Flowers and Trees, Magic and Aerosmith

What do these three things have in common?  Well, they all premiered on this date in Disney history!

Flowers and Trees
Disney’s first full color animated film premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1932, 81 years ago today!  Flowers and Trees told the story of two male trees (a healthy living one and an ugly old stump) wanting the affection of a female tree.  The old stump started a fire, and ended up getting burned (pun intended).  It was originally done in black and white, but when Walt Disney saw a Technicolor test strip by Herbert Kalmus, he decided to scrap the black and white and add color to the short animation.  The efforts paid off, and Flowers and Trees won the first award for “Best Animated Short Film”.

15 years ago, in 1998, the first of Disney’s cruise ships, the Disney Magic launched.  It was the first of four Disney cruise ships, and typically sails out of Nassau, in the Bahamas.  This fall, the Disney Magic will be getting some renovations, including the Aqua-Dunk, a waterslide that drops guests over the edge of the ship.

One year later, in 1999, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith began operation at Disney-MGM Studios, now Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  You, the guest, are watching Aerosmith rehearse for a concert, when they realize they are running late and have to leave immediately.  Rather than leave their fans behind, they order a super stretch limousine to speed through LA and get you to the concert on time.  There are six ‘limousines’, five of which are on track at any given time, and each one plays specific songs throughout the roughly three minute ride.  Going up to 60 miles per hour, and featuring three inversions, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is the only Disney attraction to go upside-down.

Have a great July 30th!


Okay, no Kickstarter…

I didn’t read all of the instructions for Kickstarter before applying…  It seems that you can crowd source the actual production of a project (ex: writing a book), but not the research behind it (a year at Walt Disney World).  Time to get back to the drawing boards and figure out where I’m going to come up with funds.    

Any rich millionaires out there want to make a guy and his family’s dream come true? 🙂


Close to “Kickstarting”…

I’ve filled out everything I need to start my Kickstarter page, with the exception of creating a video.  In it, I explain the who, what, where, when, and why of 365 Days At Disney. 

Have any of you ever helped fund something on Kickstarter?  I have to admit, I’ve looked at it a few times, but never pledged money for a project.  What would it take for you, personally, to want to give money to another person?  Would it be for a project that excited you?  Or a video that was incredibly well done (or featured a 6’10” guy in a tutu)?  Or would it be for a reward that you thought was pretty cool?

Please leave a comment with your thoughts, positive or otherwise!

New Orleans Square

I will typically be writing about Walt Disney World, but today I wanted to mention a little something about Disneyland.  On this date, in 1966, New Orleans Square opened for the first time, with fanfare and appearances from Walt Disney and the mayor of the actual New Orleans, Victor Schiro.

When New Orleans Square opened, there were no attractions (yet).  It was a series of themed streets that included dining and shopping, with stores such as the One-Of-A-Kind store, and places where visitors could purchase furniture, gold jewelry, and even design their own perfume.

The Attractions

In 1967, nearly a year after New Orleans Square opened to visitors, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction began letting people enter into the world of piracy.  Two years later, in August of 1969, the Haunted Mansion opened.  Considered classics of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, they have been ‘plussed’ a number of times in their roughly 45 years of existence.

The apartment

Walt Disney wanted a place to entertain VIP guests who would frequent the park, so he commissioned what became known as the Royal Suite, an apartment of sorts, to be built with an entrance on Royal Street in New Orleans Square.  He hired the set designer from Gone With the Wind, and his wife Lily collaborated with set designers to make the living space perfect.  Unfortunately, Walt passed away before the suite was completed, and it was re-purposed as hospitality suite for an insurance company.  In the late 1980s, it became the Disney Gallery, and guests were treated to works by Disney artists until 2007.  Since then, it has been turned into the Disney Dream Suite, a special place where select guests can spend the night in Disneyland.

Have a great July 24th!


Disney Parks Blog

How many readers out there check out the Disney Parks Blog?  I love some of the content they post.  If you have checked it out, comment with some of your favorite things you’ve seen over there.  I’m looking for topic ideas and things to post about both now, and while I’m actually spending 365 Days At Disney.

My own personal favorites from blogs, podcasts, etc. include ‘This date in Disney history’, “Top 10” articles (I always think of at least one more that I wish had been included), Food reviews, and rumors about the future.

The HOW of going to Walt Disney World

Why now?

At this moment, my wife and I have jobs that we very much enjoy, but are not permanent.  The school district we work for is pretty great, and we would be able to take off for one year and probably find similar jobs if so desired (and I will eventually be a musical teacher, vocal emphasis).  My wife and I have a daughter who is just over a year and a half, and another child on the way.  For the next few years, neither of them will have to be in school, and children under the age of 3 get into Disney parks for free, so this seems to be the perfect time.

Where to stay?

I’ve called Disney agents a number of times (they are very helpful, and all seem to think this 365 Days At Disney idea is great), but there are no cheap places to stay on property for one full year.  The least expensive is a tent site, but at roughly $60 a night in the off season, it would cost $22,000 (but I don’t think I’d have a very happy family living in a tent).  And unless I win the lottery in the next few months, I won’t be able to resort hop, as cool as that sounds.  So most likely, we would rent an apartment somewhere near Disney World, or find a gracious WordPress reader who would like to let out their house for 12 months.  “Hey honey, renting an apartment in Orlando is cheaper than sleeping in a tent”. 🙂

The only thing keeping us from moving to Orlando tomorrow is how to pay for one year in the happiest place on Earth.  We’ve talked about taking out a loan (I sure hope my super amazing, gracious, wonderful parents are reading this), and we’ve talked about starting a Kickstarter page.  We would absolutely love to be able to go based on the generosity of others, and think it would make for a really great story… but we’re also trying to be realistic.

I am awaiting verification from Kickstarter, but have filled out everything I need for a project to begin.  The first goal is $3,000.  I’ll put a link in once everything is a go.

Do YOU have ideas on how to raise enough money to spend 365 Days At Disney?  I’d be happy to hear from you!

Why Walt Disney World?

Dear Wife,

From my first trip, I’ve been fascinated with the World.  I remember my first trip as a child, thinking that there was something magical about what was going on.  As I went more times, my fascinations increased.  I knew that there were people behind the masks, and cast members working hard to create the magic I experienced, and I wondered what it was like for them to work in the Disney environment.  As I grew older, I became more and more interested in the history of Walt Disney World, and of course Walt Disney himself.  

What better way to help satisfy my curiosities about the people, the company, and the man who started such an important part of my life than to spend one year at the parks themselves.  I have tried several times to create goals and set a list of possible accomplishments to aim for during my 365 day at Disney, but the more I think about it, the more I’d like to let the people and the parks themselves guide my year of discovery.  I don’t want to put blinders on and focus on one specific thing, rather, I’d like to be able to dive in head first, and when I see new possibilities, follow them, whichever direction they lead.

So why Walt Disney World?  Disney has a place in my heart.  Seeing the castle on my first trip to Florida, spending time with family and friends, watching your face as you and I experienced Wishes together for the first time, hugging you as we stood in the finishers area for our first ever marathon, imagining the joy on my children’s faces when they make their first excursion to the park.  

What will a year at Walt Disney World bring?  That is for us to discover, together.