Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Vintage Walt Disney World: What Does Disney History Have in Common with the Summer Games?

posted on July 31st, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Have you caught it yet? Sports fever is sweeping the world, and we’re only a week into the 2012 London games. With every game, the host city introduces the world to their very own mascot, and London is no different. Have you caught a glimpse of Wenlock and Mandeville? (I think there’s something oddly familiar about them…)

For the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles, Disney Legend and publicity artist Bob Moore created Sam the Eagle, the mascot for the games.
Sam the Eagle, the Mascot for the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Created by Disney Legend Bob Moore

Introduced after the end of the 1980 games in Moscow, Sam the Eagle was extremely popular and appeared on merchandise like PVC figures, plush animals, plates, pins, trophies, mugs, key chains, statuettes, stickers, t-shirts and even Frisbees.
Sam the Eagle, the Mascot for the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Created by Disney Legend Bob Moore

I think Sam the Eagle and Sam Eagle should get together to produce an even more amazing “salute to all nations but mostly America” over at Muppet*Vision 3-D. It would be one very spirited collaboration.

Read more about how Disney Parks are getting in the spirit of the summer games in the posts below:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Honoring the London 2012 Games at Epcot

posted on July 26th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


After 70 days, the Torch Relay will culminate tomorrow night when the cauldron is lit at the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 games.

While the torch may be one of the most recognizable symbols throughout the world, Epcot has a few torches of its own that are seen by guests every day.

Every evening in IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the Earth Globe opens to reveal a giant torch for the finale. Here’s a look at the 350,000 lb. Earth Globe still under construction back in 1999.

The Earth Globe in IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, at Epcot

Inside the American Adventure theater, in the show’s final scene Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain share a handshake in front of another recognizable torch both in Epcot and throughout the world. Below is a look at an Imagineer programming the attraction prior to opening in April 1982.

An Imagineer Programs the American Adventure Attraction at Epcot

While my athleticism most likely won’t translate to me carrying the torch in my life, rest assured I’ll still be looking to see who the final torch bearer is tomorrow night.

Check out the posts below for more on the upcoming Summer Games:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: A Look Back at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on July 19th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


When The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror started welcoming guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios back in July 1994, dark and stormy nights became the norm around the Hollywood Tower Hotel. And all these years later, guests still get a scream out of their daily visits. Here’s a look at the lobby under construction in May 1994.
The Lobby of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Under Construction in May 1994

While four Disney Parks (Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney California Adventure park, Walt Disney Studios Park, and Tokyo DisneySea) have their own versions of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the original. This striking landmark at Walt Disney World Resort was constructed with 1,500 tons of steel, 145,800 cubic feet of concrete, and 27,000 roof tiles, and it stands 199 feet tall.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Under Construction

Still to this day inside The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, guests can’t wait to enter an episode that is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and is used with permission pursuant to a license from CBS, Inc. ©Disney/CBS, Inc.

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Celebrating 57 Years at Disneyland

posted on July 17th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Celebrating 57 Years of Magic at Disneyland Park

Today we celebrated 57 years of magic at the Disneyland Resort! This afternoon, Disney characters filled Town Square, balloons in hand, to sing “Happy Birthday To You” with Disneyland park guests.

Celebrating 57 Years of Magic at Disneyland Park

All of us at the Disneyland Resort are proud to celebrate 57 years of creating happiness. I wanted to share with you some thoughts from my fellow cast members, who were asked to share one reason why they love Disneyland park:

“I grew up coming to Disneyland and now I refuse to grow up at Disneyland.” – Jeremy P., “Fantasmic!” and Haunted Mansion

“I’ve spent more than half my life in a place designed and built to make people happy, alongside cast members wired to make others happy and filled with guests who come wanting to be happy. How could anyone not love that?” – Matt G., general manager, Disneyland Park Food and Beverage

“Because one feels proud to be part of the magic that Disneyland creates, and from the time we are children, we wish to visit this wonderful place full of joy and dreams.” – Ricardo H., Central Bakery

“I love Disneyland because it was part of my childhood as a guest, teenager and college years as a cast member. I literally grew up here!” – Colleen N., CMR Program Manager

“Working with such an awesome and remarkable man [Oscar Martinez].” – Robin P., Carnation Café

“Because it is a place where families can pass on or make traditions for generations to come.” – Andrew S., Global Rooms Assignor

“Disneyland represents everything that has made America great: optimism, imagination, nostalgia, pioneering spirit and innovation.” – Nathan E., Disneyland Resort Creative Entertainment

“I’ve been watching Tinker Bell fly over Sleeping Beauty Castle for 50 years and it’s always just as magical for me as the first time!” – Sandy R., Pre-Arrival Sales

“The magic Disneyland creates leaves you with a big smile and a full heart.” – Jenny P., Disneyland Resort Casting

“How many places are there that you can be taking a break and have Goofy walk by and wave at you? You can’t help but smile.” – Cindy D., Public Affairs

“I love seeing one man’s dream being not only lived out, but still growing and evolving long after the dreamer has passed.” – Carrie H., Hollywood Land Attractions

“I love Disneyland park because when other people sigh and say, ‘I’m going to work,’ I say, ‘I’m going to the Magic Kingdom.’” – Wade H., Guest Service Manager

“It is the only place where I enjoy a Dole Whip for breakfast, five churros for lunch and a Mickey Pretzel. Plus another churro for dinner.” – Christian C., Disney University

“I grew up coming here with my family and friends, I met my true love here, made some of my best friends here, and it’s here that I get to spend my time with an amazing group of people at an opening-day attraction, cruising around the Jungle Rivers of the World… Move it up skip!” – Ryan W., Jungle Cruise



Take a look back at past Disneyland anniversary posts:

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Today in Disney History: Splash Mountain Marks 20 Years

posted on July 17th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


On this day, July 17, in 1992, Magic Kingdom Park unveiled a major attraction that forever changed the landscape of Frontierland – the 86-foot-tall Splash Mountain.
Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

Inspired by the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South,” the attraction tells the story of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear.

Several milestones were reached in the history of Disney attractions when Splash Mountain made its debut. For instance, this attraction features more than 70 Audio-Animatronics, which is one of the largest animated casts ever created for a Disney attraction. Splash Mountain also sports one of the biggest animated props ever built with its 35-foot-wide showboat. Also, the 52 ½-foot drop down Chickapin Hill at the end speeds guests at up to 40 miles per hour, one of the fastest speeds achieved at a Disney attraction.

So which do you enjoy more: Getting soaked on the attraction, or watching others get soaked from the viewing bridge?

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Caption This: Lucky the Dinosaur at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on July 16th, 2012 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


It was nine years ago next month that I first met Lucky the Dinosaur. We were at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to introduce Lucky, and the innovative technology from Walt Disney Imagineering that makes him possible, to the world. If you’re not familiar with Lucky, he’s a free-roaming, people-loving, 12-foot-long, 450-pound dinosaur who has occasionally appeared at Disney Parks. I last saw him at the D23 Expo in 2009.

We snapped this picture of Lucky roaming Disney California Adventure park during his very first visit in September 2003.

So, put on your pre-historic thinking caps and … “Caption This!”

Caption This: Lucky the Dinosaur at Disney California Adventure Park

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Olympians at Disneyland Park Through the Years

posted on July 13th, 2012 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


As we prepare to celebrate the USA Volleyball Team at Disneyland park on Tuesday, we look back at some other great Olympians who have visited us over the years.

As you might imagine, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were a pretty big deal for us here at the Disneyland Resort. In addition to a big fundraiser event for the U.S. Olympic Team that May (which included pyrotechnic Olympic rings suspended from a helicopter!), we hosted thousands of athletes, officials and dignitaries from more than 140 nations during the games themselves.

In 1988, we hosted a send-off for Team USA as they prepared to leave for the Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Following the games, we saluted our returning Olympians with an event featuring then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.

This video, produced before the most recent games, features archival photography from these events as well as individual visits from some of our Olympic heroes over the last four decades.

Read more about the history of Disneyland park in these posts:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: A Huey, Dewey & Louie Milestone

posted on July 12th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This week marks the halfway point for Major League Baseball, but baseball is always in full swing (yes, pun intended) with Huey, Dewey, and Louie over at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort at Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s a look at the triple threat playing some ball in the middle of the “Center Court” section of the resort just prior to opening in 1994.

“Huey,

What really catches my eye in the above photo are the colors of the nephews’ T-shirts – purple, orange, and pinkish-red. Is this troublesome trio going incognito with their rouge-colored shirts? Could this have been a mistake? Actually, it’s not.

According to “Disney A to Z” by Dave Smith, “Originally there was no way to tell Donald’s nephews apart, because the colors on their costumes were used interchangeably. Because the stories for the ‘Ducktales’ television series were more complicated than they were for the short Donald Duck cartoons, it was deemed necessary to distinguish between the three nephews. So, Huey was dressed in red, Dewey in blue, and Louie in green.” Today, at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort Huey, Dewey, and Louie still play baseball in Center Court, but in their appropriately colored shirts, clearing up any nephew confusion.

“Huey,

This year marks these loveable ducklings’ 75th anniversary, after first appearing in the Sunday comic strip “Silly Symphonies” back in 1937, where they appeared in their now classic red, blue and green t-shirts.

“Huey,

Look below for more posts from the Vintage Walt Disney World series:

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The Disney Gallery: A Hidden Treasure Celebrates 25 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on July 11th, 2012 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago today, on July 11, The Disney Gallery first opened its doors as a home to many of us at Disneyland park.
The Disney Gallery at Disneyland Park Celebrates 25 Years

For the first 20 years, this location sat high above Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square, tucked away from the world below, a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by passersby. A place conceptually designed as Walt Disney’s Royal Suite, where he could entertain and host notable public figures and family, the location became a home to numerous exhibits that lined the walls and rooms, filled with conceptual artwork that captured our imaginations and told countless stories over the years. And of course, it’s been home to many generations of great Disney artists, Imagineers and Disney Legends who stopped by for a visit many a time, meeting many of you, our Disney fans.
The Disney Gallery at Disneyland Park Celebrates 25 Years

Taking a brief hiatus in 2007 from its original location, The Disney Gallery reopened in 2009, becoming one of the first welcoming locations you encounter when entering Main Street, U.S.A.

In its current home, The Disney Gallery continues the tradition of great storytelling through frequently changing exhibits, such as the current installation, Crowning Achievements ~ Creating Castles for Magical Kingdoms.

The Disney Gallery has been my home away from home, so I welcome you to make it yours, too!

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Scaling the Majestic Matterhorn at Disneyland Park

posted on July 6th, 2012 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Mountain climbers have returned to the icy slopes of the majestic Matterhorn at Disneyland park this summer, continuing a tradition begun in the earliest days of the attraction. Our experienced team of climbers makes safety a top priority, and they’re able to have a little fun up there, too. In this video, Technical Director Mike Layman and the climbers themselves give us a unique perspective on this only-in-Disneyland experience.

The video also offers a glimpse of Alpine musician Happy Hans and his son, who were on hand for the grand reopening of the Matterhorn Bobsleds on June 15. While that was a one-day special appearance, you can enjoy the sight of the climbers on the mountain every day through Labor Day.

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