Friday, January 04, 2008

Disneyland history roundup

Today's photos both come from the UCLA Library's impressive collection of L.A. Times photos. The first shows Walt Disney in 1966, posing with the heads of figures being prepared for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. (Sadly, Walt didn't live to see the opening of this ride.)
The second photo shows Vice President (and Yorba Linda native) Richard Nixon, meeting "Mr. and Mrs. Tomorrowland" at Disneyland on June 14, 1959. That same day, the Nixon family innagurated the first Disneyland Monorail.
Now that the new Mark VII Monorails have appeared at Disneyland, I wonder what will happen to the old ones? Sold to a Las Vegas hotel? Sent to Florida to become spare parts? Auctioned off on eBay?
Disneyland history fans: If you plan to be in San Francisco soon, you might want to check out the Mary Blair exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum. Her most famous design in the park is It's A Small World, which bears the mark of her unmistakable style both inside and out.
Also, there's a rumor that the Disney Gallery reopen at Disneyland, in or near the lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. It would be great to see the Gallery return, as it was an opportunity for fans to see art by many of Disney's best talents. But I hope this move doesn't come at the expense of either the Lincoln attraction (which premiered at the 1964 N.Y. World's Fair) or the old Walt Disney Story exhibit (which I sort of assumed would return after the 50th Anniversary display was removed).
I finally got around to watching the new 2-DVD set, "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic," and I can definitely recommend it. Although I would have liked more depth and less happy-talk, at least they interviewed to most of the right people. The segments covering the early history of the park are particularly interesting. The best feature, however, is hidden among the "Bonus Features" on the second disc: Disneyland's lead Imagineer Tony Baxter narrates extensive rare color footage of the park's construction in 1954 and 1955.

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