Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disneyland Statistics: Interesting Subject

"Hi, folks! It's a little quiet around here today. You see, during the winter, Disneyland is closed each Monday and Tuesday..."
- undated Main Gate announcement

It's been a little quiet around this blog, too, but I'm finally ready to announce why: in November Zauberreich Press will publish Jason's Disneyland Almanac, the first daily history of Disneyland. The contents of the publication won't surprise anybody with even a cursory familiarity with my blog: Park hours, weather, Walt-era attendance, openings, closings, debuts, endings, events, milestones and other noteworthy occurrences. I collaborated with Kevin Yee, with whom I previously co-authored the Disneyland trivia books Magic Quizdom: Disneylandia Minutiae Semper Abusrda and 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland: An Unauthorized Look at the Little Touches and Inside Jokes.

I've talked about many elements of the book in blog posts of days gone by. I've blogged about Park hours on more than one occasion. I blogged about my attempts to gather weather information shortly after I added that to the thesaurus. I've additionally blogged about the difficulties inherent in thesaurusing entertainment events. With that in mind, I wanted to give you readers some insight into the cover design and the preparation of the manuscript.

For many of you, the design will be instantly recognizable. However, I have at least two friends who have not seen the movies, so some explanation is in order. I always thought of this book as a companion to keep in your time traveling DeLorean. With the Park hours, the weather, and events, you could choose the perfect day to visit the Park. The cover design is, of course, very reminiscent of Grays Sports Almanac from Back to the Future Part II:

I imitated the design as much as possible while trying to stay true to what Jason's Disneyland Almanac actually contains. I regret that we still lack Park hours for 773 of the 20,257 days covered by the Almanac, but am very hopeful that these will be found before future versions are published.

For the place of the sports figures, we considered Disneyland icons, but that wouldn't quite match up with the contents of the Almanac. While each figure on the Grays cover represents a different sport found within, we would need to have some objects that represented Park hours, openings, and events. Instead we went with the style of Park Operating Calendars used from the 1960s at least through the 1980s. Here is an example of an authentic January-March 1982 Park Operating Calendar:

The four calendars on the cover are for Disneyland's opening, Kevin's birthday, my birthday, and the most recent time period covered by the Almanac. I spent a lot of time re-creating the look of the calendars in full for the cover, but they are mostly obscured in the final composite. Below are my original creations for the four Park Operating Calendars:

July-September 1955

January 1970-March 1970

January-March 1982

October 2010-December 2010

I considered creating these for every three-month period of the Park's history, but then came to my senses.

I also wanted to share some samples from the book, so you know just what to expect. After a few pages of explanation of how the material for the book was assembled and how you should evaluate the information, there are 317 pages of daily Disneyland history. Below are three two-page spreads, chronologically scattered. The first covers the time around the opening of Disneyland '59:

The beginning of celebrations for Disneyland's 25th Anniversary:

And the opening of Disney's California Adventure in 2001:

Now, if you've been paying attention, you might notice that the Almanac includes attendance data for 1955-1966. Amazingly, the Anaheim Heritage Center at the MUZEO has in its collection Roy O. Disney's Disneyland Attendance Summary, July 18, 1955-December 31, 1966 binder. Not just daily attendance, it's a record of hourly attendance for most of this period. When matched up with the weather and other events, the attendance data provides a remarkable view of Disneyland in Walt's life (although two weeks, beginning February 28, 1965, and May 29, 1966, are missing from the binder).

The least-attended day in this period was a rainy January 20, 1962, when a mere 389 Guests showed up to experience a Disneyland that only opened for three hours that day (can you imagine?). There were, in fact, thirteen sub-1,000 visitor days in Walt's life, and quite a few days when the Park simply didn't open because of the rain. The high attendance during this time was July 4, 1964, when 60,917 visitors came to Disneyland.

I've had a lot of fun putting this book together, but I know it's only a start. We do not always have an exact date that an attraction opened or that a store closed. We have been as specific as our knowledge permits, but occasionally have had to indicate that something happened at the more general month or year level. This reflects the inherent uncertainty in trying to precisely reconstruct the past.

We are producing a limited edition of 150 hardbound copies (with dust jackets) and an unlimited run of softcover copies (sans dust jacket). Check back for further information on pricing and availability. And if there's a future Jason's Disneyland Almanac almanac keeper out there, the order for the hardcover edition of the book was submitted on September 29, 2011 at 2:46:57 PM, PDT.

12 comments:

Unknown said...

I feel obligated to rent the movie now. Right now.

Daniel the Adjutant said...

First, the Chartreuse...

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

This is so amazing! I gotta run to work, but I'll be dissecting this post all weekend, GO JASON!!!!

I want a personally autographed copy :-) (don't worry, I pay for it!)

Top Secret said...

I guess this means to stop digging! I can't wait to see the finished product.

I wonder if Bruce Gordon would have approved of the cover?

Major Pepperidge said...

Very cool news. I hope Biff does not get his hands on a copy, though.

A Snow White Sanctum said...

This looks truly awesome!

Matterhorn1959 said...

Can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Congrats Jason and Kevin.

TokyoMagic! said...

Congratulations, Jason! I like the cover....very clever. Can't wait to see this in person!

SundayNight said...

Gonna get one ASAP!

Disney Nametags and More said...

I will of course order a hardback copy!

Connie Moreno said...

Holy smokes, that sounds AMAZING! I'll spread the word!

Jeff said...

Your sample pages from 2001 answer a question I've had for 10 years: How cold was it the night before California Adventure opened on February 8, 2001? I knew was freezing at the base of the Matterhorn, but I imagined the temperature was in the mid 40s. Now that I see that it dropped to 38 degrees, I know why I was still cold when the sun came out!

Jeff Peterson
Escondido, California