10 Pieces of Vintage Disneyland Memorabilia You Can Own

Since first opening its gates to the public 60 years ago, Disneyland has developed something of a cult following. If you're looking to prove just how deep your Disney obsession runs, now’s your chance to get your hands on some precious park memorabilia. On November 21, the Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles will be auctioning off more than 800 rare Disneyland collectors' items. People attending the “Collecting Disneyland” event will have the chance bid on rare animatronics, vintage souvenirs, and original concept art from the park dating back as far as the 1950s. Check out 10 of the most magical items up for auction below. 

1. SPACE MOUNTAIN CONCEPT DRAWING

Estimate: $500-$1000

In a theme park where slow-paced kids' rides outnumber roller coasters, Space Mountain is Disneyland’s official thrill ride. This rare concept drawing from Imagineer Clem Hall depicts riders lining up in the space-aged launch bay to be shot off into the multicolored cosmos. In real life, the ride is usually five times as crowded.

2. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN CAST MEMBER COSTUME

Estimate: $800-$1000

This pirate costume was worn by actual cast members in the 1980s—two decades before Disney's pirates were Johnny Depp-ified beyond repair. The colorful getup comes with a custom belt, socks, and a striped cap. Bottle of rum not included.

3. JACK SKELLINGTON HEAD

Estimate: $30,000-$40,00

This prop appeared in 2001 when Disneyland first introduced The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) characters to the Haunted Mansion for the holidays. The silicone mask was used on the ride’s life-sized, animatronic Jack Skellington figure for four years, and it still remains in fine show-used condition. With a minimum starting bid of $30,000, this is one piece of Tim Burton swag you won’t be able to find in Hot Topic.

4. STORYBOOK LAND ATTRACTION POSTER

Estimate: $3000-$4000

There are several original attraction posters up for auction at the event, and each one is a vintage work of art. This hand silk-screened poster from 1956 features Pinocchio’s Monstro the Whale swallowing up passengers at the beginning of ride. For some reason, our memories of Storybook Land aren’t quite as horrifying.

5. PEOPLEMOVER RIDE VEHICLES

Estimate: $200,000-$300,000

If you were heartbroken by the closing of the PeopleMover in 1995, now you can take a piece of the ride home with you—literally. The vehicle doors can still be remotely opened and closed, and the control panel allows for operation of the interior and exterior lighting. It also features a working PA and music system, which is programmed to play a two-minute explanation of the PeopleMover by a 1967 tour guide. Owning this piece of Disney history is the next best thing to actually sailing it over Tomorrowland.

6. FANTASYLAND CASTLE BLUE PRINT

Estimate: $300-$500

Despite what you’ve seen in the movies, Disney magic is no replacement for carefully drawn up blueprints. This rare print illustrates the construction design of what would become one of Disney’s greatest icons.  

7. MAIN STREET BENCH

Estimate: $5000-$10,000

This bench was one of the originals that occupied Disneyland’s Main Street when the park first opened. After being a fixture in the town square for 44 years, it’s been carefully restored and painted its original color. To make it readily apparent that it's more than just a fancy park bench, the Disneyland property tag has been moved from the bottom to the bench back. 

8. STAR TOURS CAST MEMBER JACKET

Estimate: $200-$400

With the upcoming release of Disney’s first Star Wars film, we have a feeling this will be a hot ticket item. The jacket was worn by Star Tours cast members in 1992, a few years after it opened. The original ride was replaced by the updated Star Tours—The Adventure Continues in 2010, so this item is packed with all different kinds of nostalgia. 

9. “LADY AND THE TRAMP” CEL

Estimate: $1200-$1500

In addition to memorabilia from the park, the gallery is also auctioning off original production cels from Disney's early films and cartoons. For fans of Lady and the Tramp (1955), the minimum bid price of $1200 may be well worth it for a piece of animation history.

10. "INDIANA JONES" ANIMATRONIC PROP HAND

Estimate: $3000-$5000

Most people may not think of Disney when they hear "Indiana Jones," but the Indiana Jones Adventure ride has been a Disneyland fixture since 1995. The ride is best known for its abundant animatronics and thrilling special effects. There won’t be any giant rolling boulders up for sale at the auction, but they are offering the next best thing—an animatronic hand from Indy himself. 

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Disney Parks May Soon Have Robotic Stunt People
iStock
iStock

Animatronics are a staple of any Disney park, but as the company introduces more characters into the fold—like heroes from Star Wars, Marvel, and Avatar—the bar is being raised on audience expectations. On the screen, these characters defy gravity and pull off death-defying stunts, yet at the Disney parks, they’re still relying on fairly static animatronic models for their live shows and attractions. As Tech Crunch details, though, the gap between what the heroes do on film and in the park may be closing.

This development is all thanks to Disney’s R&D department, where Imagineers are working on next generation animatronics that can pull off aerial stunts like you’d see in any of the studio’s blockbuster films. The project is called Stuntronics, and its goal is to create animatronic stunt "heroes" that can replace a more static model in the middle of a Disney park show when the scene requires some high-energy action to take place. It's similar to the flesh and blood or CGI stunt people that movies have been using for decades.

In a video demonstrating their progress, a robot model is shown leaping from a cable to do backflips, double backflips, and other heroic landings. It’s something straight out of a Spider-Man movie and is years ahead of any animatronic character currently at the park.

Tony Dohi, principal R&D Imagineer at Disney, told Tech Crunch that the idea for this type of animatronic came about because they realized there was a “disconnect” between the exhibits at the park and what people see on film, so swapping in advanced animatronics for complex action scenes would go a long way toward making Disney’s parks feel more authentic to their properties. The Na’vi Shaman from the Avatar exhibit shows that Disney can get their animatronics to emote; this next step will put them into action.

According to Tech Crunch, right now the stunt robots are realized with the help of an “on-board accelerometer and gyroscope arrays supported by laser range finding.” They are autonomous and self-correct their aerial stunts to hit their marks. Though the model used in the video is just a generic mockup, it’s not hard to see how the Imagineers at Disney can easily turn it into any number of heroes from Marvel or Star Wars.

Stuntronics is just one of the advancements happening with robotics at Disney. Tech Crunch also detailed the Vyloo, which are a trio of autonomous bird-like robots in the park that react to guest movements. They can be seen in the Collector's Fortress in the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction at Disneyland in California.

The Stuntronics project is still in the R&D phase with no practical application in place just yet. But if this technology does progress the way the Imagineers are hoping, the blockbuster action of Star Wars, Marvel, and The Incredibles won’t just be exclusive to the movies anymore.

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10 Space-Age Facts About WALL·E
Disney/PIXAR
Disney/PIXAR

Ah, WALL·E: The movie that made a cockroach cute—and had us all sobbing about a trash compactor. Join us as we travel to infinity and beyond (hey, it’s from another Pixar movie, but it works) with these 10 facts about WALL·E on its 10th anniversary.

1. WALL·E AND R2-D2 ARE PLAYED BY THE SAME ACTOR.

The “voice” of WALL·E is legendary sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt is best known for his work on Star Wars (you can go ahead and thank him for R2-D2’s distinctive chatter), though he’s worked on films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the Indiana Jones series as well.

2. ALIEN REFERENCES ABOUND.

The film boasts not one but two connections to Alien, which was one of writer-director Andrew Stanton’s inspirations for the film. Early in his career Ben Burtt worked on the movie, “mak[ing] sounds for the mother computer and that sort of thing.” WALL·E’s own version of “Mother,” the main computer on the starliner Axiom, is voiced by none other than Alien star Sigourney Weaver. “I waited until the movie was kind of done to make sure she wouldn’t think I was crazy when she saw the movie, but she was a huge fan,” Stanton said. “I really lucked out and she loved doing it. She got the in joke.”

3. THE DIRECTOR CAME UP WITH WALL·E’S LOOK AT A BASEBALL GAME.

Stanton got the inspiration for WALL·E’s design when someone handed him a pair of binoculars at a baseball game. “I missed the entire inning,” he recalled. “I just turned the thing around and I started staring at it and I started making it go sad and then happy and then mad and then sad and I remembered doing that as a kid with my dad’s binoculars and I said, ‘It’s all there.’”

4. THERE WAS A “NO ELBOWS” RULE.

A still from 'WALL·E' (2008)
Disney/Pixar

In coming up with the look of WALL·E, the film’s design team operated under a “no elbows” rule; though elbows would make it easier for WALL·E to express himself, as a trash compactor robot there’d be no practical reason for him to have them. “Doctor Octopus-style” antenna arms and collapsible, telescope-like appendages were considered before the designers settled on the ultimate design, inspired by inkjet printers.

5. THERE’S A FAMILY CONNECTION TO HELLO, DOLLY.

Thomas Newman, who composed WALL·E’s score, is the nephew of composer Lionel Newman, who just so happens to have co-scored Hello, Dolly, which appears prominently in WALL·E as it’s WALL·E’s favorite movie.

6. BEN BURTT CREATED A RECORD NUMBER OF SOUNDS FOR THE FILM.

Ben Burtt created a library of 2400 sounds for WALL·E—the largest number of all of his films by far. Among the raw sounds Burtt used in WALL·E are an electric toothbrush, shopping carts banging together, a Nikon camera shutter (for WALL·E’s eyebrow movements), Burtt sneezing while a vacuum cleaner was running (WALL·E sneezing), and a hand-cranked generator of the sort used in the John Wayne film Island in the Sky.

7. WALL·E’S COCKROACH FRIEND WAS NAMED AFTER A HOLLYWOOD GREAT.

Though not named in the film itself, WALL·E’s cockroach friend was given the name Hal by the Pixar team, a reference to both 1920s producer Hal Roach (Safety Last!, The Little Rascals) and the homicidal-minded computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

8. THE HUMANS WERE ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE JELL-O BLOBS.

Inspired by conversations with NASA scientist Jim Hicks, an expert on the effects of zero gravity on the human body, at one point Stanton was going to make humans literal blobs, so unrecognizable from who we are today that “even we the audience would think it was an alien race. It had more of a Planet of the Apes twist, and they at the end would discover, as well as we would, that it’s actually us.” But, he added, “it was so bizarre that I had to sort of pull back.”

9. A LEGENDARY CINEMATOGRAPHER HELPED STRETCH WALL·E TO NEW TECHNICAL HEIGHTS.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for a whopping 12 Oscars, served as a visual consultant on WALL·E, helping the animators figure out how to make the movie look like it was filmed with actual cameras. “Very often, animated films feel like they’re recorded in some kind of computer space,” producer Jim Morris noted. “We wanted this film to feel like cinematographers with real cameras had gone to these places and filmed what we were seeing. We wanted it to have artifacts of photography and to seem real and much more gritty than animated films tend to be.”

10. THERE ARE EASTER EGGS GALORE! 


Disney/Pixar

It’s a Pixar movie, so you know there are a lot of Easter eggs. Among them: Hamm the pig and Rex the dinosaur from Toy Story, plus Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc., can be seen in WALL·E’s truck near the beginning of the film. Skinner’s scooter from Ratatouille and the Pizza Planet truck are rusting in one of Earth’s many trash heaps. A reference to “A113,” a classroom at CalArts where many Pixar animators studied, can be found in every Pixar movie, and WALL·E gave it what Stanton called its “most obvious” placement: as the name of the directive that states humans can never go back to Earth. And when WALL·E creates a statue of Eve, the lamp he uses for her arm is none other than the star of Oscar-winning Pixar short Luxo Jr.

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