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New Details Unveiled on Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s ‘Rivers of Light’

posted on November 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

When our new nighttime experience “Rivers of Light” opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’ll be one of the most memorable and emotionally stirring shows in the park’s history. And today we’re sharing a sneak peek at some of the amazing sights the show will offer when it debuts in spring 2016.


The show will take place on Discovery River between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest – take a close look and you can you see the Tree of Life in the background. In “Rivers of Light,” a pair of mystical hosts come to the river bearing gifts of light. During the show, the hosts set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels for a dramatic dance of water and light to summon animal spirits. With the storytellers as your guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” builds to a stunning crescendo.


In addition to the show, you’ll also notice the park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo an amazing awakening as the animal spirits of the tree are brought to “light” by magical fireflies, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.

To create “Rivers of Light,” Imagineers and Creative Entertainment partnered with the talents of master puppet designer Michael Curry, composer Mark Mancina and the filmmakers at Disneynature. According to Imagineer Joe Rohde, in an interview excerpt from the latest Disney Vacation Planning DVD, the addition of “Rivers of Light” to the park’s offerings will serve as that huge “wow” moment that ends a guest’s visit to the park.

We look forward to sharing even more about the new nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the coming months, right here on Disney Parks Blog.

For more information on planning a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, click here.

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Take a Break at Refreshment Point at Grizzly Peak Airfield in Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 14th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure park takes guests back to the road-trip days of the 1950s and ‘60s with unique locations like the recently opened Refreshment Point. Just outside of Humphrey’s Service & Supplies, this quick stop is the place to mix and match cold Coca-Cola products at Coke Freestyle machines, whose unique look is inspired by Coke machines from the 1950s. Reminiscent of classic roadside refreshment stops, the location includes a vintage car loaded with camping supplies and other authentic details. Take a look at the video below to learn more about this vehicle and get a peek at Imagineers rolling it into its new home.

Did you notice the license plate of the car reads “RED 110”? If you know the significance of these letters and numbers, leave your guesses in the comments and I’ll be back later with the answer!

UPDATE: Jennifer and Christopher are correct! “RED 110″ is a tribute to Roy E. Disney, whose career began with the “True-Life Adventure” series, which was one of the inspirations for Grizzly Peak Airfield. Roy continued to be passionate about – and influential in – The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to preserving wildlife. And 110 is a reference to his birthday, January 10.

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Imagineers Team Up with CAL FIRE to Create Story of Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 7th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Grizzly Peak Airfield takes Disney California Adventure park guests into California’s High Sierras and tells the story of the brave men and women who fight wildfires in our California forests. To create the story of Grizzly Peak Airfield, Walt Disney Imagineering turned to the experts at CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), even visiting Hemet-Ryan Airfield in California for research. Since this is Fire Prevention Week, I thought this would be the perfect time to share this story with you here on the Disney Parks Blog.


Soon after Grizzly Peak Airfield opened, two of the CAL FIRE officers who worked closely with Imagineers on the project – Captain Richard Cordova and Captain Lucas Spelman – visited the land with the Walt Disney Imagineering team they had inspired. They are pictured in the photo above with Ray Spencer, Brian Scholz and Carolyn Gardner – part of the creative team responsible for bringing the area to life.


I recently had the chance to ask Captain Cordova and Captain Spelman about the experience of helping create a land at Disney California Adventure park.

What role did you play in helping Walt Disney Imagineering create the story of Grizzly Peak Airfield?

Captain Cordova: I shared my knowledge of the fire service from the 1950s-1960s – both ground attack and air attack. We gave them period-specific articles to display throughout the area, donated by our CAL FIRE museum, including old pictures and manuals from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Our biggest contribution has been the continued knowledge of CAL FIRE, United States Forest Service and other fire departments.

Captain Spelman: My role was to bring to life our knowledge and love for our career, bring forth our rich history and to evaluate Grizzly Peak Airfield as it related to our profession. Let me just say that this was an experience that truly was incredible.

What did you show the Imagineers on their research visit to Hemet-Ryan Airfield that made its way into the new land?

Captain Cordova: We gave them a tour of the airbase, sharing with them the history and showing them our aircraft: Airtankers S2-T, Airattack OV-10 Bronco and the Super Huey Helicopter. During the tour we got a fire dispatch, so they got to see the aircraft in action. We also had lunch at Bambi’s Café down the street, which is where the Imagineers got a lot of their ideas for Smokejumpers Grill.

Captain Spelman: I enjoy the Mt. Muir Lookout at Grizzly Peak Airfield. This was based on our traffic control tower, which was also a lookout tower before it was placed into service at CAL FIRE Ryan Air Attack Base. I also loved the gear lockers that were placed between Humphrey’s and the restrooms. This is where some of the items from our CAL FIRE museum were placed. I was just taken aback by the time put into every last item placed throughout the this beautiful area.

What is your favorite detail in Grizzly Peak Airfield?

Captain Cordova: Wow, that’s a hard question – it’s all amazing. It’s great how the Imagineers can take some information from a tour and from us and turn it into a land.

Captain Spelman: My favorite detail of this area has to be the flow from Grizzly River Run to Grizzly Peak Airfield, with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in the background. It brings me back to my childhood, when my family would travel to parks throughout the state. The trees, the park signs, the lighting all come together to really bring the experience back to me.


Which of your own personal items are inside the lockers at Grizzly Peak Airfield? How were they chosen?

Captain Cordova: The old fire equipment, axes, nozzles and Nomex. The best part is having my name in the locker.

Captain Spelman: The lockers will always have a special place in my heart. There are two brass firefighting nozzles that I had picked up from a local garage sale. One was what we call a “combination nozzle” and the other a “straight stream nozzle.” I was never sure what I was going to use them for, but I could tell they had done some firefighting and needed a good home. Well, when the Imagineers said they would like additional items from the fire department, I knew just the pieces to be considered for Grizzly Peak Airfield. Although there are many items from our CAL FIRE museum in these lockers, the two nozzles will always be personal for me.


As Annual Passholders, what does the park mean to you and what does this land in particular mean to you with its new theming?

Captain Cordova: I can’t tell how much I love going to the parks with my family. It’s my getaway from everyday life. Now having a little part in Grizzly Peak makes it even more special for me. It’s nice that Disney has showcased our State Parks and the men and women of the fire service. It was an honor for me to work with the Imagineers.

Captain Spelman: My family and I have been Annual Passholders since 2003 and just love the Disney experience. Being involved with this project is a Disney fan’s dream come true. Grizzly Peak Airfield will always be a special place for me.

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More Delicious Details for Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Opening This Fall at Downtown Disney

posted on August 11th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

With an aviation theme (Jock was Indy’s frequent pilot in the “Indiana Jones” films) and a primo waterfront location, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will feature food and drinks inspired by Jock’s globe-trotting to all continents – everything from a Hovito Mojito to Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs. Details follow.

Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs Coming to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort Fried Calamari Flatbread with Spicy Harissa Coming to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

Guests will get a kick out of the salvaged equipment, spare airplane parts and mementos from Jock’s travels that decorate the 150-seat lounge located between Paradiso 37 and The BOATHOUSE restaurant. Outdoors, his old steamboat (now in dry dock) is a fun place for watching the sunset.

At the core of Walt Disney Imagineering is great storytelling: as the tale goes, Jock made a home at this waterfront property in the 1940s after discovering this charming little town while flying Indiana Jones over the Sunshine State in search of the elusive Fountain of Youth in 1938. As a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, Jock often welcomed his globetrotting friends to his hangar for a drink and fun times.

Now Jock and Indy may be gone, but his legendary adventures live on at this exotic watering hole. And that’s what gives the place its charm – and a creative menu of adventurous tastes.

Along with beer and wine, start with clever cocktails such as Reggie’s Revenge and The Fountain of Youth featuring Florida vodkas; Hovito Mojito and The Bitter Barkeep with Peruvian Pisco; Anything Goes with an Asian spirit that packs a little heat; The Aviator’s Flight and The Scottish Professor, and that Cool-headed Monkey with African spirits.

Pretzels With House-Made Mustard and Beer-Cheese Fondue Coming to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort Rolling Boulder Sliders Coming to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

Each of the small plates has a delicious twist, and they’re great for sharing. Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs are brined in beet juice with lump crab filling. “Good” Dates feature goat cheese-stuffed dates with Marcona almonds and pickled veggies. Snack of Ra gives a taste of Africa with salads and dips served with injera (bread) and naan crisps. Tanis Tacos are filled with falafel, shredded lettuce and cucumber-tomato salad. The pretzels come with house-made mustard and beer-cheese fondue.

A little more substantial are the Rolling Boulder Sliders with three spice meatballs on mini-buns with yogurt sauce. Or Brody Brats, grilled bratwurst with mustard and pickled cabbage. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar’s take on chicken wings features spicy Asian wings (called “Lao Che’s Revenge”). And “Squid! Why’d It Have to Be Squid” is fried calamari flatbread with spicy harissa.

Get ready for some very fun Disney moments at this new location coming to Downtown Disney!

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

posted on July 20th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort


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.


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, Editorial Content 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, Editorial Content 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.


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, Editorial Content 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.


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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