Walt Disney Imagineers

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Join the Optimist! The worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy were only the beginning…

Published July 9, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Don’t you love watching Walt Disney on TV and YouTube – or just hearing his voice? I know I do. There’s a reason everyone seemed to think of him as Uncle Walt. It is amazing to think so much joy and inspiration is still coming forth from this man. He made an amazing difference to the world during his all too short life.

WALT the Optimist

Walt represents many things to a number of people. Nobody could argue that Walt Disney was a real-life “visionary idealist” – and that trait is the big star in The Optimist,” a new alternate reality game presented through a partnership between Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development and The Walt Disney Studios.

This 6-week alternate reality game will engage us with social media, email, physical mail, and culminate at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 9-11, 2013.

Here is how it was explained to us on the D23 website:

“In this narrative adventure, participants around the globe linked by social media will join fictional characters to explore both virtual and physical realms, piecing together an imagined story of Walt Disney, the Imagineers and other visionary thinkers and their potential involvement in a mysterious project that sought to build a better future.”

walt2Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development head Scott Trowbridge is behind the whole thing, and here is what he had to say:

“…One of our characters has discovered some previously unknown facts that could change what we think we know about Walt Disney, Imagineering and Disneyland Park. Players can participate at different levels of engagement over the six-week story—from leveraging social media and mobile devices to visiting unique physical sites from the story in and around Los Angeles.”

Some characters and situations in The Optimist are based on real people and events. Overall though – the experience is just pretend – and not supposed to represent real history.


The hope is to connect people around the world with each other, and to tell a story that is unbelievable yet encouraging. We could all use some encouragement at times – so I am excited about what this has in store for us!

Visit Optimist.Disney.com to learn more about the experience and get started! If you already have an account with Disney to book your resort stays and dining reservations – you will use that same login information here.

World Secrets: What’s with the Big Green Dino at Hollywood Studios?

Published May 18, 2013 by Disneyways.com

She’s a lean, not so mean, ice cream serving machine!


Perhaps you’ve noticed her on the shore of Echo Lake at Hollywood Studios – keeping her girlish figure by perpetually chewing on some grass.  Is this dinosaur some old Disney character forgotten by everyone?  Nope, she was a creation of someone else actually. Get ready to impress your friends and family with all that you know about Gertie.

Gertie the Dinosaur was the star of an animated film of the same name. Created by Winsor McCay, and released in 1914, Gertie was was credited as being one of the first animated characters with lifelike movements. She was pretty cutting edge for her time – and it took no less than 10,000 hand drawn cells bring her to life. (Winsor must have had strong hands!)

Gertie the Disnosaur’s movie was promoted as the “Greatest Animal Act in the World”, and included tag-lines like “Gertie: she’s a scream.”

gertie paper

In 1989, Walt Disney Imagineers honored Gertie and the role she has played in the history of animated film by constructing her in an over-sized tribute. Of course you will find her at  Hollywood Studios –  a theme park that serves as the ultimate tribute to movie history.

Disney picked up on the tag line of Gertie being a “scream” and because of that, her entire form and belly was re-created to be the perfect place to serve up ice cream to guests. I scream, you scream, we all scream for (Gertie’s) ice cream…you get the picture.

Gertie in the form of an  ice cream shop also pays tribute to the architectural style known as “California Crazy”, which was popular in the 1930’s and was designed to attract the attention of potential customers in a uniquely “BIG” way.

Here’s another secret: the lake and fountain location for Gertie is rumored to be deliberate as well, because one of her tricks in the animated films was to drink an entire lake and then spit it all out! If you have an extra 6 minutes – check out Gertie in her film debut below!

Every single day, on the shore of Echo Lake inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can see Gertie in all her 1930’s “California Crazy” architectural goodness. I think you will find her to be very photogenic. Unfortunately, she is only open seasonally for the business of selling ice cream and treats. Catching her on one of these days can be tricky. Occasionally we get access to inside information about her hours of operation. Contact me if you need to know about specific dates, and I will do my best to get you the info!


Have a magical day!

To read more Disneyways World Secrets, click. HERE

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