PDA

View Full Version : Disneyland in the '50s: How different?



Pages : [1] 2

CrayZforDisney
06-06-2003, 06:51 AM
Disneyland was the only true theme park in the world when it opened in 1955. However, critics thought it would last for two weeks at the most and they thought the theming was just a bunch of cheap movie sets. Well, since Disneyland is still around today, then it must not be just cheap movie sets!

But, I am wondering how life was different in the 50's when Disneyland opened. I am also wondering what rides and attractions were there,and how people reacted to them differently then they react to them today. Are there still attractions at Disneyland that are exactly the same as they were in the 50's ( Submarine Voyage, if it were opened!)? What funny things do you notice about old Disneyland photographs?

Duane
06-06-2003, 07:06 AM
One thing I have noticed is the costumes for the characters have become much more detailed. If you look at photographs from the early years, the characters' costumes look very cheap and lack imagination. As far as attractions, Dumbo was an original from day one. The ride has improved from its original design in the fact that they have added water fountains into the theming. Mr. Toad was also in place from the beginning. The park has grown tremendously since the beginning and many more attractions have been added which incorporate new technology. My only complaint is the closure of so many attractions since 1997-1998. If you do your homework, you will quickly discover that there is less to do in Disneyland now than there was 5 years ago. It appears that the stockholders are more concerned with their profits than customer satisfaction. Reality is that the big wealthy stockholders are out playing golf while most of us are slaving at our regular workweek jobs. Also, while the common people are at the park enjoying Hungry Bear or the Club Buzz Terrace, the stockholders are in the air conditioning at Club 33. Why doesn't Disneyland add more attractions? Why should they? They're raking in billions in their current state. Why reduce profits when the parks are usually at capacity? Keep those golf clubs swinging!

CrayZforDisney
06-06-2003, 07:20 AM
... the character's heads in pictures I saw were enormously huge, and looked like they would fall off the person's stinkin body! I agree with you on that, Duane.

Dumbo has been enhanced over the years. It was moved from the far right corner of Fantasyland, near where the old skyway station is, to the middle of Fantasyland in 1983. Then, a few years later, a new Dumbo came in from Disneyland Paris. The new Dumbo is much nicer than the original.

... as for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride... Trust me, in 1983 they made it much less like the carnival ride it was in the 50's.

Duane
06-06-2003, 07:27 AM
CrazYforDisney- It's nice to see that there are people who follow the history of Disneyland. I wish we really did have a time machine and could go back and visit the park in the 50's, maybe even see Walt while we are there! I constantly dream of acquiring large sums of money so I could become a company sponsor for Disneyland and bring back so many attractions which are now missing. They wouldn't necessarily be attractions from the past, I would just like to have a little more to do and see during my visits. I love the mouse!!!!

tod
06-06-2003, 02:22 PM
From personal observation, I would say that the place was very big in 1955 and got progressively smaller through the late '50s and early '60s, finally shrinking to its current size in about 1967 and staying that size to the present day. That's my observation, yours may be different. ;)

In the early days there were places of wilderness and emptiness that were unapologetically "reserved for future growth." The west side of the park was like this, with a wooden foot bridge over the conduit between the Jungle Cruise and the Rivers of America and nothing on the other side but dirt.

There was also a carefree what-the-hell attitude that you don't see now. Where a cast member jumped into the Rocket Jet with me because my mother had my toddler brother with her and the jets wouldn't seat three, so he jumped in behind me and off we went. Or the Firehouse Five + Two would play the Golden Horseshoe and Ward Kimball would say "We're gonna take a 10 minute break, so you can go out and ride all the rides."

The anything-can-happen spirit is muffled now -- I remember eating in the Plaza Inn one Winter afternoon between Christmas and New Year and watching, surprised, as the Big 10 school band, in town for the Rose Bowl, marched up the parade route, playing all the way. Or the Fantasyland Brass, seeing my "Jeopardy!" sweatshirt, improvising the "Jeopardy!" theme. Or the Band jumping on the Carrousel and playing a raucous "William Tell Overture."

I think maybe this improvisational anything-can-happen feeling can be recaptured. With new management in place and less of a corporate attitude, maybe this can happen again.

I hope so.

--T
Disneyland Guest since 1955

RStar
06-06-2003, 02:56 PM
Well, I saw the Disneyland Band jump on the carosel and play just the other day. And back in the early 90's when my son was about five, he was pretending to lead the band while they played at the flagpole area. His outfit was mostly red and white, and the conductor gave him his wand and hat and he finished the song. I got a great picture. Things like this still happen, but admitidly perhaps not as often.

The biggest change I notice is in the attitude of the guests. It seemed more like a privilage to go to Disneyland. People dressed up and had better attitudes to each other and the CMs. Now it's like "what can you do for me and the money I spent to get in here?" And people are ticked off because "all these other bozos are in line ahead of me and I have to wait. How dare they ruin MY time here!"

And with a lack of technology and such high sensory imput intertainment as movies with huge special effects, video games, ect., rides like Mr. Toad use to be more fun. Now we are so sensitized by it all that we ho-hum those rides. You would see a lot more smiling faces at the exits, people laughing and talking about what they experienced in the ride. They would all bring up their favorite parts, where now if you stand at the exit you hear "Ok, now which one do we go on?" In otherwards, "what more can we get?", not "look what we just got!"

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME.....................

So sad..............

CrayZforDisney
06-06-2003, 03:42 PM
So many people complained about Submarine Voyage's technology when it was open a few years ago. They didn't realize that the old 50's charm added to the ride. The old recording and out- dated fish added a sense of magic and joy to Tomorrowland. I think RStar is absoultely right about how fun older attractions are. The Disney old- style quality adds to the attractions.

Yes, people's attitudes have changed. However, times have changed, too. As more people grew accustomed to the theme park type thing, they started to ingore the fact that it was a privilege to visit a land of magic. The only hope now days are the children. They can make a difference in this world when they grow up. They can teach their children to appreciate the sense of magic and not money.

Even though people want to bring back old attractions at Disneyland, this behavior would upset Walt. Some attractions that are classics (for example, Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Submarine Voyage, and Pirates of the Carribean) and should stay at Disneyland forever. But, others must go sometime to make room for the latest and greatest ideas. Walt Disney wanted his park to grow, and to never stay the same. He wanted new attractions and ideas to make his park the best.

And the Disney executives now days may care about money, but so did Walt! Also, still, Disney tries to build the most eleborate and technologically advanced theme park rides such as Mission: Space, Test Track, Expedition Everest, Soaring over California, and The Indiana Jones Adventure. Disney may be losing some of its quality, but not all of it!

The only thing that concerns me are rollercoasters and thrill rides. People like the fastest, most terrifing, unimaginitive thrill rides. It wasn't that way in the 50's, people would ride anything imaginative! Now, in 2003, I hear kids saying that Disneyland is boring, and has no fast rollercoasters. This, in fact, makes me feel awful, I think all the imagination has flew away into the clouds.

Still, people will grow out of this thrill- ride groove. People in the 20's and 30's loved rollercoasters, and America couldn't get enough of them, but soon after that, people started getting sick of rollercoasters. There was a time where no one wanted to even ride a rollercoaster! Well, that will probably happen again in the future. People will want a different type of attraction that excersizes your imagination.

I don't want to hear anymore people say they don't like DCA. ( Hey, that rhymes! :D ). This is an example of the changing attitude of Disney customers. All people do now days is worry about the green stuff. They can't enjoy anything because they're trying to get the most out of their money. Disneyland was just like California Adventure when it opened. It had carnival rides, dirt all over with no lanscaping, and people who thought it was going to only last for a few weeks.

... Last but not least, can I ask tod a question? Well, since tod was a Disneyland visitor in 1955, what rides did they have, what was it like going to Disneyland? How different was it? Has anyone else been to Disneyland in the 50's?

Thank You everyone for contributing to this thread. Oh, and I am sorry this post is so long, I hope the readers enjoyed looking at it. I put much of my time and thought into this post, and I hope I made it worth reading. :)

tod
06-06-2003, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by CrayZforDisney
... Last but not least, can I ask tod a question? Well, since tod was a Disneyland visitor in 1955, what rides did they have, what was it like going to Disneyland? How different was it?

Okay, I was three years old in 1955, so I don't remember a hell of a lot, but I do remember that going to Disneyland was a special occasion, and just going was enough. My mother would come walking up with her two toddlers and pay a buck or two general admission, and people would hand her ride tickets as they left. They were going back to Kansas, they didn't need them.

I remember the Junior Autopia, a self-propelled drive-yourself car that was smaller than the Autopia. I remember the Motor Boat Cruise, and getting thisclose to the Submarine Lagoon and my older cousin screaming that he had lost control of the boat and we were gonna crash on the rocks. (I missed doing that with my own kids: They closed the Motor Boats too soon.) I also liked the Viewliner. You can check the ride chronology in any good book about the Park.

Going to Disneyland was special, a once-or-twice-a-year occasion. You dressed up -- not formal, but you wore a nice shirt and slacks. I didn't wear jeans to Disneyland until I was in my 30s.

Now, it's casual for a lot of people. (I think they should dump all Annual Passports and go back to ride tickets, and I've been saying this since the '70s. That's another thread.) Maybe too casual. They hang out, write graffiti, get pleasure from destroying things. This isn't carving your initials on a tree, it's stealing Mr. Toad's monocle and breaking his fingers off.

I'm not sure it's better now.

--T

CrayZforDisney
06-06-2003, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by tod
Okay, I was three years old in 1955, so I don't remember a hell of a lot, but I do remember that going to Disneyland was a special occasion, and just going was enough. My mother would come walking up with her two toddlers and pay a buck or two general admission, and people would hand her ride tickets as they left. They were going back to Kansas, they didn't need them.

I remember the Junior Autopia, a self-propelled drive-yourself car that was smaller than the Autopia. I remember the Motor Boat Cruise, and getting thisclose to the Submarine Lagoon and my older cousin screaming that he had lost control of the boat and we were gonna crash on the rocks. (I missed doing that with my own kids: They closed the Motor Boats too soon.) I also liked the Viewliner. You can check the ride chronology in any good book about the Park.

Going to Disneyland was special, a once-or-twice-a-year occasion. You dressed up -- not formal, but you wore a nice shirt and slacks. I didn't wear jeans to Disneyland until I was in my 30s.

Now, it's casual for a lot of people. (I think they should dump all Annual Passports and go back to ride tickets, and I've been saying this since the '70s. That's another thread.) Maybe too casual. They hang out, write graffiti, get pleasure from destroying things. This isn't carving your initials on a tree, it's stealing Mr. Toad's monocle and breaking his fingers off.

I'm not sure it's better now.

--T

These are very magical memories. I'm glad you shared them with us. It transported me into the past! Thank You for the information.

... Oh, and thank you, tod, for actually reading my long post.

Not Afraid
06-06-2003, 06:43 PM
The first time I went to Disneyland was in 1965. I was 3 years old. I remember the castle, the swans, the Fantasyland Theater (where Ponicchio is now), Mermaids in the Lagoon, the Matterhorn, and the characters - especially the Three Little Pigs.

But, what I remember most about Disneyland - and formed the reasons why I love it so much today - was Disneyland 1967. Pirates; Tahitian Terrace; the BEST Tomorrowland ever with Caroulsel of Progress, Peoplemover, Circlevison, Adventures thru Innerspace, Flight to the Moon, Rocket Jets, Skyway, the Monorail with the Bubble; Small World; Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland, Motorboats, Subs, Teacups; Barker Jose outside of Tiki Room....I could go on and on.

There was so much that was exciting to a cruious 5 year old. The atmosphere was fun-filled, but there was a respect and awe present that certainly isn't there today. We wern't jaded in 1967. Disneyland was new and exciting. It was very special. That's why I love it today. I'm not sure I would feel this way if I hadn't experienced the real magic when I was little. I'm just grateful I did.

lindyhop
06-07-2003, 03:34 PM
I know I was taken to Disneyland in the 50's but don't ask me what it was like...

But what I do remember about the early days are the ticket books and having to make careful choices about what rides to go on because my parents would never splurge on the deluxe (15?) ticket books. You only got so many E tickets so you had to use them wisely. And we never used up the A and B tickets. But you could save the tickets from year to year and I kept those for a long time. Did I finally throw them out?

10krbell
06-07-2003, 03:52 PM
Ah, yes the early memories of Disneyland. Anyone else remember (though we are talking late 70's early 80's now...not the 50's) getting your Passport? Not having to hoard all your tickets, but just *flash* your passport on you were set?

Lost Boy
06-07-2003, 06:14 PM
I was 13 on the day the Park opened to the public (July 18, 1955) and it was also my Birthday. My parents took me that day as a suprise. From the just completed Santa Ana Freeway I had a pretty good idea where the car was headed, but it wasn't until I saw the Moonliner standing tall and ready for takeoff when we were about 3 miles away. I knew then that what I had seen on National TV the day before, I was now going to see for real.

Was it different from what you see today. Oh my yes. There weren't as many trees for one thing. The front entrance and ticket booths were completly different. The Train Station hasn't changed much but the loading platform and the Train cars have. Town squre was totally different, and yet much the same. The same building were there, but there were different tenants. Wurlizter Organs occupied the corner store on the Right. Maxwell House Coffe was right behind it (where the pin trader area was for awhile. The Mad Hatter was there, but nothing was in the "Opera House" on opening day. The Bank was a real Bank Of America, Disneyland Branch. The City Hall and Fire Station were there, but there was no light buring in the upstairs window above the Fire Station (because Mr. Disney was still alive and using it as his private apartment). The area that is now the Back Part of the Emporium was where the lockers where located. The Emporium was much smaller, but the store had a real old fashioned look to it. Over where the Plush Area and cheap toys are now, there was a real honest to God book Store and in the back corner was a favorite of Mrs. Disney, a Candle Store. Where the New Century Time Company is now, then was Upjohn Pharmosuticals, a look at medicine and the tools that where in our future (from The Upjohn Corp., of course). Accross the Street, the Magic Store was there and next door (where the record/CD store is was a cigarette store. The Kodak Photo Center was also in this first block of builings, where the Disneyana Store is today. Center Street was there, but there was nothing really there. On the East side Carnation Plaza was an indoor eatery and the outdoor area that is there today was an extension to the sit down eating place inside (where the bakery is today). There was an Ice Cream store next to the restaraunt and it was Carnation. The Arcade Bank Organs all worked, the electical shock machines wokred and there where tons of old fashined penny arcade machines also. Coke Corner was there, but Rod wasn't on board yet. They sold Coca Cola and Hot Dogs. No chili yet. The Candy store was also there and the did make candy every day that you could watch. The corner store with the chess games and old fashioned store was also there, only selling better quality food and coffee and "Stuff" than today.
The Hub had flowers and a center hub, but no statue of Walt and Mickey. That didn't come until years later. Over to the left was Adventureland. There was no where near the vegitation that you see today. The boats had stripped awnings over them and were themed to the boat used in the movie "The African Queen". The boat house was two stories high, but not as detailed or as big as the one we have today. There was no other ride in Adventureland. The stores where they, but totally different than today. Where the Alladin Story Place sits today was the Polinesean Terrace. This was a magical place to go at night and have a fantastic dinner while watching a real Hawaiin/Tiatian hula show. During the day, they had lunches there and Mickey and the Gang did a Hawaiin themed show for the kids.
You could either go back to the hub and enter Frontierland thru it's Main Entrance or you could go into Fronteirland by crossing over a small bridge at the far end (where Pirates sits today) and you where in Fronteirland. River Bell Terrace was Aunt Jamima's Pancake House. No New Orleains Squre, No Pirates, No Haunted Mansion. The Mark Twain and the Canoes where the only river traffic at that time. Over to the far East Side, where the river turns and goes past what today is the Haunted Mansion, was The Chicken Plantation that had a huge balcony that you could sit on while eating on the best Chicken Dinners this side of Mrs. Knotts Chicken while watching the Mark Twain cruise by. The Train Station was much closer to the river than it was today. And, only the train with the cattle car passenger cars stopped there. The other trains went right by it. There was no train station on the far side. In fact, that train station across the tracks that you see today (in back of you when you are sitting in the train) is the original Frontierland Train Station). The Island was open and the raft where much smaller than today. At that time, everything on Tom Sawyer was open. All the caves, bridges, treehouses, teetering rocks, the fort with its dioramas and rifles along the top, and the burning house was burning. If you continued walking along the river on the East Side, toward what is Critter Contry today, you came to a real Indian Village with a dancing circle and Teepees. There where alway Indians around to talk to and several times a day the put on a show for us travellers. That was as far as you could walk, so you had to turn around and go back around the river to leave Frontierland. The Golden Horsehoe was there and the original Review was playing with all the gang from Slue Foot Sue to Pecos Bill. It was (and still is) the best show that Disneyland ever did. And did you know that the Golden Horseshoe is based on the actual floor plans from the Saloon that was in Doris Day's movie, "Calamity Jane"? Take a close look at that movie and study the interior scenes and then go look at the Golden Horsehoe. They are almost identical except for size and a couple of doors that are not there at Disneyland. The loading dock for the Mark Twain was right where it is today, only the look was simpler and smaller, but the ship itself is the same today as it was then. Over where Big Thunder is today, and stretching all the way to the River was the Mule Ride and the Stagecoach Ride. There was no train ride on opening day. You could not walk around the backside of Frontierland to get to Fantasyland. You had to go out to the Hub and then go past the old Carnation Plaza stage, restraunt and Ice Cream store that used to be back there. Oh, the Frito Lay Mexican Restaurant was also in Frontierland, sorry I forgot about that. It was sponsered by Frito Lay and you got a free bag of Fritos with every meal. And the food there was the best!!! Ok, back to Fantasyland. You walked over the bridge to get into Fantasyland. There was not other way unless you wanted to walk around the left side and go thru Tinker Bell's Toy Store. But, one just didn't do that on Opening Day. You had to walk over the drawbridge and thru the castle. I mean really. In the courtyard of Fantasyland, looking very much like a circus area, was the Carrousel, much closer than today and behind that were the Teacups. On the right was Peter Pan and Mr Toad and on the Left was Snow White. All three rides much smaller than today, and nothing but black light and plywood sets except for Peter Pan's ride which looked much better than the other, but still not as detailed as today. Where Pinnocio and the Village Hause are today was The Fantasyland Theater. The only air conditioned building in the entire park. You could go sit in there to watch cartoon, stage shows, and special event things. Just to get out of the heat and sit in cool air was worth it. Dumbo was over to the left more than it is today and was very simply a carnical spin ride modified to have Dumbo on the end, and you made Dumbo fly or land. Casey Jr. simply ran over hills and valley's while the Canal Boats hadn't opened at all. And that is where the Park ended at the North End. There was no Matterhorn, no Small World, or much of anything back there. In fact, if memory serves me correctly you had to go back thru Fantasyland to the Hub to get into Tomorrowland. There was no road for us, only for workers who where still working on areas that hadn't been finished in time. When you went into Tomorrowland, the front icon was the Clock Of The World. This clock told the time anywhere in the world. I could never figure it out though. The Entrance had much the same layout as today, a row of buildings on each side and a large open area toward the back. On the left was CirCarRama, the first of the many 360 degree movie houses that have been in there. On the right was --- nothing. The Journey Into The Atom was open yet. There was a large diry body of water in Tomorrowland and that is where the Boats of the Future were. Noisy, with large fins, they broke down constanly and where finally removed. The Autopia was there, much smaller than today and the cars where very different. Nothing really where Innoventions is today. No Space Mountain, No Star Tours, but we did have that gorgeous Moonline standing in front of the Rocket Launch Building (today it is Red Rockets' Pizza Place), and for me that was the best thing I had ever seen. I was really into Science Fiction when I was 13 (I still am) and to see this huge rocket and then go into that building and take off for the moon was really amazing back in 1954. There was the Astro Jets, at ground level, but much the same idea. There was also a large plaza and they did all kinds of stuff in there. Flying model planes was a big thing. Several weeks after opening day two new attractions opened that weren't ready for opening day, Space Station X-! and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and these also impressed me to no end. You really got the feeling you where miles above the Earth looking down on the planet while cirlcing miles above in a Space Station. And the 20,000 Leagues exhibit was just amazing for me. I loved that movie (I still think it is best live action movie Disney ever did - I just got the new DVD) and to be able to walk thru the actula movie sets, and step into Nemo's Library and see that beautiful Pipe Organ and see the Squid, was really something. And, I will admit here, when I got to the last scene which was the actula model of the Nautlis, in a display tank that you could walk around and look throuhg portholes to what was a huge diorama that looked like it was under water, I started to cry. This was "The Last Resting Place of The Nautilus" and that ship meant so much to me, I just stood there and cried.

Anyway, those are memories of the earliest Disneyland I know of. Life was much simpler in those days. Parking was free. Admission was $1. You paid for each attraction or ride. No Ticket Books yet. And the place was clean, clean, clean beyond belief. It was the most magical day I have ever had and the memories of walking into that Happiest Place On Earth are still with me today.

Hope I haven't bored you all to death, but you did ask.:D

CrayZforDisney
06-08-2003, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by Lost Boy
I was 13 on the day the Park opened to the public (July 18, 1955) and it was also my Birthday. My parents took me that day as a suprise. From the just completed Santa Ana Freeway I had a pretty good idea where the car was headed, but it wasn't until I saw the Moonliner standing tall and ready for takeoff when we were about 3 miles away. I knew then that what I had seen on National TV the day before, I was now going to see for real.

Was it different from what you see today. Oh my yes. There weren't as many trees for one thing. The front entrance and ticket booths were completly different. The Train Station hasn't changed much but the loading platform and the Train cars have. Town squre was totally different, and yet much the same. The same building were there, but there were different tenants. Wurlizter Organs occupied the corner store on the Right. Maxwell House Coffe was right behind it (where the pin trader area was for awhile. The Mad Hatter was there, but nothing was in the "Opera House" on opening day. The Bank was a real Bank Of America, Disneyland Branch. The City Hall and Fire Station were there, but there was no light buring in the upstairs window above the Fire Station (because Mr. Disney was still alive and using it as his private apartment). The area that is now the Back Part of the Emporium was where the lockers where located. The Emporium was much smaller, but the store had a real old fashioned look to it. Over where the Plush Area and cheap toys are now, there was a real honest to God book Store and in the back corner was a favorite of Mrs. Disney, a Candle Store. Where the New Century Time Company is now, then was Upjohn Pharmosuticals, a look at medicine and the tools that where in our future (from The Upjohn Corp., of course). Accross the Street, the Magic Store was there and next door (where the record/CD store is was a cigarette store. The Kodak Photo Center was also in this first block of builings, where the Disneyana Store is today. Center Street was there, but there was nothing really there. On the East side Carnation Plaza was an indoor eatery and the outdoor area that is there today was an extension to the sit down eating place inside (where the bakery is today). There was an Ice Cream store next to the restaraunt and it was Carnation. The Arcade Bank Organs all worked, the electical shock machines wokred and there where tons of old fashined penny arcade machines also. Coke Corner was there, but Rod wasn't on board yet. They sold Coca Cola and Hot Dogs. No chili yet. The Candy store was also there and the did make candy every day that you could watch. The corner store with the chess games and old fashioned store was also there, only selling better quality food and coffee and "Stuff" than today.
The Hub had flowers and a center hub, but no statue of Walt and Mickey. That didn't come until years later. Over to the left was Adventureland. There was no where near the vegitation that you see today. The boats had stripped awnings over them and were themed to the boat used in the movie "The African Queen". The boat house was two stories high, but not as detailed or as big as the one we have today. There was no other ride in Adventureland. The stores where they, but totally different than today. Where the Alladin Story Place sits today was the Polinesean Terrace. This was a magical place to go at night and have a fantastic dinner while watching a real Hawaiin/Tiatian hula show. During the day, they had lunches there and Mickey and the Gang did a Hawaiin themed show for the kids.
You could either go back to the hub and enter Frontierland thru it's Main Entrance or you could go into Fronteirland by crossing over a small bridge at the far end (where Pirates sits today) and you where in Fronteirland. River Bell Terrace was Aunt Jamima's Pancake House. No New Orleains Squre, No Pirates, No Haunted Mansion. The Mark Twain and the Canoes where the only river traffic at that time. Over to the far East Side, where the river turns and goes past what today is the Haunted Mansion, was The Chicken Plantation that had a huge balcony that you could sit on while eating on the best Chicken Dinners this side of Mrs. Knotts Chicken while watching the Mark Twain cruise by. The Train Station was much closer to the river than it was today. And, only the train with the cattle car passenger cars stopped there. The other trains went right by it. There was no train station on the far side. In fact, that train station across the tracks that you see today (in back of you when you are sitting in the train) is the original Frontierland Train Station). The Island was open and the raft where much smaller than today. At that time, everything on Tom Sawyer was open. All the caves, bridges, treehouses, teetering rocks, the fort with its dioramas and rifles along the top, and the burning house was burning. If you continued walking along the river on the East Side, toward what is Critter Contry today, you came to a real Indian Village with a dancing circle and Teepees. There where alway Indians around to talk to and several times a day the put on a show for us travellers. That was as far as you could walk, so you had to turn around and go back around the river to leave Frontierland. The Golden Horsehoe was there and the original Review was playing with all the gang from Slue Foot Sue to Pecos Bill. It was (and still is) the best show that Disneyland ever did. And did you know that the Golden Horseshoe is based on the actual floor plans from the Saloon that was in Doris Day's movie, "Calamity Jane"? Take a close look at that movie and study the interior scenes and then go look at the Golden Horsehoe. They are almost identical except for size and a couple of doors that are not there at Disneyland. The loading dock for the Mark Twain was right where it is today, only the look was simpler and smaller, but the ship itself is the same today as it was then. Over where Big Thunder is today, and stretching all the way to the River was the Mule Ride and the Stagecoach Ride. There was no train ride on opening day. You could not walk around the backside of Frontierland to get to Fantasyland. You had to go out to the Hub and then go past the old Carnation Plaza stage, restraunt and Ice Cream store that used to be back there. Oh, the Frito Lay Mexican Restaurant was also in Frontierland, sorry I forgot about that. It was sponsered by Frito Lay and you got a free bag of Fritos with every meal. And the food there was the best!!! Ok, back to Fantasyland. You walked over the bridge to get into Fantasyland. There was not other way unless you wanted to walk around the left side and go thru Tinker Bell's Toy Store. But, one just didn't do that on Opening Day. You had to walk over the drawbridge and thru the castle. I mean really. In the courtyard of Fantasyland, looking very much like a circus area, was the Carrousel, much closer than today and behind that were the Teacups. On the right was Peter Pan and Mr Toad and on the Left was Snow White. All three rides much smaller than today, and nothing but black light and plywood sets except for Peter Pan's ride which looked much better than the other, but still not as detailed as today. Where Pinnocio and the Village Hause are today was The Fantasyland Theater. The only air conditioned building in the entire park. You could go sit in there to watch cartoon, stage shows, and special event things. Just to get out of the heat and sit in cool air was worth it. Dumbo was over to the left more than it is today and was very simply a carnical spin ride modified to have Dumbo on the end, and you made Dumbo fly or land. Casey Jr. simply ran over hills and valley's while the Canal Boats hadn't opened at all. And that is where the Park ended at the North End. There was no Matterhorn, no Small World, or much of anything back there. In fact, if memory serves me correctly you had to go back thru Fantasyland to the Hub to get into Tomorrowland. There was no road for us, only for workers who where still working on areas that hadn't been finished in time. When you went into Tomorrowland, the front icon was the Clock Of The World. This clock told the time anywhere in the world. I could never figure it out though. The Entrance had much the same layout as today, a row of buildings on each side and a large open area toward the back. On the left was CirCarRama, the first of the many 360 degree movie houses that have been in there. On the right was --- nothing. The Journey Into The Atom was open yet. There was a large diry body of water in Tomorrowland and that is where the Boats of the Future were. Noisy, with large fins, they broke down constanly and where finally removed. The Autopia was there, much smaller than today and the cars where very different. Nothing really where Innoventions is today. No Space Mountain, No Star Tours, but we did have that gorgeous Moonline standing in front of the Rocket Launch Building (today it is Red Rockets' Pizza Place), and for me that was the best thing I had ever seen. I was really into Science Fiction when I was 13 (I still am) and to see this huge rocket and then go into that building and take off for the moon was really amazing back in 1954. There was the Astro Jets, at ground level, but much the same idea. There was also a large plaza and they did all kinds of stuff in there. Flying model planes was a big thing. Several weeks after opening day two new attractions opened that weren't ready for opening day, Space Station X-! and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and these also impressed me to no end. You really got the feeling you where miles above the Earth looking down on the planet while cirlcing miles above in a Space Station. And the 20,000 Leagues exhibit was just amazing for me. I loved that movie (I still think it is best live action movie Disney ever did - I just got the new DVD) and to be able to walk thru the actula movie sets, and step into Nemo's Library and see that beautiful Pipe Organ and see the Squid, was really something. And, I will admit here, when I got to the last scene which was the actula model of the Nautlis, in a display tank that you could walk around and look throuhg portholes to what was a huge diorama that looked like it was under water, I started to cry. This was "The Last Resting Place of The Nautilus" and that ship meant so much to me, I just stood there and cried.

Anyway, those are memories of the earliest Disneyland I know of. Life was much simpler in those days. Parking was free. Admission was $1. You paid for each attraction or ride. No Ticket Books yet. And the place was clean, clean, clean beyond belief. It was the most magical day I have ever had and the memories of walking into that Happiest Place On Earth are still with me today.

Hope I haven't bored you all to death, but you did ask.:D

WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW!!! This is truly the most thoughtful, interesting, incredible post I have ever read! Your journey through Disneyland in the 50's is absolutely incredible! You didn't bore me at all. I am just overwhelmed!WOW,WOW,WOW! Your memories are so vivid and magical! WOW! I loved this post. I could listen to you talk about it all day! Thank You for the VERY interesting post, Lost Boy. Like I said it is the best post I have ever read! WOW! :) :) :) :)

... Oh, Who agrees with me that Lost Boy's post was great?

JCLowesman
06-08-2003, 04:59 PM
I agree, your post was VERY good. My memories are from just a few years later than yours (I was there the same time you were, but I was only weeks old then, no memories for me).

Upjohn used to give away samples of vitamins, as I recall. I still have a few of those mini bottles around somewhere.

Does anyone remember the Circus? That was pretty short lived. The Viewliner was the precursor to the Monorail, and ran on the DLRR tracks. It was based on GM's "Train of Tomorrow" and is something I sadly miss.

Wasn't the Skyway part of the original list of attractions? What about the Pirate Ship in Fantasyland?

My Grandfather was a botanist and was breifly consulted by Disney about the types of mini plants used for the Storybook Boats. No family records I can find, but he did get us free tickets once.

All these memories may be changed or gone, but with the gange here at MousePad I will always be able to re-live them.

Thanks!

Lost Boy
06-08-2003, 05:51 PM
Thanks very much, it is really a special place for me, no matter what happens. Yes the Pirates Ship was there, but Skull Rock was not added until later. The Pirate Ship was magical for me (Gee, I wonder why,:D ) and I used to have lunch there (Tuna Sandwich with chips, soft drink, mmmm Good Stuff) and when the fireworks were on, they used to shoo them off from the area behind the Fantasyland Berm wall, and we stood on the "Poop" deck (highest deck at the back of the ship) and watched them from there sometimes just for something different. Usually we stood on Main Street so we could see the Castle with the fireworks in the sky above. Magical. :)
I honestly can't remeber when the skyway went in. I do know it was before the Matterhorn (1959) but I don't remember if it was there opening day or not. I "think" it was maybe 2 or 3 years after, but I'm just not sure. I never really got into the skyway, so that's why I am not sure. I just didn't like it so I seldom rode it.
I do remember UpJohn giving away samples, but I don't have any.
I remember the Circus as it was a lot of fun, and I also loved the Viewliner.
You are so right about this group. Disneyland will never stop talking to us through all the memories of others who share those memories with us. Thank for the Memories (with a happy nod to Bob Hope, I love him to death, for those lovely words).

ashleyfan
06-09-2003, 09:18 PM
My question is for Tod and Lost Boy: when did Disneyland become as popular as it is today? I know it had trouble drawing crowds in the off-season in the late-50's.

jerjer2005
06-09-2003, 09:45 PM
If you want a real taste first hand out what disneyland was lik,e in the 50's go and pick up the Disneyland DVD in the metal case. great stuff in there!

mousketeer
06-09-2003, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by JCLowesman
Wasn't the Skyway part of the original list of attractions?


Nope; 1959.

evildorko
06-10-2003, 12:13 AM
its not directly related to this thread, but if you find this stuff interesting (i know i do), you may find a paper i recently wrote for a history class somewhat interesting....its a study of the impact of disney and disneyland on the city of anaheim...
link to my disneyland and anaheim history paper (http://www.benackerman.com/files/classes/Hist301-%20final%20draft.doc)
its not the best written paper (my first in a university history class, actually), but it does have some interesting facts....let me know how you like it :)

Main Street Magic
06-10-2003, 05:58 AM
I was sitting here trying to compose a message of my own, from 1957 when I read yours. I wish I had something to add. You covered the park so wonderfully.

I do have fond memories of the Golden Horseshoe Review and the gun battles that occurred in Frontierland. At one time I even had a bullet given to me by the sherriff.

I always remember looking for Walt. I was "sure" that just once we were going to turn a corner and there he would be, but it never came to be.

And ticket books. What to do with all those left over A's and B's......and why didn't we have any more D's (the E's came later......) I had so many partial ticket books when I was little ( I still have two complete ones!)

Perhaps that's why it seems so un-crowded. When they did away with ticket books and the structured number of E tickets each person had it freed eveyone up to go on attractions as much as possible. (plus the one price for all attractions instead of pricing each attraction).

Again, to echo Lost Boy, in the 50's it was a treat and something special to go to Disneyland (why I lived over 90 miles away in San Diego for crying out loud!) and it took us quite some time to save up for the trip. Sure, people dressed up when they went. That's because they dressed up when they went anywhere special and Disneyland WAS special!

Why was it special? Because for most of us, we only saw Disneyland on those television shows when Walt would show us what was going on. Then we had all that time to dream about what it was like to paddle a canoe or ride a riverboat or fly with Peter Pan. Then we would take that special vacation and get the opportunity to walk across the hot parking lot (or wait for a tram) and then walk under the railroad tracks and see it for real. The smells and sounds washed over you and you never wanted to leave........but you all know that.

How special was it? Special enough for me to know that I wanted to work there. To be a part of it. It was a dream and I made that dream come true. Yes, my nick tells you where I ended up and I loved every minute.

smd4
06-10-2003, 08:55 AM
That was an absolutely STUNNING description, Lostboy! I could read it over and over again, and still find little interesting details and facts, like looking at a great painting!

A correction or two, though, if you don't mind:

The Mark Twain loading dock is as original in 1955; same for the loading platforms at Main Street Station (and while the MT looks identical, small changes have taken place there as well--most notably in the moving of the rear staircases farther astern). Tom Sawyer Island didn't open until June 16, 1956, along with the canoes in July of that year. On opening day, only the MT and the Keelboats circled the island.

Please don't let these corrections take anything away from your fantastic post!

Now, JCLowesman, the Viewliner NEVER ran on the SF&D tracks, but did parallel them for a short distance.

And, Mousketeer, the Skyway opened in June, 1956, not 1959. It's central pylon was on top of "Snow Mountain," really a small hill where the Matterhorn was eventually built--in 1959.

Lost Boy
06-10-2003, 10:04 AM
You are right about the Island. Because we went so often during those first few years all the dates sometimes tend to run together. You could see the Island and dream about it, but it didn't open until later. And I do remeber that for a few years, on that dock you can see from the Mark Twain area, you could fish with Tom and Beckey for real. They rented poles and you could fish for Catfish along that dock. Also I think that the Mark Twain Loading dock was completly refurbished about the same time they were building Fantasmic and the front was changed with different signage and all the different U.S. Flags from the different years where added. But the main part of the loading dock pretty much remained the same.

The Veiwliner ran through the area that later became the Submarine Lagoon for one stretch and yes it ran right alongside the Santa Fe RR but not on the same tracks. It was a narrow cage train, that was actually nothing more that a Ford Engine and frame with speical rail wheels and an aluminum train body stuck on top, with the passenger cars made special to match the engine body.

I remember the skyway stuck up on top of that little mound of dire that later became the Matterhorn. Everything in those days was right out in the open. It was so bare, even for the first few years in Adventureland. They just let all that natrual growth grow. They did add there own touches, but Mother Nature is the best gardner and that area looks so cool today.

Geez, I love that place.

smd4
06-10-2003, 10:31 AM
Mark Twain Dock (http://www.disneylandpostcards.com/frltwain11.jpg)

Okay, the flags were added and the color was changed...but the dock and structure remain the same.

Oh--and there's BUNTING!! How come they never use bunting anymore? It gave the place such a festive look!

Tigertail777
06-10-2003, 07:47 PM
I tried to comment on this last night, but my lovely dsl went and died for a while... so instead of typing out the long thing I had again, I will just say thank you to lost boy and any others who provided these marvelous memories for us.