Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Halloween at Disney Parks

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


With Halloween less than one week away, celebrations are now in full swing at Disney Parks.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Transforms Magic Kingdom After Dark

Here at the Walt Disney World Resort, guests are enjoying Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party fun at Magic Kingdom Park. At the Disneyland Resort, families are having a blast at Mickey’s Halloween Party and Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park, and Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure.

Be sure to click through the gallery above for a look inside all of the fun.

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#DisneyKids: First Playground Visit at Disney Parks

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


At Disney Parks, even our playgrounds are driven by story. Whether it’s a whimsical playscape inside the Dumbo attraction in New Fantasyland or the larger than life Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a first visit to a Disney Parks playground is a memorable experience during a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

We’re continuing our exclusive #DisneyKids series this week with special peek at some first visits to The Boneyard, an open-air playground modeled to resemble a dinosaur dig site specifically for younger children (10 and under) in Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, we’re sharing more fun ideas for the little ones as well as some offers designed with your family in mind on our special preschool page.

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999 Happy Haunts: Here Comes The Bride

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


This week our Happy Haunts series is taking a look at the true lady of the house – The Bride. (This character’s storyline varies a bit at Haunted Mansion attractions around the world, so we’ll focus mainly on her appearance at Magic Kingdom Park).

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(Art by Morgan Davidson)

Imagineer Ken Anderson developed one of the first storylines for the Bride, who was a young woman named Priscilla set to be wed to a sea captain named Captain Gore. Throughout this version of the attraction – which at first was being developed as a walk-through experience – guests would follow Priscilla as she found evidence that her love was actually a wicked pirate. Priscilla then vanished and was never seen again, although her spirit presence in the mansion was said to have driven the Captain mad. In another version of the Bride’s storyline, Walt Disney himself was set to narrate the attraction (think of Walt as the “Ghost Host”), and was to reference a bride character who had “lost her head” before the big day.

The Bride’s storyline was finally solidified when Imagineers Marc Davis, Claude Coats and X. Atencio were handed the project in the mid-1960s. Set in a creepy, cluttered attic full of shadows and surprises, the Bride waited for guests at the end of the room with a red pulsing heart and a flowing dress. Over the years, her storyline became more prominent, with wedding mementos placed throughout the attic, a louder thumping heartbeat, and the tune of the Wedding March plunked on a harpischord in the background. Later changes indicate that it was the groom that really lost his head inside the mansion: the Bride currently holds an ax, and nearby portraits of the happy couple reveal a headless groom when the lightning flashes.

In the artwork above, artist Morgan Davidson gave the Bride a Halloween twist. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below!

For more Happy Haunts, check out the posts below:

‘Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!’ Street Party Starts Tomorrow at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party is ready to make its debut at Magic Kingdom Park! This new version of the park’s popular Disney character street party brings with it new music and characters and new ways for you to become part of the show.

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The fun starts as a parade of giant gift boxes make their way down Main Street, U.S.A. toward the Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle. Everyone’s invited to follow the procession and dance along to the original song, “Party Up!” Once party hosts Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy pop up, it’s time to join in and dance with our party peeps and favorite Disney pals like Stitch and Phineas and Ferb.

You’ll “Move It!” You’ll “Shake It!” And when it comes time to “Play It,” you’ll even get to vote for the next song on the party playlist!

This street party promises to be so much fun, you’re going to want to share the excitement with all your family and friends. When you post those awesome selfies to Twitter and Instagram, be sure to tag them with #MoveItShakeItPics. They may just show up on the floats as part of a special finale moment!

The “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party hits Magic Kingdom Park on Friday, October 24, and will be presented several times daily, so come on out and join in the fun!

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10 Things To Know About The Haunted Mansion Theme ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the Disney Parks attractions with catchy theme songs, I sure don’t mind when this one gets stuck in my head. “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the theme of The Haunted Mansion, is both merry and spooky at the same time, and is perfectly fitting for one of our guest-favorite attractions.

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As our Halloween celebration continues, here are 10 things you may not know about this tune.

  1. The success of the catchy theme song, “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me),” at Pirates of the Caribbean spurred interest in creating a similarly compelling tune for the (then under-construction) Haunted Mansion attraction. Without “Pirates” we may never have had “Ghosts!”
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” composers Buddy Baker and X. Atencio were proven to be Disney songwriting successes when put on the project. Atencio had penned lyrics to the song “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”, while Baker’s theme park contributions included scoring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.
  3. Popular voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft sang baritone for the track. His voice can also be heard in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” among other Disney films.
  4. Thurl’s quartet, The Mellomen, also contributed harmony to “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The group had previously lent their voices to “Alice In Wonderland,” “Peter Pan” and “The Jungle Book.”

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  1. The arrangement of the tune progresses throughout the attraction, starting off on an eerie piano in the library and funeral scenes, then bolder as organ music in the dining room and a whooping party in the graveyard scene.
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” hits a high note in the graveyard scene, where a set of singing busts await “to shriek and harmonize.” Did you know that each of these busts has a name? They are: Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock.
  3. The face of singer Thurl Ravenscroft appears on one of the singing busts – Uncle Theodore, which you can identify at Magic Kingdom Park attraction as the “broken” bust.
  4. Buddy Baker, X. Atencio and Thurl Ravenscroft have all been named Disney Legends in years past for their contributions to Disney Parks and films.
  5. The pop band Barenaked Ladies did a cover of “Grim-Grinning Ghosts” in 2003 for the film “The Haunted Mansion” which starred Eddie Murphy.
  6. A reference to a “Grim Grinning Ghost” (note “ghost” is singular, not plural) appears in the William Shakespeare poem “Venus and Adonis” which was completed in 1593.
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Finish that Disney Parks Sign: A Stop At The Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park

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


This week we’re taking a sweet stop at the Confectionery on Main Street, U.S.A. I love so many of the treats inside – from the specialty apples and Mickey crispy treats to my personal favorite, the chocolate-covered pineapple skewers.

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According to this sign, the Confectionery is the home of ___. Do you remember the missing words? If so, tell us in the comments section below. We’ll post the answer later today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Haunt Your Disney Side Contest, Week 3 (Pumpkin Carving Tips)

posted on October 20th, 2014 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


Halloween is almost upon us and “Grim, Grinning, Ghosts” are coming “Out to Socialize!”

Which means you only have a short time left to show your Halloween Disney Side by uploading photos of your Disney Parks-themed Halloween decor, food and drinks, carved pumpkins and costumes at DisneySideContest.com.

This week’s blog post focuses on our favorite orange Halloween decoration – jack-o-lanterns.

The Disney Parks Blog‘s John Graham caught up with Disney Channel star Olivia Holt (“I Didn’t Do It”), who has some experience with all things Halloween.

Olivia, along with an expert pumpkin carver from the Disneyland Resort, recently showed off their Halloween Disney sides at Disneyland park Big Thunder Ranch.

They have some great tips for that perfect Disney Parks-themed jack-o-lantern, as well as showcasing some spectacularly-carved pumpkins that YOU can use as inspiration for your Haunt Your Disney Side entries.

Don’t forget, we want to see your most frightfully-fun Disney Parks-themed Halloween photos. Check out DisneySideContest.com to enter for a chance to win some eerie, scary prizes, including that private “Midnight at the Haunted Mansion” party for you and three guests with a spooky overnight stay in Cinderella Castle.

And check back this month to the Disney Parks Blog for more tips on how to “Haunt Your Disney Side.”

NO PURCH NEC. Ends 11/4/14 at 11:59:59 PM ET. 50 US/DC/Canada (excl. QC), 18/age of majority +. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules.


For more from the Haunt Your Disney Side contest, visit the post below:

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New Disney Kingdoms Series to feature Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

posted on October 18th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


A reader favorite here on the Disney Parks Blog, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, will be the focus of a new Disney Kingdoms series and today we’re thrilled to share a first look at the spectacular cover artwork and details behind the adventure set in the wild Frontier.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a five-part comic series driven by Walt Disney Imagineering storytelling that’ll include earthquakes, floods and, of course, dynamite-chewing goats. Disney Kingdoms editor Bill Rosemann says, “This action-packed story by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Tigh Walker will feature the never-before-told saga of how the gold mine in Big Thunder Mountain became the haunted legend it is today.”

As readers explore the “wildest ride in the wilderness,” they’ll go back in time to a Gold Rush town where daring men and women were in a daily battle between man and mountain. There will be plenty of surprises and mystery along the way as the series uncovers why Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is more than a rumbling, tumbling train car attraction.

Disney Kingdoms Big Thunder Mountain Railroad series will be on sale in comic shops across the country in the spring of 2015.

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999 Happy Haunts: The Hitchhiking Ghosts

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


Our weekly series in which we take an in-depth look at the ghostly residents of The Haunted Mansion continues this week with a look at a fan-favorite: The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

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(Art by Mercedes Crespo)

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were actually some of the final ghoulish “residents” that were added into the plans for The Haunted Mansion. Not only that, but their look (designed by Imagineer Marc Davis) and their location within the attraction changed throughout the development process. According to Jason Surrell’s book “The Haunted Mansion: From The Magic Kingdom To The Movies,” some of the earlier ghosts designed to be in the hitchhiking trio were moved up to other scenes within the attraction.

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(Art by Kyle Olson)

In the end, the three hitchhikers were designed as a traveler with a top hat and carpetbag, a tall skeletal figure and a fuzzy bearded fellow carrying a ball and chain. The three were later dubbed Ezra, Gus and Phineas by fans.

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(Art by Richard Page)

Something that has made this trio a favorite of many Haunted Mansion fans is their unique ability to “follow you home,” which they appear to do by hopping into (or on top of) your Doom Buggie in the following scene.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were enhanced at the attraction at Magic Kingdom Park in 2011 with additional special effects (watch a behind-the-scenes video on that here).


For more on the residents of The Haunted Mansion, check out the spooky good posts below:

America’s Cutest Pet – Howl-O-Ween Special Airing October 18

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


In my thirty years of working in television, the one thing I never wanted to hear anybody say is, “Well, his career has gone to the dogs.” But in this (one and only) instance, I’m really glad it did!

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After reviewing hundreds of pet clips, and experiencing a never-to-be-forgotten day at Magic Kingdom Park, when we were visited by 101 dogs, each showing their Disney Side … we’re excited to share a brand new special! Animal Planet’s “America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween” comes chock full of pets disguised as your favorite Disney characters, promising animal fans one of the kookiest, spookiest hours of television — maybe ever.

Hosted by actor and pet aficionado John O’Hurley, the one-hour pet-acular premieres Saturday October 18 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Animal Planet.

Watch America’s Cutest Pet – Howl-o-Ween Special Airing October 18

This show was fantastic to work on. In addition to that magical Disney Side Dog Day at Magic Kingdom Park, during filming we had more than 30 of your favorite Disney characters drop in and get into the act. It seems they love cute pets just as much as you and I do – and they have a LOT to say about them!

It was great to work with long-time Disney fan John O’Hurley and his family. We shot with them in all four parks, so you’ll get to share in their Disney Side, as well. There are lots of other surprises in store – and with Halloween right around the corner, you might get a few costume ideas from these playful pets, too!

As you know, I always promise some good behind-the-scenes info – but this time, it’s show, not tell! Check out the cool behind the scenes video … and tune in on Saturday night for a howling good time! (See what I did there?)

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