This Week in Disney History: December 9-15, 2019

There’s always a great, big, beautiful tomorrow at The Walt Disney Company, because every day is tied to a milestone in the heritage and rich history of a company that has been entertaining millions of people every year. Published every week, this interesting series features highlights from all the divisions of The Walt Disney Company. Let's see what happened this week:


On December 15, 1973 the Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Needless to say, Guests were hooked. This classic ride has since generated a cinematic franchise of five swashbuckling movies, dozens of memorable characters and quotes, and a countless number of peg-leg enthusiasts.

Dec. 9
1931 — “Mickey’s Orphans” (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1973 — Pack Mules Thru Nature’s Wonderland closes at Disneyland Park
1992 — The National Hockey League grants Disney an expansion franchise that would become the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
1994 – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe opens in Magic Kingdom Park
2002 – “Disney’s Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular” debuts at Disney California Adventure Park
2010 — The Disney Dream officially is turned over to Disney Cruise Line from its builder, Meyer Werft, at a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany

Dec. 10
1937 — “Donald’s Ostrich” (cartoon short) debuts
1993 — Living with the Land opens at Epcot
2000 — Safari Village within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, is renamed Discovery Island

Dec. 11
2009 – Walt Disney Animation Studios releases "The Princess and the Frog"

Dec. 12
1952 — “How to Be a Detective” (Goofy cartoon short) debuts
1981 – Walt Disney­–One Man’s Dream (two-hour television special) airs
2000 — The Disneyland Pacific Hotel is renamed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Dec. 13
1940 — “Fire Chief” (Donald Duck cartoon short) debuts
1971 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”
2005 – Kronk’s New Groove (direct-to-video animated film) is released

Dec. 14
1935 — “Broken Toys” (Silly Symphony) debuts
1961 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Babes in Toyland”
1973 — The Golf Resort (now Shades of Green) opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
1986 — Big Thunder Barbecue opens at Disneyland Park
2003 — Disney’s Pop Century Resort opens at the Walt Disney World Resort

Dec. 15
1966 - Walt Disney passes away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Los Angeles
1973 - Pirates of the Caribbean opens at Magic Kingdom Park
1989 - Star Tours opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
1991 - Frontierland Train Station opens at Magic Kingdom Park
1995 - Pizza Planet opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
1997 - Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop opens at the Disney Springs Marketplace
2000 - Walt Disney Pictures releases “The Emperor’s New Groove”
2004 - Fess Parker (“Davy Crockett” actor) is honored with a tribute window in Frontierland at Disneyland Park

Dec. 16
1952 - WED Enterprises is founded (later renamed Walt Disney Imagineering) 
1977 - Walt Disney Pictures releases “Pete’s Dragon”
1978 - “The Small One,” an animated featurette, debuts
1997 - Lillian Disney (Walt Disney’s widow) passes away 
2009 - Roy E. Disney (son of Roy O. Disney and director emeritus of The Walt Disney Company) dies at age 79
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