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News 8 Throwback: Walt Disney World and Epcot Center in 1983 and more memories where dreams come true!

This News 8 archive footage of CBS 8’s trip to Walt Disney World in 1983 from the most magical place on Earth!

SAN DIEGO — In 1983, a CBS 8 crew packed their bags and headed east to “the most magical place on earth” to check out the all-new Journey to Epcot Center, Horizons, and experience the 27,000 acre amusement park. Epcot Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was just over a year old when our team was there.

CBS 8’s trip to Walt Disney World and Epcot Center in 1983

Disneyland opening day 1955

This 1955 footage showcases the opening day of Disneyland and all the magic that was unveiled 66 years ago. The crystal clear film hasn’t been seen since 1955 and is a real treasure in our vault.

The News 8 footage gave many people their first glimpses of what we call a “17 million dollar playground.” Walt Disney’s brainchild was opened to 30,000 guests on that first day – as well as celebrities like Eddie Fisher – seen 46 seconds into the clip. The opening ceremonies aired on ABC with Walt and then Governor Knight. The two then led a parade of Disney characters on the grounds of the brand new theme park.

When Disneyland opened, tickets were $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. The park had 35 rides, each costing 25 to 35 cents for adults and 10 to 25 cents for children.

The same video appears above with News 8 Anchor Marcella Lee studying the original 1955 script!

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened at Disneyland in 1979

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad first opened at Disneyland in 1979. News 8’s Liz Pursell traveled from San Diego to Anaheim to see what new riders saw as the new curler coaster. One of the first members of the public to attempt the journey experienced the surprises that greeted her along the trail. A young pilot shared with a sigh that “sometimes it was scary and sometimes it was fun”.

Larry Himmel takes his son Miles to Disneyland 1993

Disneyland isn’t *always* the happiest place in the world according to News 8’s Larry Himmel who explored the Magic Kingdom with his son Miles in 1993. He discovered that his child’s favorite points of interest were the payphone and “it’s a small world” – which Larry dubbed “mind-numbing”. Our witty reporter gave this article a tongue-in-cheek insight into his trip to Disneyland, but also confirmed a number of hearts — which were always Larry’s ways.

“I know Miles is too young to enjoy Disneyland. But we just have fun hanging out anywhere,” he concluded the story. “That’s the real joy of fatherhood: getting to see each other again.” life through the eyes of a child, a life full of hopes and dreams.

Opening day of Disney California Adventure Park in 2001

On February 8, 2001, Disneyland Resort added a second theme park to its Anaheim property. News 8 was there for Disney California Adventure Park’s opening day and night and grand opening celebration.

A purple carpet on the grand opening night featured celebrities such as George Lucas, Dick Van Dyke, Whoopi Goldberg, Mickey Rooney, Andy Garcia and more. David Cassidy mentioned, “I like the idea that you can go somewhere and get lost and just be a new kid.”

News 8 reporter Phil Blauer also took a look at many of the park’s features, like the Hollywood Backlot and rides like (*8*) (later reopened as the Incredicoaster.)

The final part of this assortment of clips shows Blauer facing off against John Stamos who performed with The Beach Boys in the grand opening.

Behind the scenes of the Indiana Jones Adventure trip to Disneyland 2007

News 8’s Jeff Zevely bought a special behind-the-scenes look at one of Disneyland’s fan-favorite rides in 2007. Jeff uncovered all the secrets and techniques behind the surprises and thrills of Indiana Jones Adventure – which opened its doors in 1995. The tour operators were delighted to point out the particular results that make the attraction so magical.


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