Carthay1Disney makes the magic look easy, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I am always inspired by the team of people who create the masterful new Disney experiences.  One of the pleasures of my job is getting to spend time talking with and learning from these incredibly creative people.

Kevin Eld, Head of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, is passionate about engaging young people in live theatre.  He said he was hesitant to use a huge LED screen in the “Mickey and the Magical Map” production for fear it would detract from the story and live action. Thanks to his insistence, the result is a well-blended use of technology and live show.

The map in the LED screen is not a backdrop, it’s a character in the story, as is a paint spot that “can become anything with imagination.”  Mickey, Pocahontas and other Disney characters literally pop out of the story and onto the stage.

“Mickey and the Magical Map” is such a success at Disneyland that it could be duplicated at other Disney parks.

Making Food Magic at Disney

Carthay2Christine Weissman executive chef at Disney Parks, is so enthusiastic about her job that it’s contagious – I literally am smiling ear to ear the whole time I am with her. And she is a passionate, but practical, foodie. She is a mom and creates new Disney dishes from that perspective.  She recommends the pork shank at Gaston’s Tavern, as well as the tour and all the food at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney’s California Adventure.

Andrew Sutton, executive chef at Carthay Circle was especially proud of successfully creating an oasis where parents and kids can relax and take a break from the activities outside.  Kids can enjoy small plates and parents can have a cocktail crafted 1930s style on the first floor.  The photos commemorate Walt Disney’s journey to create “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs,”  cinema’s first full-length animated film. (The film won the only Oscar to alter its shape- there is one for Walt and another that has 7 small attached Oscars to represent to the dwarfs).

DestinationReviewIf you go, look for some of the hidden gems of this restaurant, such as the table base that has the Snow White story carved in it and the chandelier with the evil queen’s crown and apple. I would have missed those if my tour guide hadn’t pointed them out. But I would not have missed the pictures of Walt as the entrepreneur that cover the walls.  I could have looked at those for hours.