Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (2024)

Street Address

City, State, Zip

Phone Number

Walt Disney's DISNEYLAND is EVERYWHERE!

Your Custom Text Here

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (1)

Mark Ballard

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (2)

The cities of the Southern California metropolitan area had many attractions - Los Angeles Alligator Farm (opened 1907), Knott’s Berry Farm and Ghost Town (opened 1920), Ocean Park Pier (opened 1926), Olvera Street Marketplace (opened 1930), Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium (1935), the La Brea Tar Pits (had yielded deposits of bones and generated public interest throughout the 1940s and 1950s), Marineland of the Pacific (opened 1954), and Santa’s Village (opened 1955).

However, in July of 1955, a little city called Anaheim would quickly expand to become the number one city in the County. This was due to its ideal location, warm year round climate, and perhaps the most outstanding Californian attraction - Disneyland! Still, Anaheim was a small town according to the recollections of Ron Dominguez: “Ron recalled with pleasure his youth in rural Anaheim. "It was a most ideal climate. I liked the small town atmosphere... the country life. During my school days, I worked in the groves, doing fertilizing and irrigating, while our Orange Growers Association picked the fruit…

WHAT IS DISNEYLAND? Promotional materials answered the question:

“Disneyland has been described by its creator, Walt Disney, as ‘a fabulous playground-something of a fair, a city from the Arabian Nights, a metropolis of the future, a showplace of magic and living facts, but above all, a place for people to find happiness and knowledge.’ Disneyland is a fresh, new concept in FAMILY ENTER-TAINMENT. For Grandparents and Grandchildren - for Mom and Dad, Disneyland is designed for the enjoyment of every individual and family member.”

Back in 1954, Walt Disney (with firm belief that his park would be revolutionary) told the members of United Press International, that Disneyland may someday attract five million visitors every year! Inspired by Walt’s own feelings and studies conducted, “The Disneyland Diary” (prepared September of 1954) firmly stated:“Disneyland is designed to comfortably accommodate 60,000 customers a day… it is estimated that a minimum of 5,000,000 visitors annually, averaging 15,000 daily, will go through Disneyland.” The Orange County Register (in a pre-opening day article) repeated the latter figure stating that“Disneyland is expected to draw 5,000,000 tourists annually.”

Disneyland was indeed successful and what actually resulted, can be observed through the following accounts of on-site annual attendance, growth, and expansion, in chronological order. But beyond the facts and figures, take note of the people that have contributed to the successful attendance records. Notice the diverse people - from the repeat guests, to the visitors from distant lands, in addition to particular V.I.P. guests of celebrity status that have had the pleasure of fulfilling Walt’s own hopes and dreams that Disneyland “become a source of joy and inspiration for all the world.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (3)

The Arrival of McNeil Construction on Site - Back then, it was known (not as Disneyland, but) simply as “the site.” What was Disneyland “attendance” actually like before the Park opened? Among the first people at the site was Personnel Manager Fred Newcombe, who was also one of the first people hired by Personnel Manager Fred Schumacher. Directly under Joe Fowler’s direction was Charles Wilkinson of property, design coordination, construction administration, and maintenance analysis.

McNeil Construction Company (Founded by John V. McNeil in 1886; a partnership between Lawrence G. McNeil and his son Bruce) was located at 5858 Wilshire in Los Angeles. McNeil Construction had quite the reputation. The firm was renown for their work on the Firestone plant in Los Angeles, the Willys Overland plant in Los Angeles; Union Oil Co. plant in Wilmington; Lockheed Aircraft plant, Burbank; Times-Mirror building in Los Angeles; Ninth and Broadway Building in Los Angeles; First Trust Building in Pasadena, the Farmers and Merchants Bank Building in Long Beach. the Security - First National Bank Building in Long Beach. and 400 2-bedroom homes for the Navy in Long Beach. Naturally, McNeil was fitting for the unique and huge undertaking of Disneyland!

McNeil began moving equipment onto the Disneyland site in mid-July, 1954. At that time, F. M. Franz was manager of operations for McNeil Construction Company. McNeil crewmen first had to remove 12,500 orange, trees, 700 eucalyptus trees and 500 walnut trees.” Oren Gallegly recalled: “The union sent me to Disneyland in 1954 and started working in construction, pulling out orange trees.” Gil Pimentel remembered: “I was with Bill Evans, who was the foreman then. My job was driving a tractor around the berm which had just been built. would spread hay on both sides of it, so when the rains came, it wouldn't wash away.”

Ground breaking began on July 17, 1954 (by Joe Fowler’s account) or July 12, 1954 (by Van Arsedale France’s account), or July 16 (according to some Disneyland Wallet Fact Cards). According to Joe Fowler, “As the first shovel of earth was turned, the grand opening...to be beamed around the world on T.V. had been scheduled for the next year. That left 365 days to build what some have called the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’” According to Van Arsdale France, the amount of time between July 12, 1954 and the opening date of July 17, 1955 was viewed as a “practical possibility for a production time.”

After the trees were removed, the underground utilities were installed. Excavation took place in August 1954. Over the next few months, 4,000 Lineal feet of sewer line was installed, 2,000 lineal feet of storm drain piping was installed, 4,000 feet of gas line and 7,000 feet of water line was installed.

By September 16, 1954, Walt could excitedly wrote to his sister Ruth Beecher in Portland, Oregon, briefly mentioning “We are very busy here at the studio, what with the television program and getting our DISNEYLAND Park under way, we’re knee-deep in work.”

Though Walt had responsibilities to oversee the television and feature film production at the Burbank Studio, he soon found time to visit the site in Anaheim daily. This Walt regularly did, either by car or helicopter. Once arrived, Walt would tour the site by jeep, walking, or even using a bicycle (the latter was speculated by many but could not be recollected by Van France, and has only recently been confirmed through discovered footage).

Finance - Walt Disney Productions owns 34.48% of Disneyland, Inc. with an investment of $500,000 in common stock, and holds options on shares aggregating 31.04% presently owned by Walter E. Disney, WED Enterprises and Western Printing and Lithographing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. The options are exercisable at any time before May 1, 1959 for a total price which will not exceed $562,500. The remaining 34.48% is owned by American Broadcasting-Paramount The-atres, Inc. Our investment in stock and advances to Disneyland, Inc. totaling $2,883,101 (including $24,301 accrued interest) is carried on the Walt Disney Productions Balance Sheet at approximately book value. About this time, Walt Disney Productions had entered into an eight year contract with the American Broadcasting Company under which they agreed to deliver film to the broadcasting company (at an $,8000 royalty per film, payable monthly to Disneyland, Inc.). Much of the film delivered to ABC would document the developement of the site that would become Walt Disney’s Disneyland.

The “Walt Disney Productions Annual Report to Shareholders and Employees” for the Fiscal Year Ended October 2, 1954 shared: “In our last mid-year report we told of our television contract with American Broadcasting Company and our television plans. Since Wednesday, October 27, we have been telecasting a one-hour program weekly. We are happy to report that the public reception has been excellent and that our sponsors and ABC are well pleased… A total of 152 stations, including 15 in Canada, now are airing Walt Disney's DISNEYLAND series for ABC-TV. This represents an increase of 43 outlets since the television show was introduced October 27. DISNEYLAND also is reaching over 40 million viewers weekly, according to, several surves conducted by American Research Bureau, Nielsen, Trendex and other audience-sampling organizations. With his entire program of shows for ABC-TV network in work or completed for the current season, Walt Disney will present 26 new shows in the year starting in September, 1955. They are outlined as follows: A Premierland program to be followed by two holiday shows at Christmas and Easter, in addition to shows from the Tomorrowland realm of DISNEYLAND; Frontierland, Adventureland, and several surprise shows from Fantasyland. The 1954-1955 series continues until June.

‘For the Most Outstanding Television Series for Children of All Ages,’ Walt Disney's DISNEYLAND, as telecast by the ABC network, received a Sylvania Television Award for 1954. In accepting the honor, Disney said in part: ‘We hope to bring to television the enthusiasm and hard work, the same respect for the hopes, the dreams, and the intelligence of the American family, that we have tried in some measure to bring to the motion picture screen.’…

We have embraced television not only for itself and its possibilities, but also to exploit and sell our motion picture product. While we expect to make a profit directly from television sales, such profit will not be great.”

The first episode of the Disneyland television series aired October 17, 1954. That very month, the WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS ANNUAL REPORT to Shareholders and Employees (for the Fiscal Year Ended October 2, 1954) announced: “The construction of Disneyland is progressing satisfactorily. Present plans are for an opening in July, 1955. While it is a big undertaking, involving many problems, we feel confident of its opening on schedule. The total of Walt Disney Productions investment in Disneyland, Inc. is $500.000.”

In 1955 alone, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences soon awarded Disneyland the Emmy for Best Variety Series for 1954 (in addition to two additional awards for Best Individual Show for 1954 and Best Television Film Editing awarded to the episode entitled “Operation Undersea” on DISNEYLAND).

As a sidelight, by the end of the 5-year period (in May of 1959), the goal was 26 films per year at $208,000 annually. Needless to say, Walt Disney Productions’ 16mm rental division helped launch Disneyland Park in 1955!

Benefits were abundant. For instance, some who watched the Progress Reports applied to work for Disneyland, like Pete Crimmings.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (4)

By October of 1954, the construction of Disneyland is progressing satisfactorily and plans were still for an opening in July, 1955. While it was a big undertaking, involving many problems, Walt Disney Productions representatives felt confident of its opening on schedule. Bob Milek recalled: “Walt was practically living here in the early days.” While walking the transforming orange groves, Walt was occasionally joined by Marvin Davis, Harper Goff, Bill Cottrell, and others. New employees like Milt Albright (hired Spring if 1954; whose Club 54 license plate is displayed below) occasionally visited. Many tours of “the site” were administered by Site Coordinator, Earl Shelton. Van Arsdale France (founder of the University of Disneyland) recalled touring the site with Earl. Van France was soon living in the old Vandenberg House on West Street (just a few blocks north of the Disneyland Hotel construction site) and recalls many nightly meetings in C.V. Wood’s office in the days that followed. WED Art Directors began to descend on the once quiet farm community of 20,000, renting rooms at the few local motels, in order to convey the plans to construction crews on the 200 acres of groves.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (5)

In November of 1954, John Yarber started working for the McNeil Construction Company (then located at 5858 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California) ...almost as soon as they broke ground. His first job was making forms for storm drains and then, as a carpenter, helping with the new construction.

On December 18, 1954 an order was issued to set up a lumber mill on the site. There were the sounds of tractors, bulldozers, cranes, saws, hammers, contractors, painters, landscapers, brick-layers, electricians, and more. There were Nash ramblers bearing the Disneyland logo used to survey the land.

In December of 1954,“the total Staff of Disneyland, not counting outside contractors, consisted of 21 permanent employees and 5 consultants.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (6)

In later years, the performance of exterior work at Disneyland during seasons of great rain was anticipated and avoided. However, this was not the case in 1954. There were many rainy days; in fact it was the wettest season in Anaheim history, and a resultant considerable loss for the construction crews. According to Joe Fowler, the twelve-month period of construction was “unusually wet.” Crews worked around the clock, even on colder nights (as during December of 1954), when“oil heaters [were] needed several nights because of exceptional cold weather,”according to Disneyland Line December 13th, 1979.

Dick Nunis was a young administrative assistant in the orientation program and recalled, “The park's opening was just months away at this point, so we worked fourteen-hour days, seven days a week.” Entering the last 100 days before the opening, the Operation organization officially moved to the Disneyland site. In 1954, Cora Lee [Sargent] came to California, and, hearing about Disneyland on television, she applied for a job as P.B.X. operator or ticket seller. She was hired as a ticket seller by Chuck Whelan and received her orientation in the BROWN HOUSE.” Cora recalled: Dick Nunis handed us our ID's.”

The opening date could not be postponed. Van Arsdale France once emphasized this, making the following comparisons: “The test flight for a totally new airplane is a thrilling experience. Lives and reputations are at stake. I’d observed ten thousand people bursting into a spontaneous cheer at the test flight of a B-24 bomber. But… the date of the… flight can be postponed until everything is favorable. Broadway plays open in a small town… and can be radically changed before they hit the big time. Movies can be tested, cut and altered in sneak previews. But Disneyland was right there in Anaheim and could not be tried out in other… towns. And there had to be a deadline for the opening.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (7)

January 1955: “By January 3rd, about $50,000 worth of machinery had been installed, but power was not available until Jan. 17, and the mill went into production on that date.” In the meantime, many more employees joined the Disneyland, Inc. team in 1955, including George Mills who recalled: “On January 3, 1955 I came to Disneyland and worked for McNeil Construction Company, raising steel and pouring concrete. For the most part, the Park was built in six months. Our mill was where the Opera House is now and the workers wore blue jeans and white T-shirts.”

Lucy Cottom (who came to California in January, 1955 and bought a home in Garden Grove). Lucy Cottom recalled: “I was applying for a job with Robertshaw Company, when a gal came and said that Disneyland was looking for bookkeepers. I went over, saw Milt Albright, and he put me to work in the SNAKE PIT! It was a dark, crummy looking place with people all jammed together...a frightful mess! My first lob was with Accounts Payable, and we had three tubs filled with $17.000,000.00 of unpaid invoices!...it was unbelievable! The bills were coming in faster than you could process them!”

May 1955: “In May came word that the Disneyland personnel working at Burbank would be moved to the Disneyland site within the week. This meant that office workers for architectural and construction jobs would move out of the administration office, but there was no place to move. In true Disneyland tradition, construction men vaulted the problem like a high jumper at a track meet. They simply built a new house 3200 feet of office space, complete: ly equipped--moved in, and were working steadily when the ‘newcomers’ arrived week later.”

Applications for employment came to Disneyland from such far away places as South America, England, France and Saudi Arabia. A young Richard A. Nunis arrived in May, joining with the “temporary” role of Orientation Training Instructor and assisting the training of more than 850 individuals. That same month, Jim Quigley “drove by the construction site where Disneyland was being built and obtained an application for a job from the Security Office. ‘The area surrounding Disneyland was covered with orange groves and most of the roads were mud or only half completed,” he recalled. Bob Allen recalled: “I went out and stood in line for several days running, before opening. I kept going back. standing in line, and being told there were 'no jobs. Finally, I made it to the front of the line, and I was hired. By this time I was curious, and asked the interviewer who hired me, ‘Why me?’ ‘You're the only one who's got a tie on,’ he told me.”

Six weeks before July 17, 1955, the construction of Walt’s $17 million project should have been wrapping up, but plans were behind schedule. “The construction department was following hard on the heels of planners and about this time, a friendly competition, develop between the designers and construction men. Production jumped ahead as each worked feverishly to keep ahead of the other.” Earl Wuestneck recalled: “When I started work, the streets were still dirt...I didn't think they'd make it for opening!” Al Alvarez came to Disneyland on June 23, 1955 working for George Mills Sr., owner of the Mills Construction Company. “We had a lot to do to get the place ready on time. I didn't think we were going to make it. We were working around the clock.”

By this time the workforce was still smaller than the population of“many little towns across this country,”(according to “Walt Disney’s Guide to Disneyland). The first 257“working days”(from July 20th, 1954 through July 16th, 1955) saw the growth of the Disneyland construction crew (essentially the primary contractor, McNeal Construction Company).“Some 800 workmen were employed daily,”(according to “Building A Dream,” prepared by Disneyland, Inc. Public Relations Department, c. June of 1955). And so the workers seemed to speed up as the opening date neared. Dean Narath recalled working “120 hours a week for the four weeks before opening!” Van Arsdale France once commented about how “the final days and hours before opening created a form of mass adrenilin flow which makes everyone perform at, perhaps, 200% of their ability.” At that time (six weeks before Press Preview Day) the Los Angeles Mirror reported that“3,100 carloads of people stopped by the still closed gates and wanted to get in for a look at the construction.”Soon, John Grover (Staff Writer of the Mirror-News, published for June 10, 1955) who was present, reported another large figure of“more than 1,100 workers… putting in a 10-hour day, six days a week.” Eventually, as opening date neared,“a corps of 2,500 workers”was“finishing the colossal task of converting 160 acres of orange grove into a fabulous park called Disneyland,”according to The Sacramento Bee. This last figure is substantiated by the narration of “Disneyland - The Park,” a Disneyland anthology series episode first aired 1957, which stated :“to make sure we would keep our date with the deadline, more than 2,000 craftsmen were employed during peak construction periods.” This increase in workforce is assuredly due to the fact that the Grand Opening Date neared, with still much work to complete.

Among these were the ABC Roofing Co., Pioneer Roof & Shingle, AE Fowler & Sons, Al Sparks Electric Company, American Fence Company, Arthur Pizzinat Venetian Terrazzo, Bailey the Plumber, Chef’s Laundry & Linen, Evans & Reeves Landscaping, Floats,Inc., Frank Silveri Tile & Marble Contractor, George Mills Sr. General Contractor, Hendricks & Stearns Hardwood Floors, Kissell Refrigeration Company, Larson Bros. Plastering Co., Masterson. Scaffold Co., Master-Bilt chain link fence, M.A. Gentile (brick, block, and stone work), Merchants Police Protective Service, Pacific Rug & Carpet Co., Raydell R. Bobst Masonry Contractor, Screenmaster, The Tabery Corp., and Universal Homemakers Inc.

“Unions & Strikes” - Over 60 subcontractors were employed on the project. Walt had previously dealt with a Studio strike and “he carried the scars,” according to Van France. France continues: “The construction unions flatly said that if we didn’t recognize the union, we wouldn’t open… a totally unacceptable fact. And the unions which were searching for jurisdiction presented a major problem. The American Guild of Variety Artists, AGFA… wanted jurisdiction over the Jungle Cruise operators. The Inland Boatmen wanted it over the Mark Twain. And their rates were very high. After the panic buttons were pushed, we settled for negotiations with the Orange County Central Labor Council. AFofL… We ended up with 29 unions.” Van France added: “Things weren’t all bad for the union construction workers. Most were working long days… and seven days a week. And, some worked under very good agreements. As a result, many were getting more than the normal time-and-a-half. The hours got into double time, and in some instance, more than that. That is called ‘golden time’… and, even in those days, it amounted to nearly a thousand dollars a week for some.” In light of this, there had been a national plumbers strike that affected the building of certain necessities like restrooms and drinking fountains.

Around this time, Disneyland Site Manager Joe Fowler stayed optimistic, telling Bob Thomas (of the Associated Press),“We’ll make the opening. Just barely, but we’ll make it.” As to the number of Disneyland staff being trained for the Park, Nash Airflyte Magazine attempted to give an idea of the figure, stating that “a permanent staff of more than 500 will be employed.” The true-life figure would decrease to 850 and 1000 employees (including lessees).

“Operation Disneyland” - The grand opening preview was expected to run an hour and a half and be televised nationally. Such lengthy television programs filmed on location were mostly unheard of in these days. At Disneyland, so much preparatory work went into the televised opening. For about two months prior to the opening, television crews (in addition to those construction workers) had been busy setting up 5 control rooms (to accommodate 12 television stations and a total of 24 cameras), stringing up miles of coaxial cable, and rehearsing for the debut of Disneyland through“the world’s largest live telecast”(as seen in“Operation Disneyland”produced for ABC by Dick Brown).“The greatest concentration of TV cameras and equipment ever assembled in one place,”would ensure that “Dateline Disneyland” introduced Walt Disney’s Disneyland coast-to-coast, airing through a one-and-a-half hour ABC-TV spectacular, beginning at 4:30 p.m. PDT, on July 17th, 1955. Other networks like CBS-8 San Diego was present. According to the Orange County Register, there were“twenty-four cameras, a behind camera staff of 63.” All of this was accomplished under the direction of Bob Lewine (Director of T.V. Programming), Sherman Marx (TV Programming Producer) and Cameron Pierce (Chief Engineer of Western Division). “55er” Electrician George Short recalled: “I was working for R.C.A., and I was sent to Disneyland to set up T.V.s for the opening. Just before opening, I was getting a T.V. set ready in the DISNEY ROOM at the RED WAGON RESTAURANT. It was a madhouse with carpet layers, wall paperers, painters, carpenters, electricians all over the place!” Since May 21st, “Dateline Disneyland” rehearsals and “Brush Ups”were underway (though“virtually at a standstill”so as to not interfere with the ongoing construction workers).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (8)

Maynard Swenson recalled: “The last couple of weeks before opening, we never went home…..stayed right here, around the clock. We'd lay down behind a pile of wood for an hour and take a little nap.” Dave Bartchard recalled: “I was on the job 24 hours per day for the last two months before opening. I slept a little in the truck and only went home on Sunday. Opening day was my day off, and I guess That I must have slept all day.”

Just a few days before the 4th of July, Walt was spotted giving a tour to a couple of naval VIPs. Nearly two weeks later, Walt and Lillian celebrated their anniversary at Disneyland.

Four days before the opening crews worked around the clock while employees were still being trained. Bob Penfield’s first day in Disneyland was Wednesday July 13th, 1955. According to his account preserved with the Walt Disney Hometown Museum: “On the hunt for a new adventure, and a little pocket money of his own, Bob ventured over to the freshly painted gates of a still unopened Disneyland to submit a job application. He was hired Wednesday July 13th, 1955... only four short days before the grand opening of Walt's new experiment in family entertainment. ‘We had orientation the same day I was hired’, recalls Bob. Bob received a paper “Hello” name badge. “We wore it through the training class and our orientation tour of the park, and continued using it until we received our official brass badge a couple of days later. It was made of paper, and I remember writing a note on the back the day I saw Walt Disney working on Main Street… We had a walk-thru of the park and I spotted Walt Disney standing in front of the Penny Arcade talking to contractors. He was the first celebrity I had ever seen. Disneyland was the first and only job I ever had where I drew a paycheque.” “Bob spent his first four days training on attractions and assisting the construction manager. Delivering messages forced him to learn the park layout and recognize the names and faces of key people within the Disney organization.”

John Gray shared with Disneylander: “I can remember walking down Main Street the Wednesday before Press Day (Sunday, July 17, 1955, known to many of the original Disneylanders as ‘Black Sunday’). The streets weren't paved, dirt and debris littered the ground. Most of the buildings weren’t completed. I didn't see how they could possibly open the Park in three days.’ Within those three days 600 men were added to the payroll.” Jim Quigley recalled: “that ALL the asphalt and grass was installed in the last 72 hours.”

Disneylander and “55er” Stan Gomez recalled “The day before opening I worked from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. and then came back at midnight. I had to distribute 500 or more lockers all over the Park. Then I went on foot to check each key against the locker. That took until 7 A.M. After that I left and spent opening day at home asleep.”

“55er” Cora Lee Sargent recalled: “The night before Opening-CHAOS! - No merchandise in the windows, nothing ready.” Even more, Asphalt was still being poured the night before opening.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (9)

Invitational Press Preview Day - Finally, a year and a day after groundbreaking, Disneyland would open for the first time. Twenty-two attractions in five lands, spread across some of the 74 acres would debut to their first guests. John Gray, “Jim was so busy he didn't have time to see the Park until opening day. ‘It was fantastic.’ he said. ‘Everything was done, complete to grass and flowers.’”

In Walt Disney Productions Inter-Office Communications, Walt Disney issued the following announcement about the “Disneyland Premier” to Studio Personnel :“Many of you have been intimately associated with the creation of Disneyland, and now that it is about to become a reality, I want you and yours to join with us in the thrill of its opening. On Sunday afternoon, July 17th, the gates of Disneyland will open for the first time at 2:30 P.M. with the invitational tv premier to be staged on ABC network from 4:30 to 6:00 P.M. We invite you to be part of this inaugural ceremony and we are enclosing tickets and instructions for you and your family. We do hope that you can be with us.” Jack Lindquist recalled“I was at Disneyland on the opening day, totally thrilled to be able to be there with my family. It was a really hot day in July and the freeway wasn’t completed. When we got there, the parking lot was packed, but we finally got parked. We went up to the gate and the tickets I had were for 1:00 so you had to wait outside until 1:00. There had to be 20,000 people in the park that day,”according to “Homecoming - Destination Disneyland” by Carlene Thie.

Ronald Reagan (the future President of the United States) was not just in attendance, but a Participant host of the ceremonious broadcast. Also in attendance were serving civil government officials, as California Governor Goodwin J. Knight,“Lieutenant Governor Powers, Secretary of State Frank M. Jordan, Representative James B. Utt, Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson and the mayors and councilmen of all Orange County cities, Mayor Norris Poulson of Los Angeles and Mayor George Vermillion of Long Beach, and California Senator Thomas Kuchel,” according to The Disneyland News (Vol.1, No.1 ; published July of 1955).“Other personal guests of Disney were the public officials of Anaheim, members of Los Angeles and Long Beach Chambers of Commerce, leaders of industry in Anaheim, members of the Chamber of Commerce of Anaheim and each city in Orange County cities, the clergy of all churches and denominations in Orange County, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors.” Officials even flew in from other states, like Governor Frank Clements of Tennessee who remarked to The Daily Oklahoman: “After your Davy Crockett film I feel like a part of this place.”

Also in attendance were representatives from Colliers, Life, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and more than 1,000 members of the world-wide press, including United Press International, Associated Press, and at least 104 foreign correspondents. These were given special Press Passes included inside packets of instructional information. In addition, these were encouraged to attach special windshield stickers to their automobile (in order to expedite their“car through traffic to the vicinity of Disneyland”), and to“bring the inclosed Press Invitation Pass”with them on Sunday, July 17th. Among these members of the “world-wide press” were“foreign consuls…national magazine and newspaper editors and reporters, lessees and exhibitors from the Park itself, and local business, service club and Los Angeles and Orange County officials”. Joining them were“many of Hollywood’s most celebrated personalities and other distinguished guests,” according to “The Disneyland Diary”. The Disneyland News (Vol.1, No.1) preserves the names of some of the“luminaries from motion pictures, television and the theatre”who were present :Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Debbie Reynolds, “Danny Thomas, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Art Linkletter, Irene Dunne, Jeff Chandler, Eve Arden, Marilyn Maxwell, Donald O’Connor, George Gobel, Margaret Whiting, Gale Storm, Ed Wynn and Charleston Heston, and the families and children of many of these and other stars.” A contributing writer for The Daily Oklahoman even spotted George ‘Superman’ Reeves among the audience. Many more individuals were invited, including 500 local school children who arrived via 14 school busses. Tom Roppa recalled “There was a bunch of people from Italy in the Park and I had to interpret for them.” While most of the world could not join these ones in-person, it is estimated that the largest television audience to date of some 90 million were tuned in.

Ray Van De Warker started working with Bob Penfield: “I remember that we were told to come in each day and to meet at the Castle. That was before opening day and the only cool place was in the Castle's archway. We were supposed to learn how to operate the attractions, but they were never made ready until an hour and a half before the opening.”

While one Nash Airflyte Magazine article (published for July, 1955) promised a“formal debut scheduled to outstrip in glamour any premier ever staged in Hollywood,”“almost everyone warned us that Disneyland would be a Hollywood spectacular - a spectacular failure,”by Walt’s own words. When the big opening day came,everything that could go wrong, occurred.“Walt… confided to a reporter that he had almost missed the Park’s spectacular debut. Exhausted, he had gone to bed in his tiny apartment above the Firehouse to try for a few hour’s sleep. Because people kept waking him up with problems, he finally locked his door, only to find that later in the morning he couldn’t get the door open. In desperation, Walt finally had to yell for help.”[Disneyland 25 “Happy Birthday to a Dream” Advertising Supplement; published January 20, 1980] Later, Walt would state: “I function better when things are going badly than when they’re as smooth as whipped cream.” This could be seen in how Walt composed himself on camera and off camera on Press Preview Day.

Walt was soon seen greeting arrivals in light blue slacks, white shirt with red polka dots and Tahitian straw hat. By one account, “He seemed satisfied as he surveyed his realm, even though it still needs a few finishing touches.“ “It Was a Nip and Tuck, But We Made It.” Walt Disney made the preceding statement to The Daily Oklahoman. That was because the Park was still unfinished by many accounts -“piles of lumber were here and there, trees that had died had been repainted green, instead of watered.” By another account,“The park was a scene of frenetic activity with painters still painting, carpenters hammering away, trees being planted and seats being installed… Disney confided to Joe Fowler, who managed construction of the Park, that he ordered reams of decorative bunting to ‘cover up what isn’t ready.’” [Disneyland 25 “Happy Birthday to a Dream” Advertising Supplement; published January 20, 1980] Hank Dains recalled the day was “Hectic..that's the word. We worked all day and night before opening. And just as the T.V. crew was coming into Tomorrowland, we were finishing the last of the awnings.” Bob Mills recalled: “As the guests were coming in the FRONT door, we were going out the BACK door to the boneyard with EVERYTHING that wasn't nailed down! The boneyard was a gigantic sea of junk!”

A plumbers strike had caused Walt to choose between operable drinking fountains or restrooms, resulting in Cast Members carrying water on their backs for the first day of operation (and sometime after). Dick Galentine recalled “there was hardly any water!” Disneylander and “55er” Boyd Diaz still recalled “Opening day was like a madhouse!… there were not enough bathrooms,” while John Catone remembered “very few toilet facilities were ready. Roy Disney said, gently, that HE ‘didn't mind if the people urinated in the bushes!’”

“55er” Joyce Belanger recalled: “Every time I looked around, Ronald Reagan was taking his ‘contacts’ out!” Art Linkletter referred to the frenetic telecast (where“cues were missed, [and] cameras came on unexpectedly”),“like filming three volcanoes going off at the same time, and not expecting any of them.” “55er” Cora Lee Sargent recalled: Bob Cummings stopped and talked to me and I wasn't any good for three hours after that!” Gunter Otto recalled: “I remember on Opening Day, I was to turn on sprinklers at a signal given by a television director. He gave a wrong signal and I turned on the sprinklers just as Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen came riding out of the Living Desert. they got soaking wet and I was sure that I'd get fired for that one!”

Even worse - the Park wasn’t prepared for 18,000 Guests (despite its then-maximum guest capacity figure of 10,000; or “40,000” according to Nash Airflyte Magazine, July 1955). Maynard Swenson recalled that “Cars were backed up down Manchester for miles as the freeway was not finished.” So imagine what happened when some 25,000 additional un-invited guests showed up, compounding the total of guests to 28,154 (according to“The Disneyland Diary”)! As a sidelight, Richard Nunis commented: “Someone forgot to count the tickets and we'll never know what the count really was!”

Many of us have heard the tale! The area weather reached a recorded high of 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Bob Penfield recalled: “There was NO SHADE, and portable coolers were placed in the waiting lines.” Jim Harman remembered ”the black top was so hot that you could hardly walk on it!” Dick Nunezremembered that women were“walking out of their shoes”because workers had“just finished laying the asphalt from the Castle down to the Main Gate before opening the gates, and the new asphalt (aided by hot weather) caused women’s high heels to sink into the hot asphalt.” Yale Forklifts (carrying cameras atop platforms) were also getting their wheels lodged in the freshly-laid asphalt.Jack Lindquist’s only memory of Opening Day involved his son riding only one attraction (the Canal Boats), which subsequently broke down and took Disneylanders 55 minutes to pull back to the dock. Some Ride Operators (as those assigned toPeter Pan) had only trained (for the first time) just two hours before opening. Marion Schawacha recalled opening day: “Hectic! Painters still painting, carpenters still sawing! The waiting lines were all mixed up and criss-crossing each other. The line from Autopia would end up at the Space Bar, and vice versa. All you could see in Tomorrowland was PEOPLE!… The guy who was supposed to be the manager almost blew the place up. He turned the gas on for the big oven and then went down the corridor to get a match. BOOM!” George Mills recalled: “At night in the Castle courtyard, you could see a little blue flame, where a gas main had never been capped!..some PIXIE DUST!” Owning to all this, many still refer to July 17, 1955 as“Black Sunday.”

Still, the Grand Opening wasn’t all bad memories. Earl Wuestneck recalled: “What a day! People... People...People! We would open the gates for 20 minutes and then close for 20 minutes. Celebrities everywhere…miles of film taken. I wore a little military hat on the side of my head, a gold ‘IKE’ jacket, green pants, brown shoes and white gloves!” Ron Dominguez(who was one of the original residents of the property where Disneyland now stands, and 1 of some 600 original Disneylanders) remembered“I was a Ticket Taker. Opening day was a hectic day. The plan was to invite people at different hours so that we could spread out all the arrivals. But it didn’t work out that way. Everyone wanted to come out early to see the stars. It was exciting. Having grown up here, to see this new thing that no one was really too sure about finally open, there was a lot of excitement. Celebrities came in through the front gate, which was impressive to have them come to our hometown.”(Disneyland LINE, Vol.25, No.28, published July 16th, 1993)

The television show (aimed at some 90 million viewers) had been planned an entire year in advance. Many Americans would watch the premier from their own homes including Walt’s nephew Teddy Beecher, whose mother abhorred large crowds, declined Walt’s invitation, and purchased a new television for the event. A rehearsal had been held early on opening day,with the invitational tv premier to be telecast as a news event on ABC-TV Network from 4:30 to 6:00 P.M. PDT. It was during that time (timed to coincide with with the largest projected television audience), that all activity on Main Street ceased as special“formal dedication ceremonies”took place at the Park.

Guests were encouraged to arrive before 4:15 P.M. because Disneyland's gates would close from 4:20 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. At that time, Horseless Carriages (used to transport celebrities and other distinguished guests) lined parts of Town Square. After three “chaplains” (representing Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths) participated in opening dedication ceremonies. After Walt Disney stepped forward to read the Dedication of Disneyland, and a brief speech by ReverendGlenn D. Puder, a“Military Chaplain representing various creeds”(and Walt Disney’s nephew) which was followed by a subsequent moment of silence for prayer. Next, California GovernorGoodwin Knightaddressed the masses as he dedicated“a wonderful place for children and grownups alike.”The San Diego Marine Band performed the National Anthem, while the “Star Spangled Banner” was raised formally overTown Square. After a moment of silence, a total of 80 jet planes of the 146th Fighter Interceptor Wing of the California Air National Guard soared overhead, and 500 homing pigeons“fluttered out of the clock [over Main Street Station] as a salute to peace.”After the Press Preview day Parade, and another dedication in Frontierland, more than 100 Eagle Scouts (“citizens of the future”) helped raise the 48 flags of the forty eight states overTomorrowland. Then, pigeons imported from Seattle were released at the opening of Tomorrowland. For these reasons (and more),“during the telecast, Disneyland’s admission gates”were“temporarily closed between the hours of 4:20 and 5:30 P.M.”Portions of the audience in attendance were televised. The Disneyland Public Relations Department announced in Press Releases :“Disneyland’s guides and attendants will clear certain areas of Disneyland in preparation for these ceremonies.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (10)

Bob Milek recalled: “Opening day was very exciting...a big parade with movie stars…and I took pictures from the roof of Hills Bros.” Future “55er” Bill Sullivan recalled: “I was working at Northrup at the time, in Anaheim, and I was kind of bored because it was a draggy job. I'd happened to call in sick on the day Disneyland opened, and watched the action on T.V.” Bill “Jungle Bunny” Sullivan also recalled: “I watched Disneyland open on T.V.” Mig Lyles remembered: “I watched it at home on T.V..saw the lowering of the drawbridge and everybody running across it and going in all directions!.and it was My Birthday!”

For some “55ers” Opening Day was not so exciting. Some spent the day sleeping. Al Alvarez worked for George Mills Sr., owner of the Mills Construction Company. He had a day off and just stayed home and rested. Imogene Brinkmeyer of Ticket Sales recalled: “I spent opening day at home in bed with a strep throat. I couldn't find a doctor around anywhere and finally I got hold of a pediatrician. He gave me some penicillin, but it didn't do any good. So I missed opening day, but they were so busy with the crowds, they didn't even know I was missing!”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (11)

Reporter Henry McLemore was present on the evening of July 17th, recalling: “when I finally made my way out of the place the street sweepers had gone to work and Disneyland was about to close for the night.” After all the ceremonies, the Main gates closed at 7:15 P.M., while Disneyland (and its 18 attractions) remained open until 8:00 P.M. on Sunday evening, July 17th. This was to prepare the Park (and its 850 to 1000 hosts) for the big Public Opening at 10:00 A.M. on July the 18th.

Disneyland Grand Opening - July 18, 1955, a truck belonging to the County of Orange Police Communications Division was on site at Disneyland. Approximately 15,000 Guests (each of them Very Important Persons) waited the opening of Walt Disney’s Disneyland, proving that they“had started something!”Walt was on hand to greet the first visitors to enter Disneyland - Christine Vess (age 5) and Michael Schwartner (age 7) and three other guests.

On July 18th, 1955, quite a few newspapers carried pessimistic headlines: “Disneyland Opens Amid Confusion,” “Walt’s Dream a Nightmare,” and “Park Can’t Handle Opening Day Crush,” among others.

1955 :Despite pre-opening day predictions of(an average of 15,000 persons daily ; a peak of 60,000 on holidays and weekends), the“averagedaily attendance in August…was 20,000,” according to “A Report To Disneyland Lessees,” Summer ‘68. But after 52 days (that is, just seven weeks, or less than two months) of Park operation, the 1 millionth visitor (five-year-old Los Angeles resident Elsa Bertha Marquez) passed though theDisneyland Main Gateon September 8th, 1955, at 2:31 p.m.! According to one newspaper report,“suspense mounted as word went around that the millionth guest was due momentarily… The Disneyland band formed at the gate, playing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again,’ and cameras flashed to catch the lucky person. Completely unaware of what was happening the Marquez family was stopped at the turnstile by Customer Relations Director Jack Sayers, who greeted them on behalf of Disneyland and led them through the gate. The band then struck up ‘Happy Days Are Here Again,’ and Elsa and her little brother, Daniel, 3, led them in ‘Davy Crockett’ and ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart.’ When they arrived at Disneyland City Hall, Sayers introduced the Marquez family to Sheriff Bill Lacy of Frontierland, Chief Shooting Star of the Indian Village in Frontierland ; TWA hostess, Jo Ann Weidman ; and K-7 John Catone, the ‘Spaceman’ of Tomorrowland. Following the public announcement and introductions at City Hall, Elsa was showered with gifts from Disneyland and Disneyland exhibitors. They were guests of the park for all rides and dinner at the Red Wagon Inn.”

According to Van Arsadle France, one reason for the July 17th opening date was that Walt and company may have planned to capitalize on the summer tourist season. Studies recorded in Disneyland Fact Sheets (included in Press Kits), projected 5,000,000 visitors during the first year. Western Magazine (and other journals) recognized that the attendance figures were staggering, stating :“Millions of people visit our national parks, mountains, rivers, and lakes every year. But nature now has competition from man, for Walt Disney’s new venture, known as Disneyland, threatens to draw more adults and children to its portals than even the famous Grand Canyon, or the geysers of Yellowstone Park.”

Before Disneyland opened, millions of Americans, read and heard about the magic kingdom of Disneyland and awaited its opening in mid-summer. Now visitors came from all over the globe and continued to come at the rate of 20,000 a day, one quarter more than Disney's most optimistic guess. For instance, on July 28, Disneyland received a visit by Cal Farley (of Texas) and his group of 200 Boys Ranchers (comprised of boys from 42 different states and three foreign countries).

This trend of visitors continued and Disneyland welcomed its one-millionth guest on September 8, 1955. Through September, 1.2 million guests visited Disneyland. Actual Park Attendancefor the first 37 weeks, from July 18, 1955 to April 1, 1956 (as published in the “First Annual Report To Disneyland Lessees”) was tallied at 2,167,000. The same report forecast an estimation of the Total First Year Park Attendance at 3,957,000. Their figures were not far off. By reports, some 1,170,972 guests had both paid and stepped through the turnstiles in 1955 and by the end of the Park’s firstfullfiscal year (by September 30, 1956) Park attendance had reached whopping 3,799,804 (*or, “3,317,320,” according to the “1969 Disneyland Wallet Fact Card,” or “3,731,942” by other sanctioned sources). By comparison, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon National Parks drew about 3.6 million during 1955. Far from being a“spectacular failure,”Disneyland quickly became one of the Southland’s top tourist attractions, and did reach that projected 5,000,000 (mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph), but not until 14 and-a-half moths later. All of this thanks to the some 600 cast Members on the Disneyland payroll during the first year.

According to nine opinion polls (of 700 guests per sampling) conducted between August 1955 and March 1956, approximately 64.2 visitors lived in California. During this same first fiscal year, the very same reports on Park activities disclosed of these figures, that“adults outnumber children by a ratio of four to one.”Among those notable “adult” visitors during the first few weeks were Disneyland’s first visitors (Christine Vess Watkins&Michael Schwartner), andDave MacPhersonof Long Beach (the first guest to purchase a ticket on Monday, July 18th, 1955).“Since the park’s mid-July opening, celebrities by the hundreds have flocked here to form an imposing list that reads like a roster of filmland’s famous,”according to “The Disneyland News” (March 10, 1956 ; Vol. 1 No. 9). Among these were Eddie Fischer, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hersholt, several Miss Universe candidates (including Miss U.S.A. Carlene King Johnson of Vermont, Miss California Donna Schorr, Miss Japan and Miss Italy), movie star John Derek and his family, Bennie Goodman, Marilyn Maxwell, Lana Turner, Irene Dunne, Dale Evans, Gale Storm (and her two boys), Danny Thomas (and his family), Art Linkletter (who had visited several times, i.e. October 15th), Joseph Cotton, Ronald Reagan, Robert Cummings, Kirk Douglas, George Goebel, Frank Sinatra, Walter Pigeon, Jerry Colona, Buddy Baer, Don De Fore, Roy Rogers, Eddie Albert, Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen, Dick Haymes (and his wife Rita Hayworth, and family), United States Vice President Richard M. Nixon (as well as his wife Patricia, daughters Tricia & Julie, and a nephew), in July. Milton Berle and Jerry Lewis visited Disneyland on the same day in August. Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) visited on September 23rd. Terry Moore visited in November. Other visitors of Disneyland’s first year included more of the world’s famous film stars like Donna Reed, Fred Waring, Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple, Dick Powell and June Allyson, Esther Williams and Ben Gage, Groucho Marx, Edgar Bergen. [“Disneyland 1st Anniversary Souvenir Pictorial”, 1956] The Disneyland News mentioned briefly that the “Queen Mother Farouk of Egypt” visited in a party which included the Consul of Mexico. Hank Greenberg (Cleveland Indians General Manager) and Bill Veeck (baseball’s “Mr. Ambassador”) visited Disneyland together, Greenberg promising to take the entire team to Disneyland if they won the league championship. Many children and their parents turned out for “Kids’ Day and Keller Animal Show” (on September 24th). These facts and figures are all very impressive, considering that some predicted Walt Disney’s Disneyland to fail!

As a final “sidelight,” Disneyland would close on Mondays (from September of 1955 to June 11, 1956, which was the last Monday the park closed). This was“to give workmen and exhibitors opportunity for necessary maintenance operations,”according to “The Disneyland News” (Vol. 1, No. 12 ; June of 1956). Despite this new schedule of operation, even a few special events were held at Disneyland : “Save The Horse Week,” observed October 16th ; “Navy Day,” observed October 27th; the Mickey Mouse Club Circus and first Holiday Festival (beginning November 24th); the first Thanksgiving Day parade, held November 27th); Model Clubs meeting at Tomorrowland (December 1st).

The first Disneyland Ticket Book Plan was initiated as a new kind of admission plan offering up to 50 per cent savings with tickets good for any attraction. The “Disneyland DayTicket Book Plan was extended to benefit guests, according to “The Disneyland News,” (published for December 10th, 1955).

Many special exhibits included Stuffy the World’s Smallest Mouse who appeared on an episode of The Mickey Mouse Club and temporality made his home at Disneyland (according to The Disneyland News, August 1955).

These attracted Visitors from all over the globe who continued to come at the rate of 20,000 a day, one quarter more than Disney's most optimistic guess.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (12)

Disneyland was spotlighted on “Wanderlust” at 10pm on the local KABC-TV Channel 7, with Bill Burud narrating and Slim Barnard hosting. Also, a new half-hour nationwide ABC network radio “Magic Kingdom” program began to be broadcast (mid-day ; 11:00 - 11:25 in the Los Angeles Area) from Disneyland December 3rd, 1955. A radio show was broadcast on ABC’s nationwide chair, and 165 affiliate stations. The stars of the show (Donald NovisandWally Boag) toured all the Park’s lands, meeting with Guest“visitors from all over the country who enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s many attractions.”[“The Disneyland News,” December 10, 1955] The program featured the “Golden Key” contest and the first winners were the Creighton Holden family of St. Clair, Michigan (including Mr. and Mrs. Holden and their children Holly, Tinker and Butch).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (13)

1956 : By January 25, 1956, Walt Disney expressed the “ambition… to make the Park as successful as the other enterprises” with “plans showing the expenditure of one million dollars between now and June 1st in order to make Disneyland even more attractive to the public… we have a big year of operation ahead of us. I expect crowds of over 20,000 every day of the summer. We must build Disneyland into an attraction that will never be in competition with anything else. It must be made impossible to duplicate; we want to spread the word about Disneyland throughout the entire world to create an international interest.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (14)

Reflecting onpioneering “Disneyland” during the first year,Waltlater divulged“that most of the people that I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster - closed and forgotten within the first year.”[“The Spirit of Disneyland,” page 43 ; Prepared 1984 by Walt Disney Productions.] How wrong those experts were! As mentioned, actual attendance (for the first 37 weeks of Park operation, from July 18, 1955 to April 1, 1956) totaled approximately 2,167,000 V.I.P.s, according to“The First Annual Report To Disneyland Lessees,” prepared 1956). According to the same report, “opinion polls” of 700 guests (once over a two-day period, every three weeks, between August of 1955 to March of 1956) divulged that 64.2% of these guests were from California. The roving cameraman of The Disneyland News preserved some local individuals, couples, and families taking a holiday at Disneyland. These included the Irving Kaye family from Monrovia, the Floyd Swain family from Van Nuys, or the Paul Link family from Ontario. Others were from abroad, like the Edward Page family from the state of Michigan, or the Cletus Harrod family of Piqua, Ohio. According to “The Disneyland Diary” others were“from every state and from 60 foreign nations.” Still, what would all these facts and figures mean for the forecasts and actual attendance for the Park’ssecondyear of operation?

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (15)

Disneyland News (Vol.1, No.4; October 1956) predicted “a milestone in the story of American entertainment will be reached… when Disneyland greets its five-millionth visitor. This month’s Five Millionth Visitor will be representative of the 4,999,999 who have gone before him or her. Each has been received with the same careful and courteous attention and each has seen the wonders of the magic kingdom equally well.” By Wednesday, October 3, 1956*, less than 15 months after the Park’s Opening Day (*“The Complete Guide to Disneyland” states, October 4, 1956; “Disneyland’s Fabulous Facts and Figures,” prepared by WDP, 1990 states “October 10th, 1956”), the five-millionth Guest - four-year-old Debra Rutherford (of Quincy Washington) and her sister Patricia and their parents - had passed through Disneyland’s gates.

Though total attendance for the first year was estimated at 3,957,000, by the end of the fiscal year (ending September 30) Disneyland had welcomed 3,731,942, from all 48 states and 60 foreign countries, carrying the overall attendance to a total of 5,683,835 Guests! In the early weeks of the year, many notable“luminaries of film and television” visited Disneyland including Lucille Ball (and her family), Elsa Lanchester, comedian Joe E. Brown, Edgar Bergen, Red Skelton, Sid Caesar, Pat O’Brien, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Joe Amendt, Marguerite Piazza, Shirley Temple Black and family (c. March), Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Lorraine Day and Leo Durocher, Ralph Edwards (and his daughter Lauren), Dr. Walter Schmid (Swiss Consul of Los Angeles), Zasu Pitts (of ABC Radio), and Debbie Reynolds. Among these guests were John and Irene Skikas (according to “The Disneyland News”, Vol.2, No. 6 ; December of 1956), the United States Presidential Election Democratic Candidate’s Running Mate (Estes Kefauver) and his four children who were met by Jupiter the Donkey, the notable Indonesian President Sukarno and his 12- year old son (in May), and the U.S. Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (and former Governor of California) Earl Warren and his family of four - wife and daughters Nina, Dorothy, and Virginia (on December 11th). Earl Warren visited (to quote him),“because everywhere in the world, people ask me about Disneyland.” During some time in 1956, a pre-teen Bobby Sherman (unknown to the world) visited Disneyland with his parents and became obsessed with it ever since (many years later, constructing a miniature Main Street U.S.A. in his yard).

Other special guests of note are the 25 winners (and their families), of the “Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape Family Trips to Disneyland” contest. For instance, Robbins and Meg Barstow and their three children (Mary, David, and Daniel) won the contest, travelling from Wethersfield, Connecticut (via TWA Constellation) to visit Walt Disney’s Disneyland [according to stories published in the Heartfield Current and the Heartfield Times]. They were greeted by the Disneyland Marching Band and copies of “The Disneyland News” headlines announcing their arrival.

“A group of Explorer Scouts from Tacoma, Washington, got hung up in Albequerque on their way to Disneyland the Richfield Company heard of their plight, helped them get on the road again by fixing their disabled bus. Arrived in Los Angeles, the company gave the boys camping space at their Research Center close by Disneyland.”Through Richfield Vice President Fred Jordan, arrangements were made for the scouts, and their Post advisor Dan Riedler to visit Disneyland. This story (with accompanying photos appeared in “The Disneyland News” Vol.2, No.2 ; August, 1956 ; page 2.

“The Disneyland News” (published October 1956) commented on College Foot ball Queens from all over the United States whom had visited Disneyland (perhaps during August to October), including Bobby Lou Fourtado from the University of Washington, Ann Hughes of Baylor U. in Texas, Joan Berg of Tulane in New Orleans, Donna Carson of the University of Oklahoma, Ann Fletcher of Mississippi U., Carolyn of Dearmond from Rice Institute of Texas and Joan Schoenfeld of Brigham Young U. in Utah.

Finally, in December of 1956, a group of Russian Olympians and their coaches became Guests Disneyland (one of the few places they were allowed to visit without visas). Though they were initially refused a trip to Los Angeles and New York, they were permitted a visit to both Disneyland and take a tour of Hollywood by bus.

There were quite a few scheduled events (including a number of “firsts”) like the Ocelot Exhibition, (held January 15th), Junior Achievements Day (held February 4th), the First Old Fashioned Easter Parade (April 1st), Junior Ambassador’s Day (held November 15th), and the first Spin and Marty appearance at Disneyland (held on December 15th). The Annual AGYA Convention was held at Disneyland (beginning Monday, June 18, 1956) and involved special guests like Penny Singleton and Peggy King. There is no doubt that these promotional activities (of conventions and special groups) drew many visitors to the main attraction - Walt Disney’s Disneyland. In fact, the first “Day at Disneyland” was held during the summer of 1956, whereby “Day at Disneyland Special Guest Cards” and an“entertainment value”of ticket books were sold to Industry at prices not available to the public. This very first “Day at Disneyland” was attended by the employees of some 250 Industry Groups in California which had joined the Industry Plan, in addition to the public. Some time after August of 1956, some of these industry groups included the National Society of Public Accountants, International Association of Printinghouse Craftsmen, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Marble Institute of America, the Navy League, the State Bar Association, the Annual Variety Artist’s Convention, the Tax Executives Institute, American Mining Congress and the A.B.A. National Banking Convention (the latter held October 21-24). On September 1st and 2nd, the American Legionnaires convention (held in Los Angeles) would draw some of the 30,000 delegates and their families as American Legionnaire Bands would appear at the Magic Kingdom. The latter came from New Orleans, Nashville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Sioux City, Corpus Christi, and Great Bend (Kansas).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (17)

The 42-minute “Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Disneyland U.S.A.” a People and Places Featurette was released by Buena Vista offering theatrical audiences an opportunity to see a magnincent screen tour of Disney's multi-million dollar entertainment magic kingdom in California! The vivid, colorful, and exciting film featured wondrous sights, thrills, and sheer magic and enchantment enriched by lively music and songs from the original "Disneyland" score. Even before it’s debut, National Screen Service began offering press books, full-color one-sheets, advertising slugs for newspaper campaigns, 8’ x 10’ black-and-white stills for publicity and promotion, and the deluxe Technicolor trailer in CinemaScope and Standard formats!

“Happy Holiday” was broadcast live from Disneyland, five days a week, across more than 200 ABC-Radio affiliates. Families competed for an all-expense paid trip to Disneyland by writing the station and explaining why they would like a happy holiday at Disneyland in 25 words or less. Participants were also picked from the audience of the Golden Horseshoe and quizzed. Happy Holiday also featured interviews of special guest stars like Hugh Brian (ABC-TV’s Wyatt Earp), Eddie Cantor, Joe Brown, Singer Julie London, pianist Bobby Troup, Hans Conried, Ollie Olson of the Olson and Johnson team, John Carradine, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Jackie Coogan, Buster Keaton, Gilda Grey, Hoot Gibson, and Zasu Pitts. Fridays brought Music Day to Happy Holiday, with Donald Novis and Wally Boag performing. Guests who sing along the loudest were chosen to complete in that day’s quiz. Two guests (from thousands of daily visitors) were selected to compete for the “Golden Key to Disneyland.” Early winners included the Houck family of San Diego.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (18)

Contests promoted Disneyland. As early as January of 1956, Wally Boag hosted “Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom” show on ABC-TV giving guests opportunities to compete for the Golden Key entitling each member of the family free admission to anywhere in the Park.

As far away as Portland, Heck Harper’s “Pioneer Club” debuted on KGW-TV in December of 1956. Soon, a contest offered viewers the opportunity to win a free trip to Disneyland.

1957 :By 1957, Disneyland was home to “more than 35 recreational attractions and amusem*nts to fascinate each member of the family; more than 15 free exhibits and shows; and… shops and stores,” according to Disneyland Holiday magazine (Spring of 1957). The 1957 TWA brochure “Let’s Talk About… My Visit to Disneyland, Anaheim, California: A Note from Mary Gordon TWA Travel Advisor” mentioned:We learned that to fully explore Disneyland takes two days.” Guests came to Disneyland and “As of the end of 1957, we find that our guest spends $2.72 for parking, rides, and admission. In addition, he buys food, merchandise and souvenirs. We find that he doesn't worry about the cost... if he has a good time!” -“Your Role in the Disneyland Show,” Disneyland, Inc., 1955.

By the time “The Story of Disneyland - The Park” was filmed for the Disneyland anthology television series, it was said:“Since its opening a comparatively short time ago, over six million people have visited Disneyland. Many have returned to discover new adventures and further expansion.”Proving this are attendance records which show that by the end of its second year, more than 7 1/2 million guests had visited Walt Disney’s magic kingdom (4.3 million of those guests visiting during 1958). One particular report published September 6, 1957, claimed that“8,961,534 persons” had visited “the tourist attraction since opening in July 1955”which likely factored in some of the fiscal year attendance (calculated a few days later on September 30, 1956) of 4,200,612. By the time these figures were reported, the ratio of visitors was“three-to-one in favor of adults,” according to many 1957 publications. One particular publication reported that“grownups outnumber kids at Disneyland… 3 1/2 to 1.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (19)

In addition to this demographic,“records also show that 32 percent of the business is ‘repeat’ - people who have seen it before but come back,” according to “The Western Horseman” (published September of 1957). Another publication soon reported“that 42 percent of the visitors actually live outside California.”Many of the aforementioned 4.3 million visitors that year passed through the turnstiles during the first extensive nighttime program (open every night until midnight, mid-June until mid-September).

Some of those aforementioned 4.3 million visitors were members of organizations which arranged to visit Disneyland, like Miss Rodeo contestants (on June 13th), members of the National Circus Fans Association (on Friday, June 14th), the First Date Night Program (first held June 14th, and) featuring four big bands was held Friday and Saturday nights thereafter (from June 28 - December 28), the “Classic Cars of Southern California Day” (on September 18, 1957), the First California Legislators Day (on July 13th, 1957). In addition to these, there were special events and shows, like the First Annual Pancake Races at Disneyland (May 3rd), the City of Hope Telerama (June 23rd), the First Fourth of July Fireworks (July 4th), and the Foresters Parade (held on October 11th).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (20)

Despite all the activity, by September there were only approximately five thousand rather than twenty-five thousand guests in the Park. Notwithstanding revenue from merchandise royalties ($53,619) and income from television participation ($817,975), this reduction of guests meant changes of schedules, readjustments, and reductions of staff. While 1957 saw the departure of Maxwell Coffee House, Blue Bird Shoes by Gallen-Kamp Stores, and the Miniature Horse Corral exhibit, many additions also occurred.

New attractions and adventures included Main Street Omnibus #2, the Midget Autopia, the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through exhibit, the Monsanto House of the Future, the Indian Village Rafts, the Motor Boat Cruise, the Viewliner Train of Tomorrow, and the Frontierland Shooting Gallery. Tom Sawyer Island was completely revised. New exhibits, shops, restaurants, and services included the Main Street Magic Shop, the Flower Mart, the Baby Center on Main Street, Tinker Bell Toy Shop, the Thimble-Drome Flight Circle presented by Cox, and Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue. The Holidayland picnic area opened adjacent to Disneyland (offering beer), while liquor was made available for the first time through Disneyland Drug at the Disneyland Hotel (as advertised in Disneylander May 1957; depicted above).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (21)

The first nighttime program featuring Fantasy in the Sky fireworks commenced. The 1957 TWA brochure “Let’s Talk About… My Visit to Disneyland, Anaheim, California: A Note from Mary Gordon TWA Travel Advisor” promoted the illuminating nighttime spectacular: The first evening of our visit we dined in the Park and stayed on to enjoy the beauty of Disneyland after dark . when thousands of lights turn it into a veritable fairyland. On Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months there are dance bands to entertain Disneyland visitors. One of the most popular features of Disneyland's summer season is the colorful fireworks display ‘Fantasy in the Sky’ - spectacular bursts of color which illuminate the entire Disneyland sky.”

The first Date Nites were held with live entertainment (the Plaza Gardens Orchestra, Andy lona and His Islanders, the Yacht Club Combo, and the Frontierland Disneyland Strawhatters). The First New Years Eve (December 31, 1957), brought 7,500 guests to Disneyland. By then, the ten millionth visitor had stepped throughDisneyland Main Gate (as aforementioned).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (22)

Some c. 1957 guests of honorable mention were the Begum Aga Kahn (in February), Shirley Temple Black (for the opening of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-through in April), Pakistan Prime Minister Suhrawardy (during July), Lucille Ball (July 1-2), Prince Rainier III, Albert and Caroline (on August 15th), Samuel Goldwyn (on September 6th), Jayne Mansfield and daughter Jayne Marie (in September), former U.S. President Harry S. Truman (in November), John F. Kennedy (November), two visits by King Morocco of Mohammed (during the same day in December), and Steve Allen and his three sons (in December).Ward Kimballwas given an annual Silver Pass (by Walt), in order for him to experience the newest adventures of 1957! At the end of the year, 115 youth choruses performed at the Christmas Festival.

The Park notably initiated its annual Disneyland Community Service Awards program, honoring outstanding achievements by both civic and charitable organizations in Orange County, California (in this first year $9,000 was distributed to six organizations).

Lastly, on December 31st, 1957 (the last day of the year; according to editions of “The Disneyland Diary”), the 10 millionth guest - 5-year-old Leigh Woolfenden - had passed through the turnstiles. “As the count came closer and closer, all ticket lines were funnelled through one entrance, and with each click of the turn-style, the tension mounted. Who would be number Ten Million? Eleven A.M., 11:05, and then bedlam! Flash bulbs popping all over the place, smiles and applause, and the Disneyland Band breaking into ‘Ain't She Sweet,’ for at that moment a blonde cutie (just 5 years old) became the center of attention. Appropriately enough our ten millionth guest was a little girl, visiting Disneyland with her mother and father and two brothers. This was the S. R. Woolfenden family. Leigh, 5 (THE WINNAH), Don 6, and Mike 9, from Phoenix, Arizona. Park Management Chairman, Jack Sayers, presented little Leigh and her family with the key to the Magic Kingdom, and with the band leading the way, the Woolfen-den's took off down Main Street in a surrey for a day of fun and merriment they will never forget.“

A few financial notes - American Broadcasting Paramount Theaters, Inc. owned 34.5% of Disneyland stock. Walt Disney Productions owned the remaining 65.5% of the stock of Disneyland, Inc. Speaking of Walt Disney Productions, 400,000 shares of their common stock was sold by Atlas Corporation which still held substantial interest in Walt Disney Productions. After the sale, Atlas Corporation remained the largest single stockholder of Walt Disney Productions outside of the Disney family.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (23)

1958 :Disneyland celebrated its 3rd anniversary on July 17th! The Disneylander (published June of 1958) celebrated with a small pictorial (depicting additions like the Columbia, Holidayland, and the Grand Canyon Diorama) and an article about the recent Spring Tonics production of 1958 (which memorably featured Frank Heidemann’s famous line about “pickin’ oranges in ‘52”).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (24)

Much had changed at Disneyland! The Fred G. Gurley became Engine Number Three on the Disneyland Railroad (on March 28), Alice in Wonderland opened (with Mouseketeer Karen Pendleton playing the part of Alice), and the Columbia Sailing Ship (an authentic replica of the first American vessel to sail around the world) premiered on the Rivers of America in Frontierland.

These new attractions were advertised locally through Summer Disneyland Date Nite - a popular weekly local television show in the Los Angeles market. Disneyland was even celebrated with a stage show - Disneyland at the Hollywood Bowl! Many Disneylanders like Bob Penfield were involved in the latter.

By 1958, more than 11-million Guests (most of them adults) had visited Disneyland’s more than 60 acres since Opening Day (4.35 million of them, during 1958). Despite Julian Halevy’s unflattering article (“Disneyland and Las Vegas,” published June of 1958), by August 13, 1958, more than 13-million visitors (family units and individuals from 49 United States and territories, as well as 63 foreign nations) had visited Disneyland. By the end of the fiscal year (ending September 30, 1958), 4,232,226 visitors had both paid and stepped through the turnstiles of Disneyland.

Some of the success and growth was due to the Participant Sponsors, individuals, and other corporations and organizations in synergistic relationships with Disneyland, Inc. The large number supporters included the following extensive roster:

Howard Bernard Adams, Jr., Frank Ambler Travel Service, American Dairy Association, American Potash & Chemical Corporation, American President Lines, ARB Corporation, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co., Bank of America, Dr. Robert Barnes, the Benay Albee Novelty Company, Berry Tours, Biltmore Hotel, Bonekraft of California, Boy Scouts of America, Bunnell Engineering Company, California Junior Chamber of Commerce, Cangary, Limited, Cartan Travel Bureau, Inc., Castle Services, Inc., Chef's Linen & Laundry Supply Co., Waltah Clarke, Clary Corporation Management Club, the Coca-Cola Company, Continental Services Company, L. M. Cox Company, the Crane Company, A.N. Curtiss, Daily Review, Don DeFore's Silver Banjo, DeGonia of California (Mr. Mott), Deland Enterprises, Inc., Disneyland Hotel, Dixie Cup Company, Eastman Kodak Company, Emporium of Orange County, Exchange Lemon Products Company, Farmers Insurance Group, Food Services, Inc., Friars Club, Frito Company, Frontier Gun Shop, Frontier Traders, General Aero & Electronics Company, Gibson Art Company, Globe Ticket Company, Gordon Enterprises, Grand Central Concessionaires, Inc., Guest Relations International, Hallamore Electronics Company, Hoffman Electronics Corporation, Honig-Cooper, Harrington & Miner, James A. Hume, Independent Journal, International Association of Y's Mens Clubs, Island Trade Store, Jemrocks, Inc., Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation, Kelly-Harrigan, & Meeks, Itd., Kern County AIB, Louis Kupper, Kwikset Locks, Inc., Lancaster Newspaper, Lawson Engineering Company, Long's Jewelry Store, Los Angeles Airways, Los Angeles Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Express, Mad Hatters, Inc., Mead Johnson & Company, Menasha Container of California, Milner Productions, Inc., Monsanto Chemical Company, Pat Mc Dermott. Inc., McNamara Productions, National Lead Company, National Legal Aid Association, Nesbitt Fruit Products, Inc., Newport Dunes, Inc., Niesi Veterans Re-union, North America Companies, North American Aviation, Inc., Nutrilite Products, Inc., Opti-Mrs., Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities, Pacific Scientific Aeroproducts, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Pepsi-Cola Company, Hal Phillips & Associates, Chris Portillo, Preco Incorporated, Puffin Enterprises, Inc., Quaker Oats Company, Ralke Company, Random Parts, Inc., Red Wagon Company, Redwood City Tribune, Richfield Oil Corporation, Ruggles China & Gift House, Jack Sayers, Service Bureau Corporation, Show Business, Silhouette Artists, Southern California Gas Company, Southern Engineering & Construction Company, Standard Brands, Inc., States Steamship Company, Systematics, Inc., and Tanner Gray Line Motor.

Much of this success and attendance growth was also owing to the staff of a little structure (located on West Street) once known as the “Brown House,” which had a Holidayland sign hung over it and was used by the Holidayland staff like Dorothy Manes (Youth Activities). The staff was in charge of scheduling all youth groups through college age, such as Boy Scouts, etc., into the Park. Conventions, tours and adult parties were brought into the Park and Holidayland by Walt Roberts and staff. Young men in the Industrial program were bringing people from all over Southern California into Disneyland via the 20-ride ticket book which was available to any organization - as well as booking picnics into Holidayland for 1958 and as far ahead as 1959. This program was being guided by Don Norman.During 1958, the Brown House staff had set a goal of 582,000 Disneyland guests in the current year.

As a result, there were many c. 1958 guests of honorable mention including Guy Williams (television's Zorro) and comedian Danny Kaye and family. Other VIP Guests of note were Costa Rican President Mario Echandi-Jimenez (in April), New South Wales Prime Minister Cahill (in May), “His Royal Highness” Afghanistan Prime Minister Mohammed Daud (in July), Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (July 17th), Irene Dunne (on October 23rd), and finally the United Federation of Hellenistic Societies of Los Angeles welcomed her majesty, the Grecian Queen Frederika and her Royal Highness, the Princess Sophie (in November).

No doubt audiences were drawn in droves when Disneyland hosted its First St. Patrick’s Day festivities (on March 17th), Kids Amateur Dog Show (on March 29th), the First Square Dance Convention (April 11th), Twin Day (April 20th), the Salute to Youth (June 13th), the First “Fun With The Band Night” (June 17th), theFirst Square Dance Night(June 18th), the First Personality Nite (June 23rd), Classic Car Day (on August 17th, 1955), Dairy day (April 19th),Zorro Days(April 26th), the firstMagic Kingdom Club Party(on September 10th), the first “Back to School Dance” (on September 12th, 1958), the “Steam Car Meet” (on September 20th), and the Horseless Carriage Club (Southern California Regional Group) Disneyland Jamboree (held from September 25-28, 1958).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (25)

Considering these facts and statistics, it should not have come as a surprise, when 7,500 people attended the very firstNew Year’s Eve Party at Disneyland(from 8 pm to 2 am), to welcome the year of 1958, and (on just July 4th, 1958) a peak amount of 46,600 Guests visited Disneyland!

It is worth mentioning that by June 8, 1958, the land was appraised and valued at $3,486,000. In addition, by the end of the fiscal year (on September 28, 1958) revenue from merchandise royalties totaled $53,619, while income from television participation totaled $195,450. By September of 1958, the Disneyland name as incorporated at a value of $10,000 as determined by the Board of Directors.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (26)

1959 :Disneyland opened with 22 major attractions in 1955 (at a cost of $17,000,000). Soon after, Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be completed,” and each year since 1955, new attractions were added. By 1959, Disneyland had expanded to 47 major attractions at a $30,000,000 total cost to date! Details about these attractions and more were recorded in the first Disneyland Dictionary, an internal publication (which established approved terminology, facts, and information about Disneyland, and was primarily designed for training purposes); prepared exclusively for Disneyland personnel; printed by October of 1959. This was the largest expansion of Disneyland to date and it opened with a major celebration and parade attended by hundreds of news media and celebrities. As part of the festivities Meredith Willson (famed writer of the hit Broadway musical The Music Man) lead a "76 Trombone" Marching Band.

Slightly fewer adults in attendance (at “4 to 1” according to one syndicated report) indicated that Disneyland attendance had slightly fallen. Vacationland magazine (published for Spring of 1957) published yet another figure: 3 1/2 to 1. Still, Disneyland managed to break attendance records every summer month including June, July, and August. One of the largest attendance records was reached when Disneyland Dedication Day Parade and Ceremonies were televised and held (in June). Disneyland experienced a particularly record-breaking day of attendance on July 4th, 1959 alone, with 59,845 visitors in attendance! One report published in WISDOM magazine (published December of 1959) reports that Disneyland“annually entices five million people of all ages.”In step with these trends, the Park’s 15 millionth visitor stepped through the entrance in April, while total attendance for the fiscal year (which ended on October 4th) passed the 5 million mark (a total 5,020,104) according to one source, or 4,232,226 by the end of the fiscal year (ending September 30, 1958; according to “The Disneyland Story”).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (27)

Either way, the figure included the attendance of special events, like the 11,000 Guests at the (December 31st) “Special 1959 New Year’s Eve Party,” the attendance of Western Days (held in February), the attendance of National Piano Teachers Day (held October 10th), the patrons of the Parade of the Pumpkins (held October 31st), and the “Date Night at Disneyland” attendance (every Friday and Saturday, June 17 through October 2). No doubt, the Japan Air Lines’ debut of flights from Tokyo to Los Angeles (on May 30, 1959) contributed to a large influx of foreign guests. Organizations and clubs visited Disneyland, like the Shriners (for a Shriners Parade and Picnic, held on May 23, 1959), or the Road Lords Car Club (on September 5th, 1959). This year also began the annual tradition of Rose Bowl teams visiting Disneyland, when the University of Washington and University of Wisconsin teams toured Disneyland before their face-off on January 1, 1960! Magic Kingdom Club members were invited to see Zorro in person at Disneyland (again), on Thanksgiving Weekend (November 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (28)

These drew in many notable visitors among its audience. Of these, Jerry Mathers and his family (in early January), Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (on January 23rd), Baron and Baroness Rothschild (on February 4th), the DuPonts (on February 5th), Boris Karloff (on February 25th), June Lockhart (on March 29th), King Hussein of Jordan (April 4th), Dr. Norman Vincent Peal (on April 4th), Rosemary Clooney (April 17th), King Baudoin of Belgium (on May 20th), Former Vice President Nixon and his family (in June), President Zacarno of Indonesia (on June 2nd), Meredith Wilson led the “76 Trombones” (in June), Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (on June 4th), Dr. Ralph Bunche of the United Nations (on June 17th), Prime Minister Suhrawardy of Pakistan (in July), Andre Kostelanetz (on July 28th), Esther Williams (on August 3rd), Steve Allen (on August 10th), Lucille Ball (on August 12th-13th), Karl Malden (on August 21st), Dinah Shore (on September 2nd), Crown Prince Asfa Woosen of Ethiopia (in October), Prime Minister Moulay Abdullah Ibrahim of Morocco (in October), Russian Nuclear Physicists (on October 24th), Asfa Woosen - Crown Prince of Ethiopia (on October 29th), both Senator John F. Kennedy and President Sekou Toure of the Republic of Guinea in North Africa (who shook hands on the steps ofDisneyland City Hallon November 1, 1959 *though some later publications state October), Herman Levan Producer of My Fair Lady (on November 21st), Bob Cummings and Eva Saint Marie (November 27th), former President Harry S. Truman (in November), King Mohammed of Morocco (in December), Ted Mack (on December 6th), and Arthur Miller the playwrite (on December 30th).

“The ‘Almost-Visitor’ of 1959”

The Disneyland Dictionary makes mention of an ‘Almost Visitor.’ We are referring to the Soviet Premier of Russia Nikita Khrushchev and his wife who had planned to visit Disneyland, on an American Tour during September 19, 1959 (*one sanctioned “Disneyland Diary” incorrectly states 1960). The two were denied entrance by the State Department due to tensions of the period and resulting security reasons, which led to Disneyland becoming“the center of a cause célèbre.” Up to this point, millions of Disneyland Guests had been treated like kings, including Kings, Queens, Presidents and other famous people. According to Fletcher Markle (in interview with Walt Disney, in 1963),“there was only one adult who was ever refused permission to the Park.”The Disneyland Diary highlighted this incident the following way :“In September Chairman Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union expressed a desire to visit the Park but his request was denied by U.S. government officials, sparking an international ‘incident.’”

Sometime after,“Mrs. Khrushchev told Frank Sinatra that ‘Disneyland is the only place I wanted to see here.’ The famous headline ‘Khrushchev Irked: Can’t Go To Disneyland’ came about when he stormed at an audience of stars and dignitaries from politics and the corporate world. ‘Is this a nation of gangsters? Why can’t I go to Disneyland?’”[“The Spirit of Disneyland,” page 46; prepared 1984 by Walt Disney Productions] This incident soon made news, and several notable individuals responded.“Author Herman Wouk wrote a letter: ‘I don’t blame Khrushchev for jumping up and down in rage over missing Disneyland. There are few things worth seeing in the United States, or indeed anywhere in the world.’ … Bob Hope quipped, ‘Here we are in Alaska - that’s halfway between Khrushchev and Disneyland.’ … And in New York City the day following the Soviet Premier’s complaint, an officer of one of capitalism’s largest brokerage houses picked uo his telephone and called a Disney executive. ‘Maybe you don’t remember me,’ the man said. ‘I’m the one who said we didn’t finance ‘kiddy lands’ when you were looking for money to build Disneyland back in 1953. Now I’d like to come out and see your place. If Khrushchev can get so mad about not seeing it, I’m afraid I must have been very wrong. Disneyland can’t be much of a ‘kiddyland!’”

However, Walt remembered:“No, we didn’t refuse him permission. No, we were all set. You see, we work according to what the State Department wants to do. They come and they have guests… a guest of the government. So, we were ready to receive Khruschev. But, it so happened that the security problem here in Los Angeles (because actually Disneyland is in another town), and our Chief of Police, he had quite a chore there… He just was a little worried about somebody (maybe) walking in Disneyland with a shopping bag, and what they might have in it, you’d never be able to know. We were ready for him. The Press was ready. The State Department Security… They were all set, and I was all ready. In fact, we’ve had a lot of dignitaries down there, and he was one that Mrs. Disney wanted to go down and meet - Mr. Khruschev.” This was in step with contemporaneous Disneyland policies to “face the fact that we all have our prejudices, but we bury these outside the berm, and in the Magic Kingdom we treat EVERYONE like a king, regardless of his color, creed, politics, or condition of financial solvency.”

Not long after, Drew Pearson made numerous references to the incident in the “Gala Day at Disneyland” Exhibitor’s Campaign Book:

After Nikita Khrushchev put up such a wail over having been barred from Disneyland, I decided to take another look at this famous playground which Walt Disney has carved out of an old orange grove just outside Los Angeles. Actually I didn't really need Khrushchev as an excuse, because my three California grandsons were itching to go.

Anyway, we went--and I really can't blame Khrushchev for being disappointed. I also suspect that the State Department and the Los Angeles police made their biggest mistake in barring him from this fairyland. He probably would have borrowed Walt Disney to set up a similar children's paradise in Moscow; which would have been very healthy, because nations which put children first think twice before they fight.

Here is a firsthand report:

SUBMERGED IN ONE of Disney's ‘atomic’ submarines. They look like the real thing. You peer through portholes at sharks, shell-fish, even mermaids, a chest of gold spilling out from a wreck which the pirates sank in the days of the Spanish Main. Very realistic. It revealed no atomic secrets, Mr. K. but you would have loved it.

Tobogganed down Mount Matterhorn. This has all the thrill of a Coney Island shoot-the-chute, only more scenic. You shoot through the inside of a mountain, then down the outside, ride under the spray of a 50-foot waterfall, watch live Swiss mountain climbers scaling the peak.

RODE THE MONORAIL streamliner which circles breathlessly over thousands of people with several score passengers. It is old hat to Europeans. The Germans invented it. But if Washington, D.C. was not asleep at the switch it would use the monorail instead of tearing up acres and acres of historic streets designed by l'Enfant in George Washington's day. Other cities cond use it to carry passengers out to distant outlying airports.

About 3,800 people staff Disneyland in the peak summer months, many of them college professors, high school teachers and college students. One school principal who put my youngsters into the miniature auto races has been working there four years. He works week ends in the winter.

YOU WOULD HAVE GOT QUITE A KICK out of Jungleland, Mr. K. The jungle guide steers a boat through tropical waters with orchids and jungle mist dripping over your head. A hippo comes up under the boat. The guide shoots him. An alligator teaches its baby how to swim. A python is in a tree overhead. Two giant gorillas roar as the boat passes, a lion jumps on a zebra, an elephant lunges at the boat. My 5-year-old grandson had his heart in his mouth- even though he knew the animals were made of plastic and were mechanized to lunge and roar at every boat passing through those jungle waters.

ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE come to Disneyland - from Harry Truman, to the Crown Prince of Ethiopia, to French Ambassador Herve Alphand, to the men of the Brazilian navy, who were much in evidence when we were there. On your next trip to the U.S.A, we hope the Los Angeles police will let you come, Mr. K. You'll enjoy every bit of it.

A lot of Americans liked the fact that you brought your children over to see us, Mr. K, and we know you'll enjoy President Eisenhower's grandchildren. If we could just leave things to the kids, there wouldn't be any more wars.

So I hope next time you come you'll see American children - and some who aren't children any more but still like to be young relax at Disneyland.”

1960 :After all that transpired during 1959, it’s hard to believe that the year 1960, was as eventful for Disneyland!

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (29)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (30)

A compelling series of Donald Duck's Disneyland Contest advertisem*nts were published in the most widely-read Dell Comic Books from September through November 1960. These offered the chance to win one of 40 trips to Disneyland for 20 lucky kids and their parents, plus other valuable prizes. Entries were accepted from January 1960 thru January 15, 1961. Some $100,000 worth of TV Spots blanketed children's shows in key markets - focusing the attention of millions of kids on ‘A Free Trip to Disneyland.’ As many as 200,000 window banners spotlighted stores carrying DISNEYLAND contest merchandise.

In addition, new attractions - America the Beautiful, Nature’s Wonderland, and the Art of Animation - were added to Disneyland. These contributed to a total of $34.5 million which had been invested in Disneyland.

Owing to this, a total of more than 19 million visitors from 70 countries had visited Disneyland (with the 20 millionth visitor arriving in April)! According to “The Disneyland Story” (prepared c.1963), Disneyland’s annual attendance of paid visitors was recorded at 4,769,593. This figure includes theNew Year’s Eve Partyattendance of more than 14,000 Guests, the 9,000 guests that attended the very firstDixieland at Disneylandevent (held October 1st), the attendance of Milt Albright’s first private party held at Disneyland (5,042 Knights of Columbus who enjoyed exclusive use of Disneyland on May 13th), and the 6,315 in attendance (of the United California Bank private party held October 22nd). The latter was an annual tradition from 1960 to 1970.

Other Events - Disneyland hosted its first Memorial Day Festivities (May 28th). By July 18, 1960, KMPC President in Charge of Programming Bob Forward had completed talks with Walt Disney. During 1960, DJ Jerry Dexter would broadcast his “Jerry Dexter Affair” live from Disneyland from 9:30 Friday and Saturday nights or 10 ‘til midnight every Friday and Saturday night on KMPC (710 on everyone’s dial). The show featured the Elliot Brothers. Disneyland hosted its First Summer Dance Contest (on July 27th), its first United Nations Day (on Saturday, October 22nd), and the California Finals of the Nat'l Twirling Corp Competition (Sunday, October 23rd). The cast of Zorro appeared at Disneyland on Veteran's Day Weekend (Friday thru Sunday, November 11th thru 13th) and on Thanksgiving Weekend (Thursday thru Sunday, November 24th thru 27th).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (31)

Then there were the many Guests of note - John Provost (star of Lassie ; on January 2nd), Alan Cranston (on January 15th), Greek Parliament President Konstantinos Rodopoulos (in February), the Czechoslovakian Olympic Hockey Team (on February 10th), and the Moscow State Symphony (on February 20th). Considering the Khrushchev incident in 1959, the latter group is of particular note. According to “News From Disneyland”: “Russians have provided plenty of ‘hot copy’ with their reactions to Disneyland. A recent group of visitors, members of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, proved to be no exceptions. Reporters covering their tour were anxious to obtain a photo of the Soviet citizens near the trip to the moon in Tomorrowland, and through an interpreter finally managed to convey their request to the group. Animated discussion among the Russians followed. Finally, a chorus of laughter broke out, and the smiling interpreter turned to reporters. ‘They want to know,’ he said, ‘whether your government will guarantee the return trip!!’”

Other visitors of 1960 included the Vienna Boys Choir (on February 28th), Thai Princess Rudi Voravan (in March), Grecian Prince Ernst August (in March), Princess Ortoud of Hanover (in March), Crown Prince Hassan Ibn Talal of Jordan (in March), Four Olympic Teams - Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Japanese (on March 2nd), the International Olympic Committee (on March 2nd), the Australian Olympic Hockey Team and British Olympic Team (on March 4th), Soviet Authors (on March 5th), Jonathan Winters (on March 8th), Japanese Olympic Skiers (on March 16th), the U.S.A. Olympic Team (on March 17th), the Maruzen All-Stars (a Japanese Baseball Team) visited Disneyland (on April 4th, 1960) as evidenced by one UPI Telephoto, Lucille Ball (April 12th), King Mahendra and Queen Ratna of Nepal (in May), Scandinavian Princesses - Margarethe of Denmark, Astrid of Norway, and Margaretha of Sweden (on June 6th), Thai King Bhumibhol and Thai Queen Kirikit and their children (in June), Thai Prince Vajiralongkorn, Princess Ubol Ratana and Sirindhorn (in June), Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan (June 30th), Chicago Mayor Richard Daly (on July 15th), Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford II (on July 26th), the Royal Danish Ballet (on August 28th), Patti Page (September 6th), Prince Akihito and Japanese Princess Michiko (September 25th), His Highness Kotah, Maharishi of India (on October 26th), and King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark (in October). Lastly, the Wisconsin State Fair “Alice in Dairyland” crowned winner (of 1959) Merrie Jule Barney (of Burlington, Illinois.) visited Disneyland, likely in 1960.

1961 -The 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Party ($5.50 Advance ; $6.00 Full Price) attracted 18,000 celebrants, with six bands,“admission to all attractions as many times as desired,”and noise makers and hats (of course), from Sunday evening December 31st, 1960 to Monday, January 1st, 1961. Disneyland’s average daily attendance during the summer was 32,000, and 9,000 during the winter. On April 19, 1961, the Park welcomed its 25 millionth guest (Dr. Glenn C. Franklin), and a ceremony was held to commemorate and celebrate this guest’s entry into the Park! By the end of the fiscal year (ending September 30) “The Disneyland Story” (prepared c.1963), reported that Disneyland’s annual attendance of paid visitors reached 4,581,596. Owing to these numbers, Disneyland welcomed its 25 millionth guest - Dr. Glenn C. Franklin of San Diego (pictured below along with his wife Helen, his mother, and their three children) in 1961.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (32)

Many special events brought guests through the turnstiles. Districts in Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and Idaho offered charter bus trips to Disneyland for every news carrier that obtained 50 new subscriptions between April 1, 1961, and May 31, 1961. The Tom Sawyer Contest occurred on May 20th. Benny Goodman performed during the Memorial Day weekend program, Saturday through Monday (May 27th, 28th and 29th). Then, Benny Goodman returned a week later (on June 3rd), for a second special appearance and the opening of the 1961 season of Disneyland Date Nite.

Benny Goodman also returned to perform (June 10th, 30th, and July 1st). He was joined by Lloyd and Bill Elliott with the Disneyland Dateniters and “The Young Men From New Orleans.” The Teen Queen Contest was held on June 10th. On June 15th,Milt Albright’s firstGrad Nite Partywas held, with the seniors of 33 schools attending. The First Disc Jockey Night was held June 20th, and theFirst Frontier Nite(offering chuck-wagon style barbecue dinners, square dancing at theGolden Horseshoe Cafe, western music behind thePlantation House, and the Marshall “outdrawin’ them renegades ever’ time one shows up”) was held Tuesday nights through the summer season.

In addition to these events, seasonal hours of operation brought visitors to the Park. For instance, Disneyland mostly maintained a regular winter schedule of Wednesday thru Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.), with the Park closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, Disneyland was open every day from December 13 thru January 7th!

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (33)

Other notable guests of 1961 included the Hubert Humphreys (on February 12th), Al Hirt (during February), Gina Lollabridgida and son Milka, Jr. (pictured above; on March 10th), Prince Bernard of Holland (in April), Prince and Princess of Thailand (in April), Danny Kaye (April 22nd), Prince and Princess of Jaipur, India (in June), Mrs. Mitsu Ikeda, wife of Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda of Japan (in June), Prince of Montenegro (in August), Prince Michael Petrovich, Prince of Monte Negro (in August), Maharaja and Maharanee of Jaipur, India (in August), Lucille Ball (August 6th-7th), William Randolph Hearst II (on September 6th, 1961), Ex-President Kutitchek of Brazil (in September), His Excellency El Ferik Ibrahim Abboud the President of Sudan (in October), the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India (on November 12th), Ed Wynn (on December 16th), and the General and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower (also in December).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (34)

1962 :Employee publications (published for 1962) divulged that“during the summer we entertain 30,000 people per day. We hosted our 29 millionth guest during the spring of 1962. That’s more than the total population of fifteen of our western states.”More than 5.1 million visitors (or, 4,949,032 paid visitors according to reports prepared by the end of the fiscal year, on September 30, 1962) contributed to this grand total when they passed through theDisneyland Main Gateduring 1962. Approximately 2,790,000 were guests during the summer season alone. The 1962 attendance figure included the approximately 17,000 guests which helped the New Year arrive with the 5th Annual New Years Eve Gala held from Monday, December 31st, 1961 through Tuesday, January 1st of 1962). The grand annual figure also included noted V.I.P.s like Pasha Kenitra of Morocco (in January), M. Ahmed Kamel, Consul General of the United Arab Republic (in March), the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran (in April), and California Governor Edmund G. Brown (in September).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (35)

As a “sidelight,” I would like to mention that the attendance of the 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Gala (held from December 31st, 1961 through January 1st, 1962) was likely due to increased advertising budgets (for materials and labor) for this special event. For instance,“for the first time12,000 specific posters”were“made and released on this event,”according toBen Harris. According to Dick Johnson (Director of Disneyland Finance), the5th Annual New Year’s Eve Partywas treated“as a separate day’s operation… where necessary ticket sellers and merchandise sales clerks… [would] be given separate cash funds and new Revenue Service Sheets for this event.”[Disneyland Finance Division Bulletin No.43]

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (36)

Some of these attendance figures were perhaps owing to the fact that the Park experienced a couple of live television broadcasts during 1962 (which were advertised in c.1962 brochures distributed at the Main Entrance Box Offices). First, there was “Disneyland After Dark” (with appearances by Louis Armstrong, Annette Funicello, Bobby Burgess, Bobby Rydell, Tahitian Dancers, and fireworks), which drew crowds of visitors to the Park during April.

Then, “Meet Me at Disneyland” - one-hour live television broadcasts (airing from 7:30 to 8:30; every Saturday night) - ran for 13 weeks (between June 9th to September 8th; with the exception of Saturday, August 11th) on KTTV, channel 11 in Los Angeles.

Featuring a variety of talented entertainers (like Harry James, Fred MacMurray, and the Osmond Brothers), the events likely drew crowds of visitors to Disneyland. The Cavalcade of Bands (Saturday, June 2nd, 8 p.m. - 1 a.m.) brought Tex Beneke, the Modernaires, Count Basie & His Band, the Glenn Miller Band, Ray Eberle, and other Big name Bands to Disneyland!

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (37)

1963 :Attendance for the year passed 5,500,000. By the end of the fiscal year (ending September 30, 1963) “The Disneyland Story” (prepared c.1963), reported that Disneyland annual attendance of paid visitors reached 4,581,596.Disneyland’s Gala New Year’s Eve Party(held Tuesday, December 31, 1963) alone contributing more than 19,000 guests to that grand figure (and ending the year on a “high note” according to one publication). Published figures this year went from“more than 32,000,000 visitors…since opening day”to“more than 35 million guests”of Disneyland. By the Disneyland’s big anniversary date, total paid Park attendance (from 1955-1963) had passed 37,500,000 (reaching “38,050,185” according to reports prepared by the end of the fiscal year, on September 30, 1963)! In interview with Fletcher Markle, Walt was asked about the ratio of guests - adults to children. Walt answered“four adults to one child - that is, we’re counting the teenagers as adults. But of course, you can go out there in the wintertime or during the week, and you won’t see any children. You’ll see all the ‘oldsters’ out there riding all these rides and having fun. Summertime (of, course) the average would drop down. But the year-around average is four adults to one child.”

Among the notable guests of 1963, were 30 United Nations Delegates from all over the world (in January), British Ambassador Sir David Ormsby Gore (in February), High Jumper Valeriy Brumel and Russian Track Team (in March), actress Sophia Loren (in April), President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan of India (in June), Doctor Norman Dyhrenfurth and American Mt. Everest Team (in August), Japanese singing sensation Kyu Sakamoto (in August), King Mohammed Zahir and Queen Homaira of Afghanistan (in September), Ex-King Umberto of Italy and President Victor Paz Estenssoro of Bolivia (in November), Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois (and family), Governor Tim Babco*ck of Montana and Astronaut John Glenn (in December).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (38)

Early in the year (from May 22nd to September 15th), Disneyland began a schedule of its gate open daily (even Memorial Day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Labor Day, September 2nd, from 9 a.m. to 12c midnite)! Of the special events occurring, was the Litton Systems Private Party (May 25th, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.), Douglas Aircraft Private Party (May 31st), the second annual Cavalcade of Big Bands at Disneyland (Saturday, June 1st, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.), a 2nd Douglas Aircraft Private Party (June 7th, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.), three Grad Nites (June 13-14, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and June 21st, from 12 midnite to 5:30 a.m.), “Disneyland After Dark,” with three “extras” - Count Basie and His Orchestra (June 28th through July 4th), Independence Day fireworks (on July 4th), “Music Made Famous by Glenn Miller” starring Tex Beneke (nightly), Ray Eberle, and the Modernaires with Paula Kelly (from July 22nd through July 28th), Count Basie appearing nitely (from June 28th - July 4th), Harry James and His Orchestra appearing nitely (from August 27th through September 1st), the Firehouse Five Plus Two (at Disneyland After dark), andDixieland at Disneyland(September 27nd - 28th). These performers (and more, including Kay Bell and the Spacemen, Bill and Lloyd Elliott and the Yachtsmen) were part of the biggest talent lineup announced by theDisneyland Talent Departmentduring 1963.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (39)

1964 :A total of 5,933,847 guests stepped through the Disneyland Park turnstiles during the fiscal year of 1964, carrying the total number of Disneyland guests to 40,863,840 (by May 3, 1964) and more than 44,000,000! Some 17,527 of these guests attending the eighth annualNew Year’s Eve Party(through advance and box office sales) and 50,000 of these guest were seniors and dates attendingGrad Nite ‘64. There was also the Valentine’s Dance held in February of 1965. Many big names in entertainment attracted guests to Disneyland in 1964. The five-night band festival starred Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Wayne King. Hootenannies and other summer entertainment included Spike Jones, Perez Prado and Harry James along with their orchestras. TheFifth Annual Dixieland at Disneylandentertainers included Louie Armstrong, Kid Ory, Sharkey Bonano, Sweet Emma Barrett and Ben Pollack long with their supporting bands. Spike Jones played Disneyland during August of 1964, followed by Prez Prado and Harry James. Gary Lewis (Jerry Lewis’ son) won the contract to perform with his six-piece band (at the Space Bar in Tomorrowland) on Friday and Saturday nights. Private Parties held at Disneyland included the Hughes Private Party (date unknown), the Director’s Guild of America, Inc. (September 19, 1964), the Space Technology Laboratories Night (October 17, 1964), the California State Numismatic Association (C.S.N.A.) Orange County Coin Club Semi-Annual Convention (October 22-25, 1964), Retail Clerks Local 324’s Private Halloween Party (October 31), and Realtors Nite at Disneyland private party (held Tuesday, November 10; $3.75 per person). During at least one performance of Kay Bell and the Spacemen, Steve (of The Nomads) joined them on stage.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (40)

Numerous television productions were filmed at Disneyland during 1964, including a few Mickey Mouse Club television show segments, a Big Band Show on KTTV (aired c. June), a Christy Minstrell Show (which aired August 3rd, on NBC), Ford commercials filmed at Aunt Jemima’s (on July 15th), and a subsequent Ford television show (which featured several attractions). Dixieland bands were filmed (at Disneyland) on September 23rd, followed by Wonderful World of Color show segments, which were filmed in color at Disneyland on September 29th & October 1st of 1964.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (41)

Outside Disneyland, the some of the Characters appeared in the Anaheim Halloween Parade through the Anaheim and La Palma area, on October 31st, 1964.

Vivien Leigh, John Gielgud, Simone Signoret and George Cukor took a grand tour of Walt Disney’s magic kidngom with reservations at the Disneyland Hotel, some time during the duration of the 1964 season of the New York World's Fair. Other guests of note included the Crown Prince Harald of Norway (January 15th), 30 United Nations Ambassadors (in February), Princess Chumbolt and Dhani of Thailand (in February), Prince William of Gloucester, England (in February), Lord Mayor Hansen of Copenhagen (in March), Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York (in May), Princess Abitya of Thailand (in June), Sulton Njimoulah of Cameroon (in June), and Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson of Iceland (in August). In addition to these,“other guests included ambassadors, legislators and cabinet officials from Ceylon, Denmark, Chile, Nepal, Mexico, the Arab states, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Naples, Argentina, England, Tunisia, Chad, Japan, Venezuela and Korea,”according to “The Disneyland Diary”!

1965 :In 1964, “Walt Disney Productions Annual Report to shareholders and employees” (published for the fiscal year ending October 3rd, 1964), predicted“the 50,000,000th guest at Disneyland during 1965.”True to those words, August 12th, 1965, the 50 millionth guest arrived at Disneyland Park. By the end of the fiscal year of 1965, the Walt Disney Productions shareholders report of 1965 divulged how“for the first time…”attendance soared to“a record 6,635,238… an increase of more than 400,000 visitors over the Park’s previous year, 1964, and a staggering 67.3% higher than attendance in the first fiscal year a decade ago.”[*The “Tencennial Newsletter” of 1965 reported an attendance of 6,356,238 for the fiscal year of 1965.] The actual attendance of the final five weeks of the year (ending January 1, 1966) was 428,507 (despite a heavy rainfall in December of 1965). The 1965 shareholder report commented how this was an increase of“11.2% over the corresponding 1964 period.” In the end, more than 38,000.000 people had been entertained on the 65-acre outdoor stage.

Much of this attendance was owing to the Tencennial celebration of Disneyland, two new attractions (Great Moment’s with Mr. Lincoln in the new Opera House on Main Street and the Plaza Inn), and special events, like the sold-out New Year’s Eve (which brought 20,000 guests into the Park through advance and box office sales). The Valentine’s Dance, Catholic Schools Day, “Spring Fling,” and special youth days“attracted record attendance,”while“more than 50,000 celebrants from 138 schools attended four all-night Grad Parties,”according to “The Disneyland Diary”. Private Parties included the return of the Director’s Guild of America (September 18, 1965), and a Gas Company Party (date unknown). One private party included a General Dynamics-Convair party of 7,000 residents of San Diego.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (42)

Special performances by“Les Brown, Si Zentner, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Stan Kenton, Wayne King, Harry James, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Tex Beneke, Hootenanies and Humdingers filled the summer with music,”according to “The Disneyland Diary.” Others who made one-week appearances were Harry James, Spike Jones, and Perez Prado.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (43)

Guests of note included Lord Louis Mountbatten of England (in March), President Maurice Yameogo of Upper Volta (in April), New Zealand Defense Minister Dean Eyre (in April), Governor Mark Hatfield of Oregon (in June), Princess Chandra and Suddhavong of Thailand (in June), Prince and Princess Mikasa of Japan (in September), Governor Hayden Burns of Florida (in November), and the Premier W.A.C. Bennett of British Columbia (in December).

More promotional shootings occurred at Disneyland in 1965, including a Pepsi-Cola commercial in conjunction withMAPO Productions.

All of this contributed to a net profit (after taxes) of $35,420,768 for Disneyland Park and other entertainment activities (an increase of $2,662,542 over the previous year’s $32,758,226) and contributed to Walt Disney Productions’ overall net profit of $11,378,778.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (44)

1966:At a Walt Disney Productions Stockholders meeting (held on February 1, 1966) focused on growth, “Mr. Tatum pointed out - 50% of all visitors to Disneyland return later to see the Park’s new attractions.” Next, a need for an increased guest capacity was stressed, by “more facilities - rides, attractions, food and merchandising, to handle properly and efficiently our ever increasing guests.” Further, “About one-half of the Disneyland guests were California residents… one out of every six California residents visited Disneyland last year (1965), and one of two, or one-half of all the visitors to the State visited Disneyland.” In 1966, many special events brought guests to Disneyland, like the New Year’s Eve Party (which attracted 18,000 guests). February 14th, 1966 brought the First Valentine Dance to Disneyland.

On April 23rd, 1966, the very first “Angels Family Fun Day” was presented by the Magic Kingdom Club. The Pre-Game Extravaganza began at 10:00 a.m. with pageantry, bands, and surprises. The Disney Characters and Walt Disney appeared in-person, kicking off the Angels Vs. the Minnesota Twins game at 11 a.m. Angels Family Fun Packs allowed guests to enjoy reserve seats for eight American League Games and the magic of Disneyland.

Other special events of 1966 included Student Editor’s Day (May 7th). The Spring Fling drew 23,000 guests through the turnstiles. Youth Days also set an attendance record. Many nightly events (part ofDisneyland After Dark) scheduled for the summer would also bring guests into Disneyland! These included fireworks nightly at 9 pm, Hootenanny (on Monday nights), Humdinger (on Tuesdays), Country Music Jubilee (on Wednesday nights), Guest Band Nites (on Thursday), Swingin’est Spot In The Southland (Friday through Sunday nights). Special performances by Xavier Cugat, Nelson Riddle, and Harry James entertained guests during the opening Big Band Night. The sixth edition of Dixieland at Disneyland brought“Louie Armstrong, Bob Crosby, Turk Murphy, and ‘Doc’ Souchon’s New Orleans All-Stars”to Disneyland. Other entertainers performing that night included Nellie Lutcher, the Royale Street Bachelors, the Southern California Hot Jazz Society Marching Band, the Young Men from New Orleans, and the Firehouse Five Plus Two. Disneyland saluted Medal of Honor holders (on Friday, October 14) and Private Parties held at Disneyland during 1966 included a Special NBC Party (on an unknown date).

During one of his last interviews,WaltDisney admitted:“Well, I think that by this time my staff, my young group of executives, and everything else, are convinced that Walt is right!… That quality will out. And so I think they’re going to stay with that policy because it’s proved that it’s a good business policy. Give the people everything you can give them. Keep the place as clean as you can keep it. Keep it friendly, you know. Make it a real fun place to be. I think they’re convinced, and I think they’ll hang on after… as you say…well… after Disney.”These words were proven by the Cast Members’ response to what would soon happen. After news of Walt Disney’s death on Thursday (at 9:35 a.m.), December 15th, 1966, Walt Disney Productions issued an Inter-Office Communication to all personnel, announcing thatthe “studio would be closed at noon today.”According to “The Disneyland Diary,”“Disneyland and the world mourned Walt Disney’s passing on December 15th.”Ray Bradbury had previously promised his family a day at Disneyland, on Saturday, December 17, 1966. That very day, Walt was interned at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Ray Bradbury kept his promise according to his statement made to the syndicated press. According to “The Disneyland Diary,”“Roy O. Disney, President of Walt Disney Productions, pledged the continuation of Walt’s plans for the Park’s expansion, in keeping with the promise Walt Disney made on Disneyland’s Day One.”

Notwithstanding how countless hearts were grieving over the loss of Walt, Disneyland Park attendance for the year was 6.7 million bringing total Park attendance to 57 million in August. Guests of note (during 1966) included the House Speaker Anwar Sadat of the United Arab Republic (in February), Mayor Mahamane Haidara of Timbuktu (in March), Prince Michael and Princess Marine of Greece (in April), Admiral Toscana of Brazil (in April), Prince Surachatra of Thailand (in April), Prince and Princess Pahlavi of Iran (in May), Prince George and Princess Anne of Denmark (in May), КМРС radio Executive Vice-president and General Manager Loyd Sigmon and G W B/S 0 members (in May), ten United States Governors (in July), Prime Minister Forbes Burnham of Guyana (in July), Sir Edmund Hillary (in August), and 275 Congressional Medal of Honor Winners (in October). It appears that both Maurice Chevalier and Carol Channing met Walt at Disneyland on the same day, likely in 1966.

1967:“More than 18,000 greeted New Year’s and thousands more attended the second annual Valentine’s Dance,”according to The Disneyland Diary. Total attendance passed the 60 million mark in March when a peak “capacity” crowd gathered for “Spring Fling” during Easter Week and the Old Fashioned Easter Parade. This trend of high guest attendance numbers would continue throughout the year, and the “Summer of ‘67” broke many attendance records - daily, weekly, monthly, and annual! For instance, August 19th’s daily attendance of 87,228 was more than 6,000 above August 19th’s attendance during the previous year. The“highest daily average for any one-month period was also set in August, slightly over 52,000 for Echandi-Jimenez of the 31 days.”Then there were“383,437 in a single week…and a total for the month of 1,462,202”, according to “A Report To Disneyland Lessees, Summer ‘68”. Total summer attendance was what we call “summer magic” - 4,300,000 (600,000 more than any previous summer’s attendance). The result was that the total annual attendance from ‘67 to ‘68 was 7,937,743 (“18.4% over the previous year’s record…56.3% greater than attendance five years ago…and 108.9% above Disneyland’s first year audience in 1955”, according to “A Report To Disneyland Lessees, Summer ‘68”)!

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (45)

With Vaudeville '67 (performed every Wednesday) Disneyland took on a Hollywood air as famous guest entertainers, television stars and movie personalities starred in a celebrity review. 1967 also saw Hootenannies (every Sunday evening), Humdingers (every Monday evening), and Country Music Jubilees (every Friday evening). Regular nighttime entertainers included The Young Men from New Orleans, the Royal Tahitians, the Ward Gospel Singers, the Mustangs and Bill Elliott and the Disneyland Date Niters.

Due to illness, Louis Armstrong did not appear at Dixieland at Disneyland (held September 30th), but other entertainers did - Eddie Condon, Teddy Buckner, “Doc” Souchon’s All Stars, the Firehouse Five Plus Two, the Young Men From New Orleans, and the South Market Street Jazz Band (the latter, a Frontierland winner of Disneyland’s Youth Dixie Band Contest) to Disneyland.

There was the “Angels-Disneyland Fun Day Doubleheader” (when Angels baseball players joined capacity crowds at the Park), the Memorial Day Weekend Big Band Nights (starring Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Larry Elgart and Art Mooney), and the All-Night Grad Party (when 250 High Schools attended).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (46)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (47)

Private Parties included Hughes Employees Association Night (Friday, May 26th; 8am to 1pm), a meeting of the Western Association of Shrine Oriental Bands (WASOB) tenth annual Contest and Jamboree. Then there was United Calbank Night at Disneyland (held Saturday, September 23). The Third Annual Camp Pendleton Night at Disneyland (held Friday, September 29th, 8:00pm-1:00am; the very same night as the 7th Dixieland at Disneyland event). The Airsearch Employee’s Club (November 4th; 8pm to 1am).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (48)

A number of V.I.P.s of note visited Disneyland during 1967, including the Purdue Boilmakers (who soon competed in the 1967 Rose Bowl), President Cevdet Sunay of Turkey (in April), Emperor Haile Selasstie of Ethiopia (on April 23rd), Twiggy and manager Justin Villenueve (on April 27th), Vice President Tin Pe of Burma (in May), Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York (in July), Prince Rainier III, Princess Caroline and Prince Albert of Monaco (in August), Prince Monlay Ali and Princess Talla Zohra of Morocco (in September), President Corneliu Manescu of the United Nations (in October), and Crown Prince Vong Savang of Laos (in November). Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor visited Disneyland together during 1967. Some of the Royal Rangers youth group also visited Disneyland during 1967.

1968 :A record audience of 23,000 guests helped ring in the New Year at theNew Year’s Eve Party, and theSummer of ‘68 began with attendance records (of the previous year) being broken immediately- by 20%! Annual attendance for 1968 was 9.4 million, contributing to the total Park attendance of 77 million.

Guests of note during 1968 included Princess Margaretha of Sweden (in February), Governor Kirk of Florida (in February), Prince Abdul Wali of Afghanistan (in March), Prime Minister C.N. Anadurai of Madrsas, India (in April), Prme Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of Thailand (in May), Richard M. Nixon (President- elect) and Senator Robert Kennedy among the Park attendees on June 2nd, former Alabama Governor George Wallace (in August), Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon (in August), and Governor Robert Ray of Iowa (in November). Many returning Vietnam Servicemen and Servicewomen were also among VIPs.

Special events of 1968 included theCamp Fire Girls Day at Disneyland(on Saturday, March 23rd, 1968), which was actually an hour (from 9 to 10 a.m.) in which the Camp Fire Girls could “go on any attraction as often as they liked.” Disneyland’s largest Easter week was launched with the start of the Disneyland “Spring Fling” (occurring Saturday April 6th, 1968, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.), which brought the sounds of The Californians to theDisneyland Main Gate! This was followed by eight entertainment packed evenings and climaxed by an old-fashioned Easter Parade. Tickets were on sale through Wallichs Music Stores, Desmond's stores and the Disneyland Box Office.

Private Parties included a TRW Systems Night for employees and their families on April 20, 1968. The very firstCinco de Mayo Fiestaoccurred at Disneyland this year, on May 5th. The 2,000 Graduates of more than 300 High Schools attendedAll-Nite Grad Parties at Disneyland(some of them arriving by air). Other guests of note this year included Patti Page (during the summer) and Ed Sullivan (on September 10, 1968). “On Stage U.S.A.” brought “top stars” to Disneyland.Dixieland at Disneylandstarred Santo Pecora, Turk Murphy, Teddy Buckner, and the Dukes of Disneyland, while the7th Big Band Festivalbrought the big band sounds of Lionel Hampton, Harry James, Stan Kenton, and Wayne King to Disneyland. On July 25th, 1968, the Supremes, American Breed, and Tommy Roe performed from various stages at Disneyland. Other events of 1968 included the Valentine’s Party, the firstSt. Patrick’s Day Parade, theEaster Paradeand theAngles-Disneyland Fun day Doubleheader. Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Permanente Medical Entities First Annual Family Fun Night (December 1).

1969 :The New Year’s Eve Party was sold-out again. Some 90,000 graduates from 58 schools attendedAll-Nite Grad Partiesheld at Disneyland during June. The largest one-day attendance record was reached - 82,516, on August 16th, 1969! Private Parties (and Family Fun Nights) included the National Exchange Club of Downey Night (Saturday, January 11th), “United Auto Workers Family Fun Night” (February 15, 1969). Special events (which contributed to high attendance records) included Love Bug Day (on March 23rd) special parades and events for Valentine’s Day, Spring Fling, Easter,Viva Mexico Fiesta, both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays, Angels-Disneyland Fun Day Doubleheader, and St. Patrick’s Day. The Memorial Day Weekend Big Band Festival featured Harry James, Count Basie, Don Ellis, and Sammy Kaye, while “On Stage U.S.A.” brought other types of talent to Disneyland throughout the summer season. As a result of special events, scheduled entertainment, and new summer hours (seen below), total Park attendance passed 85 million in August, all thanks to people!

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (49)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (50)

Disneyland V.I.P. guests of note (during 1969) included Queen Muna of Jordan (in May), Governor Robert Scott of North Carolina (in August), Governor Robert McNair of South Carolina (in August), Governor William G. Milliken of Michigan (in August), Secretary of State William Rogers (in September), Russian Cosmonauts General G.T. Beregovoy and Mr. K.P. Feoktistov and their families, accompanied by American Astronaut Eugene Cernan and his wife (in October). Lance Corporal Jo Rita Jones, Corporal Sheila Furlong, and Corporal Marcia Morteusen (United States Marine Corps of local El Toro; pictured below) also visited Disneyland in October.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (51)

1970 :Total Park investment to date reached $128.5 million.

More than five million people visited Disneyland during its summer-long anniversary celebration. For the first time in the Park’s history, Disneyland welcomed ten million guests in a single year, bringing the total number of visitors who had been entertained at Disneyland to 95 million. Despite the fact that Disneyland was closed Mondays and Tuesdays (during the Fall), on Saturday, September 19th, 1970 (at 9:41 am), Disneyland welcomed its 10 millionth guest of the year - Mrs. Verda McFarlane (a Riverside, California housewife), and gave her a special welcome which included a Disneyland Silver Pass!

“1970s Big Band Festival launched the celebration summer. On hand were Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Vaughn Monroe and Buddy Rich, with Sarah Vaughn as an extra added attraction.”

By 1970, the net cost of Private Parties was $3.95 for the first 7,000 tickets and $3.45 for all tickets over 7,000 (at a maximum of 17,000 tickets). This meant that organizations could rent Disneyland for a minimum of $27,650. Private Parties for 1970 included the Valentine Party at Disneyland (February 14), the Fifth Annual Public Employees Night (April 10, 1970), the Ninth Annual Navy Night (October 24), and North American Rockwell (December 12, 1970). Special events included Mickey Mouse Fun Days (8 pm to 1 am, on Saturday, October 24th). Guests of note include Buzz Aldrin (on December 10th, 1970).

Finally, the winter holiday season (from December 19, 1970 through January 3, 1971) included Atmosphere, Daytime, Nighttime Atmosphere/Shows (like Disneyland Christmas Carolers, and Jack Reidling), Nighttime Dancing, a New Year's Eve Party, Guest Choirs, Pre-Parade Guest Bands, Fantasy on Parade, and a Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir Program.

All of this contributed to an annual attendance of more than 10,000,000 (10.3 million) guests before October of 1970, which carried the fifteen year total to more than 95 million.

1971 : Teen Night “Preview ‘71” was held January 2nd. Star Spangled Holidaysdrew crowds of guests (on February 10th, 1971). Winnie the Pooh Days (beginning March 3rd) delighted guests of all ages. The “Cinderella Festival” (March 3, 4, and 5) was “just for the ladies,” with four elaborate fashion shows, tours of Park Gardens and other events of special feminine interest. The Country Music Spectacular (held October 16th) was popular. By Thursday, June 17th, at 11:13 a.m., Disneyland welcomed its 100,000,000th guest, 22-year old Valerie Suldo (a payroll clerk from New Brunswick, New Jersey), launching the summer of the “Year of a Million Smiles.” Her signature was retained in a guest book which was permanently placed in the Disney Archives.

“Dixieland and all that jazz” was a week-long celebration held September 6-11 and starred, Bob Crosby, and the greatest Dixieland band in the land, featuring the Bobcats, Earl “Fatha”Hines, Dizzy Gillespie, the world’s greatest jazz band with Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart.

If not for these special events, Disneyland revenues may have been much lower, but they were only “slightly down as against fiscal year 1970,” according to the Walt Disney Productions Annual Shareholders Report.

Other special guests of note included Adronik M. Petrosyants (notable Armenian U.S.S.R. State Committee on Atomic Energy Chairman) and scientific delegates (in April), His Excellency Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia (on October 29th).

His Royal Highness Prince Bhanu Yugala of Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Yogal Allen, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President Fernando Lopez of the Philippines, Prime Minister of Cambodia Sirik Matak, Princess Atsuko of Japan, Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, Dr. Henry Kissinger, His Excellency Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minster of Malaysia.

1972 :Small World Days (beginning January 17th), Winnie the Pooh Days (April 15 and 16, 1972), and Viva Mexico (May 6 & 7) drew audiences into the Park. The First Annual Torrance Family Fun Party at Disneyland was sponsored by the Torrance Jaycees (4:00pm-12 midnight, Sunday, April 9th, 1972). Mickey and Goofy welcomed the Chinese Table Tennis Team as they visited Disneyland (on April 26th, 1972). Disneyland also offered the “Welcome Home” Main Gate Ticket to servicemen returning from Vietnam.

The pre-summer, summer, and post-summer periods brought new Atmosphere entertainment, Shows, Nite Time Dancing, and Special Events. Usual entertainment included Disney Characters On Parade, Kaui Pono's Polynesians at Tahitian Terrace,

Disneyland’s Big Band Festival occurred over May 27 & 28, 1972 bringing Guest Big Bands Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Barnet. The Great Bands of America Parade occurred (on May 29 Only; 2:00 PM).

It was ended with “American Music on Parade” which debuted Memorial day, Monday, May 29. 1972 at 2:00 P.M. The show lineup included outstanding bands, drum & bugle Corps. and Dixieland bands from all over California. Among this lineup was the Whittier Cavaliers Youth Band (winner of 20 first-place awards), Al Malaikah Shrine Band (under Douglas Scott; representing the largest temple in Los Angeles), Ozzie’s Marching Band (under the direction of Ozzie Wissel, Karl Finch, and Bart Hazlett; recent half-time band for the San Diego Chargers), Los Angeles Police Junior Band (American Legion Junior Band Champions for 1971 & 1972), Kingsmen Drum and Bugle Corp. (five-time winners of the California Legion Drum Corp title), Anaheim South Junior High Band (sweepstakes award winners), Berkeley High School Band (for their 6th Disneyland appearance), and the Naval Training Center Drum & Bugle Corps. and 50 State Flag Unit from San Diego.

Grad Nights were held on June 2, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16.

Angel/Disneyland Fun day was held June 18, 1972, with an Angel Parade (featuring a special salute to the California Angel Baseball Club) from Town Square to the Plaza Hub beginning at 7:30. The Angels Baseball Guests enjoyed a special Polynesians Dinner Show at Tahitian Terrace at 8:00 P.M.

Country Music Jubilee was held on September 30, 1972, from 8:30 PM - 1:30 AM. Advance Ticket Price was $5.50 and Day of Event Ticket Price was $6.50.

Senior Citizens Days was hosted on October 12 and 13, 1972. Mickey Mouse Fun Days (October 21, 22, 23) was a three day Celebration because of new Veterans Day Holiday.

Special Guests of note included Russian Minister of Health Boris Petrovsky (in August), Princess Christina of Sweden (in October), and Governor Daniel Evans of Washington (in December).

1973 :Disneyland was predicted to see a total annual attendance of 720,000 (based on the comparative 1972 attendance of 774,118). Some memorable V.I.P. visitors wereJohn Lennonalongside family & friends (on December 28th, 1973).

Many Disneyland guests made plans to attend Disneyland’s 3rd Annual Country Music Spectacular (held Saturday, September 22nd, from 8:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.) starring Donna Fargo, Faron Young, Freddy Weller, Tanya Tucker, Doug Kershaw, Don Gibson, Stoney Edwards, Buzz Martin, Brush Arbor, Marion Hall, The Larry Booth Band and Don Bowman to Disneyland. There was square dancing hosted by the Disneyland Squares, Caller MC Ron Russell, and guest callers (Dick Warble, Ernie Nation, Ron Perry, and Jess and May Sassen). The year 1973, saw theWalt Disney Productions’ 50 Happy Years of Family Entertainment celebrated at Disneyland from October 20-21.

Special Guests of note included Dr. Henry Kissinger (in September), and President of Ivory Coast Felix Houphouet Boigny (in October).

Many organizations visited Disneyland for Private Parties held in 1973, including (but not limited to) Hughes, Security Bank (on September 13th), Los Angeles Firemen (on September 14th), Los Angeles Post Office (September 16th), Southland Hospitals (on September 20th), Camp Pendleton (on September 21st), Foresters (September 23rd), Systems Development (September 28th), and U.C.B. (on September 29th). The following month was a “Federal Employees Party” sponsored by the Los Angeles Executive Board and American Federation of Government Employees (held Monday, October 8, 1973, from 10:00a.m. to 11p.m.), Catholic Schools Day (on November 1), IBM (on November 2nd), Los Angeles Boy Scouts (November 3rd & 4th), Airesearch (November 3rd), and N.V.J.C.C. (November 4th), Lockheed (November 9th), Aerojet/Xerox (November 17th).

A Private Party was held for Telco Pioneers (on December 1st), several small businesses (on December 2nd), Catholic Schools students (on December 7th), Rockwell International employees (on December 8th & 9th), the UAW Local #509 (on December 9th), Laborers Local #652 (on December 10th), and employees of Pacific Telephone (on December 14th).

Small World Days occurred on January 13 and 14, 1973, featuring a parade and a Special International Stage Show. The Valentine Party was held on February 10, 1973. The Country Music Spectacular was held in September. A Tribute to Walt Disney Productions’ 50th Birthday was held on October 19th. Special guests of note includedAl Green(who claimed to have had a life-changing experience after partying on the plane“all the way down to Disneyland”and having“a good time on stage.”[Rolling Stone magazine, February 24, 1977]

1974 :Alice in Wonderland Days (on March 23rd) and Yankee Doodle Days (beginning October 26th) drew large audiences to Disneyland. Camp Fire Girls Days had “something special” in store for Camp Fire Girls (on March 9th & 10th). TheFourth Annual Country Music Spectacularwas held in 1974. It is also believed that Latin American vocalist Virginia Lopez performed at Disneyland during 1974. There were Pan Americanos and “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too” Days.

According to the Disneyland Dictionary, “Many top names in the music industry entertained Guests from various Park stages. Big band and jazz stars included Count Basie, Les Brown, Bob Crosby, Maynard Ferguson, Neal Hefti, Woody Herman, Harry James and Stan Kenton. Pop performers included The Carpenters, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Olivia Newton- John, Quincy Jones, The Pointer Sisters and Charlie Rich.”

Ray Van De Warker was operations co-ordinator when the Sandy Duncan Show was being filmed.

Special Parties included Foresters Nite at Disneyland (Sunday, September 22nd).

Famous Guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Shams Pahlavi of Iran (in June), Prince Mouley Abdalla of Morocco (in June), Russian National Basketball Team (in September), East German Swimming Team (in September), Jack Ford, son of President Gerald Ford (in October), and Olga Korbut and fifteen other Soviet Gymnasts (on Wednesday, November 13; before their evening performance at a nearby sports arena).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (52)

1975 :There were quite a few V.I.P. guests of note, including the historical visit of their majesties Emperor Hirohito and the Empress of Japan, who visited Disneyland on Wednesday, October 8th, 1975. The Ohio State Football Team and their Coach Woody Hayes “took a break in their practice sessions” to visit Disneyland, and were greeted at the Main Entrance Gate by Grumpy (who was wearing a ‘I Like Woody’ message attached to his hat), on December 22nd, 1975.

Special Parties included the L.E.R.C. Family Fun Night in conjunction with the Missile Space Recreation Association (heldMarch 1st), the L.A.P.D. Party at Disneyland (Sunday, September 21) which included families, retired, reserve and civilian L.A.P.D. employees, the McDonnell Douglas Family Fun Party (October 20th), the 10th Annual IBM Night at Disneyland sponsored by greater Los Angeles Area IBM Clubs (held October 31st) and the 11th Annual Lockheed Family Night at Disneyland (November 7th).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (53)

Special Events included Jingle Bell Rock (held on December 19th). The Park’s second largest daily attendance (of 79,680) occurred July 4th. Back in 1966, a Walt Disney Productions Stockholders meeting (held on February 1, 1966), divulged: “Assuming Disneyland will only maintain its present ratio of California residents and out of state visitors - then we can project that Disneyland will have 10 million guests in the year 1975.”

1976 :TheCountry Music Jubilee(also billed as, the6th Annual Country Music Spectacular) was held March 20 & 21, 1976, and the Night of Joy (April 30th).

Special Parties included the family Fun Night (held Sunday, May 9th and Sunday, June 6th), the California Teachers Association/NEA Fall Family Fun Party at Disneyland (held Veteran’s Day, Thursday, November 11th), and the Tournament of Roses Day Official Party (December 29).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (54)

All these events doubtlessly contributed to Disneyland’s 150 millionth guest, May 22nd, 1976. Art Carney and Mickey Mouse starred in “Christmas in Disneyland” on December 8th, 1976.

1977 :The First AnnualFestival Japan at Disneyland (held March 27th)! Festival Japan was a “Good Show” - supporting a positive Disney image - a soon became a Disneyland tradition for a number of years.

Other special events in 1977 included the Easter Parade (April 10th, 1977, at 2:00p.m.), the First Annual Recreational Vehicle Rally (April 28th), the Anaheim YMCA Disneyland Open Handball Tournament (on May 27th), and Festival Mexico (October 16th), the Very Merry Christmas Parade which premiered during the Magical Holiday at Disneyland sponsored by All Nations Foundations (Friday, December 16th), and Candlelight Procession (held Saturday, December 17th). There was also a Recreational Vehicle event, held in 1977.

Special Parties included the 12th Semi-Annual Foresters (High Court of Southern California) Family Fun Party Night at Disneyland (Sunday, September 25th).

1978 :Pop ‘n’ Country Night (held February 18th, 1978), Festival Japan Family Fun at Disneyland (held April 8 & 9), and Mickey Mouse’s Fiftieth Birthday (held Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th).

Holidays including Mother’s Day were observed.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (55)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (56)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (57)

Special Parties included the Nite of Joy (Friday, February 3), Orange County Employees Association Family Fun Party (Friday, March 31st), the North Valley Jewish Community Center Family Fun Party for the non-profit organization (held May 13 & 30, and June 3), the Board of Directors of the Festival of Arts held the Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters Volunteer Party (Friday, September 8th), C.S.E.A. Presents the Tenth Annual Public Employees Fun Party (Sunday, November 5, from 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM), and the Dairy & Food Family Fun Night (held November 7th).

1979 (fiscal year):One of the most exciting events at Disneyland was the third annual Festival Japan held March 31st and April 1st. Festivities of this edition were bigger and better then the previous and included the Festival Japana Parade featuring Soma Nomaoi Disneyland Hakendan Japanese Samurai on horseback. The Space Stage was the setting for AWAJI NINGYO JORURI SEINENKAI (Classical Puppet Theatre), FUJIMA KANSUMA (Classical Dancers), HANAMAKI ENMANJI KAGURA (Sacred Music/Dance), HIBARI JIDO GASSHODAN (Childrens Choir), MAITA SHISHIMAI (Lion Dancers), MITSUSA BANDO (Classical Dancers), TOKUYAE CLASSICAL DANCE GROUP, TOSHIKO KUMAI GEIJUTSU BUYO KENKYUJO (Childrens Dance Group), MATSUMAYE KAI (Folk Dancers), and MITSUHIRO KAI (Clossical Dancers).

The Plaza Gardens was the stage for AZUMA SCHOOL OF DANCE (Classical Dancers), ECHIZEN MANZAI HOZONKAI (Comic Dancers), FUJIMA CHISEYE KAI (Classical Dancers), JAPAN KARATE FEDERATION-FUMIO DEMURA (Martial Arts), THE JAPANESE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA OF LOS ANGELES -JUNIOR DIVISION, JAPAN KARATE FEDERATION-KIYOSHI YAMAZAKI (Martial Arts), MICHIYA HANAYAGI (Classical Dancers), NIPPON BUDO-KAI (Martial Arts), ROKUMIE HANAYAGI KAI (Classical Dancers), and THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KOTO MUSIC CONSERVATORY.

Other attractions were the stage for ZENNIHON NAGINATA RENMEI (Girls Self Defense Sword Group)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (58)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (59)

Disneyland operating hours were rescheduled to support energy and gas conservation - “Sunday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 midnight, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.” The summer season saw 18 Disneyland musical groups, “plus a nightly big band and disco shows,” according to Disneyland LINE (June 21, 1979).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (60)

Private Parties included Camp Fire Girl’s Days (March 10 & 11; with special prizes like savings bonds, watches and ticket books), and California Legislator’s Day was held on October 6th.

The Disneyland Music Festival Program brought many bands to Disneyland including El Toro Marching Band and Drill Team (December 6th, at noon), Alta Loma High A Capella Choir & Chamber Singers (December 7th, 11 a.m.), Anaheim band and Choir Guard (December 7th, noon), Westminster High Marching Band (December 7th, 2 p.m.), and Queen Victoria Maori Girl’s Choir & Dancers (December 8th, 11 a.m.).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (61)

Even considering all these diverse events, a total audience of 10,760,000 visitors (a decline after the previous year, considering the gasoline shortage) passed through the turnstiles of Disneyland. Of the nation’s 75 million households, 36% have visited Disneyland (some 27 million). How did Disneyland compare with other major travel destinations in the American market by the mid-point of Fiscal 1979? More households visited Disneyland than Walt Disney World, Hawaii, and Europe.

But, records were still broken - of these visitors, oneTeresa Salcedo(daughter of Rosa and Elias Salcedo) became the first person to be presented with a Disneyland Birth Certificate, after her birth on July 4th, 1979. According to Disneyland LINE magazine (Vol.11, No.28),Teresa Salcedo, 6 lb., 10.5 oz. and 19.5 inches long, made her first trip to Disneyland at 5:20 pm. Mrs. Salcedo experienced labor pains while aboard the ‘Submarine Voyage,’ and tried to get toCentral First Aidafter disembarking. Because of the advanced stage of labor, it became necessary, with the help of Disneyland nurses, to deliver the infant while Mrs. Salcedo reclined on a bench behindPlaza Inn. After the birth, the mother and child were taken to Palm Harbor General Hospital in Garden Grove. The Park’s Good Will Emissaries, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, visited Teresa and her mother and presented them the infant’s Disneyland birth certificate, numbered #1.”

1980:Private Parties included Camp Fire Days (March 8 & 9), the 17th Annual Airesearch Employees Club (Saturday, November 1st), C.S.E.A. Presents the Twelfth Annual Public Employees Family Fun Party (Sunday, November 9, 10:00 a.m.10:00 p.m.), and National Association of Realtors Night (November 10, 1980).

Scheduled events included “Honor America” (on February 9 & 10), “Pop Country Weekend” (on February 16 & 17),Festival Canada(March 1&2),Night of Joy(March 14),St. Patrick’s Day Weekend(March 15 & 16),Festival Japan(March 22&23),Encore Nightswhich brought previous entertainers back to Disneyland (in May), andFestival Mexico (October 18&19).

1981 :The year 1981 saw Small World Fun Days (January 17 & 18), Contempo Night (January 23), Pop Country Weekend (February 14 & 15), Washington’s Birthday (February 16), Festival Canada (February 28 & March 1), and another Festival Japan (March 28 & 29).

GLAD Day (held Sunday, May 3rd, from 9-10 am) allowed Early Bird Free Play for hearing impaired persons, their advocates, families, and friends. A VIP Party was held Sunday, October 18, 10:00 AM-10:00 PM. The C.S.E.A. 13th annual public employees night held Sunday, November 15, 1981, 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (62)

According to Disneyland Summer 1981 Wallet Fact Cards, attendance (as of 3/81) was 201,899,079.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (63)

1982: Disneyland hosted Boy’s Club Days (held 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., March 13 & 14, 1982), Security Pacific Family Fun Private Party (March 20, 1982), Festival Japan (March 27 and 28), General Dynamics Pomona Recreation Association (Friday, April 23), Disneyland Recreation Days (April 24 & 25, 1982, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), AACN (American Bentley Laboratories, American Hamilton, American Pharmaseal, American Edwards Laboratories, American McGaw; May 19), a VIP Party (Saturday, September 11), AUSA (Association of the United States Army) Private Party (Friday, October 22, 2982), 18th Annual Foresters (Saturday, October 2, 1982), Union Bank VIP Party (October 3, 1982), LAPD Night (October 10th), Disneyland Friday Night (November 5), 19th Annual Aerospace Employees Association (Saturday, November 13, 1982, 8AM-11AM), the V.I.P. Party at Disneyland with unlimited use of attractions (held Saturday, November 20; 9 am to 7 pm; $8.00 per person), Friday Night (November), Mickey’s Month, and Festival Japan.

Disneyland Saluted the United States Military (from April 1 to June 18) and Disneyland Unlimited Fun Auto Club Passports were available through AAA in March of 1982.

V.I.P.s of note included Jose Rafael Eccheverria, ambassador to the United States from Costa Rica (April), Dr. Rafic Jouejati, ambassador to the United States from Syria (April), Former President Jimmy Carter (May), Lance Adam-Schneider, ambassador to the United States from New Zealand (May), Dr. J. H. Lubbers, ambassador to the United States from the Neatherlands (June), Spyros Kyprianou, President of Cyprus (June), Prince Pemangklu of Malaysia (June), Prince Hiro of Japan (October), and Prince and Princess Von Thurn Und Taxias of Germany (October).

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (64)

1983 : Celebrate Americasaluted the U.S. Olympic Team. Friday Night Country (held February 11, 1983). West Point Annapolis Night was held 1983. The Unlock the Magic Cast Premiere and special dedication of New Fantasyland (May 31)

Private Parties and Mix-Ins included ROHR 17th Annual Private Party (in conjunction with Lockheed and Convair) was held Saturday, February 26, 1983, Atom Club (Friday, March 18), General Dynamics Pomona Recreation Association (Friday, April 22), the American Dental Association Private Party (Monday, October 3, 5 pm to 1 am), Hospital Employees and Their Families Private Party at Disneyland (held Saturday, November 19th) and West Point Annapolis Night (Thursday, November 24, 1983).

Many Guest Groups and Marching Bands performed at Disneyland. During May 19-23, Disneyland welcomed Platte College Chorale, Grant Finale, Mesa Grande Grandaires and Handbells, Foothill High School Madrigals, Chorgruppe Kemper Mannerchore San Luis Obispo Choir and Jazz Band, Hidden Valley "Raider" Band and Flags, Nogales High School Noble Regiment, Glendora High School Tartan Band, Thompson Jr. High School Marching Band, Costa Mesa High School Marching Band, Rio Mesa High School Marching Band, Grantsville High School Cowboy Band Tustin High School Marching Band. During July, the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington performed.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (65)

With all these Private Parties and events, it may be hard to recall that there was an unfortunate strike of the Hospital & Service Employees Union, Local 399, in which some Disneyland Cast Members were involved. For a period, show quality and attraction operation was occasionally affected.

1984 : The year saw another edition of Festival Japan, Disneyland Security’s First Annual Retirement Party(held April 14th, 1984), Happy Birthday Donald Duck, and Mickey’s Happy Birthday Party (held during late October and November).

A Disneyland event was held to introduce and acquaint the people representing Disneyland Group Services, the Disney Channel, the Magic Kingdom Club, 16mm films, the Executive Club, Walt Disney Specialty Products, and the Walt Disney Travel Company.

Private Parties included the CSEA Party at Disneyland (Sunday October 7, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM)

1985 :By the publishing of Disneyland LINE magazine (June 27, 1985), Disneyland was projecting and expecting its 250 millionth guest. In conjunction with sponsor Coca-Cola, a contest was held to guess the exact time that lucky guest would walk through the turnstiles. The contest was open to all Disneyland employees, who could visit theCenterat Disneyland between July 1st and July 17th and fill out a form with spaces for the month, date, hour, minute, and second (including a.m. or p.m.). After completing the form, it was “time-punched” and submitted. A total of 30 prizes were given away in honor of Disneyland’s 30th year of operation. The Grand Prize was a vacation for two to Mexico aboard Holland American Lines, while secondary prizes included a trip to Walt Disney World, roundtrip airfare to Hawaii, roundtrip airfare on Continental Airlines to anywhere in the domestic U.S. or Mexico, and much more.

Disneyland hosted the 1985 C.C.P.O.A. Convention.

The seventh annualFestival Japan(held October 12 & 13, 1985, from 9am to 9pm) brought“500 traditionally attired dancers, cultural exhibits, crafts people, and entertainers from Japan performing on theSmall World Stage.”

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (66)

Disney Summer Magic ‘85 - A special event celebrating 30 years of UniSys and Disneyland occurred during 1985. You may also recall theHollywood Bowl Salutes Disneyland’s 30th Anniversaryduring the summer of ‘85 (a way to celebrate the magic, from Hollywood, California). Finally,Skyfest(held Thursday, December 5th) honored “Walt Disney’s and Disneyland’s 30th year” with a “million balloon salute” presented by the City of Anaheim.

The Disney Family Christmas Party was held on Monday, December 9, from 7 PM to midnight.

1986 :While Disneyland was“another year older,”(31 years old, on July 17th, 1986) there was much to celebrate!

There was the debut of a new 3-D show - CAPTAIN EO - an incredible new musical motion picture space adventure!

During 1986, several big events were held at Disneyland, including Recreation Days, which was held in the spring; for Cast Members (ask your Program Leader what this was like). Disneyland hosted theKorean Festival. “Disneyland’s Summer Vacation Party” (airing on television, May 23rd, 1986) brought many performers to“the happiest place in earth,”including one of the most amazing line-ups I’ve ever seen at Disneyland - Adam Ant, the Bangles, Chubby Checker and the Wild Cats, Culture Club, Electric Light Orchestra, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Fifth Dimension, Brenda Lee, Jay Leno, Kenny Loggins, Miami Sound Machine, Oingo Boingo, Pointer Sisters, Righteous Brothers, Paul Rodriguez, Jerry Seinfeld, She Na Na, Garry Shandling, and popular young sitcom stars - Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields (from “The Facts of Life”), Scott Valentine (of “Family Ties”) and Malcolm Jamal Warner (of “The Cosby Show”) hosted the whole show. (At this point you may be thinking exactly what I am thinking - Yes, it is odd that “Disneyland” the noun was used in the possessive form for the title of a television special, considering sanctioned “Style Guides”.)

The Mouseketeers were “On Tour” during 1986.

The General Motors - Hughes Aircraft Family Celebration was held during a period of nine nights (January 14th through January 22nd, 7p.m. to 1a.m.). It was the world’s largest party, with 179,920 GM and Hughes employees and their families present, with previews of 1986 GM cars and trucks. The 20th Annual ROHR Party was held (Saturday, February 8th, 4p.m. to 12 Midnight), Mormon Night at Disneyland was held (Friday, March 7th, 7p.m. to 12 midnight), Y.W.C.A. Days were held (Saturday, April 4th, 9a.m. To 12 mid Nite and Sunday, April 5th, 9a.m. To 9p.m.). ThePontiac/Disneyland Private Partywas held (April of 1986), and the Association of Legal Administrators held a convention at Disneyland (April 23-27, 1986). Recreation Days were held at Disneyland during the Spring of 1986. Builders Emporium Employee Appreciation Night (held September 26, 1986), and the C.S.E.A. CELEBRATION (Saturday, November 22, 1986).

Disneyland supported “Hands Across America” (held May 25th, 1986).

The Disneyland Enchanted Evening(held May 22, 1986), brought strolling entertainment, dancing at the French Market, and a Mardi Gras Parade to the Park. Both the Great American Race (sponsored by Interstate Batteries) and the Main Street Electrical Parade (sponsored by Energizer) were held in 1986. The Spring season brought the “Totally Minnie” Parade to Disneyland daily at 1:30 and 5:00 p.m.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (67)

The Latin Festival was held September 27th & 28th, featuring entertainers from Mexico and Latin America.

Other entertainers included Big Bands like the Count Basie Orchestra, Buddy Rich & His Band, Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin, Ray Anthony & His Orchestra, the Harry James Orchestra with Joe Graves, Artie Shaw Orchestra with Dick Johnson, Ray McKinley Orchestra with Connie Haines, Myron Floren & His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Buddy Morrow, Les Brown & His Band of Renown, Bob Crosby & His Orchestra featuring The Bobcats with special guest Kay Starr, Lionel Hampton & His Big Band, The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra conducted by Ada Cavallo and featuring Gigi, Tex Beneke & His Orchestra, and Buddy Rich & His Band.

Special guests in May-June included Falcon Marching Band, Pioneer High School Titan Troop, San Benito High School Marching Band, Gunn High School Marching Band, Davis High School Jazz Choir, Canyon del Oro Singers, Glendale Symphony Youth Orchestra, U.C.l. Wind Ensemble, Upland High School Jazz Band, Atascadero High School Jazz Ensemble, Prospect Panther High School Marching Band, Atascadero High School Marching Band, Westmont High School Marching Band, South Jr. High School Choir, Los Alamitos High School Jazz Band, Cal State San Bernardino Winds, San Marino High School Orchestra, Pleasant Grove Dancers, Highland High School Jazz Choir, Miller High School Choir, Sweetwater High School Jazz Dancers, La Canada High School Orchestra, Melody Lane Singers, South Pasadena High School Choir, Auburn University Singers, Jefferson Jr. High School Band, Metropolitan Boys Choir, Grace High School Pep Band, Bridgeport High School Band, Portola Jr. High School Marching Band, Salina High School Marching Band, South High School Spartan Band, Minico High School Spartan Band, Miller High School Marching Band.

“It Looks Like We Started Something” - By September of 1986, historic negotiations were underway between Disneyland (a Division of The Walt Disney Company) and union negotiating committees of unions like Teamsters Automotive, Industrial and Aliled Workers Local No. 495 (affiliated with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousem*n and Helpers of America). Master Services Agreement Proposals included more medical plan choices (other than the Employer's Group Insurance Major Medical Plan), a maintained Disneyland and Associated Companies Dental Plan without cost to full time employees, changes to terms regarding vacation eligibility and requests, leaves of absence, and much more.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (68)

1987 :Disneyland presented its first Creativity Challenge Awards (on May 14) to honor top junior and high school students who excelled in the areas of creative and fine arts. Hosted by Bobby Burgess, the event honored 34 outstanding students from the Anaheim Union School District at a special awards ceremony.

Some of the biggest events of the year included the opening of Star Tours and the Disneyland State Fair, billed as “Fifty great State Fairs all rolled into one.”

Disneyland hosted the start of the fifth annual Great American Race (on June 30), a transcontinental road rally for vintage cars and trucks. More than 100 vehicles left the starting gate in Town Square to embark upon a 3,600-mile journey to Walt Disney World, with the prospect of winning some of $270.000 in cash prizes.

One chain of Southern California and Yuma stores offered five opportunities to win a Disneyland Adventure and Passports. Entry was made between April 20-26, 1987, with a drawing occurring on April 27, 1987.

Special Parties (and “Mix-ins” with other VIPs) included CSEA DAYS (October 4, 11, 18, & 25, from Noon-Midnight), Happy Hearts Days (November 29 through December 4th), and the “AIDS Project Los Angeles Holiday Party at Disneyland” (December 11, 1987).

TheDisneyland Hotelhosted a Creation Comic Convention (from February 21-22, 1987).

The Disney Galleryheld its inaugural exhibition (“The Art of Disneyland”) from 1987-1988. Perhaps the biggest V.I.P. guest to visit Disneyland was Benji, from June 26th through July 12th, 1987. December 3, 1987, Imagineers of the Caribbean was held for the 35th anniversary at Disneyland.

1988: Certainly the biggest event was “Mickey - Sixty Years,” which was celebrated this year! One of the first Special Events was Circus Fantasy (every day from January 16 to March 6). KCET television had a special event in coordination with Disneyland called KCET Goes to Disneyland (held on Sunday, February 21). The event was contemporaneous with Circus Fantasy ‘88 and featured a performance by Ray Anthony & His Orchestra. The first edition of Blast to the Past was held in the Spring.

Another important event was the U.S. Olympic Team Salute at Disneyland.

Private Parties included the 23rd Annual Lockheed Private Party (September 30), and the Federal Employees Night sponsored by A.F.G.E. and affiliated locals & AFL-CIO (Monday, October 10, 1988; from 9 am to 10 pm). There was also a B.P.M.E. event spanning Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Buena Vista Television.

The Christmas Season at Disneyland took place November 24, 1988, through January 2, 1989. During the winter season, Roger Rabbit's Christmas Village in Big Thunder Ranch celebrated Roger Rabbit's first Christmas at Disneyland. The Big Thunder Ranch area was changed into a Christmas Village with a Santa Claus photo location. Santa Claus was featured daily through Christmas Eve; Santa Goofy continued through January 2.

For The Very Merry Christmas Parade, Roger Rabbit joined the parade on the Christmas Factory float on December 24, 25-30. For the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Town Square, the magical tree lighting featured Merlin and the Make Believe Brass, while Roger Rabbit lent a hand this year as well. Roger Rabbit and the Christmas Factory at Big Thunder Ranch was a brand-new show featuring Roger Rabbit as he helped Murray the Elf and Santa Claus prepare Christmas gifts for all the good little boys and girls. Christmas Follies at Carnation Plaza Gardens was a Disneyland favorite Christmas show of musical fun and entertainment which got some help from none other than Roger Rabbit.

Dickens Carolers and Fanfare Trumpeters were Christmas season entertainers performing throughout the Park.

There were also Chinese Acrobats at Videopolis Stage - a visiting acrobatic troupe performing from December 25-31, 1988.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (69)

1989 : Beginning in 1989, the Walt Disney Travel Company offered the “Early Bird Exclu-sive” program letting visitors enjoy one of Disneyland’s themed areas one full hour before the Park’s regular operating time. The Early Bird admission for one day was included on all two, three, four and five night 1989 Disneyland vacation packages.

The Challenger Spirit Salute(held c. February) was a historical salute to “the triumph of the human spirit as the spirit of space exploration continues.” Before the crews of the Atlantis and Discovery (and along with the families of the Challenger Shuttle Crew) near the steps of Main Street Station, many entertainers made special performances in this stirring tribute including Pla Zadora, Billy Vera & The Beaters, Jan & Dean, The Tokens, with two special appearances by the Mickey’s American Spirit Celebration Parade!

“The 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards” Top Male Vocalist Nominee Dwight Yoakam visited Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, which was aired during the two-hour awards special airing Monday, April 10th, 1989.

The second (and final) edition of Blast to the Past was held at Disneyland, marked by the Blast to the Past Private Party (a special event within Park Operating Hours reserved for a specific group or groups) featuring Paul Revere and the Raiders was held for Disneyland Alumni Members (Thursday, April 13th, from 8pm to 12 midnight)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (70)

TheCowboy Boot n’ Ears Revuewas held (July 10th, 1989),California State Employees Association Days (September 30, October 1, 8 & 15, October 9, 9 AM to 10 PM), GPS Industries Day at Disneyland(October 1st, 1989), and AAA Presents Minnie Vacation at Disneyland (October 1 - November 30, 2989).

Disneyland Internationalalso celebrated its 10th year in 1989.

1990 :By the 35th Anniversary celebration of 1990, the total attendance of Disneyland reached over 300 million guests (a figure then comparable to“the current population of the United States”). Press releases divulged that“during the height of the summer season, Disneyland’s staff totals more than 9,000 men and women. Winter season employees number 6,000.”

Disney held its Coast-To-Coast Celebration.

Private Parties included the California State Employees Association (October 27 and November 10, 11, & 12), and the Cowboy Boot n’ Ears Revue.

The Disneyland Distinguished Service Awards were held September 26 and 27, 1990.

California State Employees Association Day was held October 27 and November 10, 11, & 12, 1990.

The AAA Minnie Vacation Three Day Passport was made available.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (71)

1991 :Audiences were invited to “come out and play” at theDisney Afternoon Live(March 15th - November 10th), Disneyland Salutes the California Angels (Monday, April 15th), and Disneyland hosted the Disneyland Pigskin Classic II - Florida State vs. BYU (August 29, 1991).

Private Parties and Family Fun Nights were hosted - A.C.S.I. Party (Friday, May 3), theDirector’s Guild of Americahad a Day at Disneyland (September 14th and 15th), California State Employees Association Days at Disneyland was held October 13 & 14 and November 9, 10, and 11.

The Disneyland Operation Desert Storm Complimentary One Day Tickets to Disneyland and Walt Disney World were made available to servicemen. The Disneyland KCAL Kids Crew Passport was made available.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (72)

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (73)

1992 : The happiest event of the year was certainly Elizabeth Taylor’s 60th Birthday which was held Thursday, February 27, 1992 at 8:00 pm. The event was so important that Steven B. Davison and Graham drew up a special Disneyland Party Plot Plan for the festivities on February 4, 1992. During this night of fantasy guests stepped through Sleeping Beauty Castle and joined Disneyland for an enchanting evening of entertainment, fine food, spirits, and magical adventures. Disneyland celebrated Elizabeth's 60th birthday with character buffets at Mickey's All-American Barbecue, King Louie's Feast, Ariel's Gourmet Grotto, and Pinocchio's Pasta Villa. There were Magical Fantasyland Attractions, Enchanting Shops & Boutiques, and a Storybook Finale at Sleeping Beauty Castle Forecourt - birthday cake, a champagne toast, magical surprises and a fireworks spectacular.

The Mouse Clubcelebrated their 10th anniversary with a convention held at theDisneyland Hotel(from September 9th - 13th). Festival Japan was hosted yet again at Disneyland (owing in part to the leadership of Disneyland Entertainment Vice President Dennis M. Despie), with Cast Members recognized in a formal ceremony held March 28, 1982.

1993 : Teddy Bear and Doll Classicevent was held.

Disneyland Cast Members were invited to the Mighty Ducks First Flight Classic (September 15)

1994 : Lion King Celebrationand a POG competition (occurring during the spring) brought audiences to Disneyland! Radio station KLOS celebrated their 25th anniversary at Disneyland in May 12th. CHOC/Disneyland Community Walk (held Sunday, October 16th).

1995 : 40 Years of Adventure, Backstage Magic - 40th Anniversary Open House(held April 3rd - 6th). The Los Angeles County of Public Works held their 10th Anniversary Party at Disneyland on February 10, 1995. Military Days at Disneyland for Military/Department of Defense personnel and their dependents was celebrated during the summer (July and August) of 1995.

1996 : The Mighty Ducks FanFair(held Friday, March 1, 1996 from 7pm to midnight) brought the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to Disneyland. Guests could meet their favorite players at Photos Locations, attend a live Mighty Ducks Memorabilia Auction, receive Mystery Boxes, and get autographs.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (74)

1998 : While the Main Street Electrical Parade Farewell Seasonoccurred this year, Disneyland guests experienced the Hercules Victory Party and the appearance of Buzz Lightyear.

A second expansion of Tomorrowland was to be unveiled from May 20-22, 1998! At the Press Event, Astro Guides would introduce the media to the adventures of Tomorrowland - the Rocket Rods, a 3-D version of “Honey, I Shrunk The Audience,” The American Space Experience Celebrating 40 Years of NASA, the watermaze of Cosmic Waves, Innoventions and the Astro Orbitor, Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, “The Bush & Hedges” AGRIFUTURE Tour, in addition to Space Mountain (with its new onboard surround-sound system) and Star Tours.

Many events brought guests to Disneyland including Fairy Tale Weddings and American Space Experience - celebrating 40 years of NASA. L’Ornament Magique had its Grand Opening on October 10, 1998, featuring Christopher Radko Designs.

Cast Community Fund ‘98 worked toward “improving children’s lives today through a better community tomorrow.”

1999 :The Mulan Parade and Disneyland presents Animazement - The Musical (on the Fantasyland Stage) were among the special shows performed during the spring.

The Haunted Mansion 30th Anniversary Celebration was held on Saturday, June 26, 1999. A related “The Art of The Haunted Mansion” panel at the Main Street Opera House included Buddy Baker, Collin Campbell, Rolly Crump, Marc Davis, X Atencio, and Sam McKim. The following Sunday, June 27, 1999, featured painter Eric Robison and sculptor Terry Hardin.

Mr. Toad’s Enchanted Evening (Thursday, October 28th, from 8:00p.m. to 12a.m.) allowed guests to preview special merchandise at Carnation Gardens, attend a Walt Disney Classics Retirement Ceremony, and see Fantasyland transformed into Halloween Eve (circa 1790’s), with a special auction of J. Thaddeus Toad memorabilia and special guests Theresa Miller and John Hench.

At some time c.February 15, 1990s, the National Ballet of Cuba took a performance break and visited Disneyland.

For Cast Members, “Cast Blast 99” (held October 25) was a Cast-Only event that included Breakfast in Wonderland in Small World Mall, a Cast Member sale at Company D, Cast Expo at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom, Costuming Open House and the Dedication of the New Costuming Facility, a Cast Block Party in Tomorrowland, and prize drawings.

2000: The Pirates of the Caribbean Celebration was held on Saturday, May 20, 2000. The Haunted Mansion Exclusive Dinner” (with special guest Rolly Crump) was held on October 25, 2000. “Villains Enchanted Evening” was held on Thursday, October 26, 2000.

2001: The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Evening Sneak Preview of “Haunted Mansion Holiday” was held on Wednesday, October 3, 2001.

2002: The Haunted Mansion Holiday “Spirit of the Holidays” event was held on October 3, 2002.

2005: Disneyland’s 50th (along with its 85 acres and 60 adventures) was celebrated from 2005 to 2006. The Pirates of the Caribbean On-Line Charity Auction was held July 6 - 13, 2006.

Disneyland was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 10:30 AM, on July 14, 2005. The ceremony was officiated by Hollywood Mayor Johnny Grant and 50 Disney Characters, in front of the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store located next to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The events were covered live on CAST TV.

On July 15, 2005, Space Mountain returned with a new generation of special effects, state-of-the-art show elements, new rocket vehicles, and an upgraded sound system, featuring an all-new audio track. The opening ceremony took place at 10AM and the attraction was open to guests at 11 AM.

An Anne Geddes Flagship Store opened in Downtown Disney on October 26, 2005.

2008: This year kicked off with the “Year of a Million Dreams” at Disneyland.

Disneyland Timeline Through the Years — Disney History 101 (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 5715

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.