The Disney Look... to the Past! (May 9-15)

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: May 9-15

May 13, 1992 — "Fantasmic!" debuts on the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park
Never before had such a dazzling display of Disney magic been brought to the stage until the debut of Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park. The attraction premiered May 15, 1992 in Frontierland, with more than 6,000 Guests standing along the banks of the Rivers of America. When night fell on “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Mickey Mouse appeared at the tip of Tom Sawyer Island. With the power of his imagination, Mickey brought his fantasy to life and managed to overcome the band of Disney villains who tried to invade his imaginary world. Even Frontierland classics such as the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia were given roles in this exciting new show. When the show first premiered, 52 live performers and 50 Crew Members helped bring the magic to the stage. In order to present the show seven nights a week, 371 costumes were created.

The revolutionary new effect of this elaborate show involved three giant mist screens, each one 30-feet-tall by 50-feet-wide, with enough density to project film images on them. Other revolutionary additions included a 100-foot long Kaa, from “The Jungle Book,” and a 45-foot-tall fire-breathing Maleficent dragon. The attraction was created by executive producer Bob McTyre, Producer Mike Davis, and Writer-Director Barnette Ricci.

May 15, 1928 — Walt Disney's animated short “Plane Crazy” is first screened
“Steamboat Willie” may be considered Mickey Mouse's official debut, but it was not his first time in a television spotlight. After the loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, animator Ub Iwerks produced more than 8,000 drawings in six weeks to give life to Walt's newest creation, Mickey Mouse. In this silent six minute short, Mickey tries to emulate the pilot Charles Lindberg in an attempt to woo his sweetheart, Minnie Mouse. Getting the plane off the ground proves to be a bit of a challenge, but our mighty hero never gives up hope. The silent film was screened before a Los Angeles test audience on May 15, 1928 in hopes of securing a distributor, but it was not picked up for a theatrical run. It was not until after the success of “Steamboat Willie” with its synchronized sound that sound effects were also added to “Plane Crazy.” On March 17, 1929, “Plane Crazy” had its theatrical release and became the fourth Mickey short with a soundtrack added. Mickey's plane from this classic short can still be seen today in the children's television series “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” where it is referred to as the “Toonplane.” This short can also be seen as one of the six shorts playing at the Main Street Cinema in Disneyland Park.

Also this week in Disney History:
May 9
1947 — “Sleepy Time Donald” (cartoon short) debuts
1953 — “For Whom the Bulls Toil” (Goofy cartoon short) debuts
1991 — Disney announces plans to build WESTCOT at Disneyland Park
2012 — ABC's “Modern Family” debuts the episode “Disneyland” (shot on location at Disneyland Park)

May 10
1929 — “Skeleton Dance,” the first Silly Symphony cartoon, debuts
2006 — The musical “Tarzan” opens in New York City at the Richard Rogers Theatre

May 11
1935 — The Silly Symphony short “Water Babies” debuts
2002 — Bill Peet, author and storyboard artist credited with writing Disney's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" and "The Sword in the Stone," dies at age 87

May 12
1932 — The animated short “Mickey's Revue” debuts, featuring the first appearance of a character called Dippy Dawg (whose name later became Goofy) 
1956 — The Horseless Carriage opens at Disneyland Park
1967 — The cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista are chartered by the state of Florida to perform municipal functions within the Reedy Creek Improvement District (clearing the way for construction of Walt Disney World)

May 13
1933 — “The Mail Pilot” (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1992 — “Fantasmic! ” debuts on the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park 
1997 — The Magic Kingdom II ferryboat at the Walt Disney World Resort is renamed the Richard F. Irvine
2009 — Disney-Pixar's “Up” debuts at the Cannes Film Festival

May 14
1923 — Walt writes Margaret J. Winkler in hopes of her distributing the Alice Comedies film series (first correspondence with his future distributor)

May 15
1928 — Walt Disney's animated short “Plane Crazy” is first screened
1972 — The Frontierland Train Station opens at Magic Kingdom Park
1987 — Disneyland Park introduces Disney Dollars currency 
1995 — California Grill opens at Disney's Contemporary Resort


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

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