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Digging Up Details About Memento Mori Shop in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World

Memento Mori, the new Haunted Mansion-themed shop, recently opened in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park. This location is the destination for new Haunted Mansion Authentic products at Walt Disney World Resort. In recent weeks, I've enjoyed hearing guests' reactions and seeing photographs from their visits to the shop. Since it's Halloween, I caught up with my Walt Disney Imagineering partners to dig up a few interesting details about the shop that you may not know.

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You may recall that it is rumored the little shop was the abode of Madame Leota. While she disappeared long ago, many of her belongings are still located in the shop such as a beautiful portrait that was possibly created during the time she lived in the area.

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The shop's name was inspired by a gravestone found in the graveyard scene inside the attraction. The Victorian-era phrase "Memento Mori" reminded people of that age "to live life to the fullest as everyone is mortal."
There are two different signs found outside the shop. The larger sign has an eyeball-like graphic that looks like it follows you when passing by the location.

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Merchandise cast members wear costumes that are slightly different than the maid and butler costumes from the attraction. I love the unique Madame Leota-inspired broach that female cast members wear (yes, the merchandise team is considering making it a retail item in the future).

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The broach also inspired a mirror found on a wall inside the shop. The mirror's frame is basically a larger replica of the broach.

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One of the coolest new things in the shop is Spirit Photography, which is another way for Guests to pursue the mysteries of life. This special kind of photography has been known to touch the spirit world, revealing the secrets that lie beyond.

Outside the Spirit Photography room, you will find some recreations of the earliest form of photography known as "daguerreotype." I also liked the wallpaper found inside the photography area.

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While visiting the shop to get photographs for this story, I had my portrait taken. After a few moments, I was presented an 8-inch by 10-inch, lenticular image that revealed my spirited Disney Side. No reservations are needed for this experience.

Digging Up Details About Memento Mori Shop in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World by Steven Miller: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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999 Happy Haunts: The Organist Pipes A 'Swinging Wake'

Today, we'll celebrate the Halloween holiday with our final look at one of the Haunted Mansion residents. Today, we're heading inside the Grand Hall area of the mansion to learn more about the Organist.

In the Grand Hall, a collection of spirits have materialized for a grand celebration with music provided by an Organist at the far left of the room.

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(Art by Garrett McGill)

This character plays a waltz version of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" while ghostly couples dance nearby. Did you ever notice that there are skulls floating out of the organ instead of musical notes?

For more Happy Haunts, check out the posts below:

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a Hawaiian experience with that touch of Disney magic that makes your island vacation unforgettable. Today?s exciting news highlights that touch of Disney magic here in paradise. For the first time in history, Aulani will have a Disney Ambassador to represent our Disney resort and engage our guests, cast and communities. For those of you who may not know the role of a Disney Ambassador, the tradition dates back to 1965 when Walt Disney first selected a cast member to serve as the official spokesperson and representative at Disneyland park.

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Janelle Sanqui, Aulani's first Disney Ambassador, currently works in Workforce Management at the resort and was born in Hawaii. She lived in California before returning to to the islands nearly 10 years ago. Her previous experience includes two years as a parade performer at the Disneyland Resort, and she was part of our Aulani entertainment team when we opened in 2011.

Our announcement was recently made along with news of the first-ever Disney Ambassador selections for Shanghai Disney Resort. Also earlier this month, new 2015-2016 Disney Ambassadors were named at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Disney Ambassador Program.

Please join me in saying ho?omaika?i, congratulations, and giving a warm "e komo mai" to Janelle!

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Announces First-Ever Disney Ambassador by Todd Apo: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Walt Disney World Event Snapshot - November 2014

November is bustling with events at Walt Disney World Resort, take a look!

Have you taken part in this year's 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? There's still time. Here are a few special guest appearances you won't want to miss. Learn more.

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November 1 - 2: Be among the first to get Disney Infinity 2.0 during our special launch event at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

November 3 - 6: Meet artist Larry Dotson who will be on hand for special appearances each day at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

November 6 - 9: Beloved artist David E. Doss returns to Walt Disney World Resort this month. Look for appearances by David at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

November 7: "Drop" in to Tower Gift Shop in Disney's Hollywood Studios for a special Game Night with Disney Design Group Artist, Quynh Kimball. From 4 -- 6 p.m. you can challenge Quynh to a game of Jenga or Clue, both inspired by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction, as he tells you about how he designs these Disney Theme Park Exclusive games. Learn more.

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November 7 - 8: Excited for PANDORA? Be sure to watch for a special post from Steven Miller on a special jewelry showcase scheduled to take place at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 7 - 8: Join us as we welcome artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith who will appear for the very first time at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Meet Jasmine from from 5 - 7 p.m. each day. Learn more.

November 7 - 9: Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace for the release of the Villains Collection inspired by Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen. Not able to make it? No problem. Representatives will be on hand throughout the holiday season, beginning November 20. Learn more.

November 10 -- 13: Artist Greg McCullough will be on hand for special appearances and signings this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Meet Greg (November 10 - 13, 16 - 20, 26 - 28 and November 30 - December 4). Learn more.

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November 14 -- 15: Meet Disney artists David Buckley, Will Gay, Joe Kaminski, Mark Seppala and Don "Ducky" Williams, November 14 from 6 - 8 p.m. and November 15 from 4 - 6 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 14 - 16: ACME Archives artist William Silvers will be on hand for a special showcase as we debut some of his newest pieces inspired by Star Wars. William will appear November 14 - 15 from 5 - 9 p.m. each day and November 16 from Noon -- 4 p.m. Learn more.

November 21 - 22: Take part in a Disney artist showcase with Joe Kaminski, Alex Maher, Tim McCloskey and Darren Wilson, November 21 from 6 - 8 p.m. and November 22 from 4 - 6 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 21 -- 23: Precious Moments doll designer Linda Rick will be on hand for the debut of her Holiday Princess Collection. Look for special appearances by Linda, November 21 -- 23 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace and November 27 - 30 at Santa's Village at American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Learn more.

November 29 - 30: Meet Disney Traditions artist Jim Shore and see some of his latest releases November 29 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and November 30 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Heritage Manor in Epcot. Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity. Learn more.

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There's just one last thing to note before I go. Holidays Around the World kicks off November 24, I know Steven Miller is planning to share all the details with you but here are a couple of events worth noting on your holiday calendar.

  • Precious Moments Dolls (Nov. 24 - Dec. 30)
  • Reinhard Herzog (Nov. 25 - Dec. 23)

Which event are you most excited about?

Walt Disney World Event Snapshot - November 2014 by Michelle Harker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Sailing with Teens and Tweens with Disney Cruise Line

How old was your "baby" when you first heard, "Mom, I'm not a kid anymore!" Chances are, if you have a teen or tween, this line is one you've heard a time or two. We know that your "little ones" may not be so little anymore, which is why we're focused on making a Disney cruise a super cool experience for everyone in your family - even for those who may seem harder to impress these days!

Dolly from the Disney Parks Moms Panel has both a teen and tween, so she can certainly relate to parents of 11- to 17-year-olds. In the video I'm sharing today, host Danielle Bellini chats with Dolly and her kids about sailing with teens and tweens. Want a glimpse at what cruising with us will be like for your family's Mr. or Miss Independent? Check it out!

What do your teens and tweens say about their last Disney cruise vacation?

For more about cruising with Disney from a mom's point of view, visit these posts:

Sailing with Teens and Tweens with Disney Cruise Line by Jonathan Frontado: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Halloween Tricks (and Treats) with an Optical Illusion Inspired by The Haunted Mansion

Inside the Haunted Mansion, anything can happen. As things go bump in the night, your eyes also play tricks on you. "Is this haunted room actually stretching?"

In 2011, we debuted a Haunted Mansion-themed optical illusion that featured our phantom friends, The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

This year, we're back with another Halloween treat (and a trick) for fans of the classic attraction. A haunted hallway with a floating candelabra serves as the inspiration for this apparitional optical illusion.

All of the trickery was done without the use of any video special effects. At the end of the short video, the spooky secret is revealed. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Tricks (and Treats) with an Optical Illusion Inspired by The Haunted Mansion by Gary Buchanan: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Go 'Down Under' to Australia With Adventures by Disney

From the Great Barrier Reef to the outback to Sydney Harbor, there's so much to explore on an Adventures by Disney vacation to Australia.

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I have always been intrigued by the land "down under" (though I never really could pull off a convincing "g'day, mate!"). Australia may be the smallest of the seven continents, but it's the world's largest island and sixth largest country. Rainforest, desert, big cities, the largest tropical reef in the world - there's so much to see. So much, in fact, that planning a trip to this island continent can seem overwhelming.

But while seeing all three million square miles of Australia might not be possible (that would take a LOT of years of saved up vacation time), with Adventures by Disney you can see much of what makes this such an amazing place to visit (on a vacation timeline that your boss will actually approve).

Here are just a few of the highlights of the 12-day, 11-night Australia vacation.

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The Great Barrier Reef ??
It's one of the Seven Natural Wonders and the only living thing that can be seen from outer space, and with Adventures by Disney you can explore the Great Barrier Reef with a private marine biologist. Snorkel alongside a dazzling array of sea life or view the reef three feet below the surface from inside a semi-submersible vessel.

Ayers Rock
In Australia's famed outback you'll enjoy a privately guided hike around the base of sacred Ayers Rock, also known by its Aboriginal name, Uluru.

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Explore Scenic Sydney ??
Pedal around Sydney Harbor on a privately guided bike tour, visit the stunning Sydney Opera House and get a private surfing lesson at the famous Bondi Beach.

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Aboriginal Cultural Park ?
Participate in Aboriginal traditions as Tjapukai tribe members share their culture with song and dance. Listen to a didgeridoo and learn how to throw a boomerang and a spear.

Tasmania Discovery ??
Soar over eucalyptus trees on zip lines. Paddle a sea kayak on the sparkling waters of Coles Bay. And visit the Tasmanian Devils, wallabies, koalas, wombats and other intriguing animals at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

With Adventures by Disney you can rest assured knowing that the itinerary planning details are handled for you, giving you more time to channel your inner kangaroo and pack your pouch (or suitcase, whichever you prefer) for your exciting Australian vacation!

Go 'Down Under' to Australia With Adventures by Disney by Amanda Adler: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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1958 Photo: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

Earlier this year I shared some rare pictures of Walt Disney at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland park. There was such a great response that I set out to find and share even more photography of Walt at one of his favorite original Disneyland park attractions, the world-famous Jungle Cruise.

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This rarely seen photo, digitally scanned from the original color negative, required some restoration, but once it was done, I couldn't wait to share it.

What do you think of Walt as a Jungle Cruise skipper?

1958 Photo: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park by George Savvas: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Learn to Draw Stitch at Disney's Hollywood Studios

This week, our "Learn to Draw" series focuses on a Disney character that's simply out of this world -- Stitch.

This week, Heather Worley from Animation Academy at Disney's Hollywood Studios is back at the animation desk for a lesson in how to draw this trouble-making creature.



For more animation tutorials, visit the links below:

Learn to Draw Stitch at Disney's Hollywood Studios by Jennifer Fickley-Baker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Pain & Panic Celebrate Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow. Are you in a PANIC trying to get ready for the big day? Does finding a costume cause you great PAIN? Bad news, these two won't be of any help. Here's a look at Pain and Panic getting their dance on at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 1997. Happy Halloween!

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Pain & Panic Celebrate Halloween by Nate Rasmussen: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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