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Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 31

January 31, 1992 – Professor Barnaby Owl’s Photographic Art Studio Facility Opens in Disneyland


“Your custom photo is available at Professor Barnaby Owl’s Photographic Art Studio.”

On January 31, 1992, the photo facility Professor Barnaby Owl’s Photographic Art Studio opened at the exit of the Splash Mountain attraction of Disneyland. The facility sells souvenier photographs of guests while they ride the attraction, with the photos being taken when the ride goes down the final plunge. This is the first Disney attraction to offer this service; it has been replicated at the Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland park, with the name changed to Splashdown Photos.


January 30

January 30, 1988 – The Nighttime Fireworks Show IllumiNations Begins in Epcot’s World Showcase


“Behold the past, present, and future of Earth at this stunning fireworks show that celebrates the spirit of humanity.”

On January 30, 1988, the nighttime fireworks show IllumiNations began its run in Epcot’s World Showcase area, replacing the Laserphonic Fantasy. This show, featuring fireworks, lasers, fountains, and music, was originally sponsored by General Electric, although General Electric ended its sponsorship in December of 2002. Each area of the World Showcase was individually showcased with music highlighting the country, along with a spectacular laser show. The show ended with a fireworks show and symphonic music before the Epcot park closed for the night. Variations of the show have been created: IllumiNations 25 celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, and IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth was introduced to celebrate the millennium. IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth has continued since its introduction in 1999, although it has dropped “2000” from its title.

January 29

January 29, 2010 – IBM Reveals the SmarterPlanet Exhibit at Epcot’s Innoventions Area


“SmarterPlanet presented by IBM offers visitors to the park a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse of how technology is helping solve the world’s most complex problems – from reducing road traffic and city crime to improving food safety and local water supplies.”

On January 29, 2010, the new Epcot Innoventions exhibit SmarterPlanet, sponsored by IBM, was revealed with a special grand opening event. The exhibit itself has several hands-on kiosks where guests play several match games to reveal societal and technological methods of changing the world into a “smarter planet,” from unplugging appliances not in use, to food systems that track food temperature during the process of shipping. In partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, IBM also features an exhibit called Runtime: guests are turned into avatars through smart technology and make their way through a game based on IBM’s timeline of achievements. Guests are also able to email a version of the game to their personal computers, continuing their adventure after they’ve left the park. The exhibit was introduced at the grand opening by IBM General Manager Gary Cohen, who explained that the objective of SmarterPlanet’s creation was “for guests to walk away understanding how forward-thinking solutions can solve our greatest societal problems, and the increasing role technology will play in improving the quality of life for people across the world.”

January 28

January 28, 1932 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Duck Hunt is Released to Theaters


“Not a duck in sight!”

On January 28, the Mickey Mouse short film The Duck Hunt was released to theaters. It was directed by Burt Gillett.

Mickey and Pluto are out duck hunting in the woods, and all the ducks are playing in a nearby pond. When they hear Mickey’s whistling nearby, the quickly disguise themselves in the pond, leading Mickey to believe there are no ducks around. Mickey then calls Pluto over, but when Pluto shows up covered in mud and jumps on him, Mickey gets angry and orders Pluto to sit, then stand. Mickey is then amused that Pluto is able to walk on two legs, and whistles Yankee Doodle Dandy while Pluto marches like a soldier. Mickey then marches with Pluto right behind him, and Pluto is followed by a swarm of marching fleas. The fleas attract the ducks, who march out of the water and quack in time with the song while trying to eat the fleas. Mickey soon spots the ducks, the ducks fly away as Mickey chases after them.

Pluto hides in the pond with his disguise, hoping to lure enough ducks for Mickey to hunt

Pluto hides in the pond with his disguise, hoping to lure enough ducks for Mickey to hunt

Pluto wears a wooden duck on his head and hides in the water to attract the ducks while Mickey watches from the reeds. Unfortunately, Mickey sneezes, giving up the ruse, and the ducks fly away. One duck returns to flirt with Pluto’s fake duck, and as Mickey takes aim, he realizes his gun isn’t working. As he checks it, the gun fires while pointed at the air, shooting off a tree branch that damages the gun, making the barrel point down. Mickey fires again, this time shooting a hole through his boat. As the boat sinks, Mickey calls out for help, and shoots the gun again, this time with the barrel flying off and landing on Pluto, destroying his outfit. The ducks then band together to attack the pair, picking Pluto up by the ears and taking him off into the air. Mickey grabs on to Pluto’s tail to pull him down, but he is no match for the ducks. They finally let Mickey and Pluto fall to the ground, landing in some long underwear left out on a laundry line.

January 27

January 27, 2006 – The Disney Channel Animated Series The Emperor’s New School Premieres


“Friends? I thought this was all about me! Spell my name again!”

On January 27, 2006, the Disney Channel animated series The Emperor’s New School premiered. Based on the Disney animated feature film The Emperor’s New Groove, the series takes place right after the events of the film, with main character Kuzco being given the task of graduating from school before being able to claim the throne. Having been banished from the palace until receiving his diploma, Kuzco is sent to live with Pacha and his family. The series ran for 52 episodes in 2 seasons. The series stars JP Manoux as Kuzco, Patrick Warburton as Kronk, Eartha Kitt as Yzma, Jessica DiCicco as Malina, Wendie Malick as Chicha, Fred Tatasciore as Pacha, and Rip Taylor as the Royal Records Keeper. Through its run, the series won several awards, including two Annie Awards for Best Voice Acting for actress Eartha Kitt as Yzma, and two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, also for Kitt’s performance. Patrick Warburton was nominated for an Annie in 2007 for his role of Kronk, and Jessica DiCicco was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2008 for her role of Malina; Howy Parkins was nominated for an Annie Award in 2008 for Best Directing in an Animated Television Production.

The first episode, entitled “Rabbit Face,” begins with Kuzco having been turned into a rabbit by Yzma. Yzma plans to make Kuzco fail at school so she can become Empress. Kuzco takes the viewers to a bit earlier in the day in PE to explain what happened. The gym teacher explains that a cross country test is coming up, but Kuzco refuses to participate in any activity, bringing in yet another doctor’s note excusing himself. The gym teacher is done with Kuzco’s excuses, and tells him that not only is he running the race, he will fail PE if he doesn’t win. Kronk then meets up with Principle Amzy, who is Yzma in disguise. She is confident that Kronk will win, therefore making her Empress. Around town, everyone is placing bets on Kronk to win, as Kuzco hasn’t exercised a day in his life.

Kronk stops by to intimidate Kuzco, leading to an awkward moment between everyone

Kronk stops by to intimidate Kuzco, leading to an awkward moment between everyone

That night, Kuzco overhears Pacha’s kids Tipo and Chaca saying how there was no way Kuzco could beat Kronk, and tries to pretend he’s not worried about the race. Pacha and Chicha are unconvinced, and Pacha reassures him that all Kuzco needs to do is his best. Kronk stops by Pacha’s house to say hello as he heads out on his nightly 20 mile jog. After he leaves, it turns out he was sent by Yzma to go and intimidate Kuzco, which worked well, as Kuzco went upstairs to his room and started to wail about what a loser he was. Pacha reassures him to do the best he can, and surprises Kuzco by setting up his treadmill for him, as well as setting up a specialized exercise program for him. Kuzco then heads off to the big race at school. Yzma sees how encouraged Kuzco is, and decides she won’t take any chances. She and Kronk head to the secret lab where she gets a potion to turn Kuzco into a turtle.

At lunch, Kronk brings Kuzco some “special dipping sauce” for his lunch, which contains the potion. Kuzco refuses to eat the sauce, but Kronk forces it into Kuzco’s mouth. However, it is soon evident that Kronk grabbed the wrong potion, turning Kuzco into a rabbit instead of a turtle. He runs into Malina, and alerts him that he’s turned into a rabbit. Kuzco begins to panic, and decides to hide in the locker room, resigned to failing PE. Malina shows up in the locker room, wanting to see that he was okay. She tells him that she wanted to catch up with him earlier, but he was running so fast she couldn’t catch up. Kuzco suddenly realizes that, as a rabbit, he’s much faster than Kronk, and goes off to win the race. Yzma is shocked to see that he’s a rabbit, and decides to sabotage the race as best she can, but Kuzco is able to win it in the end. Kuzco passes PE, and Yzma blames Kronk for the failure of her plan.

January 26

January 26, 1994 – The Disneyland Attraction Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin Opens


“Steer and spin a runaway taxicab through the wacky streets of Toontown as you follow the adventures of Roger Rabbit.”

On January 26, 1994, the Mickey’s Toontown attraction Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin opened. It is notable for being the first dark ride to be built at Disneyland in about ten years. Based on the film Who Killed Roger Rabbit?, guests are taken through the streets of Toontown while riding in Lenny the Taxicab, exploring a back alley while working to avoid the toxic concoction Dip being poured by the villainous weasels. Guests have the ability to steer their cab a full 360 degrees so they can gain control through the ride, even riding the attraction backwards if they would like. The attraction features 17 Audio-Animatronic characters, 59 props, and 20 special effects. A version of this attraction was opened in Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1996.

January 25

January 25, 1931 – Actor, Singer, and Disney Legend Dean Jones is Born

Dean Jones

“When you think of Disney, you think of Dean Jones.” – David Vogel, Former President of Walt Disney Pictures

On January 25, 1931, Dean Carroll Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama. He left home at age 15 to pursue a career in music, picking up odd jobs here and there to pay the bills while singing in a club in New Orleans. During the Korean War, Jones served in the United States Navy. After a four-year stint, he ended up in San Diego, California, where he spent his free days auditioning; he eventually scored a contract with MGM, starring in mostly dramatic roles that included Tea and Sympathy and Jailhouse Rock. He made his Broadway debut in 1960 with the play There Was a Little Girl, and scored a hit with the comedy Under the Yum-Yum Tree; he reprised his role in the 1963 film version. Jones was brought to Walt Disney’s attention after starring in the NBC sitcom Ensign O’Toole, which led to being signed with the studio and starring in the 1965 film That Darn Cat! The film, notable for being Hayley Mills’ last film for the studio, was a success, and lead to Jones being cast in more films, including The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Shaggy D.A. His signature role has been as driver Jim Douglas in Disney’s Love Bug series, where he appeared in two feature films, a short-lived television series, and a made-for-television film. Jones continued to star in several Disney television specials and remakes, with one of his last projects being the remake of his first film for Disney, That Darn Cat, released in 1997. Jones was inducted into the Disney Legends in 1995. Currently, he is semi-retired and living in California.

January 24

January 24, 1941 – The Pluto Short Film Pluto’s Playmate is Released to Theaters


On January 24, 1941, the Pluto short film Pluto’s Playmate was released to theaters. It was directed by Norm Ferguson.

It’s a perfect day at the beach for Pluto as he races across the sand chasing a ball. The ball lands in the water, and as he goes after it, the ball seemingly moves on its own, avoiding Pluto’s teeth. As Pluto searches for the ball, a wave sweeps him across the shore, revealing that the ball has been taken by a playful seal. The seal wishes to play with Pluto, but Pluto is suspicious of the strange creature. Pluto tries to take the ball from the seal, but ends up burying holes in the sand in his pursuit. Pluto finally gets his ball back and tries to bury it in the sand away from the seal, but the seal sneaks under Pluto and takes the ball away again. The seal throws the ball for Pluto, and once Pluto retrieves it, he buries it in a hole several feet deep. The seal dives in to retrieve it, and Pluto sees this as his chance to bury the seal along with the ball. However, when a wave comes in, the seal pops out of the water, unable to be trapped by Pluto’s antics.

The seal plays with Pluto's ball while swimming around, which infuriates Pluto

The seal plays with Pluto’s ball while swimming around, which infuriates Pluto

The seal plays happily in the water with Pluto’s ball, infuriating the dog. Pluto decides to take a sneak attack approach and creeps through the water to catch the seal. As he travels through some seaweed, he unknowingly picks up an octopus, who traps Pluto to the edge of a barrel. Before Pluto can bark at the octopus, the octopus uses its legs to keep Pluto’s mouth closed. The octopus traps Pluto under the water, and Pluto struggles to get free. The seal sees Pluto struggling, and works to free Pluto from the clutches of the octopus through tug-of-war method. The seal wins, and he and Pluto are swept to shore by another wave. Pluto seems to have stopped breathing, and the seal quickly revives him. The seal returns to ball to Pluto, and the grateful dog plays ball with the seal up and down the beach.

January 23

January 23, 2006 – The Attraction Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! Has Its Grand Opening


“A child is loose in Monstropolis and must be apprehended!”

On January 23, 2006, the Disneyland’s California Adventure attraction Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! had its grand opening, although it had been open since December of 2005. Based on the hit 2001 Pixar film, guests are taken through downtown Monstropolis to tour the factory when they hear that a child is on the loose in the city. Guests are able to live the adventure alongside Mike and Sulley as they try to rescue Boo and bring her back to the human world. The attraction replaced Superstar Limo, which closed on January 11, 2002, and only being open for less than a year.

January 22

January 22, 2001 – The Disney Channel Original Series The Book of Pooh Premieres


“Could it be who there? Maybe it’s Pooh Bear! Pooh? Well, that’s me!”

On January 22, 2001, the Disney Channel original series The Book of Pooh premiered. Featuring characters from A. A. Milne’s beloved franchise, this was Disney’s third Winnie the Pooh centric series; the first two were Welcome to Pooh Corner (1983 – 1986) and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988 – 1991). The series relied on the art of Japanese bunraku puppetry for the members of the Hundred Acre Wood, along with computer animated sets. The series was notable for having voice actor Jim Cummings voicing Tigger full time, replacing former voice actor, Paul Winchell. During its run, the show was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards, and won once in 2002 for Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series, tying with Sesame Street; the nominations were for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography and Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling (both in 2002), and Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series in 2005. The series stars Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, John Fiedler as Piglet, Ken Sansom as Rabbit, Peter Cullen as Eeyore, André Stojka as Owl, Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Kessie, and Paul Tiesler as Christopher Robin.