The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Fourth of July Inspires Light Painting at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Walt Disney famously said, “…curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” At Disney Parks, we are fortunate to work with some very curious — and creative — minds. Two of these creative cast members, Paul Chase and Matt Stewart, recently took a vacation trip with their families. On the trip, they were inspired after watching their children playing and dancing around the campsite with flashlights.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

After seeing their kids creating circles and shapes with the flashlights, they wondered if they could sketch Disney characters, in midair, using handheld light sources and long camera exposures. So, Paul and Matt tried drawing the iconic profile of Mickey Mouse using this technique (often called “light painting”). The pair posted the image on their Twitter and Facebook pages, and followers and friends asked for more.

We asked Paul, a Disney Parks Content Producer, and Matt, a Yellow Shoes Creative Group Art Director, what other illuminated creations they could produce. The following is the result of a late evening this week in Magic Kingdom Park, using a variety of lighting sources. Paul was behind the camera as Matt was “drawing” in midair.

Light Painting in Magic Kingdom Park for the Fourth of July Holiday

“As a Disney art director, I doodle Mickey, Pluto and Goofy everywhere. So when Paul suggested we do some long exposure photography, it was a natural for me to try and do a Mickey Mouse in the air,” Matt said.

Once they started doodling, their ideas grew. “A lot of this was trial and error,” Paul said. “Should we draw Mickey head-on or profile? Profile, it is! Should we use only our flashlights or something else? What about color?”

We hope you enjoy their July 4th edition of Disney Side light painting. They created several other sparkling surprises, so look for a second edition of their work in an upcoming post on the Disney Parks Blog.

(*Note: while the pair utilized sparklers, they were used in a very controlled environment and with proper personnel on-site. We do not recommend doing this without supervision and safety measures. If you attempt we suggest using LED penlights of different colors, as Paul and Matt did in several of these artful creations.)

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First Look Inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With our summer-long celebration of Disney’s “Frozen” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting on Saturday, July 5, I wanted to give you a first look inside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland. Located in Soundstage One between Toy Story Midway Mania and the Studio Backlot Tour, Oaken and his cousins have created a cold-weather wonderland filled with a frozen pond for ice skating demonstrations, photo opportunities, play areas, food and beverage kiosks, and a merchandise shop.

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Upon entering Soundstage One, guests pass by the trading post front porch on the way to the frozen pond and the merchandise location. My first stop was the ice skating rink located in the same space recently occupied by Darth’s Mall during Star Wars Weekends 2014. Surrounded by snow-covered trees, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the pond – it’s summer in Florida and I was staring at ice! I haven’t been skating since I lived in Ohio many years ago, so I can’t wait to go.

My next stop was the trading post, which is located in the front area of Soundstage One. This location will be home to a large assortment of “Frozen” merchandise. I found dolls, toys, plush, apparel, consumables, pins and much more. The assortment will evolve throughout the summer as additional items arrive at Disney Parks, like the recently discussed Olaf merchandise I shared in this article.

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We will be releasing a new D-Tech on Demand cases for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5S on Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This artwork will also be added to the D-Tech on Demand boutique inside the recently opened Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The Marketplace Co-Op location will have a few designs not found anywhere else, while the “Frozen Summer Fun” design will only be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Coming next week, we will release three open edition, retail MagicBands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with pre-printed images of Elsa, Anna and Olaf. As with all retail MagicBand purchases, guests must present one of the following for the MagicBand to be linked to at the time of purchase: valid theme park admission, Memory Maker card or another MagicBand. These items will not be available for purchase online or via Merchandise Guest Services.

I hope you are able to join us this summer as the celebration runs through September 1. Below is a gallery of a few additional things I found during my visit.

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

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Disney Parks After Dark: Beast’s Castle After Sundown

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


Check out this amazing image, which was shot by photographer Tom Bricker. It depicts sunset from Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Is this one of your favorite areas of the park to watch the sunset? Tell us in the “Comments” section below and be sure to click through the gallery for more after dark shots snapped at Disney Parks.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Through The Years

posted on June 26th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


With all the exciting changes coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, I thought it would be fun to look at a guest room through the years. (No signage changed yet! This picture below is from 1989.)

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Inside the photo gallery you can take a look at guest rooms from 1972 until 2013. (Please note this is not a comprehensive look – just select photos from our archives.)

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Disney Institute Reimagines Professional Development Courses Offered at Disney Parks

posted on June 24th, 2014 by Geoffrey Pointon, Public Relations Manager, Disney Institute


Today’s business landscape is ever evolving due to new technologies and the ability to critique businesses in the palm of your hand. To be successful, professionals and organizations alike have to constantly adapt to stay relevant and ensure a positive customer experience. This begs the question, how do you stay ahead of your competition in today’s unique business environment?

Over the past two decades professionals have looked to Disney Institute, the external business and professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company, to help advance their business brilliance. Today, Disney Institute is proud to announce the new 2014-2015 business excellence curriculum – a series of accredited professional development courses.

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We’ve reimagined our program to help professionals navigate the complexities of a dynamic business environment to address the shift in consumer expectations, and the evolution of social media. Our trained facilitators teach Disney best practices and methodologies to ensure participants are challenged to think differently, and motivated to take action. At the heart of the 2014-2015 curriculum are our core principles of leadership, culture, service, brand, and innovation.

Courses are offered at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort where professionals receive behind-the-scenes access to learn the secrets of the Walt Disney Company’s customer service, and witness these principles of business excellence in action. The curriculum is offered throughout the year, and is available in one-or multi-day sessions.

In addition, Disney Institute works with both small companies and multi-national organizations to develop custom business solutions that help companies achieve their business goals. In these engagements, Disney Institute infuses the time-tested strategies, insights and business practices established by The Walt Disney Company into customized solutions to meet each client’s unique goals.

To see how Disney Institute can help with your professional business development, visit: DisneyInstituteCourses.com.

How will you take your professional business development to the next level with Disney Institute?

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Ratatouille Comes to Life at Disneyland Paris

posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Over the weekend, Disneyland Paris previewed La Place de Rémy – a new area dedicated to the Disney•Pixar movie “Ratatouille.” The special themed-area will bring the storybook world of Ratatouille to life when it officially opens in just weeks – on July 10, 2014.

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The dedication of La Place de Rémy happened in Walt Disney Studios Park at a ceremony that included Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, as well as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney SAS Philippe Gas, and stars from the film.

“When we turn amazing worlds that may only exist in our imaginations or on film into multi-dimensional theme park experiences, we give our guests the opportunity to step into a story that they love. And Ratatouille is a fantastic example of that,” Tom said.

La Place de Rémy will feature the new Ratatouille, l’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy attraction that we told you about here on the Disney Parks Blog. The new attraction whisks guests into a crazy, culinary adventure in one of the capital’s most chic dining establishments, Chez Gusteau, offering a comical rat’s eye view into the world of Remy. Guests begin their adventure on the rooftops of Paris before boarding ratmobiles to scurry though the restaurant’s cold store and dining room overseen by the intimidating Chef Skinner.

And with a design inspired by the French capital represented in the movie, the area will also include Bistrot Chez Rémy, a table-service restaurant, and a special boutique, Chez Marianne (Souvenirs de Paris) – which opens at the end of the 2014.

Let us know in the comments what you’re looking forward to experiencing at La Place de Rémy.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Moon Over Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 19th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


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This photo seems to be all about a full moon … but is it? With a closer look, you’ll see that it’s framed by the neon lights on top of Luigi’s Casa della Tires – the entrance to Luigi’s Flying Tires in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. I wanted to share this photo with you as part of our “Disney Parks After Dark” series because even though it is a bit abstract, unique details still make it a recognizable location at the Disneyland Resort.

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Guests React to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on June 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train officially debuted in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park just about three weeks ago. We recently headed out to the park to ask some guests their thoughts on the new attraction just after their first ride through it. Check out the video below to hear their reviews for yourself!

Have you experienced Seven Dwarfs Mine Train yet? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

See the posts below for more on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train:

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Disney Parks Blog Readers ‘Meet-Up’ For ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’

posted on June 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Over the weekend, hundreds of Disney Parks Blog readers gathered for a sneak preview of “Planes: Fire & Rescue” at AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Walt Disney World Resort.
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In addition to seeing the film, which tells the story of a crew of elite firefighting aircrafts who protect the historic Piston Peak National Park from wildfires, our guests also heard some “making-of” details from Producer Ferrell Barron and Director/Co-Writer Roberts “Bobs” Gannaway.
Disney Parks Blog Readers ‘Meet-Up’ For ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’

“Planes: Fire & Rescue” will open in theaters on July 18, 2014.

Be sure to check out our recap of the event in the video below.

Did you attend our meet-up? Let us know in the “Comments” section below!

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Sights & Sounds of Disney Parks: Here, There and Mary Blair

posted on June 16th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Raise your hand if you grew up enjoying your Disney favorites through the magic of Golden Books. Did you wear them out like the rest of us did? Have you shared several of them with successive generations?

You’re in good company. So did animation giants such as “Brave” co-director Brenda Chapman, “Toy Story” art director Ralph Eggleston, “Monsters, Inc.” and “Up” director Pete Docter, “Beauty and the Beast” animator Glen Keane and “Lilo and Stitch” director Chris Sanders, as well as master illustrators Peter Emslie and Russell Schroeder.

Like Disney Theme Parks movies and music, you didn’t just stare passively at Disney Golden Books — you entered them and lived in their world. And you can do it now in the new book, The Art of Disney Golden Books.

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In this sumptuously illustrated book, renowned animation author and historian Charles Solomon takes you through decades of fascinating history of Golden Books, including its long association with the Walt Disney Studios. He also lovingly elaborates on the masterful elements that make each selection so outstanding, with exclusive commentary from Disney and Pixar artists, past and present. It’s like taking a tour with a learned guide and a coterie of seasoned experts, who explain the how and why of the tones, colors, textures and other details.

These artists and filmmakers are quick to share their enthusiasm for the “who’s-who” of great Disney artists, including several whose work added magic to Disney movies, books — and even theme park attractions for over 75 years. The paintings of watercolorist Gustaf Tenggren, for example, helped inspire the overall look of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” film in 1937 as well as the attraction, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014!

“I can’t tell you how many times Mary Blair comes up in discussions, or an illustration somebody saw in a Golden Book,” says “Up” Producer Jonas Rivera in this book. “They really are a source of a lot of the color, inspiration and storytelling here at Pixar.”

The beloved Mary Blair seems to become a stronger creative influence with every passing day. You may have read about her on the Disney Parks Blog in connection with the 50th anniversary of her favorite project, “it’s a small world.” Mary illustrated Golden Books too, one of which so enchanted First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as she read it repeatedly to her daughter Caroline, she wrote to Mary personally expressing sincere thanks.

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In addition to finding The Art of Disney Golden Books in select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort shops, you’ll also want to pick up the shiny new edition of John Canemaker’s bestseller, The Art and Flair of Mary Blair. This Disney fan favorite tells the story of how Mary captured Walt’s imagination for decades, leading to groundbreaking design and color styling for “Alice in Wonderland“, “Peter Pan“, “Cinderella” and such classic short cartoons as “Susie”, the “Little Blue Coupe” and “The Little House”.

Included in this lovely book are photos of Mary’s eye-popping paintings and collages for “it’s a small world” and even scenes of her creating the famous tile mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. So, that’s two great books available at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World shops, or by calling Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477.

Mary Blair’s artwork is like Disney Parks visits — you can’t get enough of them! So if you are planning to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum at The Presidio in San Francisco, you’ll want to marvel at the massive exhibit Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair, now through September 7, 2014. If you can’t make it out there in person, the next best thing is getting the gorgeous book with the same title. It’s filled with its art treasures selected by exhibit curator John Canemaker and can be found at your favorite book store or online retailer.

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