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Orange Bird Photo Hunt



Entries in Main Street U.S.A (11)


Disneyland Turns 59

Happy 59th Anniversary to Disneyland. Disneyland opened on July 18, 1955 but thousands of people (only some of whom were actually invited) visited the park on July 17, 1955 during a press preview. Los Angeles Times photographers captured the events of both days and only recently have many of their photos been made public. 

The photo above was taken during construction, not long before Opening Day. You can see some construction equipment if you look closely.

Look at those long lines! And a bus drop-off area right in front? This was July 18, the first official opening to the public, hence the people lining up to buy tickets. 

Newsboys sell newspapers to passengers aboard the Disneyland Railroad. Look where the guests are sitting! (And standing). Can't ride there anymore.

Disneyland Police Department?? Anyone remember this? The building is still there and its exterior has changed very little. You might remember it as the Guided Tours building. It's located just South of City Hall.

Did someone leave their booze by the steps?

Cameras on the rooftops. Everyone looking dapper.

Fess Parker.

A residential neighborhood right by Disneyland way back in '55? When were those built? And we can see from this photo that this part of Orange County wasn't just oranges as far the eye can see, like we often hear. But yes, many orange groves.

Original Fanytasyland. Dumbo was way over there towards Frontierland and the Carrousel was much closer to the castle. The Mad Tea Party (tea cups) were located right behind the Carrousel. Storybook Land was still without plant life and miniature set pieces. And no Monstro.


The above photographs (and many others) were posted on Los Angeles Times Framework by Scott Harrison on July 16, 2014.

Illustration by Mitch.


Related posts:

Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups
THEN AND NOW: Walt at Disneyland
Vintage Disneyland Home Movies- Meeting Walt Disney Himself
THEN AND NOW: Aerial Park Photos
Not Having Fun at Disneyland
THEN AND NOWDisneyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOWDisneyland [Part 2]


THEN AND NOW: MK Main Street, U.S.A.

Main Street, U.S.A, Magic Kingdom

Fresh new "Then and Now" comparisons! Main Street has remained largely the same on the outside. The interiors have changed time and time again. You'll notice some color changes and of course those trees keep changin'. 


Something we miss: The traditional hand-crank sewing machines that offered FREE names on those classic Mickey ears. I smell a future post all about this 50+ year tradition replaced by newer technology. Fear not... the new-fangled way is not all bad.

Most "then" photos were sent to us via our Photo Hunt. Credits coming soon.


Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
THEN AND NOWLiberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOWDisneyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOWEpcot Future World [Part 1]


Mechanizing a Miniature Main Street Electrical Parade

We are excited to bring to you this stunning example of "Backyard Imagineering". Alex George, a reader of our blog, engineered a way to bring these miniature Main Street Electrical Parade floats to life. He also takes us on a behind-the-scenes look at his innovative two-year process.


Alex shares:

It was the fall of 2009 when I decided to mechanize a miniature Main Street Electrical Parade. I was collecting the Olszewski Main Street miniatures, including the Electrical Parade floats, when I thought how neat it would be to see the floats traveling down Main Street. I soon realized though, that simply moving the floats wouldn't be enough. There should be a sense of “show”, and so the parade would need to enter and exit Main Street to its musical score, then remain queued off stage until the next performance.

Thus began a two-year trek of attraction design and construction of miniature proportion. I'm an artist, not an engineer – so there was a lot of research needed to design the mechanics. I considered a number of ways to transport the floats using preexisting toy tracks and even motorized curtain rails, but ultimately I settled on a chain and sprocket system of my own design. Adding to the complexity was an electrical contact system to light the floats, and new computer-controlled LEDs that make the floats twinkle and cycle through designated colors.

The completed production resides in a low-sitting table which hides the mechanics as well as the parade when it's between shows. It's a lot of fun putting on the parade for guests, and even those who aren't dedicated Disneyland fans seem genuinely charmed by the show. In my own small way, I think I might know the pleasure felt by the creators of the actual parade when they saw their work enjoyed by audiences at Disneyland.

So take a glimpse at the Main Street Electrical Parade in Miniature, and check out the making-of short for highlights of how it came together.


The chain system

Adding building supports

Several mock ups of the road, made from painstaking measurements, ensured that the slot defining the parade path would be perfectly aligned with the chain below.

Partial landscaping

After months of testing, the wiring that powers the floats began to break from flexing. The chain has been pulled here, and completely refitted with a far more flexible wire specifically designed for robotics and animatronics. There are four wires: two for power and two for network communication to the LEDs.

A backstage view as the floats make their way up to Main Street.

More on the artist at: By George, I Think You've Got It.


A huge thanks to Alex George for contacting us with his spectacular achievement. This is the kind of thing that excites us to no end. Tell your friends!


Related posts:

Swiss Family Treehouse Model
Disneyland Skyway in Your Backyard?
Buena Vista Street Model
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [ PART 2 ]
Mars and Beyond Robot
Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups
A Look at the Progress City Model- Then and Now