Disneyland park guests have been wowed by the updates to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ever since it re-opened this spring. I recently took a ride on the attraction with Imagineer Lisa Girolami, who oversaw its extensive refurbishment. The wildest ride in the wilderness might not be the best place for an in-depth interview, but it sure is the most fun!
What do you like best about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park? Tell us in the comments!
See the posts below for more on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:
From the lighting of the first grill at the “Great Tailgate” until the last seconds ticked off the clock during Sunday’s game – it was the perfect ending to a weekend of fun, football and fans as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney.
As nearly 10,000 fans cheered, the North Carolina A&T Aggies defeated their rivals, the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in Sunday’s match up between the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). But the game was just part of the reason these thousands of visitors came to Central Florida. They came for the annual celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), diversity and football.
As a proud member of the HBCU alumni community, I was honored to take part in events such as a college fair, an ESPN career panel for local students, the annual band showcase and the Legends reception recognizing outstanding HBCU alumni for their athletic and academic contributions.
But that wasn’t the only reason I felt proud this weekend. As Sunday’s game was broadcast on ESPN network from Bright House Networks Stadium at the University of Central Florida, it highlighted our region to a national audience. It was thrilling to see my community and fellow cast members coming together for such a fantastic event.
Today, we were all big winners!
“This here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Guests first heard that warning on September 2, 1979, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Since then, the popular runaway mine train as taken more than 225 million guests on a wild ride through 19th century gold-mining territory. The mountain was inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and objects found inside are actual artifacts from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. The opening also marked the third peak in the Disneyland park mountain range. (Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain were the first two.)
Last March, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after an extended refurbishment with new track and an enhanced audio system. Come check it out! For now, take a trip back to 1979 and watch as Mickey Mouse turns the key and boards the runaway mine train with some of his Disney friends.
As the sun rose over the Walt Disney World Resort, 101 creatively costumed dogs and their owners walked the green carpet on Main Street, U.S.A., during our first-ever Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park.
Pet dogs dressed as Disney princesses, pirates and even Cruella de Vil were featured at the tail-wagging event, which included a special doggie dance party in front of Cinderella Castle with your favorite Disney dogs like Pluto and Bolt.
There was a special “Show Your Disney Side” costume contest before Disney character Goofy kicked off a first-of-it’s-kind dog walk around a portion of Magic Kingdom Park and through Cinderella Castle. The walk was led by Lily, a Labrador-Catahoula pup with a perfect Mickey Mouse-shaped spot on her lower back originally featured on the Disney Parks Blog, as well as members of the Disney Parks Blog team.
Portions of the Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom will be included in an Animal Planet Disney Side edition of “America’s Cutest Pet” scheduled to premiere in October. The TV special will be hosted by actor and pet lover John O’Hurley who also showed up for our event.
Be sure to check out our special gallery from the Disney Side Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Park – we had a great time and the costumes were spectacular.
Halloween Time is just around the corner here at the Disneyland Resort, and already our guests have been purchasing tickets for the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party. Don’t have yours yet? Get them now right here!
New this year, the stars of “Frozen” – Elsa, Anna and Olaf – will appear in their special pre-parade prior to “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade.
Not to be outdone, the Disney villains have plenty of bad-apple fun planned for “Villains Square.” Throughout the evening, Disney villains such as Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts, Judge Frollo and Lady Tremaine will arrive in Town Square on a black horse-drawn carriage, inviting guests to party like a Villain!
Of course, there’s so much more to enjoy at Mickey’s Halloween Party, including:
- The opportunity to play in Disneyland park three hours before the party starts
- Trick or Treating for candy and healthy treats in the ultimate Disney neighborhood
- “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular (presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party, weather permitting)
- “Monsters U Dance Party” at Tomorrowland Terrace
- Cadaver Dans, a ghoulish quartet performing Halloween-themed tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America
- Access to your favorite Disneyland park attractions, including Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
So get your tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party here and join us for all the spooky fun!
This Labor Day weekend, more than 700 athletes and coaches representing nine states, 5 countries from as far away as Japan, will hit the diamonds at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Turn Back the Clock Weekend. For the 18th straight year, teams will enjoy international competition on the field and fun off the field in the parks, and at a private water park party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
For teams like the Cambridge Hitmen, planning the “Road to Disney” started months ago. Team manager Ronnie Ferrara has led teams from Boston to the tournament for the past 14 years. “We have a lot of fun down there,” said Ferrara. “The Disney difference, they are wonderful down there, they treat everyone first class from the day you get there, they go over board trying to help. The fields are unbelievable.”
For the kids, it’s an opportunity to experience good competition and enjoy time with friends and teammates. “What’s great about the baseball is how good the competition is,” said catcher Samuel Olivet, who is making his second trip to the tournament. Rookie pitcher Elliot Harris said, “it seems like a vacation with one of my favorite things to do, which is play baseball.”
Recently, we caught up with the Hitmen on their home field in Cambridge, MA, as they practiced for their trip of a lifetime.
Over the weekend, Disney’s Hollywood Studios played host to Villains Unleashed, a special event in which 50 Disney villains (and many Disney fans) packed the park for some nighttime fun and special entertainment.
The event kicked off at Hades Hangout, where several Disney villains were welcomed to the stage – including Shan Yu, Bowler Hat Guy, Captain Gantu, Oogie Boogie and many others. One fan favorite was Dr. Hämsterviel, who made his debut appearance at Walt Disney World Resort during this event!
Speaking of cool characters, Disney Junior – Live On Stage was temporarily taken over by Star Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” for an out-of-this-world dance party.
Many guests also dressed up to show their “villain” side for the occasion. Some of the amazing costumes I saw that night included Bomb Voyage from “The Incredibles” and Stinky Pete from “Toy Story 2,” among others. (Be sure to click through the gallery above to see more). In addition to meeting villain characters, guests also enjoyed special entertainment, including “Oogie Boogie’s Variety Show” and a Star Wars villain zone.
The evening ended with a spectacular appearance by Maleficent, who kicked off the night’s “Villainy In The Skies” fireworks spectacular.
Be sure to check out the video above for more!
The Halloween season returns to Disney Parks in just a few days. I recently took a break from making my next homemade costume to visit Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. There, I stopped by the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., to make this short video highlighting my favorite Halloween merchandise items created especially for Disney Parks.
The products shown in the video can be found in select merchandise locations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
You can also find select items by visiting http://www.DisneyStore.com/Halloween.
Trick or treat!
Recently we shared with you a mom’s take on cruising with us, hearing from one of our Disney Parks Moms Panelists, Diane, about her family’s experiences over the years. Today, we’re hearing from another panelist, Dolly, whose family has joined us on voyages all around the world.
Like many of you, Dolly and her family’s love for vacationing with Disney started with visits to our parks and resorts, and now their love also includes sailing with us – what she calls “a different way to do Disney.” Take a look at this video to discover how a Disney cruise combines what you love most about Disney with the relaxation, comfort and convenience of a cruise vacation …
What makes a Disney vacation at sea so special for your family?
One of the best ways to spend the day at Disneyland park is enjoying the sights and sounds of the various atmosphere entertainment. Whether it be starting your morning on Main Street, U.S.A., listening to the Disneyland Band, or taking an afternoon break to the jazzy sounds of the Royal Street Bachelors in New Orleans Square, these are some of the moments that make Disneyland one of my favorite places in the world. Today, the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series continues with a look at some of the performances that come to life everyday throughout the park.
- Dapper Dans – One of the most iconic Disneyland park entertainment offerings is the barbershop quartet known as the Dapper Dans. Did you know that the term “dapper dan” is a turn-of-the century phrase referring to a well-dressed gentleman? Fitting in with the time period of Main Street, U.S.A., the Dans of Disneyland feature a terrific four-part harmony that can be heard at various times throughout the morning and afternoon. If you haven’t had a chance, don’t miss their patriotic tribute during the flag retreat ceremony in Town Square. Looking for some Dapper Dans charm today? Enjoy the video below of these well-dressed gentlemen teaching you how to ride a bicycle built for four.
- Royal Street Bachelors – This talented jazz trio has been performing in New Orleans Square since it opened in 1966. Today, they have an outdoor stage at French Market Restaurant, where they begin their sets around lunch time and play about every hour into the early evening. If you swing by around lunch time, you may find me and fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover enjoying a meal – it’s one of our favorite restaurants in Disneyland park!
Pearly Band – If you are a “Mary Poppins” fan like me, you won’t want to miss the Pearly Band performing in the afternoon throughout Fantasyland. Inspired by the tradition of London’s pearly kings and queens, the Pearly Band’s outfits are decorated with large, mother-of-pearl buttons. Depending on the wind, some of their supercalifragilisticexpialidocious performances may feature Mary Poppins and Bert as well!
My other favorites include the traditional Disneyland Band, the misfit gang of pirates that go by the name of The Bootstrappers in New Orleans Square, and Hook & Ladder Co., who perform outside the Main Street Fire Station! Tell us your favorite atmosphere entertainment at Disneyland park in the comments below.
Be sure to check the Entertainment times guide when you arrive to confirm performance times and locations.
For more from the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series, visit the stories below: