Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Disneyland Trip Report....From 1980!

Once upon a time....well, November of 1980 to be exact, I drove myself to Disneyland for the very first time. Having just gotten my driver's license a few days earlier, I no longer had to depend on my family or my friends' families to take me to the park. So, I headed out with a friend (we'll call him Alvin) in my mom's 1974 Ford LTD....hey, it's the car that I had just passed my driving test with! Sure it was like navigating a cruise ship down the street, but it was also the car in which I learned to drive, so it was no problem for me to drive it without sideswiping every parked car alongside the road.
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So I picked Alvin up, and off to the park we went. We had met each other 2 years earlier in Jr. High School and became friends when we discovered that we were both HUGE Disneyland fans. By this time, we had been to the park several times together already, but only because his mother had been nice enough to drive us there.
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Even being a new driver, I guess I was feeling brave enough to stop in the middle of the road long enough to snap a photo of the entrance sign. I know I didn't take this while driving with one hand....I wouldn't even do that today. Notice how the sign had a special panel for the 25th birthday. This was the very end of the year long 25th Birthday celebration. The birthday parade was actually getting ready to end for good and the Christmas parade would be starting up soon.
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The park doesn't look very crowded in the shot above, even though it was Thanksgiving Weekend.
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Here's a shot taken from Casey Jr. Notice how back then, the boats did not travel under "the same arches that Aladdin and Jasmine flew under on their magic carpet ride." Who wrote that line anyway? They never flew under any floral arches in the film. It's like when they say that the thin little strip of land in the middle of Storybook Land was "the exact same park where Peter Pan taught Wendy, John and Michael how to fly." THAT didn't happen.....he taught them how to fly in the children's nursery. And if that tunnel really is now the Cave of Wonders, then where is the tiger head-shaped entrance? They confuse me so, because they used to tell me that it was the very same cave that the witch traveled through to bring her poisoned apple to Snow White. Oh, but I digress!
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Next, we have a photo of Big Thunder Mt. Railroad taken from the queue. The attraction would have been just a little over a year old here. Maybe I should take the time here to apologize for the quality of these photos. They were taken with a Kodak 110 Instamatic camera. It would be 5 more years before I would buy myself a 35mm camera!
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The Mouseketeers were also celebrating their 25th anniversary that year and they were appearing on the Space Stage in Tomorrowland on select weekends in October and November. The next four photos are from their show.
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I really miss the Space Stage and the whole look of the ORIGINAL Space Mountain complex. Guests could watch the shows from seats within the amphitheater, or from the dining areas adjacent to and above the stage area. The shows could also be viewed from above while waiting in line for Space Mountain. Boy, have they destroyed that area of the park, or what?
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I remember the Mouseketeers singing, "I Wish I Was A Kid Again" at this point in the show.....hence the jungle gym on stage! They had sung that song during their 25th Anniversary Reunion on the Wonderful World of Disney earlier that year.
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This depiction of the castle was a paper sculpture that was made for the 25th Birthday and was on display in the window next to the Candy Palace. Notice the China Closet across the street reflected in the glass. And there's my friend, Alvin! This sculpture was also used on the cover of the Spring 1980 issue of Disney News Magazine, as well as on other promotional items that year.
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My last photo for today was taken just before leaving the park. This large model of the castle was on display in the Emporium for the 25th Birthday. It rotated on a big turntable in the center of the store. I believe it remained there for a while after the 25th Birthday celebration was over. If you look closely on the right side of the photo, you can see the old brass elevator doors that used to be towards the back of the Emporium. We were told by cast members that this used to be a functioning freight elevator, but I can't remember if they said it went up one floor or down to a basement. They told us however, that it had not been used for anything other than storage for quite a while. At some point in the late eighties or early nineties, this was removed when the Emporium was remodeled and expanded into what had previously been a stock room and also the guest "Locker" area next door.
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Here is the entertainment guide for that weekend. Frankie Avalon was also appearing at the park!
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I hope everyone enjoyed this trip report from almost 29 years ago. This was the Disneyland that I grew up with and loved going to so very much!

5 comments:

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Wow - A time traveling trip report, I love it. The first time you "drive yourself" to the park is so liberating, especially for DL nuts like us! The 110 film is not so bad, adds to the authenticity of your report. The Big Thunder shot came out great! Fun Space Stage shots too!

I remember that elevator now, too bad they removed it. There's a basement below the Emporium???

Here's that cool 1980 paper castle on a family reunion card (link).

I vote for more vintage photo posts, I bet you've got more.... Thanks!

TokyoMagic! said...

Hey VDT, thanks for the link. I actually meant to provide a link to your recent post showing that! I wonder where that sculpture is today and I wonder how well it would have held up since it was just paper?

As for the elevator, I think it was more of a "dumb waiter" type of thing. I don't believe it was for people. And like I mentioned, I don't remember if they told us that it went up or down or both, so I don't know for sure if there was/is a basement or not. Maybe someone out there that knows for sure can chime in!

Davelandweb said...

No need to apologize for the 110 shots; trip coverage like this is priceless. The fact that it was your trip and not somebody else's makes it even more special. It's great to know exactly what was going on during this cool series of shots that you took. Thanks a million for sharing! And in the meantime, could you please contact the writers for Storybook Land and tell them to get it together?!?

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks Dave!!!

outsidetheberm said...

Fun post! Nothing wrong with grainy snapshots - sometimes they tell interesting stories.

Thanks.