Ashley Brown gives her final performance as Belle in Disney's Broadway hit Beauty and the Beast. She has been cast in the
title role of the forthcoming Disney/Cameron Mackintosh
musical Mary Poppins.
It's A Small World at Disneyland celebrates its 40th anniversary!
The It's A Small World attraction (direct from the World's Fair) opens in
Fantasyland at Disneyland. Also stylized as "it's a small world," the interior boat ride (sponsored by Bank of America) features 297 animated children, 256 toys, a canal filled with 233,000 gallons of water, and of course the
famous song It's a small world (after all) written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. It is the park's first continually loading high capacity ride. The day is marked by special ceremonies attended by Walt Disney himself
in which water from all over the world is poured into the attraction's moat. Disneyland will throw another grand opening celebration for the attraction two days later. It's A Small World will prove to be so popular that versions will later be
added at the Magic Kingdom in WDW, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
The Disney Magic is welcomed to the west coast during a ceremony at San Pedro, California.
short Oh, What a Knight is released.
Disney's first ever 3-D cartoon released in the U.S. premieres at
the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, California. It is a short distributed by RKO titled Melody
(Adventures in Music). Written by Dick Huemer and co-directed by Ward Kimball, Professor Owl (voiced by Bill
Thompson) teaches his music class (made up of birds) about melody and its importance to the world of music.
Melody will later be shown in the Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland as part of the 3D Jamboree.
Disneyland's Mine Train Thru Nature's
Wonderland opens in Frontierland the same
day The Art of Animation exhibit opens in
Tomorrowland. An "E" ticket attraction, the Mine Train
Thru Nature's Wonderland is an improved version of the
Rainbow Caverns Mine train, which first opened in 1956.
The attraction covers a very large portion of
Frontierland and features over 200 Audio-Animatronic
animals plus themes and scenery from Walt Disney's
popular True-Life Adventure films. On this day Walt
himself christens the new scenery with some help from his
grandchildren - Tammy, Joanna, and
Chris Miller (pictured left).
The Art of Animation opens adjacent to Art Corner - a retail store in Tomorrowland selling postcards, flip
books, artist prints, art supplies, animation kits and original hand-painted animation cels. The exhibit
contains artwork and other items drawn from an international traveling display that had promoted the release
of Sleeping Beauty.
The TV series Walt Disney Presents airs the segments
"Disneyland '61" and "Olympic Elk." "Disneyland '61" takes viewers on a tour of the famous Anaheim theme
park to showcase Disneyland's most up-to-date attractions. The remainder of the episode consists of the True-Life
Adventure entry "Olympic Elk," a saga of the annual elk migrations in Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.
Gulf Coast Room (one of the select Walt Disney World restaurants that required jackets for men) closes in the Contemporary Resort Hotel. One of the most elegant of Walt Disney World’s continental restaurants, it closes to make way for added convention space.
at Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Florida.
opens at Walt Disney World. The 728-room lakeside deluxe resort (inspired by
the beautiful early American National Parks) features an 80-foot tall fireplace in its lobby.
Only a mile away from the Magic Kingdom, the resort is surrounded by 56 acres of oak
and pine trees and includes an artificial geyser and hot springs.
A new Main Street Electrical Parade makes its debut at Walt Disney World in Florida. (The parade was first brought to life at Disneyland in Anaheim, California from 1972 to 1996.) The
preview party is attended by 5,000 Floridians and celebrity guests like actors LeVar Burton, Lacey Chabert,
Carrie Fisher, Jonathan Lipnicki and Judge Reinhold. (Longtime Walt Disney World fans may recall an earlier
version of the Main Street Electrical Parade that performed at the Magic Kingdom beginning in 1977.)
Disney releases Rascal, The Journey of Natty Gann, and Cheetah to DVD.
Eastman Kodak Company announces that it signed a multi-year agreement with
The Walt Disney Company. This renews the company's long-standing relationship as the exclusive imaging supplier of film and related products at world-renowned Disney theme parks and resorts in the U.S.
and Paris, as well as for the Disney Cruise Line.
The 3rd of 5 consecutive Star Wars Weekends kicks off at the
Disney-MGM Studios. Special celebrity guests over the next 3 days include Anthony Daniels (who played
C-3PO) and Andy Secombe (who portrayed Watto).
The animated Disney short Lorenzo has its nationwide release, playing in front of
Touchstone's Raising Helen. Lorenzo, about a fat cat whose haughty manners become the cause of his
own undoing, is based upon pencil sketches and a story idea created by Disney veteran Joe Grant 20 years ago.
Disney Channel premieres the That's So Raven episode "Leave It to Diva."
This episode is directed by actress Donna Pescow (best known to Disney Channel fans as Eileen Stevens of
On the standby line at WDW's Rock 'n Roller Coaster, there
are metal grates along the
wall in the queue. The grates
allow air from the indoor
attraction to escape ... thus
"cooling off" guests who are
Today is Memorial Day.
Disney learns that their Pirates 3 has surpassed $400 million in ticket sales around the world in its first six days of release.
Alice in Wonderland becomes the fifth "Walt Disney Classic" to be released on video.
Disneyland's It's A Small World opens
Academy Award-nominated animation producer Don Hahn appears at the
Glendale Americana Barnes & Noble in California. He discusses the recently published
Drawn To Life two-volume set; a collection of Walt Stanchfield's lectures and notes from over 20 years of
teaching animation at the Walt Disney Studios.
Samuel Jacobo, a graduate of Summit High School, becomes the five millionth
guest to pass through the gates of Disneyland for a Grad Nite ... an all-night
tradition that began in 1961! As Mr. 5 Million, Jacobo receives a $500 Disneyland Resort gift card,
4 passes to come back and hop between the 2 parks, and a one-night stay at the Disney Dream Suite.
(Disney’s Grad Nite 2009 has been running since May 14.)
"I kind of got seduced by the animation process when I came to the studio for a summer job. I was a musician in
school, and I came to the studio just when the old guys were still there – Frank and Ollie and Woolie Reitherman. I
got to work with them, and actually one of the first movies I worked on was with Don Bluth on Pete’s Dragon,
which was a live-action combination." -Don Hahn
Walt Disney Pictures releases Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. An action-adventure
fantasy film written by Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard, it is directed by Mike Newell
and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Princess
Tamina, Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar, the film is based on the 2003 video game of the
It is announced that Disney's California Adventure Park will now be called simply
Disney California Adventure. On this same day, the Silly Symphony Swings has a "soft opening"
two weeks before the official grand opening of the re-themed ride.
Retired Disney Imagineer Bob Jolley passes away at age 88. First working as a scenic artist in
the movie business, Jolley began his Disney career at the Walt Disney Studios and moved in 1973 to Walt
Disney Imagineering. He worked on such attractions as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland and later
became the field art director for the World Showcase pavilions in EPCOT. Jolley specialized in show finishes and
was considered an expert in aging and graining sets and buildings.
Walt Disney Records takes part in a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser in Los
Angeles, California. Among the guests singers are Roger Bart (the voice of Hercules), Jodi Benson
(the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid), and Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast).
It's a world of laughter - A world of tears - It's a world of hopes - And a world of fears ...
"With his brush, Bob could transport us to new worlds. He was able to express thousands of years of geologic evolution, layers of culture and
deep connections to stories from many genres." -Bob Weis, executive vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Most Disney's Hollywood Studios enthusiasts know that Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith features a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in
2.8 seconds ... but did you know that is a force of nearly 5 Gs?! (Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle experienced a mere 3 Gs at liftoff.)
At 3,400 feet, the coaster's track is more than a half-mile long.
"I think it’s safe to say that having fun has universal appeal." -Walt Disney
Today is Memorial Day, a federal holiday observed annually in the
United States on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering
the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
After more than five years of planning, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
officially opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom theme park.
This completes the multi-year makeover of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland.
"The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic" debuts at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The all-new, limited-engagement show features dazzling special effects and production numbers inspired by Indian cultural traditions.