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Grizzly Peak Airfield Now Open at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We gave you a first look at Grizzly Peak Airfield, the expansion of Grizzly Peak at Disney California Adventure park, back in March. Today I’m excited to report that this newly reimagined area is now open!

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Disneyland Resort Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer ventured out in the rain yesterday to bring us these first looks at Grizzly Peak Airfield. Check out more in the gallery below.

Now let’s go behind-the-scenes of the development of this area with Walt Disney Imagineering!

Grizzly Peak Airfield, including Soarin’ Over California, is now open at Disney California Adventure park.

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Sixty Years of Innovation: New Fantasyland at Disneyland Park

posted on May 13th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Parks are more than exciting attractions and dazzling spectaculars. Walking into a place like Fantasyland, for example, is like walking into another world. As each of our guests are reminded, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” Let’s go back to the year 1983 to discover how the fantasy of Fantasyland was enriched here at Disneyland park.

Walt Disney’s favorite land, Fantasyland was envisioned as a fairy tale village beyond the walls of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Unfortunately, as the opening of Disneyland drew near, unforeseen budget overages caused the team to scale back on the design of Fantasyland. So the land became a medieval fair, with banners and flags decorating the entrances to Snow White’s Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

 

Nearly thirty years later, the time had finally come to transform Fantasyland into that timeless land of enchantment that Walt had dreamed of. “The New Fantasyland” opened at Disneyland on May 25, 1983. The architecture and facade of each attraction became an extension of the stories that lie within. Guests now enter Peter Pan’s Flight through a medieval English clock tower or visit a country manor called Toad Hall, home to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. On the west side of Fantasyland, you have the feeling of being immersed in a Bavarian or Alpine village, bringing you into the worlds of Snow White and Pinocchio. Next door at Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, the attraction’s facade features half-timbered architecture and carved wood balconies, resembling the house in which Pinocchio, the wooden puppet made of pine, became a real boy.

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“The New Fantasyland” elevated the storytelling of the entire area, combining architecture, horticulture and other details to create an immersive, fairy tale environment and became an example of what Walt Disney Imagineering often refers to as “place making” – the design and creation of a land that transports the guest to a different place and time, truly immersing them in the story and fantasy of the land.

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And nearly 30 years after “The New Fantasyland” at Disneyland park, this immersive storytelling was brought to another level with New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom park. The largest expansion in the park’s history, New Fantasyland welcomes guests to step into the stories of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Dumbo.” It is a shining example of how Disney Parks continue the legacy of innovative, immersive storytelling that was established with the opening of Disneyland park in 1955 and carried on with “The New Fantasyland” in 1983 and beyond.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar to Open this Fall at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 12th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Tucked in between the soon-to-be-expanded Paradiso 37 and recently opened BOATHOUSE restaurant, a new Disney owned and operated Food & Beverage offering has been taking shape. Today, I’m thrilled to share more details on this aviation-themed lounge, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

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With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue will feature unique cocktails – such as the “Hovito Mojito” with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup – and small plates such as “Air Pirates Everything Pretzels” with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue.

The design team has gone to great lengths to ensure that every element – from the propeller-based ceiling fans and diving bell “booth” to the “Rolling Boulder Meatballs” on the menu – fits within the storyline.

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And just what is that story? Ardent fans of the “Indiana Jones” films may recognize Jock Lindsey as Indy’s frequent pilot; he’s also the owner of a pet snake named Reggie – an important detail, trust me on this! In the main room, guests will discover an expansive bar, aviation decor filling the room, vintage travel posters covering the walls and correspondence between Jock, Indy and their fellow adventurers on display. Guests can eat, drink and be merry outside as well, in Jocks’ old steamboat, now in permanent dry dock and aptly named “Reggie;” and in nearby seating on the adjacent deck.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is set to open this fall at Downtown Disney. If you’re as excited about this next adventure as I am, let me know in the comments below!

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Behind the Scenes: Hatbox Ghost Reappears in Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

posted on May 11th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


This weekend, one of the 999 happy haunts in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park reappeared after decades in hiding. Take a look!

Hat Box Ghost

Hat Box Ghost

Today, I’m excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at this mysterious resident from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering. Watch as they take us inside the reappearance of the Hatbox Ghost.

Come see the Hatbox Ghost for yourself now at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park!

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Closer Look at Nighttime Entertainment and More Coming for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on April 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


During a behind-the-scenes media event at the Disneyland Resort yesterday, we shared a closer look at some of what is in store for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, beginning May 22. In the video below, you’ll hear thoughts from Steve Davison, vice president of Parades and Spectaculars, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, on the new nighttime spectaculars currently in development … and watch to the end for your first look at the “Cars” story from the new “Paint the Night” parade!

Be sure to catch “World of Color: Celebrate!,” “Disneyland Forever” fireworks and “Paint the Night” parade, part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration beginning May 22, and join the conversation with the hashtag #Disneyland60!

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The BOATHOUSE Makes a Splash at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 13th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Over the past year, The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats has been hoisting up along the Downtown Disney skyline. The venue, open today, is the first of several new restaurants coming to The Landing, a new neighborhood that will be part of Disney Springs.

The BOATHOUSE is an upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600 seat nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s – 1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called Amphicars.

I had the chance to talk with Theron Skees, executive creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering to learn more about how The BOATHOUSE charted its course. Theron shared “It’s been such a team effort between WDI and the Schussler design team; to see Steve’s dream come to life is awesome. It’s been a true collaboration. Guests will experience rooms that represent different time periods in the history of the building, with a focus on a view of the water. Each design element: the height of the restaurant ceiling, the width of the deck, the transparency of the railing, it was all considered so guests would have maximum visibility to the water.”

I got to tour The BOATHOUSE recently, and if stunning water views and impeccable attention-to-detail were what they were aiming for, well, they nailed it!

Earlier today, Pam Brandon shared details on the menu, so now I’m giving you an early look at what else you can expect at this unique location:

Amphicar Rides – Is it a car? A boat? Yes. And yes! Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests. Along the way, you’ll have a great view of Downtown Disney, direct from the water. I tested the Ampihicars last week and had a blast; you literally drive into the lake with a splash – plus, I felt like a celebrity, waving to all the curious guests onshore! This is the only place in the world to ride in these vintage vehicles. Tours are available daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, and will be available soon.

The BOATHOUSE Is Set To Make a Splash at Downtown Disney In Florida

Italian Water Taxi Cruise – The Venezia, a breathtaking 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi also offers a Captain’s guided tour of Downtown Disney; this one is complete with live music, chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast. Tours will be offered hourly from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, starting soon, for individuals and groups of up to 20. The cost is $75 per person or $50 per child under age 13. (Want a more private tour for two? Ask about the Antique Steamboat Tour aboard Lady Rose; the cost is $150 per couple.)

“Floating Art” – I knew they were beautiful, but I had no idea I was looking at a multi-million dollar fleet of rare boats. Gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world, be sure to take some time to stroll the marina. Photos are not only allowed, but encouraged, so have your camera handy.

Interior Décor – Boat motors mounted on the wall. Trophies from regattas of days gone by. Stunning photography and artwork, some historical, some richly modern. It’s all incredible. But perhaps my favorite décor element is the brand-new boat that the team modified so it could include a dining table. (I’ll just say it now, everyone will want to sit there, me included!) Of course, the true visual hero, even from inside the restaurant, is the water. The good news is that every single table has a great view, so there’s no such thing as a bad seat.

Entertainment – Harbor Master festivities take place throughout the day and evening, with flag ceremonies and lively musical performances of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard Lady Rose. Inside, live entertainment takes center stage with a variety of musical styles – during my “sneak peek,” familiar songs were floating through the restaurant.

Check out the gallery below for a glimpse of what you can expect when you visit.

It’s hard to guess what guests will love most about The BOATHOUSE. What are you most excited for? Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to know!

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D23 Asks, When Did It Start For You?

posted on April 9th, 2015 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing


When did you know you first loved Disney? It may not be your first Disney memory—and it may not even be your favorite Disney memory. But when was the first time Disney made your heart sing and your spirit soar?

When did it start for you? That’s the question D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is asking fans, celebrities, Disney luminaries, and even cast members!

Imagineer Vinny Logozio recalls his experience visiting Epcot for the first time when he was just six.

Disney Legend and founder of the Walt Disney Archives Dave Smith remembers going to Disneyland and meeting Walt Disney himself!

These are just a few of the memories people are sharing with us — plus there’s Lance Bass, Disney Legend and animator Floyd Norman, Disney Archivist Kevin Kern, “Cinderella” star Lily James, and a bunch of fan-tastic Disney fans.

And we want to hear your stories too! Post them below and share them on social media using the hashtag #WDIS4U and maybe you’ll see your story on D23.com!

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Bringing the World of AVATAR to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


Since we first broke ground last year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’ve been looking forward to welcoming guests into Pandora, the mythical land based on the blockbuster film AVATAR. We’re having a lot of fun dreaming up ways to bring to life the land’s iconic elements from the magnificent floating mountains to the interactive bioluminescent forest, and even to the soaring banshees.

This creative process has been one of the most dynamic and collaborative ones we’ve ever undertaken. It began when our then-Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts proposed to James Cameron that together we might recreate the world of Pandora at Disney. Since that time, our creative development team, led by Joe Rohde, has been working hand-in-hand with Jim, Jon Landau and their team of artists and designers at Lightstorm on every aspect of this project—from overall design to the smallest—yet crucially important—details. And along each step of this process, Tom, as well as Disney CEO Bob Iger have been actively involved in helping guide the creative vision that is shaping the extraordinary world we’re building.

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We all recently got together at our offices in Glendale, California and walked through the fantastic progress on the whole land—including the awesome experience of seeing Pandora while riding on a banshee.

When he was with us, Jim said, “I think one of the things that people loved about the movie is that they felt as if they had visited Pandora… now, thanks to Disney’s amazing Imagineers, people are going to truly experience Pandora firsthand. From the details in the plants to the production and design, extraordinary thought and care has gone into this entire world. The teams have really created something special, and it’s not going to be like anything else.”

This project is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible. But one of the things that makes Disney Parks so special is that it takes all of our Cast—across the segment—to really bring these experiences to life. We were glad to be able to share our work with the creative teams and thought you might want to see it, too. Here’s a sneak peek of what we showed them:



For previous AVATAR coverage, see these blog posts:

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 9th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


With a new year comes new beginnings, and I’d like to begin 2015 by reviving one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series, “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling,” with one of my favorite snack-time spots, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure park.

See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park See Pictures of the Silver Lake Sisters at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

This 1930s-era eatery was established by Dolly, Dottie and Ethel Bounds, known professionally as Fiddler, Fifer & Practical (aka the Silver Lake Sisters). They spent a good part of their lives performing the vaudeville circuit, entertaining the troops in World War I and becoming minor celebrities in nightclubs along the then‐emerging Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

After 20 years of singing, dancing and playing their instruments (Dolly on violin, Dottie on flute, Ethel on piano), the sisters decided to put down roots on Buena Vista Street. The idea came from Ethel, the practical one. She had always handled the trio’s business affairs and was constantly urging her sisters to settle down and open a legitimate business. They finally agreed, joining together to open Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, with its name an homage to their act.

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A wall inside the restaurant features photos, posters and memorabilia from the days when Dolly, Dottie and Ethel performed as Fiddler, Fifer & Practical – the Silver Lake Sisters. You can see them in publicity shots and in photos showing them performing on stage and relaxing or prepping backstage in their dressing rooms. A map of California shows the various places they’ve performed throughout the Golden State, and above the front window, marquee letters, spell out “Silver Lake Sisters.”

So the next time you’re getting a great deal on a square meal at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, take a look around and discover the story of these talented ladies for yourself.


For more from “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series, visit the links below:

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Video: Step Inside the Story of ‘Peter Pan’ in the Attraction’s New Interactive Queue

posted on February 4th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


What fan of the film “Peter Pan” hasn’t dreamed of being one of the Darling children, who get swept off to Never Land for a great adventure with Tinker Bell and Peter Pan?

Step Inside The Story of ‘Peter Pan’ In The Attraction’s New Interactive Queue

Step Inside The Story of ‘Peter Pan’ In The Attraction’s New Interactive Queue Step Inside The Story of ‘Peter Pan’ In The Attraction’s New Interactive Queue

At Magic Kingdom Park, the new interactive queue at Peter Pan’s Flight is doing just that. The queue, which just opened at the park, immediately puts you right in the storyline of “Peter Pan” by allowing you to enter the English home of the Darling family. You then head into the children’s nursery, passing the beds of Wendy, John and Michael, which are surrounded by their belongings and personal treasures. Tinker Bell has already arrived and is busy exploring – and causing a bit of mischief – all around the room. Tink also pulls some friendly tricks on you when your shadow hits the wall. I don’t want to give it all away, but don’t be surprised if your arm’s shadow gets “hooked,” among other fun.

A lot of innovative thinking and work went into creating this magic. We recently went behind the scenes with a couple of Disney insiders! Check out the video below.



For more imagineering stories, check out the posts below:

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