Pirates of the Caribbean? Haunted Mansion? ‘it’s a small world?’ Tomorrowland Makeover? What is Your Favorite Addition to Disneyland Park That First Appeared Between 1966 and 1970?

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

Haunted Mansion

We’re so close! We’re just two weeks away from the 55th anniversary of Disneyland and 10 years away from the end of our countdown.

The years 1966 to 1970 were monumental in the creation of Disneyland park as the place we now know and love. In this five-year span, three very popular attractions were added to the Park – Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and “it’s a small world.”

I would argue that it is nearly impossible to pick the “biggest” new addition in this time period, but we all have our favorites.

Even Jason Surrell, senior show writer at Walt Disney Imagineering, and author of “The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies,” had a hard time choosing one.

“My favorite Disney attraction of all time ping-pongs back and forth between The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean,” Jason states, “but I’m a lifelong horror film and ghost story addict, so I’d have to say that the Haunted Mansion very narrowly edges out Pirates of the Caribbean! To this day it absolutely astounds me that in this VERY short period of time, the same core team of Imagineers created two of the all-time priceless jewels in the Disneyland crown.”

Let us know your favorite attraction in the comments section, and read about these significant years below.

1970 – At the beginning of this year, the Legacy of Walt Disney opens on Main Street, U.S.A., featuring a display of Walt Disney’s awards and memorabilia along with an exhibit on the California Institute of the Arts. Later in the year, the Disneyland Hotel opens the 319-room Marina Tower with a new registration lobby. “Show Me America” comes to the Tomorrowland Stage as a fast-paced musical comedy revue with more than 120 costumes and impressive backdrops built just for this show.

1969 – Haunted Mansion opens after 15 years of planning and features a doom buggy tour through a mysterious ante-bellum home complete with 999 ghosts. Also in 1969, a new Disneyland Monorail station is completed to accommodate a larger, new generation of Monorail trains, the Mark IV.

1968 – Following a massive year of new projects in Tomorrowland and New Orleans Square in 1967, construction in this year concentrates on the Main Entrance complex for improved guest ticketing and major changes in the guest parking lot. Special events include a record-breaking New Year’s Eve Party, Spring Fling, Old Fashioned Easter Parade, Angels-Disneyland Funday Doubleheader, the first Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and first St. Patrick’s Day Parade at the Park.

1967 – On March 18, Pirates of the Caribbean opens in New Orleans Square as the first mega-scale, indoor ride-through adventure and it gets rave reviews. The Blue Bayou Restaurant featuring Cajun-inspired cuisine also opens inside the attraction. Later in the year, Club 33, Walt Disney’s private dining establishment, opens to members for the first time, and that’s not all! Tomorrowland adds SIX new attractions to the park: Rocket Jets, the centerpiece of the new Tomorrowland; Carrousel of Progress, a show featuring the memorable theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow;” America the Beautiful, an all-new film journey across the United States; People Mover, a perpetual-motion transportation system of the future; Flight to the Moon, a reality-based simulation of flight into space, and Adventure Through Inner Space, an omni-mover trip exploring the inside of molecules and atoms.

1966 – Walt Disney brings an attraction first developed for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to Disneyland park and presides at the opening of “it’s a small world.” A spectacular new geometric facade and giant animated clock with figures representing the children of the world parading each hour are designed for the attraction’s new home. In June, the Disneyland Hotel adds the Sierra Tower annex with 150 rooms and The Plaza Building shopping complex opens a few months later. In July, Primeval World Diorama, a world of gigantic dinosaurs, is unveiled as a major addition to the diorama along the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad. Also in July, the first new land in Disneyland park – New Orleans Square – opens its initial phase with a re-creation of New Orleans’ French Quarter, featuring typical belle-epoch architecture for shops, restaurants and musical stages, in addition to a new waterfront area along the Rivers of America. The colorful dedication is one of Walt Disney’s last official ceremonies before his untimely passing in December.

After you’ve told us your favorite attraction from this time period, take a look at our previous posts in this series by clicking the “Countdown to 55” tag just below this post.


  • I love all of them I give all of them 100 stars but the one I love the most are pirates of the cariben and the holiday haunted mansion holiday The Nightmare before cristmas

  • Pirates of the Caribbean has always been a family favorite. Not only did we LOVE to go on the ride as kids, but it was a favorite game that we played over and over. My dad secretly video taped the ride on a trip in the early 80’s and it was a favorite vido to watch at home. We sang the songs, looked at the pictures in books, and dressed like pirates.

    My brother’s kids continue that tradition and I feel my daughter will too when she is bigger. I can’t wait to go on the ride again with my family when we go on our trip in October.

  • It was the summer of 1976 when my family made the drive from Idaho to Disneyland for my first visit. My Dad gave me an IOU for a trip to Disneyland the previous Xmas and I had to surrender it to him as soon as we made our way through the Main Gates. The Haunted Mansion to this day is my favorite ride. I can easily remember the scream my Mom let out when she saw the friendly hitchhiker at the end of the ride. Thanks to Walt Disney and all the cast members for making Disneyland the Best Place on Earth!

  • Our favorite ride would be Pirates of the Caribbean. Our favorite movie the first Pirates. The first ride we always get on is Peter Pan.

  • I’d have to concur that for the rides that still exist, it’s a tie between PotC and HM. The French Quarter is cool. I love hanging out there, listening to jazz, and watching the Mark Twain go around.

    But I dearly miss all of the Tomorrowland attractions that are listed. None of them are open anymore and I’m inconsolable.

  • The 66 to 70 period is the most important period in Disneyland history for our family. My wife to be and I made our first visit the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1970. Even though my heart was there on 7-17-55 it was not meant to be for a 6 year old from a family without the resources to make the trip. My dream was finally realized in 1970 when, as a young sailor, I was stationed aboard ship in Long Beach CA. We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary last month and will mark or 40th anniversary of our first visit to “The Park” this November. We have been “Regulars” every since and our own girls have literally grown up making visits to the park from our home in Tucson.

    We have enjoyed this series of park history very much but there is one minor flaw……..everyone knows you can not pick JUST ONE favorite about Disneyland, it’s impossible!!!

    We enjoy the entire New Orleans Square area; Pirates is near and dear to our hearts as Walt’s last attraction but would be hard pressed to pick it out over Carousel of Progress, which is a favorite and is really missed. We just thank our lucky stars we don’t have to choose!!!! We still enjoy it all.

    Thank You Walt!!!

  • Charles–I have no problem with it because I think they did a great job blending the new with the old, and most of the ride is still the same, they also added some new props.

  • either haunted mansion or poc

  • Without question Piarates and Mansion are those rides that never grew tired of,well I know I may start a riot here but I do miss the OLD pirates the pre-Johnny Depp and everything his touches is gold,what’s next? Re-do Alice to include Johnny?. I also miss the Pirates chasing the women,yes I know but still there was a since of history being tossed into this ride.
    But of the rides that created in that time frame, really miss Adventure Thru Inner Space. It’s till now that I realized how just cool that ride is and speaking metaphyiscally,it has that since of What The Bleep Do We Know,whereas,by just changing the atoms,particles,neurons,etc-life can be awesome when you look at it in that sort of way.
    well that’s my two cents.Thanks.Cheers and Namaste

  • Wow, to much greatness in a short period of time. I’m sorry I can’t choose. I love everything!

  • Aargh! Definitely Pirates! Although I do love the others as well.

  • It has to be “Small World” for me. My first ride through this enchanted forest of singing dolls was at the 1965 New York World’s Fair and that vivid memory still has not lost any of its luster, even 45 (wow, how did I get to be so old?) years later. My first trip to Disneyland was in 1968. When we arrived, I was really excited to find that the fair ride I had enjoyed so much was now a permanent part of the theme park near our home in Southern California. No visit to Disneyland was complete until I had visited the “world of laughter, a world of tears.”

  • #12 – Hi Doug,
    The differences in Carousel in Florida compared to California were that some years ago, they totally changed the theme song, to something about it being “the best of times”, or some such thing. I hated it, and have sort of blocked it out of my memory.

    I was happy when they brought the original song back, but the singer and the narrator isn’t Rex Allen anymore. It’s Jean Shephard, the man who wrote the original books that “A Christmas Story” was taken from, along with a lot of other things. My hubby loves hearing JS’s voice, since he grew up listening to him on the radio in NYC, but I don’t like his narration and the other changes in dialogue for the show there for the other characters as well. For me, if it’s not Rex Allen, it’s not Carousel!

    The only thing that nearly satisfies my nostalgic yearnings for the original Carousel is listening to the audio from the attraction, on the CD set they put out for the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland. I wish they put out DVDs of the attraction shows, so I could watch the Carousel, as well as listen to the soundtrack.

    P.S. Thanks for the proposal, but as of this past May, I’ve been “taken” for 31 years and counting! 😀

  • My favorite ride is a tie between the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Now going down memory lane, I will admit that I do miss Adventures Through Inner Space and Flight To The Moon, they would be very campy today, but man they were fun.

  • I have to say I also loved the People Mover. I’m hoping that it will someday return. But perhaps with a new look. At this point I’d say anything is possible.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean, without a doubt. The sights, sounds, and smells of the ride make it magical. The slow movement of the boat through the ride after the two drops at the beginning is genius!

  • Pirates of the Caribbean first choice but love all of them Especially the hitch hiking ghosts at the Haunted Mansion

  • Don’t make me choose… I love them all! Can’t pick one over the other : )

  • I love Pirates, but out of sheer sentimentality I have to vote for the PeopleMover! Gosh I miss that wonderful attraction! YAY PEOPLEMOVER!!!

  • Pirates of the Caribbean would be my first choice. I was six years old and was visiting Disneyland for the first time. My Mom and Aunt had bought my cousin Chris and I hats with our names on them. That serene entry into Pirates, as you go by the restaurant, tricked my cousin and I into believing we were safe. Just as we got the warning from the ol’ Pirate plaque…BAM!…our hats flew off as we plummeted, what seemed to be a mile long drop, into the world of Pirates. Needless to say, the people sitting behind us in the boat caught our hats. I love the music and the overall atmosphere of Pirates. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t know the song!

  • Karen…marry me!! I totally agree on Carousel of Progress, somewhat for very personal nostalgic reasons unique to my family, this is my favorite attraction all time and after the initial novelty of America Sings wore off, I used to have such a sense of melancholy going in the building with the different show or just walking by the building now that both shows are gone!!

    It was a long, long, time before I ever made it out to Disney World and when I saw CoP on the list of attractions I almost couldn’t contain myself…I thought its going to be neat to see that last scene with the future looking as old timey as every other scene and then got in there and it had been semi modernized. Also, in Disneyland you exited into a room with Walt Disney’s future city, but, there was a brief voice over from the characters and for some reason as a small child there was something about that that gave me goose bumps, so, I was disappointed that it wasn’t the same in Florida and that poor model is just stuck where you can see it for 5 seconds from the people mover!!

    Other than the final scene and exit, what changed? What is different about the song?

  • That’s a real tough question. I think Pirates of the Caribbean just barely edges out Haunted Mansion for me.

  • #7 – Wow! This is the hardest decade to choose only one attraction from!! My favorites are definitely the Carousel of Progress with the original theme song (I miss it a lot and wish the Florida one hadn’t changed the script and theme song, plus it would be fun to see the original “future” scene, to see what has and hasn’t come to pass in our current time – I seem to recall something about microwaves cooking our meals so much faster than the conventional way!), Peoplemover, Small World, Mansion, Primeval World, but I guess if I really had to pick one, it would definitely be PIRATES, with Mansion running a close second!!

    This was like a golden age for additions to the park and I have lots of great memories of dates to Disneyland with old boyfriends and other classmates, enjoying these attractions when they were brand new!!

  • Seems a really long time ago now. I’d have to go with the Haunted Mansion.

  • I loved the People Mover! I still miss it.

  • My favorite would be Pirates of the Caribbean! When we visit DL it is one of the first rides we must take and usually our last ride before we leave to go home to Nor Cal. The changes that were made to tie it to the movies were well done. My vote…Pirates.

  • From January to September my favorite is Pirates of the Caribbean. In October and early November it is Haunted Mansion because of the Nightmare Before Christmas makeover. Then from mid November through the end of the holiday season, I just love It’s a Small World Holiday. I know that the last two didn’t happen between 1966-1970, but they make the attractions so much fun each year!

  • You are right, it’s a hard choice. But I have been a life long fan of it’s a small world, so I’m going to have to pick that.

    And in the category of attraction I most miss, I’ve got to go with the People Movers. It never had a line and was a great way to rest in the late afternoon when you were getting tired. Plus the bird’s eye view of Tomorrowland was always fun.

  • I have to go with Pirates of the Caribbean. Its a great ride.

    And I thought that the enhancements in 2006 were well done and gave the ride a breath of fresh air. They used a “light touch” with the changes, most the attraction remained the same, and that the changes blend in with everything else.

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