Disney Cruise Line Video Offers First Look at New Technology Used on Disney Dream

As a follow up to a recent press event at Walt Disney Imagineering, previewing some of the new tech-driven entertainment features to be offered on the Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line has just released the following video demonstrating some of the new and exciting items.

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Disney Patent Gives Insight into Possible ‘NextGen’ Character Meet & Greet Experiences

Pages of banter and speculation have arisen from the photo of the model of the new Fantasyland Fantasy Forest expansion at the Magic Kingdom ever since we first brought it to you (incidentally, you can see a close-up of the model’s Sleeping Beauty cottage in the spring 2010 issue of D23 magazine). Much of which has to do with the plans for Pixie Hollow, for which the model shows an attraction similar to a new one coming to Disney’s California Adventure, but some say said plans have since been scrapped in favor of a ‘next generation,’ interactive meet & greet with the Disney fairies.

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Report: Disney Parks Finds New Life in ‘LOST’ Attraction

No, this isn’t one of those reports talking about the online petition going around to coerce Disney Parks into transforming Tom Sawyer’s Island into a LOST attraction. This is a report on a report from Movie|Line which claims to have a source that reveals that there is in fact an attraction based on the popular ABC series in the works at Walt Disney Imagineering. Along with the disclaimer that everything is subject to change, the report goes as far as to say that Imagineering ‘insiders’ had been caught talking about the project at the International Associations of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAPPA) show in Las Vegas.

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New Limited Edition Book Pays Tribute to First Female Imagineer, Harriet Burns

Walt Disney's First Lady Imagineer, Harriet BurnsAfter Harriet Burns — the first female Walt Disney Imagineer — passed away in July 2008, daughter Pam Burns-Clair received such an outpouring of love complete with colorful stories of her mother from family and friends, both personal and professional, that she decided to create a tribute book. Together with co-author Don Peri, they solicited and received many more stories about Harriet and they all are gathered in Walt Disney’s First Lady of Imagineering, Harriet Burns along with many photos of Harriet not yet seen by the public.

Through this limited edition hard cover, coffee-table style book, you will discover the range and depth of Harriet’s impact on those lives she touched whether as a mother, grandmother, relative, mentor, co-worker or friend. The stories will bring a smile or a tear (or more likely both) and will contribute to an understanding and appreciation of this tiny woman with a heart as big as her native Texas.

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Former Imagineer Ric Turner Turns Christmas Hero with Lights Display

You can take the boy out of the Osborne Lights, but you can’t take the Osborne Lights out of former Walt Disney Imagineer Ric Turner who has made it a tradition to turn his home into a lights and musical spectacle for the Christmas season as well as Halloween. (Turner now operates as a consultant for WDI).

Below is a video of Ric’s 2009 holiday display which scales up the popular video game Guitar Hero.

Be sure to check out Ric’s other YouTube videos including his 2009 Halloween spectacle in which onlookers were serenaded by a 12 foot tall jack’o’lantern (face).

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‘Imagineering the Magic: Magic Kingdom’ DVD Now Available at Theme Parks

Imagineering the Magic: Magic KingdomA follow-up to the immensely well received Imagineering the Magic: Disneyland, Richard Skillman’s Imagineering the Magic: Magic Kingdom is now available through Disney Theme Park Merchandising.

Hosted by Imagineer Diego Parras, the documentary uses historical and rare film footage to show the story of the transformation of swampland in central Florida to the most visited theme park in the world today through the stories and direct recollections of respected Imagineers such as Tom Fitzgerald, Tony Baxter, Kathy Rogers, Eric Jacobson, Kevin Rafferty and — of course — Marty Sklar, the only individual to open all 11 Disney parks.

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Walt Disney Imagineering Earns Top Award from Themed Entertainment Industry

Award winning Toy Story Mania! (photo courtesy of Disney)GLENDALE, Calif., Nov. 17, 2009 – Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was honored today with the top award within the themed entertainment industry.

TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) announced that Toy Story Mania! received the Award for Outstanding Achievement for an Attraction.  Toy Story Mania! is a high-energy, immersive, ride-through adventure that invites guests to test their skills at a variety of carnival midway games hosted by the characters from the Disney·Pixar Toy Story films.  The attraction is located at both Disney’s California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

TEA announced the 16th Annual Thea Award recipients during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attraction’s (IAAPA) annual conference. The Thea Awards recognize achievement, talent and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry. Recognized internationally as a symbol of excellence, the Thea Awards consider project submissions from all over the world. TEA praised Toy Story Midway Mania! as follows in their press release:

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Video: Mickey Mouse Checks in on D23 Expo Preparations

It’s the eve of D23 Expo and Mickey’s hard at work making sure everything goes off without a hitch. Join Mickey Mouse as he checks out The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives and all sorts of things going up for the Expo like the 5’3″ Buzz Lightyear made entirely of LEGO bricks and the fully interactive Storytellers’ Sandbox from Walt Disney Imagineering. Footage courtesy of Disney.

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Disney Legend Marty Sklar Retires After 54 Years; Honored with Window on Main Street

Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador holds his tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador holds his tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

ANAHEIM, Callif., July 17, 2009 – Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador, spent a lifetime making magic for the Walt Disney Company. After 54 years of service, he was honored with a tribute window at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, July 17. The celebration coincided with the 54th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, the place where Sklar began his Disney career.

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The Secret Life of the Animatronic Dolphin

For five days at Epcot in 1999 and for an equally short time in Castaway Cay, guests from around the world had the chance to meet with one of the largest accomplishments in audio animatronic technology: the DRU-1 (Dolphin Robotics Unit). Created by Edge Innovations in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, DRU-1 wowed the crowds but was ultimately decided to not have the potential of being an every-day attraction in the theme parks.

Here’s a video of DRU-1 in action courtesy of his WDI show producer:

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