This Week in Disney History: Oct. 26-Nov. 1


On a stormy Halloween night in 1939, five people stepped aboard a Hollywood Tower Hotel elevator and into a nightmare.

Oct. 26, 1997 - "Tower of Terror" premieres on "The Wonderful World of Disney"
These, as you may recognize, are the five people who mysteriously plunged down a Hollywood Tower Hotel elevator shaft: a beloved child actress and her nanny, a debutante singer and her boyfriend and a tower bellhop. But their disappearance remains unexplained, and washed-up tabloid reporter Buzzy Crocker is called to investigate the mysterious paranormal happenings at the closed hotel, which after sixty years has fallen into disrepair. Working with his feisty niece, Anna, Buzzy makes contact with the five ghosts who are trapped in the hotel, and unearths the dark secret that kept their elevator cab from arriving at the Tip Top Club's Halloween gala on that fateful night. "Tower of Terror" stars Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst, along with Nia Peeples (ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars"), Michael McShane ("a bug's life") and Melora Hardin ("The Office"). Released three years after the first Guests dropped in to the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney's Hollywood Studios, "Tower of Terror" was the first Disney movie to be inspired by a Disney attraction - and not the other way around.

Oct. 27, 2007 - The inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K takes place
Submitted for your approval is the first-ever nighttime road race at the Walt Disney World Resort, challenging participants to run into another dimension by covering the peculiar distance of 13 kilometers, or just over eight miles. From the starting line at Disney's Hollywood Studios, thousands of runners treaded with dread down Osceola Parkway and World Drive to ESPN Wide World of Sports, then back to the finish line in the shadows of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. The event also offered a shorter 6.5 kilometer (four mile) race, plus a finish line party at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The 13K was run for the last time in 2009, but runDisney revived the nighttime event this September with the inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, featuring a demanding longer distance and an exciting post-race bash with the Disney Villains.

Also this week in Disney history:

Oct. 26
1945 - "Cured Duck" (Donald Duck cartoon short) debuts
1971 - The Electrical Water Pageant debuts at the Walt Disney World Resort
2009 - "Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!" premieres at Magic Kingdom Park

Oct. 27
1954 - "Disneyland" (television series) debuts with "The Disneyland Story"
1966 - Walt Disney films a 25-minute preview of his Florida project, used later to showcase plans for Walt Disney World to state legislators and businessmen
2002 - The Disney-owned Anaheim Angels defeat the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series

Oct. 28
1933 - "The Pet Store" (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1994 - Walt Disney Pictures releases "Squanto: A Warrior's Tale"

Oct. 29
1966 - Walt Disney receives the American Forest Association Award for "Outstanding Service in Conservation of American Resources"
1993 - Walt Disney Pictures releases "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

Oct. 30
1930 - "Winter" (Silly Symphony) debuts
1963 - Walt Disney Pictures releases "The Incredible Journey"

Oct. 31
1936 - "The Country Cousin" (Silly Symphony) debuts
1939 - Date of the fateful disappearance of five elevator passengers at the Hollywood Tower Hotel in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
1994 - The first wedding inside Magic Kingdom Park is held
1995 - The first Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at Magic Kingdom Park

Nov. 1
1986 - The Golden Horseshoe Jamboree premieres at Disneyland Park, replacing the Golden Horseshoe Revue
1990 - The first international Disney Store opens on Regent Street in London, England
1994 - Disney's All-Star Music Resort opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
2003 - Walt Disney Pictures releases "Brother Bear"