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Orange Bird at Magic Kingdom Park

AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Will Transport, Transform Guests

posted on October 14th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Over the weekend, Tom Staggs wowed the crowd at the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan with an early glimpse of what’s planned for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. He shared some breathtaking concept renderings of floating mountains, bioluminescent plants and other awe-inspiring experiences guests will encounter in the mythical world of Pandora.

Also at the D23 Expo Japan, Tom shared video of filmmaker James Cameron and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde highlighting the creative work already underway on the project. Joe said when the AVATAR-inspired land is completed, it’ll be a transformational experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Today, we wanted to share the entire video with Disney Parks Blog readers.

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D23 Expo 2013 Dream Store Artists and Silent Auction Recap

posted on August 13th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


The D23 Expo has come to a close and while it was certainly a lot of hours, it sure was a ton of fun! I can’t believe how many of you came over to check out the Dream Store. It was great to see so many familiar faces, meet some new and very excited Disney fans and spend time with all of you who are part of our Disney family.

It was amazing to have so many of our talented Imagineers, Disney-inspired artists and authors all in one place at the Dream Store. Fellow Disney Parks Blog authors Erin Glover and Paul Hiffmeyer stopped by to say hello, and I’m so thankful they did. Paul had his camera ready and was able to capture many of our artists in action. For those of you who missed this year’s D23 Expo, it’s okay … check out some of the great photos Paul took in the Dream Store:

Here are a few more of the highly sought-after Silent Auction lots on display, including one of his favorites, the Zebra Bar from The Adventurers Club at Walt Disney World Resort:

Matterhorn Bobsled, One of the Silent Auction Lots at the 2013 D23 Expo Zebra Bar, One of the Silent Auction Lots at the 2013 D23 Expo Alice in Wonderland Prop & Oversized Mickey and Minnie Chair, Two of the Silent Auction Lots at the 2013 D23 Expo Attraction Vehicle from Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, One of the Silent Auction Lots at the 2013 D23 Expo

I hope you had as much fun as I did! What was your favorite part of the D23 Expo? And did you take home any souvenirs?

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runDisney at the Start Line of the D23 Expo with D2.3 Fun Run

posted on August 12th, 2013 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


What do you get when you combine the magic of runDisney with some of the most passionate Disney fans in the world? A runDisney D2.3 Fun Run kicking off the D23 Expo in style.

D23 Members Run Through Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park; Photo Credit: Scott Brinegar

Last Friday, a select group of D23 members had the unique opportunity to sample the runDisney experience. Attendees enjoyed an early morning 2.3 mile fun run through Disney California Adventure park, and a meet and greet with Sorcerer Mickey and Ali Vincent, host of “Live Big With Ali Vincent” and season 5 winner of the “Biggest Loser.” Participants also received a runDisney Mickey Vinylmation with a limited edition D23 medal.

runDisney Vinylmation With Limited Edition D23 Medal; Photo Credit: Scott Brinegar

It’s always exciting to provide these runDisney experiences for runners and to share photos and video of this event with you.

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Imagineer Tony Baxter Among 2013 Disney Legends Honored at D23 Expo

posted on August 10th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Imagineer Tony Baxter was one of eight new Disney Legends honored today at the D23 Expo 2013, produced by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, at the Anaheim Convention Center. A 26-year tradition, the Disney Legends Award is the highest honor one can receive from the Walt Disney Company, reserved for the visionaries and artists behind the Disney magic.

Tony Baxter and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Model Before Attraction’s 1979 Opening

Baxter was chosen to receive this award due to his years of developing now-classic Disney Parks attractions, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Journey Into Imagination, Splash Mountain and experiences like the 1983 New Fantasyland project at Disneyland park. In the course of his 43-year career with Walt Disney Imagineering, he also served as overall creative executive for the opening of Disneyland Paris, Indiana Jones Adventure and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

The other 2013 Disney Legends recognized today were:

  • Collin Campbell – Collin’s work with Walt Disney Imagineering includes the development of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as concept illustrations of Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot.
  • Dick Clark – Legendary television personality best known for “American Bandstand” and ABC’s annual “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”
  • Billy Crystal – Award-winning actor known as the voice of Mike Wazowski from “Monsters, Inc.” and “Monsters University” and from roles in “When Harry Met Sally…,” “The Princess Bride” and “City Slickers.”
  • John Goodman – Actor of stage and screen, and the voice behind James P. Sullivan, better known as Sulley, from “Monsters, Inc.” and “Monsters University,” also known for notable film appearances in “The Big Lebowski,” “The Flintstones,” “Argo” and “Flight.”
  • Steve Jobs – Visionary who changed the world of consumer electronics as the founder of Apple. He was an early investor and chief executive of Pixar, and became the Walt Disney Company’s largest shareholder in 2006. That same year, he joined the Disney board of directors, and remained an advisor to the company until his passing in 2011.
  • Glen Keane – Since becoming a Disney animator in 1974, he has animated classic Disney characters such as Penny in “The Rescuers,” Elliott in “Pete’s Dragon,” Ratigan in “The Great Mouse Detective,” the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” and the titular characters in “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” and “Tarzan.” In 2010, Glen served as executive producer and animation supervisor for “Tangled,” a story he developed for more than 10 years.
  • Ed Wynn – Comedian whose career began on Broadway in the early 1900s, appeared in numerous Disney classics of the 1960s, including Mary Poppins, Babes in Toyland, That Darn Cat, The Absent-Minded Professor, and Son of Flubber. Fans of Disney animation know him as the voice of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.
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Meeting Marvel’s Captain America at the D23 Expo

posted on August 10th, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


As a big fan of the Marvel Universe, I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the amazing characters and stories of Marvel come to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

When the transformed Disney Magic is re-launched this October, one of the most exciting new spaces on the ship is sure to be Marvel’s Avengers Academy, where young “recruits” will learn to unleash their inner Super Heroes. As part of their experience at Marvel’s Avengers Academy, participants will have the opportunity to meet a true Avenger in person, when Captain America checks in on the progress being made by these future heroes.
Meet Marvel’s Captain America at the D23 Expo

To celebrate, this weekend at the D23 Expo, the Ultimate Disney Fan Event at the Anaheim Convention Center, just across the street from Disneyland Resort, attendees have enjoyed their first chance to meet Marvel’s Captain America. Steve Rogers, on a short break from his duties with S.H.I.E.L.D., is appearing within the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion each day through Sunday, August 11.

If you’re planning to be at the D23 Expo this weekend, be sure to come by and shake hands with the First Avenger, Marvel’s Captain America!

Tickets to the D23 Expo are sold out for Saturday, but still available for Sunday. To get tickets and complete details, visit D23Expo.com.

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Interview with Marty Sklar, Disney Legend and Author of New Book, ‘Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms’

posted on August 9th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Legend and retired Imagineering executive Marty Sklar

Today at the D23 Expo, produced by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, Disney Legend and retired Imagineering executive Marty Sklar spoke about his new book, Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, launching exclusively this weekend at D23 Expo by Disney Publishing Worldwide. In the book, Marty tells the fascinating story of his half-century Disney career, including working as Walt’s literary right-hand man and helping open nine of the 11 Disney parks around the world. Just before the D23 Expo, I had the opportunity to chat with Marty and I’m pleased to share our conversation here with you.

What has been the proudest moment of your Disney career?

That’s an impossible question, but writing for Walt Disney was very special. I talk about this in my book; I tried to find a way that sounded like Walt in my writing. I found a style that suited me, and that Walt liked, and I’m pretty proud of that.

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?

People ask me what my favorite park is, and I say Disneyland because it’s where Walt was personally involved. But as far as the projects that I worked on, I’d say Epcot. From a creative standpoint … a challenge standpoint … a leadership standpoint … a marketing standpoint … it was probably my favorite project.

We live in a world of fantasy in many of the parks, but when you get into reality, like at Epcot or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s a different thing. It’s a great challenge, and we love challenges.

As a writer, how do you feel words impact an experience, like a theme park attraction, like visual effects and technology do?

I fought for years not to use word “ride” because I felt that what we do is stories and immersive experiences, and a ride vehicle is just a method of going through the story. We do stories, we do experiences, and we do adventures. Early on, we developed this language so Disney parks attractions would stand out from what everyone else was doing. I always felt that the words convey what we’re doing and what makes us different.

What is your favorite memory of working with Walt Disney?

Well, he was so far ahead of us. He made it very clear to us that whatever we did yesterday was not going to be good enough again, because he was moving on. He always made it clear to us that we could do better the next time.

Jim Cora called you the “Jiminy Cricket for the organization.” Why is it so important to pass along the “Disney way” to future cast members?

I really think what Walt started is important to the whole world. We have so much stress in life. John Hench once said that the parks were about the reassurance that the world can be okay and that things can be done right. The idea that you can do something right and people will respect it is so much the fabric of the Walt Disney Company.

'Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms' from Disney Publishing Worldwide

You can read even more of Marty’s story in Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms from Disney Publishing Worldwide—available on August 13 wherever books are sold.

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A Look Inside the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion at the D23 Expo 2013

posted on August 9th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


It’s finally here! D23 Expo, produced by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, began this morning at the Anaheim Convention Center. One of the most anticipated areas of this ultimate Disney fan event is the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion, which gives guests an inside look at the magic made by Walt Disney Imagineering. We’ve got a sneak peek inside the pavilion in the video below, but be sure to check it out for yourself at the D23 Expo today through Sunday!

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Prepare to be Dazzled at the D23 Expo with our Disney Dream Collection

posted on August 7th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I love jewelry, there’s no denying it. What girl doesn’t? I know that I mentioned my last post for this year’s D23 Expo, taking place this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, was going to be about D-Tech on Demand. However, as we began the process of unloading all of the great merchandise for the Dream Store, these last few items caught my attention. I guess you could say they had a certain sparkle about them. So I thought what the heck, and I started writing.

Here is a quick glance at some of the newest Disney Fine Jewelry designs you will find in 14K yellow gold and sterling silver charms, as well as a new piece debuting at the D23 Expo, which is known as our Mickey Heart Pendant.
“Don't

I’m going to warn you, these next two exquisitely manufactured pieces from Stuller/Freeman Designs may require you to put on a pair of sunglasses because the size of the diamond and the sparkle alone is sure to dazzle you. Both pieces were specially created for the D23 Expo, so be sure to stop by the Dream Store and ask to see the Halo Diamond Ring and Pendant! Look closely and the smaller diamonds form Mickey’s around the larger, center diamonds.

Don't Miss the Newest Disney Fine Jewelry Designs Coming to the D23 Expo! Don't Miss the Newest Disney Fine Jewelry Designs Coming to the D23 Expo!

Also being offered at the Dream Store are the fan favorite Alex & Ani bracelets – complete with the Castle, Mickey and Minnie Mouse charms. Launching at the D23 Expo for the first time will be Disney birthstones and initials, as well as a brand new Disney Charm Design called the Mickey Filigree.
“Don't

Alright, back to work! If you are still thinking of attending, there’s still time to get tickets to join in all the fun!

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Guess What’s Fun in Four-Dimensions Coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store and Disney Parks in August 2013

posted on August 5th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Fun in Four-Dimensions Coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store and Disney Parks in August 2013, Including this 4-D Puzzle Map

The toy team at Disney Theme Park Merchandise recently shared with me two new items that I believe fellow parents (and those who refuse to grow up) will love. I spoke with merchandiser Cody Hampton about these new things coming to the D23 Expo, the ultimate Disney fan event, and Disney Parks in August.

“We’ve been working on a 4-D puzzle for about two years now,” explained Cody. “The map puzzle features a stylized image of Disneyland park as it exists today. We’ve offered a similar Disneyland puzzle in the past, yet the new twist with this puzzle is the 50 sculpted buildings that can be added to it.”

Fun in Four-Dimensions Coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store and Disney Parks in August 2013, Including this 4-D Puzzle Map

Disney Design Group artists Quynh Kimball, Lin Shih (of recent Radio Disney Music Award fame) and Alex Maher worked on the puzzle design. Lin said they selected some of the most iconic buildings at Disneyland park. Once completed, the puzzle will measure 29 inches by 18.5 inches.

Attendees going to the D23 Expo, taking place August 9–11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, should look for the new puzzle in the Dream Store. The 750-piece puzzle will also be released in select merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Fun in Four-Dimensions Coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store and Disney Parks in August 2013, Including a New Disney Theme Park Edition of Hedbanz

I was particularly excited to see the second item that Cody shared – a new Disney Theme Park edition of Hedbanz. My son received the Disney character version of this game last December for his birthday, so I know he will be happy to play this new one.

Fun in Four-Dimensions Coming to the D23 Expo Dream Store and Disney Parks in August 2013, Including a New Disney Theme Park Edition of Hedbanz

“Hedbanz is a great game for families of all ages,” continued Cody. “This quick guessing game includes Mouse ear-inspired headbands that hold cards while playing. We chose a variety of characters, icons and attractions from Disney Parks including Duffy the Disney Bear, the Hitchhiking Ghosts and even the Mickey-shaped ice cream bar.”

This game will also debut in the Dream Store at the D23 Expo, and will be found at Disney Parks. By the way, tickets are still available to the D23 Expo and can be purchased by visiting this link.

Both of these items will be carried on the Disney Parks online store in October 2013.

From August 9-11, you can meet artist Quynh Kimball, who worked on both the puzzle and Hedbanz, during game nights at Once Upon a Toy in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. He will be at the massive toy store each night from 6-9 p.m.

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D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – D-Tech On Demand!

posted on August 5th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Want to be the coolest, hippest Disney fan at the D23 Expo 2013? Then take a look at the art for these amazing new D-Tech on Demand phone cases created for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 that will debut at the D23 Expo 2013 taking place August 9 – 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Disneyland Resort, Mickey Mouse Club and Walt Disney World Resort iPhone 4/4S/5 Cases

I had the chance to catch up briefly with Merchandiser for D-Tech, Kevin-Michael Lezotte, who shared some details about these new D-Tech on Demand cases. “I love that we are creating things for our guests that they can’t find anywhere else,” said Kevin-Michael. “Knowing that we have made something special that they will use day in and day out, is amazing! And no matter which design our guests choose, it will resonate with them, whether it’s as a memory, special moment or favorite thing. We’re also excited to release the following iPhone 4/4S/5 cases themed to Mickey Through the Years, Mickey Mouse Club, the Partners statue at Disneyland park and Mickey Mouse by Walt Disney. At the D23 Expo, guests can personalize select cases with their name or with the D23 Expo logo.”

iPhone 4/4S/5 Cases, Including the Partners statue at Disneyland Park

iPhone 4/4S/5 Cases Themed to Mickey Through the Years and the Personalized Option

Here’s one last thing to help you keep track of time while you are taking part in this year’s expo: a special limited edition Sorcerer Mickey artist watch! Available only at the D23 Dream Store, this limited edition 150 artist watch will be available for $150, plus tax. The watch is set in a gold-tone bezel with a black leather strap and comes complete with a print of the Sorcerer Mickey art (created by Creative Director, David Pacheco) and a certificate of authenticity. So be sure to get it before “time” runs out!

Special Limited Edition Sorcerer Mickey Artist Watch

Thanks for following all of the posts for our D23 Expo 2013 Dream Store Merchandise on the Disney Parks Blog over the past couple of months. I just wanted to make sure that you were in the know, before you go! Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller has a couple of other things to share with you on the D23 front, so make sure to keep watching.

Hope to see you there! I’ll be somewhere near the Dream Store and Silent Auction Ticket table, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

Check out more D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise posts below:

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