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Monthly Archives: December 2017

December 21

December 21, 2012 – The Walt Disney Company Completes Acquisition of Lucasfilm

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family.” – President and CEO Bob Iger

On December 21, 2012, the Walt Disney Company announced that they had completed the acquisition deal of Lucasfilm. In the terms of this agreement, Disney now owns certain Lucasfilm assets, including the Star Wars franchise, Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. This whole merger had a value of over $4 billion.

December 20

December 20, 1998 – ­­The Lion King Musical Opens in Tokyo’s Shiki Theater HARU


On December 20, 1998, the first international version of the hit Broadway musical The Lion King opened at the Shiki Theater HARU. Translated into Japanese, the production proved to be successful overseas and opened the doors for more international productions. As of 2017, the production is still running, having celebrated its 10,000th production on July 15, 2015. An original cast recording was also released.

December 19

December 19, 2012 – Splitsville Luxury Lanes Opens in Downtown Disney

“Enjoy an upscale new spin on a classic American pastime at this modern take on a bowling alley.”

On December 19, 2012, the bowling alley Splitsville Luxury Lanes opened in Downtown Disney, on the West Side. Now a part of Disney Springs, this two-story deluxe bowling alley includes 30 bowling lanes, five bars, and a restaurant that features a variety of upscale dishes, including sushi and filet sliders, designed by celebrity chef Tim Cushman. Splitsville also features live music and dancing, along with billiards. It replaced the former Ridemakerz area of the Virgin Megastore.

December 18

December 18, 1992 – The It’s a Small World Toy Shoppe Opens in Disneyland

On December 18, 1992, the specialty shop It’s a Small World Toy Shoppe opened in Disneyland’s Fantasyland. The shop, sponsored by Mattel, was opened at the exit of the famous it’s a small world attraction and features several toys and games, along with attraction-themed merchandise such as apparel and cell-phone cases.

December 17

December 17, 1961 – The Babes in Toyland Exhibit Opens in Disneyland

On December 17, 1961, the Babes in Toyland exhibit attraction opened in Disneyland’s Opera House. It was a similar concept to the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit, where elaborate sets from the live-action feature were put on display for guests to walk through and experience. The Babes in Toyland exhibit, however, did not match the previous success of its predecessor. It was closed on September 30, 1963. Although the attraction closed and the sets were removed, thenmovie, however, did contain an element that would become a lasting part of Disney Parks: the toy soldiers from the film would eventually become the toy soldiers in the Disney Park holiday parades.

December 16

December 16, 2015 – The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Opens in Walt Disney World

“Hungry for adventure? Savor the tropical cuisine of this exotic outpost.”

On December 16, 2015, the restaurant Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park. Replacing the Adventureland Veranda, this restaurant brings the punny humor of the Jungle Cruise to dining, including small details to bring the feel of the attraction to every room. The cuisine features flavors from Asia, South America, and Africa, featuring dishes such as shiriki noodle salad; “A Lot at Steak” salad; and Kungaloosh!, and African-inspired dessert cake.

December 15

December 15, 2015 – The Ganachery Opens in Disney Springs

“…a jewel box of a shop that showcases the beauty of chocolate with an experience much like a wine tasting.”

On December 15, 2015, the gourmet chocolatier The Ganachery opened in Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs area. The store sells chocolate with Disney’s own special recipe for ganache, and sells it with a Disney flair, thanks to some help from the Walt Disney Imagineers. There are a variety of specialty treats, including crispy chocolate pearls, handmade chocolate truffles, and bars with flavors to match Disney Parks or Disney characters.

December 14

December 14, 1986 – Big Thunder Barbecue Opens in Disneyland

“All-you-can-eat barbecue & live country music are the draws to this cowboy-style spot in Disneyland.”

On December 14, 1986, the Big Thunder Barbecue outdoor restaurant opened in Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch. The restaurant added to the ranch’s overall feel of being a working horse ranch from the 1880s, serving barbecue chicken and beef from chuck wagons. On June 20, 1996, to help promote the then-newest animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Big Thunder Barbecue, along with Big Thunder Ranch, was transformed into a medieval French village, with Big Thunder Barbecue becoming the Festival of Fools; this closed on April 18, 1998, and the property was used simply for corporate gatherings. Both the ranch and Big Thunder Barbecue were brought back on April 2, 2004, originally to promote Home on the Range. Both the area and restaurant were closed on January 10, 2016 to make way for the new Star Wars area.

December 13

December 13, 2015 – Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday in Disneyland

“This is the cherry on top of my entire life.”

On December 13, 2015, a special celebration was held for actor and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke, who was in the park to celebrate his 90th birthday. Best known for his role as Bert in the live-action feature film Mary Poppins, a special parade was held down Main Street featuring a troupe of chimney sweeps and penguins, along with a dedication of his silhouette in the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, with Mary Poppins by his side.

December 12

December 12, 2003 – The Quick-Service Restaurant Nautilus Galley Opens in Tokyo DisneySea


On December 12, 2003, the quick-service restaurant Nautilus Galley opened in Tokyo DisneySea’s Mysterious Island area. Built across from Captain Nemo’s submarine, this restaurant keeps in the theme of the area and offers snacks and drinks for guests to enjoy. Menu items include an assorted snack bowl, gyoza dogs, and assorted drinks. The menu also includes specialty items for the park’s events, such as items for Christmas and Halloween.