Today in Disney History


June 11th 2011


Actor Erik Rolf - who portrayed John in Disney’s 1946 Song of the South and

Mr. Simms in Disney’s 1950 Davy Crockett, Indian Scout - is born Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was married to actress Ruth Warwick, who played Sally in Song of the South.

Actress Joan Copeland - the voice of Tanana in Disney’s 2003 Brother Bear - is born in New York City. Disney fans may also recall her as Mrs. Prelot in the 1997 live-action comedy Jungle 2 Jungle. (Copeland is the sister of writer Arthur Miller.)

Disney’s Alice Comedy Alice’s Fishy Story (starring Virginia Davis) is released

the same day Walt contacts Ub Iwerks in Kansas City, to ask him to come

work with him in Hollywood.

Swiss artist Albert Hurter joins the Disney staff (at age 48) as the studio’s very first inspirational sketch artist. He will give animated films like Snow White and Pinocchio a more European storybook look. Among the animated shorts he will have influence on - Babes in the Woods, Building a Building, Three Little Pigs, The Goddess of Spring, Water Babies and Music Land.

(Sadly Hurter will pass away from rheumatic heart disease on March 28th, 1942.)

The first Mickey Mouse watch is sold by Ingersoll-Waterbury, a Connecticut clock maker on the verge of bankruptcy. The sale of the watches will save the company!

Eric Larson - from Cleveland, Utah - is hired by the Disney Studios at fifteen dollars per week. He will go on to become one of Walt’s “Nine Old Men”.

The lavish star-studded MGM musical Hollywood Party, starring Jimmy

Durante, is generally released. A scene has Durante “tangling” with an animated

Mickey Mouse (the first feature film appearance of Walt Disney’s character). In an amusing 5-

minute animated sequence courtesy of Disney, Mickey introduces the Technicolor musical

exploits of "The Hot Chocolate Soldiers."

The Ingersoll-Waterbury Company reports that it has produced 2.5 million Mickey Mouse watches during its 2-year association with Disney.

Disney World’s If You Had Wings - a Tomorrowland attraction

sponsored by Eastern Airlines - closes forever. With Eastern Airlines (under new CEO Frank Lorenzo) in dire financial straits, it opts not to extend its 15-year sponsorship of the attraction. (Five days later the attraction will reopen as If You Could Fly.)

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clock Book - created and illustrated by

Tony Tallarico - is published by Tuffy Books. Disney has licensed the character to Tuffy -

a New York publisher of books for preschoolers.

Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon - featuring one of the world’s largest wave pools in the U.S. - officially opens. The centerpiece of the park is Miss Tilly, a shrimp boat impaled upon a mountain named Mount Mayday that erupts a 50-foot geyser of water every half hour! The park features a mascot named Lagoona Gator.

Today is Party Day on Disney Channel’s MMC.

The Musical World of Walt Disney by Dave Tietyen is published.

Mickey Mania Parade debuts at Walt Disney World.

Space Mountain: From The Earth to the Moon opens at Disneyland Paris. It is the 4th Space Mountain, but the first to include sound. (The attraction is named after the classic Jules Verne story.)

The Disneyland parade The Lion King Celebration - running since July 1994 - gives its final performance.

The Tony Awards (honoring distinguished achievement in Broadway

theater) are presented at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Disney’s

The Lion King takes home 6 awards for Best Musical, Director,

Choreography, Scenic Design, Costume Design, and Lighting Design.

 Director Julie Taymor becomes the first woman in Broadway 

 history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical!


The original Main Street Electrical Parade begins its season of nightly performances in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

At Walt Disney World, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival wraps up with “Kids’ Weekend,” an array of hands-on activities for young gardeners.

At Tokyo Disneyland, a new Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights debuts. Featuring Disney characters and over one million lights, the new parade is filled with scenes inspired by popular Disney animated films.

The Lizzie McGuire episode “Come Fly With Me” airs for the first time on Disney Channel.

The Walt Disney Studio Paris unveils its new Disney Cinema Parade.

(It has been designed by an outside design studio … a Disney first.)

Journey Into Imagination (featuring Figment) reopens in

Epcot’s Future World.

It is reported that Disney’s Magic Kingdom ranked number 1 in the first ever U.S. Family Travel Guide (published by Zagat Survey & Time Inc.'s Parenting magazine).

Actor Jonathan Pryce - known for his role of Governor Weatherby Swann in both

Disney features Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates

of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - is born in Wales, UK. He made his American film debut

in Disney’s 1983 spine-tingling fantasy, Something Wicked This Way Comes - playing the role of Mr. Dark.

At Disney World, the EPCOT Preview Center, located in the Magic Kingdom, debuts the film A Dream Called EPCOT. (EPCOT will open in October 1982.)

Disney World’s monorail line is extended from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the yet-to-be-open EPCOT Center.

The Splashdown Photos shop opens at the Splash Mountain exit at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Disneyland presents “Cavalcade of Bands” featuring live performances by such legendary big bands as Les Brown and His Band of Renown, Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra, Gene Krupa and His Orchestra, Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, and The Elliott Brothers Band (a “Disneyland resident crew”).
Eastern Airline wings

were distributed free of

charge during the 1970s to

guests of Walt Disney World’s

If You Had Wings attraction.
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Disney-MGM Studios celebrates the 30th anniversary of Star Wars with the first of four Star Wars Weekends. Celebrity guests for the next 3 days include Warwick Davis and Kenny Baker.

Starting on this day, Walt Disney World bans smoking in guest rooms at more than 20 of its hotels and time share resorts. It is the largest single site resort complex to institute this type of smoking policy change.

An article titled “Electronics At Disneyland” appears in the trade publication Radio & TV News. The article describes the electronic equipment used for special audio & video effects. Readers are informed that - “It takes the combined efforts of seven sound-maintenance men employed by the Ralke Company, plus a Projector repairman, to keep all the electronic equipment in proper working condition.” The cover features a photo of the Mark Twain riverboat.

President Sukarno of Indonesia and his family visit Disneyland. They are taken on a personal tour of the park by Walt Disney himself.


The 15th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival comes to and end.

Starting on this day, members and guests staying at Disney World’s Beach Club Villas will check in at the front desk of the adjacent Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The move establishes a single, consistent check in location serving both Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Villas.

A Pixar wrap party takes place for Disney/Pixar’s newest feature WALL•E, which is scheduled for a June 27 release.

Star Wars Weekends 2007
"I don’t want to survive. I want to live!" -Wall•E

Disney announces that Luxo Jr., the hopping desk lamp that serves as the mascot for Pixar Animation Studios, is coming to Disney World. A 6-foot-tall animatronic version of Luxo will soon take up residence in the Pixar Place section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Phase 4 of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (a Disney Vacation Club resort at Walt Disney World) opens. The Treehouse Villas, all stand-alone structures elevated 10 feet off the ground on pedestals and beams, are made up of 60 three-bedroom homes.

Actor Morgan Freeman, the new narrator of Disney World’s updated

The Hall of Presidents, is born in Memphis, Tennessee.


Disney World’s Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel (located in the Magic Kingdom) is

now officially called Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.

Pianist, vocalist, comedian and entertainer ‘Piano’ Bob Jackson is born Robert Jay Jackson. Since 1997 he has presented a one man cabaret show four nights a week at Riverside’s River Roost Lounge at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. (In addition to his own show at Disney, Jackson has been a featured Orlando-area entertainer, appearing at Seaworld, Gaylord Palms Hotel, and Pat O’Briens Universal Studios Citywalk.)
"I’ve been playing and entertaining since I was a little boy.

It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do!" -Bob Jackson