On July 18, 1955, Michael Schwartner convinced his family to go to the general public's opening day of Disneyland, instead of golfing in Mexico. He was just seven years old at the time and he remembers it was crowded and hot waiting to get into the brand new park. He and his 5-year old cousin Christine Vess (now Kristina Graef) wanted to get in the shade and see everything that was going on, so they nudged their way to the front.
While playing around at the turnstiles, a Disney rep plucked them out of the crowd and invited to them to "do a thing." The two children spent the next hour getting photos with Walt Disney himself.
The Orange County Register reports that:
Disney took the children by the hands, and they posed for pictures in front of the Mickey Mouse floral display. Then he invited the family aboard the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad for a tour of the new park. The family sat in front, listening to Disney describe his $17 million park in detail.
Both children received lifetime passes to the park.
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I read pretty much every Disneyland history and fact book I find. Chris Strodder's The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom lives up to its massive title.
A simple alphabetical listing of just about every First through Fifth order-of-interest item in the park. Everything from the amazing history of the Golden Horseshoe Review to fun facts about a tobacco shop that disappeared 27 years ago lies between the covers of this book. These are truly encyclopedia style entries and are chock full of facts with less emphasis on story telling. I think it'd be a great book to have at the park.
I did a cover-to-cover read through of this at home. I'd prefer to have it electronically on my phone via Kindle to look at while in the park. Go e-version if you can.
The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom via Amazon
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