Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  June 1, 1956
Walt Disney gives President Sukarno of Indonesia, and his family, a personal tour of the park. 
 
Walt Disney World:  June 1, 1982
In preparation for the opening of EPCOT Center later in the year, the Monorail line is extended from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the new park. 
 
Walt Disney World:  June 1, 1989
Typhoon Lagoon officially opens.  This new 56-acre water park, featuring one of the world’s largest wave pools in the U.S., includes water slides, a lazy river, a salt-water coral reef where guests can swim with sharks – and the water remains a comfortable 75-80 degrees year-round.  The park’s centerpiece is the Miss Tilly, a shrimp boat impaled upon Mount Mayday, a volcano erupting a 50-foot geyser of water each half hour. a Gator

Today in Disney History

Walt Disney World:  May 31, 1998
The Wildhorse Saloon opens at Pleasure Island.  Located at 1630 Biena Vista Drive, the former site of the Fireworks Factory restaurant, this 27,000 square foot entertainment venue is based on the original location in Nashville, TN and features live Country-Western entertainment, as well as a retail outlet. 

Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 30, 1958
The cast of Walt Disney’s new TV series “Zorro” appear for a 3-day cross promotion throughout Frontierland.   The stars (Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Britt Lomond and Henry Calvin) appear in parades and live daily shows. Three of the shows feature a running battle between Zorro and Monastario on Frontierland’s rooftops, and sees Zorro’s foes ending up in the Rivers of America; the fourth show is in Magnolia Park, with Guy Williams appearing as Don Diego.
 
Walt Disney World:  May 30, 1967
Site preparation begins, requiring swamp drainage, tree removal and land clearing.   (Opening Day will come 1,584 days and $400 million later).

Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 28, 1960
Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland opens in Frontierland, which is a new and improved version of the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, which first opened in 1956.  The attraction features themes and scenery popularized by Walt Disney’s “True-Life Adventure” films of the 1950’s.  It is the park’s third “E” ticket attraction.
 
Disneyland:  May 28, 1966
It’s A Small World, completely relocated from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York opens in Fantasyland.   A beautiful new exterior facade is designed by Mary Blair, featuring architectural concepts and landmarks from around the world; and like the park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, the attraction has real gold shimmering on the various spires.  The large animated clock in the center marks each quarter hour with a fanciful presentation.  The 18-minute attraction, sponsored by Bank of America, features 297 animated dolls, 256 toys, a canal filled with 233,000 gallons of water, and of course the famous song written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. It is the park’s first continually loading high capacity ride funneling thousands through per hour (which leads the Operations Cast Members to affectionately dub it a “people eater” given the very high throughput compared to extremely slow loading, low capacity attractions found throughout the rest of the park).  Walt Disney himself hosts the Grand Opening celebration with children dressed in traditional clothing from around the world, who then pour waters from the seven seas of the world into the canal to demonstrate the unity of the globe as the attraction’s theme song so persistently tries to convey.  (The attraction will prove to be so popular that versions will later be added at each of the future Magic Kingdoms around in the world:  Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland).
 
Walt Disney World:  May 28, 1994
Wilderness Lodge opens . Located at 901 Timberline Drive, this 728-room lakeside deluxe resort is inspired by the great American National Park lodges of the early 20th Century and reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest.  It features an 80-foot tall three-sided fireplace in the lobby representing the various strata of the Grand Canyon.  The impressive lobby has four large teepee inspired chandeliers, and two 55′ totem poles stand guard.  A bubbling hot spring originates in the lobby and appears to continue on outside where it is transformed into a roaring waterfall that “pours” into the swimming area.  Follow the path behind the pool area to a 120 foot geyser that erupts hourly throughout the day.  Situated on the shores of Bay Lake, and only a mile away from the Magic Kingdom, the resort is surrounded by 56 acres of oak and pine trees.

Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 27, 1977
Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend crowds, Space Mountain officially opens.  Attending the Grand Opening festivities are the six surviving astronauts from Project Mercury:  Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra,  Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Alan Shephard & Donald Slayton space travelers, and the widow of the seventh, Gus Grissom.
 
 
Euro Disney:  May 27,1992
Disney’s Sequoia Lodge opens at the new Euro Disney theme park and resort complex (later to be renamed Disneyland Paris).  The resort is designed by French architect Antoine Grumbach, and evokes the atmosphere of the various American National Park lodges built around the beginning of the 20th century.  It includes 1,011 guest rooms and faces Lake Disney.  
 
Walt Disney World:  May 27,1995
The Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, a counter service dining location found at the western end of Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom is renamed Casey’s Corner.