Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

First Disneyland Resort Ambassador Comes ‘Home’ for 50th Anniversary of Disney Ambassador Program

posted on October 17th, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


When Julie Reihm Casaletto was approached by a fellow cast member to apply for the Disney Ambassador program, she initially said no. She was busy making straight A’s in college, and taking a year off from her studies wasn’t part of the plan. But that cast member didn’t give up and once Julie started the interviewing process, she began to realize that a year of world travel would be an exciting gig. Those interviews obviously went very well, because Julie was chosen as Disney’s first ambassador in 1965 … and the rest is Disney history.

The Disney Parks Blog had a chance to talk one-on-one with Julie, while she was at the Disneyland Resort for the 50th anniversary of the Disney Ambassador program. She talked about her incredible year as ambassador and her special bond with Walt Disney.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Happy Boss’s Day!

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


He’s a mouse. He’s the leader of the club. And, he just happens to be my boss. Happy Boss’s Day, Mickey Mouse! Here’s the Big Cheese himself arriving in Mickey’s Birthdayland in 1988. Check out that awesome Florida license plate!

HBD807556

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Water Tower History Stands Tall at House of Blues at Downtown Disney

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Like many of you, I’ve walked by the signature House of Blues Water Tower countless times. It’s a landmark, an icon and a work of art, all rolled into one. But have you ever thought about where it came from? Or how it ended up at Downtown Disney West Side? I did. So recently, I set out to find answers.

A few friends from House of Blues who all share a passion for their company’s history – Jennifer Hinckle, Maggie Sumner and Charles Spellman – were happy to enlighten me. The story was too good not to share …

towtow678766

It all started with Issac Tigrett, one of the eccentric co-founders of House of Blues. An avid fan of rail travel, Tigrett would tour the country in his lavish, expertly curated train car. He was known for his keen eye and unique style; his journeys often led to the purchase of one-of-a kind art and unique memorabilia. During one trip out west in the late 90’s, he spotted the water tower and realized he had to have it for his next-to-open House of Blues venue. At the very next town, he disembarked the train, hired a car, and went back to seek out the owner of the water tower. Tigrett knew it would make the perfect welcome statement for the Downtown Disney West Side location, set to open in 1997. And he was right. Originally three sections tall, only two were approved for the property. Blade signs, light cans and artistic flames were added, giving the structure its current-day look.

Though Tigrett is no longer with the company, his influence is everywhere; perhaps most prominently in the House of Blues courtyard where recent enhancements include the quick-service Smokehouse, expanded seating, and evolving live entertainment. Though the patio has changed, the Water Tower is constant – an appropriate reminder that (at House of Blues, at least) good art, no matter the form, can withstand the test of time.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

Today in Disney History: New Disneyland Sign Debuts, 1989

posted on October 6th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


For years, a large marquee sign on Harbor Blvd. welcomed guests to Disneyland park. On this day in 1989, the original sign which stood at the entrance since the park opened, was replaced with a new sign featuring an electronic marquee. To mark this occasion, I’d like to re-share two photos that were originally posted by George Savvas in this fantastic article back in 2010 here on the Disney Parks Blog.

New Disneyland Sign Installed, 1989

In the photo above, you can see the old and the new side-by-side as the new sign is installed.

New Disneyland Sign Installed, 1989

And here is the new sign, finished and lit up, as it would welcome guests for the next 10 years.

Do you remember these Disneyland landmarks? Share your memories with us in the comments!

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Happy Birthday, Magic Kingdom Park!

posted on October 2nd, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This week we celebrated the anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World Resort, and 43 years later it’s still bringing magical memories to guests from all over the world. In honor of this week’s milestone, here’s an aerial view of Magic Kingdom Park and the surrounding resort area in early 1971.
avowdw384723


Read on for more posts about Magic Kingdom in the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series:

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: A Look Back at Tapestry of Nations

posted on September 25th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Fifteen years ago, Tapestry of Nations had its soft opening at Epcot. I can’t let a milestone pass by without sharing a photo from my favorite parade. (I’m biased. Here is proof.) Here’s a look at Hammerman in front of a Millennium-themed Spaceship Earth in September 1999.

epcwer473625

Although the Sage of Time doesn’t take his great millennium walk around World Showcase Lagoon any more, I still smile every time my iPod shuffles to the parade music.


Read on for more posts about Epcot in the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series:

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Sights and Sounds of Disney Parks: Celebrating One of Walt’s Major Magic Makers

posted on September 17th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Marc Davis’ Disney career goes all the way back to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He animated Alice, Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Maleficent and Cruella DeVil. He designed characters for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and the fondly remembered America Sings attractions. He was an accomplished painter and a caring, unforgettable teacher.

FHK796931SMALL FHK796932THUMB FHK796933THUMB

Marc dreamed up enough major works to fill several lifetimes. Yet he was definitely not one of those “look at me, I’m so great, blah, blah, blah” kind of people. He was devoted to his wife, Alice (also a Disney Legend who was also a major contributor to Disney history as costume designer for many attractions), dedicated to Disney art and imagination, and, across the board, remembered as a genial, unassuming fellow.

NMD182273THUMB FHK796935THUMB FHK796934THUMB

His admirers include some of the most accomplished individuals in the art and entertainment industry, who along with many of us, were waiting a long time for such a magnificent book as “Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man” to come along. This book is their opportunity to reminisce about Marc for us, and our opportunity to look for hours at each and every vivid image in this new book—many of which seem to jump off the page.

FHK796938THUMB FHK796937THUMB FHK796939THUMB

Imagineering and Disney Legend Marty Sklar expresses his awe at Marc’s work for Disney Parks. Peter Docter, Oscar-winning director of Disney•Pixar’s “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.” presents an extensive portfolio of Marc’s concept art and pencil drawings. “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” producer Don Hahn elaborates on Marc’s fine art. Veteran Disney animator and historian Andreas Deja takes us on a tour of Marc’s animal studies. Glen Keane, acclaimed animator of Ariel, the Beast, Tarzan, Rapunzel, Aladdin and others, guides us through Marc’s vast collection of sketchbooks.

And there’s so much more. Walt Disney Family Museum Creative Consultant and historian Paula Sigman-Lowery explains Marc’s fascination with the art and people of New Guinea. Author/filmmaker Mindy Johnson helps us get acquainted with the wondrous Alice Davis. Renowned animation historian and critic Charles Solomon presents a look at the unproduced animated feature, Chanticleer. Award-winning animation director Bob Kurtz recalls Marc’s skill as a teacher. There are even selections from Marc’s unpublished book on how humans and animals move (Parents’ alert: some tasteful nudes in this section.)

You can find “Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man” at select Disney Parks shops now (even though it will not be available to the general public until October 7). Call Merchandise Guest Services at 1-877-560-6477) to locate it at either Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park: An Idea that Couldn’t be Laid to Rest

posted on September 12th, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations


Today is the first day of Halloween Time here at the Disneyland Resort. Pumpkins are everywhere and guest favorite, Haunted Mansion Holiday, is opening. Did you know that the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park was one of Walt Disney’s ideas for the park even before it was built? Here we are, 45 years after its August 9, 1969, opening and it is still haunting guests each day. In celebration of the attraction’s anniversary and the opening of Haunted Mansion Holiday today, we thought this was the perfect time to dig up historical footage of the Haunted Mansion from our archives. You’ll see Walt Disney showing off a model of the Haunted Mansion and interviews with the Imagineers who turned his idea into a reality. You’ll also find out why the mansion is so pristine on the outside, while dilapidated and creepy on the inside. It’s a fun video – a scream, really. Enjoy!

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Remember ‘Chip ’n’ Dale Rescue Rangers’?

posted on September 11th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This month in 1989 the television cartoon “Chip ’n’ Dale Rescue Rangers” debuted in syndication. The show premiered on The Disney Channel earlier in March of that same year. Here’s a look at Chip, Dale and Gadget from Mickey’s Starland in 1990 where they made an appearance in Mickey’s Starland Show featuring stars from The Disney Afternoon.

KA2-62

Committed to solving mysterious oddball crimes too small for the police to handle, other members of the Rescue Rangers included Monterey Jack and Zipper. If you watched the show growing up, like I did, I bet seeing this photo has you singing the theme song in your head!


See the posts below for more from the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series:

Tagged:

Filed: Disney History, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Happy Anniversary Morocco (Pavilion!)

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This weekend is the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Morocco pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. Here’s a look at the pavilion under construction in March 1984. This pavilion was the first country to be added after the park’s opening. Happy Anniversary, Morocco!

VMP662562

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort