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 DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant, it became Aunt Jemima’s 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.

— Werner Weiss

Aunt Jemima and Navy men
Bill Finnell (right) and his Navy buddy with Aunt Jemima
Posing with
Aunt Jemima

by Bill Finnell,
Guest Contributor

December 3, 2002
When I think of Disneyland, my mind always travels back to Disneyland’s 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 on—and will forever.

— Bill Finnell

The Day the Flowers Died
Candy Caper

© 2002-2006 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks
Updated September 23, 2006.

Photograph of Aunt Jemima and Navy men, 1957, courtesy of Bill Finnell.