A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition – Enjoying a Day at Disneyland

By Daisy Sparks

On July 17th, 2015, I went to Disneyland to join the birthday party for the Diamond Celebration. I went with several of my close Disney friends. Disney Parks Blog had encouraged everyone to show off their #DisneySide by showing up in their 1955 themed outfits. It was fun to see what everyone was wearing. A lot of people got into wearing their Disneyland 1955-themed outfits. Let’s enjoy a day at Disneyland in this week’s Walk in the Park article…

 
 
 
 
 
 
When we entered Disneyland we each received a commemorative newspaper (Orange County Register), a birthday button, and special issue Disneyland Park Map. You can actually purchase the special newspaper issue online here. 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
The map itself was really cool because when you opened it up, you can see how Disneyland was laid out on Opening Day, 1955. It was fun to read about the names of the restaurants, too.
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
Throughout the day, there were birthday cupcake stations scattered around the Park. They were vanilla cupcakes with cream frosting topped with the Diamond Celebration “D”. 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
There were also special photo locations just for the birthday. They were comprised of retired attractions that are part of Disneyland history. It was fun to pose in our 1955 themed outfits with these vintage enlarged photos. 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
There was a special rededication ceremony in the morning that included a song from Disney Legend, Richard Sherman and sung by Ashley Brown (Broadway’s Mary Poppins). There were many VIP guests in attendance including Dick Van Dyke and Ron Miller (Walt Disney’s son-in-law who was married to Diane Disney Miller). 
 
 
 
 
 
Finally, as a special afternoon parade that included former Imagineers and Disneyland Cast Members who were there on Opening Day. It was fun to also see a variety of current Cast Members participate and march in this celebratory parade.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other than birthday cupcakes, special photo locations, commemorative maps and buttons, there was an extra showing of Paint the Night parade. All the evening entertainment that premiered back in May (Paint the Night, World of Color, Forever Disneyland fireworks) remain extremely popular and there are always crowds saving prime viewing spots hours before start time. They are all worth your time and are packed with pixie dust to make any Disneyland fan grateful for a day spent at “the Happiest Place on Earth.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

See you at Disneyland!

– Daisy
 
 
 
******
 
 
 
 
 
Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her “college job” led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 
Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy’s Duck’s help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland’s Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it “the happiest place on earth.”
You can read more about Daisy’s Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

You can find all of Daisy’s articles here.




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The Day Walt’s Dream Became A Reality: Celebrating 60 Years of Disneyland

By Keith Mahne

60 years ago today, Walt Disney’s dream that started “from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too” became a reality. Disneyland is a place like no other. Walt once said, “Disneyland would be a world of past and present, seen through the eyes of my imagination – a place of warmth and nostalgia, of illusion and color and delight.” As we all know, anything created from Walt’s “imagination” is, without a doubt, going to be very special. And so, as we celebrate 60 years of magic, join me as we take a look at the creation and opening of Disneyland and the man who made it all possible…

In 1954, construction starts in Anaheim, which often continues 24 hours a day to get the park ready in time. Hollywood studios and amusement park owners couldn’t understand Walt’s concept of a “theme park,” and figured it would fail within months of opening. Burbank was the desired location, but the city rejected the project fearing the “carnie” type atmosphere and increased crime that was associated with amusement parks of the day.

Disneyland, in fact, was based much less on the traditional amusement park and much more on the world’s fair, Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens, Greenfield Village and the “garden city” concept, which also became the model for most of America’s suburbs developed during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (most of Disneyland’s patrons came from those suburbs, and it’s a small wonder they found it so appealing). ABC, the smallest of the three networks, begins airing the Disneyland television show, which eventually becomes the Wonderful World of Disney. The show is the first time a major Hollywood movie studio has partnered with television, and puts ABC at the top of the rankings. The hour-long show’s programming is divided into four guiding themes,  Fantasyland (Disney animated shorts),  Frontierland (the amazingly successful Davy Crocket),  Adventureland (True-Life Adventures series – the first such films to capture animals in the wild) and  Tomorrowland (original programming such as Man In Space).

(Please pause the Disney Avenue Music Player above prior to watching the videos below if you are on a desktop computer.)

Not only was the show a great way to remind audiences of Disney favorites of the past, but it also was the first time future movies were promoted using television, a practice that is now commonplace. In addition, Walt used the show to show the public plans for his theme park concept and becomes the first publicly recognizable studio head in Hollywood history.

It took a lot of work to create the happiest place on earth. See for yourself…

Join legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter on the creation of Disneyland in this wonderful video below…

Walt wanted his Park to be perfect. He wouldn’t stand for anything less and was involved in every little detail, a true testament to what Disneyland meant to him personally. This amazing video below gives you a good idea of what I mean…

Disneyland finally opens to the world on Sunday, July 17, 1955 with 18 attractions, at a cost of $17.5 million. A special ‘International Press Preview’ event was held, which was only open to invited guests. Six thousand invitations to the Grand Opening had been mailed to studio workers, construction workers, the press and officials of company sponsors.

 

 

The five original lands are Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street, USA. Opening day ceremonies are overseen by Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and Robert Cummings. All three will return for Disneyland’s 35th in 1990, and Art Linkletter will be present for Disneyland’s 50th in 2005. Park crowds swell to 30,000 as more than double the invited number of guests enter as people climb fences and walls around the park to get in. Most attractions break down within the first few hours and many women lose the heels of their shoes as the asphalt paving on Main Street, USA had just been poured hours earlier and was still soft. Disneyland is deemed a disaster in Anaheim, although the televised grand opening attracted the largest TV audience in history to that date – over 90 million viewers, which in 1955, was almost everyone that had the ability to view a television.

There is a great story by Wally Boag, who played the Pecos Bill/Traveling Salesman character in the Golden Horseshoe Revue, about the live, opening day broadcast…

As one of Disneyland’s Opening Day attractions, the show was to be part of the Dateline: Disneyland television program, the live broadcast seen by ninety million viewers—but in one of the many glitches that plagued the televised proceedings, Wally Boag wrote in his 2009 memoir, “our Horseshoe show didn’t get on. They were supposed to switch to the Horseshoe just as the dancers were beginning the can-can number, and they were going to shoot the reflection in the mirror that hung behind the bar.  But they were late in switching to the Horseshoe, so they only got a few seconds of the show’s closing and us taking bows.  But that was all right, because the next day, we opened up to the public and began what would eventually become the longest-running live stage show in the history of show business.”

Have a look at these absolutely breathtaking, color photos of Disneyland on opening day…

 
 
 
 
Imagine for a second the amount of stress and pressure a normal person would have if they were to create something as extravagant as Disneyland. Walt put up everything he owned to make it happen! His home, his life insurance policy, anything he owned to draw up enough funds to have Disneyland be created properly. On top of that, nearly everyone thought it would fail. What if it did? What would have happened to Walt and his dreams? What about the studio or even his family? We will never have to answer those questions because we know what happened. History was made. A dream came true. Magic became a real thing. Although I can’t help but to assume all of this was in the back of Walt’s mind, I honestly don’t believe he ever felt it would fail. And that my friends is exactly why it didn’t! He had so much faith in what he was doing that it couldn’t fail. That is what was so special about Walt.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Take for instance when Walt welcomed the very first children to enter Disneyland. Does this look like a worried man…
 
 
 
 



…not at all. Walt’s gift was knowing what people wanted and how to give it to them. Wouldn’t you have loved to be one of these lucky kids?!

One of my favorite Walt stories about him around the opening of Disneyland took place during a special pre-opening presentation of the Golden Horseshoe Revue’s first official performance. The show was staged in honor of Walt and Lillian Disney’s 30th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, July 13, 1955, four days before Disneyland would open it’s doors to the world. An invitation went out to 300 people for this “Tempus Fugit Celebration.” Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller explains…

“It began,” recalled Diane, “on the Mark Twain Riverboat with mint juleps and then moved over to the Golden Horseshoe Saloon for dinner and the ‘revue.’ Suddenly Dad appeared in one of the balcony boxes on the side of the stage.  At this point in the show, Wally Boag, as Pecos Bill, was firing blanks—Dad returned fire with his thumb and forefinger, then began to climb down to the stage.  I think that everyone got a bit worried—I know I did.  When he got to the stage he stood there beaming at everyone.  He was so happy.”

When Lillian Disney reluctantly joined her husband on the Golden Horseshoe stage, Walt started dancing with his bride of 30 years. Lillian didn’t know it, but Walt had taken some dancing lessons, because he knew how happy it would make her and soon everyone was dancing. Look at the photo above from that night. Walt’s Park was about to open to the entire world and, as Diane Disney mentioned, he truly was beaming.

As we celebrate 60 years of Disneyland, we celebrate not just a park, but a man with a passion. A man who was never afraid to dream. A man who loved people, knew how to make them happy, and did so no matter the cost. Disneyland is so special to so many people because it was special to Walt. He didn’t create it to make money, he created it to make people happy. He didn’t create it just to please children, nor did he do so for adults. He did so for EVERYONE! He kept the admission prices low so that every class of people could experience the magic together. And, most importantly, he did it out of love, out of a dream, out of his heart. That is why we are here celebrating 60 years, because of you Walt. We thank you for bringing so much joy to this weary world, for creating a place we can all escape to and leave our worries behind, a place…where a daddy… with two daughters… wondering where he could take them… where he could have a little fun with them, too. Thank you Walt and we sure do miss you! Here’s to 60 more magical years of your dream coming true…

 
******
 
 
 
 
 
 
Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

 
 
 



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A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition – Disneyland 60th Celebration is Here!

By Daisy Sparks

After a much anticipated and very well attended 24-hour party, the Disneyland Diamond Celebration is here. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are now fully decked out in the blue, white, silver, and diamonds. Sleeping Beauty Castle and The Carthay Circle are now adorned with their diamond medallions. Let’s take a look at all the beautiful 60th decorations in this week’s Walk in the Park article…

This Diamond Celebration is a big deal. Here are some highlights. Let’s start with the Disneyland Diamond Days. This is their daily big sweepstakes. 

You need the daily word to enter. These signs are posted as you enter through the security. 

You can enter to win this diamond shoe that is on display at the Disneyana store.

DIAMOND DECOR EVERYWHERE

As you walk down Main Street USA, you get the feeling that there is a big party underway. The buildings have the festive bunting and the light posts have the diamond D badges. If you go inside the store, they have all kinds of celebration décor, too.

Here is a fun throwback. You may have seen vintage Disneyland photos at this location with flowers. Such a treat to see these floral carts back on Main Street. 

DIAMOND MERCHANDISE

You will be overwhelmed at the amount of Disneyland Diamond Celebration merchandise. There is something for every age, every kind of taste, and all kinds of price range. Visit THIS PAGE to get a good idea of the merchandise offerings and collections. Here are some photos to give you a very small sampling. 

DIAMOND PHOTO LOCATIONS

According to a recent Disneyland press release, there are special photo locations to commemorate the Celebration.

“Imagine posing for a photo as if you were scaling up the Matterhorn, standing in the mouth of Grizzly Peak, or holding on to your hats and glasses on the wildest ride in the wilderness. Now imagine that this photo looks like a vintage Disneyland postcard…with a magical twist. Each Diamond Celebration Photo Spot features a new take on forced perspective, and when you capture the moment with Disney PhotoPass service you will soon be able to download amazing bonus content – including animated elements that appear alongside you, adding to your story.”

“Four Diamond Celebration Photo Spots are in place for you to discover within both parks, inspired by the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, California Screaming’ and Grizzly Peak. Two more will arrive in time for Disneyland’s anniversary date. Capture dazzling moments in the Happiest Place on Earth that will be treasured for years to come. ” My husband and daughter were good sports to join me at the Matterhorn photo op.

Speaking of the Matterhorn, the new show elements are a great addition to this classic Disneyland attraction. Harold, the resident Abominable Snowman, has returned with a new look and fierce roar. He’s pretty awesome!



DIAMOND FOOD OFFERINGS

There are all kinds of sweet and slushy food offerings. Cupcakes, cookies, and candies are all options with special diamond decorations on them. 

Beverage offerings can be found in concoctions like the Pomegranate Silver Sparkler or a Monstro Blue Lemonade. There are even specialty cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks at certain locations where they have glowing collectible “diamonds” in your drinks.  The most popular of all special food offerings seems to be these much talked about popcorn buckets. They are very popular and much in demand.

DIAMOND ENTERTAINMENT

Finally, I think what is really bringing people to Disneyland are the 3 new nighttime shows that debuted on May 22nd. I am not going to give it away with photos. It’s also hard to capture nighttime magic. You’ll have to come to Disneyland to experience these new shows. 

Over at Disney California Adventure, “The World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” is a tribute to Walt Disney and his dreams. It’s a fabulous night show complete with music, lights, and more projected onto huge water screens. This new show celebrates Walt’s beginnings with Mickey Mouse and the Disneyland story. It’s a must-see if you are a Disney Avenue fan. 

At Disneyland a brand new nighttime parade and fireworks show is finally here. They are both spectacular. The LED technology, new floats, and music are combined perfectly in this new parade. “Paint the Night” is cheerful and the music incorporates the famous Electrical Parade sound. The new fireworks show, “Disneyland Forever” dazzles in the sky and on the ground. With screen projections in targeted places, you’ll sometimes feel that your surroundings become part of the fireworks show. Again, you’ll just have to come experience it for yourself.

No announcement has been made about how long the Diamond Celebration offerings and shows will last but it seems everyone has heard about it and wants to experience it. It’s been super busy everyday since the Celebration kick-off and I think it will be this way until after the winter holidays. Rumor is that it should be around for at least a year or more. Disneyland’s 60th anniversary date is July 17th so who knows what else will be added to the Celebration.  There is more Disneyland Diamond Celebration happenings that I didn’t get a chance to show you. I’ll be sharing more Celebration stuff leading up to the actual anniversary. You can feel the excitement and energy at Disneyland these days. It’s 60 years strong and still delivering magical experiences for all ages.

*******
 
 
 
 


Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her “college job” led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 

Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy’s Duck’s help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland’s Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it “the happiest place on earth.”
You can read more about Daisy’s Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

You can find all of Daisy’s articles here.

 
 
 
 

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A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition – Disneyland gets ready to Party

By Daisy Sparks

It’s getting pretty exciting here in Southern California with most people taking about whether they are going to Disneyland for this long weekend. The local papers and news channels can’t get enough of it. As you read this post, there are tons of media outlets broadcasting live from Disneyland as tomorrow is the official day of the start of the Disneyland Diamond Celebration. For this week’s Walk in the Park article we’ll have a look at some Disneyland Park happenings in anticipation of the big 60th party…. 

In front of the main parking structure, Mickey & Friends, there are these welcoming columns that have all been dressed up in 60th Celebration colors.

The ticket booths and Main Entrance have all been adorned with 60th bunting and diamonds, too. 

As you walk through the Main Entrance, you are greeted with the Train Station all decked out. Notice the diamond signs up above the entrance plaque, too.

This past weekend, they were staging for the Kelly and Michael Show. They actually filmed this past Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Only some of the shows were actually broadcast LIVE due to the time difference. Here are some photos to clue Guests in on the TV taping.

Over at Disney California Adventure, signs of a party finally started to appear. 

The new Grizzly Peak Airfield, formerly Condor Flats, was officially unveiled. The new theme blends really well in the area, especially with the Grand California just a few feet away. The area has a rustic feel that is evident in these next set photos. 

Soarin’ Over California received a makeover, too. 

The attraction itself did not change except for the installation of new digital projectors that replaced the IMAX film projectors. There is a lot of color correction that some people either like or think is a little overdone. Either way, it is a great attraction and I am happy that it’s back. Across the way from Soarin’ is a store that has a new name and theme. Do you remember the Disney character, Humphrey the Bear? In addition to some great themed merchandise, there are a lot of details in the store. 

I think I had more fun looking at all the decorative elements than checking out all the new merchandise offerings. Here is another set of photos to show you more of the decorative pieces in the area. 

It looks like Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel finally received their Diamond Celebration treatment.

The Disney Parks Blog announced that they will be broadcasting the premiere performances of ‘Paint the Night’ parade and ‘Disneyland Forever’ fireworks show. So you can all watch them with me as I plan on being there for the Disneyland 24-hour event this week. Oh, and check out these new cast member name tags for the 60th…

That about does it for this week’s Walk in the Park article. I’ll see you in the Parks…

******
 
 
 
 
 
 
Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her “college job” led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 
Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy’s Duck’s help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland’s Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it “the happiest place on earth.”
You can read more about Daisy’s Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

You can find all of Daisy’s articles here.

 
 
 



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