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In the Parks

7/14/08 - Monday in the Parks - News, Photos and Tips

Rating: 4 votes, 3.25 average.
by , 07-14-2008 at 04:52 AM
Good day, I think the title of this column will be a bit misleading this week, as we look at BOTH the Southern California Parks, but also a chance to step outside the box with a visit to the Orange County Fair and Dachshund Races in Huntington Beach.

A lot to get to, so lets get going...

Disneyland Park celebrates its 53rd Anniversary this week

OK, I know that some folks will not be happy with bringing up History, but we need to talk about this upcoming Thursday, July 17th AND Friday, July 18th.

As most folks know, Disneyland held an International Press Preview on Sunday, July 17th, 1955 and had one of the largest Live TV remotes at the time on ABC. The 90 minute TV show started at 4:30 PM Pacific Time, 7:30 PM Eastern, on ABC, which was perfect for Prime Time. This special event had Walt Disney and hosts like Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings and others showing off the new park.

But what most folks don't understand is that the park Officially opened on Monday, July 18th, 1955 at 10 AM.

David MacPherson, at the time a 22 year old College Student decided around Midnight to jump on his motorbike and be the first in line to be the first person to enter Disneyland on Opening Day. (Watching the ABC broadcast helped his decision). He got to the park around 1 AM, and the rest is history.

Our friends at got ahold of an official Disneyland Press Release from July, 1956 that talks about the First Anniversary of Disneyland.

This document clearly shows that Disneyland's Opening day was July 18th, 1955. Alas, around 1965, some Marketing person at Disneyland decided that July 17th was a better choice (Heck, in 1965, the 17th was a Saturday) because a plaque in Town Square had the date.

Most folks don't understand that the Dedication ceremony was held TWICE, once on Sunday afternoon around 4:30 PM for the ABC broadcast, and then a second time, at 1 PM on Monday the 18th for the official public opening. In fact, most of the photos of the Dedication are from the July 18th ceremony, as it was much easier to get the still cameras in the area and not interfere with the TV cameras and live remote.

So if you plan to visit Disneyland this week, enjoy your visit, and remember to celebrate BOTH July 17th and July 18th, as they are 2 very important days in Disneyland history.

In honor of the 53rd Anniversary, Disneyland will be holding a special ceremony at 4:45 PM on Thursday, July 17th in the Town Square of Main Street, U.S.A. This small ceremony will basically be a replaying of Walt Disney reading the Dedication, along with a few Characters.

Also, in honor of the 53rd anniversary, there will be 3 meets where folks can gather and meet other Disney fans. Both Thursday and Friday at Noon, I will be at the Central Plaza (aka Hub) in the inner circle near the Partners Statue (South west corner).

And then Thursday at 4 PM, at the south end of the Flag Pole area (near the Main Street, U.S.A. train station) to watch the 4:30 PM Flag Retreat, and then the 4:45 PM Dedication Ceremony. Please stop by and say Hi... No Cost or obligation!

Innoventions Dream Home - the House of TODAY, not Tomorrow....

The New York Times had an interesting article in yesterday's Sunday edition regarding the new "Innoventions Dream Home".

...because the Innoventions Dream Home, the latest in a long line of model dwellings aimed at telling us how we might live in years to come, turns out to be positively retrograde.
Make sure and read the entire 4 page article at the link.

Mark VII Monorail Red update

The new Mark VII Monorail Red is currently operating, but under some strict limitations.

The Air Scoops to help cool the new Mark VII Monorails

When the temperature gets around 80 degrees, it has to be taken offline. And even if it is under 80, the main trains are being restricted to just 15 people per main car (compared to the official capacity of 22 people). This does hurt the capacity of the Monorail system, as the Mark V Monorail Purple still operates (and without restrictions, basically 24 people per main car). But the requirement to limit the Mark VII to just 15 people is making the Monorail CM's work just a bit harder, and can cause some minor delays in dispatching the new Monorail.

The gap at the bottom of the Mark VII Monorail windows is only a couple of inches wide.

While the new Mark VII Monorail Blue is on property, they are not testing it that much to allow the Monorails to function as best as possible during the peak summer season. Expect to see the new Mark VII Blue in late August and September for official testing.

The Tail Cone of the new Mark VII Monorail Red

Would you like to volunteer for the Disneyland Half-Marathon

Sonya Smith at the Orange County Register has the details on how to volunteer to help out with the Half-Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, August 31st, 2008. (Yes, this is Labor Day weekend, and will make a busy weekend even busier). You can even get a free Disneyland ticket if you donate at least 12 hours of your time.

Castaway Cove opens up at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Anaheim

The new Water Play area at "HoJo's", which is located on Harbor Boulevard, basically across the street from Tomorrowland, opened last weekend.

This is a major addition, and makes HoJo's a true destination hotel in Anaheim. HoJo's has been known for having a great staff, nice large rooms, and a wonderful landscaped property.

Here are some of the details of the new area, provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel....

“Castaway Cove” area:
  • 30-foot Pirate Ship with two slides
  • Cargo-net climb
  • 300-Gallon Drench Bucket (dumps every seven minutes after the warning bell rings!)
  • Water Curtain & Water Umbrellas
  • Water Canons, two on the ship’s deck and two on the ground
  • Hot tub with 15-person capacity featuring additional back and foot jets
  • “Speedy’s Sprayground” toddler’s pool and fountain play area
  • Two outdoor showers
  • Restroom facilities

Operating hours: Castaway Cove area is open daily from 9AM until midnight. There is an attendant on duty while the ship is open. The ship-deck and slides will close at 7PM. Quiet time begins at 10PM when all other Castaway Cove water features will be shut off. Speedy’s Sprayground and the hot tub will remain open until the closing time of midnight.

The “Garden Pool” area:
  • Newly refurbished and expanded decking, adding more square footage for sun bathing
  • The deep end was raised to five feet to provide more usable space in the pool. Keep in mind our pool and deck space is double the size of the average pool in The Anaheim Resort and it is not located on a roof or in a parking lot!
  • Two outdoor showers
Operating hours: The Garden Pool is open daily from 9AM until 10PM.

Anheuser-Busch finalized plans to be
bought by InBev

Anheuser-Busch, the Beer company that makes Budweiser and many other brands, plus runs the "Worlds of Discovery" parks, including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and other locations looks to be purchased by InBev, which will create the world's largest Brewer.

News reports state that InBev is not interested in "secondary" businesses such as Theme Parks. But other big mergers, including NBC Universal has stated that they wanted to sell off the Theme Parks, but then decided to hold onto them due to the positive Cash Flow they create.

It is too early to tell what will happen to the "Worlds of Discovery" parks, but the unit just consolidated its offices from scattered locations, including the A-B main offices in St. Louis to Florida, so the division is ready to be separated. Here is hoping that they find a good home, as they have been run very well for 44 years (SeaWorld San Diego opened in 1964).

Knott's Berry Farm news

Brady MacDonald at the Los Angeles Times has a couple of interesting articles regarding the park.

First off, a good video of their new attraction, Pony Express.

Also, Brady has the list of all the new mazes for Knott's Halloween Haunt, which opens September 25th (aka Knott's Scary Farm).

MiceChat is planning a special Meet at Knott's Scary Farm on Saturday, September 27th. You can get more details at the following link.


Orange County Fair now open through August 3rd

The Orange County Fair opened Friday to large crowds (over 26,000 folks entered during the first hour, over 40,000 in the first 6 hours).

This is a Deep Fried White Castle Hamburger, amazingly good!

The big draw for opening weekend was the Maloof Money Cup, a major Skateboarding competition to be broadcast on CBS on a tape delayed basis. They built a special Skateboarding area (set) that costs over $300,000 and will be torn down today (to allow other events, such as the Demolition Derby) to be held in the Action Sports Arena.

The OC Fair has a bunch of specials, including a couple of days where you can enter for free with a donation, and $1 rides.

You can get the full info here...

Old World German Restaurant Grand Re-Opening

OK, its not a Theme Park or has rides (like the OC Fair), but it is a fun place to go, and is an excuse to post a few photos of some cute dogs! (and have a good German Dark Beer!)

They offered free food (a nice meal, either a Quarter of a Chicken or a large piece of Meatloaf) They had over 500 people claim their free meal in about 15 minutes of opening.

More info on Old World can be found here...

And the big winner of the races, Woody with his "family".

Selected Photos from

The backside fo the World of Disney Store is getting a new set of shingles.

Interesting to note, the first set of Disneyland "Tickets" did have the E Coupon longer than the rest (top of photo), even though most folks remember the "short" E Coupon version, which was used for the vast majority of the time the Coupon books were on sale.

Well, that should do it for this week, if you have a chance, please stop by the Hub on Thursday and/or Friday at Disneyland and say Hello! (and don't forget, there is always a Noon Meet at the Hub on Sunday's).

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Updated 07-14-2008 at 08:49 PM by In the Parks



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  1. danyoung's Avatar
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    Darkbeer, while I appreciate the updates, I don't agree wtih your years long campaign to change the date of DL's opening. I've heard all your arguments ad nauseum, and it just doesn't matter. The day that Walt was there reading the opening and Art Linkletter anchored the TV broadcast with 29 cameras - that's the opening date I'll always mark. And that date was July 17, 1955. I don't care that it was a special invite day, and I don't care that the first day the general public was admitted was the 18th. The 17th is the opening of the park, and always will be.
  2. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  3. In the Parks's Avatar
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    Dan, History is History, and the Historic Documents clearly show the correct Opening Date is July 18th, and also matches the official Opening Dates of all the other Disney Theme Parks, and that is the date that the Ticket Booths are first open to the General Public and allows them to buy a ticket for that day.

    If you (and anyone else) wants to celebrate on July 17th, great, it is also a Historic Day, as it was the famous ABC broadcast, which was an amazing accomplishment in itself.

    But it is very clear that Disneyland opened for the first time officially on July 18th, 1955 and is a day that should be celebrated.
  4. Disneyphenom's Avatar
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    It's interesting to see someone defending the fact that the 18th was the first actual day that regular guests could enter the Park. Although the 7/17/55 is a very important day, I agree with Darkbeer and think the first regular guests though the gate should be marked as the grand opening.

    With Disney's California Adventure, there was filming for specials prior to opening and also special event previews, yet we consider the first day that regular guests could purchase tickets, 2/8/01, as the opening day.

    I've chatted with Dave MacPherson... nice guy. It's a shame he couldn't make it out for the 50th anniversary celebration.
  5. disneyland255's Avatar
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    We did the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour and they asked when the park opened. I answered with the 18th and the Guide emphatically said, "No, it was July 17th." Unfortunately, I got my information from a forum here..... I guess no one will ever know the true opening date of the park. It's a mystery. Ha ha!

    Great update! Thank you!
  6. Darkbeer's Avatar
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    >>We did the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour and they asked when the park opened. I answered with the 18th and the Guide emphatically said, "No, it was July 17th." <<

    Too bad I wasn't part of the tour, I would have asked for the group to walk into the Opera House, and show them the first edition of the Disneyland Line on the wall (and is where I took the photos included in the update).

    Heck, Disneyland sold a special "1st Day Pin" for the 50th anniversary, guess they didn't get the memo from Guest Relations.....
  7. Wendygirl's Avatar
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    Great update as always.

    I appreciate your bringing the 18th as the "real" opening day to everyone's attention for personal reasons

    See you later this week!
  8. Club 33 Mike's Avatar
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    Good luck with getting the official date changed. You keep us all informed of how that works out for you. I get the feeling it will be a long drawn out process, but if it means that much to you, go for it.
  9. k_peek_2000's Avatar
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    I waz @ the Maloof Money Cup all day yesterday, it was sick! Until the end then it went to chaos which was also pretty sick!
  10. ttrocc7007's Avatar
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    What with the OC Fair opening, yesterday (7-13) was empty at Anaheim! A dream day in Disneyland. No need for Fastpasses, riding several attractions multiple times, no jostling for space in the reataurants. Heck, they even had tables open at the Blue Bayou for walk ins at 7:30. I ran into one Visions Fantastic guy at King Arthur's Carousel, but I have yet to meet any Mice Agers. I'll keep looking!
  11. RetroMousie's Avatar
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    Enjoyed the Update. Since you are never going to get people to change their celebration of the Disneyland opening to the 18th maybe you could work on the celebrating of the turn of the century on the wrong year, you might have better luck.
    Also, who in their right mind (and maybe I just hit the nail on the head) would eat a deep fried hamburger??!!?? Nasty.
  12. datman001's Avatar
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    I used to work in the Guest Relations Departement as a tour guide so I have tons of disney info. In regards to the opening date, what you have to consider is that opening day for a park is usually a press event day. So although July 18 was the first day it was consider to be open to the publicm July 17 is the official 1st day. Also what you have to consider is that on July 17, there was only suppose to be the media and a few invited guess. It actully turn out that the park was filled with several thousand people. (Also all the attractions were not working all the time and people shoes were sinking into Main Street due to the fact that the asphalt was fresh and it was really hot that day). It was a great day in disney history but it did not go as it was planned!
  13. Kidgenie's Avatar
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    I understand the arguements for both dates. And while the Disneyland line may have called july 17th, a preview day, that is not what the country saw on ABC television. It was shown as the Grand Opening of Disneyland, and it had all the events one would expect of a Grand Opening. The Dedication Ceremony, the lowering of the Drawbridge, the Christening of the Mark Twain. Those former two events I do not believe were duplicated on Monday July 18th, but not sure on that. But while the Disneyland Line says Preview, if you rewatch the telecast, the telecast just as clearly does not say preview. And this was seen by far more people then the Disneyland Line was. And I believe that is why the Company Officially recognizes July 17th as the opening date. It does admit July 17th was by invite only and July 18th was the first day open to the public, and to my memory, has always been pretty good about being clear on that. But in the end, the Walt Disney Company chooses July 17th 1955 as the official opening date. I suppose that is the company's right to make the decision, as they same time, its anyone else's right to try to convinced them otherwise.
  14. brassplayer's Avatar
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    If you're going to start splitting hairs with "Opening Dates" than I would like to humbly suggest July 13, 1955. Walt and Lillian's 30th Anniversary Celebration at The Golden Horseshoe and aboard The Mark Twain was one of the first times Disneyland actually hosted guests. However, the Railroad "Steam-Up" party probably predates that, but I'm too lazy to look it up.
  15. whamo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info on the Disneyland birthday! It's very special to me because I was there, at age 3, at the gate when it opened, with my father (RIP). I stayed at the Sheraton for 3 days before the SoCAL AP blackout summer period, and saw an old photograph of the park, back when orange groves were across the street. I was amazed to see what appeared to be the old family Buick, a two-tone cruiser, in the DL parking lot. For me, that was better than seeing the potato head talk, the Wall-E movie (overated, in my opinion, as the 2nd act is flat), or the Indiana Jones skit in Frontierland. I'll try to be there on the 17th. Since my dad was a sportswriter, and I was there for free, I'm not sure if we were there on the 17th or 18th.
  16. chicolito02's Avatar
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    So being the nit picky person I am just wanted to let you know that All the Theme parks under the Anhueser Busch company are not called the "Worlds Of Adventure" but are the "Worlds Of Discovery". The Adventure Parks tagline is pretty much being phased out now. I know it was a minor detail but just had to give you the FYI.
  17. whamo's Avatar
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    Oh, love the Dachies, too, by the way. I own two dachie "rescue" oldies, and love them. If someone wants a Dachie, see Dena Delgado in the OC (she was on animal planet), who devotes her life to rescuing dachies in dog pounds or abandoned by owners. Do an internet search to check out her dogs on her website.
  18. In the Parks's Avatar
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    OK, sorry for the name mix up regarding the A-B parks, fixed it.
  19. Lost Boy's Avatar
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    For me the 18th will always be the opening day. It was my birthday, and I was there that day. But since all the big celebrations are done on the 17th, I go that day just to be in, but sometimes I do go both days. Depends. This year I won't be able to go to either as the bookstore owner decided to take off for three days in Vegas and I have to work at the store. Friday I have to work at Life Alert. Seems sometimes that since I retired, I am working more and always on days that I never worked as I always got the day off.
  20. whamo's Avatar
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    Lost Boy,

    Too bad you can't make it. I would enjoy talking about opening day with someone else that was there. The only other person I've met that was there is a clerk in the AP room near the entrance. I'm wondering if my Disney dollars that I get with the credit card will cover the $39 fee for So Cal AP holders on that day, as I'm blacked out.
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