La taniere du Dragon (Dragon’s Lair)

La taniere du Dragon, or Dragon’s Lair, is an amazing Imagineering feat. Under the beautiful Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant,  or Sleeping Beauty Castle, at Disneyland Paris rests a defeated dragon. Continue after the page break for a closer look…

Here is a great write up on La Taniere du Dragon from DLP.info:

“One can easily forget what happens in the dungeons of a castle, especially when the castle is as beautiful as the one from the Sleeping Beauty standing proudly as the parks centerpiece. But like most castles, this one is no different, and has a terrifying secret hidden inside. It hosts a defeated monstrous evil dragon waiting to break free. It appears to sleep, it looks defeated, a prisoner in unbreakable chains. But like any beast it will grave the taste of freedom and will try to fight itself back out of its prison once it got her full strength back.

Guests can visits the dragon’s cave to view this beautiful but dangerous dragon. Those who are brave enough to do so should be aware of the danger and keep save distance. You might not want to be the one helping the beast get her strength back…

The dragon living inside the dungeons of the castle is an Imagineering masterpiece. This is a big Audio-Animatronic created to entertain the guests that want to explore more then just the rides alone. Often forgotten by the thrill ride fans or those forgetting that Disney is more than just your average theme park, it should not be missed as the dragon is an absolute marvel. The big Audio-Animatronic dragon appears to sleep but it doesn’t take long before one can gaze at the monstrosity moving. It will lift its head, high up, trying to touch the sealing above looking for a way out. It will move its tail while looking at the visitors in front of her. A one of a kind stunning piece of art!

The dungeon itself is part of the beautiful atmosphere created by the Disney Imagineers. The dungeon looks as if it was built with the use of rocks cut from the mountain the castle was built on. Dragon themed lamps giving the place some dramatic light and the watery base around the dragon gives it a impressive finishing touch.

Guest have three options to enter the dragon’s Lair. The first one can be entered from the front of the castle. At the left hand side, next to the castle’s main entrance and bridge, is a small pathway leading you right into the lair. When you are in Fantasyland, overlooking the back of the castle, you can enter the dungeon when you follow the small path on the right hand side of the castle. There you will find a small entrance to the hidden cave. You can also enter the spectacular scene via the castle’s Merlin l’Enchanteur boutique. The stairs at the back of the shop are an invitation to the dragon’s prison.”

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Only Disney could produce such an amazing walk through attraction with such detail. There used to be another Dragon in Tokyo Disneyland but you had to do the Castle Mystery Tour, a walk through dark ride in the form of a castle visit. Sadly this closed in 2006 and since then only in Disneyland Paris can you see an almost real Disney Dragon.



Early Concept Sketch



Exceptional details like these is what make Disney, well, Disney! I think most theme park companies wouldn’t waste the time and money on such a unpublicised attraction. Hidden gems like these are huge factors as to why I appreciate and cherish Walt Disney’s creations. 
Now for a video of  La taniere du Dragon:
 

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Making of: Disney-MGM Studios

May 1, 1989 was the day Disney-MGM Studios, now Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opened it’s gates to the world. It was the first park that the new Disney CEO Michael Eisner had his hand in. It also lead the way of a whole new era for the company known as the Disney Decade. Being that the park’s 23rd Anniversary is approaching I think its a good time to see how it was made and learn 20 secrets that I found pretty interesting. Continue after the page break and let’s have a look…

Michael Eisner & Bob Hope lead the first family of Disney-MGM Studios theme park down
Hollywood Boulevard on May 1, 1989

There are mixed emotions in the minds of Disney fans as to what kind of park Disney Hollywood Studios is, for example, is it a 1/2 day park, 3/4 day, not enough attractions for the younger tourists, etc. In my own personal opinion I believe that the park is absolutly fantastic and that Disney World wouldn’t be Disney World without it. Hollywood Studios is the first park we visit on our vacations and we love every minute of it. Sure there could be more added here or there, but basically every park, except Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, could say that. I thoroughly enjoy the park and for a FULL day at that; can’t say the same for Animal Kingdom but I digress. If your opinions differ from mine maybe these interesting facts may help change that a bit.

Let’s have a look at 20 interesting secrets about Disney Hollywood Studios:

1. One of the most famous architectural devices that Disney Imagineers use in their construction is forced perspective, where the scaling of buildings decreases the higher up you go. Forced perspective creates the illusion that buildings are larger than they are. In the Magic Kingdom, the buildings along Main Street as well as Cinderella Castle are built using forced perspective. Of course, it’s no different at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The facades along Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard incorporate forced perspective, making the thoroughfares appear grander in scale.

2. Disney also is renowned for a meticulous attention to detail that gives its architecture its famous authenticity — such as the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, a to-scale replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and the Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion in Epcot, a half-size replica of the Beijing original. Likewise, the buildings that line the Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard are replicas of Hollywood buildings constructed in the 1920s and 1930s. Walt Disney Imagineering used the original 1927 blueprints from Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood to construct the exact replica in the Studios, with a façade built to full scale. And the Carthay Circle Theater building on Sunset Boulevard is an exact replica of the original Carthay Circle Theater in Beverly Hills, where ” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937.

3. Speaking of attention to detail, when the Imagineers decided to create an attraction based on the “Toy Story” movies, they knew they wanted to build something special. So rather than build just one building, they created an entire district, Pixar Place, based on the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif., the studio behind “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles” and so many Disney-Pixar classics. So the Imagineers exactly matched the color of the brick and mortar from the original Pixar Studios building in the construction of Toy Story Midway Mania. When Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs came to Toy Story Midway Mania and saw how much it looked like “home,” his eyes welled with tears.

4. You can’t get any more realistic and authentic in detail than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The back story of this ride states that the Hollywood Tower Hotel was populated by the glitzy and glamorous elite of yesteryear. As always, Disney Imagineers went to extreme lengths to make sure the props, furnishings and decorative items in the lobby accurately reflected that time. But meticulous attention to detail in the Tower has been conjured by an even higher power. As the legend goes, one night while some guests were taking the elevator to the top of the hotel, the building was struck by lightning, sending the elevator zooming to the bottom of the shaft and its riders into the 5th dimension. That’s the story every guest learns before riding the attraction. Something that all riders should know: While the Tower was being built, it actually was struck by lightning. How’s that for authenticity?

5. And what is it about the mystical, ghostly forces inhabiting the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror? They grab your elevator and send it reeling up and down, back and forth, over and over again. Truth be told, there is more at work here than the force of gravity. The reason the drops are so thrilling is that the elevator falls faster than free fall, faster than the force of gravity. The Tower actually pulls the elevators up and down giving the ride its out-of-this-world thrill.

6. The high -peed, indoor Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith was the first Disney roller coaster — in any of its theme parks in the United States — to invert riders during the ride. The dark interior, rock-concert lighting and thundering soundtrack from Aerosmith pumps up the excitement and ambience of the ride. But the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was once an outdoor coaster. Many people think the coaster was constructed inside the building that houses it. Actually, the coaster was built first, in the great outdoors, and then the building was assembled around it.



Rock’n’Roller Coaster Construction



7. The high-speed launch of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one of the attraction’s great rushes. There are three inversions in the ride — two rollover loops and one corkscrew. As riders enter the first inversion, they are feeling a G-force between 4 and 5, more than astronauts feel.

8. Of course, size and statistics play a big role in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Perfect example: the Sorcerer’s Hat. The Studios’ main icon, dedicated on Dec. 5, 2001, to commemorate Walt Disney’s 100th birthday, is a giant showpiece based on the hat worn by Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice in “Fantasia.” The hat sits on a foundation made from enough concrete to cover a football field. The Sorcerer’s Hat is painted with a custom technique called “chameleon paint” that shifts color as guests move around it. The fiberglass hat stands 122 feet tall and has an interior space of 60,000 cubic feet. That converts to a hat size of 6067/8.

9. Even a former Disney-MGM Studios icon has a hat tale to tell. Before the Sorcerer’s Hat was built in the main plaza of Hollywood Boulevard, the Earfell Tower served as the Studios’ official icon. The 130-foot water tower doesn’t actually contain any water. But the picturesque black mouse ears (hat size 3423/8) instilled the tower with landmark status from Day One.

10. Fantasmic! the laser, fireworks and water-animation extravaganza, proved to be such a smash at Disneyland that a 6,900-seat amphitheater (with room for an additional 3,000 standing guests) was constructed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A mountainous island stage surrounded by water serves as the setting for the 50 performers in a multimedia show that brings to life scenes from many Disney animated classics. But in true theatrical form, the part of the stage that you see is only what they want you to see. That mountaintop setting is actually 571/2 feet tall, housing six levels plus a basement.



George Lucas and Michael Eisner opening day



11. When it comes to sheer size, nothing beats the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. In its quest to reveal filmmaking special-effects secrets, the attraction replicates the famous opening sequence from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” in which Indiana must outrun a huge stone ball. To re-create that scene, the cavernous space of the Studios’ attraction is transformed into the Mayan temple — the heaviest piece of moving scenery on the planet, tipping the scales at 100 tons. The giant rolling ball alone weighs 440 pounds.

12. Let’s move from the heaviest to the largest. One of the legendary aspects of all Disney theme parks are the hidden Mickeys, the mouse head-and-ears shape that the Imagineers concealed inside attractions, on vehicles, in restaurants — just about everywhere. The largest one ever created was once very prominent, but earthbound guests couldn’t even see it. The entire main courtyard of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Chinese Theatre once formed Mickey Mouse’s face. Echo Lake formed one ear, the roofs of Playhouse Disney and the Brown Derby formed another ear, the eyes were gray ovals in the pavement, and the mouth was the courtyard in front of the Great Movie Ride. Over the years, certain aspects have been altered or disappeared — for example, the Sorcerer’s Hat obliterated the nose. But the remainder still exists in the plaza.

13. Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard any afternoon, and you’ll be able to enjoy the explosive energy of the Block Party Bash, a party and dance interactive traveling parade. But did you know that Block Party Bash is the sixth full-fledged parade presented by the Studios in its 20-year history? The first was Aladdin’s Royal Caravan, which debuted Dec. 21, 1992. The longest-running Studios parade was Disney Stars and Motor Cars, which ran for 61/2 years, winding up on March 8, 2008.

14. In 1995, the Studios presented the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, an extravaganza of millions of holiday lights donated by Jennings Osborne, a businessman from Arkansas who had designed the light display for his home. In 2006 the Imagineers took the next step by unveiling the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, in which lights flicker and dance to the beat of various holiday songs. The light display consists of more than 5 million lights, 35 miles of electrical cable and 10 miles of rope lights.

15. During planning for the high-speed thrill ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, the Imagineers knew they needed to select one of the world’s greatest bands around which to build the back story for the attraction. They decided Aerosmith would be the perfect fit. But initially the Imagineers were unable to reach Steven Tyler and Joe Perry because they were vacationing with their families at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

16. Every Walt Disney World theme park icon contains some type of attraction or facility. So what’s inside the Sorcerer’s Hat? Nothing. It’s the first WDW theme park icon void of any special attraction.

17. The Great Movie Ride immerses guests into famous sequences from some of Tinseltown’s classic movies, from Gene Kelly’s dance routine in “Singin’ in the Rain” to an alien attack sequence from “Alien.” But it’s all capped off when guests become part of “The Wizard of Oz” and are transported to Munchkinland, where they face the Wicked Witch of the West. Just before guests enter the scene, they are treated to a scene from “Fantasia.” But what’s with all the wind? Actually, the room originally was designed to house the Kansas tornado that would whisk guests over the rainbow and into Munchkinland.

18. For Disney, the back story is the backbone of each attraction. Nothing propels the story along like a show with big character or perhaps a show with larger-than-life characters. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a breathtaking retelling of the classic movie. The audience is plunged under the sea through the use of lasers, smoke, showering water and bubbles. More than 100 black-light puppets musically welcome guests “under the sea.” But even they are dwarfed by the villainous Ursula, who at 12 feet high and 10 feet wide is just about the largest Ursula ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering.

19. Speaking of larger-than-life characters, Disney also is renowned for its trademarked Audio-Animatronics characters, the electronic wizardry that makes U.S. presidents, various historical figures and classic movie stars come amazingly to life. But the Mr. Potato Head figure at Toy Story Midway Mania represents significant advances in Audio-Animatronic technology. Mr. Potato Head is the first such figure whose mouth appears to form actual words when he’s talking. It’s also the first Audio-Animatronic figure than can remove a body part and then reattach it (his ear).

20. So exactly how complex is Toy Story Midway Mania? The smash-hit attraction takes guests on a raucous 3-D ride through virtual-reality carnival games. Guests wear 3-D glasses and use a spring-action shooter to break plates, play ring toss, burst balloons with darts, hit moving bull’s-eyes, among other virtual games. For the attraction to respond to every pull of every guest’s shooter while shuttling trams through the Midway course (as well as propelling virtual 3-D objects that pop out of the screen and whir past guests), there are more than 150 computers communicating over multiple networks.

Next up is a wondeful little 53 minute video on the making of Disney-MGM Studios straight out of 1989 and I mean straight out: (Notice how beautiful the hub and the view down Hollywood Blvd was before that big, fiberglass Sorcerer’s Hat fell from the sky and blocked The Great Movie Ride!!!)


20 Secrets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios part was written by Bruce Pecho for the Chicago Tribune

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Disney Documentary Hour: DISNEYLAND, Secrets, Stories & Magic

Today I want to start a brand new segment here on Disney Avenue called Disney Documentary Hour. This new segment will feature wonderful Disney documentaries for you to enjoy. We will begin with the Walt Disney Treasures documentary DISNEYLAND, Secrets, Stories & Magic which has to be one of the absolute best Disneyland films ever produced or at least in my opinion. 50,000 copies were produced and it is no longer for sale so copies on Amazon and eBay can get expensive. Today we can see it for free, rite here on Disney Avenue; so get comfy, grab some popcorn and a drink and let’s have a look…

I highly recommend finding a copy for yourself, which you can find here, as the 2 disc set features some great extras. The DVD features:

Disc one

  • Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth: A 81 minute documentary of the park, produced in 2005 during the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.
  • Wonderful World of Disneyland Trivia Game
  • People and Places: Disneyland U.S.A.

Disc two

  • Operation Disneyland: A behind the scenes look at the preparations for the live broadcast of the opening of Disneyland, filmed for ABC in July 1955.
  • The Golden Horseshoe Revue: An episode of Wonderful World of Color featuring the 10,000 performance of The Golden Horseshoe Revue. Aired on September 23, 1962.
  • Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair: An episode of Wonderful World of Color featuring Walt Disney’s presence at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Aired May 17, 1964.
  • Disneyland Around the Seasons: An episode of Wonderful World of Color featuring new additions to the park, such as It’s a Small World, New Orleans Square and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Aired December 18, 1966 (three days after Walt Disney’s death).

Here now is the main part of the DVD Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth…Enjoy!!!

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Making of: Disneyland Paris

Today is Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary and I figured what better time to show you a wonderful video of the beautiful castle and Main Street being constructed then now. I’d also like to talk a little about the resorts lead designer, Imagineer Tony Baxter. Continue after the page break and lets have a look…

As I have stated before, I am a huge fan of Disney construction photos and footage. Today I present to you the construction footage of Disneyland Paris Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street. Before the park could be constructed however, there needed to be a design and a designer. That is were popular Imagineer Tony Baxter comes in. Tony was the lead designer of the park. He was instantly attracted to the idea of a Disney theme park in Europe and as rumors spread that the Mouse was looking into it Baxter immediately jumped at the chance to work on the project. Tony explains…

“I had gone to management at the onset when I heard they were discussing doing something in Europe. Even at that time, we hadn’t decided whether it was Spain or Paris [during preliminary planning stages, more than 1,000 sites were considered before the vetting process whittled it down to two possible locations in Spain and two in France] and I said I would love to be involved with that. I’ve contributed to parks around the world and I said I would like to lead the effort to make the next one the best of all that we’ve done … put the best features of all of the Disney parks then add some new twists to it.”

A big “new twist” was turning the usual entrance to the park from a ticket center and turnstiles to a hotel. Baxter continues…

“The hotel at the main gate, that was clearly an outgrowth of noticing how much effort was spent in the sense of arrival at a lot of the classic destinations throughout Europe. If you go to Versailles or the Louvre or any of the great castles, half the experience is just the breathtaking arrival and view of the entrance. It’s almost like you’re so overwhelmed by how beautiful it is that the whole thought of giving an admission is like a gift.That’s an emotional thing, it’s a feeling rather than a concrete absolute, and so I have to hand it to Michael Eisner and Frank Wells [Disney’s top executives at the time]. They went along with us and allowed us to change the front gate. In Paris, when you step off the train to come in from the parking lot, you’re in the most beautiful garden on the entire property, with fountains and this gorgeous hotel with a courtyard. The ticketing is done in a very discreet way underneath the entrance to that hotel.”

After Disneyland Paris opened on April 12, 1992, it suffered a few growing pains. As the Disney Company learned from its mistakes it changed certain aspects to make it more appealing to European tourists. These changes included adding more outdoor dining venues, using more recognizable European stars to do attraction voice overs, getting rid of the the Euro Disneyland name in favor of Disneyland Paris, and making Space Mountain more unique to the resort until slowly, the park’s fortunes were reversed and attendance grew. Today Disneyland Paris is not only one of the most beautiful Disney parks in the world but also the most popular tourist destination in Europe.

Here is the construction footage of Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street:

Disneyland Paris Openning Day April 12, 1992:

Disney Avenue would like to congratulate Disneyland Paris on 20 magical years!!!



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Making of: The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is quite possibly one of the most famous and beloved Disney attractions that exist today. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion went through several changes during its long creation. Prior to its opening on August 9, 1969, eighteen years had gone by since the original 1951 black-and-white sketch by Disney Legend Harper Goff that featured a scary, dilapidated house placed on a hill top looking down onto Main Street. Walt wanted artist Ken Anderson to fully develop his concept of a Ghost house for his park during the mid-1950s. By late 1957, Anderson had completed a full script and map for what would become, or so he thought, a very scary walk-through that was to be located in the future New Orleans Square. Continue after the page break for the story and some great videos…

Anderson began to study New Orleans and its old plantations soon after being assigned the project and used this to create an antebellum manor surrounded by dead moss filled trees, overgrown weeds, shutters hanging off their hinges, peeling paint, and a weather vane in the shape of a screeching cat. Walt Disney couldn’t really stand the idea of a run-down, unkempt looking building in his beautiful park which lead to his popular quote, “We’ll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside.” Although the original idea received tons of praise and adoration from people within WED, the mansion got an immediate refurbishment. The house was spruced up and now fit perfectly inside Walt’s pristine park.

Now that the exterior had gotten the OK it was time to figure out what to do inside. Being that Walt’s park was to be enjoyed by children and adults alike; the challenged arrived of exactly how scary the ride should be. Disney traveled to the unfinished Winchester Mystery House in North California for some ideas and inspiration and was amazed with the mansion’s stairs to nowhere, doors that open to walls and holes, and different elevators.



Winchester Mansion




Winchester Mansion Staircase



Ken Anderson eventually created several different ideas for the mansion that included a ghost filled wedding party that featured Disney villains like Captain Hook, a headless horseman and Lonesome Ghosts. Another idea of Anderson was to include a departed sea captain who killed his nosy bride and eventually hung himself. The ideas were rolling out and it was time for Imagineers Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey to create the effects and bring to life Anderson’s ideas.
Yale Gracey

A large studio space at WED enterprises was created strictly for this exciting new attraction. Crump and Gracey began studying Greek myths, reports of haunting, and horror movies which lead to a freaky looking studio space. There’s a funny story that one night Crump and Gracey connected all the effects they been working on to an inferred wire that would cause all the effects to come to life. When the cleaning crew walked in late at night to clean the area they set off these effects and ran out the room in horror. The next morning Rolly Crump came in to work and noticed a broom lying in the middle of the floor with everything still going off. Eventually, management called to say they would have to clean their own space now because the cleaning crew wasn’t coming back.

While the attraction’s blue sky stage was coming together the decision was made to place the Haunted Mansion in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland and theme the mansion accordingly. In 1961, the announcement was made that the ride would be opening in 1963. Construction finally began a year later, and the exterior of the mansion was complete by 1963. The attraction itself wouldn’t open until six years later in 1969. Disney’s involvement in the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair and Walt’s passing in 1966 heavily delayed the ride and even lead to a redesign.
After the fair had passed and Anderson left the project, many Imagineers began contributing ideas. These Imagineers included legends Marc Davis, X Atencio and Claude Coats which lead to the attraction we see today. Marc Davis designed most of the characters and effects that were more on the funny side, and felt the ride should be silly and filled with gags. Claude Coats, being the background artist he was, created the mood of the ride with endless hallways, characterless environments, corridors of doors, and wanted a more scary version. Eventually, both would get their way when X Atencio placed all their different scenes together.

After Walt’s passing the project started to change and evolve tremendously. The original plan for the ride to be a walk through was changed so that the Omnimover system that was currently being used in Adventure Thru Inner Space could carry guests throughout the attraction. The ride vehicles were renamed Doom Buggies and helped to increase the ride capacity. 

Finally on August 12, 1969, the Disneyland version was opened to guests and brought in record crowds which helped the company recover from Walt’s untimely death. Despite the crowds, the original Haunted Mansion was viewed as somewhat of a letdown to riders after going through years of hype and anticipation and wondered why the ride wasn’t scarier. Several Imagineers were upset at how it turned out, especially Ken Anderson. Marc Davis shared in the upset and claimed that “too many cooks were making the soup.” Eventually the attraction grew to become one of the most popular in the park with a huge fan base. The mansion went through many changes over its development and has turned into more of an experience than just a ride, bringing you through a not so spooky world where each ride reveals new surprises that were overlooked before.



Haunted Mansion Opening Day



Check out these interesting videos on the Haunted Mansion featuring several big names in Imagineering:

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DreamFinder Travel… The Only Way To Go!!!

I just wanted to inform everyone about the most AMAZING Disney travel company on planet Earth… DreamFinder Travel!!! I recently posted their site link at the top right corner of our blog. Many of you may or may not know that using a fantastic travel company like DreamFinder Travel to plain your next Disney vacation comes at NO extra cost to you. In fact, the extremely friendly people at DreamFinder Travel are huge Disney fans just like ourselves. I’ll let Sue Ellen explain the perks of using DreamFinder Travel next time your ready to vacation with the Mouse!! Continue after the page break for more interesting facts about planning your next Disney vacation…

Now from a word from DreamFinder Travel owner and DreamMaker Sue Ellen:

One thing I often hear from potential new clients is “why should we use DreamFinder Travel.”  Well, I am here to explain to you why you SHOULD use a Disney Destination specialist for all of your Disney vacation planning.  First and foremost—our services are FREE!  You will not pay any more for using DreamFinder Travel and your personal vacation planner to book and plan your vacation!  Our agents all LOVE Disney and know the ships, parks and resorts inside and out, and will help you plan your vacation as if it were their own.  When booking with DreamFinder Travel, you will be paired with your own experienced personal agent, or DreamMaker as we prefer to call them, to work with throughout your vacation planning.  Your DreamMaker is your personal at home concierge. This allows your DreamMaker to get to know you and your preferences, and to make the best recommendations for you and your travel party.  They are there every step of the way in your planning to answer your questions and concerns (and we also have a toll-free number for you to reach your agent, in addition to being able to email them.)  Your DreamMaker always has YOUR best interests in mind when assisting you with your travel planning.  We offer you honest, and unbiased reviews, information, recommendations, and suggestions.

We also continue to look for the best rates for you, even after you book!  So you can book with us with confidence, knowing that you will always have the best pricing available.  If a lower price or promotion happens to come available for your travel dates even after you book, we will take care of automatically applying it for you!  That is one of the services our clients love the most!  We have saved our clients many thousands of dollars over the years with this extra service we offer.  Did we mention that we do all of this FREE OF CHARGE?  Yes, that is right, all of our services are provided to you at NO COST.  You get all of our knowledge and experience, and even discount hunting, all provided to you, free of cost!  And who said nothing is free?  Why do we do this?  Because we want you to have the very best Disney vacation possible, and at the very best price possible.

We offer personal concierge services and take care of all of your advance planning for you.  From doing things such as booking advance dining reservations, booking recreation or excursions for you, to making recommendations, and booking tours for you, and more; your DreamMaker will partner with you to understand your likes/dislikes and expectations.  We will make recommendations based on this personal knowledge, and can even help you set up special celebrations for any special events, such as birthdays and anniversaries.  We have even helped plan surprise engagements, and Disney weddings!

I can’t recommend DreamFinder Travel enough. Like I said before, they are extremely friendly and helpful and want nothing more then to help you plan your next Disney vacation today. So go ahead and give em a call the next time you want to travel to any Disney destination and let one of the friendly DreamMakers help you create one of the most magical Disney vacations yet!

The Legend of the Hat Box Ghost

I’m sure most of you know that the Hatbox Ghost was a character that originally was part of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion but was removed after the attraction’s debut. It was located formerly in the rides attic scene, the figure is described as “an elderly ghost in a cloak and top hat, leaning on a cane with a wavering hand and clutching a hatbox in the other.” Continue after the page break for some more info and a intriguing video!


I stumbled upon this very informative video about the Hatbox Ghost that even features a part with Imagineer Tony Baxter, who use to be a ride attendant for The Haunted Mansion. Have a look:

Pretty good stuff! Rumors suggested that the figure was eliminated due to its frightening appearance.
While it is unknown what became of The Hatbox Ghost, there are speculations as to what became of him. One report claims that its parts were reused in one of the Eagle Sam audio-animatronics used in the America Sings attraction which opened at Disneyland in 1974. This seems unlikely, in view of the simplicity of the design and construction of The Hatbox Ghost. A second Hatbox Ghost was created but never installed in Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion. The whereabouts of this figure remain a mystery as well. However, the head on the pop-up ghoul that is seen as guests depart the Disneyland Haunted Mansion’s interior cemetery scene is identical to that of the original Hatbox Ghost.

A few interesting facts:

  • In July 2010, director Guillermo del Toro, participating in a panel discussion at Comic-Con, announced his involvement as co-writer and producer in a new film based on The Haunted Mansion attraction. He stated that, in his version of the rides story, The Hatbox Ghost will be a pivotal character.

  • On September 24, 2010, live from D23 (Disney)’s “Destination D: Disneyland ’55” event in Anaheim, California, MiceChat Correspondent Dustysage reported that the Hatbox Ghost will be returning to The Haunted Mansion attraction. The news was obtained from a conversation between Imagineers.

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