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Doug's Disneyland Collection
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Bank of America Money Order
Disneyland was conceived as more than just an amusement park. Walt Disney strongly felt that fantasy worked best when rooted in reality. As a consequence his Main Street USA was not just an exercise in nostalgia. Although it was designed to usher people into realms of fantasy and adventure, it was also a place where familiar sights brought a level of comfort.
Among those sights were all the types of shops and businesses one would expect to find in a small town at the turn-of-the-century. Among them were a butcher shop, drug store, ice cream parlor, and, anchoring one side of town square, a bank. This was not just any bank-it was a genuine branch of the Bank of America. Walt was quite familiar with the B of A, as they had financed important advances at Walt Disney Productions from the studio's earliest years. Indeed, timely assistance from the bank had ensured that "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsā? was completed in 1937.
This branch offered all the services one would expect from a powerful lending institution. Tellers were standing by to change currency, cash checks, open accounts, and even take deposits. Colorful souvenir brochures also offered one of the first over all maps of the park, with a key to attractions.
Also illustrated inside the brochure were special Bank of America money orders, a souvenir of Disneyland.
The money orders were available in three denominations, with colorful designs reflecting their very special status. The one dollar check was illustrated with a line drawing of the Disneyland Railroad engine number one. The five was illustrated with the faĆ§ade of the bank itself, and the ten with the steamboat Mark Twain. These were, of course, bona fide checks, and were therefore produced with great care
Because these were legitimate money orders, almost all of them were eventually redeemed for cash. As a consequence very few were saved. That these were not viewed as just another souvenir is testament to Walt's desire to make Disneyland more than just a run-of-the-mill amusement park.
-- Doug Marsh
Doug Marsh has been collecting Disneyland memorabilia for many years. He has given presentations to the NFFC's Orange County Chapter, as well as at the National Convention. He hopes that people will enjoy learning a little bit about Disneyland, and these souvenirs, in this column.
Doug's Disneyland Collection is not posted on a regular schedule
The opinions expressed by Doug Marsh, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted January 30, 2003