As a companion piece to what I miss at Disneyland, I give you: What my dad misses about Disneyland.
You see, my dad loves Disneyland. He has been going there since he was a small boy - perhaps even the year it opened. My dad's Jewish aunt lived just blocks from Disneyland and with every opportunity, he would visit her with magic on his mind. As such, he loves to inform us of little tidbits of Disney memories. I have heard many of these memories several times and have thus formed a list of his top 5:
5. Fishing from the side of Tom Sawyer's Island. It seems that at one time you could rent a fishing pole and and actually fish for real fish that had been stalked in the "river". You had to pay for each fish you kept. No wonder my dad is such a fine fisherman - he was taught by none other than Walt Disney himself.
4. Horseback riding through the grand canyon. My dad remembers getting on the back of a horse, or a mule, or an ass and riding through a fake Grand Canyon... in Disneyland. Mules apparently were more expensive and messier than dancing, electronic animals. Although, I need to consult an "Imagineer", as there might be a chance that the electronic animals do actually defecate. And if they don't, why not? Disney is the king of mastering the details.
3. Steve Martin at Knotts Berry Farm. Okay, so this one is not exactly Disneyland, but my dad LOVES to tell us about the time he met a young Steve Martin playing the banjo and telling jokes at Knotts Berry Farm. It turns out that Mr. Martin also worked at the magic shop on Main Street in Disneyland. However, my dad says that he still remembers that he was a very funny guy with a bright future. Or... more appropriately: One wild and crazy guy!
2. Matterhorn yodelers/mountain climbers. My dad swears that men dressed in hiked up shorts would hike the Matterhorn daily and yodel for all the Magic Kingdom to hear. Sure enough, there are plenty of photos on the web to prove it. I wonder if the Swede boys needed those mountain climbing shoes with the spikes for extra grip or if there is enough footing on a plastic mountain?
1. Real mermaids in the green swamp otherwise known as the submarine ride. Yes, it's true, and my pop loves to remind us every time we go to Disneyland - there were real women dressed as mermaids just sitting around on rocks. The problem seemed to be that disgusting pig men (Yes, they did exist back in the 50's.) would stand around and stare. Alas, the first Hooters opened in 1963 and their services were needed elsewhere.