ANAHEIM, Calif., April 8, 2008 — In beloved recognition and gratitude for her service as Honorary Ambassador of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration, Disneyland Resort Cast Members today presented legendary star Julie Andrews with a unique dedication that will forever ensure her place in Disneyland’s storied history.
This dedication shines in a most appropriate place, on King Arthur’s Carrousel in Fantasyland. The Carrousel was one of the 15 Disneyland attractions that were “goldenized” in 2005, in honor of the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” celebration for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. Jingles, the lead and most popular horse on the attraction, was painted gold for Disneyland’s special milestone and Julie was photographed with the horse during the festivities. To acknowledge Julie’s role as an honorary cast member, Disneyland Resort has given Jingles a magical makeover and is dedicating the cherished horse in her honor.
Carrousels have a special meaning at Disneyland as Walt Disney had a fond appreciation for them and included carrousels in many of his biggest and most notable endeavors. As a father, he took his young daughters to ride merry-go-rounds on many weekends and those happy and memorable times were the seed of his dream called Disneyland. Julie Andrews’ association with carrousel horses dates back to the classic 1964 film, “Mary Poppins,” and her lead role as the magical nanny. During one escapade, Mary Poppins embarks on a “horse race” with the two young children and her friend Bert. With a little bit of luck – and stunning visual effects – their carrousel ponies break free and gallop through the countryside. The movie won five Academy Awards – including one for Julie Andrews – spawned the cheerful song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!,” and left a sentimental spot forever in the hearts of movie-lovers worldwide.
Since Jingles’ 2005 golden transformation, the popular carrousel horse now dons a new and hand-painted, colorful jewel-tone palette. Special features have been added to honor the screen legend, including embellishments of gold leaf horseshoes, flowers representing Julie’s love of gardening and Mary Poppins’ themeing on Jingles’ enhanced golden saddle. Hand-painted features on the saddle include Julie’s initials, the number “50” representing Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, Mary Poppins’ boots and a flying silhouette of the beloved Mary Poppins character. Golden, wooden jingle bells also adorn the horse’s body.
Disneyland Cast Members also presented a miniature, one-of-kind replica of Jingles for Julie. The commissioned, hand-carved wood piece stands nearly 2 ½ feet tall and wears a special broach that is a replica of the custom-made Disneyland Ambassador pin that Julie received for being an Ambassador for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.
While at Disneyland for the unveiling ceremony of Jingles, Julie signed copies of her new autobiography “Home: A Memoir of My Early Years” for Cast Members and Guests. In her new book, the critically-acclaimed writer shares numerous personal photos and anecdotes of her time on Broadway, including stories of performing in “My Fair Lady” with Rex Harrison and in “Camelot” with Richard Burton; her first marriage to famed set and costume designer Tony Walton, with whom Julie gave birth to daughter Emma; her meeting with Walt Disney, and her departure for Hollywood.