Friday, January 12, 2024

A Vintage Disneyland Trip Report - January 1994

Thirty years ago this month, I visited Disneyland with some very good friends.  This was a time when I was "in between" having annual passes.  In the early nineties, I was only going to the park about once a year, and at this particular time, it had been even a little longer than that between visits.

For this vintage trip report, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start......

As we pulled up to the toll booth of the old Disneyland parking lot, we were handed this ticket.  Of course, it was after paying the $12 fee.  And that was for "up close" preferred parking.  I believe the regular parking was $6 at that time, so "preferred" parking was twice the price.  I'm not sure why we paid the extra money at the time.  It must have been at the insistence of one of my friends.

This bright yellow card was placed under the windshield wiper of our car.  It acted as sort of a "flag" for the parking lot employees, indicating that we needed to be directed to the "preferred parking" section.  I wonder why an "X" was drawn over the image of Mickey in his car?   Was that some type of parking lot "code," or did someone just not care for Mickey?

We were also handed this flyer, which listed admission prices, entertainment showtimes, and some parking information:

Wow, only $30 for a day at Disneyland (Adult).  And only $24 for seniors.  Does Disney still offer a senior discount?  Does Disney offer any kind of discounts anymore?

When purchasing our admission tickets (I was not able to locate my ticket for this post, for some reason), we were given this guidebook.  Now, I do realize that this one has "1993" on the cover, but it is the one that we were given for our January 1994 visit.  It even shows up in some of the photos we took that day.  The only reason that I can come up with for this is, since this was the "Eisner & Pressler Super Cheap Cost-Cutting Era®" for Disneyland, maybe they wanted all of the old guidebooks to be used up before handing out the new ones for 1994?  It still seems odd though, because Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin isn't listed in this guide, and it had just opened to the public.

At this point, we had just entered the park.  Hooray for Main Street, U.S.A.!   Hey, is that E.J.Peaker and the Osmonds on the upper level of the Omnibus?  I know, I know.....that line gets old!  But I can't help it.  I absolutely LOVE that particular episode of The Wonderful World of Disney.

Toontown had opened just twelve months earlier, but I had not seen it yet.  And Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin had opened just four days earlier (on January 26, 1994), so we headed over there first.....making just a quick stop to snap some pictures of the new (to me) "Easter" paint job on the It's A Small World facade.  Note the fairly new commemorative plaque in the flowerbed, explaining the history of the attraction, and how it had originally debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair.  The leaping dolphin-shaped topiaries had not yet been placed on either side of the plaque.

A few of the pictures in this post were taken by one of my friends, and this is one example.  I remember he really liked the whimsical columns on the Small World Toy Shop.  Personally, I've never liked the structure, mainly because it interferes with the full view of the attraction's facade.  Now, if it had been built completely off to the side of the attraction, I think I would have liked it a little bit better.

We are now entering Toontown, and a sign just inside the entrance is telling us that the wait for the new Roger Rabbit ride is 45 minutes.  That's not too bad, considering the ride just opened four days ago.  We will wait the 45 minutes!

We're in line, and we've moved a little further into the land.  Note the dalmatian puppy in the second story window of the Toontown Fire Department.  He pops up and barks, whenever someone pushes the doorbell to the firehouse.  And that yellow "Five and Dime" building is now gone and has been replaced with the "El Capitoon Theater," which serves as the entrance to the park's newest attraction, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.  Also note in both the picture above and the one below, how bare and open the whole area is.  The new trees were so small at the time.

We're getting a little closer!  Now the dalmatian puppy is hiding!  We can only see his two front paws on the windowsill.

A few inches the firehouse, anyway.

Now the Roger Rabbit "ride" is in view.  Those tracks in the foreground were for the Jolly Trolley, a ride that opened with Toontown one year earlier, and closed only ten years later (in 2003).  The tracks remained in place for almost another 20 years.  However, the PeopleMover tracks hold the record for that, since they are still standing (or rather, their support beams are), after that attraction's closure, almost 30 years ago (1995).

We can see one of the Jolly Trolley vehicles, below.  It's partially obstructed by the people in the foreground.  And on the left, is a water fountain with Roger Rabbit in the center.  This fountain and all of the seating around it was removed in 2022, and replaced with........artificial grass.  Hey, guests had to have someplace to park their "SUV strollers"!

Okay, we are finally inside the building!  The ride vehicles are a new character called, "Lenny the Cab," and are modeled after "Benny the Cab" from the film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Now we are on board, and just leaving the loading area.

Entering the "Bullina China Shoppe":

Passing through the "Toontown Powerhouse":

"Falling down the stairs":

We are nearing the end of the ride now, when Jessica Rabbit has freed herself from her captors, the Weasels.  In December of 2021, a trench coat was put over Jessica Rabbit's body, to cover her shapely figure and exposed skin, which was totally corrupting the minds of America's youth.

Let's go ahead and take a look at the rest of Toontown, since this is our first time seeing it.

City Hall:

Goofy's Gas Station:

And, Chip 'n' Dale's Treehouse.  There was also a "Chip 'n' Dales Acorn Pit" attraction, located in that structure on the far right.  It was basically your standard "ball crawl" attraction, but it closed in 1998, only five years after it opened.  Reportedly, children were doing repulsive things underneath the plastic "acorns."'s the same thing that children do in the caves on Tom Sawyer Island.  I really don't get it.  Why not just tell your parents that you "have to go," and let them take you to the proper place to do it?!?!

Well, we are done with Toontown for the day.  This next pic was also taken by my friend.   He always loved the golden elephant-themed finials, on top of the lampposts surrounding the "Dumbo Flying Elephants" attraction.

It's lunchtime at the Bengal Barbecue, in Adventureland.  That "Mickey" motif on the paper cups, napkins, and cardboard food carriers, was used in the park for many years.

Here's a closer look:

 The napkins:

This paper bag has the same pattern.  But now I can't remember which food locations put their food into paper bags.  Maybe they were only used as "doggie bags."

Now it's time for the "Aladdin's Royal Caravan" parade!  The legs of the men on this float moved forward and back, making it appear as if they were walking.

The two camels would turn their heads from side to side, and "spit" water from their mouths, into the crowds of people.

This parade also ran concurrently, at the Disney/MGM Studios park in Orlando.  The spitting camels from their parade eventually (in 2001) ended up as a permanent addition to the Magic Kingdom.  Today, they can be found alongside "The Magic Carpets of Aladdin" attraction, in Adventureland.

An onion-domed structure on one of the parade floats:

This float included a large inflatable version of Genie.

The base of the inflatable Genie float:

There were multiple versions of "Genie" featured throughout the parade.  This one was dressed as a drum major, and was leading a band of musicians.

Here is a pic of the last float in the parade, taken from a brochure.

It's time to make our way over to Tomorrowland.  Star Tours was only seven years old at this point.  Poor Rex has since been replaced by C-3PO, as the pilot for all of the Starspeeder vehicles.  Today, Rex can be found hanging out in the queue for the attraction, as well as in the Cantina, over in Wookie World.  Fun fact....Rex was voiced by Pee Wee Herman (actor, Paul Reubens).

Goofing around in the Magic Eye Theater, while waiting for Captain EO to begin:

On our way out of the park, we paused to do some shopping on Main Street.  This next picture was taken in the "Crystal Arcade" section of the Main Street Emporium.  I wish I had taken a picture of that mural, just to the right and out of frame.  The artwork was only there for a short time, and was sort of like a vintage advertisement for the Emporium.  There was a portrait of "Walter E. Disney" as the store's "proprietor," and other information like, "Nearly One City Block," and "Established 1855."  I've always wondered why it didn't remain on that back wall for very long.

Disneyland Paris has a much smaller version of the mural, in their Emporium.  Does anyone remember this existing in Anaheim's Main Street Emporium, for a brief period of time?

This picture was taken in the Candy Palace.  At one time, that room in the background was the "right rear wing" of the Penny Arcade.  I can't remember what year the Candy Palace expanded into that space, but this was still prior to the store taking over all of the Penny Arcade.  Note the heart-shaped boxes of candy on the shelves.  Valentine's Day was just two weeks away.

Speaking of the Penny Arcade, let's have Esmeralda tell our fortune.

None of her predictions came true!  I wonder if Esmeralda ever worked for the Psychic Friends Network?

Who remembers the "glass" elephant in the Penny Arcade?  This was something else that seemed to be there for only a short period of time.

The elephant reappeared years later in the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour, as seen in this pic from 2011:

And today, it sits on the roof of the Tropical Imports building (now, stroller parking), in Adventureland:

We'll stop at the Main Street Cinema, before leaving the park.  Steamboat Willie is playing inside, on a continuous loop!  And as of the first of this month, he is public domain and belongs to the world!  Do I smell a followup to last year's independent "Pooh" movie?  "Steamboat Willie: Blood and Money", anyone?

"Tillie" won't take our "A" Coupons.  She's totally unresponsive.  Maybe she's just tired.  I'm sure it was a long day, and now she's ready to clock out and go home for the night.

We'll stop at City Hall and get an extra Guidebook to take home.  One can always use an extra Disneyland Guidebook, right?  We'll also take one of these flyers, which has information about Annual Passes.  My next Disneyland visit was six months later (in July of 1994), and I did upgrade that day's admission ticket to an Annual Pass, and continued to renew that pass for several years.  I will also be doing a trip report about that July '94 visit, so stay tuned.

Oh, look....there's the Skyway.  Sadly, the Skyway would be removed before the end of the year (in November).

I can't remember the specific souvenirs I purchased on this trip.  However, I do remember many of the items I bought around this time.  So here is a Toontown pinback button, which I very likely could have purchased on this trip, or at least within this same time period of the mid-1990s.

I know that I saved one or more of the Disneyland shopping bags from this and other visits around this same time, but for the life of me, I could not find one!  Of course, I was able to find one from every other era.  Oh, well!  So, this image of one of the bags is borrowed from ebay.

And just for fun, here is a photo taken earlier in the month, on New Year's Day.  This was the Walt Disney Company's entry into the 1994 Tournament of Roses Parade.  The float featured Lenny (or Benny) the Cab.  After the parade, the floats are always driven to a park in Pasadena, and are left out on display for a few days.  However, this particular float broke down early on in the parade that year, and had to be towed the rest of the way down the parade route, as well as to the park.

For years now, I have made a point to acquire one of the Hallmark company's complimentary "Date Books."  I have always used them to document various events in my life.  It doesn't have to be a major event.  It can be something as simple as going to dinner with a friend, seeing a movie, or a Disneyland visit.  This 1994 Hallmark Date Book shows the entry for this visit to Disneyland on January 30th, as well as my trip to see the Rose Parade floats in Pasadena.  I just thought I would share this additional "record" of my Disneyland visit.  Of course, I had to "erase" some of the other things I did that month, before sharing it here!


Here is the 1993 Souvenir Guidebook we were given that day (even though we were already 30 days into 1994), in it's entirety.  Enjoy!


"No tickets are required on any attraction......."  It's interesting that they still thought it was necessary to state this, even though the individual ticket system was phased out 12 years earlier.

That lady aboard the Jungle Cruise looks just a little TOO excited!

Awww, the Mike Fink Keelboats were still operating!  (They closed 3 years later.)

The Casey Jr. Circus Train was "Open selected weekends and seasonal periods only"?  How odd!

Once again, "Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin" isn't listed here, because they were handing out these older guidebooks at the park entrance!

Wow, this Tomorrowland seems far more exciting than the current one.  I miss Circle-Vision!  And the PeopleMover!  And the Skyway!  And the Rocket Jets spinning high above Tomorrowland.

It looks like the Dancing Waters/Fantasy Waters show was still going strong (twice nightly!) over at the Disneyland Hotel.  And Disney was jumping onto the current "Country Western" music bandwagon, with their "Neon Cactus" venue, also over at the hotel.

Aladdin was released on video, just eleven months after it's initial release in theaters.

Bonkers was apparently an animated series that was shown on broadcast TV, as a part of The Disney Afternoon lineup.  According to Wikipedia, new episodes were produced from February of 1993, through November of 1993.

"Print film"?  What is that?  ;-)

I hope everyone enjoyed this vintage trip report, from 30 years ago!

****Post Update (03-26-24)****

I found one more item with that same "Mickey" motif.  This is a paper bag/sleeve which was used to hold large fresh baked cookies, sold at select quick-service food locations throughout the park.

The only variety of cookie that I ever purchased at the park was "chocolate chip," so I am kind of surprised that this doesn't have any chocolate or grease stains.  I suppose I wouldn't have saved it if it did.