Mad Tea Party at Disney Parks

Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Main Entrance

posted on November 12th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


The Main Entrance turnstiles are where most guests begin their visit to Disneyland park – exclusively so until the Disneyland Monorail extended its track to the Disneyland Hotel in 1961.

dlroldsmall

As this photo shows, construction of the park was well underway by the time the Main Entrance turnstiles were built.

dlrnewsmall

One month later, only days before opening day, the turnstiles were completed. A lot of progress was also made at Main Street Station and on the “floral Mickey” designed to greet guests upon their arrival into the park.

Check back for “construction updates” soon!


Previously in the “Building the Dream” series:

  • Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park
    • Share: 

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

    First Look: Train, Trisha Yearwood, Lucy Hale, Trey Songz and More at the Disneyland Resort for Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration on ABC

    posted on November 11th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Earlier this week we began production on our annual holiday special for ABC, this year titled Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration. Today we’re giving you the first look at what’s in store Christmas morning from the Disneyland Resort.

    11_14_DL_001150

    Train took the stage at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle in Disneyland park to perform “Shake Up Christmas.”

    11_14_DL_001236

    Donald Duck met up with Patrick Monahan and Jimmy Stafford after the performance and we snapped this fun photo.

    11_14_DL_001616

    Trey Songz then delighted the audience with “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

    11_14_DL_001846

    Daisy showed up to wish Trey Happy Holidays.

    11_14_DCA_002630

    Over in Disney California Adventure park, Lucy Hale brought holiday cheer to Cars Land with her performance of “Mistletoe.”

    11_14_DL_003153

    Back at Disneyland park, Trisha Yearwood gave the audience a beautiful rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

    11_14_DL_009000

    Trisha met two of her biggest fans after her performance, Chip and Dale.

    11_14_DL_003386

    ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano from GMA Weekend joins us as host from the Disneyland Resort this year, and he and his wife Eryn brought daughter Madeline along to meet Minnie Mouse for the first time.

    Check back for updates about Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration and don’t forget to tune in to ABC on Thursday, Dec. 25 at 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. in all other time zones (check local listings). You can also join the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyParade.

    • Share: 

    Tagged: ,

    Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disneyland Resort

    1958 Photo: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

    posted on October 30th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Earlier this year I shared some rare pictures of Walt Disney at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland park. There was such a great response that I set out to find and share even more photography of Walt at one of his favorite original Disneyland park attractions, the world-famous Jungle Cruise.

    WDS699742
    This rarely seen photo, digitally scanned from the original color negative, required some restoration, but once it was done, I couldn’t wait to share it.

    What do you think of Walt as a Jungle Cruise skipper?

    • Share: 

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

    Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park

    posted on October 27th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Walt 954

    Today I’m introducing a new photo series on the construction of Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom, Disneyland park. The photos we’ll be sharing over the next several months capture the dawn of a new kind of family entertainment as dedicated, talented artists create a happy place, as Walt described it, “where parents and children can have fun, together.”

    A year before the park was to open, Walt made a deal with the ABC television network that included production of a new weekly anthology series where Walt himself could give updates on his special project. On October 27, 1954, he unveiled his plans to a national television audience during the debut episode of this new television show, appropriately titled, “Disneyland.”

    “Mickey and I started out, the first time, many, many years ago,” Walt said. “We’ve had a lot of our dreams come true. Now we want you to share with us our latest and greatest dream.”

    DL-H-02

    “That’s it, right here. ‘Disneyland’ … we hope that it will be unlike anything else on this Earth … a place of hopes and dreams, facts and fancy, all in one.”

    “Next year, our television show will be coming from this ‘Disneyland,’ but this year, we want you to see and share with us the experience of building this dream into a reality.”

    DL-H-01

    In that spirit, here’s a rare photo of the site Walt selected. As you can see, orange groves were still very much a part of Anaheim in 1954. The original site was made up of parcels owned by 17 different people.

    DL-H-03

    In just a few short months, excavation of the site was complete and the first Disney park was beginning to take shape.

    Check back for “construction updates” soon.

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

    Gwen Stefani Celebrates Family Birthdays at Disney California Adventure Park

    posted on October 13th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    gwweee331221

    Last week, Gwen Stefani visited Disney California Adventure park, and Sulley caught up with Gwen and her family in Hollywood Land to scare up some special birthday cheer for not one, but two birthday girls.

    gwweee625882

    In addition to her own birthday celebration, Gwen’s niece, Stella, shown here with Gwen’s sons Zuma and Kingston, was also celebrating her special day. The birthday girls’ first stop? Cars Land!

    • Share: 

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

    ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Contender Alfonso Ribeiro Celebrates Halloween Time at Disneyland Park

    posted on October 7th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Actor Alfonso Ribeiro took a break from dance rehearsals to bring his family to Disneyland park to experience a little Halloween Time magic last week.

    DWTS9273923

    Minnie Mouse stopped by to wish him luck in his pursuit of the mirrorball trophy as a season 19 contender on “Dancing with the Stars.” It is even rumored that Minnie and Alfonso were seen doing a few steps from “The Carlton!”

    • Share: 

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

    Remembering Lauren Bacall at Disney Parks

    posted on August 15th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    This week we learned of the passing of legendary actress Lauren Bacall. The award-winning star of stage and screen who rose to fame in the film noir dramas of the 1940s was reportedly one of the femme fatales from Hollywood’s golden age who inspired the creative team behind “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in their design of Jessica Rabbit.

    bebebe830112

    Ms. Bacall visited Disneyland park in the summer of 1963 with her husband, actor Jason Robards, pictured here at Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

    rgllbd123456

    Twenty-six years later, Ms. Bacall was on-hand for the opening festivities of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (known then as Disney-MGM Studios), where she placed her handprints in cement in the courtyard outside The Great Movie Ride – an attraction inspired by the kind of movie magic she, herself, created.

    • Share: 

    Tagged: , , ,

    Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

    Celebrating 45 Years of Ghoulish Delight at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

    posted on August 8th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    “When hinges creak in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls … Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight. Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion.”

    As a six-year-old boy, hearing those words spoken by Disney Legend Paul Frees as the “ghost host” became an indelible Disney memory for me – and don’t get me started on the stretching room, Madame Leota or the ghost that was sitting next to me on the way home! For me, there was no turning back then – or now – from one of the most uniquely entertaining Disney Parks attractions ever created.

    hahaha930090

    The 999 happy haunts of the Haunted Mansion have been throwing a swinging wake for 45 delightfully frightful years, and they’ve received the sympathetic vibrations of millions of Disneyland park guests who have come out to socialize.

    The disquieting tale of the Haunted Mansion actually began more than 50 years ago when Walt Disney approved the creation of a riverfront mansion even while he hadn’t yet decided exactly what would go inside. Walt insisted, however, that the house appear well kept on the outside and not look dilapidated.

    hahaha8009111

    This rare concept drawing from Ken Anderson, courtesy of our friends at the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library, was made in 1957.

    hahaha8700911

    The library also provided this color artwork created by Sam McKim in 1958.

    hahaha8909931

    In 1962, construction began on the beautiful southern plantation-inspired home, and in the years that followed, as Imagineers developed (sometimes competing) themes and stories of a Haunted Mansion attraction, a sign was placed in front of its closed gates to tease what was (possibly) to come.

    hahaha9099241

    The idea for the sign was reportedly sparked by a comment Walt made upon returning from a trip to London when he remarked that he had been searching castles and old English countryside estates for ghosts looking for a new place to haunt. The sign would remain in place until the Haunted Mansion opened its gates more than six years later, in August of 1969.

    During those years, with their combined talents, Imagineers, including Marc Davis, Claude Coats, X Atencio, Rolly Crump, Bill Justice, and Yale Gracey, Disney Legends all, developed the attraction we know today.

    Near the time of its completion, some publicity photos were taken to help illustrate the attraction’s unique blend of macabre humor and to celebrate the artistry of those responsible for bringing it to … life.

    hahaha0097821

    Here, special effects designer Yale Gracey tries to keep the lid on one of his latest creations.

    hahaha5688911

    In this photo, Bill Justice tries to celebrate some of his technological accomplishments with a grim grinning ghost.

    hahaha5887111

    Finally, cameras captured a sighting of the elusive Hatbox Ghost with Yale Gracey.

    hahaha587777

    “There’s a little matter I forgot to mention. Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!”

    Whether your first “doom buggy” ride was today, or 45 years ago, the Haunted Mansion is what it has always been: a true original that’s pure Disney magic.

    Hurry baaaaaack…

    • Share: 

    Tagged: , ,

    Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

    Remembering James Garner at the Disneyland Resort

    posted on July 21st, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    Over the weekend we learned of the passing of Oscar-nominated actor James Garner. In an award-winning career that spanned six decades, his work with Disney included The Castaway Cowboy and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Today we’re looking back at a special memory Mr. Garner made at the Disneyland Resort.

    I had the honor and pleasure of meeting James Garner a few times during his run on the ABC comedy “8 Simple Rules.” He was friendly, funny and obviously very much a grandfather figure to his younger co-stars.

    GARNER489555SMALL

    In September 2004 he appeared with the cast of the show at an event at Disney California Adventure park called ABC Primetime Preview Weekend.

    GARNER4859777SMALL

    During this event, I gave Mr. Garner a copy of a photo we have in our archives of him with his wife, Lois, celebrating their daughter Gigi’s birthday at Disneyland in 1965. We believe the photo was taken at the Tahitian Terrace.

    GARNER498880SMALL

    When I handed him this photo backstage before a media appearance, Mr. Garner said, “Oh my, it’s my Gigi! Oh, I can’t wait to show this to Lois!” He had never seen the photo before, and he thanked me warmly before excitedly gathering the cast around him to see the picture.

    What he surely couldn’t have known that afternoon was that while he was recalling a fond Disney memory from long ago, he had just made a brand new one for me.

    • Share: 

    Tagged: ,

    Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Resort

    A Look Back at July 20, 1969: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Watched Live at Disneyland Park

    posted on July 18th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


    On the afternoon of July 20, 1969, just steps away from an attraction called “Flight to the Moon,” thousands of Disneyland park guests gathered at the Tomorrowland Stage to watch a seminal event in human history unfold on live television.

    DLM875548

    Just last week, while researching another project, I came across this rare color image in our archives that shows the Apollo 11 Moon Landing being watched live at Disneyland park.

    In the years that followed this momentous event, we were fortunate to welcome two members of the remarkable Apollo 11 crew to Disneyland park.

    289-DL-178

    In February 1989, Buzz Aldrin joined us for the Challenger Spirit Salute, an event to honor the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

    Space Mountain

    In July 2005, Neil Armstrong was on hand for the “re-launch” of Space Mountain. This photo was taken just above the exact spot where all those years earlier, Disneyland guests gathered in almost unimaginable anticipation to watch as he became the first man to step foot on the moon.

    • Share: 

    Tagged: ,

    Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort