Fifty years ago when Disneyland classified its offerings from an A to E ticket and was less complicated than it is today, the Rolltop followed a 12-year-old Chino boy through America’s great amusement park, which wasn’t much older than he was (it opened July 17, 1955):


Foot-weary and broke, we lounged on the park bench at the end of Main Street, waiting for the boys to disengage themselves from the penny arcade before the cops chased them out. It was closing time, yet the first day of daylight saving held light in the sky at 7:30 and the evening was warm.

Maybe people ought to disengage themselves from the TV and sit on the park benches more often. It would straighten out a lot of things in the world.

From our vantage point we watched the ebb tide of people, flocking home after a fun-filled day of exhaustion at one of America’s greatest playgrounds – Disneyland. It was our annual visit, a birthday celebration, and more the enjoyable because the lads we took could be turned loose on their own this time, and depended upon to report back to the check points at the proper time – with the exception of the closing hour, that is.

The biggest show at Disneyland is the people. As I sat there, watching the double decker bus swing by, the little tots with their Mickey Mouse balloons tied to their wrists, the young people hand in hand and many of the older people too, I spotted a blond girl about 11 or 12 wearing an orange cap with a blue and white device. “There it is,” I said to my wife, and took off after the youngster.

Now that I think about it, it’s a good thing she met her parents by the time I caught up with her. How do you ask a young girl for her cap without someone calling the cops?

You see, the cap belongs to M.K. Smith, who entrusted it to my son, a catcher for the team, who in turn entrusted it to his mother so he could wear the green safari hat he just bought.

It was about an hour later that mother discovered the hat was missing. We checked the lemonade stand, the jewelry store, the emporium, the train station and finally the lost and found, all to no avail. So there we were, at the end of the day on the park bench, when suddenly the orange cap walks by on the head of a little girl who had found it in the street two hours before. She was really quite pleasant about giving it up, especially when she learned it would save the skin of somebody’s mother.

And to think, if the boys had come back on time we never would have found it. So what do you tell them for being late then?

The lost and found office at Disneyland is a busy place. People mislay cameras, purses, new purchases, children, etc. If your item hasn’t been turned in yet, you may fill out a form and they will mail it to you if it shows up. Everything except children.

While we were there, one lady who had come in looking for something departed, leaving her packages behind by mistake. Fortunately, she had left her name.

Disneyland is full of funny sights. One of the funniest was the parents riding in the monkey cage car with their kids on the Casey Junior Circus train.

We took a vote on which event we liked the best. It was the Pirates of the Caribbean, a real Disney masterpiece. The long lines attest to its popularity.

It pays to be discriminating. In Fantasyland, you can shell out a 35-cent ticket for a 1 ¾-minute ride through the lands of Peter Pan or Snow White, where you almost meet yourself coming and going. On the other hand, for 75 cents you can enjoy 12 minutes through It’s a Small World. And the General Electric Carousel of Progress, more than 15 minutes, is free. The best Disneyland exhibits and “rides” are those sponsored by American business firms. The only disappointment here is United Air Lines’ Enchanted Tiki Room, where the talking Tiki gods outside reek of commercialism in a rather tasteless way.

We didn’t find too much new since last year’s trip, except the extra 25-cent charge for the tickets. And we enjoyed the “People Mover” which wasn’t in action during last year’s visit.

And I found a way to enjoy Disneyland even more. Buy a silly, overpriced, made in Japan hat at the Mad Hatters and get in the jaunty mood of the place.

By the way, did you ever notice that the Disneyland employees all wear Mickey Mouse watches?

Note from 50 years later—How times have changed.

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