Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 5, 1987 
Disneyland introduces Disney Dollars, its exclusive line of currency featuring Mickey Mouse on the $1 bill and Goofy on the $5 bill.
 
Disney’s California Adventure:  May 5, 2004 
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, straight from Disney-MGM Studios, officially opens.
 
Disney Theme Parks Worldwide:  May 5, 2005 – In an historic first, all 10 of the Disney theme parks around the world collectively kick off the festivities for the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” to mark the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, even though the actual 50th won’t be until July 17th, the folks in the marketing department really liked the 50505 combination and decided to kick-off the celebration on that date and capture the entire summer visiting public, vs waiting a few more weeks to satisfy the purists.  (The opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in September will add #11 to the global celebration.) 
 
At Disneylandthe opening ceremony for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary takes place in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle with a special recreation of Walt Disney’s original Opening Day Dedication Speech broadcast on large screens throughout the hub.  Special guests include singer LeeAnn Rimes (singing “Remember When”), Art Linkletter (who co-hosted the television grand opening in 1955), and legendary actress-singer Julie Andrews (the Honorary Ambassador of the 50th anniversary celebration).  A special anniversary fireworks show called “Remember … Dreams Come True” debuts, featuring “fireworks in the round”, with special launch points all around the hub, and music and attraction narration segments from throughout Disneyland’s history starting on Main Street, U.S.A. and working around through each of the lands.  Soundbites include such venerable classics as the Disneyland Railroad, the Main Street Electrical Parade,  The Enchanted Tiki Room, Indiana Jones & the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Country Bear Jamboree, the Golden Horseshoe Revue, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, Alice in Wonderland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, America Sings, Space Mountain, Adventures Thru Inner Space and Star Tours.  Designed by Steve Davidson, creator of Wishes!, this visual and aural delight is the biggest, most technologically complex and best pyrotechnics show ever produced by a Disney park, and quickly becomes a fan favorite with audience members staking claims to coveted spaces up to 4 hours before the show even begins.  Throughout the summer it is a daily logistical headache for Cast Members trying to keep the hub in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle open for Main Street vehicular traffic.  No longer does Tinker Bell simply glide straight down a wire from the top of the Matterhorn and behind the castle to open the show, but rather a special motorized harness and multiple wires are created, giving her the ability to move back up, and all around, therfore creating the illusion that she is actually flying around the castle, as she did in the original opening sequence of the old DISNEYLAND/Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color/Wonderful World of Disney television show.
 
At Walt Disney World each theme park celebrates Disneyland’s 50th with a big new show or attraction.  At the Magic Kingdom, the all-new castle stage-front show Cinderellabration, straight from Tokyo Disneyland debuts.  At Epcot, Soarin’, straight from Disney’s California Adventure park opens inside The Land pavillion, and quickly becomes the #1 must-do attraction in all of Walt Disney World throughout the year.  At Disney-MGM Studios,  Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, straight from the Disney Studios Park in Paris debuts near the back of the park replacing the former Residential Street portion of the tram tour.   At Animal Kingdom, Lucky the Dinosaur, straight in from Disney’s California Adventure roams the park meeting guests along the way.  This 12 foot long next-generation audio-animatronic is the most sophisticated robot ever created by the Imagineers.  Lucky walks about freely, pulling a cart, and can talk, laugh, sneeze and even sign an autograph.   Also officially debuting is Disney’s Magical Express – a complimentary round-trip airport transfer service for Walt Disney World hotel guests.
 
 
The Walt Disney Company:  May 5, 2006
Disney’s acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios is completed – Pixar is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of  The Walt Disney Company.

Summer 2010 Family Movies

I was talking about movies coming out this summer with The Bug, who is my movie buddy. She’s really excited about a bunch of this summer’s scheduled releases, especially “Shrek Forever After” and “Toy Story 3”. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on the way, with links to the film’s IMDb page (release dates will also be added to the DISDads Calendar that’s linked in the right margin). Which ones are you (and your kids) looking forward to seeing?:

May 21, 2010 – Shrek Forever After – The final installment of the Shrek franchise. Rumpelstiltskin is the villain. It’s in 3-D, brings back all our favorites from the Shrek franchise, and adds a bevy of witches voiced by everyone from Lake Bell to Meredith Viera. Word is that a Puss in Boots spin-off is already in the works for a 2011 release.

May 28, 2010 – Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – Disney launches a video game-based movie franchise, maybe the last summer blockbuster action film NOT shot in 3-D. Might be too intense for the younger kids, but offers tween appeal for boys (ACTION! SWORDPLAY!) and girls (Jake Gyllenhaal).

June 4, 2010 – Marmaduke – Live-action talking dog movie, with the titular dog voiced by Owen Wilson. I think this one can wait for video. Then I can skip seeing it on video too.

June 11, 2010 – The Karate Kid – Remake of the classic Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita flick, starring Will Smith and Jada Pinkett’s kid, Jaden Smith; and Jackie Chan. I was expecting it to be awful, but after seeing previews before “How to Train Your Dragon” I’m thinking this might actually merit a visit to the theater. If nothing else, the location footage from China looks like it should be gorgeous on the big screen.

June 12, 2010 – Toy Story 3 – The much-anticipated 3-D third chapter of the Toy Story franchise. I have a bit of a personal interest in this one, as I discovered about a year ago that the Director is married to a friend from high school. All our old toy favorites are back, as well as a slew of new ones (oooooo – new Toy Story merchandise)!

July 2, 2010 – The Last Airbender – A live action M. Night Shyamalan adaptation of a Nickelodeon anime cartoon. This is another adventure for the tween set, with a genocidal Fire Lord probably a bit too intense for the younger kids. If it does well at the box office, expect it to become the first film of a trilogy.

July 9, 2010 – Despicable Me – Woo hoo! Finally, a summer movie that’s not a sequel, not adapted from a video game, and not based on a children’s book. It’s an all-new animated movie, featuring the voice of Steve Carell, as a loathsome character who might just find his heart, courtesy of three orphaned girls. Brought to you by the guys who created the Ice Age series of animated movies.

July 23, 2010 – Ramona and Beezus – Disney Channel star Selena Gomez brings Beverly Cleary’s beloved 1955 book to the screen (again).  Sounds like G-rated fun for everyone.

July 30, 2010 – Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – Another talking animal flick, with big name voice talent. I’ll get to this one right after I get around to watching “Marmaduke.”

Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 4, 1977 

Space Mountain opens in Tomorrowland.  Originally conceived by Walt Disney in the early 1960’s for Disneyland, the computer technology needed to operate such a sophisticated ride system did not yet exist.  Imagineer Bill Watkins, taking concept work by John Hench, modeled Space Mountain after the Magic Kingdom’s newest thrill-ride that opened in 1975 and adapted it for the smaller scale of Disneyland, sinking the entire attraction 15 feet into the ground in order to better fit in to its’ surroundings.  Additionally, based on the smaller size and scale, the two track layout and single-line seating formations found at the Magic Kingdom was abandoned in favor of a single track layout and dual row seating was adapted to keep the hourly guest capacity intact.  But the thrills didn’t stop there… as an entirely new dimension in personal hygenie;  as well as gameplay and interactivity, both opened on this day as well.  The newest restrooms in Tomorrowland, complete with automatic sensor soap dispensers opened by the exit to Space Mountain (automatic sensor flush toilets were sadly still in the distant future!) and the Starcade, a two-story video game arcade located right next door completed the all-new Space Mountain complex.

 

Mickey Mouse watch on sale at Overstock.com

Mickey Mouse watch
$19.99 at Overstock.com today

Heads up on another deal for DISDads. Overstock.com has a basic Mickey Mouse watch on sale for $19.99 today. I’m not sure how long the sale is scheduled to last. I did search, and they have a couple of Goofy watches as well – but they’re not on sale and they’re pretty abominably ugly.

If you’re still looking for a Mother’s Day gift, they do have a women’s Mickey Mouse watch on sale as well, for $17.99.

Happy shopping!

(Notes: I do not have any business relationship with Overstock.com and receive no benefit if you purchase through the link posted here. I have ordered from Overstock.com in the past, and my experiences have been mixed. We had one good experience, with items shipped faster than expected and good, responsive, customer service. We also had one VERY bad experience, which was only resolved after threatening to involve the state’s attorney general in a fraud investigation).

New Poll: What’s your family’s favorite character meal?

Tell us why in your comments. For the choices, I only included restaurants whose regular service is a character meal (that leaves out places like ‘Ohana and Donald’s Safari Breakfast, that do character meals at more limited times). Also, take advantage of the comments to share any tips or tricks for making the most of character meals with your family.

Today in Disney History

Disney Cruise Line – May 3, 1994
 Based on their past successful relationship with “The Big Red Boat” and the increasing interest in week-long Walt Disney World vacations, The Walt Disney Company announces plans to create a cruise line with initial cruise itineraries to be announced later, but the cruise line will be based in Florida, with Caribbean ports of call. 

 
Disneyland – May 3, 2005
Walt Disney Records celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland with 4 new CDs to honor the event:  “50th Anniversary: A Musical History of Disneyland,” “Julie Andrews Selects Her Favorite Disney Songs,” “The Official Album of the Disneyland Resort: The Happiest Homecoming on Earth” and “Walt Disney Records Presents: Wishes!”