Travel – Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates - entrance at night

Our family has been enjoying Disneyland for almost sixty years and we have so many memories of spending wonderful times at the park.  One of the first things we do on a visit is head over to New Orleans Square to ride one of the most popular rides in the park … Pirates of the Caribbean.  We also enjoy eating at the Blue Bayou which is the restaurant located within the ride and is famous for its Monte Cristo Sandwich.  In this post I will discuss the history of the Disneyland attraction, the many changes to the ride over the years and some fun Pirates of the Caribbean trivia.

The history of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland

The idea for a pirate themed attraction dates back to the early 1950s, when Disneyland was being planned, and there was a ride concept for a walk-through wax museum featuring scenes with famous pirates for history, but that idea was put on hold and never built.  Instead, at the time that Disneyland opened Anaheim, CA in 1955, there was a Pirate themed attraction located in Fantasyland and it was Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship Restaurant sponsored by Chicken of the Sea and later in 1960 Skull Rock from the 1953 Disney animated movie “Peter Pan” was added.  Both attractions remained at Disneyland for several years until the 1982 refurbishment of the New Fantasyland, the Dumbo attraction now stands where the former Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock where originally located.  (Currently, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship Restaurant and Skull Rock can be seen again in Adventureland at Disneyland Paris in France)

By this time, the Disney Company had a separate division that was responsible for the creation and construction of the Disney theme park; it was originally known as WED which are the initials of Walter Elias Disney.  The staff of visual artists and engineers was collectively known as imagineers, a name meaning employees that combined imagination and engineering to design and build rides for the Disney theme park.  Several years later, when Walt was considering creating a new “land” called New Orleans Square at Disneyland he decided the time was right to finally create a pirate ride.

New Orleans Square - concept artwork

When the It’s a Small World attraction was created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair it featured a new ride technology using water propelled boats but more importantly it was very successful in moving a large number of guests through the attraction in a timely manner and this was exactly what Walt needed for the new pirate ride that he envisioned.  So, Walt and his imagineers decided to utilize the same boat ride system that would take guests through the ride to see various scenes featuring audio-animatronic pirates. The relatively new technology of audio-animatronics was basically a type of robotics that was able to make figures move in a realistic way, this was accomplished by means of pneumatic and hydraulic valves used inside the figures and controlled by sonic impulses with a vocal track recorded on a magnetic tape.  With these two new technologies as the basis for the new ride concept the imagineers quickly moved forward with ideas.

Herb Ryman, the famous Disney artist that created the original drawings for Disneyland, drew some preliminary sketches that would eventually determine the overall design of New Orleans Square, another Disney artist named Sam McKim also helped with creating the final designs.  The new pirate ride would be located in one of the buildings in New Orleans Square and this determined the amount of space allowed for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Marc Davis, a former Disney animator, was now working as an imagineer for WED and he is responsible for the overall interior design of the ride and created numerous sketches, drawings and paintings depicting the various scenes of the pirates attacking, raiding and eventually setting fire to a village.  The next step in the process of creating the ride was for the imagineers to utilize storyboards to create a cohesive storyline as guests would move from one scene to another scene; this same technique of storyboards was used frequently by the Disney Studios when plotting out their animated movies.  The storyboards of the pirate ride were constantly being revised as scenes were added, changed or eliminated.  Once the storyboards were finalized, the next step was to create working small-scale models of the various scenes which would be used for the ride.  Using small inexpensive models was a better way to keep building costs down by making changes on the models instead on the more expensive full-sized structures.

Pirates - concept artwork    Marc Davis developing Pirates concept boards

Now that the Pirate of the Caribbean ride designs where finished it was time to build.  The new ride would be located in New Orleans Square which was designed with several antebellum-style buildings containing shops and restaurants.  The main building where the ride would be located is a multi-level structure with the majority of the ride located under the building and streets of New Orleans Square.  The first step in the ride construction was excavating a large area to accommodate the space for the ride’s various village scenes.   The next step was laying the guide rails for the pirate boats that would take guests through the ride, eventually the ride would use 750,000 gallons of water to propel the boats and also create the scenic areas of the ride.  Two 21-degree drops were required at the beginning of the ride to take guests underground and into the main show building located beyond the berm of the park.  At the end of the ride, the boat needed to get back to the ground level and this was achieved by the guests remaining in the boats as a chain pulley system, similar to the technique used to pull a roll coaster uphill, was used to return guests to the loading/unloading area of the ride.  (When the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was added to Walt Disney World in Florida, the boat path was revised so that guests unloaded before the ascent)

Please note that some of the photos of the New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean construction shown below were originally used on the website.

Pirates - exterior construction 2Pirates - exterior construction 1    Pirates - interior constuction 1

As the building process was going on, imagineer Blaine Gibson was heading up a team to create the pirate figures for the ride.  The look of the figures changed from fierce looking pirates to more whimsical ones to be used in some of the more humorous scenes of the ride.  Before the figures could be added, the various ride scenes needed to be constructed.  These scenes ranged from the quiet bayou scene located after the guest load area and before the two drops, to the dark and mysterious caverns after plunging down the waterfall, to the misty scene where the pirates attack the village, to the numerous scenes of the pirates pillaging the village just before the ride comes to a fiery end.

Then in 1966, as the ride was nearing completion, Walt Disney suddenly died.  Walt’s health had severely deteriorated after years of smoking.  Always concerned more for the good of his company then his personal health, Walt kept his condition as quite as possible telling only his family, a few close friends and co-workers that he need to be hospitalize to have one of his lungs removed.  The company’s employees and stockholders were told that he was receiving treatment for an old polo injury so as not to effect the daily and long term operation of the Disney Company.  Sadly, Walt died on December 15, 1966.  After a brief period of mourning the work on the Pirates attraction resumed and was eventually completed three months later with an official opening date of March 18, 1967.

Pirates - Captains quarters    Pirates - the loot

Pirates - the auction scene 1    Pirates - looting scene

Pirates - jail scene

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was a success from the day it opened and over the years it has become one of the most popular rides at Disneyland.  Later, other versions were built in the Disney theme parks using different facades but always with the interior ride being very similar to the original one.  The Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World) Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened in 1973, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Disneyland Paris in 1992 and currently one is under construction at the Shanghai Disneyland with a projected opening date of December 2015.

Pirates - Walt Disney World    Pirates - Disneyland Paris

Pirates of the Caribbean ride trivia

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was the last Disneyland attraction that was personally supervised by Walt Disney from ride concept and design through to construction, he died three months before the official opening.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean ride cost approximately $8 million dollars to build in Disneyland which is almost equal to the amount paid to France when the United States negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 which included the city of New Orleans.
  • The Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean ride is contained in two large show buildings covering a total of 112,826 feet.  located beyond the berm of the park. 
  • The ride uses 750,000 gallons of water which flows through the 1,838 feet length of the ride’s canals.   
  • There are approximately 122 audio animatronic characters (68 pirates and villagers and 54 animals) used on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride
  • The façade of the main building to the attraction is said to have been inspired by the architecture of the Cabildo building located in Jackson Square in New Orleans, the building was the site where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.
  • Atop the tall tower of the main building of the Pirates attraction a 31 star United States flag can be seen, this corresponding to the 1850s which is the time period that New Orleans Square is supposed to be set.
  • The Laffite Landing sign which hangs over the Pirates of the Caribbean boat load/unload area is for the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, who fought with the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans.  (The name is spelled as the pirate originally used it and not the later English version which is how it is written in the history books)
  • The Pirate of the Caribbean ride features the memorable song, “Yo-Ho, a Pirates Life for Me”.  The music is by George Bruns and the lyrics are by Francis Xavier Atencio.  Bruns is best known as the co-writer of another Disney classic, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”.  Atencio wrote the theme song for the Haunted Mansion attraction, “Grim Grinning Ghosts”.  Atencio voice can also be heard on the Pirates ride as the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones just before the boat plunges down the first waterfall.
  • In the battle scene of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride cannonballs seem to be flying over the guests as they ride through, but it is only a Disney illusion using recorded sounds and flashes of light are used to create the effect that cannon are firing from the pirate ship and also on land from the village fortress.  A splash of water gives the effect that the cannonballs are missing their targets and landing in the water, recently puffs of air have been added to create the addition effect of the cannonballs flying past.
  • In the village pillaging scenes, the original version of the ride featured several pirates chasing giggling ladies, on was even seen chasing after a pirate!  When guests complained about the “sexual implication” of the scene it was altered to reflect a more “chaise” behavior.  The ladies now carrying cakes, pastries and other food items that the starving pirates want.  An interesting observation is that the bride auction scene remains unchanged.
  • Toward the end of the ride, the pirates set fire to the village.  The fire effect created by the Disney imagineers was so realistic that prior the attraction’s grand opening the Anaheim Fire Chief almost shut down the ride until he realized that it was only an illusion. (The fire is basically created by pieces of fabric, lights and fans!) The Anaheim Fire Department did request that the ride should be altered so that in the event of a real fire the simulated fire effect would automatically shut off.
  • On the upper level of the building of Pirates of the Carribbean building was originally planned for a private apartment for the personal use of the Disney family.  Located at the front of the building, slightly to the right side, is where the front veranda for the Disney apartment would have been and there is a wrought iron railing which incorporates the intertwined initials of Walt Disney (WD) and Roy Disney (RD).  The Disney apartment which was never fully completed was eventually converted into the Disney Gallery which was a retail store and showroom featuring Disney artwork and collectible items.  In 2007, the space was refurbished and reopened as the Disneyland Dream Suite which is the only overnight guest accommodations located within Disneyland.
  • In 2003, Disney released the “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” movie which was inspired by the original Disneyland ride.  Some scenes in the movie featured iconic ride scenes, such as the jail scene with the pirates trying to get the keys from the mouth of the dog.  Even the famous “Yo-Ho, A Pirates Life For Me” song was used in the movie.  The film’s world premiere was held at Disneyland and featured the longest red carpet in history; it went from Main Street to New Orleans Square.  The movie proved to be very successful and additional sequels have been filmed, in fact the fifth installation of the Pirates of the Caribbean series is currently being filmed.
  • Following the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, several characters from the movies have been added to the ride.  The character of Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, appears several times in various village scenes and Captain Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush, can be seen on the pirate ship as it attacks the village.  Additionally, one of the most impressive effects of adding the movie’s character into the ride is when the faces of Davy Jones (from “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End”) and Blackbeard (from “On Stranger Tides”) were projected onto the mist before the second waterfall drop.  Recently mermaids from “On Stranger Tides” have also been added to the ride.

Pirates - Johnny Depp 2

Travel – Disneyland (Part Four)

In this next installation of the five part Disneyland series I will discuss New Orleans Square and Critter Country which are two “lands” that were added several years after the park originally opened in 1955.  New Orleans Square is a lively and festive area located on the banks of the Rivers of America where two of the most popular rides, the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions in Disneyland can be found, while in Critter Country there is the exciting thrill ride, Splash Mountain.

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square opened in 1966 and was part of Walt’s idea that Disneyland would always be forever changing and growing with new attractions.  At the dedication ceremony, Walt joked that creating New Orleans Square cost almost as much as the original price of the Louisiana Purchase but sadly this occasion was the last public appearance by Walt before he died in December 1966.  The almost three acre area located adjacent to Frontierland cost an estimated $18 million to complete and the design and architecture was inspired by the antebellum era of New Orleans with its classic ironwork and narrow streets filled with restaurants offering delicious creole food and small little shops selling all kinds of souvenirs.  Located on the second floor over the Pirates of the Caribbean show building there was once a large apartment that was built for the Disney family, look for the initials of both Walt and Roy Disney in the intricate ironwork on the balcony overhead.  Since that time, it has been used as the Disney Gallery store which also featured various ongoing exhibits of Disneyland and this area is currently available to special guests as the only “overnight” accommodations within the park; it is known as the Disneyland Dream Suite.

Orleans Street Jan 2002    Court of Angels Aug 2008 2
Le Bat en Rouge Aug 2006    L'Ornement Magique 1999

The next two photos are of the exclusive Disneyland Dream Suite

Dream Suite Jan 2008 2a    Dream Suite Master bedroom Jan 2008

The first attraction that guests will see upon entering New Orleans Square is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it was the last ride that Walt personally oversaw the development and construction and the attraction opened in 1967 three months after his death.  Pirates is a dark ride where guests ride boats through various scenes that feature a band of pirates that pillage and loot their way through small towns of the Caribbean while singing the attractions famous song, “Yo Ho, a Pirates life for Me”.  With success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series, in 2006 the character of Jack Sparrow was added to several scenes within the attraction, the audio-animatronic figure is very realistic and a perfect likeness to the character as played by Johnny Depp in the films.  Also if you have any pirates or wenches in your group while visiting the park, don’t forget to check out the 2007 refurbished of Tom Sawyer Island which is now the current location known as the Pirate Lair.  (Travel tips: #1. Located on the path from Adventureland into New Orleans Square, look for Lafitte’s anchor, which has infamously been said to be the one used on his pirate ship in the Battle of New Orleans, but this could be one of those urban rumors!! #2. While in the boarding area of the ride, look for the sign overhead that reads “Lafitte’s Landing” which is also a reference to the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, that once roamed the Caribbean.  #3. Located in the interior of the Pirates attraction is the adjacent Blue Bayou restaurant which is famous for their Monte Cristo sandwiches, be sure to make a reservation for this popular Disneyland restaurant prior to your visit through the Disneyland Resort Reservations line which can be reached at 714-781-3463 and reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance of a visit)  For more detailed information about the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, please click on the link.

Pirates entrance 1999

002 - Pirates of the Caribbean    003 - Pirates of the Caribbean - jail scene

Haunted Mansion exterior 100

Located on the other side of the Disneyland Railroad New Orleans Station is the Haunted Mansion attraction, one of the most popular rides in Disneyland and features a ride on the patented Omnimover vehicles, also known as “Doom Buggies”, which take guests through a not-so-spooky haunted house filled with audio-animatronic ghosts and a variety of other special effects.  (For more detailed information on this New Orleans attraction, please click on the link, Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, which was originally posted in October 2013)

Critter Country sign

Critter Country

Critter Country is located in the area of Disneyland that was formerly a part of the old Frontierland called Indian Village. The Indian Village was originally the site inspired by the Native Americans culture of the old western frontier and where there were daily demonstrations of their dances and other customs; it was also the original site of an attraction called the Indian War Canoes.  Indian Village closed in 1971, refurbished and expanded into a new re-themed four acre area that reopened in 1972 as Bear Country.  The Country Bear Jamboree became the main attraction in this area of the park and featured audio-animatronic bears and other animals that put on a fun musical show.  Also located to this new section of the park were the new Hungry Bear Restaurant and the renamed Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes.  In 1988, Bear Country was renamed Critter Country and a year later Splash Mountain opened and instantly became one of Disneyland’s most popular thrill rides.  Eventually the Country Bear Jamboree closed in 2001 and was replaced two years later by a new attraction called the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Indian Village

Country Bear exterior    Country Bear interior

As previously mentioned, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes were originally located in the old Frontierland Indian Village.  The 35 foot long canoes hold up to twenty guests, not including the two cast member guides at the front and the back of the boat.  The ride takes guests on a circular route that travels 2,400 around Tom Sawyer Island and, since the canoes are free-floating in the Rivers of America, the length of the trip depends on how fast the guests can paddle, the attraction operates seasonally and shuts down with inclement weather and also does not run at night.

Splash Mountain opened in 1989 and is based on the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South”.  As the $75 million cost of the attraction’s construction went severely over budget, there was an idea presented at that time to refurbish the characters from the recently closed America Sings attraction in Tomorrowland.  Splash Mountain takes guests on an fun ride in flume logs as they gently float past several scenes recreated from the movie, the basic storyline is that Brer Rabbit is on a search for his special “laughing place” but encounters some trouble from Brer Fox and Brer Bear along his journey, until the exciting 53 foot steep drop that takes guests into the briar patch and concludes with a final scene of all the audio-animatronic characters singing the song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” in celebration that Brer Rabbit is safe!  (Travel tip: Located on the ride, shortly before entering the interior scenes of the attraction, listen closely for the sounds of snoring coming from Brer Bear’s cave, this is a tribute to the original entrance to the old Bear Country that had a bear named Rufus also snoring in his cave)

Splash Mountain exterior    Splash Mountain interior 1

Splash Mountain Brer Bear house May 2007

The most recent attractions added to Critter Country is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride which opened in 2003.  The Disney Studios has made several animated films based on the series of books by A.A. Milne about Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Woods and the ride features various scenes from the stories with colorful audio-animatronics and other delightful sights and sounds.  During the 1983 Fantasyland major refurbishment there was briefly a proposed Winnie the Pooh ride but it was never built and the attraction was eventually placed in Critter Country on the site of the former Country Bear Jamboree which closed in 2001.  Located just outside of the attraction, the Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger characters are usually available to greet guests, take photos and give autographs, but be prepared because the line is usually long and very slow moving.  (Travel tips:  Look for the figure of Winnie the Pooh floating up and down attached to the string of a balloon, this mechanism at one time lowered “Teddi Barra” from the ceiling in the old Counrty Bear Jamboree attraction.  Also when entering the final scene of the ride, look backwards and over the doorway the vehicle just passed through are the three “trophy” heads of Max the buck, Buff the buffalo and Melvin the moose that were once used in the Country Bear Jamboree that were placed there as a tribute to the former attraction)

Winnie the pooh exterior    The Many Adventures of Winnie the P

Pooh ride 1000

This post completes the tours of New Orleans Square and Critter Country but be sure to check out the four additional posts in the Disneyland series.  Part One – The history of DisneylandPart Two – Main Street and Fantasyland, Part Three – Adventureland and Frontierland, Part Five – Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.

Travel – Disneyland (Part Three)

In this third post of the Disneyland series I will discuss two more of the original “lands” of Disneyland, Adventureland and Frontierland.  When Walt was planning the construction of Disneyland he wanted to incorporate the ideas used in the many successful Disney Studio movies and television shows.  Adventureland was based on the Disney True-Life Adventure series and Frontierland was based on Walt’s love of the classic stories of Tom Sawyer and Davy Crockett, the Davy Crockett television show was a very popular Disney series of the 1950s.  (Who remembers those coonskin hats that were a national craze way back then??)the

Oct 17, 2011: Anaheim,CA Disneyland park in Anaheim.


Adventureland is one of the smaller areas of Disneyland but special care was taken to recreate the feeling of an exotic tropical location found in the jungles of Asia and Africa.  When the park opened in 1955, Adventureland was sparsely landscaped with plants, in fact the trees from the former orange groves on the site were uprooted and placed upside down around the area to fill in the empty spaces to stimulate exotic vegetation and weeds were labeled with strange scientific plant names.

Adventureland 2000 2    Adventureland 2000 1

When Disneyland opened in 1955, the only attraction in Adventureland was the Jungle Cruise.  Taking inspiration from the Disney True-Life Adventure series, the imagineers developed a ride that simulated a trip down the major rivers of Asia, Africa and South America. The trip is led by a Disney cast member who drives the boat past several different scenes while offering the guests a humorous narration.  Originally the plan was to use live animals, but due to animal behavioral restrictions the imagineers instead created numerous animatronic animals so the scene was consistently the same for each ride.  The boat design was inspired by the 1951 movie “The African Queen” and the river that the boat rides through is only 5 feet deep and is dyed a blue-green color to obscure the boat tracks, other mechanical equipment and platforms used for the animatronic animals.  The Jungle Cruise river was originally 1,920 feet in length but it was shortened and rerouted twice, once in 1962 when the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction was added and again in 1994 for the Indiana Jones ride.

1961 Jungle Cruise

Located near the entrance to Adventureland is The Enchanted Tiki Room which opened in 1964 and it was the first attraction to feature a full cast of characters that used the technique developed by the Disney imagineers called audio-animatronics which was the computer synchronization of sound and robotics.  The 15 minute show features songs performed by over 150 animatronic birds, tropical flower and plants, carved Tiki Totems and even a magical fountain located in the center of the room.  Since 1976, the attraction has been sponsored by the Dole Food Company based in Hawaii, the theme of the attraction fits in perfectly with the tropical pineapple flavored frozen dessert, the Dole Whip, that is sold at the snack bar.  Long time visitors to Disneyland will remember a small restaurant called the Tahitian Terrace which was located adjacent to the Enchanted Tiki Room.  The restaurant served a variety of Polynesian food and also featured a show with Hawaiian musicians and dancers; the Polynesian culture was a very popular trend in Southern California during the early 1960s.  The restaurant was only open during the summer months until it was permanently closed in 1994.

Walt in Tiki Room    P5230164

In 1962, the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction was added to Adventureland, it is inspired by the 1960 Disney movie of the same name which was based on the 1812 book written by Johanna David Wyss.  The Swiss Family Treehouse was built in the area adjacent to Frointerland and the tree was officially given the Disney scientific name of “Disneyodendron semperfloren grandis” translated to mean a large ever-blooming artificial tree.  The tree was constructed of steel and concrete and measures 60 feet tall and 90 feet wide with its 450 branches covered with over 6,000 artificial leaves.  The Swiss Family Treehouse was a walk-through attraction and guests would climb the stairs into the treehouse to see the various rooms decorated with furniture and other items that the Robinson family supposedly salvaged from the ship wreak that caused them to be stranded on a deserted island.

Swiss Family Treehouse    Tarzan's Treehouse

(Photo on left is Swiss Family Treehouse and on the right is Tarzan’s Treehouse)

The Swiss Family Treehouse operated for over 36 years until it was closed to be refurbished and reopened in 1999 as Tarzan’s Treehouse which coincided with the release of the Disney animated movie, “Tarzan”.  The attraction was redecorated to reflects the style of the Tarzan movie.  (Travel tip: Look closely for tributes to the older Swiss Family Treehouse attraction for such items as the “Mind Thy Head sign and the antique gramophone playing the “Swisskapolka” that were both used on the original attraction.

old Swiss Fmily gramaphone

One of the most technically advanced rides in Disneyland is the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction which opened in 1995.  To accommodate the space needed for the queue area and the large 50,000 square foot show building, the Jungle Cruise attraction was rerouted and an area of the former parking lot was removed.  (An Eeyore parking sign is placed in the interior queue line as tribute, look for it in the projection room)  On the ride guests board military vehicles to join the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones as he travels through a lost temple in search of hidden treasures but the idol Mara has been angered and guests set off on a wild adventure.  The ride system was invented and patented by the Disney imaginer specifically for the Indiana Jones ride and each of the military vehicles is actually a motion simulator with three hydraulic systems attached underneath the chassis of the vehicle which can be operated independently creating a variety of motions that simulate speed, lift, reverse and other intense maneuvers.  (Travel tip: If the queue line is long don’t worry because there are fun things to see and do while waiting in the various areas of the line, such as in the exterior queue line look for the small mining car that was used in the Temple of Doom movie, in the spike room shake one of the bamboo support poles for sounds of the ceiling crashing overhead and don’t pull on the rope in another area of the queue line because one of the archeologists will give an angry response and after ride as guests exit the ride’s show building look for the Mercedes-Benz truck which was actually used in Raiders of the Lost Ark movie)

Indiana Jones sign Nov 97    Indiana Jones truck - outside queue


Frontierland is another original “land” of Disneyland and when the park being planned Western movies and television shows were very popular.  After passing through the fort façade at the entrance to Frontierland guests will see the street and buildings reminiscent of a small western town with raised wooden sidewalks, hitching posts for horses, also on the far corner down the street is the Golden Horseshoe Saloon and the boat dock for the Mark Twain Riverboat is location on the edge of the Rivers of America.  (Travel tip: Look for a tribute window to Fess Parker, the actor played Davy Crockett on the Disney television show that was very popular in the 1950s)

Frointerland sign

Just prior to the opening of Disneyland, Walt and Lillian Disney celebrated their 30th anniversary with a private party held at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon on July 13, 1955.  Then the day before the official opening of the park, on July 16, 1955, another private party was held for the corporate sponsors of Disneyland and the event marked the first performance of the long running Golden Horseshoe Saloon Revue starring Wally Boag as Pecos Bill.  The Golden Horseshoe Revue was the longest running show to be performed at Disneyland; it ran a record total of 39,000 times.  Many years later, another popular show starring Bill Hill and the Hillibillies ran from 1994 to early 2014 and featured bluegrass music.  An interesting trivia note regarding the Golden Horseshoe Saloon is that the famous Disney imagineer Harper Goff designed the interior and at the time that Disneyland was being built Goff had also recently designed a very similar set for the 1953 movie “Calamity Jane” starring Doris Day.  (Travel tip: Look for a large petrified wood tree stump which is located just outside the Golden Horseshoe Saloon on the edge of the Rivers of America, is was a gift from Walt to his wife for their 31st anniversary … of course the clever Lillian thought that it would look much better placed in Disneyland for everyone to enjoy instead of her backyard!)

Golden Horsehoe Revue

When Walt was planning Disneyland’s Frontierland, he wanted the Rivers of America to be busy with activity and the Mark Twain Riverboat was the perfect choice.  The Mark Twain is a grand steamboat that was built to 5/8 scale and measures 28 feet high and 105 feet long and weighs 150 tons.  The riverboat takes Disneyland guests on a 12 minute ride along the Rivers of America with wonderful views of Frontierland’s Tom Sawyer Island and New Orleans Square.  Available for a select few guests is the exciting opportunity to ride the Mark Twain from the pilot’s wheelhouse located on the top deck of the boat where they can stand behind the wheel for a fun photo, pull the rope to sound the boat’s loud horn and after a trip around the river guests are presented with a special Pilot Certificate which makes a great souvenir!  (Travel tip: On a trip around Tom Sawyer Island on board the Mark Twain, look for one of the old keel boats abandoned on the riverbank that guests will remember from years ago and also there is an old mine train standing on the tracks of the old Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland attraction.

Mark Twain    Columbia on the river

(Photo on the left is the Mark Twain and on the right is the Columbia)

After Disneyland had been open for several years, Walt decided that an additional large ship should be added to the Rivers of America.  The Sailing Ship Columbia opened in 1958 and it is a full scale historical replica of the Columbia Rediviva that was the first American ship to travel around the world.  When the 84 feet tall and 110 feet long ship was being built at the Todd Shipyard in San Pedro, Ca (the same place that the hull of the Mark Twain was made years earlier) Joe Fowler, the Disneyland construction boss and retired Naval admiral, told Disney that it was customary to put silver dollars under the mast of a ship for good luck and Disney personally placed one under each of the Columbia’s three masts.  The Columbia only runs on very busy days at Disneyland and both the Columbia and the Mark Twain will close early on the nights when the Fantasmic! show is performed because both are used in the popular nighttime extravaganza that can be seen along the Rivers of America.

When Tom Sawyer Island opened in 1956 it was a magical place for children and adults visiting Disneyland to explore the artificial island located in the middle of the Rivers of America.  For decades the Tom Sawyer themed island was reached only by the old keel boats (which closed in 177) and the river rafts and remained generally unchanged with areas such as, Tom and Huck’s Treehouse, Injun Joe’s Cave, Harper’s Mill, Fort Wilderness and on the far end of the island the Burning Settler’s Cave.  When the nighttime show Fantasmic! debuted in 1992 the area of Harper’s Mill was re-built to accommodate the equipment needed for the special effects used in the production.  Then after the success of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean franchise the island closed for refurbishment and reopened in 2007 when it was re-themed as the Pirate’s Lair.  The Harper’s Mill was renamed Lafitte’s Tavern where on occasion there is a performance by a pirate band called the Blige Rats, the former Injun Joe’s Cave has been changed with pirate sounds and interactive special effects and was renamed the Dead Man’s Grotto, the Smuggler’s Cove area of the island has also been changed with pirate themed refurbishments while the original Tom Sawyer Island old Suspension Bridge and Pontoon Bridge have remained intact.  Two additional pirate themed areas were added to the island, the Pirate’s Den features the remains of a shipwreck and an area called the Captain’s Treasure which features a large pile of pirate loot and occasionally the character of Captain Jack Sparrow can be found there for a wonderful photo opportunity.

Tom Sawyer Island

One of the most popular rides at Disneyland can be found in Frontierland and it is the Big Thunder Mountain attraction which is famously said to be “the wildest ride in the wilderness”!  Big Thunder is an exciting mine train roller coaster that takes guests on a ride through an area that looks a lot like Utah’s Bryce Canyon, the backstory of the ride is that the miners have trespassed onto a Native American sacred area and the place has become cursed with severe natural disasters and the mine train careens out of control!!  The Big Thunder attraction opened in 1979 on the site of the former Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland and Rainbow Ridge Pack Mule attractions of old Frontierland.  As a tribute to both those previous rides the small Rainbow Ridge mining town that was once located near the loading area of both attractions remains intact and the Rainbow Caverns that can be seen on the first lift of the Big Thunder attraction was also recreated as a special tribute to the former Frontierland attractions.  In 2013, Big Thunder closed for a major refurbishment and reopened in March 2014 with a completely new track, trains, and a new “dynamic” ending that features enhanced special effects!  (Travel tip: When riding the Big Thunder ride, as the train slowly drops to the right look for the audio-animatronic goat holding a stick of dynamite which is warning to the disaster to come!)

Big Thunder area Dec 1979 2    Big Thunder area Dec 1979 3

This post completes the tours of Adventureland and Frontierland but be sure to check out the four additional posts in the Disneyland series.  Part One – The history of Disneyland, Part Two – Main Street and Fantasyland, Part Four – New Orleans Square and Critter Country, Part Five – Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.

Travel – Disneyland (Part Two)

Disneyland Railroad signIn Part One of a five part series on Disneyland, I went into detail about the origin of Walt’s idea for his famous park and the building process that took a little less than one year complete.  In the additional four posts in the series I will feature the eight different “lands” of Disneyland – Main Street, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.

In this post I will discuss two of the original “lands” in Disneyland.  The first “land” is Main Street which is located at the entrance to the park and it is the first area that guests see.  At the end of Main Street is an area called The Hub from which the various other “lands” of Disneyland can be reached.  Located near the center of the park is the Sleeping Beauty Castle which is the entrance to Fantasyland.  Fantasyland has several rides and attractions that were inspired by many of the famous Disney animated movies.

Main Street, U.S.A

Main Street in Disneyland was inspired and designed to look like Walt Disney’s boyhood home in Marceline, Missouri during the early 20th century, which is the time that he briefly lived there.  (We had visited this small Midwest town and for more information please click on the link to the December 2013 Travel post)  The photos shown below are of Marceline on the left and Main St. in Disneyland on the right, there are many architectural similarities between the two places.  For example the Emporium on Main St. in Disneyland resembles the Zurcher store located at the corner of the street in Marceline.

Marceline 1956 trip 01    Main Street
Marceline - Zurcher    Emporium

Upon entering Disneyland, guests passing through the main gates will see the Disneyland Railroad Station with the iconic floral Mickey in the front.  (Travel tip: This spot is the perfect place to take a photo with family and friends before starting the day at the park!)  When Walt Disney was a boy living in Marceline he became fascinated with trains and later he had a small model train that ran on a track through the property at his home in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, CA.  The Disneyland Railroad is a great way to move around the park and guests can travel throughout Disneyland as the train stops in New Orleans Square, ToonTown and Tomorrowland.  As guests proceed into the park they will pass through two tunnels on either side of the Main Street Railroad station, be sure to look for the sign overhead that reads: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy”.

Train_Station    Disneyland Railroad refurb Jan 2005

Main Street is one of the main shopping areas of Disneyland and many different stores and small restaurants line both sides of the street.  Some of the stores include: the Emporium which is a large store located at the beginning of Main St. and is filled with Disney souvenirs, the Disneyana store sells interesting memorabilia like animation cels, artwork and other types of items for serious Disney collectors but one of my favorite stores is the China Closet which sells Disney ornaments.  (Over the years, every time I have visited Disneyland, I always purchase a special ornament or souvenir to add to my large Disney Memorabilia Collection, please click the link for more information)

Walt on Main St under father's windowMost visitors rush through Main Street section of Disneyland into other areas of the park, but for first time visitors I would suggest time taking the time to browse the stores and look around at all the interesting things to see and the fun things to do.  Be sure to look for the Disneyland dedication plaque which has been placed at the base of the flagpole in the Town Square , it marks the opening of the park in 1955.  Next, visitors should stop in the Disneyland City Hall regarding park information such as parade schedules, etc. (Travel tip:  Don’t forget to mention if you are celebrating a first visit, birthday or anniversary to receive a special free button to celebrate the occasion)  Then, after leaving City Hall be sure to look for the light in the window on the second floor of the Fire Station which is located next door, it is lit in tribute to Walt Disney. (Travel tip: If you are interested in seeing the private Disney apartment located on the second floor of the Fire Station I would suggest purchasing the Disneyland Guided tour “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” tour)  For first time visitors to the park, I would also suggest seeing the “Disneyland Story” exhibit located in the Main Street Opera House and the “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” attraction that pays tribute to a former President of the United States and one of Walt’s favorite people in history.  Then, as you walk down Main Street, be sure to check out the wonderful window displays of the Main Street stores and make a game of finding the numerous hidden Mickeys shown in the decorations.  Also look for the special tributes to some of the imagineers and other employees of both the Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland park that are written in the store windows, shown in the old photo is Walt standing in front of the window that honors his father.

City Hall 10    Fire Department

At the end of Main Street is the Central Plaza, known as the “Hub”, and from this area in the park visitors can enter the various “lands” of Disneyland.  A large statue named “Partners” is located there and it was created by the Disney imaginer and animator Blaine Gibson.  It depicts Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse and was dedicated on November 18, 1993 which marked the 65th birthday of Mickey Mouse.  Placed around the Hub are other smaller statues of various Disney characters, such as Donald Duck, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh, etc.  (Travel tip: The “Hub” is a great central location in the park and could be designated as a meeting place if you become separated from family or friends during your visit)

Central Hub


Fantasyland is one of the original “lands” of Disneyland and in Walt’s 1955 dedication speech of this area of the park he said, “Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, to those who believe that when you wish upon a star your dreams do come true”.  The attractions of Fantasyland were inspired by many of the classic Disney animation films and was said to be one of Walt’s favorite places in the park.  In 1983 this area of the park received a major refurbishment and was completely redesigned to showcase the fairytale villages as seen in the Disney movies, shown below are photos of Fantasyland at the time the park opened in 1955 and the 1983 and current version.  Many of the attractions received renovations during the redesign and some rides were entirely moved to new locations within Fantasyland, such as the King Arthur Carrousel was moved to the center and placed farther from the castle while the Mad Tea Party was moved close to the Alice in Wonderland attraction.  A new Pinocchio attraction was added while the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock attractions from the Peter Pan movie were removed.  (Travel tip: This area of the park is very popular with families visiting with small children and can get quite crowded during the day; if you are travel with kids I would advise making Fantasyland one of the first stops during a visit to the park to avoid the long lines to see the attractions)

Walt Disney opening dayFantasyland circa 1955

Most visitors to Disneyland will enter Fantasyland by passing over the drawbridge across the moat that surrounds Sleeping Beauty Castle.  This fairytale caste was one of the first structures to be built on the site and was named for the new animation film that was in production at the Disney Studios during the time of the park’s construction.  The design of the Sleeping Beauty Castle is said to have been inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle located in southern Germany which Walt had visited during a European vacation prior to the building of Disneyland.  (Travel tip: Be sure to look for the Disney family crest that is placed above the arched entrance to the castle and also the special plaque that marks the spot where a Disneyland time capsule that was buried in the area in front of the castle in 1995 to mark the 40th anniversary of Disneyland)

Disneyland Castle Disney crest Aug 2005    Disneyland 40th Anniversary Time Castle 1

As previously mentioned, the attractions of Fantasyland are based on several classic Disney animation movies and Walt wanted visitors to experience what it would be like to fly with Peter Pan over London to visit Neverland or to travel with Snow White to see the cottage of the seven dwarfs or to visit Geppetto’s village with Pinocchio or go down the white rabbit’s hole with Alice to see Wonderland.  Visitors can take a spin on the teacups from the Mad Hatter’s Party or maybe ride with Dumbo above Fantasyland or ride in the animal cages on Casey Jr’s train or ride on the beautifully craved Denzel horses on King Arthur’s Carrousel.  Originally, the term “dark ride” was used to indicate the Disneyland rides that were built within the interior of a “show” building and visitors rode in the dark through different scenes that were painted with fluorescent paint illuminated by black lights, animated props or figures, themed music or sounds and other special effects that were used to tell the story of a Disney film.  Also the attractions were designed by the imagineers for the guests to experience the ride as if they were the main character of the stories; specifically the characters of Snow White and Alice were not depicted within the older versions of those rides.  After the 1983 Fantasyland refurbishment several changes occurred during the renovation of the attractions and the main characters of Snow White and Alice were added to give the rides a more complete version of those classic Disney movies.  Also with the advance of technology, special effects such as fiber optics and holograms were added into the updated versions of the rides.  Special note: The majority of the fiber optics in Fantasyland can be found on the Peter Pan ride and the poison apple on the Snow White ride was taken b guests so often through the years that a hologram apple is now used to prevent it from being stolen!

Snow White entrance

One of Walt’s favorite attractions of Fantasyland was the Storybook Land Canal Boat ride; it is one of the original attractions from when the park opened in 1955.  The idea for the ride was based on Walt’s interest in miniatures and features small scale buildings from many of the classic Disney movies, such as the cottage of the seven dwarfs from Snow White, the castle from Cinderella and Geppettos village from the Pinocchio.  Guests ride on boats and enter the attraction through the mouth of the giant whale, Monstro, from the Pinocchio and this outside attraction is beautifully landscaped with miniature trees and shrubs.  (Travel tip: Look for the lighthouse in front of the queue line, this was originally a ticket booth back when each of Disneyland’s rides need individual tickets … remember the old ticket books with A to E tickets, I’m lucky to have a complete book of tickets and also several of the individual E tickets!!)

1968 Storybook Land    StoryBook Land Mar 2006 3

The Matterhorn Blobsled attraction was added to Disneyland in 1959 and it was the first steel track rollercoaster in the world and it has become one of Disneyland’s major thrill rides.  The Disneyland Matterhorn ride was built in the area between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland and it is 147 feet tall, which is 1/100 the size of the actual mountain located in the Swiss Alps that inspired the attraction’s design.  The ride was originally built to hide the support towers for the old Skyway attraction that traveled from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, the Skyway buckets used to pass through the mountain until the ride eventually closed in 1994.  After a major refurbishment of the Matterhorn ride in 2012 at which time the seating changed to single rider bobsleds instead of double seating and the famous Disneyland mountain was once again painted white but tiny glass beads were added into the paint to create the illusion of glistening snow.  (Travel tip:  Be sure to look on the ride for the crate labeled “Wells Expedition” located in one of the snow caves, it was added during the 1994 refurbishment to honor Frank Wells, the former Chief Operating Officer of the Disney Company, who had died that year in a tragic accident.

Matterhorn 2002

In 1966, the area of Fantasyland was extended to accommodate the addition of the It’s a Small World attraction, the ride was originally a part of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in the UNICEF pavilion.  This enchanting ride features almost 300 dolls of children representing the countries of the world singing its theme song in over five different languages; the dolls were designed in the distinctive style of Disney imaginer Mary Blair.  During a 2008 refurbishment, several iconic Disney characters were added into the scenes of the various countries.  Some of the 37 new characters added Alice, the White Rabbit, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell characters were added to the England set; Cinderella and her friendly mice in France; Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket in Italy; Mulan in China; Aladdin and Jasmine in the Middle East; Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon in Africa; and Donald Duck as one of the Three Caballeros in South America and Ariel, Flounder, Dory, Nemo, Lilo, and Stitch in the South Seas scene.  For more information about the history of the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland, please click on the link.  (Travel tip:  Don’t miss seeing the parade of characters that perform each time the exterior clock in front of the attraction strikes the hour)

Small World exterior

This post completes the tours of Main Street and Fantasyland but be sure to check out the four additional posts in the Disneyland series.  Part One – The history of Disneyland, Part Three – Adventureland and Frontierland, Part Four – New Orleans Square and Critter Country, Part Five – Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.

Travel – Disneyland (Part One)

Disneyland Castle before guests 1995

One of the joys of growing up as a child in Southern California was that our family has been going to Disneyland since the 1950s.  Many years later with my own children, I continued the family tradition of annual trips to Disneyland.  Over the last fifty years I have seen many changes made to the park and the attractions that have come and gone.  In this first of a five part series on Disneyland, I will discuss how this magical theme park started and how it has changed over the years.  Then, in the next four additional posts of the series, I will offer the history of each of the eight “lands” of Disneyland, Main Street and Fantasyland, Adventureland and Frointerland, New Orleans Square and Critter Country, Tomorrowland and ToonTown.

A brief history of Disneyland

There is a famous story about how Walt Disney was inspired to build Disneyland, the story goes that while during an afternoon visit to Griffith Park located near the Burbank Studios Walt took a seat on a bench while his two young daughters rode the merry-go-round.  Walt thought there should be a place where both children and their parents could enjoy spending some time together in an environment that would be both entertaining and visually appealing, so with this one thought came the vision for Disneyland.

Walt’s original plan was to build an 8 acre park located near the Burbank studios that would be a place for his employees and their families.  Those plans were put on hold due to the start of World War II, but Walt never forgot.  During the war and in the years after, Walt’s ideas for the park continued to develop and quickly a small park turned into something much larger!

By 1952, Walt had created a special department that was dedicated to planning his dream; it was called WED which were the initials of his name, Walter Elias Disney.  His team of employees were called “imagineers” because they were pioneering a new field that blended imagination and engineering to create the new park.  (The department eventually became WDI, a separate division of the Walt Disney Company, which is now based in Glendale, Ca and is currently still responsible for designing and building Disney theme parks, resorts and other venues around the world)

Finally in 1953, the first steps in building the park happened when Walt hired the Stanford Research Institute to make a survey to determine the best possible location for the future park.  Taking into consideration projected population growth and accessibility of projected future major freeway construction for easy access for visitors, ultimately a location was found in Anaheim and a 160 acre property was purchased for the site of the new park.

Disneyland before development    Disneyland 1955

The building of the park would prove to be very expensive and to create funding for the project Walt developed the idea of the “Walt Disney’s Disneyland” television show.  It turned out to be a successful idea to not only gain the money from lucrative sponsors to build the park but it was also a wonderful way to present the park to the American public and gaining excitement for the project.

Walt presents Disneyland 1954

Construction for Disneyland officially began on July 21, 1954, it was an ambitious building schedule of less than one year to complete the new parkt for the projected opening day.  The 160 acre property needed to be cleared of orange tree groves and also 15 houses needed to be moved in order to create the space requirements for the new park.  Walt’s design for Disneyland called for five different “lands” within the park: Main Street, Adventureland, Frointerland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.  Each of these original Disneyland “lands” took elements from several previous and current Disney films and television shows: Main Street was inspired by Walt’s boyhood home of Marceline, Missouri and Adventureland was inspired by Disney’s True-Life adventure films, Frointerland was inspired by Walt’s love of the classic stories of Tom Sawyer and Davy Crockett (Davy Crockett television episodes were shown on the Disneyland television show starting in 1954), Fantasyland was inspired by many of the Disney animated films (such as Snow White, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan to name a few!) and finally Tomorrowland was inspired by Walt’s interest in the future and this new “land” would showcase our emerging NASA space exploration .

Walt oversaw the park’s construction and progress continued at a steady pace with just a few minor delays and adjustments.  Finally, the park was ready for Opening Day on July 17, 1955.  On that day, Disneyland was officially opened to a select number of invited guests and the media for a Press Preview Day which was nationally televised on the ABC network.  Unfortunately, several mishaps happened during that day and it was not the anticipated success that Walt hoped for, the day became known as “Black Friday” within the Disney Company.  Some of the problems were caused by counterfeit tickets which increased the attendance to an unexpected 28,000 people (which was almost twice the number of people originally invited!) and there were severe traffic problems and delays for guests trying to reach the park.  Guests also encountered long lines waiting to see the attractions and food supplies ran out.  The weather wasn’t cooperating on that day and the temperature were unusually high causing the newly laid asphalt in the park to melt and another problem was that only a small number of water fountains were working.  Finally, there were numerous technical problems during the live broadcast and the press reviews of the Opening Day of Disneyland were very negative.

Walt was concerned about the bad reviews, but the next day approximately 50,000 guests attended the first day the park was open for the general public.  To show his support of Walt’s Dream, the first ticket was purchased by Roy Disney who was not only Walt’s brother but also his partner in the Disney Company.  Over the first year, the operational problems of the park were resolved, additional attractions opened and attendance continued to increase in size and ultimately Disneyland proved to be a huge success.

During that first year, the park had opened with only five “lands” which were Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Over the following years additional “lands” were opened and currently there are eight consisting of the original five plus New Orleans Square that opened in 1966, Bear Country (later named Critter Country) in 1972 and the newest is Mickey’s Toontown which opened in 1993.

Disneyland attractions have also come and gone over the years.  I remember rides like the Flying Saucers (1961-1966) and the original Carousel of Progress (1967-1973) naming just two of my favorite attractions that have been gone several years.  I also remember new rides being added to the park, like the Swiss Family Treehouse (1962), It’s a Small World (1964), Pirates of the Caribbean (1967) and the Mansion Haunted (1969) and Space Mountain (1977).  Over the years, during our numerous family visits to the park, we saw the Skyway ride dismantled (1956-1994), the new Fantasyland being rebuilt (1983) and the Star Tours (1987) and Splash Mountain (1989) attractions added.

To mark Disneyland 50th anniversary in 2005, the park underwent a major renovation to prepare for the special occasion.  Several events were planned during the expected 18 month-long celebration which officially started with an announcement on May 5, 2005. Some of the events held during that time included a special “Remember” fireworks show, the “Parade of Dreams” and a reunion of the previous members of the Mickey Mouse Club.  During the months leading up the official anniversary, people were requested to submit their photos where used to make special murals known as the “Happiest Faces on Earth” that depicted iconic Disney characters and these were scattered across the park. The Disneyland Castle was also decorated to mark the special occasion with a golden overlay and also fifty Golden Mickeys were hidden in the decorations of the park’s attractions.  Finally, to note the attractions that were there on opening day in 1955, one ride vehicle on each of those attractions was painted gold.

July 17 2005

50 Mickeys #19  Castle front a    Golden Mad Tea Party teacup

Walt Disney wanted his dream of Disneyland to continue grow and change with new rides and attractions being added continuously throughout the decades.  In closing this post, I want to end with the words Walt spoke on opening day at the dedication of Disneyland.

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”  July 17, 1955

Walt at Main St dedication    Disneyland dedication plaque

Be sure to check out the four additional posts in the Disneyland series.  Part Two – Main Street and Fantasyland, Part Three – Adventureland and Frontierland, Part Four – New Orleans Square and Critter Country, Part Five – Tomorrowland and Mickey’s Toontown.