Then and Now: Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

For many, Main Street, U.S.A., is as much a Disneyland park icon as Sleeping Beauty Castle. A tribute to turn-of-the-century small towns like Marceline, Missouri – Walt Disney’s childhood home – Main Street has undergone quite a few changes since it first opened in 1955. But as Disneyland Resort photographer Paul Hiffmeyer and I found, some things are still surprisingly the same. We recently discovered a photo of a Main Street, U.S.A., cast member taken in March 1960 and went searching for the window seen behind her. We were amazed to find it in front of Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. It’s slightly larger now, but as you can see, many of the details remain today.

Then and Now: Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland Park in 1960 and Now

Check out these posts to read more about Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park:


  • ” you can see, many of the details remain today”
    Actually, we can’t. There needs to be photo of the storefront as it is now for comparison.

  • Love this, Erin!

  • I agree with Gerry. It’s a neat shot, but not so very helpful for making a comparison.

  • Love the photo, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” There are a lot of little elements at DL that haven’t been changed.

    But as Gerry pointed out the alignment of the held photo is off. The only real changes appear to be the sidewalk and the awnings. The patterned glass at the transom might be different, but we can’t tell.

    Composite your two photos as a “Split-Screen” with a Wipe or Dissolve slider, and if you get the camera placement in 2012 right I’ll bet they line up perfectly.


    PS: Do we know who the Cast Member is? That can lead you to several more good stories…

  • This is really cool. The blog should do more of these. Maybe using vintage photos of Walt at the park.

  • Neat photo. I like it.

  • VERY COOL!! I love the website “Dear Photograph” and want to find the spot where my sister and I had our picture taken with Donald Duck about 40 years ago. Pictures can be hard to line up exactly due to different focal lengths, but it’s more about a special moment coming back to life and connecting the past with the present rather than exact comparison. Thank you Paul and Erin for the inspiration! I would love to see more pictures with Walt as well.

  • Erin,

    The more Park history and vintage photos the better!! What a treat to have two of my favorite blog hosts on the same post. Your efforts and Paul’s photographic work are always great and we really enjoy them.

    I spent my entire working career in the building industry and count a dozen details from the old to the new in the photo that remain unchanged. It appears the awning and sidewalk are the only changes between “then and now”.

    Keep up the good work,

    Arizona Mike

    • Thank you, Arizona Mike! Paul and I had a great time working on this shot together – it was an adventure (and a huge challenge for me to hold the photo still enough for him). 🙂

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