Show Hide
'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park

Remembering Annette Funicello at Disneyland Park

posted on April 8th, 2013 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

As you may know, Annette Funicello was discovered by Walt Disney himself while attending an amateur program at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank when she was just 13 years old. That single meeting led to one of the most enduring associations in show business history.

Earlier today, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger spoke for all of us at Disney when he said, “Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”

The Mickey Mouse Club made its television debut on the opening day of Disneyland park, July 17, 1955. During countless appearances in the years that followed, Annette, now a television star, also became a familiar face at Disneyland park. In fact, some of the earliest pictures in our photo archive are of her.

We’ve pulled together some of our favorite photos of Annette through the years and are pleased to share them with you as we remember this very special lady who was so dear to so many.

Annette Funicello at Disneyland Park, July 17, 1955

Where it all began, July 17, 1955, at Disneyland park.

Annette Funicello with Princess Sophia from Greece at Disneyland Park

In 1958, Annette welcomed Princess Sophia from Greece.

Annette Funicello in a Publicity Photo at Disneyland Park

That same year, this publicity photo for a new record was taken at Disneyland park.

Annette Funicello in a Publicity Photo at Disneyland Park

Here is another publicity photo, taken perhaps for “Tall Paul.”

Annette Funicello with a Fan at Disneyland Park

Annette always had time for her fans.

Annette Funicello at Disneyland Park

Annette has a “Date Nite” at Disneyland park in November 1959.

Annette Funicello Channels Peter Pan at Skull Rock in Disneyland Park, 1961

Annette channels Peter Pan at Skull Rock in 1961.

Annette Funicello in a Publicity Photo at Disneyland Park

This very rare photo of Annette in Town Square at Disneyland park was taken to promote a potential TV special, which was unfortunately never produced.

Annette Funicello at a 1968 Mouseketeer Reunion at Disneyland Park

In 1968, Annette reunited with her fellow Mouseketeers for a special appearance at Disneyland park.

Annette Funicello with her Family at Disneyland Park

Annette returned with her family in the 1970s.

Annette Funicello at Disneyland Park, 1993

Annette met two Disney Princesses during her 1993 visit.

Annette Funicello at Disneyland Park, 1996

The final photo of Annette in our archive was taken in 1996 alongside her longtime co-star, Frankie Avalon, during a special cavalcade on Main Street, U.S.A.

Every photo of this Disney Legend seems to capture her grace, her talent, her warmth and her kindness – all the qualities which make it easy to understand what caught the eye of Walt Disney during that amateur program nearly six decades ago.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Celebrity Visits, Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort



John on April 8th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Thanks so much for sharing these stunning rare photos!


Jonathan from TX on April 8th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Soo sadden it her of her passing. She went out with such grace!! RIP


David on April 8th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

She was a star in every since of the word and a disney legend. Thank you for sharing these special memories of her. And I want thank Bob Iger for his rememeberance of her. Annette thank you for you and rip. :(


Matthew from CA on April 8th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

These photos are absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing them with us.


Stephanie on April 8th, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Annette shares a special place in the hearts of so many people. I wasn’t born to see her act, or listen to her sing but since I was about 10 I’ve looked up to her and admired her. I’m so sad that she has passed, but am happy to know that she’s not suffering from MS any longer and is once again with MR. Disney :). RIP


Christopher on April 8th, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Wow, this is terrible news. she’s like a key figure who helped get Disney off the ground. She was ALWAYS a beautiful woman. style and grace.

mt condolences to her family.


Timothy from CA on April 8th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

The Skull Rock photo is particularly beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


Elizabeth on April 8th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

“Everybody neat and pretty? Then on with the show…….” Yes, Annette…you always were. God Bless you for maintaining that perfect Disney Mouseketeer image in everything you did
. I think you might have been the “original” Disney Princess!


Duncan from FL on April 8th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

she will always be part of the Disney Spirt :)


Cynthia on April 8th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Annette Funicello will be greatly missed,she was a great roll model for women,with so much kindness,style and grace.I so loved her movies,watched her on The Mouseketeers.Thank You for sharing these photo’s of her.My heartfelt Sympathy to her family ….


ann on April 8th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

So sad to hear this, but she is now well and no longer suffering. R.I.P.


Octavio on April 8th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

The first Disney Princess. Always a proper lady with charm & grace, the true Disney Spirit. My heartfelt sympathy to her family & may God have her in His ever loving care. Riposa in pace bella principessa.


Annette on April 8th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

She is an American icon. I was too young to remember her much as a mousketeer but was always a fan of the beach party movies. (And I was named after her :) )


Richard from CA on April 8th, 2013 at 7:34 pm

First Movie Star crush as a kid growing up in CALIFORNIA….


Dennis from FL on April 8th, 2013 at 7:40 pm

She will b e missed but never forgotten. RIP Annette


Sheila from OH on April 8th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

So sad to hear. Feels like a family member. truly nice people will live on forever, in our hearts and minds and luckily in old movies and Mickey Mouse Club Shows.


Amanda on April 8th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I hope she will get a special window on Main Street USA. With her dedication and loyalty to Walt Disney and the decent image she kept, she definitely deserves this special recognition. Even though I am only 33 years old, I still am a huge fan of hers. What a sweet and lovely lady she was.


Andrea from FL on April 8th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

She was so graceful and beautiful1 Thank you for sharing these pictures!! It is a sad day at the Mickey Mouse Club! :(


Suzanne from WA on April 8th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I admired her work on TV, movies and records. When I was diagnosed with MS she was an inspiration of how to live with dignity, joy and humor. Thank you for honoring her and thank you Annette.


catherine on April 8th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

annette, may you meet our heavenly father, you were such a great person , on earth, our lord will welcome you into his kingdom, rest in peach, C.R. penna- you were always so great !.


Sharlene on April 8th, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for the memories. It is a sad day. It just seemed she would be forever young.


Rick on April 8th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

My very 1st crush!!! Thanks for sharing the photos. RIP Annette


Chuck on April 8th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

These pictures are so wonderful, and clearly show the amazing, graceful and iconic woman we all loved so much! It’s a sad day, but we can all hold onto the memories, laugh at the movies and shows, and know that she is now at peace. Love and prayers to Ms. Funicello and her family!


Jill from CA on April 8th, 2013 at 8:08 pm

RIP Annette. Give Uncle Walt a hug for us and thank him for creating such a wonderful legacy for us to enjoy!


kerri from CA on April 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I was so very sad to hear this today. I watched her on the Mickey Mouse Club and she always was my favorite. May god bless her family in this time. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


Joseph on April 8th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

As a cast member and part of the Disney Family, it is unfortunate and a great loss. May God bless her and her family. She will forever be remembered.


Roberta on April 8th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

RIP dear lady. You are the original Disney Princess, and so many fond memories of watching you on the Mouseketeers, your wonderful beach movies with Frankie Avalon. We will miss you, but you will always be in our memories and our hearts.


frank on April 8th, 2013 at 8:31 pm

please tell me that they will have a statue at Disneyworld and Disneyland to honor our sweet Annette ill be there if so she was Disney in my book and my 1st crush and I will miss her along with millions more around the world R I P M I C(see ya real soon) K E Y(cause we love you) M O U S E xoxoxo


Dolores on April 8th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.
I am truly saddened to hear of her passing. Even though I am only 27, I use to watch reruns of the original Mickey mouse club late night on Disney channel. I also love her style and how she defined the genre of beach movies.
She is a survivor of MS and I don’t think I’ve ever heard her dwell on the fact that she had a disability. May she rest in peace.


Sam on April 8th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I was at Disneyland today sitting on a bench when I saw the news on Twitter. I cried.


Leisa from BC on April 8th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

These photos are great thanks so much for sharing them. Annette was always my favourite and I always wished that I could be just like her when I was a kid. She was an absolutely wonderful woman, beautiful, talented, strong and brave. She was a fighter and she will be missed. May she rest in peace, no longer in pain. May God bless her family at this time of loss.


Diane on April 8th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

We will miss her so just love her when I think of Annette I think of DISNEYLAND ..prayers to her family she will always be remember she is now with Walt Disney chatting about Disney ..<3


Doris on April 8th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Condolences to Annette’s family and friends. She can finally dance again, she was a wonderful person.
I still have my paperdolls of her, and magazines.


Kim from AZ on April 8th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Well I knew this day would come, but still said. Happy for the memories and that she is no longer in pain. I agree she needs a special window or maybe add a second light over the firehouse. Love and prayers to her family.


Daniel on April 8th, 2013 at 10:11 pm

A True Disney Princess!!
You will be missed!


Jennifer on April 8th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with her family and her Disney family. I hope to see her get a window at DLR or WDW :)


ROILA on April 8th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Annette embodied the very heart and spirit of everything Walt had in mind when he embarked on his dream of bringing happiness and magic to the world.We will all remember her with love.Thanks for all my childhood memories and dreams.


Anonymous on April 8th, 2013 at 10:45 pm

The Disney family has lost a true icon. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures. My heartful sympathy to her family…God bless.


PAMELA on April 8th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I always wanted to be a California Beach Girl” just like Annette….
she was so sweet and so fun…I will miss you….You were the
ultimate Mouseketeer!


Janet from OR on April 9th, 2013 at 12:40 am

Thank you for sharing her photos. I remember watching the Mouseketeers and she was my favorite! She was so beautiful, kind and graceful. Heaven just became more beautiful!


Janet from OR on April 9th, 2013 at 12:42 am

She was my favorite Mouseketeer! Such a lovely lady! Heaven just got better upon her arrival. RIP


John on April 9th, 2013 at 12:42 am

im sad,its been a tuff day,for us disney and annette fans. thank you
for the pictures. she was a class act. im sure annette and walt have
a lot to talk about….


Steven on April 9th, 2013 at 12:54 am

Thank you for sharing! Love these pictures, it is amazing to see Annette’s relationship with Disney continue all these years.


John on April 9th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Thank you so much for the pictures. She was my first TV crush.


Candis on April 9th, 2013 at 9:45 am

Great photos! Thank you for sharing. We will miss her, she was a beautiful lady inside and out.


ANTHONY on April 9th, 2013 at 10:33 am



Brenda on April 9th, 2013 at 10:38 am

She was my BFF, she just never knew it. She has always been and will always be my favorite movie star. She is with us in photos and memories, but she is in Heaven now with Jesus and family members and has no more pain. We will always love you, Annette.


Christina on April 9th, 2013 at 12:31 pm



Paul on April 9th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Who didn’t like Annette? All these memories are making me verklempt. Hey Annette “M-I-C… See you real soon”. (But not too soon, OK honey?)


Ronnie on April 9th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

..blessed to see Mouseketeer ANNETTE do her Ballet Dance, in a pink ballet outfit, at Disneyland’s 1st live Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers Show in the mid-1950’s. She was a real standout. It was in this same kind of venue that earlier prompted Walt Disney to sign ANNETTE to be his first Mouseketeer in his new upcoming TV Show ..The Mickey Mouse Club..