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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Fantasyland: 1963

Fantasyland: 1963

Kennedy-era folks at Disneyland in Kodachrome. Should I go on here about how thoroughly obsessed I was with Disneyland in the 1960s? At first I ached to go there just to drive the Autopia cars. The real fixation started after my first visit in 1960. It was like another world -- actually, a multitude of other worlds, all of them ones I'd rather live in. That being not quite possible, I settled for the next best thing: bring it into my real life. I organized the hundreds of color slides I took into elaborate shows with music and even printed programs. I drew and painted Disneyland artwork. I dubbed my cactus garden "The Living Desert" and tape-recorded a narration for walks through it. I built my own Storybook Land in one corner of our garden, and a diorama in the basement. I insisted we start having our Sunday dinners in the dining room so I could wheel the TV set around in order to watch The Wonderful World of Color -- in black-and-white. I sent an inquiry about employment in the park, but they weren't hiring teenagers who lived 400 miles away. Even now I think I'd really like to live there, or at least the one of the 50s and 60s. Must be a Peter Pan complex. View full size.

My first visit to Disneyland

My first visit to Disneyland was in 1959, when I was 8 years old. My mom and I took the train from Richmond CA to Bakersfield, where we got the Santa Fe Trailways connecting bus to Los Angeles, then to Anaheim.

We stayed in a motel just a few blocks from the entrance to Disneyland, and I remember that relatively short walk very clearly - it was ALL orange groves, on both sides of the street, from the motel to the gates of Disneyland!

My favorite attraction was Tom Sawyer's Island, where my cousin and I ran around like idiots, probably much to the adults' relief!

The submarines were brand new that year. I remember I did NOT ride the Matterhorn, but my Mom did and she loved it!

I made my fifth trip to Disneyland last April, on my 60th birthday. It was still great fun, but WOW was it expensive! I told a clerk it was my birthday when I bought a new set of ears, and she gave me a pin to wear. I was amazed when EVERY employee who saw me with the pin said "Happy Birthday, Ken" to me!

Somewhere I have an Ektachrome slide I took in 1970 with my new Hasselblad. We were the last to leave the park, and I set the camera on the ground in Main Street for a long exposure of the street cleaners pushing brooms toward us. If I find it again, I will post it here!

Not Boston

So this is where all that Tea Party stuff started!

God Bless Kodachrome

In 2009 and 2010, knowing the demise of Kodachrome was near, I shot many rolls of my kids at Disneyland, at the beach, with their grandparents, etc., using that film. Digital has many advantages, but the particular color mix and grain of Kodachrome (and the slightly rounded images from the slide mount), evoke a powerful sense of American family life in the mid-20th century.

Cable Cars

You will note in the upper right hand corner the bottom of one of the gondolas of the cable car ride that went across the park. I remember gliding over the Teacup ride and seeing some poor kid barf up, in a 360 degree spray, what looked like a large Coke, a bag of popcorn and a chili dog - at least that's what I had for lunch that day.

A movie

Bwayne! What a fun movie that trip could be!

My kids are jealous!

They have yet, at 18 and 19, to go to Dinseyland.

Tterrace, you have scored with another great shot!

We went in '64

We visited in late summer around this time of year in 1964. My dad was going to take a job out there so we all went and stayed while all the job and house details were looked into.

I remember some things (like the submarine) but not teacups. I do know we stayed all day -- ages 10 (me), 6 and 1.

I respect my folks a lot more these days for the effort, and for the week-plus long journey from the Jersey shore to SoCal. We picked up Route 66 at St. Louis (I remember that) and traveled it the rest of the way, including seeing the Teepee Motel.

Drove from Moose Jaw

to Los Angeles (2200 miles) in the early '60s and they were still building it, no one told us it was not finished yet, good time though.

[Disneyland was finished when it opened in 1955. A $6 million expansion was begun in 1960. - Dave]

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is still there although a bit different. The ride in the '63 tterrace photo was closed down in 1982 for renovations, and here's the finished product.

Teacup twirl

I love the girl's long ponytail swinging out of the teacup on the left. This is the kind of scene that Kodachrome was made for!

I've never been to Disneyland, but grew up in Orlando when Disney World had just opened and was very affordable (unlike today) - we went as a family on weekends fairly regularly.

Great memories.

Our family took the train from South Bend, Indiana, to SoCal in June of 1963, and Disneyland was of course one of the featured places for us to visit (I was 11, and my sister 15). I had my first cheapo camera (127 film?), and my parents shot with their 616 format cameras -- all b&w. Seeing this great tterrace shot brings back fantastic images in my mind. The train trip took us over 40 hrs. to get there (no compartment, just recliner chairs and lousy food; thanks Santa Fe!). Dad decided to cash in the return train tickets and purchase our fare back via United Air Lines, and saved over 37 hours of traveling!

Disney obsession

Back in the day my parents would get me magazines at the Gulf gas station with fill up. A good many of them had info on Disneyland and the soon to be Disneyworld. I read those things obsessively and noticed that they would end up near my father's recliner on occasion. Well the minute Disneyworld opened we made the trip. The sod was still brown in sections where it didn't take. By then I was a sullen teen totally embarrassed to be with my parents. Hardly remember a thing. Went back about 1990 with a co-worker and had a ball, being the kid I should have been in the 70's. Taking the kids and grandkid in a couple of weeks. Wish I could take a friend my age to be silly with instead of a responsible mom and grandmom.

We met Walt!

On our first visit to Disneyland during the summer of 1955 we were waiting at the Main Street train station for our first ride of the day inside the brand new park. As the train arrived in to pick up passengers, off stepped Walt Disney to welcome my older brother, 12, and me, 8. He bent down to our level and kindly asked us how we liked Disneyland. My mom quickly said to ask for his autograph, but he smiled and said he was on his way to an appointment and had to rush to get there. We were in absolute awe, and for us it truly was the happiest place on earth that long ago day. Tterrace is absolutely right.

Disney was a master of illusion

What a job they did with the original Disneyland. It quickly made you forget you were in Anaheim; in fact, I don't think you could even see the outside world from the original park.

And they were so lucky that a small Matterhorn just happened to be on the property! Heh heh.

Stirring Memories

I love that teacup with the gent in the suit and tie and girls in what look like gowns. Pretty classy tea party going on in there!

My parents moved to Orange County in 1960 and lived right across the road from Disneyland. Dad was a Navy doctor stationed with the 8th Marine air wing at El Toro. They've said that some evenings Disneyland would host a sort of "Adults Night" showcasing a popular band or singer and staying open late; they could just cross the road to attend. I'm pretty sure there are some Kodachrome slides at home that include a few shots from one of those events; a Tony Bennett concert, if I remember correctly!

Love Disneyland

Walt was one of the most creative people in the entertainment business of the 20th century IMO.

He simply did things that he found enjoyable or exciting and everyone else came along for the ride.

Fantastic

It's easy to understand an obsession with such a magical place. Disney did an incredible job of touching on that spirit of the imagination in all of us.

Have you seen Daveland or Gorillas?

If you haven't, you need to visit Daveland and Gorillas as they are chock full of thousands (yes, thousands) of color vintage Disneyland slides and, between the hosts and commentators, know pretty much everything you could imagine and more about the singular cultural gem that was/is Disneyland.

You'd be most welcome to comment and share your pics at either one.

 
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