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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


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.


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, Editorial Content 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.


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, Editorial Content 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.


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, Editorial Content 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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Grizzly Peak Airfield Now Open at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 15th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Editorial Content 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!


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, Editorial Content 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.


“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.


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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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, Disney Springs Marketing Manager

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.


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.


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, Editorial Content 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, Editorial Content 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, Disney Springs Marketing Manager

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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