Legacy Content

Doug's Disneyland Collection
Page 1 of 2

by Doug Marsh (archives)
August 15, 2002
Doug revisits the opening day Disneyland Guidebook in more detail.

Opening Day Guidebook
(First in a series)

(C) Disney
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This isn’t exactly the article you saw from me a few months back. Since there were requests for more information, and clearer details, this is an expanded version of that article. Let me know if this is more to your liking.

This article covers the guidebook that was available in the first months of Disneyland’s operation. In the course of this series of articles, every guidebook from 1955 to 1965 will be covered. In addition, there will be side explorations into other souvenirs, including Bank of America money orders, train memorabilia, Disneyland hats, fabrics, figural items, and some slightly odd items.

Guests arriving at Disneyland in its first months of operation could purchase “The Story of Disneyland? for a cool twenty-five cents. In twenty-four pages it introduced visitors to the wonders of Walt’s brand-new Magic Kingdom. According to one story, Walt was informed that this book was barely turning a profit. His response was that as long as it didn’t lose money, he wanted to keep the price as low as possible. He felt that by getting these into people’s homes, where friends and neighbors would see them, they offered promotional value that far outweighed the immediate profit.

(C) Disney
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What was not offered, however, were any photos of Disneyland. In his introduction, Walt explained that, “(t)he first edition illustrations on these pages show buildings and exhibits in artist rendering stage.? More practically, the book had to be prepared before there was anything to photograph. So-the only two photos reproduced in this guidebook are of Walt himself. Each land was represented by a colorful (if somewhat inaccurate) illustration, and a series of intriguing line drawings of attractions.

(C) Disney
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What makes these line drawings so intriguing is their close resemblance to actual attractions-giving insight into how some familiar Disneyland landmarks evolved from artist rendering to three dimensional reality.

The Tomorrowland pages were fairly accurate. But in the Fantasyland pages may be seen the Mad Tea Party with a tea table at center, for example. The color renderings are quite beautiful. It is a shame that they were used only in this short-lived booklet.

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