Friday, August 27, 2010

Disneyland '55

I received the following email from Disney today and thought you all might be interested. I'm a Disney fan, especially of the older stuff (who isn't?), and I'd love to attend, but I happen to be on the wrong coast. (The photo above is from our Disneyworld trip in February.)

"Ever dream of strolling down memory lane with the original Mouseketeers? Curious about Kap the pig? Think you know everything about Disney memorabilia? Mark your calendars, because the answers can be found at "Destination D: Disneyland '55," a brand-new premiere event presented by D23, Disney's official fan club, that will focus on a specific area of Disney history.

Hosted at the Disneyland Hotel's Grand Ballroom Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25, the inaugural event will spotlight Disneyland's 55th Anniversary this year, with two days of seminars, entertainment, and experiences related to everything Disneyland – past, present, and future.

Steven Clark, head of D23, explains how the idea came about. "Our first D23 Expo [in 2009] was such a huge success and massive Company-wide effort that we decided to make it more special by holding it every other year. In turn, we wanted to create a special offering during the same time frame so fans would still have an exciting, robust Disney experience in off-Expo years ... and that's how Destination D was born." The fact that Disneyland's 55th Anniversary coincided with the premiere event was a match made in Disney heaven.

Disney historian Paul Anderson, who frequently works with the D23 team, will co-host several seminars over the two days. Steven provides the inside scoop on what Guests can expect. "Paul's extremely funny and is a wealth of knowledge, trivia, and fun facts. He'll present 'Weird Disney' with Archives Director Becky Cline, which features odd oddities like Disneyland's pancake races and Kap the Kaiser Aluminum Pig [from the old attraction]. We've found footage in the Archives that no one's seen before."

Along with Rob Klein and Stacia Martin, Paul will also host "The Wonderful World of Disneyland Merchandise," a look at some of the coolest, most bizarre souvenirs ever sold. "The scope of the merchandise categories throughout the years is pretty interesting – and surprising," Steven adds. "Vendors would test samples at various Disneyland stores to see if the product would sell. If the Park didn't purchase mass quantities, only a handful of collectors ended up with these items."

Those who grew up with the Mickey Mouse Club won't believe seeing their childhood heroes on stage. How hard was it to reunite the original members after 55 years? "That group of Mouseketeers has remained friends throughout the years ... they enjoy doing activities like this together and were eager to participate." Cubby O'Brien, Doreen Tracey, Bobby Burgess, Karen Pendleton, and Tommy Cole are just a few of the familiar faces who'll attend."

While some of those names are before my time, I think from a historian's viewpoint it would be very interesting to participate in this event. I've always been intrigued by the "old" Disneyland, and the one time I got out there (1995), I made sure to see as much of what remained of it as possible. But there have always been long-gone parts (like the House of the Future) I wanted to know more about.  Maybe some of you that are in the neighborhood can go and report back!


  1. Thanks for posting about this! I have a Disneyland season pass and try and go as much as possible. Maybe I can make it out and report back to you all. It sounds really fun!