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

Disney Billboards: More than Meets the Eye

posted on July 30th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


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When was the last time you looked at a billboard — I mean really looked? Ever spot a facet of one that you missed at first glance? Something that made it pop?

When it comes to Disney theme park billboards, bet you didn’t realize all that’s entailed into making them so exceptional, filled with sly references and artfully hidden gems. Well, those creative whizzes at Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group know how to ensure they don’t just look amazing and enticing, but also tell a story. But why go the extra mile?

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“We hope to remind guests of how much fun they had on the attractions or that they create a sense of anticipation to want to go on them if they haven’t,” explains Yellow Shoes Senior Art Director Steve Carsella. “Having all the details in the billboards is in line with a Disney theme park experience by adding something special wherever you look.”

For instance, on one of the latest Expedition Everest billboards, subtle yet oh-so-clever tidbits include the Yeti’s footprints in what looks like random texture in the snow, an authentic Tibetan carving embedded in the “T” in the word “EVEREST” and the Yeti’s shadow disguised as a rock cropping. Meanwhile, a new Twilight Zone Tower of Terror board includes a falling brick that is actually an old-timey radio that’s a prop from the attraction’s queue and a Hidden Mickey stamped on another brick.

Disney Billboards: More than Meets the Eye Disney Billboards: More than Meets the Eye
Disney Billboards: More than Meets the Eye Disney Billboards: More than Meets the Eye

When designing and implementing billboards, there are general creative tenets that are taken into consideration, of course. Does it accurately depict the attraction? Is it readable? Does it feel cinematic? Are there strong details that don’t impede the message? But it takes that Disney magic of adding just enough originality and ingenuity that assures they are always surprising, dynamic and uncommon.

“I think it follows in the steps of Walt himself to pay attention to the details and to offer our guests something out of the ordinary,” Steve says.

So now that you know, maybe next time you’ll take the time to appreciate all the thought and effort that go into Disney billboards. Just wait until it’s safe to check them out!

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Download a Special Disney Parks Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Wallpaper

posted on July 29th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We thought Disney Parks Blog readers would enjoy a little something special for the 15th anniversary of the popular Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. So today, we asked Disney artist Jeff Maurer to create a special new mobile/desktop wallpaper especially for the occasion.

Download a Special Disney Parks Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Wallpaper

Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

Also, check out our growing gallery of special wallpapers with images for all of your favorite screens.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith Turns 15 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today we’re celebrating the anniversary of one of my favorite attractions – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. The attraction originally opened its doors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 29, 1999.

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In case you haven’t experienced it yet, the attraction lets you tour G-Force Records, the music studio where Aerosmith is holding a recording session. When the band heads out to a show, they invite you to travel to the show in a super-stretch limo that speeds from 0-57 mph in just 2.8 seconds. Better yet – each limo is equipped with an audio system consisting of 125 speakers, 24 sub-woofers and more than 32k watts of audio amplifier output power and each car broadcasts different Aerosmith songs.

In honor of today’s anniversary, here are 15 fun facts about the attraction:

  1. The attraction’s grand opening on July 29, 1999 featured a dedication ceremony with Aerosmith.
  2. The giant electric guitar that serves as the attraction’s icon measures 40 feet tall.
  3. There are more than 900 speakers throughout the attraction.
  4. The attraction’s track measures 3,403 feet.
  5. Elements of the attraction were manufactured as far away as Netherlands and Germany.
  6. Aerosmith band members Steven Tyler and Joe Perry took part in re-recordings for the attraction. The entire band appears in the attraction’s preshow film.
  7. The band’s manager who appears in the preshow was played by actress Illeana Douglas.
  8. The DJ who is “broadcasting live” from the Aerosmith concert is classic rock DJ Uncle Joe Benson.
  9. The look of the super-stretch limo was influenced by the 1962-era Cadillac.
  10. Each super-stretch limo can fit 24 passengers.
  11. Each guest is surrounded by five speakers – four around the head and one subwoofer under the seat.
  12. Each vehicle features a different Aerosmith song or medley. Tracks are: “Nine Lives”; “Sweet Emotion”; a “Back in the Saddle”/”Dude Looks Like a Lady” medley; a “Love in an Elevator”/”Walk This Way” medley; and a “Young Lust”/”F.I.N.E.”/”Love in an Elevator” medley.
  13. Guests experience a g-force between 4-5 entering the first inversion on the track.
  14. The attraction was the first coaster at Walt Disney World Resort to feature multiple inversions.
  15. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster opened at Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris) in 2002. There, it’s called “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith.”

Which is your favorite song to take a ride to? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – August 2014

posted on July 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Wondering what merchandise events are headed your way this August at Walt Disney World Resort? Take a look!

July 30 – August 3: Looking for the opportunity to meet artist Greg McCullough? Greg will be appearing at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, July 30 – August 3 and again from August 20 – 24. Planning to visit Epcot, August 13 – 17? Great! Look for additional appearances by Greg at their Art of Disney, throughout the day. Learn more.

August 7 - Meet Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue” director/co-writer Bobs Gannaway from 3 – 4 p.m. at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace, as he signs some of the new “Planes: Fire & Rescue” merchandise available at Disney Parks. Learn more.

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August 7 – 11: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

August 14 – 17: Keep an eye out! Renowned artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

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August 14 – 17: It’s time for you to check out the latest releases from international artist Larry Dotson, who will be appearing throughout the day at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.

August 23: Keep an eye out for spellbinding commemorative T-shirts and more as part of the “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Remember, a separate ticket is required to attend this event. If you are thinking of going, purchase tickets now at www.DisneyVillainsParty.com or by calling 407.939.1933.

August 29: Be sure to pick up a copy of Tinker Bell: An Evolution, a full biography about everyone’s favorite fiery fairy by author Mindy Johnson. Mindy will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 3 – 4 p.m., alongside special guest and Disney Legend, Alice Davis. Tip: Also being released during the event is Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man. Learn more.

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Here are a few other things to keep in mind. Artists Brian Blackmore and Greg McCullough will be appearing during Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Learn more.

It’s also your last chance to get your ticket to Disney Trade Celebration 2014 – Imagination Gala taking place at World ShowPlace in Epcot, September 5 – 7. A limited number of tickets are still available, so sign up for the Pin and Vinylmation Showcase Packages today! Tip: Keep watching www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com as we release details about this year’s Silent Auction lots. Learn more.

There’s one last thing I couldn’t resist showing you. Here is a sneak peek at the next hand-painted Ink & Paint Cel debuting at the Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 27, 2014. This limited release titled “Summertime Pals” is so cool, you won’t be able to resist it. Not able to make it to the event? Disney Event Services is taking pre-orders via www.disneyurl.com/CelPreOrder now through September 25, 2014 at 5 p.m. EDT. Learn more.

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Are you ready for these events and more?

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Filed: Art of Disney, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 26th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, one of my favorite photos we shared on the Disney Parks Blog was this shot of Maleficent, who is planned to appear at this year’s Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Be sure to check out Shawn Slater’s original post for details on the fiendish fun!
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And speaking of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we also shared a photo look inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Oaken’s Frozen Funland, which are part of the fun of the Frozen Summer celebration.
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A Journey Through Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you had a chance to experience the “Frozen” Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios yet?

Earlier this month, we shared a look at the new “Frozen Fireworks” show that light up each night. This week we’re taking a look inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, a location set up adjacent to Toy Story Mania! that offers “Frozen” merchandise, ice skating, a snow play area for kids, themed treats, and fun photo ops.

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Check out the photo gallery above for a look at the fun inside.

What’s your favorite “Frozen” summer offering? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.


For more on “Frozen” Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, visit the posts below:

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Be Prepared for ‘Villains Unleashed’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


We’re just one month out from August 23, the night a record number of Disney villains – more than 50 in all – will invade Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the park’s new, separately ticketed event, “Villains Unleashed.” While some of the surprises being planned for this one-night-only party remain hidden under a cloak of mystery, other tantalizing details are beginning to emerge, and it’s shaping up to be one fiendishly fun evening!
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  • Hades Hangout - The party kicks off at 8 p.m. at the main event stage, where hosts Hades, Megara, Pain and Panic are killing ‘em with comedy. They’re joined throughout the night by the Underworld Dancers, DJ Igg Nite, live music from Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, and a rogues gallery of roaming rottens, from the Queen of Hearts and Sheriff of Nottingham to the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook.
  • Villains Dominion – For this one special night, the Streets of America area of the park will be swarming with baddies. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to meet favorites like Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Dr. Facilier and Gaston, along with more rarely seen baddies such as Shan Yu from “Mulan,” Bowler Hat Guy from “Meet the Robinsons,” or Captain Gantu and Dr. Hämsterviel from “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.” In addition to these dedicated villain encounters, you may spot even more wandering evildoers in the area. Look for Judge Claude Frollo, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and more!
  • The Dark Side – During “Villains Unleashed,” the area around Star Tours – The Adventures Continue becomes a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the place to find nefarious bounty hunter Boba Fett, Sith apprentice Darth Maul, and the ultimate villain – Darth Vader! And that’s not all! Wandering the area, you’ll stumble upon more malcontents from that galaxy far, far away: Zam Wessel, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, Greedo, Jawas, and others.
  • Villainous Encounters – Visit Stage 4 (where The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction is seen during the day), and you can “Parlay” with the one and only Hector Barbossa. And just around the corner in the Animation Courtyard is where you’ll discover a bit of the Moors, where you can have an audience with the mistress of all evil, Maleficent!
  • Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – Over on Sunset Boulevard, Theater of the Stars presents a production of extreme performances, hosted by the original master of scare-monies, Oogie Boogie. It’s an all-new show that’s sure to thrill!
  • Fantasmic! Strolling up Sunset Boulevard, a gang of villainous henchmen, known as the Night Crawlers, tempt you to join them for a special pre-show to the evening’s performance of Fantasmic!, itself a celebration of the power and intrigue of some of the greatest Disney villains.
  • “Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks – Ultimately, Hades summons Maleficent to the main event stage to close things out with a devilishly dazzling display of pyrotechnics!

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And there’s more! You can get a Villains ExScream Makeover with complimentary face painting at stations around Echo Lake, join in on one of the dance parties taking place in the park, and enjoy a wicked cabaret atmosphere – not to mention some delectable, small-plate menu items – at Club Evil in the Hollywood Brown Derby.

For fans of Disney’s darker characters, “Villains Unleashed” promises to be a nightmare come true! It’s all happening one night only, August 23, 2014, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You won’t want to miss it, so get your tickets now, before they all disappear!

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Download our Disney Parks Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Wallpaper

posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror continues with a new mobile/desktop wallpaper. It’s probably my favorite of the year so far – created by Disney artist Mike Britton especially for Disney Parks Blog readers. Enjoy!

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Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

20 Facts For The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s 20th Anniversary

posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today we’re celebrating a special milestone on the Disney Parks Blog – it’s the 20th anniversary of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!

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In honor of today’s milestone, here are 20 fun facts about the attraction.

  1. Our Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
  2. The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  3. The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.

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  1. The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  2. The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
  3. The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.

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  1. The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.

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  1. The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.

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  1. Some of the sculptures featured in the lobby are the work of 19th century sculptor Auguste Moreau.
  2. A copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk.

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  1. The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  2. The clip of film in which Rod Serling introduces the attraction was taken from a “Twilight Zone” episode called “It’s a Good Life.”
  3. While actor Rod Serling appears in the film in the Library room, the voice you hear is actually voice actor Mark Silverman.
  4. The young girl who disappears in the elevator carries a Mickey Mouse doll.
  5. The attraction’s “Fifth Dimension” scene was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
  6. The attraction offers a 13-story drop.
  7. The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  8. Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.

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  1. There are now four Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World Resort), Disney California Adventure park (Disneyland Resort), Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris), and Tokyo DisneySea (Tokyo – pictured above) each have their own version.
  2. The attraction will take center stage during runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend this fall, which will feature a The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, a 5K fun and kids races.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Merchandise ‘Rockets’ Into Disney Parks

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


My friend and Disney Parks Blog author Shawn Slater was the first to give you the inside scoop on the “Guardians of the Galaxysneak peek taking place now at Disney Parks. How many of you have already seen it? If you haven’t, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I would definitely recommend checking out this intergalactic 3D cosmic adventure the next time you visit the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park or ABC Sound Studio at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you are planning to set your course for space adventure and join the quartet of ragtag rivals along with Peter Quill to help save the universe, then we better make sure you are prepared for battle. Here’s your first look at some of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” merchandise you can expect to find at Disney Parks.

Fans of the entire “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew or Rocket, in particular, will be happy to find these film-inspired T-shrits.

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As for toys, we have those too! You’ll find the Rapid Fire Rocket, Star-Lord Blaster, a Hero Ship and Pursuit Spacecraft play sets, as well as Galactic Battler, Titan Hero figures and more.

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A few other things to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” book and CD, as well as a specially designed D-Tech iPhone case and more. One final pick for me, is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” limited edition pin. Take a look!

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Here’s quick list of where you can find all of the merchandise I’ve shown you for your very own super heroes:

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort