Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vintage Disneyland: Barren and Low-Tech!

This 1950s image of the front gate at Disneyland looked like a lot of the other ones in my collection until I closed in on the little red truck barely visible in the center of the photo. I have no idea what this could have been for, other than possibly a delivery cart of some kind for the Disneyland Newspaper or perhaps some Park brochures. It sure is cute, though! And it's also fun to see RETLAW 1 pulled into the station, awaiting its next batch of guests for the Grand Circle Tour.

Compared to this contemporary shot, the entrance of the past looks positively barren!

This shot caught my eye because of the balloon seller's costume. Looking at the background, surprisingly he is standing in Tomorrowland, not Fantasyland. The costume seems very much out of place for the land of Tomorrow!

Let's take a closer look at the balloons in this January 1960 photo:

They look extremely low-tech when contrasted with the balloons sold at Disneyland today:

It should come as no surprise that I prefer the low-tech versions!

See more vintage & current Disneyland Entrance photos on my main website.


Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, both of those vintage photos are great. I always love nice pictures of the entrance, and the balloon vendor's costume is nuts.

K. Martinez said...

Looking at both old and new photos of Disneyland plus going to the Park for fifty plus years now, I definitely notice the feel and difference of the place now.

Back then, Disneyland felt exciting, new and innovative. It also felt very suburban. Today it feels like an urban space with a sort of city park feel to it. It also feels like it's living on its past, coasting on nostalgia. Certainly a reversal of what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the balloon guy drifted over from Fantasyland, he looks like Harley Quinn.

As usual, these are so much fun, thanks.


beachgal said...

The more plain balloons were sold along with the ones with a non transparent Mickey head inside early on but were handled by separate vendors. I recall the Mickey head inside ones by 'bout 57 but maybe they were there earlier. The Mickey inside ones were much more coveted - but if you lost your 'head' one, you might have to settle for the plain one as a replacement. There was a significant price difference between a 'regular' one and the head inside one. The vendors with the Mickey ones also got sparser as the day in the Kingdom waxed toward the end - so it was never a sure thing to wait until ready to leave to get one of those. I can remember going around looking for a Mickey inside vendor who had the right color I wanted.

beachgal said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

I heard recently (I think it was from "More Cute Stories" by Rolly Crump) that in Disneyland's early years the balloons in Disneyland were sold by an outside company, so it is perhaps not surprising that the balloon vendors costume is garish and not planned to blend in with the land, the brighter the better to catch the eyes of the kids so they will then ask their parents for a balloon.

Anonymous said...

That balloon vendor shows the difference between a Disney park and everyone else. Everyone else would put him there in that costume and call it a day. Disney would look at that, feel something wasn't quite right, and make a change until it was, hence why we don't see such out of place cast members anymore. I don't lament the mistake, I celebrate the recognition and correction of one.