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Al Lutz
Disneyland's 40th Birthday Visit
(Originally posted on 7/17/95)

Hello everyone - just a quick note on DL's 40th Birthday which I attended today. The tone MAY be a little satiric here, so reader beware. ;->

7 AM - Arrived in the DL parking lot, frantically worried since the local radio station was announcing how jammed it was on the freeway getting into the park. It was a complete lie, since the traffic problems had happened earlier only because of the CM group photo. (Although I had heard that only an hour or so later the preferred parking had filled totally up with Annual Passholders. Just about the ONLY reason I have the premium pass is for that parking privilege!)

A new information booth was added to the promenade area in front of the ticket booths to help guests get their questions answered in an even more confusing manner than usual.

8 AM - After watching all the nice folks from RAD gather in the line ahead of me, (and NO AOL folks showing up early) I headed into the park to notice giant inflatable figures all over the roofs of Main St. along with giant red Mickey balloons and large balloon garlands. (The figures were all on loan from WD Home Video and were a little ragged looking for the wear, they included Mickey as the sorcerer in Fantasia, Lady AND the Tramp, one I forgot, and one new inflatable, Goofy and Max from the Goofy Movie. I guess they had to save a buck.) And of course there was cake for us to eat.

Walking towards the castle (after watching an UGLY grabbing spree for the limited amount of commemorative buttons in the Emporium) I was lucky enough to see the rehearsal for the 11 am "Time Castle" ceremony take place. Lots of PR people were pretending to be Michael Eisner and Roy Disney while Dancers and Characters jumped frantically to the beat of the horrid "40 Years of Adventure" song. Limited fireworks were shot off at the end and we all applauded the stand-ins. Many people then went and had cake.

A limited edition much too overpriced watch was the only thing (other than the button, which ran out in twenty minutes) offered special for sale that day. Hey what happened here? Why wasn't there more stuff to buy? Can you believe I'm asking this of Disney??? Did I mention they had cake to eat?

11AM - Time for the big ceremony. Many perky looking people made many sound bites (perfect for the news you know) about the occasion. Michael Eisner looked much better than he had lately, lots of people (stockholders?) applauded. Roy Disney was actually lucid for once. Many other people came and threw framed things into an oversized aluminum castle (imagine a lead trunk with turrets) with twinkling red LED lights. Some of these people were with DL since opening day. Fess Parker was there looking embalmed. The voices of Pocahontas and her father were there too. Very PC, maybe to counteract Fess I guess.

Others, like Paul ("I'm DL President now so I killed the Golden Horseshoe Jamboree") Pressler pretended they were going to work there all their lives. Lots of huffing and puffing to lounge music suddenly ended with lots of confetti and daylight colored smoke fireworks. Many people ooohed and ahhed at the right moments. Many then ate cake.

Then Randy Travis popped up at the top of the Matterhorn (they said it was him, although it could have been my mother he was so tiny up there) and he sang Happy Birthday after pushing an Indy guy down the Tinkerbell wire.

12 Noon - Prodigy and RAD met at the hub and (of course) no AOLer's showed up. I had some cake to console me, but then remembered I would be meeting people for lunch at the Blue Bayou. I had some cake on the way over. John Frost came over and said hello. What a nice man. Send him all your spare money, he deserves it.

12:45 PM - Finally ONE person from AOL showed up (Could it have been that Food was involved at this point?) and another joined us later on for the meal. We had a great time gossiping about everything.

The Haunted Mansion was ridden just before lunch and we all delighted at the scream we added during the stretch room part. Word had gone out that Indy was broken down again, so we headed off to Tomorrowland (after some CM's offered us some cake of course). Pirates of the Caribbean was great fun as always.

AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES - We visited as a group an exhibit of replicas of what was put into the "time castle." Paul ("So what OTHER things that you love should I get rid of") Pressler much have selected all the items since they mostly consisted of merchandise items. Gawd Paul, your Disney Store roots are showing again...

The original DL broadcast from opening day was shown on a small screen next to this exhibit which was greatly appreciated since I can't bring myself to pay fifteen dollars a month for the Disney Channel. Many fellow Disney aficionados enjoyed watching along with us. We were all eating cake and wondering if park cookie sales were at an all time low.

The guest books which were available for signatures at the old Carefree Corner on Main St. Have returned! Look for a small desk at the entrance of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (I signed my name wishing DL a Happy Birthday and celebrating the chart success of Heigh-Ho! Mozart.)

Indy started running long enough to get in line and to the temple entrance before it broke down again. After the required twenty minute wait we finally got in and noticed the spike room in the queue and the rat room were still not working.

NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES - Making our way past many pushy people we made it to Fantasmic! We got there just in time to see the new light show which has been added to the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show. This consists of many beams of colored lights that are swiveled and focused all over the skies of DL in time to the music, which - by the way - still consists of much too much Indy music.

On the way out (after having some more cake of course) we saw the thin crowds for the last Main St. Electrical Parade, now presented by GE. This new sponsorship is heralded on the giant drum Mickey beats at the beginning of the parade, with the GE logo replacing the old lights that blinked DL Presents.

Overall it was a nice day to visit, it was a little humid at times, with cooler breezes making the temps bearable. Crowds were on the high side, which was good, because they had so much cake to give away. (They were trying to break the world's record by passing out 300,001 pieces that day. Six for each person who showed up at the park. I wonder if that much cake was not such a good idea for Michael Eisner. I'm sure Roy Disney would have had more if it were rum cake.)

That's it. By the way, anyone want some...


Thanks to everyone who showed up - it was swell meeting you!)



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