Disney Stuff - Disneyland 50th Anniversary Board Gamesby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Welcome back to Disney Stuff.
It's been almost 10 years since The Walt Disney Company celebrated the 50th anniversary of Walt's first theme park, Disneyland. In 2005 all sorts of cool memorabilia was released in the Disney catalog, online and in the parks for fans of the venerable old park to revel in. The thing that I enjoyed most about that time was the tributes that they paid to Disneyland's history.
Sure, there was plenty of gold "Happiest Celebration on Earth" stuff to come by. But it was the collectibles and limited releases of vintage—or at least, vintage-looking material that made this particular collector so happy. I wasn't around when Disneyland opened and authentic collectibles from that period can be expensive and hard to come by. That's why I was so glad that Disney released so many wonderful, authentic looking pieces modeled after the early days of Disneyland to celebrate the park's 50th.
One of the sets I was thrilled to acquire was the reissue of the old Disneyland board games. I first spotted these at Walt Disney World in the summer of 2005 at Animal Kingdom's Island Mercantile shop. The vintage design and authentic looking reproduction was a winner in my book and, of course, they were a must have. I didn't even have to open them. The covers alone sold me.
I immediately purchased two of the games—Walt Disney's Adventureland Game and Walt Disney's Fantasyland Game—and had them shipped home. The Disneyland Monorail Game was the third in the set, which I bought upon my return home from the Walt Disney World Merchandise Guest Services phone number. The fourth game in the series, the Disneyland Riverboat Game, eluded me then and I still haven't completed the set to date.
Let's take a closer look at these fantastic board games.
Walt Disney's Adventureland Game
Each player in the Adventureland game is given three pink cards displaying different sights and/or animals that they must "photograph" while on their tour through the rivers of the world.
A set of white cards is place face down on the board. If your boat lands on a camera space, you "take a photograph" and take a white card. First person to collect all three matching white cards and finish at the dock wins.
The game board features a vivid color scheme and great design.
These are my favorite game pieces in the series. The other two games that I have use classic board game pieces.
I don't recall seeing a waterskiing elephant on The Jungle Cruise!
No offense to our beloved Disney pals, but the thing I love most about the Adventureland game is that there are no Disney characters to be found anywhere in the package or in the game. That's the older school of thinking when it came to Disney merchandising. You didn't have to put Mickey on it for it to be Disney.
Walt Disney's Fantasyland Game
Naturally the Fantasyland game is covered with Disney characters, which makes perfect sense. After all, Fantasyland is where the characters are supposed to live. The box cover depicts a whole slew of them heading across the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty Castle heading into Fantasyland.
Every side of the box has wonderful vintage looking illustrations of Disney characters.
The Fantasyland game is basically a race to see who can make their way through the attractions fastest using tickets and little cardboard stars that tell them how to move. Each player collects points as well. The first person to reach the finish line ends the game, but the person who racks up the most points wins.
Five of Fantasyland's rides are featured on the game board…
…as are a few classic characters.
Disneyland Monorail Game
This is my favorite of the series without a doubt. Let's face it; if you put the monorail on anything you have me at "hello", especially the cool "space age" look of the original Disney monorail. As you can see, the box features several iconic images from Disneyland. Sleeping Beauty Castle, a submarine, the Main Street Train Station, the Rocket to the Moon, and the Matterhorn all adorn the vibrantly colored box.
The Monorail game has a little twist. Players move their classic game pieces (How I wish they were little monorails instead!) around the monorail track while simultaneously moving a red Casey Jr. piece around his track.
The idea is to complete your trip around the Disneyland Monorail before Casey finishes his ride around his track.
I love the colors and the simplistic yet stylized graphics.The game board is very cool looking and features representations of each of Disneyland's five original lands.
What a great find these games were. As a Disney collector and appreciator they are a homerun. They really are fantastic reproductions. The colors look as vibrant today as they did when I bought them and probably as brilliant as they did to someone back in the 50's and 60's when these games were actually available.
It's a miracle that we haven't lost any pieces and that they are still in such beautiful shape after ten years. My kids have gotten a little too old to enjoy playing them, but there was a time not so long ago when they pulled these out of the closet frequently. Actually, when I pulled these out to write this article, my sons said, "Cool, can we play these games tomorrow?" I 'm pretty sure both of us had equal smiles on our faces and that's the whole point of having these games isn't it? Maybe they're not quite so done with them after all?
As far as getting your own copies of these games, both old and new are readily available all over the Internet on the secondary market. There are originals out there and there are these versions. All in all they can all be had for somewhere between $20 and $50. That's not too bad for a nice collectible like this.
Make sure if you get your hands on them that you open them up and play them. Yes, they're collectibles but they're games as well. They were meant for fun, and that's what we've had with them for ten years now and I hope to keep having fun with them for many more.
Now…to get my hands on the Riverboat game and complete the collection.
Do any of you out there have these retro board games? How about the original versions? Click on the link below, let me hear what you have to say and I'll see you next time with more of that great Disney Stuff.