Disneyland Hopes to Duplicate 1985 With 35th Birthday Party

Times Staff Writer

It’s Disneyland’s 35th anniversary next year, and the entire Southland tourism industry could end up celebrating.

The park’s yearlong birthday bash will start on Jan. 1, when a network TV show spotlights Disneyland, and the park participates in the Tournament of Roses Parade. And it will continue throughout the year, with tours of Disney characters to major cities, millions of dollars in giveaways at the park, and a spring celebrity auction in which everything from Minnie’s yellow heels to a spare teacup will go to the highest bidder.

The plans were outlined Tuesday by Disney executives at a press conference that was part of the Anaheim amusement park’s two-day grand opening for Splash Mountain, the park’s newest multimillion-dollar attraction.

When Disneyland hosted its 30th birthday celebration in 1985, the park’s magic was felt by Orange County’s hotels and other tourist attractions for the entire year.


Disney executives Jack Lindquist and Dick Nunis declined to speculate how many tourists the yearlong celebration is expected to draw. But in 1985, an estimated 30 million tourists spent more than $10 billion in Orange County, up considerably from the year before.

Disneyland’s “35 years of magic” celebration is only part of what’s on the park’s agenda.

Michael Eisner, chairman of the board and chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., confirmed that the Magic Kingdom will add a ride based on the “Indiana Jones” movies. Eisner did not say when the new attraction will be built.

Eisner and other Disney executives also said this week that:


* Disneyland plans to update Tomorrowland. The park is working on adding “a new attraction, a couple new attractions or a whole new land” Eisner said.

* Disney is looking at building new theme parks in Anaheim and in Long Beach, where Disney operates the Spruce Goose and the Queen Mary tourist attractions. “Ideally, there is interest in developing in Anaheim and in Long Beach,” said Bob McTyre, Disneyland’s vice president of marketing and entertainment.

McTyre stressed that Disney’s development of both areas is “in the dream stages now.

“With the Pacific Rim and the appeal California has throughout the country, there’s no question that (both) could be made to work. . . . But it’s years away.”


The biggest hurdle for development of either area is the task of moving visitors and employees to the sites.

So whether or not Anaheim gets a new park within the next 10 to 20 years “depends in many ways on the city, Orange County and the state,” Eisner said this week. Potential traffic problems and access to roadways and hotels would have to be solved, Eisner said.

“But with the convention center, the hotels, the stadiums, freeway access and the historic area” of Anaheim, “it would be too bad if we didn’t do it. So we have it on our drawing boards, if we can work out all those problems,” Eisner said at the news conference.