By Bryce Roloff
As the closure of all Disney Parks continues, it is a bizarre thought to ponder what the emptiness in and around the Disney resorts looks like. Is the music still playing? Is the water still running? Is there still an hour wait for Peter Pan’s Flight? It is truly a strange time worldwide and without taking away the gravity of the situation, I thought it might be a fun and welcome break to look at some other strange times and events at Disney Parks and resorts.
August 6th, 1970 - Disneyland Shuts down due to “Yippie” protestors.
The Youth International Party or Yippies, an anti-war group, entered Disneyland on August 6th, 1970 with the mission of taking over Disneyland. Although mostly peaceful, tension between regular park guests and the “yippies” eventually necessitated riot police and the park’s eventual early closure.
November 17th, 1973 - Disney’s Contemporary Resort - Richard Nixon’s famous speech.
Seldom do guests of the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World realize they are staying where then President Richard Nixon gave his “I am not a crook” speech. But on November 17th, 1973 in the midst of the Watergate Scandal that would eventually end his presidency, Nixon held a press conference in the resort’s ballroom that would go down in history.
December 29th, 1974 - Disney‘s Polynesian Resort - The Beatles officially break up.
Paul McCartney announced the band’s break-up in 1970, but for it would take four more years to have papers written and officially signed, ending one of the greatest bands in history. Paul, George, and Ringo had already signed the papers. Only John Lennon was left. On December 29th, while on vacation at Disney World, John received and signed the papers in his room at the Polynesian Resort. The Beatles were officially disbanded.
Unexpected Disneyland Park Closures
Until now, there have been only three times Disneyland park has had to unexpectedly close its gates to guests since opening in 1955. The first was in 1963 for the national day of mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The second was in 1994, following the Northridge Earthquake. The most recent closure was after the events on September 11th, 2001.
There have been lots of significant events in the history of our favorite parks. After each, Disney recovered and we have been invited back into the magic. We will all get through this together. Once it’s all through, let’s meet up back on Main Street, OK?