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!
posted on September 12th, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations
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.
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:
posted on September 4th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations
“This here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Guests first heard that warning on September 2, 1979, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Since then, the popular runaway mine train as taken more than 225 million guests on a wild ride through 19th century gold-mining territory. The mountain was inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and objects found inside are actual artifacts from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming. The opening also marked the third peak in the Disneyland park mountain range. (Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain were the first two.)
Last March, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after an extended refurbishment with new track and an enhanced audio system. Come check it out! For now, take a trip back to 1979 and watch as Mickey Mouse turns the key and boards the runaway mine train with some of his Disney friends.
posted on August 29th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations
Today marks the third anniversary of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Let’s celebrate with a look back at three major milestones this beautiful resort has seen through the past three years.
Tradition and Magic at the Grand Opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa
With the help of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Hawaiian performers and Aulani cast members, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, led the Grand Opening Ceremony. One of our favorite moments during the ceremony was the joining of Hawaiian culture and the magic of Disney – symbolized by the mixing of sand from the beach with pixie dust in an ‘umeke, a ceremonial wooden bowl.
Ka Maka Landing opened in October 2013, completing the Waikolohe Valley expansion. Your ‘ohana can now spend the day in the spectacular infinity-edge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and children can splash and play in the new Keiki Cove. Be sure to take a break and enjoy a poolside meal at Ulu Cafe before diving back for more Hawaiian fun.
Last month, Travel + Leisure announced its World’s Best Awards 2014, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was named the Top Hotel for Families in the United States. Cast members were positively thrilled to receive this honor on behalf of our Hawaiian resort, and look forward to continuing the tradition of providing extraordinary guest service.
Please join me in wishing Aulani a hau`oli la ho’omana’o, or happy anniversary! If you’d like to visit and celebrate the anniversary too, take advantage of a special travel package this fall: book a consecutive four-night or more stay, now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.
posted on August 21st, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
Here’s the windup and the pitch! A little throwback to 1973, when Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Chip and Dale were playing baseball out on the lawn near Cinderella Castle. Hey, batter, batter!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This rare concept drawing from Ken Anderson, courtesy of our friends at the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library, was made in 1957.
The library also provided this color artwork created by Sam McKim in 1958.
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.
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.
Here, special effects designer Yale Gracey tries to keep the lid on one of his latest creations.
In this photo, Bill Justice tries to celebrate some of his technological accomplishments with a grim grinning ghost.
Finally, cameras captured a sighting of the elusive Hatbox Ghost with Yale Gracey.
“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.
posted on July 24th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
This time of the year always makes me think of summer vacation. In fact, I miss those dedicated three months of freedom watching TV, swimming, and traveling to see my grandparents. Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our world-class characters spend the summer seeing our guests while they’re on vacation, but they do find time to have some fun too! Here’s Pinocchio taking a break from autographs, hugs and handshakes in 1983 water skiing at the former Disney’s Village Resort while Geppetto waves from ashore. Let’s just hope Monstro isn’t in that water!
For more from the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series, check out the posts below:
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.
In September 2004 he appeared with the cast of the show at an event at Disney California Adventure park called ABC Primetime Preview Weekend.
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.
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.