Yesterland

65 Closings in 65 Years

year-by-year at Disneyland

2020 is the 65th Anniversary of Disneyland. (Sadly, the park has been closed most of this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.) When Disneyland celebrates an anniversary that’s cleanly divisible by five, there are usually lists of things that have opened at Disneyland since July 1955—new attractions, shows, parades, shops, and restaurants.

But this is Yesterland. So here’s a list of something that closed or ended each year since Disneyland opened. I picked just one for each year. For some years, I had many choices. For other years, it was hard to find even one. It’s not a comprehensive list; that wasn’t the goal.

There are 66 entries, because the list includes 1955 and 2020.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, October 2, 2020



1955

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, 1955, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Canal Boats of the World in Fantasyland only lasted from July 17 to September 15, 1955. It was substantially enhanced to become Storybook Land Canal Boats, which opened June 16, 1956. So the boats are simultaneously one of the shortest-lived and longest-lived attractions of Disneyland.


1956

Disneyland Closures

Wizard of Bras from Hollywood-Maxwell advertisement, 1955, courtesy Orange County Archives

Hollywood-Maxwell’s Intimate Apparel Shop, home of the Wizard of Bras, only lasted from July 1955 to January 1956. This might still be the most unexpected shop in the history of Disneyland.


1957

Disneyland Closures

Map from the 1957 Disneyland guide book © 1957 Walt Disney Productions

In 1957, the emphasis at the young park was on openings, not on closings. The Maxwell House Coffee House on Town Square lasted from December 1955 to October 1957. It was really just a change of sponsor. Hills Bros. Coffee took over.


1958

Disneyland Closures

Los Angeles Examiner Collection of the USC Regional Historical Photo Collection at Wikimedia Commons

In this photo, Walt Disney is the engineer of the short-lived Viewliner, which operated in Tomorrowland from June 1957 to December 1958. The more impressive Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System would take its place.


1959

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Merrill A. Garner, circa 1958

Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules, an animal-powered ride that lasted from June 1956 to April 1959, was one of three versions of a mule ride at Disneyland. The mules departed entirely in 1973.


1960

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1960, courtesy of Robin Runck.

The Crane Company Bathroom of Tomorrow display in Tomorrowland lasted from April 1956 to August 1960. It was a display of plumbing, with valves that kids could play with.


1961

Disneyland Closures

Courtesy of Ron DeFore, son of Don DeFore, from the DeFore family collection

Don Defore’s Silver Banjo served delicious barbecue to Frontierland guests from June 1957 to September 1961. The tiny space became part of Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen after it closed.


1962

Disneyland Closures

Detail from the 1964 Disneyland Souvenir Map © 1964 Walt Disney Productions

The Main Street Shooting Gallery operated from July 1955 to January 1962. For some unknown reason, it was still on the 1964 Disneyland Souvenir Map, even though it had closed two years earlier. Yes, there was a time when you could empty a gun on Main Street, U.S.A.


1963

Disneyland Closures

Movie poster (not attraction poster) © WDP

The Babes in Toyland Exhibit operated from December 1961 to September 1963. This display of props from Walt Disney’s 1961 movie Babes in Toyland was the first attraction at the Main Street Opera House. Before that, it had been used as a lumber mill.


1964

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

The Mickey Mouse Club Theater was a movie theater that opened in August 1955. Officially, it closed in 1964. In reality, it just changed its name to the Fantasyland Theater, which continued to operate to December 1981.


1965

Disneyland Closures

From advertisement in Disneyland Holiday magazine, Summer 1957

One of Disneyland’s opening day restaurants, the Red Wagon Inn (sponsored by Swift) became the Plaza Inn in 1965. Swift had a red wagon as its company logo. After Swift dropped its sponsorship of the restaurant, the name no longer made sense.


1966

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1961, courtesy of Robin Runck

Flying Saucers was a Tomorrowland favorite from August 1961 to September 1966. The vehicles were smaller and more responsive (and more fun) than those of Luigi’s Flying Tires.


1967

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Merrill A. Garner, 1958

From June 1957 to December 1967, the Monsanto House of the Future gave guests a preview of living in an all-synthetic home. Now that it’s the 21st Century, how many of us live in such a house?


1968

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

There was an organ and piano showroom on Main Street, U.S.A. from July 1955 to September 1968. The Wurlitzer Music Hall was on the corner across from the Emporium. You could attend a concert, learn about the product line, and even order a piano or organ for your home.


1969

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1961, courtesy of Robin Runck.

The original three-car Mark I Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System trains began service in June 1959. The trains were converted to four-car Mark II trains when the route was lengthened to serve the Disneyland Hotel in 1961. The original fleet was retired in 1969. A fleet of all-new five-car Mark III trains took its place.


1970

Disneyland Closures

From advertisement in Disneyland Holiday magazine, Summer 1957

Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen, also called Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House, opened a few weeks after the park in 1955. You could meet Aunt Jemima—or at least a friendly Cast Member playing her. The eatery was replaced by Magnolia Tree Terrace in 1970.


1971

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Helmut Weiss, 1958

The Indian Village opened in 1955 near Adventureland. In 1956, it moved to a new location. It was best known for its Ceremonial Dance Circle. The Indian Village closed permanently in 1971 to make way for Bear Country (now Critter Country).


1972

Disneyland Closures

6308-340DisneyLandChopper-R" by EditorASC at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Scheduled helicopter service from LAX to the Disneyland Hotel heliport ended permanently in August 1972 when Golden West Airlines decided to stop operating helicopters after just five months of service. From 1955 to 1969, Los Angeles Airways had offered such flights, first to a helipad near Tomorrowland and then, beginning in 1963, to a helipad just north of the Disneyland Hotel. Two fatal crashes on the Disneyland route in 1968 killed a total of 44 people.


1973

Disneyland Closures

PR photo from General Electric © Disney, courtesy of Dennis Caswell.

The Disneyland run of the General Electric Carousel of Progress lasted from July 1967 to September 1973. It’s still going at Magic Kingdom Park, where it has had a much longer run—January 1975 to the present. But only Disneyland had Progress City as part of the show.


1974

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

The railroad that has circled Disneyland from July 1955 through the present was originally called Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. Since October 1974, it’s been just Disneyland Railroad, without a sponsor.


1975

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

The Walt Disney Story at the Opera House featured displays in the lobby and a biographical movie (narrated through recordings by Walt Disney) in the auditorium. Abraham Lincoln was not part of the show. The Lincolnless version only lasted from April 1972 to February 1975.


1976

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Frank Taylor, 1975/1976, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Disneyland honored the U.S. Bicentennial from June 1975 to September 1976 with America on Parade, a huge parade that included floats celebrating American history and American junk food.


1977

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1977

A slow train ride for the whole family, Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, was a 1960 expansion of Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (1956). It closed in January 1977 to be replaced by a much faster train—Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.


1978

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Marion Caswell, 1977, courtesy Dennis Caswell

Located next door to the Pepsi-Cola Golden Horseshoe Saloon, Oaks Tavern restaurant served hungry Disneyland guests from 1956 to 1978. The location is now the Stage Door Cafe.


1979

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

In 1970, GAF replaced Kodak as the Official Film of Disneyland. The GAF Photo Shop and GAF Camera Salon operated from December 1970 to March 1979. Then it would be Polaroid’s turn.


1980

Disneyland Closures

© Walt Disney Productions

The Disneyland Family Reunion Parade, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the park opened and closed in 1980. This was before “event” parades would stick around for many years after the event was over.


1981

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1972

The original Fantasyland Theater—not to be confused with the Fantasyland Theatre now near Mickey’s Toontown—showed Disney cartoons from August 1955 to December 1981. It was called the Mickey Mouse Club Theater until 1964. The location became Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.


1982

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor.

In 1960, Skull Rock was added adjacent to Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship in Fantasyland. Both were eliminated in 1982 for the New Fantasyland project.


1983

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1964, courtesy of Robin Runck

Merlin’s Magic Shop in Fantasyland lasted from July 1955 to January 1983.


1984

Disneyland Closures

© 1979 Walt Disney Productions

The Polaroid Camera Center opened in March 1979 and closed in April 1984. Film giant Kodak returned in May 1984.


1985

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1968, courtesy of Robin Runck

From August 1967 to September 1985, Adventure Thru Inner Space shrunk guests to see the world of atoms. Let’s all sing “Miracles Through Molecules.”


1986

Disneyland Closures

From advertisement in Disneyland Holiday magazine, Summer 1957

With 39,000 performances, the Golden Horseshoe Revue holds the all-time record as the longest-running musical show in the world. It ran from opening day in 1955 to October 1986, when it was replaced by the Golden Horseshoe Jamboree.


1987

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Frontier Trading Post was renamed Westward Ho Trading Company in 1987—so technically the Frontier Trading Post closed that year. Not a big year for closings.


1988

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

America Sings, the second show in Tomorrowland’s Carousel Theater, ran from June 1974 to April 1988.


1989

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

The Sunkist Citrus House served fresh-squeezed orange juice and lemonade on Main Street from July 1960 to January 1989.


1990

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Robert Demoss, 1987

The Tobacco Shop on Main Street, selling “tobacco and smoking accessories from around the world,” operated from July 1955 to June 1990.


1991

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1991

Plane Crazy, not to be confused with the Mickey Mouse cartoon of the same name, was a live show at Disneyland’s Videopolis Stage from March 1991 to October 1991.


1992

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Chris Bales

Mission to Mars operated from March 1975 to November 1992. It was similar to Flight to the Moon, but with a new destination.


1993

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Frank T. Taylor, circa 1959, courtesy of Chris Taylor

The Motor Boat Cruise in Fantasyland lasted from June 1957 to January 1993. In its final years, it was the Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen.


1994

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

From June 1956 to November 1994, the Skyway to Tomorrowland and Skyway to Fantasyland connected the modern Tomorrowland station to the Alpine chalet Fantasyland station. When the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride was built in 1959, the Skyway went in one side of the hollow mountain and out the other.


1995

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

From July 1967 to August 1995, the PeopleMover offered a preview of Tomorrowland attractions and a great view of the land from above. Inside the Carousel Theater, guests originally had a quick look at Progress City, replaced in 1977 by the Superspeed Tunnel.


1996

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1996

The Main Street Electrical Parade delighted Disneyland Park guests from June 1972 to November 1996 (with a few years off for other parades). Although 1996 was its “Farewell Year” when it was to “glow away forever,” an updated version returned to Disneyland Park in 2017.


1997

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1996

Replacing the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland, Light Magic premiered May 1997, went into “hiatus” September 1997, and never returned.


1998

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1997

Most of the Disneyland Parking Lot closed January 1998 to become the site of a new theme park, hotel, and shopping district.


1999

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1964, courtesy of Robin Runck.

The Swiss Family Treehouse opened in Adventureland in November 1962. In early 1999, the Swiss Family was evicted and their jungle home was remodeled for Tarzan.


2000

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2000

Rocket Rods, the thrill ride that used the old PeopleMover track, only operated from May 1998 to September 2000. The unreliable ride was closed much of its first summer. The track is still there—leading guests to yearn for the return of the PeopleMover, not Rocket Rods.


2001

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Country Bear Vacation Hoedown, the final version of the attraction that opened as the Country Bear Jamboree in March 1972, closed September 2001 to make way for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.


2002

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Cosmic Waves, part of the 1998 New Tomorrowland, had its fountains disabled in 2002. The stone ball is still there, but it’s surrounded by planters, not in-ground water jets.


2003

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2000

American Space Experience opened in 1998 as part of New Tomorrowland. It closed in 2003 for the construction of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.


2004

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Believe… There’s Magic in the Stars, the big fireworks extravaganza for Disney’s 45th anniversary, was Disneyland’s primary fireworks show from February 2000 through October 2004.


2005

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2004

Various versions of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln came and went over the years. The most unusual was “The Journey to Gettysburg” from July 2001 to February 2005. Guests wore headphones for a “3-D audio” binaural sound experience—including the sensation of getting a haircut.


2006

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2004

Pirates of the Caribbean closed temporarily in March 2006 to add characters from the movie franchise. The addition of three Captain Jack Sparrows changed the ride experience forever.


2007

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Allen Huffman 2005

The Disney Gallery was on the second floor of the Pirates of the Caribbean building at New Orleans Square from July 1987 to August 2007. The space was originally intended to be a new, larger in-park apartment for Walt Disney and his family, but was not completed before Walt’s death. After the Disney Gallery moved out, the space became the Dream Suite for the Year of a Million Dreams.


2008

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams was Disneyland’s primary parade from May 2005 to November 2008.


2009

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years, a 17-minute movie hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck, opened May 2005 for the 18-month celebration of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. But it didn’t leave the main auditorium of the Main Street Opera House until March 2009. The movie continues to play on a small screen in the lobby.


2010

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Tomorrowland guests donned 3-D “safety goggles” from May 1998 to January 2010 for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, a theme park sequel to the hit 1989 Disney movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.


2011

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

The final year for Santa’s Reindeer Roundup in Frontierland was 2011.


2012

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

Carnation Plaza Gardens lasted from August 1956 to April 2012. In a way it’s still there, only now it’s been annexed to Fantasyland and it’s dressed up as Fantasy Faire.


2013

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Chris Bales, 2013

The Tangled Meet and Greet was a modest Fantasyland attraction from October 2010 to October 2013.


2014

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies performed at Disneyland from August 1992 to January 2014. The act now performs at Knott’s Berry Farm as Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.


2015

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Reusing the former Carousel Theater (with the lower floor slowly rotating in its early years), Innoventions offered product displays and interactive activities from an evolving array of sponsors. It lasted from July 1998 to March 2015.


2016

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Big Thunder Ranch opened in 1986 as a rural corner of Frontierland, with animals and outdoor foods. In 2004, it became Little Patch of Heaven, based on the movie Home on the Range. It was all over for the ranch in early 2016 because the space was needed for Disneyland’s Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge.


2017

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2015

Village Haus Restaurant (originally Village Inn Restaurant) opened in 1983 as part of the New Fantasyland that year. In 2017, its Pinocchio theme gave way to a Beauty and the Beast overlay, becoming Red Rose Taverne. The original murals are preserved beneath the current decor, should Disneyland ever want to revert.


2018

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port offered pizza, pasta, and salads from 1998 to 2018. Then it became Alien Pizza Planet. The re-theming was originally billed as a temporary overlay, but became permanent in 2019 with a new exterior sign.


2019

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2017

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade was Disneyland’s primary daytime parade from 2011 to 2019, and even served as the nighttime parade for several years. It celebrated songs from Disney movies with imaginatively designed floats.


2020

Disneyland Closures

Photo by Chris Bales, 2020

Disney-Pixar Onward Exclusive Sneak Peek opened February 7, 2020. Onward is one of many movies promoted over the years in the theater that used to show Captain EO. An “Exclusive Sneak Peek” of Mulan was supposed to begin March 20, but all of Disneyland shut down on March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


With
Sadness

This article was supposed to end with the entry for 2020. And it wasn’t supposed to be a sad article. Almost always, when something at Disneyland closes or ends, it means something as good or better takes its place.

Sadly, there is now a different kind of closing.

This week, The Walt Disney Company announced it was eliminating 28,000 jobs in its Parks, Experiences and Products unit in the United States. These 28,000 people “made the magic” for guests—whether they were theme park cast members delighting visitors, managers inspiring their teams, Imagineers at WDI making the future more exciting, back office staff making everything run smoothly, and all sorts of others contributing to the happiness of guests at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney’s retail stores.

They are more than a quarter of the 100,000 people in Parks, Experiences and Products. They’ve lost their jobs at a time when finding another is exceedingly difficult. Many are invested in Disney with their hearts. If they are lucky enough to find another job, it still won’t be the same.

Disney has been slammed badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, with its parks losing billions of dollars. Disney’s parks in Florida are operating at reduced capacity, while the parks in California remain closed. For much of 2020, Disney furloughed cast members while still paying their benefits. It was supposed to be short-lived; things were supposed to return to normal. That didn’t happen. Disney concluded that it had to make real cuts.

There will be better times ahead when the virus is defeated. Disney will survive. The parks will once again be teeming. Disney’s unique culture will continue. Some of those laid off will be rehired. Others will find new opportunities and embrace them. New people will join Disney as things return to normal.

But 2020 will be remembered as the year most of us would like to forget.

— WW 10/01/2020


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Updated October 16, 2020