The 1970's weren't always kindest to DISNEYLAND. It had become the stepchild in its own theme park kingdom. Roy Disney's penny pinching had left Florida's Magic Kingdom theme park without enough attractions after it finally caught on with guests. With numerous Disney owned hotels to fill, the company found the resort became a money sink, desperately needing further development to become more viable. Luckily, the company had a rich catalog of projects to pull possible ideas from and a stable, established money maker in DISNEYLAND. One of the first projects it chose from its back catalog was one Walt Disney had shelved in 1964- Tomorrowland's Spaceport and Rocket Flight.
The elaborate space ride was sadly not possible with mid-1960's technology. Park management suggested to Walt that he compromise and merely build a copy of the Matterhorn indoors. That wasn't the way Walt Disney did things, however, so he put his idea on the shelf. It would be a dream that would come true another day. Florida's park managers were more 'practical' however. They needed a 'mountain' and feeling that an outdoor attraction like the Matterhorn was not practical in Central Florida, the indoor Matterhorn concept was put into place. By the end of the project, however, the technology required to make Walt Disney's original dream a reality was now in reach. DISNEYLAND put Walt's dream Space Mountain under construction.
Since Mr. Disney had left room for a future Space Mountain in his Tomorrowland remodel of 1967, construction could begin quickly. The Space Mountain that would rise in DISNEYLAND would be a huge technological advancement from the one that found its way to the Central Florida swamps. In this instance, Walt Disney's dream would be fully realized in his Magic Kingdom.
The next major project that found its way to DISNEYLAND began life as a Florida project. Disney had planned a runaway train ride in the Florida Frontierland when it became clear that the park desperately needed more attractions. The Florida park's shoehorned Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, however, went over budget. This caused Florida's bean counters to cancel the more ambitious Big Thunder Mountain and instead build the cut down Space Mountain. The huge success of the two Space Mountains encouraged the company to put the Big Thunders into production. The one at DISNEYLAND was optimally situated for construction and thus opened first.
The wildest ride in the wilderness was opened in 1979 in DISNEYLAND. The attraction cemented the park's reputation as the company's flagship theme park.
As the 1970's ended, Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom prevailed over what many had felt was neglect compared to its younger sibling in Florida. It ended the decade with a super-powered mountain range, an audio-animatronic spectacular and a magical 25th Anniversary party. As the 1980's began, new challenges would arise, but an even bigger dream of Walt Disney's would come true. The magic would seemingly never end.
In 1972, to celebrate Walt Disney World Resort's first year, Donald Duck joined Mickey Mouse in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida had a tumultuous first few months, attracting few guests. The company started to panic and went into promotional overdrive, planning major publicity stunts like this one to boost sagging attendance. Luckily by the time of the parade, the park was on solid ground.
"Y'know, there's been a heap o' legends and tall tales about Robin Hood. All different too. Well, we folks in the animal kingdom have our own version. It's the story of what really happened in Sherwood Forest..."
Mickey Mouse was always near and dear to Walt Disney's heart. No matter what amazing projects Mr. Disney embarked on, Mickey was always a part of them. That's why when Mr. Disney began to dream about a magical theme park built across the street from his Burbank studio, the first name he thought of to grace the modest plan was "Mickey Mouse Park."
The small eight acre parcel would have a train, a small town, a lake and of course, Mickey Mouse. Mr. Disney's original plan was to place statues of Mickey and friends that guests could pose next to for pictures. The centerpiece of the park, however, would be the Mickey statue.
Walt Disney's dreams soon grew, however, and it became obvious that he would need much more land. His mere park had become a Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom soon found a new home many miles south and would have a new name- DISNEYLAND. Despite this new name, the park would still feature Walt's famous friend. And to leave no doubt as to who ruled over this Magic Kingdom, Mickey Mouse's smiling face would welcome the millions of guests who would make the trek to DISNEYLAND from around the world.
After Walt Disney lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Universal Pictures, Walt came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse and sat down with the only animator he could trust- Ub Iwerks- to animate the first Mickey Mouse cartoon.
That cartoon would be- Plane Crazy. Ub had animated about 2/3rds of the film before Walt Disney came upon the magic of sound. Since Plane Crazy had been envisioned as a silent cartoon, he chose to scrap everything and come up with an idea for a cartoon that would feature sound. That cartoon was Steamboat Willie.
Steamboat Willie was a sensation, catapulting Mickey Mouse to superstardom. Despite the fact that Walt's brother Roy was against it, Walt was proven right when Steamboat Willie broke every record. Afterwards, Plane Crazy was reworked with sound and Mickey Mouse became a worldwide celebrity.
With its creator gone, DISNEYLAND settled in for the long haul. Walt Disney had setup an organization that he was certain would continue to pursue his dreams. Meanwhile, Roy Disney canceled his brother's plans for the Florida project and planned out his own vision of a "vacation kingdom". The resulting changes required Imagineering to shift its efforts to Florida. While DISNEYLAND's staff felt neglected, the park continued to operate as before, bringing in needed funds that were diverted to Florida. When the Florida park faltered at first, DISNEYLAND's importance was increased as its profits were used to prop up the Florida resort until it found its bearings. It is interesting to note that if DISNEYLAND had suffered the same initial attendance issues as Florida's Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney likely would have gone bankrupt.
The first attraction "imported" from Florida was the Country Bear Jamboree. Originally created for a project Walt Disney planned to build in Mineral King, California, it was wildly successful in Florida and given its own new land in DISNEYLAND. The arrival of the Country Bears was highly anticipated.
The next big addition to DISNEYLAND was also influenced by the Florida park. To save money, Roy Disney had under built attractions in Florida. When the park began to become successful, it soon needed any new additions it could muster. The Carousel of Progress was eyed as a natural addition to Florida's Tomorrowland and the attraction was packed up in Anaheim and sent out to Florida. Taking advantage of the existing infrastructure, Disney Imagineer Marc Davis proposed a salute to American music performed by animatronic animals. DISNEYLAND's America Sings opened just in time for America's bicentennial.
As the decade continued, DISNEYLAND would continue to be affected by its younger sibling in Florida, but that would soon end.
Guests at Disney California Adventure head to the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe each morning for Starbucks Coffee and delicious Disney food. The location has become one of the busiest Starbucks locations in the world, as millions of DISNEYLAND Resort guests start their day there each year.
The comfortable, inviting location appears to be named after Walt Disney's famed pigs, but the story doesn't end there. According to legend, Mr. Disney was inspired to make the cartoon after seeing the famous "Silver Lake Sisters"- Dotty, Dolly and Ethel. The famous sisters retired and opened up this magical cafe to serve their fans and Buena Vista Street guests.
When Walt Disney was looking for a site to build his city of the future, he wanted a location far enough from DISNEYLAND so that it wouldn't compete with his beloved Magic Kingdom and also a place with cheap, somewhat usable land. He also wanted a place that could theoretically allow year round operation like Southern California. Far, cheap and the need for year round operations led him to the swamps of central Florida. Orlando was chosen for its relatively hurricane-free weather, though as the company would find, the weather was far from ideal.
Florida's humid summers and frequent torrential storms would make park operations a challenge. Florida's Space Mountain is a copy of DISNEYLAND's Matterhorn, built indoors because Imagineers didn't think the ride system would work outdoors in Florida. A close look at various landmarks throughout the Florida parks reveal a complex series of lightning rods, carefully hidden so as not to alarm guests. The most prominent lightning rod at Disney's Hollywood Studios is actually Mickey himself.
Mickey's left ear is a lightning rod, designed to take the brunt of any possible lightning strike. A lightning strike on Mickey might create nightmares for the thousands of children in the park who witness it, but at least it will keep them safe.
Geppetto's "Little Wooden Head" was a vicious little jerk in the original book by Carlo Collodi. Walt Disney knew that the audience would need to sympathize with Pinocchio. Otherwise, why would we care what happens to him? As a result, Pinocchio became not a horrible brat but a misguided little kid.
One of the first songs heard in the film A Goofy Movie, "Stand Out" is performed by Goofy's son Max as a way to catch the eye of Roxanne, a girl he has a crush on. Max uncharacteristically takes over a school assembly, apparently getting in trouble for it, to perform this song. Lucky for Max, it's the last day of school so he's not in trouble for very long.
Open up your eyes, take a look at me
Get the picture fixed in your memory
I'm driven by the rythm like the beat of a heart
And I won't stop until I start
To stand out
To stand out
Some people settle for the typical thing
Livin' all their lives waiting in the wings
It ain't a question of "if", just a matter of time
Before I move to the front of the line
Once you're watching every move that I make
You gotta believe that I got what it takes
To stand out, above the crowd
Even if I gotta shout out loud
'Til mine is the only face you'll see
Gonna stand out...
'Til ya notice me
If the sqeeky wheel's always gettin' the grease
I'm totally devoted to disturbing the peace
And I'll do it all again, when I get done
Until I become your number one
No method to the madness, and no means of escape
Gonna break every rule or bend them all outta shape
It ain't a question of "how", just a matter of when
Guests at DISNEYLAND in the late 1950's would encounter an interesting sight at the end of Main Street. An intriguing display showed what the future held in store for the theme park, an exciting new land called Edison Square.
Wait, Edison Square? Was that supposed to open at DISNEYLAND in Anaheim? Indeed it was. Souvenir maps depicted the new land as "Coming Soon".
There was a ton of conceptual art included in the park's souvenir guide as well.
So what happened? Why did the park quietly remove any mention of the new land from the park? It seems that Mr. Disney just got too busy with other things and in the end, felt that Edison Square would not be interesting enough. The plans wouldn't go completely unused, however. Years later, when Imagineers were looking for a replacement for New Orleans Square for Florida's Magic Kingdom, some of Edison Square's elements were incorporated into that park's Liberty Square.
Disney was still using ideas recycled from Edison Square in 1982 for the United States pavilion at Epcot Center's World Showcase.
The company may have completely scrapped Walt Disney's original plans for Walt Disney World in Florida, but his influence can still be seen in these attractions.
"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."
The character most associated with The Walt Disney Company and its founder began his life due to desperation- Walt Disney had just lost his character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Universal Pictures and he needed a new cartoon personality to keep his company doors open. On a long and somber train ride from New York to California, he recalled a mouse he had as a pet in Kansas City. This burst of inspiration led him to draw the immortal- Mortimer Mouse. Luckily his wife was also on the train and convinced him to change the name to something else- Mickey Mouse.
Working with his loyal animator Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney introduced his newest creation to the world, not only providing him with life, but also his voice. Mickey Mouse was a sensation, quickly eclipsing Oswald to become the world's most recognizable figure. Mickey's peppy, optimistic nature came from Mr. Disney himself. Everyone who knew Walt personally said that Mickey Mouse was just like his creator and Walt carefully took care of Mickey and his image.
Today, many years after his creation, Mickey is still an optimistic little person who still attracts the love of children around the world. They may not know where he came from or who created him, but they instantly love him all the same. Even newborn babies love him. Today he holds court in his father's Magic Kingdom, welcoming guests from around the world to DISNEYLAND.