Is there any truth that old Walt hated African-Americans and Jews? Is it true that Ike got the National Guard involved in allowing blacks to visit Disneyland?If so,let’s be sure to include this in the 50th anniversary bash.
This doesn’t answer all of your questions but it’s a good start:
I’ve never heard this and it’s inherently improbable. Ike, whose presidency was mostly in the 1950s and not the 1960s, was reluctant to use troops against southern segregationists. When he was forced to do so, they were employed to ensure that public schools and colleges were opened to blacks.
Using troops to desegregate a private theme park is so unlikely that every history book would mention it. Using them in southern California against something as famous as Disneyland is conspiracy theory fantasyland.
How about a cite that blacks were ever barred from Disneyland in the first place?
Well, I was there- as early as 1958 (OK, OK, I was a small child), and often up to 6 times a year after. In fact, our family had a black family as freinds, and they went with us a few times. No problems at all. In fact, I very briefly worked there. Never met Walt, met Roy, and he didn’t seem in any way racist. (Do note that anyone born that long ago would likely view race a bit differently that we do today).
No. Blacks or Jews were not in any way shape or form discriminated against as visitors. There were no troops. Period.
However, oddly- for a brief time- “hippies”* were.* If you had “way out” hair and clothing, you could be refused entrance. I suppose if a black had a real wild “afro” and such, he might have been refused- not because of his race, but because of his apparent “lifestyle” choices. Hardly a “proud moment” for Disney, but not racist.
I was refused entrance to Disney World because I was wearing a “Panama Jack” t-shirt. My mother cussed my out, bought me a “Mickey” shirt and everything was fine.
Another source of claims about racial prejudice are based on Disney films such as, Song of the South**:
What exactly was in “Song of the South” that was so racist?"
Disney’s “Song of the South”
Snopes on Song of the South
Now, whether this displays a personal bias by Disney or simply the sort of unconscious (if racist) condescension common to the entire (white oriented) entertainment industry, I have never seen established.
The hippie bias is definitely true. Men with long hair were not allowed in. I had a friend who was barred because he was wearing an old pair of blue jeans with a bunch of holes in them. He had to go to a nearby Montgomery Wards or something to get new ones.
In 1971, my boyfriend and I had difficulty getting into Disneyland, apparently because we were under suspicion of being hippies (he had a beard and I had waist-length hair). We had driven all the way from Oklahoma because we wanted to see Disneyland. We were in line at the main gate waiting to buy tickets when a Disneyland employee in a security-guard uniform asked us to come with him. We did. He interviewed us for about fifteen minutes, and decided that we were safe, at which point we were free to get back in line (at the end of the line, unfortunately). Despite this, we had a wonderful time at Disneyland, and my overall impression of the place was favorable. My guess is that they were concerned about drug use in the park, and were being overly cautious about admitting people who looked like possible druggies.
Not quite, pinkfreud.
Jerry Rubin’s “Yippie” Movement started a riot there in 1970, alledging that the Disney Corporation was part of the Worldwide Nazi/Industrial/Fascist/Military Conspiracy, or some such tommyrot.
It got pretty bad, & the riot cops showed up. Senior Disney executives actually got involved in hand-to-hand with the rioters, at one point. Lot’s o vandalism, too. The park made its second-ever early unscheduled closing that day, the first being Kennedy’s death.
After that, they were seriously uptight for several years.
I cite David Koenig’s Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look At Disneyland.
Thanks for posting this! It explains a lot. I didn’t know that there had been a Yippie incident at Disneyland. I can understand why people who looked like my boyfriend and me would be scrutinized. The fact that they interviewed us rather than excluding us outright counts in the park’s favor, I think.
I’ve read that female employees had their backs patted to make sure they were wearing bras at the time.
The Yippies succeeded in raising a Viet Cong flag over Tom Sawyer’s Island before being expelled.
IIRC it wasn’t just Disneyland. When Six Flags Over St. Louis opened they were pretty anti-hippie as well.
So we can agree nothing like the events described by the OP happened?
Oh yeah, we can agree. Another long time DL customer here. My first trip was 1956. There has always been lots of DL customers of color.
Absolutely. Totally false.
Yes, some issues with “hippies”, and that can be debated as to how reasonable they were- or weren’t.
But certainly nothing racial at all.
thanks.It must have been a false memory
I spent a lot of time at Disneyland as a kid; I think its policies were simply ultra-conservative, not specifically racist.
BTW, did y’all know that Disneyland has a jail on premises?
Walt Disney World in Florida has at least two. One is on Tom Sawyer Island, and the other is in the line for Pirates of the Caribbean. The Pirates one has two skeletons playing chess incarcerated in it.
Oh, you mean jails for guests???
Of gourse, the fact that they put you back at the end of the line after a fifteen-minute detention kinda negates that favor.