Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

Walt Disney Imagineering Shares First Onboard Video of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Just minutes ago, Walt Disney Imagineering released a new video of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during our live chat with Imagineer Dave Minichiello – and we wanted to be sure you didn’t miss it.

In the video, we compare onboard footage of the attraction side-by-side with an original CGI onboard that was created early on in the attraction’s development.

Stay tuned for more updates on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Live Chat: Talk Seven Dwarfs Mine Train With a Walt Disney Imagineer Today at 2:30 p.m. EST

posted on February 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Imagineer Dave Minichiello will join us here on the Disney Parks Blog beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST, to answer some of your questions about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We’ve received many questions so far, but please keep them coming!

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This will be a text chat with a video element later on that will auto-play on most computers. You may wish to adjust your speakers now.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Live Chat to Feature New Walt Disney Imagineering Video

posted on February 21st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


To replay our live chat with Walt Disney Imagineer Dave Minichiello, click here.

We’re continuing our series of New Fantasyland live chats next week with perhaps our most popular topic – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. On February 24 at 2:30 p.m. EST, Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Dave Minichiello will join us here on the Disney Parks Blog to talk about the attraction and answer your questions.

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During the chat, we’ll be sharing an exclusive Walt Disney Imagineering video of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train where you’ll get a sneak peek of the experience inside the attraction. We’ll also be answering questions you may have about the attraction and talking about the completion of New Fantasyland at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Be sure and join us here on Monday, February 24. The live chat featuring Imagineer Dave Minichiello will begin at 2:30 p.m. See you then.

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Come with me into the wild jungles of Disneyland park for a tour of the world-famous Jungle Cruise! First I’d like to thank you, Disney Parks Blog readers, for contributing your ideas in the comments of the Paradise Pier edition of this series. Ian thought that this classic Disneyland park attraction would be the perfect place to “beheaded” and I agree! So … hello! My name is Erin and I will be your Disney Parks Blog skipper for the next several minutes as we explore the story behind this opening-day Disneyland attraction.

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History tells that a Victorian house was built in this remote area of the jungle in 1911 to serve as the last outpost of civilization for explorers venturing into the jungle. The owner of the building saw the potential for a successful business and created the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. – a place for locals to post and receive mail, enjoy a civilized pot of tea and read the (usually three-week-old) newspaper.

Unfortunately, in the late 1920s the owner had to leave due to illness and the building remained vacant for several years. Then one day, a group of enterprising adventurers purchased the house to use as a base for their new jungle transportation company. The business did well enough that they were able to add on a second story and invest in the latest technologies, like shortwave radio.

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But the Great Depression significantly impacted their business and they were barely able to stay … afloat. While other businesses throughout the jungle packed it in, these adventurers remained, delivering mail and freight to the few remaining outposts. Their luck soon turned around when a well-known Hollywood film director found their outpost and asked them to escort him down the river while he filmed the local wildlife. After he paid generous wage for their services, the owners realized they had a profitable tourism business on their hands – or rather, their docks. New skippers were hired, and new steamers purchased, to lead well-to-do travelers who would enjoy (and hopefully survive) these tours departing daily into the jungle.

Today the Jungle Cruise still welcomes tourists who are daring enough to brave the piranha-infested waters, head-hunting natives, twelve-inch (in some cases even one-foot) butterflies and (if they’re lucky) the backside of water. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour into the story of the Jungle Cruise. If you did, my name is Erin … if you didn’t, my name is Tyler.

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All in the Details: Imagineers Include a Second Nod to ‘20,000 Leagues’ in New Fantasyland

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


This week’s “All in the Details” focuses on a piece of Disney history that has been included in the design of Prince Eric’s Village, the tiny fishing village that sits opposite Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid in New Fantasyland.

Remember when we shared the news that Walt Disney Imagineering included a nod to the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction in the queue at Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid? (If not, see it here). Well, it turns out that an outline of a Nautilus wasn’t the only 20,000 Leagues reference the Imagineers had planned for New Fantasyland.
Imagineers Include a Second Nod to ‘20,000 Leagues’ in New Fantasyland

To spot a second one, head to Prince Eric’s Village and look for a familiar figure in the cartographer shop’s weather vane.

Is this one of the coolest nods to Disney history you’ve seen hidden in a park attraction? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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All In The Details: Imagineers Add Film-Inspired Details To Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

posted on February 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week we’re taking a look at some of the props you’ll find inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when the attraction opens in New Fantasyland later this year.
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The props, including lanterns, ropes, pulleys and buckets of shiny jewels were inspired by items found in the mine scenes of the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” And about those gems? According to our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, jewels appear throughout the mine in four different sizes and in six different colors: red, green, amber, purple, blue and clear.

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

Click on the links below for more on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from Walt Disney Imagineering:

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Walt Disney Imagineering Announces Winners of Annual Student Design Contest

posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering concluded their 2014 Imaginations Design Competition on January 31. Started in 1991, Imaginations challenges teams of college students from around the United States to propose a concept for a Disney theme park, attraction, restaurant, hotel or entirely new experience or product. Out of 231 initial applications received this year, six teams of four students each were selected as finalists and spent a week at Imagineering headquarters in Glendale, Calif., meeting Imagineers, touring WDI facilities, and presenting their project proposals to a panel of executives for judging. Not only does the program give students a behind-the-curtain view of Imagineering, but WDI has the opportunity to discover and recruit the next generation of talented and diverse Imagineers.

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This year, contestants were asked to dream up an idea that transforms a city for the enjoyment of its residents and visitors. The team from Carnegie Mellon University took first prize for their concept that would link people from opposite ends of the world in a multicultural festival. Second place went to the team representing California Institute of the Arts, who came up with a unique way to explore Rome’s centuries of history. And the team from University of California, Los Angeles, took third place for its proposal to bring the citizens of Rio de Janiero together in a weekly Illumination Extravaganza that leads visitors and locals on a chase through the city.

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Additionally, the winning team from the recently-concluded Imaginations Hong Kong, representing Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) – Hong Kong, visited Walt Disney Imagineering at the same time and participated in many of the same activities, though they were not in competition with the American teams.

Congratulations to WDI and all the contestants for another successful Imaginations competition! To learn more, please visit DisneyImaginations.com.

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All In The Details: Sculpting A Seven Dwarfs Mine in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on January 28th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In the months leading up to the unveiling of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park, we regularly shared bits and pieces of this new land and its amazing detail in our “All in the Details” series here on the Disney Parks Blog. Today, we’re thrilled to share more of these images with you of the final attraction that’s set to debut in this area – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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In case you aren’t familiar, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a family coaster that will open in 2014 to tell the story of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” from the perspective of the dwarfs. Guests will enter through an interactive queue, take a seat in a mine train car and coast through the mine “where a million diamonds shine” – where plenty of surprises await.

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Our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering just shared these new images with us, which showcase some of the smaller elements inside the attraction’s interactive queue area and mine scene. According to them, a lot of the detail you see here was hand-carved by Imagineers – sturdy logs, crumbling bark, rough wood planks, thick beams, smooth rocks and rusty hinges – that all appear to serve as “support structures” for the mine. After each item was carved, they were then painted to look aged and weathered through application of various colors of paint. Some parts have been aged to look older than others. Look closely and you may also notice how the composure of the walls change as the photos push you through the mine – from crumbly rocks on the exterior to more sturdily packed walls inside.

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

Click on the links below for more on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from Walt Disney Imagineering:

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on January 15th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


I love the beach – especially in the summertime – and the first time I visited Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure park, I was captivated by the feeling of being near the shore. When I set out to research this installment of “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling,” I wanted to learn more about how that feeling of warmth and summer that is felt year-round here at the Disneyland Resort (most of which is probably due to the beautiful Southern California weather.) So grab your sunscreen, and let’s have some “Fun In The Sun For Everyone!”

Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park

The design and allure of Paradise Pier pays tribute to the classic California coastal amusement parks that populated beaches from Santa Cruz to San Diego from the turn of the 20th century to the 1940s. This “pleasure-filled promenade” recreates the excitement and innocence of those bygone parks of yesteryear. When Disney California Adventure park guests visit Paradise Pier today, the setting is sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s – right around the same time Walt Disney arrived in California. Even though he never built a seaside theme park, the design of Paradise Pier pays tribute to the details Walt would have appreciated had he visited one in its heyday.

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Paradise Pier is divided into three distinct neighborhoods: the Boardwalk, Paradise Gardens and Paradise Park. The Boardwalk begins at the entrance to Ariel’s Grotto and continues all the way to Mickey’s Fun Wheel. The defining characteristic of this area is the actual boardwalk beneath your feet. The land then transitions to Paradise Gardens, beginning at Silly Symphony Swings and continuing to Seaside Souvenirs. Legend tells a unique story for both Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill, the two restaurants found in Paradise Gardens. The story goes that they were both built by an enterprising family of Italian immigrants. To provide patrons a cool and shaded dining area, they began planting trees and building shaded structures just off the Boardwalk. Next along the path is Paradise Park – a large expanse of grassy knolls, pathways and shaded areas stretch to The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. A common feature of many seaside areas is a greenbelt park space where people can enjoy the fun of the beach without all the sand, and for Paradise Pier this area is Paradise Park. Continuing the look and feel of the 1920s, the architecture of the beautiful building that houses The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is inspired, in part, by the “Dragon Gorge” – a scenic railway coaster in Ocean Park, Calif.

We’ve visited many Disneyland Resort lands and attractions so far in this series, so now I want to hear from you! What land or attraction do you want to learn more about? Leave your answer in the comments and I’ll see what I can find out for you.

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Construction Begins For AVATAR-Inspired Land At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on January 10th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Earlier this week, leaders from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Lightstorm Entertainment kicked off the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history with a ceremonial groundbreaking for the park’s new AVATAR-inspired land with blue, Na’vi-inspired shovels.

In this photo illustration, they were joined by Jake Sully, showing the scale of characters from the “AVATAR” film.
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The area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in partnership with “AVATAR” creator James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney park. Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.

Using Na'vi-inspired shovels (left to right) Joe Rohde, creative executive,   Walt Disney Imagineering; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering;   Jon Landau, AVATAR producer and Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts   celebrated the ceremonial groundbreaking for the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal   Kingdom history.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already home to some of our guests’ favorite attractions,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With AVATAR, we are adding a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced. The expansion now under way will make the park a true full-day, must-see experience.”

This week’s milestone is just the first step in a larger expansion for the park that will also include the debut of a new evening spectacular, as well as a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Check out the video below for a look inside the ceremony, and be sure to follow the Disney Parks Blog for future updates on this exciting expansion.

For previous AVATAR coverage, see these blog posts:

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