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Julie Reihm Casaletto Honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at D23 EXPO

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was selected to be Disney’s first Ambassador in 1965, was honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at the D23 EXPO, along with eight other beloved contributors to the Disney Legacy. Julie was one of five finalists in the fall of 1964 competing to become Miss Disneyland Tencennial for the park’s 10th anniversary, when the Disney Ambassador program was introduced to help Walt Disney represent Disneyland park throughout the world.

During her tenure, Julie was featured in a special 1965 TV episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” in which she appeared alongside Walt Disney as he showed viewers upcoming concepts for Disneyland attractions. “Working with Walt was a super learning experience,” Julie shared. “His creative genius often came with a boy-like excitement of discovery.”

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When it came time to decide whether the Disney Ambassador program would continue, Julie shared her thoughts with Walt. Both agreed the program was a special opportunity for future emissaries of goodwill to share the joy and magic of Disneyland with the world. Today, the Disney Ambassador program has been introduced across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Julie has become the model upon which decades of Disney Ambassadors have patterned themselves.

“My purpose was to share the joy, hope and happiness of Disneyland to communities around the world,” Julie said. “Those unforgettable experiences have continued to influence my life and career. For decades, Disneyland has been the pixie dust of my life. I consider Disneyland and all of its wonder to be home.”

Learn more about the 2015 Disney Legends here.

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Live Updates from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Presentation at 2015 D23 EXPO

posted on August 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE: 4:30 PDT
The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at the 2015 D23 EXPO has concluded! Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog over the next few days for more details on these new and exciting experiences.

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at the D23 EXPO 2015 is underway! We’re excited to share the news as Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announces new attractions and entertainment, part of the unprecedented growth at Disney Parks around the world. While the guests inside Hall D23 will be the first to hear the news, we will provide live updates here. Keep an eye on this space!

UPDATE: 4:15 PDT

Guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands, fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and soar over man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its debut next year.

UPDATE: 4:00 PDT

Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland

Iron Man just landed for a special appearance at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation! Soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself when Iron Man Experience opens in 2016.

UPDATE: 3:45 PDT

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will invite guests into the world of AVATAR, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land.
  • AVATAR Flight of Passage – The centerpiece of Pandora – The World of AVATAR, brings guests into one of the most thrilling scenes from the film, in which they will soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world.
  • “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live performers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
  • Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

UPDATE: 3:30 PDT

The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with the all-new 11-acre Toy Story Land. Guests will become part of the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard, including two new Disney Parks attractions and one expanded favorite.

Toy Story Land Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – This coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a thrilling, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land on the back of Slinky Dog.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.
  • Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds an additional track to this popular attraction.

UPDATE: 3:20 PDT

Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek just reminded fans in Hall D23 of the all-new Star Wars-themed lands that are coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, announced by Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger earlier today. Chapek also shared more information about new Star Wars experiences coming to both resorts, some starting late this year.

The worlds, stories and characters of the Star Wars galaxy will come to life through new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

Star Wars Launch Bay Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park

Star Wars Launch Bay – Opening later this year, this interactive experience will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga.

Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment, themed food locations and Hyperspace Mountain – a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies on weekend nights.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Inside the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion at the D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 14th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort


The D23 EXPO 2015 is underway! In the video below, we take you inside the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion for a look at some of the new and exciting things coming at Disney Parks around the world. See what makes Shanghai Disney Resort “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese” and get a peek at the world of AVATAR, coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort!

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more coverage from D23 EXPO 2015 and join the conversation with the hashtag #D23EXPO.

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Watch the Disney Parks Blog This Weekend for Coverage of the D23 Expo

posted on August 14th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


The Disney Parks Blog team has already assembled at the Disneyland Resort to cover this year’s D23 Expo. We’ll be providing updates right here on the Disney Parks Blog all weekend.

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Of course, other ways you can monitor our coverage include:

Keep checking back for more!

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Disneyland Nights: Suggestions for Nighttime Fun During D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 12th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’m looking forward to attending the D23 EXPO 2015 this week at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Expo will be held August 14-16 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. After spending the daytime immersed in all things Disney, I can’t wait to visit Disneyland Resort at night. Here are some of my favorite places, in case you are looking for something to do as the sun sets in the California sky.

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Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
My number one nighttime destination is Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. While I love finding hidden treasures inside the bar area (look for a hidden Orange Bird figure), I also enjoy sitting outside on the torch-lit lanai listening to live music. If you are hungry, try the Ahi Poke or the Slow-roasted Kālua-style Pork Sandwich. For beverages, I highly recommend the HippopotoMai-Tai or, if you are sharing, the Uh Oa!, named after the tiki goddess of disaster.

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Beignets and Live Music at Downtown Disney District
I like strolling through Downtown Disney District after picking up some beignets and coffee from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express. From 6-10 p.m. this month at Downtown Disney District, each night of the week will be devoted to a different musical style . During the D23 EXPO 2015 weekend, look for these performances:

  • Friday, August 14 – Tupua Polynesian variety show
  • Saturday, August 15 – Phat Cat Swinger (I love that swing dancing is still a tradition!)
  • Sunday, August 16 – Top 40 Music Jam features Dead Ringer

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Carthay Circle Lounge on Buena Vista Street
The little details on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure park are fantastic (see my fellow author Tyler Slater’s article for a sampling). I also like Carthay Circle Lounge, which offers handcrafted cocktails by mixologists who use unique glassware, gourmet garnishes and drink-specific ice (try the Manhattan as seen in this video).

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Dole Whips in the Enchanted Tiki Garden at Disneyland Park
There is nothing greater than enjoying a Dole Whip while sitting in the Enchanted Tiki Garden at Disneyland park. I love watching the Tiki gods of the garden come to life as seen in this video.

Do you have a favorite hangout in Disneyland after dark? Please share in the comments below.

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Shopper’s Guide to the Disney Dream Store at D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


D23 EXPO 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center is just days away! If you’ve been reading the Disney Parks Blog, then you already have details on some of the D23 EXPO logo merchandise, collectibles, artist signings and more. Here’s a look at some of the merchandise you’ll find as well as some tips on what you need to know before you go shopping in the Disney Dream Store (located in Hall A).

I consider these first items quite the “ticket.” That’s because they have actually been inspired by Disneyland park ticket patterns of year’s past. You’ll find the elements of the art on a Walt’s Kingdom tee, mug, toothpick holders, a car magnet pack, button/lanyard set, and even on our HARVEYS bags and wallets. D-Tech fans will delight in the new phone cases available this year themed to D23 EXPO 2015 and the 60th Anniversary of the Mickey Mouse Club—look for similar art to appear on tees as well. Tip: D-Tech cases will be available in iPhone 6, iPhone 6plus and Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Is your head spinning? You’ll be in for one wild ride when you pick up the much anticipated Mr. Toad limited edition 10” plush. This is the second in the series of four plush that is being released for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Of course, you can quench your thirst for this year’s D23 EXPO merchandise with the Everyone’s A Character stainless steel 22 oz. water bottle. You’ll look cool and stay hydrated throughout the weekend’s festivities.

If it’s a statement you’re looking to make this year, the D23 EXPO Castle Foam Hat will certainly do the trick! Tip: Don’t worry, there’s actually a chin strap that will help hold it in place. Or if you’re feeling “Goofy,” like we were, add some character to special D23 EXPO moments with the Photo Prop Set. Be sure to share your photos across all social channels using #D23EXPO.

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I know you’re curious to find out about D23 EXPO vinylmation and pins, so I won’t make you wait any longer. There will be several new Vinylmation debuting themed to Aristocats, Fantasia, Pinocchio and more. As for pins, you will find limited edition and limited release pins, a boxed set, jumbo pin and mystery set. Here are a couple of pins that caught my attention.

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A few additional reminders before you go!

  • If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to bring the magic of merchandise to life, join us August 14 at 1:30 p.m. in Stage 28, as we take you from concept to reality with behind-the-scenes storytelling about classic Disney souvenirs.
  • On August 15, look for a very special release taking place only at the Disney Dream Store. What is it? They have been ‘forcing’ me to tell you, but I can’t, I can simply state, it’s out of this world.
  • New this year is StorePass which will be available for select D23 EXPO shopping locations. Find out more details here.

What are you the most excited for?

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New ‘Decades’ (1965-1974) Merchandise Debuts at the Disneyland Resort

posted on July 29th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Do you know what time it is? It’s time for the next release in the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration “Decades” collection! Not too long ago, I shared the art that would appear during the celebration, but here’s your first look at some of the merchandise featuring the 1965–1974 artwork. Be sure to check out the new collection starting July 30 at select locations throughout the Disneyland Resort. Tip: If you haven’t had a chance to collect the first set of items in the “Decades” program, there’s still time. But don’t wait – items are in limited supply.

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Before I go, I have a few other reminders for you. If you have been collecting the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration pressed coins, be sure to pick up the newest ones featuring the “Decades” art at World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District!

I know that many of you were hoping to participate in the Looking for Mickey Quest. So, I wanted to make sure to tell you that the Looking for Mickey Quest has been extended. Be sure to join in the fun today!

And because I’m on a roll, how about a sneak peek? Here’s a look at one of the final pieces of art in the “Decades” series. Is it the last one? You’re going to have to watch and see. Tip: If you are attending D23 EXPO 2015, look for a tee featuring similar art before it debuts in summer 2016.

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Which “Decades” collection are you most excited for?

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Mouseketeer Cheer at D23 EXPO

posted on July 8th, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


Did you know the original Mouseketeers first appeared at Disneyland Resort before they started their beloved television run? It’s true! They were there on opening day, July 17, 1955, before the first incarnation of Mickey Mouse Club aired on ABC starting in October of 1955. That means the iconic show is also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In honor of this milestone, D23 EXPO 2015 will hold Celebrating Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club — 60 Magical yEARS on Sunday, August 16, at 5 p.m. in Stage 23. Author Lorraine Santoli will host the panel of original Mouseketeers including Sherry Alberoni, Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Tommy Cole, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O’Brien, and Doreen Tracey, along with “Spin and Marty” actors Tim Considine and David Stollery!

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Plus, the Disney Dream Store will offer a small collection of 60th anniversary Mickey Mouse Club items, which several of the Mouseketeers will be on-hand to sign that day.

For more details about the event—and a host of other panels just announced, including A Goofy Movie 20th Anniversary Reunion!—click here.

D23 EXPO 2015 runs August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, just across the street from Disneyland.

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First Look at D23 EXPO 2015 Official Merchandise

posted on June 22nd, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Are you counting down to D23 EXPO 2015? I am. There is so much to share with you before the event kicks off August 14 at the Anaheim Convention Center, let’s get started!

Fans of our Disney characters need to make getting the D23 EXPO 2015 logo collection — which includes a tee, hat, magnet set, pin, jewelry, D-Tech, and more — a priority! The subtle nod to many of your favorite characters can be seen within the Castle outline or simply stated above taglines such as “Everyone’s A Character.” Young D23 EXPO-goers will consider themselves lucky, as there is a special Oswald tee created just for them.

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The excitement doesn’t stop there. This year, a special Walt’s Kingdom Collection has been created celebrating Walt Disney, characters, attractions, icons, ticket media and historical milestones from the opening of Disneyland park sixty years ago. Look for the collection to include adult tees, an ear hat, a lanyard and button set, a mug, boxed toothpick holder set, pin and more.

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What else will you find? How about beautifully crafted jewelry from Disney Parks│PANDORA? I couldn’t resist showing you this beautiful .925 sterling silver charm featuring Sleeping Beauty Castle in blue glitter enamel and fourteen (14) blue cubic zirconia stones.

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Watch the Disney Parks Blog and D23EXPO.com over the next couple of months, because I will be sharing all the details and much more about what you can find in the Disney Dream Store when it comes to D23 EXPO 2015 apparel, accessories, art, books, collectibles, media, pins and Vinylmation. Tip: We’ll also be sharing a list of special artist appearances, so keep an eye for your favorites and be sure to stay up to date during the D23 EXPO 2015 itself with the D23 EXPO 2015 Mobile App, available in July.

If you have yet to get tickets to this ultimate fan event, check out all the details here. Stay connected, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 on Twitter and use #D23EXPO.

See you there!

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Sing Along with ‘Frozen’ Favorites During Frozen FANdemonium at D23 EXPO 2015

posted on June 15th, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


Frozen” fans have already enjoyed the opportunity to sing along with Anna and Elsa at Disney California Adventure park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and now D23 EXPO 2015 will present another unique opportunity to enjoy the music from this fan favorite.

Sing Along with Chris Montan During Frozen FANdemonium at D23 EXPO 2015 Sing Along with Kristen Anderson-Lopez During Frozen FANdemonium at D23 EXPO 2015 Sing Along with Robert Lopez During Frozen FANdemonium at D23 EXPO 2015

On Sunday, August 16, at 3 p.m., in the 7,500-seat Hall D23, host Chris Montan, president, Walt Disney Music, and the Oscar®-winning songwriting team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez will take D23 EXPO 2015 attendees on a once-in-a-lifetime musical journey through the world of “Frozen” during Frozen FANdemonium: A Musical Celebration! This one-day-only performance will feature sing-along experiences of your “Frozen” favorites such as “Let It Go,” “In Summer,” and more. Plus, fans can expect special surprises and fascinating stories behind some of your favorite Frozen songs. The performance will even feature Anna and Elsa!

D23 EXPO 2015 runs August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, directly across the street from Disneyland Resort. Tickets are available here.

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