Featured Attractions

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walt Wednesdays: Walt's Mustache Ban

When people think of Walt Disney, they always picture him with his trademark mustache.

However, it might surprise most people to know that he had banned mustaches on DISNEYLAND Cast Members. The ban held until 2000.

A weirder Disney mustache fact- a frightened animator once accidentally burned Mr. Disney's mustache while trying to light a cigarette. It was the only time in Walt Disney's grown up life where he had no mustache.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Toontown Tuesdays: Dipper Pines

Dipper Pines is one of the main characters on Disney's Gravity Falls. Together with his sister Mabel, he spends his summer days helping out his Uncle "Grunkle" Stan who operates a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack.

Voiced by Jason Ritter, Dipper is a typical surly teenager who also happens to have a brave streak about him. He needs to be brave to face the sinister goings on in Gravity Falls.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Music Mondays: Feed the Birds (Tuppence A Bag)

Of all the songs produced by his studio, one of them stood out from the rest for Walt Disney. That song was written by The Sherman Brothers for Mary Poppins- Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag). Long after the picture had been completed, Mr. Disney would often request that the Sherman Brothers play the song for him, something that they eagerly did.

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's
The little old bird woman comes.
In her own special way to the people she calls,
"Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you. "

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
"Feed the birds," that's what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she's calling to you:
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. "

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she's calling to you:
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. "

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

Just imagine- if you were standing right here over 60 years ago, you'd be standing in the middle of an orange grove. One visionary man stood right where you are now, but instead of orange trees, he envisioned a Magic Kingdom. This man's name was Walt Disney. And his dream would be called DISNEYLAND."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"Got out my old camp t-shirt. Still fits! Kinda. And I'm raring to go!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Anything is Possible...

"Actually, it's kind of fun to do the impossible."

-Walt Disney

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Theme Park Thursdays: The Name Game

Several Disney theme parks have changed their names over the years, but one park has infamously changed its name many times- Epcot.

The park opened as EPCOT Center. Since the park was nothing like Walt's original EPCOT plans, "Center" was added to the name to distinguish this park from Walt Disney's EPCOT.

In 1994, "Center" was dropped and the park became officially known as Epcot '94. This odd choice of a name was meant to illustrate how much the park had changed since its disastrous opening in 1982. The name was changed to Epcot '95 in 1995.

After 1995 Disney renamed the park just "Epcot" and it has been called that ever since.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Weird Wednesdays: A Barber Shop in Disney World

Hidden within Florida's Magic Kingdom park on Main Street is one of the last businesses one would expect to find in a theme park- the Harmony Barber Shop.

Some guests might walk in assuming that this out of the way business is just a cutesy name for another souvenir shop, but one can actually get a haircut inside. Apparently for some people, the Florida humidity and heat are best experienced while also walking around with cut hair trimmings all over them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Magic Kingdom...

"I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place–a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Music Mondays: One Little Spark

When Epcot Center's Future World first opened in 1982 it sought to honor not just the scientific research that would improve things in the future, but the imaginative sparks that would inspire future researchers.

The Imagination Pavilion would take guests on a flight of fancy with the Timekeeper and the mischievous Figment as their hosts.

The attraction's triumphant theme song was written by The Sherman Brothers- One Little Spark.

One little spark, of inspiration
Is at the heart, of all creation.
Right at the start, of everything that's new.
One little spark, lights up for you.

Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow.
Horn of a steer, but a lovable fellow.
From head to tail, he's royal purple pigment.
And there, viola!, you've got a Figment!

We all have sparks, imaginations.
That's how our minds, create creations.
For they can make, our wildest dreams come true.
Those magic sparks, in me and you.

Imagination, imagination.
A dream, can be a dream come true.
With just that spark, in me and you.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"Yes, hurry home, princess. We wouldn't want to miss old Daddy's celebration, now, would we? Huh! Celebration indeed!"

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Making the Impossible Possible

If there was one thing that Walt Disney didn't like from his staff, it was for his ideas to be dismissed with little consideration. If he asked for something that couldn't be done and was presented with logical reasons why it was  impossible, he readily accepted it. If the person dismissing his ideas did it out of hand, he often flew into a rage. That's why his imagineers thought it strange that he acted so calmly when his next big idea for a monorail, a Matterhorn mountain and a Submarine Voyage was quickly rejected by an outside architect. After he escorted the architect out, they assumed that he would give up on his idea. He didn't, of course. He made the impossible possible.

However, Mr. Disney wouldn't completely discount his staff if they could show him that his idea was technically impossible. For example, his idea of a roller coaster that would hurtle through space was not possible in the mid-1960's, despite all of the research that Imagineering had conducted. Walt Disney accepted this limitation and refused to build a cut down version of his idea. He would wait until technology caught up with his dreams. Space Mountain wouldn't open until 1977 at DISNEYLAND- a fully realized version of Walt's vision. (The Space Mountain built at Florida's Magic Kingdom was the cut down version Walt Disney had rejected.)

As DISNEYLAND zoomed into the 1960's, Walt Disney kept up his tried and true method of entrusting projects to people who didn't think they could accomplish them, using smaller projects to build up to major ones. His dreams for DISNEYLAND were huge and he was on the verge of making them all come true.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Theme Park Thursdays: Magic Kingdom Swan Boats

When Florida's Magic Kingdom first opened, it had huge attendance problems. Guests were staying away in droves and even Roy Disney's reduced portfolio of attractions seemed like too many. Plans were drawn up to begin reducing capacity further and layoff employees. A few months later, however, the crowds finally started to arrive. The park went from having too much capacity to not enough. Park management rushed to find quick things to open that would soak up the crowds. One quick fix was to launch a fleet of boats to take guests for a tour around the central plaza canals.

The Swan Boats were quite popular, though there wasn't much to see and they didn't travel very far. Additionally, the canals they were traveling through were never designed for boats, which created a maintenance issue. The boats were shut down in 1983 after the Epcot Center theme park opened, which would theoretically assist in spreading out the crowds.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Walt Wednesdays: Richard Sherman Remembers

"Walt was always a great believer in the team. He felt that the team made the pictures, and he was the captain of the team. He just got the best of everybody in the world. So, I’ve always felt very happy that people know our songs, and I feel very lucky that I was a part of that team."

-Richard Sherman

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Tribute to Mr. Disney

Not many people can say they changed the world. Even fewer can claim to have changed it for the better, but Walt Disney did both. 

His name will never be forgotten; almost fifty years after his death, the characters he created still put smiles on the faces of children and his Magic Kingdom still entertains millions every year.

Mr. Disney remains a hero and an inspiration to many. If anyone knew the secret of making dreams come true, it was him. And he made many of his biggest dreams a reality.

“Every day in some small way, we are a part of Walt’s dream, whether walking through the park, watching amazing movies or television, or just spending time together. It all started with a young cartoonist landing in Los Angeles, his friend Mickey Mouse in his heart, a trunk full of dreams and ambitions, and most importantly, a lifetime of stories to tell.”


“Walt Disney’s secret was to do things you don’t need, and do them well. And then you realize you needed them all along.”

-Ray Bradbury

“One of the things that I’ve learned from Walt that I use in my everyday work and life is that nothing is impossible. The quote of his that I love the best is, ‘Actually, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ I try to remind myself and others of this every day.”

-Ralph Castaneda

"I grew up with DISNEYLAND. I can't imagine my world without it. Walt put it best when he said 'DISNEYLAND is a work of love'. And like all happy endings, it will be ours to treasure forever more."

-Neil Patrick Harris

"Like a bolt out of the blue. Fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Music Mondays: "Gitchee Gitchee Goo"

It was a song that would cause a huge change in how one of Disney Channel's biggest hits would be produced. When production began on Phineas and Ferb's first season episode Flop Starz, the show hadn't premiered yet. Network executives were keeping a close eye on the production, unsure of its future success. When they saw a rough cut of this particular episode and heard the catchy song, they knew they had something special on their hands. They also asked the show's creators to include a song in every episode, something the creators were more than happy to do.

Bow, chicka, bow-wow!
That's what my baby says!
And my heart starts pumping!
 Chicka-chicka choo whop!
 Never gonna stop!
 Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!

My baby's got her own way of talking
Whenever she says something sweet
And she knows it's my world she's a-rockin'
Though my vocabulary's incomplete!

I know it may sound confusing...
Sometimes I wish she'd give it to me straight!
But I never feel like I'm losing
When I take the time to translate!
Here's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

 Bow, chicka, bow-wow!
That's what my baby says!
And my heart starts pumping!
(Oh) Chicka-chicka, choo whop!
Never gonna stop!
 Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!

Well I don't know what to do!
(I don't know what to do.)
But I think I'm getting through!
(I think I'm getting through.)
Cause when I say I love you...
(When I say I love you!)
She says, "I gitchee gitchee goo you, too!"
(Gitchee gitchee goo you, too!)
Gitchee gitchee goo you, too!
 (Gitchee gitchee goo you, too!)

 Don't need a dictionary!

Bow, chicka, bow-wow!
That's what my baby says!
And my heart starts pumping!
 Chicka-chicka, choo whop!
 Never gonna stop!
 Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!

I said, a-bow, chicka, bow-wow!
That's what my baby says!
And my heart starts pumping!
 Chicka-chicka, choo whop!
Never gonna stop!
Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!

Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!
Gitchee gitchee goo means...
That I love you
Baby! Baby! Baby!

 Gitchee gitchee goo means that I love you!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Disney Quote Weekends

"It will look like nothing else in the world- and it should be surrounded by a train."

-Walt Disney

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Arrow Development- Building Walt's Dreams

When Walt Disney began building his dream of DISNEYLAND, he didn't have a staff that had all of the skills needed to accomplish everything. A chance inquiry by a Mountain View, CA business named Arrow Development gave Walt just what he needed- an experienced contractor who could help translate his dreams into reality.

He instantly had them fabricate the Casey Junior Circus Train, which would bring the famed train from the film Dumbo to life.

He also had them build the elaborate vehicles for the Fantasyland Dark Rides, making them beautiful at Mr. Disney's request.

Other projects they worked on included Matterhorn Mountain and the ride system shown below that Walt Disney is excitedly testing out. Recognize it?

That's the prototype for the greatest theme park attraction ever built- DISNEYLAND's Pirates of the Caribbean. As millions of happy guests know, that's a working mockup of the first drop on the famed ride. A thrilling surprise that launches guests on their magical, adventurous journey.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Theme Park Thursdays: The Hatbox Ghost

One of the most legendary Disney Theme Park characters has amazingly only been in the park for a total of less than six months yet he began his run over 45 years ago. This mythical character is the Hatbox Ghost.

His existence has been the subject of much debate over the years. While he was in a lot of Haunted Mansion printed materials from 1969 when the ride first opened. However, as many guests began to notice, he wasn't actually in the ride. As the years went on, guests began to ask about the wily missing creature. The official story was that he never existed. He was used in promotional materials and books as a fanciful interpretation of what could be found inside the house, but no figure existed. Many guests soon believed they just imagined him; they saw him in the various souvenir books and merely assumed he was in the ride. Was that the case?

Actually, as eventually discovered, he *did* exist. During the 1990's, a Disney cast member, certain he had seen the figure years earlier as a child, took advantage of his position and scoured Imagineering records to find any proof the hatbox ghost existed. And he found it in a guide written up by Imagineering that had instructions on how to maintain the animatronics. One of the figures listed was the Hatbox Ghost! Was the company lying about the figure before? Most likely not; DISNEYLAND had merely forgotten about the figure and assumed it never existed. When that was disproven, they embraced the ghost, making a ton of collectible merchandise featuring him. The new theory was that he had been removed from the ride prior to it opening to the public because his special effect was not believable. It was believed that guests who claimed to have seen him were still mistaken.

However, just a few years ago, film footage from the ride's first public weekend was unearthed- and there in all his glory was the Hatbox Ghost. He *had* been in the ride on opening day all along. While he was most likely removed not long after opening week, it is uncertain when he was taken out. At first Imagineering tried to fix him, but due to the huge crowds the Mansion was attracting, they had bigger issues to deal with, like making sure the attraction was operating at full capacity to handle the huge crowds. Soon the Hatbox Ghost was forgotten and it is believed he was re-used later as a different character in the show America Sings. This year, a new animatronic was created with working special effects and he was placed back where he belongs- to scare and amuse forever more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Weird Wednesdays: Nickelodeon or Disney's Doug?

In the early 1990's, Nickelodeon decided to invest in more expensive, yet possibly more lucrative programming. Gone were the Canadian imports and cheap game shows. In their place were costlier cartoons that could produce valuable licensing opportunities. One of the early successes was Doug, which had an unusual production contract- since Nickelodeon didn't have its own animation facilities, it setup Doug's creator Jim Jenkins with his own studio and a promise to pickup 5 seasons of the show. This promise had an unusual clause; if Nickelodeon didn't pickup the agreed upon 5 seasons, Mr. Jenkins could shop the show around to other networks and Nickelodeon would surrender the copyrights and trademarks to the characters, though it would retain ownership of any episodes produced for it.

So how did Doug end up at Disney? Unbelievably, Nickelodeon decided that Doug was too expensive to produce after season 4. Whether they were merely playing hardball or didn't think that Jim Jenkins would find somewhere else to take Doug, they firmly stated that they would no longer have any use for the show. ABC had been circling Jim Jenkins' animation studio after learning that there was a chance it could pick up Doug. When The Walt Disney Company purchased ABC in 1995, many assumed it was game over for Doug, but Disney not only picked the show up, it bought Mr. Jenkins' studio, trademarks and copyrights. A stunned Nickelodeon watched one of its biggest shows walk right out the door.

So Doug now exists in a weird copyright situation. Its first four seasons are owned by Nickelodeon, while the trademarks, copyrights and later seasons are all owned by Disney. While Nickelodeon can show its Doug episodes, it cannot produce any toys or license any merchandise. A weird situation indeed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Toontown Tuesdays: Merryweather

One of the standout, scene stealing characters in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty is the spunky good fairy Merryweather.

Merryweather is the fairy godmother who overrides Maleficent's death curse by making it so that Aurora would merely fall asleep instead of die after she cut her finger on the spinning wheel. Rambunctious, yet practical, she seemingly was responsible for most of the chores when the fairies gave up their powers to take care of young Aurora. Merryweather was voiced by Barbara Luddy, who also provided the voices of Lady from Lady and the Tramp and Kanga from Winnie the Pooh.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Music Mondays: "When You Wish Upon A Star"

If there's one song that is most associated with Disney, it's the classic When You Wish Upon a Star from Walt Disney's masterpiece Pinocchio. Performed by Jiminy Cricket at the beginning of the movie, the song perfectly encapsulates the dreams and magic that people love about Disney.

Written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington, the song has been recognized as one of the greatest in history. It has become a Christmas standard in Scandinavian countries, where the star is considered to be the star of Bethlehem.

The song is used throughout the Disney empire and is played on a continuous loop as guests walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle- a fitting song for Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.

When you wish upon a star 
Makes no difference who you are 
Anything your heart desires 
Will come to you 
If your heart is in your dream 
No request is too extreme 
When you wish upon a star 
As dreamers do 
Fate is kind 
She brings to those to love 
The sweet fulfillment of 
Their secret longing 
Like a bolt out of the blue 
Fate steps in and sees you through 
When you wish upon a star 
Your dreams come true

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Disney Saturday at the Movies: Treasure Island

For its first 27 years, Walt Disney Productions only produced animated films or animated films with live action elements. Walt Disney considered making live action only films, but his various distributors advised him against it. He was known for cartoons, they told him. Audiences expected animated sequences in Disney films. Since Disney Studios didn't have an in-house distribution group, it was at the mercy of the outside distributors, so Walt was forced to add cartoon elements to all of his films.

After World War II, the economies of European countries were in disarray. As a result, England and France froze foreign profits. Money spent in those countries had to stay there, which created problems for companies that had large sums of money trapped there. Companies like Walt Disney Productions. At first, Walt Disney considered setting up an animation studio in England. Thinking back to how difficult it was to build up his talented crew in Southern California, he determined that it would take years to duplicate the feat overseas. That brought back the idea of trying a fully live action film. Disney's distributor was willing to try live action films this time, since they knew that making a film in England would be the only way to "export" their money.

Walt Disney chose the period drama Treasure Island since it could easily be filmed in England with a mostly English cast. Not only was it Disney's first live action only film, it was also the first version of Treasure Island filmed in color. The film was a huge success, proving that audiences would accept a live action Disney film. It would be the very first of many to come.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Expanding the Dream

While Roy Disney eagerly wanted to bank the riches flowing into DISNEYLAND each day, Walt saw the money as a means to expand his Magic Kingdom. He knew that the way to keep his guests happy and eager to return was to expand the park, adding new experiences and adventures. With competitors lurking, he had to set the pace.

One of the closest competitors was Pacific Ocean Park, built by a partnership that included CBS in Santa Monica. The project site was originally offered to Walt Disney as a location for DISNEYLAND. Mr. Disney rejected the site as unsuitable.

Yet another competitor opened up on the other side of the country. Freedomland, U.S.A opened in New York, utilizing many staff members who had worked for Walt Disney at DISNEYLAND. The project sought to be the "DISNEYLAND of the East".

People who scoffed at DISNEYLAND were now rushing to build their own theme parks, eager to see the same success that Walt Disney had at DISNEYLAND. While both projects had initial success (Pacific Ocean Park liked to boast that it welcomed more guests than DISNEYLAND on its first Sunday of operation) both parks eventually failed because they assumed that all they had to do was build something, then watch the money flow in. They didn't realize that DISNEYLAND was successful because Walt Disney was constantly adding to it, enhancing what was already there and emphasizing quality. It wasn't just a matter of throwing open the gates.

In 1959, Walt Disney embarked on the largest expansion up until that point. After a lengthy argument with his brother, he ended up winning the day and built the Matterhorn, the Submarine Voyage and the DISNEYLAND Monorail. It was innovation and expansion like this that made DISNEYLAND stand out and thrive.