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Behind the Scenes: Creating the Music for ‘Tangled: The Musical’ for Disney Cruise Line

posted on May 21st, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Last month, we gave you a first look at the production of “Tangled: The Musical,” coming to the Disney Magic this November. Today we continue our all-access pass with an exclusive video all about the development of the spectacular music for this show—which will include three new songs that weren’t in the movie!

In the video below, you’ll hear from some of the musical masterminds behind this production, starting with Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken, whose work includes classic Disney films like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Also featured are Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater and Tim Williams. What a team!

Stay tuned for more exclusive videos from behind the scenes of “Tangled: The Musical” over the next several months.

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Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Harambe Market, a new area that will serve-up African-inspired street food, is set to open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at just how the team is currently working together to bring this new area to life.

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Check out the video below to hear how members of the project team traveled to Lamu, Kenya to study architecture, learn how African foods and spices inspired parts of the area’s storyline, and much more.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Behind the Scenes: Hatbox Ghost Reappears in Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

posted on May 11th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


This weekend, one of the 999 happy haunts in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park reappeared after decades in hiding. Take a look!

Hat Box Ghost

Hat Box Ghost

Today, I’m excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at this mysterious resident from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering. Watch as they take us inside the reappearance of the Hatbox Ghost.

Come see the Hatbox Ghost for yourself now at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park!

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

˜New Main Street Enchanted Windows to Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on May 5th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


If you’ve wandered down Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park recently, you may have noticed some of the windows along the front of the Emporium are covered. What is going on behind those blue curtains, you ask? Today, I’m excited to tell you!

The beloved Main Street animated windows will come to life once again for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration as Main Street Enchanted Windows. Since the early 1960s, scenes from Disney animated classics have been featured in the windows of the Emporium at Disneyland park. This year, for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, these classic windows will be updated with new, exciting technology and effects. Take a look behind the scenes of the creation of these windows with John Gritz, Creative Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, in the video below!

There will be a total of six Main Street Enchanted Windows. The first two, featuring the stories of “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella,” will be unveiled in May, followed by “Frozen” and “The Princess and the Frog” in July, and “Toy Story” and “Aladdin” in August.

The Main Street Enchanted Windows are just another way the Disneyland Resort continues to delight guests in ways both big and small … from our new nighttime spectaculars and the addition of new magic to classic attractions, to special details that catch your eye as you stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. See it all for yourself when the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration begins May 22!

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Behind the Scenes: Creating Anna & Elsa Topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 4th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


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Have you taken your photo yet with the Anna and Elsa topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? It’s this year’s must-have selfie or photo spot. And we have two former Horticulture interns to thank. Let me explain …

When our creative experts in Horticulture decided to design Anna and Elsa in plant and flower form, they needed models to help create the frames that serve as the foundation for the topiaries.

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Sarah Lanners, a senior at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Jordan McGee, a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University, worked with our Horticulture team during the summer. They were asked to be the pose models for the royal sisters.

“I was absolutely thrilled to represent the ‘Frozen’ princess,” Sarah said.

“I was thrilled! I love ‘Frozen’!” Jordan told me. “I have always been partial to Anna. She may not have super powers, but … she has a beautiful amount of faith in herself and her sister.”

You can see from the photo how Sarah and Jordan had to pose in a Horticulture workroom. You can imagine, a lot of technology and steps go into concept, to creation of a model, to the creation of a topiary – and both Sarah and Jordan told me they found the whole process fascinating.

“In my own geeky horticulture way I instantly thought about how I would inadvertently be a Disney Princess in the most coolest way possible and that as long as this topiary is a part of Disney then so am I,” Sarah said. “This is something that most would consider a dream come true.”

“I was thrilled to do my small part in supporting ‘Frozen,’” Jordan said. “Being sculpted in plants is the coolest thing ever!”

Head to the entrance to World Showcase and check out the royal sisters from Arrendelle … and thanks Sarah and Jordan, and the Horticulture team!

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Behind the Scenes: Inside the Bakery at Epcot’s France Pavilion

posted on April 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You smell it before you see it – that unmistakable aroma of freshly baked bread hot from the oven. As you enter Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion at Epcot, all five senses are awakened when you smell the bread, see the beautiful pastries, hear the lilting sound of French, touch, then taste your favorite. Maybe a crisp baguette or buttery croissant. Or a Napoleon or macaron or éclair … maybe a jambon beurre sandwich or quiche Lorraine. So many choices, so little time.

Every single item in the bakery case is made by hand – in the on-stage bread ovens or in the bustling upstairs bakery where the crew arrives before daybreak to make buttery croissants, dense quiche Florentine and parfaits almost too pretty to eat. You’ll be hungry just looking at these delicious photos by Disney photographer Matt Stroshane.

We got a special behind-the-scenes peek at the expansive upstairs bakery that’s as big as Les Halles below, with cooks busy making crème brûlèe, slicing fresh Napoleon, piping éclairs and putting the finishing touches on chocolate mousse and strawberry tarts. A tray of freshly baguettes with ham and cheese with Dijon mustard butter, a classic Parisian sandwich, was readied for the first guests of the day. Freshly made macarons in jewel tones, light as a feather, were gently placed in little boxes.

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Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie opens at 9 a.m., ahead of World Showcase, and is a wonderful little hideaway for breakfast. The pastry team of 30, under the direction of Pastry Chef Olivier Saintemarie, starts their day at 5 a.m. and rotates throughout the day until 11 p.m. to make sure guests have the freshest taste of France.

We headed back downstairs to chat with Chef Baker Matthieu Cabon from Brittany, France, who, with his team of six, turns out 700 to 800 baguettes every single day, along with specialty breads such as brioche and croissants. He started baking at age 15, and studied only bread making for four years – “I mastered bread the old-school way … no shortcuts,” he says. It was the aroma that determined his career, he says, as well as the quiet of early-morning hours when bakers do their best work.

“Bread is limitless, it just takes imagination,” says Matthieu.

And, really, it’s just four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water, but you must add “know how,” says the chef. Everything at Les Halles is made from scratch, and it takes two days, start to finish, to produce a perfect baguette. His bakers make all the breads for Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, Chefs de France, Monsieur Paul and brioche for the pavilion’s ice-cream shop.

“For baguettes, day one is slow fermentation, then the dough sits overnight in a cooler to coax out the flavor,” says Matthieu. “Day two we divide it, shape it and bake. That’s it.”

But it’s the artisan touch that makes a perfect baguette. “Bread is all about feeling, but the real boss is the dough, which can be temperamental with temperature, weather and humidity,” he says. “Dough follows nature, and a good baker knows just by touching whether it’s right.”

For a perfectly flaky croissant, the chef explains that the folding process is a science. “It takes six hours to shape, then it’s baked the next day,” he explains.

And for tartines, which Americans call “open-faced sandwiches,” the bakery makes a rustic loaf with blistered, rugged crust and tangy soft inside – Chef Matthieu knocks on the crust and knows by the sound if it’s perfect.

All told, they turn out eight different kinds of bread: baguettes, croissants, tartines, whole-grain loaves, pain de mie (a type of sliced bread), brioche, focaccia and walnut-raisin bread.

He and his team also make exquisite, smaller breads for Monsieur Paul: whole-grain loaves, rustic baguettes, poppy seed “epis” (a type of artisan French bread) and a mushroom, bacon and cheese bread that’s a guest favorite.

Matthieu deftly inserts a shovel-like peel into the hot oven and slides out a dozen or so crackly loaves. From the hint of a smile on his face, you know it’s a good morning.

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Behind the Scenes of Disney Cruise Line’s ‘Tangled: The Musical’

posted on April 14th, 2015 by Ray Smale, Cruise Director, Disney Cruise Line


Many of you joined us last week at Disney Cruise Line’s first-ever meet-up as our Creative Entertainment team gave a sneak peek at some of the new fun coming soon to our ships. What a great show! I was honored to be a part of it and have the chance to talk with our talented show directors about our new entertainment experiences inspired by “Frozen,” Star Wars and “Tangled.”

One of the highlights was getting a behind-the-scenes look at “Tangled: The Musical” in production. For those of you who weren’t able to join us in person, we don’t want you to miss the exciting video we shared. You’ll see scenes from rehearsal and hear from part of the team adapting this beloved Disney tale to the stage for the very first time. Check it out!

Which “Tangled” star are you most excited to see on stage?

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Behind the Scenes of ‘Paint the Night’ Parade, Coming for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Opening May 22 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the spectacular new “Paint the Night” parade will feature some of the most innovative floats, vibrant costumes, dazzling special effects, unforgettable music and energetic performances ever presented at Disneyland Resort.

The Entertainment team has been working around the clock to get the “Paint the Night” parade ready for its big debut. Today, we’re pleased to offer you a glimpse at one of our performer rehearsals with the Fiber Fairies from the opening unit and the Cars Crew, who join Mack Truck and Lightning McQueen. Once everything comes together, these talented performers will become an integral part of the show.

The music for the “Paint the Night” parade, a bit of which can be heard in the video, features the wonderful tune, “When Will I See You Again,” by the band Owl City. The song gives a great, contemporary sound to this new, state-of-the-art nighttime parade. And when you see “Paint the Night” in person, be sure to listen closely. You may just hear some musical surprises woven into the soundtrack!

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Behind the Scenes: Learning Fireknife at ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this year, we took a backstage look at the Tumble Monkeys from the popular stage show “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In it, we showed you the level of talent and skill that this team of gymnasts uses to add comedic fun into the show.

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This week, we’re back with a behind-the-scenes look at a different act in the show – the fireknife dancer. This performer adds an element of danger during villain Scar’s song, “Be Prepared.” In reality, the show’s fireknife dancers, including VJ Tiumalu, have studied the art of this traditional Samoan warrior dance for years. For VJ, fireknife is a family tradition. He decided to become a fireknife performer when he was just 5 years old after seeing his father perform in a show. VJ’s uncle even once performed the very part VJ now plays in “Festival of the Lion King.”

To learn more, check out the video below. (Spoiler alert: As you’ll see, I’m apparently the most uncoordinated person on the planet and therefore will not be changing my career to fireknife anytime soon).

You can see “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom several times each day. Check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes during your visit.

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Behind the Scenes: Decorating Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

posted on March 17th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Recently, I was invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work and artistry that goes into creating the beautiful chocolate Easter eggs displayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I am so egg-cited to be able to give Disney Parks Blog readers a peek at the magic behind the scenes at the Grand Floridian Bakery.

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The level of detail that goes into these hand-painted, hand-carved creations is truly amazing. Erich Herbitschek, the Executive Pastry Chef of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, shared that his team begins working on the egg-stravagant pieces in January. The finished eggs will be on display starting March 20.

Be sure to keeping checking the Disney Parks Blog for more springtime food fun!

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