Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  July 24, 1966
New Orleans Square officially opens.  Walt Disney presides over a Grand Opening ceremony with Victor Schiro, the mayor of the real city of  New Orleans. The 3-acre site, which is the first new land added to the park since its’ 1955 opening, cost $18 million to build – $1 million more than the original cost of the entire park!  Modeled after the real city of New Orleans at the turn of the century, Walt and his imagineers designed the city to fill out the banks of the Rivers of America celebrating the days when riverboats were still king and the city was the “Gay Paree” of the south.  New Orleans Square,  not an actual square so much as an intricate series of “streets”, is filled with with quaint shops like the One of a Kind Shop and Mademoiselle Antoinette’s Parfumerie, as well as restaurants like Cafe Orleans and the French Market, plus the very-exclusive, members-only Club 33, located on the second floor of the land, and the only location in Disneyland to serve alcoholic beverages (originally conceived of by Walt to be a sort of VIP lounge for his special guests). It is, however, the only land in the park to debut without a single attraction ready for operation.  (Pirates of the Caribbean won’t open until March 1967, and the Haunted Mansion won’t open until August 1969, even though the Mansion’s facade has been standing next the river since 1963!  And sadly, due to his health, this day would turn out to be Walt’s final major public appearance in the park, being only months before his death).
 
 
Walt Disney World:  July 24, 1989
The Town Square Café, an original opening day restaurant, appropriately located in the Town Square portion of Main Street, USA, re-opens as Tony’s Town Square Café after an extensive refurbishment.

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