Bring the Whole Family! – 30 Years Ago at Disneyland

After spending so much time on Toontown this year, this month’s entry will get us back into and around the rest of Disneyland. In May of 1993 (May eighth, to be precise) I again renewed my Annual Passport. This time it cost $119, but I felt the expense was worth it, considering the use I had gotten from my previous passes.

This was the final year for the “Picture Passport” style cards. Starting in 1994 each year would have a custom design, with a photo taken digitally, stored in the system, and printed right on the card itself. In most years the design would be new, and keyed to whatever the park was promoting.

I was still using my old pass, however, when I took a lot of photos of my brother and his family as they enjoyed a three-day vacation at Disneyland. You may note that clothing will change from photo to photo. I broke them down land by land, rather than day by day. Just think of this as both a leisurely tour of the park and a fashion show of what stylish tourists were wearing in the early 1990s.

The kids couldn’t get past Town Square before it was time for a character photo. This one was taken just to the left of the Opera House with gloomy old Eeyore. Looks like Winnie the Pooh was trying to sneak in from the side.

A sharp left at the end of Main Street brings us to the entrance to Adventureland, and the first (of many) family photos. Never mind the stroller brigade to the right— take a good look at the entrance to the Enchanted Tiki Room. The massive thatched hut towering over the Dole Whip stand houses a flower-bedecked long boat, presided over by Uti, the goddess of fishing. She was the eighth Tiki in the Tiki garden until her hut and boat were felled by neglect and Santa Ana winds in January of 2000.

(Take an even closer look, and you will see a construction fence, placed around the then newly remodeled restrooms found just inside the entrance to Adventureland.)

High above Adventureland in the Swiss Family Treehouse, one could appreciate the original “Disneyodendron semperflorins grandis” tree that housed the attraction. Here mom and daughter are surrounded by some of the 360,000 colorful plastic leaves and flowers, each one attached by hand.

Next, it’s off to Frontierland and the “wildest ride in the wilderness.” Everyone is all smiles, despite the fact that there were no gates separating guests from the loading platform.

Yes, they are slightly out of focus. But then, the photo was taken while turned around 180 degrees in a hurtling Big Thunder Railroad runaway train.

Tom Sawyer Island has always been an overgrown playground. In 1993 Castle Rock had not yet been taken over by pirates.

It was possible to climb up into Tom and Huck’s treehouse, too!

A fondly remembered Frontierland attraction of the 1990s was the Big Thunder Ranch. Here guests could meet goats, sheep and even cows and horses.

The stairwell in the rustic cabin at Big Thunder Ranch provided an ideal spot for a family photo.

Over on the east side of the park, Tomorrowland still looked very much as it had since its last major refurbishment in 1967. While Mary Blair’s colorful tile mural could still be found above the Premiere Shop on the north side, the south side was now given over to Star Tours.

Overhead, the People Mover was still carrying guests through Tomorrowland, and offering an elevated view of the Plaza Inn’s umbrella-covered outdoor dining patio.

Never mind the Mission Status on the board at the bend of the catwalk to Space Mountain. It’s time for another group shot!

As the family faces the awesome Yeti in the Matterhorn, Dad relaxes on a bench while keeping an eye on hats and backpacks.

Mickey’s roadster was the perfect spot for a family photo in the brand-new Toontown.

Toontown (then and now!) is a great spot for getting character photos.

Mickey’s house is also a great place to make yourself at home… at least long enough for yet another photo opportunity.

But the ultimate photo opportunity is with the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse, here joining our family in his Steamboat Willie dressing room.

We wind up our three-day tour in the happiest land of all, Fantasyland. The newly pasteled facade of it’s a small world provides a colorful backdrop for a family photo.

Speaking of family photos, who could resist this classic opportunity? Especially with the Casey Junior Circus Train photo bombing us in the upper lefthand corner. Note that the graceful arches of Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride have not yet been added to the canal directly behind the boarding area.

You have to wait for Merlin to help you get that sword out of the stone if you want to become the (temporary) Ruler of the Realm. That certainly doesn’t stop a lot of kids from trying!

Alas, even Merlin cannot help Dad. (Some things never change.)

Pay no attention to the exposed mechanism above the door in the back of this photo! Instead, marvel at the way Pinocchio’s Daring Journey takes you from the tawdry enticements of Pleasure Island…

… to the charming warmth of Gepetto’s Clock Shop, safe at home!

But before we are safe at home, we must stop for the ultimate Disneyland souvenir photo… the happy (and tired) family in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s visit to the happiest place on earth. In 1993 it was still possible to experience much of the park as it always had been, going back to its early, simpler years. Before the “Disney Decade” came to an end, however, there would be many, many changes.

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