Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TPE: Moving On To Fantasyland & The Castle

Time to enter the portal of another land. Originally, each entrance had a sense of wonder and some kind of gateway or arch thematically proclaiming what you were about to experience. The drawbridge to the Sleeping Beauty Castle is probably the most famous entrance in the Magic Kingdom. We've all seen the photos of the kids storming the Castle on July 17, 1955, which is commonly known as Opening Day.

However, as this photo shows, Opening Day wasn't the only day that the drawbridge was lowered.

Zooming in on this July 18, 1955 photo, you can see the drawbridge on the way down:

And the pandemonium that resulted (again) as guests realized that they could enter Fantasyland.

It's hard to find much that's new or interesting in vintage shots of the Castle; they are about a dime a dozen. However, for this post, I have attempted to assemble some of my more interesting 1950's shots that would show the kinds of things I'd want to see or photograph if I was able to travel back to Disneyland during that era.

Kruschev couldn't go to Disneyland, but the Russian Olympic team was able to visit, December 13, 1956:

WWII hero & actor Audie Murphy, wife Pamela Opal Lee Archer, and kids seem to be having a grand time:

For the life of me, I can't place this section of the Castle. It almost seems like a backstage area.

Perhaps an early version of Aurora, waving to guests below?

Or some other off-model Princess from a Disney movie:

Yes, you could even find "cheesecake" at early Disneyland, circa December 1957:

Disneyland legend Admiral Joe Fowler takes a tour of the park:

This one looks like dad's day out with the kids; the mom at left looks scared about all the testosterone to her right, as she shields her impressionable young daughter.

The last ones for today show Robin Hood's Merrie Men lounging around the perimeter of the Castle:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle photos on my Castle web page.


K. Martinez said...

The section of the castle that eludes you looks like it's on the west side next to the old MM Club/Fantasyland Theater in between the Fantasy Gift Fair an Fantasyland Art Corner.

JG said...

@K. I was going to say the same thing, but another possibility is the corner where Alice in Wonderland is now. Not sure about the date of the photos, but that corner was not filled by the ride until 1957-58, so it might have looked like that then.

Dave, this is a wonderful series of photos of the Castle. You are right to say it is a common topic, but it never gets old to me. Especially like the detail shots and odd angles.

I also love the pictures people take of their loved ones, it is so obviously a special place to record a special someone. I wonder where that blonde girl is today?

I hope all these people had happy lives, if only for the short time that they were inside Disneyland. Remembering them having fun has made my life a little happier too. That is the whole point, right?


Major Pepperidge said...

I wonder if Audie Murphy isn't up on the 2nd level of the castle (where the princesses could look at the crowds), since he was a celebrity guest.

Benson Myers said...

One of my favorite Disneyland stories is that of a team of Russian athletes that came to the park in the 1960's. They spent their entire two days at Disneyland, from park open to close, riding nothing but the Autopia. At that time, private ownership of cars in Russia was prohibitively expensive, and only the super rich and Communist officials could afford them. The athletes were beside themselves with joy and fascination at the chance to freely drive their own car on an open roadway. At the end of their two days, they were so sad to leave the park and the Autopia, they almost had to be dragged out of the park.

Daveland said...

All those explanations sound plausible, but I am digging the Major's theory! Benson - that is a great story! I'd never heard that one before.