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  1. #1

    • Disneyland Historian
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    Post History of Disneyland Entertainment

    The history of Disneyland attractions, stores, and restaurants is well documented and easily found online. Lately, however, I've been wondering about the history of Disneyland entertainment. While primitive versions of Mickey and the gang were present during the opening day broadcast of Disneyland, I recall hearing once that the scruffy appearances of these characters could be partly attributed to the fact that the costumes were designed to only be seen on television and that Walt did not have any plans on adding them to the park until guests demanded it. Is there any truth to this? Were characters added to Disneyland as an afterthought, or were they part of the master plan from the very beginning?

    I was thinking about many of the early shows and realized that much of the early entertainment was not based on Disney characters; even once they were added to the park, they seem to have originally only been found in Fantasyland. They have been spreading throughout the park ever since. Early Tomorrowland had its spacemen and jetpack man, early Frontierland had cowboys and Indians, and early Main Street had Trinidad the sweeper and gaslamp lighters as forms of atmosphere entertainment. Even the shows throughout the park were rarely Disney-based and had much more in common with the area's theme such as the Indian Dance Circle in the back of Frontierland and the Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland.

    Does anyone know of a moment when this policy started to change? There is definitely a transition present because pictures exist of Disney characters wearing land-specific costumes, such as space suits in Tomorrowland. Now, it's much more likely to see a generic Mickey park-wide and little non-Disney atmosphere characters.

    Finally, a daily parade is somewhat expected by guests at Disneyland now. I'm sure this wasn't always the case since the Opening Day parade ran only once and another parade was not prepared to run daily in early Disneyland. Does anyone know what the first daily parade was? I'm thinking it could have been the Mickey Mouse Club Circus.

    Any informations on any of this early history would be appreciated. I think it would fill in many gaps in my knowledge on the evolution of Disneyland entertainment throughout the years. Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    There has been a Parade every day that the park has been open sice opening day. As for people like the gaslamp lighters and Matterhorn climbers, budget cuts have had their way.
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  3. #3

    • Don't lets be silly! șoș
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    Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    Funny enough Entertainment has such a rich history with the Disneyland Resort. If you're ever lucky enough to find yourself on the third floor of TDA (or N-19), you can view Entertainments history via pictures on the walls. Starting form opening day, until Pixar Play Parade, and shows such as the Jedi Training Academy.

  4. #4

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    Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyMouse View Post
    Funny enough Entertainment has such a rich history with the Disneyland Resort. If you're ever lucky enough to find yourself on the third floor of TDA (or N-19), you can view Entertainments history via pictures on the walls. Starting form opening day, until Pixar Play Parade, and shows such as the Jedi Training Academy.
    So who do I have to pay off for that chance? Cause you can sign me up right now!

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  5. #5

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    Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric5675 View Post
    There has been a Parade every day that the park has been open sice opening day. As for people like the gaslamp lighters and Matterhorn climbers, budget cuts have had their way.
    There is no parade at Disneyland for the next week, and I'm positive there has not been a parade every day the park has been open. I highly doubt it had a parade immediately following opening day. The July 17th parade was not designed to run everyday; it included the entire fleet of Autopia cars and many of the horses from Frontierland.

  6. #6

    • Shubisha
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    Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    I don't think much of that element of shows has changed. You still have the firehouse band in front of the firehouse. WDW has their streetmosphere characters in main street and you'll see davy crockett donald and cowboy goofy. New Orleans has Queenie, you have the pirate band, etc.

    What's changed has been the style of parades. It used to be a bunch of movie units with their floats and music in worlds of their own, then it became a bunch of random themes in the 80s like with Totally Minnie, State Farm, Donald/Mickey's birthday, or Party Gras or in WDW the Tencennial, Mardi Gras, etc.., then they went with synergy in the 90s so it included things like the Hooray for Disney Stars(basically disney afternoon), and movie based parades with Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, yadda, and then it went back into disney characters in a bunch of movie units with their floats and music in their own little worlds :P Except now they combine characters a lot to try to cram even more in and will often do some sort of musical tie-in linking the units.

    But I don't think much has changed other than the type of dancer roles in the parades. Florida seems to be a lot closer to old-style parades with what their street dancers are involved in. Entertainment has always been mostly character based save for the small atmosphere shows and that still holds true.


    That said, most of what I recall from parades started in the 70s. I can't think of anything off the top of my head in the 60s.

  7. #7

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    Cool Re: History of Disneyland Entertainment

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric5675 View Post
    There has been a Parade every day that the park has been open sice opening day..
    There has not been a parade every day. I used to be in the Entertainment Dept 1982-1989. Parades were seasonal events back then, and even tho there might be a small character calvacade during the week, it wasnt a daily event.

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