Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Disneyland in focus: The Opera House

The Main Street Opera House is based in fact; most "Main Street" towns had an Opera House, although the majority of what I have seen in the midwest were not half as big in size as this one. Here is a construction photo of the Opera House being constructed. This 1956 color photo shows what the fa├žade looked like when finished:

Initially, there wasn’t much going on at the Opera House; in 1961, it opened up to guests who could see the sets from the popular Disney musical, “Babes in Toyland,” starring Annette Funicello. Thanks to the Devlin family and The Magic Kingdom Club, we have somewhat of an inside view of what the sets look like:

From 1963–1964, The Opera House served as the “Mickey Mouse Club Headquarters.” Young guests could sign-up and receive and official membership card. You can see the Mickey Mouse Club Headquarters sign & poster at the entrance in this March 1964 photo, also shown here with a closeup:

It wasn’t until “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” came to the Opera House in July 1965 that this building achieved much fame. Here is the exterior from August 1965:

And one of the standard publicity shots that fails to capture just how amazing the Audio-Animatronic Mr. Lincoln was:

Abe went into mothballs for the 50th, and was replaced by “The First Magical 50 Years,” an interesting film narrated by Steve Martin that tells how Disneyland came to be. In addition, the Opera House has been home to a model of what the park looked like on opening day; how cool would it be to have this in your living room?!?

Here is a current view of the Opera House, still showing the 50th Anniversary film:

Be sure to check out the new 45th Anniversary Edition of “The Sword in the Stone.” It has a nice set of extras; more than what the publicity release tells.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Main Street Opera House photos at my website.


Thufer said...

yet again, you have provides a glempse into, for me, an unseen world. on my first visit to the park (1962), we entered on the left (west) side and i went directly to the firehouse. i am sure i went to the opera house, however, i do not remember the content at that time.

Major Pepperidge said...

Great images, love the interiors of the "Babes in Toyland" attraction.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Amazing post Dave, it's like a chapter from a great book, thanks! Great shots of the model too!

The Viewliner Limited said...

Fantastic construction picture of the Opera House. Great shots of the set.

Major Pepperidge said...

I forgot to add that I hope that this model remains on display somewhere when (not if!) they bring Abe back.

Unknown said...

Awesome, Dave.

Pure awesomeness!

Katella Gate said...

I love this model: I think I have spent more time looking at it than I have spent inside DCA.