This Week in Disney History: October 11-17, 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:

Oct. 14, 1971 - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea opens at Magic Kingdom Park
Walt Disney's 1954 adaptation of the Jules Verne undersea adventure was a box office blockbuster, and the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland Park was a hit upon its 1959 opening. For Magic Kingdom Park's debut in 1971, both classics were blended together to create an all-new voyage through liquid space in Fantasyland.

The fleet of 12 Nautilus submarines is among the most iconic ride vehicles ever created for Disney parks, designed by Imagineer George McGinniss, who modeled his work after Harper Goff's Victorian-themed production designs from the film. The subs took divers on a perilous journey through an 11.5 million gallon lagoon, surviving run-ins with mermaids, sea monsters and a giant squid. Closed in 1994, the attraction site is now part of the Enchanted Forest in the expanded New Fantasyland. Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea is heavily influenced by Jules Verne's storytelling, and features its own 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea dark ride.

Also this week in Disney history:

Oct. 11
1946 - "Bath Day" (Figaro cartoon short) debuts
1959 - Rainbow Caverns Mine Train closes at Disneyland Park
1982 - Epcot leaders dedicate the American Adventure
1998 - Journey Into Imagination and Image Works close at Epcot
2003 - The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closes at Magic Kingdom Park
2003 - The last regular performance of "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks is held at Magic Kingdom Park

Oct. 12
1986 - The Golden Horseshoe Revue (show) closes at Disneyland Park after 47,250 performances
1995 - The 500,000,000th Guest visits the Walt Disney World Resort
2008 - Sun Wheel closes at Disney California Adventure Park (reopened in 2009 as Mickey's Fun Wheel)
2009 - George A. Kalogridis officially becomes president of the Disneyland Resort

Oct. 13
1950 - "Bee at the Beach" (Donald Duck cartoon short) debuts
1987 - Actor Fred MacMurray ("The Absent-Minded Professor") becomes the first Disney Legend
1997 - The LEGO Imagination Center opens at the Downtown Disney Marketplace (Walt Disney World)

Oct. 14
1938 - "Farmyard Symphony" (Silly Symphony) debuts
2009 - Sum of All Thrills opens in Innoventions at Epcot

Oct. 15
1923 - Walt Disney receives a telegram from film distributor Margaret Winkler, offering to pay $1,500 each for the first six of Disney's "Alice" films
1984 - American Journeys opens at Magic Kingdom Park
1998 - "Fantasmic!" debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Oct. 16
1923 - Walt Disney signs contract to produce a series of short "Alice Comedies," marking the founding of the Disney Brothers Studio (and The Walt Disney Company)
1989 - Epcot hosts Cast previews of the Wonders of Life pavilion

Oct. 17
1937 - Huey, Dewey and Louie (Donald Duck's nephews) debut in the Walt Disney comic strip
2007 - Disney officially announces plans for a major renovation of Disney California Adventure Park, including a new area called Cars Land
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PHOTO: © Wikipedia/Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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