Featured Attractions

Friday, August 26, 2016

Freaky Fridays: What Happened to Miss Bliss?

One of the first Disney Channel sitcoms that would try to get the attention of tweens was Good Morning Miss Bliss. The 1989 sitcom was a vehicle for Disney Legend Hayley Mills, whose Parent Trap reunion films had brought huge ratings to the channel. It seemed natural for her to be the center of a Disney sitcom.


The show fizzled, but you would be forgiven for thinking that the cast looks familiar; the show was technically the first season of Saved By the Bell. 

The show would be much more successful without Miss Bliss, though a strange theory is that Saved By the Bell is merely the made up fantasy of Zach, whose character is a total nerd in Miss Bliss but becomes a popular stud in Bell. There was probably more thought put into that theory than the producers ever intended.

The Miss Bliss season sometimes is aired in syndication as a lost season of Saved By the Bell, though it has never made it to DVD.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: The EPCOT Conundrum

If you've been reading our site for awhile, you probably already know that the Epcot theme park that was built is not the EPCOT that Walt Disney had originally planned.

Walt Disney's real EPCOT

Roy Disney threw out all of Walt Disney's plans for the Florida project, choosing to build his own version of the tourist attraction. When guests complained about the absence of EPCOT, all resort development was stopped until Imagineering could come up with something that could be passed off as Epcot- provided that it was a theme park.

What was built went way over budget and almost brought the company down. Despite the company's desire to make people believe that this 'Epcot Center' was the EPCOT Walt Disney had originally planned, they never really tried to out and out lie about it. The dedication plaque says this park was inspired by Walt Disney's vision.


In the aftermath of Epcot's financial failure, the company's new management- led by Michael Eisner- sought to fix the problems found at Epcot. They brought in more Disney characters, made it less educational, etc. Then they began to actively hide the park's real creative development. No longer content with suggesting that this might have been the Epcot that Walt Disney had planned, they began taking snippets of things Walt Disney had said and creatively editing them to describe the Epcot Center that had been built. They even used things Mr. Disney had said about DISNEYLAND and made it appear as though he was talking about the Florida project.

Nowhere was this obfuscation more apparent than in the 1995 made for television film A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. The film was about the life of original Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and featured Len Cariou as Walt Disney.


In one scene, Annette goes into Walt Disney's office to tell him that she didn't plan on renewing her contract with the studio because she planned to make more adult films. The film's producers chose to have a familiar looking model sitting on a table in Mr. Disney's office. It was the Epcot of 1982, subtly and subliminally insinuating that Walt Disney had come up with the design of the theme park, which he had not.


In recent years, the company has become more open about the Florida project's lack of resemblance to Mr. Disney's plans. The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco openly displays Epcot's original plans and explicitly explains that Walt's last dream was never built as he had intended.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Walt Wednesdays: Retlaw Enterprises

Many people know that Walt Disney had an apartment over the Main Street Fire Station, an apartment that has been preserved to this day.


What most people might not know, however, is that the building was officially not owned by DISNEYLAND. In fact, the park didn't own the DISNEYLAND Railroad or the DISNEYLAND Monorail. These attractions were owned and operated by Retlaw Enterprises- Walt Disney's personal company.


When Roy Disney finally agreed to have Walt Disney Productions be a part of the DISNEYLAND project, he kept a close eye on expenses. Walt didn't think he could build the railroad he dreamed of with his brother's interference, so he came up with a solution- he would own and operate the railroad through Retlaw and rent space from DISNEYLAND. A similar deal was setup for the DISNEYLAND Monorail.


Walt's ownership of the Fire Station was intended to solve the problem of him having a private space on what was essentially company property. All three enterprises were purchased by the company in 1982 when Ticket books were eliminated and the park began selling pay one price passports.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Toontown Tuesdays: Skeeter!

In 1984, Jim Henson's Muppets took Manhattan. The most popular scene in the film was one in which Miss Piggy fantasized that the gang all knew each other as babies. As a result, Jim Henson looked for a way to bring the characters to television. Teaming up with Marvel Entertainment, he put Jim Henson's Muppet Babies into production.

An issue that cropped up early was the fact that there weren't many female Muppets; just Miss Piggy and Janice. (And Janice was a bit of a floozy.) Just one character was created for the show- a twin sister for Scooter named Skeeter.


Skeeter was more of a tomboy than Miss Piggy and more adventurous too. She quickly became a favorite along with the rest of the cast, who found success both in the ratings and with the critics. Despite this, Skeeter was never turned into a physical puppet like the other characters, though she did feature in a traveling stage show meant to capitalize on the show's success.


Despite her popularity, she rarely shows up in anything these days. Even the Muppet Babies merchandise that occasionally gets produced for babies omits her. Hopefully, The Walt Disney Company will finally choose to bring her back some day. Her millions of fans would love it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Music Mondays: DISNEYLAND Records Release #8: "Cinderella"

The eighth release from DISNEYLAND Records continued the company's commitment to re-releasing its classic soundtracks. This time it would be Cinderella.


This soundtrack series would prove to be very lucrative for the company, enabling it to produce new and experimental recordings.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Food Fridays: Jeopardy Week Answer

The delicious Orange Swirl is considered to be the east coast version of DISNEYLAND's Dole Whip. It is served at the exit of Florida's Enchanted Tiki Room.


Food Fridays: Jeopardy Week Concludes


(Come back at 6PM PDT for the answer!)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: Jeopardy Week Answer

The original name of Disney Way was Freedman Way, named after the original owner of the Melodyland Theater which was located on the south side of the street. 


After Mr. Freedman passed away, the venue was put up for sale, getting sold to a church which operated it until the late 90's. By the time the street was renamed, the facility had already been razed.

Theme Park Thursdays: Jeopardy Week


(Come back for the answer at 6PM PDT.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Walt Wednesdays: Jeopardy Week Answer

Walt Disney arrived in California with $40 and a suitcase filled with all of his possessions.


Walt Wednesdays: Jeopardy Week


(Check back at 6PM PDT for the answer!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Toontown Tuesdays: Jeopardy Week Answer

The Pinocchio character voiced by Mel Blanc was Gideon. He was deemed to sound "too drunk" and only a hiccup was used in the final film.


Toontown Tuesdays: Jeopardy Week

Get the answer this evening at 6PM!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Music Mondays: Jeopardy Week Answer

The un-copyrighted song that is believed to be the most played is:

it's a small world


Music Mondays: Jeopardy Week


(Check back tonight at 6PM for the answer.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Freaky Fridays: "Sell-Through" Videocassettes?

At the dawn of the videocassette revolution, the major studios weren't fully onboard with the new technology. Many of them, even Disney, had sued the companies that produced the videocassette equipment. When Hollywood decided to embrace the new tech, the conventional wisdom was that customers would want to rent but not own the movies. Since the videocassettes were not meant for consumers, the studios priced them at $99.95. When Disney decided to dip its toe in the videocassette business, it priced its first batch like the rest- at $99.95 each.


Among the first batch of videocassettes released were films on Disney's "B Team"- Alice in Wonderland, Pete's Dragon among others. Assuming that the Disney name would result in bigger sales, the company produced a huge batch of videocassettes that sold briskly, but not as much as Disney had anticipated.

The huge amount of unsold stock raised important questions at Disney- first off, were the lower than expected sales because the films on offer were from the company's lower tier of movies? And how could the company get rid of its overstock? They decided to try clearing them out at the rock bottom price of $29.95 at Fotomats across the country. They even threw in a hokey trucker hat with each purchase. 

Every proper young lady wears her Sunday best- and a trucker hat!

What happened was phenomenal. The videocassettes flew out of Fotomats faster than anything ever had in its history. Despite the lower tier offerings paired with a fashion faux pas, people really responded to the limited time sale. Disney sold out weeks earlier than expected. When a smaller inventory allocated to DISNEYLAND also sold out in record time (and without the stylish hats) the company knew it had something. Soon every Disney animated release would be priced at $29.95 or less. Walt Disney Home Video had invented a gold mine for its parent company.

The birthplace of the Disney home entertainment phenomenon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: DISNEYLAND Expansion

DISNEYLAND Resort announced its biggest infrastructure expansion since 2001. A new parkade and shuttle transfer area will open on Disney Way, west of the theme parks.


Guests approaching the resort from the south will be guided to this parkade. Guests from non-Disney hotels and motels in Anaheim will be dropped off north of this new building and will use a pedestrian bridge to cross Harbor Blvd.


The project is slated to be completed in 2018, in time for the grand opening of Star Wars Land.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Walt Wednesdays: The Plaza Inn

People often ask about Walt Disney's favorite spots in DISNEYLAND. The park was his pride and joy, his most favorite place on earth. He loved every corner of his Magic Kingdom and could often be seen enjoying the sights. He most of all loved to sit and people watch. He sincerely loved watching his guests enjoy this world he had created for them.


However, if you want to visit a location in the park frequented by Mr. Disney most of all, take a peek inside Main Street's Plaza Inn. It was always one of his favorite places to eat inside DISNEYLAND.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Toontown Tuesdays: The Ghost Host

Though not exactly a toon, but very much a character, the Ghost Host at DISNEYLAND's Haunted Mansion has been entertaining guests for 47 years now. Some people believe that he is the master of the house, but in fact, he's most likely a butler. We see him in the stretching room after the lights go out and this is most likely the only picture of him elsewhere in the mansion:


Forced to stay within the house, he hosts the master's guests forever more.

While the idea of a haunted attraction had been in Walt Disney's mind for years, the Imagineers could never quite get it out of Mr. Disney's head and onto blueprints. The house stood at the bend of the river for years, marked only by a whimsical sign asking guests to plan on making the mansion their final resting place. The sign was the greatest marketing trick ever; so many people wanted a peek inside that mansion that on August 9, 1969, they descended on the park in droves.



The attraction had a nine hour wait, but for guests, it was worth it to see what had gotten into that spooky house after all. It was the first time that the park had to shut both the parking entrance and the front gates due to a record crowd. They would be just the first of many who would venture past the mansion's gates.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Music Mondays: Sunshine Plaza

When Disney California Adventure first opened, it was meant to depict the California of today. Nowhere was this more apparent than in its entry land named Sunshine Plaza.


The area was meant to be a place where guests could relax and people watch. Unlike other Disney theme parks, its architecture was supposed to be reflective of today instead of yesterday. To build up the California theme, the park featured songs tied to the Golden State. Eventually, the park decided to bring in a more nostalgic vibe and Sunshine Plaza  was remodeled into Buena Vista Street, which aimed to tell a story of California around the time that Walt Disney arrived in the state to follow his dreams.

The original Sunshine Plaza music loop was replaced, but here's the list of the songs it included:

California Dreamin' - The Mamas & the Papas

California Here I Come - Al Jolson

California Sun - The Rivieras

Avalon - Natalie Cole

Little Old Lady from Pasadena - Jan & Dean

San Fernando Valley - Bing Crosby

Surf City - Jan & Dean

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie

Hooray for Hollywood - The Great Movie Ride
Route 66 - Natalie Cole

Do You Know the Way to San Jose - Dionne Warwick

California Girls - The Beach Boys

I Love LA - Randy Newman

Hollywood Nights - Bob Seegar

Surfin' USA - The Beach Boys

San Francisco Bay Blues - Peter, Paul & Mary

Twenty-Six Miles - The Four Preps

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: The Happiest Place on Earth Gets Bigger

"Dad's vision called for this, for DISNEYLAND, to be something that could grow more beautiful every year, and it has."

-Diane Disney Miller

The one constant at DISNEYLAND has always been change. Walt Disney knew that if he could get the place open the world would fall in love with it. His guests would allow him to build and grow his Magic Kingdom.


The map above depicts DISNEYLAND in 1960. At that point, parts of the vast parking lot were still being used for agriculture. The first big expansion occurred at #1- New Orleans Square. It began as just a section of Frontierland and became a magical place of its own, spawning Bear Country, now called Critter Country.

The second big expansion happened in two phases decades apart. Marked by #2, the first expansion occurred in 1966 when the road that's still visible in the picture was closed and it's a small world opened. The second part of the expansion occurred in 1992 when Mickey's Toontown opened.

In 1981, the non-Disney owned Emerald Hotel opened at spot #3, eventually becoming the DISNEYLAND Pacific Hotel in 1996, then the Paradise Pier Hotel in 2001.

2001 was a huge year of expansion with Disney California Adventure taking over the parking lot (#4). The admission free entertainment district Downtown Disney (#5) also opened, with the five star Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (#6) capping a year of expansion.

So where do the guests park? Most of them park their cars at the Mickey and Friends parkade, shown above at #7.

One of the biggest expansions in DISNEYLAND history is currently taking place at #8- the future Star Wars Land.

"It's something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing...and adding to."

-Walt Disney

Monday, August 1, 2016

Music Mondays: Make Way!

Howard Stark, the international playboy father of  international playboy Tony "Iron Man" Stark is depicted as Howard Hughes-esque, right down to his appearance. 


However for Iron Man 2, we are introduced to a Howard Stark who was more of a forward thinking, optimistic genius. His Stark Expo was a way to bring together the great minds of the world to make the future a better place.


When looking for someone to write a theme song for the Expo, the producers turned to The Sherman Brothers. The Sherman Brothers had written what was widely regarded to be Walt Disney's theme song- There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. The song was used during the 1964 New York World's Fair at Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. The song they came up with was Make Way for Tomorrow Today.

Make way, make way Tomorrow's heading our way 

Make way, make way Tomorrow's coming today 

Oh, a bright new morning is dawning 

Make way for tomorrow today 

Yes a new tomorrow's a morning 

To light up a great new day 

Oh the future's brimming with promise 

And the promise is heading our way 

So keep your eyes on that shining horizon 

Make way for tomorrow today 

Daring new devices will help us to succeed

 Better tools for living will meet our every need 

Incredible inventions through new technology 

Extending life's dimensions for all humanity 

Modern marvels rising around us 

Bring progress in dazzling display 

So keep your eyes on that shining horizon 

Make way for tomorrow today 

Make way for tomorrow today!

With this tribute, Howard Stark's character would take on a Walt Disney-ish trait.