Monday, September 21, 2009

Mexico Comes to Anaheim, Pt. 1

Mexico came to Anaheim in 1963. Walt welcomed the culture to Disneyland with an elaborate street festival, known as “Good Neighbor Mexico,” located in the heart of Main Street (or Center Street to be more exact).

And just what exactly is that Tony Curtis wannabe on the left trying to do? Bring the curtain down on the show?

Thanks to detail-hound Jason at Disneyland Nomenclature, here are some newspaper accounts of the festival:

From the L.A. Times on July 24, 1963: “An authentically decorated Mexican street exhibit will be opened Monday at Disneyland to celebrate a ‘Salute to Mexico’ sponsored by People-to-People, Inc., in co-operation with the Mexican Tourist Council.

“Mexico’s former president, Miguel Aleman, now president of the tourist council, will act as official representative at the 11 a.m. dedication ceremonies.

“The three-month exhibit will be a showcase of Mexican crafts ranging from pottery and jewelry to contemporary art and bull fighting.”

From the Pasadena Star-News, July 31, 1963: “Mexico Invades Southland—A beachhead based on friendship and mutual understanding has been established at Disneyland with opening of the ‘Salute la Mexico’ under the sponsorship of People-to-People, Inc. Teresa Lucero, 8, of Los Angeles and Patrick Wade, 12, of Anaheim, pulled the ribbon to officially open the display. Watching were Edmondo Gonzales, Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles; Walt Disney, executive committee member of sponsoring group; Carlos Arruz, of Mexico City, and Joyce C. Hall, chairman of People-to-People committee.”

The photos in this entry (other than the first one with Walt) are from what I believe to be the closing ceremonies on September 14, 1963.

See more Disneyland (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.


William Bezek said...

Walt was great at PR. When the park was built, parts of Anaheim were agricultural districts and home to many Mexican families that were probably watching their neighborhoods slowly turn into tourist havens. The old Frito Lay Cantina was my favorite place to eat growing up, I wonder if it was added at this time?

Major Pepperidge said...

Looks like a fun party! And Walt looks good in a sombrero.

Katella Gate said...

Tony Curtis? I was thinking Tony Randall!

Dad.. said...

Walt in Mexican attire! Very Cool!!

Anonymous said...

The Tony Curtis/Randall guy is obviously holding the rope to the pinata. I love all of these so much, esp the pic of Walt is just amazing! Thank you. :)