Thursday, August 14, 2014

#Disneyland60.....Today In Disneyland History....... August 14, 1958

Walt Disney Hosts Alice In Wonderland
August 14, 1958

I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." 
Lewis Carroll- "Alice In Wonderland" 

Although this famous Fantasyland ride actually had it’s premier on June 14, 1958, nearly 3 years after Disneyland Park opened to the public, on August 14, 1958, Disneyland celebrated the Grand Opening of Fantasyland’s Alice in Wonderland dark ride with the ceremony being hosted by Walt Disney himself with Mouseketeer Karen Pendleton dressed as Alice.  Alice in Wonderland is one of a handful of attractions that are unique to Disneyland Park; you won’t find the attraction anywhere else. The ride was based on Disney’s animated feature film Alice in Wonderland, which was released July 28, 1951. This beloved ride follows the path of the movie, as the guests follow the White Rabbit down the Rabbit Hole into Wonderland. They spin through scenes in a madcap fashion, dodging absurd creatures in the Tulgey Wood with some questionable guidance from the Cheshire Cat. 

When the Queen of Hearts loses to Alice at croquet, she threatens to chop off the innocent girl's head as she (and the ride vehicles) make their escape. After escaping the Queen of Hearts, the vehicles leave the ride building’s second floor (a rare occurrence in a non-thrill ride at a Disney park) and descending right by people waiting in line, before heading to the climactic scene at the Mad Tea Party. The White Rabbit quivers as a giant unbirthday cake with a dynamite candle on top of it explodes and the ride vehicles escape back to where they began. In 1983, the ride was updated as part of an overall refurbishment of Fantasyland, as the Upside-Down Room and Oversized Room were eliminated and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party was moved to the very end of the ride. A new narration track by Kathryn Beaumont, the actress who voiced Alice in the film, was recorded. To create more unified theming in Fantasyland, the Mad Tea Party attraction was moved from a location at the rear of Fantasyland to a location adjacent to the Alice in Wonderland ride that same year. 

The Alice in Wonderland ride, however, did not reopen until 1984, one year after the rest of the New Fantasyland opened. Until the most recent 2014 refurbishment, Alice herself was only seen in the singing flower garden, hidden behind a leaf to the visitors' right. Now, she is featured in several scenes. After 55 years, Alice in Wonderland continues to be a favorite stop in Fantasyland for both children and adults. And that’s what happened to day in Disneyland’s history. 

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