Saturday, January 2, 2016

Design Ideas for the Tower of Terror Props

The props in the Tower of Terror are amazing! I’ve heard that the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, and the Biltmore in Los Angeles provided some of the inspiration for the design. Are there any other buildings that inspired this beautiful attraction?

The Imagineers looked at photographs of many elaborate buildings from the right era for their design ideas and then scoured Hollywood auction houses for the actual props. Some came from lavish estates of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. One set of chairs was 400 years old; other chairs came from the exclusive Jonathan Club, a well-known Los Angeles landmark built in the 1920s.

Space Mountain Timeline

  • 1964: Walt Disney originally wanted to make a roller coaster for Disneyland called Space Port. It would've featured four separate tracks. But due to the limited space and the death of Walt Disney, it was shelved.
  • 1973: The Imagineers return to the idea of Space Port and it later became Space Mountain for the new Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
  • Early 1974: Construction begins on the ride.
  • January 15, 1975: Space Mountain officially opens at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Late 1975: After the success of the first Space Mountain, construction begins on the ride for Disneyland.
  • May 27, 1977: Space Mountain officially opens at Disneyland along with a space stage, a space restaurant, and the Starcade.
  • April 15, 1983: Space Mountain officially opens at Tokyo Disneyland, and is the first version to open when the park did.
  • 1989: New trains are introduced in the Magic Kingdom.
  • June 1, 1995: Space Mountain officially opens at Disneyland Paris. It is significantly different from the other versions as it is the only one to feature a launch and inversions.
  • April 10, 2003: Disney announces that Space Mountain at Disneyland would close for a 2-year refurbishment which includes new trains, a new track replacement, and a new soundtrack by film composer, Michael Giacchino. It was expected to open by Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.
  • September 2004: Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris closes to be changed to Space Mountain: Mission 2.
  • 2005: Space Mountain: Mission 2 reopens at Disneyland Paris.
  • July 15, 2005: Space Mountain reopens at Disneyland.
  • September 12, 2005: Space Mountain officially opens at Hong Kong Disneyland along with the park.
  • Late 2006: Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland closes for refurbishment.
  • April 28, 2007: Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland reopens.
  • September 24, 2007: The seasonal Halloween-themed Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy opens at Hong Kong Disneyland.
  • October 2007: Space Mountain: Nightmare Nebula opens at Disneyland as part of Halloween-Time. It was considered a failure and never returned for the Halloween season.
  • April 19, 2009: Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom closes for an extensive refurbishment. It would include new effects and a complete rebuild of the track.
  • September 25, 2009: Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy opens at Disneyland for the Halloween season.
  • August 2010: New sound effects for Magic Kingdom.
  • January 11, 2015: Space Mountain: Mission 2 closes for a major refurbishment. It is expected to reopen on July 24, 2015 with the name being changed to "Space Mountain". The ride is also rumored to receive new trains as part of the 2nd phase of the refurbishment in 2018.
  • January 15, 2015: Space Mountain celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Magic Kingdom.
  • July 24, 2015: Space Mountain reopens at Disneyland Paris after a few days of soft opening. The refurbishment included a huge technical overhaul to have everything ready for the next refurbishment. The name hasn't changed and still no new trains.
  • August 2015: At the D23 Expo, Hyperspace Mountain is announced as part of the Season of the Force celebration at Disneyland. The overlay will put riders into the Star Wars universe in X-Wing battles
  • November 16, 2015: Hyperspace Mountain, the overlay at Disneyland based on Star Wars, opens apart of the Season of the Force celebration.
  • 2018: Possible new trains at Disneyland Paris.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The wooden leg labeled Smith in Frontierland´s Lost & Founf

In Frontierland, you can see a wooden leg labeled “Smith.”

In Frontierland, you can see a wooden leg labeled "Smith."
It’s a reference to Mary Poppins. In the movie, Bert says, “I knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith,” and Uncle Albert responds, “What’s the name of his other leg?”

Friday, September 12, 2014

WDW Original Monorail Track

WDW's original monorail track ran in a loop directly through the concourse of the Contemporary Resort, to the Polynesian Resort, the Magic Kingdom gate & the Ticket & Transportation Center. In 1982 the monorail was extended with a four mile run to Epcot, including a scenic loop through Future World.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disney´s Air Smellitizers

Patented devices called Air Smellitizers (located in the tunnels beneath the park) can be found all over Disney parks, and emit scents in certain areas to match the surroundings.

You’ll notice the scent of baking cookies and vanilla around “Main Street, U.S.A.,” salty sea air in line for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” fresh citrus on “Soarin’,” burning lumber near the scene depicting the fall of Rome on “Spaceship Earth,” the old boiler room at DHS´ Tower of Terror and the honey scent on Pooh's Adventure.

The following piece is from EPCOT CENTER TODAY,  Vol 1, No. 2 1981.
Disney Imagineers have added a fifth sense to the newest attractions at Epcot Center.  The sense of smell will be added to scores of other special effects in a new generation of Disney shows now being designed for Future World and the World Showcase pavilions. 

Working with the Imagineers at WED Enterprises in California, Bob McCarthy has developed "a smellitzer machine",  to add the aroma of everything from an erupting volcano in the Universe of Energy show to the tantalizing smell of a barbecue of the fragrance of orange blossoms.  Each will be keyed to a particular show scene to enhance the realism of experiences in the Future World and World Showcase.
WED designers are collecting scents from suppliers all over the world and blending them to produce the desired effect.  So far, more than 300 odors have been tried, but more than 3,000 will be tested before the final choices are made.  The smellitzer operates like an air cannon, aiming the scent up to 200 feet across a room toward an exhaust system.  Guests traveling on the moving vehicles will pass through the scene as the appropriate scent drifts across their path. Regulated by computer, the scent can be triggered for a fresh aroma just prior to each vehicle's arrival. 

Some of the smells will hardly be noticeable to most people.  The aroma will be there, but the sensory perception may not be a conscious one.  The WED engineers have learned how to regulate the strength or intensity of the odors used. A whole generation of unique techniques, special effects and transportation systems are being developed for Epcot Center.

According to McCarthy, the use of smell has fascinated the entertainment industry for a long time.   "Back in the fifties, Mike Todd developed a process called 'smell-a-vision',"  McCarthy said.  "The idea was to release certain scents into the theatre as the visual counterpart was shown on the screen." McCarthy,  who worked with Todd on the project, claims there were many problems with "smell-a-vision."  "The main problems was that odors tended to linger in the air, and after a while they all blended together," he said.  "We couldn't get the scents in and out of the theatre quickly enough."   At Epcot Center,  the situation will be different because the audience will be moving through each of the many experiences in each pavilion.

Some of the most unusual scents will be in the Land pavilion at Epcot Center. Here, the visitors will experience tropical vegetation, rain forests, deserts; some of the great terrain found on Earth.   Of course, Disney "Imagineers" plan to supply all the appropriate smells.  Guests traveling through a farming scene may detect a faint animal smell.  In another scene, an orange grove will smell like the real thing.  Still another effect calls for the smell of damp earth.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fantasmic´s Original Name

The show was originally called ‘Imagination’, as the title song implies, but everyone felt it needed a stronger title, so finally – and fortunately – it was renamed ‘Fantasmic!’

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Toy Story Characters Reactions for “Andy’s coming!”

Toy Story characters used to drop to the ground when guests yelled, “Andy’s coming!” but the practice has been discontinued for safety reasons.

Toy Story characters used to drop to the ground when guests yelled, "Andy's coming!" but the practice has been discontinued for safety reasons.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fourteen of the Opening Day Attractions in the Magic Kingdom are still Running

Walt Disney World opened on October 1st, 1971 with 22 attractions and 5,000 costumed cast members. The 14 attractions still running are: “Country Bear Jamboree,” “Dumbo the Flying Elephant,” “Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade,” “Jungle Cruise,” “Mad Tea Party,” “Peter Pan’s Flight,” “Prince Charming Regal Carrousel,” “Swiss Family Treehouse,” “The Hall of Presidents,” “The Haunted Mansion,” “Tomorrowland Speedway,” “Walt Disney World Railroad,” “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room,” and “It’s a Small World.”

You can read the 1971 LIFE magazine about the opening day below. Please, allow the appropriate time for the .pdf to load before you can view it or click here to open it in a new page.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Who is Dick Sherman?

Earlier today, Robert's son post this picture on facebook.

"I saw this photo of Dad and Dick together in their office at Disney Studios is now on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. They're flanked by Chuck Berry, the Gershwin Brothers and Leonard Bernstein. Nice company to keep!"

But... Dad and DICK????

As Jeffrey Sherman  said: "In the 50's, they originally billed themselves as Bob and Dick Sherman on their songs, but when they got to Disney Studios, Walt convinced them that they should sound a bit more formal. Thus, they began writing as Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman. There may be more to it, but that's how I always heard it. They always were credited in alphabetical order, as far as I know. On this photo, my Dad (Bob/Robert) happens to be camera left, so he got first billing."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Disneyland Scuba Diving

Scuba diving plays a major role for 54 employees at the Disneyland Resort. Divers are responsible for maintaining and fixing rides and equipment in the waterways, such as the lagoon for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


February 10, 1870

The California city of Anaheim is incorporated. Its name is a blend of "Ana" (after the Santa Ana River) and "heim" (which means home in German). First founded in 1857 by grape farmers and wine makers from Franconia in Bavaria, Anaheim will become world famous in 1955 as the home of Disneyland.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Walt Disney's First Pet

Young Walt Disney's first pet was a Maltese terrier, on his family's farm in Marceline, Missouri.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Young Walt Disney

A young Walt Disney (born 1901) and his family lived in Marceline, Missouri from 1906 - 1911.

"Four-year-old Walt Disney arrived by train in Marceline, Missouri from Chicago in April 1906. Then, four years later, his family moved to Kansas City. Despite his relatively short time in Marceline, Walt Disney thought of Marceline as his hometown."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Disney World's Asian Resort

In the early 1970s, Disney World had plans to build a Thai style hotel called the Asian Resort. It was to be built about midway between the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort on the monorail line ... in a spot now occupied by the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!

Disney's Asian Resort was to be a Disney-owned Deluxe resort to be located at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida that originally would have began operation in 1974. It was going to be themed after Thialand and located on Seven Seas Lagoon. Due to the 1973 Oil Embargo, the resort, along with Disney's Venetian Resort and Disney's Persian Resort  were never built. Since the opening of Walt Disney World, there has been an empty square plot of land available for its use. There was even a road created, Asian Way, which later became Floridian Way.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jack Wagner - The Voice in the Monorails

Most of Jack Wagner's Disney recordings were made at his own house where he had a recording studio (which was installed by Disney in the 1970s).

A voice-over booth in his home was connected to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim.

At the time, Jack's home in Southern California was one of the first to use a direct audio link from a remote recording studio!

Statement made by Jack Bohannan on Hidden Mickeys

"I would like to set the record straight on the voice. Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's the voice heard on all Disney monorails, as well as most all the voiceover work for all the parks was the legendary "Voice of Disney", Jack Wagner.

I have had the privilege of working with him many times through the years.

One interesting side note is that Jack's home in Southern California was one of the first uses for a direct audio link from a remote recording studio. It was put in by Disney in the 70's and connected a voiceover booth in his home to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim. He frequently would receive last minute calls for special events and was able to just walk over to the booth and "beam" it directly to the park. Anyhow, with the amount of work that Florida was generating after Epcot and the Studios opened, plus the fact that Jack wanted to head towards retiring sometime, other voice talent was sought out locally in Florida. 

There have been several people used in voiceover work since then, one of them being Kevin Miles, who is one of the original members of the Voices of Liberty at Epcot, and can still be heard there daily. Kevin recorded the monorail voiceovers after the Grand Floridian was built, and his voice was still there until the 25th Anniversary rolled around, when it was updated by one of the new voiceover talents.

The amount of voiceover work at the parks now is astronomical, and it is shared by a couple of people who have "the voice", including Kevin. Interestingly enough, though, Jack's voice can still be heard welcoming everyone to Orlando on the monorails at the airport terminals."

Tom Bohannan, quote from the site, added July 25, 1997.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mickey Mouse Ears

Mickey Mouse's ears are always turned to the front, no matter which direction his head is pointing!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Disney Symphonic Legacy

Today, back in 2009, the Walt Disney Concert Hall hosts an event called The Disney Symphonic Legacy - a program featuring, for the first time ever at the Hall, Disney music. It also marks the Disney Hall debut of longtime Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conductor John Mauceri.

Here is a glimpse of the WD Concert Hall:

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Only Movie for which Walt Received Story Credit

Lt. Robin Crusoe is the only movie for which Walt Disney received a story credit (as Retlaw Yensid - Walter Disney spelled backward).

Lt. Robin Crusoe USN is a 1966 comedy film released and scripted by Walt Disney. The film stars Dick Van Dyke as a U.S. Navy pilot who becomes a castaway on a tropical island.

The film was based on Daniel Defoe's classic novel Robinson Crusoe. The US Navy cooperated in the film by allowing the producers to film on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Walt Disney arranged the world premiere of the film to be shown on the ship to its crew.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Owners of Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are not owned by The Walt Disney Company. They are owned by The Oriental Land Company - a Japanese leisure and tourism corporation. The Oriental Land Company pays a very large sum of money each month to Disney in character and likeness licenses, and Disney in turn has leased their Imagineers to the company to build the parks.

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