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From the Tickle Trunk – Walt Disney World News 1990

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The last WDW newsletter we looked at was from October 1982. Now Mr. Peabody has dialed his WABAC Machine forward eight years so we can take a look at the Summer 1990 edition.


There's a new theme park, Disney-MGM Studios . . . and look at all that color on the front page! They are really pushing that 5-Day Plus Super Pass. Of course, with three theme parks you now need 5 days!

Hey, look - the Muppets have arrived! "Here Come the Muppets" was a live show that premiered on May 25, 1990 at Disney-MGM Studios. The pre-show area featured a video of Rowlf playing the piano and singing, with interruptions from Sam Eagle. The show, which featured walking Muppet characters, ran until September 2, 1991, and was replaced in that location by The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Two weeks after the show closed, a second live Muppet show, "Muppets on Location: Days of Swine and Roses", opened in a different area of the park.


There was plenty of color on page two as well. And who are these strange characters? Dick Tracy? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? What's with that?

I had never seen or heard tell of these characters at any Disney park . . . so some research was called for!

Wow . . . here's what I found: Dick Tracy, Flattop, Mumbles and Tess Trueheart appeared live on stage at the Theatre of the Stars! The production, Diamond Double-Cross, didn't last too long - it opened May 21, 1990 and ran until February 16, 1991. There were even Dick Tracy characters in the troupe of roving "Streetmosphere" performers; they disappeared in February 1991 as well.

And those turtles? Carol remembers seeing them. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appeared in the "New York Street" section of Disney-MGM Studios. Emerging from their Turtle Party Wagon, they would "ninja dance" across the stage while April performed the theme song to their show. After the main show was done they would pose for pictures and sign autographs. The Turtles also appeared in Disney's "Very Merry Christmas Parade" and sang their own rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". In the Easter parade they danced to their single "Pizza Power!" The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live shows and appearances came to an end in 1996.


There was plenty of new information on Page 3.


At EPCOT the Wonders of Life Pavilion had just opened in October 1989 and Body Wars was an exciting new attraction. Guests boarded Bravo 229, a "LGS 2050" probe vehicle and were miniaturized, ship and all, before being injected into a human body to observe a splinter and rescue Dr. Cynthia Lair. The LGS 2050 weighed approximately 26 tons but once miniaturized it weighed less than a drop of water, so it was easily able to navigate its way to the splinter and find the doctor. At the injury site she was taking a blood cell count when she was accidentally pulled into a capillary. Captain Braddock boldly followed her through the capillary and into a vein, even though it meant entering an unauthorized area. The captain steered Bravo 229 past the heart and into the right ventricle, then on into the lung where the doctor was being attacked by a white blood cell. Captain Braddock fired his lasers to free the doctor but by then the ship was very low on power. Dr. Lair suggested that they use the brain's energy to recharge the ship. Passing through the heart, the ship followed an artery all the way to the brain where a neuron touched the ship and re-powered the batteries. The Bravo 229 and all the guests were safely de-miniaturized outside of the body. Everyone returned home, safe and sound; funny how that always turns out! Body Wars ran for 18 years and closed on January 1, 2007.


IllumiNations was still quite new in 1990; it premiered at World Showcase Lagoon on January 30, 1988. It had to go through several version changes before it became the "IlluniNations, Reflections of Earth" that we see today.


Mickey's Starland originated as Mickey's Birthdayland which opened on June 18, 1988. It transformed into Mickey's Starland on May 26, 1990. The area was briefly renamed Mickey's Toyland in late 1995. The land closed in early 1996 for an extensive refurbishment, and on October 1, 1996, it reopened as Mickey's Toontown Fair for the park's 25th anniversary. The back-story portrayed the land as the holiday home for the characters who normally lived at Mickey's Toontown in California. Mickey's Toontown Fair was closed on February 11, 2011 in order to build the New Fantasyland. Some elements of Mickey's Toontown Fair have been demolished and others have been re-themed to the new Storybook Circus area.


Page 4 had a detailed listing of park hours for the months of June, July and August. The two news articles took us outside the theme parks where there was also plenty of brand new excitement!


Typhoon Lagoon opened less than a year prior, on June 1, 1989 and it was a very popular destination. It's my favourite Disney water park; I just love that wave pool!


Pleasure Island was a new phenomenon as well. It had opened May 1, 1989 and drew huge crowds every night. There was a wide variety of venues; something to please everyone, and every night was New Year's Eve! Do you remember the Neon Armadillo? The Adventurer's Club? All those great old clubs are now closed and bulldozed as Pleasure Island, along with the rest of Downtown Disney, is being transformed into Disney Springs!

Isn't it funny . . . so many of the things which were so exciting, so revolutionary and daring in 1990 are merely distant memories as we look back 24 years from 2014.

The Muppets have relocated to a 3D Theatre, Dick Tracy is gone, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are gone, The Wonders of Life Pavilion is closed and Body Wars is shuttered. Mickey's Starland and Pleasure Island have both been levelled and redeveloped. There is always something new coming along to captivate us.

I suppose that's what Walt Disney meant when he spoke about Disneyland many years ago. He said, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." I'm sure that Walt, if he had lived to see his Florida Project open, would have said the same thing about Walt Disney World; it will continuously evolve and grow.

That's just one of the things that makes our happy place so magical!

The previous post in this blog was From the Tickle Trunk - Disney Seminars.

The next post in this blog is Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - August 2014.

Comments (5)

Dan Taylor:

Great blog report on 1990 newsletter. I was curious and zoomed in on the 5 day plus pass; only $135 plus tax! A single park, single day pass was $31 plus tax. Times have sure changed.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. We celebrated our honeymoon at WDW in June 1989 and just celebrated our 25th anniversary back at the World.

[Gary writes: A Belated Happy Anniversary Dan & Nan! There's nowhere better to celebrate it than at WDW]

thomas mangano:

Thank for the memory, and boy it's so true what Walt said about Disneyland.

Just wanted to let you I like reading you blogs.


Jeff Blank:

Hi Gary -

I love these "Old Disney News" blogs! The 5 Day Plus Super Pass today would cost $390.00 + 25.35 tax for a total of $415.35! And it expires after 14 days. If I remember correctly (I'm too lazy to look in the garage right now), the 1993 and 1994 big, overall Resort Brochures I saved from then look identical to 1990's News.

Typhoon Lagoon is also my favorite water park. I first went there August 1994 on a cast member's suggestion when walking to River Country after seeing Discovery Island. He told us that RC closed in 30 minutes and Typhoon Lagoon was open late and we should go there. I left Typhoon well after dark, it must have been at least 9PM. It was amazing at dusk, the lighting was beautiful.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. Looking forward to the next blog.


Shirley Garcowski:

Great blog. Memory lane for me. I remember River Country--nothing high tech or spine chilling but so much fun. Typhoon (when we did water parks) was always our favorite. I loved the slides that didn't destroy you (I like the tame ones) and the lazy river. I could float on that all day (except when they started leaving the empty inner tubes in the river--I hated that--made it too congested).

Didn't see some of the stuff you mentioned as we didn't get a chance during the 90s to get down to WDW too often. I do remember our honeymoon back in 1981--I think we got a 2-day ticket (remember, only Magic Kingdom at the time). And it cost something like $19 for the 2 days! Stayed at the Poly, and, if I'm not mistaken, I think they allowed you to swim in the lake at that time.

Can't wait to see what's next. Thanks!



Thank you! I love looking back!

Donatello (the purple one) was my favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle when the movie came out and I was very excited that I was able to get a picture with him on a trip in 1992! I remember meeting him very vividly!

I look forward to your next blog!


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 3, 2014 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was From the Tickle Trunk - Disney Seminars.

The next post in this blog is Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - August 2014.

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