As many Disney parks fans are aware, two new lands – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land – are currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But today we’re sharing a look at another area of the park that’s undergoing its own transformation. Muppets Courtyard, along with a portion of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by Walt Disney Imagineering to become a new area called Grand Avenue. Inspired by the revitalization and the vibrant culture of present-day downtown Los Angeles, Grand Avenue is where vintage office buildings and warehouses are being converted to exciting new uses. Guests will soon see facades for “merchants” appearing in this area for a music shop, loft apartments, a tailor and more, with each window on the street featuring charming displays.A highlight of Grand Avenue is sure to be BaseLine Tap House, which takes over a former F&B location. This new corner pub will feature California beers and wines along with a selection of small bites. (Read more on BaseLine Tap House in this post by Pam Brandon). The current Muppets Courtyard will become Grand Park, an urban square off Grand Avenue surrounded by shops and restaurants like PizzeRizzo and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Guests can already see changes in the area, with the Muppets theater being renamed “Grand Arts Theatre” and boasting a brand-new marquee. But, not to worry – Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang continue to star in their hilarious and irreverent “Muppet*Vision 3D” show. Grand Avenue will be opening to guests this fall.
Legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. “Marty” Sklar passed away in his Hollywood Hills home on Thursday. He was 83. During an illustrious career spanning 54 years, Marty worked closely with Walt Disney and was instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Disney’s creative vision. Named a Disney Legend in 2001, he is best remembered and revered by fans around the world for his work bringing Disney’s theme parks to life. “Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.” Born in New Brunswick, N.J., on February 6, 1934, Marty was a student at UCLA and editor of its Daily Bruin newspaper when he was recruited to create The Disneyland News for Walt’s new theme park in 1955. After graduating in 1956, he joined Disney full-time, and would go on to serve as Walt’s right-hand man—scripting speeches, marketing materials, and a film showcasing Walt’s vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. During this period, he also joined WED Enterprises, the forerunner of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he would later become the creative leader of Imagineering, leading the development of Disney theme parks and attractions for the next three decades. He retired as Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador on July 17, 2009, Disneyland’s 54th birthday. Disney marked the occasion by paying tribute to Marty with the highest Parks and Resorts recognition, dedicating a window in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall. “Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe and on all of the guests who make memories every day with us,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “He was one of the few people that was fortunate to attend the opening of every single Disney park in the world, from Anaheim in 1955 to Shanghai just last year. We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.” Bob Weis was one of those Imagineers. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering,” said Weis, President, Walt Disney Imagineering. “His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.” Marty’s impact and achievements were recognized with a number of prestigious awards and accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award from TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), induction into the Hall of Fame of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and the prestigious Professional Achievement Award from UCLA. He also authored several books about his experiences and adventures at Disney: Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (2013), and One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering (2015). Marty is survived by his wife of 60 years, Leah; son Howard and his wife, Katriina Koski-Sklar; grandchildren Gabriel and Hannah; daughter Leslie; and grandchildren Rachel and Jacob. Marty and Leah were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor “traditional” drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at http://www.rymanarts.org.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 runs from March 4 to May 17 at Walt Disney World Resort. With beautiful flowers to see and delicious food to taste, I love strolling around Epcot a few times throughout spring. Here’s an update on some additional products created especially for this event. I also have a first look inside the Festival Center that will be open Fridays through Sundays in Future World between Mission: SPACE andUniverse of Energy pavilions.
In a previous article, I promised details about the retail MagicBand created for this event. This new item has an edition size of 5,000 and features Anna and Elsa in their “Frozen Fever” attire from the upcoming animated short debuting in theaters before Disney’s “Cinderella” on March 13. Like all other retail MagicBands, this item can be linked later. Look for it in select retail locations at Epcot (it will not be available
I also found a few apparel items for adults and kids including Olaf shirts in blue and green, a Sorcerer Mickey topiary shirt, a yellow Minnie Mouse shirt for women, and a specially designed shirt for Annual Passholders.
Back by popular demand, we are releasing a new 12-month calendar featuring character topiaries from previous year’s festivals.
Guests will also find an iPhone 6 case with Anna and Elsa, magnets, headware, garden accessories, a new Disney Gift Card and much more.
While the Festival Center will only be open during the weekends, these items will be offered at several locations throughout Future World and World Showcase at Epcot (there are some great merchandise kiosks found along the World Showcase.
Finally, the Festival Center will host Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama on March 8 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. He will be signing his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival-inspired piece titled “Spring Has Sprung.” I love his artwork so much!
How do you recreate Disney characters for a new attraction? According to Walt Disney Imagineering, it all starts with a hand-drawn sketch …
In this new video, our Imagineers take you behind the scenes to see how they’re bringing to life some of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics ever created. According to them, the process involved working with Walt Disney Animation Studios and going back to the original film to study each Dwarf’s individual motions and even facial expressions in order to get them just right. The end goal: To make them look as if they just jumped off of the screen.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was Walt Disney’s first animated star, appearing on screen before even Mickey Mouse. After a long absence, Oswald is back home with his Disney family and has made his official debut at Disney Parks! Arriving just in time for the spring celebrations at Tokyo Disney Resort, Oswald has found a special place to meet his fans and make new friends.
Over the years, Oswald’s adventures have taken him around the world and through a variety of occupations, from trolley conductor to lifeguard. In the Cape Cod section of American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea, he’s playing the role of a farmer greeting friends at his charming little produce stand, stocked with fresh eggs and flowers for the season.
Oswald considers himself one lucky rabbit to have finally made it to Disney Parks, and he’s just silly with excitement to meet everyone coming to Tokyo Disney Resort this spring!
From the moment the music started of the parade the guest all along were extremely happy and excited as they awaited the parade. As the music begin to play every one begin to cheer as they were all lined up along main street USA.
First up were the Princess floats at a length of 90 feet long, this float was simply majestic decorated with roses all around it carry all the Princess Belle and the Beast, Tiana and Prince Navine, Cinderella and her Prince as well as Elsa and Anna from Frozen as they make there debut at Magic Kingdom with Olaf right next to them.
All in all this parade takes it to the next level for Disney from the music score to all the floats and many new floats as well as immersive characters that will show up and are bounded by the Disney history and movies.
Earlier this morning, Disney shared
a tweet that truly featured 140 characters to officially announce the latest Disney Parks bicoastal, All-Night Extravaganza on Memorial Day Weekend – the traditional start of the family travel season. Our “Rock Your Disney Side Party” will be a fun-filled 24-hour event at both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
For the Ultimate Tweet, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and 135 of their friends gathered atMagic Kingdom Park and formed the familiar shape of a hashtag. The 140 characters then invited you and your family to “Rock Your Disney Side” during a 24-hour party to kick off summer.
At this year’s All-Night Extravaganza, everyone is being invited to show their “Disney Side” by dressing as a favorite Disney hero or villain. The Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneylandpark and Disney California Adventure park in California will be filled with Disney heroes and villains from 6 a.m., May 23 to 6 a.m., May 24, 2014, local time.
The celebration on both coasts will feature a cavalcade of events showcasing the good-vs.-evil of classic Disney stories including character meet-and-greets throughout the parks, special entertainment, event merchandise and special food and beverage offerings.
Keep checking the Unofficial Disney and Universal News blog for more details and information as we get closer to the All-Night Extravaganza on May 23. And let us know who you’ll be dressing up as – hero or villain?