A look at how Pandora came to be

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A model for Pandora from the D23 Expo in 2015. Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit on Flickr.

Pandora in Animal Kingdom has been a long time coming. And it’s still not here. But Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek officially announced at the D23 club’s Destination D presentation in November that it’ll be open in summer 2017. Along with that announcement came the reveal of some of the area’s restaurants and shops, like Satu’li Canteen, the area’s main restaurant, and Windtraders, a shop featuring Navi cultural items.

The introduction of Pandora-the World of Avatar to the Disney Parks begs the question of whether or not “Avatar” is owned by Disney now. Star Wars Land in Hollywood Studios was only created because Disney bought the rights to “Star Wars.” But “Avatar” is actually still it’s own entity and owned by a company that, for all intents and purposes, should not be working with Disney.

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A look at Pirates of the Caribbean around the world

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Jack Sparrow in the treasure room scene in Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Photo courtesy of HarshLight on Flickr.

I’ve heard people argue before that they’ve been to Walt Disney World once before so they really don’t have to ever go again. These are the same people that argue that they have a Disney park in their own country so why bother going to one in a different country? If you’ve never even thought about going to Tokyo Disneyland or Disneyland Paris, you’re missing a lot.

One of my favorite things that you’re missing is the way that certain rides transition from one park to the other. In this post, we’ll take a look at the difference between each parks’ “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the last ride that Walt Disney himself personally oversaw the design of.

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The Path to the “Once Upon a Time” Projection Show

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A nighttime show of Cinderella’s Castle. Photo courtesy of JD on Flickr

The “Once Upon a Time” Projection Show made it’s debut on November 4 and, to some newer Disney fans, it might seem like a one-of-a-kind show. But Disney has been doing castle projection shows for years now and has been making small tweaks from each show to the next. And Disney might want to pretend that they are the first to do projection shows, but it seems that they took a lot of inspiration from a rather strange place.

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How the Muppets became a part of Disney

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“MuppetVision 3-D” in the Muppets Courtyard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo courtesy of Theme Park Tourist on Flickr.

In the newly redesigned Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, it’s no surprise that Disney is cashing in on “Star Wars” by building an entire Star Wars Land or that they are finally expanding their Toy Story Land from just “Toy Story Mania.” But what may come as a shock is that they have also decided to expand their Muppets Courtyard. After Streets of America was closed and scheduled for demolition to make way for “Star Wars,” it seemed like a done deal that the Muppets would go with it. After “Pizza Planet,” across from the Muppets show, was closed, it seemed like the whole area was most likely planned to go.

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A look at Disney attractions’ many famous guest stars

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Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Candlelight Processional in December 2008. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kern on Flickr.

When it comes to Disney, a lot of celebrities have a hard time saying no. Take for instance Neil Patrick Harris, who frequently visits Disneyland and Walt Disney World with his husband and children. Harris hosts EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional every year for Christmas and 2016 will be no exception. If you’re a frequent visitor to Disneyland, you might have also noticed that he lent his voice to one of California Adventure’s signature rides, “California Screamin'” as the carnival barker.

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Remembering Mary Blair, the unique and colorful artist

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Mary Blair’s workspace. Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit on Flickr.

Whether you knew it or not, Mary Blair’s art has been all around Disney travelers for years. In a man’s game, she was a stand-out, an artist with such a unique and vibrant style that no one else could match it.

Blair’s tenure with Disney didn’t start as an Imagineer. Originally, she was an animator, whose work can be seen in films like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. In the 1950s, she began working on set designs and creating murals and attractions for the soon-to-open Disneyland.

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Why Downtown Disney had to change to Disney Springs

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Downtown Disney’s old sign. Photo courtesy of madelinewright on Flickr.

One of the major things that originally set Disney apart from other theme parks is their creation of their themes. It’s not just about a fun ride or a funny stage show. It’s about a story being told. Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or MGM Studios if you are like me have a hard time letting go) is about Hollywood in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Tomorrowland was originally themed on what they imagined the year 1986 to be like. Each and every part of each and every park was meant to transport you to a new place and a new time.

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