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

runDisney is ‘Glowing’ About The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend Medals

posted on June 30th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you are one of the more than 16,000 runners ‘dropping in’ to participate in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, October 3-4, at Walt Disney World Resort, then we have a little motivation to help you with your training.
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From the youngest runners in the runDisney Kids Races to the most experienced runners in the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the 10-Miler, we often hear, “it’s all about the ‘bling’.” With that in mind, we are excited to share what waits for you at the finish lines of this year’s events.
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There will be no tricks, just treats when kids receive the Halloween-inspired Donald Duck medallion for participating in the diaper dash, 100m, 200m 400m and 1-Mile races.
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Be careful of hitchhiking ghosts if you are participating in the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run. New this year, the medallion glows in the dark!
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And nothing can be more fitting than the 2014 The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler medal, featuring The Hollywood Tower Hotel. Not only does this medal glow in the dark, the elevator moves up and down.

Now, if you are not running race weekend or just hearing about runDisney, I invite you to check out runDisney.com, register for an upcoming event and put a little ‘bling’ around your neck.

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Celebrating Fourth of July at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 30th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


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Independence Day is coming up, and the parks at Walt Disney World Resort are planning to celebrate with some star-spangled salutes to America in honor of our nation’s 238th birthday!

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World Resort for the 4th of July, here is some of what you can look forward to:

  • Magic Kingdom Park – “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” rockets into the air above Cinderella Castle. This special, fireworks spectacular will be presented two nights in a row, at 9 p.m. on both July 3 and 4.
  • Epcot – On July 4, enjoy a special concert of great American songs by Voices of Liberty at America Gardens Theater, where they’ll be performing at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. You can also meet some favorite Disney characters in patriotic attire outside The American Adventure, and catch the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps at the pavilion at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. That evening, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” joins the celebration at 10 p.m., with a heart-pounding, pyrotechnic grand finale.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration” at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage on July 4, features the “Rock Your Summer Side” Dance Party, with a DJ and live band. The Hollywood Rockers will take you on a rock ‘n roll road trip across America that culminates with the band playing live during that night’s fireworks spectacular. The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. and continues through 11 p.m., with fireworks at 10:15 p.m.

Looks like the 4th of July is going to be a blast all across Walt Disney World Resort!

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: A ‘Frozen’ Summer Is On Its Way

posted on June 28th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier this week, we shared the exciting news that a bevvy of new “Frozen” -inspired entertainment options will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios very soon. Here are some of the first photos of Anna and Elsa at the park.

A ‘Frozen’ Summer Is On Its Way A ‘Frozen’ Summer Is On Its Way

Beginning July 5 (yes, just one week from today!), Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be the home to the Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession, a For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration, a “Frozen” fireworks spectacular and much more. Be sure to check out Shawn’s original blog post for all of the exciting details!

Tell us – will you be at the park July 5 for the “Frozen” debut? Which offering are you most excited to experience?

To join the conversation online, use the hashtag #FrozenSummer.

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Get Ready to Experience ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun – Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 26th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Like Olaf, have you ever closed your eyes and imagined yourself in another place? In summer, maybe? At Walt Disney World Resort? Or perhaps in the snow-covered kingdom of Arendelle, from Disney’s instant classic, “Frozen.” Why not all three?! After all, the hot and the cold are both so intense, if you put them together it just makes sense! And that’s just what we’re doing as part of an incredible new experience.

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This summer, the world of “Frozen” takes center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’re opening up the gates July 5 for a summer-long happening, featuring a full day of all-new, immersive “Frozen” experiences you won’t want to miss, every day through September 1!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Olaf on Summer Vacation – Olaf the snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures. Plus, you can pick up your very own Take-Along Olaf from locations in the park, so he can join you on your summer vacation. And when you share your photos with Olaf on social media, be sure to tag them with #OlafSummerVacation. They may just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!
  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland.
  • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – Cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
  • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a Frozen Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
  • “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more! The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!
  • “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”

I don’t know if I’m elated or … well, you know!

If you’re somewhere in that zone, like me, you’re already bursting with anticipation for “Frozen Summer Fun – Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.” Starting July 5, the sky will be blue, and you guys will be there, too! It’s going to be a great summer for snowmen, royalty, and anyone who’s a fan of “Frozen!”

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Come ‘Rock Your Summer Side’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 20th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


This summer, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is inviting everyone to “Rock Your Summer Side” with a special dance party event each evening from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

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Live band The Hollywood Rockers takes to the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, engaging in rowdy antics and playing some of the greatest songs of summer. Between sets with the band, our DJ spins hot summertime hits, and you can get up and dance with some of your favorite Disney characters. Mickey and the gang will be dressed for fun in the sun, ready to rock their summer side, too!

Nearby, you’ll even find a giant postcard set up to mark the occasion. It’ll be a great spot to snap a selfie and share the fun with all your friends and family.

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Take a Sneak Peek at the ‘Villains Unleashed’ Guest List at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 18th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As we shared earlier this month, “Villains Unleashed,” a new, separately ticketed event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, will feature more than 50 Disney villains. Villains will appear at the event in several different ways, participating in character greetings, stage shows, and more.

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We just got a sneak peek at a portion of the invite list. Many more villains will be on hand at the the event, but here’s a few names you may recognize. (Entertainment is subject to change!).

  • Hades
  • Meg
  • Pain
  • Panic
  • Anastasia
  • Drizella
  • Lady Tremaine
  • J. Worthington Foulfellow
  • Gideon
  • Big Bad Wolf
  • Cruella De Vil
  • Captain Hook
  • Mr. Smee
  • Bowler Hat Guy
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Gaston
  • Jafar
  • Darth Vader
  • Darth Maul
  • Boba Fett
  • Asajj Ventress
  • Emperor Palpatine
  • Stormtrooper
  • Zam Wessell
  • Jango Fett
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Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ Marks 20 Years

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a big weekend for Simba – it’s the 20th anniversary of Disney’s “The Lion King.

The film, which debuted in theaters in 1994, tells a coming-of-age tale of the young lion cub and his friends, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon.

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There are many places you can enjoy Disney’s “The Lion King” at the Walt Disney World Resort, including watching film-inspired segments in “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and at Mickey’s PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom Park and “Festival of the Lion King,” the newly reopened stage show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There’s also the Lion King wing of resort rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

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Over at the Disneyland Resort, guests can spot Simba and friends in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.

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Actor John Ratzenberger talks Star Wars, his Disney•Pixar Roles & How He Once Parked Next To Kermit The Frog

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Versatile actor John Ratzenberger has worn many hats in his career. Whether it’s the cold weather military hat of Major Bren Derlin, Mack’s “Rust-eze” trucker cap or a mailman’s cap on the longtime hit series “Cheers,” he’s portrayed many favorite characters in his acting career.

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Although he had only a brief role in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, it was a memorable one. His character, Major Bren Derlin, made the recommendation to Princess Leia to close the Echo Base doors for the night, just as the Rebels were losing hope for the safe return of Luke and Han on the frigid planet of Hoth.

The quick-witted actor sat down with us during his very first Star Wars Weekends appearance to talk about his memories of Star Wars, his favorite Disney•Pixar role, and how he once had an assigned parking space next to Kermit the Frog.

The curtain will close on Star Wars Weekends 2014 this weekend, giving you one more chance to feel the Force before the Wookiees, Twi’leks and Ewoks (oh my!) depart our galaxy until their 2015 return.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Sunset Boulevard, Under Construction

posted on June 12th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Sunset Boulevard, home to some favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions and shows, officially opened on this date back in 1994. Here’s an aerial view of the Boulevard still under construction from December 1993.

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Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage also began performances at the new Theater of the Stars, on the same day. This ‘tale as old as time’ has been performed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since November 1991.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Sunset Boulevard, Under Construction Vintage Walt Disney World: Sunset Boulevard, Under Construction

A little over a month later, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened for business at the park. Here’s a February 1994 look at the exterior of the hotel guests like to drop … into.

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Whenever I go to the Studios, I often find myself making a right turn onto Sunset Boulevard to start my day. What’s your favorite part of Sunset Boulevard? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 12th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Being a long-time Star Wars fan, I’m delighted there is a fifth weekend for Star Wars Weekends this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This extra weekend takes place during Father’s Day on June 15, which is perfect since I regularly recreate a famous scene from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back with my son. Here is a brief look at some new items that you will find at Darth’s Mall, our merchandise location found between Toy Story Midway Mania and Studio Backlot Tour.

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

New items will include fun Darth Vader shirts, and some character T-shirts, a glass mug, and a spinner pin with characters from the upcoming Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels.

Other new items include a 3-inch Vinylmation set that was originally designed for Vinylmation – Star Wars series 2 (it contains a Jawa and R5-D4), and a limited edition, D-Tech on Demand case for iPhone 5/5S featuring Goofy and Max. You can also find a new Disney Theme Park Tagalong, featuring Jedi Master Yoda.

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

For the first time, we will release two limited edition, retail MagicBands with pre-printed images (edition size 2,500 each). There will be a green retail MagicBand with Yoda’s image and a red retail MagicBand with Darth Vader’s image (colors were selected to match their light saber colors). Each retail MagicBand will be packaged in a decorative Star Wars Weekends box (you can use the free Aurasma app on your mobile device to make the box image come to life).

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Finally to celebrate this fifth weekend, I would love your help in selecting the next Star Wars-themed Disney Racer that will be released in spring 2015. You may recall that we recently re-launched Disney Racers at Disney Parks. This is the first time we’ve asked our readers to select the next design to be made. When it’s released, the packaging for this die-cast metal car will have a “fan choice” call-out.

Please take a moment to vote for your favorite design from the list below. Voting will only be available for three days, June 12-15, 2014. We will reveal the winning entry on Monday, June 16, on the Disney Parks Blog.

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