Mickey Mouse Balloon at Disneyland Resort

Mickey’s Toontown? Indiana Jones Adventure? Fantasmic!? What Was Your Favorite New Attraction or Memory Between 1991 and 1995?

posted on May 27th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company


This latest post in a series counting down the weeks to the 55th anniversary focuses on the highlights between 1991 and 1995. These were huge years. A whole new land was added to Disneyland park, a gigantic attraction debuted in Adventureland, and one of the most beloved nighttime spectaculars premiered on the Rivers of America.

My favorite? While arguably not the biggest new addition to the Disneyland Resort in this five-year period, Fantasmic! is probably my favorite. The show has an epic feel to it. Fantasmic! has a rich story, includes more than 100 cast and crew members, and is one of the best shows to see all of my favorite characters in one place. The photo below is from the opening event on May 1992.
A Fantasmic Moment at Disneyland Park
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a look back at this half decade, jam-packed with new attractions and shows:

1995Indiana Jones Adventure (TM), the thrilling off-road journey through an ancient temple, blazed its way to Disneyland park. On July 17, a time capsule was buried in the Sleeping Beauty Castle forecourt containing items that would not be revealed until the park’s 80th anniversary. The dance club Videopolis was transformed into Fantasyland Theatre, featuring the all-new stage show “The Spirit of Pocahontas.” The Disneyland Resort expanded to include the Disneyland Hotel’s next-door neighbor, the Pan Pacific Hotel, which was transformed into the Disneyland Pacific Hotel (and later Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel).

1994Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin welcomed its first fares on the one-year anniversary of Mickey’s Toontown. This innovative dark ride featured vehicles that could be rotated in any direction or speed. One of the biggest parades in Disneyland park history debuted, as “The Lion King Celebration” showcased unique Audio-Animatronics and larger-than-life puppets along with more than 100 live performers. The park said goodbye to a longtime favorite, as the Skyway attraction connecting Fantasyland and Tomorrowland closed after 38 years of operation. 1994 also brought the spring break which saw Disneyland park go Pog Wild and Rollerblade Crazy.

1993 – The toons finally received their very own home in Mickey’s Toontown, the first all-new land added to Disneyland park in over 20 years. Featuring a gag-filled downtown inspired by the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the cartoon-like design was influenced by the personalities of the characters living there, with Donald taking up residence in a boat while Chip and Dale inhabited an acorn tree. With Aladdin hitting theatres in the summer, a Royal Caravan parade made its way to Main Street, U.S.A., while the Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland was replaced by a new restaurant, Aladdin’s Oasis. As Mickey Mouse celebrated his 65th birthday, the “Partners” statue featuring Walt Disney that sits in Disneyland park’s Central Plaza was also dedicated.

1992 – Mickey Mouse ignited the night for the first time with Fantasmic!, an epic battle between good and evil on the Rivers of America featuring water, pyrotechnic and laser effects. Though the show begins its 19th year this summer, it wasn’t the only entertainment of note in 1992. Coinciding with the theatrical release, a live Beauty and the Beast stage show debuted on the Videopolis stage, which ran for several years and eventually inspired the Broadway smash. Goofy also celebrated his sixtieth birthday with the larger than life parade, “The World According to Goofy,“ and opened his first restaurant as Goofy’s Kitchen debuted at the Disneyland Hotel. The park’s biggest special event was the private 60th birthday party of actress Elizabeth Taylor, featuring a performance of “Happy Birthday” led by Barry Manilow.

1991 – As the Persian Gulf War came to an end, Disneyland park honored thousands of veterans returning home from the region with a daily cavalcade from April 17 to June 17. The park also helped raise money for the U.S. Olympic Committee with Olympic Salutes, a five-mile cast member torch relay in June leading to Sleeping Beauty Castle. Elsewhere in the park, the Blue Ribbon Bakery opened its doors on Main Street, U.S.A., and those with fond memories of watching Darkwing Duck and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers after school remember the thrill of meeting their favorite stars live at Disney Afternoon Avenue. This temporary Fantasyland attraction featured the TaleSpin stage show “Plane Crazy” at Videopolis, plus redressed rides including the Rescue Rangers Raceway (Fantasyland Autopia) and the Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen (of Gummi Bears fame).

©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd.

What is your favorite attraction or memory between 1991 and 1995?

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New, Improved Online Dining Reservation System for Walt Disney World Restaurants

posted on May 27th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Walt Disney World Online Dining Reservation System

Attention Disney “foodies” …we’ve got some new ways to search and retrieve online reservations for Walt Disney World restaurants and we’d love to know what you think. Yes, our online reservation system is in beta and being revamped – and you’ll notice the difference at first glance. You can now search for restaurant availability by location, cuisine, experience and even time of day.

The page is live and ready to try. There will be more changes to come but we wanted to share this news with Disney Parks Blog readers. Let us know if you like the improvements.

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A Moment With Art

posted on May 27th, 2010 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


We have many photos of our friend, the late Art Linkletter at Disneyland Park throughout the years, but I wanted to share my personal favorite, and one of the very first images we released from our 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.

We had somehow located one of the television cameras used in the opening day telecast of Disneyland Park on July 17, 1955 and we arranged for Art to be interviewed live on television, in black and white, using the very same (now antique) camera we had used 50 years earlier.

During a break, I asked him if he’d like to try on one of our gold Mickey ear hats, and without hesitating he put it on.
Art Linkletter at Disneyland Park in 2005
As I think you can see from this photo, Art was a big kid at heart and I love the spark of playful mischief in his eyes. Maybe it was because July 17 was also Art’s birthday.

I’ll always remember something he said during our 50th when he shared a story about a man at Disneyland Park who asked him, “Isn’t it a shame that Walt Disney couldn’t be here to see this?” and Art said, “He did see this, that’s why it’s here.”

We’ll miss you, Art.

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New Spins on Classic Disney Attractions

posted on May 27th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication


Disney Park aficionados can agree that Space Mountain and Dumbo the Flying Elephant attractions are two of the most beloved and iconic attractions in the Parks. Whether you’re soaring at the speed of sound through space or flying high with the help of a gentle elephant with magical ears, riding these attractions is a Disney rite of passage for both the young & young at heart.

Now, through the Magic of Disney Theme Park Merchandise and K’NEX (construction and building toys), you can bring the magic of Disney home and watch as your favorite attractions come to life, with our the Space Mountain and Dumbo the Flying Elephant Building Sets! Too cool for words – you have to see how it works to believe it!

Both building sets are now available. The best place to find them will be inside Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.

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Disneyland Hotel Makeover

posted on May 26th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company


Big news…Today we’re sharing details and concept art that will give the Disneyland Hotel a fun, fresh makeover. The pool area is getting a whole new look, including a brand-new pool, all-new immersive water play area and a complete redesign of the Never Land Pool. Plans also call for a new restaurant and bar, and re-theming of the hotel’s three guest room towers.

The biggest transformation (and what I’m most looking forward to) are the changes coming to the pool area. With a nod to the iconic original park signage, “Disneyland” will be spelled out in familiar blocks atop a platform supporting two huge water slides (the larger slide will be 26 feet high and will stretch 187 feet before it plunges into a splash pool below). Reminiscent of the original Monorail station at the Disneyland Hotel, at each slide’s entrance will sit a replica Monorail Car that guests will glide through as they twist and turn their way to the pool below. The pool will also feature a third, two-lane mini slide, perfect for little ones, which is just 3 1/2 feet high and is 19 feet long.

Never Land Pool

The Never Land Pool will receive a complete cosmetic makeover but will retain its unique shape. A new, four-foot deep pool will be built between the Never Land Pool and the water play area. A footbridge will stretch over this new pool, connecting both sides of the courtyard area and giving easy access across the property. Six new cabanas will also be added. To help you visualize all these exciting, new changes, here’s a rendering from an aerial view.

Aerial View: Never Land Pool

And that’s not all! Two new dining locations will be introduced in the current location of Hook’s Pointe, Croc’s Bites and Bits, the Wine Cellar and the Lost Bar. A new “smart casual” dining concept will feature Tahitian architecture that is reminiscent of the ’50s and ’60s era of the hotel and the original Tahitian Terrace restaurant in Disneyland park. A new bar will draw on the adventure theme from the Jungle Cruise attraction.

The new water play area, pool and dining locations are scheduled to be completed by summer 2011, and the remodeled Never Land Pool is slated to be completed by summer 2012.

The hotel’s three guest room towers will be renamed to reflect Disneyland park’s distinctive lands. The Dreams Tower, currently under renovation and scheduled to be completed in 2010, will become the Adventure Tower. The Wonder Tower, next to undergo transformation and slated for completion in 2011, will be the Frontier Tower, and the Magic Tower, which will be finished in 2012, will become the Fantasy Tower. A large marquee featuring classic artwork for Adventureland, Frontierland and Fantasyland will identify each tower.

Now that you’ve heard about all these changes, what are you most excited about?

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Special Offer – Memorial Day Weekend: All-You-Can-Golf at Disney

posted on May 26th, 2010 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Special Offer - Memorial Day Weekend: All-You-Can-Golf at Disney
Hi everyone. During Memorial Day Weekend (Friday, May 28 to Monday, May 31) you can come play all-day on select Walt Disney World Golf Courses for just $59 per person, per day. Plus, you can change courses for subsequent rounds if you choose!

The $59 rate includes golf cart rental and pre-round practice balls at Disney’s Palm, Disney’s Osprey Ridge and Disney’s Lake Buena Vista golf courses. If you are here on vacation and don’t want the hassle of bringing your clubs, $15 will get you a rental set of Titleist or Cobra clubs.

To take advantage of this offer and book tee times, call (407) WDW-GOLF (939-4653). More special summer offers will be coming your way so be on the look out!

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Sights, Sounds of Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 26th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Fans of the Star Wars universe – today, we’re sharing some of the sights and sounds that made last weekend so special at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars Weekends launched on the 30th anniversary of “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back” and the big-screen debut of Boba Fett. So of course, the bounty hunter had a strong presence. Here’s what celebrity host Jeremy Bulloch and celebrity guest Daniel Logan had to say about the character they played and some favorite fan costumes from the event, including “purple” Darth Vader:

Star Wars Weekends continues every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 13. During that time, be on the lookout for some new faces, including R2-MK, and Asajj Ventress from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” And please let us know in comments if you spot any unique characters we may have missed.

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Donald Being Donald

posted on May 26th, 2010 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Donald Being Donald
It seems that Donald Duck just can’t help himself sometimes. When I first saw this statue of Donald in Disneyland park from this angle, I couldn’t help but see the humor in his pose. What do you think he’s saying?

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Wonderful and Scary

posted on May 26th, 2010 by Garth Vaughan, Photographer, Walt Disney World


The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
It is spooky, exciting, thrilling. And that is just as you approach on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just wait until you see what is next. Have a nice trip.

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Carrousel Name Change at Walt Disney World

posted on May 25th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
A quick update to share tonight…our antique carrousel ride in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom ParkCinderella’s Golden Carrousel – is officially changing its name to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. The name change takes effect June 1.

The name change helps tell the rest of the Cinderella story that inspired the carrousel. Here’s the official story behind it:

Following their fairy-tale romance and happily-ever-after wedding, Cinderella and Prince Charming took up residence in Cinderella’s Castle. With peace throughout the kingdom, Prince Charming had time to practice for jousting tournaments. In the countryside near the castle, he built a training device of carved horses, on which he could practice the art of ring-spearing, a tournament event in which a knight rides his horse full speed, lance in hand, toward a small ring hanging from a tree limb, with the object of spearing the ring. This event was known by various names throughout the lands, but generally came to be called “carrousel.”

The carrousel device drew the attention of the villagers, who wanted to take a turn on this amazing spinning contraption. So Prince Charming had a second carrousel constructed closer to the Castle, where everyone could take a spin on this wondrous invention. Instead of a working knight’s training device, however, this new carrousel is more befitting its regal location in the Castle Courtyard – its rustic training horses replaced with ornately decorated prancing steeds adorned with golden helmets and shields, flower garlands, feathers and other festoons. Prince Charming invites one and all to test their horsemanship skills and to enjoy their own happy ending.

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