Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Epcot: A Look Back at Epcot’s CommuniCore

posted on August 30th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


In honor of the 30th anniversary of Epcot on October 1, my “Vintage Walt Disney World” column will turn “Vintage Epcot” for the next five weeks.

Oftentimes in my job, I wish there was a fountain of information somewhere that could give me answers to every question asked to me. If I had worked at Epcot in the ’80s, I could have just visited CommuniCore, where the Fountain of Information (pictured below) actually existed!
Fountain of Information in CommuniCore at Epcot in the 1980s

Before Innoventions, there was CommuniCore. Short for “Community Core,” this group of interactive exhibits invited guests to participate in experiencing the future.
CommuniCore at Epcot in the 1980s

Some of the exhibits guests could enjoy were Epcot Computer Central (pictured below), Energy Exchange, FutureCom, Electronic Forum and TravelPort.
Epcot Computer Central in CommuniCore at Epcot in the 1980s

Need to know the current U.S. Population? Who needs the census? CommuniCore had an up-to-date count of just how big the country was getting.
The U.S. Population Counter in CommuniCore at Epcot in the 1980s

If only the Computer Central could see our smartphones of today, it would be astounded.

Follow @WaltDisneyWorld for the latest on Epcot’s 30th anniversary. To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag #Epcot30.

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Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

posted on August 27th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend D23’s Destination D at the Disneyland Hotel. I listened to a fascinating presentation, “Animating the Disney Parks,” featuring Eddie Sotto and Imagineers Tony Baxter and Tom Morris. Each Imagineer shared the story of how legendary Disney animators and artists became the first Imagineers during the early development of Disneyland and then the Walt Disney World Resort.

“Claude

Tony Baxter, Walt Disney Imagineering senior vice president of creative development, got the discussion started with the story of his mentor, Claude Coats. Originally in 1935 as a background painter, Coats created the worlds of “Pinocchio,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lady and the Tramp.” His backgrounds created a sense of place, Baxter said, much like WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) would do in theme parks.

When Walt Disney was creating Disneyland, the talents of his animators were needed for this new medium. As Baxter recalled, Coats’ experience working on “Lady and the Tramp,” especially, gave him the inspiration to look at the world from an altered perspective – inspiration that would later lead to real-life experiences like Storybook Land Canal Boats and Adventure Thru Inner Space.

“Disneyland defined the ability to take you out of the world you live in,” Baxter said.

“Pirates

Coats was trained in architecture, Baxter said, which gave credibility to the environments he created. When the scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean were being developed, it was Coats who had the idea to paint the ceiling black, creating the illusion of a night sky and making the ceiling disappear – giving guests the sense of being outside at night.

Grand Canyon Diorama at Disneyland Park

You can see Coats’ background painting talents for yourself today in the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad.

Check back for more from “Animating the Disney Parks” – next time, we’ll focus on another master of creating a sense of place, Herb Ryman.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Hollywood Scoops Opens

posted on August 23rd, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


I scream. You scream. But it’s usually on the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror when at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, right? Not today, kids. I’m talking about my favorite food that’s always worth screaming about – ice cream.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Hollywood Scoops Opens

It wasn’t until today in 1999 that Hollywood Scoops started dishing up the delicious stuff (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and fat-free, sugar-free vanilla) to guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Sunset Boulevard. Here’s a look at Sunset Boulevard just prior to opening in 1994, without the scoop shop on the corner.

Sunset Blvd., at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Just Prior to Opening in 1994

Never passing up an opportunity to do some on-the-job research, I forced myself to head out to Hollywood Scoops last week with my friend Patrick in order to refresh our memories of the ice cream offerings they have there. Final verdict: delicious.

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Then and Now: Lafitte’s Anchor at Disneyland Park

posted on August 20th, 2012 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


One of my favorite things about Disneyland park is its history. As the first in what would become many Disney parks, Disneyland represents years of legacy and tradition. You may be able to name the attractions that still remain in the park since opening day, but what else? Which details, with their quiet stories, are still tucked away in corners of Disneyland park, 57 years later?

Lafitte's Anchor in Frontierland at Disneyland Park in 1955

In what was then Frontierland, guests in the summer of 1955 could see Lafitte’s Anchor – a “relic” from the pirate ship commanded by Jean Lafitte in the battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. But, as the plaque warned, “… don’t believe everything you read.”

Lafitte's Anchor Now Sits in New Orleans Square Along the Banks of the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park

The anchor has been moved a bit and has a new plaque, but you can still see this piece of Disneyland history in what is now New Orleans Square, along the banks of the Rivers of America.

What other bits of the past have you found while exploring Disneyland park?

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Kidding Around at Downtown Disney

posted on August 16th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Know a good joke? Well practice your delivery because today is National Tell a Joke Day. One place where the laughs (and jokes) used to entertain guests nightly was at the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Kidding Around at Downtown Disney

The 290 seat venue “where the tin roof rattled with laughter” was home to both headlining comedians and the Comedy Warehouse players who performed improvisational comedy shows nightly.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Kidding Around at Downtown Disney

This early artist rendering of the Comedy Warehouse gave it a completely different look and feel to the prop warehouse guests and cast members grew to love.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Kidding Around at Downtown Disney

While the laughs have stopped at the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island, last year the troupe was resurrected for a holiday special at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Today, guests can visit the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at Magic Kingdom Park for a fresh serving of jokes by the monsters of Monstropolis.

For more news from Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort, check out the posts below:

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Vintage Walt Disney World: The Tower of Life Debuts at Epcot

posted on August 9th, 2012 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Today, back in 1989, the Tower of Life was put in to place at the former Wonders of Life Pavilion at Epcot.

“The

This 75-foot-tall, colorful landmark was a replica of DNA weighing in at 25 metric tons in shades of turquoise, magenta, gold and silver and greeted guests as they entered the Wonders of Life.

“The

So just how tall would a human being have to be to have that DNA molecule inside of their body? Considering that the average DNA strand would stretch six inches end to end, they would need to be six million miles tall. Whoa.

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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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