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Today in Disney History: Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland Opens at Disneyland Park

posted on June 10th, 2015 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


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Today we mark the 55th anniversary of a Disneyland attraction very close to my heart. On June 10, 1960, Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland opened in Frontierland. As a child growing up in Anaheim, my family would visit Disneyland several times a year. I always asked to go on the mules first. I was excited even standing in the queue, on the wooden planks laid next to the trail, just to be close to these four-legged transports. Once in the saddle, I was transformed, dreaming my own wild west dreams, as the mules carried us over the Frontierland terrain and into the town of Rainbow Ridge. It’s not unrealistic to think that the love I have for horses was born in those moments.

Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland at Disneyland Park Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland at Disneyland Park

For readers not old enough to have enjoyed the Disneyland mule attraction in one of its three iterations, (Mule Pack from 1955-1959, Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules, and Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland from 1960-1973) you can still share some of the nostalgia when riding on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The town of Rainbow Ridge, once home to the mules carrying would-be cowboys and cowgirls like myself, still stands in the shadow of the mountain.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Top Five: Donald Duck at Disney Parks

posted on June 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Happy birthday to Donald Duck!

On this day in Disney history, Donald made his film debut in “The Wise Little Hen” Silly Symphony short. Over the years, he’s been a guest favorite at Disney Parks around the globe, whether it’s meeting him during a character greeting, spotting him in “Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade” or shopping for Donald gifts.

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In celebration of his big day, let’s take a look back at some of our most popular Donald blog posts of all time:

Learn to Draw: Donald Duck – Draw your own Donald with this video tutorial that offers step-by-step directions.

Donald Duck & Daisy Wallpaper – Check out our downloadable desktop/mobile wallpaper.

Step In Time: Donald Duck’s Birthday Parade Takes Flight at Magic Kingdom Park – Take a peek back at 1984, when an entire parade marked a milestone birthday for our fowl friend.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Donald’s Special Day – Take a look back at Donald’s decades spent at Disney Parks.

Disney Parks Merchandise: Celebrating 80 Years of Donald Duck – Check out some beloved Donald Duck souvenirs.

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

Caption This: Goofy Plays Ball at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on June 8th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This early 1970s photo was snapped at Magic Kingdom Park. It sure looks like Goofy and friends are “having a ball” on the castle lawn.

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This pic is perfect for a great caption. Leave yours in the comments section below!

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

Disney Days Of Past: Remember ‘Oliver & Company’?

posted on June 4th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Are you a cat owner? Did you hug your cat today? If not, there’s still time as it’s National Hug Your Cat Day. (I can’t make this stuff up.) There are quite a few Disney cats you could hug, but today we’ll celebrate Oliver from Walt Disney Pictures’ “Oliver & Company.” Here is Oliver with Jenny, Dodger, Tito and Georgette at Magic Kingdom Park in 1988.

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Who’s your favorite Disney cat? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Disney Vacation Club Explores Disney’s Wild West

posted on May 31st, 2015 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine


Greetings from somewhere between Ketchikan and Vancouver!

Today marks the final day of our first Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise to Alaska, where our adventures through the Wild West have included a bit of time travel.

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Two of my very favorite people – Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and Disney author and historian Tim O’Day – are taking members on an irreverent journey through “Disney’s Wild West,” one of several unique entertainment experiences created for this special charter voyage. Their fast-paced presentation uses filmed treasures and rare artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives to illustrate “8 Simple Rules for Enjoying Life in Disney’s Wild West.” If history class had been this entertaining, I would’ve paid far closer attention.

Becky and Tim asked if they could share some artifacts with all of you, and I always do what historians tell me.

I’ll leave them to show off their treasures while I go grab seats for “Broadway and Beyond: Songs We’re Wild About,” a new finale concert created by our friends from Disney Theatrical Productions. Man I’m going to hate seeing this voyage come to an end. By this time tomorrow, the artifacts will be back in their vault, the celebrities will be back doing whatever celebrities do, and my bed will be in the same zip code every night. Good thing there’s another Member Cruise in August!

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Filed: Disney Cruise Line, Disney History, Disney Vacation Club

Today in Disney History: Muppet*Vision 3D Opened Its Doors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 30th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Muppet*Vision 3D officially opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on this day back in 1991.

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This 3D attraction features favorite Muppet characters – and the world’s first computer-generated Muppet, Waldo C. Graphic – in hilarious musical numbers. (And who can forget that glorious three hour finale?).

What do you love about this attraction? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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

Disney Days of Past: Mickey’s Birthdayland Becomes Mickey’s Starland at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 28th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Mickey’s Birthdayland became Mickey’s Starland at Magic Kingdom Park this week in 1990. A few of the local residents gathered by the town sign to commemorate the name change.

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Mickey’s Starland eventually became Mickey’s Toontown Fair in 1996. Now, of course, it’s home to Storybook Circus, where you can fly on an elephant, feel the thrill of The Barnstormer or visit some familiar friends at Pete’s Silly Sideshow.

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The Disney Gallery Unveils New Exhibit for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on May 22nd, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


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May 22 is finally here, and the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration is underway! While there’s so much to see and do, one place I couldn’t resist visiting on one of my shopping adventures was The Disney Gallery located in the lobby of The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. A new exhibit was unveiled just this morning — Drawing Disneyland: The Early Years – Imagineers Who Helped Bring Walt’s Dream To Life.

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I had the chance to get the back-story about this exciting new exhibit which of course, I wanted to share with all of you:

Walt Disney had an idea for “a family park, where parents and children could have fun together.” Problem is, he didn’t know how to design and build it. Unfortunately, neither did the architecture and engineering firm he hired. That’s when Walt’s longtime friend, architect Welton Becket, told him the best people to design the park were his own animators and art directors. These were the people who best understood Walt and what he wanted to do.

So in 1952 Walt formed WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) and recruited members of his own staff from the Disney Studio, as well as designers and artists from other studios, to help him develop this new kind of park he was calling Disneyland. Though none of them had ever designed theme parks (Who had at that time?), they did know, with their film backgrounds and set-designing skills, how to turn Walt’s ideas into concept sketches and detailed renderings.

Drawing Disneyland celebrates five of those artists, all with experience in live-action and animated films, each of whom played a key role in the development of one of the original lands of Disneyland – and ultimately proved Welton Becket right. Who are they? I won’t leave you in suspense any further.

Harper Goff – Adventureland
John Hench – Tomorrowland
Harry Johnson – Main Street, U.S.A.
Bill Martin – Fantasyland
Sam McKim – Frontierland

I hope during your next visit you’ll enjoy this historical retrospective, which showcases the rich heritage and history of the Disneyland Resort — from how far we’ve come to where we’re headed.

Special Tip: If you find a favorite piece of art on display in the new exhibit, stop next store at Disneyana Gifts to inquire whether it is available to purchase via Art on Demand, and bring the magic of Disney, home.

What places are on your list to visit today?

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Disney Days of Past: Celebrating DINOSAUR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 21st, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This week in 2000 the film “Dinosaur” was released. “Dinosaur” stars an iguanodon, Aladar, who should be familiar to fans of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the attraction DINOSAUR in DinoLand, U.S.A.

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When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, this attraction went by the name Countdown to Extinction. In fact, on the Time Rovers you can still see CTX written on the vehicles.

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Another attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened before the movie debuted. Know what attraction I’m referring to? Share your expertise knowledge in the comments section below!

How well do you know DINOSAUR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Take our quiz now!

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park: Then and Now…

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’re continuing our special image series “Then and Now” with a look at how Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort has changed over the years. Scroll back and forth to see both views.

When Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, Tomorrowland featured Grand Prix Raceway, Flight to the Moon, the Skyway to Fantasyland and the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Over the next few years, other attractions were added, including Star Jets, Space Mountain and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

Tomorrowland underwent a major redesign in 1995, when Walt Disney Imagineers changed the land’s theming to be inspired by science fiction instead of scientific fact. This change brought attractions like The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, The Timekeeper, etc., as well as a new Tomorrowland entrance marker.

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