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  • Trip Report DL Time Machine: 1976









    Happy Days. Anyway, I loved (and love) every part of HM, the queue through the cemetery, the greeting from our Ghost Host, the stretch room, and the hallway with the changing portraits; these things weren't merely a "pre-show" as some modern travelogues might call them. For me, they were the ride, along with the Doom Buggies as a climax.













    Our day ended where it started, on Main Street, but this time there was no sprinting involved. My favorite spot was the Magic Shop, where I picked up yet another in a long line of magic tricks and novelties that would find their way to the bottom of a drawer or the back of my closet.

    And already, I was thinking how much I looked forward to going back next year. Some things never change.

    ***
    Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

    Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

  • #2
    Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

    What a great idea for a trip report! I look forward to seeing many more of the same from you!
    Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

      Disneyland was fantastic in 1976, perhaps the peak of the park's life cycle. The fireworks show was longer than normal and done in a theme of red, white and blue fireworks. Hans, Otto and Fritz climbing the Matterhorn. Tinkerbell flight from the Matterhorn. America on Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade. Fantasy on Parade at Christmas. Rock Hudson narrated the Christmas Candlelight Processional. Spring Fling. Country Music Jubliee. Viva Mexico. Senior Citizens Days. Disneyland and All That Jazz. Date Nites. Tomorrowand Terrace concerts. Disneyland Band. Royal Street Bachelors. Dapper Dans. Banjo Kings. Pearly Band. Mariachi San Marcos.

      And what a collection of attractions to choose from: Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland. Adventure Thru Inner Space. Hanuted Mansion. Pirates of the Caribbean. PeopleMover. Mission to Mars. Skyway. Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island. Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. Disneyland Railroad, with the dioramas. Sailing Ship Columbia. Mark Twain Steamboat. America Sings. Jungle Cruise. Monorail. Matterhorn Bobsleds. Enchanted Tiki Room. "it's a small world." Submarine Voyage. Country Bear Jamboree. The Walt Disney Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Previews of Coming Attractions. GAF Photo Salon. Frontierland Gun Collection. Rocket Jets. Mike Fink Keel Boats. Peter Pan Flight. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Dumbo. Snow White's Adventures. Autopia (Fantasyland and Tomorrowland). Shooting Gallery. Alice in Wonderland. Mad Tea Party. Fantasyland Theater. Main Street Cinema. Motor Boat Cruise. Swiss Family Treehouse. Storybook Land Canal Boats. Casey Jr. Circus Train. Horse Drawn Street Car. Horseless Carriage. Omnibus. Fire Engine. King Arthur Carousel. Sleeping Beauty Castle. All the great Main Street shops. Tahitian Terrace. Golden Horseshoe Revue. Coke Corner. Cap'n Hook's ship. Skull Rock. America the Beautiful in Circle-Vision 360.

      The only great thing missing was Space Mountain, which did not open until May 1977. The ticket book with admission to the park and 15 tickets cost $7.00. And you could buy individual tickets at various booths around the park. And it was still relatively uncrowded, compared to today. What a park that was.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

        Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
        Disneyland was fantastic in 1976, perhaps the peak of the park's life cycle. The fireworks show was longer than normal and done in a theme of red, white and blue fireworks. Hans, Otto and Fritz climbing the Matterhorn. Tinkerbell flight from the Matterhorn. America on Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade. Fantasy on Parade at Christmas. Rock Hudson narrated the Christmas Candlelight Processional. Spring Fling. Country Music Jubliee. Viva Mexico. Senior Citizens Days. Disneyland and All That Jazz. Date Nites. Tomorrowand Terrace concerts. Disneyland Band. Royal Street Bachelors. Dapper Dans. Banjo Kings. Pearly Band. Mariachi San Marcos.

        And what a collection of attractions to choose from: Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland. Adventure Thru Inner Space. Hanuted Mansion. Pirates of the Caribbean. PeopleMover. Mission to Mars. Skyway. Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island. Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. Disneyland Railroad, with the dioramas. Sailing Ship Columbia. Mark Twain Steamboat. America Sings. Jungle Cruise. Monorail. Matterhorn Bobsleds. Enchanted Tiki Room. "it's a small world." Submarine Voyage. Country Bear Jamboree. The Walt Disney Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Previews of Coming Attractions. GAF Photo Salon. Frontierland Gun Collection. Rocket Jets. Mike Fink Keel Boats. Peter Pan Flight. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Dumbo. Snow White's Adventures. Autopia (Fantasyland and Tomorrowland). Shooting Gallery. Alice in Wonderland. Mad Tea Party. Fantasyland Theater. Main Street Cinema. Motor Boat Cruise. Swiss Family Treehouse. Storybook Land Canal Boats. Casey Jr. Circus Train. Horse Drawn Street Car. Horseless Carriage. Omnibus. Fire Engine. King Arthur Carousel. Sleeping Beauty Castle. All the great Main Street shops. Tahitian Terrace. Golden Horseshoe Revue. Coke Corner. Cap'n Hook's ship. Skull Rock. America the Beautiful in Circle-Vision 360.

        The only great thing missing was Space Mountain, which did not open until May 1977. The ticket book with admission to the park and 15 tickets cost $7.00. And you could buy individual tickets at various booths around the park. And it was still relatively uncrowded, compared to today. What a park that was.
        wow I miss thos DAYs! that when Disneyland was a Kingdom!
        Soaring like an EAGLE !

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

          Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
          What a park that was.
          No argument here. As many probably know ad nauseum by now, I was a CM there that year. That summer, I worked as a frycook at the Plaza Pavillion. On July 4, 1976 of all days - I had my only significant work-related injury during my years at the park. I was taken to Palm-Harbor hospital (maybe five miles down Harbor in Garden Grove), and missed the next three weeks.

          If I hit two fingers on my right hand the wrong way even now, I'm reminded of that fateful day...

          Anyway, Silly Spook what a great post and thread. And Bob's right, although at that time we were just emerging from another of those recession things - the park had had been in a real slump the previous couple of years, so seeing Space Mountain being built from essentially the ground up was a source of real hope and excitement.

          Also in 1976 I loved America on Parade, which is underrated in the history of Disneyland celebration-type things in my view.

          (You may recall, or recall seeing, that the MSEP was on a two year hiatus during the bicentennial celebration and came back in the summer of '77.)
          God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

            Thanks, I'd forgotten about Main Street Electrical Parade being on hiatus and how this came in virtually the "dark before the dawn." And also thanks to Bob W. for reminding me about a whole lot of attractions that I forgot to mention!
            Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

            Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

              In mentioning Coke Corner - by 1976, Rod Miller - the man at the piano for all time, as far as I'm concerned...was entering his prime, and had played Marvin Hamlisch's "The Entertainer" (from 'The Sting' only a mere 3,000 times or so by then, by his account to me).

              And there was the pre-Space "Tomorrowland Stage" (separate from the Coke Terrace stage) where they had the "name" acts that came in especially during the summer, perform. The next year, they played on the now-defunct "Space Mountain Stage".

              And I thing Bob, in recounting all the things he did, left out (in detail, at least) the Big Band swing nights all summer long at the Carnation Plaza Gardens, listening to Count Basie or the Glenn Miller Orchestra or Maynard Ferguson or Duke Ellington's band or countless others, while enjoying that unforgettable Fantasia ice cream cone...
              God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                That's funny about "The Entertainer," I remember hearing that song at Coke Corner but couldn't have told you the name of the pianist if you paid me a million dollars. I'm a newbie; did you always work in food/restaurant services, or did you operate rides as well during your long time with DL? (Are you still a CM?)
                Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

                Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                  Thank you for the note about the Main Street Electrical Parade. My Mom went to some of the big band concerts like Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton. I remember sitting through parts of the Stan Kenton one but at that time that music didn't mean much to me. My main memory of 1976 was a park that was full of guests but without much in the way of lines. They had the right ratio of attractions to guests. As the OP mentioned, Matterhorn could build up a 30-minute wait, which we thought was shocking at that time. Most had waits of only a few minutes as I recall, even in the summer season. I remember just walking on to the Mine Train and sitting right down in a waiting train. If you happened to be in the Living Desert when the fireworks were going off, the operator would stop the train and let you watch them before finishing the trip through the unforgettable Rainbow Caverns, my choice for greatest scene in Disneyland history. Most attractions had a waiting line in the summer, but not unreasonably long. The waiting times were just long enough to let you build anticipation for the attraction, but just at the point you were getting bored or tired of waiting in the line, there you were at the boarding point. I remember standing in the center of the CircleVision 360 theater watching the America the Beautiful film and it seemed to have extra meaning in the bicentennial year. The olive trees in the hub had twinkling white lights on them that made it seem like Christmas in the summer. You could just sit on one of the many benches and watch the world go by, smell the popcorn and see guests boarding the horse-drawn carriage. Stroll down Main Street at night, which was like a real city street with activity in every shop, and every shop was something different. The Magic Shop was my favorite although I didn't buy much there I loved looking around. I bought some Haunted Mansion portrait cards which had a glow-in-the-dark overprint, I think they were like $1.50 for each card and I wish I still had them because now they are worth like $150 today. When you got to the Town Square you turned and looked back at the castle's glowing colors and heard the train depot's announcement behind you, it really did seem like a magic kingdom for a moment. Then while you were waiting for the next tram (only a minute or two) a monorail would glide by over head and you would hop on the next tram and it would glide quietly over the parking lot which had far more cars than when you arrived that morning, and the tram driver would announce each section, and you would get off at Tinkerbell or Pinocchio and then after looking for a few minutes finally there was your car.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                    Yep, a 30-minute wait seemed like an eternity to a nine year old, but now I'd be grateful only having to wait that long for an E-Ticket ride on a weekend day. And in any event, we didn't much mind waiting in line, because Disneyland was so good at creating interesting environments for the queues.

                    Thanks for painting that picture of Main Street and Town Square at the end of a day, it takes me right back.
                    Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

                    Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                      AHHHHHHH yeah that was good back then. I visited a couple times a year throughout my teenage-hood in the late 70's/early 80's and that was a wonderful time. I guess when Big Thunder opened in '78 that was quite a "peak" in the Park's history.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                        The opening of Space Mountain seemed like the "final piece of the puzzle" in building Walt's dream. As if it was Walt's last attraction. By the time it opened, though, Carousel of Progress and Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderlan were gone, so the dismantling of the dream had begun.

                        The other thing that sticks in my mind clearly about Disneyland back then was the spotless cleanliness and upkeep. It's certainly not dirty now, but back then it was clean to the point of being unreal. We always had lunch at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street, and I remember sitting there one day staring at the window panes, thinking they were just open and there was no glass. Only a sudden reflection made me realize there was glass there, but it was so clean that it looked like it wasn't there. And there was not one speck of dust on the windowsills. They must have cleaned those windows every single day. Everything painted always looked freshly painted. The park was so clean it almost seemed unreal. People were better-behaved in public then compared to now, but still ocassionally someone would drop a piece of trash, and within seconds (it seemed) an employee would be walking by and would sweep it up, into one of those metal containers on the pole, and the piece of trash would be gone so quickly it's almost like it was never there.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                          Does anyone have any pics to share from 1976?
                          Unfortunately, my Mom has all the old pictures stored away somewhere. I am not sure if she has any from DL that early. I was only 5 then and we didn't go often. I don't think I have ever seen any pictures of our family at DL before the early 80's... (Although I do have the 1969 Disneyland Grad Nite pic of my parents!!)
                          Anyway, I love looking at old pictures, so if anyone has some to share that would be awesome!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                            There are plenty of pictures to be found online, for example going to images.google.com and typing in "Disneyland 1976" gives you some, or going to flickr.com and typing in "Disneyland 1976" results in about 200 images. There are also many Disneyland-related sites; davelandweb.com/disneyland/ is one of the best photo sites with thousands of images, however finding photos specifically from 1976 will require some time there. Yesterland.com has a lot of great information about Disneyland's past though not necessarily 1976. There are also many excellent blogs with articles and photos from just about every period in Disneyland history. Search for "Disneyland history blog" or "vintage Disneyland blog" and that can get you started. Many of the blogs link to similar blogs so one thing can lead to another and you can keep discovering more photos and information as you go. The blogs are one of the best sources as they keep turning up newly discovered information all the time, in fact today davelandblog.blogspot.com turned up some rare photos of Walt Disney in the park in 1958.
                            Last edited by Bob Weaver; 11-18-2009, 05:13 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                              Thanks Bob, for all the info!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                                wow! I just love hearing and reading about what Disneyland use to be like. It's amazing to see how much it's changed and how much fun you had as a child there. Thanks for sharing
                                sigpic...After a YEAR I finally was able to figure out my password again! I'm baaack! Woohoo!(:
                                Disney is my life <3
                                Thank Walt for all he did! <3
                                Future Imagineer <3
                                Keep Disney the way Walt intended it!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                                  I have a very special trip that year.

                                  I was in 6th Grade .... and we all remember those "field trips", don't we, from our grade school years?

                                  So .. in this field trip .. it was all part of an "Americana" package of sorts.

                                  Attractions in the package:
                                  - Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
                                  - Mark Twain
                                  - America The Beautiful
                                  - America Sings
                                  - One parade: .... "America On Parade"
                                  - lunch at the Coca-Cola Tomorrowland Terrace
                                  I had a hot dog, chips, drink, and a twinkie
                                  I remember sitting on the side where the Peoplemover and Monorail tracks came together .. watching both rides, glide above me .. as I ate that Tweenkie and watched that mammoth revolving building America Sings make a turn every 4 or so minutes.

                                  The roof of Space Mountain was covered in pieces of wood and steel ... as several of us looked on at it's construction.

                                  Great memories!
                                  MY SIGNATURE:
                                  Dear Peoplemover Fans, If you want to see a new attraction that at least mimics the 1967 Peoplemover in a future Tomorrowland remodel, you need to write to the powers-that-be, and let them know. If you don't - Then the next time Tomorrowland is remodeled, you will see a land barren of any "Peoplemover" type attraction.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                                    Originally posted by SillySpook View Post
                                    That's funny about "The Entertainer," I remember hearing that song at Coke Corner but couldn't have told you the name of the pianist if you paid me a million dollars. I'm a newbie; did you always work in food/restaurant services, or did you operate rides as well during your long time with DL? (Are you still a CM?)
                                    Rod Miller is a Disneyland legend; there is a member here named Bruce Bergman who knows him well and still keeps in touch.Rod finally left the park a few years ago, after more than three decades of playing at Coke Corner. He told me, at least, that he knew hundreds of songs, but didn't read a note of music. One time when I was bussing tables at the Pavillion next door, I heard him do a ragtime version of the Beatles Norwegian Wood. I kid you not.

                                    Yes, I was in food services my whole time - worked Pavilllion/Tahitian Terrace Complex my first few years, and since that was only a seasonal operation then I worked at the French Market, and Hungry Bear, and New Orleans Main Kitchen on weekends and such during the school year...and I went permanent in the NOMK 1978-1982, when I left the park (after having laid waste as a professional student at Cypress College and CS Fullerton) to pursue my career.

                                    Thank you for asking, and welcome SillySpook!
                                    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                                      Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                                      In mentioning Coke Corner - by 1976, Rod Miller - the man at the piano for all time, as far as I'm concerned...was entering his prime, and had played Marvin Hamlisch's "The Entertainer" (from 'The Sting' only a mere 3,000 times or so by then, by his account to me).
                                      As a ragtime fan, I have to make one slight correction. "The Entertainer" was written by Scott Joplin, not Marvin Hamlisch.
                                      Disneyland Historic Preservation Society
                                      Charter Member

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: DL Time Machine: 1976

                                        Originally posted by Broadway Guru View Post
                                        As a ragtime fan, I have to make one slight correction. "The Entertainer" was written by Scott Joplin, not Marvin Hamlisch.
                                        OFF TOPIC of the thread:

                                        You are absolutely right. Hamlisch performed it for the soundtrack of the movie. Big slip on my part. Thanks for catching it!

                                        Rod, by the way, would play the tune hitting the wrong note at the end of each line...for fun, and I'm sure to preserve his sanity.

                                        And by the way, one of my oldest and best friends lives in Fullerton. I went a year or more ago to a meeting of an Orange County ragtime group (the exact name escapes me) in the basement of a music store there.
                                        God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

                                        Comment

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