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PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This year’s D23 Expo was chock full of fun for Disney Parks fans, and highlights of the weekend were three special sessions dedicated to honoring Disney’s history and heritage, sharing news on what’s next for Disney Parks around the world, and offering sneak peeks at upcoming Disney films.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony” was held Friday, August, 14, and honored eight individuals for their unique contributions to the success of The Walt Disney Company. Among them were a few people who have specifically shaped or inspired Disney Parks experiences – or even were a part of our park’s history, including Disneyland’s first ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto, filmmaker George Lucas, and star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise Johnny Depp.

ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)

On Saturday, August 15, D23 Expo guests were treated to a “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios” presentation, which gave an overview of upcoming Disney films. Some of these films already have connections to existing Disney Parks attractions – and who knows what future park experiences may be inspired by some of these new films.

JOHNNY DEPP

During this session, several celebrities made surprise appearances in which they talked about their love of Disney Parks and share their enthusiasm for their new films, including Johnny Depp who dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”); Mia Wasikowska (“Alice Through The Looking Glass”); Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: Civil War”); and Bryce Dallas Howard (“Pete’s Dragon”).

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

“The Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau also appeared with the upcoming film’s castmates, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Neel Sethi, and surprised them (and the audience) with a first look at footage from the film. Seeing their reactions was priceless – especially young Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli in the film.

OSCAR ISAAC, JOHN BOYEGA, LUPITA NYONG'O, DAISY RIDLEY, J.J. ABRAMS, HARRISON FORD, ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios), ROBERT A. IGER (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company)

The new cast of “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” also made an appearance with writer/director J.J. Abrams and special guest Harrison Ford. Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger closed the session by announcing plans for Star Wars-themed lands for Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (Read more on that here).

BOB CHAPEK (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts)

Another highlight of this year’s D23 Expo for Disney Parks fans was the “Parks & Resorts Presentation,” at which Disney leaders unveiled plans for Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, details on the Star Wars-themed lands planned for Disney Parks, Soarin’ Around the World, and updates on Shanghai Disneyland.

JON LANDAU, JAMES CAMERON, JOE ROHDE

Filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau joined Imagineer Joe Rohde to announce the official name of the land Pandora – The World of AVATAR, which is currently under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They also shared the name of the land’s major attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage, which will allow guests to soar on a banshee.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo PHOTO GALLERY: Best Images from the 2015 D23 Expo

During the event, superhero mastermind Stan Lee also made a surprise appearance to help Imagineer Ted Robledo announce plans for The Iron Man Experience for Hong Kong Disneyland.

Be sure to click through all of the photo galleries above for a look inside each presentation.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on July 19th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier was joined by Mickey Mouse and special guests at Sleeping Beauty Castle to commemorate the Resort’s official 60th anniversary.

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As part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, it was announced that we will honor 60 years of Walt’s dream with the “Million Dollar Dazzle” program. Each month during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more Southern California nonprofits with a $60,000 gift, totaling more than $1 million.

Check out Erin’s story for more information. And check back on Monday for new video from the celebration.

Roaring Rapids Coming to Shanghai Disneyland

Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger also 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.

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. Check out video from the event.

Our original story has more details on each of the themed lands, including Tomorrowland, where guests will be able to experience the TRON Lightcycle Power Run and more.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Icing on the Cake: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Disneyland Park in 1965 – Fifty years ago these dancing candles were delighted in the fact they were taking part in history during the 10th anniversary celebration of Disneyland park. Enjoy this calorie-free video!

Mickey’s Halloween Party Expands to 17 Nights with Return of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, September 11 – November 1 – The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues into Halloween Time when the season begins again September 11, with the addition of the new “Paint the Night” parade during the expanded 17 nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park!

D23 EXPO 2015 Brings New Collections from ALEX AND ANI – If you’re a fan of ALEX AND ANI and you’re attending D23 EXPO 2015, August 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Disney Dream Store is the place to be.

The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Rivers of America at Disneyland Park – Sixty years ago, Walt Disney and his wife, Lillian, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a special party aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat at the soon-to-open Disneyland park.

Today in Disney History: ‘Hocus Pocus’ Casts a Spell in Theaters – On July 16, 1993, Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” opened in theaters, and the world was introduced to those wacky and wicked Sanderson sisters: Mary (Kathy Najimy), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Winifred (Bette Midler).

Bookings Begin July 30 for Premium Events for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – There are more ways than ever to celebrate at the 20th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival September 25-November 16 – and while plenty of events are included with park admission, we look forward each fall to the over-the-top “premium events.”

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UPDATE: First Look: Shanghai Disney Resort Images Revealed

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We have an update to the story we shared with you earlier today about Shanghai Disney Resort. Just now, on today’s earnings call, Bob Iger, Disney chairman and CEO, shared updates on the project. We wanted to share them with you.

“This is also a dynamic and exciting time for our Parks & Resorts – with another very strong performance in Q1 and plenty to look forward to, including the spectacular Shanghai Disney Resort. I was in China the week before last and saw amazing progress — we just topped off our signature Shanghai Disneyland Hotel… and we’re nearing completion on iconic features throughout the park, including the largest castle we’ve ever built… and we’re getting ready to start casting the hundreds of performers we’ll need to entertain our guests. It’s thrilling to see Shanghai Disney Resort rapidly coming to life. The artistry, complexity….the magnitude…and the detail….it’s all quite astonishing. As you’ll recall, after we broke ground on this incredible resort, we announced an $800 million expansion, significantly increasing both the size of the park and the number of attractions available to our guests on opening day. Even with that expansion, we will complete major construction by the end of this calendar year, and we’re planning a spectacular grand opening in Spring of 2016, which we believe is the optimal time to showcase the full grandeur of this world class destination.” – Bob Iger.

As you know, Shanghai Disney Resort is one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever undertaken at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and I know that all of you are as excited as I am to see what’s planned for our first-ever theme park resort in mainland China. Just this week, we unveiled a first look at new creative images of both the reimagined attraction based on the world of Pirates and the new hotels under development.

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As we shared on the blog previously, Shanghai Disneyland will be home to the first-ever Pirates-themed land-Treasure Cove-and an E-ticket attraction called Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The attraction will feature a combination of new technology and innovation and will take guests on a pirate adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Davy Jones, providing an experience unlike anything else in the world.

The resort also released new aerial images of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. The topping out of Shanghai Disneyland Hotel took place just 12 months after its vertical construction started. With 420-rooms, it will be the signature hotel of Shanghai Disney Resort, featuring an elegant Art Nouveau style with a touch of Disney magic and imagination, and stunning views of Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown and the resort’s central lake.

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Shanghai Disney Resort Unveils Construction Images for the Toy Story Hotel Shanghai Disney Resort Unveils and Artist Rendering for the Toy Story Hotel

The topping out of Shanghai Disneyland Hotel adds to the list of milestones since vertical construction of the resort started 15 months ago, including: the topping out of the resort’s first building in Disneytown in December 2013, the 800-room Toy Story Hotel in January 2014 and most recently Disneyland’s “mountain” feature in December 2014. All of these milestones showcase the progress we are making to share wonderful Disney stories with the people of mainland China.

Stay tuned for more updates on Shanghai Disney Resort!

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Shanghai Disneyland’s Treasure Cove Unveiled

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


On this day in 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean debuted at Disneyland in Anaheim. Nearly 50 years later, as part of The Walt Disney Company Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger unveiled creative details including the first-ever Pirates-themed land and a new Pirates of the Caribbean attraction designed for the Shanghai Disney Resort. We wanted you to be among the first to have all the details.

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“Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most iconic attractions in our parks, and we really couldn’t imagine Shanghai Disneyland without Pirates,” said Bob Iger, Disney chairman and CEO. “We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience that would appeal to our Chinese guests while remaining true to its Disney heritage.”

For the first time ever, a Disney Park will be home to a Pirates-themed land—Treasure Cove—and an e-ticket attraction called Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The attraction will feature a combination of new technology and innovation to bring guests along a pirate adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Davy Jones, providing our guests who visit the Shanghai Disneyland Park an experience unlike anything else in the world.

“We are extremely proud of all the work underway to bring the Shanghai Disney Resort to life,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “And we’re excited to re-imagine the iconic world and characters of Pirates for the first time as an entire land that celebrates the creativity, imagination and adventure of both the fan favorite attraction and the popular film franchise.”

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The announcement coincides with the completion of key structural work on the Pirates attraction, and marks another exciting milestone in the resort development. Progress continues with construction and Shanghai Disney Resort remains on target to open by the end of 2015.

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First Look: ‘Garden of the Twelve Friends’ to Feature Mosaic Murals at Shanghai Disneyland

posted on December 5th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Our progress towards the late 2015 opening of Shanghai Disneyland continues to gain momentum. Earlier today, we announced our first corporate alliance partner for Shanghai Disney Resort: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of the most respected companies in China. The agreement provides for a strong branded presence at the resort for ICBC, including sponsorship of a key component of the Gardens of Imagination, which form the central hub of the new park in the forecourt of the park’s iconic castle. The ICBC -sponsored component, called “Garden of the Twelve Friends,” will celebrate each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac characters.

“Since the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim nearly 60 years ago, we have sought to establish strong partnerships with businesses that are well-respected leaders in their industries and the communities in which they operate. We are continuing that legacy with this agreement and we are thrilled that our first major alliance partnership for the Shanghai Disney Resort is with such an esteemed partner as ICBC,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

“The ‘Garden of the Twelve Friends’ is an excellent example of how we are creating experiences and attractions that are designed with our Chinese guests in mind, and rooted in Disney characters and storytelling,” he added.

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The “Garden of the Twelve Friends” will be located inside the 11-acre collection of gardens and other attractions which lies at the center of the theme park. In addition to the mosaic tiles, the garden will feature a beautiful grove of peach trees, and provide guests with amazing views of the Enchanted Storybook Castle as well as a stunning backdrop for photo opportunities.

We are pleased to share a first look at one of the handmade glass tile mosaic murals that will be found in the “Garden of the Twelve Friends” at Shanghai Disneyland. Each Chinese Zodiac sign will be represented by a Disney or Pixar character. So for example, the Chinese Zodiac for Year of the Rat will be Remy from Ratatouille.

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The “Garden of the Twelve Friends” can be viewed when gates open at Shanghai Disney Resort at the end of 2015. Be sure and check back here on the Disney Parks Blog for more updates.

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Update: Vertical Construction Begins on Theme Park at Shanghai Disney Resort

posted on October 17th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Earlier today, we celebrated another significant milestone at Shanghai Disney Resort with the installation of the first steel column at the resort’s theme park. It’s a moment that marks the start of vertical construction at Shanghai Disneyland, the theme park that’ll eventually include Enchanted Storybook Castle – our largest and most interactive Disney castle.
Vertical Construction Begins on Theme Park at Shanghai Disney Resort

“This is a great moment for everyone working on the Shanghai Disney Resort and underscores the continued progress we are making as we bring this extraordinary project to life,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With each passing day as our new resort takes shape, we become more excited to welcome our firsts guests in late 2015.”

Vertical Construction Begins on Theme Park at Shanghai Disney Resort Vertical Construction Begins on Theme Park at Shanghai Disney Resort

 
Leaders from The Walt Disney Company as well as the Shanghai Disney Resort Management Company and the Shanghai Shendi Group gathered at the site to celebrate the occasion with construction workers.

The resort will initially be comprised of Shanghai Disneyland, a Magic Kingdom-style park that will blend classic Disney storytelling and characters with new attractions, experiences and entertainment tailored specifically for the people of China. There will also be two themed hotels, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake and associated parking and transportation hubs.

As work continues on Shanghai Disney Resort, be sure to check the Disney Parks Blog for the latest updates.

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Construction Begins on Shanghai Disneyland Castle

posted on June 29th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Several months ago, we shared a first look at a model of Shanghai Disneyland Park that included Enchanted Storybook Castle, the iconic central attraction of the entire theme park. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that construction work on the castle is now underway.

Construction Begins on Shanghai Disneyland Castle Construction Begins on Shanghai Disneyland Castle

In the photo, you’ll notice the first concrete piles that will support Enchanted Storybook Castle being installed at the site. When work is completed, it’ll be the world’s tallest and most interactive Disney castle.

The Castle will include entertainment, dining and performance spaces as well as a magnificent winding staircase in the heart of the castle that’ll lead guests on a “Once Upon a Time Adventure,” featuring Disney Princesses. It’ll also feature a boat ride attraction with a secret underground chamber, in which fountains of light will leap and dance in shimmering pools.

As work continues on Shanghai Disneyland Park, be sure to check the Disney Parks Blog for the latest updates.

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