I pasted this autograph card into my childhood scrapbook back in 1971, so it’s quite worn. Being packed away in an attic trunk for all these years must have preserved Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather’s magic somehow, because I felt lifted back to the simple pleasures of old Disneyland as soon as I saw it again.
“Sleeping Beauty Days” happened over the first weekend in March, 1971. During those days, Disneyland was open five days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guests got an extra two hours on Saturday and Sunday when the Park was open from 9 to 7. Seven-day operations didn’t start until the early 80s. Still, there were plenty of attractions back then to fill those few hours. Even without Space, Splash, or Big Thunder Mountain, a ticket book didn’t go nearly far enough. When you added all the shops and show, parades and characters, it was always time to go much, much too soon.
I remember spending many nights after those early days falling asleep in the back seat of the family car as we waited to pull out of the parking lot onto West Street. Through half-closed eyes, taillights turned into beams stretching into the darkness.
Those beams faded away more than three decades ago. Looking back on Sleeping Beauty Days again, though, the gleam in my eyes is so familiar a gleam.