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Being a Disney fanatic isn't easy. The company is huge. Even if you leave out properties like ABC and Touchstone you've still got 4 resorts, 10 theme parks, 10 or so new live-action and animated films every year, videos, collectibles and the list goes on. Luckily, there are countless resources to help Disney fanatic get their fix.
However, those same resources can seem daunting if you're a new Disney fanatic. When I became a Disney fan in 1995 I jumped in with both feet trying to learn everything I could as fast as I could. Along the way I discovered some great resources. And that's what this column is all about. The goal of Disney 101 is to help the new Disney fanatic get up to speed with the stuff some of us now take for granted.
In this debut edition of Disney 101 we're going to look at the premiere magazine for Disneyland - The E-Ticket Magazine. Started by brothers Jack and Leon Janzen in 1986 and is now published quarterly. Each issue is full color and approximately 40 pages with little or no advertising. Usually there is a focus on one attraction or area of Disneyland, an interview with a Disney personality related to that area, and a couple of shorter articles. Each issue costs $8 or you can get a four issue subscription for $24. Back issues are usually available for a few years. Initially they cost $8. As they get older and rarer the price goes up. Right now on their website you can go back as far as Issue #24 (they're currently at #39). Issues older than that can often be found on eBay.
When The E-Ticket started it's focus wasn't strictly Disneyland. Early issues include articles on Knott's Berry Farm, Marineland and Pacific Ocean Park. But as time went on the focus shifted Disneyland only. For the most part The E-Ticket sticks to attractions and lands that Walt built. Some recent examples include "it's a small world", the Monorail and Adventureland. One notable exception was Issue #30 on Space Mountain.
The Space Mountain issue devoted about a third of its pages to the featured attraction itself giving a complete history of Disney's roller coasters, its construction in Walt Disney World (which opened two years before Disneyland's version), details of the grand opening and much more. Along with the text are more than 20 pictures including concept art and pictures of the track with the lights on. The first half of the issue is an interview Marty Sklar who is currently Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering. Sklar has been with Disneyland since 1955 and he shares stories of Walt, EPCOT and especially Space Mountain (along with even more pictures and artwork). Also in the issue is an article on EPCOT '66, a film by and with Walt Disney promoting the Florida project.
The E-Ticket also devotes space in each issue to collectibles in a section entitled Collector's Corner. The Space Mountain issue focuses on the old Disneyland News newspapers for sale on Main Street in 1955 and 1956. Some of the issues are shown. Vintage Visits shows very early pictures of the park. An early aerial picture of Disneyland is included in most issues (though not in this one). And finally the back cover is always a picture of Walt Disney. And that's just one issue!
In addition to the magazines, The E-Ticket has published two CD-ROMs that contain old issues that are no longer available. The first includes issues #1-8. The second issues #9-16 which includes three Haunted Mansion issues.
If you want to learn about Disneyland history, The E-Ticket Magazine is a good place to start. If there is a particular attraction you're interested in and The E-Ticket has covered, owning that issue is a must. The Janzen brothers provide a great service to the fan community at a very reasonable price and they've done it consistently for years. I'm happy to recommend their publication to new Disney fans!.
We plan to close each edition of Disney 101 with some fun facts. If you're a Disney veteran, these will probably be familiar to you. But if you're a relative newbie, you can use these to impress family and friends :)
To go along with the focus of this column, we present some Space Mountain fun facts:
Disneyland's Space Mountain is sunk 17 feet into the ground to prevent it from dominating the skyline.
The Grand Opening of Disneyland's Space Mountain featured six of the original seven Mercury astronaut. The seventh, Gus Grissom, was represented by his widow Betty.
The origins of Space Mountain go back to a project called Space Port from Walt's days.
Walt Disney World's Space Mountain was originally sponsored by RCA. Disneyland's Space Mountain was originally unsponsored.
The Space Place restaurant and Starcade arcade opened with Disneyland's Space Mountain in 1977.
-- Posted July 21, 2003
-- Story by Doobie Moseley