Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The very first major birthday at DISNEYLAND was the fabulous DISNEYLAND Tencennial Celebration in 1965. Naysayers in 1955 had told Walt Disney that his Magic Kingdom wouldn't last six months and here it was, ten years later, a huge success! Mr. Disney wanted to celebrate in the biggest way possible, so the DISNEYLAND "Tencennial" celebration began!
A TV special, elaborate parade, new attractions and celebratory decorations helped DISNEYLAND celebrate 10 years of a dream come true. It was the first and only party planned by Walt Disney himself. Mr. Disney passed away the next year, but he was able to see his biggest triumph get the respect and admiration it deserved.
"Ten years of fantasy, ten years of fun! Ten years of growing and you've only just begun! Ten years of building on a dream that never ends. Ten years of happiness for fifty million friends! Ten magic years ago, you had your start- now you're the kingdom of the young and young at heart! May you forever be the land of dreams come true! Congratulations, DISNEYLAND, Happy Birthday to you!"
-The DISNEYLAND Birthday Song
Monday, September 29, 2014
The 7th Disney animated feature was The Three Caballeros. After the success of Saludos Amigos, Walt Disney decided to make another film set in Latin America. The Three Caballeros added a new friend for Donald Duck- Panchito. The movie was even more successful compared to Saludos Amigos and inspired a ride in the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
Longtime visitors to RetlawYensid.com might remember the story about how the EPCOT Center that currently exists at Walt Disney World was not the one dreamed about by Walt Disney. So what was the EPCOT of Walt's dreams? Here it is, drawn by Walt Disney himself:
The big circle in the middle was Walt Disney's Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow- the real life city of EPCOT. Look closely and you see just ONE park- to be named "Disneyland East", a park that Walt envisioned would be just like the real DISNEYLAND, except with more water. The majority of the Florida property was to be developed as a real city. The park would be a way to get people out to Orlando to see Walt's real showcase- the City of EPCOT. Looking at Walt's plans, you can see he was putting his efforts into EPCOT and not the carbon copy of the real DISNEYLAND.
Sadly, Walt's last dream would never see the light of day. Roy Disney had never been sold on the viability of EPCOT as Walt had envisioned it and cancelled all of Walt's plans. The Florida project would get built, but it would be Roy's vision that guided it; not Walt Disney's.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Imagine that your father is Walt Disney. What could he do to surprise and enchant you? How about arrange for Santa Claus to deliver a storybook playhouse, straight out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
The playhouse, pictured below, was built while little Diane was away at school. Imagine her excitement when she came home to see this special gift from Santa Claus! She remembers running into the house and bragging to her friends about the special gift from Santa. One of them burst her bubble by noting that the cottage wasn't assembled by elves, but by a team of builders from her father's studio.
The very special cottage still stands behind the house in Los Angeles' Los Feliz district. A house which recently sold for $5,000,000. For Disney fans, however, the cottage is priceless.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Millions of guests have experienced Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, one of the greatest audio animatronics achievements of Walt Disney Imagineering. Why did Walt Disney choose Abraham Lincoln to bring to life?
Walt Disney was always fond of Abraham Lincoln. So much so that he once dressed up like Abraham Lincoln and recited the Gettysberg Address from memory. Shown below on the right, Walt's presentation was so well received that his principal had him go from room to room at his elementary school to repeat it for the other kids. Little did anyone know that this little kid would go on to entertain the world.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
The trash cans at DISNEYLAND are all painted to match the area they are in as part of the overall theming of the park. This takes what could be a utilitarian eyesore and turns it into a thing of (relative) beauty. In fact, DISNEYLAND currently sells mini replicas of the trash cans as salt & pepper shakers.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Royal "Mickey" Clark was one of the first employees of WED Enterprises, the company Walt Disney setup to build DISNEYLAND. Since Roy Disney was initially against the concept of DISNEYLAND, Walt had to create his own organization to get things started. That's where Royal Clark came in. Serving as Walt Disney's personal accountant, Mr. Clark would often be the person who had to help Walt find the seed money needed for whatever project he was planning. Of course, Roy Disney would often cave in and Royal would find himself transferring whatever project and funding over to Disney Productions.
Royal Clark's early work on DISNEYLAND was so important that he was given a window on Main Street by Walt Disney personally. In fact, his window was there from opening day in 1955. Mr. Clark has passed away last week at the age of 96. His window survives above the Carnation Cafe.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
When DISNEYLAND first opened, Tom Sawyer's Island had a spot where guests could fish for real, live fish. A nice, quaint activity with obvious logistic problems. Who would want to carry fish around all day at the park? Where would tourists store the fish once they returned to their hotel rooms? Once the reality set in, this activity was quickly relegated to "yesterland" and the only fish that remained in DISNEYLAND would be of the plastic variety.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
One of the first Disney Channel television shows was Good Morning, Mickey! With a catchy theme song and cheery Mickey Mouse shorts, the show welcomed many a 1980's child to another great day. The show ran from 1983 to 1992 every morning on The Disney Channel.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Those theme parks are always so expensive and so are hotel restaurants. Can you believe these prices?
The menu above is from the Gourmet Restaurant in the DISNEYLAND Hotel circa 1956. While the people of the day quite possibly complained about these prices, they are crazily cheap compared to today.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
When DISNEYLAND first opened, the bank located on Town Square wasn't just a facade, it was a real bank- the Bank of America. This branch was unusual in that it was open seven days a week and was a full branch; guests could actually setup bank accounts, make deposits and buy money orders, all printed with the most magical address of all bank branches- DISNEYLAND, U.S.A.
Bank of America later sponsored it's a small world in Fantasyland. Its sponsorship lasted until 1993. Disney parks management was looking to consolidate sponsorships and wanted it's a small world to be sponsored by the same company in both DISNEYLAND and at Walt Disney World. At the time, Bank of America had no branches in Florida, (their nearest branches at the time were in NYC) so they were uninterested in paying to sponsor both attractions. Florida's sponsor had no bank branches outside that state, so they were not large enough to even consider sponsoring an attraction way out in California.
So in June 1993, DISNEYLAND quietly lost its bank. Overnight, all signage was removed and the location became The Bank of Main Street, an empty storefront that would be used for various purposes, but mostly as an Annual Pass processing center. It now lives on as "Disneyana", a Disney collectibles gift shop. The bank's vault is used to store the most expensive paintings for sale at the shop.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Mickey Mouse wasn't the only character to get a special souvenir hat at DISNEYLAND; Donald Duck had one too! While Mickey's hat only featured his famous ears, Donald Duck's hat included his eyes and his beak. In later versions of the hat, pressing Donald's beak produced a quacking sound.
The hats were eventually phased out in the early 1980's for no apparent reason, but are fondly remembered by Donald's fans both young and old.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
In 1962, Hassenfeld Brothers Toys signed a deal with Walt Disney Productions to produce a line of toys tied to the film Son of Flubber. Of course, one of the first items produced would have to be "Flubber" itself. The company took what was essentially "Silly Putty", dyed it green and added sparkles. The item was an instant hit.
Suddenly, however, reports of rashes on kids who played with the toy started cropping up. Hassenfeld ran tests that showed that Flubber was not the cause of the rash, but the stories persisted, so they pulled the item from toy store shelves. They were then faced with a huge problem- how could they get rid of all that Flubber? Burning it or dumping it was deemed impractical. Luckily, they were building a new parking lot. The Flubber was buried under the asphalt where it allegedly still bubbles up through the parking lot cracks on hot summer days. Hassenfeld Brothers Toys would go on to shorten its name to Hasbro Toys and still operates today.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Roger E. Broggie started his Disney career as a machinist, helping Walt Disney develop and construct the complex multiplane camera. The camera would be used to great effect in Disney's classic animated features. Mr. Broggie also shared Walt's love for trains and helped him build the Carolwood Pacific Railroad which ran through Walt's backyard.
Roger quickly earned a reputation around the Disney Studios as being someone who could be presented with a problem and come up with various solutions. When Walt Disney started up the organization that would eventually build DISNEYLAND, his first choice for the job of "Imagineer" was Roger E. Broggie. Mr. Broggie would design and build the DISNEYLAND Railroad, the first Mr. Lincoln animatronic and so many more projects that are still enjoyed by millions of park guests.
Mr. Broggie was honored as a Disney Legend in 1990 and passed away in 1991. In 2007, he was honored by DISNEYLAND with a window on Main Street. The window is located above the Magic Shop.
Monday, September 8, 2014
ESPN, originally known as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, started life in 1979, funded by the Getty Oil Company. Starting out with its signature program SportsCenter, ESPN was not initially successful. An emergency investment from Anheuser Busch, which saw the channel as eventually producing a ton of opportunities for beer drinkers to drink its beers, brought the network back from the brink of insolvency. By 1984, the channel was on solid footing and attracted the eye of ABC. However, at the time, cable channels could not be fully owned by a television network, so ABC teamed up with Nabisco (later bought out by Hearst Television) to skirt the rules. ESPN became a part of ABC, which was officially brought into the Disney family in 1995. Current estimates value ESPN alone as being worth more to Disney than the entire purchase cost of ABC. An amazing escalation in value as Disney has built ESPN into the most valuable cable channel and sports brand in the world,
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Before Mickey Mouse, there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit! Born on this day in 1927 and taken from Walt Disney in 1928, Oswald remained with Universal Studios until 2006 when Disney traded some unwanted items for him. Oswald will make his in-person return to Disney California Adventure later this month.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Before there was a Disney Channel churning out new generations of "tween" celebrities, there was Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, a daily show that spawned its own kid stars.
Two of the biggest Mouse Club stars weren't technically Mouseketeers- they were Spin and Marty, played by Tim Considine and David Stollery.
The two most popular guys at the "Triple R Ranch", Spin and Marty popularized the idea of summer camp among children of the fifties. Aired in short sequences over the course of several months, Spin and Marty was a television version of the silver screen's cliffhanger shorts that had fallen out of favor in theaters by the 1950's. Walt Disney was reintroducing this legendary format to a new generation in his own special way.
There were other Mouse Club serials such as Annette, Corky & White Shadow and Adventures in Dairyland but none gained the same following as Spin & Marty. A portion of the show's shooting location has been turned into a mini-studio today, and it still hosts the filming of various Disney Channel productions and network crime shows.
In reference to the site's past and present uses, film crews reportedly refer to it as "Camp CSI".
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Nestled in the Mickey's Toontown forest at DISNEYLAND is a curious contraption- Gadget's Go-Coaster.
Designed by the plucky Gadget (and apparently built by the Chinny Chin Chin Construction Company) the thrilling Go-Coaster is a quick first coaster for many children. But who is Gadget? While many people of a certain age might remember her as the inventor from Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers the kids of today probably have never seen her outside of this attraction. (The show has been off the air for twenty years.) Regardless of how well she's known by the kids of today, her attraction still entertains millions of kids of all ages every year.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Generations of Americans grew up learning many things from Disney Characters. Walt Disney Productions produced many educational films, most often adding a spoonful of sugar to make the lesson more interesting.
One of the greatest of these films was Motor Mania. Starring Goofy in the Jeckell and Hyde roles of Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler, the film hilariously taught driving students how to maintain their composure while driving.