Walt Disney World: September 12, 1986
Captain EO a 3D sci-fi musical spectacular opens at EPCOT Center in the Imagination pavilion. The film brings together three “greats” of the entertainment world – producer George Lucas, director Francis Ford Coppola, and pop star Michael Jackson, who is Captain EO in the film. The film tells the story of Captain EO and his ragtag crew as they try to spread a positive message through the fantasy galaxy they inhabit. The 17 minute film cost nearly $30 million dollars to produce – the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis. (Six days later Captain EO will debut in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. It is the first non-parade attraction since Walt Disney World opened to be produced for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland simultaneously – previously The Haunted Mansion held that distinction, but it was produced simultaneously while the Walt Disney World resort was still under construction).
Disneyland and Walt Disney World: September 12, 2001
The day following the attacks on the United States by terrorists, all domestic Disney theme parks re-open to guests. In order to better insure the safety of all guests, the decision is made to immediately increase the security measures within the parks. The most apparent of these measures is the individual inspection of all bags (backpacks, purses, strollers, etc ) that are carried by guests prior to entering the parks. Temporary bag check locations are erected at each park, as well as barriers put in place in front of park entrances to keep vehicles from approaching the main entrances. At Walt Disney World‘s Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney, the nightly New Year’s Eve Celebration is cancelled. At Disneyland the Sleeping Beauty Diorama walk-through attraction inside the castle is closed.
Hong Kong Disneyland: September 12, 2005
After more than 6 years of planning, more than $1.8 billion dollars and 2 years of construction, Hong Kong Disneyland throws open its gates and celebrates its Grand Opening. Hong Kong Disneyland is the Walt Disney Company’s 5th vacation resort and 11th theme park. The resort is built on over 310 acres on Lantau Island, and includes the new theme park, two hotels (Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel), and retail, dining and entertainment facilities stretching over 310 acres on Lantau Island. Hong Kong Disneyland opens with 22 attractions, and boasts the largest Adventureland of any Magic Kingdom park in the world. In honor of the original Disney theme park that opened 50 years before this newest park, the imagineers utilized the original drawings and concept art for this new park, giving Hong Kong Disneyland the same more intimate, midwestern feel to Main Street, U.S.A. as the Anaheim original, as well as recreating the original Sleeping Beauty Castle as the Anaheim original. Imagineering legend Marty Sklar attends the Grand Opening, and is the only Disney company official to have attended all 11 theme park Grand Openings over the past 50 years.