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April 20

April 20, 2010 – Pixar Canada Opens in Vancouver

“Located in beautiful Vancouver BC, Pixar Canada’s mission is to produce animated shorts and television specials, featuring characters from Pixar’s prior films.”

On April 20, 2010, the animation studio Pixar Canada opened in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The studio, an offshoot of Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, was created to focus on Pixar’s short films, including Partysaurus Rex and Small Fry. The idea was to let this studio create the short films that would be packaged with Pixar films, or used in the Disney parks as a way to entertain guests during long wait times. Unfortunately, after only three years, Pixar closed down the studio to focus on its main studio in Emeryville, laying off close to 100 employees. However, Pixar’s interest in opening in Vancouver led to other animation studios setting up their own branch studios there.

April 19

April 19, 2009 – Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain Attraction Closes for Refurbishment

“When renovation work finishes on the Space Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, it’ll be the same classic experience with a few new surprises.”

On April 19, 2009, the popular Walt Disney World attraction Space Mountain closed down for a much needed refurbishment. Although it was the first of all the Space Mountain attractions to be built, the Walt Disney World version’s rebuild was done after Disneyland Paris’ and Disneyland’s versions. Major changes to update the classic attraction included asteroid blasting games to play while in the queue, which extends the ride’s overall story to those waiting in line; the overall look of the attraction was updated to make it appear less dated and more 21st Century. The attraction was reopened to guests in November, 2009.

April 18

April 18, 1927 – The Alice Comedy Alice’s Circus Daze Premieres in Theatres

On April 18, 1927, the Alice Comedy Alice’s Circus Daze was released to theaters. It was the 48th Alice Comedy produced, and the first to feature fourth and final Alice actress Lois Hardwick.

It’s a fun day at the circus, with the animals preparing for the show. There are plenty of sideshow attractions, including a rubber man. Meanwhile, Alice and Julius are preparing for their act while the circus begins its main show. There’s a mouse that rides a bicycle while riding an elephant, an adept jaguar tamer, and a lion tamer who comically loses his head. Finally, Alice and Julius present their high wire act, where Julius balances a stack of chairs, and Alice, on his nose. Unfortunately, as he shows off by lighting a cigarette, he sets the wire on fire, and the chairs come crashing down one by one, though Julius is able to save Alice with a ladder. The pair lands on the ringmaster, who chases them out of the tent.

April 17

April 17, 2016 – The Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon is Held in Walt Disney World

“Follow Your Dark Side”

On April 17, 2016, the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon was held in Walt Disney World. The celebration weekend kicked off on April 14, with the half marathon taking place on the 17th. This event, themed after the classic Star Wars series of films, was designed to be half of a Star Wars challenge, with Disneyland hosting the “Light Side” while Walt Disney World would host the “Dark Side.”  Plenty of guests dressed up in Star Wars-themed outfits and met characters from the franchise, including Stormtroopers. Jason Ryf from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, won the race with a time of 1:13:39, while Katie McGrath from Oakdale, New York, was the female finisher with a time of 1:24:05.

April 16

April 16, 2008 – Disney Theatrical Productions Honors Alan Menken

On April 16, 2008, Disney Theatrical Productions hosted an evening at the Hudson Theatre honoring the music and legacy of composer Alan Menken. Hosted by Thomas Schumacher, the evening featured Broadway performers Josh Strickland, Ashley Brown, Sierra Boggess, and Sherie Rene Scott; Donny Osmond, who played Gaston for a stint in Beauty and the Beast, also stopped by to liven the evening. Menken, who made his Broadway debut with Little Shop of Horrors with lyricist Howard Ashman, is better known for his work with Disney animated features beginning with The Little Mermaid; several of the animated features have made it to the Broadway stage. The evening focused in his lesser-known work, with the performers paying homage to a Broadway great.

April 15

April 15, 1996 – The Attraction Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin Opens in Tokyo Disneyland

トゥーンタウンの裏通りや路地をキャブに乗ってドライブ。でも気をつけて!”

On April 15, 1996, the dark ride attraction Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin opened in Tokyo Disneyland’s Toontown area. Based on the hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and derived from the original Disneyland attraction that opened in 1994, the attraction takes guests through the back alleys of Toontown via Lenny the Cab. Seated two to a car, guests can turn the cab to face all sorts of directions, even riding the attraction backwards if they so wish.

April 14

April 14, 1984 – The Alice in Wonderland Attraction in Disneyland Reopens

“Don’t be late, your adventure awaits.”

On April 14, 1984, the Disneyland dark ride attraction reopened after being closed for renovations for almost two years. The attraction, originally opening on June 14, 1958, featured cut-out figures of the classic characters, which were beginning to show serious wear by the 1980s. It was decided that the ride was due for a major overhaul, and when it reopened in 1984, the cut-outs were replaced by three-dimensional figures, along with new, state-of-the-art (at the time) lighting and special effects. Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice from the animated feature, was brought back to record new lines for the ride’s narration.