photo of Walt and Lillian Disney cutting dedication ribbon at Disneyland

Disney’s Unforgettable Ribbon Cuttings

For nearly 60 years, Disney has welcomed visitors from around the world by throwing open the gates to worlds of fantasy and adventure. Beginning in 1955 with Disneyland, an array of Disney theme parks, resorts, and other attractions have marked their grand openings with festive unveilings. A common sight at such events is the ceremonial ribbon cutting; over the years,…

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photo of sign outside the enchanted tiki room stating under new management

An Early Script for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

This script shows an early attempt at the Enchanted Tiki Room, hosted by one José Carioca!

On June 23rd, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room celebrated its 50th anniversary. Walt’s original Audio-Animatronics® spectacle, the tropical serenade has delighted guests for five decades–first at Disneyland, and then at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World…

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Saltyhinder's mackerel

The Saga Of Captain Saltyhinder

By author and historian Michael Crawford

Imagineer John Hench sketched this salty seafarer for Epcot Center’s Living Seas pavilion.

Success can be a double-edged sword sometimes; your creation might be so popular that people demand you revisit it again and again.
This is a problem that Disney Imagineers faced after Epcot opened, when the Figment and…

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How Figment Found His Voice

By author and historian Michael Crawford

When EPCOT Center opened in 1982, its most iconic denizens were the two whimsical hosts of the Imagination pavilion: Dreamfinder and Figment. Imagineer Tony Baxter and his team developed the beloved characters, but it took some time to figure out just how they would appear, act… and sound.

This rather remarkable casting…

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Concept art for proposed Disneyland in Burbank

Walt Disney’s Proposed Theme Park in Burbank

Years before Disneyland opened, Walt Disney and his staff considered building an amusement enterprise right across the street from their Burbank studio.

Long-time Disney fans will likely know the story about how, in 1951, Walt Disney approached artist Harper Goff to create some illustrations for a potential amusement enterprise (what we know today as a “theme…

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black and white photo of The Haunted Mansion

The Ghost Relations Department

The idea of creating a spookhouse fascinated Walt Disney as early as 1951 –a time even before an expanse of orange groves would be chosen as the site for Disneyland. And while a brooding antebellum manor appeared on the shores of the Rivers of America in 1963, it would be six more years before the happy haunts would cast open their doors and allow foolish mortals…

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Photo of the Opening of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland

Before Hinges Creaked In Doorless Chambers

This early script, written by Francis Xavier Atencio, also known as X Atencio, for the Haunted Mansion might sound familiar, but its Ghost Host had a slightly different spiel. In its 18 years of on-and-off development, Disneyland’s classic Haunted Mansion featured a slew of different concepts and plotlines.
From murderous sea captains to happy haunts celebrating…

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Early Donald Duck appearance in 1930s Mickey Mouse comic

Donald Duck Arrived in Print Three Years Ealier Than His On-Screen Appearance

Three years before the cantankerous fowl’s first big-screen appearance, Donald Duck’s name popped up as one of Mickey’s barnyard friends in this popular storybook.

As fans of Disney Ducks will tell you, Donald Duck made his first appearance in the 1934 animated short The Wise Little Hen. But three years earlier, in 1931, the name “Donald Duck” appeared…

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Epcot opening

Epcot Origins: Becoming EPCOT Center

By author and historian Michael Crawford

In 1976, Imagineers attempted to decide what the scale of their project could be, given the resources available. The nation again found itself in the midst of an energy crisis and economic malaise, and despite extensive recruitment efforts, it began to appear that not enough corporations and foreign governments could be…

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Epcot concept art

Epcot Origins: The World Showcase

By author and historian Michael Crawford

Imagineers had long considered incorporating an internationally themed area for their parks, dating to 1955 when International Street was announced for Disneyland. Although never built, this winding thoroughfare would have included a number of facades representing different nations. The concept grew until, in 1956, an…

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