This Week in Disney History: Oct. 19-25


Oct. 23, 1941 - Walt Disney's 'Dumbo' is released in theaters
Dumbo is a circus elephant who's a little different from the rest. Made fun of for his huge ears, Dumbo is demoted to clown when he causes an elephant acrobatic stunt to go wrong. Despondent over his new role, Dumbo and his self-appointed confidant, Timothy Q. Mouse, wake up to a surprise one morning in a tree. Timothy realizes that Dumbo must be able to fly, using his enormous ears as wings, and employs a "magic" feather to coax the talent out of the elephant. But when Dumbo loses the feather during his big performance, Timothy helps Dumbo use self-confidence to fly instead of magic, and the pachyderm soars into the sunset as the circus' new headliner. Following the creative triumph but financial disappointment of "Fantasia," Walt Disney's fourth feature reflected his desire to infuse simplicity and economy into his filmmaking. "Dumbo" cost less to produce than any of his three previous animated films, and at 64 minutes in length, it was one of his shortest. Storybook Circus, part of New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World Resort, features an all-new version of the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction with a fun interactive queue.

Oct. 25, 2008 - Pixie Hollow opens at Disneyland Park
Tinker Bell has been flying over Disneyland Park fireworks displays since 1961, but this character meet-and-greet in Fantasyland gives Guests a chance to say hello to the precocious pixie. By entering Pixie Hollow, Guests magically shrink down to fairy size, wandering through blades of grass and flowers to Tinker Bell's teapot home. Along the way, you'll learn that every fairy has a special talent that helps make the seasons change. Miss Bell is an excellent tinkerer, and you may also meet some of her friends from the "Tinker Bell" movie series, including gardening expert Rosetta, animal lover Fawn, water worker Silvermist and light-controlling Iridessa. The latest visitor to Pixie Hollow is Periwinkle, the ice talent fairy introduced in "Secret of the Wings," available Oct. 23 on Disney Blu-ray and DVD. Pixie Hollow is also a multi-player online game on, allowing kids to create their own fairy avatar and fly through a virtual world.

Also this week in Disney history:
Oct. 19
1955 - "The Story of the Silly Symphony" debuts on "Disneyland" (television series)
1989 - Wonders of Life pavilion soft-opens at Epcot

Oct. 20 1931 - "The Fox Hunt" (Silly Symphony) debuts
1965 - The identity behind the fake corporations used by Walt Disney to purchase land for his Florida project is leaked to the Orlando Sentinel
1995 - Walt Disney Pictures releases the documentary "Frank and Ollie"
1997 - "Bear in the Big Blue House" (television series) premieres on Disney Channel
2008 - Blue Sky Cellar opens at Disney California Adventure Park

Oct. 21
1951 - "Fathers Are People" (Goofy cartoon short) debuts
1982 - Epcot leaders dedicate El Rio del Tiempo at the Mexico pavilion

Oct. 22
1979 - The 100 millionth Guest visits Magic Kingdom Park
1998 - Groundbreaking ceremonies take place for Tokyo DisneySea and the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta

Oct. 23
1930 - "The Picnic" (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1959 - "The Birth of the Swamp Fox," the first episode of an 8-part mini-series starring Leslie Nielsen, debuts on "Walt Disney Presents"
1982 - "EPCOT Center: The Opening Celebration," hosted by Danny Kaye, airs on CBS
1985 - Nine Dragons Restaurant opens in the China pavilion at Epcot

Oct. 24
1929 - "Springtime" (first of four Silly Symphony cartoons based on the seasons) debuts
1964 - The "Ayefour Corporation" purchases the first five acres of land for Walt Disney's Florida project
1982 - Epcot is officially dedicated at the Walt Disney World Resort
2001 - Disney completes its acquisition of the Fox Family Channel, now ABC Family
2008 - Pixie Hollow opens at Magic Kingdom Park (meet-and-greet moved to Tinker Bell's Magical Nook in 2011)

Oct. 25
1971 - The Walt Disney World Resort is officially dedicated in Florida
1985 - Helicopters fly dolphins in to The Living Seas at Epcot
1994 - Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" on video for the first time
1999 - Magic Kingdom leaders unveil a statue of Roy O. Disney, Walt's brother, on Main Street, U.S.A