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Disney VoluntEARS Around the Globe Bring Happiness to Kids During the Holidays

posted on December 20th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

As part of our commitment to be a good corporate citizen, and to give back to the communities we serve, Disney supports efforts around the world that make a positive impact on children and their families. Every year, tens of thousands of cast members make volunteering a priority, building on a tradition Walt Disney himself started when he – along with Disney animators – would visit local hospitals to draw characters for children.

This holiday season, as we continue to celebrate 30 years of the Disney VoluntEARS program, our cast members are donating their time in communities around the world.

As I shared in a previous blog post, Shanghai Disney Resort cast members and Imagineers recently visited a local children’s hospital. Halfway around the world in Hawaii, Disney VoluntEARS from Aulani, Disney Resort and Spa paid a special visit to two local hospitals, bringing Mickey, Minnie and Goofy along to help spread some holiday cheer.

Disneyland Resort held its annual holiday party for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), a tradition since 2001 for the Disneyland Food & Beverage team. Disney VoluntEARS hosted nearly 400 children and their families at an event that included Orange County’s longest “CHOC-olate” Yule Log, at more than 35 feet long, and a more than 7-foot-tall gingerbread creation based on “it’s a small world” attraction at Disneyland park .


Likewise, cast and crew members from Disney Cruise Line and Disney characters are visiting with more than 900 kids at schools, hospitals and children’s homes throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean this month.

Hong Kong Disneyland VoluntEARS handmade nearly 300 holiday wreaths entirely out of paper. Each one is different and created specifically for children in need. VoluntEARS also turned their monthly storytelling activities at a local public library into a holiday party featuring singers and dancers from the resort performing carols for about 100 children and their families.


At Disneyland Paris, Disney VoluntEARS are welcoming hundreds of underprivileged kids and families to the resort to celebrate the holidays. British Airways flew a group of 100 kids from the U.K. to Disneyland Paris earlier this week. And on Christmas Eve, local kids and families are invited to a themed brunch at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, followed by a day of face-painting, balloon workshops and fun in the parks.

VoluntEARS from Walt Disney World Resort have been collecting and donating more than 32,000 new toys, games and books to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots to benefit Orange and Seminole counties. They’ve also spent more than 6,000 hours helping to register families, and sort and pack the toys.


And in Burbank, Walt Disney Park & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and his leadership team spent an afternoon at the local Boys & Girls Club, painting buildings, assembling furniture and helping out with other improvement projects. Tom and the other VoluntEARS also spent quality time with club members, decorating cookies, Yule logs and a 300-pound gingerbread house baked by Disneyland Resort Central Bakery chef Christina Orejel and her team.


As part of the Walt Disney Imagineering 60th Anniversary in 2013, Imagineers pledged to take part in at least 60 outreach efforts in communities where Imagineering operates. This month, they completed their work on projects all over the world during the “60 for 60” initiative where they lent their unique talents to local communities by painting murals and designing a community garden.

On behalf of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Disney VoluntEARS everywhere, happy holidays! And check back throughout the month for more details on what Disney VoluntEARS are doing for the holidays.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Window Shopping at Disney Parks Around the World: Celebrate the Holidays

posted on December 4th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Are your bags packed? Because this latest window shopping post is all about discovering the magic of the holidays around the world.

Season’s Greetings! Mele Kalikimaka Shirts From Aulani Season’s Greetings! Mele Kalikimaka Shirts From Aulani

Are you celebrating your holidays with us at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? To get in the spirit of the season while you’re there, I’d recommend our Season’s Greetings! Mele Kalikimaka tees featuring Mickey Mouse. They come in both adult and kids sizes and make a great gift for the whole family.

If you’re like me, I’m partial to holiday ornaments. I won’t even begin to tell you how many I have. Not only do they make great decorations, but they become keepsakes that can often signify a special trip, experience or moment to treasure forever. For the best selection of ornaments, stop by Kālepa’s Store and Hale Manu to pick up one to commemorate your trip. I’m excited to see what you’ll choose, so let me know!


While I can take a Hawaiian holiday just about any day, it’s time for us to take flight and head over to Hong Kong Disneyland to visit my good friend Fion Lai and see what she has in store for us. “Christmas is a largely celebrated and festive season in Hong Kong,” said Fion. “There are over 110 Christmas collectibles available at Hong Kong Disneyland. You’ll find a range of specially themed merchandise, including warm winter wear featuring some of our beloved Disney friends, an assortment of exciting toys, including this year’s Mickey and Minnie plush in their Christmas attire, limited edition pins as well as sweets and treats, like delicious cookies, which are sure to delight!”

Hong Kong Disneyland Holiday Personalized Ornaments Hong Kong Disneyland Holiday Phone Cases

I asked Fion what one of her favorite holiday gifts would be and here’s what she shared. This year, you can add a name or personal message to an enchanting range of unique Disney Christmas ornaments or choose from new festive Disney designs for the holiday season at “D-Tech Yourself.” It’s so fun for our guests to customize a smart phone or tablet case with names or phrases that truly make it a unique gift.”

Disneyland Paris Minnie Holiday Ornament Disneyland Paris Mickey Holiday Ornament

Time to keep moving! Our last window shopping stop for the day, Disneyland Paris! I had a chance to chat briefly with Product Developer, Regis Alart who gave me all of the inside scoop on what we could expect to find as we celebrate Joyeux Noel. “This year our Entertainment and Merchandise departments have teamed up to tell a new holiday story,” said Regis. “Guests can now decorate their trees with ornaments inspired by the ones featured on the new 78 foot tall Christmas tree that stands proudly in Town Square.”


“This same tree is the center piece of this year’s artwork which you will find on a variety of holiday items,” Regis shared. “Indeed, the scene is set in the very heart of Main Street, U.S.A. with a view that faithfully depicts the various decorations it dons during this cheerful season.”

“New this year and a top holiday pick for me”, said Regis, “is the Disneyland Paris Poster Series. There are over 25 different attraction and restaurant themed posters to choose from on our Art on Demand Kiosk at The Disney Gallery in Disney Village.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. This virtual jet lag is really getting to me! No matter where you celebrate around the world, happy holidays!

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Filed: Aulani, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney Parks Attractions Honored with Thea Awards

posted on November 19th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

Earlier today at a special ceremony in Orlando, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the winners of the 20th Thea Awards, recognizing excellence in the creation of extraordinary visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. This year, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts received three awards that highlight both new and classic attractions and experiences in our parks from Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort to Hong Kong Disneyland:

“It is very rewarding to be honored by the Themed Entertainment Association, which represents our peers throughout the industry. We are especially proud that all three of these projects represent the best of Disney storytelling and the spirit of innovation we bring to our guests,” said Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering.


Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland received the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction, which noted the original storyline, special effects, Audio-Animatronics technology, musical score by Danny Elfman, and the trackless, wire-guided ride vehicles as reasons for excellence. TEA noted that “Mystic Manor exemplifies the seamless integration of the latest technology with true state-of-the-art storytelling.”


Enchanted Tales with Belle, part of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park, received the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Participatory Character Greeting for being “far more than the typical character greeting experience… It is a creative blend of excellent design, imaginative interactivity and technical wizardry.”


Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary at Disneyland park, has received the Thea Classic award. This landmark attraction is “the world’s first Audio-Animatronics show – introducing a new technology that soon became one of the dominant tools used by designers and engineers in our industry.” Past Disney winners of the Thea Classic Award have included Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean (both at Disneyland park), Disneyland park itself, and Epcot.

Each of the winning projects will be recognized at the Thea Awards ceremony, a black-tie gala to be held April 5, 2014, at the Disneyland Hotel.

Congratulations to all of our Thea Award winners!

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Window Shopping at Disney Parks Around the World: Boo-tiful Merchandise Materializes at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on October 31st, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

I don’t want to appear completely transparent when I tell you this, but I love the merchandise that has recently materialized at Hong Kong Disneyland. I channeled my counterpart Fion Lai, and she told me she had special treats in store for you, and she was right! Take a look at the frightfully fun Halloween-inspired t-shirts, plush, frames, headwear, D-Tech, keepsake boxes, pens and keychains.


Looking for something else to get you in the spirit? Check out the collection of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” merchandise including a t-shirt, headwear, plush, pillows, frames, totes, drinkware, a watch, D-Tech, pins and Vinylmation.


Because we are literally window shopping, I must remind you there isn’t a ghost of a chance of actually being able to purchase this product, unless you and/or someone you know is visiting Hong Kong Disneyland. But I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into the crystal ball to see what is happening at Disney Parks around the world.

For more window shopping posts, click the links below:

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Take The ‘Scream-No-More Challenge’ At Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on October 18th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

As much as I love celebrating Halloween at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park, I do love to see how our other parks – especially our international ones – celebrate this time of year.

Hong Kong Disneyland Launches ‘Scream-No-More Challenge’

This fall, Hong Kong Disneyland launched a new Halloween offering as a part of their Disney’s Haunted Halloween celebration. It’s called the “Scream-No-More Challenge” and allows guests to explore the seven lands at the park, stopping at attractions and scare checkpoints that test their ability to hold back screams. Checkpoints include a new Sideshow Carnival Extraordinaire, Grizzly Gulch Halloween Fair, Tomorrowland Party Zone, and more. (Some guests may even scream with delight when they see Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends dressed up in Halloween attire!).

The offering will run Thursdays-Sundays through October 31, at the park. Be sure to check out the photo gallery above for more.

To see how Halloween is celebrated at other Disney Parks, check out the list of stories below.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Disney’s Haunted Halloween Returns to Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on October 17th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager

Tonight’s “Disney Parks After Dark” photo is great shot that was taken at Disney’s Haunted Halloween celebration at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Haunted Halloween celebration At Hong Kong Disneyland

Here, the park’s hub area in front of the castle has become occupied by the Chernabog from “Fantasia” as a part of the park’s Scream No More challenge – checkpoints throughout the park that are so spooky they dare guests not to scream. What an amazing sight!

Disney’s Haunted Halloween celebration runs through October 31 at the park, and also includes live entertainment in Tomorrowland, guest makeovers at the “Boo-Tique”, a Sideshow Carnival Extraordinaire in Adventureland, more than 100 special treats and kinds of merchandise, and much more.

Check out this list of related blog posts to see how other parks around the world are celebrating Halloween after dark!

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Marvel’s Iron Man Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016

posted on October 8th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

As I’ve often said, one of the greatest things about Disney is the treasure trove of characters and rich stories we have to draw upon for the immersive experiences we provide our guests around the world. With Marvel joining the Disney family in 2009, our character and story base grew even further, and the anticipation for how Marvel comes to life in our parks and resorts continues to energize our guests and cast.


That’s why it was so exciting earlier today at Hong Kong Disneyland to announce that the very first Disney attraction based on a Marvel character experience will debut in Hong Kong Disneyland. And I’m excited to be able to share some of the initial details with you today about this Iron Man Experience.


Audiences around the world have been captivated by the amazing inventions and innovations of Tony Stark and we’re basing this experience within a piece of the Stark Expo. Located in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Expo will allow guests to see firsthand the progression of Tony’s Iron Man suits and many other Stark innovations.

Upon entering the ride vehicle our guests will be able to take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that not surprisingly pits Iron Man, and our guests, against the forces of evil. This adventure will take place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong, which will make an even more unique and special experience for our Hong Kong Disneyland guests. In addition, guests will be able to meet and take photos with Iron Man.


It’s obviously no secret that Marvel’s Iron Man movies are immensely popular, and we expect this experience will emulate the success of our most recent expansion – Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point – all of which have been huge hits with our guests.

We are extremely confident in and committed to the continued growth and success of Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m excited to see Iron Man become a part of that success when we welcome guests to the attraction in late 2016.

For more Hong Kong Disneyland news, read the posts below:


Filed: Hong Kong Disneyland

Window Shopping at Disney Parks Around the World: Hong Kong Disneyland 8th Anniversary Merchandise

posted on September 3rd, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

Are you ready for more jet-setting? We’re heading back to Hong Kong Disneyland for a “window shopping” trip in celebration of their 8th anniversary. It’s hard to believe how fast the years have flown by – it seems like just yesterday we helped celebrate the grand opening. My good friend, Merchandise Communications counterpart and former Hong Kong Disneyland Ambassador Fion Lai, had so much to share with me recently about some of the new merchandise available in celebration of the 8th anniversary, and I knew exactly what to do: Share it with you!

“The teams have been working so hard and have created over a hundred new items for the 8th anniversary celebration. I wanted our Disney fans both here and abroad to be able to get the first look at some of the new merchandise that will be debuting,” said Fion.
Window Shopping at Disney Parks: Hong Kong Disneyland 8th Anniversary Merchandise

“Eight is a lucky number to the Chinese people,” said Fion. “It means prosperity and wealth. We hope that this will bring luck, joy and treasured memories to all of our guests who have the chance to visit Hong Kong Disneyland this year.”

Here’s a closer look!

Window Shopping at Disney Parks: Hong Kong Disneyland 8th Anniversary Merchandise Window Shopping at Disney Parks: Hong Kong Disneyland 8th Anniversary Merchandise Window Shopping at Disney Parks: Hong Kong Disneyland 8th Anniversary Merchandise

I asked Fion to pick at least one item she would consider her absolute favorite. Here’s what she chose. “If I had to pick one item, I would choose the limited edition watch,” said Fion. “What I love about this piece is that you find Mickey emblazoned on the front in the 8th anniversary logo, and on the back of the watch, the castle.”

I hope you join me in wishing Fion and our friends and family at Hong Kong Disneyland a Happy Anniversary, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest “window shopping” trip.

Our next stop will no doubt include surf and sand… do you know where we’re headed?

Check out more posts in our “Window Shopping at Disney Parks” series:

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Behind The Scenes: Exploring the New Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on May 23rd, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks

When we shared a first peek at Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland, I know many Disney Parks Blog readers immediately added it to their “must do” list – me too. Today, there’s even more to share. Walt Disney Imagineering’s creative executive Joe Lanzisero is taking us on a behind-the-scenes tour of Lord Henry’s stately Victorian mansion.

One of the critical elements for making Mystic Manor a great attraction was the music and the addition of legendary composer Danny Elfman, according to Joe. “Danny has the ability to create tension and excitement but there is always a grin underlying it,” he said. “He has a sense of scary fun, so Danny was perfect.”

Along with an amazing soundtrack, the attraction features a trackless ride system and combines innovative special effects, state-of-the-art technology and Disney storytelling to create an immersive experience.

Mystic Manor opened on May 17 so you can now tour Lord Henry’s home yourself by boarding his latest invention – the “Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage.” But be sure to keep an eye open for Albert, Lord Henry’s pet monkey, because when he opens a peculiar music box in the museum, all of Mystic Manor’s contents magically come to life.

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Window Shopping at Disney Parks Around the World: Mystic Point Merchandise at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on May 14th, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

I hope you’re packed, because we are on to our next window shopping excursion. Are you ready to visit Hong Kong Disneyland?

I was so excited to see the Disney Parks Blog post from fellow author and Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Tom Staggs, who gave all of you the first look at Mystic Point, the final chapter of the current expansion project at Hong Kong Disneyland, opening May 17, 2013.

An adventurer and shopper at heart, I of course had to know what kind of merchandise would be offered as part of the opening of this exciting new attraction. Luckily, I was able to get the inside scoop from my Merchandise Communications counterpart and former Hong Kong Disneyland Ambassador, Fion Lai.

“If you plan to visit Mystic Point, then The Archive Shop is one place you don’t want to miss.” says Fion. “There will be over 140 different Mystic Point merchandise items available to our adventurers and explorers. You’ll find tees, plush, toys, artwork, pins, drinkware and more themed to Mystic Manor and Mickey’s Family Adventures through Mystic Manor, as well as glow-in-the-dark memorabilia and a selection of rare collections from treasures and mementos that Lord Henry has found at Disney Parks and attractions around the world.”
Window Shopping at Disney Parks Around the World: Mystic Point Merchandise at Hong Kong Disneyland

“There is so much detail that has gone into this new assortment,” says Fion. “Our teams have even designed travel accessories based on Lord Henry’s expeditions. Since he is one of the official members of the S.E.A. (Society of Explorers and Adventurers), he is always prepared to travel, and now you can be too. You’ll find a selection of leather travel accessories available to purchase, including a passport cover, luggage tag and bag tag and more.”

“There’s one final thing I have to show you.” says Fion. “One of my absolute favorite items is the limited-edition Grand Opening Music Box jumbo pin. It slides open just like the actual magical music box from the attraction. Take a look for yourself – isn’t it amazing?”
Limited-Edition Grand Opening Music Box Jumbo Pin at Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland

While I know that Fion hopes to see many of you at the opening of Mystic Manor, I know I’m glad that you could join us today for a quick “window shopping” opportunity and your first official glimpse into the world of Mystic Point merchandise.

Where in the world should we go next?

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