Erdman Penner, a writer, lyricist, and tuba player for the Firehouse Five Plus Two (a musical group made up of Disney Studio employees) is born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan,
Canada. He contributed to such Disney classics as FantasiaThe Reluctant DragonSleeping BeautyThe Legend of Sleepy HollowCinderellaLady and the Tramp, and Peter Pan.
Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular opens at the Hyperion Theater
in Disney's California Adventure the day after its official premiere. (Although the live stage show has been in previews since December 2002.)

That's So Raven debuts on Disney Channel with 4 episodes - "Test of
 Friendship," "Mother Dearest," "Party Animal," and "Wake Up, Victor." The
 new teen comedy series stars Raven-Symoné as Raven Baxter, an eccentric and offbeat teenager who has
 the ability to foresee flashes of the future.
The Tokyo Disneyland nighttime show 
Cinderellabration: Lights of Romance begins performances.
Statesman, writer, inventor, scientist, printer, humorist,
postmaster, and patriot Benjamin Franklin is born in
Boston, Massachusetts. Franklin earned the title of "The First 
American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity.
One of the founding fathers of the United States of America, he has
been featured in various Disney media over the years. In 1953 Disney 
released the animated short "Ben and Me" (adapted from the 
children's book written by author/illustrator Robert Lawson). The tale
reveals the contributions of a mouse named Amos, to Franklin's career.
Visit Mr. Franklin at Epcot's Audio-Animatronics stage show "The
American Adventure." An Animatronics Mr. Franklin hosts the show,
alongside writer Mark Twain. (Dallas McKennon is the voice
of Benjamin Franklin.)
Disney Legend, Imagineer & artist/color stylist Claude Coats is born in San Francisco, California. His stunning, watercolor background paintings featured in Pinocchio, continue to be heralded by Disney scholars, fans and art collectors for the rich and textured beauty they add to the animated film. His work can also be seen in Snow White and the Seven DwarfsFantasiaCinderella, and Lady and the Tramp. Coats also created the backgrounds for such theme park attraction as Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. (In fact, the Haunted Mansion tombstone which reads: At Peaceful Rest Lies BROTHER CLAUDE PLANTED HERE BENEATH THIS SOD - is in reference to Coats!)
Actor James Earl Jones, the voice of Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King, its sequel The Lion King II: Simba's PrideThe Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, and the 2019 CGI remake, is born in Arkabutla, Missouri. Star Wars fans know him as the voice of Darth Vader! He reprised his role as Vader in the "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue" attraction at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios and voiced Mara in "Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye" at Disneyland. Jones also narrated Disney's American Legends - a 2002 animated home video release, introduced a segment of Fantasia 2000, and narrated the 2007 Disneynature film Earth. He later supplied the voice of Santa for the 2001 video release Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street. His live-action film credits include Hollywood Pictures' Judge Dredd and Miramax Films' Cry, The Beloved Country. He is also the voice of Ja Mi in Disney's 2011 animated Mars  Needs Moms. Since the Star Wars franchise was acquired by Disney, he has reprised his voice role of Vader in Star Wars RebelsRogue One, The Rise of Skywalker, and Obi-Wan KenobiJones was named a Disney Legend in 2019. 
The very first color Mickey Mouse Sunday comic strip to be written and drawn by
 Floyd Gottfredson is published. First hired as an apprentice animator and in-betweener in December
 1929, Gottfredson started working on the four-month-old Mickey Mouse comic strip in April 1930.
Construction begins on Disneyland's Swiss Family Treehouse. It will open the following November almost 2 years after the December 1960 release of Disney’s adventure movie, Swiss Family Robinson.

Actor Jim Carrey, the star of Disney's 2009 A Christmas Carol, is born in Ontario, 
Canada. First known for his performances as multiple characters in the sketch comedy TV show In Living Color
Carrey plays the role of Ebenezer Scrooge and all 3 Christmas ghosts in Disney's retelling of Dickens famous tale.
T. H. White, author of "The Sword in the Stone," passes 
away aboard a ship in Greece. His 1938 story was the inspiration for the 1963 Disney animated feature The Sword in the Stone.
The Disney publicity department sponsors a 2-day 
Mouseketeer reunion at Disneyland.
The first New Mickey Mouse Club episode airs in syndication. Besides being 
produced in color, a major change in this version from the 1950s Mickey Mouse Club, is the daily themes. Monday is Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Day; Tuesday is Let's Go Day; Wednesday is Surprise Day; Thursday is Discovery Day; and Friday is Showtime Day. The New Mouseketeers consist of Billy Attmore, Julie Piekarski, Curtis Wong, Nita DiGiampaolo, Mindy Feldman, Lisa Whelchel, Todd Turquand, Shawntee Northcutte, Scott Craig, Allison Fonte, Angel Florez, and Kelly Parsons. (The New Mickey Mouse Club will run for 2 seasons.)
The Department of Justice and the Walt Disney Company sign an agreement
under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure services to people who are
deaf or hard of hearing at Walt Disney World attractions.

The action-comedy-thriller Metro, starring Eddie Murphy, is released in theaters.
Co-produced by Disney's Touchstone Pictures and distributed by Disney's Buena Vista Pictures, the plot follows
Scott Roper (Murphy), a hostage negotiator and inspector for the San Francisco Police Department who seeks
revenge against a psychotic jewel thief.
A gala event is held in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel
to celebrate the 90th birthday of animator and Disney Legend Bill 
Justice. (During his 42 years with Disney, Justice worked on such classics as Snow White 
and the Seven DwarfsPinocchioFantasiaDumbo and Bambi.)

Roy E. Disney appears at the meeting of NFFC - 
The Club for Disneyana Enthusiasts in California.
Walt Disney, accompanied by his wife Lillian, leave for New York City.
Tensions have increased between the Disney Studio and Pat Powers over royalties
 from Mickey cartoons. In 1928, Powers had sold Walt a Cinephone system so that he could make sound
 cartoons such as Steamboat Willie. Unable to find a distributor for the sound cartoons, Disney released
 his cartoons through Powers' Celebrity Pictures company. Walt wants to confront Powers face-to-face in
 New York over money he feels he is due.
It is announced that the Disney Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast
will close at the Alfred Lunt-Lynn Fontanne Theatre on July 29th 2007 
to make way for Disney's next musical venture - The Little Mermaid.

The second season of Little Einsteins kicks off with the episode
"Quincy and the Magic Instruments."
Michael Eisner, chief
 executive officer of The Walt
 Disney Company from 1984
 until 2005, never saw a
 Disney film until he was a
 grown man.

"I may have invented these bifocals I'm wearing, but I can assure they are not rose-colored. Mr. Twain, the golden age never was the present age, but with human liberty we can fulfill the promise and meaning of America." -Benjamin Franklin (Epcot's The American Adventure)
A Red Carpet Premiere for Walt Disney Pictures' Hanna Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert takes place at the El Capitan Theatre
in Hollywood, California. Ustream.TV presents a live broadcast of the event. The Disney Digital 3D film will officially open February 1.
The 3D film Magic Journeys opens at Tokyo Disneyland in Tomorrowland.
Actress, singer and cabaret star Eartha Kitt is born in Columbia, 
South Carolina. Kitt's distinctive voice can be heard as Yzma in Disney's The Emperor's 
New Groove, the straight-to-video sequel Kronk's New Groove and the spin-off TV series The 
Emperor's New School, for which she won 2 Emmy Awards and 2 Annie Awards for Voice 
Acting in an Animated Television Production. Kitt is perhaps best known for her unique 
singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty 
smash "Santa Baby."

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"A place for everything, everything in its place."
-Benjamin Franklin 
"The original Imagineers who had worked with Walt were beginning to retire, and I was the oldest young person there. I was in a
 good position. Claude Coats was probably the nicest person I ever met (at Imagineering). He took me under his wing and helped me
 develop what became Big Thunder Mountain, the first ride to open without any input from Walt." -Imagineer Tony Baxter
Disney-Pixar's Up is twice awarded at the 67th Golden Globe Awards. 
Director Peter Docter accepts the award for Best Animated Film and composer Michael Giacchino wins
for Best Musical Score / Motion Picture.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomes a new female calf when Kendi, an
11-year-old white rhino, gives birth to her third baby. The baby (unnamed at this time)
is the eighth white rhino born at DAK; her mother, Kendi, was the first.
"A rhino birth is considered to be a significant event since the species was once nearly extinct and is currently endangered." -Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Disney’s Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives
Daniel H. Jenkins, the original George Banks in the Broadway musical Mary Poppins,
 is born in New York.
Today is Guest Star Day on Mickey Mouse ClubSinger/actress Carla Alberghetti appears.
Actress, comedian, author, and one-time game-show host Betty White
is born in Oak Park, Illinois (though she was raised in Los Angeles).
She is best known for her television roles of Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (a Touchstone production). She supplied the
voice for Hestia in Disney's 1999 animated TV series Hercules, appeared in the 2009 Touchstone Pictures film The Proposaland in 2010 voiced Mrs. Claus in the short Prep & Landing Stocking Stuffer: Operation: Secret Santa. White and the cast of Golden Girls (Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty) were all awarded honorary Disney Legend awards in 2009. She is also the voice of Bitey White, a toy tiger, in the 2019 Toy Story 4.
Actress, musician, and singer-songwriter Zooey Claire Deschanel is born in Los Angeles, California. She performed five tracks on the soundtrack album to the 2011 release of Disney's Winnie the Pooh. Her film credits include Touchstone's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Disney's Bridge to Terabithia.


At the National Retail Federation's "Big Show" in New York City; Disney Store
announces that its award-winning store design will be in 12 countries by the end of 2012. The store opening slate includes an inaugural location in Shanghai, China opening in the fall, making it the twelfth country to receive the interactive retail model.

The official debut of Katsura Grill at Epcot's Japan Pavilion takes place. Replacing the
Yakitori House, Katsura Grill is themed after the gardens of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan and offers
a variety of sushi, udon, and teriyaki dishes.
The thirteenth episode (and the season finale) of Disney's Recess, "Parents' Night/Swing 
on Thru to the Other Side" premieres on ABC-TV.
Although open since October 1, 1995,​ Disney's Vero Beach Resort holds a grand opening ceremony. The first Disney Vacation Club resort to be constructed outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area, it
offers a taste of Old Florida along the Atlantic's picturesque Treasure Coast.
January 17
This Day in Disney History - THE FIRST - THE ORIGINAL
Traveling in time since 1999!
Cloud 9, a television film by Disney Channel Original Movie directed by Paul Hoen, debuts. A prima donna snowboarder, Kayla (Dove Cameron), is discourteously ejected from her team, forcing
her to train with former snowboarding champion Will (Luke Benward), who struggles in the aftermath of his 
career-ending wipe-out and a viral video of the incident branding him as an "epic failure" on the internet.
Fountain Valley, Calif., native Nick Arciniaga wins his second consecutive
Star Wars Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort. After winning the inaugural Star Wars
Half Marathon in 2015, he follows up with second straight victory in a record-setting time of 1:05:49.
Annie Bersagel, 32, of Colorado, also flies at lightspeed across the finish line as the female winner
with a time of 1:15:09. 

Inside Out wins Best Animated Feature at the 21st Critics' Choice Awards.
Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle closes for renovation. The structure will be blocked off
from visitors as groups of maintenance crews update its look. The castle is scheduled to re-open to guests in May.
Actor Naveen Andrews is born in London, England. For his role of Sayid on ABC-TV's Lost, Andrews was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2006, a Primetime Emmy Award in 2005 and received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2006. He also played the part of Jafar in 13 episodes of the ABC fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
Awesome Planet opens in The Land pavilion at Epcot. An on-screen exploration of the realm we
call home, the film showcases the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of our earth narrated by Ty Burrell (one of the stars of ABC's Modern Family). The new 10-minute film features spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning composer Steven Price.

Also debuting at Epcot is Canada: Far and Wide, a Circle-Vision 360° film attraction.
Replacing O Canada!Canada: Far and Wide features updated sequences, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and narration by Canadian actors Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens at Disneyland. One of the most complex and advanced attractions designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, it is a combined trackless dark ride, walk-through, motion simulator, and drop ride system that puts guests into the middle of an altercation between the Resistance and the First Order. 

Diary of a Future President, a comedy web television series created by Ilana Peña, premieres on Disney+. Told through a collection of voice-overs by central character Elena as she reads from her diary, the series centers on the 12-year-old Cuban American girl, who attends middle school as she aspires to be the future president of the United States. The series stars Tess Romero, Charlie Bushnell, Selenis Leyva and Michael Weaver.

It is reported that the Walt Disney Company will be dropping the "Fox" brand from the
21st Century Fox assets it acquired last March. The 20th Century Fox film studio will become 20th
Century Studios, and Fox Searchlight Pictures will become simply Searchlight Pictures.  The next film Downhill, with
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, will be the first Searchlight release to debut with the new logo.
Actor and director Scott Marshall is born to Barbara Wells, a nurse, and director/producer Garry Marshall in Los Angeles, California. His Disney/Touchstone credits
(as a second unit director) include The Princess DiariesThe Princess Diaries 2: Royal, EngagementRunaway BrideThe Preacher's Wife (directed by his aunt Penny Marshall), and Raising Helen.
Screenwriter and animator John W. Dunn passes away at age 63 in California. Beginning his career at the Walt Disney cartoon studio, his first story credit—Man in Space—received an Oscar nomination. Dunn's credits included Mars and BeyondMagic Highway, USA, and Eyes in Outer Space.
Disney Vacation Club is incorporated as Disney Vacation Development, Inc.
The very first Disney Vacation Club property, first known as the Disney Vacation Club Resort (and later renamed Disney's Old Key West Resort in January, 1996), it opened on December 20, 1991 at Walt Disney World.
Character actress and singer Queenie Leonard passes away at age 96 in California. She lent her voice to Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951) and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), and appeared in Mary Poppins (1964).
Fifteen innovation pioneers whose inventions range from cancer treatments to theatrical technologies and special effects will be honored in the 2024 class of National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees. The class is announced on this evening at the Walt Disney Imagineering campus in Glendale, California. Among the inductees is Lanny Smoot, a Disney Research Fellow and Imagineer, who is the genius behind incredible special effects such as making Madame Leota float inside the Haunted Mansion and the state-of-the-art Star Wars lightsabers. Lanny is the first Disney Imagineer to receive this prestigious honor, and only the second individual from The Walt Disney Company to be inducted – the first being Walt Disney himself, honored posthumously for the multiplane camera. Lanny and the other 14 Inductees in the class of 2024 will be honored at “The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation,” held in Washington, D.C., this May.