Retro Things to Check out at Disneyland

As we all know, Disneyland has a history rooted in the prime of America, the post war economic boom of the 1950s. With that in mind, Disneyland instantly becomes and icon that that era, and a personal favorite topic of mine. While there, it was nice to pick up on some fun retro elements of the park that can often be missed if you’re just running around, and I’d like to share them with you. Please remember, for a large view of my images, just click on them.

Disneyland 1955

Disneyland as it once was...Inside the lobby of Disneyland’s Opera House is an array of artifacts covering Disneyland conception and infancy. Included here is a diorama of what Disneyland looked like when it opened on July 17, 1955. As you can see, it’s pretty barren. The portion to the right of the Rivers of America is the area that was devoted to the Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach and Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules, and later the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train. The significant remains of this can still be seen today, on Big Thunder, the buildings which the train passes near the end of the ride were part of these original attractions. New Orleans Square is now in the small area between the Rivers of America and the Jungle Cruise.

Ticket Books

The A-B-C's of ticketsIn the same area, a display case shows off original tickets and ticket books from Disneyland’s early days. Today, we enter Disneyland by purchasing a single ticket from one of the many kiosks between Disneyland and California Adventure and it is scanned upon entering the park. From that point on, our ticket is no longer needed unless we want to get a FastPass or reenter the park. But that is not how it always was. Until 1982, Disneyland used a ticket book system, where there was an entry fee plus the purchase of a ticket book or individual tickets for attractions. Tickets were graded with letters A through E. “A” represented the slow moving, simple attractions, usually ones for children, such as the carousel. “E” represented the most complex and thrilling attractions the park had to offer, such as the Submarine Voyage and Haunted Mansion. From this point on, the term “E-ticket” has been attributed to attractions that are great.

Tomorrowland’s Hidden Starburst

Starburst makes an appearanceAs some of you know, I collect the dish pattern Starburst. It’s a very 50s space-age design, and can easily remind the viewer of Sputnik.For lunch one day, my dad and I ate at Pizza Port, located in Tomorrowland. We sat at a booth and I was shocked and dismayed when I found part of Starburst as the pattern on the upholstery!After some digging, I discovered the vinyl fabric was commissioned by Disneyland, and is called “Atomicburst”.

Baby Herman’s Pin-Up

Pin-ups a plenty for Baby HermanWho Framed Roger Rabbit is perhaps a film that doesn’t get enough credit. When Roger Rabbit was made in 1988, it showcased fantastic breakthrough effects of interaction between animated characters and real life characters.Jessica Rabbit is perhaps the most well known, and showcases the classic sultry actress but, remember, she isn’t bad, she’s just “drawn that way”. Baby Herman is another character from the film, and his dressing room is showcased in the cue area for the Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin ride in Toontown. On his wall is a cartoon version of the infamous Betty Grable ipin-up mage. Additionally the pattern of his wallpaper is that of a shapely woman.


Disneyland isn’t the only place with retro elements, California Adventure across the way has some as well.

Tower of Terror

Step back in time at the Hollywood Tower HotelAs part of the Hollywood Backlot section of California Adventure, the Hollywood Tower Hotel represents the “it” hotel for the who’s who of 1930s Hollywood. Upon entry, guests find themselves in a bygone era of ghostly glamor and soon in a library where Twilight Zone host, Rod Serling shares the chilling story of what happened, and how you, the guest, are now the star. Perhaps the best ride in California Adventure, the detail is, pardon the pun, to die for. After you survive the ride, you are ushered into the gift shop, where you can purchase towels, robes, bells, room key fobs, and shot glasses bearing the Hollywood Tower Hotel emblem.

Phil M. Noir Detective Agency

Is your case one for Phil M. Noir?Taking its cue from Disneyland, who prides itself in its Main Street windows, California Adventure offers up cute puns and detailed windows as well. One such window is this one; Phil M. Noir Detective Agency. A great logo is combined with a fantastic pun for film buffs to get a good laugh out of.



This is just a hint of fun hidden details the Disney parks offer. There are many, many more. So next time you’re at Disneyland, remember to look around and you may find yourself getting just as much joy at a small detail as you do a thrilling ride.

One thought on “Retro Things to Check out at Disneyland

  1. I know I’m late to the “Yay!’ Disneyland!” party, but all of your posts are making me super excited for my own trip to Disneyland this month! My little group will be dressing vintage for the day and I’m taking notes from you.

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