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Wednesdays with Wade: Disneyland Fun Facts circa 1957

Wednesdays with Wade: Disneyland Fun Facts circa 1957

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Anyone who has seen a Disney press event kit from the last two decades or so knows that one of the things usually slipped into the packet is a "fun facts" sheet. So that journalists can grab an interesting but quick information bite to include in their article or broadcast. These "fun facts" even pop up in official publications like "Popping up Around Walt Disney World."

What you may not be aware of is that this practice goes all the way back to the early Walt years. In the 1956 version of "The Complete Guide to Disneyland" guidebook, there is an entire page devoted to "Disneyland Data." For those who are having trouble locating their copy in their collectibles or for those who never had a copy, I thought that to help celebrate the birth of Disneyland (because "The Happiest Homecoming on Earth" is supposedly still going on) it would be fun to reprint those "fun facts." Although it is tempting to do so, I have decided to leave it up to you to make any commentary or comparisons with today's Disneyland.

Remember this was the time when the Puffin's Bakery was on Main Street and you could eat at Walt's favorite location, the Red Wagon Inn. You could visit the 20,000 Leagues exhibit in Tomorrowland or the Dutch Boy "Our Future in Colors" exhibit. Wally Boag was performing in the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland along with the Congestoga Wagon Ride (and the guide book listed "burning settler's cabin" as one of the "attractions" in that land).

So from page 26 of this classic guidebook, here are some "fun facts" from early 1957 that amazed guests either as they sat along the benches trying to find a moment's rest and shade or when they returned home to share with their friends who had yet to visit Walt's newest triumph. It will give you something to read while you are awaiting Jim Hill's book on early Disneyland.

DISNEYLAND DATA

  • More than 900, 000 people have signed the Disneyland Guest Register, located at the Plaza Apartments on Main Street, giving their home towns and addresses.
  • 40% of all Disneyland visitors are from out of state, including visitors from 63 foreign countries.
  • The Disneyland Band gives 1,460 concerts annually in disneyland...and its leader, Vesey Walker, has won world-wide acclaim as band leader.
  • The average cost of a visit to Disneyland is $2.29, which includes admission to the Park, rides, amusements, souvenirs and parking.
  • Disneyland's 5 Millionth guest was greeted on October 4, 1956, less than 15 months after the Park's Opening Day.
  • More than 900 Disneylanders representing 106 crafts, trades and professions are employed in the Park to make the visitor' day more enjoyable.
  • It takes a crew of more than 200 men--carpenters, craftsmen, artists, and artisans, painters, and electricians to keep Disneyland spotless and in perfect operating order at all times.
  • 24 restaurants and refreshments stands in Disneyland are equipped to serve approximately 8,000 persons hourly.
  • Approximately 935, 460 hot dogs were consumed by Disneyland guests in the first year after the park was opened.
  • Airline tickets can be bought from any place in the world direct to Disneyland....five helicopter flights arrive daily at the Disneyland heliport.
  • Disneyland horses punch time cards. No horse is allowed to work over four hours per day or six days a week, and each is signed "in" and "out" by the timekeeper.
  • All animals at Disneyland and their quarters are inspected regularly by officers of the SPCA.
  • On one day in the month of August, 1956, Disneyland's visitors took a total of 25,000 boat trips on the Park's seven Water rides.
  • Disneyland is so designed that an actual walking distnce of 1 1/4 miles takes you through the Park.
  • 72 prancing steeds race around the carrousel in Fantasyland. Ten shields on the spears supporting the covering canopy of the carrousel represent 10 of the founding Knights of the Round Table. Among those represented: Sir Launcelot, Galahad, Perceval, Tristan, Gawain and Gareth, Bedevere, Lionel and Bors.
  • 45 Security Officers are employed on a full-time basis at Disneyland with eight others on call to protect the Park and its guests.
  • Walt Disney sometimes sits at the throttle of the E.P. Ripley on the Santa Fe& Disneyland RR to take the little train on its trip around the Park.
  • Approximately 270,000 gallons of water per hour are circulated to create the seven multi-colored waterfalls seen in the Rainbow Caverns in Frontierland.
  • Wildlife of North America have "discovered" Disneyland. Flocks of wild geese, mallards, and other birds have found Frontierland's River a safe retreat in their pilgrimages south. The birds pause to rest here, and in some cases stay on for several months.
  • The track footage for the train rides in the park comes to 11,006 feet. This includes the track around the Park for the freight and passenger trains, the Casey Jr. train ride in Fantasyland, and the Mine train in Frontierland.
  • The vegetation in Adventureland represents most of the tropical areas of the world. Among the trees in this fascinating wonderland are Gunnera plants, Bod plants, Black stem trees of New Zealand, and a Bo-tree (Ficus Religiosa), a native of India, whose history goes back some 2,500 years.


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