Friday, April 02, 2010

A Day at Disneyland - 1963

It was a cardboard box hidden in a corner of an attic, but because of its contents, it quickly became a marvelous time machine piloted by the spirit and memories of a late family member.  It now represents my happiest visit to Disneyland, an intangible but still emotionally charged journey made possible by a few pieces of ephemera, stored away by someone who, though now gone, remains ever so dear to me.

My father-in-law, Tony Mangano, passed away in January of 2009 after a prolonged battle with cancer.  He was a kind, loving and generous individual who is greatly missed by the family and friends he left behind.  He would no doubt be embarrassed by this sentimental testimonial from me on his behalf.

Tony was not one to callously discard even the most insignificant of items and his attic was filled with numerous popular culture mementos from his travels across the 20th century.  The items collected from one of his more notable journeys, a cross-country vacation taken during the summer of 1963, are what we discovered in the aforementioned cardboard box shortly after his death.  And mixed among this collection of road maps, brochures, postcards and matchbooks was evidence of a visit to Disneyland that occurred on August 20th of that year.  Needless to say, for me personally it was a joyous, enlightening and emotionally charged discovery.

Here is the Disneyland that Tony experienced on that summer day in 1963, as represented by the items he carefully preserved upon his return home.

This folder-map provided Tony with a basic introduction to the geography of the park and various guest services offered.

A second small flier outlined guided tour and ticket options.  The Big Ten Ticket Book (Admission to Disneyland and tickets to 10 attractions)--just $3.95.  Spend an extra dollar and get the The Deluxe 15 Ticket Book with an additional five attraction tickets.  A two-hour "Happiness Tour" cost a mere $5.00.

The flier also featured a promotional piece dedicated to the 4th Annual Dixieland at Disneyland that took place on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28.  Al Hirt was the biggest name listed among the performers and the Firehouse Five +2 was also featured.  For $5.25, a Dixieland ticket gave a guest admission to Disneyland and unlimited use of all attractions (except the shooting galleries, of course).

One of the highlights of Tony's visit was very likely The Enchanted Tiki Room which had just premiered two months earlier on June 23, 1963.  The Tiki Room was beyond even E-ticket status that summer.  As this brochure indicates, Tiki Room tickets were not included in Disneyland Ticket Books and had to be purchased separately at the Gateway to Adventureland.
Tony used two Courtesy Guest Ticket Books for his day at Disneyland.  Each included five tickets that could be redeemed at any Disneyland attraction, including interesting enough, The Enchanted Tiki Room.

Tony used the Adventures in Disneyland checklists on the inside back covers of the ticket books to document his day at the park.  (Editors note: it appears the ticket books do not match the 1963 visit; I am currently attempting to determine if Tony made a subsequent visit later in the decade.)   He checked off seven of the ten attractions he visited:
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Skyway to Fantasyland
  • Submarine Voyage
  • SF & D RR Trains through Grand Canyon & Primeval World
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Monorail via Disneyland Hotel
  • Mark Twain Steamboat
Then a bachelor in his early thirties, Tony apparently had no interest in the more whimsical attractions of Fantasyland.  However, knowing of his lifelong passion for science and mechanics, I have no doubt that he experienced the various free shows and exhibits such as Monsanto's House of the Future, America the Beautiful and the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry.  I also imagine that the Moon Rocket was where he used one of his undocumented tickets.

I imagine that Disneyland was one of the highlights of my father-in-law's vacation back during the summer of 1963.  In a small way, he has extended his experience to us nearly five decades later.

Editor's Note: We will be sharing more pop culture artifacts from Tony's Attic on our companion site Boom Pop! in the days and months ahead.  You can currently see Tony's Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters of America Secret Manual on this recent Boom Pop! post.


Matterhorn1959 said...

I hate to be a spoiler but if the tickets have Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, the tickets are from a later visit. Mr. Lincoln debuted in Disneyland in 1965.

Jeffrey Pepper said...

Wow, this presents a bit of a mystery because I have found no evidence of another visit Tony made to Disneyland. The material presented was all together in the box where it was discovered. His 1963 vacation was well documented. I guess that does explain why the Tiki Room was included on the list in the ticket book.

I apologize for my sloppy fact-checking. I will need to return to the dig site (Tony's attic) at the next available opportunity.

Matterhorn1959 said...

Check out Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog for the way to date ticket books. That may help in determining a date on the visit with the ticket books.

Snow White Archive said...

What a great post. Thanks for sharing Tony's visit and the subsequent mystery of the 1963/65 ticket book.

The Enchanted Tiki Room is still one of my must sees on visits to the park, and I can only image what a thrill it would have been to view it only a couple months (or years) after it opened.

Unknown said...

Tony had no idea what a 'treasure chest' he left behind. Nice find!

Progressive Action Group said...

Here is another part to your mystery: The small guidebook issued by INA in your photo is from 1967.