Thursday, October 10, 2013

Entrance & Town Square

Here are two early views from 1956! These slides were a bit faded. 

First of all, don't even think about bringing your picnic basket into the park. I love the fact that this was such a problem in the early days, it was necessary to make a sign. Lots of moms had probably brought baskets full of things like delicious sammiches, macaroni salad, cookies, slices of chocolate layer cake,  and thermoses of iced coffee or lemonade. Mmmmm-mmm! 

There are two other billboards out front, possibly giving the park hours, or maybe warning against excess horseplay. One of my favorite details in these early shots is to see the yellow passenger cars of the Disneyland Railroad. 

Imagine having never visited Disneyland before, and maybe not even knowing much about it other than what you'd read in the papers, and the glimpses Uncle Walt showed on his black and white TV show. Town Square must have seemed like an amazing place, so clean and tidy and evocative of Andy Hardy's America. Horse Drawn Streetcars, old-fashioned popcorn vendors, horseless carriages; this isn't like those other amusement parks.


Nanook said...


Oh, drat-! I was all set to wrap my picnic sandwiches in the new roll of wax paper I just bought. Some other time, I guess.

And it wasn't just Town square that musta wowed the crowds when Disneyland first opened its gates. How about the Sleeping Beauty Castle, or Tom Sawyer Island, to name but two-! The entire park was other-worldly, to say the least. Thank you, Walt.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

To this day I still sneak in the powdered drink sticks to mix in with that yummy Anaheim tap water. On a hot day it helps lower the cost (for the day) to $50 for Disney bought drinks instead of $100. Have to have a real sody once in a while.

The thing I love about the very old photos is how bare the entry plaza and town square looks with the puny little trees they just planted. After nearly 60 years of growth it's quite a contrast today.

Unknown said...

I'd say bring back the hats for the streetcar horses, but PETA would hunt me down.

Melissa said...

A certain amount of horseplay is OK, as long as you don't try to bring in your own outside horse.

Nanook, I hope you've got one of these for your wax paper.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, of course those other things were impressive too, but Town Square was the very first thing they saw upon entering the park.

Alonzo, I'll bet it's OK that you bring your powdered drink mix (good idea, by the way)! My girlfriend brought granola bars and other snacks and they went right through the security search, no problem.

Greg, I would like it if they brought back hats for the horses! As long as they didn't get cute about it and make them movie-centric - Jack Sparrow pirate hats or whatever.

Melissa, I expected your link to lead to a picture of happy Linda!

K. Martinez said...

I love viewing images of the Retlaw trains. One had the look of a real passenger train with its coach cars and the other one a freight train with its cattle cars and gondola. Both stations had bypass tracks so the two different trains could reach their respective stations uninterrupted. I would've loved to have experienced that. Nowadays the Disneyland Raiload definitely feels more like a theme park attraction than a "working" railroad. Even the Santa Fe named attached to it furthered the illusion of a real railroad.


Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Don't-cha know it! If the truth be told, when I was growing up, our kitchen had a stainless steel "built-in" unit similar to that pictured. Oh, what luxury.

PsySocDisney said...

Loving all these Main Street goodies! My husband and I got to ride in the Lilly Belle for the first time this trip so those passenger train cars definitely ring a bell! Err... whistle?

Melissa said...

I loved my Grandma's wax paper dispenser! Linda would have been a whole lot happier if she'd had one to keep her wraps and foils straight.

JG said...

$100 for soda, LOL. Truth.

We have also brought in trail food items and water bottles with no raised eyebrows, but they made me take the Weber kettle back to the car.


K. Martinez said...

@JG - The problem is Disney needs to designate Weber kettle and grill zones in Disneyland like they do the smoking areas. Grilled steaks... Mmmmmmmm!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

How about marshmallows on painters extendo poles and roast them over the flame pots during Fantasmic. Just be careful not to clothesline any of the performers on the passing boats.

Melissa said...

You gotta have a system. You got your crock pot, slow cooker, what have you. You got your portable power source - I loke the Duracell Powerpack 300. You got your stroller, just within the maximum size. You got yourReborn Doll. You can get the doll cheaper off ebay, because all you really need in decent shape are the head and arms. A realistic older baby doll would be better in some ways, but the Reborn is the gold standard for passing as genuine human offspring. The important thing is to get a closed-eye model.

You get all the ingredients into the slow cooker, pack it into the stroller and arrange the head and arms around it. Hook up a few simple actuators, motors, what have you to the doll parts to make them twitch ever so slightly, as if the "baby" is asleep but might wake up and start wailing at any minute. N.B. DO NOT PLUG IN THE SLOW COOKER YET. THE SMELL OF COOKING FOOD WILL NIX THE CAPER. Cover the whole shebang with the fluffiest, most quilted blanket you can get away with for the weather. Arrange stuffed toys around the assembly for camouflage as needed. Carry a diaper bag with dollar store supplies you can either ditch or repurpose as dining accessories (Cloth diapers = cloth napkins, bottles = plastic tumblers, wet wipes = wet wipes, etc.)

Be cool at bag check. "He fussed all night and cried the whole way here and *now* he *finally* sleeps, can you believe it? He'll probably sleep right through his first meeting with Mickey Mouse, heh, heh!" Bang, you're in. Plug in the cooker and you're on a one-way choo-choo ride to Fantasmic Pot Roast Town. Sure, you may have to eat it off something like this, (although I'm assuming we'll be using a cheap knock-off version) but well worth the effort. Just make sure to stow the doll parts before approaching stroller parking for rides, so people don't wonder why you're not taking a baby out of the stroller you leave there. Anyone questions you about the smell, just smile and say, "Yeah, I read that they pipe the smell out from [NEAREST RESTAURANT] into the street to make people hungry. Anything to make a buck, amirite? Oh, him? He's *mumble* months old. His name is... Chuck. We think he's Grade A, and very tender."

JG said...

@K Martinez, I'm thinking somewhere on TSI or maybe Bear Country, where it wouldn't compete with Big Thunder BBQ.


Anonymous said...

I remember this vividly in 1955 when I arrived from Minnesota for my first visit to Disneyland. It was WONDERFUL. I was 15 years old and to this day we visit either Disneyland or Disney World once a year.