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Video: Shanghai Disneyland Details Unveiled

posted on July 16th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


If you joined us for this week’s Shanghai Disney Resort update, you know about some of the amazing experiences coming to our first theme park in mainland China – Shanghai Disneyland. Disney Chairman and CEO, Bob Iger shared a first look at what’s planned for Shanghai Disneyland during a special presentation that included details on its six themed lands with live stage productions, world premieres and thrilling attractions as well as a spectacular scale model of the world-class park. Check out new video from the presentation.

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Shanghai Disneyland Themed Lands to Include New Attractions, Live Shows

posted on July 14th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks


Just a few minutes ago in China, Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger unveiled new, exciting details on Shanghai Disney Resort, the area’s first Disney destination, and the six themed lands planned for the Shanghai Disneyland theme park.

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Shanghai Disney Resort will be a world-class family entertainment destination that blends the magic of Disney and the cultural spirit and beauty of China. And during a special event that included Disney COO Tom Staggs and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek, Bob Iger shared a peek at what the Resort will look like with the unveiling of a spectacular scale model showcasing its two hotels, Disneytown – its international shopping, dining and entertainment district, Wishing Star Park’s beautiful gardens and six themed lands of mainland China’s first Disney theme park – Shanghai Disneyland.

“We are building something truly special here in Shanghai that not only showcases the best of Disney’s storytelling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage to create a one-of-a-kind destination that will delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come,” said Iger speaking to media during today’s presentation at the Shanghai Expo Centre. “We are taking everything we’ve learned from our six decades of exceeding expectations – along with our relentless innovation and famous creativity to create a truly magical place that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”

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At Shanghai Disneyland, Disney stories will come to life at the tallest, largest and most interactive castle at any Disney theme park. The themed lands will offer something for everyone with live stage productions, world premieres and thrilling attractions ­­– many never seen before – that will appeal to guests of all generations. Guests also will be able to experience Disney characters in each land, including Mickey and his pals on Mickey Avenue and in Gardens of Imagination.

In Tomorrowland, one of the six themed lands, guests will be able to experience the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, a new coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles for one of the most thrilling adventures at any Disney park.

Along with Tomorrowland, we have a more detailed look at the lands coming to Shanghai Disneyland:

Fantasyland will be the largest land and home to the majestic Enchanted Storybook Castle that we’ve already featured here on the Blog. In this fairy-tale paradise, guests will float through familiar Disney stories on Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, hitch a rollicking ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and take flight over the skies of London on Peter Pan’s Flight. They may also explore the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh or follow Alice through a dazzling Wonderland maze.

Treasure Cove – will be the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park. As guests explore this pirate world, they will enter Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, an attraction that transforms a boat ride into a thrilling journey with cutting-edge innovations in robotics, animation, set design and multimedia. Adventurous spirits will be tempted to board a pirate ship, paddle through the scenic cove on Explorer Canoes and dine at Barbossa’s Bounty.

Adventure Isle will immerse guests in a newly discovered lost world, filled with hidden treasures and a chance to explore its mysteries. The mighty Roaring Mountain will tower over guests and beckon them on their journey. Guests can blaze their own trails at Camp Discovery, travel around the world on Soaring over the Horizon, or embark on the thrilling rafting adventure Roaring Rapids, straight through the heart of Adventure Isle. There they discover the underworld realm of a mysterious, fearsome creature.

Tomorrowland will not only include the TRON Lightcycle Power Run but also offer the chance for guests to go to infinity and beyond on Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, a new space ranger adventure, or break the bonds of gravity on Jet Packs. The land will feature a massive, color-shifting canopy near the TRON Lightcycle Power Run.

Mickey Avenue will be the first main entry at a Disney park inspired by the colorful personalities of Mickey Mouse and his pals. In the neighborhoods of this welcoming, whimsical avenue, guests will share a hug and get a photo with some all-time favorite Disney characters. Avenue M Arcade, one of the many shops along the avenue, will feature the largest selection of gifts and collectibles inside the theme park.

Gardens of Imagination will celebrate the wonders of nature and the joy of imagination, as guests leave everyday life behind to enjoy the seven whimsical gardens. Guests will take a spin on the Fantasia Carousel, soar on the back of Dumbo the Flying Elephant and enjoy the area’s iconic Disney entertainment, including Castle stage shows and “Ignite the Dream, a Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light.” From several places in this land, guests will enjoy “Mickey’s Storybook Express,” an exciting parade with its own musical soundtrack and colorful performers on the longest parade route in a Disney park.

Since breaking ground in 2011, Disney and Shanghai Shendi Group announced that they were expanding the park by adding additional attractions and entertainment to allow more guests to have a spectacular Disney experience at Grand Opening in spring of 2016. Stay tuned for more updates on Shanghai Disney Resort.

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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.

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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, 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.

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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, 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.

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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, 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.

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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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