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The waiting period between planning an exciting Disneyland vacation and actually going on the vacation can be excruciating, especially for families who book months or years in advance in order to take advantage of exclusive discounts and special offers.
In What to Watch Before Disney World, I recommended one way to while away the weeks leading up to a Disney World vacation: watch all of the films and TV shows which inspired – or were inspired by – attractions at the four major Disney World theme parks. As a companion piece to that entry, below is a chart of all the rides at Disneyland and California Adventures and the movies and TV shows that inspired them. Attractions that have closed are designated with an asterisk(*).
Try catching one or two movies per week while gearing up for your trip. Enjoy – and happy watching!
Recently, I visited my old blog and I stumbled across an entry I wrote about the children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which inspired the movie musical of the same name. I was embarrassed to see that I had incorrectly attributed the film to Walt Disney Studios, when it was actually produced and distributed by EON Productions and United Artists. But my mistake is understandable. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a magical, family-friendly musical starring Dick Van Dyke and released in 1968, four years after the release of that other magical, family-friendly musical starring Dick Van Dyke: Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964).
Screenshot from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
When I was growing up, my VHS home video collection was an equal mix of Disney- and non-Disney productions, and even though I know my Disney Animated Classics by heart, I’m still a little iffy on which live action films from my childhood were made by Disney and which weren’t.
As a companion piece to Animated Movies NOT By Disney, I present some of the live action family-friendly favorites from my childhood that had nothing whatsoever to do with Disney. What are some films that you were surprised to discover weren’t made by Disney?
While it’s entirely possible to plan a last-minute fantasy vacation to the Disney World Resort in Orlando, most families spend months or even years planning and saving for their Disney World trips. Last year I started planning my September honeymoon visit in April, and the six months of waiting I had to endure was agonizing.
One idea I had to while away the weeks was to watch all of the films and TV shows which inspired – or were inspired by – attractions at the four major Disney World theme parks. I didn’t end up committing to this last year as I was too busy planning my wedding, but I think it’s a great way to get amped for a Disney visit, and it’s the perfect excuse for a marathon of Disney’s best!
Depending on how long you have until your trip, try watching one or two films per week. Movies that aren’t already in your home video collection can be rented through Netflix.com or purchased on Amazon.com. Films that are currently in the Disney Vault may be tricky to get your hands on without paying premium prices from online dealers selling used copies. If you’ve been to the parks before and have a soft-spot for attractions that have previously closed (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc.), challenge yourself by watching those films too, in homage to the rides that once were.
At the box office, Cars 2 is far from Pixar’s most well-received film, being ranked dead-last in critical appeal (37% on Rotten Tomatoes), and performing sluggishly both domestically and worldwide, with a current total haul of $317.3M, as compared with mega-hits like Up ($731.3M), Finding Nemo ($867.8M), and Toy Story 3 ($1,063.1M). But Cars merchandise continue to be some of Disney’s best-selling, and the characters are featured in a multitude of new products that can be found in bedrooms, bathrooms, and classrooms around the globe.
Lightning McQueen speeds through the flowerbeds at the 2011 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Photograph by Mandy Chorman
Thanks in part to its place in history as the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon and its appearance in the Walt Disney Animation Studios logo, most people are at least passingly familiar with Steamboat Willie, which debuted more than 80 years ago on November 18th, 1928. Steamboat Willie features Mickey Mouse as a sailor on a ship captained by the villainous Peg-Leg Pete, with Minnie Mouse as one of the ship’s passengers. The short’s most iconic shot is of Mickey whistling cheerfully while at the helm of the ship, and this shot can be seen in the Walt Disney Animation Studios logo as an artist’s flipbook transforms into the animated clip.
If you’re a fan of Steamboat Willie or any of the hundreds of Mickey Mouse cartoons that have come along since, then it’s high time that you add them to your home video collection. From now through September 14th, Disney Movie Rewards is offering a discount on the Have a Laugh DVDs, a collection of four DVDs featuring classic Mickey Mouse cartoons.