Dining in Disneyland: A Look Back at 1957 Park Eats

Fire up the flux capacitor and hop in the Delorean because we’re going back in time.  I know, that’s Universal Studios talk, but Doc Brown is the only guy I know that can make this happen…

1957 Guide to Disneyland

1957 Guide to Disneyland

It’s 1957 at Disneyland. The park has only been open for two years, but Walt’s got lots of places for us to eat! Let’s take a little tour of our options starting with good ‘ol Main Street USA.

The Carnation Ice Cream Parlor (currently known as Gibson Girl) was the perfect spot for a cool treat.  Further down the road you could stop at the Carnation Plaza Gardens for some quick service food. Does anyone remember the frozen malts they sold with the wooden spoons? I DO!

There was also the Refreshment Corner sponsored by Coca Cola, The Maxwell Coffee House Shop, The Puffin Bake Shop, and the Red Wagon Inn, which is said to have been Walt’s favorite park eatery and later became the Plaza Inn.

Another option was a cafeteria style restaurant called the Pavilion.  Check out the photos below, I’m absolutely loving the popcorn cart and its cute little cowpoke customers!

Vintage Main Street USA

Main Street USA

Take a right off of Main Street USA and you’ll stumble into Tomorrowland.  Here, you can hit the Space Bar, an automat type restaurant as well as the Yacht Club (self service) and the Dairy Bar, which was an exhibit sponsored by the American Dairy Association.



After Tomorrowland, we’ll head over to Fantasyland.  Here you can eat at the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship (YES PLEASE!) or get some fresh grape juice from the Welch’s Stand.

Vintage FantasylandIn 1957, Frontierland was the place to really get your grub on; it had the most dining options of all the lands in the park.  The Chicken Plantation Restaurant served up a fried chicken dinner for just $1.70.  Meals could be enjoyed on the patio of a plantation style home along the Rivers of America.  The Plantation House closed in 1962 to make room for New Orleans Square.

Not in the mood for fried chicken? Head over to the Golden Horseshoe for dinner and a show.  Or visit the birth place of the [Read more…]

Vintage Disney Matchbooks Part 1: Disneyland

As much as society has changed, there used to be a time when smoking was much more common (In fact, even Walt himself was a smoker; and more often than not, he’d be seen with a cigarette in hand )…and the activity created lots of opportunities for businesses to promote themselves.

Although smoking is not for me, I DO appreciate the gorgeous matchbooks that used to be distributed throughout the Disney Parks.

Vintage Disney Matchbooks

Nearly every single dining establishment, store, “land,” hotel and lounge had its own matchbook – free souvenirs to visiting guests.  I’ve recently stumbled upon (and won) some online auctions for vintage Disney Parks matchbook collections.  I am completely obsessed with their coolness.

The matchbooks I’ve received include everything from early early Disneyland to Disneyland Paris, to Epcot and Pleasure Island in Walt Disney World.  It was so much fun to go through them and sort out the restaurants and lounges to share here on the blog.

Vintage Disneyland Matchbooks

Because there are so many, this will be a three part series divided into Disneyland, Epcot and “Other.” Let’s start in Disneyland!

Disneyland Vintage Matchbooks

Club 33

The Club 33 match book is one of the more recent matchbooks in the collection.  Not sure that it would be considered vintage, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Years ago, personalized match books awaited you at your table when you dined at Club 33, but when a healthier trend started to spread, the matches were replaced mini pads of paper that looked exactly like a matchbook.  This photo though, is an actual matchbook.

Club 33 Matchbook

Plantation House and Red Wagon Inn

The other three matchbooks are much older.  The one below features two restaurants, The Plantation House in Frontierland and the Red Wagon Inn on Main Street USA.

Both restaurants debuted at Disneyland’s grand opening and were operated by Swift Meats.  The Plantation House served up fried chicken dinners for $1.70.  Meals could be enjoyed on the patio of a plantation style home along the Rivers of America.  The Plantation House closed in 1962 to make room for New Orleans Square.

The Red Wagon Inn and Plantation House

The Red Wagon Inn was said to be Walt’s favorite restaurant at Disneyland.  A lovely table service restaurant, The Red Wagon Inn was the most popular place to dine as well as the only restaurant in Disneyland to serve full course dinners. They also served [Read more…]