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Looking for some info on mid/late 1950s Disneyland

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  • Looking for some info on mid/late 1950s Disneyland

    Hi everyone!

    My first post here.

    I'm in the process of writing a novel wherein Disneyland plays somewhat of an important part regarding several characters in my story. The park itself isn't the main setting of the story but there are several points in the narrative where I'd like to have some solid details about the park for accuracy's sake. I've been googling for some of this information but have come up short, and then I stumbled upon this forum and it looks like you're a pretty knowledgeable bunch!


    1. What were the park's hours of operation in the 1950s? Like, opening and closing times?

    2. Were there many restaurants open at that time? Were there vendor food carts?

    3. Speaking of food and beverage, what kinds of food was served? I read that Pepsi had a licensing deal with Disneyland and I was curious as to how long that partnership lasted.

    4. How many actors/actresses in costume were usually at the park on a given day? And what characters were there? I know of Mickey and Minnie, Snow White, Peter Pan, and Hook, but not sure about the rest of the cast.


    This should offer me a solid start.

    Thank you very much in advance for the help!


  • #2
    This might be a useful jumping off point:

    https://www.yesterland.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a fairly extensive library of Disneyland books, as well as a small collection of period in-house and publicity materials from the 1950s. When I get home I'll try to better answer some of your questions.

      ODV carts as we know them didn't exist. The only true "outdoor" food vendors were popcorn sellers. There were several restaurants, like the Plantation House, Red Wagon Inn, etc.

      Park hours varied by season, as well as closures (Yes, the Park was closed occasionally during the week).

      Comment


      • #4
        Definitely check out yesterland as mentioned above. You can get lost on that website for hours LOL. Hopefully you let us know how this all turns out when you are done
        These are some of my favorite TRs I have posted

        DL 55th BDAY trip report
        My company had a special night at the park
        WdW trip report with WWoHP
        NYE 2011 trip report
        Mice Chat 7th anniversary
        Leap year 24 hour report
        New DCA trip report
        NYE 2012
        HKDL trip report

        Comment


        • #5
          You can also post your message on the Truly Vintage Disneyland Facebook group and Disneyland historian James Keeline's page. Keeline has an extensive collection of early in-house publications and would be a great source of information on operating hours, restaurants, stores and rides (his chart listing Disneyland's early rides and ticket breakdowns is here). For details on the Disneyland Railroad, the #1 historical authority is Steve DeGaetano.

          For historical photos, check out Daveland. Early Disneyland souvenir guides and ephemera are at the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog (though no longer active, it's still a great resource). And if your novel includes anything about the early Disneyland Hotel, the top authority is Don Ballard -- like Keeline and DeGaetano, his exhaustive research defines the flavor of the period as well as the details of the place.
          Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 12-19-2019, 09:51 AM.
          "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
          it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
          together with every variety of recreation and fun,
          designed to appeal to everyone."

          - Walt Disney

          "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
          - Michael Eisner

          "It's very symbiotic."
          - Bob Chapek

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh wow, I didn't expect such a wealth of info! I will start doing some digging. Thanks very much!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by disappeared View Post
              Oh wow, I didn't expect such a wealth of info! I will start doing some digging. Thanks very much!
              Good luck on your project!
              "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
              it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
              together with every variety of recreation and fun,
              designed to appeal to everyone."

              - Walt Disney

              "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
              - Michael Eisner

              "It's very symbiotic."
              - Bob Chapek

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mr wiggins View Post

                good luck on your project!
                x 2 <()>
                Soaring like an EAGLE !

                Comment


                • #9
                  There's a wealth of vintage Disneyland reference materials on this site, and not just for "tickets" as the name implies.

                  http://vintagedisneylandtickets.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I remember DL being closed on Mondays & Tuesdays during the Winter. It also seems to me I remember it closing at around 6-7pm in the Winter, too.
                    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The fall/winter schedule in 1959 was effective starting on September 28: Open Wednesday through Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. Hours when open were 10:00 am until 7:00 pm. Spring hours were 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

                      They had "20 fine restaurants and 'refreshment corners.'" Specialties included a complete range of food, from steak dinners to snacks, from sandwiches to salads, all at "moderate prices."

                      Notable restaurants included the previously-mentioned Plantation House (specializing in fried chicken) to Aunt Jemima's kitchen, the Silver Banjo Barbeque, Casa de Fritos. In Fantasyland there was the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, and in Tomorrowland, there was the Space Bar. There was also the Gourmet Restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel. On Main Street was the Red Wagon Restaurant (where you could get the steak or chops fresh from a charcoal broiler).

                      Both Pepsi and Coke had licensing deals. Pepsi sponsored the Golden Horseshoe Review.

                      "Characters" is a broad term. Most of the cast members were technically costumed characters, from Trinidad, the "White Wing" to Vesey Walker, leader of the Disneyland Band, to the steam train engineers and conductors, to the Main Street merchants, all of whom had very elaborate costumes. They also had a real Tom Sawyer (13 year old Tom Nabbe), Aunt Jemima herself, Black Bart, Marshal Lucky, and a lamp lighter on Main Street. Don't forget K-7 the Spaceman. Other fully-costumed characters included the Seven Dwarves and the Mad Hatter. Early, although undated, postcards also show Alice, the White Rabbit, the Three Little Pigs and Big Bad Wolf, Goofy and Donald.
                      Last edited by Right Down Broadway; 12-21-2019, 03:07 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This vintage photo of Tomorrowland's Space Bar shows both Pepsi and Coca Cola on the menu.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
                          This vintage photo of Tomorrowland's Space Bar shows both Pepsi and Coca Cola on the menu.
                          That is
                          vintage photo
                          both Pepsi and Coca Cola on the menu
                          and they were 10 and 20 cents.........LOL
                          Soaring like an EAGLE !

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Answering No, 3, on-line sources indicate Pepsi was a sponsor from 1955 until 1990.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Right Down Broadway View Post
                              Answering No, 3, on-line sources indicate Pepsi was a sponsor from 1955 until 1990.
                              Well , I still
                              sponsor PEPSI..... today lol

                              Be truthful ........Pepsi does not have a great market team........
                              and now Coke
                              sponsor most the theme and amusement parks, cross the country !
                              Soaring like an EAGLE !

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I see the ubiquitous 'orange drink' on that menu. I remember that on lots of fast food menus. It wasn't as carbonated as Crush or Nehi, but it wasn't flat like Hi-C. It was somewhere in between and it was GOOD. No idea who made it.
                                "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I would love
                                  to have Disney and Knott's , to bring back "PEPSI" !
                                  Well ,I still can Wish .......lol
                                  Soaring like an EAGLE !

                                  Comment

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