Disney attractions around the world have long been enchanting visitors in magical ways for generations. To celebrate the July 30 release of the Disney feature film “Jungle Cruise,” inspired by the Disney Parks attraction which debuted in 1955 with the opening of Disneyland park, Disney+ will premiere all episodes of its newest original series “Behind the Attraction” on Friday, July 16. The 10-part series, narrated by Paget Brewster, gives viewers an exclusive peek ‘behind the curtain’ of the most beloved attractions and destinations at Disney Parks and Resorts around the world, from Jungle Cruise to “it’s a small world” to the Haunted Mansion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Hear the unique story behind each Castle at the Parks and learn how Disney Imagineers designed and built them and discover the intricacies of the transportation systems at each park, and how the iconic Disneyland Hotel came to be.
“Behind the Attraction” delves into Disney Parks’ rich, amazing history using archival and never-before-seen footage and photographs to unveil how the attractions came to be and how they’ve been refined over the years as new ideas surface and technology evolves.
Including rare interviews with Walt Disney, each episode also features exclusive interviews with Disney Legends and dozens of past and present Imagineers, including Bob Weis, Jeanette Lomboy, Kim Irvine, Scott Trowbridge, Tom Fitzgerald, Scot Drake, Carmen Smith, Joe Rohde, and others who divulge insider secrets of the parks and how iconic Disney attractions were brought to life. Revealed for the first time are the wild stories of how the Haunted Mansion was filled with 999 happy haunts, how the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (while defying gravity in the process) and why Space Mountain took so long to launch.
All 10 episodes are available to stream on Friday, July 16 on Disney+
Join a skipper for the story behind Jungle Cruise, and try to spot the backside of water! When Walt decided to create the original immersive attraction, he tasked Imagineers with building a river in the Southern California desert AND the mechanical animals to populate it. Lead designer Harper Goff and horticulturist Bill Evans scrambled to get it all built in time for Disneyland® Park’s grand opening in 1955. Guests have been cruising its waters ever since. Dwayne Johnson also appears in this episode where he discusses his childhood memories of the attraction and his favorite joke from the skippers.
Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion — enter if you dare! When Walt Disney developed the attraction, he didn’t specify if it should be funny or scary. Ultimately, it became a perfect blend of both. Haunted Mansion proved so popular that it inspired several later iterations, including the chilling Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris and the weird and wonderful Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Lightspeed to Endor! A long time ago…Disney created Star Tours, a thrilling simulator attraction that takes guests to a galaxy far, far away. It inspired Imagineers to build a whole new land — Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There, guests can use the Force to explore the remote outpost of Batuu and the cutting-edge attractions Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Discover the ups (and downs!) of creating this gravity-defying attraction set in the eerie world of Rod Serling’s renowned “Twilight Zone” television series. Then hold on tight as Imagineers reimagine the Disney California Adventure version as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Learn what it took to build the attraction — and what it takes to ride it!
Castles are at the heart of Disney Parks around the world. The original at Disneyland Resort in California quickly became a symbol of The Walt Disney Company on par with Mickey Mouse. Hear the unique story behind each one and learn how Imagineers designed and built them.
Disneyland Resort with no hotel — what?! It almost happened. Check in to see how Walt got it built. Envisioned as an extension of the Park, funding for the hotel proved hard to come by, so Walt struck a deal with producer Jack Wrather. Jack would own the hotel, but Walt’s name would be on it. Together, they made it into an immersive experience, setting the stage for all Disney hotels to come. After Jack’s death, The Walt Disney Company bought the Disneyland Hotel. Today, Disney operates dozens of hotels worldwide.
You’re about to hear the story of Space Mountain in T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…launch! Walt’s vision of an attraction that simulates space travel was a design challenge Imagineer John Hench tackled head on, creating a signature structure now in Disney Parks around the world. Imagineers continued the tradition by creating another thrilling indoor attraction, the landmark TRON Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disney Resort.
It’s A Small World
It all began at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair! If a chance encounter between an Academy Award-winning actress and Walt Disney hadn’t taken place, this beloved attraction might never have been created. With its signature, unforgettable song, its flume boat ride design, and Audio-Animatronics figures, it was a huge success. Versions were designed and built in Disney Parks around the planet, proving that it really is a small world, after all!
Trains, Trams, and Monorails
All aboard! Everything moves at Disney Parks, especially the guests — by land, water, and air! Walt loved locomotion of all kinds — trains, trams, monorails, and boats. They’re all fun, but Walt also believed the monorail could help cities end traffic. The vast transportation network at Walt Disney World Resort is a testament to that. Every Disney Park built since has continued this tradition, creating transportation systems to whisk guests efficiently to their destinations.
Hall of Presidents
This unprecedented presidential attraction in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom brings our commanders in chief to life. Walt created the world’s first human Audio-Animatronics figure based on his childhood hero, Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe helped launch this revolutionary technology that populates Disney Parks today. Who knows what the future holds for this mesmerizing Disney technology?