Happy Throwback Thursday! I’ll be doing these random TBT posts every so often on whatever topic I feel like writing about. Today I’m going to be writing on past Disneyland signs. I was looking through old photos of my Disneyland visits throughout the years and thought about that feeling I get when arriving at the parks. People might not think anything of it, but to me when you see first see that Disneyland sign, you know you’re so close! It’s a wonderful and exciting feeling to see one in person. There were many different signs around the park. The signs have changed many times over the years, so we’ll take a look at them 🙂
The very first one I remember was in 1994, which was my very first trip to the park. Here’s a short video clip from 1999 from my personal collection. This sign was the same from 1989-1999.
Not only was the sign bigger, brighter and bolder but the Disneyland slogan was added at the bottom. It read “The Happiest Place On Earth.” The letters of Disneyland were in white on blue rectangles. Different color flags were on top and a castle representing Sleeping Beauty’s castle sat right above it. This sign also included a computerized marquee that changed throughout the day. The marquee would provide guests with park information, special events, and greetings. The sign was present for nearly 10 years and taken down by June of 1999.
Here’s a little fun fact: “Full House” actor John Stamos purchased the letter ‘D’ that was a part of the Disneyland sign from 1989-1999 on E-Bay. Michael Jackson apparently was also a bidder of the sign, considering he loved Disneyland! John Stamos also purchased a Grumpy sign that was from one of the backings of the seats of Snow White’s Scary Adventure attraction vehicles and one of the Dumbo’s from the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction. These items reside in John Stamos’s home.
Now let’s go all the way back to the park’s early years. The first sign Disneyland got was in 1958 and was the sign guests would see for just about 30 years! The ‘D’ in Disneyland was on a yellow rectangle, followed by the other letters on white rectangles. Underneath in yellow, it read Park & Hotel Entrance and on the opposite side it read Entrance Park and Hotel. Different color flags on flag poles stood above the letters. Underneath was the marquee providing information for guests on park hours, etc. This sign went through a few changes in the 70’s. Check it out below.
Here’s a Disneyland hotel sign from 1956. As you can see, this style inspired the original Disneyland sign. Check it out below.
(Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1960, courtesy of Robin Runck. Retrieved from Yesterland.com)
The next sign that I remember was the one that came right after the one above. This sign now includes ‘Resort’. Because Disneyland wasn’t just one theme park anymore beginning in 2001. It would become the home to two theme parks, a shopping and dining district and three hotels.. becoming the Disneyland Resort. This sign is at the entrance on Harbor Blvd, right across from Best Western, Captain Kids, and iHop. This is the entrance I’m most familiar with because my family and I usually enter from here.
(Photo by Brandon “nemofinder22,” 2005. Retrieved from yesterland.com)
As you can see, this entrance sign was decorated with Mickey balloons and bright colors from the “Celebrate Today” theme in 2009. This entrance sign was once different in the years before (shown in the photo above this photo). ‘Disney’ and ‘land’ were in two different fonts and ‘Resort’ being below it in a different font, but then it switched to the Disneyland Resort logo in 2007. This entrance continued to change themes as the years went by. Check out my photo from 2009 above.
Moving down Harbor Blvd., right near the sighting of the Hollywood Tower of Terror, there was another entrance that had the logos for Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure. It didn’t read Disneyland Resort because it was primarily used as parking for the park and not for the hotels or the Downtown Disney district. Guests could enter here to the old Disneyland parking lot such as the Timon parking lot. That lot was demolished because of the expansion of Disney California Adventure. Again, as you can see in this photo I took, it was decorated for the “Celebrate Today” theme in 2009. In 2011, the arch was eliminated because it no longer served as parking access to guests.
Here’s another little fun fact. Ever seen the Disneyland Hotel water slide? Look familiar? The water slide has a sign that reads Disneyland right above it paying tribute to the original Disneyland sign. The letter ‘D’ is on a white rectangle and other letters sit on white rectangles. There are also monorails around the water slide stairs. Also, the Disneyland Hotel sign has that original retro Disneyland sign look. These refurbishments happened in 2012.
Disneyland Hotel Monorail Pool (Photo: themeparkadventure.com)
Disneyland Hotel sign (Photo: ocattractions.net)
And here’s the Disneyland entrance sign on Harbor Blvd today and of course it’s decked out for the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration! I took these in 2015.