Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Disneyland 63rd Anniversary ! A Disneyland Tribute, With Walt Himself !

It's Disneyland 63rd Anniversary today and what would be a Disneyland anniversary without Walt? So, to celebrate the event here is a great tribute with the participation of Walt himself, thanks to Jim Korkis, Disney historian and author of the great "The Vault of Walt" book, who very kindly provided me rare interviews of Walt in which he is talking about Disneyland. I'm posting these interviews below with great pictures of Walt in the park.

This first interview of Walt Disney was done by Fletcher Markle on September 25, 1963, for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, “Telescope” television series.

Fletcher: Where did you originally get the first notion for Disneyland?

Walt: Well it came about when my daughters were very young and I…Saturday was always Daddy’s day with the two daughters. So we’d start out and try to go someplace, you know, different things, and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things…sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts…I felt that there should be something built…some kind of an amusement enterprise built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started. Well, it took many years…it was a…o, a period of maybe 15 years developing. I started with many ideas, threw them away, started all over again. And, eventually, it evolved into what you see today at Disneyland. But it all started from a Daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them too.

Above, Walt in an Autopia car with his daughter and his grand son. Below, Walt talking with children in Adventureland, near Jungle Cruise.

Fletcher: Who goes to Disneyland? What is the ratio of adults to children as part of the plan of fathers and daughters?

Walt: Oh, it’s four adults to one child. That is we are counting the teenagers as adults. But of course, in the winter time, you can go out there during the week and you won’t see any children. You’ll see all the “oldsters” out there riding all these rides and having fun and everything. Summertime, of course, the average would drop down. But the over all…the year round average…it’s four adults to one child.

Above, a rare picture of Walt on a Disneyland mule, along with two children. Below, Walt in a Main Street car.

Fletcher: What was the initial cost of Disneyland that first saw the light of day?

Walt: Oh, it goes back so far. I had different cost estimates. One time it was three and a half million and then I kept fooling around with it and it got up to seven and half million and I kept fooling around a little more and pretty soon it was twelve and a half and I think when we opened Disneyland it was seventeen million dollars. Today, it’s going on forty-five million dollars.

Above, Walt with the parrots of the Tiki Room.

Fletcher: I understand that the next step beyond the audio-animatronics birds (in the Enchanted Tiki Room) has been to do the same kind of programming with human beings.

Walt: Yes, with human beings. Not going to replace the human being…believe me on that. Just for show purposes, because now you take Disneyland down there. We operate fifteen hours a day. And these shows go on…on the hour. And my Tiki bird show goes on three times an hour and I don’t have to stop for coffee breaks and all that kind of stuff, you see. So that’s the whole idea of it. It’s just another dimension in the animation we have been doing all our life.

Above, Walt looking at a Pirates of Caribbean audio-animatronic, with Imagineer Marc Davis and WDI sculptor Blaine Gibson. Below, Disneyland marquee, circa 1960.

This next interview of Walt was aired on NBC in 1966.

NBC: Walt, why did you pick Anaheim as the site for Disneyland?

Walt: The Disneyland concept kept growing and growing and it finally ended up where I felt I needed two-three hundred acres. So, I wanted it in the Southern California area, there were certain things that I felt that I needed, such as flat land, because I wanted to make my own hills. I didn't want it near the ocean, I wanted it sort of inland, so I had a survey group go out and hunt for areas that might be useful. And they finally came back with several different areas and we settled on Anaheim because the price of the acreage was right. But there was more to it than that. And that is that Anaheim was sort of a growing area. The freeway projection was such that we could see that the freeway would set Anaheim as sort of a hub. Well, that's how we selected Anaheim.

Above, Disneyland Main Street Station in the 1950's, and the parking lot behind where is now Disney California Adventure.

NBC: Do you feel Anaheim has lived up to expectations?

Walt: In every way, the city fathers have been wonderful. They've given us wonderful cooperation right from the start and they are still cooperating.

NBC: What has been your biggest problem?

Walt: Well, I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life - it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true. From the very start it was a problem of getting the money to open Disneyland. About 17 million dollars it took. We had everything mortgaged, including my family. We were able to get it open and for ten or eleven years now we've been pouring more money back in. In other words, like the old farmer, you've got to pour it back into the ground if you want to get it out. That's been my brother's philosophy and mine too.

Above, Walt and WED Imagineer John Hench in front of the Carnation Plaza model. Below, Walt in front of It's a Small World facade during its construction.

NBC: What plans for the future do you have at Disneyland?

Walt: There's a little plaque out there that says, "As long as there is imagination left in the world, Disneyland will never be complete." We have big plans. This year, we finished over $20 million in new things. Next June, I hope, we'll have a new Tomorrowland; and starting from the ground up, building a whole new Tomorrowland. And it's going to run about $20 million bucks.

Above, a view of Disneyland New Tomorrowland in the late 60's.

NBC: What steps have you taken to see that Disneyland will always be good, family entertainment?

Walt: Well, by this time, my staff, my young group of executives are convinced that Walt is right, that quality will win out, and so I think they will stay with this policy because it's proven it's a good business policy. Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, keep it friendly - I think they're convinced and I think they'll hang on after - as you say, "after Disney."

This next interview of Walt was done by Hooper Fowler for LOOK magazine, January 1964.

Fowler: How often do you go to Disneyland now, Mr. Disney?

Walt: Oh, I might average once a month. Most of my interest in Disneyland is planning and improving it, and I do a great deal of that here at the studio. So I only go down to check on things now, to see what ought to be done for the coming year. It’s pretty hard to get around Disneyland when people are there. I mean, they’re friendly, they’re wonderful, and I love to meet them, but I can’t stand still long because I’ll…oh, I don’t mind giving autographs. I think it’s wonderful that they do want your autograph. But when I’m at Disneyland, if I stop to sign one autograph, before I can get that signed, there are some more up there, and it accumulates quite a crowd, and it always makes it awful hard to get away.

So when I go through Disneyland today, I walk fast, and it isn’t much fun. So I go down with my staff when Disneyland is closed, and we go through everything. Or I go down when there is a big crowd, a very big crowd, and I walk very fast and watch every part of it and find out where we need to improve our crowd control conditions to make it easier for people to get around and our shade areas and all the problems that we have in the summer when we have the half million plus people a week.

So, mainly my interest in Disneyland has been building that thing, in keeping it alive and keeping it fresh and keeping it successful by doing these things. So most of my fun comes from that end of it.

Above, Walt watching a DL worker in Main Street. Below, Walt checking on of the Peter Pan's Flight vehicle.

Fowler: Will there ever be another Disneyland?

Walt: I think there will only be one Disneyland as such. Now that doesn’t mean that in some areas we might not develop certain projects that would be compatible to that area, that might very well tie in certain historical themes of the area of things like that and we are considering things of that sort. Most of the people coming to Disneyland, the big percentage is coming west of the Mississippi and more or less the Pacific coast. The great center of the population is east of the Mississippi and it’s possible that we could go to these areas with certain things without in any way depreciating the individuality of Disneyland itself. But there will only be one Disneyland as such. It’s quite a chore to keep Disneyland going. It’s like a big show you’ve got to keep on the road, you know. You’ve got to keep it fresh and new and exciting. And when people come back, you always want to have something new they hadn’t had a chance to see before. And we feel a keen responsibility to the customer there. They aren’t customers, we call them paying guests.

Above, a great aerial view of Disneyland, circa 1960. Below, a beautiful shot of Fantasyland more or less at the same time.

This next interview of Walt was done by journalist Pete Martin for the Saturday Evening Post, Summer 1956.

Pete Martin: Let's talk a little about Disneyland and how it's so different from other amusement parks.

Walt: It really takes a person more than a day to see the park without exhausting themselves. And as I get these new things in, it's going to take more time. It's one of those things that people who come in here for the first time and everything's there and they sort of make a hog of themselves, you see? Well, a lot of people come back the third time and just like to sit and listen to the band, see the horses going around. I like to go down and sit by the river and watch the people.

Above, a picture of the Mark Twain sailing on Frontierland river, in the early days of Disneyland.

Walt: Chewing gum sticks up things so we don't sell it. And peanut shells. We sell the unshelled. But shelled peanuts, they just crumble them and throw them all over the place. And nothing with round sticks. People trip on them. The ice cream bars got flat sticks and I won't sell any of this spun candy because the kids get it and get it all over everything and people get it on their hands.

No liquor, no beer, nothing. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don't want and I feel they don't need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don't need a drink. I work around that place all day and I don't have one. After I come out of a heavy day at the studio sometimes I want a drink to relax.

Above, Walt, relaxing on a bench of Disneyland Town Square.

Walt: When it comes to Disneyland, I feel I've given the public everything I can give them. My daughter, Diane, says that I spend too much time around the house talking about how I can give them more for their money when they come to the park. You've got to build. You've got to keep it clean. You don't want to walk in a dirty toilet. I won't have 'em. My toilets are spic and span. And you know another thing, I have to have police so there's no child molesters there. I've got plainclothesmen. They can leave their kids to run around and I have safety inspectors. It's run in a high class manner and I have a high class clientele. The people who go to the park are from all walks of life but they look like solid Americans. That's pretty high class.

Above, Walt with Richard Nixon and family at the opening of the Disneyland Monorail. Below, Walt with India prime minister Nehru, at the end of the 1950's in a Jungle Cruise boat.

Pete Martin: One of the things we should cover is to knock off that rumor that Disneyland's expensive to come to.

(Even in 1956, Walt was getting complaints about the high cost of getting into Disneyland. An adult ticket cost a dollar--nine cents of which went directly to taxes--and a child admission cost fifty cents. On top of that, people bought individual tickets for rides. Walt introduced the concept of ticket books so you got more rides for the money you spent on the book than if you bought each ride individually.)

Walt: Oh, no. Not at all. That's an old hat thing. You hear it from some people because they don't know what else to say.

By the time this article comes out, I'm raising it to two dollars because I'm adding all these new rides. And to extend my ticket book to take care of the rides, I'm putting this to ten rides for two dollars. Figure it out. It averages twenty cents a ride, doesn't it? It would cost an adult three dollars and a junior two dollars and fifty cents to get in and get ten rides. If they don't want that, they can pay their buck and pay their fifty cents for their kid and they can come in. They can sit on the park benches, take up the space, dirty up my toilets, litter up the street. They can do all of that if they pay their dollar-fifty. They can ride as they want to. They can sit around and hear my band; they can visit my free shows. They can do all that and more for their dollar-fifty.

Above, Walt in the locomotive of the Tomorrowland Viewliner. Below, Walt in a vehicle of the Mine Train through Nature Wonderland attraction.

Walt: You can't go in a state park without paying that. See, you've got to pay something. You pay so much a head or so much a car to go in a state park. We even have to pay government tax on admission. So it's really ninety-one cents to get in. Now that's what it amounts to. You can't go to the circus for that. I tell you the complaint about the prices are malicious. Los Angeles is made up of a lot of different characters. How do I know they might not be more interested in some other thing like Marineland? Or some other type of amusement that is competitive. We are competitive, too. Who knows? But there's no foundation for some of these complaints about price. When people make that remark to me, it just sounds to me like they heard it somewhere and they don't know what else to say. How can they compare Disneyland prices with anything else because there is nothing else like it.

Well, you take you children to Disneyland and for a dollar and a half they get in and spend a whole darn 13 hours if they want to. Now, if you want to go in and buy them expensive toys or you want to buy them bathing suits or your wife happened to go along and sees a wonderful woolen skirt that costs $30. Well, people come out and spend all that money. But they don't think twice of going down to Bullocks Wilshire and spending that much on a skirt. If you go into a Broadway Department Store, you can go in and spend $25 or $30. I'm not insisting people buy things but I want to give them the opportunity.

Above and below, Walt with audio-animatronics of the Jungle Cruise.

Walt : So I have to keep improving on ideas. On the jungle ride, I want to get more animation in the animals. I want to really fix it. My monkeys have gone to pot. And I want new monkeys. I'm going to take them out Monday because I'd rather not have them in there looking like that.

Above, probably the most famous picture of Walt at Disneyland. Walt is entering Fantasyland walking through Sleeping Beauty Castle - and not exiting to Central Plaza as sometime it is thought. The picture was shot by Renie Bardeau the same photographer who shot Walt's final photo at Disneyland that you can see below

Happy 63rd Anniversary Disneyland and there is more celebration from D&M on the D&M Facebook page where i've posted dozens of awesome LIFE Magazine pictures shot by LIFE photographers on Disneyland opening day, July 17, 1955, so jump HERE!

And don't miss Jim Korkis "The Vault of Walt" a fantastic book series available on Amazon HERE, in which Jim weaves timeless tales and fascinating secrets about the "lost" world of Disney thanks to over thirty years of his personal interviews with Disney animators, Imagineers and associates as well as long forgotten documents and many years of research. It really is a must-have!

Pictures: copyright Disney

All my thanks to Jim Korkis for these great interviews!

Important Clarification About Last Week DLP WDS Post - and Also About D&M Future

You may have read last week D&M article about DLP WDS master plan for the Studios expansion. I’ve been told that Disney apparently took very badly that the plan was leaked as, even if it was not the real Disney document it appears to have been a perfect copy of it. In fact the plan didn’t bring a lot of new major informations about the expansion, but what infuriated Disney was probably elsewhere, in the fact that a master plan approved not so long ago could be leaked so rapidly. And, honestly, their reaction is understandable. So let me say this: D&M is not the one who leaked the plan or made a copy of it, and was not involved in the original leak in any way. What happened is exactly this: a faithful D&M reader sent me a message to let me know that something interesting has been posted on DCP, i went on the forum and spent quite a time trying to know if it was real or fake. And when i finally thought instinctively that it was real, and considering that it didn’t bring, as i've said, a lot of new major informations, i decided, wrong or right, to post it on D&M. Now, DLP asked last week others websites who also did articles with the plan to remove their articles but, strangely, no one from DLP asked me for the D&M article - probably because i’m not part of DLP Inside Ears program. If someone from DLP would have asked me i probably would have kindly accepted to remove the article, but no one asked me so i've kept it. After all we’re just talking here about a theme park expansion plan, not a U.S Pentagon plan to invade Iran, so it is important but not that important, right? And Disney and more is not the New York Times either, meaning that something posted on D&M is rarely read by anyone others than Disney fans and not a wide “general” audience, so it don’t really damage DLP marketing plans.

Now, something else as much important: D&M, like most Disney fans sites have sources, as you know - which i won’t reveal the names, so don’t ask me. The problem in fact is not to have sources, nobody here is trying to spy what Disney does, it’s more fans curiosity than anything else. The problem is what you do with the informations you might end to have and, more important, the responsibility that goes with it. What is really important to keep secret or not? What can be revealed or cannot, without damaging Disney marketing plan? I can’t speak for others but what i can say is that i’ve never revealed something that i’ve been asked to keep secret, and i intend to keep it this way. I know a LOT of things about DLP future, and believe me, you would love to learn them but i’ve promised to don’t post anything, so i don’t. All i can say is that if Disney don’t do any changes in what is planned, fans will be very very happy and even amazed by what is coming for DLP future.

While i talk with you, here is something else different, though important in a different way: i will stop posting on D&M as well as on D&M Facebook page during all month of August. It’s holiday time and nothing really happen anyway in August, so when the never ending epic Fox acquisition story will end at the end of the month after the planned stockholders meeting, D&M will “go fishing” during all August. To be perfectly honest with you there is another reason which has nothing to see with Disney parks - i mean: i didn’t had any pressure due to the WDS plan story posted last week, i really had not. It’s for a very different reason which is more personal, and here it is: I realized not so long ago that since the last 20 years, although i’ve been dozens of times at DLP, i’ve been to Disneyland only one time, my last visit to WDW was for Animal Kingdom opening …in 1998, 20 years ago, and to TDL and TDS was for Tokyo DisneySea Grand Opening in …2001, 17 years ago! I’ve been once at Shanghai Disneyland and i think three times at HKDL during the same period of time. So, i ended to ask myself: why do i keep writing and spend so much time and energy about things that i indeed love but finally never see in real? It doesn’t have any sense… time is running and i may have others important things to do with my life - in fact i know i have. So, basically, it’s an existential question, nothing else. I’ve said many times that i may stop Disney and more and ended to finally continue because i enjoy doing it, but may be the time has come finally, and that’s why i’m giving myself this sabbatical month to think about it. I have a theory that “things happen when they have to happen”, that we don’t control everything - even if we have the illusion of it - so we’ll see in September if the time has come or not. In the meantime, i’ll keep posting during the next two weeks and for those of you going in vacation now, have a great holiday!

Picture: copyright Disney

Sunday, July 15, 2018

How WDI Audio-Animatronics Get a Second Life

Disney's beloved Audio-Animatronics are a big part of Disney rides and attractions but did you know that regularly some Disney Audio-Animatronics find a new life and are recycled from previous extinct attractions? Rides from the Disneyland Theme Parks (including Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure) as well as the Walt Disney World theme parks (including Epcot & Magic Kingdom) all have recycled animatronics in many of the rides.

TPMvids did a great video about these so let's have a look at the Top 10 Recycled Disney Animatronics at Walt Disney World and Disneyland and find who was the new Red Head Audio-Animatronic in a previous life !

Video: copyright TPMvids

Infographic Showing the Behemoth Size of Disney’s Media Empire

This Infographic posted by r/coolguides shows the behemoth size of Disney’s Media Empire. Each company that Disney owns - including the ones of Fox group that Disney probably will own anytime soon - are in this infographic. Definitely click on the picture to see it in big size, and if it don't work go HERE.

Picture: copyright  r/coolguides

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Discover WDI Props Dept With this Fun Video Showing Adam, 11 Years Old, Dreaming to become a Walt Disney Imagineer Prop Master

There is an incredible new video just posted by the Disney Family channel in the series "My Disney Dream Job", with a 11 years old kid dreaming to become a Walt Disney Imagineer Prop Master. With his mother he was invited to visit WDI props dept - the visit of the props warehouse that we discover for the first time is a wow - and meet WDI Imagineers Ted Robledo and Jim Clark, currently working on Tokyo Disneyland Beauty and the Beast expansion.

The kid is incredible and fun because he has so much energy that he is limit out of control as you'll see in the video, and you can feel the imagineers praying that he don't destroy involuntarily some of their precious props! Here are some pictures of the props warehouse.

His visit with WDI Imagineers is also interesting as Imagineers are the ones working on TDL expansion and some artworks are displayed on the wall - including some renderings for the Beauty and the Beast land we may have never seen. You know me, i did some screen captures instantly! Click to enlarge the pictures below.

Here are also two previous released artworks wallpaper size.

Okay, have a look at this fun video now, you won't regret it! I predict that Adam will become an incredible prop master if Walt Disney Imagineering hires him!

 Pictures and video: copyright Disney

Friday, July 13, 2018

Breaking : Incredible New Details For Tokyo DisneySea's Frozen, Raiponce and Peter Pan Lands!

We have amazing new details about Tokyo DisneySea's expansion and more specifically the size of each land or rides! The text below is a Google translation from original article HERE. This is a raw translation from the Japanese original text, slightly enhanced by me:

Tokyo Disney Sea Expansion: 23 buildings including motion base attractions and water flow rides!

A facility outline of the Tokyo DisneySea large scale expansion project Oriental Land plans for Urayasu, Chiba prefecture becomes more clear:
TDS expansion will consists of a hotel building with a total of 71,700 square meters, a total of 7630 square meters for a motion base attraction, a total of 3620 square meters for a first flume ride, a total of 8910 square meters for a second flume ride of same B. The total size of 23 buildings is 103,040 square meters. The total construction area is 49,750 square meters, the highest height is 38.2 m of the hotel building. Nikken Sekkei is in charge of the design, the construction company is undecided. It is aiming for completion in March, 2023.

Full view of the new theme port:

The project includes a new theme port in three areas that recreates the world of Disney movies "Frozen", "Rapunzel" and "Peter Pan" with 4 attractions, and 475 rooms of the highest rank Disney hotel with 2 restaurants and other facilities. Investment amount is about 250 billion yen.

Name and scale of facilities in 23 buildings are as follows:

Peter Pan land: Motion base attraction = 2 floors total 7630 m 2 - Pirate ship = 150 m² - Lockwork building = the same 100 m² - Restaurant A = 1750 m² - Self-propelled ride = 540 ㎡ - Standing warehouse building A = same 10 ㎡.

7630 sqm for a Peter Pan ride is never seen before,  if the numbers are right this will be a huge show building and promise an exciting ride for Peter Pan fans!

Raiponce and Frozen lands: flume ride A = 2 stories total 3620 m² - flume ride A entry building = 15 m² - Restaurant B, restaurant C = 2 floors total 4640 m² - flume ride B = 2 stories total 8910 m² - standing warehouse building B = 10 m² built in a flat store - Area rest room = 280 m² - Merchant store = 100 m² - Ice / drink wagon = 50 m² - Popcorn wagon = 20 m² - Product wagon = 20 m² - Vending machine = 30 m².

In the numbers above i think we can take as principle that the "flume ride A" is the Raiponce ride when the "flume ride B" is the Frozen one. Still, 3620 sqm on two stories for the Raiponce flume ride is not small at all. And 8910 sum for the Frozen ride on two stories is huge.

New Hotel Building = Underground to 1st Floor to 9th Floor Building: Total 71,170m² - Hotel Security Booth (Employee Plaza) = 20m² in Hiraya - Higashiya = 45m² - CEP Building (Energy Center) = 3 stories total 3380 m² - Area branch office (private electric facility) = 220 m² built in a flat shop.
( end of translation )

Find all details about Tokyo DisneySea new port and lands in D&M previous article HERE.

Pictures: copyright Disney

New Trailer for Live-Action Winnie The Pooh Film "Christopher Robin"

Disney has released a brand new trailer for the upcoming live-action Winnie The Pooh film "Christopher Robin" and the trailer features a plenty of new footage from the film withEwan McGregor as Christopher Robin playing with his old friends again in Hundred Acre Wood.

 The story is set in the year 1949, and Christopher Robin is an efficiency manager at a luggage company, tasked with finding the resources to prevent many of his workers from being laid off. That will mean missing the vacation he has planned with his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and young daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). They’re heading to the Hundred Acre Wood while he’s stuck in London with work, when he gets a visit from his old friend Pooh. But he’s not the same person Pooh remembers...

 The movie will be released in theaters on August 3rd.

Editing: Disney released a series of character posters last night that i'm adding to this article.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney