One of the most recent changes inside Disneyland is the rennovation of Autopia, the attraction that lets kids drive small gas-powered motor cars around a fun-sized race track. This attraction has remained largely unchanged since Disneyland opened in 1955. The original cars, designed by Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr, were simple little vehicles that many kids all across America dreamed of driving when they saw them on Disney television shows about the park. But times change and the ride needed updating. The new cars are bigger, sleeker, and have a lot of style. The Disney Gallery in New Orleans Square has an exhibit (shown here) that lets you see them up close. Animation fans are already making collectors items out of the toy replicas sold at Chevron gasoline stations across the country. These cute toys are part of a series designed by Nick Parks, the Brittish animator who created the Academy Award-winning Wallace and Grommit films.
Also on display at the Disney Gallery was an exhibit of many of the souvenir maps sold in the park over the years. It all started back in 1958 with a map drawn by Disney Legend and Imagineer Sam McKim. Over the years, the map has changed as new attractions and events have eveolved. These large paper souvenirs measure about 30x40 inches and they have always been a favorite of park-goers, second only perhaps to the guidebooks. Many times when I find these old maps for sale, they have pin holes in the corners that people used to decorate a wall in their home. The last time the souvenir map was updated was in 1995 for the park's 40th anniversary to accomodate the then-new Indiana Jones Adventure attraction. Now in celebration of the 45th anniversary, a new map has been created by Disney artist Nina Vaughn. The new map shows the rennovations in Tomorrowland from 1998, and other smaller changes.
A short walk from New Orleans Square takes you to Frontierland where we find another attraction that has undergone some changes over the years. It's The Golden Horseshoe Cafe, which features a live stage show along with small meals. The legendary stage show stars included the late, greats Betty Taylor, Wally Boag, and Fulton Burley doing all sorts of songs and stunts to amuse the guests. Ending a short run for the 45th Anniversary was the Woody's Roundup show featuring characters and themes from Toy Story 2. It was a charming little production that puts you in the studio audience during the filming of an episode of the mythical "Woody's Roundup" television program from the movie. On stage we see Sherrif Woody, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, and Bullseye, the sharpest horse in the west. And everything from the characters costumes to the props and backgrounds are all in glorious black-and-white, befitting a television program of the era. To the left we see Mr. Announcer, a charming bumbler whose job it is to cue the audience when to applaud. To the right is Cowboy Bob, who sings commercials for Cowboy Crunchies cereal and the program's theme song - Hey, Howdy, Hey! Its all in fun and a shame that its closed. The only thing better than being able to see this program again would be to see the original stage show starring Slue Foot Sue and the rest of the gang.
Of course, some things remain unchanged in Disneyland for many years. There are lots of sights we treasure each time
we pass through The Happiest Place On Earth. From seeing the Columbia sail by on the Rivers of America, or walking from Fantasyland to
Tomorrowland past Snow White's Grotto, we think of all of the happy times we've had and how much there is still to look forward to when the new Disneyland Resort premieres in 2001.
This is an early look at Disney's California Adventure from Summer 2000. The rollercoaster and Ferris Wheel looked so exciting! Sorry this picture is blurry. As you can see, I took this shot on the fly from the parking lot.
This page was last updated on November 22, 2014.