Featured Attractions

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Toontown Tuesdays: Prince John

In the Disney animated film Robin Hood, the main villain is Prince John, who is portrayed as a whiny, simpering pretender to the throne who overtaxes the people of England.


Not the type of character who could become a beloved presence in one of DISNEYLAND's most magical parades ever, right? Actually, that's exactly what happened.


In Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade, the villainous Prince John holds court in a gigantic calliope, dancing and performing for the crowds. Added after the release of the film, Prince John was never replaced with a newer character because his amazing dancing made him a guest favorite. Despite his villainous acts, Prince John knows how to really get down!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Music Mondays: DISNEYLAND Records Release #6- "Walt Disney Presents: People and Places- Switzerland & Samoa"

The next release by DISNEYLAND Records seems to be quite strange. Walt Disney Presents: People and Places- Switzerland & Samoa was not a random entry; it was actually a soundtrack to one of Disney's True-Life Adventure films. There were actually two separate featurettes that aimed to introduce viewers to the countries of Switzerland and Samoa. 



The packaging for the record featured shots from both films on opposite sides of the sleeve. Were one to flip the sleeve over, it would appear as though it was an entirely separate album. 

While DISNEYLAND Records was created because Walt Disney could not find a distributor to produce albums tied to DISNEYLAND, the People and Places series led to the creation of Disney's Buena Vista Distribution Company. Previously, Disney films had been released through RKO. RKO refused to distribute either the True-Life Adventure or People and Places films, which inspired Roy Disney to create the company's own distribution company.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Freaky Fridays: The Tron Renaissance

In 1982, The Walt Disney Company was in trouble. Conservative management had made the company's theatrical product stale and the bloated EPCOT Center opened to poor attendance and staggering losses. Unfortunately for Walt Disney's son in law Ron Miller, he had inherited this mess from Roy O. Disney's handpicked successor Card Walker. Ron quickly went to work.


He decided to make the company a trailblazer again, starting with an ambitious Sci-Fi thriller that would be a costly gamble- Tron.


Tron would push the envelope, an attempt to lead Hollywood into the world of computer generated effects. Walt Disney Productions would again be the leader in this new world of CGI. Ron had high hopes for this film and its potential to be a lucrative property for the studio. Despite the in park promotions and flashy effects, the film would underperform. Mr. Miller had other irons in the fire, including a partnership to bring Star Wars into the parks and a new movie brand that would release non-family films. Sadly, he would be ousted in 1984, never getting a chance to see his ideas come to fruition. Tron, meanwhile, was building up a cult audience. A generation of youngsters who saw the film in theaters were coming of age and embraced the film just as the Internet began to take off. It would take nearly thirty years and a hot selling special edition DVD to get the film the buzz it never had in 1982. Soon the film found itself in the parks again...


... a long awaited sequel was produced...


... And more spectacularly, an amazing new Tron themed coaster premiered at Shanghai Disneyland this week, dazzling park guests. Finally, a permanent installation featuring the Tron franchise.


While it might have seemed to be a bungle back in 1982, this franchise has legs. Having inspired a generation of computer and tech experts, yet forgotten by the general public, Tron has a bright future. While the opening weekend grosses back in 1982 might not have been impressive to Hollywood insiders, the film impressed the kids who were in attendance, inspiring them to pursue a great big beautiful tomorrow filled with computers and technology. (It certainly made an impression on the webmaster of this site.) Flynn's Lives!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: Dedicating the Parks

In honor of the opening of the new Shanghai Disneyland, we're taking a look at the various dedication plaques from Disney theme parks round the world.


The first dedication plaque is also the best! DISNEYLAND is the ONLY Disney theme park dedicated and planned by Walt Disney.


The second plaque is an oddity. The name of the park it was placed in is officially "Magic Kingdom". Walt Disney World is the entire property. Plus, Roy Disney decided to put his name on the plaque, something his brother didn't do at DISNEYLAND. At least the plaque mentions the resort is a "tribute" to Walt Disney and not his final dream come true. (The resort was not built according to Walt Disney's plans.)


The Epcot plaque was obviously changed, though most of the wording remained the same. The park's name was changed from EPCOT Center to just Epcot in the mid 1990's. Oddly enough, they left one reference to EPCOT Center on the plaque. This one was signed by Card Walker, who famously decided to put two competing theme park ideas together to create something called "Epcot" to quiet down complaints that there wasn't anything called Epcot in the resort.


Card Walker signed Tokyo Disneyland's plaque, the first to feature both English and a foreign language.


The next one was for Disney-MGM Studios which is now called Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is rumored that the park's name will change again- to Disney Hollywood Adventure- after its current construction projects are completed.

The plaque at Euro Disneyland also features dual languages- English and French. The park's name subsequently changed to Disneyland Paris.


In keeping with its natural, conservation theme, Disney's Animal Kingdom features an unassuming plaque seemingly carved into stone.


The plaque for Disney California Adventure was changed and moved; from a location where the Carthay Circle Restaurant stands now, to a flagpole at the park entrance.


Tokyo DisneySea brought a return to the dual language pattern offering both English and Japanese plaques.


Walt Disney Studios Paris put both French and English on the same plaque.


And finally, Hong Kong DISNEYAND featured yet another dual language plaque- English and Chinese.

The latest Disney theme park in Shanghai will most likely follow this pattern- offering English and Chinese dedications  on the same plaque. Despite larger or flashier plaques, the greatest one was the first one- dedicated by Walt Disney on July 17, 1955.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Music Mondays: DISNEYLAND Records Release #5- "Song of the South"

For its fifth release, DISNEYLAND Records released the first of many soundtrack reissues- Walt Disney's Song of the South.


Originally released by RCA Victor, the Disney soundtrack albums were always big sellers. Since the idea of home entertainment was a distant dream at the time, the soundtrack albums were the only way fans could re-experience the films on demand.

Despite how lucrative these soundtrack releases were, neither RCA Victor nor any of the other large record companies were willing to release the DISNEYLAND Park albums in order to retain the soundtrack rights. Like so many others, they didn't think that DISNEYLAND would be successful and didn't believe Mr. Disney would end his contract with them over such a small issue. Besides, they figured, he'd need the revenue after DISNEYLAND failed. Of course, they were absolutely wrong. This release would be just the first of many reissues.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A New Hotel for DISNEYLAND

DISNEYLAND announced that it has submitted plans to build a new hotel north of Downtown Disney in Anaheim.


While it was not announced alongside this news, the expansion of Downtown Disney would most likely be a part of this hotel project.

DISNEYLAND Summer Kick-Off 1959


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

DISNEYLAND Summer Kickoff: A Kiss Goodnight

One of the grandest Summer traditions at DISNEYLAND is the nightly fireworks show. Often kicked off by Tinkerbell, the fireworks used to be limited to summer nights only, but have now become a year round spectacle.


The fireworks provided something both Walt and Roy Disney would enjoy. Walt loved giving his guests something extra before they left the park, while Roy appreciated the extra revenue generated from guests who stayed in the park until later.


Regardless of the motivation, this little "kiss goodnight" has been delighting DISNEYLAND guests for decades.

Walt Disney wanted the nightly fireworks to be like a goodnight kiss. A little bit of pixie dust to end your visit to this magic kingdom. A tradition we honour and treasure to this day.

Monday, June 6, 2016

DISNEYLAND Summer Kick-off: 1956

DISNEYLAND began its second year of operation with the first of many price changes, although this one was not the kind most people would expect today. In this case, the federal government had eliminated a ten cent tax that DISNEYLAND had charged on tickets the first year. The park passed the savings onto the guests, lowering ticket prices to ninety cents.


Guests were treated to a newly upgraded attraction that summer- the Storybookland Canal Boats. Opened in July 1955 as the Canal Boats of the world, the barren attraction was originally unfinished, a victim of the cash crunch faced in the final days of construction.


Flush with cash after a phenomenal first summer in 1955, Walt Disney quickly invested in his Magic Kingdom, transforming the barren views of 1955 into a fairy tale world of magic in 1956.


It would be just the first magical full summer at the Magic Kingdom.