Friday, August 14, 2020

Yippie Day: A First-Hand Account

Last week I reported the 50th Anniversary of Yippie Day at Disneyland. Since then, a reader sent me this incredible article from The Berkeley Tribe, dated August 14-21, 1970. While slightly humorous, it is probably the most comprehensive charting of the day’s activities at Disneyland on that fateful day that began somewhat lighthearted but eventually exploded into a violent situation. NOTE: some of the language used is pretty harsh and very anti-police, but I decided to put it here unedited. If you are offended easily, this is not the post for you.

By Aunt Syph

Disneyland? Well what can I say but YIPPIE! 30,000 straights had to split — the place was evacuated — because of 300 freaks. There were no leaders. Someone decided that the Yippies should have an International Pow Wow at Disneyland on August 6th. Some posters — Mickey Mouse with an AK 47 — were distributed, and a few handbills, and that was it. Most of the people who came were from Orange County, Berkeley, or Isla Vista.

Everyone had to pay to get in. Freaks driving into the Disneyland parking lot were searched and hassled; no food allowed inside the gates, all bags were searched at the gate, pigs in all shapes and one size (large) casually leaning against every ticket turnstile…

And there we are, the one percenters, picking fellow freaks out in the line as we wait for the turnstile. Feeling very fucking outnumbered, if you know what I mean, and there we are, all of us having just spent four or five bucks on tickets, (NO way to sneak in) VOLUNTARILY WAITING IN LINE TO ENTER AMERIKA'S PLASTIC TRAP. And they let us in. We gape at each other inside, like “Man, there’s something wrong…they let us in…” We all agree that there’s no way out cept back through the turnstiles. Outnumbered 100 to one. Well, what the fuck. YIPPIE!

No one follows the schedule printed in the Freep. We all kinda drift towards Fantasyland, that super big plastic (I mean, really!) castle imaged into all our childhood minds from watching the Walt Disney hour on Sunday nights. (You know – with the fireworks and Tinkerbell?)

Everyone’s just sitting around grinning. It’s about noon. Nothing to do. We’re just getting together. Checking it out. Pigs all over the place. I mean everywhere! Disguised, plainclothesed, in uniform, a few squads of Tac in flak jackets and helmets, etc.

The ones in disguise surpass the goals of the most paranoic speed freak. Dressed to blend in with wherever their post is. Frontierland has 7th Calvary troopers, Indians, raftsmen in faded red shirts, straw hats and cut-off levis. Adventureland has Tahitians, Tomorrowland has guys out of Star Trek, Main Street has Keystone Cops, and Fantasyland has pigs in Chip ‘n’ Dale outfits. I shit you not. Carrying walkie-talkies. And they’re all at least six feet tall and 200 lbs. This includes the tourists talking into their gift-wrapped packages, too. But who are we to be paranoid? Where would the revolution be if we were always paranoid? Yippie!

Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship is a prime target. We march on, the tourists split, and we have the ship to ourselves. Freaks in the rigging, on the ropes, at the wheel, ringing the bells; the tourists below on the dock…“WHERE did they all come from?” “We tunneled through from China, Lady! RED China!” We come off the ship at our grossest, and march right through their midst. Mothers pull their children to them and scatter in the opposite direction. Blank-faced Orange County and Vacant-eyed Amerika freak. Our very existence is dynamite.

In Frontierland is Tom Sawyer’s Island, sitting in the middle of the lagoon. Out on the island is a fort, guarded by 7th Calvary/Pigs. Indians (paddling canoes of tourists around the lagoon) circle the island. Recorded war whoops and bugle calls (charge!) are heard ever so often. It’s a killer. We have to get out there. It takes a D ticket. The wooden (plastic) raft is fake-oared (motor underneath) by Tom Sawyer/raftsmen/Pigs. Four raftloads go out, contemplate skinny dipping, contemplate the countless pigs in bushes, caves, forts, trees, and decide to save it for later.

Back on the mainland, it’s time for the Indian dance. “…and now Eagle Dance, honoring great bird, symbol of this great United States of America…” and so on. But the young Indian dancers dig us. It’s not everyday they dance for brothers and sisters, sitting around the dance circle, instead of tourists sitting in canopied stands. After the usual dances there is a spontaneous joining of hands, freaks and Indians, and a dance around the camp circle.

Then to Main Street. The head Disneyland Pig tries to talk us into going to the park instead of doing it in the road. But we are not to be coopted. The people’s Pied Piper is ripped off for being a nuisance. Physically carried away by the Disneyland Apes. The tourists are freaking at it all, people running down the street, right here in the last sacred sanctuary of sick Amerika. While we’re on Main Street, we decide to take in a flick. Phantom of the Opera is playing at the City St. Cinema. The tourists are kept out “for their own protection” while we flip out inside.

After the movie, it’s generally decided to retake Tom Sawyer’s Island. A dozen raftloads of freaks (D tickets again) make it over, and the Vietcong flag flies over Fort Wilderness. Walt is rolling in his grave by now. 

After the island, a short visit to Tomorrowland for the Monsanto (or something) Exhibit (it’s free) where you ride through this tunnel and it’s dark and ice crystals turn into molecules, and the molecules dissolve into atoms, and somebody lights up a j two cars ahead of you, and the atoms split into neurons and such, and the j is snatched out of their hand by the narc standing at seat level in the totally dark tunnel… 

Outside and back on Main Street. A snake dance to the Town Square happens, and the New Nation flag goes up at Disneyland City Hall. “Give me an F…Give me a U…Give me a C…Give me a K…” The tourists are gone. Really. The kids, the straight teenagers and younger ones, their eyes are so desperate, they dig it, they want to join us, and their hating parents screaming at them, hating us, afraid of us, “I said get moving. Right now. This is the absolutely last time…” ) We’ve all heard it, right?) Right across the Town Square from City Hall is…do my eyes deceive me?…a Bank of Amerika? “TO THE BANK!!” All of us, 500 at the most, immediately charge the bank.

A false charge…we all swing past it and down Main Street…but — too late to fend them off — a magic gate in the wall near the bank opens, and on cue, INTO DISNEYLAND POUR THE FULLERTON TAC SQUAD. And the Costa Mesa Riot Squad (bet you didn’t know they had one) I mean pigs all OVER the place.

They’re marching down Main Street towards Fantasyland. The tourists are stampeding in the street. The pigs keep coming. The Yippies look at each other. You can count on the pigs everytime to gross out. The Disneyland Pigs are telling the tourists to go inside the stores for their own protection. The stores, naturally. can’t pack in 30,000 tourists, even if they are like cattle. The pigs can’t sweep the street.

Head Disneyland Pig starts fingering yippie agitators in the crowd. V-formations charge in after the yippies. One freak runs into a shop, on his ass about 8 Disneyland pigs (keystone cops, cowboys, the 7th calvary, etc.), you can hear shit getting smashed and knocked about in the store, the yippie comes out fighting, club and gunless Disneyland pigs (Tahitians, Indians, 1920’s banjo players) grappling with him just barely hanging on the tourists are screaming the tac squads are pushing them back with their clubs the yippie is overpowered and hustled through a gate to be thrown through the turnstiles by his hair (and to be caught on the other side by friends previously thrown out) and meanwhile inside the loudspeaker is squawking that Disneyland is closing folks we are very sorry to inconvenience you please stay calm we have the situation completely under control oink please leave in an orderly fashion we have the situation oink completely under control…

Bullshit to you Walt. The freaking faggot yippies gotcha by the balls and you KNOW it! Well, it took much hours for Disneyland to be evacuated. 30,000 people spread out over how many? 347 acres of land including mountains, lagoons, clipper ships, atom tunnels and so on make for congestion when there’s only 50 turnstiles in the one entrance and half of them are occupied by Apes throwing out hippies by their feet.

It should be noted that the only other time Disneyland closed was the day Kennedy was shot. Yippie myth has surpassed Lee Harvey Oswald.

But let it not go untold what happened in the parking lot during the evacuation. Numerous Yippies headed for the Disneyland Hotel, across a corner of the lot, followed by scores of pigs, herding stampeding tourists ahead of them (you can count on the pigs) and a miniature Chicago Hilton/haven’t I seen this movie before followed, several heads cracked, a dozen brothers and sisters busted, innocent bystanders brutalized, and so on. I won’t go into details – the same old thing. Yippies trapped in the Hotel lobby again. Maybe we should have settled for Disneyland.

Anyway, when we pickedup all the pieces of ourselves, our comrades, yippie balloons, Mickey Mouse T-shirts, Mousketeer hats and split, the whirlypig w/searchlight was still sweeping the parking lots/Mabel godamit where we parked/where’s the car/kids/excedrin/where’s the kids…the kids?… (Yippie fades off into the L.A. smog to strike again, somewhere, without warning…)

See more Disneyland Yippie Day photos at my main website.


Fifthrider said...

I appreciate that this is posted unedited. Freedom of speech comes first. Some people accomplish in this world by building, others define their accomplishment by tearing down or re-purposing.

I have to admit, I was pretty amused by "Everyone’s just sitting around grinning. It’s about noon. Nothing to do." Welcome to Disneyland where there's "nothing to do." I know a Club 33 member who once told me "There's no such thing as being bored, but there is such thing as a boring person." Words for life.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they really were paranoid.
It reads as being pretty self satisfied, but what did they accomplish? Wrecking the day for a few thousand kids (some of which would never get to go to Disneyland again?) Pretty chicken way to live. Now they're gone and their "movement" was a flop. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of the condition of the water in the River and what was in's too bad they didn't skiny-dip. Indeed, this article puts a context on what the movement was about...and thus its lack of staying power. Sounds more like a misguided frat party. KS

Daveland said...

Bryan - Some of the post makes me squirm, but that's how it was reported and the way it was viewed by "Aunt Syph." You nailed it on the boring part; life is what YOU make of it. Those who just sit back and wait for it to happen...sure, that might get a bit boring!

Stu - Besides the violence, the ruined day for kids and families is equally sad. For many, it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime visit.

KS - The skinny-dipping would have been interesting for so many reasons!

Anonymous said...

The authorities gave the Yippies exactly what they wanted.

Yippies 1, Cops 0.

stu29573 said...

Cops are still here, Yippies aren't.
Cops 1, Yippies Gone.

Daveland said...

Unknown: The problem was two-fold:

1. The Yippies didn't know what they wanted.
2. Like most unsuccessful causes, they communicated their platform poorly.