In 1959, when the late Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev wanted to see Disneyland, federal authorities forbade it. They said they couldn't guarantee his safety.
In 1986, however, both the feds and Disneyland security were willing to give it a try.
The van carrying Soviet and American dignitaries pulled up to the front gates and out came the most recent, if unofficial, Soviet ambassador to the United States, 11-year-old Katerina Lycheva. She had been traveling the United States on a two-week good-will trip.
All was ready for her: personalized Mickey Mouse ears, a Mickey Mouse watch, a Mickey Mouse sweat shirt, a Mickey Mouse figurine, a lunch of prime rib and fruit crepes.
Security officers who ushered her around the park had worried most about tourists and protesters, but many tourists said they had been unaware of her visit and only a dozen protesters, most of them children, appeared from the Free Afghanistan Alliance.
The party had more trouble from the media crush and questions such as: "What about those Mickey Mouse ears? Do you feel comfortable wearing a set of ears linked to the heart of American values?"
Katerina was puzzled by the question, and her translator refused to repeat it. "We have festivals like this in Moscow," she finally said. "I like these festivals."