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November 23

November 23, 1988 – Critter Country Opens in Disneyland


“…a cast of backwoods critters, including geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees, and alligators offer up their own slice of southern hospitality during your adventure.”

On November 23, 1988, the area Critter Country opened in Disneyland. The area is one of eight lands within the park, and was originally known as Bear Country (opening in 1972), named for the area’s most popular attraction Country Bear Jamboree. When Splash Mountain was being built in 1988, the name of the land was changed to reflect the overall number of critters inhabiting in the new attraction and the several existing ones. The land also includes The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes; it also lends itself as a great viewing area for Fantasmic!, which is held in the neighboring land Frontierland. The Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country provides a special dessert package, giving guests a dessert sampler and a Fastpass ticket for Fantasmic! in a specialty viewing area.

November 22

November 22, 2012 – The Animated Movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess Premieres on Disney Junior


“I’m not ready to be a princess, I don’t have what it takes. I’m too short for gowns, I look bad in crowns, and I’m gonna make a bajillion mistakes.”

On November 22, 2012, the animated movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess premiered on Disney Junior after a premiere on Disney Channel on November 18th. It was created as the lead-in to the animated series Sofia the First, which premiered on January 11, 2013. The movie was directed by Jamie Mitchell, and was written by Craig Gerber. It stars Ariel Winter as Sofia, Darcy Rose Byrnes as Amber, Sara Ramirez as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady as Clover, Travis Willingham as King Roland, Tim Gunn as Baileywick, Russi Taylor as Fauna, Barbara Dirickson as Flora, Tress MacNeille as Merryweather, and Jennifer Hale as Cinderella.

The movie begins in with Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather introducing the story of Sofia, who lives in a kingdom of Enchancia. She lived a simple life with her mother Miranda, a shoemaker, and one day they are summoned to the castle to make shoes for King Roland the Second. The moment Miranda and Roland’s eyes meet, they fell in love, and are soon married. Sofia and her mother are soon taken to live at the castle, and are joined by several woodland creatures, unbeknownst to Sofia. Roland’s children Amber and James are asked to make Sofia feel welcome, but Amber is not quite warm to the idea of a new stepsister. As the crowd cheers for the new additions to the royal family, the Royal Sorcerer Cedric makes a large storm appear, although Roland informs him that he wanted “flowers,” not “showers.”

After the welcoming ceremony, Sofia runs into Cedric, who is less than thrilled with his position in the castle

After the welcoming ceremony, Sofia runs into Cedric, who is less than thrilled with his position in the castle

After the family heads inside, Sofia bumps into Cedric, and she is excited to meet him, although he gets angry about the “parlor tricks” he’s performing for the king before he makes himself disappear. Sofia then meets Baileywick, the Steward of the Castle, and directs her to the banquet hall. During their meal, Roland lets Sofia know that they will be throwing a ball in her honor as a way of welcoming her into the family. She and Roland will be dancing the first waltz, and Sofia is nervous about this. She is then taken to her own room, and she is shocked at how large it is. Although she is grateful for her new life, she’s still nervous about everything and thinks she’s not ready to be a princess. She goes to talk to Miranda, who reassures her that she’ll be fine. Roland then gives Sofia a present of a special amulet, and she must promise to never take it off. Amber sees Sofia receive the gift and storms off in a huff of jealousy. Sofia is once again reassured that everything will be okay, and heads back to her room. She runs into Cedric again, and he is very interested in her amulet. Cedric heads back to his room and reads up on the amulet, known as the Amulet of Avalor, and vows to take it from Sofia so he can take over the kingdom.

The next morning, Sofia is woken up by the woodland creatures that had followed her, but they are soon driven out of the room by Baileywick. Soon after, Sofia heads off to school with Amber and James in a carriage pulled by flying horses. When they arrive at the school, she meets the headmistresses Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. They give her the tour of the school, and take her to her first class. She is greeted by her classmates, including Amber, but drops all of her books when she reciprocates. Amber smirks, but soon her jealousy grows when other students rush over to help Sofia. Amber gets James to take a ride on the enchanted swing set, and everyone watches as the swing throws Sofia into the fountain. Sofia tries to take it in stride, but one of the other students gives James a hard time for tricking his sister in such a mean way. As Sofia walks away, she hears a strange sound, and finds a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. She returns the baby to its mother, and her amulet glows. As she heads back to the school, she hears the mother bird say her thanks, but she thinks she imagined it.

Sofia rushes inside after school, embarrassed and hurt by the prank James pulled

Sofia rushes inside after school, embarrassed and hurt by the prank James pulled

After school, Sofia rushes inside without a word to her siblings, although James wants to apologize. Sofia runs into Cedric again, who offers to give her a private tour of his lair, and she accepts. She discovers the book he has about her amulet, and he explains the powers of the amulet: “with each deed performed for better or worse, a power is granted – a blessing, or a curse.” He tries to take the amulet for her, but she remembers her promise to never take off the amulet, and is quickly shown out. The next morning, the animals wake her up again, and she can hear what the animals are saying. The rabbit, named Clover, explains that the animals always help the princesses, but all they want is a little bit of food for their trouble. Sofia prepares the animals a basket of food, and they set up a picnic outside. Soon, she has to go to school, but Clover reminds her to keep her eye on the ball – the royal ball. She is cheered by his pep talk, and heads to school with renewed enthusiasm. After making several mistakes, she soon masters the skills, and makes several new friends.

Sofia arrives home, exhausted, and is cheered up when she sees her friends Jade and Ruby waiting for her in the garden. While attempting to pour tea, James comes over and assists her as his way of apologizing for the prank. He offers to help train her for the ball, and Sofia accepts. Amber is strolling through the garden and overhears Sofia admitting she can’t dance, and gets a wicked idea in her head on how to embarrass Sofia. The next day at dance class, Sophia is given a special pair of shoes to wear by Amber, and when she dances with the teacher, the shoes start acting up, making Sofia jump around the room like crazy. She realizes that Amber has tricked her, and after she is able to get the shoes off, she heads to the carriage, upset. She goes to see Cedric before the ball, asking for a spell to make her a better dancer. He gives her a spell to say when the waltz starts, but he gives her a spell to put everyone to sleep, and will only reverse the spell if Sofia gives him the amulet. Before the ball begins, James confronts Amber, angry at his sister’s actions, and is hurt when he tells her that everyone likes Sofia more than they like her, especially after her horrible actions.

In the end, Sofia is able to case the counter-spell to save everyone

When Sofia casts the spell, everyone in the palace is put to sleep, leaving Sofia in a panic

Sofia attends the ball and is greeted by Roland, who takes her to the floor for the first dance. Sofia recites the spell, and is shocked when everyone falls asleep. Cedric, excited that his spell worked, didn’t count on the spell working on him as well, and falls to the floor in a sound slumber. Sofia frantically runs around the castle looking for help, and a tear lands on the amulet. She turns around to find Cinderella there waiting to help her. Cinderella can’t undo the spell, but can help her find her way. Cinderella relates her only regret: not making amends with her step-sisters. After her story, she takes her to see Amber, and convinces Sofia to give Amber a second chance. She takes Amber to the ballroom, and explains what happened. Amber apologizes for her prank which caused Sofia to get a spell, and the two make amends, with Amber calling Sofia her sister for the first time. The two head to Cedric’s lair to find a counter-spell, with some assistance from Clover and the other animals. Amber and Sofia find the counter-spell book, and before they wake everyone, Amber helps teach Sofia how to dance. After reciting the counter-spell, Sofia has her first dance with Roland, which goes off successfully, except that Roland admits that he can’t dance very well. During the dance, the whole family dances together, and all is well.


November 21

November 21, 1986 – The Souvenir Shop The Star Trader Opens in Disneyland

On November 21, 1986, the Disneyland souvenir shop The Star Trader opened in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Formerly The Character Store, which opened in 1967, it was remodeled to be the shop for the Star Tours attraction, and boasts a large amount of Star Wars merchandise that can only be found in the Disney parks. It was remodeled in 2011, coinciding with the upgrades to the Star Tours attraction, with an addition of an X-Wing fighter, along with other special Star Wars themed surprises.

November 20

November 20, 1999 – The Disney Channel Original Movie Horse Sense Premieres


“What has gotten into you? It’s as if you dropped any sense of responsibility.”

On November 20, 1999, the Disney Channel Original Movie Horse Sense premiered. It was followed by a sequel in 2001 called Jumping Ship. The film was directed by Greg Beeman, and written by Chad Hayes. It starred Andy Lawrence as Tommy, Joey Lawrence as Michael, Susan Walters as Jules, M.C. Gainey as Twister, Steve Reevis as Mule, and Freda Foh Shen as Arlene.

The film begins with life on Tommy Biggs’s family ranch, where his mom is making a hearty breakfast. He’s seen carving a whistle for his cousin Michael, and quickly heads with him mom to the kitchen, and admits that maybe he shouldn’t go as there’s a lot to worry about. His mom convinces him to go, although she’s hesitant to describe what Beverly Hills is really like. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, Michael Woods is only getting up from bed after noon, and heads to the kitchen where he grabs a wheat grass from his housekeeper Arlene. His mom reminds him that he needs to pick up his cousin, but he has a date with his new girlfriend. She reminds him that Tommy’s had a hard time after losing his father. He finally gets to class, and gets a poor score on his exam about land trusts. Unfortunately, after spending time with his girlfriend, he’s over 30 minutes late in picking up his cousin. While he does pick up Tommy, he spends most of his time flirting with his girlfriend on the phone and shopping. Michael’s parents are heading out of town, leaving the two of them alone. Once again, however, Michael blows Tommy off to spend time with his girlfriend. Tommy bonds with Arlene while Michael continuously blows him off. Arlene then lets him have it when Michael enters the kitchen one morning, but Michael promises to take Tommy to Disneyland that day. On the way out, Michael apologizes for bailing so many times, but soon gets a call from his girlfriend, and once again bails on Tommy, dropping him off at a toddler day care.

Michael arrives home to find Tommy watching television, and they get into a huge argument

Michael arrives home to find Tommy watching television, and they get into a huge argument

When he rushes away from meeting Gina, he ends up crashing his car; after this, he gets stuck in the kids’ playground looking for Tommy. Tommy in the end called Arlene to pick him up, and Michael arrives home to find a very hurt Tommy. The two have a huge fight, although Tommy covers for him in front of Michael’s parents. After Tommy goes to the airport, Michael arrives home that night to meet his very angry parents, as they found out the truth from Tommy’s mom. The situation gets worse when the cops show up, and his parents are sorely disappointed in him. The punishment they decide for him, however, is for him to grow up: work on Tommy’s ranch for the next month, and he will lose his trip to Europe if he slacks off just a little bit. Michael soon arrives in Montana, wearing a gaudy “western” outfit, much to the amusement of Tommy and his Aunt Jules. Tommy has more important things on his mind, however, when his mom gives him a sad look after her meeting at the bank. Arriving at the ranch, Michael meets Mule and Twister, two farmhands on the ranch; Mule is pretty easy-going, but Twister is much more critical of Michael. Tommy starts exacting his revenge on Michael the first night by telling him to stay up as late as he wants. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize he needs to get up at 4:30 in the morning, and is given a wake-up call in the form of a triangle. He blackmails Michael into getting up to work, much to Michael’s dismay.

Michael begins his first day on the ranch with no breakfast, as he’s not used to breakfast like Jules makes. Tommy then gives Michael some impossible chores to do, starting with shoveling manure from one area to another with nothing but a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Michael ends up falling into the manure at one point, and is embarrassed when he finds he could have used a tractor to move the pile. Later that evening, Tommy and Jules talk, and it is clear that their farm will be foreclosed, with everything sold at auction in four weeks. Jules thinks they should keep it from Michael, which Tommy agrees. Jules and Michael talk, and he asks about the treehouse in the corner, and Jules reveals that it was a project Tommy and his father started before he got sick. She gets visibly upset thinking about her husband, but Michael falls asleep before he can notice. The next day, Michael helps with the branding of the cattle, and Tommy gives Michael a horse called Slingshot, although Michael picks another horse, simply called Black. Black, however, is rather temperamental, and does not like to be kicked; after Michael kicks him, Black bucks him off into the pen with Goliath, the bull, who attacks him. Finally, Tommy, Michael, Mule, and Twister, and Jules head out to herd the cattle, with Michael having obvious trouble. That night, as they set up camp, Michael is given more tasks, including being on first watch for wolves. He is warned not to spook the cattle, and is given jerky and a flashlight for his trouble.

While on watch for wolves, Michael talks to his girlfriend, complaining about everything once again

While on watch for wolves, Michael talks to his girlfriend, complaining about everything once again

Michael calls his girlfriend while on watch, and ignores the sound of a wolf. He gets a call on his cell phone, which spooks his horse and the cattle, and they stampede. Michael gets stuck in a tree, and when the group finds him, they are all but disappointed in his antics. The next day, Michael is told that he has to repair all the fences that were destroyed in the stampede. Tommy tricks Michael into loading the poles for the fence into a broken down truck, and after learning the truth, he heads out to where Tommy is to confront him; he makes the situation much worse when he tells Tommy that he never cared about him, and that at the reunion he had no choice but to hang out with a “snot-nosed seven-year-old,” as he was so bored. As Michael lays about, he is confronted by Twister, who informs him that Tommy and Jules are going to lose their ranch, and no one told him because he wouldn’t give a damn anyway. Troubled by the news about the farm, Michael can’t sleep, and decides to try and take things a little more seriously, starting with riding Black and fixing the entire fence. One evening, he sees Tommy watching a herd of wild horses, and he apologizes for the cruel things he said, as they weren’t true. The two bond over talking about the wild horses, and Michael asks he never said anything about the ranch. Tommy admits that one by one bad things happened, and so they’re moving into one of his uncle’s old trailers, but why would Michael care, as he’s soon heading to Europe with his girlfriend. Michael rushes back home to call his father, asking for advice. Michael’s father admits that he knew and offered to help, but Tommy and Jules refused, as they didn’t want to take the easy way out, believing that rewards should come from their hard work.

The next day, Michael tries to convince Twister to start a pyramid scheme to save the ranch, although Twister sees right through the plan. Michael doesn’t understand the pride that Jules and Tommy have, and Twister explains that this situation happens to a lot of ranchers and farmers. Michael and Jules see Tommy working on the treehouse, and Michael decides to help finish it while Tommy is away at a family gathering. When Tommy gets home, he’s furious, as it was Tommy’s and his dad’s, not for Michael to touch, and starts to disassemble it. When Michael talks to his girlfriend, she is horrified to hear of all the things he has to do, and he is frustrated with her shallow personality. The next day as he works, he sees the wild horses run past, and Tommy runs to get him, as one of the wild horses, named Tommy Boy, is stuck in the mud, and is going to die if they don’t help. Michael helps Tommy get close to Tommy Boy, and Tommy helps guide the horse out, keeping him calm. After this, Michael quickly packs to head back to Beverly Hills, and apologizes once again for his poor behavior when Tommy visited. As Jules drives Michael to the airport, they are followed by Tommy on his horse, and he gives Michael a hand-carved whistle. Back in Beverly Hills, Michael heads to the race track again with his girlfriend and her father, and is reminded of all the wild horses on Tommy’s ranch. As they try to get a picture with the horse, it gets spooked, and Michael steps in to calm it down. Later, as they arrive at his house to take him to Europe, he hesitates, as he’s no longer convinced that he should go. He tells his girlfriend he’s not going, sells his car, and liquidates some of the assets in his trust fund.

Thinking that there's nothing else they can do, Jules and Tommy start packing up their home

Thinking that there’s nothing else they can do, Jules and Tommy start packing up their home

Back in Montana, Tommy and Jules are packing up the house, when Michael arrives, giving them a check to help them save the ranch, but Jules turns him down. Michael claims that it’s an investment, but Jules thinks that it’s time to move on. She reassures him that they will be fine, but Michael isn’t convinced. The auction for the items in the house begins the next day, and everyone is depressed. As he helps Tommy pull out a trunk, they talk about school, and Michael realizes that his class on land trusts could help save the farm. Michael talks with his father, then heads into town on Black, stopping by the bank. He convinces the bank that Jules’ ranch qualifies for a land trust, and heads back to the ranch. He ends the auction, and tells Jules that he got them a 30-day extension, as they can be certified as a land trust, and their debt will be cleared. They won’t own the land, but they will be paid to stay on the land and manage it. Jules and Tommy let Michael stay with them as long as he would like, and the film ends with Tommy asking Michael to work on the treehouse.

November 19

November 19, 1932 – The Silly Symphony Babes in the Woods is Released to Theaters


“Once upon a time a story was told about fairies and goblins and witches who are bold…”

On November 19, 1932, the Silly Symphony Babes in the Woods was released to theaters. It was based on the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. The short was directed by Burt Gillett.

The short begins with two children wander into the woods on a summer’s day, and are terrified by the strange sights they see. As they hurry along, they hear a strange noise, and look through the trees to find where the elves live. The children are welcomes with open arms, and the elves begin to play a merry song and dance around the children. Just as the celebration begins, the shadow of the Witch circles overhead, and the elves try to hide the children in their home. However, the witch offers the children a ride on her broom, and they accept without knowing the danger. They head to her candy house and start eating as much as they can, but once she gets them inside, she traps them in with the other children she had turned into lizards and bats. The two get caught in a spider web, and she turns the boy into a spider before she chains him up. She prepares to change the girl into rat when an arrow knocks the bottle of potion out of her hand. As the witch goes to see who fired the arrow, she traps the girl in a compartment under the floor. The elves trick the witch into leaving the house, and the boy saves the girl from the compartment, knocking over a bottle and turning back into a boy in the process. While the witch is occupied, the children go around turning all the other creatures back into children, and they all flee the house, pulling out her cauldron with them. The witch is pulled from her broom and lands in her cauldron, which was filled with a potion to turn things to stone. In the end, this story explains the origins of the mysterious Old Witch Rock in the woods.

November 18

November 18, 1993 – The Partners Statue is Installed in Disneyland


“I thought that it was an honor to do a statue of Mickey and Walt who was, in my opinion, the real genius behind all of this…Walt gave me and many others some of the happiest times of our lives, and this project was important because it wasn’t just for Walt…it was about Walt.” – Disney Legend Blaine Gibson

On November 18, 1993, the famous Partners statue was installed in the hub at Disneyland. Depicting Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey Mouse, it was added to the park to celebrate Mickey’s 65th birthday. It was created by Disney Legend and former Imagineer Blaine Gibson, who came out of retirement specifically for this project, and it took him a year to work on it. The statue was based on a bust Gibson had done for Walt back in the 1960s as a thank you gift, although Walt had apparently said upon seeing it, “What am I going to do with this? Statues are for dead people.” The statue stands at 6’ 5” tall, although Walt himself was only 5’ 10”, and the hand-holding between Mickey and Walt was based on the movie Fantasia, where conductor Leopold Stokowski shakes Mickey’s hand after the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence. The unveiling ceremony featured many Disney Legends in attendance, including Rickard Sherman, who played a rendition of “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, one of Walt’s favorite songs. At one point during the performance, one bird flew down and glided right over the piano, with Sherman taking this as a sign from Walt that he approved. Since the unveiling of the statue, copies of it have been replicated in other parks: Walt Disney World in 1995, Tokyo Disneyland in 1998, Walt Disney Studios Paris in 2002, and the Disney Studio in Burbank in 2003.

November 17

November 17, 1934 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Dognapper is Released to Theaters


“Careful boys, he’s got blood in his eyes and shoots to kill!”

On November 17, 1934, the Mickey Mouse short film The Dognapper was released to theaters. It was directed by Dave Hand.

The short opens with a newspaper declaring that Minnie’s prize pooch Fifi has been stolen by Peg Leg Pete. An announcement goes out to Officers Mickey and Donald, and while Donald is scared of the description of Pete, they soon decide to pursue him when they see him racing down the road. However, their motorcycle is less than ideal, and poor Donald almost gets left behind. There’s a shootout on the road as they follow Pete. Pete destroys the bridge, but the boys are able to drive on the rails and keep up the chase. Pete headst o his hideout at the Glutz Sawmill, and while Mickey and Donald are able to find their way in, Pete has already chained up Fifi and has his machine gun at the ready. Mickey quickly finds him, but is knocked into a barrel by Donald. Donald orders him to put his hands up, but Pete pulls out a bigger gun on Donald, and sends Donald flying into the wall. Mickey, with the help of Fifi, manages to capture Pete, but Donald once again stops Mickey from capturing the villain. However, the two are finally able to thwart him using the tools available in the sawmill, until Pete starts the saw, nearly chopping the pair in two. The saw breaks and is sent flying after Pete at a wild speed, and he runs wildly around the mill, but is sent flying when the saw attaches to his foot. Donald and Mickey use a girdle to capture Pete and return home with Fifi as heroes.


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