This ticket and program are from the 1966 Tournament of Roses Parade, of which Walt Disney served as Grand Marshal. The 77th iteration of the parade selected as their Disney-inspired theme, “It’s a Small World,” with the studios creating the parade’s logo, based on artwork from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. They also designed the City of Burbank’s float, which served as a tribute to the work of the Disney Studios. The official program description of the float reads as follows:
OUR SMALL WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE – City of Burbank: Many scenes from the studios of Grand Marshal Walt Disney located within the city’s boundaries are ingeniously presented by the city of Burbank with its entry, “Our Small World of Make Believe.” The setting is an open book, a musical clef and an artist’s palette, representing three important elements of the Disney legend—the story, the music and the creative art work.
Disney characters from several popular films also lined or walked alongside the float, which was decorated with thousands of flowers in the tradition of the Rose Parade. Characters included Goofy and Pluto, as well as those representing the following Disney films: The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and the soon-to-be-released Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. Preceding the float were Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse seated beside one another in the Grand Marshal’s car—a white Chrysler convertible covered in roses. Sadly, this was Walt Disney’s final New Year’s celebration, as he would pass away later that year from complications due to lung cancer.
In addition to articles on Grand Marshal Walt Disney, the “It’s a Small World” theme, as well as information on the parade route, schedule, and each of the sixty-three float entries, this program has been hand-signed by legendary Disney animator and Imagineer, Bill Justice (1914-2011), who was instrumental in the design of the Burbank float. Justice was no stranger to parade work, having designed floats and costumes for several Disneyland Christmas parades. He would later assist in the design of the famed Main Street Electrical Parade. He also worked on a combined seventy-eight shorts and features for the studios, including classics like Fantasia, Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan, as well as contributing to such beloved attractions as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Mission to Mars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Country Bear Jamboree, America Sings, Hall of Presidents, and Mickey Mouse Revue.
The parade ticket is for a reserved seat in one of the Milne Bros. Rose Parade Reviewing Stands (Aisle 2, Row M, Seat 45). The two Milne brothers were world-class motorcycle racers who owned a nearby shop and several auto dealerships, as well as the grandstand business which would become one of the chief vendors for the Rose Parade. This specific grandstand (251 S. Orange Grove Blvd.) was located at the very start of the 1966 parade, which stepped off at 8:40 a.m. from the corner of Del Mar Blvd. and S. Orange Grove Blvd.
This unique pair of items, made even more so by the signature of parade float designer and Disney Legend Bill Justice, is a wonderful representation of Walt Disney’s influence and recognition in the surrounding Southern California community and the memorable beginning to what would be the final year of one of the world’s greatest showmen.