Pixie Dust Central:
Happy 60th Birthday To Disneyland! (Video)
If you read my monthly Pixie Dust Central, you’ll already know that I typically write about the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. This month is actually a very special one at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California so I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of what’s going on over there during their celebration.
July 17th was actually the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland – I was there during its 50th anniversary year and I can hardly believe that 10 years have already gone by! Disneyland holds a very special place in my heart because it’s where the magic began. I love hearing the stories of how Walt Disney dreamt of a place where children and adults could have fun together and how he followed those dreams and turned it into the wonderful place we all know and love today.
Check out these fun facts about the Disneyland Resort:
~ Disneyland Park opened July 17, 1955, with 18 ticketed attractions and five free attractions/exhibits. Opening Day highlights included the Jungle Cruise, Autopia, Mad Tea Party and Mark Twain Riverboat. Several other classic Disneyland attractions opened later in the year: TWA Rocket to the Moon on July 22, Casey Jr. Circus Train on July 31, and Dumbo Flying Elephants on Aug. 16.
~ During construction of the park, and occasionally until he passed away in 1966, Walt Disney would stay overnight in a small apartment above the Main Street Fire Dept., next to Disneyland City Hall. Today, a lamp shines continuously in the apartment window in tribute to the spirit of Walt Disney.
~ When Disneyland opened there were no A, B, C, D and E tickets. Guests paid for park admission and purchased attraction tickets inside. The first ticket books (A, B and C tickets) appeared on Oct. 11, 1955. The first E tickets appeared in 1959 and were used for newly opened attractions, Matterhorn Bobsleds and Submarine Voyage.
~ The skilled artists in the Silhouette Studio on Main Street, U.S.A., can create a silhouette portrait in 60 seconds or less.
~ The names and titles of the second-story shop windows along Main Street, U.S.A., pay tribute to cast members and others who contributed to the creation and development of Disneyland. Most of the shop names feature whimsical references to the professional specialties or hobbies of the individuals honored.
~ In contrast to the Main Street, U.S.A. windows, the second-story windows in Mickey’s Toontown are a treasure trove of trivia for Disney animation fans. They reference characters such as Scrooge McDuck and Jiminy Cricket, along with relatively obscure early-era Disney characters such as Clara Cluck and Toby Tortoise.
~ The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959. It set the standard for modern-day roller-coaster design.
~ Disneyland created the first daily operating monorail in the Western Hemisphere. opened June 14, 1959. Since then, the Disneyland Monorail has traveled approximately 780 million miles, enough for eight round trips to the planet Mars. The current Disneyland Monorail vehicles, the Mark VII models, debuted in 2008 and are the fifth generation at Disneyland Resort. Two other models, Mark IV and Mark VI, have been featured at Walt Disney World in Florida.
~ The Apollo moon landing in 1969 was shown live on television to Disneyland guests at the Tomorrowland Stage.
~ Having been outdone by NASA in 1969, the Tomorrowland Rocket to the Moon/Flight to the Moon attraction became Mission to Mars in March, 1975. The rocket took its final flight in 1992 and the location eventually transformed to Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port.
~ The adventures of Snow White, Peter Pan and Mr. Toad have been on display as Fantasyland “dark rides” since opening day at Disneyland. Alice in Wonderland joined this lineup in summer 1958. Pinocchio appeared in 1983 as part of the extensively enhanced “New Fantasyland.” Adding “new magic” to these classics, Imagineers recently used projections to enhance scenes in Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.
~ The books in the library of Toad Hall in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride have nonsense versions of famous titles, including: “For Whom the Toads Croak” and “A Tadpole Grows in Brooklyn.”
~ The guest-favorite Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in New Orleans Square features more than 120 Audio-Animatronics figures, and guests often sing along with that catchy refrain: “Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me.”
~ The charming, New Orleans-themed Blue Bayou Restaurant is located inside Pirates of the Caribbean, where dining guests can watch the attraction boats glide past. The Blue Bayou is sometimes cited as the inspiration for the many “themed restaurants” around the country today.
~ The first version of the “Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade” appeared in 1972 and went on hiatus after summer 1974. A second-generation “Main Street Electrical Parade” premiered in 1977 and ran for 20 years, retiring in 1996. It reappeared, as “Disney’s Electrical Parade” in Disney California Adventure Park from 2001 to 2010.
~ Beginning in 1997, Disneyland started celebrating the holidays with the seasonal re-theming of “it’s a small world” as “it’s a small world” Holiday. This was followed by Haunted Mansion Holiday for the Halloween and Christmas seasons beginning in 2001, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy starting in the 2009 Halloween season, and Jingle Cruise for the 2013 holiday season.
~ The “it’s a small world” attraction remains very popular with guests, more than 50 years after debuting at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Guest research shows that one in four Disneyland guests – families with children and those who grew up riding the attraction – consider “it’s a small world” a tradition. They plan a voyage whenever they visit the park.
~ Of the five engines on the Disneyland Railroad, four are named for founders or executives of the Santa Fe Railroad. (The attraction was originally known as the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad.) The fifth engine, the “Ward Kimball,” is named for Disney Legend, animator and train enthusiast Ward Kimball (1914-2002).
~ The trains of the Disneyland Railroad have accrued enough mileage during the past 60 years to travel to the moon and back more than 250 times.
~ The troop transport vehicle at the entrance to the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction is the actual vehicle that dragged and almost ran over Indiana Jones in one of the thrilling sequences from the original “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
~ In the early days of Tom Sawyer Island, the surrounding Rivers of America were stocked with catfish and fishing was allowed off the island’s docks.
~ The King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland was assembled from parts of several genuine 19th century carousels. The horses, ridden by hundreds of guests every day, are more than 100 years old. They are fully restored, one row at a time, every year.