Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dead at Age 78

Dave Smith, the founder of Walt Disney Archives, died earlier today at the age of 78.

The Walt Disney Company honored Dave with this –

Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith passed away in Burbank, California, on February 15, 2019. He was 78. Dave dedicated his four-decade career at The Walt Disney Company to preserving Disney’s precious treasures from film, television, theme parks, and beyond. Named a Disney Legend in 2007, Dave was beloved by fans around the world for his wide knowledge of the Company’s rich history, which he shared in books and through his popular magazine column “Ask Dave.”

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of Dave Smith’s passing,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He was the unsung hero of Disney’s history who, as our first archivist, spent 40 years rescuing countless documents and artifacts from obscurity, investing endless hours restoring and preserving these priceless pieces of our legacy, and putting them in context to tell our story. Dave was a true Disney Legend, and we are indebted to him for building such an enduring, tangible connection to our past that continues to inspire our future.”

Dave was hired in 1970 by Walt’s brother—and The Walt Disney Company co-founder—Roy O. Disney, and his first responsibility was cataloguing every item inside Walt’s office suite, which had been left untouched after Walt’s passing four years prior. Thanks to Dave’s meticulously detailed notes and records, the Archives was able to restore the suite in 2015, and today Disney employees are able to visit and draw inspiration from this remarkable space. During his time as Disney’s Chief Archivist, Dave grew the Archives from a simple one-person department to a model among corpo­rate archives. He was regarded by fans and historians as the final authority on matters of Disney history, and was an active member of the Society of California Archivists. He served from 1980 to 2001 as Executive Director of the Manuscript Society, an international association of collectors, dealers, librarians, archivists, and others interested in manuscript material.

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, the child of librarians and educators, Dave earned a B.A. in history and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before coming to Disney, he gained library and archives experience working in the Manuscript Department of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, interning at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and serving on the staff of the Research Library at U.C.L.A. 

Dave wrote extensively about Disney history, with regular columns in Disney fan publications and websites, as well as authoring, co-authoring, and editing numerous articles and books on Disney history, including the official Disney encyclopedia Disney A to Z, Disney: The First 100 Years, The Quotable Walt Disney, Disney Trivia from the Vault, and The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books 1, 2, 3, and 4.

In October 2007, Dave was honored with the prestigious Disney Legend Award. A resident of Burbank, California, Dave retired in 2010 after his 40th anniversary with The Walt Disney Company and continued working for the next nine years as a consultant for the Company, with the title of Chief Archivist Emeritus.

Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.

Dave Smith was a true Disney Legend. I’ve met him once and he was the real deal. I loved his books and his ‘Ask Dave’ contributions in The D23 Magazine twenty-three. Dave will be missed.

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Ron Miller, Former Disney President and CEO Dead at Age 85

Ron W. Miller, former President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and producer of many Disney films, has passed away at the age of 85.

Miller came to the company via his wife, Diane Disney, Walt’s daughter. The two met at the University of Southern California.  They were married in 1954.

Miller told entertainment reporter Dale Pollock in 1984, “”My father-in-law saw me play in two football games when I was with the Los Angeles Rams. In one of them, I caught a pass and Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane let me have it from the rear. His forearm came across my nose and knocked me unconscious. I woke up in about the third quarter. At the end of the season, Walt came up to me and said, ‘You know, I don’t want to be the father to your children. You’re going to die out there. How about coming to work with me?’ I did and it was a wise decision on my part.”

Ron Miller, ran Walt Disney Productions in the early to mid 80’s. Among other things, he is the progenitor of the Disney Channel and Touchstone Pictures. He also greenlit and produced films like “Pete’s Dragon”, “Tron”, “The Black Caldron”, “The Great Mouse Detective” and “Never Cry Wolf”; seriously, check the latter out if you haven’t seen it, an excellent Carrol Ballard film. He also supported a young Tim Burton by producing the original live-action “Frankenweenie”.

After being forced out of the company by Roy E Disney and Saul Steinberg, he and Diane moved up to the Bay Area and opened Silverado Vineyards. He helped Diane, along with their children, establish the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. He has overseen the museum and associated foundation since Diane’s passing in 2013.

World of Color Returning to Disney California Adventure

It looks like World of Color, the fan-favorite nighttime water-based show at Disney California Adventure,  is finally making its long awaited return.

Based on the availability of the World of Color Dessert Party reservations for  booking, it appears that the show will be returning at or around Friday, February 22nd. It appears that Friday is completely booked and has no availability, while there are still open reservations for Saturday the 23rd and beyond.

The special ticket event includes reserved seating in Paradise Gardens Park and access to a dessert selection and sparkling beverages and costs $79.

 

She’s Baaaaaaack!

Maleficent will be making her long awaited return to Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade today at the Magic Kingdom today.

The tall steampunk-inspired dragon has been missing from the parade since it caught fire on May 11, 2018.

While she still has her same Steampunk style and signature wicked smile, the Maleficent dragon will be sporting a refreshed look, but includes enhanced safety features for the flame effects. Also returning to the parade are Prince Phillip; the Fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather; and the mischievous “Ravens” who fly around Maleficent.

I don’t know about you but the parade hasn’t been the same since the unfortunate accident that removed her from the parade.  I cannot wait to see her again in all her glory.

Free Dining Plan Now Available for Booking at WDW Resort Hotels

Here Yee!  Here Yee!  Free Dining is here!!!

Walt Disney World  has announced that its Fee Dining Plan offer is available for booking for stays July 5th through September 30th of this year.

The free dining plan is available when guests purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day vacation package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotels and a ticket with a Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option.

Starting today, if you book a non-discounted five-night/six-day Walt Disney Travel Co. package through Feb. 10, 2019, for arrivals most nights from July 5 to Sept. 30, 2019, you’ll receive a dining plan for free!

For guests that use it, the Disney Dining Plan provides flexibility and convenience, offering prepaid meals and snacks when you dine at Walt Disney World resort hotels, theme parks and select locations at Disney Springs.

Guests staying at select Value and Moderate Resorts will get the Disney Quick Service Plan, which includes two quick-service meals and two select snacks per night honored at more than 100 dining locations.

Guests staying at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts will get the Disney Dining Plan, which includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal and two select snacks per night. Meals are available at over 200 select Walt Disney World dining locations.

Walt Disney World has also announce some new Spring discounts.

Guests can save up to 25% for stays most nights from April 28 through May 27, 2019. They can also save up to 30% for stays most nights from May 28 through September 30, 2019

You will need to book your trip by March 24, 2019 to take advantage of the greatest savings.

While I and my family have not used the Free Dining Plan on any of our trips to Walt Disney World, I know plenty of people who have.  Are you a fan of the this?

Walt Disney World Announces Opening Date for “Wonderful World of Animation” Nighttime Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced the opening date for “Wonderful World of Animation.”   As part of the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Wonderful World of Animation will debut on May 1. The show, which was previously announced back in November, will feature state-of-the-art technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for Disney Nighttime Entertainment.  I’ll stay for any of them because I am guaranteed to love them.  I’m really looking forward to seeing this new show.

The nighttime show isn’t the only new thing coming to the park in 2019. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is set to debut in the spring, while Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will arrive later in the year.

 

Destination D 2018 Ends With Exciting Announcements

Along with all of the celebration of all that is Mickey Mouse and his 90th Birthday, there were a number of exciting announcements about the future of the Disney Parks in the United States

Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek earlier today revealed that the names of the two signature attractions set for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens in Disneyland next summer and at Walt Disney World in fall 2019 will be Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Guests can take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Here is the video that Chapek played at Destination D when he announced this attraction.

And on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, guests will join an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, including a face-off with Kylo Ren.

And this footage of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was shot inside the actual attraction.

Of course when you think about Star Wars, the iconic music of legendary composer John Williams comes to mind. After announcing the new attractions Chapek also announced that Oscar-winning composer John Williams is creating new and original Star Wars themes exclusively for the land! The all-new music is being recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. Here is a preview of the music along with  construction progress at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Chapek also announced that a new Beauty and the Beast sing-along attraction will be coming to Epcot’s France pavilion.

This attraction will be using the existing theater, and playing in addition to Impressions de France.  The brand new attraction is being created by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action Beauty and the Beast films.

Also announced for Epcot was  a new nighttime spectacular that is planned to open at the park in 2020. This new show will celebrate how Disney music inspires people around the world, and will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers.

Before this new show opens, there will be a limited-time experience, called “Epcot Forever,” which will debut in fall 2019 after Illuminations closes and will feature classic Epcot tunes.

“Epcot Forever” will begin with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.

The last announcement for Epcot was the name of the “Ratatouille” experience coming to the France pavilion, which will be called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

This attraction which is based on the popular attraction found at Disneyland Paris is still some way off from its Walt Disney World debut.  Right now Disney is saying that it will have a Spring 2020 opening.

Chapek also announced that an all-new cinematic nighttime experience, “Wonderful World of Animation,”  will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in May 2019, as part of the park’s 30th anniversary celebration.

The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey himself.

Also announced for Disneyland was Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration, which will feature new entertainment, food and merchandise. On January 18, “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will light up the night at Disneyland  with all-new music, projections and lasers that set the scene for an epic dance party that takes over almost the entire park.

Chapek also shared that the beloved Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is set to return to Disneyland park in January 2019, with a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

The party will get even bigger when the fan-favorite Mickey’s Soundsational Parade returns to the resort in January 2019 featuring a new float with Mickey himself, who will lead the celebration down Main Street, U.S.A.

Also coming to the Magic Kingdom will be Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration.   The celebration will run from January 18 to September 30, 2019.  Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will feature new food, merchandise and entertainment, including a new dance party with Mickey, Minnie and their friends

During his presentation, Chapek unveiled details about Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge.  This will be a deluxe, nature-inspired resort that will feature more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas.

Not to be left out, Celebrate Your Favorite Mouse with Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Party at Sea will be coming to Disney Cruise Line  next summer.

It certainly sounds like a fun day of announcements.  I only wish I could have been there to experience all of the excitement live in person.

Disney Announces Performer Line Ups for Holiday TV Specials

Halloween is over, November is here and Disney has announced the performer line ups for the upcoming Holiday TV Specials that will be broadcast on ABC and the Disney Channel.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration

“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” premieres Thursday, November 29, from 9–11 PM EST on The ABC Television Network and on the ABC app. Join singer, songwriter and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” host Jordan Fisher and “Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland as they host the magical two-hour event from Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. Joined by Disneyland host Jesse Palmer, Disney Parks and ABC will kick off the holiday season with a star-studded prime-time celebration showcasing incredible musical performances, special appearances and Disney magical moments including an extraordinary castle lighting spectacular from Disney Parks around the world – traveling the globe from Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and Anaheim, California, to Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Musical performances include the following stars:

  • Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning superstar, Gwen Stefani lights up the night with “Feliz Navidad.”
  • GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter Meghan Trainor performs a medley of her hits.
  • CMA Award-winning country artist Brett Eldredge, joined by Meghan Trainor, sing the classic holiday duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from Eldredge’s album “Glow.”
  • Andrea Bocelli shares his unmistakable voice, singing a Christmas classic; then Andrea is joined by his son, Matteo Bocelli, to perform their beautiful new duet, “Fall on Me” from Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
  • Jordan Fisher performs his Christmas hit, “Come December.”
  • GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Aloe Blacc performs his debut single, “I Got Your Christmas Right Here,” from his first-ever holiday album, “Christmas Funk,” out November 9.
  • American Idol winner Maddie Poppe sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
  • Chart-topping, breakout music group Why Don’t We performs a medley of the classic “Silent Night” and their original holiday song “Hey Good Lookin.”

Disney Parks Presents a 25 Days of Christmas Holiday Party

“Disney Parks Presents a 25 Days of Christmas Holiday Party” kicks off Friday, November 23 in the DisneyNOW app and Saturday, December 1, from 8-8:30 PM EST on Disney Channel. Hosted by Jordan Fisher and Disney Channel’s “Coop & Cami Ask the World” stars Ruby Rose Turner and Dakota Lotus, this festive half-hour special will feature star-studded musical performances and special appearances by Disney Channel stars Booboo Stewart (Disney’s “Descendants 3”), Kylee Russell (Disney Channel Original Movie “ZOMBIES”), Sadie Stanley (Disney Channel Original Movie “Kim Possible”) and Sean Giambrone (Disney Channel Original Movie “Kim Possible,” ABC’s “The Goldbergs”). Stanley and Giambrone will take viewers behind the scenes of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, where guests will experience the world of Pixar’s “Cars” films and come face-to-face with Lightning McQueen. The experience rolls into Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in spring 2019.

Musical performances include:

  • Gwen Stefani sings the holiday classic “Let It Snow.”
  • Brett Eldredge performs “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”
  • Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” star Asher Angel rocks out to “Last Christmas.”
  • Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES” star Meg Donnelly brings tropical cheer with her performance of “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade

“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airs on Tuesday, December 25, from 10 AM until 12 PM EST and 9-11 AM CST/MST/PST on ABC and on the ABC app. Airtimes may vary, so be sure to check local listings.

This Christmas, Disney Parks celebrates the joy of the season as hosts Jordan Fisher and Sarah Hyland share this magical holiday tradition with families around the globe. Co-hosted by Jesse Palmer, the Christmas Day celebration will be merrier than ever before, bringing together the adored Christmas Day parade, special musical performances, surprise celebrity guests and heartwarming family stories to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Joining the festivities as parade correspondents are Freeform’s “grown-ish” actor Trevor Jackson and star of Freeform’s upcoming series “Good Trouble,” Cierra Ramirez.

Musical performances include the following:

  • Gwen Stefani performs “Winter Wonderland” from her Christmas album, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”
  • Brett Eldredge sings the holiday classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
  • Andrea Bocelli sings the incredibly moving “Ave Maria”; then Andrea is joined by his son, Matteo Bocelli, to perform “White Christmas.”
  • Host Jordan Fisher performs “This Christmas.”
  • Aloe Blacc performs “Tell Your Mama” from his first holiday album, “Christmas Funk,” out November 9.
  • Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” star and Hollywood Records artist Olivia Holt sings a holiday tune.
  • American Idol winner Maddie Poppe celebrates the season with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
  • Disney’s dynamic a cappella group DCappella performs the popular Christmas hit “Last Christmas.”
  • Why Don’t We performs “Kiss You This Christmas” from their holiday album, “A Why Don’t We Christmas.”

Sneak Peak of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Coming to Disney Parks in November

If you’re excited for ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and going to be in Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort soon, you’re in luck.  Today Disney announced for a limited time you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of the movie beginning in November.

Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get to see this advance look at a portion of the film, starting Friday, November 2, as part of the Walt Disney Presents attraction.

At Disneyland, the preview of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be shown in 3D at the Tomorrowland Theater. This limited sneak peek experience will be presented by Mailchimp at Disneyland Resort, November 9 – December 9.

In the movie Ralph and Vanellope leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade in an attempt to save her game. This quest takes Ralph and Vanellope to the vast world of the inter webs…a world Vanellope seems to wholeheartedly embrace, making Ralph worried that he may lose his best friend.

It doesn’t look like this sneak peak will be around for long, so if this interests you and you’ll be in the parks at the time, I encourage you to give it a visit.

Walt Disney World Announces Plans to Build New Nature-Themed Resort

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced plans to build a nature-inspired resort along the shores of Bay Lake.  The new resort will be located between Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on land that previously was the long time closed River Country water park.

The deluxe resort will be themed to complement its natural surroundings.

Disney said the new resort, which has not yet been named, will open in 2022.  The new resort will include 900 hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas.

“Walt Disney World is in the midst of our most significant expansion in the last two decades and the combined 1,700 new hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas we are building at four different resorts will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs and will drive economic opportunity and incremental revenue for Central Florida,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We continue to add new attractions, new lands — and these beautiful accommodations will be right in the heart of all that magic.”

The resort has not been named as of yet will be Disney’s 16th Disney Vacation Club property.

“This resort experience will be a celebration of Walt Disney’s lifelong love and respect for nature, with some fun and even surprising accommodation types that families will find irresistible,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “It will give our members and guests yet another opportunity to stay in close proximity to all the newest attractions and experiences in our theme parks, and with the flexibility, value and world-class service families expect from Disney.”