Year in Review: The Headlines from the Disneyland Resort in 2009

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

2009 was a busy and exciting year at the Disneyland Resort. For a refresher of all that happened in the past year, take a look at the video below.

It all started in February when we reopened “it’s a small world” with some of the famous dolls dressed as Disney characters.

In the spring, we debuted “Celebrate! A Street Party,” the new parade in Disneyland park; unveiled Mickey’s Fun Wheel; introduced new Games of the Boardwalk in Paradise Pier and opened Blue Sky Cellar to give guests a peek at the exciting changes coming to Disney’s California Adventure park. We also unveiled Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland for young guests to be transformed into princesses and knights, and we also celebrated the fourth annual Food and Wine Festival.

The summer saw the premiere of Summer Nightastic!, featuring a line-up of new and special nighttime experiences, including “Magical,” a fireworks spectacular featuring a flying Tinker Bell and Dumbo; Pixie Hollow Enchantment, Tomorrowland Terrace Dance Club, exciting changes to “Disney’s Electrical Parade,” including a new float and the return of Snow White and Pinocchio floats, and a bolder Fantasmic! with a new 40-foot fire breathing dragon.

If that wasn’t enough, we celebrated the Lakers championship win with a parade featuring Kobe Bryant, expanded Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and added Disney Vacation Club suites and hosted the fourth annual Disneyland Half Marathon.

In the fall, we announced “Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.” Nationwide, and, in Los Angeles, Teri Hatcher and James Denton helped get us started. We celebrated Halloween with a new fireworks show, “Halloween Screams,” and a new spooky overlay for a classic attraction, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. We also reopened the treasured Disney Gallery in a new location on Main Street, U.S.A., brought the National Thanksgiving Turkey to Disneyland park, debuted an all-new show, “Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!” and celebrated the holidays in style. In addition to the annual holiday fanfare, we reopened a refreshed Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in December.

Whew! What a year! Tell us what you liked best.


  • Halloween Screams was great, but I think my favorite thing this year was Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee. Great fun, and it fit in SO well with New Orleans Square. I would love to see it return.

  • In keeping with the theme of Disneyland Park in 2009, I wanted to tell everyone about my very best day at Disneyland in January 2009.

    My name is Jeffrey and my family is my wife, Jill, and my children, Jenna (5 years old) and Jake (8 months old). My very first trip to Disneyland was last January 2009 when my wife and I took our daughter, Jenna. That was four months before our son, Jake, was born and we adopted him (we adopted him at birth).

    I knew I was going to be in Newport Beach for half the week in January 2009 at a conference for the Alzheimer’s Association. I am a Board Member of the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter, and was attending the conference. I added days to the trip at the beginning of the week and brought my wife and daughter, to have a mini vacation. We wanted to bring our daughter to Disneyland. We had a trip scheduled to Disney World coming up in April 2009, so wanted to bring Jenna to Disneyland to “see how she did”. She did beautifully. Needless to say, we had a glorious time at Disneyland and a fabulous time at Disney World. So much so that when I go to Anaheim this February 3, 2010, with my wife and daughter, again for a conference with the Alzheimer’s Association, we’re going to go back to Disneyland on February 3, 2010.

    But, I wanted to tell you a story from our trip to Disneyland which sums up why it is the Magic Kingdom, and why our love for Disney will forever be sealed in our hearts.

    My daughter, who very much loves the Disney princesses (she thinks she’s Cinderella), and watches their movies over and over again, was very excited to see the Disney Princesses area at Disneyland. When we arrived at the Disney Princesses, I probably don’t need to tell you this, but it is set up as one long booth with each Princess set up in her own “vignette” in a row. As I said, my daughter thinks she’s Cinderella so was overly excited to meet Cinderella, but the hostess told us that Cinderella was not one of the Princesses there at the time.

    One of the Princesses that Jenna did meet, however, was Snow White. When Jenna turned the corner for the last booth and saw Snow White, my daughter’s face turned into one giant smile. Especially because Snow White was already sitting on the ground, at my daughter’s height, and was already holding her arms out for a big hug. My daughter ran into Snow White’s arms for that hug and didn’t move. Snow White and Jenna talked about Snow White’s movie, and the park, and all that Jenna had seen that day. Snow White said goodbye to Jenna and gave her another hug and kiss. Jenna said she loved meeting Snow White, but still remarked that Cinderella must have been too busy.

    I spoke to the hostess and asked her if she knew when Cinderella would return, but she didn’t know the Princesses’ schedules. She suggested that we do something in the area and when we passed that way again to catch her attention. At that time, she would be able to tell us whether or not Cinderella had returned. We took her advice and when we later passed by, she motioned to us that Cinderella was there and that we should get on line fast. We did, not fully telling Jenna why, but only telling her that we might as well see the Princess again.

    When it was Jenna’s turn to enter the booth, the first Princess Jenna met that time was Mulan (Mulan was not there the first time). Mulan, like Snow White, greeted Jenna with a big hug and they had a nice talk.

    This is the point in the story when it becomes magical. Mulan then told Jenna that she knew that Jenna had a favorite Princess. Jenna told Mulan yes, that it was Cinderella (Mulan didn’t appear too hurt by this honest admission). Well, Mulan told Jenna that Cinderella was there and that Mulan was going to introduce them. Before our very eyes, and without us even knowing what was happening, Mulan stood up, took my daughter by the hand, and walked her into the next booth to meet Cinderella. There, Mulan introduced Cinderella to Jenna, who was absolutely mesmerized. I, videotaping all of this, was in tears. I could not believe what lengths these actors were going through to make my daughter happy. Now, I know that you’re probably thinking that it really was no big deal for Mulan to stand up and walk my daughter to Cinderella, but in my daughter’s eyes it was the best part of the day. In my eyes, it was the best part of the day. And, it was exactly what you expect from Disney.

    But, it doesn’t end there. After Jenna met Cinderella and moved down the line, again the last princess was Snow White. In fact, it was the same Snow White as before. When my daughter turned the corner for the second time, Snow White dropped to her knees, opened her arms again, and exclaimed “Jennaaaa! I knew you’d come back to see me!” I was absolutely floored.

    I have to say, that with the exception of my wedding day, the birth of my daughter, and the birth (and eventual adoption) of my son, that was probably the very best day of my life. Simply because I saw the joy on my daughter’s face and knew that she would never forget the time she met the Disney Princesses. She still talks about it. She talks about how Mulan and she are friends, that Cinderella “knows her special”, and how Snow White remembered her.

    We are very excited to see the Princesses again when we return to Disneyland on February 3, 2010. As I said, I am returning for another Alzheimer’s Association conference and added a day to the trip just so we can bring Jenna back to Disneyland. We left Jake at home with my parents – he’ll be coming back with us when he’s older. I expect that our next visit to Disneyland will be just as magical as our first.

    Like I said, I just wanted you to know how much your parks mean to us and how magical it is to see it in our children’s eyes. I’ve been to Disney World many times, both as a child and later as I grew up. But, this was the first time I went to Disneyland and the first time in any of your parks for my daughter. I cannot thank you enough, and I will never be able to sufficiently express my awe and gratitude to the Princess for what they did for my daughter that day.

    Thank you,


  • THANK YOU for this!! I guess instead of the “Disney Yearbook” that was supposed to be (book with DVD Series), this gets to the point and it rocks!!

    Thanks for the year of great memories Disney Company. We must ALL remember that real people create this magic.. every day of the year.

    Take care,

    Dan B

  • Oh yeah, Blue Sky Cellar opened this year! That would be my favorite. I love that Imagineers are now giving us official Sneak Peeks into what’s being done at DCA.

    I also look forward to checking out the Gallery and the new Mr. Lincoln now that they’ve reopened on Main St.

    Here’s looking forward to an exciting 2010!

  • Disneyland is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE place on Earth! As the Park and I approach our 55th year, we are still going strong!

  • I just was looking at the new “Moments with Mr. Lincoln” and it brought back such wonderful memories. I cannot wait to see it again, new and improved!!!! I sure do wish the “Carousel of Progress” was still at Disneyland. I think that was one of my most favorite attractions at Disneyland. And the song was fantastic too!!! Thanks Disneyland, for all the cherished memories I will always keep close to my heart.

  • Where do I start? Loved the no interest financing. Made it possible to upgrade our passes to Deluxe and we have gotten a lot of use out of them! Loved the Free Birthday Gift Card! Because of the gift card, I convinced several family members and friends to purchase an annual pass for the first time and they’re loving it! Loved Halloweentime. Loved the Christmas Parade. Love free coffee refills! As a annual pass holder, I feel like my family contributes to the success of the Disneyland economy and Disneyland contributes to happy times for my family. It’s win/win!! But my most favorite thing of all is the firework show! I love how it’s constantly changing, but mostly, I just love that it’s consistently amazing!

  • Disneyland is like no other place on Earth. I only get to make it once a year…so it is little videos like this that fill my Disney craving and help me make it until my next visit!! October 2010 is a long time off!

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA…
    Thanks for all the memories this year at The Disneyland Resort!!!

  • The Fantasmic Dragon was soooo worth the wait. It’s stunning.

  • We made it to Disneyland twice this year. Once in the Spring and once during the Holidays. Both were fabulous experiences and we hope to take our kids every November. Like Fred, I am looking forward to the next Blue Sky Cellar update. Thanks Disney for keeping kids and magical experiences a priority! Love it.

  • This was indeed an eventful year for the Disneyland Resort!
    Lots of cool attractions and events.
    I don’t think that I can pick a favorite, but I have to say that I’m looking forward to the next Blue Sky Cellar update!

  • It is little gems like these that keep us going until our next trip. I wore my ears as I watched it the second time!

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