I will typically be writing about Walt Disney World, but today I wanted to mention a little something about Disneyland. On this date, in 1966, New Orleans Square opened for the first time, with fanfare and appearances from Walt Disney and the mayor of the actual New Orleans, Victor Schiro.
When New Orleans Square opened, there were no attractions (yet). It was a series of themed streets that included dining and shopping, with stores such as the One-Of-A-Kind store, and places where visitors could purchase furniture, gold jewelry, and even design their own perfume.
In 1967, nearly a year after New Orleans Square opened to visitors, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction began letting people enter into the world of piracy. Two years later, in August of 1969, the Haunted Mansion opened. Considered classics of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, they have been ‘plussed’ a number of times in their roughly 45 years of existence.
Walt Disney wanted a place to entertain VIP guests who would frequent the park, so he commissioned what became known as the Royal Suite, an apartment of sorts, to be built with an entrance on Royal Street in New Orleans Square. He hired the set designer from Gone With the Wind, and his wife Lily collaborated with set designers to make the living space perfect. Unfortunately, Walt passed away before the suite was completed, and it was re-purposed as hospitality suite for an insurance company. In the late 1980s, it became the Disney Gallery, and guests were treated to works by Disney artists until 2007. Since then, it has been turned into the Disney Dream Suite, a special place where select guests can spend the night in Disneyland.
Have a great July 24th!