Disneyland Hosts Season 2 Finale of “The Wonder Years” Premiere Event for Cast Members

The Williams family is going to Disneyland in the Season 2 finale of The Wonder Years. Disney Cast Members were among the first to see the episode, fittingly titled “The Happiest Place on Earth,” during an in-park event on Friday, August 11th. The Main Street Opera House is typically home to The Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, but for a brief time that evening, it became a moment for Cast Members to celebrate the park’s starring role in this special episode, which invites viewers to step back in time to 1969. You’ll be able to see it for yourself on Wednesday, August 16th, at 9:30/8:30c on ABC and streaming on Disney+ beginning Thursday, August 17th.

Tables in the lobby of The Main Street Opera House hosted an exhibit of vintage items from the park, some of which can be seen in the episode. For example, there’s a moment in which Kim and Bruce ride The Matterhorn. Viewers will see a Cast Member dispatch their bobsled wearing a replica of a costume from the late 1960s, which was on display.

Paper ephemera like popcorn boxes and shopping bags prove that while style evolves, some things never change. Snacking and shopping have forever been an important part of the Disneyland experience.

If you grew up going to Disneyland with ticket books, you’ll be happy to know that the episode showcases the legendary A-through-E tickets, which were on display. In the episode, Dean excitedly strategies how best to use their tickets. Back to The Matterhorn, an attraction partially responsible for the advent of the E-ticket, when Kim and Bruce board their bobsled, their book will be a little lighter.

Themed character hats, particularly mouse ears, are an iconic part of every Disney Parks experience. Having originated on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955 (the same year Disneyland opened), the ears remained Mouseketeer branded for a long time. Even though the show stopped production in 1959, it was a popular syndicated program through 1968, one year prior to the setting of this episode of The Wonder Years.

In the episode, Dean spends his souvenir money on a Mouseketeer hat just like the one on display. While the scene goes by fast, keen-eyed viewers will appreciate the attention to detail to ensure that the ears look like the ones a Guest would’ve been able to purchase in 1969.

(ABC/John Fleenor)

(ABC/John Fleenor)

This event was hosted by PULSE (People United to Lead Serve and Excel), one of Disneyland’s BERGs (Business Employee Resource Group), which focuses on career networking and professional development opportunities for Black Cast Members. Princeton Parker (Associate Manager Content Programming & Synergy for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products) served as the host of the event, which also welcomed other BERGs from The Walt Disney Company, including The Bond, Wakanda@Disney, and Noir. Following a screening of the episode, a panel discussion included some of the creatives who helped take Disneyland back to 1969 for this season finale.

Among the panelists was Chris Sheppard, aka Shep, Director of Event Strategy and Broadcast Production at the Disneyland Resort. He not only worked closely with 20th Television to make sure filming had a minimal impact on park operations but also serves as the chair of PULSE, making his presence at the event feel more than fitting. Having been so personally connected to the project, Shep was able to point out a few Cast Members in the crowd who ended up on screen, including the Jungle Cruise skipper who piloted the Williams family through the jungles of the world.

(ABC/John Fleenor)

(ABC/John Fleenor)

Season 2 of The Wonder Years concludes on Wednesday, August 16th, with a double-episode finale starting at 9/8c on ABC. The Disneyland episode, titled “The Happiest Place on Earth,” airs at 9:30/8:30c. All previous Season 2 episodes of The Wonder Years are currently available to stream on Hulu. The complete second season will stream on Disney+ beginning Thursday, August 17th.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).