The Disney Look... to the Past! (April 18-24)

Hello Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to the newest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"
As always, we hope you will enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more. If you have any questions or concerns about this material, feel free to contact us or just leave a message at the end of this post. Thank you!:


This Week in Disney History: April 18-24

April 22, 2009 — "Earth," the first film released under the Disneynature banner, debuts
From the depths of the sea and the frozen Arctic tundra to the wild African Savanna, Disney spared no travel expenses in creating “Earth,” the first movie released under the Disneynature brand. This epic story follows three animal families, humpback whales, polar bears and elephants, on a journey across the planet. Narrating the powerful footage of these majestic animals is the booming voice of James Earl Jones, the original voice of Mufasa from “The Lion King.” The film was released on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.

After the success of the Discovery Channel series, “Planet Earth” in 2008, Disney felt inspired to venture back into this documentary style of film. The team that created the television series was hired for the new Disneynature brand and incorporated similar footage and techniques into their work. This brand was intended to revive Walt Disney's concept of his True-Life Adventures series and help create more of an appreciation for nature and its creatures. The original plan was to release six films under the brand name, but due to high demand you can now see Disneynature's seventh film, “Bears, ” in theaters worldwide. And keep your eyes out for “Monkey Kingdom,” set to be released in 2015.

April 22, 1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park opens
The lush canopy of the Oasis leads Guests to the enormous Tree of Life, whose creature-covered trunk provides a monumental welcome to the world's largest animal theme park. Covering more than 500 acres, the seven distinct lands of Disney's Animal Kingdom feature exhibits, attractions and entertainment underscoring the importance of wildlife conservation. Whether enjoying a rugged African photo trek aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris, thrilling through the Himalayas while avoiding the mythical Yeti on Expedition Everest, or swimming with Marlin and Dory through the big blue world of "Finding Nemo - The Musical," Guests can explore the wild worlds of creatures both real and imaginary. Immersive exhibits like the Maharajah Jungle Trek let Guests observe beasts big and small up close, and the train ride to Rafiki's Planet Watch and Conservation Station provides a backstage look at how animals are cared for. In the coming years, Disney's Animal Kingdom will take Guests to the mythical moon of Pandora, as Disney Imagineers dream up new experiences set in the world of James Cameron's "Avatar."

April 22, 1964 - The New York World's Fair opens
Held in Flushing Meadows Park in the borough of Queens, the 1964 World's Fair was emblematic of the can-do spirit of the Space Age and the promise of tomorrow. But it was also the occasion for which Walt Disney perfected show technology that continues to amaze Guests to this day. Disney built four of the fair's iconic attractions: "it's a small world" for the Unicef pavilion, the Carousel of Progress for the General Electric pavilion (pictured), Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at the Illinois pavilion, and the automotive-themed Magic Skyway for the Ford pavilion. After delighting millions of fairgoers during the two-year run in New York, three of the attractions were relocated to Disneyland Park in California. The Magic Skyway never made it into a Disney Park, but tis ride control system was eventually implemented on the Peoplemover at Disneyland Park, and elements of a show scene featuring dinosaurs became the Primeval World diorama of the Disneyland Railroad. Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress relocated to Magic Kingdom Park in 1975, where it continues to give Guests a look at their great big beautiful tomorrow.

Also this week in Disney History:
April 18 
1953 — The final classic Mickey Mouse theatrical short, “The Simple Things,” debuts; the next released, three decades later, was “Mickey's Christmas Carol” (1983)
1983 — Disney Channel goes on the air
1994 — “Beauty and the Beast: A New Musical” premieres at the Palace Theatre in New York City
2002 — Primeval Whirl opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

April 19
1999 — Sales of tobacco products are discontinued at all four Walt Disney World theme parks, and smoking is prohibited except in designated areas

April 20
1946 — Walt Disney Pictures premieres “Make Mine Music” in New York City
1991 — The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
2000 — Walt Disney World announces plans for Mission: Space at Epcot

April 21 
1930 — The animated short “Just Mickey” (aka “Fiddlin' Around”) debuts
2009 — Characters in Flight opens in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World

April 22
1998 — Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park opens
2002 — Primeval Whirl opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom

April 23
1957 — Midget Autopia opens at Disneyland Park
1986 — Leaders host the groundbreaking ceremony for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
1990 — Mickey's Birthdayland closes at Magic Kingdom Park

April 24 
1989 — “The All New Mickey Mouse Club,” taped at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, debuts on Disney Channel
2009 — Imagineer and Disney Legend Marty Sklar announces his retirement, effective July 17


Thank you for reading, and have a great rest of your week!

All photos and information subject to the copyright of the Walt Disney Company. All rights reserved.

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