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Style Snapshots: ‘Disney Festival of Fantasy’ Parade Costumes

posted on February 10th, 2014 by Michelle Stepney, PR Content Director


Fashion insiders from around the globe have been flocking to the Big Apple since last Thursday for New York Fashion Week. It’s a bi-annual tradition where America’s top designers unveil their new collections for the upcoming season and set trends for months and years to come.

At least one Disney designer is taking her turn in the fashion spotlight this week as Disney Parks unveils a new collection of costume creations for “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” which debuts at Magic Kingdom this March. And we all get a seat on the coveted “front row.”

Costume designer Mirena Rada is expanding her portfolio of design projects for Disney Parks with this latest endeavor for a Walt Disney World Resort theme park. Previous creations include work for Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. These costumes, some of the most extravagant and elaborate in Disney Parks history, took almost a year to complete. The creations transpired in 10 different costume houses across eight cities and two countries, with the Creative Costuming facilities in both Florida and California among the mix.

The production process mirrors current fashion trends, utilizing new technology to design and print custom fabrics in house. Rada partnered with Walt Disney World costumers to select fabrics that would work well in the Central Florida climate while also accommodating the needs of each performer.

Our style squad got a sneak peek of some early sketches and behind-the-scenes video of some completed works.

We can’t wait to see these whimsical designs come to life when “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” finally steps onto the streets of the Magic Kingdom Park. Let us know what you think.

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A modern interpretation of classic elements is a hallmark of Rada’s designs as seen in the sculpted conch shell headpiece and shimmering pastel dress that comprise “The Little Mermaid” unit’s “Seashell Girl.”

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After gathering the materials, Rada and a Creative Costuming graphic artist worked together to create almost 40 custom fabrics including the furry plaids and tweed stripes worn by the “Newsies-inspired” Lost Boys of the “Peter Pan” unit.

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An innovative 3D printing technology was used to create the elegant beaks of the “Ravens” in the “Sleeping Beauty” unit. Each piece was base coated, bronzed, lacquered and gilded with fiery Swarovski stones to complete the finished look.

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The Finale unit’s “Cha Cha Girl” is the queen of head-to-toe ensemble with her big top inspired fit and flare dress, bolero jacket embellished with sequins, star spangled tights and hair reminiscent of pulled taffy exuding the essence of Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland.

Which costume is your favorite? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Building the ‘Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade’ for Magic Kingdom Park

posted on January 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Among the most spectacular aspects of the upcoming “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” are the incredibly detailed floats, each bringing a classic Fantasyland story to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park.

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Today, Managing Producer Kris Bunnell brings us a special behind-the-scenes look at the development of those floats with Parade Designer Richard Improta and Creative Director Steven Davison.

Which “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” float are you most excited to see when the parade debuts this spring? Let us know in the “Comments” section.

For more on the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” click the links below:

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VIDEO: Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz – Behind the Scenes with Jessica Chastain as Merida

posted on January 13th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Last week, you got the first look at the latest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Disney Parks starring Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain as Merida. Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes, to the village of Cold Spring, New York, nestled inside the Hudson Valley, near a region known as the Hudson Highlands. It was the perfect setting for this stunning “Brave“-inspired portrait.

The moment Jessica walked on to the set with that red hair blowing in the wind, everyone knew that we were in for something special. From the gorgeous setting Annie selected, to the details of the dress her team had created, along with Jessica’s natural ease with the horse, being at this shoot was like stepping into Merida’s world, if only for a few hours.

Here’s a look at that memorable morning last September.

One more thing … Jessica told me her family (especially her dad) is “obsessed” with Disneyland park, and she was planning a special Christmas gift for them (we had to promise not to spill the beans before the holidays) – a surprise trip to Walt Disney World! So, here’s a little more of our conversation, where she talks about her family’s favorite thing to do while visiting Disney Parks — pin trading!

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Behind the Scenes: Designing & Painting Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Cars at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on January 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We’re thrilled to start off the New Year with an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Walt Disney Imagineering just shared this new video with us, in which Walt Disney Imagineers Ben VanBeusekon and Mary Mac Eachin explain the creative process behind designing and producing themed cars for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. As they explain, in addition to being a part of the attraction’s innovative new ride system that causes cars to swing back and forth while they travel down the track, the train cars are painted and aged in a way that contributes to the storyline of the attraction. Learn more below.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will debut at Magic Kingdom Park in 2014. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates.

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How’d They Do That? ‘World of Color’ Honor Choir at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


The new “World of Color – Winter Dreams” at Disney California Adventure park is a holiday version of the popular “World of Color” nighttime spectacular. It has new special effects and new music, and is making new holiday memories for our guests. It opens with the “World of Color” Honor Choir, a collection of beautiful voices submitted by Disney Parks fans from all 50 states. So, what’s the story behind how this choir was created online? The “World of Color” Honor Choir is directed by Grammy®-winning composer Eric Whitacre. He’s created many virtual choirs and we’re glad he helped create this one with us. A few months ago, participants submitted their voices through a special “World of Color” Honor Choir website, singing “Glow,” a song composed by Whitacre himself. Actually, I’ll let him explain how it all came together. Disney Parks Blog interviewed him online via live link from London. Enjoy!

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It’s Disney Cruise Line Week on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

posted on December 9th, 2013 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


Starting tonight, it’s “Disney Cruise Line Week on Wheel of Fortune” and we hope you’ll tune in, because there’s a lot of hijinks on the High Seas ahead!

To whet your appetite for what’s to come, we wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the preparation and the filming of this fantastic week of shows!

I always tell you that I have the best job at Disney and this latest adventure was no exception! I had the extremely difficult and arduous task of having to sail not once, but TWICE aboard the beautiful Disney Dream. (Okay – I lied. Sailing twice in a month? Awesome!)

First, we sailed with some of “Wheel’s” brilliant filmmakers to film scenes of both the spectacular ship and our breathtaking private island paradise, Castaway Cay. Look closely at the backgrounds – you’ll see behind the contestants all week on the show, and you’ll see their stunning work. Here’s a picture of their crew filming on the island.

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I mentioned hijinks – well, when you hear that word, you probably think there were some, ahem, goofy things going on, and you’d be right. We filmed some very fun vignettes on our second sailing. (Here’s a shot of me giving some “direction” to the Boss – talk about intimidating!)

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Then, of course, it was time to head out to Hollywood to film at “Wheel of Fortune’s” studio. You’ll see how we worked with their fantastic art director – a former Imagineer, by the way – to recreate Castaway Cay right on their Sound Stage!

We’re excited to share a few photos: First, the finished set – don’t these ships look ready to sail?

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Mickey “overseeing” the Production.
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Goofy and Donald trying to steal “ears” from unsuspecting audience members…
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And the gang arriving for work at the Sound Stage.
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We were also thrilled that a number of cast members from Disneyland Resort attended the tapings, and here they are posing for a picture in front of the famous puzzle board.
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Everything went flawlessly – except for a couple of not-to-be-named chipmunks who were late for their close-ups due to a post-lunch nap. But, we caught up, and we think you’ll love what you see.
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Enjoy these behind-the scenes outtakes that never made the “final cut,” then tune in to “Wheel of Fortune” all this week – and, buy a vowel!

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Top Five Behind-The-Scenes Looks at Walt Disney World Resort Holidays

posted on November 29th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We love sharing behind-the-scenes looks with you here on the Disney Parks Blog. Some of our most interesting holiday content from years past have included backstage glimpses of how Walt Disney World Resort readies for the holiday season, whether it’s decorating overnight or building larger-than-life gingerbread structures.

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Here are some of our best behind-the-scenes looks at the holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Did you know that some departments work year-round to plan holiday fun? John Graham takes you behind the scenes at our Holiday Services department and Holiday Merchandise showroom to sneak a peek at how we start planning months in advance.

Did you know that Magic Kingdom Park is decorated for the holidays just a few days after Halloween is over? Check out this timelapse video to see how our “elves” transform the park from “Halloween Spooky” to “Holiday Sparkle” in a matter of hours.

Cinderella’s Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights lights up Magic Kingdom Park throughout the season. Check out this video with Entertainment’s Reed Jones on what it takes to string lights on Cinderella Castle.

Are you a fan of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Check out this video, in which Entertainment’s John Phelan tells the story of how this holiday spectacle came to be.

Have you seen the creative gingerbread houses (and other sugary structures) that decorate our resorts each season? Check out this behind-the-scenes timelapse of the gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

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Behind the Scenes: Creating a Very Merry Ad Campaign For Magic Kingdom Park

posted on November 25th, 2013 by Will Gay, Creative Director, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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Have you ever wondered what makes Mickey’s Christmas Party “very merry” and not just normal merry? Well, for the first time ever, the creative team here at Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group found the answer.

The idea behind this year’s holiday campaign revolves all around the name of Mickey’s Christmas Party – which you can see in a new VERY merry logo and over-the-top merry scenes. Since the party is a classic Christmas party at Magic Kingdom Park, the style and tone of the campaign – from the hand-drawn logo to a traditional animated short – was inspired by the classic Disney shorts and vintage holiday greeting cards.

One of the most exciting pieces to work on was an original 30-second animation featuring Mickey and the gang getting ready for the very-est, merriest party of the year. The commercial was traditionally animated in the style of the Disney classic cartoons of the late 1930s and 1940s. The sound design was really fun, too. We love the narrator’s ‘Goofy How-To’ vibe and the character voices throughout. The soundtrack, a jazzy rendition of Jingle Bells, was also inspired by a 1940s big band and recorded by a live orchestra.

The entire campaign was sparked by a fun Christmas story that explains the origins of Mickey’s first Very Merry Christmas Party. The story is a great way to get your kids excited for the Christmas Party. And, even if you’re not going this year, it’s just really fun to ad-lib Donald Duck’s not-so-merry outbursts. You can download the full story by clicking the image below.

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You can also expect to see very merry billboards, banner ads, and hear radio spots leading up to the party, which is happening select nights now through December 20. (Tickets are on sale now at mickeyschristmasparty.com.)

And, since no Christmas would be complete without a gift or two, we made some very merry wallpapers just for our Disney Parks Blog readers. Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpapers before you download it.

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Have a VERY merry Christmas!

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PIXAR Brings ‘Toy Story Nutcracker’ to Life for ‘World of Color – Winter Dreams’ at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 21st, 2013 by Steven Davison, Imagineer, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment


To put together a show like “World of Color – Winter Dreams,” it takes an army, or in our case “Green Army Men”! For this new, full-length original show we have enlisted the help of our friends from PIXAR Animation Studios. We went to them with a wild idea: what if “Toy Story” characters decided to perform Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”?

In the original ballet, Clara’s Christmas tree grows and the audience shrinks to this size of a toy beneath the tree. This became our inspiration. The “World of Color” technology was perfect for this effect, because we can make the tree grow in front of your eyes. Then, below the tree is where the magic really happens. Beneath the tree we find Woody, the show’s director. Over the summer he has put together the toys’ version of the ballet. Of course, they have their own special spin on it. Each musical piece we used – Miniature Overture, Trepak (Russian Dance), Tea (Chinese Dance) and Waltz of the Flowers – took on a life of its own. We gave them all special arrangements to match the characters; for instance, the Trepak dance became western to fit Woody and Jessie’s duet.

Another great example of putting a new spin on the classic is Tea (Chinese Dance). We took our inspiration from Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and the Mushroom scene. We replaced the Mushrooms with Little Green Men and the baby Mushroom with Rex in at tutu. The result is pure magic!

 
It’s wonderful when we can synergize and partner with great artists like PIXAR and let everyone’s creative energy flow together into the idea. It grows and grows like Clara’s Christmas tree, becoming an exciting new work of art with each pass. And in the end, our audiences get to see the magic that great partnerships can make.

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It’s Freaky Friday – Time to Open Another Door on the Gingerbread House Inside Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on October 11th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park makes Friday even more fun: it’s the day to open another door on the “13 Faces of Jack” Advent Calendar Mausoleum. Behind every door is another likeness of the infamous Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the inspiration behind the cool seasonal décor at the Haunted Mansion.

“It’s the biggest yet,” says Brian Sandahl, Senior Designer at Disney Creative Entertainment. The mausoleum measures 8 feet wide and 13 feet tall and sits imposingly on the table in the ballroom of the Haunted Mansion.

The over-the-top decorations are the result of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. Here’s a look back at the making of this year’s gingerbread creation.

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