Disneyland Almost Failed!

Disneyland Almost Failed!

Disneyland Almost Failed!

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On July 17th, 1955, one of Walt Disney’s greatest dreams became a reality. Disneyland opened its gate for the first time, and the world would never be the same! But what if we told you that this dream was very close to dying before it even got off the ground? What if I told you that, without Walt Disney’s seemingly endless perseverance and dedication, Disneyland might have failed?

Some Disney fans are already aware of the fascinating and disastrous day that happened almost 65 years ago, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, we hope that you leave today with greater appreciation for The Happiest Place on Earth and the extreme effort that it took to make it come to life!

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The story begins in the early days of the Disney Studios, when Walt was inspired by visits to amusement parks with his daughters in the 30’s and 40’s; reportedly, he came up with the concept while watching his daughters riding a carousel from a nearby bench. He was frustrated that there weren’t enough experiences at the park that he and his daughters could enjoy together and he made up his mind to one day build a park where kids and grown-ups could play together. Thus, Disneyland was born!

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The development for Disneyland was long and tedious, yet undeniably fascinating. We don’t have the time to cover all that history today; that’s a subject for another time. But the long and short of the ordeal was that Walt Disney’s plans continued to grow…and grow…and grow, until his ambitious dream began to worry the money-men. However, Walt was determined to see the culmination of his dream project no matter what happened. So, Walt continued to fund-raise, promote, invest his own money, and even borrow against his own life insurance to get the project up and running!

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Naysayers surrounded the project. The Disney Board argued that Amusement Parks weren’t their type of business, Roy Disney (Walt’s brother and business partner) warned Walt against the financial ruin it would cause if it failed, and even Amusement Park experts told him that nobody would be interested in a ‘family park’ that (at the time) wouldn’t sell alcohol! Most critics even went so far as to call Disneyland Walt’s worst decision ever, and a foolish idea that was doomed to fail. It seemed that most people thought that Disneyland would never work. In hindsight, we know this to be false, as Disneyland was not only a huge success, but it also reshaped the Theme Park Industry as we know it. However, during its construction it was a legitimate fear that Disneyland would not succeed. Many people were very worried.

Then came Black Sunday.

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Black Sunday was the name that Disney Executives gave Disneyland’s opening day of July 17th, 1955 due to the perceived disaster of the theme park’s debut. The park opened to the public and press with what was, at the time, considered a disaster of epic proportions. First, the opening day was meant to only be open to the media and special invited guests; instead, twice as many people as expected showed up! This was due to a vast number of counterfeit tickets sold to the public, and even a few people climbing the fence and sneaking through gates. In fact, about half of the 28,000 people in attendance that day had entered Disneyland illegally.

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The opening day festivities were broadcast worldwide on ABC, hosted by Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and future President Ronald Reagan! although this seems like an amazing idea, unforeseen broadcasting problems quickly mounted with so many unexpected guests. People tripped over television cables left and right, problems sprang up around technical issues and mistakes, cues were missed, responsibilities were mismanaged, and there was even an improvised ‘skit’ involving Linkletter looking for his lost microphone (he really had misplaced it but tried to hide the fact by making the search an ‘impromptu adventure through Disneyland’).

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In addition, a regional Plumbing Strike forced Disney to chose between water fountains and toilets. Of course, Walt chose the latter for sanitary purposes. However, since Pepsi sponsored the park’s opening, guests mistook the lack of working water fountains as a greedy way to force them into buying soda! Soda and food ran out very quickly due to the demand of so many guests. Parents threw their kids over the shoulders of the crowds to get them on rides faster, and people cut in line (not that the last one has changed all that much). The Mark Twain Riverboat even began to sink when guests continued to force their way on, even after Cast Members told them that the boat had reached peak capacity! There were even the problems resulting from unexpected weather, as the unusually high temperature of 101° Fahrenheit caused the newly poured asphalt to become soft. This led to things like high heels sinking into the sticky substance.

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By the time the park closed for the day, it seemed as if Disneyland had been the failure that everyone had been expecting it to be. If we were there on that day, without the benefit of hindsight, we would have probably said the same thing. To all who heard about it, the day seemed like a nightmarish disaster.

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Today, historians recognize that most of the perceived disaster was due to bad luck, and the park being unprepared for so many people. They now can objectively see that the park was a success with fans from its very first day, despite what it had looked like in the moment, and the second day attendance proved this. the park managed very well on its second try and the insanity of Black Sunday became a legendary false alarm as Disneyland quickly became one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. Walt Disney’s vision finally became a reality, but not without a few scares along the way!

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If Walt hadn’t stuck with his dream and persevered against all odds, Disneyland might have never existed!

What do you think was the craziest thing to happen on Black Sunday?

 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Peter Pan

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Peter Pan

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Peter Pan (1953)

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Walt Disney (born 1901) predated the creation of Peter Pan’s play by 3 years. Therefore, he was the perfect age to grow up with the popular play. He was an even better age to be influenced by the subsequent novel which revived the popularity of the show in 1911; being among the thousands of young children who fell in love with story. After seeing it live, he could never forget it, and it even prompted him to play the title character in school.

So, to honor this classic’s 65th Anniversary, and Walt’s love of the story, here’s a list of 5 things you may not know about Peter Pan!

#1: It Was Almost Abandoned

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early concept

It was no surprise that Walt had always wanted to make a Peter Pan film. In fact, after making Snow White, Walt had originally intended for Peter Pan to be one of his earliest features. He procured the rights as soon as he could afford them and made plans to move into pre-production not long after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first released.

But fate was not so kind. The rights of Peter Pan were very difficult to obtain because J.M. Barrie had donated them to The Great Ormond Street Hospital in Britain; an act of astounding charity that unknowingly made the rights difficult to license. Eventually, Walt did gain the rights, but it was too late. The U.S. had already been drawn into WW2. The U.S. Government took control of various studios, including Disney, to produce propaganda for the war effort. This brought Peter Pan to a screeching halt. In fact, the project seemed abandoned for good, until Walt managed to get the studio back on track after the war with Cinderella (1950). With the returns from Cinderella, Walt managed to fuel dream projects like Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Peter Pan finally made it to the screen after a hectic 15 years in production!

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Darling family concept

#2: Peter Pan Changed Everything

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Peter Pan RKO logo

Peter Pan marked the end of two eras at the Disney Studio. The first was that Peter Pan was the last Disney film in which all of the ‘Nine Old Men’ worked together. The “Nine Old Men’ were the most influential, skilled, and loyal animators at the studio. All of the Nine stayed with the company after Peter Pan, but split up into different projects such as developing Disneyland, or working on live-action films. The second era that Peter Pan ended was that of the ‘third-party distributor’. Peter Pan was the last Disney film to be distributed by a third-party distribution company. In fact, Walt has been working most of his career to accomplish this. He was proud to unveil a brand-new company, Buena Vista Distribution, to the public later that same year! Now he would distribute his own films. This meant that he could finally have 100% control over his product from start to finish. In the past, companies like RKO Radio Productions (the distributor of Peter Pan) would control Disney’s product after it was finished. With Buena Vista, Disney finally had the ability to do what he wanted with his films whether he was finished with them or not.

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the nine!

#3: The Story Was Almost Completely Different

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Over the 15 years of its production, the story of the film changed drastically. In one early version of the film, Peter Pan thought that John was too grown-up for Neverland and abandoned him. This would have made one of the main characters of the original Peter Pan story nonexistent in early drafts! In addition to possibly dropping certain characters, there were also dramatic changes to the overall tone of the film. There was an especially dark and more serious version of the film that was storyboarded, targeted more towards teenagers, that Walt promptly shut down for being too scary. And in a final possibility, Nana, the nursemaid dog, was going to accompany the children to Neverland. In fact, the narrative of the story was going to be told from her point of view!

Of course, any one of these possibilities would have made the story completely different from the beloved tale we know! But it’s fascinating to see what direction the Disney artists went before they settled on the right course. It’s always interesting to see what could have been.

#4: A Popular Tinker Bell Rumor is Actually Wrong

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There is an popular rumor going about Tinker Bell which has gained quite a bit of notoriety. Legend has it that Tinker Bell was modeled after the famous film star Marilyn Monroe. While this is a very interesting, and naturally compelling theory, it is unfortunately NOT TRUE! The idea of Marilyn being popular enough to influence the design of a Disney character has become so popular that Marc Davis himself (Tinker Bell’s designer and animator) went on record to say that he actually directly based Tinker Bell’s design on model Margaret Kerry. Margaret provided live-action reference for the character and the influence of her distinctive features can be clearly seen in Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell may bear a passing resemblance to Marilyn, but it’s impossible for her to be based on the starlet, since Marilyn didn’t really become famous until AFTER Peter Pan!

#5: Extraordinary Casting

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Peter Pan has one of the most fascinating voice casts in all of Disney’s history. A star-studded cast, including a few familiar Disney veterans, filled out the ranks. The title role was filled by Bobby Driscoll, a veteran of five Disney films, and a popular teen heartthrob. Surprisingly, he was the first male to play Peter Pan on film ever! In addition to Driscoll, another Disney child star, Kathryn Beaumont, played Wendy Darling a mere two years after appearing as Alice in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Finally, to everyone’s excitement, long-time character actor Bill Thompson (White Rabbit, The Dodo, Scrooge McDuck, etc.) played the lovable Mr. Smee.

But it wasn’t only Disney Luminaries who made up the cast. The great Golden Age starlet Heather Angel (Bulldog Drummond) provided the voice of Mrs. Darling, Television superstar Tom Conway (The Falcon) voiced the narrator, and last but not least, unparalleled Radio King and stage veteran Hans Conried (Orson Welle’s Mercury Theatre Company) turned in the distinctive performance of the hilarious Captain Hook; a fan favorite villain. In fact, Hans’s voice is so comparatively unique, that it’s hard not to notice that he also plays Mr. Darling; continuing a peculiar tradition of the stage performance where the same actor always played both characters!

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Conried also played Hook in live-action reference footage so that Hook even looks and moves like him!

Above are rare photos of Conried in costume!

Enjoy these facts? Let us know in the comments! We want to know; what’s your favorite thing about Peter Pan?

Pixar Saved Disney!

Pixar Saved Disney!

Pixar Saved Disney!

 

Disney has become synonymous with the art of animation and it’s no wonder as to why. Since 1923, the Walt Disney Company has led the industry in terms of story, art, and technical innovation. In fact, without Disney’s achievements in animation, most historians agree that Disney would not be the successful corporation that it is today. However, that’s not to say that the company hasn’t had their rough patches. In fact, there was a struggle in Disney history that relatively few people are aware of; a struggle that was resolved when Pixar saved Disney!

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To explain how this happened, we must go way back to Disney’s Dark Age for context. During Disney’s self-proclaimed ‘Dark Age’ (the 70’s and early 80’s; the years following Walt’s passing), the animation division of the company was going through an artistic rough patch. Disney leadership focused less and less on animation; pushing out films that were cheaper and less artistic than Walt Disney’s original standards. Many animators were dissatisfied with the results of the era. As a result, some of those same animators, under the leadership of a veteran artist named Don Bluth, left and formed their own company; Don Bluth Productions. This was the first time in history that Disney had a real rival for animation; a serious threat that might have ended Disney Animation for good.

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Thankfully, many of Disney’s best animators stayed through the tough times and eventually pushed through the Dark Age and into the Renaissance; returning Disney to the days of innovation and art! With the advent of the Renaissance, and Disney’s return to quality over cost, Disney rocketed past Don Bluth Productions and once more secured itself as the top company in animation. However, the success of Don Bluth Productions had unforeseen consequences; it taught film executives that other companies could succeed in the field of animation. Soon, an art form that was almost exclusively dominated by Disney met with many more rivals than it ever had faced before.

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A great film!

 

 

From the mid 80’s through the early 2000’s, various other companies rose up to challenge Disney’s dominance in animation, and Disney had to work extra hard to stay ahead of the shifting professional landscape. For the most part, this wasn’t really a problem. Disney’s films were usually far more successful than their rivals, and Disney had their long and storied past to rely upon for support and experience. No one could really contend with Disney on an artistic level in the 80’s or 90’s due to Disney’s acclaimed Renaissance. When they stuck to their roots of quality and innovation, Disney was at the top of their game.

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However, it was not to last. After the release of Tarzan in 1999, Disney leadership once more reverted to the strange and dangerous decisions that were made in the Dark Age; effectively ending the Renaissance and beginning a new age called the Experimental Era. While many in the animation department at Disney strove for excellence, they were undermined by corporate leadership. As a result, even though most of the films in this era used bold new techniques and attempted to approach new types of stories, most of the films met with mixed results regarding critics and audiences. With Disney seemingly struggling to stay ahead, rivals swooped in with a vengeance; trying to rise to the top using Disney’s lack of success.

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a great ‘Experimental Era’ film

 

 

But luckily, Disney would not be beaten so easily. Roy E. Disney (Walt’s nephew) strove to keep Disney animation at the top and managed to overturn the leadership of the company in 2005/2006 and replace it with a new one that would respect animation and make sure that it was always striving to be the best that it could be. This new leadership was…Pixar?

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Yes, indeed; Pixar save Disney Animation! Disney had already been partnering with Pixar since the release of Toy Story in 1995, and the company had realized that Pixar had become what Disney Animation wanted to be; a company full of innovation, artistic exploration, and high-quality production. While Disney struggled with their films in the early 2000’s, Pixar had excelled at every single one that they released; appealing to newer audiences and smashing records with their unique stories. Disney started to see that a Pixar partnership was not enough, and that they needed Pixar more than they thought. So, they ended up purchasing the company in 2006. The lesser-known result of this purchase was the leadership shift that accompanied it. With Pixar becoming part of the Disney family, the founders of the young CGI animation studio were unexpectedly co-opted into running Walt Disney Animation; breathing new life into the struggling Disney animation division and filling its offices with younger and fresher artists!

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This ensured that the people behind Pixar’s success would also contribute to Walt Disney Animation’s success; giving Disney Animation strong artistic leadership that would respect animation as an art form and secure the historic company in the new millennium. The decision certainly paid off, because as soon as Pixar leadership took the reins of Disney Animation, the company saw a revival…The ‘Disney Revival’ era that we are currently living in today! With the success of Princess and the Frog in 2009, Disney entered a Second Golden Age.

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Finally, after the release of 2011’s Winnie the Pooh (the last Disney hand-drawn film) Disney’s started its permanent transition to the more commercially stable format of Computer Animation that was pioneered by Pixar! Without these changes, Disney might have lost its animation division to younger rivals and would have been a very different company than the one we know today. Pixar led Disney animation into an era of financial stability for the company spearheaded by commercially and critically successful films like Zootopia, Frozen, and Tangled; making Pixar the inadvertent savior of the Disney company as we know it today!

What’s your favorite Pixar or Disney animated film since the Revival?

Disney Parks Holiday Season 2017

Disney Parks Holiday Season 2017

Disney Park Holiday Season 2017

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Next week is an extremely special time for any Disney fan. We know that most of you are already aware of this fact, but for those of you who aren’t, the reason is very simple; The Disney Parks are about to start the 2017 Holiday Season!

To celebrate, we wanted to quickly break down what to expect from both Resorts this year; the beloved returning Disney traditions, as well as the exciting new experiences! We also hope to help you figure out which of the resorts is best for your family this year! However, we at the Disney Magic Fanatic believe that you must try to experience both Disneyland and Walt Disney World (WDW) during the holidays at least once in your life, if you can! They are both worth seeing and we cannot pick a favorite! We also recommend the overseas Disney Parks for the Holidays if you can afford it, but that’s a post for another day.

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The Disney Parks will undergo their transformations into magical winter wonderlands starting Nov. 9th-December 31st for WDW, and Nov. 10th– January 7th for Disneyland. The transformations will happen (literally) overnight and, in an instant, guests will be transported into enchanted worlds of gingerbread, toy soldiers, carols, Christmas Trees, ornaments, simulated snow, and thousands of twinkling lights. Indeed, both resorts are famous for their breathtaking decorations and immersion into the season! Disney fans seem to agree that there is something truly special about the Disney Parks during the Holidays; the Disney Magic seems to increase tenfold, and spirits rise with joy and laughter.

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Walt Disney World Resort starts the season first, but the festivities also end earlier. There is so much to do here during the Holidays that it is impossible to experience everything in one day. If you can only visit WDW once, we do recommend that it is during the Holiday Season, as there is something extremely special about that time of year at the resort; but it’s all up to you. If that’s what you decide to do, then you won’t have to worry about all your favorite rides changing temporarily like they do at Disneyland! A few do, but not as much as at Walt’s original park!

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WDW figures that most of its guests will only be able to experience the resort once in their lives, so most of your favorite attractions will be the same as if you went there in mid-summer! WDW is also the most immersive of the two parks; miles away from any of the ‘real world’ and cut off from any outside distractions. If you want to escape for a week, and pretend like you’re in another universe for a while, then WDW is your best bet. Just be aware, unless you live close to the East Coast, WDW will probably be more expensive as well!

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Disneyland, on the other hand, is visited mostly by locals. As a result, they have no qualms with temporarily overlaying their famous attractions with seasonal fun. We think that the temporary changes to the attractions are adorable and full of Holiday Cheer, but if you’re the type that wants to experience the normal version of the Haunted Mansion or It’s a Small World, then it may not be for you.

However, we do want to emphasize that Disneyland’s smaller size, and nostalgic roots as Walt Disney’s first Theme Park, give it a cozy and intimate feeling during the Holidays; like a quaint Christmas Village from our childhood storybooks. Also, if you live smack-dab in the middle of the two parks, like we have, the price will also be cheaper for Disneyland. Another bonus of Disneyland’s smaller size is the ability to experience everything in one or two days!

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Both Disney Parks will feature seasonal dishes and treats fit for Ol’ Saint Nick! Disneyland is particularly famous for its handmade candy canes and gingerbread (made right in front of your very eyes) along the Main Street Stretch. WDW has an especially delicious eggnog. Regardless of which you visit, try a combination of the Peppermint Mocha and warm Gingerbread; it feels like home!

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WDW has the more original Holiday shows, but comparatively lacks on the festive ride overlays. ‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’, and all the parades and shows that are included in it, are the highlight of the season, although ‘Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!’ and EPCOT’s ‘International Festival of the Holidays’ are awesome too. We also hear that this year’s new Disney Hollywood Studio’s ‘Sunset Seasons Greetings’ is supposed to be unlike anything Disney Parks fans have ever seen before; with a brand-new show highlighting the breathtaking projection capabilities of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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Disneyland, on the other hand, transforms their Haunted Mansion into the ‘Haunted Mansion Holiday’; a Nightmare Before Christmas themed attraction. Multiple attractions in Cars Land get snowy makeovers, World of Color at DCA becomes ‘Season of Light’ (highly recommended), and It’s a Small World has the most breathtaking transformation with lights and colors that are truly magical to behold! The fireworks, parades, and shows, like DCA’s ‘¡Viva Navidad!’, are also spectacular!

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Overall, in terms of attractions, Disneyland goes the extra mile for Christmas; overlaying all their most famous rides and shows in Christmas joy. Disneyland’s festivities also last longer and saturate the entire park; providing guests with a longer and more flexible window to plan their vacations. However, Walt Disney World is by far the most diverse with its offerings; providing entirely new shows and parades for its festivities. Whichever park you chose, we hope that your Holidays are filled with Disney Magic; in the words of Bing Crosby “May your days be merry and bright…and may all your Christmases be white!”

 We want to know; what’s your favorite Disney Holiday Tradition? Have you ever had a true “White Christmas”?

Top 10 Disneyland Attractions Part 1

Top 10 Disneyland Attractions Part 1

Top 10 Disneyland Attractions Part 1

To honor Walt Disney’s original ‘Magic Kingdom’, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Disneyland Attractions in HISTORICAL ORDER.  You can find Part 2 HERE! With so many attractions, some favorites are bound to be left out, but please be aware that EVERY EFFORT was made to be as inclusive as possible!

[Note: Keep in mind that this is Part 1 of 2! The Top 10 Disney California Adventure attractions have their own lists (HERE and HERE ) and they will not be included here! Be sure to check out our lists of the top UNDERRATED Attractions at the entire resort (HEREHERE, and HERE)]

 

So, without further ado…

 

Peter Pan’s Flight (Opening Day, 1955)

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The classic attraction poster

Peter Pan’s Flight is on every guest’s list of must-see attractions at Disneyland. With a sense of childlike wonder Peter Pan takes us into the timeless journey of Neverland and all its wonders. It may not be as sophisticated as Pirates of the Caribbean, but just like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s flight enchants with its simplicity and fun.  Take a ride in an enchanted flying ship from a nursery in London to the land of your dreams; where Captain Hook schemes and mermaids swim beneath the sparkling seas! This ride is quintessential Fantasyland fare; especially if you have small children who have never been to Disneyland before. Just be aware that the line is always notoriously long!

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it can be enchanting!

Pirates of the Caribbean (1967)

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Vintage attraction poster

Have you ever dreamed of setting sail on a pirate ship with the promise of adventure on the seven seas? What child hasn’t imagined facing the cannons and cutlasses of the open waters, or braving the dangers of a storm; becoming a living legend of the wind and tides? Make your dreams come true with what many Disneyland fans consider to be the best attraction of the entire park…maybe the best attraction at any Disney Park! Today, Pirates of the Caribbean has enchanted the hearts of millions and inspired them towards adventure and bravery for over fifty years. With its stunning and memorable cast of Audio-Animatronic scoundrels, brilliant set designs, and a theme song which is beloved by millions, it’s no wonder why this ride has its own film franchise! Just remember the warning of the eerie caverns when you are tempted towards greed; Dead men tell no tales!

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Full of memorable moments!

The Haunted Mansion (1969)

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Vintage poster showing off the infamous ‘Hitchhiking Ghosts’.

The Haunted Mansion has gone down in history as one of the best attractions at any Disney Park ever, and there’s no wonder as to why! The mansion provides an extremely immersive environment for all its guests to enjoy…or fear! These happy haunts have invited you to join in on the fun!  With the legendary Ghost Host leading foolish mortals through the ghostly manor, you might find that the ride is not really that scary after all. The ride also offers, in our opinion, the best and most diverse display of special effects in any Disneyland ride. While too frightful for some guests, the Haunted Mansion offers an entertaining reward of visual fun and fantasy. 999 happy haunts have retired here, but there’s always room for a 1,000…ANY VOLUNTEERS?

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An iconic and stately landmark.

 

 

Space Mountain (1977)

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Space never looked so good!

This ride always seems to be on the top of every guest’s list of favorite attractions. Space Mountain is a heart-pumping adventure through the blackness of space and an excellent addition to the park’s thrill rides. Not content to just build an ordinary rollercoaster in the dark, the Imagineers really outdid themselves on this one. Completely immersing the guests into the story of an intergalactic space station, the rollercoaster takes you on a lightspeed ride through the stars. It propels you past the sparkling vistas and alien worlds of your dreams; all while adrenaline-pumping music blasts in your ears!  Ironically built at Disneyland in the same year that the original Star Wars film was released, Space Mountain is the premiere attraction of Tomorrowland; the pinnacle of its vision of the future that never was… but could be if we continue to follow our dreams. 3…2…1…WE HAVE IGNITION!

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A truly powerful icon.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979)

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Intricate detail!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like Space Mountain, was another attempt to make something more than an average rollercoaster. Even in their thrill rides, the Imagineers never make anything ordinary! They always infuse every detail with a memorable story. This time the story is that you’re an unsuspecting tourist visiting Big Thunder Mountain; home to an abandoned mine that’s rumored to be haunted. Of course, the rumors turn out to be true! With a mind of its own, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad speeds off out of control; a run-away train flying headlong into danger. With twists and turns through canyon caverns plagued by bats, dinosaur bones, bubbling hot-springs, and desert critters, you’ll be begging for more! Just make sure to look at the dynamite-chewing goat as you pass his ridge…cause this here’s the WILDEST RIDE IN THE WILDERNESS!

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You never know what you might find in the wilderness!

Enjoy This list? Like and share! Also, stay tuned for more Disney Magic every week!

Top 10 Disney California Adventure Attractions Pt. 1

Top 10 Disney California Adventure Attractions Pt. 1

Top 10 Disney California Adventure Attractions Part 1

Disney California Adventure (DCA) may have received some bad-press in the past, but the 2012 re-dedication has really turned that around! Now it truly feels like a Disney Park. To honor Disneyland’s newer sibling, we’ve put together a list for the Top 10 DCA Attractions! Please note that, with so many attractions, some favorites might be left out. If your favorite isn’t here, you might find it on our list for the Top 5 Underrated DCA Attractions! Please understand; Every effort was made to be as inclusive as possible!

[Note: Don’t forget, this is part 1of 2! Part 2 comes next week! want to see our list for the Top 5 Underrated Disney California Adventure Attractions? Or maybe our lists for the Top 10 Underrated Disneyland Attractions Part 1 and Part 2]

So, without further ado…

 

Red Car Trolleys

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Cute vintage poster!

The Red Car Trolleys are the cherry on top of DCA’s relatively recent updates. The Imagineers really outdid themselves trying to fix DCA’s problems and bring it the signature Disney Magic it so rightly deserved. Now a scenic ride on the famous Red Car Trolleys provides that extra detail that fully immerses guests into the world of imagination. Just like the Disneyland Railroad, the Red Car Trolleys have become DCA’s signature mode of transportation! Welcome to the Hollywood of the Golden Age; not exactly presented how it really was, but rather how we remember it in our hearts! Just like Main Street at Disneyland, DCA’s Buena Vista Street takes us on a nostalgic journey to something quintessentially American; torn straight out of our romantic dreams of old Hollywood. With these beautifully crafted replicas of the famous vehicles, we finally feel as if the illusion is completed. Now we know that DCA is a Disney park; with the magic that we have come to expect from one!

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The Red Car Trolley Newsboy Show is a real treat!

California Screamin’

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Seriously…the vintage poster theme was a GREAT IDEA!

A rip-roaring ride over Paradise Pier, California Screamin’ truly is a great experience. While not as completely immersive as other coasters at the resort like Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, California Screamin’ is still one of the best attractions at DCA. Have any adrenaline junkies in your party? Then this ride is a must-see! Themed to the old beautiful wooden coasters of seaside boardwalks, Californa Screamin’ takes guests on a ride that they won’t forget. Don’t worry, the coaster only looks like one of those rickety wooden coasters. It’s really made of super-safe steel and won’t break your back with its bumps and jolts! It may simulate the clickety-clack of one of those ancient rides, but it’s much more advanced than that. Are you scared someone down on the boardwalk will hear you scream? Not to worry; the revolutionary technology of the ride has scream buffers to muffle the sound! Just trust us, it’s worth the screamin’!

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It certainly adds a lot of beauty to the pier landscape!

It’s Tough to Be a Bug

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Original Advertisement at WDW.

Ever wanted to see what the world looked like from the perspective of a bug? Ever wanted to talk to a grasshopper? Anything is possible at Disneyland Resort! In It’s Tough to Be a Bug, the Imagineers shrink you down to the size of an insect and plop you into the whimsical world of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life! Join inventor Flik for an educational show about how bugs aren’t that bad after all. The show is completely immersive and, via interactive technology hidden throughout the theater and the seats, really pulls you in! Originally created as Animal Kingdom’s premiere attraction (receiving the honor of playing inside the iconic Tree of Life), this show really is spectacular! The show includes a 3D film, live Audio-Animatronics (including a very advanced Hopper figure), water jets, real-time scents, live-action props, and even bugs that crawl under you right where you sit! Trust us, you won’t understand until you experience this attraction for yourself!

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The Hopper Animatronic is super complex!

Frozen-Live at the Hyperion

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The show is quite beautiful and elaborate.

We cannot stress enough about how good this show is! Yes, we are very sad that the phenomenal show ‘Aladdin-Live at the Hyperion’ had to go away, but the show that replaced it is just as beautiful! A little-known fact; the Aladdin show that was originally created for this theater was the main inspiration for the super-popular Broadway performance! To make way for Prince Ali to move onto Broadway, the show was replaced with one based on the ever-popular Frozen film. Now you can relive the movie again in a live performance full of high-quality sets, costumes, music, and production design. The high-caliber show will have you singing ‘Let It Go’ all day long again! With puppetry, pageantry, lights, music, and imagination, Frozen-Live at the Hyperion is a truly breathtaking show! Thaw your frozen heart with the true love and sisterhood of this Disney classic! And now that Frozen is getting its turn on Broadway, who knows might be coming next to DCA’s famous Hyperion Theater!

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The actor/singers are some of the best the resort has to offer.

Grizzly River Run

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Grizzly Peak, DCA’s original icon, adds a breathtaking vista to the park’s landscape!

An Opening Day attraction, Grizzly River Run was one of the few original things about DCA that seemed to avoid scrutiny. The ride was good enough that it avoided much of the backlash and disappointment of fans who had come to the park in the early days of its operation. We fully understand why it survived! This ride is a rollicking adventure on a careening river of mayhem and fun. Take a trip into the California wilderness and brave the rapids of DCA’s original icon, Grizzly Peak! Face the temperamental geysers, brave the plummeting falls, smell the fresh pines, and see if you can endure the growling winds of Grizzly Peak’s cave! Just remember, you will get wet! WE ARE NOT KIDDING!

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What a splash!

Enjoy our list? Like and subscribe! new posts coming weekly! Until next time, we hope you have a magical week!

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 2

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 2

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 2

In Loving Memory of Francis Xavier “X” Atencio (1919-2017)

Disney has always been known for having the most memorable characters in animation, and with every memorable main character comes the lovable sidekick! Whether carrying out their partner’s plans, or offering moral support, the sidekick often steals the show. Even then, there are a few of these Disney buddies that just don’t get the attention they deserve. To honor them, here’s Part 2 of our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks!

Don’t forget; this is Part 2 of 2! Click here if you want to read Part 1

[Note: For this list, we’re sticking with sidekicks from the 56 current films in ‘Disney’s Animated Canon’.If you want to see more underrated Disney stuff, you can check out our lists for Animation, Disneyland attractions Part 1 and Part 2, and Disney California Adventure Attractions!]

So, without further ado…

Maximus

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This lovable horse seems to be far more competent than any ordinary soldier in the kingdom…probably a lot smarter too! With a doglike manner, and an eye for justice, Maximus became an unexpected friend to the very fugitive that he had been tasked to hunt down. As one of the most hilarious and entertaining parts of Tangled, Maximus always brings out a laugh when he’s attempting to outwit Flynn Rider, or stealing the scene with another lovable sidekick; Pascal. We’re very glad when Flynn cleans up his act as Eugene Fitzherbert and becomes unlikely friends with this noble steed, otherwise we may have never gotten to see Maximus’s hilarious adventure as one of Rapunzel and Eugene’s ringbearers in Tangled Ever After!

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An unlikely friendship indeed!

Dopey

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What’s not to love about Dopey?

The original, lovable, clumsy, and all-around wonderful comedian from Disney’s very first full-length feature film, Dopey will always have a place in our hearts! Originally one of Disney’s most popular characters, Dopey started the legacy for all Disney sidekick characters that followed. The silent star made us wish we could wiggle our ears and made us want to try out diamond spectacles! Not to mention his extreme athletic skills at balancing on top of two other dwarfs! He may not talk much, but he has a charm that enchants millions of Disney fans around the globe; even after 80 years! With his enthusiasm, simple-minded kindness, and affinity to trip on his own robe, Dopey will always have the last laugh!

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Jaq and Gus

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destined to be friends forever!

Ok, we know that these guys are really two characters instead of one, but could we really have one on this list without the other? Let’s face it, just like Lumière and Cogsworth or Timon and Pumbaa, Jaq and Gus couldn’t be as lovable without each other to interact with. The most loyal pair of mice you’ll ever meet (besides good old Mickey and Minnie of course!), Jaq and Gus would do anything to help their kindhearted friend Cinderella fulfill her dreams. Considering how many dangers they face in their quest to help Cinderella find true love, we think that these mice are the real heroes! They faced the evil cat Lucifer, stole back the key of Cinderella’s freedom from Lady Tremaine, and climbed up a mountain-sized staircase to try and get it back to her! Their bravery is astounding! With Jaq’s shrewd and mischievous mind, and Gus’s selfless bravery, no one could ask for better friends! Gus-Gus fight Lucify! Help Cinderelly!

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Let’s go help Cinderella!

Baloo

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When good old Papa Bear’s around, that’s when the bear necessities are found!

Now we’re getting into those characters who blur the line between the underrated and the best of the best, but we still think that Baloo doesn’t get as much credit as some of the more iconic sidekicks. This ‘jungle bum’ (as uptight Bagheera calls him), always knows how to grab ahold of a swinging beat when he hears one! So, fall apart in Baloo’s backyard and rest at ease with the Bear Necessities of Life; you’ll want to stay in the jungle too after you’ve spent a day with this huggable companion! A true friend who risked his life to save Mowgli from the opulent Shere Khan, old papa-bear Baloo has got it where it counts. Voiced to perfection by Disney personality Phil Harris, Baloo the Bear will have you wishing that you could dance like him! We’ll tell you something true; the Bear Necessities of Life will come to you!

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Not a care in the world!

Tigger

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T-I-Double-Guh- Er! That spells Tigger!

Again, here’s another sidekick that deserves to be ranked with the best, but often gets pushed under the rug when compared to the likes of The Genie or Olaf. In our opinion, Winnie the Pooh would not truly be Pooh without this bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, and fun friend! He may get a little overexcited sometimes, and think that he’s the best at everything (He somehow thinks that ice skating is what Tiggers do best…we don’t know how he feels about that after what happened to poor Rabbit), but he’s a true friend through and through. An expert on Heffalumps and Woozles, and the resident bouncer of the Hundred Acre wood, Tigger always delights us and leaves us wanting more fun. Paul Winchell delivered a hilarious performance as this lisping stuffed cat, and Jim Cummings (also the official new voice for Pooh) carried on the legacy after Mr. Winchell passed away. But whoever is voicing this energetic enigma, the character is alway sure to steal the show! The most wonderful thing about Tigger? He’s the only one! And that’s the end of our list! As Tigger always says “TTFN; Ta, Ta For Now!

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Hello! I’m Tigger!

Enjoy our list? Like and Share! Let us know your favorite sidekicks in the comments and stay tuned for more Disney fun every week! Until next time; have a magical week!

 

 

X Marks the Spot; A Tribute to X Atencio

X Marks the Spot; A Tribute to X Atencio

In loving memory of Francis Xavier Atencio (1919-2017); today, we honor one of the greatest Disney Imagineers of all time.

This week, we were saddened by the news that X Atencio passed away on September 10, 2017; he was 98 years old.

Francis Xavier Atencio, fondly referred to as ‘X‘ by his friends, was a beloved animator and Imagineer at Disney. He served the company for 65 years ( he started at 19 years old) and knew Walt Disney personally. In fact, Atencio was favored by Walt as a show-writer at Imagineering (the Disney branch that oversees the creation of the Disney Parks). His credits in the company include, but are not limited to, animation in films as early as Fantasia, the script for Adventure Thru Inner Space, The Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland , and as a voice-actor in many of those same attractions. He is probably most well known to fans as the voice of the talking skull at Pirates of the Caribbean, and for penning the extremely catchy lyrics of ‘Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirates Life For Me’ and ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’. X Atencio rightfully became a ‘Disney Legend’ in 1996 (the award is the highest honor the company can bestow).

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Walt Disney with a young X Atencio. Walt knew talent when he saw it!

There is no doubt that we will miss this Master Imagineer greatly , and his works will live on in the hearts of millions for years to come!  Because of you, we sail with theiving pirates on the Seven Seas, dance with grinning ghosts beneath the lonely trees, and sing the songs of all your symphonies! May you Rest In Peace our Pirate Captain, our Maestro of Music, and our Great Storyteller! We miss you dearly X Atencio!

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X Atencio drawing what looks to be Winnie the Pooh. We will miss you, and your creative genius, dearly!

 

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 1

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 1

Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks Part 1

Disney always creates the most memorable characters in animation, and with every memorable main character, there comes the lovable Disney sidekick! Whether they’re carrying out their partner’s plans, or offering moral support, the sidekick often steals the show.

Even then, there are a few of these overlooked Disney buddies that just don’t get the attention that they deserve. To honor these stupendous sidekicks, here’s Part 1 of our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Disney Sidekicks! Now that Part 2 is up, you can find it HERE!

[Note: For this list, we’re sticking with sidekicks from the 56 current films in ‘Disney’s Animated Canon’. Also, if you want to see more underrated Disney stuff, you can check out our lists for Animation, Disneyland Part 1 and Part 2 , and Disney California Adventure!]

So, without further ado…

Timothy Mouse

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Timothy Q Mouse is a true friend!

Poor little Dumbo didn’t have a friend in the world, until this wonderful mouse came along. Dumbo’s best friend, biggest supporter, and faithful protector, Timothy Q. Mouse has a heart of gold. While not as popular as other sidekicks, Timothy was one of the first to touch the hearts of millions. With a brave heart, unwavering faith, and good old-fashioned determination, Timothy Mouse stuck with Dumbo until the end; finally realizing their collective dream of Dumbo becoming a star and astonishing the world with unbelievable story of the amazing elephant who could fly like a bird!

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Such great enthusiasm!

LeFou

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He may be the simple-minded goon, but he’s also a hilarious!

With a name that literally translates to ‘The Fool’, Lefou could certainly use a little more common sense. Gaston’s number one thug and yes-man, Lefou feeds off Gaston’s popularity; getting whatever praise is left over from the huntsman’s adoring fans. Not much brighter than his boss, Lefou is still quite memorable for his impromptu singing skills and motivational pep-talks. Also, who can forget his awesome impression of a snowman? Who cares if he can’t even spell his best friend’s name! With the strongest and most handsome man in town as your buddy, what could possibly go wrong?

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When Gaston was a lad he ate four dozen eggs…but we think LeFou might want to stick to cereal.

Koda

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Youthful energy and fun!

This little firecracker of a cub seems to have boundless energy and enthusiasm. He may talk too much for Kenai’s taste, but for us, he just comes off as lovable. It certainly breaks our hearts when Koda is rejected by Kenai at first, because we wouldn’t even think twice about staying in the body of bear for this little buddy (okay, maybe not forever, but you get the point). He’s the little brother you’ve always wanted, and even though he can be a bit of a handful, he’s got it where it counts! Thank goodness this little brother finally got what he so desperately wanted; a family that’s always there for him, no matter what!

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He certainly loves to talk…kind of like us if you think about it.

Iago

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This sidekick to the Sultan’s Vizier may get a bit too outrageous sometimes…

Okay, we know we probably shouldn’t like villain sidekicks, but Iago is someone who always seems to make us laugh; even when we know that it might not be a good thing we’re laughing at! He’s just so gosh darn outrageous that it’s hard not to let out a giggle every once and while. But then again, what did we expect from the hilariously comic vocals of Gilbert Gottfried. Seriously, after learning Gottfried was the talent behind this sarcastic parrot, we’re ‘so worked up that we’re molting!‘ With Iago’s spot-on voice impressions (seriously, how does he do that Jasmine voice?), and tough guy attitude, Iago makes the perfect backdrop for Jafar’s more subdued villainy; even if they are both just as crazy in the end!

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Patience Iago!

Kronk

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He may have gotten mixed up in the wrong crowd, but Kronk truly is a good guy at heart!

In our opinion, Kronk is literally the best thing about Emperor’s New Groove and that’s saying a lot! In a movie full of comedic irreverence, Kronk takes the cake (or in this case, spinach puff!), and makes us laugh out loud every time. While not the sharpest tool in the shed, Kronk is a lovable goofball, and we can’t blame Pacha’s family for wanting to ‘adopt’ Kronk as their uncle; even after Yzma tried to burn their house to the ground! It’s a good thing that both Kronk’s Shoulder Angel and Shoulder Devil could agree on fighting back against Yzma, or Kronk wouldn’t have accidentally saved the day! With a superhero jaw, and the perfect physique, it’s hard to believe that he also happens to be such a great cook! Talk about having it all. Voiced to perfection by Disney luminary and television personality, Patrick Warburton,  Kronk will always charm us with his impromptu theme music. Just remember, junior chipmunks must be versed in all the woodland creatures…*nods head in understanding* Riiiiiiight!

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Redundancy? “Got you covered!”

Enjoy our list? Like and Share! Let us know your favorite sidekicks in the comments and stay tuned for more Disney fun every week! Until next time, have a magical week!