This Week in Disney History: March 16 - 2203/16/2012
March 17, 1999 – The grand opening of Test Track is held at Epcot
On the west side of Future World is a General Motors proving ground, an automotive testing facility for prototype cars of the future. Step inside and see how vehicles get put through their paces — in very extreme ways — to guarantee their safety before they ever hit the road. You’ll get to take a test drive aboard a slick six-seat convertible, negotiating rough road surfaces, extreme temperature conditions, a corner-filled handling course, and a dramatic high-speed loop where you’ll fly around the front of the pavilion at 60 mph. Test Track opened as a high-octane update of the World of Motion pavilion, and remains the fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort. Next month, the attraction begins a reimagining that will incorporate an all-new “design center,” allowing Guests to create a custom vehicle, then take it for a spin on the demanding Test Track course. Look for this immersive addition to debut this fall.
March 17, 2005 – Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters opens at Disneyland Park
Attention all Space Ranger recruits! The galaxy is under attack by the evil Emperor Zurg, whose army is stealing the batteries of good toys everywhere to power his secret weapon. Hop aboard an XP-40 space cruiser and grab your laser gun, because Star Command needs your help to blast those baddies. Your ship turns a full 360 degrees, so you can aim at the robots, aliens and enemy ships all around you. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is inspired by Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story” movies, but you knew that already — the real question is, how do you rack up 999,999 points and become a Galactic Hero? Aim for the center of the “Z” targets, but don’t waste your time with circles or squares. Lock in on the diamond (5,000 point) and triangle (10,000 point) targets. They’re worth more when lit, so fire away and hit them multiple times. And take a good, close look at Emperor Zurg whenever you encounter him. Somewhere beneath his glowing smirk, try to find the unmarked hidden target worth a cool 50,000 points per hit.
Also this week in Disney history:
1934 – “The Three Little Pigs” wins the Academy Award for Best Cartoon Short Subject
1961 – Walt Disney Pictures releases “The Absent-Minded Professor”
2002 – The Walt Disney Studios (theme park) opens at Disneyland Resort Paris
1929 – “Plane Crazy” (Mickey Mouse short with sound) premieres in New York City
1939 – “Goofy and Wilbur” (the first Goofy cartoon short) debuts
1955 – Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim
1967 – Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and the Blue Bayou Restaurant open at Disneyland Park
1959 – Walt Disney Pictures releases “The Shaggy Dog”
2008 – Walt Disney World Boys & Girls Club opens in the Pine Hills area of Orlando, Fla.
1921 – The first Newman Laugh-O-Grams (animated by Walt Disney) premieres at Newman Theater in Kansas City
1987 – “Captain EO” opens at Tokyo Disneyland Park
1995 – Main Street Book Shop, Penny Arcade and House of Magic close at Magic Kingdom Park
1975 – Walt Disney Pictures releases “Escape to Witch Mountain”
1975 – Mission to Mars (updated Flight to the Moon attraction) opens at Disneyland Park
1997 – The new Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor open on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park
1975 – Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (now called Downtown Disney Marketplace) opens at the Walt Disney World Resort