Disneyland officially unveils its newly renovated Tomorrowland. New
additions include Rocket Rods (a high- speed attraction running on the former PeopleMover track),
Redd Rockett's Pizza Port (a restaurant located in the former Mission to Mars attraction), NASA Space
Experience, and the short "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience." Also re-opening is the Astro Orbitor attraction
(originally known as the Astro Jets). It has been relocated to the entrance of Tomorrowland, and placed
on ground level, thus making the ride the new focal point as guests step from the main plaza of
Disneyland into Tomorrowland.
Down in Florida, DisneyQuest soft opens to guests in Downtown Disney West
Side. An "indoor interactive theme park," it is housed in a five-story, windowless building filled with
electronic Disney innovation and imagination. (DisneyQuest will have its official opening in June.)
The Disney Store opens on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue (the largest Disney Store to date) and sets the all-time record for single-day volume in a Disney Store.
"Disneyland wouldn't have
been, and wouldn't be, the same without him. His voice was one of the things that made it all come alive."
-former Disneyland president Jack Lindquist
on Disney Legend Thurl Ravenscroft
Writer, cartoonist & animator George Baker is born in Lowell, Massachusetts.
In 1937, Baker headed out to Hollywood to work for Disney and for the next 4 years, work on virtually all of
Disney's well-known pictures, including Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. In June 1941 he was inducted
into the army where he created the comic strip "The Sad Sack." (At the end of the war, the U.S. Army created an
advertising campaign with the phrase: "Don't be a Sad Sack, re-enlist in the Regular Army.") After the war Baker
transformed the Sad Sack army cartoon into a syndicated comic strip, a long-lived comic book series and even a
feature film (starring Jerry Lewis).
Disney's Pluto cartoon The Army Mascot, directed by Clyde Geronomi, is
released. Pluto schemes to become the army mascot at Camp Drafty, after seeing the tasty chow
the other animals are eating!
Walt Disney Travel Company is incorporated in Florida. The company will
work with travel agents and individuals planning vacations to the yet-to-be-open Walt Disney World
Resort. (The service will be expanded to California 4 years later.)
The 21st episode of MMC airs on Disney Channel. Today is Music Day!
Six cast members from the New York City production of The Lion King
take part in the grand dedication ceremony for Walt Disney World's
newest resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (which opened last
April 16).The cast performs the musical's signature song, "Circle of Life'' in the grand lobby
of the African-theme hotel.
The soundtrack for Atlantis: The Lost Empire (which won't open in
theaters until next month) is released on Walt Disney Records. Consisting mostly of James Newton Howard's score, it also includes the Diane Warren penned song,
"Where the Dream Takes You", performed by Mýa.
In celebration of Mickey Mouse’s 75th Anniversary, Underground Atlanta plays
host to 15 700-pound, 6-foot-tall Mickey Mouse statues, part of the Celebrate
Mickey: 75 InspEARations touring statue program (that was first unveiled
of Mickey Mouse, Disney Legend Al Konetzni and Atlanta’s own artist Thomas Knechtel. They will
remain on display at the venue through Tuesday, July 20.
Actress Peyton Elizabeth Lee, the star of the Disney Channel series
Andi Mack, is born in New York City. She also has a recurring voice role
of Rani on the animated The Lion Guard (based on Disney's 1994 film The Lion King).
Voice actor, singer and Disney Legend Thurl Ravenscroft passes away at
age 91 in Fullerton, California. Best known as the voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger,
Ravenscroft's numerous Disney credits include 101 Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, The
Aristocats, and Cinderella. He can also be heard in such Disney theme park attractions as Pirates
of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear Jamboree. Ravenscroft was also a
member of The Mellomen, a singing group who worked for Walt Disney in films, on television, and
on records. (It is also Ravenscroft's deep voice you hear singing "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
for the holiday TV classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)
Retired Disney animator & director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman (one of Walt's "Nine Old Men") passes away suddenly in Burbank, California at age 75. In 1963, Woolie became the first animator in the history of the company to be given the directorial reins of an entire animated feature, beginning with The Sword in the Stone. He will be named a Disney Legend in 1989. Reitherman (one of Walt's "Nine
and airplanes. He was a World
War II pilot - a deputy
commander who ferried planes
with the Army Air Transport
Command on dangerous missions.
The Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries begins in Disneyland’s
Adventureland, the same day Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull opens in theaters. The summer-long Disneyland promotion includes a daily show,
collectible adventure map for guests with hidden clues, random Indiana Jones character appearances and a new
Indiana Jones-themed photo location.
Disney's animated feature Pinocchio is released in France.
Ernest Goes to Camp, a comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim
Varney, is released through Disney's Touchstone Pictures. A group of mischief juveniles are
sent to Kamp Kikakee and clumsy Ernest has to care for them ... although he doesn't even know
how to take care of himself! The second film to ever feature Varney's character of Ernest P. Worrell - it is
Touchstone's 12th release.
The Magical World of Disney airs the episode "Disney's Golden Anniversary of Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs," hosted by Dick Van Dyke.The Dwarfs wish to retire but Dick Van
Dyke talks them out of it by telling them interesting facts about the 1937 movie and shows viewers deleted scenes
and songs from Disney's first animated feature film.
Disney's interactive 40-city train tour, to promote the upcoming movie Disney's A
Christmas Carol, begins in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Union Station. The free
traveling experience includes a 3D sneak peek of film footage, carolers, decorations, authentic artifacts (on loan
from the Charles Dickens Museum of London) and giveaways. Amtrak locomotives and engineers will lead the four-car Train Tour (plus a private car), across the US, with stops ranging from 1-3 days along the way. The tour will
finish at New York's Grand Central Terminal over the weekend of October 30th through November 1st.
(Starring Jim Carrey and directed by Robert Zemeckis, Disney's A Christmas Carol opens in theatres November 6.)
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story, a documentary about the siblings who wrote
some of Hollywood's & Disney's most memorable songs, is released in New York
City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Palm Desert, California, for a limited run.
The first of 4 Star Wars Weekends for the 2009 season kick off at
Disney's Hollywood Studios. A Disney tradition at the Florida park since 1997,
this weekend's celebrity guests include Ray Park, Warwick Davis, and James Arnold Taylor.
Attorney Robert Price Foster and his Disney colleagues drive to Orlando from
Daytona to meet Jack and William Demetree at the offices of Stockton, Whately, &
Davin (a mortgage and real estate company). The Demetrees own a parcel of land that just might
be perfect for a new Disney resort/theme park. After touring the land ... Foster is impressed.
Disney-Pixar and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation team up to present two exclusive screenings of Toy Story 3 at Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, California. (The film
will be released in the U.S. June 18.)
In memory of Woolie Reitherman
In memory of Thurl Ravenscroft
"Most of my evenings in the army were spent drawing cartoons of army life using the Sad Sack as the bewildered
civilian trying to be a soldier." -Baker
ABC camera crews begin rehearsing every Sunday at Disneyland for the park's
July 17 grand debut. As this is the early days of television - a live broadcast from a crowded theme park
is not a common event and much preparation is needed.
Disney's Hollywood Pictures releases Encino Man a comedy directed by Les
Mayfield and starring Brendan Fraser, Sean Astin and Pauly Shore.
One of the most popular and entertaining parts of the annual Star Wars Weekends events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the day-ending performance of Hyperspace Hoopla. The highlight of this character-filled show is the Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars during which characters from the Star Wars universe have a chance to bust a move to popular songs.
Ravenscroft's involvement with Disney theme parks goes back to Disneyland's opening day, when he was the announcer for many of the events, including
the opening of Fantasyland. Selected theme park credits include:
The Disneyland Railroad - onboard narrator until 2001 when his recordings were replaced
Disneyland's Sailing Ship Columbia - his singing voice can be heard onboard
The Enchanted Tiki Room - at Disneyland, Ravenscroft is the voice of Tangaroa (the tree of life) & Fritz (the German parrot)
Pirates of the Caribbean - part of the group singing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" and the voices of a drunken pirate & the accordion player
The Haunted Mansion - it is Ravenscroft's voice that is featured on "Grim Grinning Ghosts" & appears as one of the singing busts in the graveyard scene
ABC-TV airs The Disney Sunday Movie, "Meet the Munceys" (a pilot for a proposed
series). A humble maid named Billie Muncey (played by actress Nana Visitor) is left a huge inheritance by her
wealthy employer, but when she moves in, her low class family upsets the snobbish relatives of the deceased.
They plot to get rid of the entire clan of Munceys.
Disney's newest live-action feature Tomorrowland opens in U.S. theaters.
Directed by Brad Bird, a former boy-genius (George Clooney) and a gifted teenager (Britt Robertson) set out on a
dangerous mission to unearth the secrets of "Tomorrowland," an enigmatic location caught between time and space.
"Coolest Summer Ever" takes place in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.
A 24-hour party, the special event starts 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, and runs until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23.
The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, marking the resort's 60th anniversary,
begins. Debuting on this evening is Paint the Night Parade, a spiritual successor to the long-running Main Street
Actress Ginnifer Goodwin, best known for her role as as Mary Margaret Blanchard/
Snow White in the ABC series Once Upon a Time, is born in Memphis, Tennessee.
Her voice credits include the 2014 Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (as Fawn) and the 2016
Zootopia (as Judy Hopps).
Arthur "Art" Stevens, an animator, director and producer for Walt Disney Productions,
passes away at age 92 in California. Stevens began his career Inbetweening on the 1940 film Fantasia.
After doing in-between work on several films, he received his first screen credit in 1953 as a character animator on
Peter Pan. During his career, Stevens contributed to the storyboards and animation in many cartoon shorts and feature
films including Ward Kimball's critically acclaimed 1950s television documentaries Man in Space, Man and the Moon,
and Mars and Beyond. Stevens was also an animator on the Oscar-winning shorts Toot, Whistle, Plunk and
Boom (1953) and It's Tough to Be a Bird (1969). Stevens later co-directed The Rescuers (1977) and The Fox and the
Hound (1981). He retired in 1983 after forty-three years at the Disney animation studio.