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.

Leave a Reply