Friday, May 1, 2020

Flights of Fantasy Parade & The New Fantasyland - 1983

Today, I have a few miscellaneous items, from the 1983 opening of Disneyland's New Fantasyland. We will also be taking a look at the "Flights of Fantasy" parade, which was created to celebrate this newly remodeled land.

First up, is this order form for a special Disneyland 2-day passport, commemorating Fantasyland's reopening. This was part of an advertising supplement, which was included in local newspapers in May of 1983. I originally posted the entire supplement, back in May of 2019 and it can be viewed (here).

The ad suggested buying it as a "cherished addition to any Disneyana collection." That might be the first time I had ever seen that mentioned as a selling point, by Disney themselves. I bought one of these tickets and I never did use it. I'm assuming it's still good since it doesn't have an expiration date on it. Of course, I'm not a "Junior" anymore. I'd like to know who it was at Disney, that decided to eliminate the "Junior" pricing category?

The commemorative tickets were also available at the main gate ticket booths, as stated in this price guide brochure. These guides were handed out to guests, as they drove into the old Disneyland parking lot.

It states on the page above, that Disneyland does not accept credit cards. I wonder when that policy changed?

Here's the entertainment guide that was available at the main gate, in the early part of the summer of '83. This one was effective June 18th through July 1st. Before the summer was over, this guide would undergo some slight alterations. We'll see the updated version a bit later in this post. This version had three panels, with the back panel of the guide featuring an ad for The Disney Channel (which debuted earlier that year).

The Flights of Fantasy Parade was created specifically for the debut of the New Fantasyland and ran both during the day and at night, bumping the usual nighttime summer run of the Main Street Electrical Parade. This was the second time that the Main Street Electrical Parade was put on hiatus for a summer season. The first time was during the 1975-76 run of "America On Parade."

Tinkerbell was returning to the "Fantasy In The Sky Fireworks" show, for the first time since the summer of 1976. Her flights had been grounded ever since demolition began on the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland attraction in 1977. Her "landing pad" had been located within the footprint of that attraction, so as it was being removed, Tinkerbell's landing spot went with it. For her 1983 return, a special "ranger station" type of tower was built on the eastern side of Big Thunder Mountain, which allowed her to "land" once again, after taking off from the top of the Matterhorn.

The "Make Believe Brass Band" was listed as performing throughout the New Fantasyland. This group was also new for the summer of '83. Three of it's five members can be seen below, leaving Fantasyland to go on a break. They are exiting through the Big Thunder Trail gate in the northwestern corner of Fantasyland.

This brass quintet would also assist Merlin in the "Sword In The Stone Ceremony," which was a show created specifically for the New Fantasyland. Merlin would perform a few magic tricks for guests and then he'd choose a child from the crowd, to come up and try to pull the sword out of the anvil in the Castle forecourt.

Prior to choosing the child, Merlin would choose an adult male, who would attempt it first. The men were always unsuccessful, but the children were always able to do it.

Afterwards, Merlin would give the children a special medal to wear around their neck. In later years, the children were only given a button (like the one below, from 1986).

At some point, they must have gone back to giving out the medals. I found this one on ebay. At first I thought this must be from the earlier days of the Sword in the Stone Ceremony, but the seller was claiming that it's from circa 2005. The fact that it has "© Disney" stamped on it and not "© Walt Disney Productions" (like the button does), confirms that this would be from a later date than the button.

By the spring of 1984, The Sword In The Stone Ceremony was being featured on the cover of the park's entertainment guide.

In addition to Merlin and the Make Believe Brass, the New Fantasyland featured a couple other new "street entertainers." The woman below, was a street mime. At times, she would stop "miming" and play her recorder for guests.

There was also a juggler, who would stroll through the land and perform for the crowds.

Here is the second version of the entertainment guide, for the summer of '83. This one is for August 28th through September 10th. The artwork for the Flights of Fantasy Parade had been expanded for this guide, making it four panels/pages across, in comparison to the previous guide's three panels.

This was an ad that ran in a special "summer entertainment supplement," to the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Now let's take a look at the new parade! It began with Mickey, Minnie and Donald, riding in their own hot air balloons, while other iconic Disney characters walked alongside them.

On this particular day, Minnie doubled up with Mickey in his balloon.

Next up was the Winnie the Pooh unit. The parade floats were all "soft sculpture" in design.

And some of the characters in the parade, such as the Heffalumps and Woozles below, were actually inflatable costumes with a performer inside.

It had to be difficult walking inside one of these giant costumes. And it must have gotten awfully hot in there!

These Haunted Forest trees from the Snow White unit, were reused the following year in the park's Christmas parade.

This float was also used again in the Christmas parade. The Wicked Witch had a spiel that she gave as she stirred her couldron. It went as follows:

"Mix the brew and make it right.
Just the thing to get Snow White.
A poison apple......TAKE A BITE!
Go on, take a bite! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

The clown jack-in-the-box on this Pinocchio float would slowly rise up out of the box. Note the large Dutch puppet on the right side of the float (between Honest John and Gideon).

Next came the Babes in Toyland unit.

The "Toy Soldier Drill Team" had been a regular feature in the park's Christmas parades.

These oversized marching broomsticks were my favorite part of the parade!

This float from the Fantasia unit was also recycled and used again for the Christmas parade, along with the Alligators, Ostriches and Hippo costumes.

Okay, the broomsticks AND Maleficent, were actually "tied" for my favorite part of the parade!

The dragon would blow smoke from it's nostrils!

Maleficent also had a spiel that she would recite throughout the parade. Her monologue went like this:

"Well my pet, shall I cast my spell on them, hmmmmmmm?


Next, was the Alice In Wonderland unit. It was pretty unusual to see a character costume for the March Hare. And the character head for the Mad Hatter, had been redesigned for this parade and was much smaller in comparison to the costume head that had been used in the past. The following year (1984), the Mad Hatter "rubber head" costumed character was retired and replaced with a "face character," meaning that the person who is wearing the costume, has their face exposed and is physically and verbally acting out the part of the character.

This float used the same smoke effect as the Maleficent float, with the smoke coming from the caterpillar's mouth.

We will end today, with this out of focus picture of the Disneyland sign that used to sit on Harbor Boulevard, at the entrance to the old Disneyland parking lot. The bottom portion of the sign reads, "Open Every Day. Today 9 am - 12 am. See The New Fantasyland. Flights Of Fantasy Parade."

Actually, we will end with these two videos, which I recently came across on YouTube!

This first video features home movie footage of the parade, with the parade soundtrack dubbed in:

This second video features many snapshots of the parade, accompanied by the parade's soundtrack:

*****Post Update (April 2024)*****

Here's an additional newspaper advertisement, promoting the "Flights of Fantasy" parade.  It's from a September issue of The Los Angeles Times. The park's summer schedule was over, and the parade was now running on "weekends only."