Days 12 and 13: Today, September 5th, 1975, was supposed to be Mom’s 39th birthday. But nowhere does my old Journal mention anything about birthday wishes, a cake or any acknowledgement of Mom’s birthday. Did we forget? Such ungrateful kids!
In our defense, I would point out that today was our first-ever visit to Disneyland – every child’s jump-up-and-down-for wish. And it is possible that we did celebrate her birthday, and that I simply forgot to mention it in my Journal. Certainly, Dad would never forget, would he?
In the ticket price schedule (below), note how much more affordable admission prices were in 1975, even adjusted for inflation. (By comparison, Disney just raised its prices again on 2/29/2016 and has announced “seasonal-based” prices. This means, for example, that a one-day admission to Magic Kingdom now costs $114-124 for adults during “peak” season, or $97-105 during the off-season.)
In 1975, Disney sold “Value Books“, which contained tickets labeled “A” through “E” for the various rides. “A” attractions were the least popular. “B” and “C” attractions were more sophisticated and more popular. But the precious “E” tickets were reserved for the most in-demand rides and attractions available. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, Mission to Mars, and Jungle Cruise, to name a few, were all “E” ticket rides.
So this is what my family experienced (with an 11-year-old’s comments in italics) that first busy day at Disneyland:
• Jungle Cruise (“Our first ride was the Safari Ride (sic). We went on a boat through a jungle. We saw all kinds of animals. Our driver was real funny.”)
• Bear Country Jamboree (the singing bear animatronics were impressive)
• Disneyland Railroad (“After (Bear Country Jamboree), we went on the train ride. There were two large dioramas. One of the Grand Canyon (and) another of the prehistoric world of dinosaurs. When the train got out, we saw Old Faithful.“)
• Matterhorn Bobsled
• Tom Sawyer’s Island
• The Haunted Mansion
• Pirates of the Caribbean
• America On Parade (AOP), or as I described it: “We saw the Disneyland Parade. It was neat.” As a temporary replacement for the Main Street Electrical Parade, AOP ran from June 14, 1975, through September 6, 1976, and commemorated America’s Bicentennial. Many of the characters had exaggeratedly-large heads. You can see some great photos HERE, or watch the parade below.
I find it kind of horrifying or amusing (or both) that my parents left me (11 y.o.) and my 9-year-old brother to wander Disneyland, alone, for an hour.
“Dad and Mom went back to the hotel to get our jackets. So we had a whole hour to ourselves. Kurt and me looked around at the shops. When Dad and Mom met us at the Magic Shop, they said I could get the Haunted Mansion record [it was an LP] for $5.00.”
The final attraction was “the Pepsi-Cola Show”, which caused us to miss the fireworks that night. I hope the show was enjoyable because I have no recall of it at all and cannot find any videos online.
We must have been exhausted because we caught the bus back to the hotel rather than walking back.
The next day, Sept. 6, 1975, must have been sensory-overload for my poor mind. All I managed to write was:
“Again we started out for Disneyland on foot. There was so much more to do! We rode on millions of rides. We saw most of the Disneyland characters. And by the end of the day we were tired … We ate popcorn while watching fireworks and (were) ready to leave.”
Happiest Place on Earth, indeed.