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Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Celebrates 50 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on July 20th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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On July 18, 1965, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln officially opened at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland park. Walt Disney first debuted the attraction honoring our 16th president in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, and after earning international acclaim, made Main Street, U.S.A., its permanent home the following year.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln not only pays tribute to history, but it marks a milestone in Audio-Animatronics technology. Debuting one year after Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room introduced Audio-Animatronics figures, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was the very first attraction to use the breakthrough technology to create a lifelike human figure.

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In 2009, the classic attraction was refined to incorporate advanced Audio-Animatronics technology. Before the opening of The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, we gave you an in-depth look at the Lincoln figure’s extraordinarily realistic expressions and took you behind the programming board to see how Walt Disney Imagineering integrated modern enhancements with elements of the original show.

Now, fifty years after its original opening, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln continues to bring history to life and dazzle guests at Disneyland park.

What is one of your favorite moments from Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln?

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Behind the Scenes of Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland Park with Walt Disney Imagineering

posted on July 1st, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Peter Pan’s Flight is open once again for Disneyland park guests after a recent refurbishment which added new magic and effects throughout the classic attraction. Join Imagineers Larry Nikolai and Elisabeth Papadopoulos for a scene-by-scene tour of these additions in the video below!

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First Look: New Magic Added to Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland Park

posted on June 26th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We’re just a few days away from the reopening of Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland park, and today I’ve got a sneak peek at the new magic that awaits guests in this classic attraction.

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As we first told you back in April, Walt Disney Imagineering has brought a little bit of pixie dust to this opening-day favorite, with a reimagined nursery scene and a variety of special effects. And look closely as your pirate ship flies by to catch a glimpse of Peter Pan’s shadow!

You can experience the new magic at Peter Pan’s Flight for yourself when the attraction reopens July 1.

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Behind the Scenes of Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park with Walt Disney Imagineering

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Matterhorn Bobsleds recently reopened at Disneyland park, following a refurbishment that brought many new creative elements to this classic attraction – including a whole new look for its most famous resident, the Abominable Snowman. In the video below, Walt Disney Imagineering takes us for a behind-the-scenes look at how this new look was created.

Have you seen the Abominable Snowman’s new look for yourself? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Walt Disney Imagineering Graphic Designer at the Disneyland Resort

posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


As a graphic designer, Imagineer Kirstin Makela visually communicates Disney stories throughout the Disneyland Resort, even designing many of the graphics for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Appropriately enough, we are featuring her in our 60th episode of Every Role a Starring Role!

Which graphic design in this video is your favorite?

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D23 Celebrates Disneyland Resort

posted on May 26th, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


The new issue of Disney twenty-three is a love letter to Walt Disney’s original theme park with more than 40 pages of photographs, artwork and stories that span from the inception of Disneyland to the excitement of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

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D23, Disney’s Official Fan Club, takes readers on a fabulous and fascinating journey in the new issue, available exclusively to D23 Gold Members. Disney Legend Marty Sklar and Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn take a stroll through the park together reminiscing about Disneyland’s rich history while looking to its exciting future.

Plus there’s something for every Disneyland fan, from features about the pitch portfolio full of dazzling concept artwork used to sell Walt’s dream of Disneyland to East Coast investors and a story on unique collectibles through the years to a look at rare photographs from the Disneyland Hotel and a “sampling” of some of our favorite park treats (churro, anyone?).

Dive in and enjoy, and if you’re not already a D23 Gold Member, you can join today and get more information here.

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The Disney Gallery Unveils New Exhibit for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


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May 22 is finally here, and the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is underway! While there’s so much to see and do, one place I couldn’t resist visiting on one of my shopping adventures was The Disney Gallery located in the lobby of The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. A new exhibit was unveiled just this morning — Drawing Disneyland: The Early Years – Imagineers Who Helped Bring Walt’s Dream To Life.

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I had the chance to get the back-story about this exciting new exhibit which of course, I wanted to share with all of you:

Walt Disney had an idea for “a family park, where parents and children could have fun together.” Problem is, he didn’t know how to design and build it. Unfortunately, neither did the architecture and engineering firm he hired. That’s when Walt’s longtime friend, architect Welton Becket, told him the best people to design the park were his own animators and art directors. These were the people who best understood Walt and what he wanted to do.

So in 1952 Walt formed WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) and recruited members of his own staff from the Disney Studio, as well as designers and artists from other studios, to help him develop this new kind of park he was calling Disneyland. Though none of them had ever designed theme parks (Who had at that time?), they did know, with their film backgrounds and set-designing skills, how to turn Walt’s ideas into concept sketches and detailed renderings.

Drawing Disneyland celebrates five of those artists, all with experience in live-action and animated films, each of whom played a key role in the development of one of the original lands of Disneyland – and ultimately proved Welton Becket right. Who are they? I won’t leave you in suspense any further.

Harper Goff – Adventureland
John Hench – Tomorrowland
Harry Johnson – Main Street, U.S.A.
Bill Martin – Fantasyland
Sam McKim – Frontierland

I hope during your next visit you’ll enjoy this historical retrospective, which showcases the rich heritage and history of the Disneyland Resort — from how far we’ve come to where we’re headed.

Special Tip: If you find a favorite piece of art on display in the new exhibit, stop next store at Disneyana Gifts to inquire whether it is available to purchase via Art on Demand, and bring the magic of Disney, home.

What places are on your list to visit today?

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New Construction Milestone as Golden Spire Tops Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We are excited to announce that Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated a major construction milestone this week with the topping out of the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Our leaders – Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, and Tom Staggs, chief operating officer – were at the resort to witness the installation of the extraordinary gold finial atop the tallest of the eight towers of the castle.

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New Construction Milestone as Golden Spire Tops Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort New Construction Milestone as Golden Spire Tops Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort

Shanghai Disney Resort is one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever undertaken at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and the magnificent Enchanted Storybook Castle will serve as its fitting icon. The castle will be the tallest structure at the resort and the most complex and largest Disney castle ever built. It will feature a beautiful winding staircase leading guests on a “Once Upon a Time Adventure” and exciting retail, dining and entertainment. Walt Disney Imagineering was recently recognized by the American Institute for Architects for its successful application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the design of the castle, showcasing the technology and innovation used in the castle’s development.

A Golden Peony on the Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort A Golden Peony on the Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort

This castle was designed specifically for the people of China, with input from many collaborative partnerships with international and local experts. The golden finial installed this week was made locally in Shanghai and is topped with a peony – the flower of China – which is placed atop a cascade of Disney stars. Another one of the golden finials has traditional Chinese “lucky” cloud patterns, peonies and lotus and features Magnolia flowers — which represent Shanghai — and a Disney crown to symbolize Disney princesses.

We look forward to bringing timeless Disney stories to the people of China with the opening of the resort next spring. We’ll continue to have more updates here on the Disney Parks Blog!

For more about Shanghai Disney Resort, visit the posts below:

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Behind the Scenes: Building Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Harambe Market, a new area that will serve-up African-inspired street food, is set to open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at just how the team is currently working together to bring this new area to life.

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Check out the video below to hear how members of the project team traveled to Lamu, Kenya to study architecture, learn how African foods and spices inspired parts of the area’s storyline, and much more.

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Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park: Then and Now…

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’re continuing our special image series “Then and Now” with a look at how Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort has changed over the years. Scroll back and forth to see both views.

When Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, Tomorrowland featured Grand Prix Raceway, Flight to the Moon, the Skyway to Fantasyland and the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Over the next few years, other attractions were added, including Star Jets, Space Mountain and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

Tomorrowland underwent a major redesign in 1995, when Walt Disney Imagineers changed the land’s theming to be inspired by science fiction instead of scientific fact. This change brought attractions like The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, The Timekeeper, etc., as well as a new Tomorrowland entrance marker.

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