Some people may know that Walt originally chose the name "Mortimer" for his character Mickey Mouse. (Thank Lillian Disney for changing his mind on that one.) But did you know that they actually did create a character named Mortimer? Mortimer Mouse was a rival for Minnie's attentions and was everything Lillian Disney associated with the name Mortimer- conceited, snide and rude.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The gopher from Winnie the Pooh proudly announces that he's not in the book, which has a double meaning; in the movie, he's referring to not being in the phone book. However, he's also not in the AA Milne Winnie the Pooh books either. The joke was allegedly inserted by Walt Disney himself, who found it quite amusing.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Guests arriving at Disneyland in 1962 could cap an exciting day at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom by taking a relaxing monorail ride to the world famous....... Hotel Disneyland?!?
Yes, the picture below is a real photo taken shortly after the Sierra Tower was first built. The tower was built to be expandable and as a result the elevator was placed off center. Which meant that this was the only way to display the entire name of the hotel.
In 1966, the tower was expanded to its current size and the sign was correctly aligned.
After the resort upgrades, the Disneyland Hotel signage was removed altogether.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
In Disney's Toy Story, when Woody gets captured by Andy's next door neighbor Spike, we see the horrors that exist within Spike's workshop. Hidden among Spike's many tools is this Binford Toolbox, a brand made famous by another Disney production- Home Improvement, which starred Tim Allen, the voice of Buzz Lightyear.
Monday, January 27, 2014
It took Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh 16 years to sell their idea for Phineas and Ferb. Practically every studio (including Disney, initially) rejected the show when it was first presented to them. Now, Phineas and Ferb is one of the top shows on cable TV, spawning merchandise, theme park shows, live productions and video games. It's a perfect example of why it's never a good idea to give up.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Friday, January 24, 2014
The second feature film from Walt Disney Productions was truly a masterpiece- Pinocchio. Beautiful, funny and full of heart, the tale of a little wooden boy whose dream comes true is a personal favorite of ours. Who can resist kindly Geppetto's Little Wooden Head?
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Walt Disney had big plans for his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, yet like many of his biggest dreams, there were many in the company who doubted it would be a success, including his own brother. It would be nice to point to Walt Disney World's EPCOT and say that it was living proof of the success of Walt's dream, but that EPCOT was never built. After Walt's passing, his brother Roy quickly canceled all of Walt's plans for the Florida project. The resort as built reflects the vision of Roy Disney, not that of its namesake. Only DISNEYLAND park in Anaheim stands as a fully realized vision of one of Walt's dreams.
So where did the current EPCOT come from? It seems that people never forgot how Walt spoke about EPCOT on his television show and flooded guest relations at Florida's Magic Kingdom Theme Park with complaints about not getting to visit EPCOT during their visit. All design work on other potential theme parks was halted as the company concentrated on solving the EPCOT problem. They found the answer right on front of their faces; two of the many competing theme park ideas they were considering before it was decreed that "EPCOT" would be the 2nd Florida park were "Future World" and "World Showcase". They were not seen as compelling ideas on their own, but smash them together and they could become something bigger. So that's exactly what they did. Two dissimilar ideas thrown together became EPCOT Center.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Just around the bend in Frontierland is a lively little place that has hosted legends, villains, clowns & gorgeous dancers alike- the fabulous Golden Horseshoe. As the glamorous Slue Foot Sue sings in the place's theme song, she won the place when her "boss man drew a nine" and has entertained millions in her little saloon since that fateful day.
An inspiration to millions, the show even inspired a young Steve Martin to begin a career in showbiz. Amazingly, three future Disney Legends performed regularly on the stage in front of millions of appreciative DISNEYLAND guests- Miss Betty Taylor, Mr. Wally Boag and Mr. Fulton Burley. Never before and possibly never again, would theme park guests see such talent in a live show performed several times a day.
As the song goes, the welcome mat was always out at The Golden Horseshoe and millions have enjoyed the magical show within that famous building.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Long before Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful and Return to Oz, Walt Disney had planned an Oz film of his own. Back in the 1940's, the now classic Wizard of Oz was seen as a failure. MGM canceled plans for sequels and decided to sell the rights for any new films to Walt Disney. Walt struggled with a way to tell new stories about Oz and eventually planned a version that would star his Mickey Mouse Club stars. However, even after announcing his plans in a flashy episode of the DISNEYLAND television series, he chose not to go forward with the project. Disney wouldn't touch the world of Oz until 1984's Return to Oz.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Friday, January 17, 2014
Since 1955, DISNEYLAND guests have been able to enjoy a refreshing Coca-Cola beverage during their visit to the Magic Kingdom. And here's a vintage ad featuring the cast of the famed Golden Horseshoe Revue enjoying delicious, ice cold- Pepsi?!?
Yes! While Coca-Cola has been served in the park since 1955, it wasn't the only drink served in the park at that time; indeed, the Pepsi generation could enjoy their favorite cola as well. DISNEYLAND didn't even take sides in the "cola wars" as this other vintage ad attests:
In fact, Coke and Pepsi even had different "turfs" within the park. Guests on the west side of the park could enjoy a Pepsi Cola with their meals. Guests on the east side of the park would be served a Coca Cola. This all ended in the 1980's when the company decided to take advantage of the Pepsi & Coke rivalry to sell an exclusive contract. Coke provided a more lucrative deal, so Pepsi moved out of DISNEYLAND.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Everyone knows about the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950's, and the 1990's version that created a large number of stars, but there was another attempt to reboot the club in the 1970's- The New Mickey Mouse Club.
Yes, those polyester leisure suit wearing kids were the New Mickey Mouse Club, who ruled the airwaves in early 1977. (Well, not exactly...) Many felt that the show never connected with the youth of those days because it was overproduced and didn't seem "real". Whatever the case, the show did not last long and remains largely forgotten. Look closely and you'll see a young Lisa Whelchel in her pre-Facts of Life days.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The granddaddy of them all was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film stands not only as the first feature length animated film ever, but the very first studio project dubbed "Disney's Folly" by naysayers. Looking at the first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie which was released in 1928, it is hard to believe that Snow White came out just nine years later. An amazing feat! But then, Walt Disney was an amazing man!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released December 21, 1937
Monday, January 13, 2014
The grand opening of DISNEYLAND was aired live by ABC-TV on July 17, 1955. It is estimated that practically every television set then in existence in the United States was tuned into the opening day ceremonies. "Walt's Folly" became a phenomenon and soon the world would come to Anaheim to experience the wonders of Walt Disney's One and Only Magic Kingdom.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
"A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man's achievements...a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come.
Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals: the Atomic Age- the challenges of outer space and the hope for a peaceful and unified world."
-Walt Disney's Dedication of Tomorrowland
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Marc Davis was the third person inducted as a Disney Legend. One of Walt's "Nine Old Men", Marc had the distinction of not only working on many Classic Disney animated films, but also being a legendary imagineer. The attractions he worked on are still enjoyed by millions and included the greatest theme park attraction ever built- DISNEYLAND's Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
What ride at DISNEYLAND is most like Disney World's Space Mountain? An easy answer, right? It must be Space Mountain. But that would be incorrect- the real answer is the Matterhorn!
After the Matterhorn was a huge success at DISNEYLAND, Walt Disney decided that the park needed a second roller coaster. His new coaster would blast guests into near total darkness and take place in a fanciful, futuristic structure, with multiple "rockets" embarking on multiple trips to space and back at the same time.
To do all this would require a sophisticated ride system. Walt Disney asked his best imagineers to come up with a workable system that would allow him to fully realize his ideas. Unfortunately it was not possible with 1960's technology, so someone suggested merely replicating the Matterhorn setup indoors. This was not good enough for Walt, so he put the idea on hold until technology caught up with his dreams.
Years later, the idea of building the Matterhorn indoors was revived when Walt Disney World's "Magic Kingdom" needed a major attraction. Since Disney officials doubted that an outdoor roller coaster would work in the humid Florida weather, building the Matterhorn indoors was seen as a viable option. So instead of building the Space Mountain of Walt's dreams, Florida's "Magic Kingdom" got the Matterhorn copy Walt had originally rejected.
However, advances in technology eventually made it possible to fully realize Walt Disney's vision. So when Space Mountain opened at DISNEYLAND, it was exactly as Walt had imagined.
Monday, January 6, 2014
The Matterhorn is a DISNEYLAND attraction not based on a film, right? Not exactly. The Matterhorn was actually inspired by the 1959 Disney film Third Man on the Mountain. While the film itself has become a lesser known production, the Matterhorn stands as a classic, legendary DISNEYLAND attraction.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Friday, January 3, 2014
The second person inducted as a Disney Legend was one of Walt's "Nine Old Men"- Les Clark. Les Clark was hired by Walt Disney on a "temporary" basis to assist on the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon- Steamboat Willie. He ended up spending 50 years at The Walt Disney Studios, working on classics like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Saludos Amigos. His contributions to the world of animation are still enjoyed by billions the world over.