Seven Little-Known Facts About Disney Attractions Celebrating Anniversaries This Year

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Think you know everything there is to know about your favorite Disney park attraction? We bet there’s at least one thing on this list you haven’t heard of before. To commemorate dozens of Disney milestone anniversaries this year, D23 and the Walt Disney Archives have uncovered rarely seen video, photos, and stories for this year’s D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration presented by Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection.

 

The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair — 50th Anniversary 1 of 7
The fair is most notable for introducing four all-new Disney attractions, including It’s a Small World presented by Pepsi-Cola to benefit UNICEF, Ford’s Magic Skyway, General Electric’s Progressland, featuring the Carousel of Progress, and the State of Illinois’ Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. After the fair was completed some of the attractions made their way back to Disneyland.
it’s a small world — 50th Anniversary 2 of 7
While the it’s a small world attraction was one of these attractions that made it back to California, the attraction’s Tower of the Four Winds did not. Disney Legend Rolly Crump, who designed the tower, created the new facade and clock that is now seen at Disneyland. The design of the it’s a small world clock was inspired by the original Tower of the Four Winds and its spinning, swiveling, and oscillating pendulums.
Haunted Mansion — 45th Anniversary 3 of 7
The exterior of the Mansion had actually been built in 1962-1963, but work on the interior was first halted because of the New York World’s Fair. Disney designers could not decide on what to put inside, so guests were simply tantalized by the promise of an attraction to come. At one time, it was thought that there would be a walk-through attraction, but the advent of the Omnimover—the eventual “Doom Buggies”—won out as the attraction’s final transportation format.
Splash Mountain — 25th Anniversary 4 of 7
Next door to Haunted Mansion and 20 years later, Imagineers who were working on Disneyland's soon-to-be-named log flume attraction were asked to add a mermaid character from Splash—Disney’s most popular film at the time—to the attraction. While the mermaid never made its way into the Critter Country atrraction, the name of the film did. And that’s how the “Splash” Mountain got its name.
Typhoon Lagoon — 25th Anniversary 5 of 7
Also making a splash for the first time in summer of 1989 was Typhoon Lagoon. One idea for the 56-acre water park that was never realized was an area with a nod to Pleasure Island’s Adventurers Club.
Test Track — 15th Anniversary 6 of 7
Also at Walt Disney World, one early idea for the attraction had its crash test dummies portrayed as the famous Goof. As no good idea goes unused, the concept for a Goofy driving school attraction eventually made its way into Disney California Adventure with Goofy’s Sky School, only the mode of transportation transformed into piloting a plane.
Disney Hollywood Studios Park — 25th Anniversary 7 of 7
Last but not least to the list is a star-studded finale. To mark the occasion of Disney Hollywood Studios, which opened as Disney-MGM Studios, a two-hour television special with a multitude of celebrity appearances ran on NBC. George Burns, Walter Cronkite, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Willie Nelson, Tony Randall, John Ritter, Mickey Rooney, and many others introduced the park to the world. You can still see many of their handprints out in front of the park’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Disney Imagineers created their own East Coast version of the iconic landmark with celebrity handprints, footprints, and signatures in front of The Great Movie Ride attraction while they had the talent contracted for the television special.
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