July 30 1998: The Disney Magic
Disney launches its first cruise ship, the Disney Magic. It is one of the three largest ships in the world. The ship’s horn blasts an excerpt from “When You Wish Upon a Star”. The ship offered weekly cruises to Castaway Cay and other Caribbean islands. Though, in 2005 for Disneyland’s Fiftieth Anniversary, the ship enjoyed West Coast tours. Entertainment includes award-winning live broadway-style shows, movie theaters, night clubs, lounges and several pools. The ship uses “Rotational Dining” to ensure guests experience each of the themed restaurants on board: Lumiere’s, Carioca’s and Animator’s Palate.
July 30 1956: The Mineral Hall Exhibit Opens
The Mineral Hall Exhibit opens at Disneyland. This attraction was operated by Ultra-Violet Products, and was nestled next to the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. The Mineral Hall was a free exhibit, including a mineral display lit by black-light. The Mineral Hall was one of the rarest buildings part of Rainbow Ridge. There was a gift shop, where they sold mineral samples. The prices ranged between ten and fifty cents and were labeled as Walt Disney’s Mineral Land. This attraction remained in operation until 1963. The window and former Mineral Hall location are now part of the Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante dining area.
July 29 2011: Salt Lake City Up Home
The Salt Lake Home Builders Association hosted the 65th Annual Salt Lake Parade of Homes at the Herriman Towne Center development. In this Parade of Homes, a replica of the house from Disney/Pixar’s UP is featured. It was built by Bangerter Brothers (a custom-home building company). The house is painted in the same vibrant, sherbet shades from the film. Each beloved piece from the movie is included, even Carl and Ellie’s hand-printed mailbox. The Bangerter Brothers sought the blessing of Disney Entertainment Group before completing the project. They received the company’s approval, and did not leave out a single detail!
Watch a video of the home HERE.
July 29 1999: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Opens
Walt Disney World’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster opens with a special, invitation-only party. Aerosmith—whose song is the soundtrack of this coaster—were special guests of honor. This ride is an enclosed steel roller coaster ride, located on Sunset Boulevard at Disney-MGM Studios. Guests were treated to a buffet, bar and opportunity to ride the new roller coaster with a member of Aerosmith.
July 29 1998: The Parent Trap is released
A remake of the 1961 classic The Parent Trap (starring Hayley Mills) is released. This movie stars Lindsay Lohan as separated-twins Hallie and Annie. The girls meet at a summer camp, discover the truth of their family and try to get their parents back together.
July 28 1993: Bank of America closes at Disneyland
Main Street housed a branch of the Bank of America upon opening day, though it ended up closing. Walt was able to locate an original bank vault—circa 1904—and had it installed inside. Guests could purchase special souvenir money orders with a picture of the Disneyland Branch. “All the employees (not Cast Members in those days) were allowed to cash their checks at the B of A, regardless of having an account or not. It was really nice to have an old style home town bank you could really use, not just a false front” (Daveland reader Cox Pilot remembers). The ATM was removed in 1993, and renamed The Bank of Main Street. This name required special permission from the state banking commission since it didn’t operate as a bank anymore. It was used as the Annual Pass Center, though was converted into the Disney Gallery in September 2009, a replacement for the Disney Gallery formerly located in New Orleans Square.
July 27 1955: Bill “Sully” Sullivan becomes “Jungle Bunny”
Bill “Sully” Sullivan officially started working at Disneyland as a ticket taker on the Jungle Cruise. He was only 19 years old. This future Disney Legend spent three years in his “Jungle Bunny” position. Afterwards, he became a part of Disney management. Sully later started working on the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. He also worked at the New York World’s Fair. He moved to Florida to assist with the opening of Walt Disney World. In 1987, he was named vice president of the Magic Kingdom.
July 26 1951: Alice in Wonderland Premiere
Alice in Wonderland is a Disney animation based on Lewis Carroll’s books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass”. It is Disney’s thirteenth animated feature. The premiere was held in England, at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. The film was nominated for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture Academy Award. Among the many guests at the premiere were Walt Disney and Kathryn Beaumont, dressed as Alice. “I remember arriving at the theatre and being helped from the vehicle by the Mad Hatter. Yes, Walt was there, and it was wonderful having pictures taken with him. He looked so handsome in his tuxedo!” (Kathryn Beaumont).
July 24 1966: New Orleans Square opens at Disneyland
Disneyland, California, premiered their new area; New Orleans Square. This land is based on 19th Century New Orleans, Louisiana. The debut featured a ceremony presided over by Walt Disney and the real mayor of New Orleans, Victor Schiro. “I had the honor of standing next to Walt for the opening of New Orleans Square. His eyes missed no detail and he spoke of how he would improve on the concept. Accompanying us was the mayor of New Orleans” (Disneyland Ambassador Connie Swanson.) This was the first new “land” to be opened since Disneyland’s opening in 1955. This expansion cost $18 million and encompassed 3-acres. This land debuted without a single ride, though it housed many shops and restaurants, for example, the One of a Kind shop and Mademoiselle Antoinette’s Parfumerie. Due to his failing health, this turned out to be Walt’s last major public appearance in the park.
July 23 1956: Junior Autopia debuts
Due to the popularity of the Tomorrowland Autopia, Walt Disney and his Imagineers quickly created Junior Autopia on an unused piece of land across from Storybook Land. These cars were more kid-friendly, as they had booster blocks on the gas pedals. But, other than that, the cars and tracks were identical. In 1958 Junior Autopia closed, as Disneyland needed more space for the Matterhorn Bobsleds and the Monorail.