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

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: Residential Street

posted on April 29th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Do you remember Residential Street? The nice, quaint neighborhood in the heart of Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Of course, this neighborhood was actually a line of facades. Used in various TV shows and commercials as well as movies, some of the homes on Residential Street looked familiar to guests when they drove by on the Studio Backlot Tour.

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Homes made appearances in such films as “Splash Too” and “Ernest Saves Christmas,” but the most recognizable ones from Residential Street belonged the family from “Empty Nest” and the ladies from the “Golden Girls.”

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Below is an aerial view of Residential Street in October 1988 prior to the opening of the park.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Magic of Disney Animation

posted on April 24th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


When Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened The Magic of Disney Animation gave a firsthand look inside the interworking of Walt Disney Animation Florida.

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This behind-the-scenes tour began with the short film “Back to Never Land” taking guests on a journey through the animation process.

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Afterwards, guests had the opportunity to peer through glass walls to witness members of the animation team at work. guests also had the opportunity to watch an animator sketch a Disney character right before their eyes.

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Walt Disney Animation Florida was responsible for the primary production of three full-length animated feature films – Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear. They also produced three animation shorts, “Off His Rockers,” and two Roger Rabbit Cartoons – “Trail Mix-Up” and “Roller Coaster Rabbit.”


For more posts in this series, read the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Download Our Exclusive Carousel of Progress Wallpaper

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As Jennifer shared earlier this morning, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. And one of the attractions designed for the fair that made its way into Disney Parks is a reader favorite – the Carousel of Progress.

Today, we’re featuring the attraction in our newest desktop/smartphone wallpaper created by artist Jason “Tiki” Tackett.
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Be sure to check out the terms of use about using the and wallpaper before you download it.

And don’t miss our growing gallery of wallpapers created especially for Disney Parks Blog readers.


Read more about Disney attractions at the World’s Fair in the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Today in Disney History: 1964 New York World’s Fair Opened 50 Years Ago Today

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


You may have noticed the beautiful artwork that’s appearing above on the blog today – and it’s all in honor of the 50th anniversary of the April 22 opening of the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Artwork by Disney Legend John Hench

It was for this World’s Fair that Walt Disney and his team designed several attractions that would eventually make their way into Disney theme parks, including “it’s a small world,” Carousel of Progress, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Ford Magic Skyway (part of which would become the Primeval World along Disneyland Railroad).

Walt’s involvement with the World’s Fair gave his team new opportunities to develop innovative technology and Audio-Animatronics figures that would take Disney attractions to a new level. It also gave us Disney Parks fans a few Sherman Brothers songs that we’ve come to cherish over the years: “it’s a small world (after all)” for the “it’s a small world” attraction and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for Carousel of Progress.

Be sure to check out original World’s Fair attraction sketches and artwork from the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library in our header section above.


Read more about Disney attractions at the World’s Fair in the posts below:

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A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: SuperStar Television

posted on April 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today, we’re continuing to celebrate Disney’s Hollywood Studios opening-day attractions with a look into SuperStar Television, an attraction that let learn about and even participate in “live” television broadcasts.

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At SuperStar Television, guests were cast in roles in popular TV shows like “General Hospital,” “Bonanza,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Cheers”, among others. The guests, paired up with the SuperStar Television cast, would act out their assigned roles on sets or in front of a screens, while the live studio audience could watch the finished product air on screens above.

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One of my favorite scenes that guests got to take part in was the famous scene from “I Love Lucy,” in which Lucy and Ethel take on a speeding conveyer belt of chocolates. The guest would take on the role of Ethel.

Were you ever chosen to participate in SuperStar Television? Tell us about it in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Step in Time: ‘Share A Dream Come True’ Parade Marks 100 Years of Magic

posted on April 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The “Share A Dream Come True” parade made its debut at Magic Kingdom Park on October 1, 2001, just in time for Walt Disney World Resort’s 100 Years of Magic Celebration, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.

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The parade kicked off with a mini float, upon which a performer dressed as an animator sketched Mickey Mouse at his desk and was followed by a string of floats that each showcased a different Disney film. Each float, designed as a life-sized snowglobe, contained a scene from a Disney film that was being recreated right before your eyes, such as the magic carpet scene from “Aladdin.” The procession also featured a Villains float, in which the Chernabog held the giant snowglobe, which was occupied by other Disney villains, including Captain Hook, Cruella DeVille and Jafar, among others.


For more from the “Step in Time” series, read the posts below:

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Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Milt Albright

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


With the passing of Disney Legend Milt Albright last week, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to him and highlight a few of the many successes of his 45-year career with Disney.

(April 11, 2013)  Main Street Windows (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

Milt always said his luckiest day was June 19, 1947 – the day he achieved his goal to work for Walt Disney. It all started 10 years earlier, in December 1937, when he saw a Time magazine cover story featuring fellow Missourian, Walt Disney. He knew then and there that it was his destiny to work for The Walt Disney Company.

Milt was born in Kearney, Mo., on June 7, 1916. He was the oldest of three boys and grew up on the family farm north of Kansas City. When Milt was a young man, a friend of his father paid him to deliver a car to Los Angeles. He fell in love with the area and decided to make Southern California his home.

Milt joined the Walt Disney Studios in 1947 as a junior accountant. Working in the Payroll Department, he was entrusted with the job of preparing and delivering paychecks for top executives, which brought him into direct contact with both Walt and Roy Disney.

By 1953, the self-described “poor accountant” had another goal – he wanted to be involved with the development of Walt’s new “amusement” park in Anaheim. In an attempt to gain attention from Walt, Milt, an automobile buff, designed a miniature car using a 1954 Corvette as his model for what would eventually become the Autopia attraction. Walt was intrigued by the fiberglass auto and took it for a drive before Milt could explain that it was not finished – it had no brakes.

“Well, Walt crashed into a wall to stop it and the body of the car split in half like a walnut,” Milt recalled in a 1987 interview with the Anaheim Bulletin. While Walt was not impressed with the car, he did take note of Milt.

In the spring of 1954, Milt was hired as manager of accounting for Disneyland. “I got to come down here because they wanted somebody they could trust,” said Milt. “Didn’t have to be very smart – just honest.” Milt hung a framed organizational chart in his office that was the first such chart for the park. It was dated July 1, 1954, and had 17 “employees” on it including Milt, Walt and Ron Miller, who eventually became president of Walt Disney Productions.

In 1957, Milt became manager of Holidayland, a private party and picnic area (near the area that is now Critter Country) designed for group events. In 1958, he transferred to Group Sales where he founded one of the most innovative and successful in-house marketing programs ever conceived. It was called the Magic Kingdom Club, and it offered discounts and special admission tickets to card holders. At its peak, the Magic Kingdom Club boasted nearly 6 million members associated with more than 30,000 companies worldwide. Milt also extended the private party concept to Grad Nite. The first Grad Nite, held on June 15, 1961, was one night only with about 8,000 graduates from 30 local high schools in attendance. The Grad Nite program continues to be successful today and remains a popular tradition for many Southern California graduates.

In the late 1970s, Milt became manager of special projects for Marketing. He was later promoted to manager of Guest Communications, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.

Upon his retirement on July 17, 1992, Milt said, “I had the enormous good fortune to be hired by the finest entertainment company in the world. I believed it then, and I believe it still. Based on a lifetime with Disney, I would say with great conviction to any young person that you’ll never find a better place to start. Tough out the lean early years, learn Disney teamwork and don’t be afraid to innovate … to come up with new ideas. I’ve had 45 years of challenge and some success in Marketing because I took a chance and built an Autopia prototype car for Walt.”

Milt was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A., in 1992. The window, located above The Mad Hatter, highlights Milt’s innovative business sense and his ambition to take on any project: Milt Albright, Entrepreneur, “No Job Too Big – No Job Too Small.”

Milt was named a Disney Legend in 2005 for his significant contributions to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He passed away on April 7, at the age of 97.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Past Epcot International Flower & Garden Festivals

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Celebrating its 21st year, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom. My favorite part of the festival is all the topiaries throughout the Park. Here’s a look at a past topiary from the 1998 festival – Phil. (Hercules’s trainer)

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There are almost 100 topiaries at Epcot this year with 79 character topiaries to enjoy. What’s your favorite topiary past or present from the festival? Tell me in the “Comments” section below!

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Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

The History of the Walt Disney World Monorail: Mark VI, 1989-Present

posted on April 15th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


The Mark VI Monorail made its debut at Walt Disney World Resort in June 1989. Below is a look at one of the first trains being loaded onto the monorail track.

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The Mark VI trains had wider monorail doors, improved air conditioning (great for that warm, summer Florida weather) and communication systems and increased interior height for standees.

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The first two Mark VI Monorails were operated and tested at night without guests until December 1989 when Monorail Blue started transporting guests. This new fleet of monorail trains, built by Bombardier, increased guest capacity by 30 percent.

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Today, the Mark VI Monorail trains carry an average of 16 million passengers annually at the Walt Disney World Resort, and is still one of the coolest “non-attraction” attractions, in my opinion, at Walt Disney World Resort.

See the posts below for more on the history of Monorails at Disney Parks:

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Step In Time: The Fun Return of ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ to Magic Kingdom Park in 1999

posted on April 14th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


If you’re a fan of the “Main Street Electrical Parade,” then this is a video from our archives that you absolutely must see.

In May 1999, a few weeks before “Main Street Electrical Parade” made its return to Magic Kingdom Park, the parade floats were taken out of the park for a rare overnight road test. See this amazing sight below.

Can you imagine passing some of these sights on your way to your Disney resort?

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort