Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grand Opening of Walt Disney World Swan Resort


Jan 11, 1990
Grand Opening of Walt Disney World Swan Resort

On this day in 1990 the Walt Disney World Swan Resort held its grand opening, allowing guests to glide in to the deluxe hotel designed by award-winning architect Michael Graves. This waterfront resort consists of a central 12-story building with an arched rooftop featuring a pair of graceful 47-foot swan statues. Across Crescent Lake sits the Graves-designed sister hotel, the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. The swan and dolphin were chosen for the resorts because they represent classical and contemporary symbols of water.

The Hollywood Reporter runs the front page headline: WALT DISNEY PLANS TV SHOW. Roy O. Disney has announced to stockholders, in a controversial move, that a Disney television show would be "designed not only to produce revenue but also to publicize all of the company's product."

Disneyland kicks off its 35th anniversary celebration. On hand for the first time since 1955 are all three of the original hosts of the park's grand opening live broadcast. Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan reunite in front of Main Street station before taking part in the Party Gras Parade - featuring New Orleans-style floats and 40-foot-tall balloons.

Meanwhile down in Florida, the Walt Disney World Swan Resort holds its grand opening. The deluxe hotel, designed by award-winning architect Michael Graves, is a 12-story building with an arched rooftop featuring a pair of graceful 47-foot swan statues. Located between Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios (later renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios), it is owned by Tishman Hotel Corporation and operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide under the Westin brand. (Its sister hotel the Walt Disney World Dolphin will open in June 1990.)

The 5th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon takes place in Florida. Santiago de Araujo of Sao Paulo, Brazil, wins with a time of 2:23:25.

Other winners on this day include:
Women’s Overall: Lyubov Klochko, Gainesville, Fla., 2:44:47
Men’s Masters: Jeff Delie, Palm Harbor, Fla., 2:33.32
Women’s Masters: Bonnie Moser, Miami, Fla., 3:08.46
Men’s Chair: Saul Mendoza, Col Ramos Milla, Mexico, 1:47.59
Women’s Chair: Katherine Hunter, Orlando, Fla., 2:42.59
Men’s Half: Keith Brantly, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 1:09.58
Women’s Half: Joan Samuelson, Freeport, Maine, 1:18.13
Men’s Half Chair: Joe Dowling, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1:07:30

A star-studded, high-energy party marks the Grand Opening of the Downtown Disney District at The Disneyland Resort in Southern California. At this one-of-a-kind premiere benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, donors and celebrity guests (like Sylvester Stallone and Paul Glaser) enjoy entertainment, world-class cuisine and unique shopping opportunities in more than two dozen clubs, restaurants and boutiques that make up the new addition to The Disneyland Resort. (The Downtown area will officially open to the public the very next day.)

Variety reports that Disney will develop a script inspired by its Haunted Mansion attraction. In "Haunted House," a father who has neglected his family encounters a ghost while on a job interview. The vision spooks him into a profound awareness of the importance of his family.

Superstar Limo, a dark ride attraction running since the debut of Disney's California Adventure, closes.

Situated in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area of the Anaheim park, it was one of the original attractions (and the only dark ride) featured on opening day in February 2001.

Superstar Limo took guests on a ride through a cartoon version of Hollywood and featured Audio Animatronics models of celebrities like Tim Allen, Drew Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, and Regis Philbin.

The attraction closed due to an overwhelmingly negative response from guests and was eventually replaced in 2006 with Monsters, Inc.: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue. (In fact, Superstar's purple limos were repainted as Monstropolis taxi cabs.)

he 11th annual Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon both take place with a record-setting 24,000 participants (15,500 in the full marathon and 8,500 in the half marathon). Floridians Matthew Dobson of Jay and Kim Donaldson of St. Petersburg finish in first and second place (it is the first all-
American championship finish in the 11-year history of the race). Clinton Verran, Nicholas Cordes and Brian Sell (a trio of Michigan runners tuning up for the Olympic Trials) cross the half marathon finish line together in a record-shattering time of 1:05:43.

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean wins a People's Choice Award for favorite motion picture at the 30th annual event.

According to Box Office Mojo, Disney's Finding Nemo is #9 in Word Wide All-Time Box Office Grosses (as of this day) at $821.3 million. Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean comes in at #18 with $653.4 million.

Disney announces in a letter from CEO Bob Iger to shareholders that the 2008 annual meeting of shareholders will be held March 6, 2008 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The 16th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon takes place with Brazilian Adriano Bastos winning for the fifth consecutive year (and sixth time overall). He finishes the 26.2-mile jaunt through all four of Disney's theme parks in 2:20:38. Lisa Mizutani, a 23-year-old medical student from Japan, wins the women's title in 2:46:27.

Other 2009 winners (over the last two days) include:
Men’s Masters: Stuart McLay, San Salvador, El Salvador, 2:35:20
Women’s Masters: Terri Rejimbal, Tampa, Fla., 3:04:57
Men’s Chair: Krige Schabort, Cedartown, Ga., 1:37:19
Women’s Chair: Shirley Reilly, Tucson, Ariz., 2:09:51
Men’s Half: David Jankowski, Rochester Hills, Mich., 1:07:36
Women’s Half: Elizabeth Chelagat, Las Cruces, N.M., 1:17:32
Men’s Half Chair: John Payne, Germantown, Tenn., 1:24:18
Women’s Half Chair: Jacqui Kapinowski, Point Pleasant, N.J., 1:24:51

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