Disney Parks Blog Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Fans Show Their Disney Sidewalks on Instagram

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


In late May, we kicked off summer at Disney Parks with Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event. As part of the event here at the Disneyland Resort, we featured Disney California Adventure park-inspired sidewalk art by featured artist Noah to launch our Show Your Disney Sidewalk campaign on Instagram. For the past six weeks, followers of the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Instagram accounts were encouraged to show their Disney Side through sidewalk art, and some of the results were breathtaking. Show Your Disney Sidewalk has wrapped up, but I wanted to share some of the amazing pieces we saw.

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@egreen2003 posted this lovely scene of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse enjoying fireworks.

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In this wonderfully detailed piece, @mantia and @grafera pay tribute to a favorite summertime Disney Parks treat.

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The “Partners” statue is depicted in silhouette against fireworks – and @victoria_rangel_ even included a hidden Mickey!

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I love the simplicity of this piece by @eelaineee, showing that less is sometimes more when depicting a Disney Parks icon.

Did you Show Your Disney Sidewalk on Instagram this summer?

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


It’s summertime. It’s warm. I need to cool off. Should I hang ten at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or hit the slopes at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park? Decisions, decisions. While I deliberate, here’s a look at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park under construction from March 1989 and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in December 1994.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks

I still can’t decide. If I go to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon I can take a ride on Crush ‘n’ Gusher, while over at Disney’s Blizzard Beach I can slide down the Toboggan Racers.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks

This is the toughest decision of the summer for me at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Don’t Let Time Run Out! Experience Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


We’re halfway through the 10-week run of Harambe Nights, our new special event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrating the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King.” Guests have been raving about the African-inspired cuisine, the street party entertainment, the celebrity narrators, and the live orchestra and choir for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

New Harambe Nights Evening Spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of "The Lion King"

Held inside the newly built Harambe Theatre, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” is a 55-minute theatrical experience created exclusively for Harambe Nights and completely different from the “Festival of the Lion King” show presented during the daytime. In fact, today we have for you a unique look at how the Harambe Theatre is transformed from day to night, as our Entertainment team sets the stage for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

From Viola Davis to David Alan Grier, each celebrity narrator who has participated in “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” has brought his or her own unique talent and passion to the performance. The lineup of narrators features stars from movies, TV, and Broadway. Scheduled to appear on upcoming nights are*:

  • July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”
  • July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”
  • July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”
  • August 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”
  • August 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

The first five weeks of Harambe Nights were all sold out, but great seats are still available for each of the remaining dates in July and August. You’ll need to act fast, though! Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Your ticket includes parking, a welcome reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” show, two hours of additional live entertainment during the Harambe Nights Street Party, and an abundant dinner buffet. For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

For an even more in-depth look at “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild,” follow the links below to our previous stories here on Disney Parks Blog.

(*Entertainment subject to change)

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Disney’s ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Lands at Disney Parks

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Who’s ready to see Disney’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” when it opens in theaters July 18? As you may know, when world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his team, including a bunch of all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

On Saturday, July 12, meet director/co-writer Bobs Gannaway and producer Ferrell Barron, the filmmakers behind “Planes: Fire & Rescue” from 2 – 4 p.m. at Fly n’ Buy in Disney California Adventure park. Ferrell and Bobs will be on hand to sign some of the new merchandise hitting store shelves now.

Disney’s ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Lands at Disney Parks

Here’s a look at some of the “Planes: Fire & Rescue” merchandise that has soared into Disney Parks, so that you can prepare your crew for this amazing new adventure. The Dusty Do-It-Yourself Foam Plane, the original “Planes: Fire & Rescue” Walt Disney Records Soundtrack, the Piston Peak Fire Air Operations open edition pin and of course, a baseball hat (available in youth size only).

Disney’s ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Lands at Disney Parks

Now if you are in need of actual Piston Peak Fire & Rescue gear, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these new youth tees and fleece that can only be found at Disney Parks.

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A few other must- have items landing on shelves include die-cast metal cars, deluxe play sets, storybooks, RipFlash flyers and more. Take a look!

Disney’s ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Lands at Disney Parks Disney’s ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Lands at Disney Parks

Find Disney “Planes: Fire & Rescue” merchandise at select locations at Disney Parks & Resorts including:

Disneyland Resort

  • Disney California Adventure park – Elias & Co., Fly n’ Buy, Sarge’s Surplus Hut
  • Disneyland park – Emporium, Gag Factory, Little Green Men Store Command
  • Downtown Disney District– World of Disney Store

Walt Disney World Resort

Want to learn more about “Planes: Fire & Rescue”? Take off and soar with to new heights with this elite aerial firefighting crew here.

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Two Challenges Remain in the ‘Be The Eighth Miner’ Contest

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Only two weeks (and two challenges) remain in the “Be The Eighth Miner” contest, which lets you share your excitement for the opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction in creative ways via social media.

You can enter the “Be The Eighth Miner” contest for a chance to win a seven-day, seven-night vacation to Walt Disney World Resort to meet the Dwarfs and experience the attraction for yourself. Each week, a new challenge will be posted on BeThe8thMiner.com that asks you to show specific “Seven Dwarf”-inspired skills in a photo or Vine video. Once your entry is done, you follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter, and tweet out your entry along with the hashtag #8thMinerContest.

Throughout the contest, social media superstars have been contributing example videos or photos to illustrate what the week’s challenge is all about. This week, Mindy McKnight of YouTube’s Cute Girl Hairstyles, shares looks for “Miner Hair” and “Beards.”

For more on this contest and official rules, click here.

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Sand Sculpture Brings Olaf to Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Do you want to build a snowman? How about building a larger-than-life Olaf out of sand, all in a minute or less?

Opening week of “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” featured expert sand sculptors building the summer-loving snowman in front of the theme park.

We tagged along with a time-lapse camera to let you see how the lovable Olaf took shape at the hands of these master artisans.

For more information about “Frozen” fun this summer, see the posts below:

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Learn How To Draw ‘Frozen’s’ Anna at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We’ve talked a lot lately about the new “Frozenofferings that are taking place over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer, such as the amazing new fireworks show, the daily singalongs and the royal procession.

Another offering we want to make sure you don’t miss is the opportunity to learn how to draw some of your favorite friends from “Frozen” over at the Animation Academy at The Magic of Disney Animation.

Character artist Brian James Fichtner previously gave us a tutorial on how to draw Olaf, which you can view here and a tutorial on how to draw Elsa, here. This time, he’s back to share how to draw one of the film’s more artistically complex characters – Anna. Grab a pencil, paper and check out the full tutorial below!

For more information about “Frozen” fun this summer, see the posts below:

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Wildlife Wednesday: Myth Busters – When’s the Best Time to See Your Favorite Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Katie Leighty, Ph.D., Science Operations Manager


It’s no secret that a highlight of visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the opportunity to see plenty of beautiful animals! Over the years, a commonly shared “tip” has been to get to the park early because animals are more likely to be seen in the morning. Our Science Operations Team set out to test that tip by recording animal visibility throughout the day.

Hypothesis (Myth): Animals are more likely to be seen in the morning.

Myth Busters – When’s the Best Time to See Your Favorite Animals Myth Busters – When’s the Best Time to See Your Favorite Animals

The researchers separated the park into five areas to include Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride, Discovery Island/Tree of Life, Oasis Gardens, Pangani Forest Trail, and Maharajah’s Jungle Trek. In these areas, they collect visibility data at several different times of the day on almost all of the animals including Giant Anteater, White Stork, Giraffe, Ostrich, Tiger, Elephant and Gorilla. The research team has been monitoring animal visibility in this fashion since the park opened in 1998 and they now have an amazing archive of information on how the animal viewing experience in the park has changed over the years.

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For this analysis, the team’s observational data were recorded and used to calculate an “average visibility” for each species at each time of day. These statistics were then compared to determine if there was in fact an increased chance of animal visibility at a certain time during the day. Analyses of data from the past several years all reveal the same finding…

Conclusion (and myth busted): Time of day does not significantly change the probability of spotting animals.

Translation — You can sleep in and still have a great, animal-filled day!

**On your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be sure to pick up an Animal Guide to help you discover the animals in each area of the Park. You can even become a Wilderness Explorer by completing challenges and earning adventure badges throughout your day!

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Downtown Disney Entertainers Record a Special Rendition of ‘Let It Go’

posted on July 8th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Apparently, the rain never bothered them, anyway! When popular Downtown Disney entertainers were forced to cancel a few sets recently due to inclement weather, the talented artists used the time to work on a (very!) popular tune – “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” Though none of them had worked on the material before, and in spite of rarely having the chance to perform together, I think you’ll agree that the end result was spectacular.

This video, captured by Entertainment Manager Jonathan Lang, was shot behind-the-scenes in the Downtown Disney green room; though it was never intended to be viewed by guests, I couldn’t resist sharing it with all of you.

I love that Drey-C, Bryan Malpass, Karlton Tillman, Mitch Corbin, Nicholas Marks and Don Black used their rainy-day break to make a little backstage magic for themselves (and now, for all of us!).

To see more from this talented group, be sure to visit Downtown Disney. With nine acts scheduled nightly and over 30 performances taking place each day, there’s always new entertainment to experience.

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Finish that Disney Parks Sign: Finding Beauty at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 8th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Check out this unusual barbershop sign, which can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Have you seen this new one yet? Who should you ask for? If you remember, please tell us in the “Comments” section below. We’ll update the post later today with the correct answer!

The answer is: Barber Michael

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