Featured Attractions

Featured Attractions

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, Alice Davis!

Today we’re wishing the happiest of birthdays to Alice Davis! Ms. Davis contributed her considerable talents to many of DISNEYLAND’s most beloved attractions, including it’s a small world, which has entertained hundreds of millions of children of all ages.

Her hard work, in conjunction with artist Mary Blair and Harriet Burns, brought to life the beloved attraction in record time- an attraction that continues to be loved by children who might never know her name. If that had been the only attraction she worked on, her legacy would be assured. Ms. Davis also worked on the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Happy 91st birthday, Alice- and thank you for creating countless magical memories- for me and the world.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Mickey Mouse Goes Home

Where is Mickey Mouse standing? He’s gone home to the birthplace of his father- 1249 Tripp Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. This is the house where Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901.

Friday, March 13, 2020

DISNEYLAND is 65: The Beginning

While the idea that would eventually become DISNEYLAND had been bouncing around in Walt Disney’s mind for several years, the company that would eventually build and operate the park wouldn’t officially come to life until 1951.

DISNEYLAND, Inc. would be incorporated in 1951and wasn’t part of Walt Disney Productions. Roy Disney and the Walt Disney Productions board of directors were against what they determined to be a wreckless endeavor that would doubtless take the company down. While Walt’s earlier idea of a “Mickey Mouse Park” was deemed to be palatable to those involved, when it grew into a massive full scale theme park unlike any ever seen, it became a non-starter at Walt Disney Productions.

Undeterred, Walt Disney pushed forward and setup DISNEYLAND, Inc as a separate company to continue pursuing his idea of building a theme park. This angered the board of directors at Walt Disney Productions who insisted that they owned the Walt Disney name and insisted that Roy send his brother a cease and desist letter about this so-called ‘DISNEYLAND’. When Roy pursued this possible roadblock for the future Magic Kingdom, he stumbled upon a surprising bit of news. Walt Disney Productions, the company, had never actually signed an agreement with Walt Disney, the man, to use his name. So the company had no legal recourse to stop Mr. Disney. But Mr. Disney had legal recourse to stop the company from using his name.

So Roy Disney had to figure out a way to lock down his brother’s name for the company and the way he did it was to give his brother what he wanted most of all- a Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Guest Star Day: Candleshoe

In the 1970’s, Walt Disney Productions received the reputation of being the studio where stars who were on the way up or on the way down could find employment. In the case of Candleshoe, stars in both stages were featured.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Fun With Music: Carousel of Progress

There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away

Man has a dream and that's the start
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a reality
It's a dream come true for you and me

So there's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Just a dream away!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Talent Round Up: Annette the Horsemistress

After learning to ride horses during the production of The Horsemasters, Annette Funicello became a lifelong horse aficionado, continuing her hobby until she was no longer able to ride due to her Multiple Sclerosis. Her hobby even led her to meet and marry her second husband- Glen Holt- who remained a loyal husband until she passed away.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Circus Day: A Magical Dream

When Walt Disney first began planning out his greatest dream, he originally wanted to place it across the street from The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. “Mickey Mouse Park”, would be a small attraction that was more of a “visitor’s center” for the studio than a theme park.

The “Magic Courtyard” would have been located where the Disneyland logo appears above.

The more Walt thought about his “magical little Park”, the bigger it got, quickly outgrowing the small acreage available in Burbank. Mr. Disney wanted more than just a small place to entertain guests waiting for a studio tour; he wanted to build a park that would be a destination itself. He would build that magical place 35 miles south- in Anaheim.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Guest Star Day: Virginia Davis

Disney’s first live action star actually predates Mickey Mouse by five years. Virginia Davis began working for Walt Disney when he was still located in Kansas City at the age of five years old. Starring as “Alice” in the Alice Comedies, she only appeared in one installment that was filmed before Walt’s Kansas City studio declared bankruptcy.

After moving out west to California, Walt Disney joined up with his brother Roy and revived the series, moving Virginia and her family out west. Virginia cherished her ties to The Walt Disney Company and was eventually named a Disney Legend.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Fun With Music: Donald Novis

You might not recognize his name, but you’ve definitely heard his voice. Donald Novis was born in 1906 in the United Kingdom, emigrating to Canada with his family at a very young age. The siren call of California led the Novis family west, where they settled in Los Angeles. After winning a singing competition, Donald entered show business, regularly performing on the radio and starring in several motion pictures. It would be a singing only role in an animated film that would shape his future.

Mr. Novis was handpicked by Walt Disney to sing the title song in the animated classic Bambi- Love is a Song. The song would be nominated for an Academy Award and propel Mr. Novis to stardom. The project would also give him a chance to finally settle down ten years later when he was offered a job at DISNEYLAND. Walt Disney wanted his Magic Kingdom to have top notch entertainment, so he hired several actors and singers who were already successful and famous to perform in the park.

Mr. Novis was tired of the itinerant life of a performer and sought a stable position where he wouldn’t have to worry about finding his next gig but could take any that might interest him. A job at DISNEYLAND’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon fit the bill. Along with Wally Boag, Donald Novis wrote the script for the Golden Horseshoe Revue and performed in it until his retirement in 1964.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Talent Round Up- Walt’s Secret Hobby

We all know that Walt Disney had a gift that allowed him to envision what others could not and see the hidden skills that his team members didn’t know they had, but what did he do in his spare time to get his mind off the business of making motion pictures? Mr. Disney was quite skilled at making miniatures.

One of Walt’s Amazing Miniatures

While most everyone has heard about the miniature backyard train Walt built on his estate, the train wasn’t the only thing he built in his red barn. He also fabricated numerous miniature dioramas. One such diorama was based on one of his earliest live action films- So Dear To My Heart.

Walt Disney shows off his diorama to actress Beulah Bondi

Walt considered taking his miniature dioramas on a train tour of the United States. He wanted the train to stop in various cities where guests could pay to enter the box cars and look at the dioramas. He scrapped this idea when it was determined that it would not be economically feasible.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Circus Day: Casey Junior’s Wild Ride

One of the oldest attractions at DISNEYLAND is actually much older than the park itself. King Arthur Carrousel was built 98 years ago for an amusement park in Canada. By the 1950’s, the park had closed and its carrousel was being sold off. Since Walt Disney wanted an authentic carrousel, he purchased and refurbished the attraction. There was an issue with the existing attraction however; Mr. Disney wanted a carrousel that contained only leaping horses and no stationary seats. Since the carrousel he purchased had several stationary seats, the Imagineers needed to either find an alternate use for the seats or toss them out. 

The solution was quite simple, actually. The stationary seats were turned into cars on the Casey Jr. Circus Train where they continue to be used just steps away from the carrousel.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Anything Can Happen: PL Travers Sings!

It has never been a secret that P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, didn’t like the classic film and made things miserable during pre-production. Travers had rejected Walt Disney’s countless offers for nearly two decades and only agreed because she needed the money. While some people have criticized the film Saving Mr. Banks for its depiction of Ms. Travers, those who were around at the time have said that the picture made Ms. Travers appear to be nicer than she was in real life. One such observer was Richard Sherman who, along with his brother, wrote the unforgettable music for the picture. He had carried a grudge against Ms. Travers for turning what should have been an amazing experience into somewhat of a headache.

It would take him decades to soften his opinion of Ms. Travers, which he had once considered to be an impossibility. While participating in the remastering process, Mr. Sherman was listening to a demo tape they had made of the triumphant song Let’s Go Fly A Kite. As the engineers fiddled with the sound levels, Mr. Sherman heard some faint singing in the background- it turned out to be P.L. Travers, who obviously enjoyed the music much more than she let everyone believe. It was a multi-decade mystery solved through the wonders of technology!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Guest Star Day: Ruthie Tompson

You may not know her name, but you have definitely seen her work. Disney Legend Ruthie Tompson is one of the rare persons still alive who knew Walt Disney before he built  his empire. Ruthie grew up in Burbank, CA just down the street from Walt Disney’s Uncle Robert. When Walt first moved to California, he originally setup shop in his Uncle’s garage. When Walt went looking for child actors to star in his pre-Mickey cartoon series the Alice Comedies, Ruthie gratefully accepted a role. When she expressed interest in animation, Walt encouraged her to take art classes and promised to hire her when she was old enough. It was a promise he kept.

Ms. Tompson joined the ink and paint department, eventually supervising the inkers and painters. She would stay at Walt Disney Productions for almost forty years, working on classic films like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Sleeping Beauty. In 2000, she was declared a Disney Legend and in 2017 she was honored by the Motion Picture Academy for her contributions to motion picture animation. Ms. Tompson currently resides in the Hollywood Retirement Home and will be celebrating her 110th Birthday this year.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fun With Music: Where’s My Parade Music?

Think back to your favorite DISNEYLAND parades. The first thing that probably comes to mind is the catchy music. It would seem like making that music available for purchase would be an easy decision to make. So why has Disney not released much of its parade music catalog? The answer is a bit complicated.

Like most other entertainment companies, The Walt Disney Company has signed agreements with the various entertainment guilds. These agreements dictate how much the session musicians get paid for their work depending on what their music will be used for. Higher profile usage gets a higher pay rate. Playing on a song that will be widely used and sold earns higher pay than a song that will be exclusively played in a fixed location like a theme park.

As an example, if a musician played on a Mariah Carey song, he or she would receive a higher paycheck than someone playing on a song that would theoretically only be used in a specific location like DISNEYLAND. If Disney wanted to use the song elsewhere, like on television or on a commercially released CD, they would have to pay the musicians more money for their work.

Since the costs of producing a parade are paid out of DISNEYLAND’s entertainment budget, but the revenue generated from a CD would go to DISNEYLAND’s merchandising department, there isn’t much of an incentive for DISNEYLAND Entertainment to pay the musicians more than it has to. If DISNEYLAND decided to sell the music after the fact, it would have to go back to each musician and pay them additional royalties. This extra cost has discouraged Disney from releasing most of its parade music catalog. Though it isn’t impossible for Disney to eventually release this music, it is improbable.