With Disney Parks around the world still closed, WDWNT is dipping into our archives of vintage parks materials for a look back into parks history! Thanks to WDWNT reader Don Jones, we’re able to share this look back at The Happiest Place on Earth with the Summer 1957 issue of “Disneyland Holiday!”
Note: This article will detail the newsletter page by page, but WIGS Members will have access to download a full-resolution PDF of the entire thing. Head on over to Patreon.com/wdwnt to join WIGS, the WDWNT Inner Globe Society, for as little as $2 a month and unlock access to great content like this, and much more!
The front cover depicts the Rivers of America, with one of the Mike Fink Keel Boats in the foreground and the Mark Twain Riverboat docked in the background.
The first page features Walt Disney and his love of animals, along with a introduction to Disneyland. But what’s new in Summer 1957? Here’s a note from the editor, a young man named Marty Sklar:
“Walt Disney, often called a ‘restless creator’ by people in the entertainment field, has more than lived up to that title with his most ambitious achievement: Disneyland.
Not content with the world-wide enthusiasm and acclaim which have greeted Disneyland ever since its opening two years ago this Summer, Walt has more than fulfilled a promise he made to the public on July 17, 1955: he has continually added the new, the entertaining and the educational for the enjoyment of Disneyland visitors.
Proof of Disneyland’s success is the fact that more than 7 million people, representing all ages and interests, have visited this Magic Kingdom.
It all adds up to one fact: you haven’t seen Southern California until you’ve visited Disneyland.
Summertime, 1957 witnesses the unveiling of still more new and unexpected additions and creative improvements.
There’s now a walk-through inside the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland; ‘Fantasy in the Sky,’ a colorful fireworks display, every night of the week during the Summer; and many more fresh new attractions unveiled for the Magic Kingdom’s third Summer season.
These new adventures are featured in stories on Pages 3 and 11 of this issue.
They represent an added ‘plus’ for your visit to Disneyland, Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.”
Highlights of the park are given in “What is Disneyland?,” while the following page highlights the new additions, including the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through and Midget Autopia in Fantasyland and the Monsanto House of the Future and Viewliner Train of Tomorrow in Tomorrowland. (Guests would be able to see the story of Sleeping Beauty nearly two years before the animated classic would premiere in theaters!)
In the days before the tourism industry in Southern California became hyper-competitive, the magazine offered suggestions for other locations to in the area to pair with a Disneyland visit, along with a menu for Aunt Jemima’s Old South Kitchen in Frontierland. Opposite that are pictures of guests enjoying the day at the park, including Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart!
Next to an ad for the Apple Valley Inn is a piece showing just how diverse the offerings at Disneyland are.
Next comes a two-page color photo spread of the lands of the park. I like the Tomorrowland one myself. Who doesn’t dream of the far-off world of 1987? (I hope there’s state-of-the-art agriculture then!)
We then get a piece all about the new nighttime fireworks spectacular, “Fantasy in the Sky.” And do the attractions in the Richfield ad look familiar? They might if you read “Adventure in Disneyland!”
Across from a selection of (half-finished) puzzles and an ad for Knott’s Berry Farm is a description of Frontierland’s Indian Village, which featured such Native American tribes as the Apache, Shawnee, Winnabago, Hopi, Navajo, Maricopa, Choctaw, Comanche, Pima, Crow and Pawnee. And don’t forget about Spreckels Sugar!
A tour of Storybook Land in Fantasyland follows, matched with a fill-in diary of the reader’s visit to the park.
The final spread offers basic information about Disneyland, including hours and ticket book prices, along with the magazine’s editorial staff, which included future Disney Legends Sklar and Jack Lindquist. We also get a map of California and its surround states, showing the main highways to Disneyland.
The back cover, which we’ve rotated to show off the illustration, features a stylized map of Disneyland within Southern California.
We’d like to thank Don Jones (who you can find on Twitter at @concentratedDon) once again for graciously sharing his magazine with us! It’s a neat snapshot of Disneyland as it was in the Summer of 1957!
Find “Adventure in Disneyland” in this Richfield Oil Promotional Comic Book from 1955
Find Adventure in Disneyland’s Past With This 1957 Tom Sawyer Island Map
The Abominable Snowman Arrives at the Matterhorn Bobsleds in this February 1978 Edition of “The Disneyland Line”