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Mad Tea Party (teacup ride): photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1956, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Work / Photography

A whole website dedicated to funny old photos of Disneyland back in the day

Where do dreams come true? “Disneyland!” squeal the indoctrinated masses. Sadly, the dream’s over for the exhibits of Yesterland, which is a photo archive of rides, restaurants and rodeos which are no more. Or, as Yesterland likes to style itself, “a theme park on the web.”

Looking at these photos, for me, has something of the joy of looking at snaps of my parents as freckled, gap-toothed tykes with wonky plaits and grubby ankle socks. They never went to Disneyland as kids but I did, along with 650 million others. I have a sneaking suspicion that even for those who haven’t walked down Main Street and awkwardly posed next to a Peter Pan who looks suspiciously like a woman (true story), the scene will feel oddly familiar. If it doesn’t, never fear – Yesterland means that you can visit Walt Disney’s “happy place… dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America” from the comfort of your own sofa. Yippee!

The website really is quite amazing. Preserved for our visual delectation by Werner Weiss are Frontierland and Fantasyland from the fifties, images of maps, menus, moms and pops, and heaps of information about it all. Even more fascinating is the way the site encourages you to “visit” all the attractions: “Whatever you do, don’t miss The Lion King Celebration.”

Take a trip back in time to a Tomorrowland which has no tomorrow.

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Keel Boats on the 1964 Disneyland Souvenir Map by Sam McKim: Copyright 1964 Walt Disney Productions

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Beagle Boy at Disney Afternoon Avenue: photo by Werner Weiss, 1991

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Mad Tea Party (children spinning a pink cup): photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1956, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Carnation Company “antique” delivery truck: photo by Frank Taylor, circa 1959, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Dressed for Disneyland: photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1956, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Children of the Sea Pirate Ship behind Mad Tea Party: photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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TWA Moonliner at Rocket to the Moon: photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Child with turquoise hat and red feather: photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Dumbo Flying Elephant: Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Mike Fink Keelboat, the Gullywhumper: photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1956, courtesy of Chris Taylor

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Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland: Photo by Werner Weiss, 1969