Aladdin originally came out in theaters in November 1992. I was 18 and began my job at Disneyland seven months later. Since then, I have had a lot of incredible memories that have to do with the movie. Here are my favorites.
Aladdin’s Royal Caravan
I grew up in Orange County close enough to Disneyland that I could hear the fireworks from in my bedroom each night. We went to Disneyland about once a year, or once every couple of years, and when we did it was all about the rides. In fact, I distinctly remember wanting to stop and watch a parade or see the fireworks as a kid and my mom saying, “We don’t come here to sit around, we come here to go on the rides!”
When I started at Disneyland as a tour guide in June of 1993, our offices were next to, in and behind City Hall on Main Street, and it was there that my love affair with Disneyland parades began. The first parade I saw was Aladdin’s Royal Caravan. Let me tell you, it… was… awesome.
Side Note: It always makes me laugh when people get upset because a Frozen unit is added to a parade when there was a time when an entire parade was dedicated to one franchise. (After Aladdin’s Royal Caravan came the Lion King Celebration, and it was even more awesome.)
Anyway, Aladdin’s Royal Caravan stepped off twice per day ushering Prince Ali through Disneyland with dancers, lively music and even spitting gold camels. It holds a special place in my heart not only because it was the first Disneyland parade I actually ever saw, but because it was the first parade that I got know on a personal level–I likely saw it hundreds of times and walked by the floats on my way to lunch and dinner while at work.
Taking Robin Williams on a three-day tour of Disneyland
I have written about this incredible experience before, and if you love Disneyland, Aladdin or Robin Williams, I encourage you to click here to read it. I won’t attempt to rewrite it or try to recreate my sentiments about the special three days. It was a time I will never forget. He was a very special man. He was smart, funning, introspective, beautifully flawed like the rest of us and genuine. The best part if that I got to give the tour alongside my friend Jacqueline. We are forever bonded from the experience.
Watching the Aladdin stage show at Disney California Adventure
It’s confession time: It wasn’t until about a little over a year ago that my family and I went to see the Aladdin stage show at Disney California Adventure. I know. Crazy, right?! Hear me out. I kind of like it when there are things we haven’t done, because it gives us something to look forward to in the future. When you go to the Disneyland Resort as much we do, it’s nice to have things that are yet to be discovered.
When my parents got annual passes about two years ago, that all changed. My dad adores live music of any type and he’s one of those annual passholders who likes to see Aladdin as much as possible (once a week or more if he has his way). The first time we saw the show, I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes. What a show! If you haven’t seen it yet, you have until January 10 to take it in before the resort closes it down to make way for a new Frozen stage show.
Watching the movie with my children at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
There are a few perks of owning a Disney blog for as long as I have. (I was one of the very first fan sites and the first Disney Parks “mommy blog.”) When you add to that credential the fact that I live within walking distance of the Walt Disney Studios, there are built-in benefits–like being invited to special events at the studio.
Recently, my family was invited to a very special screening of Aladdin at the studio’s main theater. We aren’t talking an itsy, bitsy screen; it is a full movie theater with super comfortable seats, great sound, popcorn… the works.
But this was unlike a normal movie screening. There was a brunch reception ahead of time with Aladdin-themed games and arts and crafts, as well as belly dancing lessons.
We also had the opportunity to see some of our favorite Disney Channel stars and the actors who provided the voices for the movie.
My very shy son, Brandon, got a pic with one of his favorite #disneychannel stars, @joeybragg. #aladdin A photo posted by Lisa Robertson (@lisarobertson) on
It was such an incredible experience to share with my family, but the best part of all was just getting to enjoy the movie on the big screen with the kids. They had seen it tons of times before on a television screen, but they unanimously agreed that they loved it even more after seeing it with the enthusiastic audience in a larger-than-life format.
Meeting Disney animator Eric Goldberg and getting my very own Genie.
This last memory happened a couple of weeks ago as part of a media event commemorating the home video release of Aladdin. I was invited to a special event at the Walt Disney Studios to listen to legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg talk about bringing the Genie to life in Aladdin. As a Disney fan (nerd), this is the stuff I dream about. Scratch that. That was the kind of thing I could have never dreamed of because there is no way I would have ever thought that could happen. Goldberg talked on and on about what it took to bring the Genie to life, much of which I detailed in a post last week. (Click here to read that post. It is full of fantastic little-known facts and stories about the movie.) He then conducted a drawing lesson and taught us how to draw the Genie. I was literally floating on air–especially when I got to take a photo with him. I just couldn’t believe what I was experiencing!
As we walked out of the room, each of the 20 or so people in attendance was handed a personalized pencil drawing of the Genie by Goldberg. Yes. You just read right: I got my own, hand-draw, personalized and autographed Genie.
I walked out of the room, staring at the piece and when it hit me about 60 second later what was in my hand, I began to cry. Not just a little misting, but crocodile tears. As a Disney fan(atic) this is basically one of the greatest things that could ever happen.
Aladdin is available on Disney Movies on Anywhere now and DVD now. If it has been a while since you’ve soaked in a some Genie, do yourself a favor and grab the family and watch Aladdin together as soon as possible. You’ll be so glad you did.