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Magic Kingdom marks its 45th Anniversary in special ceremony

Forty-Five years ago Walt Disney’s vision for a central Florida resort that would transform the hospitality industry forever was realized. It was just the Magic Kingdom, three resorts, and some golf courses, but it was a start. Since that time it has become the number… Read More »Magic Kingdom marks its 45th Anniversary in special ceremony

Former Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton honored with Window on Main Street

Former Disney Parks President and longtime Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton was recently recognized with a Main Street, U.S.A window. At the ceremony were Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek and current Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis. The Main Street windows… Read More »Former Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton honored with Window on Main Street

Couple executes stealth wedding inside Disneyland

I married my most amazing Disney wife on a balcony of the Grand Californian overlooking Disney California Adventure, but I’ve often thought about how a couple could get married inside Disneyland without paying the somewhat exorbitant fees the company charges for an in park gathering.… Read More »Couple executes stealth wedding inside Disneyland

Alice Davis finally gets her Window on Main Street at Disneyland

Finally things are starting look right at Disneyland. That empty window next to Marc Davis’ has its pairing. Disneyland has honored Alice Davis with her own window on Main Street USA at Disneyland which serve as the ‘credits’ to the full experience of the park. There ceremony was star studded as far as Disneyland luminaries go.

Alice Davis was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2004 and is known for her work on the costumes for “it’s a small world” and “Pirates Of the Caribbean,” however, her accomplishments also include live action films, developing WDI standards, and is a brilliant artist and imagineer in her own right.

I’ve been writing about the need to correct this injustice since at least 1999. I mentioned the lack of windows for Alice Davis and Mary Blair in the 2nd month of this blog and later added in Lillian Disney as another major oversight. Davis joins Harriet Burns, Cicely Rigdon, and Mary Anne Mang as the fourth woman to be honored with a ‘credit’ on Main Street USA at Disneyland. Let’s hope that number quickly rises to six and higher as the company finally starts to recognize the contributions made by women in their cast, not just the men.

A full video of the ceremony is available below the cut:

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Military Family Officially Launches Disneyland’s Holiday Season

There is no season like Holiday season at Disneyland. The park is known for big kick off moments from Santa installing a giant star atop the Matterhorn (remember that?) to Bob Hope lighting things up with a swing of his golf club. But the trend as of late has been to invite a veteran family from the nation’s armed forces to do the honor.

This year, the Disneyland Resort invited Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Poteat, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s S-6 communication platoon, and his family to “flip the switch” on more than 300,000 holiday lights blanketing “it’s a small world” Holiday, transforming the popular attraction into a visual wonderland and officially launching the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort.

The ceremony, presented by the attraction’s sponsor, Sylvania, honored Poteat and his family for the contributions they have made to our country. Poteat, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996, has completed three tours and recently returned from the latest, a seven-month deployment in the Middle East. He was joined by his three children, nephew, niece and wife, Clarice, an advisor to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s family readiness team, for a day of play at the Disneyland Resort followed by this special honor.

Video of the ceremony and more is below the jump:

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Rapunzel officially crowned 10th Disney Princess

What a magical afternoon in London! Rapunzel was officially welcomed into the Disney Princess Court when she was crowned earlier today at Kensington Palace. Rapunzel’s Royal Celebration brought together all the Disney princesses, little princesses from around the world, and a few surprise celebrity guests.

Many people showed up for the free procession through Hyde Park.

I started the day off with a long ride on the tube, and as I got closer to the station, I could already tell that this was a popular event. I saw many families with little girls dressed as their favorite princesses, or wearing a Disney princess backpack or some other identifier. It felt like I was on a bus to Disney World! As I reached Hyde Park, I was blown away at how many people had turned up! There was a procession of all the princesses throughout the park that was free for the public to attend.

After the princesses processed through the park, they dismounted their carriages in front of Kensington Palace (at this point, you had to have an invitation to see the rest of the event.) Each princess was announced by name, but it was sometimes hard to hear because of how many little girls were screaming “Ariel! Ariel!” or “BELLE!!!” Ten lucky girls from around the world were picked to be paired with one of the princesses, and they got to present them with flowers and give them a hug, and be part of a group photo in front of the palace.

I started trying to do pictures and video, but I decided to focus on just video after Snow White came through. It was hard enough getting video of Maximus, who did make an appearance, than to juggle two cameras to also get pictures! Full video of the procession below the jump.

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Aulani Grand Opening Ceremony Video

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I was fortunate enough to be the guest of Disney for the opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i. The place is fantastic.

Before the trip I wasn’t sure whether or not the magic of Hawai’i needed a touch of Disney’s, but the fit is seamless. The combined storytelling of the islands and the mouse make for an amazing adventure. Really. I’m already making plans to return with my family so that they can also enjoy all that Aulani has to offer.

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D23 Expo Recap: Day 1

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Friday, August 19 was opening day of the D23 Expo (I’m working under the assumption that you are familiar with D23) and it kicked off with a bang. Or a mouse, as the case may be. It always starts with a mouse.

D23 crowdsWhile the expo was open to the general ticket-buying public, it did offer a number of perks specifically to official D23 members, such as discounted passes, special “members only” events and early admission. It pays to belong, people!

Friday’s itinerary started at 9:00 a.m. with two of the aforementioned members only events, namely the Disney Store Opening Ceremony and the Radio Disney Road Crew Dance Party.

Other events that morning included an art contest with, vintage footage showcasing the history of the Disneyland Hotel (congrats, DH, on the new ranking!), meet and greets with artists Jim Salvati and Robert Olszewski of the Disney Store and Disney Dream, respectively, and characters from Disney Channel’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

Then it was time for the 2011 Disney Legends Ceremony, which was, as you might imagine, magical. However, not everyone was able to attend the ceremony, so they had to settle for other really cool things like The Wonderful Words of Disney… Behind the Page: Kingdom Keepers presentation with Ridley Pearson. I would have loved to have attended this event to discuss some of my issues with the continuity, or lack thereof, within the series, but alas, Mr. Pearson was spared my fanboy criticism, and is probably the better for it.Read More »D23 Expo Recap: Day 1