50th Anniversary Disney Facts

Mickey & Minnie 50th

50th Anniversary Disney Facts

In honor of fifty years strolling down Main Street USA , let’s take a stroll down memory lane with 50 Fun Disney Facts! 

Park Facts:

Magic Kingdom Opening Day

1.) In 1971, the price of admission to Walt Disney World was $3.50! Think about that the next time you buy a Starbucks at Downtown Disney. 

2.) Unfortunately, Walt Disney never saw Walt Disney World. The park was opened in 1971 and he passed away in 1966. 

3.) When choreographing the Indiana Jone’s Epic Stunt Spectacular in Hollywood Studios, Disney hired the same stunt coordinator from the Indiana Jones movie!

4.) Disney helped invent Doritos. Yes, it’s true – they are responsible for our favorite mouse and chip. Not only was Disney the first place to sprinkle pixie dust- they were the first place to sprinkle powdered cheese on chips. It all started in Disneyland’s restaurant Casa de Fritos when the employees were trying to find a way to repurpose their stale tortilla chips. 

5.) You can actually stay in Cinderella’s castle…just not with your DVC points…or money…or unless you win a prize or you are Tom Cruise. Ok, so technically yes there is a room in Cinderella’s Castle that was finished in 2006, but it is impossible to get it in and very few people have actually spent the night. (The last person to sleep near the glass slipper was a Jonas brother- not kidding.)  When it comes to Disney vacations, you can’t put a price tag on happiness, and Disney hasn’t put a price tag on Cinderella’s Castle Room stay either, as they have said they will never have open reservations.

6.)  Club 33 is an hidden club that is in almost all of the parks. (Think country club for the elite- Elton John and Christina Aguilera are two Club 33 members.) The waitlist is said to be on average four years to get a membership interview. The membership cost is 33k and the annual dues are 15k…and you thought that bottle of Dasani at Animal Kingdom was expensive!

7.) Since the park has opened it has been estimated that there have been 1.65 million sunglasses lost.  Luckily, there’s a Sunglass Icon in Downtown Disney! 

8.) Not all the American Flags on Main Street, USA are real American flags! If you look closely the flags that fly above the streets are missing a stripe or a handful of stars. Disney takes proper flag care of all of the true red, white and blue’s with a flag ceremony retreat tribute each evening, the others stay up all night. 

9.) The moat around Cinderella’s castle is 6ft deep and has an estimate of 3.37 million gallons of water in it! 

10.) Animal Kingdom is the largest amusement park in the world spreading over 500 acres! Wait, if it’s the largest park… why does it have the shortest hours? I’ll get on that for you. 

The Man Behind the Mouse: Walt Disney

Walt Disney

11.) Walt Disney played Peter Pan in his school play. 

12.) Walt holds the record for most Academy Awards for a single person. 26 to be exact. ( And 59 nominations! ) 

13.) In 1939, he received an honorary Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The academy gave him one Oscar and 7 mini golden statuettes to represent the dwarfs. 

14.) Disney dropped out of High School at age 16 because he wanted to help his country and fight in World War I. However, he wasn’t old enough so he fudged his age and said he was 17. 

15.) It is said that Walt absolutely insisted on driving his two daughters to school every single day. 

16.) Walt and his wife, Lillian adopted their second daughter as an infant, Sharon Mae Disney. 

17.) Before Lillian was Walt’s wife, she was his employee at his Ink and Paint Department Studio. They were married a year and a half from the day he hired her.

18.) Aristocats was the last Disney movie that Walt was alive to approve. 

19.) Thelma Howard was Walt’s family’s beloved housekeeper and cook for many years. Over her time with the family she was gifted so much Disney stock by Walt, that when she passed she had over 9 million dollars left to split among her family and favorite charities.

20.) Mickey Mouse was named by Walt’s wife, Lillian. He originally named him Mortimer Mouse until Lillian stepped in with “Mickey.” Can you imagine eating a Mortimer Ice Cream bar? Wearing Mortimer Ears? Me either. I’m with Lillian on this one. 

Cue that famous Disney royal blue screen and outline of the castle it’s:

Disney Movie Fact Time!

Walt Disney Pictures

21.) Sleeping Beauty was such a snooze in the box office that Disney waited another 30 years before they made another fairytale, that’s right THIRTY years. There is a thirty year gap between Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid

22.) Not only did 101 Dalmatians save 101 puppies, but it saved over 101 jobs. The success of this film got two paws up and saved the animation department from the hit they took on making Sleeping Beauty. (Sorry, Princess Aurora.)

23.) When doing the sound effects for The Lion King, they actually used real tiger roars instead of real lion roars because they sounded deeper and more frightening. 

24.) Alice in Wonderland was the first Disney film to air on tv!

25.) Rapunzel can be found walking with Flynn towards Anna in Frozen 1!

26.) Radio City Music Hall had to re-upholster their velveteen seats after the showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs because so many children were scared of the witch they peed themselves.  

27.) In Frozen, Anna is the first Disney lead to ever sing a duet with a villain. “Love is no longer an open door for Hans.”

28.) There are only three Disney Movies where both parents of the protagonists are still living. Mulan, The Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians

29.) I’m not lying- Pinocchio has the highest rating of all Disney movies on Rotten Tomatoes… which is amazing because in 1940 it did so badly in theater’s one could say…it was barely hanging on by a string. Get it?

30.) Boo’s real name in Monsters Inc is Mary after the voice actress who played her, Mary Gibbs. If you look closely Boo signs her name on her drawings ,“Mary.”

The Voices Behind Our Favorite Characters:

John Ratzenberger and Disney

31.) John Ratzenberger is the only actor to have his voice bring a character to life in every single Pixar film!

32.) Robin Williams agreed to voice the Genie in Aladdin as long as Disney did not use his voice in merchandising and advertising… Disney did anyway which sparked some friction between Robin and the Disney team. ( Not the Enchantment fireworks friction) As an apology Disney sent Mr. Williams an original Picasso worth $1 million.

33.) The voice of Bambi was played by Marine Donnie Dunagon- who refused to tell anyone he was the voice of Bambi in fear of becoming “Marine Bambi”…I could see that happening. 

34.) Dumbo is the only Disney movie where the lead is mute the entire movie!

35.) Robin Williams improvised most of his lines for Genie and created over 30 hours of recordings which Disney has BUT, is not allowed to use for any reason. ( He even had a clause in his will stating that.) 

36.) Scott Weinger’s voice melted Jasmine’s heart when he played Aladdin, and melted DJ Tanner’s when he played Steve on Full House

37.) Kristin Chenowith and Reese Witherspoon were both being considered for the role of Rapunzel, but the role ultimately would go to Mandy Moore! Kristin states that when the role was being pitched to her, that Rapunzel was initially going to be an animated squirrel- I’m glad they went with a Princess!

38.) Angela Lansbury, who sang one of the most recognizable Disney fairytale songs, “Beauty and the Beast” recorded the song for the movie in only one take! 

39.) Ilene Woods,  who voiced Cinderella, didn’t even know she was auditioning for Cinderella! Miss Woods sent the studio a few demo songs for the film and once Walt heard her voice her dream immediately came true and she was cast as Cinderella. Walt had already auditioned 400 other women for the part. Hey, when shoe fits, right?

40.) And because Disney brings fairytales to real life, this one is heartwarming, but no surprise. The last two voice actors to voice Mickey and Minnie were married in real life! 

DISNEY PRINCESSES

Ariel and Melody

41.) Broadway actress and Tony award winner, Lea Salonga is the voice of TWO Disney Princesses- Mulan and Jasmine! 

40.) Adrianna Caselotti, who brought Snow White to life, only made $20 dollars a day when in the studio. It’s also said she had to sign the rights to her voice away and could not take any other job offers for singing because Disney didn’t want Snow White’s voice all over the radio. (Doesn’t this sound a little Ursula-like to you?)

41.) Sleeping Beauty has the least dialogue and screen time of any Disney Princess. She’s only shown in the film for 18 minutes saying 18 lines. The movie is not titled “Talking Beauty” for a reason. 

42.) Princess and the Frog’s Tiana, is the only princess with dimples.

43.) Walt Disney told Ilene Woods who played Cinderella that Cinderella was his all time favorite princess. The scene where the Fairy Godmother makes her the ballgown is said to be his favorite piece of animation ever. 

43.) Snow White received the recognition she deserved for cleaning up after those 7 dwarfs, as she is the first fictional female to have a star on Hollywood Boulevard. (Fun fact within a fun fact: Did you know if you are nominated for a star, YOU as the performer have to pay 50k to have the star made and have to organize the ceremony for when you receive it or else you don’t get it. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington have yet to have stars because they haven’t scheduled their “ceremony”…ok back to Disney!) 

44.) Brave’s Merida, is the only Pixar Princess. Take that, Elsa! She’s also Pixar’s first female lead.

45.) Belle in Beauty and the Beast was based off of Katherine Hepburn’s performance as Jo in Little Women. They were both strong female leads that loved literature. 

45.) Pocahontas is the only princess that has a tattoo and that is based off of a real woman. 

46.) It’s a girl! Ariel is the only princess with a child- Melody! 

47.) Queen Elsa is the oldest Disney Princess at 21 years old. The rest of the princesses are teenagers. 

48.) Elsa was supposed to be a villain not a princess. Once the writers were done writing the lyrics “Let It Go” they knew it would be a hit and were approved to rewrite the whole script. 

49.) Merida was almost voiced by Reese Witherspoon, but was recast with Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.

50.) Elsa and Anna are NOT considered Official Disney Princesses and it’s pretty 50/50 if they ever will be. For one, they are already queens, but the real reason is that Frozen is a separate franchise and well, the sisters are doing pretty well for themselves and don’t need to be apart of the “Official Disney Princess Club.” 

And that’s all 50! There really are so many magical things that make Walt Disney World the happiest place on earth- we could go on with facts “to Infinity and Beyond!”

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