For die-hard fans of Disney’s theme parks, the rides and attractions are just part of the experience. Learning what goes on behind-the-scenes in the parks can be just as thrilling, as is the opportunity to acquire park souvenirs and memorabilia that you definitely won’t find in any of Disneyland’s gift shops.
Starting on May 21, Heritage Auctions will be presenting Disneyland: The Auction, featuring over 650 items from the personal collection of Scott Rummell, a voice-over artist you’ve almost certainly heard promoting Marvel’s movies in trailers and commercials who also happens to be a prolific Disney collector looking to downsize.
The auction includes everything from retired ride vehicles, to costumes, to even Disneyland reference manuals previously only ever seen by those who work at the park. Have you ever wondered how Disneyland planned to evacuate guests stuck on the now retired Skyway Gondolas? Now’s your chance to find out, plus a long list of amazing items, including our favourites highlighted here.
Disneyland Complete Park-Used Original Autopia Car with Original Body, Chassis, and Tires
Without a doubt the most exciting piece in this upcoming auction is an original Autopia vehicle dating back to 1967 whose design was partially inspired by a Corvette Stingray. This particular vehicle is number 120 and is in amazing condition given it’s 55 years old at this point. But while it includes everything from its original seatbelt, body, chassis, and tires, for safety reasons it unfortunately doesn’t come with its original engine. Collectors wishing to take it for a spin will need to provide that themselves.
Disneyland Park-Used Pirates of the Caribbean Wait Time Sign
Waiting in line is as much a part of the Disney Parks experience as is actually enjoying classic attractions like the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, if you’ve frequented Disneyland and its iconic Pirates ride, you’ve probably spent more time staring at one of these wait time signs than you did actually riding the ride. This 55-inch tall sign created specifically for Pirates of the Caribbean features hand-painted lettering and some light wear making it appear all the more authentic. If only wait times were still 10 minutes today.
Disneyland and Disney World Park-Used Original Skyway Gondola
Although retired in 1994, the Skyway was one of the best ways to experience Disneyland providing an elevated panoramic view of the entire park. Built by a Swiss company, the Disneyland Skyway was “the first of its kind in the United States” and this particular gondola, featuring an updated rectangular design introduced in 1965 to accommodate more guests, was also used in Walt Disney World later in its life. It arrives in good condition with some assembly required, although don’t expect to ride it without a cable system to hang it from.
Disneyland Park-Used Skyway Evacuation Plan
Most of the rides and attractions at Disneyland are designed with easy access for guests to disembark should the ride break down. But the Skyway, which essentially dangled guests over the park for 40 years, provided some unique challenges, as outlined in this Skyway Evacuation Plan manual dating back to 1983. Guests finding themselves stranded over the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon would probably find themselves experiencing a less thrilling Disneyland ride: the cherry picker crane.
Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle Prop Lock
You could spend an entire Disneyland vacation scouring the park for every last “Hidden Mickey” incorporated into the designs and decor of every last attraction, but the most dystopic might be this rusted padlock prop used somewhere on the towering Sleeping Beauty castle. It’s not a perfect Mickey shape, but it’s close enough, and the padlock is made from metal so it should last for years to come. The only thing not included, however, is the key to open it.
Disneyland Park-Used Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad Conductor’s Hat
Trains were a big part of Disneyland from day one given the theme park was partly inspired by the private Carolwood Pacific Railroad Walt Disney built in his backyard. For those as obsessed with trains as Walt was, this Disneyland conductor’s hat might be worth bidding on. It dates back to the park’s 1955-1974 era when the railroad operated as the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, and while it features some minor wear and tear, it’s still in remarkably good shape despite being worn while endlessly circling the park’s 3 km rail loop for years and years.
Walt Disney World Park-Used Original Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Vehicle
Another item from this auction that will probably fetch top dollar is this ride vehicle from Walt Disney World’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride attraction, which was featured when the park opened in 1971, but eventually closed in 1998. Based on the original Disneyland attraction, the WDW version featured an extra seat in the back for additional passengers, and this particular ride vehicle has been completely restored with working lighting and wheels that spin, although it’s a piece designed for display only.
Disneyland Monsanto House of the Future Imagineering Model
Some of the rarest pieces of Disneyland memorabilia are those created by the park’s designers and Imagineers during the earliest phases of an attraction, long before they’re ready for tourists. From 1957 to 1967 Disneyland’s Tomorrowland featured a home of the future sponsored by Monsanto that existed solely to show off the wonders of plastic and how it would become an everyday part of our lives. This plastic model of the house was created by both Disney’s Imagineers and architects from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help envision the attraction’s final design, and while a few pieces are missing, it’s a fun remnant of a now long-gone attraction.
Disneyland Park-Used Original Rocket Jets Vehicle
In 1967, Disneyland refurbished its Tomorrowland attraction to look even more futuristic, and part of the renovations included replacing the ride vehicles for the Rocket Jets attraction with sleeker rockets featuring black and white paint jobs reminiscent of the vehicles used for NASA’s Apollo missions. This is one of those updated rockets dating back to 1967 (number 67, actually) and it underwent a professional restoration so it looks as good as the day it first took flight in the park.
Disneyland Park-Used Original Club 33 Sign
If you’ve spent any amount of time diving into Disneyland’s secrets, you’re probably well aware of Club 33, an exclusive club and restaurant opened in 1967 that regular guests can’t access. It’s reserved for VIPs and its entrance is very easy to overlook in the park, because for years this glass sign was the only indication its nondescript front door had any significance. It’s believed that only three of these signs were created and used from 1967 until 2014 when the club was renovated and its front door moved, but this particular sign is believed to be the original, and you can expect Disneyland fans to bid this one up to an extreme price.
Disneyland Park-Used Character Costume Binders
Part of what has made the Disney Parks experience so enjoyable for decades is a meticulous attention to detail that includes specific guidelines for the costumed characters roaming around and greeting guests. Here we have a pair of Character Costume Binders, dating back to the ‘80s and ‘90s, full of photographs illustrating not only how the costumes should look, but how overdressing should look as well, including internationally-inspired costumes used in and around Epcot.
Disneyland Coca-Cola Cup Sleeve with 22 Wax Paper Cups
People will seemingly collect anything, but did you that snack food packaging collecting is a popular hobby? This stack of wax paper cups dates back to 1969 or the early ‘70s when Disneyland first introduced this Sleeping Beauty Castle logo, which is paired with the iconic Coca-Cola logo on the other side. This might seem like a weird one to bid on, but if you keep one for your collection, you have 21 left to put on eBay.
Disneyland Castle-Displayed Mickey Mouse Banner
Anything with Mickey Mouse’s face on it is wildly collectible, but even moreso when it’s a banner that’s almost eight feet tall that hung on the side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the 1970s. Although exposed to the elements and bright California sun for years, this banner is in surprisingly great shape with some minor wear and scuffing from being used in the park, but that just adds to its provenance.
Disneyland Complete 1956 Disneyland Ticket Book
With access to the park now costing over a hundred dollars per day, it’s hard to imagine a time when guests could get through the gates for just 50 cents ($0.69). But that’s partly because back in 1956 guests also had to pay extra to ride many of the park’s most popular attractions, requiring an additional $US2.50 ($3) book featuring tickets for eight attractions. This is one of those ticket books from a year after Disneyland first opened, fully intact with all eight tickets inside, and in surprisingly great condition given it’s 66 years old. Do you think the park will still accept it?
Disneyland Park-Used Fantasyland Exit Sign
All good things must come to an end, and that includes a day spent at Disneyland. This exit sign was created by Disneyland’s in-house sign shop for the park’s medieval-themed Fantasyland, and presumably first directed guests through a gift shop of some sort. It’s got some minor wear and tear, but still looks to be in fantastic shape given it hung at the park from the ‘70s all the way through the ‘90s, guiding millions of guests.
Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.