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    19 Disney Facts You Might Not Know That Are Honestly Fascinating

    Once upon a time, Disneyland used to be closed two days out of the week.

    1. Mickey and Minnie Mouse share the exact same birthday — Nov. 18, 1928 — as they both appeared in Steamboat Willie together.

    Title card for "Steamboat Willie" featuring Mickey and Minnie
    Disney/ youtube.com

    Nov. 18 is set as their birthdays as that is the day that their first cartoon Steamboat Willie premiered.

    2. But, Steamboat Willie was NOT the first cartoon Mickey and Minnie appeared in. It was actually Plane Crazy.

    Mickey sitting in a plane while Minnie looks from the ground
    Disney/ youtube.com

    While Plane Crazy was the first Mickey cartoon ever made, it was actually the third one released. Also, Mickey and Minnie didn't wear shoes in it.

    3. Prior to 1988, Minnie Mouse only starred in one cartoon by herself: 1942's Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire, which was a WWII training video about rationing.

    Minnie holding a skillet with bacon fat on it over Pluto's dog bowl full of bones as Pluto looks on
    Disney

    4. In 1988, Minnie did get her own starring role with her TV special Totally Minnie.

    Minnie Mouse dancing with Elton John, who is in a dark pink plaid suit
    Walt Disney Co. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    She even got to duet with Elton John on his hit song "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in it.

    5. In 1983, the first program to air when the Disney Channel launched was a TV show called Good Morning Mickey, which was a series that was made up of classic Mickey Mouse cartoons.

    Disney

    And the first cartoon to air as part of the series was 1941's The Nifty Nineties.

    6. The first Disney Channel Original Movie was 1997's Northern Lights, starring Diane Keaton.

    Diane Keaton in short blonde bob sitting on the bed next to a kid
    Alliance Communication Corp. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Prior to 1997, Disney Channel TV movies were called Disney Channel Premiere Films, and those date back to 1983, when the channel launched.

    7. While A Goofy Movie is considered a classic today, in 1995 the film was only moderately successful in theaters and didn't become a hit until it was released on video.

    A GOOFY MOVIE really took off when it was released on VHS tape on September 6, 1995 and the audience for the film has grown and grown, generation after generation over the years. #D23GoofyMovie

    Twitter: @GoofyMovieDir

    By most accounts, it seemed like Disney thought the movie would be forgotten quickly.

    8. In 1985, Pinocchio became the first classic Disney animated movie to get released onto home video and they charged a premium for it, pricing it at $79.95 (which would be around $198 in today's money).

    A 1985 copy of "Pinocchio" VHS
    ebay.com

    Prior to 1985, the only animated movies out on home video were Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and Dumbo (which Disney did not consider part of its classic films).

    9. Dumbo the Flying Elephant did not open with Disneyland.

    A photo of the Dumbo ride at Disneyland in 2019
    Medianews Group / Getty Images

    The ride was intended to be an opening day attraction. But because of technical difficulties, it did not open until almost a month later, on Aug. 16, 1955.

    10. It wasn't until 1986 that Disneyland began being open 365 days a year. Prior to that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    The front of Disneyland's gates closed with the train station in the background
    Allen J. Schaben / Getty Images

    Disneyland used to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the off-season, which was September through May. But it would open seven days a week during the holidays.

    11. Disneyland Paris's version of the Haunted Mansion — Phantom Manor — is the only one of these attractions to have its story tied directly to the land that it resides in.

    A photo of the Phantom Manor
    Bertrand Guay / Getty Images

    The ride is located in Frontierland (within the fictional town of Thunder Mesa) and is supposed to be the mansion of the once evil owner of Big Thunder Mining Company, Henry Ravenswood.

    12. The first Disney animated film to use computer animation was 1986's The Great Mouse Detective.

    Disney

    It was used in the scene toward the end of the film where Basil and Ratigan are running through the gears of Big Ben.

    13. There was once a Jessica Rabbit–themed store at Walt Disney World's Pleasure Island (which is now the Landing and is part of Disney Springs) called Jessica's, which sold lingerie, clothing, and souvenirs based off of her.

    PlutoParkingTV/ youtube.com

    The shop was only open from December 1990 to February 1993.

    14. Hocus Pocus was originally a short story that the film's producer David Kirschner submitted to Muppet Magazine in the early '80s, which is based on a bedtime story he told his kids.

    A photo of Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters
    Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    David was inspired to pursue making it into a film after getting a great response from the kids who read the magazine.

    15. Down and Out in Beverly Hills was Disney's first R-rated movie.

    The poster for the movie featuring Richard Dreyfuss, Nick Nolte, and Bette Midler sitting on a Rolls
    Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    The 1986 movie was released through Disney's Touchstone film division and was a big hit.

    16. There could've been a Mary Poppins sequel in the '80s.

    Disney

    In the '80s, British writer Brian Sibley had befriended Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, who had famously disliked the original film and had turned down Disney's numerous requests to make a sequel. P.L. mentioned that Disney had reached out again to ask and that she was going to say no, to which Brian replied that it was a shame that there hadn't been a sequel. To his surprise, P.L. said she would agree to it only if she had control and if he wrote it.

    Brian then wrote to Roy Disney (whom Brian had met before) about there being a real chance of there being a sequel. He then sat down with P.L. for months to write the script. While the studio had been interested — going as far as flying Brian to LA and having script conferences — things started to fall apart when it came to casting it. Julie Andrews did not want to return to the role, and they couldn't find a good fit for the new Bert-type character. To add to that, new executives began running Disney. Eventually the entire movie was abandoned.

    17. The song "A Whole New World" was actually a last-minute addition to Aladdin. It was added after the character of Aladdin's mom was removed from the film.

    A screenshot of Jasmine and Aladdin flying on Carpet through the sky
    Disney

    Originally, the ballad in the film was supposed to be "Proud of Your Boy," a song Aladdin sings to his mom at the beginning of the movie. The film's composer Alan Menken knew there needed to be a ballad, so he reworked a song he and lyricist Tim Rice were doing for a magic carpet ride scene. The addition of "A Whole New World" also gave Jasmine a song to sing in the film.

    18. Andreas Deja — who was the supervising animator for Gaston in Beauty the Beast — took inspiration for the design of the character from Brom Bones, who was Ichabod Crane’s nemesis in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

    Disney

    According to Andreas, he based Gaston's "swagger" on men in the gym who would check themselves out in the mirror.

    19. And lastly, Saved by the Bell was originally a Disney Channel show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss that ran from 1988–89.

    "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" promotional photo
    Courtesy Everett Collection

    Good Morning, Miss Bliss was originally created as primetime TV sitcom for NBC, with Hayley Mills playing Indiana elementary school teacher Miss Carrie Bliss. However, after the pilot aired, NBC decided they didn't want the show.

    Good Morning, Miss Bliss was then ordered by the Disney Channel (with NBC still producing it). While Hayley Mills stayed on as Miss Bliss, the show was slightly reworked with it now taking place in a junior high and new characters being cast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris; Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers; Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle; and Dennis Haskins as Mr. Richard Belding). The show didn't do great in the ratings at the Disney Channel, so it was canceled after 13 episodes.

    After its cancellation, NBC decided it wanted to show 'cause it would be great for its Saturday morning lineup. The shows producers then reworked it for its new network and time slot by changing the location to California, setting it in a high school, and focusing it on the students. It also brought the characters of Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding over too and no one ever spoke of Miss Bliss again.

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