Festive Fun Coming to Disneyland Resort This Fall!

By Cecilia Sarantopoulos

As summer officially begins, Disneyland Resort is already casting a spell and turning its gaze toward the fall! The resort has just released exciting details about its upcoming fall celebrations—ensuring guests can look forward to a magical Halloween Time, running from August 23 through October 31, 2024. The festivities of Plaza de la Familia will extend through November 2, 2024, providing ample opportunities to revel in the autumnal enchantment.

Guests will be delighted by the return of the Haunted Mansion Holiday, which will be accessible via a virtual queue system upon its reopening. Inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, the attraction features a Jack Skellington takeover with spirited surprises and thrilling twists.

From left to right: Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, a cast member dressed as a scientist, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto are performing on stage during the Mickey’s Trick and Treat daytime show. Donald is wearing a hairy brown headpiece and a cropped plaid top; Mickey is wearing a tuxedo with a bat-shaped bowtie; Minnie is wearing a blue wizard hat and dress; and Pluto is dressed as a mummy. The stage is filled with neon lights and Halloween decorations, such as candy corn.

A new highlight this year is the debut of Mickey’s Trick and Treat, a daily daytime offering in Disney California Adventure Park, perfect for younger guests and families. This interactive show features Mickey Mouse and friends celebrating a not-so-scary Halloween, complete with spooky tales and the creation of a magical potion.

In an image from Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort, on the left is a tree decorated with purple Christmas lights. On the right, a castle displays Halloween-themed blue, green, and pink projections—including a skeleton and the words “Mister Oogie Boogie.” Lit signs at the bottom of the castle indicate: “All Hallows’ Eve Celebration” and “Carthay Circle Restaurant.”

Mark your calendars and prepare to visit Disneyland.com on June 25 to secure your tickets for the highly-anticipated Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. At this fun-filled event, guests are invited to wear their Halloween costumes!

A life-size statue of Miguel from Disney and Pixar’s Coco holds a white guitar adorned with blue patterns in his left hand, while extending his right hand toward the camera. He wears a red zip-up jacket with white stripes and blue jeans. Behind him, decorations feature memorabilia of items from the film, such as a photo of Miguel with his grandmother and Aztec marigolds in yellow, orange, and red.

A beloved fall tradition, Plaza de la Familia returns to celebrate Día de los Muertos with refreshed entertainment offerings, Mexican cuisine, and more—all in the spirit of Disney and Pixar’s Coco. Guests can participate in activities such as the Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) photo location and the memory wall, honoring the rich cultural heritage of the holiday.

To make the most of the season, guests can take advantage of the limited-time 2024 summer ticket offer, valid for visits through September 26, 2024. This offer allows visitors to enjoy not only the start of fall festivities but also the remaining summer events, including Pixar Fest (through August 4, 2024) and D32 Day at Disneyland Resort on August 8.  

“Beyond Bliss”: The Princess and the Frog Cast Reacts to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

By Zach Johnson

We’re almost there!

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens Friday, June 28, in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and later this year in Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort, continuing the stories of Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Mama Odie, Louis, and more characters from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film The Princess and the Frog.

The voice cast was among the first to experience the thrill ride—and we were among the first to get their reactions.

Here’s what The Princess and the Frog cast had to say about their “wonderful” sneak preview:

The Princess and the Frog cast members Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jennifer Cody, Anika Noni Rose, Jenifer Lewis, Michael-Leon Wooley, and Jim Cummings stand in front of Tiana's Bayou Adventure inside Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney Legend Anika Noni Rose (Voice of Princess Tiana)
“It is an amazing thing to have a ride based on something you created. For people to have felt that, ‘Oh, yes, we want this in perpetuity,’ it’s mind-blowing, really.”

 Jenifer Lewis (Voice of Mama Odie)
“I got off and I had to lean on the photographer for strength because I’d held my breath through the whole ride. Two words: beyond bliss. They captured the culture—the food, the music, the rhythm, the levels. Everything was just perfect, and I am honored to be a part of it.” 

Michael-Leon Wooley (Voice of Louis)
“No other ride in this park has Louis the alligator—not only Louis the alligator, but Louis the alligator five or six times. And he’s singing at the end! Like, come on! Take that, TRON!”

The Princess and the Frog cast members Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jennifer Cody, Anika Noni Rose, Jenifer Lewis, Michael-Leon Wooley, and Jim Cummings ride a log flume in Tiana's Bayou Adventure inside Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.
Jennifer Cody (Voice of Charlotte “Lottie” La Bouff)
“I was blown away. It’s so joyful and full of color. It’s bright and cheery, and [I love] the beautiful flowers and plants. And the music—oh, my gosh! There’s a new song, and the new song is as great as the other songs. It was great going on it with my cast; that was an added bonus, and I wasn’t really aware of how important that was going to be. We had the best time. It’s been 15 years, but when we were all in that log together, someone would start singing one of the songs, and then we’d all come in and sing. We’d hear Jenifer’s character and be like, ‘Everyone look! Don’t miss that!’ We were pointing all the things out together.”

Keith David (Voice of Dr. Facilier)
“It was so fun. We had such a wonderful time [making the film], so why wouldn’t I want to come to this? There’s nothing not to like. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a really wonderful thing.”

Tap Into Your Emotions with Products from Inside Out 2!

By Summer Fishman

Who’s ready to make a new core memory? It’s time to feel all the feels and look stylish while doing so! Whether you’re cuddling up with Joy, reading with Disgust, or playing with all your emotions with Disney Emoji Blitz, tap into your emotions with your friends from Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out 2!

Dig into your emotions with these awesome products from Disney Store and beyond. And be sure to see the film in theaters on June 14!

  1. Cuddle Up with Your Favorite Emotions!

Whether you need to bring a little Joy into your life, or give Anxiety a reassuring hug,  these soft and cuddly plush inspired by Inside Out 2 will bring you happiness as they go from inside Riley’s head to your heart.

Disney Store Inside Out 2 Plush include:

  1. Inside Out 2 Crossbody Bag

Express your emotions any way you want with this petite crossbody bag from Disney Store featuring a clear front pocket with self-stick fabric patches inside that can be arranged to fit your mood. This cool zip case comes with an adjustable, detachable strap to show your feelings wherever you go!

  1. Inside Out 2 Marble Game

Riley’s ever-changing moods are on a roll with this Marble Run play set inspired by the film. Joy, Disgust, Fear, Sadness, and Anger figurines are among the 93 pieces in this fun set that is assembled to create a colorful course for the marbles. With additional scenic panels and light-up features, it’ll provide an emotional uplift while the marbles travel down. You can find this game at Disney Store as well!

IO2 Loungefly sits on a plain white background. The bag has purple straps, a black base covered with circular images of all nine emotions, and a colorful wheel that features the same characters.

  1. Show Off How You’re Feeling with Loungefly

This simulated leather mini backpack by Loungefly from Disney Store is designed to suit your mood, whatever it happens to be. The novel design features a dial on the front with all the different characters. There’s also an “I feel” arrow at the top, so you can spin the disc around to land on your emotion for the day. It could be Joy, Anger, Sadness, or one of Riley’s new emotions like Embarrassment.

  1. Read About Your New Favorite Feelings from Inside Out 2

 Disney/Pixar Inside Out 2: Go to Sleep, Anxiety! by Luna Chi

Bedtime has never been more fun in this charming picture book inspired by the film.

Disney/Pixar Inside Out 2: All in the Mind by Meredith Rusu

Also based on the film, this humorous and charming middle grade novel retells and expands upon its events!

  1. Play Online with New Emotions!!

We have ALL THE FEELS in Disney Emoji Blitz! The Inside Out 2 Limited Time Clear Event is running now through June 17! Featuring emojis like Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and more. Plus, don’t miss out on two brand-new emojis from Inside Out 2: Anxiety and Embarrassment! Download on the App Store here.

Happy racing! Disney Speedstorm’s season 8 is now live, featuring all-new Racers from Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out. Play now!

You can find all these products and more at DisneyStore.com, Disney Books, DisneySpeedstorm.com, and the App Store.

Links to products here*

D23 Preview: Marvel’s Uncle $crooge and the Infinity Dime — “I’ve Got Some Mutt Skulls to Crack!”

By Sohrab Osati

Two months ago, we exclusively revealed three new variant covers for Uncle $crooge and the Infinity Dime #1, helmed by prolific Marvel writer Jason Aaron. Available on comic stands starting on Wednesday, June 19, with covers created by artists Pepe Larraz, Skottie Young, and Frank Miller, Uncle $crooge and the Infinity Dime #1 sees Scrooge embark on a time-honored Marvel adventure as he explores the Multiverse to stop a twisted alternate Scrooge from becoming the all-powerful and incomprehensibly rich Scrooge-Above-All!

So, what kind of adventure can you expect from this "story of the century?" Our friends at Marvel shared this amazing preview with D23 that airdrops you in middle of the action—literally!

Marvel’s Uncle $crooge and the Infinity Dime - page 1 & 2

Uncle $crooge and the Infinity Dime #1 is now available at your local comic book shop. See you there, true believers!

Auli’i Cravalho, the Voice of Moana, Makes Waves (Literally) at Journey of Water

By Zach Johnson

Auli’i Cravalho—who voices Moana in both the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original 2016 film and its sequel, Moana 2, opening in theaters November 27—recently ventured beyond the reef to Walt Disney World Resort to experience Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.

“I really, really loved getting to experience this, and I especially love that Moana has found a special home at EPCOT,” Cravalho said. “As someone who works in clean oceans and ka wai ola, or living water, I really appreciate that this experience is also about advocacy and stewardship—and I enjoyed that I could [make water move] for a little bit. Thatwas really cool.”

Auli'i Cravalho poses in front of Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, at EPCOT.

Located in World Nature at EPCOT, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana invites guests at Walt Disney World Resort to explore the wonders of water along a lush, self-guided path. The beautifully landscaped walking trail is filled with surprises around every turn, so guests can engage with water in magical ways—just like the wayfinder Moana did with the ocean.

Cravalho didn’t know what to expect from Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. “I knew Te Fiti would be around there somewhere,” Cravalho said of the island goddess whose heart was stolen by Maui in the original film. “Seeing her come up around the bend brought some tears to my eyes. To see her in real life and not only in animation—to be able to reallysee her glisten in the sun—that was a really special experience for me.”

According to Cravalho, getting to control the water like Moana was surreal.

“I voiced Moana; I didn’t play Moana,” she explained. “This felt different. To be able to make music while ‘playing’ harp strings made out of water, to manipulate the water and make it rise? That’s pretty powerful stuff.”

Cravalho—who lists pickles and turkey legs as her favorite Disney Parks snacks—added she is thrilled to see Moana’s story continue in films, theme park attractions, and beyond. “I’m so grateful for the people who have connected with Moana,” she said. “She’s for everyone who wants to grow, who wants to learn, who wants to journey beyond the reef.”

How Country Bear Musical Jamboree Is Adding a Country Twist to Classic Disney Songs

By Zach Johnson

Guests will be in for a knee-slappin’ good time when the reimagined Country Bear Musical Jamboree opens Wednesday, July 17, at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Inside the rustic Grizzly Hall, Audio-Animatronic®hillbilly bears will perform a medley of original and classic songs that, for the first time, includes a trio of countryfied Disney tunes.

The transformation of Country Bear Jamboree—one of the last attractions Walt Disney personally helped develop—was announced at Destination D23 in September 2023, and Disney Imagineers have been hard at work ever since to revitalize the attraction for guests.

“It was an honor to work on a show with such a legacy. It’s a show that means a lot to a lot of people, including myself,” said Jake Ellis, Principal Audio Media Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering. “One of the first memories I have at Walt Disney World was sitting on my mom’s lap in the back row at Grizzly Hall and watching the Country Bears perform.”

Big Al and Wendell debut costumes for Country Bear Musical Jamboree: an stitched vest and a handkerchief. They are standing on a red carpet in front of a red curtain.

In approaching the refresh, Ellis went on, “We knew that we wanted to keep the ethos of the bears, but we also wanted to rethink the songs in a way that was more diverse and had multigenerational appeal. Where better to look than the Disney catalog for those songs?”

With that in mind, Disney Imagineers turned to a few country music stars, including Mac McAnally for “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, Emily Ann Roberts for “Try Everything” from Zootopia, and Allison Russel and Chris Thile for “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. The show will feature twangin’ interpretations of Disney songs in various genres of country music, including Americana, bluegrass, pop-country, rockabilly, and more.

Brett Swain, Director of Music Production, The Walt Disney Company, worked with each artist to reinterpret the songs. “He spun them up in this really fun way,” Ellis said. “I’m excited for my 3-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to sit on my lap so I can introduce them to the Bears in their new form, and we’re excited for guests to experience the show.”

Emily Ann Roberts records "Try Everything" for Country Bears Musical Jamboree.

Roberts, who lends her vocals to Trixie St. Claire, shares his excitement.

“It’s so crazy seeing Trixie singing with my voice coming out,” Roberts said. “It’s something that I never, ever dreamed would be a reality in my life. And she just looks so cute! I could not be more thrilled with how everything turned out, and I’m so honored to be a part of it.”

Roberts’ rendition of “Try Everything” may sound different than the original recording, but its message remains the same. “Y’all can tell by the way I talk that I don’t sound anything like Shakira,” she said with a laugh. “When I was approached to record the song for Country Bear Musical Jamboree, I thought, ‘OK, we’re going to really have to put our East Tennessee into this.’ When I heard the new [country arrangement], it was so easy for me to get in the zone. I was so excited when I got into the studio and everybody told me to just sing it the way I would. I got to lean into my Appalachian and country music roots and just let her fly.”

“It’s been so neat being able to work with all these other incredible folks who are lending their voices and their talents to the Country Bear Musical Jamboree,” Roberts continued. “Everybody brings something different to the table, and that’s what makes it so cool. We have our own influences, and we’re all coming together to make something really special.”

QUIZ: Tell Us Your Favorite Pixar Core Memories, and We’ll Tell You Which Movie to Watch Next

By Cecilia Sarantopoulos

From their unforgettable score to their meaningful insights on life, love, and friendship, Pixar movies have left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. Each film brims with wisdom and memorable characters that resonate deeply with both the young and the young at heart.

With Inside Out 2 premiering on June 14 and continuing this cherished legacy, what better time than now to discover which Pixar movie perfectly aligns with your favorite core memories of these beloved franchises?

Take our quiz to find out which film you should watch next, based on the Pixar moments that have touched you the most!

You reach for the Kleenex box when this song plays:

You have a soft spot for this parent:

You can’t get enough of this iconic duo:

You dream of one day visiting:

Your partner in crime, without a doubt, is:

This made you hungry:

These two made your standards soar:

The Pixar villain that gave you chills

The character arc that left a mark on you:

This sequel couldn’t have come sooner:

QUIZ: Tell Us Your Favorite Pixar Core Memories, and We’ll Tell You Which Movie to Watch Next
Turning Red

In a scene from Turning Red, Meilin “Mei” Lee, (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) transformed into a red panda, clings desperately to a railing attached to a brick building that is detaching and about to plummet to the ground. Behind the frightened red panda are similar brick buildings and a blue sky with some clouds.

You appreciate the heartfelt and nostalgic moments in Pixar films. Turning Red will resonate with your love for strong emotional connections and coming-of-age stories!
Inside Out 2

In a scene from Inside Out 2, from left to right, Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Embarrassment (voiced by Paul Walter), Envy (voiced by Ayo Edebiri), Anxiety (voiced by Maya Hawke), Disgust (voiced by Liza Lapira), Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Fear (voiced by Tony Hale), and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) are standing behind the cream Headquarters console. Anxiety stands at the center of the group, nervously glancing toward Disgust, Anger, Fear, and Sadness, who are observing Anxiety with curiosity.

You are drawn to the complexities of emotions and the beauty of personal growth. Inside Out 2 will captivate you with its exploration of the heart and mind. Catch it in theaters on June 14!
Luca

In a scene from the movie Luca, Italian boys Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), left, and Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), right, are sitting on wooden planks built in a tree. Both gaze up at the stars, their expressions filled with wonder. Alberto sports a yellow tunic top paired with brown cargo pants, while Luca wears a white checkered flannel top with blue streaks and blue Bermuda shorts. String lights gracefully drape across branches, casting a soft glow. The backdrop showcases a starry night sky overlooking the sea.

You have a love for friendships, adventure, and charming, picturesque settings. Luca will delight you with its story of an unforgettable summer and Luca and Alberto’s friendship!
Soul

In a scene from Soul, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) stands in front of The Half Note, a jazz club with a green exterior and a red awning. A marquee above the club’s window announces, “Now appearing: The Dorothea Williams Quartet.” Joe is holding a briefcase and pointing up at a neon sign for the club.

You are fascinated by life’s big questions and the journey of self-discovery. Soul will inspire you with its profound exploration of purpose and passion!

The Making of a Classic: The Story Behind the Dead Poets Society

By Taylor Larsen, Walt Disney Archives  

Have you ever had a teacher who inspired you to think outside the box? To question the traditional path and choose your way to “great deeds, great loves, and great passion?” Perhaps it wasn’t a teacher but a trusted group of friends, colleagues, or family members who enabled you to take charge of your desires and discover not only yourself, but also the right path. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, still in it, or years out, each of us can remember the sometimes-uncomfortable journey it is to be on the road to adolescence—growing older and facing your fears. Such a teacher or friend can play a crucial role during that stage of life… someone who encourages you and gets you out of your shell. Now imagine having the dearly beloved Disney Legend Robin Williams take on the role of your high school English teacher, who makes it his mission to inspire you to be an agent who acts rather than be acted upon. What an incredible journey that would be! And if ever there was a group of young teenage friends who knew a thing or two about influential English teachers, it would be the students of Welton Academy.

Disney Legend Robin Williams as John Keating poses for a production photo from Dead Poets Society, dressed in a red sweater and holding the book “Five Centuries of Verse” in the classroom setting. The seven main students sit around him, wearing their school uniforms
Disney Legend Robin Williams, as Professor John Keating, poses for a Dead Poets Society production photo, in a classroom setting. Keating holds the book “Five Centuries of Verse,” a source of inspiration for the “Dead Poets Society” group in the film. Dylan Kussman as Richard Cameron, and Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet, sit on the far left near the window, while James Waterston as Gerard Pitts and Allelon Ruggiero as Steven Meeks also appear on the left. On the right of the photo are Robert Sean Leonard as Neil Perry, Gale Hansen as Charlie Dalton, and Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson.

As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of Touchstone Pictures’ Dead Poets Society, with the help of the Walt Disney Archives, we are granted a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the making of this unforgettable story and the process of finding the perfect set of actors to play the beloved students of Welton. Plus, take a peek at one of the movie’s most beloved props: the book of poetry used in the film.

Dead Poets Society takes place in the fall of 1959 at the fictional Welton Academy, a secluded and traditionally boys’ school in the tranquil hills of Vermont. It follows several students on their academic journey with a new English teacher, whose ideas about learning inspire them to pursue their passions and explore new horizons of self-expression, discovering the excitement of a world outside Welton’s strict curriculum. Professor John Keating, played by Williams—an alum of the school—defies the academy’s authorities and disapproving parents by daring to teach lessons that can’t be found in textbooks. Professor Keating is more than an instructor; he is a presence that will remain in his students’ (and audiences’) lives for years to come. To borrow a phrase from the film’s 1990 Oscar® nomination campaign, “In 1989, there was one movie that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you care.” Indeed, it does all three. Among numerous accolades, Dead Poets Society was nominated for four Golden Globes® and four Academy Awards®, winning for Best Screenplay.

A behind-the-scenes photo from Dead Poets Society, outside at St. Andrew’s School on a sunny fall day, showcasing the camera crew and actors as they walk alongside Disney Legend Robin Williams while filming an outdoor scene. The boys are in their school uniforms and Williams is dressed in slacks, a white shirt, and a tie with a green suit jacket.
A behind-the-scenes photo from Dead Poets Society, showing St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, the setting for Welton Academy.

The process of bringing Welton Academy to life began in November 1988. After scouting more than 70 universities and private schools nationwide, the filmmakers decided to use St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware. Production designer Wendy Stites called St. Andrew’s “a set-dresser’s dream.” It was founded in 1930 by A. Felix du Pont and was an immediate source of inspiration. The icing on the cake for director Peter Weir was the school’s dining hall mural, painted by acclaimed American artist N.C. Wyeth. When Weir saw it, he knew he would have to use it in the film’s opening credits. Filming at St. Andrew’s was done primarily over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to avoid disrupting the school’s academic schedule. The production team also built a replica classroom on a sound stage near Wilmington to shoot all of Keating’s classroom scenes.

Aside from the stone-walled, tranquil St. Andrew’s School, entire Delaware towns took a step back in time as filming began. Storefronts were transformed, with all modern conveniences removed. The film held two open casting calls and used more than 3,000 extras, all of whom underwent makeovers to recreate the more reserved styles of 1959.

Disney Legend Robin Williams poses in front of a mural at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, the setting for Welton Academy, painted by N.C. Wyeth, that showcases schoolboys. Williams is dressed in classic academic black robes and a red tie and is holding a book by Shakespeare.
A Dead Poets Society production photo of Disney Legend Robin Williams, as John Keating, posing in front of the N.C. Wyeth mural at the St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, the setting for Welton Academy.

Screenwriter Tom Schulman penned the original story in 1985, and a year later, producer Steven Haft optioned the script. Schulman’s own experiences attending private school partially influenced the story, adding a personal touch to the film’s narrative. The filmmakers launched a search for an actor to play the charismatic and free-spirited John Keating. Haft was convinced that the unconventional thinking and originality Williams brought to all his roles made him a natural fit.

Incidentally, as a younger boy, Williams attended a traditional private school similar to Welton. He recalled that “the whole story itself attracted me, not just the character,” including the film’s time setting… as well as Keating’s philosophy about teaching—to push the envelope and take a chance, even though others may disagree; and to find an authentic and creative voice of your own, which mimicked Williams’ own approach to life. The actor also remarked on how so many have had at least one teacher like Keating they remember: “What they give you is something you take with you the rest of your life.”

A Dead Poets Society behind-the-scenes photo of director Peter Weir (right) addressing a young Ethan Hawke (left), who plays Todd Anderson, and Robin Williams’ John Keating, sitting on a table next to a globe (middle). They are all in the classroom with a window on the left.
A behind-the-scenes photo of director Peter Weir (right) addressing a young Ethan Hawke (left), who plays Todd Anderson, and Disney Legend Robin Williams’ John Keating (middle), during filming of Dead Poets Society.

Dead Poets Society is a compelling story about courage and self-awakening, and the filmmakers sought a director who could balance the film’s intellectual concerns with the story’s extraordinary characters. Acclaimed Australian filmmaker Weir remembers, “I was getting ready to board a plane back to Australia when I was handed the script.” Although he rarely read scripts on planes, he thought the title Dead Poets Society was intriguing, and before he knew it, he was deep in the pages of the screenplay. Like Williams, Weir also attended a private school during the 1950s, identifying with the fictional cast of characters in the film.

Welton Academy is showcased as a resolute and privileged school, a rigid establishment where the students are taught to keep their noses to the grindstone to become doctors, lawyers, or MBA candidates. The story is far less about Keating than a handful of impressionable boys who become swept up in the English teacher’s challenging of the policies and practices at Welton, encouraging them to stop and smell the roses. Williams explained that his character is just a catalyst: “The real story of this film is the boys.” Williams’ character sparks the boys’ interest in reviving a clandestine club for which Keating had been a founding member, the Dead Poets Society. The members of this society meet at midnight in a cave to recite poetry from a book called “Five Centuries of Verse.” They even compose poetry of their own.

The cast of Dead Poets Society poses in a classroom for a production photo. Gale Hansen as Charlie Dalton appears on the left, wearing grey sweatpants and a grey sweater, seated next to him, Allelon Ruggiero as Steven Meeks wears glasses and an argyle red sweater. Disney Legend Robin Williams as John Keating in the center middle is seen wearing a white-collar shirt with a red and blue striped tie. Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson is next on the right, and wears a blue crewneck sweater, with Dylan Kussman as Richard Cameron next to him wearing a sleeveless V-neck dark gray sweater and a red and blue tie. To the right is James Waterston as Gerard Pitts who wears a blue crewneck sweater, with Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet on the far right, wearing a red sweater with a white “W” on the front. At the bottom right is Robert Sean Leonard as Neil Perry who wears a dark gray sweater and white-collared shirt that is unbuttoned at the collar.
An on-set production photo from Dead Poets Society, featuring the boys of Welton Academy and their teacher, John Keating. From left to right: Gale Hansen as Charlie Dalton; Allelon Ruggiero as Steven Meeks; Disney Legend Robin Williams as John Keating; Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson; Dylan Kussman as Richard Cameron; James Waterston as Gerard Pitts; Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet; and Robert Sean Leonard as Neil Perry.

The production team auditioned over 500 actors nationwide before casting the official Dead Poets Society. A central character is the hardworking honors student and group leader Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), who dreams of becoming an actor but is suppressed and pressured by his father—who plans out his son’s life in advance, insisting that he go to Harvard to become a doctor. Then there’s Neil’s new roommate, the tongue-tied writer Todd Anderson, portrayed by Ethan Hawke, who is so shy that he freezes with fear when required to speak in front of the other students. One of Dead Poets Society’s most poignant elements is the friendship between these two protagonists.

The film’s exceptional cast also includes Gale Hansen as Charlie Dalton, a wise-cracking troublemaker; Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet, a love-struck romantic; Dylan Kussman as Richard Cameron, a member of the group who seems to only look out for himself; James Waterston as Gerard Pitts, a lanky eccentric; and Allelon Ruggiero as Steven Meeks, the brains and Pitts’ sidekick.

Josh Charles’ Knox Overstreet and Ethan Hawke’s Todd Anderson pose for a Dead Poets Society production photo while filming a scene inside the iconic cave. Charles on the bottom left wears a dark navy trench coat and looks forward, while Hawke wears khaki slacks and a dark navy trench coat and is seen writing in a small notebook. On a rock between the two are two lit candles.
Josh Charles’ Knox Overstreet and Ethan Hawke’s Todd Anderson pose for a Dead Poets Society production photo while filming a scene inside the iconic cave.

Weir needed his ensemble of actors to get along off-screen as well as the boys do in the film. During production, Weir held a series of rehearsals in which Williams and the boys immersed themselves in the reading and writing of poetry. Plus, most of the movie was filmed sequentially to build a natural history. A young Hawke later recounted, “All of us got along so well,” and that filming felt like going off to camp.

Given that critical moments in the film occur in a cave (which the filmmakers built in a Newcastle warehouse modeled after Delaware’s Wolf Rock Cave, a registered historic landmark now known as Beaver Valley Cave), Weir wanted to ensure that the poetry readings seemed natural—a pleasure rather than a chore. Someone in the crew had the idea to have the boys tell scary stories, which allowed the cave scenes to appear more realistic and spontaneous.

The poetry book “Five Centuries of Verse” was used as the main prop book in the film Dead Poets Society. The book is green and shows signs of aging, with tape on the front and spine.
The poetry book “Five Centuries of Verse” was used in the film and is the source of poetry read inside the cave by members of the “Dead Poet Society.” The book itself is part of the Walt Disney Archives collection.

Each of these students’ journeys at school and during their midnight poetry readings is full of beautiful life lessons. However, Dead Poets Society also addresses tough topics and issues. Speaking to this point, Weir pointed out that learning can be risky depending on its use. We see in the film that Keating’s inspiration has tragic consequences for one boy—but for another, it is the very making of his life. Yet the movie also honors that creative part of one’s self that can sometimes get lost later in life. Children are full of creativity; they paint, draw, write poetry, and don’t question it. But sometimes, in adulthood, we can lose sight of that creativity. Even now, on the 35th anniversary of the film’s release, John Keating’s words—or rather, the words of dead poets—still ring true in our ears and in our hearts. Perhaps they are words we can all live by, regardless of age or life experiences: “Carpe Diem, lads! Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary!”

9 Times We Saw Double in Disney Movies and Series

By Jocelyn Buhlman

The Acolyte premiered on Disney+ and introduced us to another set of twins in the Star Wars universe. These twins are identical—so identical, in fact, that they’re played by the same actor! With Amandla Stenberg bringing to life two characters on-screen, we couldn’t help but think about some of our other favorite times one actor has brought twice the fun in Disney films and series:

Star Wars: The Acolyte

With the two-episode premiere of Star Wars: The Acolyte, we not only met Amandla Stenberg’s Mae—a mysterious woman determined to fight and kill Jedi—but also her twin sister Osha! Poor Osha has been mistakenly accused of Mae’s crimes (after all, they do look identical) and now must discover just what sinister secrets her twin sister is hiding.

In a still from the 1961 Parent Trap, twins Susan and Sharon stand onstage, facing each other, with the twin on the right playing guitar.

The Parent Trap

Perhaps one of the most popular instances of seeing double, The Parent Trap spins a tale of separated twins determined to reunite their family once more. In both the 1961 and 1998 versions of the film, the roles of the twins are performed by one actor. In 1961, Disney Legend Hayley Mills was both Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, while in 1998 Lindsay Lohan brought both Hallie Parker and Annie James to life.

In a still from Moon Knight, Steven Grant stares in shock at his reflection (actually Marc Spector), who is facing him with his hands on his hips.

 Moon Knight

Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) is a mild-mannered museum employee just trying to live in peace, but unfortunately, he’s unknowingly stuck in a deal with the Egyptian god Khonshu, thanks to Marc Spector—also played by Oscar Isaac! Marc has a deal with Khonshu to act as his avatar, Moon Knight. That means Steven can also be Khonshu’s avatar, Mr. Knight, including fighting Khonsu’s enemies and doing his bidding. While Steven and Marc start at odds, as they couldn’t be any more different in personality if they tried, they soon learn to find unity beyond their shared face.

In a still from Mary Poppins, Bert smiles while holding his cap in his hands. He’s wearing a variety of instruments, including a drum on his back and a trumpet in his arms.

Mary Poppins

Part of what makes Mary Poppins a film that’s “practically perfect in every way” is that it has twice the Dick Van Dyke for your buck! While his role as the loveable chimney sweep Bert is one of his most beloved, Van Dyke dons old age makeup to also play the greedy bank director Mr. Dawes, Sr. During the film’s end credits, Mr. Dawes is said to be portrayed by “Navckid Keyd”—but the letters quickly unscramble to reveal the name of the Disney Legend himself, Dick Van Dyke.

Alien: Covenant

Is there anything more fun than Michael Fassbender playing the mysterious and scheming robot David? What if Michael Fassbender was playing two robots? Reprising his role from Prometheus as David, Fassbender also portrays a new character in Alien Covenant in the much kinder and helpful Walter. Two very different robots with very different missions… and very, very different opinions on humanity. The end result is fun for the viewers, and… less fun for the human crew who unwittingly walked into David’s plans.

Yori and Tron, two humanoid computer programs in outfits with glowing blue lines, stand facing the camera. Yori is looking up at Tron, while Tron is looking at something off-screen.

TRON and TRON Legacy

In 1982’s TRON, the titular character declares that he “fights for the users!” He’s on a heroic mission, yes, but he also shares a face with one of the users in question. Bruce Boxleitner portrays both the program Tron and the man behind the program, Alan Bradley. But he’s not the only one playing double! Jeff Bridges doubles as Kevin Flynn and his program Clu; Cindy Morgan is both Dr. Lorna Baines and the input/output program Yori; and David Warner is both devious Senior Executive Vice President of ENCOM, Ed Dillinger, and his program Sark. (He’s also the voice of the Master Control Program: “END OF LINE.”)

This real world/virtual world doubling continues in the film’s sequel, TRON: Legacy, where Bridges once again portrays both Kevin Flynn and a—much more sinister now—Clu. Boxleitner also returns—you can’t have a TRON movie without Tron himself!—as Alan Bradley and the voice of Tron.

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Hey now, hey now… We can’t forget one of the most iconic dual roles for fans of Disney movies and music. Hilary Duff brought Lizzie McGuire to the big screen in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, but that wasn’t her only role in this globetrotting adventure. While in Rome, Lizzie is mistaken for the pop star Isabella Parigi—an understandable mistake since Isabella is also played by Hilary Duff. Lizzie’s luck at being a pop star lookalike leads to love, fame, and betrayal. It also leads, of course, to an iconic finale where Duff takes to the stage in double, to duet with herself as both Lizzie and Isabella to perform the fan-favorite musical number “What Dreams Are Made Of.”

65 Years Later, Disneyland ’59 Shows Company at “the Forefront of Innovation”

By Moss Cohen

A mere four years after the 1955 opening of the Disneyland Resort—and 65 years ago this Friday—Walt Disney welcomed celebrities, fans, and even a full television crew to witness an event so grand, it felt like a “second opening” of Disneyland.

During a TV special on ABC titled Kodak Presents Disneyland ’59, Walt showed off six new and updated attractions as part of the first ever major expansion of Disneyland.

“Disneyland formally introduced the iconic E-Ticket attractions Submarine Voyage, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System,” Mike Buckhoff of the Walt Disney Archives, said. There was also “an all-new Skyway experience—which flew guests through the caverns of the Matterhorn’s Glacier Grotto—the reopening of the Motor Boat Cruise, and the Fantasyland Autopia.”

The Disneyland 1959 map.

Never Finished

Walt once remarked that “Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

Seeking to ensure that all areas of the park were as robust as others, and that guests would regularly have something new to enjoy with each visit, Disneyland—and later all other Disney parks and resorts—would thrive on innovation.

However, innovation isn’t so simple, and ideas can push beyond the limits of what’s possible at the time.

Buckhoff states that Walt would “regularly envision changes and expansions for his new theme park, even as the turnstiles began revolving with the entry of the first guests to Disneyland in 1955.”

Walt Disney looks at framed Monorail plans.

Forward Thinking Innovation

“Since the very beginning, Disneyland attractions and experiences have been at the forefront of innovation,” Buckhoff noted.

While traveling across the globe, Walt would often find new ideas to implement at his park.

“Ever the forward thinker, Walt drew inspiration from the innovative monorail systems of Europe which he adapted to fit his Tomorrowland ideals,” Buckhoff said. “And the Matterhorn mountain was based on the towering peak in Switzerland which he visited during the filming of 1959’s Third Man on the Mountain.

The Matterhorn Glacier Grotto in 1959

But to translate his inspiration into attractions, Walt needed time to allow his engineers at WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) to create what he had envisioned.

By 1959, “advancements in technology and available storytelling methods were providing some of the necessary tools for the creative evolution that Walt intended and actively sought out,” according to Buckhoff.

Buckhoff added that Matterhorn Bobsleds “was no exception, as it was the first roller-coaster style thrill ride at Disneyland and was also the first to use tubular steel tracks and an electronic dispatch system which allowed more than one car to be on the track at one time.”

Submarine Voyage, Matterhorn, Skyway, and the Disneyland-Alweg Monrail System

Of those new additions introduced in 1959, Buckhoff explained that the most influential may have been the Monorail.

It “would go on to serve as not only an enjoyable voyage,” ­­­­Buckhoff said, “but also an efficient means of transportation at other Disney sites, such as the Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort.

Walt Disney and his family in front of the Monorail station.

For the Nation to See

“Well, Walt… how do you feel?” Disney Legend Art Linkletter asked.

“Like an expectant father: nervous, but wonderful,” Walt replied from in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Those were the words that greeted viewers when they tuned in to ABC on June 15, 1959, to view the broadcast of Kodak Presents Disneyland ’59, “an event chock-full of lively entertainment, including an extravagant parade down Main Street, U.S.A.,” Buckhoff stated.

“Walt Disney understood the rising importance of television in the 1950s,” Buckhoff added. He “quickly realized the medium could be an important asset to his theme park venture.”

Just as he had done with Dateline Disneyland, which showcased the opening of Disneyland on national television, “Disneyland ’59 afforded Walt Disney priceless publicity for the new adventures that awaited guests at the park,” Buckhoff declared.

The broadcast wouldn’t only live on television. “The Disney studio later released a 25-minute Technicolor featurette of the festivities in theatres entitled Gala Day at Disneyland,” Buckhoff explained. 

Still Innovating

Six and a half decades later, Disneyland Resort is getting ready to welcome in yet another new era of growth.

The company is investing $1.9 billion in the resort over the next 10 years through DisneylandForward.

“Now, it’s time for the next chapter in the legacy of Disneyland,” said Ken Potrock, President of the Disneyland Resort. “We’re ready to build on decades of innovation, creativity, and storytelling to bring new, exciting experiences for our guests.”

And the growth doesn’t stop in Anaheim.

Disney Experiences has opened a bevy of new lands and attractions all over the world, and has announced plans to turbocharge growth in its Experiences segment with even more new and exciting developments in the years to come.

Much like Walt did with Disneyland ’59, the company continues to regularly imagine and implement new innovations at its parks and experiences across the globe.

A Disneyland '59 banner hangs above Mainstreet, U.S.A., during a fireworks show.