Disneyland in the 1980s: See the magical theme park’s rides, attractions & maps

Vintage Disneyland in the 1980s

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Disneyland in the 1980s was one of the ultimate vacation destinations for people of all ages. The park, which opened in 1955, had been a staple in American culture for more than 25 years, and had since become a hub of entertainment and excitement for visitors from all over the world. 

Disneyland's 30th anniversary in 1985
Disneyland’s 30th anniversary in 1985

Captain EO and Star Tours joined Disneyland in the 80s

The 80s saw the debut of several major new attractions at Disneyland: the Captain EO and Star Tours attractions.  

Captain EO was a 3D musical science fiction film that was shown at Disneyland and other Disney theme parks from 1986 to 1998. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by George Lucas of Star Wars fame, the film starred King of Pop Michael Jackson as Captain EO, the commander of a spaceship on a mission to save a planet and its inhabitants from the evil ruler Zorg, played by Anjelica Huston.

Captain EO with Michael Jackson - Disneyland 1986

A groundbreaking attraction, Captain EO combined state-of-the-art special effects, 3D technology, and a musical performance by Jackson. The film was shown in specially-designed theaters, where guests wore 3D glasses to experience the action on the screen. The film was a huge hit, and quickly became one of the most popular attractions at Disney theme parks.

Star Wars and Star Tours

Star Tours is a motion simulator ride that has been a part of Disneyland since 1987. Based on the Star Wars franchise, Star Tours takes visitors on a thrilling journey through the galaxy, visiting famous Star Wars locations such as the planet of Tatooine, the forest moon of Endor, and the city-planet of Coruscant.

1980s Disneyland's Star Tours ride

The ride was first introduced in 1987 and has undergone several updates and upgrades over the years, with new technology and special effects added to enhance the experience.

The popular ride, still active today, features 3D technology, high-definition video, and a sophisticated motion simulator platform that moves in sync with the action on the screen, creating an immersive and highly realistic experience.

Star Tours ride - Starspeeder 3000 (1987)

Splash Mountain

In 1989, Splash Mountain debuted, considered as epic a ride today as it was back then! The attraction — originally based on the characters and stories from the Disney animated film Song of the South — was first introduced in 1989.

Splash Mountain features a scenic journey through the enchanted world of the film, with guests riding in logs that travel down streams, through caves, and over waterfalls. The climax of the ride features a steep drop that plunges riders into a pool of water — hence its name.

Disneyland in 1989 Splash Mountain and more

The ride was designed to be both thrilling and entertaining, with a mix of high-speed drops, special effects, and colorful, cartoonish animatronics. It remains one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland in the present day.

Read on to see some of the maps and materials Disneyland was using to promote these new attractions (and more!) in the 1980s!

Disneyland map – Vacationland 1981/1982

Disneyland map - Vacationland 1981-1982

Discover the World of Disneyland Hotel (1984)

It’s a resort. With 10 tennis courts, 3 swimming pools, tropical beach, 35 boutiques and specialty shops, 16 restaurants and lounges. And right on the monorail to Disneyland.

It’s an attraction. “Seaports of the Pacific” is the best thing next to Disneyland. A waterfront playground and entertainment center for the whole family. It’s the liveliest hotel in town. Where you can dance with a bear in Sgt. Preston’s Yukon Saloon.

Kick up your heels at the Wharf Bar. Or dance cheek to cheek in our Pavilion on the marina. And it’s delicious! Indulge your taste for the finer things with fresh seafood at Shipyard Inn. Fresh pasta at Villa Verde. A fresh look at classic American cuisine at Granville’s.

Discover the World of Disneyland Hotel (1984)

Disneyland – Sleeping Beauty Castle (1985)

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty Castle (1985)

Disneyland in the 1980s: Theme park brochure for 1988

Disneyland in the 1980s More than ever the happiest place (1987-1988)

Disneyland map and hours in the late 80s

More than 32 years after it opened, Disneyland is more magical than ever. Bringing you the finest in family entertainment, the Magic Kingdom is reaching for the stars like never before.

In fact, now, you’ll be able to go to the stars and beyond, thanks to two exciting Tomorrowland attractions created with the help of some of the biggest stars in the entertainment universe.

Disneyland map and hours - 1987-1988

MORE: Disney World opens (1971)

“Captain EO” — A 3-D Space Fantasy Take the wizardry of George Lucas, the mastery of film director Francis Coppola, and the song and dance artistry of superstar Michael Jackson, top it off with the most legendary name in fantasy, The Walt Disney Company, and you have “Captain EO.”

Presented by Kodak in the new Magic Eye Theater, “Captain EO” is a 3-D motion picture so stunning and life-like you’ll feel you’re actually part of the non-stop action and excitement.

YouTube video

Star Tours: At Disneyland, the Force Is With Us

Now that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and the Rebel forces have destroyed the Empire and made the universe safe to live in once again, interstellar travel agencies have begun offering tours of a galaxy far, far away.

One such agency, Star Tours, has opened a space port at Disneyland and is currently scheduling voyages to the moon of Endo, home of the lovable Ewoks.

Disneyland Star Tours (1987)

A George Lucas adventure, Star Tours is a thrilling attraction featuring C-3P0 and R2-D2 of “Star Wars” fame, as well as a highly trained but inexperienced star speeder pilot named RX24… Rex for short.

With Rex as your pilot, though, you better pray The Force is with you. After all, you never know where you may end up.

Star Tours At Disneyland, the Force Is With Us (1988)

And, of course, the old Disneyland favorites

In addition to the exciting new attractions like Star Tours and “Captain EO”, Disneyland has more than 55 other magical wonders showcased in seven enchanting themed lands.

MAIN STREET, U.S.A. takes you back to turn-of-the-century America where you’ll find double-decker buses, horseless carriages, a Victorian restaurant and silent movies. Charming shops filled with novel souvenirs and treasures adorn this whimsical home-town setting.

And for entertainment, be prepared to toe-tap and finger-snap in time with sidewalk musical groups and merry high-stepping parades.

Disneyland in the 1980s - November 1988 (2)

MORE: Fifties fun in Disneyland: Scenes from the early days

ADVENTURELAND is a journey through the exotic tropical locales of the world. At the Enchanted Tiki Room, the singing and joking Tiki birds are joined by a chanting chorus of flowers and Tiki gods regaling you with warm-hearted entertainment.

Then, board the famous Jungle Cruise and explore untamed lands and mysterious water-ways. In these dense tropical jungles of Adventureland, an exotic world beckons explorers.

Disneyland in the 1980s - November 1988 (1)

FRONTIERLAND is where you’ll be greeted by the sounds of steamboat whistles, banjo music, and country tune in a salute to our pioneering forefathers.

You can clap your hands to the rootin’-tootin’ beat of the Golden Horseshoe Jamboree.

Or, take a rollicking ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This runaway mine train hurtles you through a swarm of bats, underneath a raging waterfall and straight into an avalanche!

Frontierland is home to another new attraction at Disneyland, Big Thunder Ranch. This Old West homestead recreates frontier life the way it was in 1800s America. The wide open spaces of Big Thunder Ranch includes an authentic reproduction of a log cabin, a petting farm featuring goats and sheep, a pasture for Disneyland’s award-winning horses, a barbecue restaurant boasting such favorites as chicken and ribs, and a stable that houses a passel of lovable burros that are available for adoption.

Disneyland has more than 55 other magical wonders

In FANTASYLAND, all the delightful dreams of childhood come true. Exciting special effects take you through a waterfall in Peter Pan’s Flight and floating logs become lurching crocodiles in Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

Plus, you’ll meet the wooden marionette who became a living, little boy, in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, and you can take a cruise through an international chorus of captivating, singing dolls where you’ll discover It’s A Small World after all.

Fantasyland at Disneyland in 1983

In BEAR COUNTRY you’ll find the Country Bear Jamboree, a delightful mixture of country, comedy and corn. This rollicking revue, the Mile Long Bar, the Indian ‘Wading Post and Bear Country’s matchless North Woods pine forest setting are the happy results of a comment Walt Disney once made: “Why don’t we try something with bears?”

NEW ORLEANS SQUARE is home to Pirates of the Caribbean, where you’ll be right in the middle of a cannon-bursting pirate siege as they sack the Spanish Main. And then join 999 happy haunts for a frightfully fun tour of the Haunted Mansion.

MORE: Anyone for Yo-ho-ho? Disneyland’s new Pirates of the Caribbean ride (1967)

1980s Disneyland's New Orleans Square (1981)

TOMORROWLAND propels you forward in time. Space Mountain is everything a thrill attraction is supposed to be, and more. But don’t take our word for it.

Go ahead and visit Mission to Mars, the Peoplemover or the Submarine Voyage to get warmed up. Then if you still think you can handle it, get a good grip on your belongings and climb aboard one of the most famous Roller Coasters in the world. You won’t be disappointed.

ALSO SEE: Disneyland’s Carousel of Progress: GE’s 21st century city (1968)

Over the years, the magic of Disneyland has been shared by children of all ages from around the world. You can find that magic in every themed land and in the smiling faces that you’ll see throughout the Park.

The Disneyland lands

Disneyland facts and information

Tickets and Passports: One-, Two- and Three-Day Disneyland Passports and Child Passports (for ages 3-11) provide unlimited use of all adventures and attractions (except Arcades) and may be purchased at any Main Entrance Ticket Booth or at the Monorail Station at the Disneyland Hotel. Major credit cards are accepted. Children two and under are admitted free. Children under seven must be accompanied by an adult on all attractions.

MORE: Vintage Disneyland attraction tickets: A B C D E

Guided Tours: Guided Tours are recommended for first-time guests and those with a limited amount of time. Foreign language tours are offered (subject to availability). Advance reservations for groups of 15 or more are suggested. Please call (714) 999-4573 for details. Handicapped guests are welcome on Guided Tours.

Disneyland facts and information - Matterhorn ride

Handicapped Guests: Accommodations have been made throughout Disneyland for disabled guests. For specific information, obtain a copy of the Disneyland Handicapped Guest Guide by contacting Disneyland Guest Relations…

Senior Fun Passports: A reduced-price Passport is available to those 60 and over every Sunday through Friday from September thru June. Additional discounts are available through Disney’s Magic Years Club…

Group Sales: Special group rates are available for nonprofit, organized groups of 15 or more. Advanced reservations are required.

Kennels presented by Gaines: Pets may be boarded in the Disneyland Kennel; however, pets cannot be kept overnight.

Disneyland facts and information

Magical shopping & dining

Exciting attractions, enjoyable entertainment and playful Disney characters aren’t the only magical things about a day at Disneyland.

The Magic Kingdom also boasts more than 50 shops and 30 restaurants and snack stands so you can pick up a Disney souvenir or savor a delicious meal. Disneyland shops feature everything from Mickey Mouse T-shirts and sweatshirts to porcelain figurines of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

In addition to Disney gifts and souvenirs, you can shop for exotic handicrafts and clothing in Adventureland, Indian arts and jewelry in Bear Country, fanciful toys and treasures in Fantasyland, a galaxy of space-age gadgets and gizmos in Tomorrowland and much more.

Food and restaurants at Disneyland in 1981
Food and restaurants at Disneyland in 1981 – including Mickey Mouse Pancakes!

From quick hamburgers to juicy steaks to beefy burritos, Disneyland has a restaurant to satisfy every palate. For breakfast, you can choose from the wide variety of egg dishes at Town Square Cafe or the dockside treats of the River Belle Terrace. Lunch can be a cheeseburger and fries in the backwoods environs of the Hungry Bear Restaurant or the modern digs of the Tomorrowland Terrace.

MORE: See intros for the Disneyland TV show & The Wonderful World Of Disney

And, for dinner, you may want to try something a bit more relaxed and refined; for example, the Blue Bayou for southern French cuisine, the Plaza Pavilion for fresh pasta or the Tahitian Terrace for tasty treats from the South Pacific. Special breakfasts with your favorite Disney Characters are available at the Plaza Inn Restaurant. For further information contact Disneyland Guest Relations.

The Finest in Family Entertainment

From the far reaches of the universe in Tomorrowland to the turn-of-the-century nostalgia of Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland has something for every member of the family. That’s why today Disneyland is still “The Happiest Place on Earth!’

The Finest in Family Entertainment

Getting to Disneyland

Disneyland is at the junction of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway and Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, 27 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Disneyland Hours

Disneyland is open daily (Saturdays and Sundays until midnight). Extended operating hours are in effect during summer and holiday seasons. For exact operating hours and additional information, contact Disneyland Guest Relations…

ALSO SEE: See how Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion has delivered thrills & chills since 1969

Disneyland in 1989: Splash Mountain & more

Disneyland Debut: Splash Down — The Thrills Peak at Disneyland

It seemed a long time coming, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll agree it was well worth the wait. This summer Splash Mountain sends its first guests hurtling over its falls, down the longest flume drop in the world.

The 52-1/2 foot plunge (equivalent to a five-story drop), at an unprecedented 47-degree descent, is the climax of the most ambitious attraction to debut at Disneyland since Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967.

Rides and attractions at Disneyland in 1989

The new adventure takes guests on a nine-minute, waterborne journey through backwoods swamps and bayous, among the well-known characters from the Disney film “Song of the South,” and more than 100 additional Audio-Animatronics and animated figures, many of them former stars of the America Sings attraction.

Among the many former stars of America Sings (Tomorrowland) you’ll find the familiar faces of this alligator and frog and the ever-present geese (quartet)

Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland in the 1980s

(Left): There’s a whole passel of new critters waiting to welcome you to their part of the country

(Above): A seaman’s chantey entertains guests at the Harbour Galley when the Columbia is docked in Fowler’s Harbor

Nick Stewart, the man who gave voice to Brer Bear in the original “Song of the South” (1946) stopped by Splash Mountain to visit an old friend in his new lair

Nick Stewart - Brer Bear in Song of the South in 1989

NOW THIS: See vintage Disneyland, when the magical theme park first opened in the ’50s

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