For the past 60 years Disneyland has brought joy and happiness to millions of guests, yet Disneyland is not just rides, shows, and food, it is a magical place filled with all sorts of hidden gems…or as I like to call them Disneyland Diamonds! A Disneyland Diamond to me is something that every guest may look at twice and never think anything of it, but has a greater story behind it all. As the park that started it all turns 60, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some Disneyland Diamonds. These may be things you know or may not with stories that I have done my best to get the full truth behind, and some photos you may have never seen.
- Walt Disney’s Apartment – During the construction and early years of Disneyland, Walt actually would stay in his small apartment above the firehouse on Main St. U.S.A. As the story goes, when Walt was in the park the lamp in the window would be on to let all the Cast members know. Today the lamp still glows signifying the spirt of Walt is always there!
- Bank of America on Main St. U.S.A – From 1955 to the early 90’s the space, now taken up by the Disney Gallery, was an actual branch of Bank of America. Guest were able to do almost all transactions at this branch and it was one of the only banks open on Sundays and holidays. While the bank has been closed for years, the original vault is still there, most of the time holding a very expensive piece of art.
- Windows of Main St. – Most guests just walk down Main St. heading toward their favorite attraction or to get a Fastpass for the Frozen show at the Royal Theater, but if you take a moment you will see the opening credits of Disneyland. There is a long tradition of putting a window and now a door to celebrate some of the people who made Disneyland what it is today, but it all started with Elias Disney’s contractor window that Walt himself had put on Main St.
- Main Street Cinema – In the early years of Disneyland, the cinema used to show silent films and even had a Phantom of the Opera walk around character that would act as a wax figure and scare guests (nothing more Disney!). The Cinema currently shows 6 Mickey Mouse “black and white” cartoons simultaneously, I put the quotations around black and white because Mickey’s Polo Team was actually done in Technicolor but shown in black and white to pay tribute to Walt’s love of Polo. But one of the best Disney Diamonds has to be the ever vigilant Tilly. She is always on the job selling tickets to the cinema and even changes her costume as the seasons change. Also take note of her home town on her name tag.
- Emporium Displays – In the mid 80’s when the Emporium went through a major renovation, small scenes were added above the check out areas to add a bit of energy to the store. Over the years, the scenes have been adjusted and if my memory serves me right, even one or two removed. But the ones still in place show a whimsical scene that would have taken place around the turn of the 20th Century in the main store area of a small town.
- The Main Street Opera House – The current home of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and The Disneyland Story, this building was the first building built on site. Originally a wood mill that Disneyland grew out of, this building through the early years of the park served as a preview center of sorts for the 1961 Disney film ‘Babes in Toyland’ before becoming the “Official Home of the Mickey Mouse Club” for a few years before Mr. Lincoln moved in.
- Spirits of America (Epcot in Disneyland) – In the lobby of the Opera House are many displays ranging from the history of Disneyland to to a scale model of our Nations Capital building. But one of the unique things that tie Disneyland with Epcot is the maquettes of the full size “Spirits of America” statues that flank both sides of the stage of the American Adventure.
Be on the look out for more Disneyland Diamonds in the next few weeks.
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.