Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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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D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – From Dooney & Bourke to Vinylmation

posted on July 29th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


The countdown continues to the D23 Expo 2013, taking place August 9–11 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Here’s a quick look at some of the other merchandise set to debut in the Dream Store, including: Dooney & Bourke, Vinylmation, Duffy the Disney Bear, a special artist sketch and more. So if you haven’t made your shopping list out yet, it’s time to get out that pen and paper.

Dooney & Bourke is at the top of my list. Here’s your first look at the new design that will be available on select silhouettes including the tassel tote, cross body and pouch.

PD23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including Dooney & Bourke

Vinylmation traders and collectors … try to maintain control, because you will no doubt be on the hunt for these new collections and more.

D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including New Vinylmation Collections D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including New Vinylmation Collections D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including New Vinylmation Collections

Where’s Duffy the Disney Bear? Where else! He’s ready to go in his D23 Expo gear and no doubt would be happy to go home with you.

D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including Duffy the Disney Bear

For those of you who are fans of the Artist Sketch Program and are planning to attend this year’s expo, you may want to consider picking up this next piece. The D23 Expo sketch ($35) will only be available August 9-11 at the Dream Store.

D23 Expo 2013 Merchandise – Including the D23 Sketch, Available August 9-11

Okay, I’m pretty sure that’s enough for now. Many of the items I’ve shown you over the last few weeks are extremely limited and will no doubt fly off the shelves, so if you see something you just have to have, but haven’t picked up a ticket to the D23 Expo 2013 yet, now’s the time to do so!

Could it be that I’ve saved the best content for last or will you “call” me crazy? I have one final D23 Expo 2013 post scheduled for next week … guess there’s only one way to find out. Keep watching!

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D23 Expo to Kick off with runDisney D2.3 Fun Run

posted on July 25th, 2013 by Tony Morreale, Sports Public Relations Manager


UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at DLR.SportsMeetUps@disney.com. Please note that we will not be responding to questions via this email address. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog, and we will do our best to answer them.

UPDATE: We have reached capacity! Thanks for everyone’s interest in the runDisney D2.3 Fun Run, and we appreciate your quick responses. At approximately 2 p.m. PT, we will send the meet-up attendees a confirmation email. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at DLR.SportsMeetUps@disney.com. By 3 p.m. PT, we will post a link to the complete list of attendees. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for additional unique opportunities in the future.

The D23 Expo is kicking off with a few folks that know a thing or two about magical starts.

D23 Expo to Kick off with runDisney D2.3 Fun Run

On Friday, August 9, runDisney will be hosting a 2.3-mile fun run for D23 Members. The morning event will lead runners down main streets and through castles in classic runDisney style. Of course, there will also be little pixie dust sprinkled along the way, so it’ll be an experience a runner won’t want to miss.

To RSVP, send your full name and D23 membership number to DLR.SportsMeetUps@Disney.com. Only a limited number of qualified D23 Members will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to apply.

Fans can join D23 at www.D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23.

In the meantime, here are a few things you should know:

  • All selected participants must be available for a 5:45 a.m. PT start time on Friday, August 9.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A D23 membership number must be submitted at the time of application, and is non-transferable.
  • A valid photo ID is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Limit to one RSVP per individual. Applicants sending RSVPs from more than one email address will be disqualified.
  • Valid RSVPs must include your name. RSVPs that include more than one person or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will not be accepted.
  • Admittance to the event is non-transferable and limited to the selected applicant; no additional guests please.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
  • Because this is a running-oriented event, we require that applicants be experienced runners, able to maintain a 12-minute per mile pace (qualified).
  • Selected applicants attending the meet-up are not required to purchase admission.
  • We will send an email to selected applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Friday. We plan to send this email at approximately 2 p.m. PT today, and we will also post a link on the Disney Parks Blog that will include a list of names of all selected applicants. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, your RSVP was not selected.
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New D23 Expo 2013 Silent Auction Lot to Drive You Wild

posted on July 15th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


How many of you are Twitter followers of @ChipFoose? I am, and I’m pretty sure I saw some tweets from author Steven Miller too during Chip’s recent appearance at Car Masters Weekend in Downtown Disney West Side at the Walt Disney World Resort.

What else has Chip Foose been up to? Well, I’m about to reveal that, right here on the Disney Parks Blog. We’ve just added a custom piece from Foose Design to the already incredible list of silent auction lots available during D23 Expo 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center, August 9 – 11.

So what is it? It is in fact a one-of-a-kind framed piece of automotive artwork that fits in perfectly among the work of some of the world’s first class pop artists and in my opinion can be displayed just about anywhere. Here’s a look at the concept for this extraordinary piece.
Custom Piece from Chip Foose Added to the List of Silent Auction Lot Available During D23 Expo 2013

Legendary car designer and builder Chip Foose has taken part of an authentic vintage Mark VII Autopia attraction vehicle and put his own spin on it. Foose’s signature mark style is prevalent down to the custom paint scheme and authentic Mark VII Autopia gas cap. Dad, if you’re reading this now … it’s time to buy a ticket and get ready to bid!

Tickets to the D23 Silent Auction are $23 per guest. The Auction itself is scheduled to take place on August 10. Tickets are available now via ArtofDisneyParks.com, but remember separate theme park D23 Expo admission is required. View other D23 Silent Auction items here.

If you’re curious to find out more on Chip Foose, check out the latest and greatest information on his website at ChipFoose.com.

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Explore Walt Disney’s Vision of Tomorrow: Join ‘The Optimist’

posted on July 8th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Of all the ways to describe Walt Disney — dreamer, innovator, filmmaker, television pioneer, theme park creator — perhaps “visionary idealist” is the most intriguing. That trait takes center stage in “The Optimist,” a new alternate-reality game presented through a partnership between Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development and The Walt Disney Studios.

Explore Walt Disney's Vision of Tomorrow in ‘The Optimist’

In this narrative adventure, participants around the globe linked by social media will join fictional characters to explore both virtual and physical realms, piecing together an imagined story of Walt Disney, the Imagineers and other visionary thinkers and their potential involvement in a secret project that sought to build a better future.

“In this alternate reality experience, one of our characters has discovered some previously unknown facts that could change what we think we know about Walt Disney, Imagineering and Disneyland park,” said Scott Trowbridge, head of Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development. “Players can participate at different levels of engagement over the six-week story — from leveraging social media and mobile devices to visiting unique physical sites from the story in and around Los Angeles.”

While some characters and situations in “The Optimist” are based on real people and events, Scott noted that the overall experience is fictitious and does not intend to represent historical accuracy. The experience culminates at the ultimate Disney fan event, D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., August 9-11, 2013.

“At Imagineering, we are constantly exploring and developing new ways to engage our guests in compelling, interactive experiences,” Scott said. “With ‘The Optimist,’ we are excited to connect people with each other around the world to uncover a story that seems so unbelievable — and at the same time, so encouraging — that it could only come from Disney.”

Visit optimist.disney.com to learn more about the experience and get started.

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D23 Expo 2013 Dream Store Showcase: Art, Collectibles, Books and More

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


Okay D23 fans, if you have been waiting to catch a glimpse of some of the art and collectibles available as part of this year’s D23 Expo 2013, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center, August 9 – 11, then you’re in luck. I have all the details on what is scheduled to be released. While I might not be able to show you everything here, I hope you will stop by the Dream Store and check it out.

So let’s get started. First up is the Signature Collection from our talented team of Disney Design Group Artists, including Natalie Kennedy, Alex Maher, Randy Noble and Darren Wilson. These four captivating pieces are filled with imagination and bring to life Sorcerer Mickey and some of Disney’s most beloved characters. Look for these images to be available in deluxe print format or via Art on Demand.

D23 Expo 2013 Dream Store Showcase: Signature Collection with Sorcerer Mickey

Debuting in the Dream Store will be some of the latest releases from: Alex & Ani, ACME Archives Limited, Disney Fine Art by Collectors Editions, Dooney & Bourke, Precious Moments, Stuller Fine Jewelry as well as Costa Alavezos, Dave Avanzino, Eric Caszatt, Ron Cohee, John Coulter, Larry Dotson, Valerie Edwards, Rodel Gonzalez, Dana & Melanie Harvey, Manny Hernandez, John Henselmeier, Caley Hicks, Rob Kaz, Art Lewis, Hiko Maeda, Alex Maher, Gerald Mendez, Miss Mindy, Noah, Paige O’Hara, Robert Olszewski, David Pacheco, Ian Ray, Linda Rick, Tim Rogerson, Michelle St. Laurent, Disney Legend and Chief Archivist Emeritus Dave Smith, Thomas Scott, Jim Shore, Javier Soto, Michael Sullivan, Erica Virgin and Darren Wilson, among others.

For all of you who love to read, like I do, make time to add these next few books to your “must read” list. Kingdom Keepers VI – Dark Passage by Ridley Pearson, Dream It, Do It! by Disney Legend and retired Imagineering executive, Marty Sklar, Remembering Roy E. Disney by David A. Bossert and Tinker Bell: An Evolution by Mindy Johnson.

Autograph Sessions Will Take Place Throughout The D23 Expo

If you are wondering whether you will have an opportunity to meet any of the artists and authors listed above, the answer is a most definite, yes! Autograph sessions will take place throughout the D23 Expo. For a complete list of signings times, visit ArtofDisneyParks.com, and of course, be sure to keep up to date by checking the list which will be posted daily at the D23 Expo Dream Store.

For more information the D23 Expo please visit www.D23Expo.com and for a look at some of our Dream Store merchandise check out www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

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