My Thoughts While Watching Disneyland ’59

Kodak Presents Disneyland '59

Hello and welcome back to that cherished blog tradition, my Thoughts While Watching series! Journey through time with me yet again as we plumb the media archives for old and older Disneyland and World media, then react to it with modern sensibilities. What could go wrong?

Today we’re taking it almost – but not quite – as far back as we possibly can with Kodak Presents Disneyland ’59, a slice of late ’50s life that shows us everything that would’ve been brand new as we closed out the decade. Highlights include the debut of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and… wait for it… THE MONORAIL!

I say Kodak Presents Disneyland ’59 for two reasons: one, it’s in the title, and two, BOY DID THEY. Want to feel better about Disney’s contemporary corporate ties? Have I got a video for you!

I’ll be frank; at 90 minutes, you’re looking at two separate lunch breaks to finish this thing. But if you’re a parks history buff, you cannot miss it. Don’t overthink it, kid! Press play now!

And that’s how you get…


1 This almost feels like a direct, no-time-skips sequel to the Disneyland Opening Day broadcast. Fancy that!

2 Look how cute those old school cameras are! Everything is too darned practical nowadays. I want function AND form, dangit!

3 Of course you could build Disneyland in a day when you were allowed to take speed.

4 That single missing piece of monorail track is giving me anxiety. But then what doesn’t give me anxiety?

5 Why I do believe it’s that old Disney standby, Dick Nixon!

6 I see costumed character Mickey Mouse is still in his Slightly Terrifying era.

7 “The Pied Piper of America” is an interesting take on Uncle Walt. When are ya gonna dance me away, buddy? I’m waiting!

8 Are we getting a jump on Epcot?

9 Dig all this Kodak product placement in the crowd. Subtle.

10 Haha, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a parade horse react to the goings on. That poor guy must’ve been a last minute add.

11 Uh oh. Everybody brace for Adventureland.

12 Oh, no, not you too, Wally Boag! Man, this whole Different Time thing got everybody.

13 If there’s one thing Art Linkletter cares about, it’s equestrian tack value.

14 Okay, well, at least they’re legit Native Americans.

15 Can you imagine a float depicting a bunch of guys breaking chairs over each others’ heads flying today? Because that sounds awesome.

16 Excuse me, I just need to do this real quick… ZORRO! ZORRO! THE FOX SO CUNNING AND FREE!!! ZORRO! ZORRO! WHO MAKES THE SIGN OF THE Z!!!!!! (Do you think Fess Parker was sad?)

17 The monorail float is super nifty close up. If you don’t watch the whole thing, skip to around the 30 minute mark and at least watch that.

18 Poor Meredith Willson just came out to watch a parade and suddenly he’s put to work.

19 Can you imagine if Disney partnered this hard with a corporate sponsor today? Gosh, I hope Smellephants is half as aggressive.

20 My dream job is Submarine Voyage mermaid. That’s mission one just as soon as I get my hands on that time machine.

21 Ummmm there is a DOG in the Nautilus?! He got his own window!

22 Man, this is some darkly visceral traffic jam imagery. Breaking chairs over your head all over again!

23 Where is my nation full of monorails?! I WANT IT.

24 Tricky Dick got to do EVERYTHING. (Side note: Ron Livingston should play him in a movie.)

25 Matterhorn climbing with no safety harness? Where was OSHA?

26 Man, these dance sequences sure do go on a long time. Imagine if that weird Runaway Railway opening ceremony number had been longer than the ride. I guess you had more leeway when there were only three television channels.

27 Ah, yes, Ed Sullivan sure does seem like the loose and friendly kind of dude in a grey business suit kids love.

28 Awww, Walt being the happiest kid in the park gives me the feels.

29 March of the Toys?! Outside its natural Babes in Toyland habitat?!


As far as I can tell, there was no Disneyland ’56 – ’58; perhaps Kodak couldn’t afford it? Nevertheless, I am grateful we did get a Disneyland ’59, if only for the beautiful emergence of the monorail. It’s always good to see you, Uncle Walt – catch you at our next TWW meeting!

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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