Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  June 14, 1958
The Sailing Ship Columbia officially opens to guests on the Rivers of America. It is a full-scale version of the first ship to carry the American flag around the world. It actually was built in large part from the plans for the HMS Bounty (of mutiny fame). Disney’s shipbuilders couldn’t find plans for the original Columbia, so they relied heavily on those of Captain Bligh’s ship, which had similar dimensions. It was dedicated 8 days prior. 
 
Over in Fantasyland, the new Alice in Wonderland attraction debuts.  Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice in the 1951 animated film, as well as the attraction, is on hand for the official unveiling.  The ride closely follows the film’s story, and is the first dark ride attraction to move bewteen the lower level entrance and an upper floor, as it is added both behind and above the exiting Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride attraction.  In order to leave the attraction the ride vehicles exit the building on the upper floor and work their way back down to the ground on track built from giant leaves. 
eyland’s first “Alice” attraction, Mad Tea Party (a spinning tea cup ride) has been operating since the park’s
Disneyland:  June 14, 1959
The first daily operating urban monorail system in the western hemisphere, the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System, officially opens.  On hand to dedicate the new “Highway in the Sky” are both Walt Disney and U.S. Vice-Richard Nixon, and his family.  The two Mark I trains run on a .8 mile track around Tomorrowland. (Later, in June 1961, the Monorail will become a true transportation link instead of just a sightseeing ride with 2 1/2 mile track extension, linking Tomorrowland to the Disneyland Hotel.  Then hotel guests will be able to board the Monorail at the hotel and begin their park visit in Tomorrowland).

Also in Tomorrowland, the previously opened Submarine Voyage attraction is officially dedicated.   The 8-sub fleet includes the Nautilus, Triton, Sea Wolf, Skate, Skipjack, George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Ethan Allen.  Each submarine allows 38 guests at a time to take their own voyage to the North Pole exploring “liquid space”.
In neighboring Fantasyland, the new Matterhorn Mountain with its Matterhorn Bobsleds officially opens.. It is the first iron built roller coaster, and the first to use cylindrical rails and urethane wheels (which will later become standard in the roller coaster industry). At 147 feet tall, the “snow-capped” Matterhorn contains 500 tons of structural steel, is a 1/10th scale replica of the actual Swiss peak, and quickly becomes a new beacon for the park for Southern California visitors traveling on the world-famous “5” freeway to the park.

 

 
 
Walt Disney World:  June 14, 1974
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show debuts in Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Originally created as a college workshop summer production only, guest response will be so positive that Walt Disney World will continue the show with a permanent professional cast by the end of the 1974 summer season.

 

Disneyland and Walt Disney World:  June 14, 1975
America on Parade, a new parade celebrating the upcoming bicentennial of the United States, debuts at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  The parade features the “People of America” – eight-foot-tall characters with doll-like heads including Ben Franklin, Miss Liberty, Uncle Sam, and Pilgrims.  (The parade will run through the spring of 1977). 

 

 

 

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