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50th Anniversary? Disney’s California Adventure Park Opening? What’s Your Favorite Event or Memory Between 2005 and 2001?

posted on May 14th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Disneyland 50th Anniversary

Last week, we started counting down the days to the 55th anniversary at the Disneyland Resort by sharing highlights from the most recent half a decade. This week we’re looking back to 2005 through 2001.

This week, I chose the 50th anniversary celebration on July 17 as the event I found most memorable in this five-year period. The re-dedication ceremony was full of fanfare and concluded with Walt Disney’s eldest daughter, Diane Disney Miller, re-dedicating Disneyland park the same way her father did in 1955. One of the things I remember most about the 50th anniversary was the golden versions of some of my favorite Fantasyland attractions.

Disneyland 50th Anniversary

Here’s a look at some of the events around the Resort in 2005 through 2001. What do you remember best?

2005 – A 50th anniversary celebrity kick-off event included Julie Andrews, Steve Martin and Tim Allen. Sleeping Beauty castle underwent a beauty makeover, complete with crowns. “Remember…Dreams Come True” fireworks show made its debut. Neil Armstorng re-dedicated Space Mountain. Disneyland park was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush premiered at Disney’s California Adventure park.

2004 – Over at Hollywood Pictures Backlot, guests began having hair-raising experiences when The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened May 4. At Disneyland park, three Olympic gold medalists took to the water at the Disneyland Resort in a pool built in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. during the final stop of the “Disney’s Swim With the Stars” tour. “Snow White – An Enchanting New Musical” debuted. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel completed a renovation in June featuring redesigned guest rooms, an enhanced lobby and a new pool area with a waterslide.

2003 – “Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!” came to Disney’s California Adventure park and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh debuted at Disneyland park. Jingles and the rest of King Arthur Carrousel’s 72 steeds were ready for guests again after an extensive refurbishment. In June the Pirates franchise was born when we rolled out the red carpet on Main Street, U.S.A. for a Hollywood-style premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

2002 – “a bug’s land” opened at Disney’s California Adventure park, offering guests the chance to see the world through a bug’s eyes. In October, the first CHOC/Disneyland Resort Walk in the Park saw 11,000 participants stroll through the Resort. After baseball’s fall classic had ended, the Resort was awash in a sea of red as fans came out to cheer the Angels in a victory celebration. The year ended with three wishes as the Disney’s California Adventure production of “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” had its first performance.

2001 – This year saw the completion of the largest expansion in Disneyland history at that time, and on just the second day of the year, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel welcomed its first guests. Shortly after, Downtown Disney opened the doors to its shopping, dining and entertainment venues, while Disney’s California Adventure park celebrated its grand opening in February. Over at Disneyland park, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante opened in Frontierland. On July 4, guest favorite “Disney’s Electrical Parade” returned after an absence of almost five years to light up the streets of Disney’s California Adventure park. Grim grinning ghosts celebrated the holidays with the first appearance of Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park, and band lovers celebrated “The Power of Blast!” at the Hyperion Theater at Disney’s California Adventure park, featuring brass and percussion instruments and choreography reminiscent of a halftime spectacular.

What’s your favorite event or memory at the Disneyland Resort between 2005 and 2001?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Counting Down the Days to the 55th Anniversary

posted on May 7th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

In the weeks leading up to the 55th anniversary of Disneyland park – July 17, 1955 – we’ll be sharing a post every week to remember 55 years of magic, dreams and imagination. We’ll start with the most recent half a decade and work our way backwards.
Premiere of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' at Disneyland Park
Each week, I’ll pick one particularly memorable event in those five years to highlight. For the years 2010 to 2006, I chose the premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” at Disneyland park on June 29, 2006. The red carpet was amazing, and it was a really fun event to work. Pirates of the Carribbean is also one of my favorite attractions, so I was thrilled when the attraction celebrated 40 years of swashbuckling, pillaging and singing with a movie premiere at Disneyland park AND by adding new magic to the classic attraction. In case you’ve forgotten, Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbosa and Davy Jones joined the attraction, and a revamped sound system and other special effects made Pirates of the Caribbean better than ever.
Premiere of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' at Disneyland Park
You may certainly disagree with my choice. It’s really difficult to choose just one event, so please feel free to share your opinions on your favorite event or favorite memory that took place in the years mentioned in each post.

A lot happened in the past five years. Here’s a snapshot to refresh your memory:

2010Captain EO returned almost two decades after it first debuted. Opening day was quite a scene as fans came out in complete EO garb to see the show.

2009 – New magic was added to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers visited the Disneyland Resort to celebrate his fourth NBA championship.

2008Toy Story Mania! inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” films debuted at Disney’s California Adventure park. In Adventureland, the Enchanted Tiki Room celebrated 45 years of singing birds, plants and totem poles. The year 2008 also saw the return of a re-imagined Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough attraction.

2007 – Two major re-imagined adventures on the high seas came to Disneyland park: the return of the submarines and the debut of Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. The debut of Pirate’s Lair occurred in the same year as the premiere at Disneyland park of the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, “At World’s End.” Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opened to rave reviews as the subs had been missing from Tomorrowland for nine years.

2006 – In addition to the changes to Pirates of the Caribbean, this year was also a year of firsts as Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort debuted. Disney’s Princess Fantasy Faire and the Jedi Training Academy also debuted this year, allowing guests the opportunity to meet with Disney royalty or battle Darth Vader and Darth Maul.

It’s your turn. What do you think is the most memorable event between 2006 and 2010 at the Disneyland Resort?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort