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Second Day in Disneyland #50YearsAgoToday #CaliforniaTrip

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

We started on the left side of the park for our second full day in Disneyland.

Dale remembered taking pictures of mechanical life-sized African animals, an elephant and zebras and a crocodile in the water - that would have been the Jungle Cruise.

He had this memory about the Pirates of the Caribbean:

I believe there was a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction (long before the Johnny Depp movie) and that we did not do it. I remember that because Dr. Stuerman asked me afterward if we had, I said no, and he said "Oh you have to go back, and see the pirates." I tried to tell Mother it was doctor's orders. 🙂

I was surprised by that, because I'm quite sure that I did ride the Pirates of the Caribbean on that trip. I don't think there would have been a height restriction, but I can imagine that Mother and Dale thought that a treat at the Sunkist Citrus House would be more fun than the dark atmosphere of that ride - especially if there was a long line. Dad and I may have taken it on our own.

We missed Frontierland entirely on our first day in Disneyland, so it was a feature of our second day.

Dale remembered Mark Twain things, but worried that he was confusing memories with Hannibal - we grew up 30 miles south of there and visited frequently. But, he was right. Frontierland had both a Mark Twain Steamboat and Tom Sawyer Rafts.

Dale asked this question:

Is it possible we paddled a long canoe, with lots of other people in it, in Disney?

Between the list of attractions in the ticket book and Wikipedia, I was able to piece together the answer to that - yes. They were called Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. They seat twenty guests. The canoes are the only ride in Disneyland powered solely by guests.

Fantasyland was our favorite of the themed lands at Disneyland, so we ended our day there. According to Mother's notes, we rode Dumbo, Storybook Land, Casey Circus Train, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

My most vivid memories are of Storybook Land where we floated past miniature scenes from familiar stories. They were larger than miniature trains or doll houses, but a similar idea. I loved how they brought physical form to things that I'd only seen on screens or book pages or in my imagination.

On the way out of Disneyland, back down Main Street, we stopped at the Mad Hatter. Dale had this memory:

We each got a white sailor hat with our name embroidered on it in red thread. And, I remember watching the store do it, on a sewing machine of some kind. I doubt it was robotic, that long ago, but it would have taken skill and a quick firm hand, to embroider at sewing machine speed. It was very quick. I want to say we got those hats in Disneyland and the name of the store was the Mad Hatter, but that could obviously be my imagination.

I have photographic proof of those hats that I'll share in a couple of days. With Dale's prompt and the photograph, I pulled up a memory that this was our last act in Disneyland - a final souvenir because we were sad to leave.

I know that there are lots of reasons to criticize Disney and I'm not interested in the role of apologist.

Here's how Disneyland impacted one nine-year-old girl with a lively imagination who wasn't sure if that was a blessing or curse.

First, it improved the content of her rich inner life - opening up fantasies in distant lands (It's a Small World), in the future and the past (Tomorrowland and Frontierland), and in fairy tales (Fantasyland, especially Storybook Land). Not to mention the companion ghost for the trip home that The Haunted Mansion provided.

Second, it put imagination firmly on the side of blessing, not curse. Adults in her small town might have discouraged daydreaming as a waste of time, but never mind that. There was a magical place in the world where visions weren't only valued - they were built.

Second Day in Disneyland #50YearsAgoToday #CaliforniaTrip

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books

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