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The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park

posted on April 24th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We recently shared that some exciting new magic is coming next month to Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland park. In anticipation, I’d like to go a different direction with this installment of “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” and tell you the story behind the inspiration for this classic attraction.

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The Matterhorn Bobsleds were inspired by the 1959 live action Disney feature film, “Third Man on the Mountain,” which tells the story of a young man who strives to scale the Matterhorn (called “the Citadel” in the film). During filming in Zermatt, Switzerland, Walt Disney became fascinated with the Matterhorn, and his thoughts turned to how he could incorporate this inspiration at Disneyland.

He asked his designers to think about transforming Holiday Hill (a small mound of dirt between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland) into Snow Hill, which would feature real snow. Time passed and ideas evolved, and the project grew in scope. Snow Hill became Snow Mountain, and by the time “Third Man on the Mountain” wrapped in 1958 the project had developed into Matterhorn Mountain.

The real Matterhorn in Switzerland stands 14,700 feet, while the 100th-scale replica at Disneyland reaches nearly 147 feet. Can you think of other mountains or natural wonders that have inspired attractions at Disney Parks around the world?

For more from “The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series, visit the stories below:

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Disney Days of Past: ‘Goof Troop’ Visits Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Television became a little goofier this week in 1992 when “Goof Troop” first aired on The Disney Channel. “Goof Troop” told the story of the struggles and silliness The Goof had while raising his son, Max, in suburbia. Goofy and Max joined Chip ‘n Dale (from their “Rescue Rangers” days) on stage in Mickey’s Starland as seen here in July 1992.

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Goofy, Max, Chip and Dale were part of a stage show called “Mickey’s Magical TV World.” Upon exiting Mickey’s House, guests entered a theater where they could watch a live show featuring Disney Characters from The Disney Afternoon.

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What was your favorite cartoon from The Disney Afternoon? Tell me in the comments section below! (Mine was “DuckTales” – Whoohoo!)

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Sixty Years of Innovation: Disneyland, Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom

posted on April 22nd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


As we count down the weeks to the beginning of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration on May 22, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at some of the innovations that the Happiest Place on Earth has seen throughout its first sixty years. Let’s start with the biggest innovation of all – Disneyland itself – recalled in Walt Disney’s own words.

For those of us who grew up in the time after Disneyland opened, it’s hard to imagine a time without theme parks. But that’s how it was when Walt Disney had his idea for a place where the young and young-at-heart could have fun together.

Walt and Lillian Disney with Their Daughters at The Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland Park

“It came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters,” Walt said. “I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things—sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts—I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started.”

Walt set out to build a place like no other. At the time, amusement parks were notorious for being dirty and unsafe. As Walt recalled, “When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point—mine wouldn’t be.”

Walt Disney Describes Disneyland Park

Disneyland was to be so much more than an amusement park . . . Walt envisioned an entire fantasy world that would bring stories and imagination to life. “Disneyland is like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass,” he said. “To step through the portals of Disneyland will be like entering another world.”

Walt Disney on the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland Park

He also wanted Disneyland to be a reflection of American life. Growing up in a small midwestern town had an enormous impact on Walt, and he wanted to bring that sense of pride and hope to all who came to this happy place.

“Physically, Disneyland would be a small world in itself,” he said. “It would encompass the essence of the things that were good and true in American life. It would reflect the faith and challenge of the future, the entertainment, the interest in intelligently presented facts, the stimulation of the imagination, the standards of health and achievement, and above all, a sense of strength, contentment and well-being.”

In the years since, Disneyland has become the standard by which other theme parks are measured. Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom has stood the test of time, due to constant innovation, unlimited imagination and the fond memories that have been made here.

“But it all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”

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‘Disneyland’ Television Show Sets the Stage for Walt Disney’s Dream

posted on April 17th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Sixty years ago this month, work was underway to create the Happiest Place on Earth. But before Disneyland would welcome its first guests on July 17, 1955, Walt Disney found a way to not just tell the public about this new entertainment enterprise … he showed it to them, using the cutting-edge technology of television to set the stage for his dream of Disneyland.

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In April 1954, Walt signed an agreement with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) to produce the “Disneyland” television series. In exchange, ABC helped him out by investing in Disneyland – making the network a one-third owner of the park (Disney later bought out this investment and ABC is now part of the Walt Disney Company).

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The series ran on Wednesday nights from October 27, 1954, to September 3, 1958, and brought Walt’s vision straight into the living rooms of the very families he hoped would visit. In its first season, it won the Emmy for Best Variety Series and another the following year for Walt Disney as Best Producer of a Filmed Series.

On opening day, ABC produced the largest live television broadcast to date with its coverage of the grand opening of Disneyland. The partnership between Disney and ABC would lead to other television classics, including “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” and “The Wonderful World of Disney,” bringing the magic and storytelling of Disney into American homes for decades.

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Disney Days of Past: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Constructed

posted on April 16th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Surrounded by over 45 acres of savanna, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge continues to be one of the most spectacular hotels at Walt Disney World. Opening 14 years ago today, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby soars six stories high under an incredible thatched roof. In September 2000, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was beginning to take shape as construction continued on what is now known as Jambo House.

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While seeing a giraffe outside the balcony of a guest room is quite unique, the Jambo House is also home to two distinctive restaurants celebrating the flavors of Africa – Jiko and Boma (not to mention they’re absolutely delicious).

Jiko - The Cooking Place at Walt Disney World Resort Boma - Flavors of Africa at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great place to relax and enjoy the ambience of the Resort when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the Parks.

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Disney Days of Past: Let’s Play Ball!

posted on April 9th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This week kicked off the baseball season. In honor of America’s pastime starting a new season, here’s Mickey in his pinstripes ready for action back in 1978. Play ball!

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Happy Easter from the Disney Parks Blog Team

posted on April 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In honor of today’s holiday, we thought we’d share a look back at one of Magic Kingdom Park’s Easter parades. This procession, which took place multiple years in the 1980s, featured Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny and friends strolling right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.

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Check out Donald riding high in the giant Easter basket behind them. Is that an enormous chocolate bunny he’s standing next to? My favorite!

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Disney Parks Blog Time Capsule: April 2010

posted on April 3rd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


We’ve been sharing moments big and small from Disney Parks for more than five years, and I love to look back at some of those moments and share them with you. When I dug back to five years ago this month, I was happy to find two photos that have become unforgettable for me … Space Shuttle Discovery flying over Cinderella Castle and two of our baby goats born here at Disneyland park. (Those tiny little legs!) Take a look …

Space Shuttle Discovery Soars Over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Space Shuttle Discovery Soars Over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World
On the morning of April 5, 2010, photographer Kent Phillips captured Space Shuttle Discovery as it soared over Cinderella Castle on its mission to the space station.

The Fleet at Rest by Paul Hiffmeyer

The Fleet at Rest
Disneyland chief photographer Paul Hiffmeyer shared this lovely photo of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in the morning light.

A Model Vacation on Disney Cruise Line – Exclusive Tilt-Shift Video
We took readers on a “miniature scale” journey on the Disney Wonder cruise ship created through the magic of tilt-shift photography.

Adventure on the High Seas

Adventure on the High Seas
Photographer Garth Vaughan got this shot of the Flying Dutchman and the Disney Wonder while both were docked at Castaway Cay in 2010.

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Baby Goats Born at Circle D Corral This Week
They’re not babies anymore, but back in April 2010 we gave readers their first look at Stitch and Lilo – baby goats recently born at Disneyland park.

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Disney Days of Past: Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World Resort Marks 20 Years

posted on April 1st, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Blizzard Beach celebrates a refreshing 20 years this week at Walt Disney World Resort. This watery wonderland has been a favorite way for guests to cool down when it gets warm in Central Florida. This aerial view of the park from December 1994 shows the ski resort beginning to take shape.

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The only place to ‘hit the slopes’ in Florida, Blizzard Beach is home to unique snow runs like Teamboat Springs, Downhill Double Dipper and of course Summit Plummet.

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Twenty years after its debut, I still have a little trepidation as I walk the stairs to the top of Summit Plummet. How many of you have conquered Summit Plummet?

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Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Main Street, U.S.A.

posted on March 31st, 2015 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Today we’re looking down Main Street, U.S.A., as work continues on bringing Walt’s dream of Disneyland to life.

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I’ve always had such admiration for the people who literally put hammer to nail to build the park. Looking at these photos, I can’t help but wonder what their stories were and what pride they must have had in their unique place in Disney history.

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Previously in the “Building the Dream” series:

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