Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31: Two For Giacchino

Composer Michael Giacchino was awarded twice at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards for his contributions to Up on this day in 2010.

Known for his scores to such Pixar films as The Incredibles and Ratatouille, Giacchino's music for Up won Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television, Or Other Visual Media, and Best Instrumental Composition - for the song "Married Life."

Giacchino had already won a Golden Globe for Best Musical Score a few weeks earlier and a little more than a month later, his Up music would also win an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Click HERE for much more January 31 Disney history.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30: "I'm Going to Disney World!"

Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith shouted the famous phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" on this day in 1994 at Super Bowl XXVIII played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Smith had good reason to shout ... the Dallas Cowboys won over the Buffalo Bills 30-13 and he was named the Super Bowl MVP. (It was the 8th television commercial by Disney to feature a Super Bowl athlete and Smith would appear in another just two years later.)

Click HERE for more January 30 Disney history.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29: Once Upon A Dream

Disney's Princess Aurora awoke for the very first time when the animated Sleeping Beauty premiered in California on this day in 1959. Based on a fairy tale by Charles Perrault, Sleeping Beauty was the last fairy tale produced by Disney until 1989's The Little Mermaid.

Click HERE for more Sleeping Beauty and January 29 Disney history.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28: Cirque Comes to WDW

It was on this day in 1999 that Cirque du Soleil first debuted in Florida at Downtown Disney West End.

A Canadian entertainment company which offers a mix of circus arts and street entertainment, its Central Florida home is located behind DisneyQuest and across from House of Blues.
Known for its shows all around the world, Cirque features acrobats, clowns, dancers and contortionists (but no animals) in a family-oriented family presentation.

Click HERE for more January 28 Disney history.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27: The Voice Behind Rémy

On this day in 1969, comedian, actor & writer Patton Oswalt was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Disney/Pixar fans know him as the voice of Rémy in the 2007 Ratatouille.

Click HERE for more January 27 Disney history.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26: Hop A Ride With Lenny

On this day in 1994 Disneyland's Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin debuted in Mickey's Toontown.

A dark ride based on the 1988 Academy Award-winning Who Framed Roger Rabbit, guests board a yellow toon cab named Lenny (the twin cousin of Benny who is already "on the road" carrying Roger). With a steering wheel that is active, guests can spin to their hearts content for about 3 minutes through Toontown all while being surrounded by some pretty cool special effects.

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin features the voices of Charles Fleischer (as Roger, Benny, Greasy, and Psycho), Kathleen Turner (as Jessica Rabbit), David Lander (as Wiseguy), Fred Newman (as Stupid) and veteran voice actress June Foray (as Wheezy).

A first for Disneyland, a second Roger Rabbit opened at Tokyo Disneyland in 1996.

Click HERE for more January 26 Disney history.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25: An Historic First For Michigan Family

On January 25, 2007 at 9:50 a.m. a family of four from Michigan boarded the Star Tours attraction at Disney-MGM Studios and got more than a ride to Endor.

When the Fouch family boarded Simulator 4, sixteen-year-old Brad Fouch had no idea he would be randomly selected to win a night's stay at Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom as part of the ongoing Disney Dreams Giveaway during The Year of a Million Dreams campaign. "I was thinking I had the bad seat because I was sitting on the end," he later explained. But Brad was in the right seat at the right time ... seat 8 row 2 to be exact.

Jim and Lisa Fouch and their children Brad and (eight-year-old) Hannah were the first Walt Disney World guests to win a night's stay four stories above the surrounding Magic Kingdom. They were also honored in a special ceremony, served as grand marshals of the afternoon parade, dined at Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant, and given passes to skip lines at attractions for the day.

Click HERE for more magical January 25 Disney history.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24: Big News Out Of Burbank

Catmull, Jobs, Iger & Lasseter
It was on this day in 2006 that Robert Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced that Disney had agreed to acquire Pixar (for $7.4 billion).

Iger stated, "With this transaction, we welcome and embrace Pixar's unique culture, which for two decades, has fostered some of the most innovative and successful films in history."

In this same announcement it was also revealed that Pixar President Ed Catmull would now serve as President of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios and Pixar Executive Vice President John Lasseter would be Chief Creative Officer of the animation studios, as well as Creative Principal Advisor at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Pixar Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs (of Apple fame) was also appointed to Disney's Board of Directors. The transaction catapulted Jobs to Disney's largest individual shareholder (and brought Disney closer to Apple). "Disney and Pixar can now collaborate without the barriers that come from two different companies with two different sets of shareholders," Jobs explained.

Disney had first entered into a feature film agreement with Pixar back in 1991 that resulted in Toy Story. This day's acquisition was officially completed on May 5, 2006.

Click HERE for more January 24 Disney history.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23: Disney Channel's Dave

On this day in 2004, Disney Channel debuted a new animated series titled Dave the Barbarian.

Created by Doug Langdale (who had previously worked as a writer on Buzz Lightyear of Star Command) Dave the Barbarian centered on a powerful but cowardly barbarian who lived in the fictitious land of Udrogoth during the Middle Ages.

Dave was voiced by Danny Cooksey, an actor and musician best known in his younger years for his role of Sam on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. Narrated by Jeff Bennett (today known as the voice of Johnny Bravo) the cast of Dave the Barbarian included such veteran voice actors as Tress MacNeille, Frank Welker, Kevin Michael Richardson and Estelle Harris.

Twenty-one episodes of Dave the Barbarian ran between 2004 and January 2005.

Click HERE for more January 23 Disney history.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22: Happy Birthday Actress Diane Lane

Star of Disney's 2010 Secretariat, actress Diane Lane was born this day in 1965 in New York City.

Click HERE for more January 22 Disney history.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21: Freaky On A Friday

On this day in 1977, Disney's live-action comedy Freaky Friday was generally released ... appropriately on an actual Friday, just like today (as the 1977 calendar is identical to 2011).

Based on a children's  novel by Mary Rodgers (who also wrote the screenplay), it would be the first of 3 film adaptations by Disney. The original Freaky Friday (which had been playing in some select cities since December 1976) starred Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster as a mother and daughter whose personalities are switched. The cast also included such recognizable talent as John Astin, Dick Van Patten, and Ruth Buzzi.

Click HERE for more January 21 Disney history.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20: Happy Birthday Buzz

On this day in 1930, astronaut Buzz was born ... not Lightyear ... but the astronuat who is the inspiration for the Toy Story space traveler: Buzz Aldrin.

Aldrin, born in Montclair, New Jersey, became the second human to ever set foot on the Moon back in July 1969 during the historic Apollo 11 flight.
The photo to the left (taken by fellow Apollo crew mate Neil Armstrong) is of Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. But just how Mr. Lightyear got in there is a complete mystery.

Click HERE for much more January 20 Disney history.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19: In Memory Of

On this day in 1997 Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White, Disney's first feature-length cartoon heroine, passed away at the age of 80. A 1994 Disney Legend, she was just 18 when she supplied the speaking and singing voice for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

"I'd never worked in show business before ("Snow White"). I feel very blessed. Not everyone gets the chance to be part of a genuine classic." -Adriana Caselotti

Click HERE for more January 19 Disney history.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18: Winnie the Pooh Day

In celebration of the birth of Pooh's creator A.A. Milne (born on this day 
in 1882), we celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day.

Click HERE to learn more about Milne and other January 18 
Disney events.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12: Animators Born Today

These 3 animators share a birthday on this January 12.

Hugh Hennesy in 1891 - an artist, animator, art director and layout artist whose credits include The Three Caballeros, Song of the South, So Dear To My Heart, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp.

Ray Aragon in 1927 - an animation artist whose Disney credits include Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Goofy's Freeway Troubles. (His post-Disney career includes such classics as Yellow Submarine and The Iron Giant.)

John Lasseter (pictured above) in 1957 - co-founder of Pixar who actually began working for Disney as a Jungle Cruise skipper at Disneyland. Famously known for his work on Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 2, today he is chief creative officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

On a sadder note, legendary animator Marc Davis (one of Walt's Nine Old Men) passed away on this day in 2000. Coincidentally he had recommended Ray Aragon for a job at Disney back in the 1950s.

Click HERE for more January 12 Disney history.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 08: Double Dose of Swamp Fox

Francis Marion was a military officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Due to his irregular methods of battle, Marion was given the nickname Swamp Fox and is today considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare. Between 1959-1961 Disney produced a series of live-action television shows based on Marion starring Leslie Nielsen as Swamp Fox.

On this day in 1960 and exactly a year later in 1961, Walt Disney Presents aired episodes 4 and 7 (of the 8-part mini-series).

Click HERE to learn about these episodes and more January 08 Disney history.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 01: Let's Have a Parade!

The Tournament of Roses Parade (also referred to as simply the Rose Parade) is a uniquely American New Year's Day event that features flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians, and a college football game. (Although if New Year's falls on a Sunday, it is held on January 2.) The annual parade was first held in 1890 in Pasadena, California and today is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators (and many more on network television). Every year a Grand Marshal is chosen for the parade by the President of the Tournament.

On this day in 2000 Roy E. Disney (nephew of Walt Disney and son of Roy O. Disney) led the 111th Tournament of Roses as the Grand Marshal. This made him and Walt the first and only grand marshals in Tournament history who were from the same family (Walt served back in 1966).
Roy and his wife, along with Mickey Mouse (in his Fantasia outfit) and Donald Duck rode down the parade route in a decorated convertible.

A unique feature of that year's parade was a "human theme banner" made entirely of people. Presented by The Walt Disney Company, it featured 2000 colorfully costumed Southern California high school students creating a formation which spelled out - "Parade, Celebration 2000". The shape and color of the unit changed on musical cue to read "Fantasia 2000" (Disney's newest release at the time which opened in IMAX theaters on this same day).

"For my entire life, I've been associated with a company that makes dreams come true, and now I get to be on the receiving end. I think that every kid that grows up in Southern California dreams of being in the Rose Parade, and I certainly was no exception." -Roy E. Disney

Happy New Year!

Click HERE for more January 01 Disney history.