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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

“The idea of Disneyland is a simple one. It will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge. It will be a place for parents and children to share pleasant times in one another’s company; a place for teachers and pupils to discover greater ways of understanding and education. Here the older generation can recapture the nostalgia of days gone by, and the younger generation can savor the challenge of the future.”

- Walt Disney

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: A Suitcase and a Dream

It has often been said that everything we become is shaped by everyone who we cross paths with and the things we see and experience. While DISNEYLAND might have still existed if Walt Disney hadn't become fond of trains, didn't have an Aunt Maggie or never lived in Marceline, it is doubtful that it would have looked the way it did in 1955 or the way it does now. Everything that Walt Disney experienced played a part in shaping how his Magic Kingdom would look and the adventures his guests would find there.

Before Mr. Disney could even consider getting his Magic Kingdom off the ground, he needed to make his fortune. With things looking grim in Missouri and financial disaster around the corner, he packed up his worldly possessions, pocketed his life savings of $40 and jumped on a train to California. He was a young man with just a suitcase and a dream; heading west to meet his destiny.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


In the late 1950's, Zorro was a huge hit with kids, almost as big as Davy Crockett a few years earlier. While a contract dispute with ABC sidelined the dashing hero, DISNEYLAND took full advantage of Zorro's success to feature him in the park's Frontierland.

Now this wasn't just actors pretending to be Zorro and friends; it was the actual stars of the show! Imagine the excitement of seeing your actual heroes at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom? It was quite literally a dream come true for many excited kids.

While Zorro isn't quite the draw he used to be, he is not forgotten at the Magic Kingdom. The next time you findO yourself enjoying a meal at Rancho Del Zocalo inside Frontierland, look above the serving area. You'll see the Z that stands for Zorro!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DISNEYLAND's Diamond Celebration

DISNEYLAND, CA- The 60th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom will begin May 22, 2015!

Three new entertainment spectaculars were announced this evening. 

World of Color: Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney will take over Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure, featuring a look at Walt Disney's many achievements and his ultimate dream come true- DISNEYLAND.

At DISNEYLAND, the Main Street Electrical Parade will return, updated for the 21st Century as Paint the Night: The New Electrical Parade which will dazzle DISNEYLAND guests with updated floats, new characters, state of the art lighting and that familiar music from the classic parade.

The new fireworks show Disneyland Forever will take over the park like never before with projections, fireworks and special effects that can be seen throughout the park. It will feature two new songs written by Disney Legend Richard Sherman.

Now for the rumors- DISNEYLAND's Haunted Mansion is rumored to be welcoming back a chilling guest- the Hatbox Ghost!

Fantasyland will become even more magical as new special effects are added to all of the magical dark rides. Alice in Wonderland's special effects have already been added.

The glittering Golden Horseshoe is expected to welcome back Slue Foot Sue and the thrilling Golden Horseshoe Revue. 

And this Christmas, the Matterhorn's peak will again sport a festive holiday topper- the Matterhorn star is rumored to be making its return.

There will be a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow at DISNEYLAND this special year!

60 Years of A Dream Come True

Tonight, DISNEYLAND will announce the details of its 60th Anniversary celebration. 60 years ago today, the park was still under construction and its success was still far from certain. Naysayers called it "Disney's Folly" and predicted it would be closed and forgotten by the end of the year.

Yet here we are, ready to begin celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Walt Disney's dream come true.

"Today, Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom has grown to become the happiest place on earth to millions the world over. A place where anything is possible. Where every dreamer may wish upon a star."

-Julie Andrews

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Disney Legend #17: Herb Ryman

Herb Ryman was born in Vernon, Illinois in 1910. Herb wanted to pursue a career in the arts, but his parents were against it, preferring that he become a doctor. After he came down with a horrific case of scarlet fever, his parents relented, telling him that he could major in art after he recovered. He did and headed off to California where he found work as an art director for MGM, working on such classic films as Wizard of Oz.

He came to the attention of Walt Disney, who lured him away to work on Fantasia and Dumbo. Mr. Ryman also worked on the South American package films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. He left Disney to return to MGM where he stayed until fate intervened. 

Walt Disney called him to work on a special weekend project- the original plans for DISNEYLAND. Over what became called "the lost weekend", Walt told Herb what he thought DISNEYLAND should look like and Herb drew it. After just one weekend, they had amazingly laid out the basic site plan for DISNEYLAND. Herb Ryman decided to stick with Disney this time and had a hand in designing just about every project at DISNEYLAND, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and even the beginnings of Disneyland Paris up until his death in 1989 at the age of 79. 

Always mindful of how hard it was to convince his parents to let him pursue a career in the arts, Mr. Ryman established a scholarship foundation that continues funding arts scholarships to this day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Say Hello to Figaro

Figaro, the adorable cat from Pinocchio, was given his very own series of cartoons in the 1940's. Often teamed with Minnie Mouse, Figaro even got his own title card.

Figaro starred in 7 cartoons after starring in Pinocchio from 1942 until 1949.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

-Walt Disney

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"Anything can be done with just one dream."

-Golden Dreams

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: An All-American Boy in Europe

With the world at war, many American boys became eager to enlist to fight for freedom. None were more eager than Walt Disney. The problem was that he was far too young to enlist as a soldier. He was also too young to be an ambulance driver, but that didn't stop Walt. He falsified his birth certificate to make himself one year older- barely eligible to drive ambulances for the Red Cross.

When Walt made it to Europe, however, the war had ended and he and his fellow drivers were driving generals around, not ambulances. The end of the war meant that the guys had plenty of free time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Europe.

Amazingly, one of Walt Disney's fellow drivers became famous as well; he was Ray Kroc, the man who built McDonald's into a billion dollar worldwide business. He recalled their time together in Europe. While the other guys chased skirts and boozed it up in the local bars, Ray recalled that Walt spent his time alone, drawing in his sketchbooks and touring the sights.

This small town American boy was dazzled by the fairy tale castles and cobblestoned villages he encountered. Europe became an inspiration that would provide him with countless stories to tell in his films- and an even bigger inspiration for his Magic Kingdom.

For a young Walt Disney, Europe was one huge Adventure- with storybook castles and old world charm. The memories would stay with him forever, inspiring the grand castle that still welcomes his guests to this very day.

And it inspired him to dream of his own cobblestoned fairytale village that would re-tell the stories of his greatest films, delighting children of all ages. Mr. Disney wouldn't live to see his fully realized Fantasyland, but his experiences shaped what it became and how it still remains today- just like Walt dreamed it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Little Pigs - One Big Hit

After Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's next big success was a one-off cartoon that struck a chord with a country in the middle of a Great Depression. The Three Little Pigs was a simple retelling of the classic fairy tale and wasn't seen as being much different than any other of Disney's Silly Symphonies. The cartoon took on a life of its own, however, wildly outselling even Mickey Mouse. Eager to capitalize on the success of the cartoon, manufacturers released a slew of merchandise including this rare girl's purse embroidered with the pigs themselves. Sold for less than a dollar in the 1930's, a purse in good condition with the box as shown below is worth $1500 today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Disney's Angels

The Walt Disney Company purchased the California Angels from Gene Autry in 1997. The company's ties to the team go back much further, however. Walt Disney sat on the team's board of directors as a good friend of Mr. Autry. It was the success of DISNEYLAND that encouraged Mr. Autry to relocate his team to Anaheim. Had Mr. Disney not passed away in 1966 he would have likely purchased a piece of the team; a sales agreement to buy a share of the Angels was discovered in Mr. Disney's desk after he had died.

After the Walt Disney Company purchased the team, the hope was to do more cross-promotion between DISNEYLAND and the team. Since the company had just purchased ESPN, there were also plans to launch a localized sports channel. These plans never came to fruition, but in 2002 the team did something magical that it had never managed to do before; it won the World Series! The celebration was magical, taking over both DISNEYLAND and Disney California Adventure. It was a unforgettable day!

The company eventually sold the team, but the memories and the magic live on. Anaheim Angels- A.O.K!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dick Tracy's Midnight Date

Showing a new, anticipated film at a minute after midnight on opening day has become commonplace these days. In 1990 it was practically unheard of. To promote the blockbuster Dick Tracy, Disney's Touchstone Pictures decided to hold a special showing of the film at 12:01 AM on June 15th, 1990.

Lucky guests received an exclusive T-Shirt that served as their ticket into the special midnight showing. It was an ingenious promotion that put the film on everyone's radar. The promotion was successful, catapulting Dick Tracy onto 1990's Top Ten list.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Disney Legend #16: Richard Irvine

Richard Irvine came out to California as a child, his father choosing to move his family to Los Angeles from Utah so that he could open his own ophthalmic practice in Southern California. Richard, however, would not follow in his father's footsteps, choosing to enter the artistic field. Mr. Irvine used his keen eye for color and design at 20th Century Fox, becoming an art director and even earning an Academy Award nomination for his work on the United Artists film Sundown. 

In 1952, Walt Disney was planning out his greatest dream- DISNEYLAND- and quickly realized that he needed art directors to help him realize his dreams, since the architects he had consulted with were not up to the task of designing his Magic Kingdom. One of the first persons he lured to the project was Mr. Irvine, who quickly brought his eye for design to the project.

Mr. Irvine grew to love his job at DISNEYLAND, since Walt Disney gave his designers free reign to design and test just about anything that they could imagine. Richard Irvine worked on just about every major attraction at DISNEYLAND including it's a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and many more.

When Roy Disney canceled Walt Disney's EPCOT and shelved the original plans for the Florida project, he chose Richard Irvine to come up with a new master plan for a so-called "Vacation Kingdom", a plan that was mostly followed up until the mid 1980's. While Disney World has majorly deviated from the original plan as laid out by Mr. Irvine, it still honors him today; one of the boats that hauls guests from the parking lot to Florida's Magic Kingdom is named after him. Mr. Irvine would not live to see his master plan fully realized; he passed away in 1976. He not only left a marvelous legacy, but his daughter also became a renowned Disney Imagineer.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"Let's go fly a kite! Up to the highest height. Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring!"

-The Sherman Brothers

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Aunt Maggie and the Dreaming Tree

As a child, Walt Disney didn't find much encouragement for his artistic gifts at home. His father Elias was a practical man who didn't find much value in artistic endeavors. In fact, it was Walt's Aunt Maggie who provided the spark and supplies a young boy needed to explore his dreams. It was Aunt Maggie who provided the pencils, crayons and paper that Walt used to sketch the world around him; to put his dreams on paper.

When the young Mr. Disney snuck off to draw and dream, he often did it under his "dreaming tree", which was located on the family's Marceline, Missouri farm. It was under this tree that he examined the world around him, explored his imagination and dreamed his wildest dreams. Armed with Aunt Maggie's art supplies and encouragement, little Walter began his life's journey. It was here that he dreamed of a lucky rabbit, a lovable mouse, a cartoon princess and a Magic Kingdom.

Even years later Walt Disney would visit his dreaming tree, making sure to stop by every time he visited his hometown. Every time he visited, more of the dreams he dreamed under that tree had come true. As the years passed, the world had met Oswald, Mickey, Donald, Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs and visited Walt's Magic Kingdom- his greatest dream come true.

It's fairly certain that the world would have never known of Mickey or DISNEYLAND were it not for Mr. Disney's inspirational aunt. Aunt Maggie got to see the success of Mickey Mouse, but never lived to see the animated feature films or DISNEYLAND. But her spirit lives on in them nonetheless. Had she not taken it upon herself to encourage her nephew in his artistic pursuits, the world might have missed out on so many wonderful things and so many magical places.

Little Walt's Dreaming Tree remains standing in Marceline, Missouri and has been designated a historical tree by American Forests. The tree is on private property, but respectful visitors are permitted to visit the tree and take pictures. It's an amazing opportunity to visit a place that inspired a little boy to dream and become an amazing man who would build an amazing place- DISNEYLAND.   

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Elias Disney at DISNEYLAND

Walt Disney's father Elias never lived to see the construction of DISNEYLAND. Despite his father's lack of encouragement, Walt Disney included a special tribute to his father at his Magic Kingdom- a window on Main Street that remains to this day.

Another tribute to Elias Disney was included in Disney California Adventure in the park's Buena Vista Street. The park's main gift shop is named after him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Undistinguished Name, He Almost Had!

In George Lucas' first draft of Empire Strikes Back, the character who would become Yoda was given the name "Buffy".

Luckily, Mr. Lucas changed his mind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


One of the first albums issued by DISNEYLAND Records was Date Nite at DISNEYLAND. Recorded live at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom during an actual Date Nite, the record features the Elliott Brothers Orchestra and the DISNEYLAND Date Niters. As the catchy song points out, this special event occurred Friday and Saturday nights during the summer, "under a million twinkling lights".

The album was re-issued on CD right before the 50th Anniversary at DISNEYLAND through one of the park's CD on demand kiosks. It is now offered through iTunes. While the recording was re-mastered, one quirk found on the original album was left on the CD for posterity. During the album's final track, a young couple can be heard arguing in the background. Since this was an artifact of a live recording it was left in the final product.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Donald's Debut

Donald Duck's first ever appearance was in the 1934 Silly Symphony short The Wise Little Hen. Donald Duck played a lazy suck who refused to assist the Wise Little Hen in the planting, harvesting or cooking of her corn. Despite all this, the Hen does allow Donald and his lazy friends to eat the food she prepares.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"Hang onto them hats and glasses, cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!"

-Big a Thunder Mountain

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: It Should Be Surrounded By A Train

When initially asked what DISNEYLAND should look like, Walt's response was this:

"I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train."

-Walt Disney

Walt's love of trains began when he was very young. When he was old enough to choose his own summer job, he decided to become a "news butcher", a job that allowed him to ride trains all day selling newspapers and refreshments to passengers. 

Walt would often provide free refreshments to the train engineers in exchange for lessons on running the train. It is said that he was an expert at it by the end of the summer. Years later he fondly recalled those summer days when he could forget his worries and just run that train. He dreamed that one day he would own his very own train, one that he could run in his very own backyard-

And maybe even a fleet of trains that would encircle his very own Magic Kingdom:

Walt Disney made his wildest dreams come true; dreams that are still enjoyed by millions from around the world at his one and only Magic Kingdom of DISNEYLAND.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rest in Peace, Rod Taylor

Australian born actor Rod Taylor, who provided the voice of "Pongo" in Walt Disney's Classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians has passed away at the age of 84, just a few days shy of his 85th birthday.

Mr. Taylor starred in many classic non-Disney films like The Time Machine and The Birds. As Pongo, Mr. Taylor gave a voice to a memorable character who is still beloved by children from around the world.

DISNEYLAND Secrets: The Kate & Ella Martini

Looking for a nice drink at the DISNEYLAND Resort? Amble on over to the Napa Rose Lounge at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and ask for a secret drink you won't find on the menu- the Kate & Ella.

Described as a citrus martini, the Kate & Ella is named after Kate & Ella Rea, whose family owned part of the land that eventually became the DISNEYLAND Resort. We previously mentioned the sisters as being the true inspiration for the name of Katella Avenue, which runs south of the DISNEYLAND Resort.

Pictured below with their parents, Kate & Ella actually lived on the land where Disney's Grand Californian Hotel currently sits. So why not honor them by ordering a drink off the secret menu?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Disney Street in London

Imagine how excited Walt Disney was when he learned that a street in London was renamed after him. Lillian Disney once recalled the time when he forced her to accompany him on a whirlwind quest to find the street so that he could take a picture of the street sign.

Mrs. Disney always got a kick out of telling the story because that was when they found out the original name of "Disney Street"- Dunghill Lane

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Leslie Nielsen Sings!

Before he was making people laugh as the bumbling Frank Drebin, Leslie Nielsen was Walt Disney's Swamp Fox. Airing on the Disneyland television show, Swamp Fox told the story of Francis Marion, a real life soldier who fought against the British in America's Revolutionary War.

Amazingly, Leslie Nielsen even sang the theme song to the show. The show didn't have the same success as Davy Crockett, but it is still fondly remembered by Disney fans.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Real Mystery Shack!

The Mystery Shack in Disney's Gravity Falls is a roadside attraction of dubious value run by the notorious cheapskate Grunkle Stan.

Show creator Alex Hirsch has admitted basing the establishment on the real life Santa Cruz, California landmark The Mystery Spot.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"I have a scrapbook full of all your newspaper clippings! Of course, it isn't a very big scrapbook."

-Launchpad McQuack

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"The doctor says it's the first time he's ever been called because a baby was sleeping in the day. And then I think he called me an idiot."

-Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: The Beginning of a Dream

2015 marks the 60th Anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney's greatest dream- DISNEYLAND. Throughout this special anniversary year, RetlawYensid.com will feature The Story of DISNEYLAND every Friday. Please join us as we tell the story of how Walt Disney's greatest dream came true- how he guided it through its first ten years and how it grew to become, as Julie Andrews called it, 'The Happiest Place on Earth to millions the world over; a place where anything is possible- where every dreamer may wish upon a star.'

The story of DISNEYLAND begins in Kansas City, Missouri. Fresh from the stinging failure of the Disney farm in Marceline, Elias Disney moved his family to Kansas City where he purchased a contract to deliver the Kansas City Star newspaper. He drafted his sons to deliver the newspaper for him, a miserable experience on cold Missouri mornings. Walt Disney would have nightmares about the experience many years later. Once the morning editions were delivered, it was time for school, then time to deliver the afternoon papers, then homework, then sleep. There was very little time for dreaming. Especially since little Walt's father put no stock in dreams or artistic endeavors.

Walt Disney's sister Ruth recalled the dreariness of their childhoods but noted that Walt always tried to make things fun or magical for her. She recalled a particularly magical place in Kansas City- Electric Park.

Walt and Ruth would try to go to the park as often as they could, despite their father's disapproval. Featuring magical lights, fantastic rides and immaculately landscaped grounds, this magic electric city was a fun getaway from the drudgery of home.

Due to Elias Disney's disapproval of any type of artistry or frivolity, Walt and Ruth's visits to Electric Park were few and far between. Sometimes they would only reach the front gates where Ruth recalled Walt staring into the park. Ms. Disney believed that her brother wasn't just pondering the fun they weren't having; he was plotting out his own park and his own dream.

Electric Park suffered a massive fire and eventually became just a memory. It closed completely in 1925. By that time Walt Disney was already out in California following his dreams. Dreams that would lead him to his destiny and DISNEYLAND.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow- just a dream away!"