Today in Disney History

Walt Disney World:  June 19, 1995
A bronze statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, called Partners, is installed in the center of the hub at the Magic Kingdom. It is identical to the statue created by Blaine Gibson first installed at Disneyland in November 1993.
Walt Disney World:  June 19, 1998
DisneyQuest, a new interactive entertainment center, hoped to become a new national chain opens in the West End area of Downtown Disney. It is packed with 4 floors of high-tech, interactive virtual adventures, including a virtual Pirates of the Carribean and a virtual Jungle Cruise

Today in Disney History

Walt Disney World: June 18, 1988
To commemorate Mickey Mouse’s 60th, Mickey’s Birthdayland opens in the Magic Kingdom.  Located between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, this new “land” is a prime place to meet the big cheese himself.  Guests can enter near the Indy Speedway, or via the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Walt Disney World:  June 18, 1995
The first wedding is performed at Walt Disney World’s new victorian-styled Wedding Pavilion, which is located between Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Resort, on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, with sweeping views of Cinderella Castle in the background.The Lifetime cable network showcases the new pavilion on their program, “Weddings of a Lifetime”.

Today in Disney History

Disneyland, June 17, 1971
At 11:13 am, Valerie Suldo of New Jersey becomes the 100-millionth guest
Disneyland, June 17, 1972
An all-new form of nighttime entertainment kicks off the summer “in thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds” – The Main Street Electric Parade starts down Main Street, U.S.A. for the very first time.
Disneyland Resort:  June, 17 2008
Fireworks, dancing and parachuting sky divers mark the grand opening festivties for Toy Story Midway Mania a brand new interactive attraction located in the Paradise Pier section of Disney’s California Adventure. After three years of design and construction, the attraction‘s queue area features a large audio-animatronic Mr. Potato Head figure that interacts with guests through pre-recorded dialogue performed by comedian Don Rickles, who also voiced the character in the Toy Story” films. The sophisticated figure can identify people in the audience, sing and tell jokes.  Though originally designed for Disney’s California Adventure, it was quickly determined to add the same attraction in to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at Walt Disney World.  Construction needs were not as great in Florida, since the California attraction was built behind the California Screamin’ roller coaster with the queue in front of the coaster, and the Florida attraction was simply added inside a converted former sound stage facility.  Because of that fact, construction in Florida was less than half the time required in California and the Florida attraction, dubbed Toy Story Mania! opened a month prior.   It is the first interactive attraction designed by the Imagineers that can provide a quick change out of any individual part or sequence by simply changing the computer program, meaning quick seasonal overlays could happen virtually overnight instead of during a lengthy rehab process as the more traditional attractions would require.

Southern Swing, Part 8

The worst part of a vacation is the day you have to go home (unless you’re the Griswold family).  The weather matched our mood, and we left the Outer Banks in a downpour.  I had realized the day before that we’d be driving through Virginia Beach around lunchtime–the stomping grounds of our very own Emma’s Dad, Administrator Extraordinaire of the DIS Dads Club.  Luckily, he logged onto Facebook that night and found my message, and we hashed out a plan to meet up. 

You’ve heard the phrase “unhealthy obsession” before, right?  That’s a great way to describe how our family feels about the Cheesecake Factory.  I’m sure somebody could come up with a list of why you should never eat there (it’s a chain, the food is unhealthy, their portion sizes could feed the entire roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers), but come on: they have 20 different kinds of cheesecake!  That alone gets me in the door every time.  The fact that I had a gift card left over from Christmas sealed the deal as far as a meeting place was concerned.

Ahh....sweet nectar of life.

After finding a place to park and trading cell phone calls, Don and I met and were able to shake hands and put a face to a screen name.  My first thought: This dude is tall.

I try to be an ambassador for Philadelphia sports at all times. Oh, and that's what Don looks like.

Don was very pleasant and easy to talk to, and we got along as though we’d been buddies for years.  We offered to buy the cheesecake, which he hemmed and hawed over, but eventually gave in.  Dude, we had a gift card.  It’s not like we were breaking the bank here.  I went with my standard if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it choice of Oreo cheesecake.

It was here that Don told me of his ultimate vision for the DIS Dads club: our very own website.  He had researched it thoroughly, he said.  Painstakingly spent time and money building the greatest server, network and database known to mankind.  A virtual-reality kingdom such as the world had never seen.  It would make Skynet look like a Commodore-64.  He was all set to launch…

And then, of course, Aaron swooped in under his nose and took the domain name.  But hey, now you get to read this trip report.

It could be that I’ve misplaced a few details, but I’m pretty sure that’s how the conversation went, interspersed with making fun of the other DIS Dads who weren’t there to defend themselves.  Unfortuately, Don’s family had a prior engagement, so I didn’t get to meet the rest of them.  Next time!  He did tell me that his wife is grateful that he met me, though.  Now when he doesn’t listen to her, she calls him “Captain Oblivious”.   I’m always glad to help.  In any case, it was great to meet him.

We said our goodbyes and drove through the 17-mile engineering wonder that is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which connects Norfolk and Virginia Beach to the Delmarva Peninsula.  Soon, we were back in familiar territory.

State Line #7

To soften the blow of returning home, we stopped at our favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza place in Lewes, DE.  Hard to beat pizza from a wood-fired oven.  If it’s not obvious to you yet, we like our junk food.  Hopefully I’ll get my cholesterol down into triple digits someday.

When we got home, we unloaded the van and turned the family room into a disaster zone.  Cleanup could wait, though.  We needed to update our “Places We’ve Been” Map.

Our plan to take over the world is coming along nicely.

Blue = Overnight Stay

Red = Significant Destination visited

Yellow = My wife and I travelling alone (including hard-to-see pins in Chicago, Indiana, and Arizona)

Clear = Cheesecake Factory (did I mention our unhealthy obsession with this place?)

The little slice of Tennessee we drove through is now officially the farthest west our kids have been.  We’ll keep working on that.  Down in the lower portion of the picture, you can see where we tracked our trips to Disney World and the Disney Cruise.

And so this report draws to a close.  Of the thousands upon thousands of people who took the time to read it, I’d like to give special thanks to Barry, Christopher, and Aaron, who are the only three that I’m sure actually did read it.  All kidding aside, it was fun to re-live the vacation and share the experience, and I appreciate Aaron graciously allowing me to post the report here.  I hope you enjoyed it, or at least were mildly amused or even neutral in your opinion of its quality.  As I type this, I have 94 days until my next trip to Disney World, which means another trip report is right around the corner!


Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  June 16, 1956
In Frontierland, Tom Sawyer Island and the Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island debut as an attraction.  The island has been there since opening day in the middle of the Rivers of America, but now guests can finally go over and explore all of the various caves, climbing rocks and the frontier era fort, Fort Wilderness.    
In Fantasyland, the film 3D Jamboree debuts in the Mickey Mouse Club Theater.  The opening day attraction Canal Boats of the World, is reopened after an extensive rehabilitation and renamed as Storybookland Canal Boats.  The attraction takes guests into the worlds of Walt Disney’s animated films & shorts through a myriad of minature houses and villages from such classics as “Pinocchio”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Peter Pan”, “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs”, “Cinderella”, “The Three Little Pigs” and more – all the while being surrounded by the train tracks from the Casey Jr. Circus Train.


Disneyland:  June 16, 1957
Holidayland, a nine-acre grassy picnic ground located along the western edge of the park opens.  Designed with its’ own admission gate, this new separate park can hold up to 7,000 guests for large events. Special features include playgrounds, horseshoes, a baseball field, a volleyball court, and “the world’s largest candy-striped circus tent.” (Holidayland was later razed in 1965 to accomodate further expansion of Disneyland allowing for the creation of New Orleans Square and such classic attractions as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion; as well as Bear Country [now Critter Country] and Splash Mountain; as well as an expansion of Adventureland with the addition of the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye)

Today in Disney History

Disneyland, June 15, 1961
The very first Grad Night Party is held for about 8,500 local high school students, making it the largest graduation party in the U.S.

Disneyland, June, 15, 1967
Club 33 (an exclusive, members-only restaurant) opens at 33 Royal Street, in New Orleans Square. It is comprised of two dining rooms and several adjoining areas, all of which hold a wide array of magnificent antiques and original works of art.  This second floor club’s dining room offers the most exclusive views in the entire park, and is the only location in Disneyland to serve alcoholic beverages.