Walt Disney World, The Haunted Mansion Graveyard Scene

The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on May 5th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


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Earlier today we looked back on the 10th anniversary of one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland Resort, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For 10 years, guests have been dropping into the fifth dimension at Disney California Adventure park. Having experienced the attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, I anxiously awaited the opening of the attraction on this coast. I was so excited that I was here for the opening event on May 4, 2004. In honor of the anniversary, let’s continue “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” by checking in at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

As with many Disney Parks stories, we begin with a legend. The Hollywood Tower Hotel opened in 1928 and quickly became a “star in its own right, a beacon for the show business elite.” But on October 31, 1939, lightning struck the Hollywood Tower Hotel and an elevator carrying five guests mysteriously vanished, along with a large portion of the hotel itself. No staff or guests could determine what happened to the guests inside the missing elevator, so everyone vacated the hotel immediately and the building sat abandoned for years.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

Then, in May 2004, the hotel opened its doors again, offering tours of its historic and glamorous facilities. Despite the layers of dust, cracked walkways and overgrown weeds, the hotel looked the same as it did the night it closed – except the elevators. Behind the “Out of Order” sign, the elevator doors appear to be severely damaged and bent – clues from that mysterious incident.

So what exactly happened here? As a visiting guest to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, you are invited into the Library to find out. A lost episode of “The Twilight Zone” tells the story of what happened on that fateful night and invites you to step aboard a service elevator that is still in operation. Of course, what happens on that elevator is a mystery you’ll have to experience for yourself!

I will confess that after my first stay, I screamed so loudly, I lost my voice for the rest of the day (from being excited, not scared, of course.)

And fans of “The Twilight Zone” should keep an eye out for props from iconic episodes throughout the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Two of my favorites are a gold thimble (from “The After Hours” episode) in the glass display case outside the Library and a pair of broken spectacles (from the “Time Enough at Last” episode) inside the Library.

What is your favorite detail inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel? Leave your answer in the “Comments” section!

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on April 30th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


“The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” is one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series, so I’m excited to take the reins from my fellow author, Erin Glover. And I’m even more excited to begin with one of my favorite attractions, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

When we announced that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was reopening at Disneyland park a little over a month ago, it was absolutely amazing to see the excitement on the Disney Parks Blog and I, too, was thrilled for the return of the “wildest ride in the wilderness.” Now that the miners are back at Big Thunder Mountain, I knew the next installment of “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” had to be about this classic attraction. So, are you holdin’ onto your hats and glasses? Ye-howdy, here we go!

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According to legend, a supernatural force has dwelled deep within Big Thunder Mountain and would be angered by any trespassers. Many believed these ghostly tales were what largely kept the area uninhabited for many years. But when an old prospector found some gold nuggets along the mountain’s slopes in the late 1860s, miners rushed to the town of Rainbow Ridge for their own chance to strike it rich.

For several years, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company produced a large quantity of gold and the myths of a supernatural force remained simply legend. However, by 1883, the miners were forced to blast deeper and deeper into the mountain to continue producing profits. Shortly after the explosions began, strange things started happening: eerie noises echoed through the new shafts, cave-ins became frequent and equipment would mysteriously fail. As soon as the mine trains began rolling out of the station on their own, people started fleeing the area.

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Today, the Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company welcomes guests to hop aboard a train, but beware – you just may experience the mountain’s more supernatural forces and perhaps even stumble upon an explosive mine shaft.

Next time you hop on board Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, keep an eye out for the horseshoe at the entrance to the first mine shaft; you’ll notice it hangs right-side-up to keep the luck inside. Nearing the end of the attraction, you’ll enter another mine shaft with a “Keep Out” sign in front. There, you’ll see another horseshoe, however this time, it is upside-down.

Have you had a chance to ride the newly reopened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? What is your favorite part? Leave your answers in the “Comments” section below!

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Imagineers Bring New Audio-Animatronics to Life at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

posted on April 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


How do you recreate Disney characters for a new attraction? According to Walt Disney Imagineering, it all starts with a hand-drawn sketch …

Imagineers Bring First Full 3D Audio-Animatronics to Life at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Imagineers Bring First Full 3D Audio-Animatronics to Life at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Imagineers Bring First Full 3D Audio-Animatronics to Life at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Imagineers Bring First Full 3D Audio-Animatronics to Life at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

In this new video, our Imagineers take you behind the scenes to see how they’re bringing to life some of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics characters ever created. According to them, the process involved working with Walt Disney Animation Studios and going back to the original film to study each Dwarf’s individual motions and even facial expressions in order to get them just right. The end goal: To make them look as if they just jumped off of the screen.

What do you think of the Dwarfs? Tell us in the “Comments” section below

For more on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train read the posts below:

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All in the Details: Construction Walls Come Down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

posted on April 25th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train achieved another milestone overnight last night, when Walt Disney Imagineering removed the final construction walls from around the attraction.

All in the Details: Construction Walls Come Down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train All in the Details: Construction Walls Come Down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

These are the first photos we’ve shown that offer a look at what the entrance will look like, including both the Standby and FastPass entrances.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is scheduled to open later this spring. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more news and updates on the attraction.

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Today in Disney History: 1964 New York World’s Fair Opened 50 Years Ago Today

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


You may have noticed the beautiful artwork that’s appearing above on the blog today – and it’s all in honor of the 50th anniversary of the April 22 opening of the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Artwork by Disney Legend John Hench

It was for this World’s Fair that Walt Disney and his team designed several attractions that would eventually make their way into Disney theme parks, including “it’s a small world,” Carousel of Progress, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Ford Magic Skyway (part of which would become the Primeval World along Disneyland Railroad).

Walt’s involvement with the World’s Fair gave his team new opportunities to develop innovative technology and Audio-Animatronics figures that would take Disney attractions to a new level. It also gave us Disney Parks fans a few Sherman Brothers songs that we’ve come to cherish over the years: “it’s a small world (after all)” for the “it’s a small world” attraction and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for Carousel of Progress.

Be sure to check out original World’s Fair attraction sketches and artwork from the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library in our header section above.


Read more about Disney attractions at the World’s Fair in the posts below:

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All in the Details: Glittering Gems Light Up Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week, we’ve received some of our most exciting “sneak peek” photos yet from within Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. As we previously shared, the attraction features an interactive queue with a few different elements guests can look forward to.

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One interactive opportunity, according to our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, is the chance to sort gemstones at a 15-foot digital sluice box. Here, guests can drag gems into different trays and match them by color and shape.

All in the Details: Glittering Gems Light Up Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue All in the Details: Glittering Gems Light Up Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue

Buckets of glittering gems also highlight the area – simply gorgeous props!

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Top Five: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Videos from Walt Disney Imagineering

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


With the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening later this spring, this week we thought we’d review some of the best video content we’ve shared so far around this attraction.

Just to review, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was Inspired by the 1937 Disney animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” – but unlike Magic Kingdom Park’s original Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction, this new experience tells the tale from the dwarfs’ perspective. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a family coaster with a ‘38-inch height requirement, and will be the final attraction to debut in New Fantasyland as a part of the park’s multi-year New Fantasyland expansion.

Over the past few months, we’ve released several videos that offer looks inside the making of the attraction. Check out some of our favorites below.

  1. Check out a ride-through video of the attraction, which is shown side-by-side with an early CGI rendering that Imagineers used to help design the attraction’s track.

  2. Take a peek inside the attraction for a first look at the Dwarfs and the technology used to bring them to life.

  3. Yellow Shoes Creative Group shared this CGI video of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

  4. Take a look behind the scenes to see how Walt Disney Imagineering created ride vehicles for the attraction.

  5. Head onto the construction site with Imagineers Dave Minichiello and Pam Rawlins to learn more about how Mine Train was constructed.

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All in the Details: A Unique Perspective of Belle’s Village at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s photo of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was snapped from a unique angle – as if the Mine Train Cart was rushing down the first drop toward Belle’s Village.

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What do you think? Will you ride the attraction when it debuts later this spring?

For more on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, read the posts below:

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First Look: Feast Your Eyes On Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Characters

posted on April 11th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Earlier today, Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, spoke at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., and shared updates on what’s new at Disney Parks around the world. During the presentation he unveiled a video that offered the first look at some of the amazing new characters who will be part of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. These are some of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics figures Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created.

See for yourself in the video below.

For more about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, visit the posts below:

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All in the Details: Dopey Drops By Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on April 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Look who just stopped by New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park to check on the progress of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction – it’s Dopey!

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The attraction, which is still under construction, tells the story of “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” from the perspectives of the Dwarfs. Positioned just behind Dopey in this photo, you can catch a glimpse of the “big drop” in the attraction, which takes place just after guests journey through the Dwarfs’ mine.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is scheduled to open later this spring (exact date is still yet-to-be-announced). In the meantime, what aspect of this attraction are you most excited to see for yourself? The mine? The view from the top? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

For more about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, visit the posts below:

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