Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Trip To Disneyland, 1958

Today I have something a bit different for you; a few years ago I bought a lot of Disneyland brochures and other items. Among the stuff was an envelope that contained a letter that is a record of a trip to the park taken by a woman and several of her friends on June 19, 1958 (a Thursday). There are some fun details about how they got there, etc. I was amused by the old-fashioned (or odd) names. Faetta, Whenn, Nellie, and Vesta! To spice things up, I added some photos from past blog posts. 


Vesta, Nellie, Whenn, Faetta, and I met at the P.E. (Pacific Electric) Station at 9 a.m. I missed a bus and had to wait 20 minutes, so I was five minutes late. Vesta and Whenn had gone on to the bus station on the street below the depot (on Los Angeles street). Our bus left at 9:20 - we couldn’t all sit to-gether, so V., N., and I sat in the back and F & W sat to-gether by the rear door. We went via Knott’s Berry Farm.

It took a little over an hour. Vesta gave all four dollars and fifty cents from club treasury, the fare round trip was $2.22.

The weather was perfect, altho it got a little warm in the early afternoon. We all bought a book for twenty five cents. Guess all got them to send away to friends. Vesta & Nellie got some post cards right away. They were 6 for 25 cents.

We went on the Grand Canyon train first - it was trully (sic) a beautiful trip, but so different from what we expected. The train went through a tunnel & the scenes were behind glass windows - it wasn’t a painting but made up of real things. The goats and wild animals were stuffed but had been real once - it only took a few minutes to go through the tunnel but it was very nice anyway. 

We looked around some and Vesta, Faetta, and Whenn went into “Alice in Wonderland”. Nellie and I sat in the shade and chatted and waited for them. Something broke down inside the building and the ladies were a while in getting out. It was one of the newer attractions and hadn’t been perfected as yet.

Faetta & Vesta went to the Carnation snack room to eat (on the main square), & Nellie, Whenn and I ate in “Tomorrow Land”. We ordered what we wanted and ate from chairs with a wide arm.

Then we all went to see “2000 (sic) Leagues Under the Sea”. It was 10 cents. None of us got the “ride books” - we got general admission for 90 cents each. I guess it would have been just as well to have gotten the books as we rode on the train - 50 cents - 50 cents for a ride on the new sailing ship “The Columbia”. It had only been in the water 5 days. It is a very beautiful ship and Faetta took several pictures in color of it at all angles - one they had put up 2 huge sails - then when it came around the lagoon they were down. It is made like the real old time ships.

From there we walked around in the different shops & every little while we rested - Vesta & Whenn went back to L.A. on the 3:30 bus. They said the last bus that goes on Glen Oaks left L.A. at 6 or 6:30 so they had to leave then. Faetta, Nellie and I stayed on. We went to Tom Sawyer Island, and climbed to the tree top & went in all the caves - - over the rocks - then we came back to the main land & went to the Indian Village. 

They put on a dance every two hours or so.There are 16 Indian tribes that (illegible) some activity in Disneyland. The main speaker for the dances was a Hopi from Arizona, he was very pleasant & friendly. He told us about the new sailing ship. It had only been completed 5 days.

We went through the village and Faetta bought a small Indian doll for her daughter in law. We went back to the main part & Faetta and I had a waffle at Aunt J. kitchen - Nellie didn’t want a waffle as she had a salad in a little snack place a few doors from where we ate. 

[Note: Here's a small Indian doll that was in a recent Van Eaton Gallery auction - when I saw it I wondered if it was like the one that Faetta bought. It's only 7 inches tall].

[Note #2: Inside the envelope was this item, presumably taken from the table while they ate at Aunt Jemima's. There is another version that says it's from Disneyland - those are very valuable - but this one is generic].

We took the 7:51 bus back to L.A. only we didn’t go directly home. The busman must have been a new man as crossed hiway 39& went up Norwalk Ave.We came to a road block & he asked a man in the service station. We came back to #39 - & went to Knott’s Berry Farm to pick up some people. 

The bus driver told the people in the front part of the bus he was going to phone, but he didn’t. We got into L.A. after 9 - I called Earl so he wouldn’t worry. We all took the same bus home. Faetta & Nellie waited until my #25 bus came along. I got home at 10:15 - we had a nice day.

I'm glad our unnamed letter writer had a nice day! It really is more of a memoir, since the document does not start with "Dear Patty..." (or whatever), and it isn't signed at the end.

I hope you enjoyed reading about a 1958 trip to Disneyland!


Nanook said...

"The goats and wild animals were stuffed but had been real once". A former friend once described me using those exact same words. Hmmm.

What a wonderful, if not obsessive, memory of what sounds like a 'good time for all', at The Happiest Place On Earth - in spite of Vesta, Faetta and Whenn becoming ... late for a very important date... inside 'Alice'.

Thanks, Major, for the story and providing the wonderful "illustrations" to highlight the story.

K. Martinez said...

I love stuff like this because it's an actual personal account of an experience from a long time ago. Loved her description of the Grand Canyon Diorama and the ladies trapped in Alice In Wonderland. The bus trip was also a kick to read about as I've had experiences just like that when going to to and from Disneyland.

Today's post was extra special. Thanks for putting this together, Major. It was definitely worth the effort.

Gnometrek said...

Reading this account of a 1958 trip to Disneyland is truly a great way to start my day. Thank you Major.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great post today, Major. It's fascinating to read first-hand accounts of the park from a time before the experience was so common that people knew exactly what to expect from their visit. It almost makes you see the place anew.

Nancy said...

Major, this is just wonderful! Thanks for sharing this, and providing the lovely views. Such a fun look at these friends sharing a day at Disneyland. :-)

DrGoat said...

I agree. Really nice way to start the day. Thanks Major.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Wow. That's just great, Major. I love history, and the aspects of history I like best are first-hand accounts, without the filter of an historian's opinion. That reminiscence is lovely example of just that: the things that SHE remembered, and that SHE thought memorable about the day. It's beautiful and unique. Thanks a ton, my man.

Unknown said...

Oh, and a perfect film-strip presentation to go with it...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, the attempt to describe the diorama is one of my favorite passages! It was also neat to hear about two new attractions, “Alice” and the Columbia.

K. Martinez, I’m still sort of puzzled by the letter, since it is not addressed to anyone. It really is more of a hand-written memoir of that special day. Taking the bus… those ladies were troopers!

Gnometrek, you’re welcome.

Pegleg Pete, you’re right, nowadays it seems that the people who go to Disneyland have been there dozens (if not hundreds) of times. It’s hard to imagine a time when a person could go and be surprised at so many things!

DrGoat, thank YOU!

Anonymous, I hoped people would like this one.

Patrick Devlin, I only wish I had more items like this! I collect old Disneyland postcards, and prefer minty examples, but used ones are fun for the brief descriptions of their visits. I’m glad you liked the photos too!

Anonymous said...

Major, this is just wonderful. Definitely a historic piece for all the reasons described above.

Now when I see the picture of the lady riding the Alice Caterpillar going by in my screensaver, I will call her "Faetta", or perhaps "Whenn".

Thank you.


Sunday Night said...

This was great and the accompanying photos really enhanced the show! I loved the fact that the memoir author used an ink pen and not a ball point. This is one of the most interesting posts I've seen on GDB.