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May 22

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May 22, 1998 – The Tomorrowland Attraction Rocket Rods Opens in Disneyland

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“We had a beautiful show designed for [Rocket Rods], but we weren’t able to do it. It just became a fast ride around the park. If it had the show, it would have been great.” – Imagineer and Disney Legend Tony Baxter

On May 22, 1998, the Tomorrowland attraction Rocket Rods opened in Disneyland, replacing the PeopleMover attraction that closed in 1995. The attraction, designed as a high-speed transit system, had guests travel around in a five-passenger vehicle for a track a mile long, which provided a view of all the attractions of Tomorrowland. Unfortunately, the attraction had many technical challenges, closing several times for mechanical problems and refurbishments. It was officially closed on September 5, 2000.

May 21

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May 21, 1990 – The Live-Action Show Dick Tracy Starring in Diamond Double-Cross Opens

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“I know you do, Tess. But somebody’s got to clean up this city.”

On May 21, 1990, the live-action stage show Dick Tracy Starring in Diamond Double-Cross opened in Walt Disney World’s Disney-MGM Studios. It was released to promote the 1990 live-action feature film Dick Tracy. The show began with Breathless Mahoney wishing to acquire the Balonian Diamond. When the diamond is stolen by Big Boy Caprice’s henchmen, Dick Tracy is on the case after being interrupted when trying to propose to Tess Trueheart. The Walt Disney World show ran until February 16, 1991. A version of the show was also released at Disneyland’s Videopolis, which ran from June 15 through December 31, 1990.

May 20

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May 20, 1973 – The Richard F. Irvine Riverboat Opens in Walt Disney World

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“Walt Disney World’s second paddle wheel steamship, the Richard F. Irvine, was named in his honor until it was re-christened Liberty Belle in 1996.”

On May 20, 1973, the Richard F. Irvine Riverboat opened in Walt Disney World. Named after Disney Legend Dick Irvine, who was one of the first executives of WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering), the riverboat was the second authentic steamboat at the park, following the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat that opened in 1971. In 1996, after a lavish refurbishment, the steamboat was renamed the Liberty Belle.

May 19

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May 19, 1939 – The Donald Duck Short Film Donald’s Cousin Gus Premieres in Theaters

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“P.S. He don’t eat much.”

On May 19, 1939, the Donald Duck short film Donald’s Cousin Gus premiered in theaters. It was directed by Jack King.

Gus Goose is walking down the sidewalk, when he stops at Donald’s house, realizing that this is indeed his cousin. Meanwhile, Donald is sitting down to a nice lunch when the doorbell rings. Donald rudely greets his guest, when Gus presents a letter from their Aunt Fanny. Gus has a special pocket watch that marks his meals, and when he smells Donald’s lunch, he rushes inside and devours everything on the table, much to Donald’s initial amusement. Donald is angry that he can’t even have a cup of coffee without Gus eating it all. After Gus eats every last pea Donald has, Donald tries to throw his cousin out, but Gus manages to throw Donald out instead. Donald vows to get rid of Gus, and uses a trick hot-dog to get rid of him. Gus eats the barking hot-dog, which starts barking inside of Gus, and follows Donald’s commands. Donald manages to get rid of Gus – so he thinks, when Gus is found inside Donald’s fridge, eating absolutely everything. Poor Donald passes out from exasperation.

May 18

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May 18, 1951 – The Pluto Short Film Plutopia Premieres in Theaters

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“Oh, my life is ruined! You won’t bite me! Oh, woe is me!”

On May 18, 1951, the Pluto short film Plutopia premiered in theaters. It was directed by Charles Nichols, with story by Ralph Wright and Al Bertino. It was one of the last Pluto shorts created.

Mickey and Pluto arrive at Camp Utopia, and Pluto starts sniffing all the trees excitedly, until he spies a cat on their welcome mat. Unfortunately, just as Pluto is enjoying himself, Mickey finds that there are several rules for the guests, including Pluto not being allowed in the cabin and having to wear a muzzle and a leash. Pluto is dismayed, but finds himself outside, muzzled and tied to the door. He tries to eat some food left outside, but also spies the cat again, who taunts Pluto by taking the food and devouring it. Pluto decides to try and sleep for the night, but the cat continues to torment him. That night, Pluto has a strange dream, where he is taken to a place called Plutopia, where the cat appears as his servant. Pluto beats up the cat, but the cat seems thankful for the beating. He continues to torment the cat out of spite, but is shocked at how the cat punishes himself for not serving Pluto well. Pluto continues to enjoy himself in Plutopia, eating to excess and tormenting his cat servant. Pluto then wakes up to find it’s all been a dream, and Mickey finds Pluto and the cat sleeping peacefully on the welcome mat, until Pluto, still sleepy, bites the cat’s tail. The two start fighting, and accidentally drag Mickey into their mess.

May 17

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May 17, 2002 – The Pixar Short Film Mike’s New Car is Released at the El Capitan Theater

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“Three little words, Sulley: six wheel drive!”

On May 17, 2002, the Pixar short film Mike’s New Car was released exclusively at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, California, in order to qualify for Academy Award consideration. The short, featuring characters Mike and Sulley from the hit animated feature Monsters, Inc., would go on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but would lose out to Eric Armstrong’s The ChubbChubbs! It was written by Pete Docter, Jeff Pidgeon, Roger L. Gould, and Rob Gibbs, and was directed by Docter and Gould. Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprised their roles as Mike and Sulley.

The short begins with Mike taking Sulley to see his new car. Sulley is unimpressed, though Mike is super excited. When they enter the car, Sulley appears to have a hard time fitting inside, but Mike tells him that his seat is adjustable, and Sulley spends a good moment having fun adjusting his seat, much to Mike’s annoyance. As Mike starts the car, something starts beeping, and Mike realizes that they need to fasten their seatbelts. Unfortunately, Mike’s seat belt doesn’t seem to cooperate, and he ends up throwing himself outside the car. Mike tells Sulley to push the button, but as the dashboard is made up almost entirely of buttons, Sulley hits one at random, which opens the hood. As Mike goes to shut it, he ends up inside the working gears within the hood. Sulley manages to help him get out, and Mike gets back in the car, but more problems arise when Mike starts hitting buttons at random while trying to turn off the wipers. Mike finally turns off the car, and when Sulley adjusts the mirror, he accidentally pulls it off. Mike then pushes Sulley out of the car, and Mike crashes the car as he tries to go in reverse. In the end, Mike laments the loss of his old car.

May 16

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May 16, 2008 – The Reality Series Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream Premieres on Disney Channel

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“The Jonas Brothers are about to hit the road for a sold-out tour, but before we take off, we have a monster to-do list.”

On May 16, 2008, the reality television series Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream premiered on the Disney Channel. The series took a behind-the-scenes look of the popular band The Jonas Brothers, and how they cope with being famous. The episodes were four to six minute vignettes about the boys’ lives. The show had two seasons, with a total of 27 episodes released.

The first episode, “To-Do List,” focuses on brother Nick, who notes that the band has quite a bit to do before they can head out on tour. The first task is a photo shoot for their new Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock alongside Demi Lovato. Afterwards, they have to meet their stylist for the tour, with Nick admitting that he’s nervous, but excited about their first headlining show. This is followed by shopping for a new pair of sneakers. They only have two hours to pack before heading out on tour, and quickly rush to get everything together. Unfortunately, right before they go, they have to help their parents move things around the house. Nick notes that they’re just like regular kids in terms of having to listen to their parents and do their chores. Right before they go, Nick has to watch his little brother, as he seems to have problems packing. Finally, they get ready to go on tour, and set off in their plane.

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