Today's Chat with Walt Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick about the NEW TEST TRACK at Epcot!
[Q] What kind of changes can we expect in the queue area?
[A] The queue, the whole attraction is completely reimagined. The queue will look like nothing our guests are used to seeing it look. We'll use the space to introduce guests to Chevrolet’s Automotive Design process - how it starts with a line and ends with the cars you can buy on the showroom floor. We'll have actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family. It's basically changing from testing to design.
[Q] How are the vehicles customized? To better explain my question, say the ‘Killian’ party customizes their ride. If the ‘Connelly’ party comes later and uses the same ride vehicle, but customize it differently, how does that work? Or am I misunderstanding this?"
[A] Let's talk about the Design Studios. In the studio, you have a chance to design your own custom concept vehicle. That design follows you into the ride, which is still the same physical ride that our guests know and love. You'll ride in our sim car. As you move through the space, your custom design will be scored in areas such as Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Speed.
[Q] "First off, is the ride being re-branded as strictly Chevrolet? Second, can we get an explanation about how the vehicle customization is going to work? And the last one is just me being a dork…can you divulge what vehicle(s) built by GM gave inspiration for the new vehicles and the old ones?"
[A] Yes. The new attraction will be sponsored by Chevrolet. It's been great working with the dedicated Chevrolet team members and as Imagineers, we've learned a lot. They're really integrated members of our creative team. It's not Disney's creative take on Chevrolet; it's a real partnership.
[Q] How will the new "Customize your car" feature going to work? Wont there be multiple parties in one car at a time?
[A] It's an interactive design kiosk, so in the full experience you can start from a line, then shape your vehicle and add attributes - pick the colors, the tires, and make it truly your dream vehicle.
Everybody in the vehicle will have their ride design, whether they designed individually or as a group. As you move through the four groups, you'll see how the design stacked up against the sim car design.
[Q] How many different customization combinations are possible?
[A] The possibilities are endless.
[Q] What is something new and exciting we should be looking forward to in the reimagined Test Track?"
[A] I think the coolest thing is how we integrate the pre-show with the
experience, and then in the post-show, your ride vehicle travels through
the entire experience with it. And you can keep interacting with your
ride vehicle after.
[Q] "What kind of experiences should we expect for the new post-show that will replace the automotive plant/vehicle showcase?"
[A] The post-show will kick off with a scoring opportunity, not just
with the guests in your car, but guests throughout the day. From there,
we'll move into other opportunities to play with your design with
multiple interactive elements. The show room space will still be there
with the Chevrolet cars, and we'll have our own photo ops with different
[A] It will be futuristic. We'll have a whole new soundtrack that will
not only compliment the attraction with music, but special sound effects
[Q] Are there going to be any new show scenes?
[A] Let's talk about the four show scenes in more detail. Capability is
where your car is tested for rough road and weather conditions.
Efficiency tests your car design's environmental footprint. The
Responsiveness phase tests maneuverability, and finally, Speed is
[Q] To what extent will the scenes and visuals of the new Test Track be
"virtual" versus props, set pieces, etc.? How much time will riders
spend looking at screens instead of real-world items?
[A] We talk a lot about being in the digital space, but it's still a
physical experience. We're using a lot of new technology to tell the
story, but it is still a dynamic physical experience.
[A] It wasn't a single vehicle, but more like the process. Our custom
design studio reflects the entire Chevrolet design vocabulary, not just
[Q] Will fastpass still be avaliable when the attraction opens back up?
[A] Yes. The full experience allows you to do a lot of customization
with your vehicle; the FastPass and Single Rider lines allow for an
expedited queue experience and select you a custom vehicle of your
choosing to take with you on your ride all the way through the post
[Q] What are you personally most excited about with this new redesign?
[A] My favorite part is the first day guests get to experience what
we've been working on for months and months. It's always a great day.
The team will be around!
[Q] Can you tell us more about the technology used in the attraction?
[A] Our team is so excited to bring new interactive technologies to the
guest to enhance Future World and put the guest at the center of the
experience. All of the software is custom for this attraction.
[A] The experience will be dark, but more importantly, I think we're
pushing the envelope as far as the use of new technology, so it's not
really a traditional "dark ride."
[Q] How specifically has your team been working with Chevrolet?
[A] It's back and forth. We send people to Detroit, they send folks
here. The attraction reflects the Chevrolet aesthetic and Disney
[Q] What is it that you hope guests will take from this newer experience?
[A] I think the world of digital design is exciting to our Imagineers as
designers and storytellers, so I hope our guests come away with some
insight into what that process entails, and maybe it will excite some
future generations of Imagineers to join us.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
by Marcio Disney
Get in the independent spirit this July 4th, and share the festivities with family, friends, and your favorite Disney characters!
Ariel's undersea world is star-spangled with colorful starfish cookies!
Designing a patriotic top hat that outdoes Uncle Sam's is one tall order, but the Mad Hatter does just that with this 7/4 topper treat!
Celebrate our independence, then let Mickey and Minnie help you remember the occasion with this fun frame!
Friday, June 22, 2012
by Marcio Disney
By Official Disney Store Blogger, Jun 22, 2012 11:00 AM
The adventure’s begun! Disney·Pixar’s much buzzed-about film Brave premieres today!
First off, some congratulations and celebrations are in order for the winner of our Brave Re-Tweet to Win, hosted by @DisneyStore. A hearty hoorah for Danielle DePasquale of Florham Park, NJ!
Danielle will be taking home our Brave Adventure Prize Pack, complete with the adorable Toddler Merida Doll and loyal soft-stuffed companion, Angus. Disney Store has everything you need to gear up for your own Scottish adventure with Merida. Head over to DisneyStore.com to check out the complete Brave product assortment!
Speaking of our exclusive Brave product from Disney Store…
Available now worldwide in Disney Stores and on DisneyStore.com is the exquisite Limited Edition Merida Doll (SRP $99.50). There are only 7,000 of these stunning Merida dolls, so make haste and be sure to get one for your own collection!
And happening now through Sunday, purchase anything from our Brave Shop on DisneyStore.com and your entire order ships free! Just apply promo code BRAVESHIP at check out and enjoy the savings!
Ho ye! Ae moment please before you go! I have a special treat to share with you all…
Will you follow the Wisp and change your fate?
Sunday, May 13, 2012
by Marcio Disney
posted on May 12th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
Take 5: Celebrate Mother’s Day with Disney Parks
- Delicious (Last-Minute) Mother’s Day Ideas at Walt Disney World Resort – Make your Mother’s Day reservations at some of our most delicious restaurants before they fill up!
- Send a Magical Message to Your Mom This Mother’s Day at Disney Parks – Create a special memory for Mom with a magical proclamation. Read more in this Disney Floral & Gifts post!
- Vintage Walt Disney World: Honoring Our Favorite ‘Attraction Moms’ – Let’s take a moment to honor some Audio-Animatronic “moms” who used to call Epcot home.
- Moms Panel Monday: A Dad’s Tips for a Disney Parks Mother’s Day – A Walt Disney World Moms Panelist husband and father shared a few of tips for celebrating Mother’s Day at Disney Parks and at home. See how you can treat Mom like a queen!
- New Duffy the Disney Bear Items Celebrate Moms and More at Walt Disney World Resort – Need gift ideas for Mom this year? She’ll love Mother’s Day-inspired Duffy the Disney Bear!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
by Marcio Disney
posted on March 26th, 2012 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
Have you heard? Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers is coming soon and it’s the first social game inspired by our very own Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Yes, it includes “The Tree of Life,” and during game play, you’ll have a chance to create and nurture your own wildlife nature preserve around it – with exotic animals.
When it launches on Facebook, players will also be able to search for hidden objects in some spectacular natural settings, from the Rocky Mountains to the Amazon rainforest to the Australian outback. We can’t wait to experience it. Take a first look at the new trailer for Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers and let’s us know what you think.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
by Marcio Disney
Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
A presidential election. The Summer Olympics. Leap Day. These three things are very different, but they all share one thing in common: they happen in the same calendar year. And this Leap Day is extra special at Disney Parks, as Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort will be open for 24 hours starting tomorrow, Feb. 29, at 6 a.m.
I’m known as the guy who brings you Vintage Walt Disney World every Thursday here on the Disney Parks Blog, but tomorrow I’ll be on special assignment. I will be attempting to make 24 memories in my 24 hours at the park while I film it to share with you here on the blog later this week.
So while I head home and get a good night’s sleep, I have a question for you. What would you do first with 24 hours of fun inside Magic Kingdom Park?
Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager
I’m looking forward to celebrating One More Disney Day on February 29. I plan to be in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort that morning for this unique celebration. My fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover recently told you about a special ear hat being distributed that day at Disneyland park. Disney Theme Park Merchandise has created a few additional retail items to commemorate Leap Day 2012.
I think Disney ear hats are the quintessential souvenir from Disney Parks (everyone I know has one!). I still have my mouse ears from my first visit in July 1983. We are offering special embroidery on a classic black ear hat to celebrate One More Disney Day. These embroidered hats will be offered for sale at The Chapeau, Curtain Call Collectibles, and Sir Mickey’s at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, and at the Mad Hatter shop in Disneyland park.
Artist Jeff Granito designed a playful logo that will be used on shirts for women, men and kids. The logo will also be found on a zipper fleece jacket created only for Disneyland Resort. The nice part is that these apparel items will also be sold via the Disney Parks Online Store from February 29 through March 1. Some of you may recall that we did a similar thing for the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort last October.
The Leap Day logo will also be found on an artisan watch that will be offered at New Century Jewelry in Disneyland park and Uptown Jewelers at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida.
Lastly (and probably my favorite), there will be delicious cupcakes, caramel apples and cake pops with the Leap Day logo being offered at both parks. You know what I will be eating on February 29.
I hope to see you there!
Erin Glover, Manager, Social Media and Print
One More Disney Day is the chance for guests to enjoy an extra day of Disney fun, and at Disneyland park we’re adding in a few sprinkles of extra magic that day. In addition to commemorative ear hats for guests entering the park at 6 a.m. (limited to 2,000), special food items and regularly scheduled park entertainment that day, Disneyland park guests can look forward to:
- Dance party featuring KIIS DJs at Tomorrowland Terrace from 8:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.
- Second showing of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at 10 p.m.
- Performances by Billy Hill & the Hillbillies at The Golden Horseshoe from 11:15 p.m. – 4:45 a.m.
- Special showing of “Fantasmic!” at 1 a.m.
- Character meet & greets throughout the night (subject to change):
Please remember that all show times and Disney character appearances are subject to change. Be sure to check the park Entertainment Guide for show times and character greeting times and availability.
Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment
The entertainment team at Magic Kingdom Park has a few tricks up their sleeves to create memories for guests during One More Disney Day. In addition to regularly scheduled park entertainment, Magic Kingdom Park guests on One More Disney Day will be treated to:
- Two performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade, at 10 p.m. and midnight
- Four showings of “The Magic, The Memories and You!” at 7:45 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. (March 1)
- The Frontierland Hoedown near Country Bear Jamboree, at 2:45 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
- Disney’s Dance the Night Away Party at Cinderella Castle, from 1 a.m. – 5:30 a.m.
- Character greetings throughout the night, including:
- Phineas and Ferb in Tomorrowland
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Fantasyland
- Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Town Square, wearing their pajamas for the party in Florida before heading out west to visit guests at Disneyland park
Please remember that all show times and Disney character appearances are subject to change. Be sure to check the park Times Guide on that day for show times and character availability.
Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort
As we gear up for a marathon of memory making during One More Disney Day on February 29, when Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland park will stay open for 24 hours straight, I thought it would be fun to hear how master vacation planner and Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Erin Foster would make memories if she had a few more hours at Walt Disney World Resort.
“I’m an avid Vinylmation collector – I lost count when I got to about 600 different ones – but I’ve never had the opportunity to meet the artists who design them. I would love to take my daughters and spend two hours meeting one of the artists at The Art of Disney at Downtown Disney while they make them come to life.
I really like how they have to think inside the box and continue to make creative designs with one little mouse figure. That process would be really cool to watch and learn about, and I think it would be something my family would remember each time we look to collect a new one.
These collectibles have become small reminders of our different Disney trips, and it would be nice to let the artists know they’ve rocked my world!”
Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
We know Disney fans are mapping out their 24 hours for the One More Disney Day fun at Disneyland park – when the park will be open a full 24 hours (starting Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 6 a.m.).
Of course, food is part of our equation, and the Disneyland Resort chefs have lots of goodies around the clock. To make it more fun to nosh, special items have been added especially for the celebration.
From 11 a.m. to midnight, French Market Restaurant will be offering shrimp pasta and red beans and rice. From midnight to 3:30 a.m., the menu changes to chicken gumbo, corn chowder, French dip sandwich with N’Orleans chips, shrimp salad sandwich with carrot-citrus slaw and bananas Foster cheesecake.
For a more serious dining adventure, at Blue Bayou from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. you can order a fancy roasted bourbon shrimp stuffed with Dungeness crab mousse served with angel hair pasta and spinach in a smoked tomato-habanero-artichoke sauce. Or prime eye of round with two quail eggs, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a cabernet sauce.
If you remember when Café Orleans used to serve breakfast (three-cheese Monte Cristo French toast, anyone?) you’ll want to be sure to head over any time between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for specials from their former breakfast menu: scrambled eggs, Creole eggs benedict, three-cheese Monte Cristo French toast, lump crab quiche, bananas Foster French toast and fresh fruit with yogurt and granola.
Other spots to find late-night snacks from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.:
- Cherry pie at The Golden Horseshoe
- Chili cheese corn dog, fries and cherry pie at Stage Door Café
- Brownie and krispy skewers at Bengal Barbecue
- Green chili cheese blue corn tamales at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante
- All-beef mac ‘n cheese hot dog with bacon bits at Refreshment Corner
- Creamy lobster bisque at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
- Pot roast and chicken sampler at Plaza Inn
- Chorizo and egg breakfast pizza at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port
- Spicy chipotle chile turkey burger and onion rings at Tomorrowland Terrace
You should also know about the chili cheeseburger with fries that will be available at Village Haus Restaurant – an homage to a longtime guest favorite known as “The Woodcarver,” which has been off the menu for many years.
Also, guests visiting Disneyland park in the wee hours of the mornings of February 29 and March 1 for One More Disney Day will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or some breakfast at select Downtown Disney District locations which will be opening early on those special days. Click here for a list of Downtown Disney District restaurants that will be opening their doors early on February 29 and March 1.
Guests Celebrating One More Disney Day at Disneyland Park Could Receive Limited-Edition Commemorative Ear Hatsposted on February 17th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Manager, Social Media and Print
Big news for those planning to spend One More Disney Day at Disneyland park on February 29! Guests entering the park when it opens at 6 a.m. will receive a limited-edition ear hat commemorating the event, while supplies last. Ear hats are limited to a supply of 2,000 for guests who enter through the designated turnstiles when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29.
I got a sneak peek at the One More Disney Day limited-edition ear hat myself today – check it out!
Here are some things you should know if you are planning to join us when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29:
- Guests may begin lining up no earlier than 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.
- Guests planning to line up before Disneyland park opens must park in the Pumbaa Parking Lot on Disney Way between 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 and 6 a.m. on February 29. Please note that the Pumbaa Lot will not begin to offer shuttle service to the East Esplanade until 6 a.m. on February 29. Click here for a map of Disneyland Resort parking areas.
- Restrooms will be available for guests who line up before Disneyland park opens.
- A special ticket booth will be available prior to Disneyland park opening for guests needing to purchase park admission for February 29. Valid park admission is required in order to enter Disneyland park and to receive the commemorative ear hat.
- Commemorative ear hats will be distributed, while supplies last, to guests who enter through the designated turnstiles beginning at 6 a.m. on February 29, when Disneyland park officially opens. Limit one ear hat per person, and you must be present at the time of distribution.
- Please remember that being in line and entering the park does not guarantee that you will receive a commemorative ear hat. Ear hats are limited to a supply of 2,000 for guests who enter through the designated turnstiles when Disneyland park opens at 6 a.m. on February 29.
- Be sure to check the list of items that are not permitted inside Disneyland park as you plan what you will bring with you that day. Admission to the park is subject to capacity restrictions.
See you at One More Disney Day – February 29!