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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

posted on June 6th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Womp rats, you’ve been warned. Luke is in town.

Actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed farmboy-turned-galactic-hero Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, makes his debut appearance at Star Wars Weekends today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He is scheduled to appear today, tomorrow and Sunday.

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Activities where guests can see the acclaimed actor include the “Legends of the Force” motorcade and a star conversation about his career and role in the original Star Wars trilogy. To enable more guests to see and hear this special edition talk show, entitled “A Conversation with Mark Hamill,” the Star Wars Weekends event team has made arrangements for a simulcast at various locations throughout the park. Be sure to ask a cast member when you arrive for viewing locations.

We caught up with Mark at the theme park while he was doing final walk-throughs with the Disney Parks Entertainment team. After posing for a few photos with Jedi Mickey Mouse, he spoke with us about the Star Wars legacy, his childhood visits to Disneyland and what makes Star Wars fans special to him.

For more info. about Star Wars Weekends and to download an event guide, head to disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends. Also, join the conversation online by using the event’s hashtag, #SWW2014.

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

‘Villains Unleashed’ Event Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios August 23

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


A record number of Disney villains – more than 50 in all – will invade Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23 as a part of the park’s new separate ticket event, “Villains Unleashed.”

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This one-night party will feature everything that fans of Disney villains could ask for – up close encounters with some of the most popular Disney villains, “Hades Hangout & Dance Party,” “Oogie Boogie’s Variety Show,” a Star Wars villain zone, a new “Villainy In The Skies” fireworks spectacular, a villain-inspired pre-show to “Fantasmic!”, face painting, specialty food & beverage, event merchandise and more. Favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions, including The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania! and Star Tours – will also be available to enjoy.

In addition, ticketed party guests will be permitted to dress up and show their Disney villain side.*

The party (similar to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) requires a separate ticket for admission. Adult tickets cost $67 plus tax and children ages 3-9 cost $62 plus tax. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can book their tickets now. All other guests can book beginning June 9. To book, call 407-939-1933 for APs and 800-800-9800 for DVC Members.

Join the conversation online with the hashtag #VillainsUnleashed.

*All costumes must adhere to any guidelines as determined solely by Disney. Please choose costumes that are not obstructive, offensive or violent. Guests’ eyes must be visible at all times.

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

Alex and Ani Add ‘Character’ to the Disney Parks Collection

posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


UPDATE 6/4: Exciting news Disney fans! We actually just got news that the Disney Collection by Alex and Ani bangles just arrived!  Look for them starting today at the locations listed below.

I adore Alex and Ani bangles from Disney Parks! Curious as to what Alex and Ani is all about? Before I started collecting them, I was too.

Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of Alex and Ani, hails from a family of jewelers where mastering their craft was not only an aspiration, but a family tradition. For more than 10 years, the lifestyle company, named after her first two daughters, has helped spread positive energy across the globe with its hand-crafted, eco-conscious and Made in America products. The Alex and Ani Disney Collection, featuring signature expandable (yes, they are adjustable for the perfect fit) wire bangles with Disney icons and characters are truly the perfect combination of pixie dust and positive energy.

Alex and Ani Add ‘Character’ to the Disney Parks Collection

How could the collection, currently made up of more than eight different Disney symbols, birthstones and initials, get any better? Perhaps something to complement the Disneyland park Sleeping Beauty Castle and Magic Kingdom Park Cinderella Castle bangles? New bangles with signature icon charms inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will debut at Walt Disney World Resort beginning June 5. Joining that list in late June is Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Disney California Adventure park.

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Or if, like me, you choose to embrace your Disney Side and live your life full of character, take note of what I’m about to show you. Also debuting June 5 is the one and only Tinker Bell, as well as a Dated 2014 bangle.
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Something else to keep on your radar are new bangles, featuring Aurora, Belle and Cinderella, releasing June 30 online and at Disney Parks.

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Are you as excited as I am? Then be sure to check back to learn about even more additions to the Disney Collection by Alex and Ani. I know you want me to tell you now, but where’s the fun in that? If I have to wait, so do you!

A fashion essential, these Alex and Ani bangles, available in both Rafaelian Gold and Rafaelian Silver finishes are the ideal keepsake for fans of all ages and are sure to evoke magical memories for years to come!

Tip: You can wear just one, or layer them together, truly making the look your very own.

So where are the best places to find them?

Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort

Online – Shop Now!

Which ones have you added to your collection, or are you most excited to get? Don’t even get me started with my list.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – June 2014

posted on May 30th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here are the merchandise events headed your way this June at Walt Disney World Resort!
Deep Down Greed By Artist Greg McCullough

June 4 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns June 4 – 8 to Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will appear later in the month from June 18 – 22 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

June 5 – 8: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from June 12 – 15 and June 26 – 29 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.

June 12 – 22: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Add to your collection and meet representatives June 12 – 22 and June 26 – July 7. Look for a special appearance by Linda throughout the day, each day, June 12 – 15 and July 3 – 6. Learn more.

June 14: World-renowned Celebrity DJ Pauly D will appear in the Downtown Disney Marketplace from Noon to 1 p.m. to sign his recently released line of DJ Pauly D headphones from SMS Audio. Please continue to watch for more information on the exact location. Learn more.

June 14 – 15: If you are geared up for excitement at the thought of Car Masters Weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for a special post from fellow author, Steven Miller.
Studio Flashback Cel

June 20 – July 3: 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.

June 21: Stop by Animation Gallery inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the limited edition release of “Studio Flashback,” featuring Oswald, and meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Learn more here. Can’t make it to the event? Order yours now!

June 28: Now, all the world is Figment’s stage! To celebrate the launch of the new, limited edition figurine, Figment Actor, sculptor Jacqueline Perrault will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot. Unable to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through June 27. Also appearing for a special artist signing will be Kevin-John from 1 – 3 p.m. Learn more.
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Finally, for those of you enjoying the excitement of Star Wars Weekends, be sure to take part in some of our special merchandise artist signings at Darth’s Mall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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

Vintage Walt Disney World: Sorcery in the Sky Fireworks Blast Off

posted on May 29th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


The skies above Disney’s Hollywood Studios lit up at night when Sorcery in the Sky premiered today back in 1990.

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This fireworks spectacular was directed by a 55-foot-tall inflatable Mickey Mouse who made a dramatic appearance atop the Chinese Theater and fired magical sparks from his giant index finger.

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Celebrating nearly 70 years of Hollywood cinema, this 10-minute show deployed over 300 fireworks shells and used musical excerpts from famous movies.

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