This Month in Disney History for May

(Photo by Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

Once a month we’ll be sharing with you some interesting events from that month in Disney history, so you can impress all your friends at Zoom parties. So get excited for five nuggets of Disney history for the month of May:

May 1, 1989: Pleasure Island

This is the opening day of the Disney/MGM Studio Theme Park: Pleasure Island, which later closed in September 2008 to make room for more family-oriented entertainment. In its heyday though, Pleasure Island was part of Downtown Disney at Disney World, and aside from the several clubs it featured, it also had a store called Jessica’s which sold only Jessica Rabbit merchandise and had a two-sided, 30 foot neon sign of Jessica outside!

May 4, 2012: The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers is released, which was the first Marvel film to be made after being acquired by the Walt Disney Company. When casting was in progress for another of the Marvel films, Iron Man 2, actress Scarlett Johansson actually replaced Emily Blunt for the role of Natasha Romanoff, and subsequently was attached to the character permanently.

May 5, 2006: Pixar Acquisition

This is the official date that Pixar Animation Studios shareholders voted in approval for the company’s acquisition by Disney. Pixar’s acquisition was another connection of Disney to Lucasfilm, in that Pixar began in 1979 as part of the Lucasfilm computer division, the Graphics Group. Around 1983, a designer at Pixar suggested the name the “Picture Maker” for their new digital compositing computer, but one of the original four members of the Computer Graphics Lab, Alvy Ray Smith, suggested the catchier name, “Pixer” which after a meeting was changed to “Pixar”. 

May 10, 2018: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The world premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story is held at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, and later had its US release on May 25, 2018, the 41st anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars film. To execute the mountain exploding in the train heist scene, Industrial Light & Magic built a 3D model of the mountain and blew it up with a variety of firecrackers within a fish tank built at Pinewood. They were inspired to do this by YouTube channel, The Slow Mo Guys, who did a similar experiment to capture the explosion in slow motion.

May 30, 1971: Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel is born, and of course voices beloved Elsa in Frozen, Frozen II, and many other media that feature the character. She was also the first Tony Award-winning actress to have a song reach the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10, and won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Broadway musical, Wicked.

Keep an eye out for This Month in Disney History for June! What were some of your favorite historical Disney moments in May? 

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