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Walt Disney and the Disney Characters at Disneyland Park

posted on August 8th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Taking a picture with the Disney characters at Disneyland park is a popular activity for many guests. For Walt Disney, taking a picture with the Disney characters must have felt a little like a family reunion.

By the time Disneyland park opened in 1955, Walt Disney had released more than a dozen animated features and scores of animated shorts, introducing enduring Disney characters to the world. We recently came across photos of some of these beloved personalities standing with the man who brought them to life.

This first photo we’re happy to share was taken in the fall of 1965 at Sleeping Beauty Castle. I count at least 15 characters in this picture. Do you have a favorite?

Walt Disney Takes a Photo with Disney Characters in Front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in 1965

Check back soon for more pictures of Walt and the Disney characters!

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Dog Days of Summer, 1973

posted on August 8th, 2013 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


We’re right in the heart of the “dog days” of summer. Phew, it’s warm! But you know what’s cool? These two Disney dogs at Magic Kingdom Park back in the summer of 1973.
“Goofy

Ever wonder why they’re called the “dog days”? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians believed that Sirius, the dog star, which rises simultaneously with the Sun during this time of the year, added its heat to the Sun’s.” This, in turn, causes the warm weather. I’m already dreaming of the cooler autumn days to come.

For more Vintage Walt Disney World, read the posts below:

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Disneyland Resort Canoe Races Celebrate 50 Years of Cast Camaraderie

posted on August 7th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


This summer, 80 teams of Disneyland Resort cast members raced around the Rivers of America during one of the oldest and most beloved cast traditions: the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races.

Cast Members, Imagineers, and Employees of The Walt Disney Company Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races

Now in their 50th year, the canoe races began in 1963 when Ray Van De Warker, foreman of the Indian War Canoes attraction, observed a guest canoe filled with athletes charging around the Rivers of America. Ray and Jungle Cruise foreman Bob Penfield debated how fast their teams could get around the river and a challenge was set forth between the Frontierland cast and Adventureland cast. That summer ignited a cast tradition that has spread to the Walt Disney World Resort, Toyko Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Joins the Canoe Races Tradition

“I had no idea the races would ever be this successful … they’re world famous now,” said Penfield, who is retired after more than for 42 years with the Disneyland Resort. “The camaraderie and teamwork that forms from participating in races is outstanding and leads to a lot of great memories and friendships.”

Cast Members, Imagineers, and Employees of The Walt Disney Company Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races

Cast members, Imagineers and employees from all over The Walt Disney Company participate in three divisions: Men, Women and Coed. This year’s champions crossed the finish line this morning before Disneyland park opened. Congratulations team OAR Lords (3:57), team DC Anchor Ladies (4:26) and team United (4:12) for winning the 50th annual Disneyland Resort Canoe Races!

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Opens Its Doors

posted on August 1st, 2013 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Today, back in 1997, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort opened at Walt Disney World Resort. Inspired by the grand haciendas and elegant mission cities of the Spanish Colonial era in Latin America, this Disney Resort hotel has over 1,900 guest rooms and is home to one of the coolest pools on property – the Dig Site. Here’s a look at the Dig Site still under construction in an undated photograph.
The Dig Site Pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort During its Construction

Home to the 46-foot Mayan pyramid with water cascading down its ceremonial stone steps, this pool area represents the imaginary discovery of a lost Mayan kingdom during a present-day archaeological dig.
The Dig Site Pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

The Dig Site also boasts one of the largest outdoor hot tubs at Walt Disney World Resort, with enough room for 22 guests – making it a great spot to relax after spending a day in the parks.


Check out more posts from the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series below:

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Take 5: Disneyland 58th Anniversary Celebration

posted on July 20th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Then Creole Café, Now Café Orleans

July 17 marks a very special day for the Disneyland Resort. On Wednesday, we celebrated 58 years of magic at the Happiest Place on Earth. Read the posts below to find out how various Disney Parks Blog authors took a look back to honor the park. Happy 58th anniversary, Disneyland!

Take 5: Disneyland 58th Anniversary Celebration

  1. Then and Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 1 – Leading up to the 58th anniversary of Disneyland, Kevin Rafferty, Jr., shared a special “Then and Now” series featuring Disneyland Resort cast members.
  2. Taking it Slow: Celebrating the 58th Anniversary of Disneyland with Fireworks – We celebrated the 58th anniversary of Disneyland on Wednesday with a slow-motion look at “Magical” fireworks spectacular.
  3. Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 2 – Continuing the celebration of the 58th anniversary of Disneyland – take a look at the Jungle Cruise in 1965 and now.
  4. A Few of My Favorite Things – Happy Anniversary, Disneyland! – Michelle Harker shares some of her favorite Disneyland memories in honor of the 58th anniversary.
  5. Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 3 – Finishing Kevin’s “Then and Now” series, we see a Disneyland cast member on the Tom Sawyer Island River Raft in 1987 and catch back up with her now.
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Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 3

posted on July 17th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Rounding out our three-part “Then & Now” series celebrating the 58th anniversary of the Disneyland Resort is this image of a Tom Sawyer Island River Raft journeying across the Rivers of America.
“Then

Then: Cast member Karen Marshall waves to guests in 1987.

Now: Karen Marshall, guest experience services, chats with Kevin Concepcion, Pirates Lair Rafts lead. Karen, who has worked at the Disneyland Resort since 1972, said, “I have many great memories from when I started working at Disneyland park so many years ago. Back then, I never could have imagined all of the changes that have taken place. It has been so much fun watching the Disneyland Resort grow and offer more amazing experiences for our guests to enjoy.”

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Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 2

posted on July 15th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Continuing our three-part “Then & Now” series celebrating the 58th anniversary of the Disneyland Resort is this image of the Jungle Cruise.
“Then

Then: A Jungle Cruise skipper unloads a boat in 1965.

Now: Jungle Cruise Skipper Randy Grant carries out the same duty. “I’m enough of a dreamer that I understand the concept Walt had for the park,” Randy said. “I think he would be pleased that the Disneyland Resort is still growing. It proves his idea and his dream correct, that this is a place where people can be a kid no matter what age they are.”

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Then and Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 1

posted on July 12th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


The Disneyland Resort marks 58 years of history, change and growth on its anniversary next week, July 17. Through the years, one aspect of the Disneyland Resort that remains unchanged is the importance of our cast members to preserving Walt Disney’s vision.

To celebrate the anniversary on the Disney Parks Blog, this is the first of a three-part series blending historical images of our cast with photos of those who carry on Walt’s legacy today.

Then Creole Café, Now Café Orleans

Then: Walt Disney poses for a photo with cast members at the Creole Café, now Café Orleans, in 1966.

Now: Café Orleans Lead Tammy Peterson poses in the same spot. She recalls, “As a kid, we would have to do chores to earn money to get to Disneyland. Now, I get to bring my grandkids.”

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Vintage Walt Disney World: ‘Bearing’ The Summer Heat

posted on July 11th, 2013 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Back in 1986, the Country Bears from the Country Bear Jamboree in Magic Kingdom Park invited guests to “forget your cares an’ join us bears in the great outdoors” when “The Country Bear Vacation Hoedown” version of the show debuted, temporarily replacing the original show.
Vintage Walt Disney World: 'Bearing' The Summer Heat
This summer-themed show featured Shaker going to the beach and winding up in an entanglement with his octopus friend, Delores, while Wendell’s vacation slideshow drove Max, Buff and Melvin up a wall.

Vintage Walt Disney World: 'Bearing' The Summer Heat Vintage Walt Disney World: 'Bearing' The Summer Heat

I never had the opportunity to attend Camp Grizzly, but it sure looks like it’d be a lot of fun. (Not to mention a cool vintage t-shirt idea).
Vintage Walt Disney World: 'Bearing' The Summer Heat
Although you can’t catch these bears on vacation nowadays, you can still catch them at “The Country Bear Jamboree” attraction in Frontierland. Just bear to the left right before you get to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe.

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Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Chuck Boyajian

posted on July 9th, 2013 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


“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

Walt Disney was committed to making Disneyland stand apart from other amusements enterprises, and as a result, Disney Parks are known not only for providing safe, quality family entertainment, but they are also the cleanest parks in the world. In 1955, Walt personally chose Charles “Chuck” Boyajian to lead the janitorial team, and charged him with the somewhat daunting task of keeping his Magic Kingdom “as clean as you can keep it.”

Chuck was originally a foreman for American Building Maintenance (ABM), the company Walt contracted to clean the park. Walt soon realized that he needed his own staff in order to achieve his vision of hospitality that included superior cleanliness. After hiring Chuck, Walt spent a great deal of time mentoring him so that Chuck understood exactly what he wanted. Walt explained that it was not just about cleaning, it was about providing a great guest experience. He taught Chuck about the quality of service provided on a luxury ocean liner or at a top notch hotel – and that was the experience he wanted for his guests at Disneyland. Walt wanted sparkling restrooms, no visible trash and clean facilities – all to be delivered by helpful and friendly custodians.

As the very first manager of what is now called Custodial Guest Services, Chuck spent 25 years establishing a reputation of cleanliness and efficiency that had never been seen before in an outdoor entertainment venue. From the beginning, Chuck was innovative in his approach to cleaning the grounds and structures of Disneyland park. Specifically, he had the challenge of keeping the park clean while guests were present. This meant never closing restrooms or allowing the function of cleaning to detract from the guest experience. The concept of cleaning throughout the day was a departure from industry standards of the 1950’s, as it was customary for facilities to be cleaned only after closing.

Chuck trained a “Disney Dynasty” of Custodial hosts and hostesses, who are proud to say decades later that they are members of “The Team that Chuck Built.” Like Walt, Chuck believed that “cleanliness breeds cleanliness,” and working with longtime friends and creative colleagues such as Tom Roppa, Roy Young, Ray Sidejas, Wayne Culver, and Mike Sweeney, Chuck and his team were able to achieve Walt’s vision of maintaining the cleanest parks in the world. Chuck once commented on his team stating, “The men and women of our Custodial operations have set the industry standards for cleanliness. The pride of our cast members is unsurpassed.”

Chuck also brought his expertise to the establishment of the custodial functions for the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971, and for Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. When a nervous new sweeper once asked for guidance, Chuck replied, “How spic do I want the area? Well, I’ll tell you, son. No less than span!”

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Chuck Boyajian

Chuck retired in 1981; however, he remains a legend among his professional successors, who continue the traditions established by Chuck at Disneyland more than 50 years ago. To this day, almost 58 years after the opening of Disneyland park, only four individuals, including Chuck, have had the great responsibility and honor of leading the custodial operation. Chuck received a window on Main Street, U.S.A., in 1981. The window, which is located above the Market House, is aptly inscribed: Royal Care Co., “We Keep Your Castle Shining,” Chuck Boyajian, Prop.

Chuck passed away on August 1, 2004. He was named a Disney Legend in 2005.

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