Fireworks at Disneyland Park

A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Johnny Cash – 1961

posted on February 26th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Music legend Johnny Cash was born on this day in 1932, and today we’re sharing a rarely seen photo of “The Man in Black” during a visit to Disneyland park..

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This picture of Mr. Cash in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat was taken in the summer of 1961.

He really seems to fit the part, don’t you think?

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Step In Time: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Makes Its Parade Debut In ‘Disney Character Hit Parade’ at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 24th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


A new parade debuted at Magic Kingdom Park on October 1, 1989 – the Disney Character Hit Parade (also known as the “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Parade”).

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Mickey Mouse, outfitted in white ship captain’s attire, led the procession atop a gleaming steamboat. Following along were the Country Bears, as well as Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear. The Mad Hatter from “Alice In Wonderland” rode along the parade route in a gazebo, while Cinderella appeared in her pumpkin coach. Another fun aspect of this parade was a team of rollerskaters, who whirled along the parade route.

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Another notable fact was that this was the first parade to feature an appearance by the cast of “The Little Mermaid,” which was released earlier that year. Check out their first float above, which featured Ariel, Ursula, Prince Eric and Sebastian.

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A Look Back at Celebrated Disneyland Resort Guests: Ansel Adams – 1981

posted on February 20th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


On this date in 1902, photographer and conservationist Ansel Adams was born in California. His photography of the American West, particularly of Yosemite National Park, is among the most iconic imagery of the 20th century.

In 1980, Mr. Adams received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor. His citation reads: “At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both in film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.”

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This rarely seen photo from our archives, taken around the time of his 79th birthday in February 1981, shows Mr. Adams being greeted outside City Hall at Disneyland park by Mickey Mouse.

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This Week in Disney History: The Muppets Join the Disney Family

posted on February 20th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today on the Disney Parks Blog, we’re celebrating one of the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational moments in Disney history – the 10th anniversary of the day when The Muppets officially joined the Disney family!

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Although Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang were officially welcomed into Disney in 2004, the partnership between Disney Parks and The Muppets started years earlier, with a Muppet*Vision 3D attraction debuting at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in 1991. The attraction was later added to Disney California Adventure park at Disneyland Resort in 2001.

Stay tuned for more Muppets coverage today!

Thanks to Jason “Tiki” Tackett for the special Disney Parks Blog logo.

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Step In Time: ‘We the People’ All America Parade at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


As Walt Disney World Resort’s 15th anniversary celebration came to a close in fall 1987, a new parade replaced the “15 Years of Magic.” “We the People All-America Parade” stepped off September 20, 1987.

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The procession featured Mickey and Minnie in colonial attire riding atop an oversized Constitution float, surrounded by a marching band. There was a float for country bears with a country band, floats based on “American” sights, including a lighthouse, steamboat and a barn, among others. Disney characters appeared in attire themed to their floats, such as Goofy dressed in cowboy gear.

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Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Marc and Alice Davis

posted on February 14th, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


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As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to highlight the only married couple who have each been honored with their own windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park – Marc and Alice Davis. Married in 1956, the couple is said to have enjoyed a “Disney fairy-tale-romance-come-true” for 44 years until Marc’s death in 2000. Their windows, which are a tribute to their outstanding contributions to Disneyland, are side-by-side just north of the Main Street Cinema as a representation of their lifelong partnership.

Marc and Alice first met at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute, which was a training ground for many Disney artists. Marc was an instructor and Alice was a student. Marc joined the Disney Studio in 1935 as an assistant animator, and later became an Imagineer. He was also a member of the elite group referred to as Walt’s “Nine Old Men.” Marc dedicated his creative genius to helping Walt bring his ideas to life. When reflecting on his years at Disney, Marc once said, “I rarely felt confined to the animation medium. I worked as an idea man and loved creating characters, whether they be for animation or any other medium.”

Marc is probably best known as the father of some of Disney’s most memorable animated women, including Cruella De Vil from “101 Dalmatians,” Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty,” and Tinker Bell from “Peter Pan.” When asked to choose a favorite among his creations, Marc replied, “Each of my women characters has her own unique style; I love them all in different ways.”

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Marc also contributed story and character concepts to Disneyland attractions such as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world,” Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise.

During this time, Alice was making a name for herself as the original “designing woman” at Walt Disney Imagineering. She collaborated with art director and Disney Legend Mary Blair on the “it’s a small world” attraction for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Alice researched, designed and supervised the creation of more than 150 highly detailed costumes for the Audio-Animatronics children of the world. Later she translated pirate attire from her husband Marc’s original drawings into clothing designs and patterns for Pirates of the Caribbean in 1965. Alice once recalled with a gleam in her eye, “I went from sweet little children to dirty old men over night.”

While both retired in 1978, Marc continued to lend his expertise to the development of Epcot Center and Tokyo Disneyland, and Alice continued as a consultant. Marc was named a Disney Legend in 1989 and Alice in 2004. They were also long-time supporters of the California Institute of the Arts, which was founded by Walt Disney.

Marc’s window reflects his personal passion for primitive art: “Far East Imports – Exotic Art – Marc Davis – Proprietor”; while Alice’s window highlights her role: “Small World Costume Co. – Alice Davis – Seamstress to the Stars.”

At the dedication of her window on May 10, 2012, Alice stated, “All things good you have to wait a while for. After 83 years, I got my wish.”

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The History of the Walt Disney World Monorail: Mark IV, 1971-1989

posted on February 13th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


As we continue our popular series on the history of the monorails at Disney Parks, Erin Glover asked me to step in and tell you the stories of the Mark IV and VI monorails at the Walt Disney World Resort. When Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, it also brought with it a new era in monorail trains, the Mark IV. The nearly 3-mile monorail track provided a means of transportation for guests visiting Magic Kingdom Park.

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The Imagineers wanted to uphold Walt Disney’s vision of an immersive experience when developing the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, ensuring that guests left the real world behind. The Seven Seas Lagoon separated guest parking from the entrance to Magic Kingdom Park, making the monorail an integral part of transporting guests into a truly far-away land.

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Imagineer Bob Gurr based the design of the Walt Disney World Monorail System on the original monorails at Disneyland Resort while giving it an updated look.

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On opening day, there were ten trains built with five cars each on two monorail tracks (express and Disney Resort hotels) for guests to make their way to experience the magic.

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Remembering Shirley Temple at Disneyland Resort

posted on February 11th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


Iconic film star from the 1930s, turned U.S. diplomat, Shirley Temple Black, passed away yesterday at the age of 85. Although she never appeared in a Disney film, she knew Walt Disney, and has a unique place in our history including an animated caricature cameo in the Donald Duck short, “The Autograph Hound,” as well as her service as a member of the Disney board of directors in the mid-1970s.

But we have a special memory of Shirley Temple here at the Disneyland Resort that some people may not be aware of.

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In April 1957, Walt Disney invited Shirley to oversee the opening of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Diorama.

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Her daughters Lori and Linda can be seen in the background, along with her husband, Charles Black.

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She later said this was the last time she saw Walt Disney, whom she remembered fondly.

It was 18 years earlier that Shirley, at the height of her phenomenal film career, presented Walt Disney with a special Academy Award (including seven miniature statuettes) for “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” in acknowledgment of the “significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.”

A photo of this iconic moment in Hollywood history hangs proudly in the hallway leading to the dining room of Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure park.

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Shirley: “I’m sure all the boys and girls in the whole world are going to be very happy when they find out the daddy of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ Mickey Mouse, Ferdinand and all the others is going to get this beautiful statue. Isn’t bright and shiny! Aren’t you proud of it, Mr. Disney?”

Walt: “I’m so proud I think I’ll bust. You know I think that Mickey Mouse, Ferdinand, Snow White and all the dwarfs are going to be very proud that you presented it.”

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Step In Time: Marking 15 Years At Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Magic Kingdom Park ushered in its 15th Anniversary celebration on October 1, 1986, with a new “15 Years of Magic” parade, which featured 40 Disney characters, new floats and a special “We’re Having A Party” theme song.

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Leading off the daily parade was the guest of the day, who was randomly selected to win a new red Chevrolet Cavalier convertible (a giveaway that was done daily throughout the park’s 15-year celebration). Chip and Dale followed as the lead singers on a rock-and-roll themed float, while Pluto, Big Bad Wolf, Tigger and Brer Bear served as the backup band. Eight rollerskaters circled the parade float as it rocked down the parade route. Next up was Donald Duck, who was the center of attention on a party themed float decorated with streamers and full of gift boxes. One float that was not-to-be-missed was the birthday cake float. On it, Country Bears Wendell, Shaker and Liver Lips are having quite a time trying to get the cake baked. The finale parade float was a crystal version of Cinderella Castle, with Goofy waving from the top.

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Ride a Train into Disney History at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Clankety clank…chug chug…Woot! Woot!

Anyone who’s been to Magic Kingdom Park is familiar with the ubiquitous Walt Disney World Railroad as it transports guests on its 1.5-mile track. But do you know the story behind the trains? How they run? The names of the trains?

You can learn all that and more, as I did recently, on The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour. This three-hour outing before the park opens to guests, offers a behind-the-scenes peek at the railroad’s operations, led by a tour guide who also happens to be one of the engineers. Joe, our guide, was lively, entertaining and informative, weaving tales of the railroad’s story and its complexities, general railroad lore, and especially of Walt’s longtime affinity for trains.

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We found out what the fireman does (fire up and tend to the steam engine…and to “make the engineer happy”), how the station conductor and train conductor coordinate so the trains leave the stations safely, how the steam engines run, and how they’re prepped each morning and repaired in the roundhouse.

The park’s four trains—the Walter E. Disney, Lilly Belle, Roy O. Disney and Roger E. Broggie—run on low-sulfur diesel that heats the water that creates the steam power. Originally wood burners, these rusting steam engines were rescued from Yucatan, Mexico, and painstakingly refurbished to the magnificent machines we know today.

Walt’s fascination with trains began in his youth working for the Santa Fe Railroad. He later built his own railroad, known as the Carolwood Pacific, in his backyard at 1/8 scale. Not surprisingly, Walt came up with the initial sketches for both Mickey Mouse and Disneyland park while riding on trains.

You don’t have to be a train aficionado to enjoy The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour. And the great thing about it is each tour guide is unique, sharing their own wisdom and facts, making each tour a possibly brand-new experience. It’s a fascinating journey into an important chapter of Disney history not to be missed. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations.

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