Monday, November 4, 2019
When Walt Disney sat down to plan out his Magic Kingdom, he wanted to include live entertainment that was of the highest quality. DISNEYLAND’s proximity to Hollywood meant that Mr. Disney could choose from the greatest performers in the world. He originally planned to have a weekly live show broadcast from the DISNEYLAND Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. and hosted by the legendary comedian Wally Boag. With ABC uninterested in a live show and the park having to deal with skyrocketing construction costs, that plan was shelved and Wally was enlisted to perform at the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. There he would be paired with the legendary Betty Taylor.
Ms. Taylor was a seasoned Hollywood professional who was originally hired on a short term contract. Eventually she would impress Walt Disney enough that he would extend her a permanent position. Betty Taylor would become “Slue Foot Sue” to generations of DISNEYLAND guests. As the glamorous hostess and “owner” of the Golden Horseshoe, Betty entertained millions over her thirty year career at the park.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Friday, November 1, 2019
Tokyo Disneyland announced that it would increase security at the park, bringing in X-Ray machines for bags and metal detectors for guests. The park is most likely increasing security as part of the buildup to Tokyo’s Olympic Games next year. For the full story, click here:
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
If you look closely at old pictures of DISNEYLAND, you’ll always notice how well dressed everyone is. While many guests dress “casually” these days, when the park first opened they wore suits and ties.
This Sunday the days of well dressed DISNEYLAND guests returns. Find more information about it here:
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Looking for a sneak peek at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You can find some clues at Disney California Adventure if you know where to look.
Monday, October 28, 2019
Did you know that The Simpsons are part of Disney? That means they’re also part of Disney Plus! Check out their newest trailer and get more Disney news here: https://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2019/10/28/disney-new-teaser-disney-plus-the-simpsons/
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Friday, October 18, 2019
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Sadly, Walt Disney would only visit Walt Disney World’s actual site once before passing away in 1966. His original plans for EPCOT would be scrapped, never to see the light of day. In actuality, the only part of the project that was kept was the location of the Magic Kingdom theme park- at the back of the project site.
Scrapping Walt Disney’s original plans changed the project from a utopia into a “Vacation Kingdom” which didn’t solve any of the problems that Walt Disney saw in Anaheim; it just pushed them further away. Orlando proved to be no better than Anaheim at zoning and in many respects was much worse. Roy Disney’s conservative approach in building hotels opened the door for the leeches to spring up around Walt Disney World just like they had at DISNEYLAND.
The only thing that Roy Disney chose to “supersize” was the Magic Kingdom’s castle. Walt Disney favored a smaller castle because he felt that only tyrants built large castles to intimidate their subjects. Roy wanted to show the world that his company had grown exponentially since 1955 and could afford to build a larger castle.
In 1971, the Magic Kingdom park opened to less than expected crowds. Walt Disney’s imagineers, who had hated Roy Disney’s changes, believed the Resort was cursed by Walt Disney. The site as built would have been unrecognizable to Walt. Several months went by with few paying customers actually showing up. For a time, Roy Disney thought he had sunk the company. Lucky for him the crowds did show up- eventually.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Friday, October 11, 2019
Thursday, October 10, 2019
As Walt Disney began the planning process for what had started to be referred to as “Disney World”, he and Roy were heading for another huge conflict. While Roy wanted to concentrate on the planning and construction of “Disneyland East”, Walt Disney was concentrating on EPCOT. Roy still hoped to convince his brother that EPCOT would bankrupt the company and should be scaled back if not completely canceled. Walt, on the other hand, ordered his Imagineers to work on EPCOT and saw the theme park as something that could come later. He had instructed his staff to just copy DISNEYLAND but include “more water.”
When Mr. Disney announced his new project on television, his audience was confused. What was this EPCOT? Was it another theme park like DISNEYLAND? This confusion would work to the company’s advantage nearly twenty years later. But in 1965 it was just confusing. Walt Disney figured he would have plenty of time to explain it all in the years leading up to EPCOT’s eventual unveiling. His guests would see that EPCOT was no theme park; it was going to be a prototype city whose concepts could be taken home and used to enhance cities around the world.
Before that could happen, however, the unthinkable happened. Walt Disney would pass away on December 15, 1966. His brother would “honor” his memory by throwing out all of his plans for EPCOT and building a “Vacation Kingdom” in Florida. Roy claimed that the resort would be called “Walt Disney World” to forever honor the man who made it all possible. If the company had wanted to be more honest about whose vision was reflected in the sprawling resort the place should have been called “Roy Disney World”.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
When Walt Disney first approached his brother about building another DISNEYLAND, Roy Disney was instantly receptive. He had previously fought against the original DISNEYLAND and was the first person to admit he had been wrong about the project’s profitability. DISNEYLAND had been an excellent investment and had given the company a stable source of income that it had never been able to achieve by just producing motion pictures.
Roy’s approval was short lived when Walt told him that what they were calling “Disneyland East” was just a way to get visitors down to Florida. The biggest project (and thus the biggest expense) would be EPCOT, a real city where real people would live. Roy hated the idea and began trying to talk his brother out of it. The company still owned about fifty acres north of the DISNEYLAND Hotel; couldn’t Walt and his imagineers come up with something to build there? Roy even arranged for Walt to meet with MCA Chairman Lew Wasserman, who warned Walt Disney about the problems he was dealing with as a result of Universal City being its own governmental entity. Roy even began buying up surrounding property in Anaheim to see if that might encourage his brother to shelve his plans for EPCOT.
Roy eventually relented and plans for “Disneyland East”, complete with the real city of EPCOT were announced to the world. Roy encouraged the imagineers to focus on “Disneyland East” first, though his brother was uninterested in the park. He already had a perfect design in Anaheim; Walt was concentrating his efforts on EPCOT. Roy hoped to change his brother’s mind about EPCOT’s feasibility eventually, but for now it was full speed ahead.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
After DISNEYLAND became a phenomenon, the world came to Anaheim to see Walt Disney’s amazing Magic Kingdom. From the looks of the surrounding area, they might have thought they’d made a wrong turn. Despite Walt Disney’s requests, the City Of Anaheim didn’t seem to care about how the area around DISNEYLAND looked like. Tawdry motels and tourist trap businesses sprung up across the street from the The Magic Kingdom. Incompatible housing was built behind the DISNEYLAND Hotel. Despite all of this, the park’s visitors clamored for their own DISNEYLAND back home. Initially, Walt Disney declined to build another DISNEYLAND-Style theme park. As the years went on he began to change his mind due to his dissatisfaction with the City of Anaheim’s loose zoning laws.
It wasn’t Walt Disney’s desire to build a bigger theme park or resort that made him change his mind about building another DISNEYLAND; he wanted to build a model city that could inspire city planners to do a better job of zoning and building out their cities. It wasn’t just Anaheim that had dropped the ball with zoning; the problems that Walt Disney saw just outside the Magic Kingdom’s gates were seemingly endemic around the world. His Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) would be a real city where real people lived, NOT a theme park. Mr. Disney realized that it would be a tough sell to attract guests to see a real city, so he had to include something that they would want to see- another DISNEYLAND.
So Walt began looking for a location that was far enough from DISNEYLAND that it wouldn’t leech off business from the original park and would allow for year round operations. He settled on the state of Florida.
Monday, October 7, 2019
While Walt Disney World in Florida often gets much of the attention these days when The Walt Disney Company talks about its theme parks and resorts, when it comes to books and documentaries most of the attention is focused on DISNEYLAND. While DISNEYLAND’s milestone anniversaries are always marked with a flood of new books, collectibles and deluxe box sets, Walt Disney World’s milestones are often overlooked. Even this site has been guilty of focusing on Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Anaheim to the exclusion of Disney World in Florida.
So what would explain this disconnect? It is undoubtedly due to the fact that DISNEYLAND Park was Walt’s pride and joy, the only park that he completely designed from start to finish. Its rich history and development make it a fascinating subject to study. It only exists because of the will of Walt Disney. Walt Disney World, on the other hand, was more of an afterthought in the mind of Walt Disney. It is a theme park whose only reason for existence is that Walt Disney needed something to attract people to visit his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a project that was never actually built as designed by its founder.
While DISNEYLAND can trace its history back to Walt Disney’s own childhood, Walt Disney World’s history can be traced back to the development of DISNEYLAND. Walt Disney raised every last penny he could and planned to spend it all on his Magic Kingdom. After determining the ideal location, Walt Disney bought up as much land as he could- about 260 acres in Anaheim, California. When he realized that he didn’t have enough money to build the DISNEYLAND Hotel, he began lobbying his wealthy Hollywood friends. Even if they wouldn’t invest in his park, he suggested that they purchase some of the adjoining land, which they could sell back to him in the future at a tidy profit once DISNEYLAND took off. None of them took him up on the offer.
When Walt Disney realized that he wasn’t going to have much, if any, control over the area surrounding DISNEYLAND, he implored the city of Anaheim to enact stricter building codes and zoning around the park so that desirable, compatible development would spring up around the park. Anaheim would sadly take none of his recommendations; in fact, it appeared that they would approve practically any building as long as it didn’t fall down. While DISNEYLAND was perfectly planned and designed to be a reassuring oasis from the real world, the area around the park became a tacky mess filled with incompatible zoning, gaudy neon signs and ugly utility poles. Mr. Disney looked on helplessly as his guests had to pass a tacky mess to get to his park.
It was this mess, along with the civil unrest of the 1960’s, that made Walt Disney think about how these problems could be solved. He had long resisted the endless appeals to build another DISNEYLAND, but as he thought about how to solve the environmental and civic challenges faced by cities at the time, he hit upon an idea that he thought could serve as a model to the world on how to create better cities. He just needed something that could attract people to see his ideas- possibly another DISNEYLAND.