If you received a press release 60 years ago from Disneyland about their tenth anniversary celebration, the above is the letterhead you would see. The “tencennial” celebration saw the premiere of “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” which was still enjoying great success at the New York World’s Fair, the opening of the beautiful Plaza Inn restaurant at the end of Main Street, and at Christmastime, the debut of “Fantasy on Parade.” This was also the year Disneyland’s 50 millionth Guest passed through the gates!
Walt Disney’s biggest frustration that year were costs going up because he didn’t want park admission to be raised, and the fact that he didn’t buy more land surrounding Disneyland. He paid $4,500 an acre, but by 1965, the land was now selling for $8,500 an acre.
Music was in abundance at Disneyland in 1965, with the big name big bands performing led by the legendary leaders including Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Duke Ellington among others. The park also held their folk music Hootenannies, the annual Dixieland at Disneyland, and the Humdingers shows featured popular rock ‘n’ roll of the day.
During our recent trip to Yosemite, with Half Dome in the background, the Wolf brothers recreated a scene out of the inspiring Epcot attraction, The American Adventure, when John Muir convinces Teddy Roosevelt to save this land as part of Yosemite National Park.
30 years ago, I took this parade photo during Disneyland’s 30th anniversary! 30 years! I thought Disneyland was so old! That year, 1985, was such an exciting time at the park. One of the features of the year was the Gift Giver, the brainchild of Disneyland’s marketing guru (and future president) Jack Lindquist. The Gift Giver machine gave away gifts to every guest. Every day people were winning prizes such as popcorn, a pin, a Disney Home Video cassette, an RCA color television (yes, color!), a PSA roundtrip airline ticket, and every 3,000th Guest won a 1986 Pontiac Firebird! Just about this day, on August 24, 1985, Disneyland welcomed it’s 250 millionth Guest, and won a bunch of prizes including 30,000 (in keeping with the “30” theme) free air miles, a trip to the two year old Tokyo Disneyland and a new Cadillac. That guest, Brooks Charles Arthur Burr, was three years old! He was being carried by his father, but it was Brooks who was holding the ticket!
I just posted my interview with Academy Award winning composer Alan Menken on my Mouse Clubhouse website. In this conversation, Alan discusses his work on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled, amongst others. CLICK HERE for the interview
The Horizons attraction at Epcot resided at the current location of Mission: SPACE. In it, Guests would glide by scenes of Audio Animatronics characters depicting scenes of future possibilities. In this scene of an underground schoolroom, the teacher instructs her students about diving safety, and to never horse around. She adds, “Don’t even sea horse around!”
It was in this attraction, that Guests first heard the saying, “If we can dream it, we can do it.” This phrase has often been attributed to Walt Disney, as one of his quotes, however Walt never said it. It’s origin is this 1983 attraction, where it was heard in both dialogue and song.
This unique lamppost found just outside Pizzafari, restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, gives Guests an idea of the stylings found inside the restaurant’s six themed rooms.
If you eat at Pizzafari, while dining on pizza or other related fare, be sure to listen closely to what sounds like African-styled music. Each song is animal-related and you’ll hear familiar melodies such as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Black Bird,” “Octopus’s Garden” and the theme to the TV series “Mister Ed.”
This is NOT a black and white photograph. It’s a full color photo of the ultra-creative way the classic One Man’s Dream stage show began in Disneyland. The music would build and almost instantly the set and characters appeared in full color. The 30 minute show, which was only at Disneyland in 1990, was truly magical, and featured dancers and Disney characters in a revue of brilliant song and dance numbers from Disney’s classic animated features.
One’s Man Dream culminated with a truly grand finale of all the dancers and Disney characters coming together in song, donning their traditional costumes but in sparkling gold!
One Man’s Dream was performed at the Videopolis stage in Disneyland, which today is known as the Fantasyland Theatre. The show was also a big hit in Tokyo Disneyland, and a newer version, One Man’s Dream II: The Magic Lives On, delights audiences daily.
28 years ago this week, on July 11, 1987 to be exact, the Disney Gallery opened in Disneyland above the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance. The space was originally being designed as a space for Walt Disney to entertain guests and dignitaries, however all worked ceased after Walt passed away in 1966. When the Disney Gallery opened, it gave Guests the chance to visit this previous inaccessible area, and to see unique Disneyland artwork and artifacts, with new exhibits regularly. I remember the gallery as a wonderful relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle downstair, with multiple rooms, a quiet outdoor seating patio, and the friendliest of Disneyland Cast Members. I thought you’d enjoy some of my old Gallery photos. While the Gallery no longer resides in that area, there is still a Disney Gallery by the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
It saddens me to tell you that Blaine Gibson passed away yesterday at the age of 97. Blaine was a true Disney Legend in every sense of the word. Beginning as an inbetweener on the Pluto cartoon short, “Bone Trouble,” and then on “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio,” an as an assistant animator on “Bambi.” Blaine then sculpted for Disney. He did the carousel horse heads in “Mary Poppins,” the pirates and ghosts for Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean respectively, the dolls for it’s a small world and even the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
This is a photo of Shani and me with Blaine and another Disney Legend, Harriet Burns at the Disney Studios. Blaine and Harriet were dear friends who both lived near each other in Northern California until Harriet’s passing in 2008.
I just posted my interview with Blaine Gibson on my Mouse Clubhouse website. In this conversation, Blaine, Disney animator-turned-sculptor, discusses some of his work including the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and If You Had Wings. CLICK HERE for the interview