Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney California Adventure Park

Step In Time: ‘SpectroMagic’ Lights up Magic Kingdom Park

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


On October 1, 1991, Magic Kingdom Park welcomed a brand-new nighttime parade: “SpectroMagic”!

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This parade differed from the previous nighttime parade, “Main Street Electrical Parade”, in that it featured a new theme song, “On This Magic Night”, displays filled with fiber optics and a host of new, parade-specific characters. The parade ran through May 22, 1999, to make way for the temporary return of “Main Street Electrical Parade” for the start of the Millennium Celebration, and then returned again March 26, 2001. “SpectroMagic” officially ended its run at Magic Kingdom Park in 2010.

What did you like most about this parade? Tell us in the “comments” section below!

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

Vintage Walt Disney World: A Journey Into Imagination

posted on March 6th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


The Journey Into Imagination attraction opened during this week in Epcot in 1983. As a treat, here’s a photo we’ve never released on the Disney Parks Blog before.

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Above, Figment is in the Literature section of the former attraction where, along with Dreamfinder, they demonstrate how the words on the pages of a book come to life with the help of your imagination!

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Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

1964 Photos: Walt Disney and the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park

posted on March 5th, 2014 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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This year marks the 50th anniversary of a previously undiscovered region at Disneyland park (now navigable on the Jungle Cruise) known as the African Veldt.

So intrigued by this discovery, Walt Disney himself decided to pay a visit to the region to checkout the wildlife.

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Among the things Walt saw that day was a lion pride “protecting a sleeping zebra.” Now, putting your hands near a hungry lion is no laughing matter…

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Or is it?

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Sam McKim

posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


Sam McKim, Disney artist and “master map maker,” is the creator of the Disneyland souvenir maps that were sold in Disneyland park between 1958 and 1964. His maps, known for their elaborate design, colorful print and large size, are among the most sought-after pieces of Disney memorabilia today.

Disneyland Park Map Created by Sam McKim, Courtesy of the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1924, Sam moved to Los Angeles with his family during the Great Depression. At age 10, he became a child actor under contract for Republic Studios where he worked in western serials and B-movies with many of the top stars of the day. Sam developed his drawing skills early on and once said, “I was always drawing something or other. I’d draw caricatures of the actors and they would sign them for me.”

After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Sam enrolled at Art Center College of Design. The day after he graduated, he was called back to the Army to serve in Korea, where he earned several medals and honors, including the Distinguished Service Cross and the Bronze Star. Upon returning to the States, he took acting roles as well as advanced art classes at the Chouinard Art Institute. Sam recalled, “John Ford offered me a supporting lead in ‘The Long Gray Line’ with Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. Would you believe I turned it down to become an artist? I started at 20th Century Fox, then moved to Disney for a temp job, and didn’t leave until I retired 32 years later.”

Sam joined WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) as an illustrator in 1954, six months before the opening of Disneyland Resort. Among his first sketches was The Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. He later contributed to “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. His early work also included storyboards for Disney films including, “Nikki, Wild Dog of the North,” “Big Red,” and “The Gnome-Mobile,” and episodes of Disney’s television series, “Zorro.”

John Hench, Disney Legend and Imagineer, once said, “Sam was the greatest to work with. He loved Disney, and his enthusiasm was always contagious. Once he got involved in anything, no matter how problematic, you always knew everything was going to be okay. If I ever needed to hear the truth about something, I always went to Sam.”

Following his retirement in 1987, Sam remained connected with WDI and Disney. In addition to appearances at Disney fan events and consulting work, his two sons, Matt and Brian, were also renowned Disney artists. In 1992, he designed the commemorative guide map for the opening of Disneyland Paris.

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Sam was named a Disney Legend in 1996. That same year he was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. His window, located above the Main Street Photo Supply Co., states: Cartography Masterworks – Sam McKim – Map Maker of the Kingdom – There’s Magic in the Details.

Sam passed away at the age of 79, on July 9, 2004.

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

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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Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

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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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

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

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.”

Disney Legend Marc Davis

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