Well, we're approaching the end of the school year and that means Grad Nites have already started. Unfortunately, there are no longer any "private-party" Grad Nites at Disneyland. Instead, the graduates have their Grad Nites at California Adventure. I don't think it would be the same having a Grad Nite over there, but maybe the kids these days, don't mind.
I remember being really excited about my Grad Nite. This poster went up inside the trophy case at my high school, once the Grad Nite tickets went on sale. I asked one of the secretaries in the Administration Office if I could have the poster when they were done with it, so she wrote my name and phone number on the back of it. I had forgotten all about it after graduation, but she ended up calling me in the middle of the summer and told me that if I still wanted it, to come to the school and pick it up!
This was the form for ordering tickets:
The tickets came with this brochure explaining the dress codes for the evening.
They don't even make the kids get dressed up for Grad Nite anymore! Why did we have to do it? And when did they stop requiring that?
It only cost $11.00 for a whole night at Disneyland (until 5:00 a.m.!)
More dress guidelines were listed on the back of the ticket:
The price of the ticket included a deluxe program:
Bertie Higgins was not appearing the night of our Grad Nite, so we didn't get to "...sail away to Key Largo!" Sister Sledge was appearing on the floating River Stage out in front of Tom Sawyer Island. I remember they changed the lyrics in their song, "We Are Family," from "I got all my sisters with me," to "The Class of '82 is free!" The only other performer that we saw that night was Tommy Tutone, whose song, "867-5309/Jenny" had gone to #4 on the Billboard chart the previous month.
They were giving out an Entertainment Flyer at the gate with the same cover as the deluxe program:
The cost of the ticket, also included a Grad Nite photo with a Disney character.
I'm not sure why Donald wasn't wearing a cap and gown, like the other characters were. Maybe it has something to do with him not ever wearing pants?
The souvenir photo came in a cardboard frame/holder:
This was the address label that you had to fill out so they could mail the photo to you.
And here's the envelope that the photo arrived in:
The photo came with a form to order additional copies. (I saved EVERYTHING!)
Other than the entertainment and having our pictures taken, the only other memory I have from that night, is getting VERY tired around 3:00 a.m.! Instead of finding a bench somewhere to rest, we decided to go ride the Disneyland Railroad. Since there isn't a point where they ever force you to disembark (like on other attractions), we just stayed on the train and rode it around the park, over and over again!
I also bought a few souvenirs that night. In addition to the pin-back button that we saw at the beginning of this post....
....I also bought a Grad Nite T-Shirt:
And a Grad Nite pennant:
And a Grad Nite Winnie the Pooh plush:
A plastic "Grad Nite '82" mug was also available, but for some reason, I did not purchase one.
Back in 2011, I did a vintage trip report about my eighth grade graduation trip to Disneyland. If anyone is interested in reading that post, here is the link: Eighth Grade Disneyland Trip
Congratulations, to all of the graduates out there!
****Post Update (June 15, 2019)****
I just came across some "non-Disney" graduation goodies and decided to add them to this post.
This '82 Avon pomander was just one of the things my mom gave me for graduation. It was made of a hard plastic and came in the shape of the "'82" pictured on the box. The outside of the plastic was covered with a rubbery material, infused with the scent of "Herbal Mist," whatever that is! It had a blue cord and tassel and it hung in my car until it got very faded and sticky! For that reason, I did eventually throw it out, but I have kept the box that it came in, for all these years.
One of the gifts that my aunt and uncle gave me, was this "Class of '82" mug, which was made by PAPÉL. I was actually given a second one of these (with red lettering), by one of my teachers. I had been a "teacher's aide" for her, during the last semester of my senior year.
About halfway through my senior year, Josten's Inc. sent this order form to all seniors. I ordered the graduation announcements, name cards, "thank you" notes and a "senior key."
Here is my "senior key."
I checked online, and Josten's Inc. is still in business today. According to Wikipedia, "Jostens is the primary supplier of Super Bowl rings, and has made 31 champion rings in the Super Bowl's 50-year history, through 2017." They also still make their traditional "Senior Keys." However, now the price for just the key (without an accessory), is $31.00, as opposed to the $6.00 that I paid back in 1982.
All my siblings went to Disneyland Grad Nite except for me. I don't know why, but I had no interest in going.
This is some cool stuff. The ephemera captures an era of entertainment and graphic styles like the neon title. Love it!
Your memory of getting on the Disneyland Railroad and taking the Grand Circle Tour repeatedly is relatable. I've done that many times after a long day at Disneyland just to get off my feet and take a rest.
Just listening to the song "867-5309/Jenny" in my head makes me feel a bit of melancholy for so much time passing. Where did it all go?
If I had to pic a favorite souvenir out of this bunch it would be the Grad Nite Pooh plush. Very cute.
Totally enjoyed this post. Thanks, TM!
Ken, I think my favorite souvenir is also the plush Grad Pooh. I remember seeing pics from several of the previous years' Grad Nites, and the grads were holding plush Pooh's, but I know the very next year (1983), Disney changed to plush Grad "Plutos," instead. I'm not sure about the years following that.
And I know what you mean about hearing that song. When I hear any of the music from that era, it makes me wonder where the time has gone!
GT, thank you! And I appreciate you commenting.....like, T-O-T-A-L-L-Y-! ;-)
Haha, nice! You had a really great post about Kingdom of the Dinosaurs a few years ago, too. What was your job at Knott’s?
GT, thanks!!! I was working there when they took out Knott's Bear-y Tales and put in the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. I only wish I had taken more pics of both of those rides! I got hired for the Cable Car Kitchen, just outside of the park. Two years later, I got promoted to "Lead" and transferred inside the park to the Ghost Town, but I was still in food service.
Wow, that’s incredible. I am working on a YouTube video about the history of Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, would you be willing to share some of your experiences and pictures?
GT, I posted all of the pics that I have of Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, including pics of souvenir items, in those two older "KOD" posts of mine. Feel free to use any of those photos, but remember, the two pics of the "Dinostore Digs" shop were not my own and I don't who they belonged to. As for sharing memories, I don't remember too much about the opening of the ride. I only remember that after they had their usual employee "Summer Kick-off" meeting in the Goodtime Theater that year, they had all of us walk across the street and go on the ride. I'm not even sure if it was open to the public at that time.
That’s great. Any chance you could share them without the watermark? I always apply the credit at the bottom left.
Great post, TM. I'm jealous you got to go to this.
I went to Disneyland with my high school honor roll group, but it was usually well before graduation, it was just a typical "day" for Disneyland, no special stuff.
Those graphics are absolutely '80's. I love it.
Thank you for sharing your memories.
Fun stuff! Grad Nites really did seem to be a special thing for SoCal high school students. I’m sure I have already told you that I was there in 1980, and a guy was killed on the Peoplemover - not that I was aware of that at the time. I read about it the next day in the paper - I had probably already gone on the Peoplemover earlier in the day.
I am so impressed with all of the ephemera that you saved from your Grad Nite! Every piece of paper, as far as I can tell. Amazing. I saved NOTHING from mine! Which is weird, to be honest, I usually saved at least some stuff from my trips at that point.
Tommy Tutone, holy moly. Too bad you didn’t see “Papa Doo Run Run”. I’m going to make my own 50’s/60’s cover band and call it “Doo Wa Diddy”.
I’m sort of amazed that they actually printed t-shirts for that night, I wonder if they did that for 1980 too??
Thanks for the great post!
GT, unfortunately, I don't have those original files handy. They are on an external hard drive that I no longer have here with me.
JG, thank you! I went on a daytime trip to DL for my eighth grade graduation. It wasn't a private party, so the park was open to the general public. The only thing "special" that we received that day was the ticket. And I posted that ticket in my "Eighth Grade Graduation" trip report a few years back.
Major, I read about that guy being killed on the PeopleMover on Grad Nite. In fact, I cut the article out and kept it. I also posted that several years back. Wow, so you were there that very night?
I remember Papa Doo Run Run performing at DL quite a bit, but I never saw them during any visit the park. Did you ever get to see them perform? I like your cover band name. Maybe I'll form a Papa Doo Run Run "tribute band" and call it Mama Don't Walk Walk.
I'm glad you enjoyed this post!
Thanks TM, love your work and keep it up!
TM, I reveled in your descriptions of Grad Nite. I didn't go because I finished my education in a continuation high school, and I bet none of those were ever invited to the party. Most of my classmates would have been at home in a John Waters movie.
You visited right on the dividing line, between mostly Walt's park and the changes that would ultimately bring Star Wars Land (sound of tolling bell here). I was at Disneyland in August '82, and most of the original Fantasyland was still in action, including the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock.
On the subject of looking back to one's youth, there is a funny and touching article by Richard Stayton in the LA Times of June 2nd, where he describes growing up with the early '60s park, moving to late '60s Haight Ashbury and the drug scene, then returning to Disneyland in his mid twenties, to hold a popcorn-selling job there in the summer 0f 1974. If true, the stories he relates of sabotage attempts on Tinker Belle's high wire are hair raising. Stayton has not been able to let go of Disneyland; I haven't been there in over 20 years, or to Knott's for nearly 30, and regarding these places feel like Curt in "American Graffiti", wandering the deserted high school halls and spinning the knob on his old locker --- the combo already changed.
Enough middle-aged melancholy: I am friendly with a 20 year old woman who loves the Disneyland of today, so the park will continue to cast its spell. Thanks for all of your posts and for sharing the wonderful souvenirs. And, Ha Ha, no use redacting your photos, we have all seen you in "2 on the Town".
Stefano, say....you didn't happen to go to school with Divine, did you? ;-)
I agree with you. That was pretty much the last good year for Walt's park. (If you don't count them ripping out his Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland attraction.) I was heartbroken when I returned to the park not much later, and witnessed the destruction of the Fantasyland Pirate Ship, in person. I still haven't gotten over the loss of that or Skull Rock.
My brother still gets a hard copy of the L.A. Times and he gave me the paper from June 2, because of several Disney-related articles in that issue. So I'm pretty sure I have the one you are talking about. I just haven't read it yet, but now I am looking forward to reading more of what that writer has to say. Sabotaging Tinkerbell's high wire? Heavens to murgatroyd!
As for redacting the photos that I am in, I think I will continue to do it. At least in that "2 On The Town" footage, I was pretty blurry!
For anyone who might be interested, and is following the comments on this post, I've added a few non-Disney graduation items to the end of the post!
You couldn't wear DENIM? I had no idea that they were so strict during the Eighties! : O
Peppermint Snowdrift, Grad Nite attendees definitely could not wear denim jeans. I believe if you were wearing a denim suit, then that was acceptable. And yes, they were REALLY strict with the dress code! The strict dress code began with the very first Grad Nite in 1961 and continued at least up until the nineties. I'm not sure which year they dropped that dress code.
Thank you for the memories!
Class of '82-Hip
Rubidoux High School
Jurupa Valley, CA 92509
Unknown, you are welcome!
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