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  1. #16

    • Inhospitable about happy
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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    First visit, 1961 or 62.

    Sure, there's the nostalgic haze of childhood interfering with my judgment, but despite that, I would say that DL was better in the sixties in two ways:

    1) Walt was driving the place. Look at the cascade of E-ticket wonders debuting practically every year between 1959 and 1969, most of them still there and most of them acknowledged classics that still pull in the crowds. It's just an objective fact that there's never been anything like it for sheer creative outpouring of theme-park genius and energy.

    2) People were more civil. This is a cultural thing that Disney has no control over, of course. You dressed up (a little) to go to DL. You waited patiently in line. You said "excuse me" and "pardon me." Your kids were safe running around by themselves, and you didn't give it a second thought.

  2. #17

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    I first visited in 1982, or something like that. I remember first going on Space Mountain, and being scared to death to get on it. Don't really remember Adventure Thru Inner Space that much--only brief images. Rufus and the CBJ in Bear Country. America Sings. Going on the Matterhorn back when there was the skyway. The PeopleMover. Yes I must agree...the good ol' days seem so much better. But yes, I think a lot of it was because we were looking through rose colored glasses back then.
    The Kid

  3. #18

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    My first visit was in 1960 (four years old)...my first truly memorable visit was in 1967, and I've been many times since over the years, and add to that eight years as an employee (er, Cast Member).

    When I first starting working at DL in 1974, the park and studio were in the doldrums...attendance at the park really slumped, and it seemed like WDW was getting all the attention.

    Then DL had a renaissance starting with Space in 1977, through the Matterhorn refurb and BTMRR - I consider the park's glory days so far to be from the late 70's to early 90's.

    I still love DL, but the experience today just isn't quite as good and I don't think it has to do with rose colored glasses.

    Just getting to the park, and from parking to the park, is more of a hassle now. It's crowded more or less all the time, and yes, AP's (and I have one too) have something to do with that.

    Add to that the effect of years of neglect....but the good news is that there are new attractions opening, and the future is brightening...and yes, I'll be back at the park I've always loved next week.

    An "old fogey"

    --Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  4. #19

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Gee! I didn't know we were supposed to talk about first visits.

    But my first visit was in 1955! I've used to go only two or three times per year.

    Married in 1972, since then we went at least once or twice per year, then in 1993 we got APs and been going, well as often as possible. Some years once or twice a week, but lately back to just a few times per year.

    60's ad 70' were best, but some attractions that were not introduced until the 80's or 90's were great also.

    So even though my first time (at 10 years old) was in 1955, my favorite times/years were later. (well, not that later)

    CU@DL

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  5. #20

    • back in Austin
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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    I first visited in 1978, at 16 years of age. I didn't visit again until 2003. I don't have lots of experience to draw on, so I can't make the comparison between then and now.

    I will say that now seems to be a rosy time to visit DL. It's experiencing a renaissance of sorts. I think people will look back on this time as one of the "good ol' days" for enjoying DL.

    As others have mentioned, I think crowds are a huge factor. If they would choose to cap attendance at a lower figure (by about 20,000 people!) it would make the intimate little park an intimate little park again. Obviously they'd lose tons of money doing that; it would have to be a CEO-mandated, corporate-vision oriented decision. But this one decision would go most of the way toward restoring what was best about DL in the 60's, say.

    It would be a very interesting experience for us to be able to time-travel back to some other period when we thought things were better and make an objective comparison as adults. I think it would be very revealing. I predict that newer attractions and shows would be sorely missed and that some of the older ones would seem a little stale to us now. But the overall feel of the park (less crowded, more long-term CM's, civility of fellow guests) would be much nicer.

  6. #21

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    My first trip to DL was 1966 or 1967. Not certain.

    I think that a lot of things are nostalgic for me. I'd love to see the PeopleMover and the Skyway still running even today, because I think they are really cool rides!!! Not only did I go on them as a child, but, my children went on them.

    In a lot of ways, things HAVE improved in the 40 years I've been going to DL. New technology has brought about things that couldn't have been done back then. Improvements have to be made to keep up with modern times.

    I do think that some things are just lacking....Tomorrowland is a good example of this. Thing is...when Walt created it....2007 seemed a LONG way off. They probably thought we'd be jetpacking to work back then. ha!

    I think my perspective is a great deal of nostalgia.

  7. #22

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    First visit was on July 18th, 1955 the day the Park first opened to the public. I was 13 at the time and knew enough then to enjoy the Park for what it was.

    People were different back then. It was a slower, more relaxed time and people dressed up to go to Disneyland. It was a special place and there were no APs and you paid admission and paid for each ride. But prices were a lot cheaper. That first day Parking was free (and remained free for about a year), Admission was $1.00 and rides ran from 10 cents to 35 or 40 cents (I can't remember that detail right now). As was said in another post, local people went once or twice a year and out of towners went once or twice in a lifetime.

    Things have changed, and that is a given. I have lived at Disneyland for over 53 years. I was one of the lucky ones as we didn't live that far away and my parents and sister loved the place as much as I did. Of course, for me, it was something very special. July 18th is my birthday and that first visit was a surprise birthday gift from my parents. I always considered Disneyland as my special Birthday gift from "Uncle Walt".

    I have seen the Park undergo many changes. Some good, some not so good and some downright awful. But for the most part I live by the words that Walt Disney said these many years ago about Disneyland. "Disneyland will never stop growing as long as there is imagination left in the world". And that means that in order for new things to arrive, old things must make way. Disneyland is not a museum and it should never be thought of as one. It is more like a child that is growing and changing with age.

    I see that so far there is at least one other person posting here who has been coming to Disneyland since the year it opened. There are many more that come to the meets and post on this board. You younger folks must forgive us some times if we wax eloquent on the virtues of Disneyland Past. We sometimes do look at Disneyland through Rose Colored Glasses. Hopefully not to the point where we see it as a wonderful place all the time. There are times, and you know of what I speak, that we must take those glasses off and become aware that things are not so good and that changes have to be made or maybe the Disneyland that we all love so much, won't be here anymore. And that loss would be tragic.

    For now I think the Park is in good hands. There are a few bumps in the road ahead, but somehow the Magic of Disneyland always seems to shine through, and in the end, well, it will be all right.
    Peter Pan Forever!!! I Will Never Grow Up.

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  8. #23

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    No. I'm not an old-timer, but I'm not exactly a young whipper-snapper either. But from what I know of my experience and knowledge of the evolution of the park, I'd say that it was not 'better'.

    When I think of what the trade-off is attraction-wise, would the park be better with NO Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Buzz Lightyear, Roger Rabbit, Winnie The Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Fantasmic and the Remember Dreams Come True fireworks? And that's just pre-1980s. If the "Good Old Days" means like pre-1974, you'd also lose Space Mountain and Big Thunder as well. So when I consider all that, I personally couldn't imagine it being 'better'. It was just different.

    Some of the old things were nice -- and some would still be nice to have back (a la The People Mover and the Skyway) -- while others would just be out-dated for today and today's audience.

    IMO, there isn't any year we could magically go back to that would be 'better' than it is today.

  9. #24

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Im a youngin' so my earliest memory is 1985...but even then I barely remember. I do however remember the opening of Toontown though (wow, fourteen years, already?). But I must admit, I talk often of having a time machine what would be the three time periods I'd most like to visit Disneyland at and they are, 1956 (just to see it a year after opening), 1969 (after the Mansion and POTC have opened) and 1996 (for the final run of the real electrical light parade).

  10. #25

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    The only thing not better about Disneyland is the crowds. Disney has some incredible rides now and continue to add things that we look forward to. People's attitudes are much worse but that's true everywhere. I do fondly look back at Skyway, ATIS, Mission to the moon, CBJ and America Sings, but still since those days they have added some high quality rides.

    So I would say it's better now. This is a conversation similar to ones I have with people about baseball. The ballplayers nowadays are stronger and in general better atheletes. The only thing different is their attitudes and passion for the game. Oh yeah, salaries are different too but that's similar to the $83 admission price.

    I'm not sure if that is a good comparison but it's how I feel.

    Chad

  11. #26

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Quote Originally Posted by aashee View Post
    The only thing not better about Disneyland is the crowds. Disney has some incredible rides now and continue to add things that we look forward to. People's attitudes are much worse but that's true everywhere. I do fondly look back at Skyway, ATIS, Mission to the moon, CBJ and America Sings, but still since those days they have added some high quality rides.

    So I would say it's better now. This is a conversation similar to ones I have with people about baseball. The ballplayers nowadays are stronger and in general better atheletes. The only thing different is their attitudes and passion for the game. Oh yeah, salaries are different too but that's similar to the $83 admission price.

    I'm not sure if that is a good comparison but it's how I feel.

    Chad
    Well, with respect to BB, the chemicals are better now.

    Not sure that constitutes better athletes.

    Similarly, with DL, the technology is definitely superior but I don't know that leads to superior attractions. Look how old the most popular attractions are. Disneyland is about emotional engagement and taking you out of the time and place of the real world. That's where the imagination takes place, the technology is only a part of that and not the most important one.

  12. #27

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    My first visit visit was in 1980

    Disneyland was a tradition every year or two as a small child, and even into adulthood. Today, some aspects of the park have greatly improved, others are very sad.

    What has improved?

    Landscaping. While it was aways beautiful, today the landscaping is amazing!

    Paint. Since the Pressler/Harris era, the quality and detail in the paint and finishes in the park is stunning.

    Food. Quality and selection has greatly improved over the years.

    Fireworks. The latest shows (especially Remember...) are some of the best Disneyland has ever produced.

    Space Mountain. Same basic ride, just much better!

    The Enchanted Tiki Room. Same Basic show, just better!



    What got worse?

    Promotions. Remember when you could visit Disneyland just to for the park itself? The place is now littered with promotional stuff everywhere. You may say it is only temporary, but when it comes down, more always goes up.

    Cast members. Remember when the cast members were just that, part of a cast! I know today everything is more PC, but it added to the experience when the cast members were placed into attraction based on male/female, or specific personality traits, or even physical appearance. Today, while some great cast member still remain, the majority do not care about the job. On almost every attraction I go on now, the cast members don't even pay attention the the guests, they talk amongst themselves(sometimes very loud) about how drunk they were last night, or how they can't wait to get the hell out of this place. Back in the day, this was unheard of.

    New attractions. Major investments in the park are chosen based on their marketability, not their ability to enhance a specific land or the park as a whole.
    The budgets have seemed to decrease greatly the last 10 years(with the exception of Nemo). Indy was the last great attraction built in the park.

    Light bulbs. Does anyone remember when the used to replace all light bulbs before they burnt out? This was one small thing that added to the magic. It was fun to see who could spot the first burnt out bulb, it was almost impossible. Finding one is much easier today.

    Overall, Disneyland today is still an amazingly magical place (that is why we are all here right?), but for me, much has been lost.

  13. #28

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffYardDog View Post
    Well, with respect to BB, the chemicals are better now.

    Not sure that constitutes better athletes.

    Similarly, with DL, the technology is definitely superior but I don't know that leads to superior attractions. Look how old the most popular attractions are. Disneyland is about emotional engagement and taking you out of the time and place of the real world. That's where the imagination takes place, the technology is only a part of that and not the most important one.

    Chemicals is an easy arguement. Fact is back in the 50s and 60s there wasn't the same training, weights, video to study etc. My imagination is taken away on both old rides and new rides. I guess I allow myself to be immersed rather that thinking about how much better things could have been.

    Chad

  14. #29

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Better THEN (pre-1984):

    Longterm Maintenence
    Cast Attitude & Knowledge
    Sexy Cast Members
    Area Costuming
    Cleanliness
    Prices (much lower)
    Parking Lot (easy access, no hassle, no DCA)
    Attraction Posters (more of them, better design)
    Color Schemes (especially Tomorrowland)
    Waterfalls (more of them)
    Cast pay rates
    Main Street Shops (authentic turn-of-the-century VS mall)
    Walt's Lincoln show (over the redos)
    Tahitian Terrace/Polynesian Revue (over Aladdin's Oasis)
    Main Street Electrical Parade (over DCA location)
    Mini attraction posters on Omnibus VS none
    Special weekend events (over seasonal)
    Big name entertainment (over none)
    Bands, dancing, shows, street performances (more variety)
    Kids of the Kingdom (over none)
    No closed-up attractions for years on end
    Swiss Family Treehouse (over Tarzan)
    Tom Sawyer Island upkeep
    Unique shopping experiences (over same stuff everywhere)
    Golden Horseshoe Revue (over inexpensive shows)
    Country Bear Jamboree (over Pooh)
    Hungry Bear Lodge (better upkeep)
    Keel Boats (over none)
    Night cruises on Mark Twain (over none)
    Upkeep on Rivers of America scenery/animatronics
    Cascade Peak waterfall (over none)
    Pirate Ship and Skull Rock (over none)
    Skyway (over none)
    Rocket Jets up high (over AstroOrbitor down low and Observatron)
    Carousel of Progress/America Sings (over Innoventions)
    Two level Starcade (over one)
    Open air Space Mountain plaza and stage (over 3-D theatre)
    Tomorrowland design and color
    Mary Blair tile murals (over printed space wraps)
    Submarine Voage (over none)
    Four Monorails working (over two)
    PeopleMover (over none)
    Adventure Thru Inner Space (over Star Tours)
    CircleVision (over Buzz)
    House of the Future (over none)
    Plaza Pavillion restaurant (over pin-trading)
    Less crowded
    No light fixtures on Small World Way
    Motor Boat Cruise (over none)
    Single bobsleds (over double)
    Carnation Plaza Gardens food (over none)
    Thunder Ranch BBQ (over none)
    Space Mist Punch (over none)
    Carnation Ice Cream Parlor (beautiful period counter and waitress service over what's there now)
    Sleeping Beauty Castle Dioramas/walkthrough (over none)
    No Fastpass
    Moving walkways in Tomorrowland (over stairs or ramps)
    Two of Walt's offices on display (over one)
    Old Disneyland Hotel and bars (over Downtown Disney)
    Autopia car design

    Better NOW:

    New Fantasyland facades and attraction upgrades (Pirate Ship excepted)
    Better, healthier food
    Snow White Wishing Well grate
    Fireworks
    Asimo display (over City of the Future model or nothing)
    Walkways, planters and pavings
    Walt & Mickey Partners statue
    Trimmed trees near hub
    Big Thunder (over Nature's Wonderland)
    Splash Mountain (over none)
    Pirates of the Caribbean bridge/queue (over none)
    Seasonal decor (richer)
    Disneyland Gallery (over none)
    Terraced areas around Rivers of America
    Turkey Legs (over none)
    Plaza de Zolcalo (over Casa Mexicana/De Fritos)
    Indiana Jones (over none)
    Individually painted tiles and bricks on castle
    Sleeping Beauty theming on castle/water fountain
    Open everyday
    CD on Demand (while it lasted)
    Tiki Room lanai upkeep/facade
    Toontown (over none)
    Costumed Character access/character costumes
    Certain technology and special effects upgrades
    Jungle Cruise upgrades
    Moonliner returned
    Matterhorn interior/Yeti (over empty space)
    Space Mountain rehab
    Autopia merge and queue (over two Autopias)
    Annual Passport (over none)

  15. #30

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    Re: Was Disneyland really better in the "Good Old Days"?

    Wow!...I've often wished I could visit the Disneyland of yesterday too. (Funny but if I went back in time, this would be one of the places I'd have to visit.)

    I first experienced Disneyland in the mid-80s. I was a toddler and don't remember much, but I do remember being awed, wowed and feeling totally transported. Some how, you were happy just being there, just being inside the gates not even on the rides. My siblings and I still talk about that kind of magic. I think that's probably the rosy-tinted part of my memory.

    What I enjoy about Disneyland now is the showmanship and storytelling. While I think that some of the more recent (late 90s to today) attractions have been more about thrills or marketing and less about telling a good story and contributing to the ambience of each land, this is what I value most about Disneyland. The cool thing about the park as a kid was that I felt like I could jump into any of my favorite stories and experience them. That's what I still enjoy and what still inspires me (as someone working in tv and theater).

    For me personally though, there is one other important thing about Disneyland. Growing up in a military family and moving all the time, Disneyland felt like the only place I got to experience as I was growing up and see through a changing perspective. For this reason, I think I appreciate the change.

    The one thing I do miss are the window displays at the Emporium. I loved seeing a recreation of an animated feature I'd just seen or was going to see. They really captured my imagination and I would make my own models at home.

    P.S. I do agree about civility and crowds. There are people everywhere and they have the worst attitudes. I used to think that people came to Disneyland because they wanted to be in a good mood. Sometimes, it seems like people aren't putting effort in on their end, to be easy going, curteous and relaxed.

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