Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Vintage Disneyland Ephemera

You know that worthless paper thing that you got at Disneyland years ago that you threw right into the nearest trash can (after finishing your hotdog)? Well that thing is now worth hundreds of dollars, you fool! I'd laugh at you, but I still have a bite of hotdog in my mouth and there's nobody nearby to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. 

First up is this rare paper bag from the old Swift Market House. It was the fastest market house in America, something that Walt often bragged about. Swift also sponsored the Red Wagon Inn, and that's why we see the reddest wagon in America. Swift also sponsored the Plantation House, but it can go to HECK! Swift ran quickly out of Disneyland sometime in 1968.

Next I have a scan of a 1955 flyer, telling guests all about the TICKET PLAN. The World's Greatest Entertainment Value! And that's not hyperbole either. I defy you to find a better value in the world of entertainment. Notice that students and servicemen still get a special deal, though the clergy (mentioned on earlier flyers) is out of luck. Sorry, Padre, you should have taken an extra 50 cents out of the collection plate. Maybe Knott's Berry Farm will have you.

 I'm weird, so it's fun to look at the list of attractions. There is no mention of the A, B, and C tickets (D and E tickets weren't introduced until years later). Also, as a former pasteup grunt, I am amused by the crooked line of text mentioning the Phantom Boat Ride. The word "ride" is used liberally, contrary to Disneyland lore. 

Questions. I have questions! There was a time when people just didn't understand those crazy ticket books. For one thing, it was highway robbery. The city dump is free, and hours of fun. The ticket books are also very complicated. You mean I can't turn in my unused tickets at the end of the evening for an appropriate refund? Where is the ticket to Walt Disney's house? Why has Mickey Mouse been following me for months? Thank goodness this flyer is here for every contingency. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's ephemera.


walterworld said...

It was a crazy, mixed up time back then... Love the Market House napkin.


Nanook said...

How odd the mention of individual coupon 'values' are mysteriously absent when listing the Ticket Plan. The way it's laid out on the flyer, the 1st Grouping of "Any 3" refers to 'C' Coupon attractions; the 2nd Grouping of "Any 3" refers to 'A' Coupon attractions; and finally, the 3rd Grouping of "Any 2" refers to 'B' Coupon attractions.

The ordering seems odd, but maybe there was some method to their madness... (Perhaps "the world's greatest entertainment value" proved to powerful an elixir to the "pasteup grunt" responsible for this flyer, overtaking his logic).

Thanks for sharing these fun items, Major.

JB said...

Soooo... What would have been put into this rather small(?) paper bag? A slice of bologna? A strip of bacon? Besides meats, I'm not sure what was available in the Swift's Market House. It's nice that your paper bag is in pristine condition; had it contained bologna or bacon, it would have been a greasy mess!

Wow, they really make the Ticket Plan books sound a lot more complicated than they were... or so I assume... maybe they were complicated. At any rate, it seems like a lot of info to take in just as you're entering the Park.

Nanook, I was kinda confused by that omission as well; no "A", "B", "C" to separate the categories.

Major, thanks for rummaging through your Disney trashcan and showing us these paper throw-aways.

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder why they left two rides out, when it came to tacking the word "ride" onto the names? Why didn't they just go all the way and use "King Arthur Carousel Ride" and "Horse-Drawn Streetcar Ride"?

JB, those Market House bags were used exclusively for whole dill pickles. I think the Major washed, dried and ironed his bag, before photographing it.

I just came across a paper chocolate chip cookie bag/sleeve from a 1990s DL visit. I can't figure out why it doesn't have any chocolate or grease stains. I'm going to add it to the end of my January post, after I finish typing out this comment.

These are certainly rare finds, Major. Thank you for sharing them with us!

Melissa said...

You've convinced me, Maj: Main Street needs a City Dump. It can be one of those themed children's playgrounds, and include meet-and-greets with all Disney's rodent and insect characters.

My Dad would absolutely be one of those guys trying to get a refund on his unused ride tickets at the end of the day.

Bu said...

What super rare items...especially the 1955 explanation of "rides". We don't have rides! We have adventures and attractions! Oh please...they are rides people...clearly EVERYTHING is a ride. It's interesting that they HAD to say ride, to indicate that it was a ride...because I am sure this "new" "park" was something that was so out of anyones imagination that had to explain it in gory detail. Main Street is an "attraction" and I WILL go with that! My question is where is the ticket plan booklet/packet/etc (?) What did it look like? This is the first I am ever hearing about a pre-ticket book ticket book/plan/booklet/packet/etc. "Hi-School"...hmm...guess there wasn't room for gh in the copy. The worlds greatest entertainment value: well: in 1955 I suppose it was!...things never seen before...and for a nominal cost as 2.50 would be about $30 today. Seems more appropriate than $200...but to each his own. I am wondering for today: what is the average of number rides the average Joe can do? It just might be 8. There are analytics. The Market House bag could very well be a pickle bag. I used a bag exactly like this at the Market House for pickles. We actually did fish out the pickles from a barrel. At some point they went to pre packaged pickles in a bag...or maybe the Market House pre-packaged them in plastic bags.. (?) hmm...the mind boggles. I happen to love pickles, and would buy one to eat on breaks all the time. They were .50....I think....maybe less (?) I'm not sure if employees can even go into shops to buy anything anymore...or if they even have the gumption to given they may need to wait in some horrendous line. The Market House was a quick zip in and zip out, while doing things like browsing for a card at Hallmark would take a bit more time. As long as you were on an "official" break it was fine: and I think the Park enjoyed our $$. I don't remember a discount on these fast items...or even meals at all..I think it was just on merchandise. If you pulled out a Disney charge for something like a pickle, the employee would not be happy and when you got back to the office something would be said like "please do not use your Disney charge for a pickle as it takes more time and other guests are waiting"...I think that was said to me on more than one occasion. "I forgot my wallet" didn't really cut it: even if it was the truth. By the by: a Broadway show in orchestra was about $5 in 1955: double the cost of Disneyland in this format. So $60 today for a show: which: you can still get...if you really dig for a deal...not for a first run, and definitely not in the front row...or maybe if you play your cards right. So: given Michael Eisner's "Disneyland should be the price of a Broadway show: it's hours and hours of entertainment: not just a few!" Disneyland should be $60. I've paid $1K (unwillingly) for a Broadway show: albeit is was popular and I was front and center...front meaning rows that don't even have numbers....I've also paid $25 to sit in orchestra for a lesser show...but the same entertainment value....where am I going with this....Disneyland certainly is the world's greatest entertainment value. Thanks Major!

Sunday Night said...

Great post today. I have this vision of people scattered around the main gate ticket booths reading and trying to understand how the whole thing works.
I have never seen one of these Ticket Plan Books. Does someone have a photo? Guess an unused one would be extremely rare.
They also used to sell dill pickles at the fort on Tom Sawyer island.

JG said...

The Market House bag is a sweet little sketch design in the style of the era. I wonder if this was produced by one of the streetcar horses following his drawing lessons?

Reading the ticket description flyer, I hazard to guess that the author hadn’t been fully briefed on the ticket program or the hierarchy of rides. Or maybe no one had yet done so. The flyer has an odd way of describing what is now so familiar. The A-B-C regime made sense at some point, but imagine how much easier bookkeeping and cash control became when everything was included.

We can now cite this brochure as authority for the ride/attraction distinction. Rides require tickets, attractions appear to not require them, so by this rubric, there are no more rides, everything now is an attraction. I’m chuckling at the listing of Main Street as an attraction. Maybe that’s because it is the only Land that is mandatory to visit?

I do remember a pickle barrel as a kid, but it might not have been at Disneyland. Seems unsanitary now. My son loved the dill pickles as a toddler, But by then, they came in the plastic bags.

I’m too embarrassed to say what we spent of Broadway tickets last fall, but Mrs. G gets them in the pricey seats. The tariff was more than a one-day single Park entry, and much less entertaining. No one had swept the street outside the theater and there was no soundtrack of arctic winds or fireworks after. So I’m rating Disneyland slightly higher value.

Thanks Major!


Major Pepperidge said...

walterworld, I’m glad you liked these!

Nanook, I agree, this early system is pretty confusing; looking at this flyer, you can see the advantages of the A-B-C (etc) categories, it makes it much easier to know what ticket you need for a particular attraction. I think your breakdown of what would eventually become the “letter” tickets is spot on. It didn’t take them very long to make the change to the more familiar system!

JB, the only thing I can think of that would fit in that bag is postcards, though the Market House apparently sold all sorts of odds and ends, so - who knows. I think you could also get “penny candy” in the Market House, that bag looks just right for a scoop of jelly beans. And yes, that ticket flyer is fascinating to me because it is so different from what we all became so used to.

TokyoMagic!, I have no idea why those few attractions did not get the word “ride” listed - it seems kind of random. Unless it was considered obvious that a carousel and a streetcar are “rides”? Although a train would obviously be a “ride” too. I not only washed, dried, and ironed that bag, I used Downy to make it static-free and scented. As for your chocolate chip cookie bag, maybe you had the moxie to request an unused bag for your collection?

Melissa, the dump really is fun for the whole family, and the folks who work there are surprisingly friendly. They have a “Disney attitude”! You KNOW that a lot of people probably thought that they could redeem their unused tickets for a refund, your dad would not have been the only one.

Bu, it seems so strange that “ride” would become a “four letter word” in Disneyland speak (you know what I mean!). The lands are certainly “attractions”, but guests didn’t pay to go look at Fantasyland, they want RIDES. I am aware of some very early ticket books, and know somebody who has one of the pre-A B C books. I have not seen his particular example, but have seen photos of the covers of others. Obviously they are extremely rare, I wish I had one! I suppose “value” is in the eye of the beholder, I always have fun at the park, but it does sometimes feel painful to pay that crazy admission, as well as the parking price, and THEN they want you to pay even more for Genie+. A family of four could easily spend over $800 for a day at Disneyland. Pickles - I like pickles, but don’t think I’d want one plucked from a barrel. Did they at least have tongs to pull the pickles out of the barrel? I’ve mentioned this before, but on message boards, folks have complained about the cost of going to the park. Defenders will say something like, “The Super Bowl costs $3,000 a ticket”, as if that is some sort of rational argument. I wouldn’t go to the Super Bowl if you paid me.

Sunday Night, as I said to Bu, I have seen a photo or two of those early ticket books, but don’t know I could find one to share here, and I might only have a photo of the outer cover. I’ll look to see! Dill pickles on Tom Sawyer Island, somehow I wouldn’t mind dripping pickle juice all over my shirt on TSI as much as if it happened on Main Street.

JG, I once saw a Main Street horse drawing, but when he spotted me, he quickly put his pencil away. But he knew that I knew! A-B-C ticket books were introduced late in 1955, so I would imagine that this flyer can’t be from later than September or October. I have one very early ticket book, but it is not dated, it might be from 1955, though it is not one of the desirable examples that says “ride”… instead mine says “coupon”. Long boring story, I guess. What did you see on Broadway??

Nanook said...

"Did they at least have tongs to pull the pickles out of the barrel?"

Oh no... you had to 'dive' for each one - just hold your breath. (You didn't know that-?) It was a really large barrel-!

The Ticket Books were first offered on Tuesday, October 11, 1955 - and without the A-B-C ID's - those didn't appear until December, 1955. The 'D' Ticket was added in June, 1956; and the 'E' Ticket was finally added on June 12, 1959.

Bu said...

Yes. To be clear: We had pickle tongs. It IS a thing. They are more long and "pointy" than "regular tongs". Ask Martha Stewart, she will tell you.

Brad Abbott said...

Love the design on that Market House bag. Definitely not something you run across often!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I can’t dive into a pickle barrel, I spent hours on my hair! Thank you for that info about the ticket books, I don’t think I ever knew those dates before.

Bu, it sounds like Walt was a pioneer in pickle-picking technology.

Brad Abbot, it took me forever to find one of these bags!