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Monthly Archives: May 2015

May 24

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May 24, 1918 – Investor, Producer, and Disney Legend Jack Wrather is Born

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“My father had the notion that business should be fun. He had more fun with the Disneyland Hotel than with any other investment.” – Chris Wrather

On May 24, 1918, John Devereaux Wrather was born in Amarillo, Texas. A millionaire through his work in the oil industry, as well as through the expansion of his father’s company Wrather Petroleum Company, he headed to Hollywood after serving as a Marine during World War II. Wrather became a successful producer for several studios, diversifying his company into other entertainment mediums, including music and television. In 1954, Wrather reached a deal with Walt Disney to build a hotel near the Disneyland Park, which would become the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel broke ground mid-March of 1955, and was completed six-and-a-half months later. The hotel was groundbreaking as a new mix of entertainment and lodging, and continued to grow with the changing landscape of Orange County. Wrather’s contribution to the Disney Park set the standard for other Disney hotels. Wrather passed away in 1984 at the age of 66. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 2011.

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May 23

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May 23, 2013 – The Premiere Event of Mickey and the Magical Map Takes Place

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“Join Mickey for a live musical show that takes you to exciting worlds of imagination!”

On May 23, 2013, the premiere event of the new Fantasyland Theater show Mickey and the Magical Map took place in Disneyland. This special showing of the new live-action show was for invited guests and members of the media, with the premiere for the public taking place on May 25th. Almost two-years in the making, the show stars Mickey Mouse, wishing to become one of Yen Sid’s mapmakers, who takes guests through several lands of imagination, including the Adventure Islands, Dream Village, Celebration Peaks, and Friendship Woods, occupied with several favorite Disney characters such as Pocahontas, Tiana, and Mulan. The show takes place in the revamped Fantasyland Theater, which is now equipped with technical upgrades including LED screens and special effects. For this show, over 50 singers and dancers were chosen from over 900 performers. The map, made of six sections weighing at over 9,000 pounds each, uses over a million pixels for the images of each magical land.

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.