Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Disneyland - A Splash Of Photos of 1980s Cast Members

For you whippersnappers of today's generation, this post will be a bit boring, I suppose. Just a few pictures of Disneyland cast members from 20 or more years ago---with the Park in the background.

Oh well.

That never stopped me before!

To the right you will see (in absolutely no particular order), some classic mid-1980s pictures.

We shall begin with a photo taken behind Main Street (with the old Administration and Wardrobe Building seen in the background). We find Sleeping Beauty wide awake with her Prince on a rather unconventional carriage. [Thanks to Trish Gunzel for originally posting this photo of herself and Erik Gradias]. I offer this photograph because, though I never knew either of them personally, I saw them in the Christmas parade almost daily (when I worked Main Street) AND because I love the fact that old "Backstage" Main Street is shown in the photo. The dark squares located just above the parked cars and along the face of the beige Admin building are the windows where I would go to drop off my costume and pick up a fresh, clean one before my next shift. Ah, Wardrobe. Nothing like a crisp, clean set of custodial whites or the hideous orange of a Tiki Room polyester Hawaiian shirt!

Similarly, I offer the next photograph (with thanks to Bruce Nelson who posted it originally)---not because I ever personally met or knew "Paula"---("Miss Bear Country 1986"), but because I sat at the table on which she is posing many, many times during my breaks when I worked in Custodial in New Orleans/Bear Country. I think those same vending machines are STILL there! Some things at Disneyland never change. Besides, the photo also brings back fond memories of the Country Bear Jamboree and the costumes worn by the cast members who worked there in the 1980s.

Our next photograph shows a fellow Jungle skipper (Ed Pace) and his friend (Patrice Millard) [my thanks to Ed Pace for originally posting and sharing this photo!] in 1980s attire at the helm of a Jungle boat parked at the dock. You can see the costume we skippers wore back then. Love the leopard hat band! You can also see the gloriously colorful canopies and cushions that adorned our boats. Ed's costume is identical to the one I wore almost every day during my Jungle shifts.

I knew Curt Visca, the sweeper shown in our next photograph, at around the time this picture was taken. I love how the picture shows the old entrance to Pirates, along with the hostess' attraction costume from back then. [My sincere thanks to the fantastic Sandi Miller---who took tons of photos over the years!---for originally posting and sharing this picture]. I also like the old trash can and the Swiss Family Treehouse, which you can just make out in the background. This was photo was taken long before the "bridge" that now crosses over the queue to the Pirates main entrance.

We will close out today's "Memory Lane" post with a shot taken at the old Coke Terrace or Tomorrowland Terrace. I actually knew Tammy Irwin---pictured here with two of her co-workers, as she also worked with a friend of mine from school at the Terrace. Dig the cool, red Coke costumes! Better still---that register sure doesn't look "digital." Tomorrowland Terrace had not yet met Buzz Lightyear---or his horrific color scheme---and still had some groovy, Mary Blair-esque tiles in its decor! By the way, according to the menu board in the background, you could buy a Moon Burger for $2.15 or a Space Burger for $1.95. Nowadays, you won't see "$4.50" as your register total unless you're buying a churro or something.

Children of the '80's, UNITE!
You have nothing to lose but your big hair, headbands and Reeboks!***

***---with apologies to Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.


Yellows said...

Boy, do I remember those vending machines. Like 1950s automats, they could provide an entire meal when you were beyond reach of the Inn Between or the Pit.

Great backstage shot, too! Every Disney day started at those windows. If I remember right, Security's office was in that same building and would be about directly behind the building in the middle ground of this pic. (Did the Disneyland Band forget their bass drum?) That's where I got my picture taken for my yellow permanent part time ID.

Another swell post! Thanks, Mike!

Katella Gate said...

Great pictures Mike, I do have a question about 80's grooming standards at Disneyland.

On the Jungle Cruise, were you guys required to wear undershirts? 20 years later, I'm gonna bust Ed Pace for showing too much chest hair -- and I can do it too cause I still have my supervisor's name tag from the Queen Mary.

I'll let him go with a verbal, but next time it's going in the file.


Seriously, on the QM we used to have a wardrobe super (female) that would check to be sure the tour guides (male) had underwear on.

I won't go into the specific technique, but I am sure today it would be actionable. (that's some fancy lawyer-talk for "sue")

Mike said...


You're right, security's offices were just around the corner, out of view. The band definitely forgot their drum!


I trust that the Queen Mary has updated its "underwear check" policy in the days since your supervisor performed her "inspections."

There was not (and still isn't to my knowledge) a grooming policy that required Jungle Skippers to wear an undershirt---though I always did. For one thing, polyester against one's skin on a hot July day ain't exactly comfortable. Secondly, EVERYONE ELSE had worn that shirt before you (I don't care how hot the water was in the washing machines over at Wardrobe, some stuff just never comes out!), so you wanted your own shirt underneath to provide some separation.

Believe me, I've seen worse examples of the chest hair peep show and they weren't pretty!

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. Those backstage shots don't look much different from my time there in the mid-70's. Sometimes the vending machine door wouldn't be locked and the food seemed to disappear. Of course the word got out quickly around the Canoes when that happened. Thanks Mike!

Ida said...

I seriously loved the pictures you have shared with us all mike and I have a little doubt about the picture grooming in the 80’s, but otherwise they are really lovely.

Chris Jepsen said...

I've been looking for a photo of the tilework at Tomorrowland Terrace for years now. Thanks for finally finding and posting one! I don't suppose there are more (or larger?) shots?

Rich Koster said...

Mike, great photos and website! Please drop me a line at DisneyEcho (at) emuck (dot) com about us putting funny captions on some of your posted photos (giving your website credit for the photos) at

Bigby said...

Wow... Those TT costumes bring back some bad memories! We had the same ones circa 1992 at WDW. The worst thing about them (besides the itchy polyester and the general unattractiveness)? No belts. You could compensate for them not having your size of pants at every other work location by cinching the belt. There you had to constantly pull up your pants if they only had one size up. I routinely was held together by safety pins as mine was a popular pant size...