Welcome Mousefans! I’ve joined a crazy group of bloggers in celebrating Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary by writing about each of the 60 years in Disneyland history! If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the fabulous posts, there are links to each one at the bottom of this post! I hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane.
￼The year was 1987. Disneyland was a place where you could see Michael Jackson “change the world” with his dance moves in Captain EO, ride not only one, but two Autopia attractions, and fly on the Skyway between the lands of Fantasy and Tomorrow. Not to mention that a one day adult admission to the park cost a whopping $21.50. 1987 brought a few new things to the park, but one in particular transported guests at lightspeed to a new world of entertainment!
In 1987, Disneyland did more than reach for the stars, they helped guests tour them in StarSpeeder 3000s with the help of a droid named Rex. That’s right! On January 9, 1987, Star Tours landed in Tomorrowland, replacing its predecessor: Adventure Thru Inner Space (1967–1985.) On this day, guests were not only taken to the stars, but the stars were brought to them as well! Star Tours opened with fanfare befitting the occasion with George Lucas himself in attendance. Oh, and remember that 24-hour event we get all excited about each year? What if I told you that to celebrate the opening of the new Star Tours attraction, Disneyland stayed open for a full 60 hours! I know I joked about Disneyland staying open for 60 hours to celebrate the 60th anniversary, but I had no idea that it had happened before. We’re learning together on this blog, folks. And check out Mickey’s totally awesome space suit!
On Star Tours, we joined a newbie pilot, Rex, on his first flight to the Endor moon. Somehow, each time we rode it, he was still on his first flight. And he always managed to take a wrong turn! We were taken on a crazy adventure through space and with the help of a rebel pilot, found our way back home….where we almost crashed into a fuel tanker. That was a close one! Relive the excitement of the original Star Tours attraction in this CoasterViews video.
While you probably didn’t know it, as you were standing in line for Star Tours, you were also witnessing a part of Disney’s past. Two of the singing, audio-animatronic birds from the America Sings (which would close in 1988) attraction were de-feathered and served up fresh as droids in the Star Tours queue. More of the animatronics from America Sings can still be seen today in another beloved attraction that opened in 1989: Splash Mountain.
This attraction continued to be a popular stop for guests until 2010 when it was closed. Not to worry! The StarSpeeders soon returned to service in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Not only does the adventure continue, but it is better than ever! With C-3PO at the wheel, Star Tours now serves a variety of new destinations with updated pre-boarding and in-flight movies that are sure to impress all passengers….even a rebel spy!
Another Disneyland first happened in May 1987, when the first Disney Dollars were issued at Disneyland! People could now not only buy Disney parks merchandise, but they could buy money: Disney money! The first series of Disney Dollars was released with an initial printing of 870,000 at both Disneyland and Disney World, however, both sets read, “May be used as legal tender only at Disneyland.” This line was changed to reflect that the Disney Dollars could be used in both the California and Florida parks in the next series released later that year. The cartoon cash came in denominations of $1 and $5. The $1 sported a waving Mickey Mouse on the front and Sleeping Beauty castle on the back. Goofy donned the front of the $5 and the Mark Twain Riverboat was on the reverse side.
And of course, the year 1987 brought us the opening of The Disney Gallery in its original location, above the Pirates of the Caribbean. In the 1960’s, Walt Disney decided that he needed a space large enough to entertain certain VIPs and dignitaries. However, when Walt died in 1966, his hopes for the space were left seemingly forgotten. Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter was the person who imagined the space as a place to hang their artwork and display it for guests to see. His idea took hold and The Disney Gallery was opened. The Gallery was ran almost like a museum with a gift shop and even had cast members ready to tell you all about the art gracing the gallery’s walls. On August 7, 2007, the Disney Gallery was closed to make way for what is now the Disneyland Dream Suite. The Disney Gallery got a second chance at life on Main Street U.S.A. It is now housed in what used to be the Bank of Main Street U.S.A.
As a football fan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that 1987 was also the first year of the “What’s next?” campaign. ”I’m going to Disneyland/ Disney World” is the now iconic phrase that was first uttered by the winning Super Bowl XXI quarterback, Phil Simms of the New York Giants. This classic commercial has aired every year since, except in 2005.
Whew! So much Disneyland history packed into just one tiny year! And I’m not quite done! After rummaging through my mom’s old photo albums, I was able to pull out this compilation of memories from January, July and December, 1987. I was 2 and 3 years old in 1987, so I can’t really tell you my about my memories from that specific year, but I can tell you that Disneyland has always been a big part of my life. Sharing that part of my life with you on this blog is always a pleasure. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane and that it sparked some magical memories of your own.
I like seeing the cast members in this one, and of course, Eeyore is adorable!
Real men wear mouse ears…and let 2 year olds drive cars.
Flying high with my mom and Mickey on Dumbo!
The Motor Boat cruise! One of my favorite attractions from days gone by.
I just love looking back at the character costumes through the years. And see one of the dwarfs behind me!
Special thanks go out to Disney Gals and The Disney Parks Blog for the use of their photos in our post. If you haven’t already checked out all of the amazing posts from Disney years gone by, you can catch up by clicking on the links below! Thanks for joining us on this celebration of Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary!