In 1994, Disney released its biggest ever animated film- The Lion King. The film broke all box office records and inspired one of DISNEYLAND's greatest ever parades. This lion would have a mighty roar.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Monday, February 27, 2017
1993 was considered a down year for Disney films. The Lion King was delayed so the year would not feature a feature length animated film from Walt Disney Pictures. The company considered making Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas an "official" Disney film, but the darker subject matter made them skittish. It went out as a Touchstone Pictures film and underperformed at the box office.
Another film that came out that same year was Hocus Pocus. The Halloween film would (oddly enough) get a summer release. As the final movie made by Bette Midler as part of her multi-film contract with Disney, it was seen as a lesser effort. Both films underperformed at the box office.
The movies would not be forgotten by their fans, however. Nightmare Before Christmas would gain a huge cult following, with the limited merchandise offerings from 1993 getting top dollar on eBay. Disney noticed that licensees were clamoring for permission to produce new merchandise. The company fully embraced the characters they had written off just a few years earlier and even handed the keys to DISNEYLAND's famed Haunted Mansion over to Jack for the Halloween and Christmas seasons.
Hocus Pocus had a similar path to re-emergence. Repeated airings on cable television and its huge home video sales during the Halloween season made for a cult hit that had gained millions of fans in the years after its release. The film is now finding its way to the Disney theme parks and merchandise.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Disney Golden Age would continue with arguably the greatest of the musical films- Beauty and the Beast. For the first time ever, Disney would publicly screen a work in progress cut of a film before it was completed. Despite the fact that the film was unfinished, audiences lucky enough to see it were instantly enchanted. The film would quickly become a modern classic.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
In 1990, DISNEYLAND celebrated 35 Years with the lively Party Gras parade and a huge announcement- the area around Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom would be transformed into a resort, with a new shopping district, hotels and theme park. The plans would change over time, but they would eventually come to fruition in 2001.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
In 1989, Disney's second golden age of animation began with the release of The Little Mermaid. The film was a return to Disney's classic storytelling, marrying it with high tech animation and amazing music. The film was a huge success, with people of all ages embracing its lively music and characters.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Derided before it premiered as another surefire flop like George Lucas' Howard the Duck, Who Framed Roger Rabbit's success was not a sure thing. The animation/live action hybrid was a risky gamble and even Walt Disney Pictures wasn't entirely certain of its success. The Disney name was unceremoniously removed from the film, replaced with the Touchstone banner. The film would go on to become the biggest hit of 1988.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
1987 brought a bit of Disney Magic to shopping malls around the world. The Disney Store opened its first location in Glendale, California in 1987. The stores would soon spread into a worldwide phenomenon.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
In 1986, Walt Disney Productions officially became The Walt Disney Company, a way for the company to express how diversified it had become since the 1955 opening of DISNEYLAND.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
In 1985, DISNEYLAND celebrated 30 years of magic. The park had grown immensely since its birth and the company wanted to do something big. In addition to handing out prizes, the park held a 30 hour birthday party where guests could celebrate inside the park for 30 hours straight. The park had gone from a novelty to a bonafide national treasure. Walt Disney's dream had spread into a worldwide phenomenon.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
In 1984, Walt Disney Productions decided to celebrate the 50th Birthday of Donald Duck throughout the company. Donald Duck and his voice Clarence "Ducky" Nash were flown around the world while DISNEYLAND, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland held special parties and parades.
Monday, February 13, 2017
When Walt Disney originally built DISNEYLAND, he had to make a few sacrifices due to his small budget. While the castle and the first few facades were built exactly as he had envisioned, the rest of Fantasyland was given a medieval circus theme that would be cheaper to build than an old European village. In 1983, the company would rectify things by building a new Fantasyland- just as Walt Disney had originally dreamed.
Friday, February 10, 2017
When Roy Disney canceled all plans for Walt Disney's original EPCOT, he didn't think people would remember his brother gushing about his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but they did. The most asked question at Magic Kingdom's City Hall was "Where's EPCOT?"
Imagineers were pulled off various projects to come up with something that could be called EPCOT. They were unsuccessful, but company CEO Card Walker saw their separate plans for Future World and World Showcase theme parks and thought smashing them together could create something that could be passed off as EPCOT. Thus EPCOT Center was born. And it opened in 1982.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Condorman was Disney's first foray into the world of superheroes. Starring horribly miscast Michael Crawford as the titular Condorman, the film was designed to appeal to the same crowds who had flocked to see Superman. The film was unsuccessful in its initial release and Disney wouldn't attempt to make another superhero film for ten more years.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
In 1980, the park that many said wouldn't last six months celebrated 25 years with its biggest celebration yet. A special daytime parade and a nighttime float in the Main Street Electrical Parade marked the park's silver anniversary. Mr. Disney's little park made a big splash.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
In 1979, a mere two years after the opening of Space Mountain, DISNEYLAND added to its mountain range with the construction of Big Thunder Mountain. Billed as the wildest ride in the wilderness, the mountain replaced the more sedate train ride Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland.
Monday, February 6, 2017
The success of DISNEYLAND's Space Mountain brought new attention the park's first mountain- the Matterhorn. Guests riding the fearsome peak before the mid-1970's know that the inside of the mountain originally had nothing really to see. Park management wanted to spiff up the attraction so plans were drawn up to place more elaborate caverns and effects inside the mountain. The ride also got taken over by a fearsome abominable snowman who was not so happy about the intrusion...
Friday, February 3, 2017
In 1964, Walt Disney came up with an idea for an indoor roller coaster that would be a revolutionary experience for his guests. Unfortunately, Mr. Disney's ideas far outpaced the available technology. Disneyland management suggested just building a simplified Matterhorn indoors might suffice. That wasn't good enough for Walt, who insisted on saving the idea for later. The cut down Space Mountain was eventually built in Florida's Magic Kingdom, but the technology to build Walt Disney's dream had finally become available. In 1977, that Dream became reality in DISNEYLAND.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
In 1976, the future dramatic actress Jodie Foster found herself in the Disney comedy Freaky Friday, one of the first times a parent would switch places with their child on screen. It would become a movie mainstay during the 1970's.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
In 1975, Walt Disney Productions released Escape to Witch Mountain, one of its biggest live action features of the 1970's. The film starred Eddie Albert and Donald Pleasence, though its kid stars Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann would be the biggest attraction for the kids in the audience. The film would inspire a sequel starring Bette Davis.