This Week in Disney History: May 10-16, 2020

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:


May 16, 1991 – “Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D” debuts at Disney-MGM Studios

“Muppet*Vision 3-D” was well under development at the time of Jim Henson’s sudden passing. And it was a fitting tribute from the talented puppeteers he worked with, including Frank Oz and his son, John Henson, that the show was completed and opened on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Combining film and live in-theatre appearances from Sweetums, the Swedish Chef, and armchair critics Statler and Waldorf, Guests get a a first-hand tour of Muppet Labs led by Kermit the Frog, complete with a smattering of “cheap 3-D tricks,” which Fozzie Bear delights in sharing. Though we’ve long wondered what Sam the Eagle’s glorious three-hour “salute to all nations, but mostly America” finale would have been like, “Muppet*Vision 3-D” has become a beloved Disney Parks classic.

Also this week in Disney history:

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 the Walt Disney World Resort)
2017 - “Happily Ever After” Nighttime spectacular debuts at Magic Kingdom Park

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)
2002 -- Disney Interactive announces Kingdom Hearts, an action, role-playing game mixing characters from the world of Disney and Square Enix's Final Fantasy series

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 - The California Grill opens at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

May 16
1990 - Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets, dies at age 53
1991 - “Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D” debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
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