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.

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]

Get tips on visiting Disney with a special needs child at Mouse-Aid

Disneyland and Disney World are supposed to be the happiest places on Earth. Every child wants to go to this place of wonder and excitement, and special needs children are no exception. But for parents of these children, the thought of organizing a trip may seem like a far too difficult task. That’s where the Mouse-Aid website comes in.

The website is not affiliated with Disney, but it is designed to help parents of children with special needs negotiate the obstacles to taking their kids on a Disney vacation. There are tips for travel, packing, get around the parks, dining and choosing a room, and what issues parents of special needs kids should consider The special needs covered range from physical and mental disabilities to ADHD and terminal illness.

For many parents, the most helpful part of the site might be the forums. Here parents can discuss the issues important for their children, like which rides might scare kids frightened of the dark. They can also find support in parents dealing with similar issues as themselves. As the aunt of a special needs child, I’ve seen how just knowing that there are other parents who understand your situation can be a big help in and of itself. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, and you are planning a trip to a Disney theme park, it might be worth checking out the Mouse-Aid site.

French Balloon soars 400 feet over Disney World

French Balloon maker Aérophile just announced the newest attraction for Disney World. Their 105 foot high “Characters in Flight” balloon will soar 400 feet over Downtown Disney, and can carry up to 30 passengers in its gondola.

When the weather cooperates, passengers will be able to get a 360 degree view for up to 10 miles. The balloon is tethered to a special star shaped landing dock, and a quick mooring system means they can keep things going a decent pace, without having to wait in line too long.

Rides on the balloon are $16 for adults and $10 for children (10 and under).

A similar balloon has been soaring over Paris for a decade, and has proven to be a huge success.

Queens in the Kingdom

USA Today recently interviewed the authors of a new gay-persons guide to the Disney Theme Parks, called Queens in the Kingdom.

Jeffrey Epstein and Eddie Shapiro talk about Disney’s recent announcement that they’ll allow “Fairy Tale” weddings for same-sex couples. (Actually, since California and Florida don’t allow actual weddings for same-sex couples, they’ll be “commitment ceremonies.”)

They also hit upon their favorite park locales, including Ellen DeGeneres’ Energy Adventure and Honey I Shrunk the Audience. They should know, they’ve been to the parks 784,012 times.