Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

I runDisney: Dave McGillivray

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Dave McGillivray is the race director of one of the most prestigious running events in the world, the Boston Marathon. Every April he and his team put on an elite event, attracting the top marathoners in the world. It is the one race every runner hopes to qualify for and complete in. McGillivray is also an accomplished runner who has competed in races around the globe. At one point in his early years, he literally ran across the country, Medford, OR, to Medford, MA, for charity. He lives, works, eats, and breathes running.

Running is extremely personal to McGillivray, the roots of which start at an emotional time in his life. As a child McGillivray wanted nothing more than to be an athlete, but each time he tried to make a team he was faced with a challenge, his size, and turned away. In elementary school he gave it one last shot and tried out for the basketball team. Not lacking in ability but lacking in height the coach once again cut him. At the age of 12 this was a defining moment in his life. It was then he decided he would never again let anyone tell him he wasn’t good enough and he took up running because no one can cut you from that.

dmdmdm832761

“Running gives me self confidence, it gives me self esteem, it makes me feel good about myself,” McGillivray said. His message to runners and those thinking about starting to run, “never under estimate and never not appreciate where you’re at, that you have this gift to be able to do this (run).” “Never take it for granted that you are healthy enough to do this,” he added. And speaking of health, recently McGillivray was hit with a heart related health issue and he reminds runners, “That just because they are fit doesn’t mean they are healthy.” Make the right choices to take care of yourself for you and for those around you.

Some of his McGillivray’s favorite race memories are those from runDisney events. This veteran of several runDisney marathons, and the 2014 inaugural Dopey Challenge, gives high marks to the entertainment and excitement for Disney races. “It is one of the most well managed, well orchestrated road races I have ever competed in,” McGillivray said. Having young kids he’s also quick to point out how exciting these destination races are for the entire family.

We hope you will take a moment to be motivated by Dave McGillivray’s story and see the unique way he celebrated his 60th birthday. There is no doubt Dave McGillivray has gone and continues to go through life running.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit irundisney.com.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

The Art of Glass Cutting at Disneyland Park

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


There is a shop in Disneyland park that some say is a cut above the rest – and no doubt that’s crystal clear to glass cutter Manuel Arribas who has worked there for 47 years. Manuel is part of a family of artisan glass cutters at Crystal Arts on Main Street, U.S.A. His brothers Alfonso and Tomas met Walt Disney at the 1964 New York World’s Fair where Walt was introduced to the Spanish brothers’ business of glass cutting and eventually brought the family trade to Disneyland Resort. They specialize in personalized glassware, figurines and jewelry. The next time you’re window shopping down Main Street, U.S.A., stop by and watch these artists in action.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Interview with Imagineer Lisa Girolami Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland park guests have been wowed by the updates to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ever since it re-opened this spring. I recently took a ride on the attraction with Imagineer Lisa Girolami, who oversaw its extensive refurbishment. The wildest ride in the wilderness might not be the best place for an in-depth interview, but it sure is the most fun!

What do you like best about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park? Tell us in the comments!


See the posts below for more on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Celebrates 35 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


“This here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Guests first heard that warning on September 2, 1979, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Since then, the popular runaway mine train as taken more than 225 million guests on a wild ride through 19th century gold-mining territory. The mountain was inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and objects found inside are actual artifacts from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. The opening also marked the third peak in the Disneyland park mountain range. (Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain were the first two.)

Last March, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after an extended refurbishment with new track and an enhanced audio system. Come check it out! For now, take a trip back to 1979 and watch as Mickey Mouse turns the key and boards the runaway mine train with some of his Disney friends.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Tomorrow, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park celebrates 35 years of taking guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness. My niece recently experienced this runaway train as her first roller coaster, and I was positively thrilled to see her beaming as we got off the attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like many of the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort, is the perfect blend of fun and storytelling. In honor of the iconic attraction’s anniversary tomorrow, here are five things to point out to new pioneers braving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe details you may have missed in the past 35 years.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

1. Wilderness creatures – Most guests know to look for the famous dynamite-wielding goat, but the runaway train also passes coyotes, skunks, possums, turtles and rattlesnakes.

2. Real mining gear – In the attraction queue and all around Big Thunder Mountain, you will see a century-old stamp mill, a hand-driven drill, press gears, picks, shovels and other artifacts. These objects are actual mining gear, purchased from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming.

3. Steam mules – When you’re boarding your train and while careening around the mountain, look for two steam mules. These Victorian-era portable engines were used as set pieces in the Disney film, “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

4. Grizzly Gulch sign – Just before passing Dinosaur Gap in the queue, look for a wooden post with signs to nearby locations. If you look closely, you may see a nod to Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, located 11,743 km away.

5. Willard B. Bounds, U.S. Marshall (Retired), President, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company – Willard B. Bounds, the President of Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company, has signed several notices and proclamations around Big Thunder Mountain, including a sign at the attraction entrance. This is a tribute to Lillian Disney’s father, who was once a blacksmith and U.S. Marshall on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho.

Bonus fact: Did you know the sound of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains was used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a trip aboard the wildest ride in the wilderness! Tell us your favorite memory aboard this iconic attraction in the comments below.

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

September’s Treats are Sweetly Spook-tacular at the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Gourmet apple fans take note, September is right around the corner and next month you will find the Disneyland Resort gourmet caramel apple enrobed in sweet milk chocolate and covered in a mixture of crunchy, buttery, toffee pieces and roasted almonds. How do you top that? How about adorning it with milk chocolate drizzle? Mouthwatering and delicious, this apple will not disappoint.

sadlrh123456

I was able to “scare” up a few other details on our Halloween Time treats this year, so mark your calendars for September 12. Returning favorites include the Minnie Witch Apple, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Fudge, and festive cake pops themed to creepy crawlers (spiders) and Mummy Mickey. If you’re wondering if there’s anything new, the answer is yes. Other delightfully ghoulish and tantalizing treats will make their debut during Halloween Time, so be sure to keep an eye out. Remember they are available for a limited time only, so don’t miss out!

htdlhd1234561

Look for these items and more at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland park; Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

365 (Consecutive) Days of Walt Disney World Resort Magic

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


When one of my Downtown Disney partners told me about Brent Dodge, an Annual Passholder who visited the four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks every day for 365 consecutive days, I couldn’t believe it. While I love the parks, just the idea of visiting every day while working full time has me exhausted!

TDD667854

I wanted to find out more, so I spoke with Brent myself to find out why he did it. First things first, he confessed that he hadn’t really passed through the turnstiles (or, in our new era of MyMagic+, ventured through the main entrance touch points) for a full year, “there were actually three days that I didn’t visit a park. I was on a Disney Cruise” he shared. Well, 365 days of Disney attractions, then. Consider me impressed.

TDD667855

Brent has been a Passholder since 2009, and currently carries the “Premier” pass, which also grants him access to Disneyland park. (I’d say he’s getting his money’s worth!) This Peter Pan’s Flight lover has visited the place where dreams come true since he was an infant, and when pressed for the “why” behind his latest all-year-long endeavor, he simply states, “Cause I’m a Disney nerd! If I live this close to Walt Disney World Resort, why wouldn’t I go every day? Especially when others are saving up thousands of dollars to go once in a lifetime.” Okay, he had me there.

TDD667853

The “official” milestone was reached on August 13; of the estimated 2,200 days Brent has spent at the parks over his lifetime, that day ranks among his all-time-top Disney memories. “A friend surprised me with a custom t-shirt from Disney Design-a-Tee at Downtown Disney; it features my favorite character, Scrooge McDuck. A few other friends met me at Magic Kingdom Park with signs to celebrate, and we had a great view of the parade. We got to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, followed by another beloved attraction, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – three times!”

I’ll admit, it does sound pretty magical. While most of my days are spent at the Downtown Disney area, now that fall is fast-approaching, I plan to spend more time following in Brent’s footsteps and enjoying all that Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

How about you … can you imagine a daily visit to the parks?

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Legends of Frontierland’ Extended at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush

I’ve got great news for you residents of Frontierland and Rainbow Ridge … “Legends of Frontierland” has been extended at Disneyland park! Originally scheduled to ride off into the sunset on September 1, this guest favorite will be around a bit longer – so if you haven’t chosen sides in the struggle for Frontierland, now is the time!

New to the story? Gather ‘round the campfire and catch up with these past Disney Parks Blog posts:

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Check out the sketch of this year’s gingerbread creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday, the masterful work of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. The masterpiece debuts when Haunted Mansion Holiday opens at Disneyland park on September 12.
HGH558534

“The Ghost Host of Haunted Mansion Holiday always says, ‘even a gingerbread house can be scary,’ and we’ve definitely taken the design towards scary this year,” says Tim Wollweber, Graphic Designer/Sculptor.

Of course, the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house adds a little whimsy with a hapless gingerbread zombie trapped inside – and those frightening spikes are very sharp, red-and-white candy canes. The gingerbread house also will feature opening and closing doors and lights.

The wood foundation is wired, then sent to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply 200 pounds of gingerbread, 200 pounds of royal icing, 150 pounds of fondant, and all sorts of other sticky treats. The gingerbread house stands at almost 7 feet tall.

There’s plenty of time to take it all in – Haunted Mansion Holiday goes through January 6, 2015.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

New and Returning Frightful Favorites During Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Halloween Time is just around the corner here at the Disneyland Resort, and already our guests have been purchasing tickets for the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party. Don’t have yours yet? Get them now right here!

New this year, the stars of “Frozen” – Elsa, Anna and Olaf – will appear in their special pre-parade prior to “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade.

Not to be outdone, the Disney villains have plenty of bad-apple fun planned for “Villains Square.” Throughout the evening, Disney villains such as Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts, Judge Frollo and Lady Tremaine will arrive in Town Square on a black horse-drawn carriage, inviting guests to party like a Villain!

Of course, there’s so much more to enjoy at Mickey’s Halloween Party, including:

  • The opportunity to play in Disneyland park three hours before the party starts
  • Trick or Treating for candy and healthy treats ­in the ultimate Disney neighborhood
  • “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular (presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party, weather permitting)
  • “Monsters U Dance Party” at Tomorrowland Terrace
  • Cadaver Dans, a ghoulish quartet performing Halloween-themed tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America
  • Access to your favorite Disneyland park attractions, including Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

So get your tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party here and join us for all the spooky fun!

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Special Events