of Early Disneyland|
by Mike Bonk
My family did not move to California until late 1955, so the Park was
several months old by the time of my first visit. But after that, I was
never away more than six months during the following 25 years. Many
early memories are just bits and pieces now:
Circling Tom Sawyer Island on the rafts when there was no ship on the
Rivers of America.
Staring in horror at the “medical” leeches in a huge bell jar at Upjohn
Waving to “Uncle Walt” when he looked out the window of his apartment
over the fire station.
Fishing off Tom Sawyer Island (happily, never catching anything; there
was never a good solution for what to do with fish if caught, and they
invariably ended up in lockers...where they usually remained unclaimed
at the end of the day).
Barely making the requirements to ride alone on the Flying Saucers... and
finding that I didnt provide enough mass to do anything but bob in
place for the whole (brief) ride.
Begging for my first “coonskin” cap in the Davy Crockett Shop, and
reading in awe the histories of the historic gun collection in back.
Watching the “mountaineers” climb the Matterhorn, the bad guys shoot it
out with the Sheriff (Marshall?) in Frontierland, live “mermaids” swim
in the submarine lagoon, and Tinker Bell fly across the Park during the
Fantasy in the Sky fireworks.
Turning large steel wheels that made columns of colored water rise and
fall (Monsanto? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?)
Eventually I went to work at the Park, and collected too many memories
to try and sort out here.
But as Guest or Cast Member, my absolute
favorite moments were always in late winter, when there were barely
enough Guests for the Park to be open, and a light rain would fall.
there was no place I would rather be than sitting bundled-up outside the
One-of-a-Kind shop in New Orleans Square, sipping hot chocolate and
nibbling a fritter while watching the Mark Twain churn slowly by in the
fog coming off the Rivers of America.
(faireguy @ faires.com) is the author of
The Directorie of Renaissance Faires.
© 2007 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks
Updated November 24, 2006.
Photograph of the Mark Twain: 1959 by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.