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Imagineers Team Up with CAL FIRE to Create Story of Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort

Grizzly Peak Airfield takes Disney California Adventure park guests into California’s High Sierras and tells the story of the brave men and women who fight wildfires in our California forests. To create the story of Grizzly Peak Airfield, Walt Disney Imagineering turned to the experts at CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), even visiting Hemet-Ryan Airfield in California for research. Since this is Fire Prevention Week, I thought this would be the perfect time to share this story with you here on the Disney Parks Blog.


Soon after Grizzly Peak Airfield opened, two of the CAL FIRE officers who worked closely with Imagineers on the project – Captain Richard Cordova and Captain Lucas Spelman – visited the land with the Walt Disney Imagineering team they had inspired. They are pictured in the photo above with Ray Spencer, Brian Scholz and Carolyn Gardner – part of the creative team responsible for bringing the area to life.


I recently had the chance to ask Captain Cordova and Captain Spelman about the experience of helping create a land at Disney California Adventure park.

What role did you play in helping Walt Disney Imagineering create the story of Grizzly Peak Airfield?

Captain Cordova: I shared my knowledge of the fire service from the 1950s-1960s – both ground attack and air attack. We gave them period-specific articles to display throughout the area, donated by our CAL FIRE museum, including old pictures and manuals from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Our biggest contribution has been the continued knowledge of CAL FIRE, United States Forest Service and other fire departments.

Captain Spelman: My role was to bring to life our knowledge and love for our career, bring forth our rich history and to evaluate Grizzly Peak Airfield as it related to our profession. Let me just say that this was an experience that truly was incredible.

What did you show the Imagineers on their research visit to Hemet-Ryan Airfield that made its way into the new land?

Captain Cordova: We gave them a tour of the airbase, sharing with them the history and showing them our aircraft: Airtankers S2-T, Airattack OV-10 Bronco and the Super Huey Helicopter. During the tour we got a fire dispatch, so they got to see the aircraft in action. We also had lunch at Bambi’s Café down the street, which is where the Imagineers got a lot of their ideas for Smokejumpers Grill.

Captain Spelman: I enjoy the Mt. Muir Lookout at Grizzly Peak Airfield. This was based on our traffic control tower, which was also a lookout tower before it was placed into service at CAL FIRE Ryan Air Attack Base. I also loved the gear lockers that were placed between Humphrey’s and the restrooms. This is where some of the items from our CAL FIRE museum were placed. I was just taken aback by the time put into every last item placed throughout the this beautiful area.

What is your favorite detail in Grizzly Peak Airfield?

Captain Cordova: Wow, that’s a hard question – it’s all amazing. It’s great how the Imagineers can take some information from a tour and from us and turn it into a land.

Captain Spelman: My favorite detail of this area has to be the flow from Grizzly River Run to Grizzly Peak Airfield, with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in the background. It brings me back to my childhood, when my family would travel to parks throughout the state. The trees, the park signs, the lighting all come together to really bring the experience back to me.


Which of your own personal items are inside the lockers at Grizzly Peak Airfield? How were they chosen?

Captain Cordova: The old fire equipment, axes, nozzles and Nomex. The best part is having my name in the locker.

Captain Spelman: The lockers will always have a special place in my heart. There are two brass firefighting nozzles that I had picked up from a local garage sale. One was what we call a “combination nozzle” and the other a “straight stream nozzle.” I was never sure what I was going to use them for, but I could tell they had done some firefighting and needed a good home. Well, when the Imagineers said they would like additional items from the fire department, I knew just the pieces to be considered for Grizzly Peak Airfield. Although there are many items from our CAL FIRE museum in these lockers, the two nozzles will always be personal for me.


As Annual Passholders, what does the park mean to you and what does this land in particular mean to you with its new theming?

Captain Cordova: I can’t tell how much I love going to the parks with my family. It’s my getaway from everyday life. Now having a little part in Grizzly Peak makes it even more special for me. It’s nice that Disney has showcased our State Parks and the men and women of the fire service. It was an honor for me to work with the Imagineers.

Captain Spelman: My family and I have been Annual Passholders since 2003 and just love the Disney experience. Being involved with this project is a Disney fan’s dream come true. Grizzly Peak Airfield will always be a special place for me.

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7 Photos of the ‘Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular’ That Will Put A Spell On You

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is on at Magic Kingdom Park, and with it, the new stage show “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular!” It’s been 22 years since the wicked Sanderson Sisters materialized in the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” Now they’re back to throw one heck of a Halloween party.


In the show, sisters Winifred, Mary and Sarah proceed to conjure the ultimate Hocus Pocus Party Potion, which requires sinister shadows, nefarious nightmares and the powers of frightful friends. And who would those “friends” be? Disney villains like Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent, Jafar, Captain Hook, Lady Tremaine and more!

Guests are loving this amazing stage show, which takes place only during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights through November 1. Tickets to the party are going fast, so get yours soon!

Have you seen the show? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

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Meet Barbara Bradley Baekgaard During Vera Bradley Event at Marketplace Co-Op at Walt Disney World Resort on October 9

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

I have exciting new for Vera Bradley fans at Walt Disney World Resort. We will be holding a special release party on October 9 at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs Marketplace.


We will release two new colors at the event as part of the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley – “Mickey Meets Birdie” and “Preppy Poly.” Guests will also have an opportunity to meet Vera Bradley Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Barbara Bradley Baekgaard from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that day. I recently spoke with the Vera Bradley team about the inspiration behind “Mickey Meets Birdie.”


“Barbara Bradley Baekgaard’s chic home has always been filled with beautiful bright colors, patterns and design pieces – many of which contain scenic landscapes and birds. When Barbara’s first grandson, Christopher, visited her home as a child he would point out all the birds in each room and repeat, ‘Birdie, birdie, birdie.’ One day, after several visits and ‘bird watches,’ Christopher was asked which grandparent he was visiting and he enthusiastically replied, ‘Grandma Birdie!’ The name was quickly adopted by all of Barbara’s 14 grandchildren and family. Barbara loves Disney, so [Mickey Meets Birdie] is the perfect representation of a match made in heaven!”


For “Mickey Meets Birdie,” we will have 10 styles available including a Hipster Bag, a Zip ID Case, a Vera Bag and more.

New 'Preppy Poly' Tango Red Color by Vera Bradley New 'Preppy Poly' Violet Color by Vera Bradley

There will be four styles each for “Preppy Poly” offered in two different colors – Violet and Tango Red.

In addition to Cherry Tree Lane at Walt Disney World Resort, guests may find these new items select merchandise locations at Disneyland Resort starting October 9.

In the coming weeks, guests may also find these items on our Disney Parks online store, or from the new Shop Disney Parks mobile app that is available as a free download from your favorite app store.

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Wildlife Wednesday: A Shining Star for Disney’s Sea Turtles – Tinker Bell and Marina’s Hatchlings Are on Their Way

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs

Tinker Bell and Marina, our sea turtles who crawled out of the ocean to nest with only the starry skies to light their way, are now the proud moms of 137 hatchlings that just emerged from the sand near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort!

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#DisneyFamilia: Making Magic, One Smile at a Time at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager

For Vanessa Rosas, an engineer and former Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador, each day begins with a smile. And that smile, along with her work, helps to bring our international guests together to enjoy their magical vacations.

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Celebrate Mad Hatter Day With This New Disney Parks Blog Wallpaper

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Simone Miranda, Creative & Translation Services Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

My favorite character from Alice in Wonderland is the Mad Hatter because, frankly, he’s so delightfully wacky. Today is the best day for fans of this crackpot character … it’s 10/6 … Mad Hatter Day!

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Book an Ultimate Day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group

Now that the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is in full swing (running through November 16), why not make it an extra-special event with the Ultimate Day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?

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Readers Get Into the Spooky Spirit at Disney Parks Blog Mickey’s Halloween Party Meet-Up at Disneyland Park

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort

Last night, we hosted 200 fans at the Disney Parks Blog Mickey’s Halloween Party Meet-Up at Disneyland park. The evening kicked off with a special reception at Aladdin’s Oasis in Adventureland.

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12 Disney Parks Halloween Wallpapers to Haunt Your Desktop

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

It’s October, which means Halloween is just a few weeks away. Is this one of your favorite holidays? I know it’s one of mine.

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New Disney Chocolate Shop Coming Soon to Disney Springs

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Imagine the unmistakable aroma of rich chocolate, a scent that will draw guests into The Ganachery, a new chocolate shop set to open in The Landing in late 2015 at Disney Springs.

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