Thoughts While Watching: The Disneyland Story, 1954

The Disneyland Story

Hello and welcome back to Thoughts While Watching, my ongoing series where I react to (mostly) retro Disney media! Some of the most interesting videos relate to the development of the theme parks, and it doesn’t get more classic than Disneyland.

While it’s hard not to source ALL of my Thoughts While Watching posts from Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color*, it’s important to mix it up, no? Still, when we get to watch an episode, it’s always a good time.

* Or whatever you want to call it.

This week we start from the very beginning, kids! Remember when I discovered there was a pre-opening Disneyland special before the pre-opening Disneyland special? I think we’ve found it! The first EVER episode of Disney’s anthology series focuses on that very subject.

(You might be thinking to yourself: last year you did Muppets Haunted Mansion for your October entry. This isn’t very seasonally appropriate! On the contrary: episode 1 premiered on Oct 27, 1954. So we’re almost bang on the dot.)

This one is a nice lunch break length, so click play. Travel with me back in time to 1954, and we’ll see what thoughts occur to us as Disneyland teases the wonders it will contain!


1. I am already hit right in the feels. I love Disney parks!!!

2. How does one get a job as a character model? I already know how to waltz.

3. I mean, yeah, we’re all used to seeing the scale models, but isn’t it crazy to think that at this point it was literally only a model? (Yes, this is partially a Monty Python joke.)

4. Honestly, it is even an early Disneyland special without Fess Parker?

5. I don’t know, I’m just not sure about the accuracy of the documentary section. Let us not forget the lesson of the lemmings.

6. Um, how do you KNOW the bull is having fun?

7. I vote for a reboot of Mission to the Moon. I hear Stitch’s Great Escape is sitting empty.

8. Holy smokes, proof of life for Song of the South! And here we thought Disney scrubbed the archives.

9. There, it’s the cartoon where Mickey and co. are ghost hunters! See, I told you this was Halloween-appropriate.

10. Wait. Is the rest of the special just cartoon clips? That’s not very theme park-y.

11. Okay, listen. I grew up on Fantasia. It is AMAZING. If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong. Go watch it again and get your head straight. (And then watch Fantasia 2000 because it is somehow even better?!) Such a shame they never got the Yen Sid effect going in the late lamented Great Movie Ride.

12. I wonder whose estate is getting residuals on “When You Wish Upon A Star,” because that must be some serious compounding interest.


Hmmm. So, not gonna lie. As far as Disneyland sneak previews go, that was kinda disappointing. But I know Walt was more trying to get a framework for the TV show going. At least we got to see that sweet sweet scale model again.

Don’t worry, for our next entry, we are guaranteed to land smack dab in the middle of Walt Disney World. See ya then!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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