Kingdom Magic Vacations

Call Toll-Free
866-972-6244

Tag Archives: imagineers

NEW VIDEO: Imagineer Rolly Crump Looks Back on Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room on Its 50th Anniversary

Disney Legend Rolly Crump remembers the day Walt Disney asked him and fellow Imagineers to create a restaurant with a Tahitian décor. Rolly sculpted Tiki gods, while other Imagineers created birds that chatted. That was the birth of the new Audio-Animatronic technology. Their hard work and creativity was so over-the-top entertaining that instead of a restaurant, Walt made it an attraction – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room! We were fortunate enough to visit Rolly at his home recently, where he took us on a trip down memory lane, back to 1963 — back to the drawing board with Walt Disney. Enjoy!

The Disney Parks Experience is Always Evolving Just Like Walt Disney Wanted

Magic Bands at Walt Disney Parks

(Kent Phillips, photographer)

If you have visited any of the amazing Disney Theme Parks over the last few years, you would have noticed that they always seem to be in a state of change.  Here is just a partial list of recent changes to the Disney Parks:

And the list could easily go on.

For some, all this change brings anxiety and to others it brings excitement.  Many people don’t ever want the parks to change while at the same time, many want the parks to always be bringing new experiences to Disney Guests.

But if we go back to the beginning with Walt and Disneyland, he always wanted the parks to be adding new experiences.  He felt that the parks HAD to use new technologies to create even more magic.

Walt Disney said Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

Disney Fans can always debate the pros and cons of the loss of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Walt Disney World (a loss that I still feel to this day) but in light of Walt’s desire for the parks to always change, fans have to understand the need to keep moving forward.

That change has brought us amazing experiences like Space Mountain, The Tower of Terror, and Disney’s California Adventure Park.  The theme park experience is constantly evolving.  Disney is always looking to make the Park Guest experience even better by adding Magic Bands at Walt Disney World or the My Disney Mobile App at Disneyland, Imagineers are always looking to leverage technology to help create even more magic for all of us!

And that’s what makes the Disney Park Experience so special; it’s never the same way twice!   DisneyMagic must change and can never be the same way twice.  As much as we all love the attractions and experiences from the past, we must continue to follow Uncle Walt and keep moving to that “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!”

The My Disney Experience mobile app delivers pertinent parks information, maps and simple navigation to guests on the fly - via their smart phone or other portable device.

(Kent Phillips, photographer)

I would love to know what you think.  Leave me a comment and let us know how you feel about all the changes happening at the Disney Parks.

New Magic in the Making at Walt Disney World Resort

From flying over Never Land to taking a spin in a tea cup, Fantasyland has been home to some of our guests’ favorite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort since opening day. So when Disney set out to reinvent the most popular land at our most popular Disney destination, they knew that it had to be something truly spectacular – and it is true to say that New Fantasyland is exactly that.

Last Friday, Tom Staggs,  chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, toured the construction site as Disney completed the finishing touches for their official opening on December 6, and while the entire expansion is extraordinary, there are a few aspects in particular that should think will be huge hits with guests.

Enchanted Tales with Belle - New Magic in the Making at Walt Disney World Resort

Part of what makes Disney Parks so special is our ability to connect people with the Disney characters and stories they love. With Enchanted Tales with Belle, we’re doing that in a magical new way. Guests will enter Belle’s cottage, step through an enchanted mirror and be transported to the world of “Beauty and the Beast,”where they’ll help Lumiere, Belle and The Wardrobe recreate “the tale as old as time” by becoming part of the story themselves. Our Imagineers have brought these characters to life in ways that are sure to delight guests both young and old.

One of the hallmarks of a great Disney experience is the meticulous attention to detail that goes into the worlds we create, and the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is another fantastic example of “the more you look, the more you see.” Before taking a voyage under the sea with Ariel and her friends, guests can explore the caves and grottos in and around Prince Eric’s castle, interacting playfully with Scuttle and a few of his friends along the way. The rockwork that’s been done is spectacular, and the paintings that adorn the vaults beneath the castle help draw visitors to New Fantasyland even further into the story of the beloved animated film.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this expansion is the way that our new attractions, entertainment, merchandise and food offerings all come together to create a singular experience that is a worthy addition to a park as iconic as Magic Kingdom Park. The result is only possible through the hard work and the collaboration from people across Disney Parks and Resorts, and I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished. We can’t wait to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover the new stories, new adventures and new magic that will help them make shared memories that last a lifetime.

Disney California Adventure Park Named ‘2012 Park of the Year’ by Amusement Today

Disney California Adventure park has been selected “2012 Park of the Year” by Amusement Today, a publication that covers amusement park news and trends. The publication’s Golden Ticket Awards, recently held at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., honors the “best of the best” in the amusement industry.

Disney California Adventure Park Named ‘2012 Park of the Year’ by Amusement Today

Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief, personally selected Disney California Adventure park for the Publisher’s Pick Award after visiting this summer. He saluted cast members and Imagineers “for showing the imagination and creativity needed to make [Disney California Adventure park] the must-visit facility of the year.”

Accepting the award on behalf of Disneyland Resort cast members, and Imagineers, was Mary Niven, vice president of Disney California Adventure park and Guest Services, and Kathy Mangum, Walt Disney Imagineering executive producer.

Mary said, “I was truly honored to accept the ‘Park of the Year’ award on behalf of every cast member who is, and was, a part of the making of the new Disney California Adventure park. Without their hard work and dedication, this award and the joy that you see on our guests’ faces would not be possible.”

What’s your favorite part of Disney California Adventure park that makes it the “must-visit facility of the year?”

Part of Your World: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens September 15

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which immerses guests in the stories of “Cars,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Lion King,” will celebrate the opening of “The Little Mermaid” courtyard this Saturday, September 15.

I recently had the opportunity to stay in the “Cars” courtyard for my son’s birthday, and the level of detail our Imagineers went to to recreate the places and characters from these films is simply amazing! Not to mention that the family suites offer three different sleeping areas, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette – plenty of room for a birthday party!

Here’s a look inside each of the resort’s four courtyards.

The Little Mermaid’ Wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens September 15

The Little Mermaid courtyard offers 864 standard rooms, which are decorated in perfect “Under the Sea” style. Outside, the area features large icons of Ariel, Flounder, Ursula, and King Triton, among others, plus a Flippin’ Fins pool.

The Finding Nemo courtyard offers 320 family suites, an impressive Big Blue Pool and a kids’ water play area. Character icons that can’t be missed here include Nemo, Marlin, Crush and Mr. Ray.

The Cars courtyard

If your kids loved the movie “Cars,” this is a not-to-be-missed trip through Radiator Springs. The Cars courtyard offers 480 family suites, and on your journey to your room, you’re sure to pass the Cozy Cone Motel, Tow Mater Towing & Salvage, the Wheel Well Motel and other nods to the film.

The Lion King courtyard, which offers 320 family suites, allows guests to embark on a journey through Africa with Simba and friends. Here guests can visit Pride Rock, watch Timon and Pumbaa dance “hakuna matata” style across a log bridge, and more.

Which area of the resort looks most intriguing to you? Tell us in the “comments” section below!

 

 

VIDEO: First Look – Lumiere, Madame Wardrobe Welcome You to Enchanted Tales with Belle at Magic Kingdom Park

Last week, we shared the first look inside New Fantasyland’s Enchanted Tales With Belle attraction, which included a tour of Belle’s childhood home and a peek at the magic mirror that transports guests into Beast’s Castle. (Is it just me, or were you amazed by this magical transformation?).

We just received Part II of the video from our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, so get ready to feast your eyes on a whole new kind of character experience. From here, our Storybook Adventure continues as guests enter Beast’s castle through the magic portal and are greeted by Madame Wardrobe, who invites everyone to help retell the story of Belle and Beast’s first meeting. Once roles are cast, Lumiere welcomes the group into Beast’s expansive library, where they’ll surprise Belle by acting out the “tale as old as time.”

What happens next is an experience that Imagineers Chris Beatty, Chris Kelly and Ted Robledo have waited years to see come to life. And the experience is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Enchanted Tales With Belle will open at Magic Kingdom Park in preview phase November 19, with a grand opening set for December 6.

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend D23’s Destination D at the Disneyland Hotel. I listened to a fascinating presentation, “Animating the Disney Parks,” featuring Eddie Sotto and Imagineers Tony Baxter and Tom Morris. Each Imagineer shared the story of how legendary Disney animators and artists became the first Imagineers during the early development of Disneyland and then the Walt Disney World Resort.

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Tony Baxter, Walt Disney Imagineering senior vice president of creative development, got the discussion started with the story of his mentor, Claude Coats. Originally in 1935 as a background painter, Coats created the worlds of “Pinocchio,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lady and the Tramp.” His backgrounds created a sense of place, Baxter said, much like WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) would do in theme parks.

When Walt Disney was creating Disneyland, the talents of his animators were needed for this new medium. As Baxter recalled, Coats’ experience working on “Lady and the Tramp,” especially, gave him the inspiration to look at the world from an altered perspective – inspiration that would later lead to real-life experiences like Storybook Land Canal Boats and Adventure Thru Inner Space.

“Disneyland defined the ability to take you out of the world you live in,” Baxter said.

scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean

Coats was trained in architecture, Baxter said, which gave credibility to the environments he created. When the scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean were being developed, it was Coats who had the idea to paint the ceiling black, creating the illusion of a night sky and making the ceiling disappear – giving guests the sense of being outside at night.

Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad

You can see Coats’ background painting talents for yourself today in the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad.

Check back for more from “Animating the Disney Parks” – next time, we’ll focus on another master of creating a sense of place, Herb Ryman.

Buena Vista Street Interiors Come Alive with Art Deco Glamour at Disney California Adventure Park

There is a lot of planning, thought and – yes, magic – that goes into every detail here at the Disneyland Resort. The new Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park is no exception. Elias & Co. is a nod to the department stores of the 1920s and ‘30s. Take a closer look as you walk through the jewelry shop inside Elias & Co. Look familiar? The design was inspired by a round, velvet jewelry box. As you stroll through the women’s department, notice that it’s modeled after the cosmetic departments in those grand department stores of yesteryear. Check out the video and get a better idea of our “art deco glamour” on Buena Vista Street. Enjoy!

Read more about Buena Vista Street:

  • Imagineer Q&A: Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure ParkThis week, we’ll hear about the new Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park from three of the Imagineers who led the effort to bring this new area to life.

    Lisa Girolami – Director, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering

    How have you created an emotional connection for guests on Buena Vista Street?

    Lisa: Every piece has to be there when you walk into a story, to know where you are, what time it is, what’s happening and to really be able to take in the music, the colors and the ornamentation on the architecture. The whole street coming alive is meant to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California and all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.
    The sense of optimism will be very obvious on Buena Vista Street, and that story is told at the highest level of detail. Then there are many more levels of details, which our Disney fans will recognize and discover. I think we accommodate everybody as deep as they want to go, and the more you want to know, the more you’ll get out of it. I think we’ve covered it, too, for people who may be visiting a Disney park for the first time.

    What are some of your favorite aspects of Buena Vista Street?

    Lisa: I love Los Angeles and there are so many details I could say are my favorites…I think it’s going to be the feel of that street and how different it’s going to appear to everyone as they just enjoy being in the moment.

    Ray Spencer – Creative Director, Buena Vista Street, Walt Disney Imagineering

    What’s the Disney history behind the shop names and other items along Buena Vista Street?

    Ray: At the front of the park, we have the gas station, which is called Oswald’s, and Oswald was an early Disney character… Then we have Los Feliz Five & Dime, a merchandise store that features everyday consumer products. The names of the shops, and the names of the restaurants, are all based on Disney history — and especially the history that surrounded Walt Disney and the Disney brothers’ arrival in the 1920s. We have Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, which is named after the Three Little Pigs from the Academy Award-winning animated short. We also have a merchandise location called Atwater Ink & Paint. It refers to the Atwater Village district of Los Angeles where Disney and the animators from Disney Studios spent a lot of time.
    We have a new Walt and Mickey statue, called ‘Storytellers.’ We made a conscious decision to put the statue down on street level with the rest of our guests, rather than up on a monumental planter, like at Disneyland park. Set in this time period, Walt Disney could have been you or I, or anybody at that time, out on the street. It’s part of the story of the street, a story of humble beginnings. It’s a story of a wonderful, inspirational time period with a wonderful, inspirational, gifted man who created what we can now enjoy as The Walt Disney Company.

    Coulter Winn – Principal Concept Architect, Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

    Will this be just like a street in Los Angeles?

    Coulter: You can’t go to Los Angeles and see a building that exists like you’re going to see on Buena Vista Street. The buildings that we referenced have been torn down, so we found them through historical photographs and began to design from there. Transporting our guests to another place and time like this, in the traditional Disney storytelling way, gives Disney California Adventure park a much more enriched environment to start the day for our guests.

VIDEO: Imagineers Add Character to Belle’s Village in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

This week, we’ve got a video twist thanks to our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering, who recently installed the centerpiece of Belle’s Village – an elaborate bronze statue of Gaston and his sidekick, Lefou.

As Imagineers Ted Robledo and Chris Kelly explain here, the statue’s design of Gaston and Lefou juggling leaky barrels and mugs was inspired by both Gaston’s boisterous temperament and the fountain Belle visits early in the film as she is reading. Ted and Chris also walk us through the detailed process it takes to create such an elaborate bronze statue – from building a clay maquette to choosing specific shades of bronze for the piece.

For reference, the fountain sits in the center of Belle’s Village in New Fantasyland. The building that appears behind the fountain is Gaston’s Tavern, while the structure directly across is Bonjour! Village Gifts.

And as we shared last week, each of these experiences will grand open December 6 (with general previews beginning November 19).

Disney, Fox and James Cameron to Bring Avatar to Life at Disney Parks

Avatar-Image1

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced recently by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park.  With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.

Avatar Disney Group“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”

“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron.  ”I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life.  Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”

Cameron Disney AvatarThe agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners.  James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands.

“This exciting new venture combines the world of AVATAR with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.  “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the AVATAR motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created.”

“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”

In addition to setting a global box office record, AVATAR has been hailed as one of the most innovative and visually stunning movies ever produced. With its advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies developed by James Cameron and his team, moviegoers were able to connect with the world of AVATAR in new and engaging ways.

This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business.

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

Walt Disney World Tiki Room Reopening Slated for August 15th 2011

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

Tiki-Room-Sign

The Sunshine Pavilion, featuring a show variously known as “Tropical Serenade” and “The Enchanted Tiki Birds,” debuted on Oct. 1, 1971, in Magic Kingdom. In 1998, following substantial refurbishment, it re-launched as The Enchanted Tiki Room-Under New Management, with two famous Disney birds – Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King– taking control and trying to spruce up the show.

Now the “new management” has been let go and the future of the Adventureland landmark is in the wings and wit of José, Fritz, Michael and Pierre – four crooning parrot hosts who have been entertaining guests at California’s Disneyland since 1963 in The Enchanted Tiki Room. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, as the Magic Kingdom attraction now will be called, is being prepared for the premiere (tentatively on Aug. 15, 2011) of a show that will pay tribute to the Disneyland original – notable in theme park history for ushering in sophisticated Audio-Animatronics technology.

Prior to 1963, Walt Disney’s creative team had produced movable figures, but none had the sophistication of the bird-brained cast of the Tiki Room. José, Fritz, Michael and Pierre produce movements when solenoid coils hidden inside receive signals recorded onto magnetic tape and are regarded as the first “true” Audio-Animatronics figures.

They introduce a musical presentation by more than 200 birds, flowers and tikis. Even the audience gets into the act, joining in during the musical ditty “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing.”

While the show is steeped in tradition and maintains the original intent created by Walt Disney and his original team of Imagineers, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room will feature the latest in technology – a state of the art show-control system, remastered audio, and a new versatile and energy efficient lighting system.

The attraction has shows throughout Magic Kingdom operating hours.

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

We are proud members of:

  • IATAN
  • ASTA
  • CLIA
MENU