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. (The opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in September will add #11 to the
18-month long global celebration.)

In Anaheim, the opening ceremony for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary takes place
in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. 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 and star of Mary Poppins).
Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years, an exhibit on Main Street, U.S.A., opens to guests. It is hosted by Steve Martin.
A special grand opening ceremony takes place in Tomorrowland for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. A
video game-inspired attraction based on Toy Story 2, guests can become Space Rangers and join Star Command on a mission to defeat Evil Emperor Zurg and his evil robots using pistols that shoot "laser beams."
Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, a parade celebrating the dreams of Disney characters, premieres. 
At night, a special anniversary fireworks show called Remember ... Dreams Come True
 (sponsored by American Honda Motor Co.) debuts to the general public for the first time.

Down in Florida, Epcot's new Soarin' (a simulator attraction)
officially opens as does the Disney-MGM Studios' Lights, Motors,
 Action! Extreme Stunt ShowCinderellabration, a glittering stage show, officially
 premieres over at the Magic Kingdom. Also officially debuting is Disney's Magical Express - a
 complimentary round-trip airport transfer for Disney World hotel guests.

Floyd Gottfredson, the man who gave Mickey Mouse his comic strip personality,
is born in Kaysville, Utah. First hired by Disney in 1929 as an apprentice animator and in-betweener, 
Gottfredson started working on the four-month-old Mickey Mouse comic strip in April 1930. He continued to 
produce the Mickey Mouse strips for the next 45 1/2 years - having the same impact on the Mickey comics 
as cartoonist Carl Barks had on the Donald Duck comics. (Interestingly, Gottfredson and Barks - two giants 
in the Disney comic world - didn't meet until 1982!)
“I enjoy being a part of the 
great legacy that Walt started. Over the years, it’s been 
remarkable to watch Walt’s dream spread across the world.”
-Art Linkletter 
(co-host of Disneyland's 1955 opening day live broadcast)
Ben Wright - the voice of Grimsby in Disney's 1989 classic The Little 
Mermaid and the voice of Wolf in the 1967 film The Jungle Book - is born to an 
English mother and an American father in London, England. (Wright worked extensively in 
American radio, supplying crisp, erudite diction as the radio incarnation of Sherlock Holmes.)
Actress Pat Carroll, the voice of  the villainess Ursula in Disney's 1989 classic
 The Little Mermaid, is born in Shreveport, Louisiana. She also voiced Ursula's sister
 Morgana in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
               Singer, voice actress and Disney Legend 
Ilene Woods is born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1948, as a favor for 
songwriter friends Mack David and Jerry Livingston, Woods recorded demos of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-
Boo," "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," and "So This is Love." Upon hearing Woods, Walt 
hired her as the title voice of Cinderella (released in 1950). (Woods later married Ed 
Shaughnessy, longtime drummer on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show.")
The first Mickey Mouse comic strip drawn and inked by Floyd Gottfredson is 
published on Floyd's 25th birthday. (The original Mickey Mouse comic strip had been scripted and 
drawn by Walt Disney.)
Actor Lance Henriksen, the voice of Kerchak in Disney's 1999 animated feature
 Tarzan, is born in New York City. (He is best known to audiences for his roles in science fiction, action
 and horror films such as The Terminator, and the Alien film franchise, and on TV shows such as Millennium.)
Disneyland introduces Disney Dollars, its exclusive line of currency 
featuring Mickey Mouse on the $1 bill and Goofy on the $5 bill.
Episode 10 of MMC airs on Disney Channel. Today is Hall of Fame Day!
The ABC television sitcom Family Matters debuts part 2 of 
the episode "We're Going to Disney World." 
The 4th Annual Disneyana Shop Celebration takes place at the Disneyland Resort.
The first 1000 guests who visit the Disneyana Shop on Main Street, receive a free limited-edition mini-lithograph.

The Three Caballeros, Disney's famed trio of songbirds, reunite for a special
Cinco de Mayo episode of "Disney's House of Mouse," on ABC-TV.

An area of Disneyland that was closed to the public after a large cork 
oak tree fell is reopened. 

On her birthday, Disney Legend Ilene Woods - the original voice of Cinderella unites 
with the voice of Sleeping Beauty, fellow Legend Mary Costa, for a Cinderella Birthday 
Ball held in Knoxville, Tennessee, benefiting Childhelp U.S.A. 
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has its official grand 
opening at Disney's California Adventure. While similar in concept and theme to 
the original attraction in Florida, this version has been redesigned in order to conserve space. Inspired by Rod Serling's iconic anthology series "The Twilight Zone," The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror recalls the disappearance of five unlucky souls on a gloomy Halloween night in 1939 Hollywood "amid the glitz and glamour of a bustling young movie town at the height of its golden age." (The night before the attraction’s official opening, DCA hosted a red carpet premiere in Hollywood Land to celebrate.) The original incarnation of the attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 1994 (then called Disney-MGM Studios), and the Paris version would open in 2007. A version opened in Tokyo DisneySea in 2006, but it omits any connection or tie-in whatsoever with the television series. On Monday, January 2, 2016, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror closed in Disney California Adventure forever. (It was replaced with Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Break-Out!)

The Walt Disney Company announces "The Happiest Celebration on Earth," which
will mark the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, with the introduction of new shows and attractions at all of its 10 Disney theme parks. The 18-month-long promotion will start May 5, 2005.

The 30th Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror film and television in 2003, are held at the Universal Sheraton Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Among the winners:
-Best Supporting Actress: Ellen DeGeneres - Finding Nemo
-Best Costume: Penny Rose - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
-Best Animated Film: Finding Nemo
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the first Mickey Mouse series created specifically for 
preschoolers, debuts on Disney Channel. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy, and Donald interact with the viewer to stimulate problem solving during each episode's story. It is the first time the major Disney characters regularly appear on television in computer-animated form. The voice cast features Wayne Allwine as Mickey, Russi Taylor as Minnie, Bill Farmer as Goofy & Pluto, Tress MacNeille as Daisy, and Tony Anselmo as Donald. The series will run through November 2016. (After Allwine's death in 2009, Bret Iwan will voice Mickey. The final episode to feature Allwine as Mickey aired posthumously in 2011.)

Disney's acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios is completed - Pixar is now a 
wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
The Ninth-annual Fullerton Railroad Days kicks off for a weekend of special exhibits at 
the corner of Pomona Avenue and Santa Fe Street in Fullerton, California. Featured is the 
Disneyland Railroad the C. K. Holliday steam locomotive and the Kalamazoo handcar! Holliday, a 4-4-0 locomotive 
built by the Walt Disney Studios in 1954, was named after Cyrus Kurtz Holliday, founder of the Atchison, Topeka, and 
Santa Fe Railway, which was the sponsor of the Disneyland Railroad from 1955 to 1974. 
The Globe Theatre (located at 205 West 46th Street in midtown-Manhattan) reopens
as the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (in honor of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne).
This Broadway theater will be the home to such future musicals as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.
Today is the final day of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival. 
Today is National Hoagie Day
Performances begin for Disney's musical The Lion King at the Mandalay Bay 
Theatre in Las Vegas. (The show will officially open May 15.)

At Disney World, a soft-opening afternoon performance of Stitch's SuperSonic 
Celebration takes place at the Magic Kingdom. The new Tomorrowland stage show is set 
to officially debut the following day - Wednesday, May 6.
Actor Gary Dubin, the voice of Toulouse in Disney's 1970 animated feature The 
Aristocats, is born. (TV fans of "The Partridge Family" may recall Dubin for his role of Punky Lazaaar.)
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At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the dinosaur on Echo Lake (standing since opening day) is a tribute to pioneering animator Winsor McCay and his revolutionary 1914 animated cartoon, Gertie 
the Dinosaur
Although not the first animated film,
as is sometimes reported, it was the
first cartoon to feature a character
with an appealing personality. 
The second annual Star Wars Weekends kicks off for 4 consecutive 
weekends at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. (Although first held in 1997, this is only the second Star Wars Weekends ever at WDW.) It will also take place May 12-14, May 19-21 and May 26-28.
Magical Express debuts 2005
"You are the passengers of a most uncommon elevator, about to take the strangest journey of you
 lives. Your destination...unknown, but this much is clear, a reservation has been made in your
name for an extended stay." 
Woods with animator Marc Davis
"It was my voice and I played the role the way I thought Cinderella would be. I thought she'd be a happy, outgoing girl who could handle the bumps along the way and get through it all. I just saw her as that kind of a heroine and I thought she would have that kind of a voice." -Illene Woods
"Working with Walt was the most wonderful part of all, because
 he was a true visionary in every word." - Illene Woods
The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, a performance show at the Disney's Hollywood Studios, is based on Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show 
Spectacular, an attraction that first appeared at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Resort Paris, France. Revolving around a series of energetic stunts featuring more than 40 vehicles, the Florida show's arena features scenery from a Mediterranean village in the south of France.
Photo by Bernie at Disney.Rocket9.net


May 5
Inspired by Soarin' Over California at Disney California Adventure Park, Florida's
version of Soarin' opens inside The Land pavilion at Epcot. Cast Members working
the attraction wear costumes that resemble flight attendant costumes (whereas the
Disney California Adventure Park version uses airfield crew costumes). The idea is
that guests are taking flights to California, rather than already being there. The Epcot standby queue features
pictures of natural wonders from around the world, not just California.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (based on the original show, Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show
Spectacular at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Resort Paris) revolves around a series of energetic stunts featuring automobiles. The show runs for just under 40 minutes and includes pyrotechnics,
jet ski chases, and physical stunt work.

Cinderellabration is a live musical stage show, located on the castle forecourt stage at the Magic Kingdom, which portrays the coronation of Cinderella.
Today is Cartoonist Day - celebrating the anniversary of the publishing of the first ever color cartoon, Hogan's Alley featuring
The Yellow Kid, in 1895.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a superhero sci-fi comedy film based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, is released. The  film is a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy,
 produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders.
When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter's parentage is revealed.
The cast includes Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, and Sylvester Stallone.
Written and directed by James Gunn, it is the 15th film in the
Marvel Cinematic Universe

Disney's Hollywood Records releases Welcome to the Club, a digital download from the British pop trio New Hope Club.
Actor John Rhys-Davies is born in England. He provided the voices of Cassim in Aladdin and the King of Thieves and Ranjan's father in The Jungle Book 2. Fans of the Indiana Jones films will recognize him for his role of Sallah.

Actor and director Roger Rees is born in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales. He provided the voice of Edward (a surviving soldier, Wendy's husband, and Jane & Danny's father) for the 2002 Return to Never Land. His ABC-TV credits include Grey's Anatomy (2007, season three) as Dr. Colin Marlow and an episode of the sitcom The Middle.
Film director, producer, and screenwriter Phillip Borsos is born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. His family emigrated to Canada when he was five years old, settling in Trail, British Columbia. A four-time Canadian Film Award and Genie Award winner and an Academy Award nominee, he was one of the major figures of Canadian and British Columbian filmmaking during the 1980s, earning critical acclaim and accolades at a time when Canadian filmmakers were still struggling to gain attention outside of North America. Borsos directed and co-wrote the 1985 American/Canadian Christmas fantasy film One Magic Christmas, released by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy, an album by American rock band The Minus 5, is released on Disney's Hollywood Records.
Frank Tashlin, animator, cartoonist, children's writer, illustrator, screenwriter, and film director, passes away at age 59 in California. Best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated shorts for Warner Bros., he worked for a short time at Disney. In January 1939, he began working at the Walt Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue. For the next 2 years he toiled on stories and gags for various films.
Actress and director Danielle Fishel is born in Mesa, Arizona. In 1993, she was cast for the role as Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on the ABC teen sitcom Boy Meets World, and reprised the role for its successor Girl Meets World on Disney Channel, which aired from 2014 to 2017. Fishel's voice credits include Gravity Falls and Star vs. the Forces of Evil. She also directed episodes of Girl Meets WorldSydney to the MaxRaven's Home, and Just Roll with It.