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The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot

posted on December 7th, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


Today Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger presided over a special ceremony to dedicate the newly restored office of Walt Disney in the Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. Disney Parks guests have been able to see selections from Walt’s office suite over the years at One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and inside the Main Street Opera House at Disneyland park, but the Walt Disney Archives painstakingly restored the suite—down to the smallest details—including original furnishings, his piano (frequently played back in the day by Disney Legend Richard Sherman), awards, and some items from his collection of miniatures.

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Park fans will love the large map, hanging over the couch in his working office, of Disneyland as it existed in 1966, including recent additions to the park as well as those yet-to-be-constructed including Haunted Mansion and New Orleans Square. There’s one of the first master plans for what would become Walt Disney World Resort—including his vision for EPCOT. The office also features a golden cage containing a brightly colored tiny, singing robotic bird, which served as inspiration for the Audio-Animatronics we know today.

The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot

In 2016, the office will be featured on select D23 Member tours. Keep your eyes here for more opportunities to see this incredible permanent exhibit.

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

Fans Celebrate the D23 Days of Christmas

posted on December 3rd, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


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Oh what fun it is to … have something new to celebrate every day! D23, Disney’s official fan club, is giving fans 23 days of holiday delights with the D23 Days of Christmas. Each day there is a new story, recipe, craft, and a featured item that members can enter for the chance to win. (Be on the lookout for a pair of Disney Parks Mickey and Minnie Mouse nutcrackers!)

Mickey Mouse Nutcracker Minnie Mouse Nutcracker

Over the next few weeks, guests will be able to print out exclusive gift tags and Christmas cards, see rare video content, learn how to cook Disney Parks favorites of today and yesterday (such as the apple crisp from the Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and the Chicken Crepes Lilly from the Empress Lilly at what is now Disney Springs), and preview the hottest holiday gifts of the season.

Every day there’s something new, so check it out!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. PT on 12/1/15 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on 12/1/15. Open to residents of the U.S. including D.C., ages 18 and older (or the age of the majority in state of primary residence, whichever is older). Must be an active D23 Member prior to date of entry. Only one entry allowed per D23 Member. For full details on entry requirements, odds of winning, and prize limitations and conditions, click here for official rules here.

©Disney. ©Disney/Pixar. STAR WARS© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. ©MARVEL

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Guests Show Their Best Disney Costumes at the D23 Mousequerade Contest

posted on October 30th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Need a little inspiration for your Halloween costume this year? Look no further than this group of Disney fans who showed their passion for favorite characters (and even attractions) at the Mousequerade event at the D23 Expo earlier this year.

Guests Show Their Best #DisneySide Costume at the D23 Mousequerade Contest

Guests Show Their Best #DisneySide Costume at the D23 Mousequerade Contest Guests Show Their Best #DisneySide Costume at the D23 Mousequerade Contest Guests Show Their Best #DisneySide Costume at the D23 Mousequerade Contest

This year’s batch of homemade costumes ranged from outfits inspired by classic Disney films like “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” to theme park characters like the Hitchhiking Ghost, park attractions like California Screamin’, and even original outfits inspired by park events like the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

Guests Show Their Best #DisneySide Costume at the D23 Mousequerade Contest

This year’s winning costume was a very realistic Matterhorn Abominable Snowman – amazing, isn’t it?

Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller was on hand to talk to some of the Mousequerade participants to learn more about their costumes and what inspired them. Check out the conversation below.

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The Little Man of Disneyland and His Adventureland Home

posted on October 27th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort


Have you ever noticed the tiny house built into the trunk of a tree in Adventureland at Disneyland park? Many guests have wondered who its diminutive resident could be.

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Well, our friends at D23—Disney’s official fan club—have the answer! The story of the Little Man of Disneyland, Patrick Begorra, was first told in one of the Disney Little Golden Books. Published in 1955 – the same year Disneyland opened – “The Little Man of Disneyland” introduced the leprechaun, who lives in a tiny house at the roots of a Disneyland tree.

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Click here to read D23’s story about Patrick Begorra, and stop by to say hello next time you find yourself in Adventureland at Disneyland park!

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Looking Back at D23 EXPO 2015 Disney Theme Park Merchandise

posted on August 21st, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I know that many of you, our Disney fans, were with us all weekend long at D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. I mean what an experience, am I right? New film releases, new attraction and lands announced and of course, merchandise!

Those of you who attended the 60 Years of Disney Theme Park Merchandise panel discussion were in for quite a surprise as we took a look at the evolution of ear hats, new artwork set to appear on Twenty-Eight & Main, Disney Boutique, Disney Couture, Princess, Haunted Mansion – Revisited and Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course, it was the What Lies Ahead segment that caught the attention of some folks, with merchandise art reveals for the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, and of course, Shanghai Disney Resort. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the art that was shown and be sure to keep watching the Disney Parks Blog, as I will have posts about all of these and more in the near future.

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With the panel also came the world debut of the artists taking part in the We Love Disney compilation album by Verve Records and Walt Disney Records, due in stores October 30. Produced by multi-platinum, 16-time Grammy award winning producer and Verve Music Group Chairman, David Foster, the album will feature some of today’s hottest artists across pop, rock, R&B and country as they deliver their own interpretations of classic Disney songs. I could go on and on about who is featured on this album but why don’t you check it out for yourself including the We Love Disney Box Set here.

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The spectrum was broad when it came to finding favorite souvenirs, as there was literally something for everyone. D23 EXPO merchandise, from t-shirts to mugs, handbags to drinkware, flew off the shelves, and of course the R4-D23 was definitely the droid everyone was looking for, and Force For Change t-shirts, fleece and pins weren’t far behind. Tip: Look for Force For Change apparel shortly at select locations at the Disneyland Resort through Labor Day and help us make a difference! If you have the D23 EXPO App, go to Aurasma and watch as the shirt activates before your very eyes.

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What did I find? With ALEX AND ANI on hand, it’s no surprise that I spotted my souvenir at their table. While I almost picked up the new Snow White-inspired bangle, available at Disney Parks now, I chose to go a bit simpler with the Mickey Filigree Wrap in the Rafaelian Silver finish. I know you’re shocked! This is one of three pieces ALEX AND ANI pre-launched at D23 that won’t be available in the parks until the fall.

Finally, throughout the weekend, Disney fans were lined up to meet some of their favorite Disney Legends, artists, authors and special guests and the Disney Dream Store did not disappoint. More than 45 special guests and 80 signings took place over the course of the weekend, including a special appearance and signing with the Mouseketeers!

Who were you most excited to meet? What was your favorite part of D23 EXPO 2015?

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

posted on August 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


A highlight of this year’s D23 EXPO for Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller and I was visiting our old blog friend, Nate Rasmussen, at the Disney Archives Exhibit at the EXPO. In case you aren’t familiar, the Disney Archives was officially established in 1970 to collect and preserve artifacts important to the history of The Walt Disney Company and even Walt Disney himself. We were excited to see what the Disney Archives exhibit would feature this time.

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Abominable Snowman and Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicle Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

In honor of the the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration , this year’s theme for the exhibit was “Walt Disney Archives Presents—Disneyland: The Exhibit.” The display, measuring 12,000 square feet and offering up more than 300 historical items, was the largest exhibit the Archives has ever hosted. It was chock full of amazing pieces of Disney Parks history, such as the Abominable Snowman and Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicle.

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Fantasyland ride vehicles were also a popular sight. One display included a prototype of a ride vehicle from the Alice in Wonderland dark attraction, while another featured a pirate ship from Peter Pan’s Flight.

Maleficent Dragon Head from 'Fantasmic!' Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Props From The Country Bear Jamboree Vacation Hoedown Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

Aside from vintage ride vehicles, the original Maleficent dragon head from “Fantasmic!” at Disneyland park was available for up-close viewing, as was an illuminated bug from “Main Street Electrical Parade.” Props from The Country Bear Jamboree Vacation Hoedown included a tire swing, summer-themed guitars and other instruments.

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Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

Some artifacts gave guests a behind-the-scenes look at the making of what are now considered to be classic Disney Parks attractions, such as models, maquettes, sketches, artist renderings, prototypes and more.

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Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Mini-Tombstones Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

We were also excited to see some of the vintage Disneyland park merchandise included in the display, including mini-tombstones that could be personalized with guest names, Adventureland boardgames, tin Matterhorn coin banks, and much more.

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A Peek Inside the AVATAR Exhibit at D23 Expo

posted on August 19th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Over the weekend, Disney fans visiting the D23 Expo had the chance to learn more about Pandora – the World of AVATAR in a special walk-through exhibit. Here, guests could examine the model up-close and look at posters for the A.C.E. (Alpha Centauri Expeditions) travel company that will soon usher guests from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Pandora.

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Be sure to check out the gallery of images above for a look inside.

For more on AVATAR at Disney Parks, check out these posts:

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Top 10 Things I Discovered at the D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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The D23 EXPO 2015 was a blast! There were incredible announcements of upcoming projects throughout the Walt Disney Company (the seven year old me can’t believe that Star Wars Land will be a real place). Besides those major announcements, I wanted to share the top 10 things I discovered during my visit this year.

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I Need to Step Up My Aloha Shirt Collection
Being a long time fan of Aloha shirts, I loved seeing John Lasseter’s Studio Collection on display. In 1999, designer Reyn Spooner created a custom shirt for John featuring art and characters from Disney-Pixar’sToy Story 2.” The tradition continues today with shirts for the newest animated features including “Inside Out.”

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Incredible Displays
Located nearby the shirt display, I found this wall of Pixar balls (above). The décor found throughout the Expo was over-the-top. I’d love to recreate something like this wall in a future home.

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DisneyNature “Born in China”
Ever since I was an attraction manager at China Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot, I’ve dreamed of visiting China. I look forward to seeing DisneyNature “Born in China” coming soon to theatres. You can see the trailer here

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Caring at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion
I loved watching Disney fans make care kits at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion. This pavilion showed what Disney is doing to inspire kids and families to think creatively, live healthier, conserve nature, and strengthen our communities.

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Disney Infinity 3.0
I’m beyond excited for Disney Infinity 3.0 which debuts on August 30 this year. I loved seeing a full size image of Sam Flynn from Disney’s “TRON: Legacy” that will be a new figure released later this month. Stay tuned for additional details about an early launch party at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace on August 28.

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Gravity Falls Mystery Shack
There was a full scale recreation of the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls. I wanted to take everything home with me. A brand new episode debuts on Monday, August 24 at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD. I can’t wait!

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Quest for Trading Cards
Since I spent 7 ½ years as Project Manager for Disney Trading, I was delighted to see trading cards at the D23 Expo. They were part of a Trading Card Quest presented by Disney Visa Card. Fans received a starter pack of cards, and could search for opportunities to collect different cards from locations all over the show floor. I even watched Disney Fans trading cards in my hotel lobby.

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Disney Dream Store
I visited the Disney Dream Store a few times. The 3-foot Vinylmation Haunted Mansion-inspired figure by artist Javier Soto was impressive.

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D23 EXPO Design Challenge
I was also impressed with the D23 EXPO Design Challenge that my fellow author Jeffrey Epstein first discussed in March 2015. In honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, artists were invited to craft their own interpretation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The image above contains just a few pieces I enjoyed seeing.

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The People Who Make the Dream a Reality
My favorite thing I learned attending the D23 EXPO 2015 is Disney fans are incredible people! While I enjoyed seeing a Nav’i from the upcoming Pandora – The World of AVATAR coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I loved meeting people who love Disney as much as me. The costumes some fans wore, such as the one my friend Mary Jo made to honor newly inducted Disney Legend Julie Reihm Casaletto, were outstanding. Stay tuned for a closer look at some of those costumes in a future Disney Parks Blog article.

What was your favorite part of the D23 EXPO this year? Please share in the comments below.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


This year’s D23 Expo was chock full of fun for Disney Parks fans, and highlights of the weekend were three special sessions dedicated to honoring Disney’s history and heritage, sharing news on what’s next for Disney Parks around the world, and offering sneak peeks at upcoming Disney films.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony” was held Friday, August, 14, and honored eight individuals for their unique contributions to the success of The Walt Disney Company. Among them were a few people who have specifically shaped or inspired Disney Parks experiences – or even were a part of our park’s history, including Disneyland’s first ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto, filmmaker George Lucas, and star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise Johnny Depp.

ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)

On Saturday, August 15, D23 Expo guests were treated to a “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios” presentation, which gave an overview of upcoming Disney films. Some of these films already have connections to existing Disney Parks attractions – and who knows what future park experiences may be inspired by some of these new films.

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During this session, several celebrities made surprise appearances in which they talked about their love of Disney Parks and share their enthusiasm for their new films, including Johnny Depp who dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”); Mia Wasikowska (“Alice Through The Looking Glass”); Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: Civil War”); and Bryce Dallas Howard (“Pete’s Dragon”).

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau also appeared with the upcoming film’s castmates, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Neel Sethi, and surprised them (and the audience) with a first look at footage from the film. Seeing their reactions was priceless – especially young Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli in the film.

OSCAR ISAAC, JOHN BOYEGA, LUPITA NYONG'O, DAISY RIDLEY, J.J. ABRAMS, HARRISON FORD, ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios), ROBERT A. IGER (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company)

The new cast of “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” also made an appearance with writer/director J.J. Abrams and special guest Harrison Ford. Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger closed the session by announcing plans for Star Wars-themed lands for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (Read more on that here).

BOB CHAPEK (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts)

Another highlight of this year’s D23 Expo for Disney Parks fans was the “Parks & Resorts Presentation,” at which Disney leaders unveiled plans for Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, details on the Star Wars-themed lands planned for Disney Parks, Soarin’ Around the World, and updates on Shanghai Disneyland.

JON LANDAU, JAMES CAMERON, JOE ROHDE

Filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau joined Imagineer Joe Rohde to announce the official name of the land Pandora – The World of AVATAR, which is currently under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They also shared the name of the land’s major attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage, which will allow guests to soar on a banshee.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

During the event, superhero mastermind Stan Lee also made a surprise appearance to help Imagineer Ted Robledo announce plans for The Iron Man Experience for Hong Kong Disneyland.

Be sure to click through all of the photo galleries above for a look inside each presentation.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

VIDEO: Disney Parks Announces Expansions and Enhancements at D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort


It was a big weekend for Disney fans! The D23 EXPO 2015 was packed with news from across The Walt Disney Company, including major announcements from Disney Parks. New 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot and Disney California Adventure park and many more exciting announcements have kept fans buzzing for days. Take a look back!

Check out all the Disney Parks news from D23 EXPO 2015:

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort