Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Special Guest Photos!

Today I have more photos from generous GDB reader Chuck! He is sharing some of his personal pictures from the day of Disneyland's 40th anniversary (July 17, 1995). Once again he has provided some great commentary to help set the scene.

"(This first image) was shot looking at the Matterhorn from the east side of the Hub. As you can see, someone has stapled a commemorative cape on the side of the mountain. I wonder if someone saved this or it ended up in a landfill? (I'm referring to the banner; I'm pretty sure the Matterhorn is still there).

One of the neat things that morning was Randy Travis leading a short sing-along from the top of the Matterhorn. We unfortunately got a later start that day than we had anticipated, and while we could hear it, we were coming through the gate when it started and weren't able to see him (or take a photo)".

This next photo features (quoting Chuck again), "…my lovely wife (and no, she's not looking over my shoulder as I type this) a week shy of her 24th birthday". "Note that in the spirit of the day she has throw caution to the wind, removed her broad-brimmed straw sun hat and donned a Disneyland birthday hat. And yes, she did get a little burned. The backpack by her feet has logged more hours in Disneyland than most people.

Not a ton of interesting people-watching in the background, but it is interesting to note the difference in clothing styles from earlier decades. Nobody's dressed up at all, and I can't seem to find a babushka anyway (sorry, Melissa)".

"Oh wait - somebody did come to the park all dressed up after all - me! July 17th, 1995 was a double celebration for us - not only did Disneyland turn 40, but it was also the day my promotion to first lieutenant took effect. I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate, so I 'pinned on' the new rank in front of the flagpole in Town Square. It was sort of a guerrilla affair; we'd inquired beforehand about doing my promotion ceremony in the Park and the low-level person my wife spoke to in Guest Relations immediately responded with "oh, no - we don't do ceremonies of any kind in the Park."

"Since this was the same office that had told her the previous November that they no longer did the Christmas Candlelight Procession 0 about two weeks before we found ourselves on Main Street watching the Candlelight Procession - we should have probably asked to speak to a supervisor for verification, but we didn't. Instead, we entered the Park, stood in front of the flagpole, I recited the Oath of Office quickly without making any sort of explanatory announcement, we changed out my shoulder boards, and headed on down Main Street before anyone arrested us and confiscated our annual passes. As a result, there are no pictures of the 'ceremony'". 

"We did, however, take a shot of me wearing my new rank in front of the castle. What I love about this picture (aside from my state-of-the-art numeric pager) is the security host walking by in the background, which may help explain why other guests were continually asking me questions about where to report lost members of their party (City Hall) or the nearest restroom (around the corner to the right). I finally went to City Hall to make sure I was giving them the right answers (they assured me I was but thanked me for checking)".

Did you know that a time capsule was buried in front of the castle? I didn't! Chuck sez, "These last two pictures are of the 'Time Capsule' buried that day in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. (Get it? 'Castle' sounds sort of like 'capsule', and this capsule is shaped like a castle, and it's buried in front of the castte, and… oh, never mind)".

"A section of the pavement was lifted out of the ground and moved to the side, allowing guests to (sort of) see the time capsule in its hole in the ground. It was really hard to get a picture of it as the extant image attests".

"A marker was affixed to that section of patent that reads 'Placed beneath this marker on July 17th 1995: The Disneyland 40th Anniversary Time Castle. A 'Time Capsule', containing Disneyland memories, messages, and milestones, list beneath this spot. The Disneyland Time Castle is dedicated to the children of the 21st Century, who may unlock its contents on the 80th Anniversary of Disneyland: July 17th, 2035'. I sure hope there's a bag of Mickey Mouse-shaped corn chips in there - those things were delicious and I haven't seen one in years!"

Chuck said that he has some additional souvenirs from that day, including a postcard that they sent to themselves from a temporary post office in the parking lot - so that it would have the Disneyland postmark on it. They waited for over an hour!

MANY THANKS to Chuck for sharing these great photos from Disneyland's 40th birthday; it's hard to believe that the 60th will be next year!


TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, thank you for sharing these! I remember the banner on the Matterhorn that day, but I also arrived too late to see Randy Travis singing "Happy Birthday" from the top of it. I also remember the temporary post office in the parking lot and the special Disneyland postmark/cancellation. I was surprised to see that they were postmarking anything with a stamp on it, not just letters and postcards. From what I remember, the postal clerks explained that you could mail anything that had the appropriate number of stamps on it for it's weight. People were having the large DL wall maps postmarked as well as those paper party hats that were being handed out. You also didn't have to actually mail the item after they postmarked it....you could just take it with you. Thanks again, Chuck, for the trip back in time.....it is hard to believe that this was almost 20 years ago.

Nancy said...

Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing them. You are looking quite snappy there in the castle foreground.

K. Martinez said...

These are nice photos of you and your wife in front of the castle. I like that the security host just happened to be walking by. Nice catch. I also like your shot of the Matterhorn framed by the tree branch and foliage.

I knew there was a time capsule, but I've never seen a photo of it from a personal collection like this. Very cool. It's hard to believe this was almost 20 years ago. Disneyland hasn't had a completely new "E" ticket attraction since then. That's way too long.

Melissa said...

Chuck, these pictures are such gems that if you had added a babushka on top of them, my poor heart wouldn’t have been able to handle it and I’d have been posting this comment from that big Fastpass queue in the sky!

I love how the blue party hats your lovely wife and the other guests are wearing echo the blue cones of the castle spires. Belated congratulations on your promotion!

This is the first I’ve heard of the “Time Castle.” (Man, Disney sure loved their puns in the ‘90’s, didn’t they?) Even with the edge cut off in the picture, it couldn’t get more charming if it was squeezed from the Charming glands of Prince Charming himself.

Chuck said...

TokyoMagic! (I always shout that in my head when I read your screen name; I should probably stop since the echo gives me headaches) - I remember people getting maps postmarked, too, and thinking "Why didn't I think of that?"

Wild to think that we might have been standing next to each other in line that day. Wait a minute - were you that guy with the shirt and shoes? I just KNEW that I recognized you from somewhere!

Nancy - I'm glad you liked them. And thanks for the kind words on my appearance that day; I think I look kinda silly with that scraggly moustache (and my wife wholeheartedly agrees with me). I have another story to tell about being in uniform that day, but I'll save it for a separate comment.

Ken - That security host in the background was a complete fluke - I didn't even notice him until we had the slides processed later.

I was actually kind of irritated at the mountain shot when I first saw it. The framing was intentional, but at the time I thought there was too much foreground clutter. Now I look at it and see so much historical detail - the party hat, the "40 Years of Adventure" signs, and the crane used either for a camera or to move the pavement section that now covers the Time Castle.

And I agree - 19 years is too long for another E-ticket attraction (although there are a couple of gems over at that carnival in the parking lot).

Melissa - I hadn't noticed the party hats echoing the spires on the castle. Those Disney folks are real pros at cross-promotion, aren't they?

Thanks also for FINALLY congratulating me on the promotion. Can't believe it took almost 19 years and a GDB post for you to take the hint. Maybe we'll start sending you Christmas cards again this year.

Chuck said...

I didn't anticipate it in advance, but my being in uniform that day really threw a lot of people off.

In Frontierland, I had a lost little boy come running to me in tears asking for help finding his mom, and I was taking him by the hand to the nearest cast member when his mother came up and thanked me profusely for finding him. At the Matterhorn, other guests asked me to eject a line jumper from the Park. An Australian guy got mad at me when he asked me several questions I didn't know the answers to and got even angrier when I told him I was wearing an Air Force uniform and didn't work for Disneyland. I wonder if he put in a complaint at City Hall...

On the Hub, we ran into a very young cast member (I was only 26 and she even seemed young to me) in a yellow jumpsuit who was having a hard time carrying a couple of armfuls of ice cream treats. Seeing a person in need, I offered to give her a hand. She looked visibly relieved, handed me a large container, and then took off in the direction of Tomorrowland. Following at a brisk pace with half of the ice cream, trying to keep up, I asked her where she was headed. She looked over her shoulder and replied "backstage," as if that answered everything. And I thought, "Okay, that could be maybe half a dozen places in that direction alone, and I hope my wife is keeping up with us because I don't want to lose her."

The CM peeled off and cut into a space next to the old Mission to Mars building and I suddenly found myself on the threshold of Never Never Land - the mythical realm of "Backstage." And I wanted to follow her - desperately - but I was afraid I was going to get her in trouble and make the Air Force look bad and possibly be executed by firing squad at the flagpole in Fort Wilderness and be buried in a shallow grave in the old Pioneer Cemetery while my wife tearfully looked on through a black veil affixed to her blue birthday hat by the helpful staff at the Mad Hatter.

So I stopped. And the Youngest CM Ever looked over her shoulder and asked "Aren't you coming?"

And I replied "I don't think I'm allowed back here."

She looked at me quizzically and asked "Why not?"

And I replied "Because I'm not a cast member."

I'm not sure I can honestly say I've ever seen a more horrified, frightened expression on anyone's face (and I did two tours in Iraq). She quickly looked around, snatched the ice cream from my hands, and literally ran away without even a "thank you."

I changed into shorts and a t-shirt after the flag lowering ceremony, and strangely, people left me alone after that.

Melissa said...

For some reason, people always mistook me for an employee whenever I was in KMart. Like, from the age of 11.

Chuck said...

You need to stop carrying that blue light around.