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April 23

April 23, 1983 – The Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks Show Starts in Tokyo Disneyland

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On April 23, 1983, the fireworks show Fantasy in the Sky began its run at Tokyo Disneyland. Premiering almost a week after the park’s opening, the show was similar to the Disneyland fireworks show that began in 1958. The show ran until 1987, and was replaced with Starlight Fantasy. The show was then brought back in 1995, and ran until 2003.

April 22

April 22, 1998 – The Live-Action Show Festival of the Lion King Opens at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

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“Go ape for the pageantry and puppetry as this big-as-Broadway show celebrates Simba, the lion cub who would be king!”

On April 22, 1998, the live-action show Festival of the Lion King opened in Walt’s Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. It was located in the Lion King Theater of the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of the park, a formerly open-air theater that was enclosed in 2003. The show was a different interpretation of the hit 1994 film The Lion King, featuring several songs from the show in a revue format. Guests enter the show and sit in one of four sections: elephant, warthog, giraffe, and lion. Guests are then prompted to make the noises of their respective animals, and are led by four performers in traditional African dress. On January 5, 2014, the show was closed; it will reopen in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom in the summer of 2014 while the Camp Minnie-Mickey area is transformed into a new area based on the film Avatar.

April 21

April 21, 1944 – The Donald Duck Short Film Contrary Condor is Released to Theaters

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“One of the world’s least appreciated scientists is the ornithologist, or egg collector to you, whose trail penetrates the wildest and most difficult of mountains, the Andes.”

On April 21, 1944, the Donald Duck short film Contrary Condor was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack King.

The short opens on a map, with footprints belonging to Donald trailing across the border of North America to South America, making a trail through the Andes. Donald is seen climbing up a vertical side of the mountain with plungers on his feet, yodeling as he goes. He sees the nest, and quickly reaches the top, ready to take an egg from a condor. One condor hatchling has already hatched and starts squawking at Donald’s arrival, but Donald just tells the hatchling to shut up and shoves him back into his egg shell. When he spots Mother Condor flying overhead, Donald hides the other egg and hides in the other hatching’s shell, kicking the baby condor out. The mother lands and decides to sit on the egg in which Donald is hiding. The warmth she provides is almost too much for Donald, and he sweats profusely. The egg suddenly starts to crack, and he is nearly crushed by the condor. Thinking quickly, Donald decides to pretend he’s a condor. The mother is convinced, and gives Donald a hug, much to the surprise of the other hatchling.

During a flying lesson, Donald hands precariously from a tree branch, getting rained on by a passing storm cloud

During a flying lesson, Donald hands precariously from a tree branch, getting rained on by a passing storm cloud

Mother Condor then sends her hatchlings off to learn how to fly. The hatchling pushes Donald off the tree branch, but he manages to hold on when his clothes catch a branch nearby, although he is not so lucky when a passing storm cloud starts to shower all over him. Mother Condor tries to teach Donald to fly, but Donald looks down and gets dizzy. He tries to slip away, but is spotted and brought back. Donald manages to convince her that he has a bum wing, and she starts cradling him. The hatchling gets jealous, and starts squawking for attention. Having had enough, he sends Donald flying into the air and he lands on a branch nearby. Trying to get out of his situation once and for all, Donald rigs up a decoy using branches and leaves, and sends it hurtling to the river below. Although Mother Condor tries to save her “hatchling,” she believes it to be too late when it falls into the river, and she starts sobbing on the nearby bank. Donald then takes the other condor egg, thinking himself victorious, but the other hatchling steals it from him. Donald takes it back, but falls down into the river, holding the egg protectively. Relieved to see him still alive, Mother Condor gathers Donald and the egg into her arms and coddles them. That night, egg, Donald, hatchling, and Mother Condor are nestled together, while Donald mutters angrily under his breath.

April 20

April 20, 1991 – The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant Opens in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

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“Do dinner and a movie retro-style at this eatery done up like a ‘50s drive-in, with all-American cuisine to match.”

On April 20, 1991, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant opened in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park. Designed to resemble classic drive-in theaters, guests are seated in a car-shaped booth and treated to clips from campy ‘50s films while they enjoy standard American fare like fried dill pickles and the “Famous All-American Picnic Burger.” Guests 21 and older can enjoy alcoholic concoctions, including the Long Island Lunar Tea and the Orbiting Oreos. During Star Wars Weekends, the restaurant is also home to character dining, featuring Darth Vader and Boba Fett among others.

April 19

April 19, 1998 – The Television Movie My Date with the President’s Daughter Premieres on ABC

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“’Daddy?’ You mean, the President? Of our country?”

On April 19, 1998, the made-for-television movie My Date with the President’s Daughter premiered on ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney programming block. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film was written by William Robertson and Alex Zamm, and was directed by Zamm. It starred Dabney Coleman as President Richmond, Will Friedle as Duncan Fletcher, Elisabeth Harnois as Hallie Richmond, Mimi Kuzyk as Caroline Richmond, Wanda Cannon as Rita Fletcher, and Jay Thomas as Charles Fletcher.

The film begins with teenager Hallie Richmond being woken up early on a Saturday morning to attend another event for her parents, as her father is the President of the United States. She heads into the dining room for breakfast, where her dad is working on a speech about the future of America. Her father is working with his campaign manager, while her mother is working on her schedule as the First Lady. Hallie begs to stay home, but her family needs her there to show that they are a happy family for publicity’s sake. Hallie works up the courage to ask her father to go to the dance at her school, but as it is an election year and he’s about to go campaigning, she will be unable to go. While at an event at a new daycare center, the Vice-President’s son Reid tries to hit on Hallie, but she is rather hostile to his advances. Hallie spots a mall nearby, and decides to slip away to go shopping like a normal teenager for once.

Duncan (center) takes grief from his friends about his magic, as they think no girl would be impressed by it

Duncan (center) takes grief from his friends about his magic, as they think no girl would be impressed by it

In a CD store, Duncan Fletcher starts working on his magic act in front of his friends, who are embarrassed that he would do something like that in public. They think that he could never find a girl for the dance, but Duncan says that he doesn’t even want to go to the dance. When they bet him $50 to find a date, he takes the bet and decides to ask out the next girl he sees. He spots Hallie in a store trying on hats, and is instantly smitten. As he attempts to approach her, but is really shy in talking with her. When she spots some Secret Service agents, she starts to flee. He stops her by asking her to the dance at his school, and as she is unable to go to her own school’s dance, she readily accepts, and tells him to pick her up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, when she asks her father to go, he refuses to let her. She finally lets loose her feelings about her father being president and ruining her life, but her mother asks her step outside for a moment. Her mother fights for her, and her father finally relents, letting her go on her date, although they want to meet him.

Duncan gets ready for his date, while his parents get ready for a party that night. His father won’t let him borrow the company car, but he decides to take it anyway, instead of the family’s station wagon. When he pulls up to the White House, he thinks that Hallie played a practical joke on him, but still goes in, thinking that maybe he got the address wrong somehow. When he goes to security, he’s surprised that he’s allowed in, and even more shocked that she’s the President’s daughter. He’s taken to meet the President, and sits there nervously. The Secret Service gives Duncan a list of places they’re approved to go, with his school not on the list. Duncan is even more shocked when Hallie tells him that they’ll talk about the dance later. The drive on their date is rather uncomfortable, as two Secret Service agents are crammed into the backseat. They head to the movies, and Hallie tells them they need to ditch the agents to get to the dance, and they’re able to make a break for it. As they head to the dance, she asks to stop at a store to get new clothes. The agents soon notice that the couple is missing, and scramble to find them.

The President and the First Lady are alerted to their daughter's disappearance after she slips past the Secret Service

The President and the First Lady are alerted to their daughter’s disappearance after she slips past the Secret Service

The head of the Secret Service soon alerts the President and the First Lady that Hallie and Duncan have slipped past the agents, and the First Lady keeps the President from panicking, although the President asks that Duncan’s parents be brought to the fundraiser. At the clothing store, Duncan waits for Hallie to pick on outfit, and after she picks something, she starts picking out an outfit for him. He uses his father’s credit card to pay for both outfits, and Hallie decides that they should go to Club Alien instead, a new club that just opened. She then asks Duncan to drive his car, and while he is nervous about doing so, she convinces him to let her. Meanwhile, at the Fletcher residence, Duncan’s father notices that the company car is gone just as the Secret Service arrives. While Hallie and Duncan drive, they are harassed by some rednecks. She runs over one of the redneck’s shoes as she drives away, and they park in a parking lot near Club Alien, with Hallie dying to go inside. At the fundraiser, the Fletchers are brought inside, although Mr. Fletcher is not a fan of the President in the slightest. The President asks where they could have gone, and Mr. Fletcher says that Duncan was going to the dance at his high school.

Hallie asks Duncan to dance, but he nervously heads off to the restroom instead. As she waits, she runs into a guy she spotted earlier on a motorcycle, and goes off to dance with him. Duncan calls his friends to let him know that he’s with the President’s daughter, and ups the bet. When he heads back to find Hallie, he sees her dancing with someone else, and drops his keys. He runs across the redneck again, and tells Hallie they need to run. She bumps into Reid, and tries to blow him off. When the rednecks catch up with her, she convinces them that Reid is the guy from the car, and they take him away to beat him up. As they drive away, the couple has a fight, and the car gets a flat tire. Reid, having been beaten to a pulp, is taken back to the fundraiser to talk to the President, giving them Hallie’s location. Duncan’s father storms away to go search for the two, and the President goes with him, giving his own Secret Service detail the slip.

After Duncan fixes the flat tire, he is surprised to find that Hallie has disappeared

After Duncan fixes the flat tire, he is surprised to find that Hallie has disappeared

Duncan manages to fix his flat tire, but Hallie has gone missing. When he asks a nearby homeless man where she’s gone, he finds she’s gone into a nearby pool hall. As he demands Hallie that they go, the men of the pool hall refuse to let her go, and start to beat him up. To get out of his precarious situation, he impresses the group with his magic tricks, and impresses Hallie. They manage to slip out unscathed, and he is flattered that Hallie finds his magic so cool. They then find that the car has been stolen, and she tries to stop him from going to the police to report it. The two people that stole Duncan’s car go on a crime spree, and they pass by Mr. Fletcher and the President. Thinking it’s the two kids, the two men quickly follow them, and are soon pulled over by the police. The President and Mr. Fletcher are arrested and locked up, as the officer doesn’t believe that the President is who he says he is. The two men, however, start to talk and bond over their busy lives and being a parent.

Hallie and Duncan take the bus, and Hallie asks if there’s anything else they could do before they turn themselves in to the police, as she wants to do something normal. He tells her that having a normal life is boring, and she says that she can’t even have a boring moment. The bus passes by the protest at her father’s fundraiser, and Hallie decides she wants to check it out. When one woman is interviewed about why she’s protesting and starts trashing President Richmond, calling him a crook, Hallie defends her father on the news. The agents spot the teenagers and rush out to get them, although Hallie and Duncan make a break for it. The First Lady and Mrs. Fletcher go to the police station to pick up their husbands, and the President decides to go back to the White House to wait for his daughter rather than the fundraiser. Duncan and Hallie end up climbing up to the roof of a building, and Duncan finally admits that he’s not everything he says he is. She admits that she was impressed with how much he wanted to impress her, and apologizes for not being upfront about who she was. The two share a moment together, and dance together when they hear a slow jazz melody play. He still tries to get her to go to the dance, and when he finally reveals the bet, she gets angry and storms off. He follows her, but she is stopped once again by Steve, the guy on the bike from earlier. He offers to take her to a party, and when she sees Duncan, she agrees. Although Duncan warns her not to go with him, she takes off anyway.

After Duncan saves Hallie, the two go to the Lincoln Memorial before parting ways

After Duncan saves Hallie, the two go to the Lincoln Memorial before parting ways

The two people that stole the car are apprehended, and are mistaken as Duncan and Hallie, much to the surprise of the Fletchers and the Richmonds. Hallie arrives at the party at Steve’s place, and is immediately unimpressed. Duncan continues to track down Steve, although he doesn’t have much luck. Steve starts to make the moves on Hallie, but she shuts him down. She asks him to take her home, but he refuses. At the right moment, Duncan arrives to rescue her and take her home. Steve starts a fight with Duncan, and while it looks like Steve will really hurt Duncan, when Steve hurts Hallie, Duncan has a new reserve to fight back, and knocks out Steve with one punch. She takes Steve’s bike and crashes it before they leave and head back to the White House. The pair watches the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial, and realize that the two actually like each other as they share a kiss. Hallie heads home on her own, and the President dismisses his men to deal with Hallie on his own terms. He gives her a hug and accepts her apology, although she is still going to be punished for her actions.

Duncan and his father pick up the car from the impound lot, with Duncan being grounded indefinitely. Mr. Fletcher tells him that he wants to spend more time with him, but crashes the car when he finds out about Duncan using his credit card. The next school day, Duncan pays his friends for the bet, and while they don’t believe what he actually did that Saturday night, he tells them he doesn’t care. While in class, he gets a visit from the Secret Service, and everyone watches as he is taken to see the President. Duncan tries to take the blame for the date, but the President tells him that Hallie told him everything, and thanks him sincerely for saving Hallie from Steve. He then gives Duncan permission to date Hallie, and then asks for a favor: Mr. Fletcher’s dad’s boss is going to play golf with the President, effectively giving Mr. Fletcher a promotion. Duncan later goes to pick up Hallie for a date, and they’re followed by a Secret Service detail that includes four SUVs and a helicopter.

April 18

April 18, 2002 – The Attraction Primeval Whirl Opens in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

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“Spin and slide on a time-machine coaster back to the dinosaur age through a madcap maze of curves and drops.”

On April 18. 2002, the thrill-ride attraction Primeval Whirl opened in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, in the Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama amusement park area. The ride is a rollercoaster with a time-machine feel, taking guests back to the time of dinosaurs. The ride has many twists and turns, but is safe for younger children.

April 17

April 17, 1937 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Mickey’s Amateurs is Released to Theaters

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“It busted!”

On April 17, 1937, the Mickey Mouse short film Mickey’s Amateurs was released to theaters. The film had several directors, as Walt wanted to bring in some new talents; it was directed by storymen Pinto Colvig, Walt Pfeiffer, and Ed Penner.

The short opens with Pete singing loudly (and rather badly) into a microphone before being yanked off the stage. Mickey, as the emcee, thanks Pete, and gets set to announce the next guest when Donald steps on the stage and offers Mickey an apple. Donald then starts reciting the poem “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” but Mickey soon pushes him near the microphone. As Donald starts reciting the poem, he forgets the words, making the audience laugh. When he tries again, and forgets once more, Mickey bangs the gong, and Donald is dragged off stage. As Mickey gets ready to announce the next guest, Donald runs back on stage and takes back his apple.

The Two Claras walk daintily on to the stage when announced by Mickey

The Two Claras walk daintily on to the stage when announced by Mickey

Mickey then announces the next act of The Two Claras: Cluck and Belle. Clarabelle Cow sits at the piano while Clara Cluck readies herself at the microphone. Clara waits for her rather long intro to end, and start clucking operatically into the mic. The mic starts moving around thanks to Clara’s clucking, and she does her best to follow it. They finish their piece, and are met with applause. Mickey then moves to the next guest, when a mysterious portly figure enters holding a violin case. The mysterious person removes his disguise, revealing Donald Duck, who pulls a gun from his violin case, and tries to recite the poem again while pointing the gun at the audience. When he, once again, forgets the words, the audience laughs, and Donald sets off the gun, with bullets flying everywhere, until he is thrown into the violin case and pulled off stage. After this, Mickey announces Grandmaster Goofy, who has brought a motorized one-man-band. He plays a sentimental sort of piece, but when he tries to play something more upbeat, the machine starts going out of control before breaking apart. Goofy laughs sheepishly as he sits among the ruins of his contraption, when Donald bursts out of his hat and recites his entire poem at a breakneck speed.

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