Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.A. A federal holiday, it is observed on the
last Monday of May. Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the
American Civil War, today it commemorates all U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.
Newly crowned American Idol Scotty McCreery is honored in a parade at Disney's
Hollywood Studios in Florida. The 17-year-old singer from North Carolina meets and greets his
fans in front of The American Idol Experience attraction and performs his new song "I Love You This Big."
A male baby mandrill is born to first-time mother Kelley at Disney’s Animal
Kingdom. Native to Africa, mandrills are among the largest species of monkey in the world and are
considered endangered. With the new baby, the number of mandrills that make their home at Disney’s Animal
Kingdom has grown to 12.
Walt Disney uses the cast of his new TV series Zorro for the
second of a 3-day cross promotion with live appearances at
Disneyland. In addition to parades each day, the stars - Guy
Williams, Henry Calvin, Gene Sheldon and Britt Lomond -
also appear in four live daily shows. Three of the shows feature a
running battle between Zorro and Monastario on the rooftops of Frontierland, with
his foes ending up in the river. The fourth show each day is held in Frontierland's Magnolia Park, with Williams appearing as Don Diego. (The reaction will be so positive that a third series of appearances
will be held November 27-30 for Thanksgiving weekend.)
Site preparation begins in Florida on the Walt Disney World project,
requiring swamp drainage, clearing of land, and removal of trees.
(It will take 1,584 days and $400 million to Opening Day.)
Today is Memorial Day.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all
Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on
Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor
those who have died in service to the nation.
Mel Blanc, "The Man of a 1000 Voices," is born in San Francisco, California. Famous for his work at Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera, Blanc provided the voice of Gideon in Pinocchio. However, when it was decided that Gideon would be mute, Blanc's lines were cut from the final film, except for three hiccups. He also voiced Raja the Tiger for Goliath II and Cousin Orville for Walt Disney World's Carousel of Progress, and occasionally took part in early Disney radio projects such as The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air. Best known as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, and hundreds of other cartoon favorites, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, he reprised the voices of several of his classic Warner Bros. characters (except for Yosemite Sam). Passing at age 81 in California, he is still regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry!
Walt Disney's 51st Alice Comedy film, Alice's Channel Swim premieres at the Paramount Theater in New York City.
Disney Legend Dick Nunis is born in Cedartown, Georgia. First learning about
Disneyland through his classmate, Ron Miller (Walt's son-in-law), on a lark, Nunis decided to apply for
a summer job at the new theme park and was hired by Van France, founder of The Disney University.
He soon worked his way up to attractions supervisor, developing standard operating procedures for all
of the Park's attractions, many of which are still in use today. In 1961, he became director of park operations and helped
develop "Project X," better known as Walt Disney World. By 1971, Nunis was executive vice president of Walt
Disney World and Disneyland.
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Thru The Mirror is released. It is based on the "Alice Through the Looking Glass" story.
Disney's Pluto cartoon Canine Caddy, directed by Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi, is released.
Mickey and Pluto are on the golf links when Pluto fights a mangy gopher!
Disney releases the animated Donald Duck short Don's Fountain of Youth, directed by
Jack Hannah. When Donald and his nephews find what they think is the legendary Fountain of Youth, Donald
can't resist convincing his nephews that it really works.
The Disneyland TV series airs its final epsiode of season 2, "Behind the Scenes with Fess Parker." Parker is the star of Disney's successful Davy Crockett television programs.
Actress Tempestt Bledsoe (of The Cosby Show) appears on the 27th episode of
Disney Channel's MMC. Today is Guest Day!
The Disney/Pixar animated feature Finding Nemo
is generally released. The underwater adventure, directed by Andrew Stanton, features the voices of Alexander Gould as Nemo, Albert Brooks as Marlin, Willem Dafoe as Gill, Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, and John Ratzenberger as Fish School. It tells the story of the overprotective clownfish named Marlin who, along with a regal blue tang named Dory, searches for his abducted son Nemo all the way to Sydney Harbour. It will win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Finding Nemo is the first Pixar film not to be scored by
Randy Newman, but instead scored by Thomas Newman, his cousin.
The Disney Channel debuts the That's So Raven episode "Driven to Insanity."
Disney-MGM hosts the third (of 5) Star Wars Weekends. Celebrity guests include Silas Carson
(Ki-Adi-Mundi) and Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb).
Sarah Litzsinger returns to the role of Belle in Disney's Broadway hit Beauty and the Beast. She has the distinction of being Broadway's longest-running Belle!
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra - directed By Sam Donahue and featuring Frank Sinatra Jr.,
Charlie Shavers, Helen Forrest, and The Pied Pipers, perform at Disneyland.
Pocahontas: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack is released on
Walt Disney Records. The disc features two versions of "Colors of the Wind" - one sung by
Judy Kahn (the voice of Pocahontas) and one performed by Vanessa Williams. The tune, written by
Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, will win an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy!
Walt Disney's plane - the one he flew
in while scouting locations for Walt
Disney World during the mid-1960s, is
on display at Disney's Hollywood
Studios' Backlot Tour. Getting the
Gulfstream into the park was no easy
feat. The resort had to close one of
its main thoroughfares, World Drive,
for the plane to make its final landing
It is reported that Disney will release a Chinese-language movie, The Magic Gourd,
this summer - its first co-production with the state-run China Film Group. The
movie, based on a novel written by the late Chinese children's writer Zhang Tianyi,
is about a boy who discovers a gourd that grants him wishes.
Swing," is born in Chicago, Illinois. A clarinetist and bandleader,
his music is featured in Disney's 1946 Make Mine Music. Goodman himself
performed live multiple times at Disneyland in 1961. In 1988 (two years after Goodman's death) a special 8-day event "Disneyland Salutes Benny Goodman"
took place at the Anaheim park featuring alumni members of Goodman's band.
Tony Award-winning actress & singer Idina Menzel is born in
Queens, New York. She appeared as Nancy Tremaine in Disney's 2007 feature
Enchanted and supplied the voice for Elsa the Snow Queen in Disney's 2013 animated
Frozen, the 2015 short Frozen Fever, the 2017 featurette Olaf's Frozen Adventure, the
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet and the 2019 Frozen II. She also sang Frozen's Oscar-
and Grammy Award-winning song "Let It Go," which reached number 5 on the Billboard
Hot 100 chart (making Menzel the first Tony Award-winning actress to reach the top 10).
In March 2014 Menzel performed the song live at the 86th Academy Awards. She and
Kristen Bell received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame simultaneously on November
19, 2019. Seven days later, Menzel took part in the debut of Saks Fifth Avenue's Frozen-themed holiday windows in
New York City. (Menzel first rose to prominence when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent. In 2003, she originated the role of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked, a performance for which she won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.)
Site prep begins on WDW project
Pocahontas soundtrack released
Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate Collection Illustrator Signing takes place at
Wicket’s Warehouse in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Illustrator Chris Reiff (a frequent
contributor to Star Wars Insider magazine) is on hand to sign his new book - a collection of blueprint posters.
The winners of the 3rd Annual MiceChat Gumball Rally - sponsored by the popular Disney fan site MiceChat - is Team "Kids Incorporated" made up of Janae Mack,
Katie Wakayama and Marissa Manalo of Topanga. The unofficial competition (which draws
close to 300 people) began early this morning to see who could ride as many attractions as fast as possible in
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
Over 100 Walt Disney fans gather at the Screenland Theatre Building to celebrate
the progress made thus far in the effort to preserve and restore the site of Walt
Disney’s first professional film studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Special Guest of Honor for
the evening is 90-year-old Virginia Davis, who as a child starred in Walt’s last cartoon made in Kansas City and
Marlin: "Now, what's the one thing we have to remember about the ocean?"
Nemo: "It's not safe."
Marlin: "That's my boy."
"If I'm truly tracing the earliest inspiration I had for Nemo, it would be going to the dentist when I was a little boy. He had a fish tank in the wall, and I would stare forever at the fish wondering what they must think of humans looking at each other's teeth." -Andrew Stanton
May 30 - June 1
The Magic of Disney Animation was a show and tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Florida. A Disney animator would show guests how the
characters in Disney animated films were chosen and designed. The attraction closed permanently on July 12, 2015. In December 2015, the building
began to be used to house the Star Wars Launch Bay.
On this Memorial Day, Disneyland throws a
grand opening celebration for its newest
Fantasyland attraction, "it's a small world."
Inaugurated on May 28, the attraction was originally built for
of the world, the attraction features the song "it's a small
world (after all)" by Richard & Robert Sherman. (More than
256 million guests have experienced Disneyland's "it's a
small world" since 1966.)
Disney announces that the "C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A" statues that originally stood in front of
Disney California Adventure will soon welcome visitors to the state fair. Disney donated the
statues that spell out "California" to the Friends of the California State Fair, which plans to place them in front of Cal
Expo in Sacramento, where the fair is held.
Disney's cartoon short Figaro and Frankie is released. Directed by Charles Nichols,
Minnie Mouse (voiced by Ruth Clifford) tries to prevent curious Figaro the cat from eating a yellow canary named
Frankie who won't stop tweeting.
Disney's dark fantasy adventure film Maleficent opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney
villainess character, the film is a loose live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, and portrays the story from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent. The cast includes Sharlto Copley as Stefa, Elle Fanning as Aurora, Sam Riley as Diaval, and Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip. Produced by Joe Roth and directed by Robert Stromberg, Maleficent features the music of James Newton Howard. The song for the film is "Once Upon a Dream" (originally written for the 1959 animated Sleeping Beauty) performed by Lana Del Rey.
(Maleficent will receive a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Anna B. Sheppard, becoming Disney's first live-action remake to receive a nomination.)
Today is Memorial Day in the USA.
The 23rd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival comes to an end in Florida.
The first national Decoration Day in United States history occurred on this day in 1868. Three years after the end of the Civil
War, General John Logan declared that the day should be used to commemorate—and decorate the graves of—soldiers
who died in the war. In later years, Decoration Day came to be known as Memorial Day.
Joachim Rønning, co-director of Disney's 2017 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men
Tell No Tales (along with Espen Sandberg) is born in Norway. (As a directing team, they go
under the name of Roenberg ... a combination of their surnames.) Rønning also directed the 2019 Maleficent:
Mistress of Evil.
Gone Fishin', a comedy film starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover as two bumbling
fishing enthusiasts who win a fishing trip to Florida, is released by Hollywood Pictures.
Actor Jake Short is born in Indiana. His first major role was Fletcher Quimby in Disney Channel's comedy series A.N.T. Farm. In 2013, Short began co-starring as Oliver on the Disney XD original series Mighty Med and its spinoff Lab Rats: Elite Force.
Actor Sean Giambrone, best known for his role of Adam Goldberg in the ABC sitcom
The Goldbergs, is born in Michigan. He also portrayed Ron Stoppable in the 2019 Disney Channel
live-action version of Kim Possible.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival comes to an end,
Disneyland dedicates its newest addition - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Galaxy's Edge is located
to the north of Frontierland, where Big Thunder Ranch and backstage areas were located. In attendance at the
dedication ceremony are CEO Bob Iger, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford,
and Billy Dee Williams. The land will open to the public the following day. (A version is scheduled to open at Walt
Disney World in late August.)
Actor Jared Scott Gilmore is born in San Diego, California. He is best known for his
role in the series Once Upon a Time as Henry Mills.
Musician and composer Cedric Thorpe Davie is born in in Glasgow, Scotland.
Specializing in film scores, his Disney credits include Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953) and Kidnapped (1960).
Character actor Michael J. Pollard is born in Passaic, New Jersey. Best known for playing C.W. Moss in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde (which earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination), he portrayed Bug Bailey in Disney's 1990 action comedy Dick Tracy.
Animator, toy designer and comics artist Milt Neil is born in New Jersey. Working for Disney Studios from 1935 to 1944, he contributed to such features as Fantasia, Dumbo, Saludos Amigos, and The Three Caballeros, and such Donald Duck shorts as Donald Duck Visits Lake Titicaca, Donald's Double Trouble, and Drip Dippy Donald. (Neil later became involved with the children's show Howdy Doody, for whom he designed puppets and various other merchandising toys.)