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First Disney Ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto Welcomes New Ambassadors

posted on October 11th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts celebrates 50 years of the Disney Ambassador program, which was first introduced as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of Disneyland. Walt Disney needed someone to act as a representative of Disneyland to audiences in the community and around the world, as well as host VIP guests and foreign dignitaries. Julie Reihm Casaletto, a tour guide for the park at the time, was selected by Walt to be the first Disney Ambassador.

A half-century later, in a ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park, Julie joined more than 50 former Disney Ambassadors yesterday morning to welcome the 2015-2016 Disneyland Resort Ambassador team, Jessica Bernard and Allie Kawamoto.

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The 50-year tradition continued at Walt Disney World Resort yesterday, as Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma were announced as the 2015-2016 Disney Ambassador team, receiving the golden opportunity of sharing the magic of “our world” – and representing nearly 70,000 fellow Cast Members – with the Central Florida community.

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Rounding out the global anniversary celebration, Disney Ambassadors also were announced recently at other Disney Parks around the world. At Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Sara Hui was selected as the next Ambassador to represent the Asia-based theme park, and Tokyo Disney Resort chose Riina Imaeda as the first ambassador to serve a two-year term in Japan. Sonia Demay and Romina Grochow were welcomed as new Ambassadors at Disneyland Paris earlier this month.

The Disney Ambassador family will grow this year, as Shanghai Disney Resort, scheduled to open in 2015, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will for the first time name Disney Ambassadors.

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Honors for Innovative Design of Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As many of you know, Disney’s theme parks and resorts exemplify not only storytelling and creativity, but also innovation. We are constantly defining and redefining themed entertainment, and we do that not just in the technology behind our attractions, but also in the way we design them.

With that in mind, we are pleased to share that Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) has recently received a prestigious professional honor for the innovative design and technology practices that have been used in the development of Enchanted Storybook Castle, currently under construction at Shanghai Disneyland. The American Institute of Architects presented its Technology in Architectural Practice Award to WDI for its successful implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM). While traditional building design uses 2D drawings and elevations of a planned building, BIM adds three dimensions (height, width and depth) and is a virtual representation of the actual building to be built. Embedded with data, this digital model can be linked to schedules so that designers can see the construction of a building over a period of time. The image below represents a snapshot of the BIM model.

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“Our commitment to collaboration, teamwork, and mutual success enables us to create those magical, innovative experiences in a way that only Disney can do,” said David Van Wyk, WDI project management and integration executive. “When the whole organization is thinking about reinforcing each other’s efforts, it allows individuals the ability to focus on what they need to do to accomplish our shared goals. By using BIM processes and technology on this and other projects to be built around the world allow us to work smarter and more efficiently as a team.”

Congratulations to Walt Disney Imagineering on this award and all of the people over in Shanghai working hard to turn these innovative designs into a reality!

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Shanghai Disney Resort Debuts ‘Happy Dream’ Float at Festival

posted on September 17th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


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Today, we’re excited to bring you some news from China. On Saturday, Shanghai Disney Resort made its first appearance in the Annual Shanghai Tourism Festival parade.
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The colorful float, called “Happy Dream,” featured Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and many other popular Disney characters. And Disney dancers added to the fun by performing a Mandarin Chinese version of Disney’s classic “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” from “Cinderella.”

“Our performance at this year’s Shanghai Tourism Festival is the result of an international collaboration between Disney experts and talented Chinese artists. We are excited to demonstrate our commitment to bringing the best of Disney experiences to the people of China, even before we officially open Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Laurie Jordan, Vice President, Shanghai Disney Resort Entertainment. “We are thrilled to support the Shanghai Tourism Festival for the first time and to help promote the city as an international tourism destination.”

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World’s First Production of Disney’s THE LION KING in Mandarin to be Presented at Shanghai Disney Resort

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


From Treasure Cove to Enchanted Storybook Castle, we’ve been showing you updates on the progress of Shanghai Disney Resort, and today I’m excited to tell you about another one-of-a-kind experience in development for the newest addition to our worldwide family of Disney Parks.

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Disney’s musical event, THE LION KING – the landmark Julie Taymor production, exactly as seen on Broadway and in productions around the world – will be presented at Shanghai Disney Resort in partnership with Disney Theatrical Productions. The world’s first production of Disney’s THE LION KING in Mandarin, this groundbreaking show will be performed in a new, world-class, 1,200-seat Broadway-style theater, located in the retail, dining and entertainment area currently under construction adjacent to Shanghai Disneyland park.

“We are thrilled to bring Disney’s THE LION KING to Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Mike Crawford, General Manager of Shanghai Disney Resort. “Working with our partners at Disney Theatrical Productions to have the world’s most successful and popular stage musical in Mandarin for the first time, here at our ‘must-visit’ entertainment district, will provide a great centerpiece for the area and an amazing opportunity for the people living in and traveling to Shanghai.”

“It is especially exciting for us to premiere THE LION KING at this brand new theatre at Shanghai Disney Resort, marking our first collaboration with our partners at Disney Parks and Resorts,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions. “This uniquely Chinese production will be our most ambitious yet, featuring the very best of local talent, who will perform the show for the first time in Mandarin as they bring Julie Taymor’s singular theatrical vision to life.”

At the time of its opening, the Mandarin production will mark the 10th concurrent worldwide production of Disney’s THE LION KING – the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history. To date, Disney’s THE LION KING has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

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Xin Yin Children’s Choir Celebrates Disney’s ‘it’s a small world’

posted on March 27th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Our celebration of the 50th anniversary of “it’s a small world” continues today with a video performance from the children’s choir, Xin Yin, which is based in Shanghai.

The performance, which took place in the Shanghai Cultural Center, included the group singing the song “it’s a small world (after all)” in English and Mandarin Chinese.

You can join the attraction’s celebration by singing along and creating your own “it’s a small world” doll. Learn more at SmallWorld50.com.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Seven Dwarfs Logo, Celeb Visits & More

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


We had an exciting week on the Disney Parks Blog, with international and domestic news to share, as well as new images and renderings of upcoming projects.

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First up, we unveiled the official logo for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which will open soon in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. What do you think?

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This week, our friends at Shanghai Disneyland also shared with us the first rendering of Shanghai Disneyland’s Treasure Cove, an entire land that will be dedicated to pirates. Looks like it will be amazing!

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And in other cool images we shared this week, two celebs showed up to visit some characters at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Tina Fey, who stars in the new film “Muppets Most Wanted” and actress Katie Holmes both paused for a photo at the park.

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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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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: On The Construction Site

posted on February 1st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week on the Disney Parks Blog we shared several images of attractions that are underway at Disney theme parks at Magic Kingdom Park and at Shanghai Disney Resort.

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First up, we shared a new look inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, with a batch of new images that showcase just how detailed the attraction will be when it opens this year. Click through to the original story to learn just how the interior of the Mine was carved by hand.

Tom Smith also shared some new photos from Shanghai Disney Resort, which just celebrated the topping out of the resort’s first hotel and the start of construction of a “mountain” in the resort’s park.

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Click here to read more.

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Construction on Shanghai Disney Resort Reaches New Heights

posted on January 29th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’re thrilled to let Disney Parks Blog readers know that Shanghai Disney Resort recently celebrated two new construction milestones, including the topping out of the resort’s first Disney-themed hotel and the start of construction of a “mountain” in the resort’s theme park.

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Shanghai Disney Resort and partner leadership teams poured the last concrete onto the roof section of the first of two Disney-themed hotels, marking the milestone. The hotel will feature 800 rooms over seven floors and will offer guests stunning views of Shanghai Disneyland, the retail, dining and entertainment district and the resort’s central lake.

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Additionally, the first vertical steel for Shanghai Disneyland’s “mountain”, marked the official start of vertical construction for another remarkable attraction at the resort’s Magic Kingdom-style theme park. The mountain will be located in a key area of the theme park and will be the second highest structure at Shanghai Disney Resort after the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Disney has a long-standing tradition of creating immersive and unforgettable experiences for guests around the world, and it will be no different with Shanghai Disney Resort. Classic Disney characters and storytelling blend with uniquely-designed and finely-crafted attractions, from rockwork to jungles, lakes and trees, to create exciting and extraordinary immersive places for guests of all ages to enjoy.

Shanghai Disney Resort continues on track to open at the end 2015. On opening day the resort will include Shanghai Disneyland, two themed hotels, a 46,000 square meter retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake and associated parking and transportation hubs.

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Shanghai Disney Resort VoluntEARS Give Back to Local Community

posted on December 10th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Disney’s involvement in the community, no matter where we are in the world, is one of the most special things we do. You can find Disney VoluntEARS, giving their time and talent, and doing their part to improve and enrich the lives of kids and families in the communities where they live and work. And we continue this legacy, in the Shanghai community where our new resort destination, Shanghai Disney Resort, is under construction.

Just last week, Disney VoluntEARS from the resort celebrated International Volunteers Day with a special visit to the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs joined cast members and Imagineers in making holiday decorations with the children in a Disney-themed activity center. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse even made a surprise appearance, delivering gifts and bringing smiles and happiness to the children.

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“I am very proud of what our Shanghai Cast and Imagineers have done here to continue the Disney commitment to giving back to the community,” said Staggs. “Over the past three decades, Disney VoluntEARS have worked on many meaningful projects, and now we are bringing this legacy to our new resort destination in Shanghai. Events like this provide us with opportunities to bring Disney happiness and magic to children around the world.”

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Last summer, more than 100 Disney VoluntEARS from Shanghai Disney Resort and their families painted and furnished the colorful activity room at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. The room was inspired by the “it’s a small world” attraction at Disney’s theme parks, and Disney VoluntEARS installed 30 different paintings of “it’s a small world” dolls.

The volunteer efforts at the Children’s Medical Center are just one of the many ways that Disney VoluntEARS are giving back in the Shanghai community this holiday season.

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