Oakland, California is home to a real gem of a storybook theme park. Located next to Lake Merritt, Children's Fairyland has been delighting families of young children since 1950. As the story goes, Walt Disney himself visited Fairyland in 1955 and soon after built Disneyland, incorporating ideas he learned at the park. He also hired Fairyland's first director, as well as one of its puppeteers, to work at his new amusement park in Anaheim.
While Disney's parks went the commercial route, Fairyland turned into a nonprofit after many years of being managed by the city. It remains the charming, lakeside mid-century park where no adult is allowed in the park without a child** and no child is allowed without an adult.
How do I know all of this? Well, I'm excited to share that I've started working with Fairyland. When I first moved to the Bay Area in the mid-1990s, I lived across the street from Lake Merritt and, as a childless young person, I often wondered what was going behind the giant (Old Lady in the) shoe. I remember devising ways to get in, eventually waiting until I had a baby to pass through its gates for the first time. When my daughter (who's now a teenager) was little, she and I visited many times together. Believe me when I say that it's a great thrill for me to be on the "inside" of this Bay Area institution.
Bert, Fairyland Master Puppeteer Lewis Mahlmann, and Frank Oz in August of 1970. Read the rest
Rob from Rob Plays takes an in-depth look at Walt Disney's grand plan to make an experimental prototype city of tomorrow. Read the rest
Walt Disney shows off a ride in production, "Pirates of the Caribbean" to Miss Disneyland-Tencennial.
It is amazing to see my favorite ride at Disneyland at this point in its life. During my first visit, my grandmother lost her wig on the second sharp waterfall drop. My father had to fish it out. Cemented my love of that ride forever.
Sadly, Walt seems a little condescending. Read the rest
On July 18, 1955, Michael Schwartner convinced his family to go to the general public's opening day of Disneyland, instead of golfing in Mexico. He was just seven years old at the time and he remembers it was crowded and hot waiting to get into the brand new park. He and his 5-year old cousin Christine Vess (now Kristina Graef) wanted to get in the shade and see everything that was going on, so they nudged their way to the front.
While playing around at the turnstiles, a Disney rep plucked them out of the crowd and invited to them to "do a thing." The two children spent the next hour getting photos with Walt Disney himself.
The Orange County Register reports that:
Disney took the children by the hands, and they posed for pictures in front of the Mickey Mouse floral display. Then he invited the family aboard the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad for a tour of the new park. The family sat in front, listening to Disney describe his $17 million park in detail.
Both children received lifetime passes to the park. Read the rest
Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny's long-lost, long-eared ancestor has been discovered in the National archive of the British Film Institute.
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Like any masterpiece, Carl Barks' 1949 comic book story "Lost in the Andes" means many things to many critics, each one finding something new with every reading.
Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, Boing Boing is pleased to present the first-ever look at the original Disneyland prospectus.
It's Walt Disney's 111th birthday today, and there is news from the video game world that probably would have made him smile: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, his pre-Mickey Mouse, silent-era creation, is finally getting a voice after 85 years! Oswald has appeared as Mickey's (silent) partner in 2010's Epic Mickey, but the sequel to the game, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (which just came out for Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Mac, PC coming in January), will let him speak for the first time ever. Who will be providing the voice of Oswald? None other than the legendary voice actor, Frank Welker, who is now the official, permanent voice of Oswald for any future cartoons. My Disney-loving heart has melted. (via Mashable)
Photo credit: Disney Wiki Read the rest
Today in News I'm a Little Ashamed I Didn't Know About Already: Disney is making the first movie that features Walt Disney as a character, and he will be portrayed by the only man with whom "Uncle Walt" can be trusted, Tom Hanks. Saving Mr. Banks follows the 14-year effort by Disney as he tried to convince P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, to allow him to make a movie out of her book. It will flash back and forth from Travers' childhood with her father (on whom Mr. Banks was based), to the 1940s, '50s, and early '60s, when Disney was trying to make Mary Poppins into a movie that Travers ended up hating. Also starring are Emma Thompson (as Travers), Rachel Griffiths (as the aunt who inspired the character of Mary Poppins), Colin Farrell (as Travers' father), Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, BJ Novak, Jason Schwartzman, and Bradley Whitford. Shooting began today, and among the locations are Disneyland and Burbank's Disney Studio. Well doesn't that all sound practically perfect in every way? (via Screen Rant, Empire) Read the rest
What you are about to see is a bunch of stultifyingly counterfeit Disney characters performing at a concert where Dear Leader, Jr. of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, was in attendance. I'm wondering if he was, perhaps, slightly underwhelmed.
Bonus: right smack in the center of an "Oh SNAP" bullseye. The following is an image of several "rejected" designs for Mickey Mouse, a most beloved creation of Walt Disney because he'd always considered the happy little rodent a reflection of himself. Warning: one of these Mickeys has a penis. Read the rest