Written by Nancy Sinclair Brook
Welcome to Disneyland - 1999!
While Disneyland had come to be known as The Happiest Place On Earth, 1999 brought a few new changes to the theme park. You might even say that a little more magic began to move through the Disney company. Anaheim, the city previous known for its orange groves and walnut trees had become a vacation destination and Disneyland had become on of the top employers in the area. It's hard to imagine that Disneyland was the only theme park that was created, designed and built under the careful supervision of Walt Disney himself!
In 1999, the cost of a one-day adult admission ticket was $39.00! As Disneyland continued to grow, so did the crowds. The most common guest complaint was waiting in long lines for attractions and shows and Disney came up with a plan: the creation of the "FASTPASS". Disney's FASTPASS was introduced in the fall of 1999 and was described as a ride reservation or "virtual queuing" system for rides. The FASTPASS allowed theme park guests to avoid waiting in long lines at select attractions which had the feature installed, and gave them the freedom to shop, eat or visit other attractions while they waited. The service was provided at no additional charge to every park guest and was an instant success! Later, the FASTPASS was introduced at Walt Disney World at all four of its theme parks.
A couple of Disneyland's attractions did close in 1999; the Skyway was closed permanently, and the Tomorrowland Autopia was closed as well (only until 2000 when Disneyland recreated it with brand new bigger tracks and snazzy new cars).
Finally, 1999 unveiled some exciting news: on November 1, 1999, it was announced that The Walt Disney Company had reached an agreement with China to build what is now known as Hong Kong Disneyland. On September 2, 2005, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which included Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Hotel, celebrated its grand opening. It is truly hard to imagine what Walt would think about his beloved characters, attractions, and magic being spread literally around the globe.
As for me, 1999 brought a new baby girl to join my 18-month-old son and daughter and the beginning of a love affair between my kids and Disneyland. As a former Cast Member, I knew all about the joy, the fun, and the pixie dust. Introducing Disney to my own children was pure magic.