The Disneyland Resort 50th anniversary celebration takes to the skies over Phoenix, Arizona with a 100-foot tall, Mickey Mouse-shaped hot air balloon dubbed "The Happiest Balloon On Earth." With golden ears high atop its head, the Mickey balloon will travel throughout the western
United States and Canada during an 11-week tour.
Anneliese van der Pol, a star of the Disney Channel hit That's
So Raven, makes her Broadway debut as Belle in Disney's
Beauty and the Beast. She is the 17th and final actress to play the role on
Broadway as the show will close July 29 (to make room at the Lunt-Fontanne
Theatre for a new production of The Little Mermaid). On July 6 Raven Symone (the star of That's So Raven)
will visit van der Pol backstage.
Disney's Hollywood Records releases Hilary Duff's newest album Dignity
featuring the singles "Play with Fire," "With Love" and "Stranger."
Disney's 102 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels is released on VHS and DVD.
The Florida interchange between the Osceola Parkway and
Interstate 4 opens, alleviating some of the congestion
getting to Walt Disney World.
(The interchange was built at a cost of $33 million. The bill was shared
by Walt Disney World and Orange County.)
Writer Washington Irving is born in New York City (near present-day Wall Street).
He is named after General George Washington - a hero of his parents. His 1820 gothic short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was featured in the 1949 Disney animated feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. A tale of a headless horseman who terrorizes the real-life village of Sleepy Hollow, NY, it is considered one of America's first ghost stories. (This tale and Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle" are among the earliest American fiction still read widely today!)
Walt Disney submits a sketch of "Fairy Land" to California's Recreation and Parks
Commissions. At this time, Walt's idea is to place "Fairy Land" somewhere between his studio and Griffith Park.
The Disneyland television series airs "Disneyland, the Park" and "Pecos Bill."
Walt treats the audience to a tour of Disneyland, followed by the "Pecos Bill" segment from the 1948 Melody Time.
Actor David Hyde Pierce, the voice of Dr. Doppler in Disney's 2002 animated Treasure
Planet, is born in Saratoga Springs, New York. Other Disney voice credits include the feature A Bug's
Life (as Slim) and the TV series Hercules (as Mr. Daedalus). (TV fans will recognize him from the sitcom Frasier.)
Comedian-turned-actor Eddie Murphy is born in Brooklyn, New York. His Disney credits
include the 2003 live-action The Haunted Mansion (as Jim Evers) and the 1998 animated Mulan (as the voice of dragon Mushu). In 1992, Murphy made his Disney debut in the Hollywood Pictures political comedy The Distinguished Gentleman. Five years later he played Inspector Scott Roper in the Touchstone Pictures action comedy thriller Metro. (First rising to fame on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in 1980, Murphy has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in such films as 48 Hrs., the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, The Nutty Professor, and Dolemite Is My Name. Shrek fans know Murphy as the voice of Donkey.)
The famed Brown Derby restaurant on Vine Street in Hollywood closes after a
57-year history. All of the furnishings are kept, including famous Booth #5 - where actor Clark Gable proposed to actress Carole Lombard.
(A "Brown Derby" will later be built at Disney World.)
The city of Anaheim and the Walt Disney Corporation agree on a deal that will keep the Angels playing baseball in Anaheim until at least the year 2018. Disney commits $88 million and the city $30 million to a 3-year renovation of Edison International Field
(home of the Angels) to a more compact, baseball-only facility.
Tragedy strikes when Disney president and Chief Operating Officer Frank Wells is
killed in a helicopter crash during a "heli-skiing" expedition in Nevada's Ruby
Mountains. He is 62. Wells helped propel the Walt Disney Company to new success by re-establishing its
leadership in animated features and by guiding it into new realms of comedy and dramatic films. His death will
spark the breakup between studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner (and lead to the creation of
Dreamworks SKG). A building constructed at The Walt Disney Studios (to house the Disney
Archives) in Wells' memory will open in 1998.
Walt Disney hosts a luncheon and conference at his studio for government officials
and representatives of the defense industries. With a studio strike looming, Walt feels an urgency to
obtain government work.
Composer, arranger, and conductor Richard Bellis (who began his show business career as a child actor) is born in Pasadena, California. The music heard in Disney Studio's Tower of Terror attraction is from episodes of The Twilight Zone television series with further arrangements by Bellis. His work can also be heard in Reflections of China (the Epcot film that replaced Wonders of China), Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure and all of the Star Tours attractions.
Walt Disney signs a contract that will change the face of entertainment
for all time. The two-page document gives Walt Disney Incorporated the
right and license to use Disney’s name for all commercial purposes. By
signing this document, Walt will make possible the Disneyland theme park and later such TV
series as Walt Disney Presents and The Wonderful World of Disney.
Actor & comedian Adam Scot is born in Santa Cruz, California. Widely known for his role as Ben Wyatt in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (for which he was twice nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series), as of 2020 he is the host of ABC's new comedy game show Don't.
Disneyland is home to feral cats –
nobody knows how many – that
come out at night, after visitors
leave. Years ago, more
than 100 were
The 50th Academy Awards, hosted by Bob Hope, are held at the Dorothy Chandler
Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. Both "Candle on the Water" (from Disney's "Pete's Dragon") and
"Somebody's Waiting for You" (from Disney's "The Rescuers") are edged out for Best Song by "You Light Up My
Life" (from Columbia Pictures' "You Light Up My Life"). Although nominated for Best Original Song Score
and Its Adaptation or Adaptation Score, "Pete's Dragon" loses to "A Little Night Music." Composer John Williams
is awarded Best Music, Original Score for his work on "Star Wars." Not a Disney property at this time, "Star Wars"
wins a total of 7 Oscars. Actress Jodie Foster, composer Paul Williams, and a costumed Mickey Mouse
from Disneyland present the Short Subjects Award to "The Sand Castle" - a stop motion animated short
by Co Hoedeman.
"Age is a matter of feeling, not of years." -Washington Irving
Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey born
New plantings since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 include some
175,000 trees and more than 4 million tended shrubs. (Disney's 750 horticultural professionals
plant three million bedding plants annually!) Plants found on Disney's property come from 50
countries—from every continent except Antarctica—and many parts of the United States.
The cover of Newsweek features "Mickey's New Magic - Disney World Unveils a $1 Billion
Movieland" and a picture of Sorcerer Mickey Mouse. With the opening of the all-new Disney-MGM
Studios scheduled for May 1, the publication takes a backstage look at what the public may expect at the new Florida park.
The Midget Autopia attraction in Disneyland closes (to eventually make way for a wide new path up to It’s a Small World). First making its debut in 1957, it is the third (and smallest) Autopia track. Walt Disney will donate the Midget Autopia to his boyhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri - where it will be installed in a park named in his honor.
The television special Monsanto Night Presents Walt Disney's America on Parade airs.
It is hosted by comedy great Red Skelton. (The parade itself is a temporary replacement for Disneyland's and WDW's The Main Street Electrical Parade, during the United States Bicentennial).
Disney announces the winner of its "Design a Fairy House Art Contest," during a ceremony at Epcot. The winning house, by 15-year-old Zoe P., from Frazier Park, California, was selected by DisneyToon Studios filmmakers (currently working on the upcoming Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.)
"We were thrilled to honor Zoe and her winning design at this very special celebration. This contest offered the Pixie Hollow community an
exciting opportunity to utilize their love for Disney Fairies as inspiration to create their very own fairy house art design. To see that design
come to life and be featured in the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival is truly a delight for everyone."
-Jason Everett, Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow product director
WonderCon 2010 kicks off in San Francisco. WonderCon (like its parent company Comic-Con)
is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to creating awareness of and appreciation for comics and related
popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contributions of comics to art and culture. Events at WonderCon 2010 include:
Director Mike Newell and actor Jake Gyllenhaaul take part in the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time panel.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will be released by Disney in May.
Also taking part is director Jon Turteltaub, actor Nicolas Cage, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer of Disney's
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (scheduled for release in July).
Toy Story 3 is represented at WonderCon by actor John Ratzenberger, actress Kristen Schaal, director Lee Unkrich,
producer Karla K. Anderson, and actor Jeff Garlin. Pixar's newest feature will be released in June.
Disney's Miramax Films releases the comedy-drama Adventureland, starring Jesse
Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Starr, Margarita Levieva, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader. Set in the summer of 1987, recent college grad James Brennan (Eisenberg) is making big plans to tour Europe and attend graduate school in pursuit of a career in journalism. However, financial problems force him to look for a summer job instead of traveling abroad, which places him at Adventureland, a run-down amusement park in western Pennsylvania. There he meets Emily Lewin (Stewart), a co-worker with whom he develops a quick rapport and relationship. Directed by Greg Mottola, the theme park from the film is based on the Farmingdale, New York amusement park Adventureland where Mottola once worked in the 1980s. (Most scenes were actually shot in Kennywood, a historic amusement park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.) Adventureland is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Disney's Hollywood Pictures releases Straight Talk a comedy film starring
Dolly Parton and James Woods. Shirlee Kenyon, a small-town dance instructor, gets fired because she
spends more time counseling her customers than teaching them to dance. She heads to Chicago to make a fresh start
and gets a job as the receptionist at the WNDY radio station. While looking for the coffee room on a break, she is mistakenly identified as the station’s new on-air radio psychologist. Her warm heart and common sense make her an
instant celebrity, arousing the suspicions of news reporter Jack Russell, whose secret assignment is to woo her in
order to discredit her in a newspaper exposé. The more Jack learns about Shirlee, the harder he falls for her charms
and he ultimately yields to his integrity, falls in love, and gives up the story.
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN
Messenger of Peace, is born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall in London, England. Best known for
her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, Dr.
from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in 2006. In 2010, she hosted a Walt Disney World Safari VIP Weekend, a
fund-raising event for the Jane Goodall Institute (an international wildlife and environment conservation organization).
Disney's 2012 nature documentary Chimpanzee was co-produced by the Jane Goodall Institute.
Doreen Isabelle Tracey, known for having been a performer on the original Mickey Mouse
Club television show from 1955 to 1958, is born in London, England. Her parents, Sidney
Tracey and Bessie Hay, were an American vaudeville dance team that performed for Allied soldiers during World War II.
When Tracey was four, her family returned to the United States. At age twelve she auditioned for the Mickey Mouse
Club and was hired. Doreen Tracey appeared for all three seasons of the show's original run. She was also cast in Walt Disney Productions’ 1956 feature film Westward Ho the Wagons!, starring Fess Parker. Additionally, she went on to appear on the Mickey Mouse Club's "Annette" serial, and toured Australia with the Mouseketeers. In the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, she co-starred with them in several Mickey Mouse Club reunion shows at Disneyland and at Disney conventions, last celebrating the show’s 60th Anniversary in 2015.
April is 1964/65 New York World's Fair Month
Muppets Courtyard, a newly-named themed land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Florida, opens to guests. The area was part of the park's former Streets of America, that
encompassed several attractions, including an urban street amalgamation of New York City and San Francisco.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, a fantasy-drama series and a spin-off of the ABC series Once Upon a Time, airs its final episode on ABC-TV. The series was based around the
Lewis Carroll novels "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass" but with a different twist
from the other adaptations and took place in the same universe as Once Upon a Time (which is still airing at this time).
"Peter Pan Returns" a DVD collection of Jake and the Never Land Pirates is released.
It includes the episodes "Peter Pan Returns" Full Length Adventure, "The Elephant Surprise!/Jake's Jungle Groove," "The Pirate Pup!/Pirate Rock!," "The Sword and the Stone/Jake's Home Run," "The Pirate Princess/The Rainbow Wand," and "Mama Hook Knows Best!/Pixie Dust Away." Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a musical and interactive children's animated television series shown on Disney Junior.
Actor Ben Mendelsohn is born Paul Benjamin Mendelsohn in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His film credits include Rogue One (2016) as Orson Krennic and Captain Marvel (2019) as Talos.
Singer, songwriter and actress Hayley Kiyoko is born Hayley Kiyoko Alcroft in Los Angeles, California. She appeared in the 2011 Disney Channel Original Movie Lemonade Mouth as Stella.
In recognition of Earth Month, Disney+ begins streaming the Disneynature films Elephant (narrated by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex) and Dolphin Reef
(narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman). Elephant follows African elephant Shani and her spirited son Jomo as their herd make an epic journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert. Meanwhile, Dolphin Reef dives under the sea to frolic with some of the planet’s most engaging animals: dolphins.
Following its theatrical release last year, the Disneynature film Penguins also makes
its' Disney+ debut on this day.
Disney+ is launched in India.
The 17th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards take place in California. Among the winners:
-Favorite Movie: Finding Nemo
-Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie: Ellen DeGeneres (Dory) – Finding Nemo
-Favorite TV Actress: Raven-Symoné (Raven Baxter) – That's So Raven
-Favorite Female Singer: Hilary Duff
Actress Jean Sincere passes away at age 93 in California. She provided the voice of
Mrs. Hogenson in the 2004 Pixar film The Incredibles.
Mark Elliott, a voice-over artist, passes away at age 81 in California. Best known as the primary voice for Disney productions from 1983 to 2008, he also provided voice-overs for trailers of non-Disney films, logos, feature presentation bumpers and commercials. For many Disney fans in the 1990s, the experience of opening a brand new Disney VHS tape and putting it in the VCR was immediately followed by hearing Elliott’s voice as he announced new and upcoming features. First starting out in radio, in 1977 Disney's in-house trailer producer Craig Murray hired Elliott to provide the voiceover for Disney's theatrical re-release of Cinderella (1950).
"Being the voice of Disney is a wonderful touchstone for my career. If that's the identity that I carry with me for the
rest of my life, I wouldn't have it any other way." -Mark Elliott
Actress Lois de Banzie passes away at age 90 in California. Appearing on stage, television and film, her Disney credits include Arachnophobia (1990) and Sister Act (1992).