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:


K. Martinez said...

Today's post is AWESOME! I loved this parade and the whimsical music that went along with it. One of my all-time favorites.

1983 and 1984 were the last truly magical years of Disneyland for me. It was still pure Disney.

Is that a cousin of Herbie on the back of the price guide pamphlet?

The Sword in the Stone is one of the unsung Disney animated features, but I do still enjoy it. Especially the mad Madame Mim segment where she duels with Merlin. I wonder if they ever had Madam Mim as a costumed character at one of the Disney theme parks. Maybe Tokyo Disneyland? If so, I've never seen it in person or in print or video.

There's the "Village Inn" sign before it was changed to "Village Haus".

Love the artwork of the juggler in Fantasyland on the "Today at Disneyland" entertainment guide. Ah, and there's The Disney Channel logo. I remember having it in it's debut year. It was a pretty awesome channel in it's first decade. I just had to subscribed to it its inaugural year like I did Disney+.

You parade pics are awesome and bring back many wonderful memories of the eve before the arrival of Eisner. I always loved the Heffalumps and Woozles section of that parade along with the Haunted Forest from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It really was a wonderful era and cool parade.

Thanks another great post, TokyoMagic!

Andrew said...

Thanks for a fun post, TokyoMagic! It is amazing how you have kept so many pictures and items from your time as a theme park fan.

The Winnie the Pooh costumes are neat. I like seeing the more uncommon ones like Kanga and Owl. I never knew about the "in-between" Mad Hatter, either! Oh, and it's funny that Pinocchio has strings here; if only they could keep up that illusion with the walk-around character.

WOW - those inflatables are crazy cool! I bet they made a big impression on little kids, but I do hope the actors got paid well... Maybe it's just a camera trick, but those brooms look larger than the Main St. buildings! How would those be maneuvered? I'm guessing that they had some type of support that ran up the handle, at least. Thanks again!

K. Martinez, I'm curious as to why you pin 1984 exactly as your last favorite Disneyland year. I thought that might be due to Adventure Thru Inner Space closing, but it looks like it was still open for the majority of 1985.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, TokyoMagic! - fun post, as always! You always have so much to share and, like Andrew said, "It is amazing how you have kept so many pictures and items from your time as a theme park fan." You must be VERY organized! I think I need you to organize Lou's stuff.

While watching the parade video, I was wondering . . . do all of the parade performers have other Disney jobs to do - in between parade performances? (I do remember you sharing about your personal experience performing in a Disney Christmas parade, and that the parade was the only role you had to do.) Just wondering, because there must be 100+ people in this parade; I can't imagine all of them coming to work for 2 hrs. and then going home for the day.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, thanks! I loved this parade, too!

I'm kind of surprised that they didn't slap a "53" on the front of that Volkswagen artwork!

I'm not sure if they've ever had a Madame Mim character in the park, but the latest parade at DL (which debuted earlier this year) had a "Sword in the Stone" float, with Merlin and Wart riding on it. I was a little surprised to see that!

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, I started saving the "free stuff" from DL, like the guidebooks and entertainment schedules, at a very young age. I was also cutting out newspaper articles and advertisements related to DL, starting at around age nine!

I always liked the costumes for the less common characters, too. There is vintage footage of a parade from the sixties, which included the dancing mushrooms from "Fantasia." I would say those are pretty obscure "characters." They even brought the mushrooms back (with newly designed costumes) for a parade in the year, 2000.

When I was in a parade at DL, we only made minimum wage. I'm not sure if that has changed since then. And I'm not sure how difficult it was to move one of those giant inflatable costumes. The broomsticks and the Heffalumps took little short steps, so I imagine there was some effort involved. I do remember on more than one occasion, seeing a broomstick, where the handle part of the costume looked like it was loosing air and was bent pretty far forward, so I'm not sure if there was any kind of "reinforcement" in them or not. Now I'm wondering if anyone ever fell down in one of those costumes! The costumes were quite large, but you are right, that is just the camera angle that makes them look taller than the buildings on Main St. If you look at the pic where they are walking down the pathway near the Matterhorn, you can get a better idea of their size, compared to the people standing alongside the parade route.

Thank you, for commenting!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, as I mentioned above, to Andrew, I started very young with the saving. And I had my own camera and was taking my own pics by the time I was in 5th grade. At some point when I was in high school, I started organizing all my personal pics, as well as all of my family's pics, into photo albums. It took a lot of time to do that and unfortunately, they were those albums with the "sticky pages." Over the years the pages lost their stickiness and the pictures all started to fall out of the albums. So in the nineties, I started transferring ALL of the photos to newer albums with "pockets." That took a lot of time, as well, but it was important to me to have everything organized and in order.

When I was in the parade at DL, that is all we did. We worked a split shift because of how the two parade times were spread out. After the first parade, we would clock out and then we'd come back for the evening performance and clock in again. They would have you report a couple hours prior to the parade times, so that you had time to get into your costumes and get to the proper gate where the parade was starting. And then there was time allowed for getting out of your costume, so we were working more than just a couple hours at a time. However, the downtime between parades was the tough part. They weren't very nice to the parade performers, either. Not only would they not let us go into the park during that downtime, but we weren't even allowed to remain anywhere on the premises, even backstage. We had to physically leave the property. The people who lived nearby, usually just went home between parades. But if you didn't live that close (like me), it was kind of a waste to drive all the way home, and then turn around and have to drive back there again, later in the day. A lot of us would just hang around Anaheim and try to find something to do!

K. Martinez said...

Andrew, it wasn't necessarily my favorite year, but the last year in which Disneyland was truly a magical place to me. After that, Eisner came on board and shook things up. That meant utilizing outside IPs like Star Wars and celebrity attractions like Captain EO to bolster park attendance. It was a radical change and not my idea of what the Disney parks should be about. They were also altering the look of the park and not in a good way (my opinion). The Disney parks were no longer pure Disney with the outside IPs added.

Still I understand the need for change and I still enjoyed Disneyland, but not on the same level that I used to in those pre-1985 days before Eisner. I actually liked Bog Iger's run at the company though. I thought he did a good job revitalizing the theme parks and studio and I loved that he brought Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars into the fold for the studio's film output. By this time I had adjusted to the fact that other IPs were at Disneyland and that Disney actually owned them and created new content for those IPs.

Still with all the wonderful work Iger has done (my opinion of course), Disneyland still doesn't feel as magical to me as it once did. It doesn't mean I can't have a good time, but it's not the same. Now give me an old time amusement park or Knott's Berry Farm and the magic is still very much there.

Hope that answers your question.

K. Martinez said...

Follow up:

Andrew, While I do like a lot of what Bob Iger did for the company, I do think his putting Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland was big mistake. It doesn't belong in Disneyland and the alteration of the Rivers of America doesn't work for me. Just one of many reasons the original Disneyland doesn't hold the same magic or charm for me anymore.

I do think the work done under Iger for Disney California Adventure which includes Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! and Pixar Pier is pretty amazing and cool though. He was instrumental in transforming DCA into a "Disney" level quality theme park and for the better.

I also think he mishandled the Star Wars franchise, but other than that, I do like what he's done for the most part. Especially with the studio output.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the explanation, K. Martinez! I can definitely see what you're saying and where you're coming from.

Major Pepperidge said...

I saved a few items from when the New Fantasyland opened, but as usual you saved a LOT more! I’ll bet they would still accept that ticket for admission to the park; I seem to remember hearing that the CMs manning the gates always say that they will save the old tickets “for the archives”. I hope it’s true.

I was super excited about this redo - not sure that I was aware of Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship going away forever. But even now I think they did a beautiful job. Naturally I miss the old “medieval faire” fa├žades, but the newer ones are so detailed and nice, it’s hard to find much fault.

I think you pointed out the “ranger station” landing spot for Tinker Bell in one of Lou and Sue’s photos. And somebody on Facebook put up a fascinating photo of the “old” one, I’d never seen that before.

SO… when I went to Disneyland with my niece and nephew many years ago, I was chosen to be the adult dupe who could not pull the sword out of the stone (maybe because I was wearing an orange shirt). My nephew thought it was hilarious. Some blond little girl did it though, and I was sure jealous of the medal that Merlin gave her. I offered her a pack of smokes for it, but her parents hurried her away. What’s their problem?

Love the parade photos, yet another one I have zero memories of. How did they do the giant marching brooms? Were they on wheels? Or did they “walk”? How can Maleficent be riding the dragon when she WAS the dragon? Where do babies come from?

Fun stuff Chris!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would hope that they do save any vintage tickets that guests bring to the park, today. I wouldn't use that commemorative "New Fantasyland" ticket today, even though I'm sure they would only take the "stub" part of it on the right. And I'm sure they would probably want to charge me something for admission, in addition to the ticket, since the "Junior" price category only went up to age 17, back then. I've heard that when people bring vintage individual ride tickets, they do apply some sort of credit for them, towards the current price of admission.

I agree with you about the new 1983 facades being done nicely, even though I also missed the original "tournament tents." However, I did know in advance about the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock being ripped out and it was breaking my heart, even before it happened! To this day, I do NOT understand why it was so important to get rid of an original park icon like that. Dumbo could have gone almost ANYWHERE ELSE within Fantasyland! They had all of that undeveloped land behind Casey Jr. and adjacent to It's A Small World! And they can't tell me that the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock wouldn't have fit in with the new theme. It would have looked perfectly fine docked there across from the "old world village" facades.

I did recently point out that ranger station on one of your posts. That was such a great clear shot of it. In later years, the trees grew to almost completely hide it. I've never seen a pic of Tinkerbell's original landing spot. Now I'm curious. Was it very high up off of the ground? I remember that the angle of the wire changed/lessened when they reinstalled it in '83, so I'm assuming that her previous platform was closer to the ground.

Too bad your niece or nephew weren't the ones picked to try and remove the sword, after you! You could have tried to talk them out of the medal or maybe even traded with them for your pack of smokes. I'm sure they were just "candy" cigarettes, right? ;-)

That Maleficent/Dragon float is a paradox, which I have always found disturbing! I guess they decided to corrected that little oversight for "Fantasmic," so that you never see the two of them together at the same time! As for the marching broomsticks, they weren't on wheels. There was someone inside each of those. The performer had a leg in each part of the broom, on either side of the "split." Just above that split in the broom, was sort of a plastic "window" for them to look out of. It doesn't really show in the pics or the video because the window was painted over to match the rest of the balloon, but in person, you could make out where the window was. The broomsticks can be seen marching along at the 2:35 mark of that first video in the post. From that, you can get a better idea of where the person was inside and how tall the costumes really were.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, Tokyo. Thank you for saving all this stuff and posting it.

This was in the middle of the 20 years I didn't visit, so all of this is new to me.

I appreciate all your hard work. I haven't forgotten that I promised you more on my Queen Mary visit, but the world has just gone so nuts that I can't sort out time to do it. Please forgive me.

Are we all still Junior Gorillas if we meet each other in Progressland?


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, awwwww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I'm also glad that I was able to fill you in on one year.....or actually, one summer, out of the 20 years that you missed going to the park!

Please do worry about the Queen Mary pics! There is so much going on right now with the worldwide pandemic. You can send them a year from now, or two years from now, etc. No pressure, whatsoever!

Ha, ha! Yes, let's keep the Junior Gorillas title for everyone, even here, because Major Pepperidge is the one who started it all.....or at least, the one who has been doing it the longest and nonstop now, for many, many years! I do appreciate you and the other readers dropping in from time to time to, "Meet the World in Progressland." Thank you! :-)