Apr 14

Disney’s Hollywood Studios 25th Anniversary Event Schedule

25th anniversary disney hollywood studios

It will always be MGM Studios to me, well actually as a former MGM Studios cast member I refer to it (as does any other cast member) as “the Studios”.  Well whatever you want to call it, this Walt Disney World theme park is about to turn 25.

Here’s a list of festivities that will be taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1st, 2014.

10 AMREDEDICATION CEREMONY – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will take the stage with Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vice President Dan Cockerell to start the celebration day, honoring some of the 25-year cast members.

7 PM“STARS OF THE STUDIOS” MOTORCADE – This parade will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. and feature many of the famous characters showcased throughout the park. Mickey and Minnie will be joined by television and film stars including Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Venellope, Sofia the First and more.

7:30 – 9:30 PMDANCE PARTY – Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park’s Sorcerer Hat Stage will become a dance party.

9:30 PMFIREWORKS – The pyrotechnics show, which will be high in the sky above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, will pay tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.

Open – CloseSPECIAL EVENT MERCHANDISE – Available in Soundstage 1. This temporary merchandise shop will be located between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania. All items will be available while supplies last.

Open – Close25TH ANNIVERSARY CHOCOLATE NUTELLA CUPCAKE – Sold at many of the park’s quick service dining locations during the day.

Mar 12

Backstage Epcot Pictures Taken at Disney’s 2012 Tangled Royal Family 5K

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K

This is my Disney Royal Family!

I’m finally starting to get the swing of these Disney 5K Races. The 2012 Tangled Royal Family 5K marked my 5th 5K at the Walt Disney World Resort. It also marked the 1st 5K that I registered for since getting a fancy new camera and I was determined that this time I would take lots and lots of photos and not worry at all about my race time…and that’s exactly what I did.  Lots of character group shots with friends and lots of backstage photos.  This is the only time you are actually allowed to take photos backstage and so I tried to capture as many images as I could so that I could share them with you.

It was a sea of racers heads in the Epcot parking lot at dawn right before the start of the race…

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K

and we’re off!

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K Start Line

Hey…it’s Zannaland and a preggers Jillie Beanie! This is the far side of the Epcot parking lot headed towards the back entrance into the cast parking lot by Test Track.

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K

Service road that connects cast entrance to Epcot parking lot. This is where Disney ride vehicles come to die. Here’s a dead Studio Backlot Tour tram from MGM Studios. Yeah…that’s right people I said MGM =P

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K Studio Backlot Tour Tram

While passengers set sail that day on a three hour tour….a three hour tour! RIP Jungle Cruise Boat…

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K Studio Jungle Cruise Boat

After you exit off the service road, on the other side of the Ride Vehicle Graveyard, you make a hard right over a bridge before entering the backstage Test Track area.

Backstage Epcot Pictures

Here’s the view once on the bridge featured in the above photo. That’s the Test Track building on the right with the ride track on the left. Can you guess what that tan building is above the track?  That’s right! World Showcase’s Mexico pavilion which houses the Gran Siesta…Fiesta Tour!

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track and Mexico

Epcot Security there to greet us and thank us for not texting.

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Closer view of Test Track

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Safe D Begins with Me signage.

Backstage Epcot Pictures signage

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Backstage Epcot Pictures signage

More Test Track track and it was pretty cool to get to jog under it too!

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Backstage Epcot Pictures Test Track

Rounding the Mexico building and about to make our way onstage in World Showcase…

Backstage Epcot Pictures Mexico

almost onstage!

Backstage Epcot Pictures Mexico

We made it onstage!

Amanda Tinney and Jillian Davis Tangled Royal Family 5K

At this point in the race we made our way around World Showcase, past the Fountain of Nations, past Spaceship Earth, across the backside of the entry turstyles and then back into the park on the other side of Spaceship Earth near Guest Relations where we made a hard left on the side of the restrooms and then backstage again. This is the area directly behind stroller rental.

Backstage Epcot

Take note of the cast member on the far right in the blue shirt standing in front of the yellow cones as a frame of reference for another photo below.

Backstage Epcot

BEST Hidden Mickey in the flag pole backstage…

Backstage Epcot Hidden Mickey American Flag Pole

Backstage Epcot

Here’s that Cast Member I pointed out earlier who was standing by those cones and this is the backside of the Universe of Energy building.

Backstage Epcot Universe of Energy

Look to the right and you can see the entrance to the Epcot Tunnel aka the Epcot Utilidor. Only thought Magic Kingdom had a utilidor? Think again =)

Backstage Epcot Utilidor Tunnel

Look to the left and you will see the road that leads away from where the Epcot Kennel used to be towards the parking lot where the race started.

Backstage Epcot

Continue on the path and you will come up on the back side of the Wonders of Life pavilion.

Backstage Epcot Wonders of Life

Keep cruising along and you will run on the far side of where the kennel used to be and then out into the Epcot parking lot. See the old pet crossing sign?

Backstage Epcot

and then “ta-da”! You are back to where you started and at the Finish!

2012 Disney Tangled Royal Family 5K Finish Line

and you get a really cool finisher’s medallion….and snacks….and the satisfaction of completing a runDisney race….and fantastic Memories!

DisneyEveryDay.com runDisney 5K Finishers

I hope you decide to get out and run a Disney race with me soon! When else do you get backstage access like this? See you on the course!

Jan 10

Disney Character Artist Jason Peltz Will Create Art for You

Do you recognize these guys?








All of these beloved Disney characters were brought to life with a little bit of help from Disney Design Artist Jason Peltz.  I had the opportunity to meet Jason Peltz through my good friend Rick Howard.  Peltz came to draw sketches for a select group of people last month and I was lucky enough to be a part of that group.

Here’s a little background on this fantastic artist…Jason started honing his skills at the ripe ole age of three.  His favorite character to draw at that time you ask…why Mickey Mouse of course!  Here’s the sketch he hammered out for me of my Main Man Mickey:


spideymickeyIt was at that tender age, that Peltz decided that he was destined to work for ‘The Mouse’.  Staying the course, Jason graduated from Carnegie Mellon and took residence in New York City further refining his craft with the likes of Marvel Comics and Jim Henson Productions.  Disney took notice and transplanted him here to Orlando, Florida where he worked for Disney Animation at Disney’s MGM Studios.  Peltz is currently a Full-Time Freelancer and his most recent project was working on Disney’s “Princess and the Frog”.

Jason is currently accepting commissions for art pieces that he will create especially for you. Not only is he a master illustrator…he is also an amazing sculptor.


If you would like to contact Jason you can find him online at Peltz Productions or… here’s his card:


Until Next Time,

P.S. Here’s another Disney Artist whose main medium is photography.

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Oct 09

Disney Pin Traders Meet and Now Celebrate Six Years of Marriage

I read this Disney Love Story under the Comments Section of my “10 Years of Pin Trading” blog post and just had to highlight it for ya’ll!


This is the story of Chrissy and Mike. It’s a tale of Love and Disney Magic! The kind of Disney Magic that sets the soul on fire!

On a cool Christmas Eve almost 10 years ago, Chrissy and her dear friend were enjoying a stroll around Disney’s MGM Studios.  Chrissy had a deep love for Disney, just like you and I. She took that love one step further and showed her devotion for The Mouse as a Disney Cast Member.  Pin Trading had just been introduced that year, and being an early adopter, Chrissy made her way to the MGM Pin Trading Station to pick up a set of “1999 and 2000 Monorail Pins” as a gift for her brother.

As luck would have it…Mike was scheduled to work at the MGM Pin Trading Station that very same Christmas Eve!…and Disney Magic was about to happen!  As Chrissy searched for just the right pins…Mike saw Chrissy and offered to help. (Insert Pixie Dust here!) The two lovebirds talked for quite a bit, swapping stories about working for Disney and what they thought of the whole Pin Trading experience.  Chrissy made her purchase for the night and like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight was gone from that magical place…

The story doesn’t end here my dears…  No…as fate would have it, a few weeks later after that Fairytale Encounter, Mike and Chrissy would meet once again!

Chrissy was an engraver at the World of Disney. She decided that she would pick up an overtime shift. Where, you ask? Why at Disney’s MGM Studios of course! While at work that day, several of the other cast members sharing in her experience talked of a lovely Prince Charming they thought she should meet.  In Chrissy’s own words he had been described as “very family oriented and down to earth and just plain nice.”  Chrissy decided that she just had to meet this man! And as the ‘Magic that is Disney’ would have it…that Price Charming was Mike! (Insert more pixie dust here) Chrissy and Mike shared a meal together that fateful day and have been sharing their lives together now for the last decade!  This weekend will mark their 6th Wedding Anniversary! And it would have never been possible, had it not been for their shared love of Disney Pin Trading!  Remember…it all started with a Mouse!

Join me in wishing Mike and Chrissy Pagnotti a Magical Anniversary and may they share many many more! Cheers to the Happily Married Couple!

Sep 09

Walt Disney World FastPass Machines Have Character – Part Two

Hello Everyone!  Last week I started a four part series titled “FastPass Machines Have Character” and covered the FastPass Machines at Disney’s MGM Studios. (Yes, I called it MGM Studios instead of Disney’s Hollywood Studios because I listened to and heard all of my loyal readers who also still call it MGM Studios. We are a stubborn bunch aren’t we?!)

This week I am going to cover the machines at The Magic Kingdom. Sans Space Mountain’s Machines, as they are currently under construction, and I couldn’t get anywhere near there to snap a picture.

FastPass Machines at The Magic Kingdom

Starting counterclockwise around the park, our first stop is the Jungle Cruise.  This machine is rugged!  It is a long, jungle green chest that has been turned on it’s side.  The chest looks like it has been on many a Jungle Cruise in it’s day.


As we make our way through AdventureLand we come upon Frontierland and two of “The World’s” most famous Mountains! Because both of these Mountains are located in the the same land…the theming is somewhat similar with a few noticeable differences.

The first mountain we come to is Splash Mountain!  The story behind Splash Mountain lends its details to the appearance of the FastPass Machine.  This ride is based on the feature film Song of the South.  The film was set… in the Deep South… near the end of the War Between the States and the tale is spun by Uncle Remus. The FastPass Machine for Splash mountain looks as if it might have come right off of the set of this Old Western Tale.


Just around the Riverbend…(hear Poccahontas???) is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Which is, after all, the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!!!  Big Thunder Mountain is also themed in a Western Style. Guests are transported back to an old Mining Town and the FastPass Machines resemble crates that might actually be filled with Dynamite!!! BANG!  Of course, if all of the FastPasses haven’t been distributed that day you might consider it filled with GOLD!!! Little Golden Tickets that is….


Leaving FrontierLand and making our way over to FantasyLand we discover that the Imagineers may have run a tad bit dry on creative juices. The three FastPass machines in FantasyLand are pretty much the same….a bit Royal and perhaps part of a Castle gate, but they too still “Have Character”.

The Peter Pan’s Flight FastPass Machine has the “PP” Crest on the side to distinguish it from the other two attractions’ FastPass Machines.


The Mickey’s Philharmagic FastPass Machine is just slightly different in color and accoutrements.


And the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is basically more of the same…(Hey Imagineers! How about some extra pazazz for the FantasyLand FastPass Machines…huh?!)


The next and final land on the list is TomorrowLand!  Due to the refurbishment of Space Mountain I will be covering only two of the three FastPass machines here.

To Infinity…and Beyond! Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin has, hands down, the best themed FastPass Machine in The Magic Kingdom!  The machine has a lot going for it and looks like part of the XP-38 Space Cruisers that guests ride in.


Our final stop at The Magic Kingdom is Stitch’s Great Escape.  Stitch has decorated this FastPass Machine with Alien Graphics not seen this side of the Milky Way…


That concludes our trip around The Magic Kingdom and the tour of it’s FastPass Machines!  Stay tuned…next week I will continue part three of this series and cover the FastPass Machines at Epcot…my favorite park at The Walt Disney World Resort!  Once again…I hope that next time you are touring the Disney parks you will take the time to notice all of the nuances that make “The World” so full of Character!

Until Next Time,

P.S. If you missed part one of this series, you can read about it HERE!

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