Video: Disneyland 1957

This footage of Disneyland 1957 was previously unreleased until recently. The film was cleaned up, edited, and paired with music, but all of the images are original. In 1957, the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California wasn’t even yet two years old. The park opened in July of 1955. The best part about this footage is that it is actually good! The editing and overall cleanup job helps, of course, but the original filmmaker did a respectable job at capturing various aspects of the park and the young Disneyland experience.

Learn About the Disney Castle in Disneyland CA

Disneyland in Sand: The Blankenberge Sand Sculpture Festival

If you’re traveling near Brugge, Belgium, over the next two weeks, you might be wondering if you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the outskirts of Paris. No worries – your GPS is not broken – you’ve just stumbled upon the annual Blankenberge Sand Sculpture festival. This year’s theme happens to be the recreation of the Disneyland Paris Resort, based on the Magical Moments Festival currently underway.

Drawing a team of nearly 40 of the most talented artists in the world, Blankenberge’s Sand Sculpture Festival is a world-renowned event that continues to grow each year. In 2010, it set the world record for the longest sculpture promenade at 841.80 meters – more than a two hour walk!

While past festival themes have taken inspiration from Disney elements, the recreation of an entire Disney theme park in 125 sand sculptures is a first.

Enter the first festival tent and find yourself in the middle of Disneyland Paris’ Main Street, U.S.A. Intricate details and elements are vividly captured in each of the sculptures, helping to bring that special Disney magic to life.

As you wind through the tent, the sculptures seemingly get more detailed and larger than life as you now find yourself in Fantasyland with iconic Disney attractions, like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Casey Jr. Train.

Much like each of the Disney Theme Parks, the central focal point is the iconic princess castle. The tallest and most elaborate sculpture in the initial display tent is undoubtedly Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which is flanked by many legendary and modern day Disney princesses.

While most people stopped to admire the castle for what seemed like hours, I found myself drawn to the labyrinth that was just ahead. Next to the 3-D experience of watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movie – or perhaps a visit to an Amsterdam coffee shop – this is probably the closest any of us will get to “being” Alice.

%Gallery-132752%Nearly one-third of the first tent was devoted to Alice and her labyrinth. Each turn presented a sensory overload with walls of sculptures and iconic Alice in Wonderland characters. Pose by the Cheshire Cat, have tea with the Mad Hatter, or take a toke with Absolem the Blue Caterpillar

In what has been a seemingly wet summer for parts of Europe, the outdoor sculptures have fared surprisingly well. Here you can walk around many iconic Disney “E-Ticket” attractions including Big Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, Hollywood Tower of Terror, and my personal favorite – Phantom Manor – Disneyland Paris’ version of the Haunted Mansion. Complete with the cemetery, a visit on a stormy day is definitely a great way to get in the Halloween spirit now!

Another tent includes an ode to Disney movies and everyone’s favorite pirate – Jack Sparrow. A mix between notable Pirates of the Caribbean attraction elements and the movie characters, this is a definite festival highlight for many Disney fans.

Sadly, it seems the pirates in the jail scene might’ve had their sentence lengthened since the dog’s key didn’t survive the duration of the festival. You’d almost have to assume since they’ve been trying to bribe the dog since 1967, one more year won’t make that much of a difference.

Other Disney classics include characters from Peter Pan, The Lion King, and even The Jungle Book. And it wouldn’t be a complete recreation of Disneyland Paris without the one-year-old Toy Story Playland and Disney-Pixar characters, showcased in the third and final tent.

Despite Disney fans’ divided opinions on the land as a whole, you can’t help but love the artists’ whimsical recreations of Toy Story Playland elements, including the entrance marquee. Represented Pixar movies include Wall-E, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, and Cars 2.

If you are interested in visiting the Blankenberge Sand Sculpture Festival this year, you better hurry as the Disney magic ends on September 12. The festival is open 10am – 7pm daily and prices are €11 for adults, €9 for students and 60+, €7 for children between 4-12 years old, and children under 3 are free.

Don’t despair just yet if you didn’t make this year’s Disneyland themed festival. There’s a chance you might be able to see something similar at one of the Disney Theme Parks in the future. While nothing is official yet, Nieuwsblad.be has reported that representatives from Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World held talks to discuss the potential of building sand sculptures in both theme parks. With Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary right around the corner on October 1st, and Disneyland Paris approaching its 20th anniversary next year, anything is possible with a little pixie dust.

Earthquake strands thousands at Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea

Thousands of guests were stranded in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea after the massive earthquake that rocked the island nation on Friday. Park employees have been giving out humanitarian aid including blankets, heaters, plastic raincoats, food, and water. While Disney has reported only a few minor injuries and minimal property damage, other reports state that the earthquake has liquefied the parking lot. Authorities suspect that shaking from the earthquake caused water from the coastline to mix with the soil. The Disney parks were built on a landfill making the parks susceptible to flooding.

According to Disney, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will remained closed to allow for a thorough inspection of the attractions and facilities. Inside the Magic has pictures from social media sites of the stranded guests and damage to the park. Below is a video of park guests experiencing the earthquake while they were waiting for a parade.

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain to be closed this spring

If you plan to visit Southern Cailfornia this spring, a ride on Splash Mountain won’t be in the cards. Disneyland’s famous water ride is closed for refurbishment until just before Memorial Day.

The 4-month closure is part of a regular refurbishment program at Disneyland. Big rides get spruced up every 5 to 10 years, and it was Splash Mountain’s turn, reports the Orange County Register.

Splash Mountain opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1989. It is a 9-minute long log flume ride that winds through scenes from Song of the South, the classic Disney film that tells the stories of Brer Rabbit. At the end, Splash Mountain riders find Brer Rabbit’s laughing place – at the bottom of a five-story drop.

The ride has become one of Disney’s iconic attractions, and versions of Splash Mountain have spread to two other Disney theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

No major changes to Disneyland’s Splash Mountain are expected during the refurbishment period.

[Image credit: Flickr user lrargerich]

Disney photo privacy questions raised by new ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign

Disney photo privacy questions raised by new show

Walt Disney World and Disneyland are inviting guests to share their Disney Parks memories in the form of photos, video and stories submitted to a Disney Web site as part of a 2011 marketing campaign called “Let the Memories Begin.” Videos shot by Disney visitors are being used in TV commercials for the theme parks.

And a key component of the new marketing campaign starts early this year, when Disney will begin projecting images of guests in the park that day on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World and on It’s A Small World at Disneyland.

So, how will those images be chosen, and what if you don’t want your larger-than-life likeness shown?

Disney says the up to 500 photos used daily will be provided by Disney PhotoPass Photographers, those guys and gals who stop you and ask to take your picture at various scenic locations throughout Disney’s theme parks.

You will be able to opt out and keep your photo out of the nightly show, Disney tells the Orlando Sentinel. That’s a smart move for a company using the images in what is essentially another piece of a marketing campaign.

However, on an individual basis, you should know that photos taken of you inside U.S. theme parks are pretty much fair game. If your image winds up on someone else’s Twitter stream or Flickr account, there’s really nothing you can do.

Some theme parks print a generic “use of likeness” release on the physical ticket you are given; others include it in the terms and conditions you agree to when purchasing tickets online.

But lawyers say that even without some sort of printed photo release, you don’t have much recourse if you want a photo removed from, say, someone else’s Facebook. With thousands of people taking thousands of photos every day, there’s no real expectation of privacy if your face is captured in the crowd.