Category Archives: Attraction / Theme Park

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016

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With the original Orlando attraction planned for expansion, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is heading to the West coast. Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed that a Los Angeles-based “Wizarding World” attraction will open its doors in 2016.

Inspired by the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with detail and authenticity. Similar to the Orlando Resort-themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the themed environment.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.

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New Options For Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returning To Star Wars Weekends At Disney World Starting May 16, 2014

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Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience will return this year to Star Wars Weekends at Disney World with a few new options for guests. This year, the experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, located in Soundstage 1 between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania.

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars – D-Tech Me, this 10-minute experience uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. The captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine.

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This year, two returning favorites – Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper – will be joined by two new figurines – Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot. There are both male and female options offered for X-Wing pilot, Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper figurines. For children, Alderaan Princess and Carbon-Freeze Me figurines will be available in more youthful appearances.

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For the first time, we are introducing a 16-inch figurine. While a wise Jedi Master once said “size matters not,” you can see the size differences of the Stormtrooper figurines in the above image.

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The Star Wars – D-Tech Me 7-inch figurines are $99.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. For the 16-inch figurines, retail is $149.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. All participants will receive a specially designed button.

Completed figurines will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally). To book your experience, please call 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324).

The experience will be offered during Star Wars Weekends 2014 (May 16 – 18, May 23 – 25, May 30 – June 1, June 6 – 8, and June 13-15).

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Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Details For The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

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With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

The two companies revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family.  The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.

Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010. That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

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Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.

After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city.  There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to: 

- Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.

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Hogsmeade Station

- Experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults

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- Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops

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- Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items

Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:

- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

- Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes

- Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs

- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment

- Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more

- Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards

- Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron

- Visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others

Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour

More details about the unique experiences that can be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.  For more information about the area, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.

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The Original Back To The Future DeLorean Was Restored By Fans And Is Now On Display At Universal Studios Hollywood

Bob Gale, co-producer and co-writer of the Back to the Future films, took on a project with Universal Studios to fully restore the original “A” Hero DeLorean time machine. A team of about 20 Back to the Future fans and Hollywood professionals worked together to bring the iconic car back to life over the course of one year. The beautiful DeLorean is now on display at The NBCUniversal Experience in Universal Studios Hollywood. 

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You can read more about the restoration process on the Time Machine Restoration Facebook page and BTTF.com.

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Captain America To Appear At Disneyland This Spring

Captain America will be following in the steps of Thor and make in-person appearances at Disneyland starting this spring. Marvel announced the character’s appearance this afternoon, and noted he’ll be joining the “Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries” and “Thor: Treasures of Asgard” attractions that can also be seen at the Anaheim park.

Captain America’s appearance at the park is scheduled to coincide with the upcoming release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which hits theaters April 4th.

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Indiana Jones Vinylmation Series Launches On January 10, 2014

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The Indiana Jones Vinylmation series will launch on January 10, 2014 at D Street locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts and on the Disney Parks online store. 

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Series 1 characters ($12.95 each) include Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood, Sallah, Rene Belloq, Arnold Ernst Toht, Cairo Swordsman, and The Mechanic.

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The chaser is The Golden Idol.

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The series was designed by Thomas Scott, lead Vinylmation artist with Disney Design Group and features characters from the first Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

There will also be a combo pack figure with Indy in disguise ($24.95) which will be released on January 24, 2014.

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Finally, on January 10, 2014 at D-Street in Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World, Vinylmation artist Thomas Scott will be signing from 5-6PM.

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Pixar’s Ratatouille Ride Coming To Disneyland Paris In Summer 2014

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This summer, Disneyland Paris will unveil a major new attraction and mini-land inspired by the Oscar-winning Disney Pixar film Ratatouille. The film, directed by Brad Bird, tells the tale of Rémy, a young rat who has amazing talents in the kitchen and dreams of one day becoming a great chef. This leads to a fun but perilous journey that eventually lands him as the head chef of one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. Now Rémy has arrived at Walt Disney Studios Park to share his culinary delights and crazy adventures with the entire family.

On the attraction Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, guests will shrink down to the size of a rat and join Rémy and his friends as they scurry through the kitchen, dining room, and walls of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant, all the while trying to avoid the nemesis from the film, Chef Skinner. This first of its kind Disney attraction will immerse guests into an animated world. The attraction is located in a new corner of Toon Studio that’s been transformed into a Ratatouille-inspired version of the City of Light. In addition to the attraction, this mini-land also features a shop, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, and a rat-scale themed table service restaurant, Bistrot Chez Rémy. The restaurant, which is the only one of its kind across Disney Parks worldwide, is directly adjacent to the attraction and serves the “little chef’s” famous dish, ratatouille.

After Crush’s Coaster, Cars Race Rally and Toy Story Playland, Ratatouille will be the fourth attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park inspired by a Disney Pixar film.

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Marvel Presents A First Look At Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1

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Marvel is pleased to present your very first look at Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1, from the critically acclaimed creative team of Brandon Seifert and Karl Moline! Inspired by Disney’s legendary but never constructed Museum of the Weird addition to the Haunted Mansion – and created in conjunction with the world-famous Disney Imagineers — Seekers of the Weird is an all-new, five-issue adventure no Disney fan or Marvel fan can miss!

When their parents are kidnapped, teens Maxwell and Melody are thrust into a thrilling race through the world’s strangest – and most treacherous — museum! With the aid of their mysterious and swashbuckling uncle, it’s up to the young heroes to rescue their family and save the world from an evil secret society!

On January 15, 2014 , enter the fabled Museum of the Weird for the start of an action-packed adventure in Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1!

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Pixar Brings Toy Story Nutcracker To Life For World of Color – Winter Dreams At Disney California Adventure Park

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For the new, full-length original show, World of Color – Winter Dreams, Disney enlisted the help of Pixar Animation Studios.

The wild idea: what if “Toy Story” characters decided to perform Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”?

In the original ballet, Clara’s Christmas tree grows and the audience shrinks to this size of a toy beneath the tree. This became the inspiration.

The winter show features the musical pieces: Miniature Overture, Trepak (Russian Dance), Tea (Chinese Dance) and Waltz of the Flowers. Special arrangements were created to match the characters; for instance, the Trepak dance became western to fit Woody and Jessie’s duet.

Another great example of putting a new spin on the classic is Tea (Chinese Dance). Pixar took their inspiration from Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and the Mushroom scene. The studio replaced the Mushrooms with Little Green Men and the baby Mushroom with Rex in at tutu.

World of Color − Winter Dreams will debut at Disney California Adventure Park on Friday, November 15, adding even more merriment to the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort.

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Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016

Disney has confirmed that an original ride called “Iron Man Experience” will make its debut at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016. Park goers will strap themselves into a vehicle and join Iron Man in an original adventure against evil across the city and landscape of Hong Kong. No official word on if any more Marvel characters will appear in the ride, or if it will make its way to one of the American parks at some point. In the meantime, check out some concept art for the ride below!

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More Details On The Thor: Treasures of Asgard Experience Coming to Disneyland

Marvel has revealed more details on the Thor: Treasures of Asgard Experience coming to Disneyland on November 1st.

Astrophysicist Jane Foster, who established a special relationship with Thor, has been studying the Bifrost, a cosmic bridge that allows Thor to travel between the Nine Realms, including Earth. She has determined that the Bifrost is set to open again in Southern California and pinpointed the precise location as Innoventions at Disneyland park.

Inside Innoventions, Foster and her team are preparing for the opening of the Bifrost with the installation of Thor: Treasures of Asgard, a collection of objects brought to Earth straight from Asgard.

After viewing the exhibit, you’ll be invited to enter a chamber where the Bifrost will transport you to Asgard for an audience with Thor himself!

Thor: The Dark World hits 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters on November 8.

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Thor Is Headed To Disneyland

This summer at Disneyland park, Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries has given us a close-up look at Tony Stark’s Hall of Armor and an opportunity to virtually “suit up” in the Mark 42 armor featured in the blockbuster film, “Iron Man 3.”

The Disney Parks Blog posted this today:

“Just in time for Thor: The Dark World, Disneyland attendees will be able to visit Asgard this fall and come face-to-face with the Mighty Avenger, Thor.”

No word yet on what the attraction will be. The Thor sequel hits theaters on November 8th.

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D23: The Official Disney Fan Club Launches Reimagines D23.Com Website June 17

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D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, will launch a massive reimagining of its D23.com website, opening up the wonderful worlds of Disney like never before to its members. The site will provide access to newly digitized content that delves deeply into The Walt Disney Company’s vault of material, past and present, along with exclusive glimpses of the future. The new gated content will be free to current D23 Members; plus D23 is launching a new free level of membership, which will include access to this incredible content. D23.com will continue to offer the latest Disney news free to all guests who visit the site. But D23 Members can unlock even more magic in each section by logging in and accessing content whenever a golden key is shown.

The reimagined D23.com will feature exclusive celebrity interviews; vintage film clips; rarely seen artwork and photography; treasures from the Walt Disney Archives; behind-the-scenes previews of new movies and theme park attractions; and more.

Website highlights at launch will include:

- 23 Questions – We enhance our popular feature with audio interviews with Once Upon A Time star Ginnifer Goodwin who reveals her Disney favorites—and what she’s looking forward to in the next season of the hit ABC show. Plus an exclusive with Phineas and Ferb’s popular “evil mastermind” Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz, who talks about his truly devious plans… and Christmas.

- D’scovered – Treasures unearthed by the Walt Disney Archives. In the coming weeks the Archives will share extremely rare imagery from the proposed Mickey Mouse Park, a concept which evolved into Disneyland; spine-tingling alternative dialogue for the Haunted Mansion penned by Disney Legend X. Atencio; the illustrated story script for “The Karnival Kid,” the 1929 short in which Mickey Mouse first speaks; and a very special memento created for Walt by legendary artist Salvador Dali.

- Disney A to Z – A complete and newly-updated electronic version of the definitive Disney encyclopedia with more than 7,000 entries written by Dave Smith, founder and Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Archives.

- D23 Presents – A deeper dive into all parts of Disney from the opening of Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland to rarely seen footage of the former Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue.

- Disney Legends and the Walt Disney Archives – Two new microsites; Disney Legends will provide a deeper look at those who’ve made significant contributions to the Disney legacy, and the Archives site will open up the doors of this venerable institution so D23 can share more of The Walt Disney Company’s expansive collections.

In addition, new departments and sections include: Weird Disney, looking at some of the more unusual and outrageous pieces of Disney’s past; Characters, profiling the most beloved characters from television, film and comics with concept art and complete biographies; The Quotable Walt Disney, a digitized version of the out-of-print book featuring some of Walt’s most enduring words; Ask a Legend, a video feature in which Disney Legends like Marty Sklar answer fans questions; First Look, which gives members a glimpse into what’s new and what’s next including Monsters University; Attraction Rewind, celebrating the beloved attractions of Disney’s past which once delighted theme park guests; and Muppetology, which opens up the Muppet-acular universe of our fuzzy friends. D23’s popular video series Armchair Archivist and Disney Geek will also return with all-new episodes.

And that’s just the beginning—on launch day, D23.com will reveal even more surprises.

D23 Free Membership will include:

- Members-Only Website Content: Access to all exclusive content on D23.com.

- Exclusive Merchandise: D23 offers its members access to exclusive, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles.

- Subscription to Weekly D23 FanFare E-newsletter with breaking news and special offers. (You may opt out of receiving FanFare after your first e-newsletter arrives.)

- Discounted tickets to the D23 Expo 2013: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event (For more information click here.)

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Unassuming Doors That Hide Exciting Mysteries

Club 33

Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at “33 Royal Street” with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.

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Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club, which is not open to the public. In addition to beer and wine, Club 33 has a full bar, although patrons must order directly from their server rather than the service bar. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages. Members are entitled to complimentary valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel and access to the Lilly Belle, the presidential car on the Disneyland Railroad. Club 33 members receive up to six Immediate Fastpasses when they insert their Club 33 membership card into any of the Fastpass kiosks and bypass the stand-by queue. Members are permitted to join the skipper in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain and the engineers in the engine compartment of the steam trains.

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An individual membership costs $25,000 for an initiation fee and $10,000 a year in dues. For corporations, it’s $40,000 at the start and then $10,000 dues.

Safe House

In the intelligence trade, a safe house is a secret refuge for spies engaging in covert operations.

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Safe House in Milwaukee is a popular spy-themed restaurant that since 1966 has provided crafty concoctions and incredible edibles to hungry agents on R & R.

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Located at 779 N. Front Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin behind International Exports Ltd.

To get in Go to the website, http://www.safe-house.com and click on the Top Secret Clearance Agreement to promise you won’t disclose the location, then contact Control to make a reservation).

National Typewriter Company

Located at 1221 Olympic Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404 this building houses JJ Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, is a literal, physical reflection of his sensibility. The big sign on the outside doesn’t say Bad Robot but instead National Typewriter Co., and that’s not because the building used to house such a business. It’s because Abrams likes typewriters and misdirection. Near the doorbell, which is a glowing green light, a smaller sign asks, “Are you ready?”

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Abrams’s personal suite of offices is on the second floor and to get to his bathroom, you have to walk up to a wall of bookshelves beside his desk and tug on a copy of “Louis Tannen’s Catalog of Magic” (named for the same Manhattan magic shop, still around today, where he got his childhood mystery box). Abracadabra: the wall opens. The toilet is revealed.

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The entire building belongs to Bad Robot, which spreads out over three stories of glass walls, floating staircases, common areas and movie-related mementos: posters, masks, dolls, board games. There are editing bays, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a workshop where props are made and a screening room that doubles as a makeshift set on which certain limited effects and scenes can be shot.

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

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Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Now how do you get in? In the back of the lower courtyard is a door to what appears to be a defunct antique shop. Beside the door is a large red phone booth. You simply enter the booth, dial the number on the old fashioned rotary dial phone and a secret door in the back wall of the phone booth opens up allowing you entrance.

How do you get the number? To get the secret access code of the day your best bet is to wine and/or dine at Cellar 56 upstairs (a great tapas restaurant and wine bar that’s operated by Prohibition’s owners), be very kind to your bartender and/or server, and if you’re well-dressed, well-behaved and lucky, someone will give it to you.

The International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts 

The secrets contained within the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts merit that the 40,000-square-foot warehouse just off the Las Vegas Strip is closed to the general public.

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On the museum’s first floor is the Hall of Masters, a space lined with costumes, props, posters, and photographs arranged by magician. Beginning downstairs with Cardini (linking rings, card tricks, monocle), the hall continues on the second floor with Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (mystery clocks and automatons), Harry Houdini (metamorphosis trunk, iron maiden, water-torture cell, straitjacket), and others.

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David Copperfield, who owns the museum, uses the warehouse to practice new magic tricks and archive his own history as an illusionist. Charred crash-test dummies from early “Tornado of Fire” rehearsals and racks of costumes are on hand, as are props from his favorite movies, including a 10-foot-tall statue of Zeus from Citizen Kane.

The intention of the 80,000-item museum is to educate future generations of magicians and illusionists. Magic scholars and people researching for books and motion pictures can visit Copperfield’s museum by request. (Hugh Jackman did his research for The Prestige at the facility.) He invites all other interested parties to send a note backstage during one of his regularly scheduled performances at MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre.

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Iron Man Tech Presented By Stark Industries at Disneyland Park

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Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries is now open at Innoventions in Disneyland park and here is a look at the exhibit. Guests can get a rare, up-close look at the sophisticated Iron Man suits of armor as they walk through an exact replica of Tony Stark’s Hall of Armor guided by JARVIS, who provides an explanation of the full range of the armor capabilities.

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The centerpiece of Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries is Tony Stark’s Hall of Armor, featuring Iron Man suits Mark I-VII as well as the newest Mark 42 suit, pictured above.

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Visitors to the exhibit can even virtually “suit up” through simulation technology, operating the latest pieces of the Mark 42 Iron Man armor, including its infamous repulsor blasts.

Iron Man 3 opens in theaters May 3!

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Tony Stark’s Hall of Armors Is Coming to Disneyland

To celebrate the upcoming release of “Iron Man 3,” opening in theaters May 3, an exciting new exhibit is coming to Innoventions at Disneyland park in California – featuring actual set pieces from the film!

Beginning April 13, Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries will give Disneyland park guests the chance to see Tony Stark’s Hall of Armor, featuring Iron Man suits Mark I-VII – the same suits featured in “Iron Man 3.” And you will even be able to virtually “suit up,” yourself! Through simulation technology, guests will be able to see what it’s like to operate the latest pieces of the Mark 42 Iron Man armor, even getting the chance to test out its infamous repulsor blasts.

The exhibit will only be around for a limited time and will run from April through September of this year.

Come experience Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries when it opens at Innoventions in Disneyland park April 13 – and then check out “Iron Man 3” in theaters May 3.

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Rumor: Mickey Mouse & Roger Rabbit May Return in Pixar’s “The Stooge”

Ain’t It Cool News recently reported that Disney-Pixar is considering making a new Mickey Mouse movie called “The Stooge,” which will be loosely based on the 1952 musical comedy, which starred Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

The musical buddy comedy would star Mickey in the Dean Martin role and Roger Rabbit in the Jerry Lewis role. The film will incorporate five specific locations from Disneyland and will introduce the Toon Train, an exciting way to travel through Toontown. The new movie will also include animated versions of such people as Orson Welles.

The studio is currently evaluating the material and speaking with writers and directors.

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D23 & The Walt Disney Archives Decipher the Contents of Brad Bird’s Mysterious “Tomorrowland” Photo

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Disney Fans, Twitter followers, and the media have been speculating on the contents of a perplexing box labeled “1952,” since Pixar Animation Studios writer/director Brad Bird and screenwriter/producer David Lindelof posted photos of this curious container on their personal Twitter accounts on January 23rd.

Last week, The Walt Disney Studios announced the film, which will release on December 19, 2014, is now titled Tomorrowland (it was previously known as 1952).

But what do the box’s contents reveal? D23: The Official Disney Fan Club called upon the Walt Disney Archives’ director Becky Cline to examine the riddles wrapped inside this mysterious and enigmatic photograph. Here’s what she found:

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1. From the age, type, and conditions of the items I can see, I feel that the materials in the box were gathered together for a project from the past. Perhaps as research for a science-fiction-themed film, television, or park attraction, or even a futurism project like Walt’s vision of EPCOT.

2. It looks like someone reused an old banker’s box from another Disney production. We don’t use this style of boxes anymore at the studio. There is another sticker on the cover of the box, but the text on the picture is obscured.

3. Someone put tape over the original production label and hand wrote “1952″ in pen—the brevity of the title and the fact that it’s handwritten sounds to me like it’s probably a working title. Both the studio and WED often used working titles before they came up with a final title of the project. “The Concert Feature” was what they called Fantasia before they decided upon a final name for example.

4. On the top there are some old photos. The three that I can see are of Walt with visitors, probably taken here at the studio. The one on top is in our photo collection and I was able to identify the man with him as Major Woodlief of the U.S. Army Reserve General Fund. It was taken in September 1943. The Disney Studio worked closely with the United States government and military soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force elements were stationed at the Lot for the duration of the war. I can’t identify the people in the other photos, but we have the negatives for the photos in our collection. They were taken in 1950.

5. There is a large manila envelope sealed with a loose sticker. It appears to have material in it, but we can only guess its contents. From the size and shape of the envelope, I would guess it might contain maps, brochures, or some other kind of folded documents.

6. The magazine that appears along with this curious collection of documents and objects provides more clues. It is a copy of the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories from August 1928. I got a closer look at the cover by looking it up online. It shows a man in flight wearing some sort of jet pack, powered by a hand-controlled device of some sort. After doing a little more research, I discovered that the cover story of that particular issue is the serialized novel The Skylark of Space, written by Elmer Edward “Doc” Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby. Walt was always interested in futurism and flight especially in the 1950s and early ’60s; in fact, for Disneyland’s Tencennial Celebration in 1965, he actually had a man fly down Main Street, U.S.A. with a jet pack. The man also did flight demonstrations in Tomorrowland in the Flight Circle.

7. There are two slide boxes in the box, one features the Technicolor logo; the writing on the other white slide box is indecipherable.

8. There is a 45 rpm record that appears to be a master disc. It is probably from the ’40s or early ’50s (these type of records pre-date magnetic tape recording). It’s definitely not the kind of record that is pressed and sold to the public. Unfortunately, its handwritten label is too blurry to decipher.

9. There is a blue paperback book in the box. The title appears to be Moral Research. The spine has other writing that I can’t read—the author’s name could possibly be at the top, but I can’t make it out. There is another name that looks to me like “Roland”—probably the name of a fictive publisher.

10. There is a small white box on the right side that looks like the boxes we use to store  individual reels of 8mm film. There is no print that I can see for further ID.

11. There is a U.S. mail letter on the right side. I can see two purple postage stamps, but the denomination is not clear enough to read.

12. Under the photos, record, magazine, and the letter is what looks to me like one of the old peg-and-screw albums we used to use here at the Studio for scrapbooks. It appears to have more photos and perhaps art in it (artboard anyway). Under that are the old string accordion files that we used to use for clippings, documents, loose art, etc. And there are a couple of manila mailing envelopes, too.

Check out the complete story on D23.com.

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Kevin Tong’s Jurassic Park Poster To Go On Sale Today

Kevin Tong’s Jurassic Park poster is a six color screen print on 24 x 36 inch 100 lb White Cover Paper. The posters are signed and numbered in an edition of 275. They cost $70 each ($7 US shipping, $12 Intl shipping) and are available for sale at Kevin’s online store at a random time on 9/27/12. Limit two per household.

According to the artist, “This isn’t really a movie poster so much as it’s a theme park poster from a movie universe. It’s from a version of the movie where nothing went wrong (no Dennis Nedry) and the park was successful. The main inspiration was when John Hammond compared Jurassic Park to Disneyland.”

 

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Disney Twenty-Three Fall Issue Features A Detailed Look At Disney California Adventure Expansion

From the high-octane thrills of Cars Land to the immersive beauty of Buena Vista Street, the fall issue of Disney Twenty-Three, the flagship magazine of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, offers a complete insider’s guide to the spectacular expansion of Disney California Adventure.

Available nationwide on August 14, the fall issue of Disney Twenty-Three takes readers on a journey through the stunning reimagining of the park with exclusive interviews, breathtaking photography, and surprising details straight from Disney Imagineers, who designed the new buildings, attractions, and entertainment featured in the park.

“Disney fans around the world are flocking to Disney California Adventure to experience the extraordinary transformation of the park,” says Steven Clark, head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. “With the fall issue of the magazine, we decided to take D23 Members more deeply than ever into the making of 20 new attractions and shows that have been added to the park during the five-year expansion.”

The fall issue also celebrates ABC’s hit series Once Upon A Time, looking at the show’s roots in Disney mythology and offering a sneak peek at its upcoming second season. The story features exclusive interviews with the show’s creators and stars, including Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, and Ginnifer Goodwin—a D23 Member who opens up about her love of all things Disney.

Disney Twenty-Three also explores the most exciting new developments throughout Disney—while offering new insight into fan favorites. In its pages, Disney fans will be able to:

- Unlock the doors of D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives and see some of the iconic pieces now on display at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum

- Get early details from director Tim Burton on his latest monster of a movie, Frankenweenie

- Pay tribute to groundbreaking author and futurist Ray Bradbury with a heartwarming remembrance by Disney Legend Marty Sklar

- Celebrate Disney Legend Alice Davis, who just received a window on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., next to her late husband, Marc, one of Walt’s Nine Old Men

- Get answers to “23 Questions” with Newsies star Bill Pullman

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The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition Coming to Disney California Adventure Park September 14th

Calling all you Tim Burton fans! In addition to Haunted Mansion Holiday, guests will be able to step into another world of award-winning film director Tim Burton when “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” comes to Hollywood Land during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. From September 14 – November 5 at Disney California Adventure park, you can see the touring art exhibit, along with a special, extended sneak peek of Tim Burton’s animated feature film, “Frankenweenie,” releasing on October 5th.

The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition captures the magic of filmmaking and gives an exclusive glimpse into the stop-motion animation process brought to life by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton. From original sketches drawn by Burton to extensive props, sets and puppets, the exhibition showcases the artistic detail and vision that has gone into telling the tale of a boy who, inspired by science and the love of his dog, brings his beloved pet back from the dead.

Here’s a quick peek:


The exhibition launched in Barcelona, Spain, at CineEurope on June 18, and stops in the U.S. at the Disneyland Resort from September 14 – November 5. When the tour is complete, it will have visited seven countries including Spain, France, England, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

Be sure to catch “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort – which also includes Haunted Mansion Holiday, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and more!

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Meet the Authors Behind Poster Art of the Disney Parks on August 18 at The Disney Gallery in Disneyland Park

In May, I posted about a new book featuring attraction posters and more from Disney Press. I’m happy to report that the Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Daniel Handke & Vanessa Hunt has finally arrived at select locations in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

To celebrate the arrival of the book, Disneyland is holding a special event on August 18th at The Disney Gallery located on Main Street USA.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet Imagineers and book authors Vanessa Hunt and Danny Handke from 9 to 11 a.m.

Tony Baxter, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, who wrote the book’s introduction, will be attending, along with some of the Imagineers and poster artists, such as Larry Nikolai and Will Eyerman who created some of the beautiful attraction posters featured in the book. In addition, Disney Legend and Retired Imagineer, Rolly Crump will also be joining in the festivities.

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Air Fresheners That Look & Smell Like Iconic Disney Park Foods

Disney Parks blog has announced that a line of air fresheners that look and smell like Disney theme park foods will be coming to bothWalt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California. In August 2012, they will be available at the parks in the following scents: Turkey Leg, Mickey Premium ice cream bar, Candy Apple and Mickey Waffle.

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Disney California Adventure Park Guests Will Be Able To ‘Glow with the Show’ With Special Light Up Mouse Ears

Starting June 15th, Disney California Adventure park guests will have the chance to light up the night when Glow with the Show Ears become available for purchase for $25 at select locations throughout the park.

For more than 55 years, the classic, black Mickey Mouse ear hat has been a Disney Parks guest favorite. In 2005, those ears got a golden touch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Disneyland park, and there have been more than 200 different ear hats including limited-edition and novelty ear hats.

Now, using the latest interactive technology, our newest ear hats will quite literally let you “Glow with the Show.” Watch as the iridescent ears change to complement and harmonize with what’s happening around you, allowing you to become a part of the magic of our nighttime spectaculars, such as “World of Color” and Mad T Party.

“Glow with the Show now lets our guests become part of the color of our magical ‘World of Color’ at the Paradise Bay lagoon,” describes Steve Davison, Creative Entertainment Vice President of Parades & Spectaculars. “Throughout the show, the Glow with the Show Ears become a set of pixels that dance and play along with each sequence in ‘World of Color’ in a bright and dynamic way. For example, during the show, guests become part of the ocean with the Little Mermaid, a shining galaxy of stars for WALL-E and Eve, an extension of the Genie’s magic in ‘Friend Like Me,’ among other interactive explosions of color throughout the entire show. It truly brings the show’s environment out of the lagoon and into the audience in an amazing and dazzling new way!”

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Everything You Need To Know About Disney California Adventure Park’s Major Expansion Opening On June 15, 2012

Here is everything you need to know about Disney California Adventure Park’s major expansion opening this Friday at 9AM.

Buena Vista Street

At the newly expanded Disney California Adventure Park, it now begins on Buena Vista Street, a nostalgic look at Los Angeles as it may have appeared to Walt Disney in the 1920s and ’30s when he first arrived in California. Buena Vista Street welcomes guests to a very specific “Disney California Adventure,” the adventure of a young Walt Disney stepping off the train from Kansas City and into 1920s Los Angeles, the beginning of a wonderful, inspirational period of his life. The dynamic themed environment transports guests to another era, along this boulevard of dreams.

On Buena Vista Street, guests board the Red Car Trolley to take a tour and clang-clang-clang their way into Hollywood Land. The tour includes Carthay Circle Theatre, a striking, new Disney California Adventure landmark that stands at the hub of the park, with a beautiful fountain and avenues that lead to the eight themed lands of Disney California Adventure. It’s also home to one of the premier dining locations at Disneyland Resort, the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge. Guests may stroll around a Buena Vista Street “downtown” featuring vintage architecture and a dozen shops and restaurants.

Buena Vista Street Landmarks

- The new entry turnstiles of Disney California Adventure are inspired by the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. The Pan-Pacific was designed by architect Welton Becket. Disney is said to have consulted his friend Becket when he was planning Disneyland in the 1950s. Becket told Walt he already had all the talent he needed at the Disney Studios. That talent was the creative team that became Walt Disney Imagineering.

- Entering the turnstiles, guests find themselves in Buena Vista Plaza, a town square with a flag pole, a stop for the Red Car Trolley, and Oswald’s gas station. Passing through the town square, guests walk under Hyperion Bridge (the Disneyland Resort Monorail track), modeled on the concrete Glendale-Hyperion Avenue bridge near Walt Disney’s early Hyperion Animation Studios.

- Past Hyperion Bridge and into the central entry plaza, which leads into the eight themed lands of Disney California Adventure, guests will find Carthay Circle Theatre, inspired by the motion picture palace where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. It’s the home of the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge.

- The Carthay Circle Theatre stands 89 feet 6 inches to the top of the cupola spire. It is approximately a ¾ scale to the original Carthay Circle Theatre building. In comparison, Sleeping Beauty Castle stands 77-feet high, with a design that makes it appear taller through forced perspective.

- The central plaza is also home to “Storytellers,” a statue of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse. Placed at street level and less monumental than the “Partners” statue in Disneyland, “Storytellers” depicts Walt Disney as a humble, optimistic young man, dreaming of achievements to come, standing alongside Mickey Mouse.

A New Attraction – Red Car Trolley

- Inspired by, and lovingly modeled on the historic Pacific Electric Railway system which operated in Southern California from 1901 through 1961, the Red Car Trolley runs through Buena Vista Street and into Hollywood Land, making multiple stops until it arrives at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, aka The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror.

- The red cars of the Red Car Trolley are modeled on two Pacific Electric Railway designs, representing different eras of the system’s history. The attraction evokes the original Red Car line with large windows all the way around the cars, a distinctive single headlight in the center of the front panel, and even overhead “catenary” electrical lines (all part of the show).

- The Red Car Trolley makes four stops. Trolley car conductors, in uniforms evoking the ’20s time period, call the stops, toot the trolley whistle and entertain guests with historical tales of Buena Vista Street.

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