Our week-long celebration of Christmas in July continues, and who better celebrate it with than someone who knows a thing or two about winter in the middle of summer? This festive “Frozen” inspired display, which featured gingerbread representations of characters from the blockbuster film including Princess Anna and Queen Elsa, was installed in the Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s Grand Canyon Concourse for the 2014 Holiday Season. However, a Scandinavian fairytale is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the word “contemporary.”
To help this display fit in with its surroundings, Disney drew inspiration from one of the Concourse’s most recognizable features. Created by artist and Disney Legend Mary Blair, the massive Grand Canyon Concourse murals that cover the nine-story elevator shaft depict Native American children rendered in Blair’s signature style, which combined bold modern art sensibilities with childlike imagination. With these murals as their backdrops, it was only natural for the resort’s culinary staff to adapt Elsa and company into Blair’s playful style to match.
Mary Blair’s association with Disney dates back much farther than the 1971 opening of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, she was employed at the studio as an inspirational artist, setting the visual style and color palette of classic animated films including “The Three Caballeros,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Peter Pan.” Her artistic vision left such an impact on Walt Disney that, even after Blair left the company to work as a freelance artist, Walt sought out her unique eye to design the vibrant childlike visuals of “It’s a Small World.” The fact that the charming style Mary Blair created, whether part of a classic attraction like “It’s a Small World” or adapted into newer creations like this “Frozen” gingerbread display, continues to resonate with each passing generation is a testament to the talent of a truly legendary Disney artist.
What Disney Resort do you think has the best Holiday decorations? Let me know in the comments section!