the books, it was amazing to see how far Disney Parks has come and how much has changed since Walt first arrived on the scene in 1923. It was Walt’s dream to entertain the world through a variety of mediums, which continues to be evident today as we continue to pay tribute to the heritage and tradition that started so many years ago.

Looking through the books led me to think about a few of my favorite films and how they were brought to life. It’s overwhelming to think about how much effort and dedication went into creating each animated classic. It took a committed team of artists to sketch the characters, ink and painted each cel by hand, and color the backgrounds for each and every scene. While there have been many changes and advancements in technology that have changed the way we create our animated classics, the beautiful tradition of hand-inked and hand-painted cels is still very much alive at Walt Disney World with the Disney Studios Ink & Paint Team at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A few months back, I introduced you to the Disney Studios Ink & Paint Team and a gave you a behind the scenes look into what goes into creating each and every cel in the Ink & Paint Collection.

'Look What I Got' Cel

The Disney Studios Ink & Paint Team is small, but mighty. With six animators working behind the scenes, they paint each and every cel in the Ink & Paint Collection by hand. It’s the job of the Ink & Paint Team to bring each character to life to tell the story about the world our characters live in on the cel. The Disney Studios Ink & Paint Team is currently in the process of celebrating the release of the 45th release in the Ink & Paint Collection, titled “Look What I Got!” The new hand painted cel depicts Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as they enjoy confectionery creations from Sweet Spells on Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Both Snow White & Dopey are hand painted onto the cel.

Fun Facts: Did you know that each cel takes approximately 1.5 hours to create? Also, the “Look What I Got!,” cel will feature the most colors ever used on a cel from the Disney Studios Ink & Paint Team, topping out at 18 different colors.

On Saturday, March 12, you can celebrate the release of this new cel and help us pay tribute to those who made the magic possible and those who carry on the tradition of hand drawn animation today with a special signing at Disney Hollywood Studios, from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm. For more details on the cel, how to order this special piece, and to learn more about the artists that will be appearing for this special signing, please visit www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

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ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit

posted on March 7th, 2011 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


In case you missed it, this past weekend was the ultimate sports-themed weekend for sports fans at Walt Disney World. Some of the biggest names in sports turned out for Dick’s Sporting Goods presents ESPN The Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Tim Tebow and Minnie Mouse at ESPN The Weekend

Everyone from ex-Florida Gators star Tim Tebow to NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco to soccer legend Mia Hamm participated in the event that featured live ESPN shows, sports-themed motorcades and lots of opportunities for fans to interact with their favorite sports heroes and ESPN on-air personalities such as Dick Vitale and Sage Steele.

Some Fans Rode the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster with Mia Hamm

A group of lucky fans got to ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster with Hamm. Some other young fans got to play a fun game of football ex-Gators coach Urban Meyer and Tebow. Judging from the looks of things, it was sports dream come true for the thousands of fans who attended the three-day event.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Presents ESPN The Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you’re a sports fan and you missed it, don’t worry. We’ll do it all again next year from March 2-4, so mark your calendars now because you just never know which major sports star you might see. In the meantime, check out some of these photos from this year’s event.

ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit ESPN On-Air Personalities Dick Vitale and Sage Steele ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit
ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit ESPN The Weekend Delivers Another Big Hit
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Play Ball! ESPN The Weekend Welcomes Stars and Sports Fans to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on March 4th, 2011 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Tim Tebow at ESPN The Weekend at Walt Disney World

Packers, Gators and Ducks, Oh My!

Today, ESPN The Weekend was in full swing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park as sports fans of all ages rubbed shoulders with their favorite sports heroes and ESPN personalities.

As ESPN TV and radio broadcasts took place throughout the park, sports stars were shining bright in motorcades, star conversations, game shows and more. Some of the sports stars were spotted enjoying some of the park’s attractions during breaks in the ESPN The Weekend action. (After all, they are at Walt Disney World, right?)

The NFL was well-represented on Friday, with an All-Pro assembly of current and legendary athletes on hand to meet and greet fans. And it wasn’t odd to see a group of kids playing an impromptu game of touch football with current gridiron stars like Larry Fitzgerald, Chad Ochocinco, Jason Witten, Greg Jennings and Darrelle Revis, or shooting hoops with NFL Hall of Famers like Tony Dorsett and Darrell Green. And while the competition was not fierce, I expect these kids will remember this day for a very long time.

A big fan favorite on Friday was Tim Tebow (seen in the photo above), former Florida Gators quarterback who just completed his rookie season for the NFL’s Denver Broncos. In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida, Tebow also was the recipient of the 2008 Disney Sports Spirit Award — a one-of-a-kind award created by representatives of Disney Sports and ESPN to honor college football’s most inspirational player.

The Oregon Ducks Mascot Dons His Sunglasses in the ESPN Interactive Sports Zone

As the action continued on the football field, other sports also shared the spotlight in the ESPN Interactive Sports Zone. All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis picked up a fishing pole and tried his luck at angling for some big bass lunkers, while the University of Oregon and Tampa Bay Buccaneers mascots danced and entertained fans throughout the Zone.

ESPN The Weekend continues through Sunday, so come on out, get in the game and join in the fun.

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