Saturday, July 18, 2015

Disneyland’s 60th Birthday

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California, U.S.A., Friday, July 17th, 2015 –  By the understanding generosity of my supervisor, I took the day off to spend most of yesterday, Friday, at Disneyland on it’s official 60th birthday, a.k.a. the anniversary of its opening day back in 1955.

For kicks and giggles I picked up an autograph book to use as a sketch book to record my thoughts through out the day. The book contained 12 double-sided pages and four sheets of character stickers. I shared some detail pictures on Facebook via Instagram (monstergram7). Here, however, is the complete volume (minus the sticker pages).

I arrived a bit after 10:00 a.m. and both parks at the Disneyland Resort, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA), had “special edition” souvenir guide maps (pamphlets) for the day, as well as special commemorative buttons for each guest. Other special items were available and for sale throughout the parks. You can bet that folks were anxious to pick up stuff on the special day.

I met up with my friend and former Disney Artist, Jeff for lunch at the La Brea Bakery. Here, I started my sketch book with a quick Mickey followed by Jeff’s better Mickey. Then I did lunch themed doodles.
I poked around DCA a bit to explore the recently re-themed Grizzly Peaks Airfield and to see for which showing of the World of Color water show Fast Pass ticket were being distributed.

A new way that Disneyland devised to experience the Parks is a Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt called “Looking for Mickey Quest.” Largely, I let the quest guide me to different areas of the park, but not slavishly so. I had to check out the upgrades to the Matterhorn.

One of the Quest’s clues pointed to Mickey’s Movie Barn, which is the finale of exploring Mickey’s House in Toontown and not strictly listed on the guide map. Here, believe it or not, I got my first Toontown introduction to Mickey.

The afternoon parade, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, now in its fifth year running, was kicked off by a special precession featuring several “original” Cast Members who worked in the park in 1955. I sketched some of the waiting crowd and made note that several guests were costumed in clothes reminiscent of 1950’s American style, skirts, white glove, fedoras, etc. I think this is where I received the most sun.

Next, on to Frontierland, a trip around Rivers of America on the stern-wheel steam ship Mark Twain for two Quest clues and Pirates of the Caribbean which occupied three clues on the Quest sheet. The difficulty of questing during this ride is compounded by the fact that it is a dark, moving ride. Without prior knowledge of the clue answers, one conceivably would have to memorize the choices of the clues.

Big Thunder Mountain broke down while I was on queue. And I rode on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I wonder if folks get motion sickness on this attraction.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

By about 7:30 p.m. I found myself in the Disneyland Opera House for a performance of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Then I met up with Linda and Olav. I had a birthday cupcake and squeezed in the Main Street crowd for my first-time live-viewing of the new Paint the Night Parade, which was followed by the Disneyland Forever fireworks display. Linda and I caught the second showing of this summer’s edition of DCA’s World of Color waterworks and lights show World of Color: Celebrate.

With Linda treating herself to a Dole Whip, our last experience of the evening was Peter Pan’s Flight featuring “new magic”.

 By 1:00 a.m. I was tired. I was probably tired before Pan, but was occupied enough to ignore it.

With the remaining five pages, I made these epilogue sketches this Saturday afternoon with the luxury of time, a blue pencil and a brush tip pen:

Something inspired by Adventureland: an explorer captain in a hippo encounter.
Something inspired by Tomorrowland: a spaceman and a spacegirl.

Something inspired by Frontierland: The Frito Kid.
Something inspired by Fantasyland: Snow White and guest.

And lastly, the artist’s pick, something inspired by Bear Country (now Critter Country): Henry the bear and Sammy the raccoon from the now non-existent (in Disneyland) Country Bear Jamboree.

I should admit (or perhaps by now re-iterate) that I don’t have the reputed artist drive to sketch all of the time, so I don’t. There were times I’d be on queue for a few minutes before I remembered that, “hey, I was going to be sketching today.” Then, of course, I had to decide what to sketch.

Thanks for a magical day, Disneyland.

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