Friday, March 09, 2007

Donald Duck in Disneyland - 1955

Television was by no means the only medium Walt Disney used to promote Disneyland in the mid to late 1950s. Comic books promoted the Happiest Place on Earth to the baby boom generation with four color adventures set in and themed to the various lands of the Magic Kingdom.

One of the earliest of these publications was the Dell Giant Donald Duck in Disneyland from 1955. This particular comic actually preceded Disneyland’s July 17th opening and the story content actually acknowledges that fact. Donald, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and other Disney stock comic book stars of the time are given an early sneak preview of the park as Walt’s behest. And the map that Donald displays on the comic’s inside front cover does not quite match up to Disneyland’s ultimate lineup of opening day attractions.

While many of the subsequent Disneyland themed comic books employed the park mainly as a framing sequence for stories themed to the various lands, Donald Duck in Disneyland actually sets most of its stories in the park itself. Mickey Mouse and Gyro Gearloose find themselves on Tomorrowland’s Rocket to the Moon. In Frontierland’s Golden Horseshoe, Grandma Duck relates a story of Davy Crockett. Donald and Daisy board the Congo Queen for a Jungle Cruise. The highlight is a Fantasyland story starring Goofy, Minnie, Pluto and Jiminy Cricket. Their adventure takes them through all the major Fantasyland attractions: Dumbo, Snow White, Mr Toad, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

And wrapping things up is a terrific back cover illustration of the gang flying over the park on Dumbo's back. A very fun piece of Disneyana that likely inspired young readers from over fifty years ago to dream of their first visit to that very magical place.