July 17: The Happiest Place On Earth

Disneyland“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.

58 years ago today, Walt Disney said those words and officially opened his Magic Kingdom in Anaheim. Disney’s park was initially going to be a humble 8-acre plot of land in Burbank called the Mickey Mouse Park, but the idea soon expanded to a 160 acre complex including a theme park, hotel and parking lots. Construction begun on July 16, 1954 and the park opened one year and a day later, with the total cost just $17-million.

Disneyland’s invite only opening day was a mess. ABC broadcasted a special live broadcast of the opening day events that was full of technical goofs and missed cues. A plumber’s strike kept most of the park’s water fountains inoperable, which was most unwelcome on the hot 101 degree day. Vendors ran out of food and drink, high heel shoes sunk in to the park’s freshly poured asphalt, and to top it all off a gas leak in Fantasyland would force every area of the park except for Tomorrowland and Main Street, USA to close for the afternoon. Disney offered a free return visit to all guests who experienced the horrors of opening day, and in later years he and his team would refer to the events as “Black Sunday.”

Despite all this, people started lining up outside the park at 2:00 AM on July 18th to gain admission to Disneyland. A Long Beach State College student named David MacPherson would become the first person to buy a ticket to Disneyland and would later be the recipient of lifetime passes to all Disney theme parks.

Frequent visitors to Disneyland are undoubtedly familiar with the sweet Mint Juleps sold in New Orleans Square. There’s only one problem with the Disneyland Mint Julep, there’s no alcohol in it! So, today we’re going to use the Disneyland Mint Julep recipe and swap out one ingredient to make this Magic Kingdom drink more magical.

Disneyland Mint Julep

This recipe makes about 2/3 gallons.

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 tsp. Lime Juice Concentrate
  • 3 cups Soda Water
  • 6 tbsp. Creme DeMenthe (the coffee syrup, not the liquor)
  • 6 oz. thawed Lemonade Concentrate

Dissolve sugar into club soda, add the lemonade and bring to a boil. After removing from the heat, add creme de menthe. Chill. To serve, combine 3 ounces syrup to 5 ounces water in a plastic cup. Garnish with mint, and skewer two pineapple slices and a cherry. Add ice if necessary. Now, if you want to make this a proper alcoholic drink, I’d advise adding a teaspoon of Creme de Menthe (the liqueur) before adding the water; and if you want it to almost taste like an actual Mint Julep, add about an ounce of bourbon before adding the water.

But really, if you’re trying to get drunk off a Disneyland drink, you may just be doing both drinking and Disneyland wrong.

Tomorrow: I put a spell on you.


One response

  1. I propose a toast to the fact that it is entirely possible to make this drink alcoholic while in the proper “happiest place on earth” setting with just a little bit of foresight (water bottles work well), avoidance of metal detectors, and watch eyes to help the process. And then ride Splash Mountain and merrily sing along.

Propose A Toast!

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