This visit to Yesterland takes you back to the 1950s and 1960s. Perhaps you consider the early decades of the park to be its Golden Age, when everything at Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Anaheim was perfect.
 

Read the full YESTERLAND article HERE: Park Entrance

 
When you are done reading, please leave your comments below.

  • Fantastic article!

  • jcruise86

    Thanks, Werner! That was excellent! Although I’d love to time travel to Disneyland during the 50s, 60s, and 70s; I’d take the Disneyland Resort today over any other period and any other resort. I don’t want Tokyo’s lines and weather. Walt Disney World in 1976 or early 80s (with EPCOT) would be tempting.

    Questions for you:
    1. Have you written about the “Globe of Death” that was part of a circus promotion around 1983 (give or take two years, I think) where guys rode motorcycles upside-down in a metal globe on Main Street as part of a circus theme? That was the most out of place thing I’ve ever seen in a Disney park.
    2. Do you know the ratio of Walt Disney World applicants to the # hired in the 70s? I remember reading or hearing that they could be very picky and that this resulted in better cast members back then. Is this accurate?

    • FerretAfros

      Sounds like #1 is the State Fair Days promo that they ran in 1987 & 1988, with various things around the park, including ferris wheels in front of Main Street Station, in Big Thunder Ranch, and in the Hub (according the legend, the one in the Hub led WDI to design the Partners statue so that ‘mistake’ wouldn’t be made again). Billy Hill also got their start at the pig races at Big Thunder Ranch

      I’ve never heard about a Globe of Death as part of it, but it wouldn’t surprise me, since there were all sorts of things involved and I think the line up was slightly different for the 2nd year. Here are some photos of it:
      http://disneyonparole.blogspot.com/2010/06/disneyland-state-fair-1987.html

    • Marko50

      Don’t know about a “mistake”, but we went during the State Fair promotion and we loved it. Couldn’t tell you which year it was, though.

      And although I understand why you’d take the Disneyland of today over any other period, I’m assuming the crowds aren’t part of that equation.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I loved your article! I have to say since I lived during the 1960s that I never noticed the wire fencing. I would have to say that it still wouldn’t bother me because after all the outside of Disneyland was not important. It was the inside that I cared about. In fact we less ornate exterior only contrasted better with the ornate and magical interior.

  • hannibal8

    Loved the article, Werner. I have a good friend that always says, “Walt never would have done this.” He’s usually referring to some type of construction, a major ride being down for refurbishment, or even carts selling glow sticks. Obviously Walt loved his park, but there was always room for improvement.

  • Timekeeper

    I really like this image, I miss the trees that used to line up to the main entrance with the flowing banners showing off the new attractions at Disneyland. Trees really do add to barren concrete jungle like the old main entrance. Wish the same could be said for the current entrance plaza.

    -Timekeeper

    • Timekeeper

      It’s the 1998 photo with the trees. :3

      -Timekeeper

  • DarthSavage

    I remember in 1985, the Main Entrance mall walkway was used to showcase GM cars that were given away for the 30th Anniversary. Also, the left side of the mall was used for tram loading/unloading.

  • WDWfanBoston

    Back in the 60s, CaptainAction was daily sending telegrams to Disneyland complaining about the barbed wire chain link fence.

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN (STOP) PLEASE NOTE THAT WALT DISNEY WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED SUCH SHODDY WORKMANSHIP IN HIS PARKS (STOP) IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER UNIVERSAL STUDIOS WILL EVENTUALLY BUILD THEIR OWN PARK (STOP)

    • Disneymike

      And WDWfanBoston would be sending telegrams to Disneyland congratulating them on the
      fine work done on the barbed wire fence…..

      • WDWfanBoston

        Well done, sir.

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ And thus the barbed wire entrance was removed because of the heroic, Lutz-like efforts of Captain Action, who was then frozen, thawing out decades later to try and rescue Walt Disney World from over a decade without a new e-ticket attraction.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        I loved that whole, obnoxious exchange.

  • ScottG

    Great article.
    I don’t miss a lot of the old DL. The entire neighborhood was rather tacky looking and the run down hotels didn’t help either. DLR is certainly much more of a “resort” than it was in those days.

  • eicarr

    Thanks!!! The images of the old chain link fence are crazy. And the current fence looks a couple feet too low. To save over $200 admission, I’m surprised nobody’s impaired themselves trying to get over yet.

  • Algernon

    I prefer painted cement all over the park. Paving stones introduce detail to the ground (graphic weight) that draws the viewers eyes downward. The old painted cement created a more seamless, dreamlike world. I’d like to see the Main Street sidewalks become regular cement, too, just like in small town USA, not like Europe, as they are now. The place would be a lot brighter.

    Happily, any reader who wishes to visit past versions of Disneyland will be able to do so, surrounded by people of the period, once Virtual Reality arrives. The only question is, will brick and mortar theme parks survive when people can put on a set of immersive glasses and not only experience incredible sights and sounds, but visit (better) past versions of the parks? I’m going back to a version of Disneyland with the Skyway, Peoplemover, Carrousel of Progress, the old Submarine Voyage, old Swiss Treehouse, and the Main Street Electrical Parade. Everybody else can have Nemo, Tarzan’s Treehouse, and the Princess Meet and Greet. And I hope I will be able to delete Club 33 from my VR version.

  • twainrider

    Saving Mr. Banks was a great movie, but I was a bit disappointed with that scene when Walt brings Pamela Travers to the park, they made no effort to recreate what the entrance looked like back in 1961, and they just used the entrance as it is today. Back then, there was no central gate to drive through, as happened in the movie, also neither did they use CGI to recreate the original Mickey floral face which looks completely different that the one that’s been there for a long time now. Minor points I grant you, but I’d think there would have been ways to deal with that. My two cents.

    • Algernon

      I love absolute recreations!

  • Disneykin Kid

    Actually, I like the original Mickey floral better. I know it’s the black and white Mickey, but it’s cuter than the current one.

  • MickeysImagination

    Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be finished…even the fences will become more beautiful.”

    Okay maybe not an exact quote. I might have it a little out of context, 🙂

    -Justin

  • Larry Parker

    The entry area has been improved. But other areas of the park have been degraded: Starbucks(inornate, thick queue barriers/plain ceiling area in great contrast to other Main Street interiors)loss of the Penny Arcade(formerly listed as a Min Street Attraction), New Orleans Square exteriors of the Club 33 expansion lack the rick artistry of the rest of New Orleans Square, closing of the Court of Angels, food carts flood the park everywhere, and Tomorrowland has been neglected as well. Tomorrowland’s supposed upgrade years ago is universally regarded as a misfire. And the future doesn’t look bright: Current Disney Resort president Michael Colglazier has college degrees in industrial engineering and business-not exactly qualifying him to oversee positive changes in the park except for what will bring in more profit. We need someone who also has an appreciation for the beauty/artistry of the Disney legacy-not simply a bean-counter with a single-minded pursuit of profit. Eisner/Pressler began this emphasis on profit being paramount over all else. Current Disney CEO Iger was personally chosen by Eisner, although Iger seems less purely profit oriented than Eisner. Well, Iger will be replaced within several years, and perhaps Disney will get a CEO who appreciates the artistic genius legacy of Walt Disney.