Fireworks at Disneyland Park

First Look: AVATAR to Come to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 12th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


From the moment AVATAR was released, people were captivated by the mythical world of Pandora. When we announced that we’d be working with James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment to bring this world to life in our parks, we felt certain that this partnership and combination of talent and imagination would produce an experience unlike any other ever created.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land During the Day, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Our combined team has taken huge steps forward in “imagineering” Pandora as a real place for our guests to see, hear and touch. At the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan, we shared an early glimpse of the plans for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and I wanted to share some of these breathtaking images and a short preview of what’s to come with all of you.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land at Night, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As these concept renderings show in epic scale, in the world of AVATAR guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound. Guests will also discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee.
Guests Will Discover What it Feels Like to Soar into the Sky Riding a Banshee When AVATAR Comes to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

And the new AVATAR-inspired land won’t be the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Live Performers on Discovery Island Will be Part of New Entertainment Experiences Available to Guests as Part of Expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As part of the largest expansion in the history of the park, we’ll be adding all-new entertainment experiences, including a new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River that will delight our guests and truly cap off their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park will introduce more nighttime entertainment as well, including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured above) and a new nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
James Cameron, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Imagineer Joe Rohde View a Model of the AVATAR-Themed Land Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As the world of AVATAR becomes real at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the energy and passion shared by our Imagineers and the Lightstorm team for this monumental task continues to be remarkable. I can’t wait to see the reactions of our guests as they step into a world that until now has only existed on the screen.

We look forward to sharing more details in the future here on the Disney Parks Blog.



See more updates on the AVATAR-themed expansion coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the posts below:

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Sign Up for a Chance to Tour Magic Kingdom Park Castles with a Walt Disney Imagineer

posted on October 11th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As part of “Limited Time Magic,” we’re offering a rare opportunity to tour the castles of Magic Kingdom Park with Walt Disney Imagineers.

Fireworks Over the Castles of Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Each morning from October 14-18, 2013, a group of lucky guests will be invited to join us for a special walking tour of the castles. During each session, you’ll hear some great details, including how the existing Cinderella Castle design became the main inspiration for the Cinderella Castle Suite. Imagineers will also take guests through Be Our Guest Restaurant located in the magnificent castle of the Beast and share behind-the-scenes information.

There will be only one tour each morning – with 25 guests in each group. You may enter here for a chance to attend only one of the five tours being offered from October 14-18, 2013. Also, here are the rules for the drawing for the Tours of Magic Kingdom Park Castles at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Also, please remember the following for each drawing.

  • All participants who sign up for the events must be U.S. residents who have reached the age of majority in their primary state of residence.
  • Each entry is valid for one participant only; winners will not be permitted to bring a guest.
  • Park admission will be provided as part of the event.
  • Selected participants will be assigned a tour date and time. There will be no changes or substitutions allowed.
  • Tour opportunities are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered winner only.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Tours are subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Subject to complete Official Rules.

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Sign Up for a Chance to Tour the Expedition Everest Attraction with a Walt Disney Imagineer

posted on October 4th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Next week, we’re continuing our series of special “Limited Time Magic” experiences in the parks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with daily tours of the Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain Attraction through the eyes of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Expedition Everest Attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Each morning, from October 7-11, 2013, a group of lucky guests will venture inside the Tibetan-style stone structure at the foot of the towering Mt. Everest replica, explore a museum dedicated to the study of the Yeti (the mysterious snow monster said to inhabit the Himalayas) and visit other areas of the attraction. And during each walking tour, participants will hear inside stories from the Walt Disney Imagineers who brought the Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain Attraction to life.

There will be only one tour per day – beginning at 8 a.m. – with 10 guests in each group. You may enter here for a chance to attend only one of the five tours being offered from October 7-11, 2013. Also, here are the rules for the drawing for the Expedition Everest Attraction Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Also, please remember the following for each drawing.

  • All participants who sign up for the events must be U.S. residents who have reached the age of majority in their primary state of residence.
  • Each entry is valid for one participant only; winners will not be permitted to bring a guest.
  • Park admission will be provided as part of the event.
  • Selected participants will be assigned a tour date and time. There will be no changes or substitutions allowed.
  • Tour opportunities are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered winner only.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Tours are subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Subject to complete Official Rules.

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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Condor Flats at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 1st, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


One of my favorite things about “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series is learning something new about some of my favorite Disneyland Resort attractions and lands. Soarin’ Over California is at the top of my must-do list, and I’ve always been intrigued by the tributes to aviation placed throughout the area. So, please make sure your tray-table is locked and your seat is in the upright position … we are clear for take-off on this journey into the story of Condor Flats!

According to legend, Condor Flats was once a destination for pilots and aeronautical innovators. Airmen traveled from across the country to Southern California for the wide-open spaces and good thermal winds found in this arid high desert. From the beginnings of the Age of Aviation and into the Space Age, Condor Flats was the stage for the Golden State’s aerospace industry . The fading exteriors of the hangars in the area stand as a testament to this exciting and innovative period in aviation.
Condor Flats at Disney California Adventure Park

The original hangar in Condor Flats was a key workshop for early California aviators and designers. Then from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s, Condor Flats became the hub of rocket research and jet testing. “Higher, Faster, Further” was the motto of this time period, and technology was skyrocketing, quite literally. The engineers and aviators needed to move to more sophisticated headquarters in order to further their rocket and radar research, but they kept the old hangar as a symbol of their high-flying dreams while a new hangar was built just a little further down the runway.
Condor Flats at Disney California Adventure Park

Today, one of the retired test pilots has returned to this iconic flying destination to set up Condor Flats Scenic Air Tours in the original hangar; you can find their logo standing out among the other faded images left from previous years. Walking through Condor Flats today, you’ll notice the original hangar is now the Fly ‘n’ Buy, a souvenir shop, while the rocket test center is Taste Pilots’ Grill.

Next time you are in Condor Flats, look for the Condor Flats Scenic Air Tours logo, or take a look inside Fly ‘n’ Buy or Taste Pilots’ Grill for these special nods to the Age of Aviation!


Read on for more posts about “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling”:

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Behind the Scenes: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Car Completes Drop Test at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 23rd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


“Imagineers

Earlier today, Imagineers and Design & Engineering marked a milestone in the construction of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

“Seven

Last week, the team completed the car’s first push/pull test, and today marked the first time the train ran under its own gravity and completed its first drop out of the station.

As a reminder, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is set to debut in 2014.

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

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Live Chat: Talk Princess Fairytale Hall & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 2:15 p.m.

posted on September 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Imagineers Jason Grandt and Dave Minichiello will be with us right here on the Disney Parks Blog, beginning at 2:15 p.m. EDT, to answer some of your questions about the two remaining attractions planned for the New Fantasyland expansion – Princess Fairytale Hall and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We’ve received many questions so far, but please keep them coming. You can submit your queries right here for Jason and Dave during the chat.

New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

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

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter for the latest on New Fantasyland. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #NewFantasyland.

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Live Chat: Walt Disney Imagineers to Talk Princess Fairytale Hall, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train September 16

posted on September 14th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our next exclusive Disney Parks Blog live chat will be one you won’t want to miss – we’re talking Princess Fairytale Hall and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with some of the Walt Disney Imagineers who are making it all happen. On September 16 at 2:15 p.m., Walt Disney Imagineering creative designer lead Jason Grandt and executive creative director Dave Minichiello will join us here to chat live with readers and answer questions.
“Princess

During the chat, we’ll be sharing more about Princess Fairytale Hall before it officially opens at Magic Kingdom Park on Wednesday, as well as something that you’ve never seen before, so be sure and join us on Monday.

Also, please share any questions you have in the comments section of this post and then check back here on the Disney Parks Blog on Monday at 2:15 p.m. See you then.

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Peek Inside Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 12th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We’re quickly nearing the debut of Princess Fairytale Hall on September 18, and we’ve just received a new sneak peek to share with you.

This video, by Walt Disney Imagineering, takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the rush to make everything picture perfect when a certain Disney Princess decides to drop by. Take a look!

Join the conversation online with the hash tag #NewFantasyland on Twitter.

 
Take a look at the Disney Parks Blog posts below for more on Princess Fairytale Hall:

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Princess Fairytale Hall to Open Its Doors September 18 at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on September 6th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As we shared a few weeks ago, our Walt Disney Imagineers are busy putting the finishing touches on Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom Park. This exquisitely detailed Disney Princess character greeting location is the next to debut as a part of the New Fantasyland expansion – and we’re happy to share today that the Hall will officially open its doors on September 18.

Our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering just shared a new sneak peek video with us in honor of today’s announcement. In it, Imagineers Pam Rawlins and Jason Grandt explain just how detailed this new character greeting area will be. In addition to a castle-like entrance, high ceilings and elegant wood-paneled rooms, the space will feature beautiful princess portraits, themed wallpaper, glittering stained glass windows and accessories that have been inspired by props seen in films like “Cinderella” and “Tangled.”

As a reminder, Princess Fairytale Hall will offer two separate character greeting experiences, which means there are two queues to choose from. You can choose to meet either Cinderella or Rapunzel, each of whom will be joined by one fellow Disney princess.

And yes, Princess Fairytale Hall will offer both traditional Disney FASTPASS and the new Disney FastPass+ options.

Join the conversation online with the hash tag #NewFantasyland on Twitter.

Take a look at the Disney Parks Blog posts below for more on Princess Fairytale Hall:

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Hitchhiking Ghost Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card Debuts at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

posted on September 5th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


When Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Magic Kingdom Park next week, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans are in for an additional treat – the chance to pick up an event-exclusive game card!

Hitchhiking Ghost Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card Debuts at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Just in case you’re new to the game, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an in-park interactive experience that allows guests join Merlin’s quest to defeat Disney Villains who are scheming to take over Magic Kingdom Park. Guests use maps to search for villain hideouts throughout the park, visit magic portals and use spell cards to foil a villain’s plan. The quest begins in the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., where you can pick up key cards, spell cards and maps (additional cards can be purchased at select merchandise locations).

This special card features the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion attraction and lets us “sorcerers” tap into the supernatural power that lies within the Haunted Mansion’s graveyard. Players can use the card to direct poltergeists to scare away any Disney villains they may come across on their journey.

This special event card will be distributed separately from the regular Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card packs (yes, you can pick up both while attending the party). The Hitchhiking Ghost card is available at both the Magic Kingdom Firehouse and the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom location behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe during the party, and guests must register to play with their party ticket and event wristband in order to get one.

Can’t wait to test this card out? Share your excitement in the “Comments” section below!


Want to learn more about Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom? Check out these past blog posts:

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