Disneyland History Through Postcards – Walt Disney’s 100th Birthday

Written by Rick Wright. Posted in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features, Weekend Update

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Postcards-Opening-Image

Published on March 22, 2014 at 3:00 am with 6 Comments

One way we can learn about Disneyland history is by looking at the postcards that have been sold in the park through the years. Before his untimely passing in 2012, our friend Ken Eslick encouraged us to share his incredible collection of Disneyland postcards with our MiceChat readers. In his memory, we offer this series of postcards produced to commemorate Walt Disney’s 100th birthday which would have been celebrated on December 5, 2001. (Click the images to see a larger version.) ~~Rick

"While most projects had architects doing the designing, Walt Disney relied on his staff of motion picture designers. He envisioned his park as one big movie set, with forced perspective and transitions such as one might see in a movie."

“While most projects had architects doing the designing, Walt Disney relied on his staff of motion picture designers. He envisioned his park as one big movie set, with forced perspective and transitions such as one might see in a movie.”

July 17, 1955 was an exciting day for Walt Disney. After giving the dedication speech for Disneyland in Town Square, Walt presided over the opening of his theme park in a live television broadcast on ABC - the largest live telecast ever attempted. Here we see Walt rehearsing his speech prior to the opening, for which he changed into a suit.

“July 17, 1955 was an exciting day for Walt Disney. After giving the dedication speech for Disneyland in Town Square, Walt presided over the opening of his theme park in a live television broadcast on ABC – the largest live telecast ever attempted. Here we see Walt rehearsing his speech prior to the opening, for which he changed into a suit.”

Walt Disney was originally going to name his Disneyland castle after Snow White. But, by 1955 he was deep in the planning for an animated feature about Sleeping Beauty, so the castle name was changed to Sleeping Beauty Castle.

“Walt Disney was originally going to name his Disneyland castle after Snow White. But, by 1955 he was deep in the planning for an animated feature about Sleeping Beauty, so the castle name was changed to Sleeping Beauty Castle.”

"The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train was one of Walt Disney's favorite attractions in Frontierland. Here he surveys his version of the Painted Desert in 1957."

“The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train was one of Walt Disney’s favorite attractions in Frontierland. Here he surveys his version of the Painted Desert in 1957.”

"Walt Disney was always interested in improving his Disneyland park. Often he could be seen strolling through the various lands, noting where he could enhance landscaping, change the color of a building, or add a new attraction."

“Walt Disney was always interested in improving his Disneyland park. Often he could be seen strolling through the various lands, noting where he could enhance landscaping, change the color of a building, or add a new attraction.”

"Walt Disney was a train buff, and in the early 1950s had a miniature railroad around the backyard of his home. Thus, when he built Disneyland, he insisted that it have a train, and he got a big thrill riding in the locomotives."

“Walt Disney was a train buff, and in the early 1950s had a miniature railroad around the backyard of his home. Thus, when he built Disneyland, he insisted that it have a train, and he got a big thrill riding in the locomotives.”

"Walt Disney had wanted real animals in his Jungle Cruise at Disneyland park, but realized that they would be sleeping much of the day. So instead he created mechanical animals, forerunners of his eventual sophisticated Audio-Animatronics figures."

“Walt Disney had wanted real animals in his Jungle Cruise at Disneyland park, but realized that they would be sleeping much of the day. So instead he created mechanical animals, forerunners of his eventual sophisticated Audio-Animatronics figures.”

"Walt Disney introduced Audio-Animatronics to Disneyland with the Enchanted Tiki Room in 1963. Audiences were amazed at the talking and singing birds, flowers, and tiki gods."

“Walt Disney introduced Audio-Animatronics to Disneyland with the Enchanted Tiki Room in 1963. Audiences were amazed at the talking and singing birds, flowers, and tiki gods.”

"The stage coach for Disneyland was built at the Walt Disney Studio in Burbank, California, and here Walt Disney takes it for a spin around the Studio lot to the surprise and amusement of his staff. A stage coach ride would be one of the highlights of Frontierland, where it remained for four years."

“The stage coach for Disneyland was built at the Walt Disney Studio in Burbank, California, and here Walt Disney takes it for a spin around the Studio lot to the surprise and amusement of his staff. A stage coach ride would be one of the highlights of Frontierland, where it remained for four years.”

"Before Disneyland was completed, Walt Disney acquired some livestock for the park, stabling the horses at the Disney Studio in Burbank. He had always been intrigued by stories of America's frontiersman and cowboys, and felt that real horses and mules would add much to the atmosphere of his Frontierland."

“Before Disneyland was completed, Walt Disney acquired some livestock for the park, stabling the horses at the Disney Studio in Burbank. He had always been intrigued by stories of America’s frontiersman and cowboys, and felt that real horses and mules would add much to the atmosphere of his Frontierland.”

About Rick Wright

Rick has been a long term MiceChat author and co-founder of the Weekend Update. You will often find Rick in the position of "Greeter" at official events due to his warm and welcoming spirit. If you've got photos, news or trip reports to share, Rick would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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  • Larry Parker

    Stunning genius creativity blended with high morals/ family values-Walt was incredible! A Disney Company challenge will be to maintain Walt’s vision rather than descending to crass greed and fashionable low morals-which unfortunately occasionally still show its ugly head. Worst in this regard is former CEO Eisner, and less so by his chosen successor Iger. There’s much room for reinvigoration of Walt’s vision of quality first/profit second. Too often even now, those priorities have been reversed.(i.e. Penny Arcade(formerly a Main Street attraction)now primarily a candy store, cost-cutting uncomfortable seating on the Storyland boats(seats used to be padded). Starbucks on Main Street looking much like any Starbucks to be found anywhere with excessive and ugly queues, vendor carts flooding the park detracting from it’s scenic beauty, Winnie the Pooh attraction being a slur on Disney attraction quality(Bug’s Land rides in California Adventure being even worse)and unfortunately this list could continue. For those of us who admire Walt’s genius, it’s up to us to let Disney Corporate know when profit becomes obsessive over quality. Otherwise, plan on greed becoming increasingly evident in park quality as the future unfolds-unfortunately..

  • Concieved@DL

    No Soap Box here. Wonderful cards and captions. As for the first comment. I agree with a lot of what you said. Cost cutting procedures are hurting the Disneyland I love. I also understand that if they did not do some of those unpopular cost cuttings, My Disneyland would not exist. A necessary evil in this case. As for the Starbucks in the parks. I don’t drink $5+ coffees and lattes, so it doesn’t effect me there. If Disney feels that having a Starbucks on Main Street is going to make them boo coo money. Let them have their toy. Walt said “Disneyland will never be finished”. What is here today may not be here tomorrow. There is so much that is good at the parks. Don’t dwell on the imperfect, enjoy the beauty and magic that this wonderful place.

  • jcruise86

    When did Disneyland postcards stop being 5 cents?

    If you’ve got some extra money and like Disneyland history and postcards, get the book “The Nickel Tour,” even if its over $100. Great book!

  • billyjobobb

    I love some of the old Jungle Cruise postcards shot before the jungle had a chance to fill in.

  • Polo33

    Thank you for sharing those are some photos I’ve never seen before absolutely fantastic and just so great to see how much of his personal touch will put into the park

  • Polo33

    Take 2 , this time without the typos.

    It’s just so wonderful to see these pictures of how much Walt Disney loved Disneyland !! I do think that Walts personal touch in the creation and development of Disneyland truly makes it that special place above and beyond all the other parks around the world