Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nixon and Disneyland, Part 3

Early on in Nixon's presidency, it seems the cast of The Golden Horseshoe Revue performed at the White House Correspondents dinner. From the April 25, 1969 Disneyland Line:
On Saturday, May 3, Disneyland's own Golden Horseshoe Revue will present a command performance for the White House Correspondents Association in Washington, D.C. This is an annual event hosted by the world-wide press, radio, and TV media assigned to the White House; it honors the President, the Cabinet, Supreme Court, and the Senate. Sing it to 'em, gang!

10 Years Ago Today

The Moonliner arrived at Disneyland (early in the morning), trucked down Main Street... arrive in Tomorrowland and have finishing touches put on it before the big lift-off.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Eddie Meck Anecdote

Following up on last week's post about Eddie Meck, here's a fun story from a Don W. Martin column in the Oxnard Press-Courier, May 30, 1964:
Every now and then, these publicity fellows come up with a Funny.

Like Eddie Meck, for instance.

Eddie is charged with the responsibility of telling the world of the glories and grandeurs of Disneyland. Recently, I got a letter from Eddie, informing me that I had been named as an honorary member of the Big Band Boosters Club.

As a member, the letter said, I would receive--absolutely free--my very own 14-piece band.

Today, I received another letter from Eddie. I opened the piece of mail, and a small envelope fell out. These words were printed on the envelope: "Here is your 14-piece band!"

The envelope contained a rubber band, chopped into 14 pieces.

* * *

Actually, Eddie was attempting to promote "Disneyland After Dark," a series of five nights, June 13-17, in which five of the nation's leading bands will appear.

These are Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Wayne King, Count Basie and the Elliott Brothers. All bands will be there each of the five nights. The bands will be playing throughout the park during these evening stomp sessions.

Also, June 13 will mark the return of "Fantasy in the Sky," a fireworks display that begins with the flight of that Tinker Bell chick above Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

As I said, the band gimmick was designed to promote this "Disneyland After Dark" thing. Apparently, it worked.
Simple, but effective! I had always known about the 1962 television special "Disneyland After Dark," but in doing this research I've found that it was also used as the name for a specific event and as an umbrella term for nighttime entertainment throughout the summer (in several years, I think).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lost & Found Tally

Sometimes, when things were slow at the Resort, I'd keep a tally of one thing or another. Before Lost & Founds of the two Parks were combined at the old Package Pick-Up Window, Disney's California Adventure had its own Lost & Found, near the entrance, adjacent to the Guest Relations Lobby. This was very frequently a slow location, as my tally below for April 8, 2001, indicates. These numbers are from an eight-hour shift, but do not account for any Guests (if there were any!) during my breaks or lunch.

The first thing I kept track of was how many Guests actually wanted Lost & Found, versus how many really wanted services offered by the Guest Relations Lobby. (It seems the stylized location signs above the doors didn't attract the attention of Guests, who would just go to whichever location looked the least busy.) A grand total of 18 Guests came into Lost & Found with questions actually for us... and 22 came in who actually wanted the Guest Relations Lobby.

This is an hour-by-hour breakdown of all the Guests:

8 AM: 5
9 AM: 7
10 AM: 10
11 AM: 0 (yes, 0)
12 PM: 5
1 PM: 5
2 PM: 3
3 PM: 4

(I realize these two totals differ by one person, and I have no explanation for that). The thing I most remember about my days in DCA Lost & Found is spending a bunch of time reading the writings of then-executive vice president of Walt Disney World Lee Cockerell on the intranet.

Alpine Gardens

In response to Major Pepperidge's recent post on the Alpine Gardens area, here are a few shots of the souvenir stand that was there from an unknown date until August 24, 1997. I have a receipt from its final day of operation somewhere; I believe I purchased Candy Sours.

I do not have any photos of the actual demolition of the stand, but I do have a thrilling image of the area as dirt!

Ariel's Grotto opened in this location circa December 1997.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Know Your Foods Supervisors!

One of the things Disneyland fans know the least about, in my opinion, is how Disneyland operates (in its entirety) and how the organization is structured. Van France's Window on Main Street circles around this, but his experience was atypical, mostly focused on training and communication. I therefore relish any organizational information I can find, such as how the functions of operating the theme park are and have been divided, and who occupied what roles through the years. While such information isn't readily available, I know that it's out there--and I plan to gather quite a bit of it.

The following organizational chart, of the Foods Division from Summer-Fall 1972, is one small piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, a few corners are missing. I assume the crossed out faces are people who left the division, Park, or company by some point. I haven't a clue about the pink marker; perhaps these were extraordinary Cast Members? Or ones to watch out for? Or they were found scheming to take over the division? Give me your best guess in the comments! And can you spot the Disney Legend?

Travelport Destruction

I never did spend too much time at the Disneyland Hotel. I lived in Southern California and if I was going to Disneyland, I was going to Disneyland (Park)! One of my few Disneyland Hotel memories was going there on a Saturday afternoon to buy Mighty Ducks merchandise on the first day it was available. (I still have the hat.) I only dined at the Monorail Cafe once, about a month before it closed. I did take a number of photos of destruction of the Travelport, though; here are a "select few" of that. The first batch is from September 7, 1999.

September 19:

September 30:

October 11:

Hey, a photo of the parking structure! And the Pinocchio lot! I hope it's OK to post...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Tomorrowland Demolition

We're back next to the Mary Blair mural today, seeing a few shots of the Circle-Vision entrance through time...

It sure is magical, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disneyland Park

Despite the blog's title, I haven't discussed too much nomenclature (yet!). Partly this is because I'd like to use a lot of sources to talk about name changes through time, inconsistencies in naming, or what have you. The source base I've gotten through so far is broad, but not yet terribly deep. Nevertheless, I'll still try to address nomenclature from time to time. Today, we'll start at the top!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Disneyland is not an approved term in my thesaurus. One function of a thesaurus is disambiguation, and since Disneyland can refer to several things, Disneyland exists as a lead-in to more descriptive terms: Disneyland (television), Disneyland Park, and Disneyland Resort.

I remember when I first heard sustained use of Disneyland Park in the late 1990s. It certainly left a bad taste in my mouth! I remember a February 1999 thread from alt.disney.disneyland about this very topic. I didn't recall seeing Disneyland Park used much in earlier times, but for several reasons I now accept its utility (though Disney's California Adventure Park has never warmed my heart).

For starters, being able to distinguish Disneyland Park from the Disneyland Resort proved immensely helpful to me as a Guest Relations Cast Member. Especially in 2001, Guests would arrive and have no idea what was what. They might think "Disneyland" had just expanded and everything new was all part of "Disneyland." I don't know what they did after I explained that they were at the Disneyland Resort, and there were now two theme parks, including Disneyland Park. They might have gone off as confused as ever, but at least I knew I was as specific as possible. Perhaps a detail-oriented person in their group would recall that the nice man at the Information Booth had kept repeating "Disneyland Park." (I think I was also one of the few Cast Members that would never shorten "Disney's California Adventure," no matter how much of a mouthful that was to say.) So, it served as a useful point of distinction.

As I've been doing this thesaurus research, I've also found that it has historical precedent (though not terrifically strong) and was used even before Opening Day. But as Werner Weiss notes in that Usenet thread, and as I have found so far, Disneyland Park is used to differentiate the park from the Disneyland Hotel. The earliest source I've yet seen for this is a March 19, 1955 Los Angeles Times article about construction of the Disneyland Hotel, which is described as "adjoining the new Disneyland Park." The other early mentions I have in that vein are in the big souvenir newspaper insert a couple of days before Disneyland opened (when it's clear which Disneyland we're talking about, there's no reason to be verbose!) and the 1960 edition of "Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland."

It then seems to go into hibernation for a time; the next mention I've found (thanks to VintageDisneylandTickets) is the January 1993 guidebook. There are many mentions of just Disneyland, and the logo certainly has no "Park" attached to it, but some text has begun to refer to it as Disneyland Park. The references to it since then have increased in intensity. It now has a very specific legal usage (Disneyland is an adjective modifying Park) and always has the registration symbol. If the 1990s is indeed when this usage took off, I might have a source who can shed further light on this. I will, of course, pass along whatever I find.

One thing I can say conclusively is that it has always been known colloquially as "the Park." Newspapers, guidebooks, Disneylanders (both people and the publication) and other sources refer to it that way. It is still used in conversation today. Sometimes I'll say "I'm going to the Park" when I'll be visiting Downtown Disney or Disney's California Adventure as well, but I'd never use "the Park" to refer to that other park! The use of "the Park" is certainly strong amongst Cast Members and Annual Passholders; heck, I even had a co-worker here in Maryland ask me something about the Park (well, maybe "the park"), and he's never even been there!

Does anybody out there have feelings one way or the other on the use of Disneyland Park? Do you talk about "the Park" with your friends? Is there anything like this in Walt Disney World, or do people refer to the parks by some variant of their proper names?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Edward T. Meck Window

This is a neat bit of trivia I just found out this week. Above the China Closet sits a window which reads "The Disneyland News / Edward T. Meck / Editor in Chief."

Meck headed up the Disneyland Publicity Department beginning a couple months before the Park opened and continuing in that capacity until his retirement in December 1972. (You can read more about him on the Disney Legends page.) He had a grand bash upon his retirement that included the Disneyland Band, a bunch of Disney characters, and over three hundred others. At that ceremony, he was presented with a model of his Main Street window, just as honorees today receive a replica.

But his (and this is the trivia part) was the first window added since the Park's opening! I'd always wondered about the chronology of the windows, and this is an important piece of that. I also learned that Meck's son worked at Disneyland, too. As of several years ago, he was an hourly in Resort Transportation and Parking, after retirement from his career.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Photo Disneyland Doesn't Want You to See

After returning from a successful thesaurus networking trip (perhaps the first time such words were ever uttered), I'm still trying to catch up on, well, everything. The following photograph was taken Thursday morning in the Pinocchio parking lot. After parking in the structure (which I always do with much regret), I planned to walk to Downtown Disney. I snapped a couple photos of the Pinocchio lot from the structure itself, then one of the structure from the lot, and then this one of the parking marker.

At the time I marveled that these were now ten years old--and I remember parking in the lot when it was brand new. Just as I took this photo, however, a Security Cast Member in a patrol unit approached me (well, he stopped a ways away and shouted through a rolled-down window) and told me photography was not permitted there. Since that statement didn't make any sense, my first reaction was to question why that was. As I evaluated the possible responses, I thought "security" or "because I said so" would be what I'd get, so I complied and continued walking. I brought this up to appropriate people, who agreed there is no blanket prohibition of photography there. I wonder what secrets are hidden in this Pinocchio sign that are waiting to be discovered?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Do you want to be a BMOD? Do you? This advertisement, from the April 26, 1958 Los Angeles Times, helpfully describes the steps required to be that Big Man on Dates. Oddly enough, it revolves around Disneyland! Even more oddly, it uses DateNite rather than Date Nite. Perhaps created by a rogue marketing Cast Member?

At any rate, I'm happy to throw in "a buck for hamburgers and cokes" to be home free!

Friday, April 18, 2008

You Might Have Parked Here

OK, show of hands: How many of you out there have a piece of the old parking lot? Above is my own sample, obtained personally in early summer 1997. At that time, most of the original parking lot remained open, but they had closed off Alice and Bambi (and perhaps a couple others?) to begin construction of the East Esplanade. I was with a sister and a friend; when we arrived I had us go over and take a look. There wasn't much to see through the green screen on the fence, but I did note several pieces of the parking lot. Of course, it would be silly to walk around Disneyland with a rock all day! But on our way out, I did pick up the biggest piece I could find.

But we had a problem: we hadn't the faintest idea where we parked. Well, we had a vague idea... maybe somewhere near the center, on the western side. We wandered around for at least fifteen minutes. I don't know that we had any particular strategy--just moseying 'round and 'round. When it felt like our search was futile, we finally spotted it in the next row over! Our journey its direction coincided with the arrival of Security. If you can believe this, they wanted to know what we teenagers were doing wandering around the parking lot with a giant rock! Well! I'm not sure the Security Officer entirely "bought" that I just wanted a piece of the parking lot. I think our saving grace was actually locating our car. He might have been satisfied with us driving off, whereas if we continued wandering, I might have had to forsake my souvenir.

But the post wouldn't be complete without a few shots of the destruction that made my traumatic experience possible. I'm unsure of the exact date of this photo, but it was taken around the time of my story:

I got my license on January 20, 1998. Two days later, they closed the parking lot!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Number Two!

Here's a bit of a treat (or maybe a letdown once you actually read through it...): Volume 1, Number 2 of the Disneyland Line, April 11, 1969. I'll only point out how obviously the Cast was like a family; the departure, marriage, and birth announcements feel like they should be in a small-town newspaper. If anybody has Vol. 1, No. 1, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Khrushchev at Disneyland (or Not)

This may warrant a fuller post when I have time to do more digging. I've recently begun to explore Disneyland at the National Archives and last Wednesday had the sudden realization that there must be a lot of material on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's September 1959 visit to the United States. We Disneyland fans remember his non-visit to Disneyland (on September 19), but he had a full plate of activities across the country, including New York, Washington, D.C., and even Iowa. The State Department coordinated his visit with Soviet officials. Within Record Group 59 (General Records of the Department of State), I've managed to locate a fair amount of material on his visit in general, but not as much on the Disneyland visit as I would have liked. But, I still have some leads to trace.

In the meantime, you can lunch on this excerpt from a confidential "Summary of Planning for the Khrushchev Tour." The report itself is undated, but is attached to a memorandum from September 25, 1959. The following comes from the final pages (6 and 7) of the report:

Items Eliminated by Mutual Agreement

Texas (ranches and oil industry)
Oklahoma City (agricultural fair)
Auto trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Among the items that were eliminated from the Los Angeles program were a visit to the community of Anaheim and to Disneyland. The visit to Anaheim, which is an extremely rapid growing community, was first suggested to Ambassador Menshikov on August 21. The basis of this suggestion was on invitation from the City Manager of Anaheim [Keith Murdoch] dated August 7, 1959. In that invitation the City Manager suggested that Mr. Khrushchev would be very much interested in the awe-inspiring sights of Disneyland, which is located close to the community of Anaheim.

This item was retained on the tentative program until approximately the first week in September. It was eliminated following a survey of Disneyland made by security agents of both the Department of State and the Soviet Government. After returning from their survey of Los Angeles, Soveit security agents Zakharov and Bardin commented in a conversation with Protocol officers of the Department of State that Soviet security requirements precluded a visit to Disneyland by Mr. Khrushchev.

Two reasons led to the recommendation that Disneyland be eliminated. First, since the visit was to take place on a Saturday, extraordinary security problems would be involved. However, it was the judgment of the security officers that the security problems were not insurmountable. Nevertheless, this question, in conjunction with the time factor, strengthened their recommendation. It was estimated that it would take approximately an hour and a half to two hours to travel from the luncheon at 20th Century-Fox to Disneyland and return to the hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Because of the shortness of time, the inclusion of this item would have left little time to visit Disneyland, let alone inspect a housing development in the community of Anaheim. For these reasons, Disneyland was quietly dropped from the tentative program by mutual agreement on both sides. The Department has no record that Ambassador Menshikov registered any complaints regarding the elimination of this item.

Other accounts of his visit cite the involvment of the Los Angeles Police Department, but there's no hint of them in this report.

On the day that his visit might have occurred, Khrushchev apparently blew up in anger when he found out he couldn't go. Either he was grossly ill-informed over his travel schedule, or it was all an act. But it may also have been that he didn't really want to be in LA. Internal State Department conversations indicate that, of San Francisco or LA, Khrushchev strongly preferred San Francisco. He didn't have any desire to visit Hollywood, which he found unrepresentative of America!

I'd really love to find the records of the State Department office that coordinated the security--and especially find a written report on security at Disneyland. The recent post at Miscellainey reminds me that there could be other interesting State Department records related to Walt Disney. I'll share my discoveries, whatever they may be, here in the future!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tomorrowland Autopia Demolition

Do you remember where you were on September 6, 1999? Yeah, I think we all do. I spent my day riding the Tomorrowland Autopia on its final day. I don't have many good demolition photos, but I'll try to cover that up with some nifty panoramas I made back in July and September 1999:

Immediately after closing the attraction, Disneyland boxed up the Cast Members for sale on eBay. In their haste, they left behind this jacket:

The cars took it upon themselves to offer the attraction a farewell salute...

...before they were driven over Backstage, to be boxed up and sold on eBay.

By September 24, without regular maintenance, nature began to reclaim the Autopia area:

Before Disney struck a deal with Caterpillar for Bountiful Valley Farm, they obviously investigated a tractor ride around Tomorrowland:

And one more panorama, from October 11: