Any Disney fan who’s used the internet can surely relate to falling down the Disney rabbit hole (the White Rabbit hole?) when it comes to online content. Sometimes, you end up reading about the history of some of Disney Parks’ most iconic rides or learning more about Walt Disney himself. Or, you’re like me and watch YouTube videos until you rediscover a vintage Disneyland commercial that rocks your world.
Watching this 2001 commercial for the opening of Disney California Adventure Park gives such a different vibe than advertising from the Walt Disney Company today, so I just have to know – do you think this old Disneyland Resort commercial still holds up today?? Here are some highlights to consider.
(Please excuse the image quality – this IS 2001 we’re talking about here.)
1 – All the Characters that Get Spotlighted
There are a ton of different (and some rarely seen) Disney characters that come out for this Disney commercial. Spying on their new neighbor, Disney California Adventure Park, ring leader Buzz Lightyear is followed by some eager and dimwitted princesses (more on that later). We also catch glimpses of some of the dwarfs, Flik from A Bug’s Life (1998), Goofy, the chipmunks, and Terk from Tarzan (1999). Timon from The Lion King (1994), some Green Army Men, Mushu from Mulan (1998), Woody, Sebastian, and Pinocchio are in there too! And, of course, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck get some featured screen time. Do I see Genie from Aladdin (1992) sneak in at the end, too?
Characters from different franchises hardly ever interact like this today! PLEASE Let me know if I missed anyone; I like to be thorough.
2 – Vintage Disney Princess Theme Park Dresses
You’ll see some of Disney’s most iconic royalty in outfits before their modern glow-up. At the thought of a new Disneyland park area, Snow White says, “Oh no, the world ends at the gate.” Meanwhile, Cinderella, Belle, and Jasmine excitedly await news about the new Southern California amusement park from Buzz, asking, “Is there a prince inside?” only to heave a disappointed sigh when there’s not. Modern feminists would tear this apart, but whatever, back to their costumes. Today, Belle has been awarded a much softer yellow, Cinderella shows a lot more clavicle, while Jasmine shows a lot less of everything else, and Snow White is just more polished overall.
3 – What’s Up with that Dwarf, Though?
Speaking of Snow White, one of her seven dwarfs stands behind her while she delivers her naive line. Sneezy, who often poses with a finger under his nose to show he’s mid-sneeze, stands open-mouthed and dead-eyed in the background. I assume he’s supposed to look surprised – I mean, Disneyland Park is getting a sister! But to me, he seriously looks like he’s seen a ghost, and the trauma will last a lifetime. It gives a hilariously unsettling vibe to the whole moment.
4 – Buzz Lightyear’s Bear Comment
Maybe this is just me and I’m reading too much into it, but did Disney throw some shade at Belle with Buzz Lightyear’s bear comment?? After the Disney Princesses ask about princes, Buzz inquires, “Any interest in a very large bear?” Now, we know that Buzz is referring to California Adventure’s Grizzly Peak – a bear-shaped mountain that houses Disney’s Grizzly River Run attraction – but is this not also a reference to Belle’s questionable relationship with the Beast? I don’t know; you tell me what you think.
5 – Buzz Lightyear Questions
Do we think Tim Allen voiced Buzz Lightyear for this Disneyland commercial? While it’s pretty close to how the Space Ranger sounds in the movie, I don’t feel like it’s actually Tim Allen. If it was Allen, I had some thoughts on the “nosy neighbor” line and how it may be a subtle reference to the actor’s popular television sitcom Home Improvement, which aired from 1991 to 1999. You tell me.
Here’s the commercial shared on YouTube by Andrew Sanchez, who reportedly recorded it from a sneak peek on Disney’s Dinosaur (2000) DVD.
Are Disney ads today not way more sentimental? The comedy in this one is so refreshing! When did you last see a Disney Parks commercial that made you laugh versus the heartwarming ones featured during the Super Bowl?
I say: it holds up. Thanks for the laughs, 2001 Disneyland commercial team.