The Frontierland restaurant that is now the River Belle
Terrace was the Aunt Jemima Pancake House from 1955 until 1962.
After absorbing the adjacent Don DeFores
Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant, it became Aunt Jemimas Kitchen,
a name which it kept until 1970.
I received this picture and note from Bill Finnell of Klamath Falls, Oregon,
who remembers the original restaurant.
Bill Finnell (right) and his Navy buddy with Aunt Jemima
by Bill Finnell,
December 3, 2002
When I think of Disneyland, my mind always travels back to Disneylands
first days, and how much it has changed. In 1957, I paid my first visit to
Disneyland while stationed in Long Beach with the Navy. Back then we got
special prices if we were servicemen, and of course I vividly remember the
old, familiar tickets books that cost some ridiculously low price, another
thing long gone. I can still clearly remember how small everything looked
back then. The trees, now lush and green, were tiny and spindly, and the
attraction area was so small. But even so, it still held the magic that
still resides there, if in a now-different form.
I can still remember a day
that a Navy buddy and I visited the Aunt Jemima Pancake House,
now the River Belle
Terrace, and got to meet Aunt Jemima herself. In fact, she came out to talk
with us specifically because we were Navy men in uniform. We asked if she
would step outside so we could get a picture with her, which she readily
consented to. I still cherish that photo, taken by one of the
always-available Disney visitors willing to take family pictures with
everyone, including picture-taking dads, in them. My buddy is long since
dead, as is Aunt Jemima. But this memory, and many other cherished Disney
memories, live onand will forever.
© 2002-2006 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks
Updated September 23, 2006.
Photograph of Aunt Jemima and Navy men, 1957, courtesy of Bill Finnell.