This brochure promoting the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad’s “New Circle Route around Disneyland,” along with four round-trip tickets, were obtained within two weeks of the park’s 1955 opening.
The notion to build a railroad attraction predates Disneyland itself, as Walt had been fascinated by trains from a very young age. His uncle was a train engineer, and he himself had worked as a news butcher on the Missouri Pacific Railway as a teenager. After becoming interested in model trains in the late-40s, he took the hobby a step further by building a 1:8-scale miniature railroad across his five-acre backyard. Inspired by studio animator Ollie Johnston, who’d recently done the same—only at a 1:12 scale—Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad ran its first route on May 7, 1950. Friends, family, and guests of the studio were invited to ride the miniature rails on weekends, with Walt even having official boarding passes printed to commemorate the excursions. The project prompted Walt to think about expanding his railway into a backlot tour on his Burbank studios property. The idea grew, and he began to entertain the notion of buying up land across the street from the studio and creating a full-blown amusement park to house a larger-scale railroad. The dream continued to evolve, of course, eventually manifesting in the world’s most famous theme park and the millions upon millions of visitors that tour its magical offerings each and every day from the seat of an old-fashioned steam train.
The front cover of the brochure sports an Old-West-style logo, announcing the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, its park route and two locomotives: the C.K. Holliday and the E.P. Ripley. Inside is a very basic map of Disneyland, showing the railroad’s circular route situated along the outer edges of the park, along with crude depictions of Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. A brief informational paragraph below the map reads as follows:
All aboard! The highlight of your visit to Disneyland is a trip on the old-time trains of the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad. They are both wonderful reproductions of early-day Santa Fe trains, built to 5/8 scale in every detail, operating over the 1 1/8 mile railway that completely encircles the park. You board the passenger train at the entrance of Disneyland, the freight train starts from Frontierland. All aboard!
The brochure unfolds to reveal a United States map featuring the current (as of December 1954) nationwide rail-lines operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway System, sponsors of the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad (a deal that was solidified just three-and-a-half months before the park’s opening and would last nearly twenty years). The reverse side includes pictures of the rail company’s modern-day streamliner and freight trains, while providing some background information on Disneyland’s two replica locomotives:
The C.K. Holliday is a replica of Santa Fe’s first train, properly named after the first president of the railroad. You’ll find it fun to travel around Disneyland on this old train in the style of the 1860’s. But when you start a real trip, go the modern, comfortable way aboard a Santa Fe streamliner.
The E.P. Ripley (named after one of Santa Fe’s great presidents) is a reproduction of an old-time Santa Fe freight train. This magnificent little train is a proud forebear of the great modern fleet of freights that today carries loads of every description across the vast Santa Fe lines.
The accompanying tickets—three adult and one child, as denoted by their coloration—include all segment tickets, and are missing only their initial admit stubs. (Less than ten fully complete tickets—segments plus admit—are said to exist in the world.) The three adult tickets are numbered sequentially (08646-08648) and, of course, printed on Globe Ticket paper—a hallmark of vintage Disneyland tickets. Each individual segment ticket would have afforded its holder passage on one of the park’s two locomotives—the C.K. Holliday or the E.P. Ripley (nicknamed Retlaw 1 & 2 by park employees)—for that particular leg (or between those particular Disneyland Points, as the ticket states) of the larger circle tour: Main St. Depot to Adventureland; Adventureland to Frontierland; Frontierland to Fantasyland; Fantasyland to Holidayland (which wouldn’t open for another two years and would close in 1961 to make way for New Orleans Square); Holidayland to Tomorrowland; and Tomorrowland to Main St. Depot. Listed on each segment ticket are the attractions to be enjoyed in each corresponding land, along with a railroad-themed tag line inspired by the various destinations:
ADVENTURELAND: Adventure Cruise, Tropical River, Headhunters, Jungle Animals.
“Elephants Check Trunks With Baggageman”
FRONTIERLAND: Frontier Stockade, Indians, Stage Coaches, Cattle Train, Steamboat.
“No Shooting Buffalo From Train”
FANTASYLAND: Peter Pan, Snow White, Carrousel, Casey Jr., Mr. Toad, Dumbo, Tea
“Knights In Armor Must Go As Baggage.”
HOLIDAYLAND: A recreational park devoted to the traditional American holiday.
“Where Every Day’s a Holiday”
TOMORROWLAND: Moon Rocket, Space Station, Speed Boats, 20,000 Leagues, Autopia.
“Fasten Your Space Belts”
MAIN ST. DEPOT: Horse Cars, Shops, Fire Engine, Penny Arcade, Cinema.
“Walk Your Horses”
These souvenir collectibles from the very first weeks of Disneyland’s operation provide a fascinating look at the earliest incarnation of an attraction that was perhaps more near and dear to Walt’s heart than any—for, in a way, it was the attraction that spurred on the creation of his beloved park.