Friday, February 5, 2021

A Vintage Disneyland Trip Report from February 20, 1985 (& A New Camera for Me!)

Picture it.....February, 1985.  I was leaving for Hawaii in just a few weeks, and I was determined to take some decent photographs on that upcoming vacation. For quite some time, I had not been very happy with the Disneyland photos I had been taking, with my brother's Kodak Instamatic camera and it's "110" film. (We have seen some of those pics posted here, in the past.) I really wanted to buy an "automatic" 35mm camera that would do everything for me, just like the ones I had seen Bruce Jenner and Cheryl Tiegs advertise on TV.

I went to a store called "Consumers," which was similar to Service Merchandise or Jewelcor, if anyone remembers those stores. They would only have one of each item out on display, and if you were going to purchase something, they would have to go bring it out from the stockroom.

The camera that I ended up purchasing, was the 35M Cannon "Sure Shot" with auto focus.

Here is the cover of the camera's instruction manual:

I found the original store receipt, tucked inside the manual!

So, now I had a brand new 35mm automatic camera. I was very excited and I wanted to try out all of it's features right away, so the very next day, I went to Disneyland!

The park had already begun it's year-long 30th anniversary celebration.  This first shot that I took, shows one of the 30th anniversary "tents," which were set up in front of the ticket booths. Below them, various GM cars were out on display. The promotion for the 30th anniversary was "It's our birthday, but you get the gifts." That year, they were giving away a GM car to every 30,000th guest who walked through the gates.

Notice the old Disneyland parking lot in the background. And is that a boat strapped to the roof of a van on the left? It looks like something is also strapped to the van on the right, but I can't make out what it is. The Grand Hotel can also be seen in the distance. That hotel was eventually imploded and I believe that site is now a parking lot for Disney cast members.

The "Gift Giver Extraordinaire" machine had been installed at the park's entrance. It kept track of the number of guests passing through the turnstiles. For every 30th guest that passed through, an alarm went off and a light bulb lit up at that particular turnstile. The guest was then awarded a prize. As I mentioned above, some of those prizes were cars. We'll see some of the other prizes in just a minute.

The turnstiles also produced a ticket for each and every guest, letting them know what number guest they were, and whether or not they had won a prize. This was my ticket for the day, which reads, "Sorry No Win."  It was also letting me know that I was the park's 242,206,833rd guest!

This was the Disneyland Guidebook for that day:

I don't seem to have an entertainment guide from that same day, but here is one from about a month later:

And here is a list of the various prizes, which were awarded to guests:

An "Official Birthday Party" was held daily:

This is the button which was included in the "Birthday Party" price of $2.50.  It was exclusive to the guests who paid for the birthday party package. The button shown at the very beginning of this post, was smaller in diameter and could be purchased in various souvenir shops throughout the park.

I just had to take a picture of the train engineer, since he was so friendly and waving to us from up above. I'm glad that the Global Van Lines lockers building can be seen through the archway, because I don't have any other personal photos of it. I have never liked the building/facade that replaced it. In my opinion, it never matched the rest of the architecture on Main St. It's really too bad they didn't just leave the facade of that original building, when they expanded the Emporium into that space.

I climbed the steps up to the train station, to get this pic of Town Square with the Castle in the distance. Of course, if you try to "center" the photo, then the flag pole will block the Castle, so you have to step to one side. Notice the special signage and bunting on the lampposts. This was for the park's "Salute to American Heroes" promotion. Each sign had a different hero on it. The one closest to us and on the right, is John F. Kennedy.  The one on the left is, Ronald Reagan.  To see close-up shots of these signs, taken just about two weeks later, check out this post from Major Pepperidge and "Lou and Sue," over at Gorillas Don't Blog. 

Back in the day, the free Disneyland guidebooks would state that "It's A Small World" was the only attraction, where flash photography was allowed. We went on the attraction that day, so I could test out the camera's built-in flash.

Two years earlier (in 1983), while the "New Fantasyland" was still under construction, many of the Tomorrowland cast members were telling us that Tomorrowland was going to be the next "land" to be completely remodeled. Because of this, I decided that I better start documenting it on film. That is the reason for this shot of the Mission To Mars facade. I probably should have waited for that PeopleMover vehicle in the distance, to come a little closer!

Even though plans were obviously changed, and Tomorrowland did not get remodeled for many more years, Adventure Thru Inner Space was rumored to be closing at the end of the year, for a brand new attraction. For this reason, I tried (in vain) to capture several of the scenes within the ride.

This first one didn't turn out too bad, I guess. The only thing missing here, is the projection of the smaller snowflake, rotating in the center of the larger three-dimensional snowflake. The projection ended up being "washed out" by the camera's flash. I know, I know....that's what I get for using a flash inside the attraction!

I also tried to capture the wall of "vibrating" water molecules; "What are these strange spheres? Have I reached the universe of the molecule? Yes, these are water molecules, H2O! They vibrate in such an orderly pattern, because this is water, frozen into the solid state of matter!"

The molecules in this part of the ride, were behind a two-way mirror (and I believe they were also in front of another mirror, which helped create the effect that they went on forever). Unfortunately, the bright camera flash was reflected back in the mirror. I know, I know......don't say it! But at least one of the molecules showed up in the photo (upper left corner).

This is the part of the ride when the vehicles, or "atomobiles," would pass by the eyepiece of the microscope and riders would see a giant eyeball looking back at them. As the eye shifted back and forth, riders would hear the narrator state, "There is no cause for alarm! You are back on visual and returning to your normal size!" I LOVED everything about this attraction, but the giant eyeball was my favorite part! Unfortunately, the flash from the camera reflected on the piece of glass in front of the eye and blocked out most of it. I know.....I KNOW!

I took this pic of the Atomobiles in the unloading room, just as a PeopleMover car was passing by. The hourglass-shaped structure on the other side of the Atomobiles, was at one time, a giant floor-to-ceiling "rain lamp." Rather than try to give my own description of what a "rain lamp" is, here's the definition from Wiktionary: "A type of lamp, popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, that moves droplets of water or oil along filaments, to create the illusion of falling rain." Disney turned off the oil on their lamp, sometime in the 1970s.

That's it for the photos I took that day. Well, actually, I placed the camera on top of a trash can, in order to test the automatic timer. It worked and I got a decent photo of myself and a friend, but there wasn't anything very interesting in the background. And since I would have to place white ovals over our faces, I decided to leave that one out!

As an added bonus, here is the GM flyer, which was being handed out at that General Motors car display, in front of the park:

And one last addition to the prizes awarded to every 30th guest, all winners were given one of these buttons:

I hope everyone enjoyed this trip back to 1985!


Stefano said...

A very enjoyable trip back to what was still mostly Walt Disney's park!

TokyoMagic!,I'm sure you will have the GRATITUDE from many of us for capturing these details from Adventure Thru Inner Space. You also caught other things rarely photographed: no other picture I've seen of the IASW Dutch children shows that the boy bounced fairly high out of his tulip; and next to the Can Can dancers is that table with its bottle and two straws, probably a syrupy soda such as Madeline would drink in those children's books.

I agree about the Global Van Lines building; the replacement sticks out, and looks like the just-misses architecture of the ill-fated Freedomland. Different shops have come and gone on Main street, but they shouldn't have altered the buildings as this area was Disney's keynote address to his visitors.

DrGoat said...

Beautiful post. The 80s were a good time for us too. Got married, took several trips to Disneyland, went to Maui for the first time and landed a pretty good job here in Tucson.
Really drawn a bit to the snowflake photo. Most likely styrofoam and looking good.
The Atomoblies and PeopleMover pic has got it too. These kind of photos can really get my memories going. Love that colorful ticket you got for being the 242,206,833rd guest.
I guess the best part must have been going to the islands soon after! I'm sure your Sure Shot got a workout there.
Gonna take a closer look at this post later, need to get back to work.
Thanks Tokyo, great memories for you I'll bet.

Anonymous said...

Tokyo, what a wonderful post. I must go back and review in detail, but here's a quick comment on the parking lot photo.

I think the thing on the van roof to the right is a "roof extension" (I'm not sure what the technical term is), it looks like one of those fiberglass dome roofs that added headroom inside a van to make it a more comfortable camper. This one almost looks home-made. Some vans came with it as factory item as part of the camper package like Uncle Rico's van from Napoleon Dynamite. Sweet!

On our first trip to Disneyland with our kids, we stayed at the Grand Hotel and I ordered take-out from Chao's because it was close. That was probably 1992 or 93.

Great memories in this post!


Andrew said...

Very cool! I always love your vintage trip reports, especially with the detailed memories and souvenirs you include.

I'm surprised that they encouraged flash pictures on it's a small world. It would be annoying if someone was using the flash for the whole ride, but that likely wasn't much of a problem in the days of film. As an aside, I love taking flash pictures in old dark rides where you get your own car.

Haha, ATIS... I remember in 4th grade my science teacher brought this attraction up because she used to live in CA, and she even specifically mentioned the big eye. She was amazed (but probably confused) that I knew what it was. Thanks again for the fun post, TokyoMagic.

Major Pepperidge said...

I think a lot of people of a certain age get to the point where they feel like they need a “real” camera. At one point I got a fancy (and expensive) Nikon 35mm camera that was so complicated that I didn’t use it nearly as much as I should have. I still have it, and of course nobody wants stuff like that anymore. It even had two lenses in a separate case. Your Canon “Sure Shot” looks a lot like my Canon digital camera from years later, that thing was great.

Using the CPI Inflation Calculator, your camera cost the equivalent of over $350 today. Disneyland is a great place to try out your new purchase. I assume that your photos are scans of prints, and not slides? It’s too bad it was a cloudy (rainy?) day, but sometimes you just have to go with what you’re given.

I love that you saved every ticket stub and brochure/pamphlet (what happened to your entertainment guide from that day??). The Clara Ward Singers were still there, amazing. Papa Doo Run Run, classic. I hope you went to see “Gazelle”, whatever that was. Look at all those acts that were performing in the park! Pretty amazing. I think I have one of those pinback buttons, but did not get it from the park. And I agree, the old Global Van Lines building had so much character, only to be replaced with the most boring façade of all time.

The “It’s a Small World” photos came out particularly nice, which is not often the case for ride interiors. I like the photo of “Mission to Mars”, and LOVE the photos from “Adventure Thru Inner Space”, one of my all-time favorite rides. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I know a guy who has one of the larger glowing molecules hanging in his bedroom, he pulled it out of a dumpster when he worked at the park, if you can believe that. In my recollection it’s about 3 feet in diameter, maybe a little smaller. I also was briefly in contact with a guy who said that his ex-father in law had the big eye from ATIS in storage somewhere; I sure wish we could see it again!

Lou took some great photos of the GM cars that were on display in the parking lot, I still need to share those. Thanks for another fun post!

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! What a great, fun-filled post!

I chuckled at the birthday party announcement:
Hey There, Hi There, Ho There
You're As Welcome As Can Be
To The Official 30th Birthday Party
(pronounced "Par - TY")

I LOVE your photo from the Main Street train station! It has a dreamy feel, plus I love the Matterhorn peeking over the building, and the beautiful flower color-combination, below.

ATIS! What can I say but WOW! Your photo of the Atomobiles WITH PeopleMover cars is the BEST! Pure Disneyland!

TM! I'll meet you at 8:30p at the Tahitian Terrace Polynesian Revue for a late dinner...

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! I also wanted to ask you: Have you posted your Hawaii photos on this blog? If yes, on what date? If not, please do so!

TokyoMagic! said...

Hi Stefano! How have you been? It's good to hear from you!

I agree with you about this still being mostly Walt's park at this point. Eisner had just gotten in there, but he hadn't started his rampant destruction, yet.

I didn't realize that the little Dutch boy doesn't bounce up as high as he used. Did they change that at some point, or did he just break and they never fixed him?

Comparing the new buildings/facades on Main St. to Freedomland (or even Nara's Dreamland) is a good description in the difference in quality!

TokyoMagic! said...

DrGoat, yes...the eighties were good years!

I believe those snowflakes were made of fiberglass, but not completely sure. I remember there was one spot in that room where you got close enough that you could reach out and touch one of them.....and people did! That spot that everyone touched was smoother than the rest of the snowflake, and also a little discolored.

I went to the park a lot in 1985, so I have a bunch of those tickets from other visits that year, but that one is specific to this particular date. Funny thing, out of all the trips I made to the park that year, I never won a prize. All of the items I posted here were from my personal visits, with the exception of the "I'm A Winner" button. I acquired that just a few years ago. So all the other tickets I have also say, "Sorry No Win."

My camera DID get a workout in Hawaii! And I continued to use that camera for years and took a lot more DL pics. I'll have to start posting more of those 35mm DL photos. I think most of what I have posted so far have either been "more recent" pics taken with my digital camera, or pics taken with mine or my brother's Instamatic cameras.

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I remember those roof extensions on vans! You are right, that's what it looks like in that parking lot photo.

I meant to point out that you can see the sign for Chao's in that same photo. I wish I had eaten there at some point, before it was torn down. I have always been curious about what the interior of the restaurant was like. I wonder if there are any pics out there on the internet? I'll have to do a search!

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, thank you....I'm glad you enjoyed this post! The statement about flash photography not being allowed inside any of the attractions except for IASW, was in the very back of the DL guide and under "Photo Tips." That statement was in all of the 1981 guides (but it might in the guides for a few other years, as well). I'm guessing that it was allowed in that one attraction, since the lighting was already so bright in there.

I also like taking flash pics in dark rides, IF I am the only one in the car, or if I am with someone who doesn't care if I use a flash. Unfortunately, in the past, I have also taken them (on occasion) when riding on other types of rides, where it was visible to other guests. I know, that is pretty rude! I guess it might be the equivalent of the people today, who go on Pirates of the Caribbean, or the Haunted Mansion, with their cell phones turned on and lit up bright, through the entire ride. Actually, that might be worse. And I have never and would never, do THAT!

That's a hoot about your teacher mentioning ATIS! I can understand why she might have been amazed that you knew about it!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I knew that I did not want a camera that I would have to set the "F stops" and the "aperture".....I think that's the right terminology, if I'm remembering correctly from my high school photography class. Again, those celebs on TV, advertising 35mm cameras that you could just "point and shoot," really sold me on the idea. I remember spending $145 on a camera was a HECK of a lot of money for me at the time. I had just turned 20, and was only making $5.35 an hour at my job at Knott's. But I had always loved taking photos, and it really was worth it to me to "upgrade" my camera at this time. I never regretted it.

Some time in the 1990s, I replaced this camera with another 35mm Cannon "automatic" one. It was much lighter in weight and took just as good a picture. I got it at Costco with a "coupon" and I want to say that I paid less for it than I did that first one.....but not sure. I wonder if I still have the receipt for that one?

Airplay, Gazelle, and Krash, were all bands that would play on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage. They were sort of the 1980s versions of The Entertainment Committee, The Better Half, and the Cement, Rock & Gravel Co.

I want an ATIS molecule hanging in my bedroom! I wonder if that guy had to "sneak" it off of the property, even though he did find it in the dumpster.

I'm looking forward to Lou's pics of the GM cars. I think I deliberately composed that picture, so that the GM cars would not be in it. But now, all these years later, I wish I hadn't done that!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I forgot to mention that yes, these are scans of prints. I do have the original negatives, and would probably get a better result from scanning those. I just need to get a good scanner for negatives and slides. I still have a ton of slides that my dad took, but my scanner is old and I have not been happy with it's slide scanning results for a while now.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major (again!), I also forgot to answer your question about the entertainment guide for that day. I usually grabbed one during every visit to the park, so it is odd that I didn't take one that day. Again, I was there just for a quick visit to test out my new camera, so my focus (no pun intended) might have been elsewhere. The other thing is that February 20, 1985 was a Wednesday, and in the off season. The information in the entertainment guide that day, would have been very minimal and would not have included all that weekend entertainment, like the nighttime shows and bands. Also, the "American Gazette Parade" would not have been running on a weekday.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I'm glad you liked the photos! I wish I had taken more during that trip, but it was just an opportunity to "test" my new camera. I wish I had specifically taken some more pics of the ATIS exit area and even the loading area, too.

I haven't posted any of my Hawaii photos on my blog. I might get around to doing that at some point, but I don't know how much of an interest there would be. I guess since they were taken in the eighties, they would be considered vintage now.

See you tonight at that 8:30 "Polynesian Revue" dinner show! ;-)

K. Martinez said...

Can't believe I missed this post. Great stuff here, TM! I LOVE the ATIS photos. I especially love the snowflake pic.

Your IASW photos are pretty damn good here. Did you take a bunch more? Of course back then you had to pay for photo development unlike today's digital cameras.

I get a kick out of your title "A Vintage Disneyland Report". I divide Disneyland into two periods. 1955-1984 and 1985-current. Of course some of those Disney Afternoon TV shows and Golden Girls are considered classic now. Blah, blah, blah. I'm all over the place today.

1985 was the year I started falling out of love with Disneyland in the sense of thinking of it as the perfect theme park. I still enjoyed it greatly, but it was quickly changing and no longer the park of my youth and with the arrival of Eisner the place took on a different vibe all together. I loved the place again when Iger came on board, but not so enamored since the addition of Star Wars. Oh well. There's always Knott's Berry Farm. ;-)

Anyway, thanks much for the post, TM! They always bring a smile to my face.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, no worries....the post has only been up for a week! Thanks for checking in. I'm glad to hear that you LOVE my ATIS photos!

I wish I had taken more pics of ATIS, both inside and out, but that is all that I have. However, I did take a lot of photos of Tomorrowland, before they completely destroyed the rest of it. I will have to start posting some of those photos!

I pretty much divide the Disneyland eras the same as you do. For me, 1985 doesn't seem really seem too "vintage" yet. I just use the word "vintage" for the post, to put it in the same category as my other "older" trip report posts (as opposed to any "newer" trip reports that I have done.) I think I have done more "vintage" ones, because it is more fun for me to recall an earlier trip to the park, and include the old tickets, guides, souvenirs, etc. I also feel like I should document those older trips, while I still have the detailed memories of them!

I started "falling out of love" with Disneyland in the late eighties, but then they really lost me in the nineties when they began their mass destruction of the park (getting rid of the Skyway, the Electrical Parade, the PeopleMover, the CircleVision theater, the Submarine Voyage, and on and on and on.) The "nail in the coffin" for me was destroying a huge chunk of Frontierland, just for "Wookie World."

Like you said, there is always Knott's Berry Farm! :-)