The Harrowing Tale of Disneyland’s First Entertainment Director, Tommy Walker

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Sadly it’s been much, much too long since Disneyland history sleuth Jason Schultz updated his Disneyland Nomenclature blog, but we promise to forgive if he returns with more great content like this new piece detailing a chilling chapter in Disneyland’s history.

The park’s musical atmosphere owes a lot to the Walker family of Vessey and his son Tommy. Vessey was the Main Street Band leader from the park’s opening through 1968. After a stint at USC (where he invented the famous ‘Charge’ tune you hear everywhere today) Tommy became the Disneyland Entertainment Director and, among other things, had a hand in creating Date Nites, Disneyland at Disneyland, 1960 Winter Olympics ceremonies, and even synchronized fireworks and music.

But all that could have been prevented had one night in Tommy Walker’s young life gone a different way. Because on February 23, 1956, Walker was kidnapped.

Read the entire fascinating tale on Schultz’s blog.

Photo credit: Pam Smith

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Posted in Disneyland, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars: Commander puts you in charge of the galaxy

Star-Wars-Commander-Art

As an android user, I normally don’t share games that are only available for iOS set, but today I’ll make an exception. The new “Star Wars: Commander” mobile game from Disney Interactive and Lucasfilm looks fantastic, but it’s an iOS exclusive for now. During the game, players will join either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire to recruit and lead their force across the Star Wars galaxy in epic battles to claim ultimate victory for their side.

Star Wars: Commander features the full array of vehicles, weapons and technology from the Star Wars universe. Players who rally to the Rebellion will call upon iconic heroes such as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Princess Leia to support missions for justice and freedom, while leaders of the Imperial forces will command AT-ATs, TIE fighters and Stormtroopers to gain control of the galaxy.

Star Wars: Commander also offers an original Star Wars storyline set within the Galactic Civil War of Episodes IV – VI, where “commanders” determine if it’s the Empire’s strength and relentlessness or the Rebellion’s heroism and resourcefulness that will win the war.

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In Star Wars: Commander players will:

  • Choose a side: Command AT-ATs, TIE fighters and Stormtroopers as the Empire or call on iconic heroes like Han Solo and Princess Leia as part of the Rebellion.
  • Build and defend a base: Train unique troops specific to each faction, and fortify a base with deflector shields, turrets, heavy artillery, and other defenses.
  • Lead epic battles: Strategically deploy powerful armies, units, and vehicles against enemies and other players around the galaxy.
  • Travel to multiple planets and complete special missions: Play an all-new story as a valiant leader on the front lines of the Galactic Civil War.
  • Upgrade a strike team and its defenses: Strengthen forces with multiple levels of upgrades for each unit.

Players can join the battle for control of the galaxy on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch by downloading the game from the iTunes app store.

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Posted in Disney Interactive, Games | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Disney Interactive expands “Family” of websites

disney-family

Disney Interactive is one of the unsung heroes of a Disney household. Through their collection of websites including, Babble, Spoonful, Disney Baby, and more, they reach out to the Disney mom and family in need of some inspiration or advice.

A new website has just been created by the same group — Family.Disney.com. It will be home to thousands of Disney-themed recipes, crafts, and activities in one easy-to-use site. It will also feature tips and ideas on making the fun and magic of Disney easy and convenient.

A few of the new crafts and recipes you can try that are online right now include, Disney-themed crafts like Frozen-Inspired Tic-Tac-Snow; recipes such as  Yoda’s Green Sherbet Sundae; activities like  Cars Weekly Homework Calendar; and ideas to celebrate seasonal events like Back-to-School or Halloween with crafts like this Ariel Pumpkin Carving Template.

Think of it as a new online destination for your Disney family. What Disney websites are you a regular visitor to?

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The Galaxy Getaways from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

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Can’t get enough of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy? Then you’ll be wanting to check out this interview of the film’s director James Gunn on KCRW’s radio show “The Treatment” with Elvis Mitchell. It’s the perfect length for your lunchtime listen today.

I’m also impressed with the three posters advertising a viral marketing site for Guardians of the Galaxy:

Fun in the suns? You got it! Book a trip to your favorite galactic destination today. Marvel has made three destinations available each with its own dedicated poster Knowhere, Morag, and Xandar.

Head to the viral marketing site set up as a galactic travel agency and explore. There are a couple fun games to play. I wish this had come out before the movie. Oh well, the posters are still cool. I’d love to have them hanging on my wall in my room if I were still a kid.

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Posted in marvel, Movies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars Theme Park Fan Made Map

Artist Tom Hodges, whose punk Little Mermaid “Undersea Underground” t-shirt you may have seen on TeeFury recently, created this excellent map for a Star Wars theme park.

star wars theme park map by Todd Hodges

Featuring the tried and true hub and spoke model, the map of a Star Wars theme park looks familiar to Disneyland fans. There’s the Coruscant shopping district instead of Main Street, Kashyyk Family Treehouse instead of Swiss Family Treehouse, Chewie’s Barbeque instead of Bengal barbeque, etc.

It was licensed & made as a poster for the Star Wars Celebration V event that was held previously in Orlando.

This map has me dreaming of what Disney could build if they decided to open a 3rd gate in Anaheim or a 5th gate in Orlando. Would you like to visit a Star Wars theme park some day? What would you put in it?

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Posted in Star Wars, Themepark Industry | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment