Disneyland in 1973, Part 1: General Information

1973 was a very good year in my life, most notably because that was the year I was born. But it also was the year that Kevin’s mom’s cousin, Kristy, went to Disneyland.

And saved the park guide.


I’m telling you, this is a fascinating read from beginning to end. Fascinating for me, and for YOU!  because I’m gonna share it, yes I am.


There are so many fascinating things about this guide and the first is that it’s a book. I’d call it a booklet, but it’s actually 31 pages. It is pocket-sized, though, and measures a little over 3.5″x2.5″.

The second thing is the sheer amount of shameless corporate sponsorship. According to Jack Lindquist’s book, In Service to the Mouse, corporate sponsorship was Walt’s plan from Day 1. Well, before Day 1–from the very beginning of planning. In short, he couldn’t afford to build Disneyland so he offered exclusive promotional rights in the park to companies who sponsored it. Most of the sponsorships, it seems, were related to something the company did or represented, however this Disneyland guide was sponsored by an insurance company. But we’ll go back to that at the end.

And really? Even the MAP had a corporate sponsorship? Wow!

Page 1

This is the Fall/Winter guide so that includes the Christmas season.  The first thing that popped out at me was the fact that the “Christmas Holidays” lasted from December 21-January 1. Can you imagine Christmas starting right before Christmas? I know many think we start Christmas too early (I don’t–we can start Christmas in August and I’ll be happy) but December 21st seems so late to me. Barely worth the trouble of putting up decorations!

The Candlelight Procession, which I can only assumed that, at the time, used real candles, was on December 21st and 22nd. I’m not sure when the dates are this year but hopefully I won’t be blocked out then.

Also interesting–this is back in the days of coupon books, but the New Year’s Eve Party says “Special tickets for this event, which also include unlimited use of all Disneyland attractions except shooting galleries, must be purchased in advance.” I wonder how much that cost.

General Information

In this book, employees are called “Disneylanders” or just “employees” instead of the current term, Cast Member. I wonder when that changed–anyone know?

General information about Disneyland can be obtained from City Hall, but if you’d like to know about other Southern California activities you’ll have to head to the information booth on “the corner of Main and East Plaza Streets.” That’s inside the park. Do you know where? I’ll show you when we get to the park maps :).

If you’ve got a baby you can hit up the Baby Station  on East Plaza Street. “Sorry, babysitting is not available.” Bummer.

For those who are hard up for cash, your BankAmericard is accepted in most shops, stores, and restaurants, and a Bank of America with complete banking capabilities is in Town Square. Just be careful of the time, since the bank is only open from 10-4 every day Disneyland is open, and 10-6 on Wednesdays. Proof right there it’s a real bank! If the bank is closed, head over to the Main Street Railroad Station ticket booth to cash a check.

If you’re looking for a good place to take a picture, just follow the Photo-Trail. Film is sold just about everywhere. If you’d like to rent a camera or need camera service, you’ll find the GAF Photo Salon on Main Street. If your car needs service, however, you’ll have to leave the park to visit the Gulf Station at the corner of Katella Ave. and West St.

Global Van Lines will both offer you lockers and handle your lost and found, but if you’ve lost your child you’ll need to see the hostess on the end of East Plaza Street. If you brought your furry friend,  you can leave them at “an airy, individual enclosure” for 50 cents for the entire day. Bonus–a choice of Kal Kan pet food is included! And the Hallmark Communication Center on Main Street will handle all of your postal needs.

Disneyland is open from 10-6 on Wednesdays through Fridays, and 9-7 on the weekend. Don’t plan to go on Monday or Tuesday–it’s closed. However, because of the Christmas holidays, Disneyland will be open every day from December 15-January1.

There are public telephones and rest rooms aplenty! Strollers and wheelchairs are a nominal fee. You should be able to recognize Disneyland Security by “the theme area dress” but if you’re confused, just ask any Disneylander. And don’t forget to get your hand stamped on the way out!

How do these ticket books work?

Ah, the old ticket books! What an interesting way to divvy up the park! Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be having these now? All these people with their E tickets in hand waiting to ride the roller coasters? I do remember the ticket book days, as I’m sure some of you do too. I can remember arguing over which A ticket or B ticket ride we were to go on because we only had a limited number of tickets. Now your only limit is time. And you don’t have to go home with leftover A and B tickets since you were standing in line for E ticket rides so long you never used them.

This page of your Park Guide explains your available ticket books. Sure, you can go pay for each ride individually–those A ticket rides are 10 cents! But you can save money by buying a book.

Try the Big 11 and get one A, one B, two C’s, three D’s, and four E’s. Or you can go crazy and get the Deluxe 15 with one A, two B’s, three C’s, four D’s, and five E’s.

Please note that if you already paid a general admission ticket or if you wish to enjoy additional attractions in the park, you can buy a 10-adventure book (like the Big 11 minus one E ticket) or a 5-adventure book (five E tickets) for $3.50  and any central ticket booth inside the park. Good to know!

If you’re confused and you think you might get lost or something, you can also take a Guided Tour. It’s recommended for “first-time guests” (their quotes, not mine) and where you are “taken on an exciting tour of Disneyland by a charming Guide who tells the fascinating story of the history and growth of ‘the happiest place on earth.'” This includes admission and a selection of 7 popular rides Of course, if you already purchased a General Admission ticket, you can buy the tour minus the admission price for only $3.00.

And what can you ride with your various tickets?

Well, the A ticket rides are all still in existence:

Board a horse-drawn trolley, as it travels down a main street of 70 years ago on the Horse Drawn Street Cars, take a trip down Main Street aboard a replica of America’s classic autos on the Horseless Carriage, ride a double-decker bus down Main Street, to the hub of Disneyland in the Omnibus, “Answer the alarm” in Disneyland’s very own fire wagon on the Fire Engine, ride to the lnd of fantasy on one of the Carrousel’s 72 prancing steeds at King Arthur Carrousel, and see diorama scenes from the popular Walt Disney movie, “Sleeping Beauty” at Sleeping Beauty Castle. And seriously, I have only done 4 out of 6 of these attractions, even now. I better get going on those Main Street vehicles!

Your B ticket,  whole 25 cents, can help you enjoy the greats of the silent screen era at Main Street Cinema, guide your motorboat through treacherous rapids and tricky currents on the Motor Boat Cruise, see the Swiss Family Robinson’s tree-top home and enjoy an aerial view of Disneyland at the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, ride  Casey Jr. Circus Train as the bright, gay train who “knew he could” travels a scenic route, and re-live the fantastic adventures of Alice onboard Alice in Wonderland.

For this blog, I’ve only done one of those. But to be fair, one is defunct and the others, except Alice, are no longer in their original incarnations.

Man, I still have a lot more to do here.

For your C ticket, you can enjoy a Disney move at the Fantasyland Theater or whirl and twirl in the Mad Hatter’s wildly spinning cups at the Mad Tea Party. You’ll have to turn the page of the guide to find out what else you can do with your C tickets.

There we go!

Youngsters can navigate these freeways of the future on Autopias (Fantasyland, Tomorrowland), test your sharpshooting skills at still and moving targets and the Shooting Galleries (Frontierland, Adventureland), fly over moonlit London and on to Never-Never Land aboard a pirate galleon on Peter Pan Flight, soar high over Fantasyland aboard the elephant with aerodynamic ears at Dumbo Flying Elephants, take a backwoods water journey to adventure on the Rivers of America on the Mike Fink Keel Boats, and take a thrilling journey into the world of the atom aboard Adventure Thru Inner space presented by Monsanto.

I used to think you actually got shrunk on Adventure Thru Inner Space. I also thought it was like a D ticket, but guess not.

Speaking of D tickets, there are lots of things you can do with those! Pilot a high-flying jet to Disneyland’s outer space on the Rocket Jets, Travel throughout Tomorrowland and get an “inside” glimpse of each attraction on the Peoplemover, take a journey to the Moon and visit Mission Control on the Flight to the Moon presented by McDonnell Douglas, view the world of Fairy Tales onboard the Storybook Land Canal Boats, get a one-way view of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland from skyway buckets on the Skyway, explore Tom Sawyer island with its many caves and Fort Wilderness (closed at dusk) by taking the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts, row your own explorer canoe on the Rivers of America at Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, all aboard for a circular tour of Disneyland on the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, cruise on a replica of the first American ship to circle the globe on the Columbia Sailing Ship, and finally, ride the gleaming sternwheeler as it travels around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Steamboat.

I had no idea the Columbia was a replica of the first American ship to circle the globe. Hunh. Learn something new every day.

And finally, for your E ticket enjoyment, you can ride a Western-style adventure through Nature’s Wonderland, Rainbow Caverns on the Mine Train Ride, see Nature’s Wonderland from the back of a sturdy pack mule at the Pack Mules, travel through tropical jungles and exotic areas of the world on a jungle boat at the Jungle River Cruise, circle above and around Disneyland on the transportation system of tomorrow known as the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail Trains, race down and around “snow-covered” slopes in a fast-moving bobslet aboard the Matterhorn Bobsleds, witness a Polynesian Paradise where 225 birds, flowers and tropical tikis entertain in the Enchanted Tiki Room, join the happiest crew that ever sailed around the world on It’s A Small World presented by Bank of America, journey through “liquid space” on an exciting undersea cruise to the North Pole on the Submarine Voyage, sail through the wildest adventure that ever rocked the Spanish Main on the Pirates of the Caribbean, see the wildest show in the wilderness featuring Big Al, Teddi Barra, and a cast of 18 “Bears of the Band” at the Country Bear Jamboree, and join the 999 “frightfully funny” ghosts on the Haunted Mansion.

Very cool.

4 responses to “Disneyland in 1973, Part 1: General Information

  1. Kelli September 20, 2011 at 12:20 am

    love love love this post….so amazingly cool

  2. Amber September 20, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Where are Pinochio, Snow White, and Mr. Toad? I didn’t see them in the list. I would imagine they’d be with Peter Pan or Alice.

    I don’t think I would like that ticket system. You would really have to make some choices. It would be sad to have to choose.

    Also, I am wondering why Alice was listed so low. It’s like all of the dark rides were not equal. Alice seems to be second popular to Peter Pan in the Fantasyland. It almost always has a long line too.

  3. susan September 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I spent lots of time at disneyland during the 1973-1980 time frame and very clearly remember the tix and some of the rides. I’d actually forgotten about the pack mules. Really, how could I have forgotten that? Flight to the moon and adventure through inner space were AWESOME. So sad when they were closed.

    Loved this post!

  4. Linus V September 21, 2011 at 2:53 am

    The ticket books were originally implemented as a form of crowd control because the park attractions did not have the capacity to allow everyone to ride all of the “good” rides, so they created A through C ticket coupons (D was added in 1956 and E was added when the Matterhorn and the submarine voyage opened in 1959)

    Through the 1970’s, the people who operated the park, became aware that the lettered coupons did nothing to distribute traffic around the park and if people wanted another E ticket, they would just pay (75 cents) for one. As the park added higher capacity attractions like Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and it became obvious that crowd control through ticket distribution was not working, Disneyland abolished attraction coupons in 1982

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