Spaceship Earth Pavilion at Epcot

A Celebration of Disney Trains at the Walt Disney Family Museum

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


As The Walt Disney Family Museum unveils its new exhibit, All Aboard: A Celebration of Walt’s Trains, we look back at some rarely seen photos and a very special moment in Disney train history.

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On May 10, 2005, at 7 a.m., a ceremony took place before Disneyland opened for the day. On the occasion of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, about 100 people gathered at the New Orleans Square Station of the Disneyland Railroad to honor animator and Disney Legend Ollie Johnston, one of Walt’s Nine Old Men, for how he inspired Walt Disney with his love of trains. Ollie inspired Walt to build his backyard railroad, the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Walt’s love of giving people rides on this little steam train in his backyard eventually led to the building of Disneyland.

After the speeches that early May morning, Ollie was presented with a plaque from the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. Then everyone heard a toot of a steam whistle and up pulled a gleaming steam train. Ollie at first thought it was a Disneyland engine, then his son Ken leaned down and said, “Dad, that is your engine.” Ollie then realized it was his beloved Marie E. and he started to cry. And then so did everyone else.

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I then told Ollie that the Marie E. needed a real engineer to drive it around Disneyland and asked if he would like to do it. “Boy, would I!!” was his answer. He climbed up into the cab of the Marie E. with the help of the amazing Disneyland Railroad crew and they strapped him in with seatbelts borrowed from one of the old Matterhorn bobsleds.

At 94 years old, Ollie expertly engineered his Marie E. — the only outside train ever run on the rails of Disneyland — three times around Disneyland to the cheers of everyone there.

It was said that of all of the year-long events celebrating Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, the morning of May 10 was by far the most special.

- John Lasseter

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This memory told by John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, recalls a very special moment in Disney train history. It’s one of many train tales being celebrated in All Aboard: A Celebration of Walt’s Trains, a new exhibit at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, Calif. On view through February 9, 2015, this comprehensive exhibition explores the influence that railroading had on Walt Disney’s life and work. It also tells the story of how his railroading legacy lives on to this day in Disney films and theme parks around the world.

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The arc of this exhibition doesn’t start and end with just Walt, though. All Aboard explores the interest and passion for railroading of Walt’s friends and staff, including Ollie Johnston. The Disney Legend was able to make his Disney railroad dreams come true at Disneyland before he passed away in 2008.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort

Disney Parks Honored with Several Industry Awards

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


I’m happy to report that earlier this week, two prestigious organizations honored Disney Parks projects with multiple industry awards.

Park it's a small world

On Tuesday, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced their annual Thea Award winners. Among the honorees, TEA announced that “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the recipient of the Thea Classic award, honoring attractions that have withstood the test of time and have endured for 20 or more years. TEA said in their announcement that the attraction “continues to captivate audiences around the world with pure charm, melded with a profound message deceptively hiding in a simple and astonishingly catchy song … This timeless classic continues to engage generation after generation. Surely “it’s a small world” is the very definition of a Classic.”

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Also, Bistrot Chez Remy, the new French restaurant at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris that is inspired by the Disney∙Pixar film “Ratatouille,” is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Themed Restaurant. “It is a truly charming and thematically thorough dining experience, where oversized objects are reused in every possible way to create tables, chairs, architectural elements, and props … [E]verything is very well-conceived and delivered to create an illusion that is both convincing and coyly self-aware. The exterior of the attraction looks like a typical Parisian café, but on closer inspection, one realizes that this is the world of Paris from the film, where there are no straight lines – a perfect blend of fiction and reality. This venue exhibits thoroughness, conceptual clarity, dedication to narrative detail, and exceptional finish.”

Wilderness Explorers Opens at  Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Finally, Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an interactive experience that combines badge collecting, guest interaction and learning about the natural world, is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Interactive Park Attraction on a Limited Budget.

“Disney has incorporated storytelling and gaming to create an experience that is intimate and personal in its connection to the guests, yet wisely recognizes that technology would be a distraction and remove guests from nature. Guests are given a role in the story – becoming a Wilderness Explorer – that was a poignant, aspirational story of a core identifiable character from the Pixar film. This intersection point between film story world, live animals and the beautiful habitats within Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a huge part of why this attraction is effective … This unique attraction is worthy of honors as much for its craft as for the authenticity and cleverness of implementation within a unique park environment.”

TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Thea Awards will be given out at an awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel on March 21, 2015.

On Wednesday night, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) awarded their Brass Rings Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence and “Once Upon a Time” at Tokyo Disney Resort won for Best Multimedia Spectacular.

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IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards mark achievements of excellence throughout the global attractions industry.

Congratulations to all who worked to create and bring these wonderful projects to life!

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Filed: Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

New ‘Frozen’ Disney Trading Pins Come with the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


Be on the lookout for this year’s Disney Gift Card Holiday Pin Series throughout Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort. These cards come in four different designs featuring your favorite characters from Disney Animation’s hit movie “Frozen”.

New Elsa Disney Pin That Comes With the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New Olaf Disney Pin That Comes With the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New Kristoff Disney Pin That Comes With the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New Anna Disney Pin That Comes With the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card

Each of these Disney Gift Card designs are available with a starting balance of $75 and also comes with a Disney Trading Pin. Complete your Disney Trading Pin collection with these four new pins, which feature “Frozen” characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf. These pins can only be found with this year’s Disney Gift Card Holiday Pin Series.

New 'Frozen' Disney Trading Pins Come with the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New 'Frozen' Disney Trading Pins Come with the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New 'Frozen' Disney Trading Pins Come with the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card New 'Frozen' Disney Trading Pins Come with the Purchase of a Holiday Pin Series Disney Gift Card

Giving a Disney Gift Card is simple for you, and perfect for friends and family! The Disney Gift Card can be used for practically all things Disney at Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Club Penguin, Disney PhotoPass, DisneyMusicOnline.com, Disney Store locations in the U.S. and online and at DisneyStore.com. For more information or to shop for more holiday designs, please visit DisneyGiftCard.com.

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Filed: Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Earffel Tower

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Soaring 130 feet into the air with a 32,000 lb. set of Mouse Ears, the Earrfel Tower has been home to Disney’s Hollywood Studios since its opening.

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

Runners Show Off Their ‘Super Hero Side’ at Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you participate in a runDisney event, or simply come out to support a runner, one of the first the first things you notice is the variety of costumes runners wear during the race.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort

December 2014 Merchandise Events at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Just wait until you see what merchandise events we have headed your way this December at the Disneyland Resort!

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Top Stories

Register Now to Race into the Holiday Season at the Disney Parks Blog Christmas in Cars Land Meet-Up

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


It’s time to celebrate the holidays, Radiator Springs style! Registration is now open for the Disney Parks Blog Christmas in Cars Land Meet-Up on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

See How Music City Got its Name on an Adventures by Disney Nashville Vacation

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


Earlier this month, the city of Nashville was buzzing with celebrities, red carpets and the glitz and glamour of the annual Country Music Awards. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – Nashville is a place that’s always alive, electric and brimming with restaurants, concert venues, honky-tonks and, yes, even street corners filled with music. Nashville is called “Music City” year round, not just during awards season, and with an Adventures by Disney Long Weekend trip to Nashville you can truly see how, and why, this town got its nickname.

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Retail MagicBands and Other Popular Holiday Gift Ideas from Disney Parks

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I recently shared with you some of my favorite holiday-themed gifts from Disney Parks. This time, I’m highlighting other popular gift ideas that caught my attention.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: ‘Science rules!’ in the Newly Renovated and Renamed Science Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Katie Leighty, Ph.D., Science Operations Manager


Science fans might recognize the quote in the title from the theme song of television show Bill Nye, the Science Guy. The popular educational show showcased science topics through interactive, applied science projects. Bill Nye, the Science Guy was for TV what the newly renovated Science Center is for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Like the show, applied science is exactly what Guests will have the opportunity to see and learn about as one of the many subjects showcased in the area.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort